Should pro-science world citizens form their own independent nation?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by cosmictotem, Mar 13, 2015.

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Should pro-science citizens from around the world form a pro-science nation?

  1. Yes

    7.7%
  2. No

    61.5%
  3. Depends

    38.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747
    Is it time for those citizens of the world united in our respect for science, the scientific method and scientists to unshackle ourselves from the self-destructive social and political ties of nations, where major decisions are conducted by governing bodies composed of primarily non-scientists, in favor of a new nation where a science background is required qualification for the upper realms of elected and political appointed office?

    With the technological advances in constructing man-made islands such as in Dubai, isn't it time that such a peaceful break between the pro-science people of the world and those still steeped in doing things the old way be considered?

    Wouldn't the world's inability and refusal to think out-of-the-box (in a literal sense) in both the Israeli-Middle East conflict and in our own struggle with the forces of anti-science benefit from literally "leaving the box" behind? If only one side or the other in the Middle East conflict could get over their ancient and blind loyalty to the concept of "holy land" in favor of the creation of a new land through the science of engineering, wouldn't that solve that ancient conflict?

    And if not them, why not us, the candles in the dark for science? We have so much technology and advancement at our fingertips. Why do we remain loyal to science illiterate brutes who worship force and that lead us toward destruction, when we can give the reins of government, in a display of peaceful nation-creating the world has never seen, to the men and women of science we trust and respect?

    Scientists? Why do you surrender yourselves as the underlings to those with little to no respect for the findings of science and the scientific method?

    Should we utilize advancements in engineering and small-scale terra forming to free ourselves from our condition of servitude to the anti-science in favor of a new nation where only scientists sit at the highest levels of government?

    Instead of standing to the side and pointing out everything those that govern us are doing wrong, why not busy ourselves with planning our own nation of science to govern as we see fit?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Same reason fashion designers surrender themselves and work as underlings to corporations. Same reason farmhands surrender themselves to being underlings to farmers.
    That would be almost as big a disaster as the all-politician nation, or the all-fashion-designer nation.
     
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  5. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    How do you think it would lead to disaster?

    Would you be in favor of a government where scientists occupied maybe one out of several legislative bodies? That way, they wouldn't completely rule the roost but they would have a strong voice in legislative decisions.
     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    4,430
    this is pure fantasy
     
  8. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    Well, for now it is but doesn't every independent nation start out as a concept? Anything that gets built starts out as a concept. I'm sure the man-made island in Dubai started out as "pure fantasy" but it got built, didn't it?
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,723
    Because it takes more than scientific competency to create and run a nation.
    Sure, if they were elected.
     
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  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    21,225
    Science has and will benefit all mankind through all of time.
    Even at the stage when we first came down from the trees and decided to walk upright.
    In the end science will triumph.....it has to...otherwise we all perish.
    What I'm trying to say is best said in a few quotes by reputable scientists of renown.......

    "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence".
    Louis Pasteur:

    "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology"
    Carl Sagan:

    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science".
    Edwin Powell Hubble:
     
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  11. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747
    I concede your first point. Perhaps I originally should have posited a government where scientists chaired a legislative body that had veto power over legislation where scientific understanding was necessary in order to debate that legislation.

    Certainly in matters of economics you require the counsel of an economist but doesn't science have something to say about the economics most suitable to humans? I mean, our economics evolved out of our behaviors most beneficial to our survival. I would think anthropologists would have something to contribute to a discussion of economics, as there is a lot of debate over which is more "natural" to humans, capitalism or socialism..
     
  12. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747

    Those are all very inspiring quotes and they by no means are wrong in any sense. However, I don't see how it would hurt if a nation was formed that gave scientists a primary role in the decision-making. Certainly, the climate debate today would benefit from such a political arrangement.
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    21,225

    Bingo!
     
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  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    21,225

    I totally agree!
     
