The idea that politics could or should have any input into science is anathema to skeptics. They often bring out the examples of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, or the racial science of Nazi Germany, to illustrate the dangers of allowing science to be contaminated by political ideology. They less often acknowledge that racial science was not unique to Nazi Germany, and that the same kind of racist garbage was enthusiastically pursued by scientists in the most enlightened liberal democracies of the time, and found in all the standard British and American anthropology textbooks. Eugenics, including racial eugenics, wasn’t just supported by Nazis, but by people who considered themselves among the vanguard of all that was good and progressive. Liberal democracy was no guard against the influence of political ideology on scientific thought. (On the contrary, liberal democracy is a political ideology that influences scientific thought.)

What’s more, skeptics never acknowledge that racial science was defeated by political ideology, and not by science itself. In fact, there was nothing that could have defeated it within the empirical framework of racial scientists. Their racist experiments confirmed their racist hypotheses based on their racist observations.