How susceptible is the scientific community to politics and other
Like everyone else scientists are only human after all. Thus, individual scientists may be biased and jealous; they may intrigue against colleagues, or engage in nepotism; they often are emotionally attached to their subject matter in being passionate researchers, and they sometimes do not see the weak spots, if not flaws, in their own work; in particular they are usually interested in having their hypotheses and theories confirmed, not refuted — after all, Nobel prizes are not awarded for the falsification of a theory. Research institutions including universities are now run more like businesses, so that there is severe competition for funds and a strong pressure to focus on applied science and technology at the expense of basic science.
The system of logical, semantical, methodological, and attitudinal ideals constitutes the institutional rationality of science even though individual scientists may more or less often fail to behave rationally. However biased the individual scientist may be, the institutional values are the basis for the institutional objectivity of science. Rationality is present only at the level of the institutionalized community. Objectivity, then, is a characteristic of a institutionalized community’s practice of science rather than of an individual’s. There are conditions that a institutionalized scientific community must satisfy in order to qualify as rationally developing scientific knowledge:
There must exist within the community recognized and approved forums or avenues for the criticism of theories, evidence, experiments, assumptions, and inferences.
The criticism must be effective in that the community at times changes its belief and practices in response to it. Criticism is not merely tolerated and ignored.
As a background for criticism, the community must have publicly recognized and shared standards that provide the criteria for evaluating theories, hypotheses, experiments, data analysis, etc. These establish standards for the quality and relevance of criticism.