At the time of writing “Head In The Cloud” by William Poundstone there were only two scientists total in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. That is of 535 representatives only 2 (0.3%) are scientists. It seems only appropriate that a low-information electorate have a low intelligence congress. HM says low intelligence as it is science that has produced advancement and modernity. Absent science we would be living in filth and ignorance. Included here are both the physical and social sciences.
It is more than scientific knowledge that is important. The empirical basis of science together with evaluation methodologies and statistics are important. We need these to have a rational basis for policies and for a means of evaluating the benefits and dangers of different policies. When debates in Congress are based upon data, rigorous research can be done to assist in defining the ways to proceed. Scientists do not always agree. Nor are the initial results of investigations always correct. But eventually there is convergence with resulting better ideas and policies. This is the democracy of the future. Will it ever be achieved?
The low-information electorate complements nicely argumentation based on beliefs. People fail to realize that beliefs are double-edged stores where both edges are blunt. One blunt edge makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see the problems with one’s own beliefs. The other blunt edge makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see alternative ideas and courses of action.
Some religious beliefs force religion into its historical role of retarding science and keeping humans ignorant. Moreover, many of the people holding these religious beliefs are not satisfied with the religious freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Rather, they feel compelled to enforce their beliefs on others by changing the laws of the land. What happened to, “Judge not that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7 1-3). These same people are appalled at the sharia practiced by some Muslems, yet fail to perceive that what they are doing in the United States is indeed sharia. These same beliefs forbid the teaching of science and engaging in scientific and medical practices that can advance humankind and relieve a great deal of misery.
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