I just sent this note to friends and colleagues - please feel free to do so yourself, and spread the word.
I’m writing to ask for your support – wait, no money needs to change hands! – in getting our members of Parliament to take science more seriously.
Former Times science correspondent Mark Henderson has written an excellent book called The Geek Manifesto, which outlines the ways in which science matters to politics – and how it matters to various other fields, such as journalism, the environmental movement and so on. The overriding message of the book is that, as demonstrated by several embarrassing episodes that you’ll no doubt be familiar with, most politicians neither understand scientific evidence, nor do they appreciate the value of the scientific methods deployed to arrive at said evidence. Hence, says Mark (and I concur!), policy-making suffers from a vacuum of evidence. I heartily recommend reading the book itself of course (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Geek-Manifesto-science-matters/dp/0593068238), but we want to go further.
There is a movement to get every MP to read the book, to emphasise that as geeks we want our politicians to respect science and to better understand how it works. I’ve signed a pledge stating that I’ll buy a copy of the book to send to an MP – if 325 people sign (there are around 200 so far), the publisher has promised to match our pledge so that all 650 MPs will receive a copy.
Please sign the pledge below, so that we can achieve this target – it’s vital that every politician realises that there is a likely electoral cost to ignoring scientific evidence when making policy.
Please spread the word too – the bigger the show of support we can muster the better!
Many thanks in anticipation of your support.