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  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,723
    Well, there's the problem. Science can certainly say "nuclear power comes with a cost of X and a risk of Y" but they can't say "it's bad when some people are very rich and some people are poor, because that's unfair." The latter is not a scientific assessment, it is a moral one. Scientists can surely have morals, but they are no better/worse at understanding morality than the next guy.
    Economics is one of the softest sciences there is. Just consider the question "do lower taxes, in general, increase governmental income?" You'd think that would be an easy question to solve, but in 200 years we are seemingly no closer to an answer.
     
  16. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747
    Well behavior scientists do conduct experiments aimed at gauging altruism not only in humans but other primates. And many scientists have written books on the evolution of egalitarianism and social or group economics. So I think there must be a fairly large palette of scientists with a pretty good knowledge of the roots of morality that could lend their expertise to such debates and probably be better at it because they often know where our behavior stems from and why, where an economist might know the "where" but not the "why" or "how". Furthermore, a scientist knowing how our cooperative society evolved is probably better suited to posit where would be the best direction to take it, just because they have a working knowledge of what worked in the past and why it worked.

    Certainly, if you know anything about evolution (which a lot of politicians refuse to even learn about) you know there has to be a survival advantage to sharing resources rather than fighting over them otherwise we wouldn't have formed cooperative social groups. So a lot of the debates pure non-scientists politicians wrangle with are, in a lot of ways, settled debates to a scientist…which, of course, is further reason why I think government would benefit from ousting some of these non-scientist poser politicians and giving some legistlative power to scientists.
     
  17. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,723
    There is danger there. Let's say that scientists do a study that shows that primates have mental "wiring" to ensure they respect alpha males, and that primate societies with alpha males are the most stable. Great, science. But does that mean that therefore oligarchies (with one strong male ruler) are better than democracies?
    But then again, primates fight a lot. From one study that observed a four year chimpanzee war in Tanzania:

    ========
    This isn’t senseless violence. Male chimpanzees seem to resort to warfare to weaken their neighbors, with the ultimate goal of expanding their own territories, gaining new resources, and attracting new mates. It worked at Gombe, where increasing territory for the victors also led to higher infant survival rates, shorter intervals between births, and other benefits due to the better supply of food. Lethal raids have also helped chimpanzees living in Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains and Uganda’s Kibale National Park take over terrain from their neighbors.
    ========
    Again, that might be a valid scientific conclusion. But the overall conclusion 'therefore war is good' might not be the best to promulgate in our government.

    There are a lot of scientifically valid conclusions that are just plain toxic. Eugenics, for example. Hence while it would be great to have a large scientific advisory body, they would do a poor job setting policy IMO. Now if they were elected that would be much less of an issue, because they are now representing at least the people's choice in terms of leadership. But elected scientists would (I think) quickly become politicians.
     
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  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    21,225
    I'll just add one more little quote, this time just from an old "run of the mill" lay person with a genuine interest in science, but was too stupid and "tear-a-way" in his younger and teen age years to do anything about it...........

    "Science and the scientific method [ in one form or another] has been beneficially with us from year dot and will be always, while those two horrible variables of politics and economics are obviously "flies in the ointment" in time, they will change hopefully for the better"
    paddoboy:
     
  19. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    747
    Stability is only one factor that has to be maintained in regards to the survivability of any cooperative group. In addition, those same scientists are going to be aware of the mountains of evidence that shows humans do not like bullies and oligarchies. Alpha males, by being bullies, make themselves a target. Primates will form coalitions against any alpha male that tries to bully a group too much and scientists can factor that data in if allowed to plan future societies. There are many behaviors we know have "worked" in the history of our species but that does not mean they are the most desirable or that we cannot identify their problems and consciously improve upon them or even renounce them. There are many examples of this: We know aggression has "worked" in the past but overcoming our aggression toward each other is beneficial to our survival simply because we know those who engage in aggression put themselves at risk to have aggression befall them. We literally would not even be able to form cooperative groups if we did not overcome our aggressive instincts to some degree, for example. We know eating red meat "works" but maybe consuming less of it works better. We know hunting "works" but maybe domestication works better…We know fossil fuels "work" but maybe if we satisfy ourselves with solar our ecosystem will work better…We know the pitfalls of oligarchies and so do scientists…they're not stupid…

