Friday, November 12, 2010

I Humbly Suggest that Scientists Should Rule the World

Politicians rule the world. They claim that they know how the world works, how to get things done, how the economy runs, and that is why they should be the ones to rule the world. Well, I guess this is why everything is just fine in the world—because it is in the competent hands of politicians.

But politicians consider us scientists to be impractical. Our scientific minds focus on the natural world, whether it is human brain cells or the growth of forests. They think we do not know what “the real world” of laws and political deals is really like.

This is, however, blatantly untrue. Politicians live in a fake world—in which “truth” is determined by whatever will get them elected, which means that “truth” is whatever their major corporate donors want them to believe. Politicians do rely on data from the real world, but then they filter and twist it into a pretend-world, for example a world in which we can dump our carbon dioxide and Nature will clean it up for us. Will Rogers said, as I recall, “My jokes don’t hurt nobody. But when Congress makes a law it’s a joke, and when they tell a joke it’s a law.”

Here are some reasons why scientists could competently run the world (at least, more competently than politicians):

· Scientists base their assertions on verifiable facts.
· Scientists demand to do things that have been previously proven to work.
· Scientists follow a protocol that (almost always) ensures honesty.
· Scientists really do know how the world works, from atoms to organisms to societies.
· Scientists have had international cooperation for centuries; American and Soviet scientists worked together (not, of course, on war-related topics) even during the Cold War.

The Obama administration is noticeably more open to input from scientists than any preceding Republican administration, especially the Bush administration that was openly hostile toward science. But Obama’s administration is still mostly politicians doing political things based on their pretend-world of political rules. Even Obama listened a lot more to Rahm Emanuel than to his cabinet-level scientists.

Would a society run by scientists be a utopia? I don’t know, but it might. It would certainly be an improvement over what we have.

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