2009 Will Be a Year of Panic
7. Science. To be a creationist president is not a problem. A suicide cult is the most effective political actor in the world today. Clearly the millions of people embracing fundamentalism like to make up their own facts.
Standards of scientific proof and evidence no longer compel political and social allegiance. This is not a return to the bedrock of faithâ€‰â€”â€‰it's an algorithm for ontological anarchy. By attacking empiricism, the world is discarding all of the good reasons to believe that anything is real.
If science is discredited, why should mere politics have any intellectual rigor? Just cobble together a crazy-quilt mix-and-match ideology, like Venezuelan Bolivarism or Russia's peculiar mix of spies, oil, and Orthodoxy. Go from the gutâ€‰â€”â€‰all tactics, no strategyâ€‰â€”â€‰making up the state of the world as you go along! Stampede wildly from one panic crisis to the next. Believe whatever is whispered. Hide and conceal whatever you can. Spy on the phone calls, emails, and web browsing of those who might actually know something.
If that leads you to a miserable end-state, huddling with the children in a fall-out shelter clutching silver bullion, then you can congratulate yourself as the vanguard of civilization.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.