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Sun Jan 20, 2013, 09:43 AM

The Danger of Making Science Political

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/the-danger-of-making-science-political/267327/


The Albert Einstein Memorial Statue at the National Academy of Sciences

Over the past few years, and particularly in the past few months, there seems to be a growing gulf between U.S Republicans and science. Indeed, by some polls only 6 percent of scientists are Republican, and in the recent U.S. Presidential election, 68 science Nobel Prize winners endorsed the Democratic nominee Barack Obama over the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

As a scientist myself, this provokes the question: What are the reasons for this apparent tilt?

Some of this unease might be because of the feeling that the Republicans might cut federal science spending. The notion is certainly not helped by news-making rhetoric of some Republicans against evolution in favor of creationism; unsubstantiated claims that immunization aimed at preventing future cervical cancer cause mental retardation in young girls; and unscientific views of how the female body can prevent pregnancies under conditions of rape.

These comments might represent heartfelt beliefs of the leaders in question; however, some might simply be statements designed to placate the anti-science sections of their base, as part of the political calculus.

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Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Danger of Making Science Political (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
Comatose Sphagetti Jan 2013 #1
DetlefK Jan 2013 #3
tama Jan 2013 #2
DetlefK Jan 2013 #4
derby378 Jan 2013 #5

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 10:33 AM

1. I read this on DU somewhere else and thought it was brilliant - and appropriate here...

"Using the Republicans own argument one might question why those who impugn scientific data in favor of religious dogma should benefit from the hard work done by those few who study biology and zoology, geography and geology and who spend hours examining the kinds of data that make life better for those who do not believe in science. Why should those hard working undaunted scientists work so hard to make life better for those who willfully reject it. Is this not intellectual welfare, theological moochers living off the ambitions and findings of hard-working scientists? Should these science-denying lazy fools be allowed to share the wealth of medical and technological knowledge bestowed to them by those who have in their Ayn Randian fashion struggled so hard during late hours in labs and classes?"

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:44 AM

3. Seconded.

Science. Love it or leave it.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:37 AM

2. Largely done deal already

 

As the social reality of academic world everywhere is already governed by myth and dogma of neoliberal economics.

Could science as a way of knowing have political meaning as some kind of collective "shaman" of contemporary society, offering guidance to the whole of society? Perhaps, but that would require that scientific institutions would enjoy very different kind of freedom and autonomy...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 12:03 PM

4. Conservatives can't stand the thought that some merciless, indifferent force controls everything.

God? You can bribe him by donating money and praising Jesus in public every now and then.
God won't mind if you kill somebody: You are doing his work!
God won't mind if you steal and cheat: You are doing it for a right cause!
God won't mind if you let somebody die: He'll go straight to heaven!

For conservatives, God doesn't control them. They control God.
You can do what you want and in the end you can be sure that God would be on your side on that matter.



Science is different.
Science doesn't care about agendas.
Science doesn't care about policies.
Science doesn't care about profits, stocks, salaries, compensations.
Science doesn't care, what YOU want.
Science can't be bribed.
Science can't be reasoned with.
Science can't be threatened.
Science does not know mercy or passion.
You are nothing special in the eyes of Science and you will never be.

You can't control Science. You can't predict what knowledge it will unearth next, whether it will fatten your profits or prove that "fetal-pain"-abortion-bills are bullshit.

Their lives in the hands of something they can't control and, to be honest, in most cases don't understand.
That's what frightens them.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 06:11 PM

5. And the best part is that science is a PROCESS that anyone can try

Something for conservatives and liberals alike to keep in mind. You can't wish reality into something of your own choosing, otherwise reality will come back and dope-slap you for your arrogance.

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