Pielke: Scientists as both experts and political myth-makers

Pielke: Scientists as both experts and political myth-makers


Summary: Experts, especially scientists, wield increasing power in western societies. Roger Pielke Jr. looks at the political implications, and how this is boosting our dysfunctional political polarization.


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Scientific Authority and Political Myth

Presentation by Roger Pielke Jr.

Given at a workshop on Democratisation of Science – epistemological issues and new perspectives.Held at Lyon, France on 30 May 2018.

In this presentation, Pielke discusses one of the vital but seldom mentioned issues of our time: the increasingly powerful role of experts in politics, and how their arrogance is contributing to political polarization in the West. In many ways the products of our university system, wielding their credentials, have become an special interest — like medieval priests. In some cases, with powerful expertise. In some cases, with actual expertise less than that of medieval priests.

  • Reconciling expertise with democracy is an unavoidable and eternal struggle.
  • Experts are essential to 21st century governance in and out of government.
  • .One important function of experts in democracy is to help create and sustain “political myth.”
  • “Political myth” refers to a shared narrative that explains past, present and future political events.
  • See the polarizing power politics of the Brahmin left (~2005 to present).
  • He critiques the large and growing risk of experts becoming a conventional, interest-based political movement.

See the slide show below, use the arrows to navigate:

The bigger issue

Pielke shows much about the rise of our new leftists Brahmins. He does not discuss the related but larger issue: do their credentials improve their public policy decisions. A look at western public policy suggests that under their direction, we might be sailing off a cliff. They are altering our society based on ideologies, without research, experiments, or tests. Communism was the product of Western universities. Much of the world is still recovering from that experiment.

Roger Pielke JrRoger Pielke Jr

Roger Pielke Jr.

About the author

Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Professor of Environmental Studies at the U of CO-Boulder. He was Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. He is now Director of the Sports Governance Center in the Dept of Athletics. Before joining the faculty of the U of CO, from 1993-2001 he was a Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

His research focuses on science, innovation and politics. He holds degrees in mathematics, public policy and political science from the University of Colorado. In 2006 he received the Eduard Brückner Prize in Munich for outstanding achievement in interdisciplinary climate research. In 2012 Roger was awarded an honorary doctorate from Linköping University in Sweden and the Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America.

Superforest,Climate Change

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