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Is it dangerous for Politics to define Science? Essay

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Updated: Nov 6th, 2018

Political discourses entail following cultural and unwritten behaviors, which in most cases are driven by organizational and personal agendas, aimed at attaining particular objectives. The need to practice politics effectively has led to the emergence of political science, which covers the study of governments, political systems and process, and political policies.

On the other hand, science refers to a methodical approach that is used in understanding the natural world (McLelland 1). Science is one of the most fundamental disciplines that can be relied upon in an effort to transform the society through effective decision-making. This observation arises from the fact that, science leads to the formulation of scientific theories, which are comprehensive and well-integrated set of facts. The objective of this paper is to analyze if there are any dangers to this effect.

The credibility of scientific ‘facts’ arises from the construct that, the facts are repeatedly tested and accepted, thus increasing their effectiveness in making predictions on certain natural phenomena. McLelland posits, “Science is a human endeavor, which subjects it to bias, misapprehensions, and personal prejudices” (4).

This argument is in line with the assumption that humans can accurately observe and measure a given phenomenon in an effort to understand the universe. However, the conclusions arrived at by humans is limited by how effective they can make sense out of the observations made. Through science, individuals can verify and reproduce the observations made. Additionally, science provides an opportunity to overcome possible weakness that might arise through experimental results (McLelland 1).

Over the recent past, there has been growing attempts by politicians in the U.S. to define science. This attempt is well illustrated by the recent legislation that was passed in Tennessee by the House and Senate. The legislation gives teachers an opportunity to present weaknesses and strengths associated with existing scientific theories such as climate change and evolution (Strauss Para. 1).

Critical thinking is one of the ways through which new knowledge can be derived. In an effort to explain the natural phenomenon, science should provide room for positive criticism. This aspect is well illustrated by the assumptions that scientific explanations tend to be limited and hence are subject to modification.

Political discourses provide individuals with an opportunity to make their opinions regarding certain known issues. Through politics, it has become possible for scientists to review and clarify scientific theories. Additionally, this respect is in line with the assumption that the knowledge generated through science is contingent.

As a result, it is possible for new understandings and information to be generated, which is well illustrated by the fact that, there exist known incidences when scientists changed their ideas after the realization that new ideas and experimental evidences were not in line with previous scientific theories through credible explanations (McLelland 1).

As a result, one cannot univocally conclude that scientific theories, such as the theory of evolution, do not have any scientific weakness that have the probability of disputing its essential truth as Strauss (Para.7) asserts.

One of the ways through which constructive disputing can be achieved is by ensuring that legislators create an effective ground for positive criticism on scientific theories such as the evolution theory. Politics should make this move possible by ensuring the creation of policies that protect teachers who positively criticize existing scientific theories.

A number of issues have been raised to support the assertion that politics should not influence science (Jasanoff 106). Additionally, some individuals are of the view that science is a matter that should entirely be the concern of scientists. On the other hand, other different political parties are of the view that scientists should not be involved in formulating policies. However, the two disciplines cannot be separated in totality.

This arises from the fact that, politicians who have the interest of the society at heart mainly rely on science to make efficacious decisions. To ensure that political discourses positively define and influence science, the definition and possible criticism should be based on a predetermined framework. For example, criticism of scientific theories should only be undertaken if it adheres to predetermined rules of reasoning.

This move will eliminate possible unreasonable, social, and personal influences that might arise through politics. Teaching the weaknesses that exist with regard to scientific theories does not necessarily promote misunderstanding of science within the modern society. However, it creates an opportunity for students to be more passionate with understanding natural phenomenon and their origin.

The effort by the society to define science through politics by generating non-scientific ideas will result in a significant change of the country’s curriculum. However, the result will be beneficial to science in that, it will create room for individuals to generate ideas that can illustrate scientific weaknesses, which characterize scientific theories.

Upon requesting the views of a colleague as to whether politics should define science, the response was positive. His opinion was that, allowing politics to define science based on a predetermined framework would result in the creation of new knowledge. In conclusion, therefore, there is no danger in letting political discourses define science.

Works Cited

Jasanoff, Sheila. Science and public reason. New York: Routledge, 2007. Print.

McLelland, Christine. “The nature of science and the scientific method.” The Geological Society of America, 2006: 1-8. Print.

Strauss, Valarie. Tennessee back to the future with new anti-evolution law, 2012. Web.

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