Our Leaders Are Unqualified

We have a problem.  Our leaders seem to think they can govern an advanced technological civilization without having even a basic understanding of science and technology.  Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) seems to think the age of the Earth is a complete mystery.

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States,” Rubio told GQ’s Michael Hainey. “I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all.”

Huffington Post

So if you’re wondering the age of the Earth, you’re not going to ask a geologist or a physicist?  We’re not going to consult radiometric dating and other empirically tested techniques?  This question would only take you five minutes on Wikipedia.  Type in “age of the earth”, and it comes right up.  If you Google it, it’s the first link that comes up. You know why he doesn’t have a clue about these things?  He’s never thought about them.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a top presidential contender, was outside praying for rain like an African shaman.

And the  former Senator of my state of Missouri, Todd Akin, seems to think a woman who is raped will not get pregnant.

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

– Todd Akin

Do you think people like this understand the role of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in industry?  Do you think they understand the research going on in universities and how important it is?  Do you think they understand the implications and power of the military weaponry they control, such as biological weapons, nuclear weapons, and AI controlled drones?  Do you think these guys ever consider climate change, energy, or sustainability issues?  Do you think they understand biology, stem cell research, and GMOs?

These people don’t read books.  They don’t think critically.  They don’t understand how things work.

I think of future governors and leaders in control of nano-swarms, advanced AI weapon systems, and future biological weapons, holding in their hands a small button which could wipe out an entire civilization and totally destroy the Earth’s biosphere, and I can’t help but fall into despair.  I imagine them in their office, prostrate, praying on their hands and knees, “Lord Jesus, tell me what do!”  Who knows what sort of “revelation” they’ll come to.  Here they are, in control of the fate of humanity, all because they stuck some signs in peoples yards and ran a few campaign commercials where they rambled off a few political talking points while an American flag waved in the background.

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2 Responses to Our Leaders Are Unqualified

  1. Steve says:

    Great post, as usual, Jason. I agree with you that many people in powerful positions of elected office are frighteningly lacking in scientific knowledge vital to governing effectively. But I’d like to think that some of our leaders are either not so ignorant or at least know how ignorant they are and are willing to consult with people who are knowledgeable and that they’re intelligent enough to use what they learn from these individuals to do a better job of governing.

    Are you by any chance familiar with the book (and U.C. Berkeley course) “Physics and Technology for Future Presidents”? Perhaps our future leaders should be required to earn a passing grade in this course before they’re eligible to run for office. 😉 http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Technology-Future-Presidents-Introduction/dp/0691135045/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353386554&sr=1-2&keywords=physics+for+future+presidents

  2. Thanks Steve. A few years back I heard about that U.C. Berkeley course. I’ve watched a few of the lectures and found it to be a good introductory physics course. It might not be a bad idea to require our leaders to pass various examinations on science, history, and economics before letting them run for office. I wonder how many of them would pass? Maybe that’s elitist, but considering all we have on the line these days, there probably should be a filter to keep certain people out of government.

    It seems I’m more often angry at GOP officials than Democrats. The other day I was hearing about a Republican from Virginia (I think. I can’t remember exactly), but he was saying that special needs children are born that way because of abortion. Oh, and who was that other guy? Rep. Braun from Georgia. The Big Bang and the theory of evolution are “lies from the pit hell.” Then there’s Michelle Bachmann and her husband, making people feel guilty for who they are, asking them to pray the gay away. It feels as if every time I read the news, I’m hearing about these people and the absurd statements they’re making, proving how ignorant they are. I can’t help but wonder how many of them are hiding in Congress. I’m always ecstatic when one of them is called out into the open for the world to see. I was elated when Todd Akin lost in my state of Missouri.

    I just can’t picture these guys consulting intelligent advisers. Machiavelli warned us about unqualified leaders in his political work ‘The Prince’.

    “And if there are some who think that a prince who conveys an impression of his wisdom is not so through his own ability, but through the good advisers that he has around him, beyond doubt they are deceived, because this is an axiom which never fails: that a prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice, unless by chance he has yielded his affairs entirely to one person who happens to be a very prudent man. In this case indeed he may be well governed, but it would not be for long, because such a governor would in a short time take away his state from him.”

    But like you, I keep hoping that these few people are the exception and not the rule.

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