|A Venn diagram is worth 140 characters (Image)|
The beauty of a democracy is that it allows the common man, woman, or recently deceased man or woman to express their opinions on local, state, and national issues through voting. Through this process, we are able to influence decisions that may govern our daily lives and national livelihood, often while having limited understanding and uneducated opinions regarding those very issues.
For an example of this phenomenon, let us turn to the topic global warming. Those that are squeamish or have numerophobia should be advised, I'm about to hit you with some stats. Don't worry, I'll make it quick.
In a 2011 poll conducted by Yale and George Mason universities, 47% of the general public said that they believe in global warming and that it is caused mostly by human activity. Compared that to 97% of climatologists who are active publishers on the topic, as found in a 2008 Gallup poll. Of those polled in the Yale study, 48% of the general public said they were either "not very worried" or "not worried at all" about global warming. This is good news, because if they believed all those pesky data and facts that are swirling around, they'd shit themselves. And no one wants to deal with something like that on an uncharacteristically hot day.
Our beautiful democracy has a downside. The people making the decisions on global warming aren't climatologists with expertise in complex atmospheric processes. They are average Americans that often know more about the British Royal Wedding than they do about the periodic table. Now I could drop upon you knowledge concerning subjectivity, trusting expert opinions, and blind political allegiance, but it won't change anyone's minds. And if it did, I don't want anyone's soiled underpants on my conscience.