Recently I've become more interested in politics and in the general question of what we, as a society, ought to do. While I realize that subjective values play a huge role in answering that question, I would like to strengthen the factual part of my ought statements.

From what I've witnessed so far when discussing politics, people tend to follow their emotions/gut feelings, throw some ad-hoc arguments at their claims and call this "personal opinion". I did this too, but honestly I'm a bit tired of my emotions - they don't really tell me much. Discussions feel more like a fight than trying to get to the best conclusion possible.

Since I trust the scientific process more than individual judgmenet (including mine), I've decidiced to orientate my opinions more on the scientific consensus.

Which brings me to my question: How do I find the scientific consensus on a given topic? I don't have any reasonable scientific background, so this question might seem odd to you. But I genuinely don't know where to start finding out what the current discourses on certain topics are. What are the positions on how to handle climate change, given all economic and ethical ramifications? Same for Immigration, Economic Systems, Urbanisation, Rent prices, Poverty, Inequality, or even more exotic topics like Transgenderism.

Obviously I'm not asking you to answer all of these questions, I'm rather interested in the methodology. How would a political and scientific literate person go on about knowing the discources and "cutting edge" positions on these issues?

Do I just start with google? In my experience reading a few articles on some issue only gives me a narrow perspective, which is often superficially explained and leaves out most of the objections that come to my mind. Is it books? I'm afraid it's content might be outdated too quickly. Scientific journals? They might be too specific for me and I feel like the consensus has yet to be established in these. Am I after all too naive in thinking there is one satisfying way?

So yeah, I'm interested in hearing your inputs.

P.S.: I know this question is not tightly related to politics, but it seems to me that politics is one of the most important applications of scientific results (be it sociology, economics, recently epidemiology, meteorology, etc). Maybe this question would also be applicable to the Philosophy section, since I feel like Philosophers (or maybe futurologist) have to learn about all these scientific problems to form a guiding opinion.

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    In general the news section of science journals, e.g. Science or Nature is written geared towards a more general (non-[super-]specialist) audience. It doesn't differ too much from the dedicated popsci magazines suggested by Max's answer. Next in line, I'd consider scientific review articles in such science journals to get a general idea about a topic. – Fizz Dec 6 '20 at 20:17

What you are looking for is Scientific Vulgarization.

Get to know scientific magazines like Scientific American which has a long history of well balanced scientific vulgarization.

A good starting point would be the wikipedia page.

Once you get started, you can usually follow references listed in articles for a more detailed and less user-friendly readings on specific scientific domains.


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