democratic nature
Democracy vs. Meritocracy: How science doesn ‘t care about your vote
Ethan Siegel
939

I would like to argue that the nature of democracy, much more than being about counting votes, is about information, discussion and method. Much in agreement with the nature of science.

Information — reliable, consistent and with accountable sources — is essential in a democracy, since decision-making has to be pondered in a context of causal relationship.

Discussion — free interchange of meaningful ideas — is another key element of democracy. It ensures multiple points of views — interpretations, if you will — are taken into account before a decision is made.

Method — a defined, stable and clear way of making participation available to anyone interested in taking part into decision-making processes — is needed so that democracy can be functional. Although it can vary widely and it is hard to be classified under a single category, it is usually easy to determine the methods that cannot be called democratic.

If we think about the fundamentals of science — data gathering, causal analysis through rational and critical thinking, repeatability and peer-review — all of that can be related to democracy in some way or another. If democracy is a process constantly in the making, inst’ science, too?

Also, democracy is subjected to interests that aren’t democratic — just like science is sometimes subjected to interests that aren’t scientific. But that is fundamentally a problem of power and human nature, things that both democracy and science are subjected to.

In the end, democracy, as a branch of politics, and science mutually influence each other, as parts of human knowledge that they are. Considering the recent American presidential campaign and the outcome of the elections, I do believe a more scientific — rational and skeptic — approach to information among the general public would greatly benefit democracy as a whole, and the scientific community could contribute to that, maybe.

Counting votes doesn’t necessarily leads to consensus. Intellectual honesty and mutual understanding do and I firmly believe democracy should be made out of it, letting votes decide only who’s the best person to carry out with it.