In the modern age almost everything is political; not just party-political, but also driven by sometimes covert, extra-parliamentary interest groups.
Science has come under total political control and so has lost much of its raison d’être, which is human curiosity. In common parlance the very word “science” has changed its meaning. A repeated observation is that the existence of a consensus (a concept alien to science) in any field results in the suppression of research into alternative hypotheses. Politicians and bureaucrats nurture research that confirms their prejudices. That promotes a consensus, which inevitably becomes self-reinforcing by the exclusion of alternatives, so alleged scientific progress becomes merely the expression of Government policy.
The EU, USA, Britain and Australia all have left-leaning, authoritarian governments and bureaucracies, who believe it is their right and duty to exercise control over every detail of their victims’ lives. Powerful monolithic media organisations, such as the BBC and ABC, ruthlessly exercise rigorous censorship and selectivity to magnify the apparent weight of zealot causes favoured by the contemporary establishment. Scientific matters are discussed in terms of political ideology rather than the natural language of science, which is predominantly mathematics.
The looseness of trendy modern statistical procedures provides a ready response to political requirements. Results can be virtually manufactured to order. These are then used, with the cooperation of the establishment media, to bludgeon the population into obedience.
That’s all perfectly true. But how is good science to be recovered?
By handing it back to the curious, in my view. By handing it back to people who are puzzled about the world around them, and want to try to understand it. People who don’t want to be rich or powerful or famous. People who don’t have some separate agenda.
I’m not sure such people can be found in universities any more. But maybe they still can.