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Monday, 8 August 2016

Building Rationalia?

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Prof. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Over the summer, Neil deGrasse Tyson proposed a virtual country called Rationalia. In Rationalia government policies would need a body of evidence before they could lead to laws. The people in Rationalia would conduct observations and experiments instead of basing decisions on unsubstantiated beliefs or opinions. This would lead to a civilisation very different form the one we have today.

The original proposal created a lot of posts that disagreed with the Prof. Tyson, arguing that it would not work. Generally, I would go along with Prof Tyson’s Rationalia but there are potential problems that would need to be addressed. For example, in Prof. Tyson’s facebook post he mentioned: 

That could involve experimentation where we implement capital punishment and see what effect it has on crime. Data gathered would then form the bases of policy. The obvious problem with the experimentation has to do with the fact we would have to implement it to see if we should implement it. Perhaps we could get around this in some fashion or other, we have, for example, implemented capital punishment in the past and perhaps that would supply sufficient data to form a rational policy. However, if not capital punishment then sooner or later something else would come up where to collect data we would have to implement the policy; governing becomes the experimentation. 

I assume that the idea of making Rationalia a virtual nation would form part of ironing out potential problems and a way of implementing something to gain date for policy making. Thus, overcoming the problem above. Way back in the 1990s when I first looked at Technocracy I looked at the idea of creating a “virtual nation”. Virtual nations were popular at the time and people created their own Kingdoms and Empires with themselves as head of state. But it occurred to me that such a platform could be used to experiment with a new way of governing. We could play that we lived in such a nation as Rationalia and see what would happen given certain scenarios. Playing “Rationalia” could become a way of training people to live in such a nation.

But should Rationalia remain a virtual nation? There are many groups who would like something similar to Rationalia. From “Star Trek” inspired groups to transhumanists to our own ideas of a skilled based moneyless society that we proposed in the Design; a society based on the application of science and engineering. 

If we could gather together enough people should we not aim to build such a future society?

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