Ist die Öffentlichkeitspolitik zu öffentlich geworden?

Im Jahr 1897 hat das Repräsentantenhaus im US-Bundesstaat Indiana einstimmig eine Gesetzesvorlage verabschiedet, in der der Wert der Zahl Pi neu definiert wurde, die in der Berechnung des Verhältnisses des Kreisumfangs zu seinem Durchmesser auftritt. Glücklicherweise wurde das Gesetz vom Senat abgelehnt.

Diese historische Anekdote mag so manchem ein höhnisches Grinsen entlocken, der sich an seinen Mathematikunterricht in der Oberstufe erinnert. Überall auf der Welt werden jedoch zunehmend Laien aufgefordert, Politik in Fragen von öffentlichem Interesse zu formulieren, die das Verständnis subtiler und komplexer wissenschaftlicher und technologischer Phänomene voraussetzt.

"Wie kann man feststellen, ob ein Wal ein Säugetier oder ein Fisch ist?", so die Frage einer Lehrerin an ihre dritte Klasse. "Abstimmen?", wirft ein Schüler munter in die Runde. Dieser Vorschlag aus dem Munde eines Kindes mag lustig sein. Wenn Regierungen ihn auf komplexe politische Fragen übertragen was zunehmend geschieht in denen es um Wissenschaft und Technologie geht, ist es überhaupt nicht lustig.

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