Legislating Science. That's Going to Turn Out Well.

Legislating Science.  That's Going to Turn Out Well.

Legislatures occasionally try to pass laws to define reality or limit it. Reality, being a honey badger, doesn't care.

But legislative actions do have consequences. One State Legislature tried to make pi equal to 3.2. Well, not really, but it would have been a consequence of a law to approve of a method of squaring a circle (which is impossible, but makes for a fascinating read).

Pi is a ubiquitous constant in nature and I would hate to try and cross a bridge or fly in a plane whose engineers relied on 3.2 as the value of pi. Fortunately, the law did not pass and we have a wonderful urban myth.

Still, medicine is steeped in science. Medicine, and science,  is more than knowing facts. It is putting information and facts into context, knowing their origin and relationships.  It is a process.  Having all the parts of a car doesn't allow you to know how they are connected to let you drive.  

Infectious diseases is at its core applied evolution. Not only understanding the multitudinous ways germs respond to the stress of antibiotics and the environment but the human genome is littered with variations that are mostly a response to infection.  I would bet that infections have left more thumbprints in our genome than any other proecess.

To understand life and death from infectious diseases as well as to make treat these diseases  requires more than knowing facts. It is understanding  the science behind it and how these facts are part of a process.  Understanding comes from the interpretation of the information. 

Except in Ohio, where there is a bill to limit the teaching of the scientific process.

The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

The author of the bill is in favor of intelligent design and against human caused climate change. But understanding the processes of science and their conclusions  also allows us to respond remarkably rapidly to potential pandemics.

Imagine training future scientists with a focus on facts instead of process and interpretation and letting them battle the next influenza, SARS or Eblola epidemic.  Sounds like a good way to fill graves.

Of course that is unlikely to happen.  Smart people will continue to find away into the sciences and improve our lives, despite the laws of Ohio.   A more likely result is that Ohio will educate a generation of students to be ignorant and uninterested in science and its application and be part of the intellectual backwater of US.

Sounds like an excellent State for Naturopathy, Acupuncture and Chiropractic schools

It's not stupidity, it's the way we are.
Points of Interest 8/27/2014