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jimmydasaint

Should We Have a Compulsory Science Course for Politicians?

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It is one of my passions and dreams that a modern society has enough Science education, numeracy and literacy to be able to comment on, and vote on, serious scientific issues. However, in my opinion, we need to update the Science curriculum for the people that lead us so that they are able to make rational and sensible decisions on the new changes and discoveries in science which are taking place at a blinding pace.

 

In short, do we need to send our politicians and legislators back to school to learn new Science?

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It is one of my passions and dreams that a modern society has enough Science education, numeracy and literacy to be able to comment on, and vote on, serious scientific issues. However, in my opinion, we need to update the Science curriculum for the people that lead us so that they are able to make rational and sensible decisions on the new changes and discoveries in science which are taking place at a blinding pace.

 

In short, do we need to send our politicians and legislators back to school to learn new Science?

 

I don't understand the mindset that can criticize something one knows nothing about, so this really irks me. For our leaders to still believe climate change is a hoax is criminally ignorant, imo. Seriously, I consider it treason in many ways.

 

I have to believe there is a presentation available for government officials showing the consensus in each branch of science that have joined together to form a consilience on the subject of climate change. Anyone who could sit through it all and remain unconvinced that we're in deep trouble over this is quite obviously either a complete moron or they're protecting an industry from regulation over the matter. Either way, they shouldn't be in office.

 

So yes, I think there should be a compulsory course in science that isn't written by a partisan group. It should be constantly updated to keep pace with advancements, and it shouldn't be tainted by political agenda.

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Do we get many politicians here? I avoid the politics section.

 

Far better for there to be a compulsory science and thinking course (Edward De Bono anyone?) for prospective members of SF.

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Such a course in science is unlikely to deal with the fundamentals of what science actually is, but rather just give some factoids that are the result of scientific inquiry. Just as science is taught at (my old) school. Science presented this way simply becomes a sermon which serves no one except some exam board bureaucrats.

 

Rather we should educate all people from day one in the scientific method and rational thought, rather than getting them to memorise the results of scientific inquiry.

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Rather we should educate all people from day one in the scientific method and rational thought, rather than getting them to memorise the results of scientific inquiry.

 

Make it so.

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At least in the US, most politicians are lawyers. What if we required some percentage to be scientists? Maybe that would do it?

 

20120831-115749.jpg

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Politicians shave words into images that appeal to their constituency when they campaign. They vote according to the wishes of the backers who pay them enough to be elected, and who also provide other perks. I am concerned that regardless of what they know, they will continue to act as they do now. Properly educating the people is more important, but it would require continuing education throughout the lives of all voters. Money for education is not considered important enough to provide a university education for free, and I'm pretty sure trying to get voters to attend a couple of weeks of training every year would fail.

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Politicians shave words into images that appeal to their constituency when they campaign. They vote according to the wishes of the backers who pay them enough to be elected, and who also provide other perks. I am concerned that regardless of what they know, they will continue to act as they do now. Properly educating the people is more important, but it would require continuing education throughout the lives of all voters. Money for education is not considered important enough to provide a university education for free, and I'm pretty sure trying to get voters to attend a couple of weeks of training every year would fail.

 

I disagree.

 

Mrs Thatcher was originally a professional chemist, before she was a successful politician.

 

Given her political direction about other subjects, no one was more shocked than I about her hard line on CFC propellants in aerosols.

Her extremely strong backing to reduction and phasing out has lead to great progress restoring the upper atmosphere.

Edited by studiot

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Do we get many politicians here? I avoid the politics section.

 

Far better for there to be a compulsory science and thinking course (Edward De Bono anyone?) for prospective members of SF.

 

As a teacher, I would be willing to try to educate politicians in the UK for free, as long as the Science is clear and involves frank and unbiased discussion and then regular updating. I don't doubt the education of the politicians but it is my opinion that their scientific knowledge is given from vested interests and biased sources. The comment about certain industries preventing discussion about climate change is very relevant.

 

Such a course in science is unlikely to deal with the fundamentals of what science actually is, but rather just give some factoids that are the result of scientific inquiry. Just as science is taught at (my old) school. Science presented this way simply becomes a sermon which serves no one except some exam board bureaucrats.

 

Rather we should educate all people from day one in the scientific method and rational thought, rather than getting them to memorise the results of scientific inquiry.

 

The factoids and sermonising approaches occasionally work but, I agree, the factoids should be accompanied with interactive material and discussion.

