Last year I interviewed the author of The Geek Manifesto, Mark Henderson, during my time in the UK with QEDCon: Token Skeptic #55 – On The Geek Manifesto – Interview With Mark Henderson.
His book is hitting the shops tomorrow, on Thursday May 10! Today, Wednesday, May 9, he’s talking about the book at lunchtime at the RSA in London — at 1pm London where it’ll also be streamed live online (in about an hour and a half from my posting this).
Whether we want to improve education or cut crime, to enhance public health or to generate clean energy, science is critical. Yet politics and public life too often occupy a science-free zone.
Just one of our 650 MPs is a scientist. Ministers ignore, and even sack, scientific advisers who offer inconvenient evidence. The NHS spends taxpayers’ money on sugar pills it knows won’t work, while public funding for research that would boost the economy is cut. Groundless media scares, taken up by politicians who should know better, poison public debate on vaccines and climate change, GM crops and nuclear power.
In this agenda-setting book, Mark Henderson builds a powerful case that science should be much more central than it is to government and the wider national conversation. It isn’t only that scientific understanding is passed over as decisions are made; the experimental methods of science aren’t applied to evaluating policy either.
Politicians, Henderson argues, pay lip service to science for a very simple reason: they know they can get away with it. And that will change only when people who care about science get politically active. It’s time to mobilise the geeks.
Something is stirring among those curious kids who always preferred sci-fi to celebrity magazines. As the success of Brian Cox and Ben Goldacre shows, geeks have stopped apologising for an obsession with asking how and why, and are starting to stand up for it instead.
The Geek Manifesto shows how people with a love of science can get political, to create a force our leaders can no longer afford to ignore.
The geeks are coming. Our countries need us.
There are many more events coming up for The Geek Manifesto — a full listing is featured here.