    Lastly, when scientists get it very wrong, as in the case of Eugenics, I don't think it's anymore the fault of science than poor decisions made by Tea Party Republicans is the fault of politics…It's just faulty reasoning…scientists are no more susceptible to flawed conclusions than anyone else. To ban those who are otherwise the most informed and logical members of our species from the political area and the decision-making process in favor of these he-men brutes like Putin,whose primary consideration in political planning is the preservation of their masculine image, is pure folly. Horrible mistakes will certainly be made, whether scientists are in control of policy-making or not, but I would rather have someone with the capability to self-check or unravel their wrong conclusions (if they have any intentions of doing so) than someone, who may even have good intentions, but just doesn't have the background or understanding of human evolution to untangle and decipher what is the very complex process of maintaining a cooperative society.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,723
    I agree. But you have just crossed from science into opinion - and thus the usefulness of science is diminished in making such decisions. Science can provide the background but has no more qualification than, say, a farmer on whether or not certain behaviors are desirable from the standpoint of human society.
    Of course. Science can also demonstrate that a pacifist society eventually loses the ability to wage war, and thus the most warlike society always wins in the long run. However, that may not be a good goal.
    No, that's the problem - they are smart. They may know that, from the viewpoint of a single adult human lifetime, the most profitable decision might be to ignore solar in favor of fossil fuels, simply because they are cheaper over a 50 year viewpoint. They may also choose to ignore that and go with solar because in 100 years their grandchildren may be better off. But again, that is not a scientific decision - it is a moral one.
    Scientists got it RIGHT in the case of eugenics. It is provable that by euthanizing the weak, the strong proliferate; indeed, procreation of the most fit is the basis of evolution. However, we have decided that such action is evil based not on science, but on morality. That is an excellent case of wisely choosing to oppose what makes scientific sense.
    You're talking about two different things here. Scientists may sometimes come to the _right_ conclusions (eugenics) but be dissuaded from acting on those conclusions for the greater good. In addition, "maintaining a cooperative society" is a political function, not a scientific one - and indeed to encourage cooperation you may have to make decisions that go quite contrary to what would (in terms of pure science) be best for a society.

    For example, from the standpoint of maximizing advancements in space colonization, alternate energy development, cures for cancer/senility/senescence etc it might make sense to simply abandon people at age 70 and let them die; that would free up billions for basic science research. Is that best for society in 100 years? If we could cure most diseases and move humanity to other planets, probably yes. It is best for society NOW? Probably not. Not because of any scientific reason, but because it is abhorrent to let people die just to save money. Which is a moral, not a scientific, decision.
     
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  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    2,200
    Science is just a tool. It's not a system of government. It would be nice to have more scientifically literate politicians but it would also be great to have more politicians trained in economics, medicine, and every other subject.

    In our present system a scientist politician will behave more or less the same as any other politician for the same reasons that affect every other politician.

    Essentially your scenario is the same one that every first year political science student considers....my professors have all the answers...why aren't there more political science professors in politics?

    The answer...good ideas in politics are like good ideas in business...they are a dime a dozen. The heavy lifting comes with the implementation.

    My idea might be to start a company that manufactures and sells chocolate covered potato chips (combining out love of salty and sweet).

    The idea is easy, the real work comes with actually raising the money to start a company, manufacture the product, deal with workers, promote the product at trade shows, etc.

    It's no different with politics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
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  22. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    For now I just want to address this point.

    But ah, scientists have conducted tests with human subjects and computer models that demonstrate (on a small scale) that passivity not only ultimately wins but shows that a more aggressive personality consistently comes out at the bottom of the barrel.

    I think you will find this program featuring Richard Dawkins most interesting in regards to this point.



