Why Don`t Americans Elect Scientists?

Submitted by: patchgrabber 5 years ago in
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/why-dont-americans-elect-scientists/

NYT blog post from earlier this year. Do Americans have the wrong impression of scientists? What do you think I-A-B?
There are 30 comments:
Male 2,216
The real reason? Religion. Scientists (Real ones) have no use for it.So tax it. Believers would have to pay.that`s why no scientist politicians in America,no money in it.
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Male 553
patch:

xkcd purity
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Male 5,811
@Ollie: That last line about econ made me lol, nicely done. And engineers aren`t scientists either, it`s just applied mathematics.
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Male 15,832
Just for the record, Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for senate in Missouri of "legitimate rape" fame is an engineer. I`m just sayin`...

BTW, economics is a "social science," i.e., not real science. Everything there is to know about how the real economy works is taught in the first 2 semesters. Everything after that just teaches you how to f*** it up.
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Male 5,811
@Thonious: [quote]I wonder how many people recall that economics is a science, not a cult.[/quote]
Economics is the *science* of telling you tomorrow why what you did yesterday didn`t work today.

That being said I at least applaud economics majors for going into politics, because that skill set is at least relevant to big decisions that person would make.
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Male 164
damn.. where is the like button :)
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Male 1,048
I really hate my country. It`s all backwards and most of the population sticks their asses out to get drated with non factual bullpoo stories everyday. It sucks that we can`t be invaded by really super smart folk to straighten us out...
Come on aliens
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Male 1,421
Religion. That`s why you have idiots running your country. The article said it correctly, if anyone in the advanced economy leaders start talking about dinosaurs and humans living together, he would be ridiculed to resign.. In the US they get elected. Again in my personal parallel universe every politician should have at least bachelor degree in economics/political science/sociology or other degree in a field that is directly related to their responsibilities.. We need a healthy does of layman presentation of course but i would say at least 50% of the politicians should receive some kind of education on the task at hand...

But since USA has declared a war on facts, education and common knowledge, this fits right in to the profile.
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Male 2,513
Agree completely with the article and Coyoteking`s comment
Not sure what is so hard to grasp for our representatives about `Seperation of church and state` but I would like to see all politicians canned for bringing up his/her religious beliefs inside of any statehouse.
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Male 2,988
why don`t we have science based leaders in america? because there is actually a separation between science and state instead of the supposed separation of church and state that CLEARLY doesn`t exist in US politics.
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Male 2,384
why because america is drating stupid,
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Male 987
I wonder how many people recall that economics is a science, not a cult.
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Male 2,790
or how about anyone smart? doesn`t have to be science, just have some logic
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Male 12,365
[quote]Scientists are also used to the game of politics, at least in academia, where you must learn to play that game if you want to get anywhere.[/quote]

True, but they don`t usually *like* doing it enough to want to make a career out of it.

I think another reason, one that I haven`t seen stated, is that scientists don`t generally prefer to choose answers that will make themselves look good for a very limited period of time, i.e. the next election. Short-termism is hardwired into democracy because the primary goal of a politician is to be (re)elected.
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Male 10,855
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
Woodrow Wilson
Herbert Hoover
Those guys were scientists

But I think scientists and engineers would prefer science and engineering over politics.
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Male 5,811
@OldOllie: Haha, no I`m not. I`m just wondering why those professions can get elected but natural science majors don`t. After reading this article I checked my own country and I think it might even be worse. Of course I had to go through each member of our House`s profiles (but not all because after 60 or so I got the picture) and found virtually none with science degrees. Just like the US, it`s mostly lawyers, businessmen, doctors with the odd engineer and economist thrown in there.

