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    « Census Releases (Hurrah!) | Main | Is More Information Better for Decision-Making? »
    Wednesday
    Oct202004

    The Science Vote

    DATA: Reason magazine has a piece asking various people who they are voting for. Reason magazine basically has a libertarian slant, which is wrongheaded in my view, but I share a lot of my views on government and social liberties with them -- which is more than I can say for those good for nothing Republicans.



    Anyway, my real interest here is Steven Pinker, whom I adore beyond measure. I've seen him speak here at the UW about The Blank Slate, and never have I been more impressed with someone's ability to communicate a point so clearly. This guy is one of the best minds out there today. Needless to say he's not voting for Bush.



    2004 vote: Kerry. The reason is reason: Bush uses too little of it. In the war on terror, his administration stints on loose-nuke surveillance while confiscating nail clippers and issuing color-coded duct tape advisories. His restrictions on stem cell research are incoherent, his dismissal of possible climate change inexcusable.



    2000 vote: Gore, with misgivings.



    Most embarrassing vote: I left Canada shortly after turning 18 and became a U.S. citizen only recently, so I haven’t voted enough to be too embarrassed yet.



    Favorite president: James Madison, for articulating the basis for democracy in terms of the nature of human nature.



    Also of interest is John Rennie's comments. (He's the editor-in-chief of Scientific American.)



    2004 vote: John Kerry. Anybody who has seen Scientific American’s editorials during the last few years knows we’re deeply unhappy with the de facto anti-scientism of the current administration. Science shouldn’t trump all else in setting policy, but it would be a nice change of pace for a White House to put science ahead of ideology again. Of course, I’m keeping my expectations low.



    2000 vote: Remember that guy? The one that everybody said claimed to have invented the Internet, except he hadn’t said that at all? He seemed good.



    Most embarrassing vote: Back in college in 1980, flushed with youthful sanctimony, I voted for John Anderson. The voting booth is a bad place to be an idealist. But at least when I threw my vote away on a third-party candidate, it was irrelevant.



    Favorite president: John Quincy Adams showed that it was possible for the son of a president to rise to that same office in a highly disputed election without being remembered as a dangerous embarrassment.



    Two things I love about his comments.



    1) Anti-scientism! What a great word!



    2) "The voting booth is a bad place to be an idealist."



    3) "Favorite president: ..." Diss!



    Wait, that was 3. Oh well...



    Here are some other highlights:



    * A surprisingly high number of Libertarians are voting for Kerry. It goes to show they share as much with Democrats (max social freedom) as they do with Republicans (max economic freedom).



    * Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller) removes all doubt and confirms that he is undecided/stupid.



    * Some guy named Dave Kopel voted for Nader in 2000 and is voting for Bush in 2004. Insanity!

    Reader Comments (1)

    From MSNBC -

    Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.

    Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.

    November 2, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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