Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Political Pitfalls of Settled Science

My column today looks behind a couple of scientific "advances" to the political shadow that trails behind them. The first is a new corn-based plastic, and the other is a new report on the link researchers claim to have found between spanking children and violent behavior in the same children later in life.

If you want to read the expanded version that includes references to Francis Bacon (I knew that would get your attention) and politico-environmental corruption in New York State, go to my more theologically and philosophically oriented blog, Piety and Humanity, "When Science is in the Saddle."


To be modern is to live in a world of man-made marvels that continually astound, that give us ever-growing power over space and time, and yet that leave us perhaps more subjugated than we realize at first. TIME magazine reports on two recent proud conquests of nature, one industrial and the other human. The politics of it, however, require some unveiling. ...

The conquest of nature necessarily points us, and without pausing for a breath, to the conquest of human nature. If the one is problematic, the other is treacherous at the very least. ...

As we have discovered in the global warming controversy, whenever people try to get quickly past public discussion to public policy with the conversation-stopping phrase “the science is settled,” you can be sure that there is more than dispassionate science at issue.

Of course, this is just a teaser. To read the whole thing, go to, "The Political Pitfalls of Settled Science."

No comments: