The politicization of science and the use and abuse of technology

Gabriel R. Ricci, Elizabethtown College


This paper examines the dialectical role of science in its promotion of public policy and the manner in which scientific autonomy has been challenged to further political ambition. Various episodes in the ever expanding technological reach of the marriage of science and politics is historically recounted to demonstrate the threat to scientific self-rule and to individual scientists who have been relegated to instrumentally functional roles. It is argued that the emergent class status of scientists has been subverted by the triumvirate of technology, industry and religion. Moreover, science has met its greatest challenge from those entities which understand how the use of technology and scientific discovery translate into regulatory measures.