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Scientific Knowledge: Is It Dangerous for Politics to Define Science? Essay

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Updated: May 20th, 2020

Science and politics have never seemed to have much in common. While the former follows a clearly established theory and operates with verified facts, the latter uses the existing facts to its advantage and often manipulates ideas to make itself look favorable. Whereas science is a thing in itself, politics is often out there for the public.

In contrast to science, where the outcomes can usually be easily predicted, in politics, the results of certain moves can be quite unexpected; the list goes on. Therefore, it seems hardly possible that the two could have the slightest impact on each other.

Despite the fact that a number of educational issues concern the political aspects of people’s lives, defining science must not be the concern of politics, otherwise the quality of education will drop considerably.

To give credit where it belongs, one must admit that at certain points of the state’s development, politics and education can cross. For example, in political science or history, where students learn the way in which states were formed and political issues were handled, it is often quite hard to offer an objective opinion on the past events (McLelland).

Since the students need to evaluate certain events, they need specific political ideas to use as a basis for their judgments. For example, the democratic principles can be used to assess the era when racism was not confronted. Therefore, without certain political ideas as a background for people’s judgments, it is hardly possible to address a certain political event in the past.

However, when the impact that politicians have on educational process is pushed to its limit, the equality of education is likely to decrease; and, which is even more threatening, the veracity of the offered information is likely to be reduced. The conflict between the educational establishments and the political leaders who meddle in the educational system is mostly caused by the discrepancies between the two opponents concerning the educational goals.

While politicians aim at shaping the educational system according to the current trends in politics and encourage learning the subjects that are currently considered essential, teachers are preoccupied with providing the students with vast knowledge and training the skills that will further help the students learn the chosen subjects even deeper.

To demonstrate the differences in the approach that the authorities in education and political leaders follow in their policy of education restructuring, the recent conflict concerning religion and education is worth analyzing.

According to Strauss, the recent law in Tennessee is likely to set education back several decades. Considered controversial and unverified, the theory of evolution, as well as cloning and a number of other scientific issues are temporarily extracted from the school curriculum, which raises the concern for the quality of education.

At the given point, the controversy between how the law is worded and the way it is implemented becomes obvious – it is officially announced that “The law encourages teachers to ‘present the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught’” (Strauss para.2), which sounds innocent enough.

However, in practice, the given statement has driven to the following results: “the only examples given in the bill of ‘controversial’ theories are ‘biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning’” (Strauss para.2). The given situation is a clear-cut example of how bad the intrusion of political leaders into the educational system can backfire and what drastic results it can lead.

Left without such issues as the theory of evolution, global warming and cloning to learn, the students will not be able to learn about the variety of the existing species (Johnson para.1), the impact that people have on nature (Feldman, Maibach, Rosen-Renour and Leiserowitz 2) and the opportunities that organs cloning can offer for the people who need organ transplantation (Cibelli, Lanza and West 1).

Therefore, the students will lack a huge amount of information that a well-educated person is supposed to know and that provide the foil for the further educational process. Hence, it is rather questionable that the students who will be taught according to the new standards will be able to obtain further knowledge and have opportunities for high education, not to mention the fact that these students will not have the basic common knowledge about the issues in question.

Even though there is the time for innovations and restructuring of the educational system, it still seems that changes should not be forced onto educational system under the aegis of a current political regime. While politicians can offer reasonable suggestions that can make the educational system even more flexible and accessible for the students from all walks of life, when it comes to defining science, politicians should not interfere.

Professional issues in any field must be tackled by the true experts, which means that educational concerns must be solved by the members of the Educational Department, the school board, etc. Once allowing competent people handle the complexities, one can be certain that educational problems will be gone soon.

Works Cited

Cibelli, Jose B., Robert P. Lanza and Michael D. West 2001. The First Human Cloned Embryo. Web.

Feldman, Lauren, Edward W. Maibach, Connie Rosen-Renour and Anthony Leiserowitz. “Climate on Cable: The Nature and Impact of Global Warming Coverage on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.” The International Journal of Press/Politics 20.10 (2011): 1-29. Web.

Johnson, William. “The Theory of Evolution Revisited.” Quodlibet Journal 3.2 (2001): n.p. Web.

McLelland, Christine W. The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method. Web.

Strauss, Valerie, 2012. . Web.

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