Science, Faith and Policy
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14-07-2011, 03:54 PM
Science, Faith and Policy
Hey, Erbody.

I was reading this blog post from the 24-year-old CTV Quebec City bureau chief who just quit his job over the poverty of journalism. He wrote:
Kai Nagata Wrote:And when science debunks ideology, reason should be allowed to prevail in determining public policy.
-SOURCE

I read that and I was like, that sounds reasonable. Then I was watching The Colbert Report and this author publisher sceptic seemed to have a more all or nothing attitude and it reminded me of a more general attitude that I feel I have encountered in significant enough frequency. The attitude that science and reason should be utilised to the exclusion of everything else.

That made me think of Ran Prieur:
Ran Prieur Wrote:What we call "science" is only one particular science, a style of filtering experience that has been designed by and for a culture of uniformity and central control. It accepts only experiences that can be translated into numbers, that are available to everyone, and that can be reproduced on command. This is what scientists mean when they demand "proof." But this is only a tiny thread of all possible experiences, most of which are unique, not quantifiable, not reproducible, and not the same for all observers.

So all of this was swirling around in my head and I was thinking about public policy.

It seems to me that it is reasonable to base public policy on science when available. Furthermore, if an existing policy is debunked by science, then the science should be the basis for policy.

But I don't particularly like the idea of excluding everything else. It seems narrow minded and undemocratic.

I had the thought that in matters where there is no definitive science to back things up, that policy should reflect the gamut of thoughts on the matter.

I'm not saying the government should say, "there is a God," but perhaps the government should recognise all thoughts on the matter and make its policy inclusive of all rather than exclusive to science

Thoughts?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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14-07-2011, 05:39 PM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
I don't think science is an appropriate arbiter of public policy. Or any policy, come to that: science is a method of investigation , not a social principle.

Societies have different histories, characters and geographical settings. They operate on different assumptions and interpersonal relationships. So, there isn't a single policy that would work equally well in all societies in all phases of their life-cycle.
Ideally, public policy should have as its central purpose the greatest possible benefit its members. Not an easy ball keep a government's eye on - but it's the citizens' job to do so. It's the leadership's job to set goals and allocate resources to serve that central purpose, using whatever assets are available: science, technology, commerce, energy, natural resources, labour, legal system, inherited knowledge, social structure and physical structure.

That's not how it usually works, though, is it?

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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14-07-2011, 10:23 PM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
Science is not a 'stance' on religion, if a government wants to be scientific about things, they should, but to use it to debunk ideologies is a bit much, like I said the government should remain neutral about religion, actively debunking it is not very neutral.

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21-07-2011, 09:05 AM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
(14-07-2011 03:54 PM)Ghost Wrote:  perhaps the government should recognise all thoughts on the matter and make its policy inclusive of all rather than exclusive to science

Is that not what we have now?

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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21-07-2011, 09:50 AM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
Hey, Myst.

Quote:Is that not what we have now?

I think so. At least some version of it. Canada, for example, is openly multicultural but it's largely anomalous. I don't know how open the policies of other nations are (France banned burqas for seemingly arbitrary reasons for example). I'd just hate to see a future that is entirely rational. I think we'd be missing out. And I can see us heading there.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-07-2011, 10:28 AM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
(21-07-2011 09:50 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I'd just hate to see a future that is entirely rational. I think we'd be missing out.

"We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality." - Einstein

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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21-07-2011, 12:44 PM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
(21-07-2011 09:50 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Myst.

Quote:Is that not what we have now?

I think so. At least some version of it. Canada, for example, is openly multicultural but it's largely anomalous. I don't know how open the policies of other nations are (France banned burqas for seemingly arbitrary reasons for example). I'd just hate to see a future that is entirely rational. I think we'd be missing out. And I can see us heading there.

I agree... but don't think a "entirely rational" society is even possible. We are not rational creatures... not even close.

“We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.” Orson Welles
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21-07-2011, 03:46 PM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
(21-07-2011 09:05 AM)myst32 Wrote:  Is that not what we have now?

It's what we have in theory. Actually, the settler nations of the Americas were overwhelmingly and aggressively Christian. So, even after church and state were officially separated, that assumption of Christian superiority and ascendency permeates every legal, political and social organization. Citizens of different origin and free-thinkers of European descent have been given rights - one by one, like pulling teeth - and achieved such milestones as birth control and secular public school curricula, very few public figures have ever failed to mention God or Providence during every election and every crisis they created.
We never truly approached a rational society, but we were getting close to mutual tolerance. Until some factions decided that harnessing fundamentalism and a vague sense of grievance was a good way to power. They were mistaken. They do not yet know how gravely.

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24-07-2011, 02:34 AM
RE: Science, Faith and Policy
I agree that, while we have certainly come a long way in the last century towards having a rational society, we are certainly not there yet, especially when the general consensus among politicians is to either actively support religion or at least pay lip-service to it for fear of offending anyone. It's pretty much a given that anyone who openly admits to being an atheist is unlikely to be elected to any North American public office, although there may be an acception I'm not aware of. That does not indicate a rational society, in which the opposite should be the case. IMO the closer we get to it (knowing such an absolute state of affairs is impossible to acheive) the better. People can be mystical and let spirits guide their decisions in the privacy of their own homes. I'd rather not have such things used to decide public policy or military matters, since we've already seen the horrific results of that.

The way to see by Faith, is to shut the eye of Reason. - Ben Franklin
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