This book is an examination of a neglected form of scientific corruption – corruption by political attachment to noble causes.
We are used to hearing that economic interests have corrupted scientific findings, but the possibility that science might be corrupted by noble causes is largely overlooked. This book shows that this danger is real, that values can often lead to poor science, and that we are more likely to accept lower quality science when it lends support to our political preferences. Using the examples of biodiversity and climate science and the attack on Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist on these two issues, Aynsley Kellow reveals how the reliance of environmental science on mathematical models and the infusion of values into its conduct have produced a preference for virtual over observational data. It argues that both sides of politics are capable of exerting such an influence, but suggests some reasons why those on the political Left seem to be more prone to do so at present, to the detriment of public policy.
Science and Public Policy is a unique and challenging book. It does not argue that any one political persuasion exerts a corrupting influence on science policy, instead it makes extensive use of peer-reviewed literature to explore scientific controversies and the role of politics in them.
This fascinating book will appeal to high-level general readers as well as to scholars and researchers at all levels of academe working in environmental politics and policy; and science policy.