How many times have you heard a politician say, "I'm not a scientist, but ... "
Chances are you've lost count.
That's because in the US, there are almost no scientists or engineers in public office. And anyways, there are too many people in government who lack even a basic understanding of science.
It's like what Harrison Ford said recently: "We've got people in charge of important shit who don't believe in science."
Still not convinced?
Here are five quotes that illustrate how important it is for politicians to possess even an elementary understanding of science:
"You can't have people making decisions about the future of the world who are scientifically illiterate. That's a recipe for disaster. And I don't mean just whether a politician is scientifically literate, but people who vote politicians into office." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
"Traditionally the attitude has been that science is above politics, and therefore scientists shouldn't get involved in politics, and what that ignores is the fact that politicians are unashamed to meddle in science. The way we push back against that is to hold a seat at the table." - Shaugnessy Naughton told Mother Jones. Naughton is the founder of 314 Action, an organization dedicated to getting more scientists into office.
"Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence." - Louis Pasteur
"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." - Carl Sagan
"Science powers the economy and creates millions of jobs. It creates medicines. It keeps us safe from toxins and disasters ... Our future depends on science ... And science serves all Americans." - Jonathan Foley in The San Francisco Chronicle. Foley is an environmental scientist and the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences.