Science Literacy Revisited

A couple of years ago I wrote a post entitled "The Need for scientific Literacy.1

Today, my brother posted a video of the (possibly probably) overrated Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. In a press conference he is asked to explain the potential benefits of quantum computing - no doubt a question the journalist felt confident would lead to embarrassment or Conway-like dodging of the question.2

Instead, Trudeau explained the differences in a very accurate and succinct manner.

  1. It’s quite good, if I may say so to my former self, though there are a handful of incomplete thoughts. ↩︎

  2. Ok, to be fair, the journalist said he “was going to ask” about quantum computing, but apparently isn’t that sinister. Fortunately, Trudeau is smart and ballsy enough to answer the unasked question. ↩︎

Some may ask 1, “Does it really matter if a president understands quantum computing? If they understand basic math, that should be enough.”

I don’t think it’s required, but it certainly matters. A leader who is educated and understands science is much more likely to make decisions based on reality rather than belief, fear, or dogma.

It’s a cultural issue, as well - an elected leader reflects their electorate. Trudeau reflects a culture that values knowledge and science literacy. Unfortunately, this is something the US has been losing over the past few decades, as explained in this article summarizing a recent talk by my favorite black physicist: Neil deGrasse Tyson Addresses the Current Scientific Illiteracy Crisis

Now excuse me while I go check Zillow for house prices in Canada.2

  1. Indeed, someone did ask in a comment on the video, but later removed the comment just as I finished my response, hence repurposing my valuable brain energy here on my own blog. ↩︎

  2. Dammit, wrong Canada. ↩︎