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(14 Posts)
Eloethan Mon 20-May-13 00:23:27

It's certainly possible.

janerowena Sun 19-May-13 23:15:05

Precisely. Or, in some cases, maybe they are interested in NOT making discoveries (conspiracy theory!) in order to perpetuate sales of a highly profitable drug.

Eloethan Sun 19-May-13 14:22:56

Good point jane - and commercial companies are naturally only interested in what will make the most profit, not what will benefit people the most.

janerowena Sat 18-May-13 10:27:33

Also nowadays, most research only gets through in subjects that are of interest to commercial companies. Most universities receive the bulk of their funding for research from commercial enterprise, so that students are led to discoveries rather than being allowed to have original thought. It's something that has concerned me for a while. We no longer have millionaire philanthropists who are willing to support struggling scientists in any research subject they care to choose.

Bags Sat 18-May-13 08:23:35

Indeed, feetle, the truth will out, but sometimes with a frustratingly long struggle.

feetlebaum Sat 18-May-13 08:08:31

Fortunately science is self-correcting - whatever any individual scientist may claim will be subjected to duplication and falsification by others, and only if the original publication is supported by their results will it be accepted.

Elegran Sat 18-May-13 07:57:00

I think it is sometimes not made obvious that "science" is not one big organisation with a single viewpoint and identical training for all new entrants. There is common ideal of logical thinking, careful structure of tests, and evidence-based reporting of results, but scientists are individuals, and different science courses are run by individuals with different political and religious backgrounds. They cannot help but be influenced to some extent by their beliefs and surroundings.

Bags Sat 18-May-13 07:43:05

I don't think political agendas drive the instigation of every piece of research. I think there are still plenty of scientists who start research projects for relatively 'pure' reasons (though earning one's keep must usually be an influencing factor and it's easier to get funding for some kinds of research than for others). However, I think the article is saying that we must be aware that a great deal of science reporting – at least the kind ordinary people get to see/hear in the media – is more often than not being presented from the point of view of a hidden (sometimes not so hidden) agenda.

I think the article is reminding us of this. It's important not to forget that scientists are only human and have all the usual human 'weaknesses', which could well include tacitly supporting a certain viewpoint because speaking out in a perceived negative way about it might lose them their funding.

I need to read the article again now as I'm sure there are other points.

Eloethan Fri 17-May-13 23:47:02

Bags I felt a bit like soop did - that was quite a difficult article. Is it saying that we need to be aware that science cannot be separated from politics and there is a political "agenda" driving the instigation and subsequent reporting of every scientific project?

Was Barnes Wallace the "bouncing bomb" chap? I just caught a mention of the "bouncing bomb" on the TV this evening. I thought they were making surprisingly jolly and lighthearted comments considering they were talking about a bomb.

janerowena Fri 17-May-13 22:55:43

It's all just a case of 'knowledge is power', for many people, surely.

MiceElf Fri 17-May-13 17:36:02

A brilliant article. I have never been persuaded by the idea that any part of the academy is morally neutral.

janerowena Fri 17-May-13 16:08:50

I think Barnes Wallace would have enjoyed the debate. Apparently he was utterly miserable when he discovered how his invention was to be used. He wasn't the only one.

soop Fri 17-May-13 14:21:17

Bags Whenever it is that we have a blether in The George, you can give me the short form of the above. I did start to read it but...wink

Bags Fri 17-May-13 14:05:18

If we don't recognise the politics of science, we'll just get played by those who do, Alice Bell in the Guardian.