I tend to believe fantastic stories like this one concerning the birth of photosynthesis in plants through the capture of a bacterium 1.6 million years ago – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120221125409.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29&utm_content=Google+UK
I know some biology and tend to trust the hard science disciplines. Much has been argued on scientific methods and I don’t believe most of this hits the point. Science is essentially a rebellion against guff. This is perhaps why less than 5% of scientists vote Republican. Some scientists hold religious views but none hold with gawping crap like creationism. Science isn’t democratic in that expert accounts are privileged over majority opinion.
I once hoped we could make society more scientific, but most people are more or less hopeless at science and avoid its reasoning and methods. Philosophers from Leibniz to Habermas have dreamed of some kind of language free of ideology in which we could sort out social problems as surely as an accountant doing sums. The problem with this is it assumes a time in which most people become capable in the language and its reasoning skills, against the evidence that 100 years of universal education has failed where we have experimented with it.
Science itself is now telling us decisions are not made rationally and that conscious rationalisation takes place after a much faster sub-conscious process. We have long suspected the mind works as a network and that evidence impinges on a world-view most people conflate with individuality and identity. In fact, most such world-views are just soaked-up COWDUNG (conventional wisdom of dominant groups).
We are not democratic in our democracies – we don’t trust people to act without leadership regulation in most of their daily detail. We police crime, at least some small portion of it. We establish chains of command. we vote and hardly anything and when we do it’s either on trivia or for established political parties that don’t represent us. How would any of us get to vote for more equality? In Britain the vast majority of people who joined the Labour Party to vote for Blair as leader cannot have believed he would take us into the Iraq War. And who the hell is Dominic Strauss Kahn?
I suspect out systems enforce choice we don’t want and are open to abuse by foreign and business interests. There is something deeply wrong with the way we vote and choose, based in a fiction of self-belief that we are capable of making sense of who is telling us the truth (science shows nearly all of us are poor at this). We should bring more randomness to our selection processes and not vote for individuals, but for a lot based on a qualified list. We are simply not smart enough for anything else.
A qualified list would make it more difficult for outside interests to get their moles into positions in our main parties. It would also render the party machines irrelevant in selection. And it would disrupt choice on personality and other vapid practices of the ‘Party animals’. Service would be limited to one or two terms, with half any parliamentary members allowed to stay on by lot and proportionate to the actual vote.
Parliament would be essentially electronic and government open to public scrutiny. The public would make law and the parliament operate only in administration. Parliamentarians would be expected to slip back into normal lives after service and barred from positions gained through lobby interests.
Science cannot say our current system is tried and tested. History rather suggests it has had us nearly always at war, and has done little to share massive increases in productivity and soon will mean Banana Republic wages for most.