Brilliant column by Michael Shermer in Scientific American on Malthus and science policy, also provides great lessons that can and should be applied to South Florida government and public policy that desperately need MORE fresh innovative ideas AND can-do reform.
For the past few months I've been planning on doing a number of fact and anecdote-filled blog posts here about the importance of what two South Florida elected officials - Broward County Comm. Beam Furr and City of Miami Comm. Ken Russell- are doing to make a very positive difference for their constituents, and the greater South Florida community in general.
Though you can be excused for not having heard about it in the South Florida news media, given who increasingly populates the local press corps these days and their startling lack of curiosity, candor or interest in any issue that doesn't lend itself to pithy tweets or Instagram photos. :-(
Furr and Russell have done this not by spouting lines from some best-selling book they read over the Christmas holidays or by hewing to what some government "consultant' has written after a careful examination of the facts-on-the-ground, but rather by incorporating some old-fashioned notions of logic, reason, common sense and meaningful oversight to public policy and their votes.
In short, giving those notions I love and champion here a much-needed comeback, so they are no longer the unwanted step-children in important public policy debates in an area of the country that for years has so often seemed to always be a day late and a dollar short when it should have been so much more than simply mediocre.
With few-if-any reporters around to report on it or chronicle why that's so.
I will still be doing those blog posts on Furr and Russell in the near-future, but for now, this weekend, I just wanted to share some wisdom I gleaned earlier today, which I will amplify on in the coming days and weeks;
Why Malthus makes for bad science policy— Scientific American (@sciam) May 10, 2016
-- Read more on https://t.co/0kXX1Olvm0
If by fiat I had to identify the most consequential ideas in the history of science, good and bad, in the top 10 would be the 1798 treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population, by English political economist Thomas Robert Malthus. On the positive side of the ledger, it inspired Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to work out the mechanics of natural selection based on Malthus's observation that populations tend to increase geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16 …), whereas food reserves grow arithmetically (2, 3, 4, 5 …), leading to competition for scarce resources and differential reproductive success, the driver of evolution.
Read more of Michael Shermer's informed wit and wisdom at @