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Baseball, Rigorous Biology In Policy-making, God news

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Posted by Michael W. Pearson on July 8, 2003 21:43:59 UTC

Who has the patience to work through the details of a matter before proposing policy based upon our modern understanding?
Please onsider the parts of this
*****Case in point ****
(it's all sweetness; you can let your guard down):
1) Policy-making, while perhaps not actually done by God, has a major affect on history.
2) News reports affect policy-making. Little stories reveal the belief systems of news reporters as they select the stories.
3) Major league aseball manager Dusty Baker (Afro-American) comments that maybe blacks and dark hispanic athletes are physiologically better equipped to withstand the midsummer heat than lighter athletes and that this affects baseball performance.
4) CBS radio news reports the followup wherein
Dusty Baker defends his comments as historically-based -- in the fact that blacks were brought here to work as slaves long ago precisely because of this "fact."
From this, we could conclude various things and form public and social policy based on those conclusions ....
but instead we ought to break it down scientifically. My take:
a) Dusty Baker, who is a very successful manager of teams which are racially integrated, said nothing particularly wrong. He is a baseball manager, not a biologist, anbd not responsible for teaching biology. His comments could elicit some measured, helpful responses from scientists via news. Will they?
b) We don't have a scientific announcement that "heat" is better withstood by blacks and dark hispanics than by lighter folks.
c) The current population of American blacks, for example, was not selected (in the evolutionary sense) specifically for heat. They were selected by many factors, including sheer chance, the preferences of their marriage or mating partners, and longer ago, by factors in a different environment.
d) Diet, upbringing, and motivation all play important parts.

I feel that the news broadcasting folks might rush to some conclusions, but maybe they know better already. My conclusion is that all the conclusions are too simplistic except this one.
Individuals vary. Sorry if I'm being a bore, but imagine how slow, laborious, painstaking and complete the work of real scientists would have to be to discover valid conclusions that should affect policy.

5) So I guess we can just let folks talk. Hstory is raw data for science, and is also the subjective memory of events whose data is largely inaccessible for close study.
6) Therefore should refrain from going directly ****** from anecdote to action but we should give some matters some serious thought.***

What do you think?

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