On the need for a new, scientifically based political party…

  1. You can change a scientifically minded person’s opinion. When there’s an independently verifiable process and testing methodology, the truth, regardless of how surprising, strange and counter intuitive comes out. Scientists are the ultimate truthseekers, and they posit wild, sometimes unbelievable theories (like the earth revolves around the sun, or the world is round or that we are one of nearly an infinite set of universes). When applied to policy, this could introduce new, incredible changes for beneficial outcomes. Which leads me to my next point…
  2. The conversation shifts to one about outcomes. The scientific method does not work without something to test against it. I.e. you have to have an outcome that you’re trying to experiment against. Do we as a country want to have more people in poverty or fewer? Do we want to have every person in the country receive an education? Should the government provide basic services like clean water and trash pickup? Does GDP grow with greater access to technology? Seriously, when was the last time that not only politicians talked about the outcome they were testing against, but then accepted the results when they were wrong?
  3. We accept that the first attempt won’t be perfect, but we’re working to make things perfect. And getting it wrong will happen. The beauty of the scientific method is that it celebrates failure. It celebrates learning something. Methods could be used to ensure that many people are not harmed, and we could seize on the rich datasets already available (for example, does cutting taxes lead to growth? Not if you ask Kansas).
  4. But we’ll start to solve problems. Over time, the solutions to policy questions will become codified, and eventually, the process will even be sped up. Is it better for a society to not have lead in the water? We pretend like we know the answer to that question, then we do nothing about the 500,000 children who have elevated lead in their system and the 9.2 million homes that have lead pipes. Why? Because it’s their responsibility, even though their children having good jobs and educations could lead to better outcomes for my children. (Plus, com’on look at Flint.)
  5. We’ll take seriously any number of problems before it becomes too late. We are dangerously close to being unable to solve the Climate Change crisis. And, historically, only in times of crisis do we actually seek to remedy the problems. But scientists first issued warnings about a warming planet in the 1950s, and measured the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide in the late 19th century. Imagine the world now had we listened to the science and developed the technology for renewable resources in the 1950s and 60s.



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A.M. Wilson

A.M. Wilson

Author of Populace; former journalist, farmer, librarian, burger flipper, bagboy, groundskeeper, political organizer, and shill.