Is A Rational Nation Ruled By Science A Terrible Idea?

Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes an article from Jeffrey Guhin, an assistant professor of sociology at UCLA:

Imagine a future society in which everything is perfectly logical. What could go wrong…? Last week, US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson offered up the perfect example of scientism when he proposed the country of Rationalia, in which “all policy shall be based on the weight of evidence”. Tyson is a very smart man, but this is not a smart idea. It is even, we might say, unreasonable and without sufficient evidence… employing logic to consider the concept reveals that there could be no such thing…

First, experts usually don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. They often get it wrong, thanks to their inherently irrational brains that — through overconfidence, bubbles of like-minded thinkers, or just wanting to believe their vision of the world can be true — mislead us and misinterpret information… And second, science has no business telling people how to live. It’s striking how easily we forget the evil that following “science” can do. So many times throughout history, humans have thought they were behaving in logical and rational ways, only to realize that such acts have yielded morally heinous policies that were only enacted because reasonable people were swayed by “evidence”.


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