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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Best Thing I've Read Today


In an interview with Salon, Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about the dangers of unenlightened policies that aren't based on scientific facts:
For example, we live in a time now where many on the conservative right continue to be in denial of anthropogenic climate change. The problem that I see is that if you remain in denial, then you are not at the table discussing reactions to anthropogenic climate change. So, we’re losing time here, which is to say we’re causing climate change. Now, let’s go back in the room and debate what we do about it. Because whether you have carbon credits or solar panels or you have a new trade relationship with the Far East, all of these factors matter.

The moment you start bringing your personal belief system into governance, then that’s the end of pluralistic democracy. We have words for governance like that and they’re called dictatorships. You have a belief system, you have a philosophy, and that philosophy has some adherence and others have their own philosophies. Those are your personal truths. One of them is, “Jesus is your Savior.” I’m not going to say that Jesus is not your savior. That is your personal truth. But, in a country where we have different religions, if the person who said: “Jesus is your Savior” is going to govern a pluralist country, then their legislations must be based on objective truths, not personal truths.

And personal truths are not only religious. You can have political personal truths. You keep those to yourself or your political group. But, to impose them on others is to do away with the freedom that a free democracy gives you. Now, getting back to your point, we have people in Congress whose job is to pass laws. If they pass laws based on things that are not objectively true, that’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.
Read the entire interview with Tyson here.