March For Science


#1

March for Science is on April 22 and is a non-partisan march in 430 cities across the US/world to demand political leaders on both sides use science to make evidence-based political decisions.

To find a march near you:
https://www.marchforscience.com/satellite-marches/

The keynote speaker is Adam Savage (from Mythbusters):


#2

This is a great time for such a march, since federal funding for science will soon face large cuts.


#3

I have a few broken bones in my hands and feet but I’ll be marching in spirit!

Thoughts?


#4

Sounds like something dreamed up by Plato or even Hitler. In the future, maybe AI robots will put such a system into practice.


#5

In theory technocracies sounds like a good idea, but in practice it has not worked and I don’t think it is a good idea.

The skillset for running a government is quite a bit different than that of doing science or engineering. The better strategy is having a more scientifically knowledgeable class of politicians and electorate who elect them so that the decisions that are made are based on the most sound science available.

I think those like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson say it better than I ever could, though:


#6


#7

Honest question, which societies have practiced technocracy? None come to mind.


#8

True, that may have been too broad of a statement. I probably should have said that was more my opinion or the opinion of those I have heard talk about it. (Like Bill Nye in the above video.)

China’s government today is made up almost exclusively of those with science and engineering degrees, but the political system is hardly a true technocracy even if Nye calls it that in the above video, so it is not a really good representative case for technocracy.

A better example might be Italy, which in recent years saw the Government of Mario Monti. Mario Monti was brought in to solve Italy’s debt crisis in 2011 with a technocrat government. He appointed professionals who he knew had the skills and experience to help him solve Italy’s financial problems; and who were independents without strong ties to any of Italy’s existing political parties. He was somewhat successful in bringing stability to Italy’s finances, his unelected technocrat government were able to make moves that were necessary for the country, but would have been career suicide for any career politician. Unfortunately he was forced to step down before the end of his intended term basically due to the political ambitions of others. Criticisms towards him typically revolve around the fact that he didn’t do enough with the power that he had, or that he bowed too easily to the strengths and interests of the other politically ambitious parties. Most agree that he set Italy on the right path, but are concerned that by bowing out too early, his reforms may not have the longevity needed to be effective.

Mario Monti wasn’t Italy’s first technocrat government, in 1995, the Government of Lamberto Dini was also a technocratic one, with experts from outside parliament appointed based on their skills and experience.

The problems that Monti ran into I think highlight some of the challenges that any technocracy might run into in trying to run a modern government.


#9

So basically the same inherent problems in any attempted form of government? I’m not confident these problems are exclusive to technocracy.


#10

Letting philosopher-kings run things is of course Plato’s idea. They would be needed to pick the best technocrats, otherwise whose credentials would be accepted? Who would know whose leadership skills were best? What school of economics would prevail? (Paul Krugman, I hope.) Which psychologists?

The idea is quite impractical.


#11

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a scientist. So far as I’ve ever heard, she’s doing a good job. That doesn’t make Germany a technocracy, of course. It just means that someone who understands scientific concepts is the head of the government.


#12

Keep government out of science. Politics is just a burden & the money they give to advance science goes nowhere more often than not.


#13

I can certainly appreciate the argument for that.

However, you can likely see that there are potential benefits from political leaders (on both sides) being more scientifically literate. It certainly can’t make their decision making worse to be more scientifically literate, can it?


#14

They should just stick to political science. No other scientific field is relevant to their jobs aside from similar social sciences. Instead of wanting them to excel at a single field, it’s just asking them to be mediocre at several.


#15

Nah peeps, people who write laws regulating industrial chemicals don’t need to know chemistry, just politics. Housing regulations have nothing to do with civil engineering. Pharmaceuticals don’t have anything to do with biology. Nuclear plants have nothing to do with physics or mechanical engineering. The military doesn’t need to worry about logistics or nutrition.

The job of a politician is to make difficult decisions. To do that well, they need to understand the decision in the first place. Of course it’s a lot to ask of a person, but the job was never meant to be easy. I can get behind this march :slight_smile:


#16

Yeah, I mean, it’s not like political aids or executive departments are a thing that exists.


#17

Why delegate expertise entirely to others? This paves the way for mistakes, lack of clarification and at worst, corruption. If a president has no understanding of climate change for example, it would not do well to have them pick cabinet/aid positions concerning human-driven climate change. The result will simply be an echo chamber of ignorance.


#18

I’d say they should keep delegating to others, because others are far more qualified in the wide variety of fields that politicians have to be involved in. But I know that there’s really no motive behind this whole stupid affair aside from climate science, which is really just climate statistics with a large number of wildly inaccurate prediction models.

So really, the whole purpose of this isn’t to try to get politicians scientifically literate, but to try to scare them into being afraid of global warming / global cooling / climate change. If they were actually scientifically literate, they’d understand that pollution is bad, but climate change is imaginary. Imaginary, yet oh-so profitable.


#19

It’s fortunate for you that you have a forum here where you can talk about these non-Soylent topics. Too bad they are not relevant.

It is amazing that you consider climate change imaginary. When the sun dies, do you think the climate on earth will continue unchanged? I think that many things change the climate, and humans do things about them. Umbrellas, for example. The important thing about climate change is not what caused it, but how can humans influence it? I don’t think ANY scientists consider climate change “imaginary”: i.e., there were never glaciers, etc.


#20

Precisely.

The idea that a “carbon tax” can prevent the world’s coastal cities from plummeting into the sea is pure fantasy. Even ceasing all CO2 emissions tomorrow would not “stop” climate change. It’s called the runaway effect for a reason. Waiting for renewable energy to reach >90% adoption is incredibly short sighted.