(Roughly) Daily

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when… our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness”*…

I’ve always been bullish about American scientific and technological supremacy, not in some starry-eyed, jingoistic way, but due to the simple reality that the United States remains the world’s research and development engine.

This is true for at least four reasons, which I detailed previously: (1) Superior higher education; (2) A cultural attitude that encourages innovation; (3) Substantial funding and financial incentives; and (4) A legal framework that protects intellectual property and tolerates failure through efficient bankruptcy laws. There’s a fifth, fuzzier reason, namely that smart and talented people have long gravitated toward the U.S.

But while Americans believe in unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, we are not similarly guaranteed everlasting technological supremacy. China is already challenging the U.S. in computer science, chemistry, engineering, and robotics. Without a consistent and relentless pursuit of excellence, the eagle risks losing its perch.

Unfortunately, there are a confluence of factors that, when combined, constitute an existential threat to American science: Postmodernism, political partisanship, and trial lawyers…

Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health (and founding editor of RealClearScience; @AlexBerezow) explains (and offers some hope): “The Slow Suicide of American Science.”

And lest we think this a very recent phenomenon, consider this collection of pieces from New Scientist in 2011: “Science in America: Decline and Fall.”

(Image above: source)

* “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995)

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As we listen to reason, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1996 that the cable channel Fox News debuted.

fox-news-logo

source

Written by LW

October 7, 2020 at 1:01 am

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