There’s been a lot of talk recently about how science is defined and who does it best. I don’t much care to follow that, because it makes me stomp around my room shouting at the walls, and that’s a waste of time. I’d rather discuss science in a way that makes other people shout at the walls. So here are the ten things I would enforce, in the science department, if I ran a country. Any country at all.
10. Creationism is Only Discussed Publicly if it Involves a Randomly Selected Creation Story
This goes for all debates, articles, and talking heads on TV news shows. Anyone can talk about teaching Creationism as a scientific theory or advocate for it. The catch would be that, before they go into the debate, the city hall meeting, or the tv show, they would head to a computer, press a button, and one of the many creation stories would pop up on screen for them to use. So on any given day, or television set, you would see people advocate for teaching kids that the world was created by Odin and the human race emerged from between his toes, or that the Titans are trapped in Tartarus and the human race was created when Gaea the Earth banged Uranus the Sky, and so on. Not only would it add a great deal of variety and novelty to the debate, it would neatly separate out those who think Creationism has scientific merit and those who just want to teach their own religion.
9. Companies That Do Health Research on Their Own Products Must Disclose the Results to the Government
Hi tobacco companies! Hi! Companies do internal studies on their own products all the time. They use what they learn to find better ways to market their substance, and better areas of research. From time to time, though, those studies seem to indicate something sinister. Obviously, companies can’t be forced to outright publish their results or their hard-earned data might be used by their competitors. It seems, though, that someone needs to be watching. And that someone watching, if they see something really troubling, needs to then turn the study over to the actual public.
8. Every Study That Uses Public Funds is Published Publicly
This is as much to help scientists as to help everyone else. A lot of public money is spent on a lot of scientific studies. Those studies, if they are judged (often by people who volunteer their time) to be worthy of publication, are published in journals far less widely read than the people who do the work, or the people who need the work, would like. Scientific journal subscriptions can be massively expensive, and a barrier to people having the scientific information they, kind of, paid for.
7. Scientists Must Come Up With A Different Word for “Theory” When Used in a Scientific Sense
Look, it’s obvious that people simply can’t handle this one. Oh, they’re okay with gravity. Some start taking issue with relativity. And then? Then we get into other theories and people start saying, “Well, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.” No. No it is not. I like the way ‘theory’ trips off the tongue, and I like, generally, when scientific terminology has everyday applications as well, because it lends richness to the language of both the scientific and the everyday. But this one’s caused enough grief. Just make up a word and use that.
6. The Government Shall Always Be Building One “City of the Future”
Every few years in a magazine, or every time Disney builds a new theme park, people start showing off a ‘City of the Future.’ It’s stylish and minimalist, sometimes with innovative new public transportation systems, sometimes with extraordinary vertical farms, sometimes with inspiring or insane cooperative ways to power the city, and always with building that look like soaring groups of white wings. None of those cities actually happened, did they? And why? Because no one built them. America has a growing population that has to live somewhere. It’s time to just build one. Pick a place and really do it right. It could be a boon to research and a goad for other cities to modernize. If nothing else, it will make for a fascinating documentary in a few decades.