Sunday, November 14, 2004

David Suzuki Acknowledges Science

In an article from David Suzuki's Science Matters entitled "Some understanding of science vital for leadership" (October 29, 2004) he writes about how science is probably the most influential force of knowledge within the world we live today, since so many innovations call for a technical scientific background. I just wanted to quote one point he made as an answer to his own question which hits the nail on the head in terms of why we should be rethinking the importance of environmental issues for national policy:

"Can a thoughtful and informed decision be made on any of these issues [stem cell research, intelligent computers, depletion of marine fishes, cloning, space research, global warming, toxic pollution, clearcut logging, nuclear power, species extinction, genetic engineering, fish farms, nanotechnology] without a knowledge of science?

Look at our political leaders. How scientifically literate is Ralph Klein or George W. Bush? Both disagree with the vast majority of climatologists who say global warming is happening and represents a huge threat to humanity. Listen to Alberta's Minister of the Environment, Lorne Taylor: "...we have to have a healthy economy in order to have a clean environment." By that inversion of reality, he demonstrates an utter ignorance of the world on which we depend. If our economy is inherently polluting and destructive, then we will never have a healthy environment or healthy citizens."

The idea that the world will just work if we have the same mentality as Lorne Taylor is in my mind, fueled by a denial. We have to remember that the price of any given sale adjusts according to the demand for resources, which adjusts according to how much we have. We better be pretty damn precise in our calculations. You can sell the earth's environment to hell, but where is your investment supposed to come from?

The other thing that I agree with him later in the article about is that the decision whether to join America in it's missile defense system demands some expertise in science. Exactly how are this satellite-guided missile system going to operate and how will it be DEFENDING us? A thinking system cannot easily be tested for all hypothetical situations. It's the kind of decision I wouldn't just go and make on a whim even though I'm inclined to just say NO THANK YOU!

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