Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Politics and Science

 Using science to enforce political decisions will undermine both politics and science - for politics is about human relations which are by definition subjective, and science is about abstract, objective facts that by definition have to exclude what is subjective. When the two are mixed together, as is now being done, science becomes subjective, and politics becomes dehumanised.

 For I can have perfectly valid political reasons to be against the government's response to "the science", ie, I might maintain that taking a stand against totalitarianism is more important than fighting climate change or the latest variant of bird flue - and I fully admit that this is a political position and not a scientific one. Does that make it any less valid?

Put another way; I have a problem with someone who claims their political position is scientific. For politics is about values, and there is an assumption that value systems can be derived from science when in fact all that science can do is give us information, it cannot give us the value system to know how to act on that information.
When, in politics, one side claims their values are scientific, and that they are acting according to "the science", they are guilty of confusing two very different things.
If, in the end, most people succumb to totalitarianism to reduce "the spread" or "CO2 levels", then that will be a political phenomenon based on a specific value-system that happens to predominate in society - it won't be because everyone suddenly understands what science is.

2 comments:

  1. Well, as you probably know, I believe that real science has (for several decades) gone from the official professional research bureaucracy - so that Now there is no genuine distinction to be made between mainstream science and politics.

    But - of course - by claiming to 'follow the science' the pols are claiming there Is such a distinction!

    I suppose the reality is that the pols and the scientists are alike controlled by The System - like different branch offices in a vast bureaucracy; and The System is controlled by Them. When politics and science disagree Now, it is merely the rivalries of 'office politics'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "When politics and science disagree Now, it is merely the rivalries of 'office politics'."
      That is a very perceptive and apt way of putting it.

      Delete

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