Prominent Scientists React to Trumpís Win
Date: Sunday, November 13, 2016 @ 17:04:15 EST
From ScientificAmerican.com: Richard Dawkins and Other Prominent Scientists React to Trump’s Win. What the election results mean for science, in gut responses from Scientific American’s Board of Advisers - By Andrea Gawrylewski on November 10, 2016
This week the U.S. elected businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump as its 45th president. As Scientific American has reported in the run-up to the election, Trump's views on science, health and medicine appear unformed at best, ignorant and destructive at worst. To get an idea of what top minds in science, health and research are thinking, we reached out to Scientific American's
Board of Advisers to get their quick-fire reactions to the election
outcome. The excerpts, some of them edited for length, appear below.
At this moment, November 9, 2016, I am sick in heart and spirit, bereft of even a shred of optimism.
All the ideals of the enlightenment on which our country was founded, all the principles of reason and open-mindedness that undergird the practice of science that we so fervently cherish, and to which we can rightfully attribute our progress in improving the welfare of humankind, have been effectively and thoroughly repudiated. The significance of the result of the election—that those opposing these beliefs will now either control or greatly influence every branch of the U.S. government—cannot be overemphasized.
It's a shutout.
In such a moment it’s natural to search the past for lessons. All successful civilizations throughout history have ultimately perished. Further, the evolution of our country's democracy is following an ancient script: the seeds of Trump's philosophical victory can be found in the very multicultural, multi-viewpoint, open-armed inclusiveness of the democratic ideal America has pursued since its beginnings.
In his article in New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan finds in Plato's Republic, written 2,400 years ago, the view that a “rainbow-flag polity” is the most inherently unstable, and that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” It does indeed make you wonder if last night wasn’t inevitable.
My deepest worry is that this transition really could signal the end of the American Republic and the light it tried for 240 years, at least on paper, to shine on all the world.
What it means for the practice of science in this country, the rights of women and minorities, the future of our planet’s health, the survival of all the creatures with whom we share the Earth and for our relationships with other nations, I have no stomach to predict. But it does very much seem right now that the winning faction of the U.S. populace has decided that the Earth really is flat, and that will be the guiding principle for governance from this moment on.
—Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team leader; visiting scholar, University of California, Berkeley; director, CICLOPS, Space Science Institute
This administration may be the least science- and science education–friendly one in generations. One possible nominee for the education department, Ben Carson, is a young-Earth creationist. Vice President[–elect] Pence has supported antievolution legislation in Indiana and has even pronounced evolution as unscientific on the floor of the House of Representatives. At the National Center for Science Education, we found that creationists are emboldened to act locally and at the state level when the “bully pulpit” of the presidency favors them—even if the federal government has little or no role in determining local curricula. Nominees for Energy [the Department of Energy], EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency], NIH [National Institutes of Health], NSF (National Science Foundation] and other agencies are likely to be equally problematic and, of course, many members of the administration have declared their rejection of climate change. Should they and their appointees act upon that belief, agreements made with China and other nations by the current administration are at risk—which means that the future of the planet is at risk. Science and science education did not come out ahead in this election.
—Eugenie Scott, founding executive director, National Center for Science Education
When it appeared Trump would win, the Dow plunged 800 points in after-hours trading, and pundits predicted [Wednesday] would be the worst economic collapse since 9/11 and the 2008 meltdown. As I write this, the Dow is up 265 points, the NASDAQ up 43 points. Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future, particularly in elections and economics. With that caveat I predict:
Markets will be fine and economic growth will continue steady and may even improve one half to 1 percent in 2017.
No wall will be built on the Mexican border (and Canadians will not build a wall blocking us!).
We will not change our nuclear policies, we will not adopt “no first use” policy (as Obama did not either), and we will go another four years without using nuclear weapons.
North Korea ... oh who the hell knows what that wingnut will do, but very likely nothing will change and eventually the country will go out of business with their failing economy, and North and South Korea will reunite just like East and West Germany did.
Putin will hesitate to challenge NATO or take further territory in eastern Europe.
ISIS will be completely eradicated before the end of 2017, but global terrorism will not be, as no president or government can reduce it to zero, but it will continue to fail as a means of bringing about political change.
Tensions in the Middle East will continue as they have since I was in college and voted for the first time in 1972. Some things never change.
Stay calm everyone. We have a strong republic that will continue growing stronger. We have lots of checks and balances in place to prevent any extreme actions taken by anyone, and as Pres. Obama has been reiterating this past year to those pessimists who think things are bad and getting worse, this is and will continue to be the best time there has ever been to be alive.
—Michael Shermer, publisher, Skeptic magazine; monthly columnist, Scientific American; Presidential Fellow, Chapman University; author of The Moral Arc
Full text: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/richard-dawkins-and-other-prominent-scientists-react-to-trump-rsquo-s-win/
[Vlad] Glad I did not have to vote (being Canadian), cause I didn't like either of them. Nevertheless, Mike Shermer has a point this time (even though sometimes he badly misses it in his Skeptic magazine, behaving like an omniscient ..."Trump of science"):
"...Stay calm everyone. We have a strong republic that will continue growing
stronger. We have lots of checks and balances in place to prevent any
extreme actions taken by anyone..."
... and president elect Trump should better remember that!
I personally hope he'll experience an epiphany (a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience) and, in the end, prove the doomsday pundits wrong, and be a pragmatic, benevolent, visionary/inspired president (...Ok, with a benign narcissism;-) ... so help us God!