Blinding Voters. With Science!

Dave Killion — January 29, 2011

Here’s a (published!) letter to the Victoria News:

In your editorial concerning efforts to encourage the use of science in constructing policy, you write that it’s “… harder and harder to separate the hard facts from data that looks like facts – especially when it’s about an issue that affects something as precious as our personal health.” (Our View: Efforts to seek facts applauded, January 28).

Grant that you are correct. Can you explain why anyone should believe that our elected officials, who are presumably neither scientists nor engineers nor intellectually superior to the folks intelligent enough to vote them into office, are any better at making such assessments than every other individual?

Furthermore, having made such an assessment, how does it follow that these same officials, all of whom lack both the knowledge and the incentives each individual has concerning their own precious health, should be deciding what any other person should be allowed to do?

It isn’t the lack of sound science usage by politicians about which we should be concerned. It is the unsound notion that voters are children in need of elected parents to make personal decisions on their behalf.


David L. Killion

Update: Linked to published letter 7 Feb 2011


David Bratzer says

Hi Dave, I see your letter was published in the Saanich News, congratulations. Scientific Victoria doesn’t focus on the debate over public vs. private division of labour, land & resources. These are certainly important topics for discussion. However, a lot of political organizations are already heavily focused on these issues. Instead, Scientific Victoria concentrates on what kind of evidence is used in local decision making by elected officials.

— February 5, 2011

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