Why our laws lag behind the needs of science

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by ZoddyDoz, May 4, 2017.

  1. ZoddyDoz Registered Member

    Messages:
    4
    I've made the video below, and provided the transcript if you are unable to watch the video.




    The complexity of the many branches of science often require interpreters to relay information to the public in a manner they can understand, and it will continue to become more complicated and move further away from common understanding. Our understanding is expanding alongside the complexity.

    Unfortunately, we’re vulnerable to these interpretations being biased or influenced in ways that aren’t purely scientific - which can influence what we consider to be negative or positive due to that bias.

    The lack of trust from government toward the scientific community appears as a makeshift system of checks and balances that organically came about to make it difficult for something government doesn’t fully understand to quickly influence policy.

    While this is frustrating for society, it’s important to consider why people have those reservations.

    In the eyes of the uninformed, two ‘experts’ giving different opinions on something means you’re likely to take the opinion of others who agree with you on various other viewpoints, like economic policies or immigration.

    At that point, those involved in politics tend to be off the ‘science’ wagon, and no longer are able to make laws and regulations based on the understanding of those scientific concepts, and will likely make laws based on experts they choose to believe.


    Consider that these people tend to have no way to know what is truly scientific unless they were to devote time to science.

    For example, in medicine, boards of doctors and associations exist to evaluate science that pertains to medicine. The decisions they make are subject to be made in benefit of variables not accounted for, such as financial reasons (like to maintain the board functional, or continue being paid), or compromises made with governments at the time - in essence anything done for a reason that is not purely scientific.

    For most people, a time will come when science is too complicated for you, you will need to trust experts entirely. Whether due to age, mental faculty, or anything else - even if we were once familiar with science, it will eventually become too complex to understand unless followed very closely.


    Do you have anything to add? Leave a comment or contact us on twitter @thoughtdose

    P.S. Understanding why society creates these barriers is a step in knowing how to phrase the conversation to ensure that we come to a consensus on science and ensuring the public is informed.
     
    danshawen likes this.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    51,491
    Agree and disagree. I don't understand all the details of genetics, but it can be explained to me in general terms. Science is already too complicated for me, and it's been like that since Newton. Science popularizers like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins have done a good job presenting these ideas to the masses, I don't expect this to change as Science learns new things.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. ZoddyDoz Registered Member

    Messages:
    4
    This is one such effort, to explain the overarching concept of why resistance does exist, and why there is a social response of disbelief to science at times.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,945
    I'm sure there is a lot in what you say. I have a couple of quibbles:

    First, you speak of the "needs of science" for laws. I am not sure that science has many legislative needs, if any. I suspect what you mean is that laws lag behind what science indicates would be beneficial for society, for example on climate change and other environmental issues.

    Secondly, I am not persuaded that scientific findings necessarily become harder to understand for non-scientists over time. The teaching of science in schools should tend to make legislators and opinion-formers better informed in future than today's crop. Also, not all new science findings are complicated to understand.

    One further remark: I think you could also explore the Anglo-Saxon tradition of anti-intellectualism. This waxes and wanes (it is rather prevalent in politics in the USA and UK at present, e.g. "We've had enough of experts", during the recent Brexit campaign in Britain). There is a resentment and suspicion of highly educated people and specialists of all kinds. It is not wholly bad - sometimes specialists can suffer from overconfidence or groupthink - but it is certainly a factor in slowing down the adoption by society of new ideas from science.
     
  8. ZoddyDoz Registered Member

    Messages:
    4
    When I refer to the needs of science I'm referring to what science would need to advance unimpeded.

    It's a vehicle to compare total deregulation to strict regulation.

    As far a scientific findings to become more difficult to understand, I don't believe this to be a problem for people currently in the field. But the complexity whatever scientific field tends to require us to summarize and interpret for the public, which would stay uninformed for the most part or with a very basic understanding based on an interpretation.

    This isn't specifically meant to be an argument for anti-intellectualism, but rather a primer for a conversation to happen - it's a series of rationalizations for concepts.
     
  9. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    632
    I can agree so far, but I wouldn't equate a politician's manipulation of their advisors 'expertise' with the straight information from Science experts. Was there any science with the Brexit campaigns?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,945
    No, but there was a very strong current of anti-intellectualism, which was the point I was making.

    Anti-intellectualism is all the rage. It goes with distrust and stigmatisation of (real or imagined) "elites" and thus makes the populace suspicious of statements from people who might be thought to have authority through knowledge of the issues.

    This anti-intellectual sentiment is obviously going to make people suspicious of the findings of science, among a wide range of other things.
     
    sweetpea likes this.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,539
    That sentence in the thread's subject line raises a couple of questions.

    Does 'science' really need any particular laws? (Exchemist has already addressed this one.)

    Should meeting the needs of science, whether real or imagined, be the reason why laws are enacted?

