July 17, 2007


O Gore, deliver us from evil: Al Gore, whose Live Earth concerts rock the planet this weekend, has styled himself as a superstar prophet bringing salvation to mankind. (Frank Furedi, spiked)

It is hard to ignore the high moral tone of Gore’s missives. In his own words, he has a ‘compelling moral purpose’. He never misses an opportunity to spread his aura of sanctimony. And yet, curiously, his moral crusade depends for its legitimacy on the authority of science. There is very little that is transcendental about Gore. Revelation for him comes through science rather than supernaturally revealed truths. His crusade, he says, is aimed at preventing a catastrophe that is foretold by Scientific Truths. In his dogmatic worldview, today’s categories of good and evil, of virtuous behaviour and improper behaviour, are rooted in truths revealed by science.

However, it would be wrong to see Gore as a man who is fervently committed to science. Rather, he is in the business of politicising science, or more accurately, moralising it. In Gore’s world, science is not so much about testing out hypotheses and carrying out experiments; instead, under the Gore narrative, scientific evidence gives way to scientific (inconvenient) truths. Such science has more in common with the art of divination than of experimentation. That is why the science is always seen as having a fixed and unyielding, and thus unquestionable quality. Frequently, Gore and others will prefix the term science with the definite article ‘the’. So Sir David Read, vice-president of the Royal Society, recently said that ‘the science very clearly points towards the need for us all – nations, businesses and individuals – to do as much as possible, as soon as possible, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change’.

Unlike ‘science’, this new term – ‘The Science’ – is a deeply moralised and politicised category. Today, those who claim to wield the authority of The Science are really demanding unquestioning submission.

The notion that something as reactionary as Science has been politicized/moralized is a naive one though.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 17, 2007 9:13 PM

Is The Science something like The Donald?

Posted by: erp at July 18, 2007 7:00 AM