Tag Archives: science

Politicians as D&D Nerds

A fine rant from Peter Watts on how politicians’ disdain for science shows how dismally disconnection from reality most policy makers really are:

In other words, both Law and Economics are human artifacts. They’re like Gibsonian cyberspace, a consensual hallucination that only works because everybody agrees to stay inside the playground. They’re Klingon Summer Camp, they’re Dungeons and Dragons for geeks with MBAs: beautifully arcane, deeply developed, honed and crafted by decades of game play. But they’re arbitrary. Lo, the DM changes The Law, tweaks interest rates: watch all the PCs dance to the rules of the new edition!

Try that in the real world, though. Try repealing photosynthesis or gravity and see where it gets you. Anyone who talks about The Economy as though it reflects any fundamental aspect of the real world is an idiot.
So, why is it always suits? Why so few scientists in politics? Why isn’t the real world governed by those practiced in studying the real world, instead of geeks who can’t admit that Klingons don’t actually exist?

I think it’s because science is nasty. It is a methodology that recognizes the prejudices and blind spots of its practitioners, and it is designed to take those weaknesses into account and use them to its own ends. It drags us kicking and screaming to unpleasant truths we’d rather not recognize, it’s the only approach that is designed to be self-correcting

Peter Watts, All elected officials must speak fluent Klingon