The politicization of science has always confounded me. It is common, from the catholic church telling us that the sun wasn’t in the center of the solar system or creationists telling us that human evolution didn’t happen from a common primate ancestor, or the fossil fuel industry telling us that climate change is not happening.
Science is the means we use to write the dictionary that defines how things in reality work, from the earth to the stars. You don’t get to pick and chose what reality you believe in, unless your world is one of make-believe.
Yes, science can bring us some uncomfortable news. Yes, scientists can disagree about data and experiments and there is a method and process for that among the scientific community. It is not up to big business, government, or religion to tell us to disbelieve what repeated testing of scientific hypotheses show us to be true. It is certainly not responsible for journalists, who should deal only in fact, to present systems of belief as truths.
The same science that gave industrialists the technology to create the products they sell is the same science that later discovers what those products do to the rest of the environment around us. Science is not invented, it is a process of discovery and defining the way systems work around us.
Many efforts to gauge why most Republicans reject or doubt the science pointing to risks from unabated emissions of greenhouse gases are issue-centric. It’s fossil fuel money. It’s disinformation campaigns that spin scientific complexity and some overheated warming rhetoric into a carbon-tax conspiracy.
Those factors are out there. But a more fundamental explanation is hinted at in polling on broader attitudes on science. The bottom line continues to be that belief, particularly religious belief, trumps data. (Keep in mind that belief sometimes trumps data for other political factions, as well, on issues like nuclear power.)
Science is not a religion. It is a means of study and comprehension. Religions and myths offer explanations to that which is beyond our understanding. As adaptable and intelligent beings, we must realize that as we further define the natural systems around us, the need to mythologize phenomena vanishes.
If the church of journalism has a problem with journalists professing their political leanings, I have a problem with journalists allowing beliefs into news reporting, whether they are their own or held by others. While I myself have faith and deny no-one theirs, there is absolutely no hard or credible evidence for the existence of any diety. Scientific theory and law, however, are established when hypotheses can be tested and retested and the same results achieved again and again. Facts, not beliefs, are the basis of credible journalism. Scientific truth and moral truth are different things. Science is absolute, and moral truths change as societies change and evolve different structures of morals and beliefs.
And to deny that is just make-believe.