"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, December 10, 2007

Do Politicians Understand Science at All?

Science Debate 2008Do politicians understand science at all? OK, silly question, I guess.

Still, I don't think we should allow a conspiracy of number-averse journalists and political operatives prevent any serious quantitative reasoning in public discourse. It's time we grew up.

So I am very pleased to be listed among the blogs calling for a presidential debate on scientific matters, an effort kicked off by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum at Intersection which has garnered quite significant support already.

I'd actually like to see as many as four debates: science and education, engineering/energy/infrastructure. health/medicine, and ecology/environment/global change. That's asking for too much I suppose. Something would be much better than nothing.

Unfortunately I was in an airplane this afternoon and couldn't participate in the lifting of the "news embargo" at 2 PM EST. Let me stand up and be counted now; better late than never.

Let me also remind you of this snippet from the Texas Observer:
Geologist John Anderson says he’s tired of explaining the map, and the science behind it, to city officials. “If they do not understand it, they should not be in public office,” he says sternly.
I think this general principle should apply to the head of state as well as to the Galveston city council, don't you?

1 comment:

tidal said...

great initiative... kudos for being at the vanguard...