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Political science, as it should be.

Political ScienceIn the increasingly divided left-wing/right-wing world in which we live, science is still being politicized to serve the agenda of various governments. This is not only disturbing, but there is a little bit of irony involved because science is both extremely liberal and extremely conservative. In fact, it is the occupation of both ends of the spectrum that makes science work.

Science encourages investigation; in fact, it expects it and demands it. It is extremely liberal when it comes to allowing rebels, and gives them free reign to attack sacred cows all the time. As airtight as many think relativity theory to be, there are many who are pushing it to the limit to see if it will hold up, and nobody seems to object. Programs like SETI have spent millions of hours and dollars investigating the notion that, not only might there be life elsewhere in the universe, but that such intelligent life has developed communication in the electromagnetic spectrum that can span light years. Universities are full of up-and-coming troublemakers who will take on any established belief in order to make a name for themselves.

And that is as it should be. Without such liberal endeavours science would not make any discoveries at all; it would stagnate. Without inquiry, it would cease to exist … no new discoveries would come along to relieve diseases or improve lives.

But what happens when one of those people submits their cherished work to the science community? A brutal conservatism takes over. Our Einstein wannabe is faced with a barrage of questions and demands for more evidence; other scientists will try to replicate the experiments done in support of the idea, never trusting the person or persons who have worked so hard to bring new knowledge to the world. A withering crossfire pins down the originator with a daunting array of weaponry, some of which may not have been readily available during the original research. And it doesn’t stop quickly — the assault can last for centuries with the hero of yesterday in danger of becoming an historical footnote tomorrow.

And that is as it should be. Without such conservative prudence science would fly off in all directions, embracing homeopathy and bigfoot as readily as penicillin and coelacanths. Confusion would create havoc with policy and planning, and our lives would not benefit.

But let’s leave politics out of it.

One response to “Political science, as it should be.”

  1. Akhilesh K Dubey says:

    It could be inferred that for a country to politicize science to serve the agenda of various government , it is necessary to for the people of country to have freedom of thought ,speech and expression, for absence of this could really handicap science that need liberalism and conservatism at the same time ,occupation of these two spectrum energizes the science . Reason in and reason out ,
    excavating every new scientific revelation furthers the scientific process that strengthens and pave the way for further scientific discovery.

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