Thursday, September 20, 2007

Selecting the science you agree with

Most people view science as something objective, neutral, truthful.  Something is scientific if it's verifiable through the application of logic or the provision of empirical measurement.  Increasingly, however, the politicisation of science has meant that more and more activists are selective in the science they embrace: where the science accords with their advocacy it is good and useful, when it counters their position it is either irrelevant, ignored or the tool of capitalist stooges.
This article offers a wonderful summation of the hypocritical and selective use of science by environmental advocates.  The subtle balancing act described in the article is especially relevant as environmentalism is an ideology entirely dependent for its relevancy on the supposed veracity of the science it uses: "these aspects of the environment compel us to act, an act now because the science requires that we do...".  To reject science is to cut off the basis for attention to their advocacy. 
But what to do when the science does not support their advocacy?