Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ugly Combination of Science and Politics

In an inappropriate mixture of science and politics, two experts in insect lore set aside the names for three slime-mold beetles. According to TLC News on the Internet, this first day of 2006, in an article called “Weird Science Tales of 2005” the names were adaptations of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, our President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense. An example given for a slime beetle name was Agathidium bushi.

The story disappeared from the Internet within a few hours. If true, it appeared unprofessional and cowardly. There is no way a person can protect himself from this kind of childish prank. It doesn't matter which political party is involved, either.

But on another level, mixing science and politics can be rather devastating. When Fascist scientists determined that “survival of the fittest” meant eliminating the weak (minorities), it took a long time for people to realize there was no science in such thinking. Many German citizens thought nothing of killing Gypsies and Jews and anyone else they deemed “weak,” or less fit than they thought themselves to be.

The study of Eugenics, which had many well-known followers and a “scientific” basis for purifying the human race, resulted in harmful actions. It was nutty, of course but people believed in it for years. Some probably still do.

Communist scientific theoreticians clearly saw economic cycles that no one else could find. They used these “facts” to justify all kinds of monstrous behavior. Psychology, a weak science at best, was used for mind control. If that didn’t work, a frontal lobotomy might be called for. After all, people weren’t bad, they just needed an adjustment.

Science and politics can be an unwise and unjust combination. It would be well if we ordinary citizens could learn to spot such alliances when they occur. Perhaps the scientist/politicians involved could obtain an "adjustment."

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