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Why Scientists Should Have a Greater Voice On Global Security 167

Lasrick writes "Physicist Lawrence Krauss has a great piece in the NY Times today about the lack of influence scientists wield on global security issues, to the world's detriment. He writes, 'To our great peril, the scientific community has had little success in recent years influencing policy on global security. Perhaps this is because the best scientists today are not directly responsible for the very weapons that threaten our safety, and are therefore no longer the high priests of destruction, to be consulted as oracles as they were after World War II. The problems scientists confront today are actually much harder than they were at the dawn of the nuclear age, and their successes more heartily earned. This is why it is so distressing that even Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist, gets more attention for his views on space aliens than his views on nuclear weapons. Scientists' voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren't being heard.'"
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Why Scientists Should Have a Greater Voice On Global Security

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  • A quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by RenHoek ( 101570 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:58PM (#42607713) Homepage

    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".

        -- Isaac Asimov

  • by LateArthurDent ( 1403947 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:16PM (#42608763)

    Criticizing politicians for having an ideology is absurd.

    The criticism is when they ignore evidence against their particular ideology.

    Political questions are not like engineering questions - 'how much should we spend on bridges' is not at all the same category of question as 'estimate the ultimate load-bearing capacity of this bridge'.

    Although there certainly are decisions that cannot be made objectively, your example is not one of them. We can certainly do cost-benefit analyses to decide whether building a bridge somewhere is worth the amount of money that will be spent building it.

    Sometimes it is subjective. For example, most of us are not anarchists and believe that the government should establish certain laws, even though every law is a restriction on your freedom. We do, however, disagree on where that line is between order and safety and freedom. This is purely ideological. However, even if you lean towards sacrificing more freedom for increased safety, we can empirically determine whether a piece of legislation would actually make people safer or not, whereas right now we don't bother with that.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake