By Kelly Moore
1. If only political activists would stay out of science, scientific ideas could be used to make the right political decisions.
Whether conceived of as a field of action, as an institution, or as a component of elite power, science is not, and has never been since its formation in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, separate from questions of power. Who pays for science, how nature should be manipulated, who can participate in it, what counts as fact, and what questions are worth asking are shaped by political relationships. Africans and women, for example, were excluded from its ranks for centuries, and biological ideas about these groups’ inferiority were built into science as a result. These very same ideas are still used today to explain women’s underrepresentation in science.