Wall Street Journal: Vaccines and Politicized Science
The people doing basic science should learn a well-proven truth about basic politics: Any cause taken up by politicians today by definition will be doubted or opposed by nearly half the population. When an Al Gore, John Kerry or Europe’s Green parties become spokesmen for your ideas, and are willing to accuse fellow scientists of bad faith or willful ignorance, then science has made a Faustian bargain. The price paid, inevitably, will be the institutional credibility of all scientists.
Bingo! Two groups have been central to the climate debate. There are scientists who study climate and then there is portion of society who view the modern economic order primarily as an exercise in exploitation and destruction. They are not one in the same group but there is considerable overlap.
Scientific evidence that our system is destroying the planet is an irresistible tool to this political community to advance their political narrative of the future. Science has seemed willing to partner with those who embrace this narrative as a way to address the real challenge of climate change, I suspect not in small part because many scientists already share a similar political narrative. Yet the challenge of climate change does not dictate one particular narrative. Consequently, people who do not share the political narrative do not see climate science as valid science with a problematic superimposed narrative. They come to see climate science as junk science manufactured by people with the political narrative.
Science is going to play a critical role with a host challenges in the future. We have to find a way to tap down the political hijacking.