03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 Science and Democracy are Synergistic

The values of science and tha values of democracy are concordant, in many cases indistinguishable. Science confers power on anyone who takes the trouble to learn it. Science thrives on the free exchange of ideas; its values are antithetical to secrecy. Science holds to no special vantage points or privileged positions. Both science and democracy encourage unconventional opinions and vigorous debate. Both demand adeguate reason, coherent argument, rigorous standards of evidence and hones...
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The two concepts support one another.

03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Success of Science

One of the reasons for its success is that science has built-in, self-correcting machinery at its very heart. It takes account of human fallibility. One of its commandments is, "Mistrust arguments from authority." Too many such arguments have turned out to be painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like anybody else. This independence of science, its unwillingness to pay automatic obeisance to conventional wisdom, makes it dangerous to doctrines less self- critical. ...
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Comes from its built-in self-criticism, its proven results, and the reverence and awe it inspires.

03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Scientific Ignorance in a Science-Based Civ...

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time — when we're a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those In authority; when, clutching our crystals and r...
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We are more reliant on science than ever before, but we are also most disdainful of it.

02 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Policy Must be Tested

Policy is the starting-point of all the practical actions of a revolutionary party and manifests itself in the process and the end-result of that party's actions. A revolutionary party is carrying out a policy whenever it takes any action. If it is not carrying out a correct policy, it is carrying out a wrong policy; if it is not carrying out a given policy consciously, it is doing so blindly. What we call experience is the process and the end-result of carrying out a policy. Only through the...
Folksonomies: governance public policy
Folksonomies: governance public policy
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Only when a policy is carried out by the people, who understand it, is it tested and found to be correct or wrongheaded.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Science Should Settle Policy

The most important scientific concept is that an assertion is often an empirical question, settled by collecting evidence. The plural of anecdote is not data, and the plural of opinion is not facts. Quality peer-reviewed scientific evidence accumulates into knowledge. People’s stories are stories, and fiction keeps us going. But science should settle policy.
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Susan Fiske on the truth of assertions and opinions as being testable.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Problem With Experimentation in the Real World

Government policies—from teaching methods in schools to prison sentencing to taxation —would also benefit from more use of controlled experiments. This is where many people start to get squeamish. To become the subject of an experiment in something as critical or controversial as our children’s education or the incarceration of criminals feels like an affront to our sense of fairness and our strongly held belief in the right to be treated exactly the same as everybody else. After all, i...
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Timo Hannay observes that we cannot experiment with classrooms and prisons because finding one experiment works means another didn't, creating winners and losers and offending our sense of justice.

21 JUN 2013 by ideonexus

 The NDEA had Broad Benefits, but Unquantifiable Benefits

The four NDEA Titles featured in this report contributed to general upward trends (e.g., in the rate of high school, college, and graduate completion; in the level of student preparedness in science, mathematics, and modern languages; in the number of teachers and degree-granting institutions; in the number of bachelors and doctoral degrees awarded; and in the number of scholarly publications by doctoral recipients) during the years that they were in force. Their provisions also contributed t...
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The National Defense Education Act improved science, technology, and college enrollment in the US, but its effects cannot be separated from the broader forces and trends going on during the time it was implemented. Future public policies intended to boost STEM must be implemented in such a way as to make their effects quantifiable.

13 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Public Policy Shouldn't Bet on Science

You ask whether, given a choice, I would put more resources into space or AI. My answer is that either choice would be stupid. Politicians always want to make such choices too soon, because they imagine they can pick winners. Usually they pick losers. The only way to improve the chances for finding winners is to keep all the choices open and try them all. That is particularly true for space and AI, which are not really competing with each other. They are done by different kinds of people in d...
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It will always bet wrong. All science should be open, free, and supported.

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 America is Naturally Anti-Science

In the end, politics is about story. Robert McKee, Hollywood's master of storytelling, views the world from the top of America's other great cultural export—its movies. "1 think that the American ethos is not science-friendly and never has been," he says. "The American model is Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Guys who never went to college and who were geniuses and invented things, and people like them. The inventor versus the scientist. Somebody who can go west, discover gold mines, and cr...
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Science is hard work, America is about the dream of Hollywood. We are living on the benefits of science, but will those innovations become cultural rituals if we won't do what we need to do to promote science and education?

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 The Difference in the Way Scientists and Laypeople Approa...

Scientists are trained to avoid rhetorical arguments, the "vulgar Induction" Bacon warned against, and let the chips of reality fall where they may. They highly prize this intellectual honesty because the stakes for them are very high. They know how value judgments, prejudices, and habits of thought can blind you to the truth you are seeking, which will limit or end your career as a scientist. The lay public does just the opposite. They form frames of reference. prejudices, and value judgme...
Folksonomies: empiricism public policy
Folksonomies: empiricism public policy
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Scientists work from evidence, the layperson works from a premise.