[quote]Ever try to get a religinut to vote for a scientist?[/quote]
Agreed, it`s not easy, but religion plays a *much* smaller role in our politics than it does yours, and we have the same situation.
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Male 15,832
[quote]This doesn`t make sense, because what overlap in skills do doctors, farmers, and engineers have? Those are all professions of people in politics.[/quote]

Are you holding up our current state of affairs as an endorsement of their governance skills? LOL!
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Male 886
Ever try to get a religinut to vote for a scientist?

It`s like trying to get a scientist to go to church.


Everytime I say what I am about to say, I get bashed for being "a commie" "unpatriotic" "traitorous" and such.


The Chinese government while still not the most humanitarian, have implemented several policies that I think the US should adopt.

Keep religions out of the government, if they want to have "religious freedom" then they will abide by laws set forth in this land. No more cults no more splinter groups that do what they want. No more child brides, no more polygamous mormons, none of that trash. Don`t like it? Then you are invited to leave.

Family size restrictions. We don`t have any population control strategy in place. Why? 7.5 Billion people aren`t enough? We need to relieve the pressure mankind puts on this planet. Now.
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Male 5,024
@Kain1 and @patchgrabber, I was just going off what I have seen in the tech industry. Didn`t mean to assume one thing about a group of people from what I have observed about another group.
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Male 5,811
[quote]There is very little overlap in the two skill sets. [/quote]
This doesn`t make sense, because what overlap in skills do doctors, farmers, and engineers have? Those are all professions of people in politics.
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Male 15,832
markust, I think you nailed this one. There is very little overlap in the two skill sets.

That might explain why Singapore is essentially a police state.
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Male 5,811
@snider: I`m not just talking about PotUS, this article is talking about your house and senate.
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Male 5,811
[quote]Because very few scientists have the social skills needed to manage people in the government. [/quote]
I don`t really buy that one. Researchers have to run whole labs, or even institutions. The director of my institution has a Ph.D in biochemistry, and she manages many, many people. Scientists are also used to the game of politics, at least in academia, where you must learn to play that game if you want to get anywhere. Now it`s possible that running a constituency is different, but I believe the skills are transferable.

[quote]it is much easier to manipulate via twisting words (lawyers) than by stating facts (everyone else).[/quote]
I think this is more likely. Journalists and regular people want immediate answers to problems, even if those answers are BS. Scientists aren`t good at immediate answers, because we want to gather evidence and then make a decision.
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Male 1,471
@insane_ai: wat?

That made no sense, and suggests that you don`t understand what science is all about, or how it functions..

Science is about basing logical inferences around empirical facts, then testing those inferences rigorously to make sure they hold true in the real world. Those tested inferences become facts themselves after passing every test we can throw at them. Repeat. That`s it.. That process is what brought EVERYTHING useful that exists into to the world. Some scientific thinking is sorely needed in the American government.

@markust123: That`s mostly just a stereotype..
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Male 21
The obvious answer. Most scientists don`t believe in God. If you don`t believe in God you ain`t allowed in the white house.
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Male 3,332
The people who are fit for office are the people who won`t run for office, and the people who run for office are unfit for office.
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Male 1,871
Having experts tell us what to do is problematic because my experts can disprove your experts as well as your experts can disprove mine.

NOw what?

Back to the popularity contest and fear mongering.
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Male 2,357
To answer the question: it is much easier to manipulate via twisting words (lawyers) than by stating facts (everyone else).

In all seriousness though, this is a question that I`ve wondered about. I would think common sense dictates that health policy be decided by doctors, PAs, and NPs; alternative energy policy (ie CAFE) by engineers... so on and so forth.
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Male 5,024
Because very few scientists have the social skills needed to manage people in the government. This is the same reason there are so many bad managers in the tech industry. People with zero people skills are forced into management positions because their salary has capped out. And when they find that surprise surprise they can`t manage people they end up managing process, which absolutely kills productivity.
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Male 5,811
Link: Why Don`t Americans Elect Scientists? [Rate Link] - NYT blog post from earlier this year. Do Americans have the wrong impression of scientists? What do you think I-A-B?
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