Monday, June 04, 2012

Political ends > Science

The ever thoughtful, Dr. Steven Novella, looks at the moves in North Carolina to legislate science.

Recently the North Carolina legislature proposed House Bill 819 to study the effect of climate change on sea levels, and therefore coastlines. For some reason the legislators felt the need to include in the bill specific restrictions on how the science can be done.   
Apparently being elected to the State House of North Carolina invests politicians with superior knowledge (to actual scientists who work in the field) as to the proper way to model future trends. Extrapolating current trends into the future is always tricky. The very heart of any such extrapolation is to know what the mathematical trend is. There is a tendency to assume a linear extrapolation, but that is usually not the case.  

It is astounding, no it's not astounding, it is too common these days to be that. It is too familiar a sight to see state legislators try and spitball scientific truth as they see it and fit it into bills. Evolution, Climate Science, Geology, the facts are all up for debate.

But, no. Just because you got a number of people to fill the oval by your name does not mean you're every half-assed opinion is golden. Sorry. But it's better you know that now. Politicians should have a respect for the people actually crunching the numbers on these complicated issues. A society that chooses to dislike science and scientist aren't ones heading into a golden age.

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