Science is political, it just doesn't have to be partisan

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 2:30 PM | comments: 0

Last weekend's marches around the world for science on Earth Day were criticized by some in the scientific community because they politicized science. I tend to agree that science shouldn't be political, as it's not a belief system or moral issue. That gravity is a thing isn't subject to belief or morals, it just is. However, there has been growing sentiment among a segment of the population that wants to challenge science with a belief system, generally in order to reject it and do potentially immoral things, like allow for pollution. So, sorry science, you're political whether you want to be or not.

Generally, it's the far right that rightfully gets a lot of shit for its incessant denial of very real science, but it's hardly the exclusive domain of those people. There's a perfectly nutty lefty segment content to reject immunization and advocate steaming your vagina. Willful ignorance when it comes to science is bad no matter where it comes from.

Using science to combat disease, better the environment and improve our lives all seem like logical things to get behind, regardless of your party affiliation. I mean, no one ever says, "I totally don't mind a little polio or rising sea levels."

We have to hold politicians accountable. "I don't believe that" is an emotional response to something that can generally be proven and follows some consensus. Inevitably, someone says that science is easily corrupted because of a conflict of interest, or a few anecdotes about fraud against hundreds of years of legitimate discovery. Let me ask you this: If it was about the money or seeking something other than truth, don't you think being that scientist who could prove climate change wasn't a thing would be the richest and most famous scientist of our time? Think about it. The scientific method is rooted in skepticism.

I saw a great poster from the march in Washington. It said: "Every disaster movie starts with a scientist being ignored." Sometimes Hollywood fantasy is rooted in fact, too.

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