 

As a teacher, it is one of my disappointments that my less able classes usually want to be beauticians or retail managers and do not care about the science or having enough science knowledge to be able to vote in a confident manner on scientific matters. On the other hand, I may have accidentally switched one or to students on to the beauty of scientific discovery and the mysteries that remain unanswered.

 

At least in the US, most politicians are lawyers. What if we required some percentage to be scientists? Maybe that would do it?

 

20120831-115749.jpg

 

Excellent idea! We should have a quota for women in politics as well as spaces for scientists and engineers. However, the nature of the political system, in the UK at least, requires local party activists to vote for a candidate and then to marshal voters to the polling booth. Perhaps we have to encourage scientists and engineers to put themselves forward.

 

Politicians shave words into images that appeal to their constituency when they campaign. They vote according to the wishes of the backers who pay them enough to be elected, and who also provide other perks. I am concerned that regardless of what they know, they will continue to act as they do now. Properly educating the people is more important, but it would require continuing education throughout the lives of all voters. Money for education is not considered important enough to provide a university education for free, and I'm pretty sure trying to get voters to attend a couple of weeks of training every year would fail.

 

This is a drawback of course. We live in the real world where the politicians would be educated and might still vote the same way. What a tragedy. I think that voters could be educated by popular TV programming. However, the politicians and legislators need advice that is untainted.

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I'll play advocate and say 'No'. This is because that if someone applies to be a candidate for a political party one would assume that they already have a level of education suitable for the position. i.e. they would have fulfilled all of the educational requirements required to enter office. I would assume any candidate would have shown excellent performance throughout school in all areas of Maths, English, Science, Commerce etc and then would preferably have some kind of degree, not necessarily in politics, but that's what I would prefer to see. Is this not the case already?

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I am quite confident that many, if not most, of our British MP's have heard the traditional educational route of private school, Oxford or Cambridge and then straight into politics. However that is not a prerequisite for excellence in Science and not a guarantee that they would vote for sound science from a viewpoint of knowledge and be able to vote for important issues from a neutral position. Thatcher destroyed British industry and the dreams and hopes of thousands in this country. Her legacy was economic disaster farther than the support of sensible scientific consensus. I hated her. But I forgive her.

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Forget compulsory science courses, every politician and every schoolchild should have a compulsory course in Critical Thinking.

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Forget compulsory science courses, every politician and every schoolchild should have a compulsory course in Critical Thinking.

Learning critical thinking in isolation from science takes away its relevance to the real world. A bit like learning maths without any real world examples of its application. A common complaint of teaching maths without it is: "What do I need this maths for when I'm not going to use it in my normal life?"

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But Critical Thinking can (and should) be applied to any and every area of knowledge, not just science.

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Under the present pressure of teaching an over-full curriculum which was designed by some Boring Old Farts that wanted to replicate the academic conditions of their own youth, the whole education system would need an overhaul to teach important topics, e.g. wisdom, critical thinking and life skills and scientific investigation. We need to return to a system which would encourage real in-depth thinking and reflection and then we would not need to educate our leaders to real and changing Science. Sadly, I don't see that happening in my lifetime.

Edited by jimmydasaint

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Maybe a compulsory course in geology for geologists. Advertising removed by moderator.

Edited by Phi for All
No advertising, please.

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Maybe a compulsory course in geology for geologists. Advertising removed by moderator.

As far as I recall, in order to become a geologist, I had to take several compulsory courses.

 

 

Meanwhile, back on topic: perhaps compulsory courses on politics for scientists, so they can better understand what makes the bastards tick.

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I think psychology would help more in that. But then most psychologists I know are at least slightly insane...

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Just to put the shoe on the other foot, if it is acceptable to require politicians to take a science course, then perhaps it would be acceptable to require a woman having an abortion to watch a video first.

 

Forcing education on people is unlikely to work IMO.

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Just to put the shoe on the other foot, if it is acceptable to require politicians to take a science course, then perhaps it would be acceptable to require a woman having an abortion to watch a video first.

 

Forcing education on people is unlikely to work IMO.

The woman is making a decision that directly impacts herself, her fetus, the father and a handful of others.

 

The politician is making a decision that impacts thousands, millions, or billions.

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The woman is making a decision that directly impacts herself, her fetus, the father and a handful of others.

 

The politician is making a decision that impacts thousands, millions, or billions.

 

So perhaps we should make the politicians watch videos about abortions.

Edited by zapatos

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So perhaps we should make the politicians watch videos about abortions.

I would prefer to teach them to read.

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