[ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Jesse Shore jesse at prismaticsciences.com
Wed Feb 22 05:44:40 UTC 2012


Rob, 

 

In a closed system, unlimited growth is unsustainable. But in the face of
ever new technologies and discoveries of new resources, defining when growth
peaks and then declines is less easy to state. We are going to run of steam
eventually but most people are likely still banking on plenty more party
years ahead. If a week is a long time in politics ten years is a lifetime
for most people.

 

The credibility of scientifically educated people, who talk about problems
of unlimited growth, took a battering after the predictions in the Club of
Rome's 1972 book 'Limits to Growth' were far from the marks they set. They
refined predictive model and republished in 1974 with a more optimistic
prognosis but the damage was done. Many of those in favour of growth mention
the inaccuracy of the first book and damn the whole business. 

 

Seems that the Club who cried wolf prematurely not only isn't listened to
again but has undermined the model-based predictive processes in a number of
minds. 

 

Cheers,

Jesse

 

Jesse Shore PhD
Science Communicator
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From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Rob Morrison
Sent: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 4:21 PM
To: Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Cc: Peterg.King at csiro.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

 

I suspect that the problem is subtly different. There are very few people
with scientific training in politics, but heaps of lawyers and economists. 

 

Both groups seem to believe that the world can be made to run on "man-made"
rules -societal and economic - but it cannot.  Eventually, when the man-made
rules come up against natural laws, the latter win every time.  

 

A few more scientifically educated pollies might help the lawyers and
economists understand some fundamental natural limitations to their plans;
the foremost surely being that one cannot have unlimited growth (population
and economic)  on a finite planet.

 

Dr Rob Morrison
rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Phone: (08) 8339 3790
Fax: (08)8339 6272

 

  _____  

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au]
On Behalf Of Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au [Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 21 February 2012 10:59 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Cc: Peterg.King at csiro.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?

Hi Listers

 

A colleague has been wondering whether the scientific literacy levels of a
country's leaders (CEOs & politicians) is correlated to economic
performance. Does anyone know of any research into the comparative
scientific literacy levels of top leaders around the world?

 

My colleague put the question like this:

 

"It would be great to understand more fully the impact of scientific
literacy to aspects of leadership and performance.

-          Eg. knowing scientific literacy of CEOs (of say the ASX 100 and
comparable groups overseas) and tying this into the company's investment in
R&D and overall performance

-          Eg. knowing the scientific literacy of our elected officials and
comparisons to overseas parliaments.

"By literacy I mean having studied STEM subjects at university either as the
major focus of the degree or as a component of the degree (maybe even with
some differentiation between the two)"

 

What does the literature say (if anything)? Would make an interesting PhD
topic!

 

Cheers

 

Elizabeth Yuncken
Advisor, Europe & India | Global Engagement
CSIRO 

Phone: +61 2 6276 6480 | Mobile: +61 467 777 817 | Fax: +61 2 6276 6308  
elizabeth.yuncken at csiro.au | www.csiro.au 
Address: PO Box 225 Dickson ACT 2602

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