Politics of science

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The politics of science is distinguished from science itself, by virtue of the emphasis on the numbers of scientists or scientific bodies which favor a particular scientific theory, rather than whether the theory can be shown to be consistent with the facts.

The history of science is replete with examples in which the scientific establishment resisted new theories which turned out decades later to be true. See, for example, the germ theory of disease.

There have also been cases, notably the racist theory of Eugenics, in which a novel theory rapidly became the darling of the mainstream - without ever having any facts in its support.

This political prejudice takes various forms, such as clinging to outmoded ideas despite the appearance of better ones, as well as adopting new ideas despite lack of proof.

The result is often politicized science (or "junk science") being used in support of public policy. Eugenics was used to support forced sterilization of "defectives", as well as prolonged race segregation and discrimination. Global warming theories are being used to promote a massive redistribution of wealth and/or a severe rationing of energy consumption (see Kyoto Protocol).

The bottom line, for a scientific theory, is of course not whether it advances anyone's agenda but whether it is true (see scientific method).

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