Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Advancing my political career

Should you vote for a politician who publicly rejects the overwhelming consensus of the worlds scientists on one of the most important issues facing humanity today?
Paul Krugman has a good Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Republicans against Science. Similar concerns are also relevant to the leader of the Opposition [prospectively the next Prime Minister] in Australia.
Several concerns: ignoring expert opinion, thinking that I can understand complex issues in terms of hearsay and "common sense", and promoting views that may get me elected rather than facing painful realities that require unpopular and difficult decisions.

1 comment:

  1. I find myself somewhat at odds with this post. On the one hand self-serving political pandering and the tendency to dumb down complex questions are a blight on politics over the liberal-conservative spectrum. On the other, there is an extensive history in science of opinionating and biasing when it comes to defending pet theories and philosophically motivated positions that would call for thoughtful skepticism there too. Regarding evolution, it is not just young earth creationists that point to the deficiencies of the theory at numerous points. The 'scientific' response? In part, ridicule, firing dissenters, categorizing questioners as dangerous radical fundamentalists, and Dover trials. With global warming, it is difficult to sort out what is self-serving and what is fact. With the 'facts' in an inconvenient truth largely debunked, and climategate it seems that some of the trust in science as an unbiased enterprise, has eroded to some extent and perhaps rightly so. Finally, while global warming could have dire consequences, a (knee jerk) response could be more dire yet. That makes the vote all the more difficult. So I guess a good start is to try to see through my own biases on some of these hot topics.