Perhaps it is comforting to believe that science is an absolute discipline: immune from fads, fanatics and frauds, untroubled by extremists, evangelists, glory-seekers and bigots. But it is not. It is as vulnerable to the vested interests and biases of its practitioners as any corporate entity or political party.
Uncomfortable truths are suppressed and dubious evidence given undue prominence.
Nowhere is this more worryingly obvious than in the science of climate change. As a field of research it has become so heavily politicised that opposing views are spoken of in terms of religion: believers and non-believers, with the accent being on the righteousness of the former and the benighted state of the latter.
Those who believed scientists to be relentless seekers of the truth will have been shocked by the row sparked by a hacker who got hold of emails sent by staff at the University of East Anglia.
It has been claimed that the emails exchanged by members of the university's Climate Research Unit showed statistics had been finessed using 'tricks' and material that didn't fit the computer model of Climate Change presented to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was allegedly suppressed.