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Memos received: New Scientist to U.S. Government: Stop being anti-science = Pot to kettle: Stop rusting

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No, really. From the home of the Boltzmann brain wars and information as a physical quality, we now learn,

Protesting the incoming Trump administration’s anti-science agenda may not be easy – but it’s vital not just for the US, but the world

THE stamp of jackboots, raps on the door, marches and uniforms; these are what we associate with the emergence of an authoritarian state. The reality is less dramatic: life for most people may carry on much as usual – except they will no longer have any sway over the governing of their nation.

This is fascinating because the political movements that seem to unhinge New Scientist so much (Trump’s win and Brexit) were the result of asking voters what they really thought, and totting up the results within political systems that were agreed to in advance.

Maybe the New Scientist types have only ever seen jackboots in the movies? As noted elsewhere, most of the upsets have actually resulted from not paying attention to large core constituencies who vote. End stop. Those who would change political results need to change that first.

And empiricism is being stripped out of government, with scientists finding themselves on the front line. Climate researchers are squaring up to the potential destruction of their careers and life’s work (see “Resisting Trump: How scientists can fight a climate witch-hunt“), while those in other fields wait to see if they will be deemed “politicised”. New laws mean that Congress can choose to ignore inconvenient truths at will (see US Congress just made it easier to ditch science for politics).

Climate scientists have actually been dishing out that sort of thing for years. If they could bring themselves to have a beer with Judith Curry, they might get some pointers.

Take home point: It is unwise to play offense in the same game where one cannot handle defense.

Oh well, it’s Monday and that’s New Scientist.

See also: Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method?

Tenured professor calls it quits (Barry Arrington on Judith Curry).

and

Does fake news make a difference in politics?

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10 Replies to “Memos received: New Scientist to U.S. Government: Stop being anti-science = Pot to kettle: Stop rusting

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    Climate researchers are squaring up to the potential destruction of their careers and life’s work

    It’s like a million coloured squiggly lines cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    Correction: “It’s like a million coloured squiggly lines hockey sticks cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    This is fascinating because the political movements that seem to unhinge New Scientist so much (Trump’s win and Brexit) were the result of asking voters what they really thought, and totting up the results within political systems that were agreed to in advance.

    Except that Trump lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College and the last time that looked like happening he poured scorn on the whole system and demanded it be fought tooth and nail. As for Brexit, only just over 34% of the total electorate voted in favor. The rest either voted against or did not express an opinion. Hardly a ringing endorsement by the overwhelming majority of the British people.

    And let’s not forget that one person who’s thoroughly enjoying the whole debacle is Vladimir Putin. If he can split the US away from Europe and break up NATO and the EU it suits his plans for Russian expansion right down to the ground. And it looks like President Trumpski is going right along with it. I wonder why?

  4. 4

    This is OT but I feel the need to vent:

    I don’t think the left will be happy until there is civil war in the streets of America and Europe. They know nothing about real war, of course, except through video games and movies. They will not like the real thing.

    There is nothing romantic about war. It is not fun or glamorous. It is not even noble. It is ugly, brutal, vicious and uncompromising. Rape is common. Slaughter of peaceful bystanders is common. PTSD lasts forever.

    I was hoping for a peaceful transition of power in the United States, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. In my 53 years, I have never seen as much vitriolic hatred in my country. The visceral hatred goes both ways. To say that we are the UNITED States of America is to lie.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Seversky at 3: Someone, correct me if I am wrong but the US Electoral College is well over 200 years old. Whether Trump or anyone else likes it or not, that is how the game has been played.

    A confounding factor is the comparatively low number of Americans who vote. But it’s hard to know who they should blame, if not themselves, if they don’t like what happens when they choose to let others decide.

    Same with Brexit: Those who chose not to vote can be presumed to go along with whatever the majority of actual voters want.

    So for practical purposes, one must assume that what happened is what people wanted.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Drop California and Trump wins the popular vote to. Drop New York also, then Trump wins the popular vote in a landslide.

    The founders were wise in setting up the electoral college so as to prevent a handful of heavily populated states from dictating their will over the rest of the states.

    The constitution has many ingenuous checks and balances built into it so as to prevent such tyranny.

    My appreciation for the constitution’s nuance has grown over the years. Although fragile, the constitution is remarkably resilient in preventing tyranny by the government over the people.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, I think the he lost popular vote sidetrack is part of the distract, distort, polarise agenda. Second, that the 5 ton elephant in the middle of the room is the incidence of fraudulent and illegal voting. KF

  8. 8
    polistra says:

    BA77: We’d be better off without the EC, because we’d have one less excuse for failure.

    Both parties have kept the EC because it makes cheating cheaper. With the EC, political operatives can manipulate a few thousand voters with tightly targeted bribes. Without it, both parties would have to pick issues and candidates that resonate nationally. You can’t assume that California would control everything, because the individual voters in California would have no more leverage than voters anywhere else. In fact the R voters in California and NY would COUNT without the EC. Now they don’t exist and nobody bothers to appeal to them.

  9. 9

    Leftists had no problems with the EC when they thought (knew?) Hillary would win. Now they want it abolished. Reactionary, petulant, and childish.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Truth Will Set You Free @ 9

    Leftists had no problems with the EC when they thought (knew?) Hillary would win. Now they want it abolished. Reactionary, petulant, and childish.

    Here you can see what Trump tweeted in 2012 when it looked like Obama was going to win the EC while Romney would win the popular vote. “Reactionary, petulant, and childish” sounds about right.

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