In particular, I like this paragraph:
Our politics now seems to look to expertise more to buttress arguments than to answer questions. The result is that we use science to support value preferences, blurring the important distinction between science and morality. Our media, in giving attention to attacks on scientific work, may inadvertently (and in the partisan media, intentionally) elevate them in the public consciousness and foster the impression that all science is suspect. Our educational system, by failing in its job to teach us how to understand and properly evaluate the work of scientists, makes us inaccurate judges of the claims of expertise at best and cynics of those claims at worst. What we cannot understand, weThis reminds me of various citizen blogger versus paid journalist debates we've had on the site. I think something scientists and journalists and other "experts" have on their side is the objective method by which they gather information, which hopefully imparts some objectivity on the results.
become willing to question - or ignore.
If we become our own experts on important matters where science can lead to more informed judgments, we will too often substitute ignorance for insight. Science will become irrelevant and we'll be left with only our own value preferences.H/t to Huffington Post.
A society that argues solely on the basis of values will soon find itself in conversations in which the majority will see little reason to listen to anyone else. Science is one of the few tools we have to confront majority opinion. The framers of our Constitution worried about the tyranny of the majority. We need to be equally worried. A majority that feels it can safely ignore science can create far more havoc than science itself, and it will then be woefully ill-equipped for the twenty-first century.