Yes, science is political

Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten notes from Verge Science readers wondering why news from the incoming Trump administration has seeped into our science coverage. I wasn’t surprised: it’s tempting to believe that science is apolitical. But science and politics are plainly related: science is the pursuit of knowledge, knowledge is power, and power is politics.

The scientific method consists of generating a hypothesis, attempting to disprove the hypothesis through testing, and accumulating those tests to come up with shared knowledge. And that method also contains ideology: our observed, shared world is the real world. This ideology even has a name: empiricism. An incoming president who clearly picks and chooses facts to suit his own version of the world changes the relationship between science and culture, in potentially destructive ways.

“To be taught to read – what is the use of that, if you know not whether what you read is false or true? To be taught to write or to speak – but what is the use of speaking, if you have nothing to say? To be taught to think – nay, what is the use of being able to think, if you have nothing to think of? But to be taught to see is to gain word and thought at once, and both true.”

Tomorrow, in a mirror, darkly.

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