Politicising Science?!

Politics and science tend to be thought of as opposing terms. While in natural science there is no doubt the acceleration due to gravity is approximately 9.81 or that two hydrogen and one oxygen atom make a water molecule, in politics what is a fact may depend on who you ask.

But science has not been able to explain everything in this world. There are still many questions that remain unanswered, many of which relate to environmental issues. Although it sound strange, science in not omniscient (omniscient comes from the word science and omni or “all”). This uncertainty that is natural to science makes it vulnerable to different interpretations, distortion, suppression and ignorance. We can therefore say that science, and environmental issues are inherently social and political due to uncertainty.

“Ideology, money, and/or political power can unduly influence science…”

(Carolan 2008)

As an example, recent research has found that a food industry group called Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) paid 3 Harvard students to deny research that was blaming heart diseases on sugar an instead blame it on fats. This way, people would move from eating high fat food to low fat food which is usually tasteless and needs sugar to give it some flavour (Business Insider, 2016). During that time, the relations between sugar and heart disease were uncertain and a group took advantage of such situation to play its to its favour.


Carolan, M. S. (2008). The bright-and blind-spots of science: why objective knowledge is not enough to resolve environmental controversies. Critical Sociology34(5), 725-740.


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