Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “science”

Politicians are Uneducated – Tom Rossi

Our politicians are not, generally speaking, morons. Most are actually of above average intelligence, and that’s true regardless of party affiliation. But the backgrounds of most politicians, both educational and experiential, are narrow.

Most politicians are lawyers. Getting a law degree and passing the Bar Exam is no mean feat, but it doesn’t prepare a person to face the types of issues that now bombard politicians at many levels of government – climate change, “super-bugs,” genetically engineered organisms, fracking, etc. These are scientific issues, or issues that at least require a scientific perspective.

In this millennium, politicians who have only been educated in the law and/or business are making decisions on issues they know nothing about, that’s obvious. But what bothers me more is that the education and experiences of politicians have not even given them the intellectual tools necessary to process scientific information.

scientific-law

The concept here is really not too difficult. Would you want an expert in French impressionism to come over and fix a problem with the electrical wiring in your house? I suppose there might be a French impressionism expert who also once worked as an electrician, but someone like that is probably just a wee bit hard to find. Why would you want an expert in corporate law to make decisions about the food you eat and how it gets to your plate? Why would you want an expert in constitutional law to make decisions about practices that will make a lot of money, but badly pollute our water? Why would you want an expert in franchise and distribution law to make decisions affecting the fate of the entire human race?

Technically, a “moron” is defined as a person whose IQ falls between 51 and 70 points. A moron could hardly pass the bar, nor could he or she easily become a captain of business (the second-leading source of our politicians). But a person can easily be made to look dumb if they are placed in a situation about which they know almost nothing.

Congress occupational makeup

Do you want to see an apparent moron? Ask me to fix your plumbing, or your teeth, or balance the books for your corporation. I can’t do any of these things, despite the fact that I do have the necessary intelligence (my mom sez I is real smart, an’ hansum too!). I have no training in these areas. I haven’t read a book about them or even watched a Youtube instructional video!

This lack of scientific training among our politicians might have been OK (well, not really) 50 or 100 years ago. Here in the third millennium, A.D., our leadership needs to go back to school. Either that or we need to have some scientific prerequisites for our elected officials, well beyond the general education requirements of most colleges.

scientific_method01

Politicians need to know something about the scientific method and about scientific processes. It would also be very helpful for them to have some experience in the debates that go on between scientists, so that they can get an understanding of just what types of disagreements are given validity in the scientific world – the rules are very different from the rules of evidence in a court of law.

This would be government reform with real meaning. Now where’s that television repair person? I need some music lessons.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Little Quotes That Teach – Roger Ingalls

Freedom

“There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” Walter Cronkite

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” Jim Morrison

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Abraham Lincoln

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy

“The secret to happiness is freedom and the secret to freedom is courage.” Thucydides

Politics

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Mark Twain

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” Aesop

“We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.” Stewart Udall

Religion

“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” Thomas Paine

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” Dalai Lama

“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.” Thomas Jefferson

“Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.” Voltaire

Peace

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Peace begins with a smile.” Mother Teresa

“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” George Washington

Closing Arguments

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” Plutarch

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” Winston Churchill

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” Confucius

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

One of the Important Things the Candidates Don’t Talk About – Tom Rossi

Usually, I’m pretty disgusted with the news on TV. In the typical half-hour news broadcast, there are several minutes spent on weather (which is useful, to a large degree), several minutes on sports, a few minutes on either direct entertainment “news,” such as what movie is hot at the box office, or reports of celebrity deaths, incarcerations, marriages, or divorces. The lead-off story is often about some shooting or car accident. All of this leaves precious little time for stories about what’s actually happening in the world that might drastically affect our future.

 But on Sunday night, the CBS evening news shocked me, just a little, with this story: “Scientists warn of rising sea levels in Florida.” The story actually presented rising sea levels (as one result of climate change – implied but not stated) as fact. They didn’t put on “different viewpoints” to “balance” the story, they just showed the science and talked about what it means and what plans we should make to deal with the changes that have already started, but will get much more serious.

When I started to write this, I though I might run down, for the ten billionth time, the evidence that global warming is real. But I’m so tired of making that argument. I’m really tired of telling people that two plus two equals four, and not three. With the people who just don’t want to believe anything that would mean their previous position on something had been wrong, I’ve wasted my breath.

 

So don’t take my word for it. Look to the National Academy of Sciences. This is a large group of elite scientists from all around the United States, with 2,152 members plus 430 foreign associates. The analyses they present are clear. I’ll let you take a look for yourself. Even the handful of legitimate skeptics are finally rubbing their eyes to the morning sun.

 

I’m as surprised as anyone to be saying this, but kudos to CBS news. They still didn’t really come out and say the boogie words: “Global Warming,” or at least: “Climate Change,” but this story was really a step in the right direction.

 

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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