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Politics & Current Affairs

Why Americans Don’t Elect Scientists

“Scientifically literate government leaders who push for evidence-based policies and demonstrate a scientific outlook are needed more than glib panderers with attitude.”

What’s the Latest Development?

Many foreign governments have more scientists at the helm that the United States. The President and Premier of China are both engineers; Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has a PhD in chemistry; the last national election in Singapore was a contest between two mathematics graduates. “Among the 435 members of the House, for example, there are one physicist, one chemist and one microbiologist.” Is it because strictly scientific conclusions are often at odds with religious and cultural beliefs? If true, is that a good enough excuse?

What’s the Big Idea?

Why are all sides of a “debate” treated equally in the US? Think of the entertainers whose statements about vaccines were taken as equal to those of biologists, or industry lobbyists who get as much credit as climate scientists. “Often too interested in politics as entertainment, the media is complicit in keeping such ‘controversies’ running,” says John Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University. What America needs most, he says, are more politicians who offer evidence-based politics and less pandering and attitude.

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