Reality won tonight! I've been glued to my television, laptop, and iPhone for about six hours, sweating out the results of our national election.
Obama has been re-elected president. Democrats are going to maintain control of the Senate. Virtually every Republican I was hoping would lose, did.
I'm happy. Both for the political philosophy that I favor, and for the reality based community that I consider myself to be a proud member of.
Because this was more than an election between Republicans and Democrats. Borrowing a fancy term from a highly respected political analyst, Nate Silver, who I like a lot, this was a epistemological watershed.
So said I in a post yesterday on my other blog.
Knowledge vs. feeling. Facts vs. fantasy. Science vs. religion.
A watershed is marked by a divide.
The choice between Romney and Obama, along with the choice between Republicans and Democrats generally, indeed involves two ways of how we gain an understanding about reality -- the province of epistemology.
Nate Silver is a proud member of the knowledge/facts/science community.
So am I. So is Obama, by and large. Romney and most Republicans running for office at the national level are part of the feeling/fantasy/religion community.
Thus when ballots are counted tomorrow, voters not only will be electing candidates, they'll be choosing a worldview that will be a basis for guiding our country during the next four years. Or longer.
...I very much want Obama to win tomorrow. I also want Silver's epistemological perspective as shared on Five Thirty Eight to win. Which it will, if Obama gets an electoral college win close to the 315 (O) - 223 (R) split Silver is projecting.
That would be a giant Obama victory. And also a victory for the reality-based community.
Currently Obama has 285 electoral votes, according to the New York Times. If he wins Florida and Ohio, as seems likely, that'll add 47 to his total, making it at least 332. Pretty damn close to what Nate Silver predicted.
That's the power of reality, fueled by facts, evidence, reason, respect for truth. It's what science has, and religion lacks.
Silver has written a book called "The Signal and the Noise."
With great timing, it arrived in the mail today from Amazon. I like the title. Distinguishing between truth/the signal and falsity/the noise is central to both political polling analysis and understanding of what the cosmos is all about.
Religiosity pays a lot of attention to noise, intermittent unreliable static that doesn't reflect solid reality. Examples: supposed miracles, divine visions, and other subjective experiences reported by individuals yet unconfirmed as part of objective truth.
It's easy to miss reality's signal when our focus is on meaningless noise. Today voters in the United States rejected falsities offered up by Republican candidates. That's a win for reality. I hope this is a sign that the noise of religion will be similarly rejected by increasing numbers of Americans.