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Science In Public Policy -- For Your Disparaging Enjoyment

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Posted by Residential on March 22, 2002 01:30:10 UTC


Bringing a post up

Physics does not even begin
to offer equations that comprehensively manage the variables above plant growth in complexity.

These levels have not been your career, nor most of your education in the main. You show interest...and so does everyone else.

When dealing with social science and public policy in non-defense areas, accuracy and rigor are just as essential as in physics, along with honest recognition the scientific landscape is different than in physics.

LEt us recognize varying levels of
opinions,
rigor,
urgencies,
point of view (ie. those with a desperate plight need not be analyzed as deeply for rigor as those trying to establish a scientific principle).

Let us NOT recognize the right to establish dogma without rigor -- and rigor requires _fielding_ questions, not "dropping the ball."

Conventional wisdom is often far from truth in any discipline. Aristotle was wrong in many areas of science, though still admirable.
Physics and biology are not more esoteric than the understanding of human affairs...they're in fact protected by their jargon. The difficulties of being an expert in human affairs are compounded by the fact that there is so much noise
from the very elements (persons and groups) which you must fairly take into account in any larger theory structure.
How gravely shallow our understanding has been...
but only by comparison with what it is becoming,

Those who advanced it are not to be faulted for swimming against the current of pop social dogma such as I have seen physicists and non-physicists post here.

But largely, history has proceeded in the ways it did BECAUSE of the lack of scientific understanding in every situation. Wars were fought over scarcity or whims which better understanding of science would have made unnecessary... including psychological understanding
and energy knowledge.
'til mostly Europeans invented the modern age of technology, that is. That is not intended to influence social policy, but it is fact.

***
Lack of knowledge has always contributed to policy formation. Until recently, our Congress typically would have no scientists at all among its 535 members. Few are there now.

It has always been true that our lack of understanding is part of our decision-making.
This is relevant to "God and Science" and, pertinent to a recent discussion, challenges conventional assertions in unexpected ways.

For example, why DOES account of Columbus-era behavior in the Western Hemisphere
have to depend on the written accounts of so few?
Think about it...why did less than 1/1,000 of one percent (.00001/1) contribute any written accounts? Were those accounts written by persons with a firm, well-known commitment to accuracy and fairness?

That, too, is pertinent to understanding the causes of that era.


Thank you.

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