    It seems to me that if the issue is the direction that our societies should be headed, and how government should best organize things legally to get us there (wherever 'there' is), then questions of individual and group values and interests are inevitably going to arise, and these aren't purely scientific issues. History, tradition and culture are involved, as well as the desires of the people themselves. The will of the people is denounced today as 'populism', but the idea of the people being sovereign is fundamental to 'democracy', which is something that the people aren't ready to abandon quite yet.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,539
    I don't think that it's 'anti-intellectualism' so much as it's often-healthy skepticism regarding arguments from authority. Especially diktats coming from would-be authorities in furtherance of their own agendas and interests, which don't always coincide with those of individuals or the wider public.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,945
    Yes I had a feeling you would say that.

    Some suspicion of argument from authority is appropriate of course (though accepting authority is pragmatically reasonable and unavoidable, when one has limited, time, resources and intellect), but my point is that, as with many things, the pendulum swings and right now it seems on a number of fronts to be at an extreme. Our poster is seeking input on factors making the voice of science struggle to be heard. This is one.
     
  14. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    632
    I see your point, distrust may spread to where it's not really warranted.
    Prince Charles is often showing his concern and warning about climate change, and yet he ignores medical experts when they say homeopathic medicine is rubbish...
    My bold.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...prince-charles-lobbied-homeopathy-funding-nhs

    It must work, because he uses it on his farms...
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...e-homeopathy-in-animals-to-cut-antibiotic-use
    When I am king, dilly dilly...
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,701
    In the US, the healthy skepticism of mere authority (already a feature of the American brand of orneriness that has often served us well) has been manipulated and guided and exaggerated by a corrupted media in the service of a cabal of corporate interests, for the benefit of those interests. The net result has been the destruction of valuable lines of communication between the learned and the public, sharply reducing the value of the investment in education and research and learning made by wiser folk in the past.

    The metaphor of the pendulum misleads, imho. What this looks like is an intellectual class whose occasional but repeated and unwarranted arrogance, error, corruption, and lack of attention to persuasion and/or apology has created offense, and opened a door for powerful interests with a seriously malign agenda.

    In the short term we have to deal with the malign agenda - an emergency situation. In the long term addressing the issues of corruption and careless arrogance among the scientific and intellectual elite will be on the table.

    In the short run, Republican political rhetoric taking advantage of an inculcated ignorance to further a coup by the lords of commerce will do serious damage if not blocked. In the longer term, at some point the failing guardians of intellectual progress and enlightenment - the liberals, whose responsibility it is to maintain the intellectual integrity of communication between those who know and those who have been footing the bill for knowledge and its applications - will have to come to terms with some uncomfortable matters of fact.

    For example, while disparaging the anti-intellectual opponents of vaccination and the befuddled adherents of homeopathy, intellectuals of integrity should not overlook the circumstances
    that at one point millions of infants and very young children were receiving (on their enforced recommendation) multiple injections of mercury compounds along with active stimuli of their undeveloped immune systems on schedules designed for the convenience and reduced costs of the medical professions,
    and that the advocates of homeopathy - if compared with, say, the advocates of routine Ritalin prescriptions for grade school children and prophylactic antibiotics for everyone including farm animals - at least have the fallback of having done comparatively little harm.

    First, do no harm.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  16. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    632
    My point about Prince Charles is that he wanted the UK government to make lab rats of the multitudes for good or bad via our National Heath Service. The NHS has its medical experts, we don't need 'Doctor' Charles jumping in with his history degree.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  17. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,524
    There is such a current, but this is a consequence of the increasing distrust in the establishment media. If you see the establishment media lying, consistently, permanently, in obviously coordinates ways, a quite natural reaction is to distrust everything sold by these media. So, all the "experts" presented in these media as "experts" will become suspect.

    What science can do to prevent this? Almost nothing. The media will continue to use "experts" to sell their lies to the public as "scientific results". Scientists are, politically, conformists, they are anyway paid mainly by governments, and independence of science is a fairy tale from the past. They will not start campaigns against mainstream media lies. If they start campaigns against "fake news", this will be, instead, embarrassing support for the elites and the mainstream media.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,945
    You mean we should all get our news from Russia Today?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,524
    Why do you think so? I don't get my news from Russia Today. I don't use mass media to inform myself.
     
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,945
    Oh, just teasing.....

    ...said the fancy bear......
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,701
    In the US, the academic and government-paid scientists are the most independent, and they have in the past (and are now, with AGW and a couple others) started campaigns against mainstream media "lies".
     
  22. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,524
    It is the US system of paying scientists with grants, so that they have to care about a new job/grant every two years or so, which has destroyed independence of science and made scientists the most dependent, most insecure group in society.

    And, yes, I have seen the analogical (the globalists are well-coordinated) campaign of "scientists" in Germany. Which was what I have named embarrassing.
     
  23. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,270
    Law is of nature and needs to be at one with science. Virtues are pleasurable when received.

    The passive mind gives its own happiness, and wisdom and gnosis of any kind. He uses the gnosis to create salvation, and the happiness for literal contentment. Its a natural miracle for non-violence to be totally safe staying true to his way. Because of the passive mind dis-Belief goes to naught, or suffers, maybe both, because they are both his own traits to his own nature, they are his own.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017

Share This Page