Science and liberty, cont’d: the American experiment

As Timothy Ferris did in his book The Science of Liberty (about which I’ve written), astrophysicist Adam Frank explores the close — and evolving — relationship between science and democracy:

Democracy is always a leap of faith, an act of reason and a game of numbers. Most importantly, democracy is always an experiment in the most fundamental, and most scientific definition of the term. Like every well constructed experiment, you can not know what will happen until it does happen. It’s an important point to hold in our minds on this election day, as we wait to see how this particular run of the experiment turns out. And while we wait, we should remember how much the fate of the nation and the fate of science have always been closely conjoined in what many would call “the American Experiment.”

Worth reading in full. And it’s also sobering to reflect on the fact that experiments can yield unanticipated results.

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