    Well, DID they ultimately get it right? After all, because of the so-called "scientific" findings of the Nazis the world was ultimately driven to the brink of destruction. How humans will react to certain behaviors and why is part of science. The angle that you are suggesting that scientists have nothing to say about morality, it's origins and evolutionary purpose is not really accurate. Richard Dawkins (among others) has done many programs on why being moral, cooperating and sharing resources has a survival benefit to humanity. Christopher Boehm, also a scientist, has written several well-recieved books on the subject, including one with the obvious title of
    Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame.



    Also consider there is also something called "Political Science". Human Politics is not something that, although it very often turns out that way, is not intended to be a hodge podge of irrational beliefs governing human actions. The very term "political science" suggests that there should be some kind of scientific basis for political and social decisions that take in the whole of the evidence. The Nazi "scientists" of the 30's and 40's were like the fossil fuel industry anthropological climate change deniers of today. They are picking a choosing which data serves their purpose rather than looking at the whole of the data which would tell them fossil fuel use is threatening the whole ecosystem that supports the existence of humanity.

    But this presupposes scientists ignoring a great deal of research on how humans got to a society that can cooperate on such things as space colonization, alternate energy and medical cures in the first place. We didn't get here by abandoning the weak. Without a stable and cooperative society all of that falls apart. And certainly, abandoning the weakest members of society would tear a huge hole in the evolutionary fabric of thousands of years that holds society together. We know abandoning the weak would cause chaos in the social contract because cooperating for mutual survival entails doing things for each other. Scientists know this:



    Abandoning cooperation over survival would defeat the entire reason primates formed social groups in the first place. It is easier to confront threat to our mutual survival as a group than as individuals.
     
  23. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    As a spin on this, I would like to see more scientists running for elected office, so they can bring their occupational methods to the decision processes of governing.

    Currently the two main occupations, that run for office are lawyers and business people, with lawyers the majority of elected leaders. The means that the mind of the lawyer will set the tone in government. If lawyers wanted to help their own occupation; bird of a feather, they would add more laws because this means more need for lawyers, both to assure compliance and to prosecute lack of compliance. They think in terms of the needs of lawyers in create government in the image of their profession.

    If the government was run by mostly businessmen and women, it would be about efficiency and stream lining since this would turn it in the image of business. This path may seem to too strict; profit based, getting rid of marginal programs or divisions that are bottlenecks and in the red. The Democrats side tends to be more lawyer, while the Republican are business people. One can see how this impacts their approach and how they try to do it different; professional bias.

    Say a majority of the leaders were scientists. Scientists would bring their science professionalism to government and have their own way to conduct government. Emotional manipulation would be limited restricted, in favor of logic and data, jus like in the lab. This would not be good for liberalism, since logic rarely applies. It is all about emotions. This works better with a lawyer dominated system.The election process would be less entertaining, with scientists,with less spin and less rhetoric, since this is more a lawyer's world; emotional and leading theatrics to shift the jury's position.

    President Obama is a Lawyer, and not a businessman. He is better at summarizing for the jury. He is a prosecutor agains the republicans but a defense lawyer for democrat ideas, pleading to the jury. But he is not good at making his choices cost effective due to lack of business sense.

    He is not a scientists so it does not have to be rational and give data. He can use only rhetoric. This is not a value judgement, just each profession is educated with certain mental tools of its trade, with each trade having a different approach. I would enjoy seeing scientists using their tools of the trade to lead. It would be rationally fair based on the methods of science. We would lose the theater and technicalities of lawyers that are allow jack the ripper to look like an alter boy; bad policy that looked good.

    The immigration policy without a fence at the boundary is ideal for lawyers. It is not meant to be rational or efficient, but to make jobs for lawyer and law enforcement but maintaining a supply of new criminals to protect and plea bargain. Business is about efficiency, so you need a fence first, because lack of a fence is so wasteful over the longer term. Science would be closer to the business approach than the lawyer approach.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015

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