Science has given us revolutionary progress. It is because of science that you can now read this small article. Not only that, science has given us a great understanding of the world and even more shown that there are more great mysteries out there. Science has gotten this divine status where if science agrees with you, you are always in the right. Science has taken the place of religion in how we should live our life. This has been coined: scientism.
As with everything that gets an authoritative status, science is now used to put forth certain ideologies. From the political left and the right, politicians use the results of science to further their own goals. If it doesn’t further their own goals, then it is simply not science. Throw in the system of grand narratives and paradigms and you get something weird: scientific relativism.
Let us take the example of climate change. There is a 97% consensus among climate scientists that anthropogenic climate change is indeed a fact. The difference in opinions is not so much if climate change because of human activity is happening (it is) but how much of our human activity actually influences climate change. This is hijacked by politics. The left follows the results of the scientists in this regard and intrinsically link it with socialism. They see capitalism as the prime cause of climate change because of the polluting multinationals and the eager to make profit whatever the cost. The only solution according to them is to get rid of capitalism and to implement socialism. With socialism, the prime cause is gone, so obviously that should result in saving the climate.
By linking socialism and climate change together, they box the problem in. This means that if you believe climate change is real, you inherently think that capitalism is bad, and we should result to socialism. Obviously, this is not true, but it explains why politicians on the right are so reluctant into admitting climate change is a real thing. They cannot allow themselves to say that capitalism is bad because otherwise the socialists would gain more support. Thus, in order to keep their support, they have to reject climate change. This is so that it fits their paradigm, their grand narrative. This dogmatic thinking could have grave consequences for the future of the planet.
By politicizing science, we create (un)willingly a politics which lays claims on certain scientific discoveries. Politics limits science in this way. We are no longer allowed to ask questions about it. If we reject climate change, we are immediately on the right side of the political spectrum. If we claim that climate change is going to displace thousands, then we are immediately on the left side. Because of this, the real problem like climate change isn’t being handled properly. The right rejects it, so there will be no action on their part. The left believes it can only be solved by socialism, claiming that if we give everyone social security, the climate will not suffer because of it or will even be better off.
Instead of actually facing the problem of climate change, both sides of the political spectrum are arguing about fundamentally different things. In this case: socialism or capitalism? But this misses the point. Communist China is the biggest polluter in the world. So, it isn’t necessarily so that capitalism is to blame for climate change. Climate change is a byproduct of progress. Whenever we make progress, we have to take resources from somewhere. We don’t know the implications of what we do, until it is done. Instead of politicizing climate change we should look at the consensus of the scientists and look for solutions. Socialism could be a solution, but there is evidence that socialism will not solve the climate change problem.
Instead of looking into our own grand narrative, we should look for the solutions which will actually make an impact. The greenest kind of energy is still nuclear energy. It would decrease electricity bills and would increase our electricity output by a lot. Why aren’t there any socialists advocating nuclear energy? Why do people ask the opinion of activist and socialist George Monbiot, if the question is about the relation between climate change and capitalism, but not when it is about the best form of green energy (Monbiot is an advocate for nuclear energy)? It is because science has been taken by political ideologies who bend it to their will. We praise science as the one thing that can give us objective knowledge, but on the other side, we let it hang on the leash of relativism.