It could be argued, that the idea of "freedom" dictates much of US politics, that the idea of "nation" dictates much of Russian politics, that the idea "responsibility" directs German politics, and so on. Most political decision in most countries are based on this and similar ideological concepts.

A rare exception is Bhutan with its scientific approach to the gross national happiness: psychology is employed to define the goals for political action. This scientific approach to politics is different from the idea of scientists becoming politicians. There is nothing scientific about physicist Angela Merkel's politics.

But similar to the kingdom of Bhutan's approach to making its inhabitants happy, politics could be based on a scientific approach: it is theoretically possible to base political descisions not on ideology, interests of lobby groups, or the opinion of the people as expressed through elections or referendums, but on scientific discourse, research, and findings. This would possibly include a view of any decision as an experiment to be evaluated and adapted, depending on the outcome.

B. F. Skinner's Walden II portrays a society based on such principles, but he does not, as far as I remember, explicitly put forward a theoretical political concept that is independent of his belief in behaviourism, that is, a political theory independent of a specific methodology.

Is there any such political thought of conducting politics by scientific principles? What is it called and who are its thinkers and proponents?

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    @user4012 I was taking about the ideologiy underlying the political mainstream of the last half century. Also, you must not be familiar with the German Pirate Party if you think they have or want to shed the notion of responsibility that has been the heritage of German politics since the allied forces ended the Nazi regime. Maybe you have been misled by your private misconceptions of what the name "Pirate" signifies in relation to that party. – user2197 Sep 25 '16 at 19:13
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    All of them? At least is what they all claim... fascism, communism, liberalism all have analysts claiming their system is best because of their interpretation of history, because the leader is chosen by God/destiny/whatever or (my favorite one) markets are free and economical agents have perfect information and act in a rational and honest way. – SJuan76 Sep 25 '16 at 22:48
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    The difficult point is usually how the outcomes are valued. Stability? Traditionalism? Raw production so more is produced? Equal opportunities so you are not condemned to be poor and live a miserable life because your parents were poor? – SJuan76 Sep 25 '16 at 22:52
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    Is evidence-based policy the concept you are looking for? – Philipp Sep 26 '16 at 10:26
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    @Philipp I would say that is more of an approach than an ideology. But in that direction I would also examine Public Choice Theory en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_choice – K Dog Nov 3 '16 at 22:22

The only ideology I know where the original founders explicitly state that it is based on scientific principles and adheres to scientific standards, is Marxism.

From Wikipedia: "Scientific socialism is the term first used by Friedrich Engels to describe the social-political-economic theory first pioneered by Karl Marx. The purported reason why this form of socialism is "scientific socialism" (as opposed to "utopian socialism") is that it is said to be based on the scientific method, in that its theories are held to an empirical standard, observations are essential to its development, and these can result in changes and/or falsification of elements of the theory." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_socialism

However, most ideologies are not actively hostile to science and even claim their program is at least supported by factual evidence (and thus, by science or at least scientists).

Actively hostile to science is relatively rare. The only examples I know are the extreme rightwing conservative and religious ideologies such as those of Islamic State and Boko Haram ("Western Education is unclean").

  • Well... Since Marxists consider worth as "objective", it would be rather based on pseudo-science – David Aug 5 at 7:46
  • I'm aware of definitions for value and price but not for "worth". It doesn't sound as if it's part of classical Marxism but if you have a source I'd be interested. It's irrelevant to the question and answer though, IMO. The question is "Is there any such political thought of conducting politics by scientific principles?" - regardless of whether this works out, is correct, or even actually implemented. – Ronald Kunenborg Aug 6 at 20:46
  • Sorry. I used "worth" instead of "value" due to a mistranslation ("Wert" in the original text) – David Aug 6 at 22:32

Did you think of a Technocracy:

Technocracy is a proposed system of governance in which decision-makers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge. [... ] Leadership skills for decision-makers are selected on the basis of specialized knowledge and performance, rather than political affiliations or parliamentary skills.


A supplemental addition to the other answers...

There is a neglected unseemly factor in scientific methodology, the courtier's ideology of seeking funding and sponsorship. To acquire sponsorship sometimes requires making and balancing various sponsor-required concessions or compromises, such that the spirit and quality of both the work and worker is diluted or even lost. At its worst such ideology inspires roguish careers spent pandering to sponsors and grasping for credit.

Sponsoring large teams of scientists, organized in bureaucratic hierarchies sometimes has the side-effect of producing bitter cynics and hopeful subversives co-evolving in a kiss up kick down culture.

Going back a few centuries, the fawning dedications of famous scientific treatises appear much the same. In modern textbooks those scientist are giants, but in many a source-work's dedication a noble boot becomes the scientist's lollipop. Scientists of that age must have competed bitterly against each other for noble, (later State, and Academy, and Corporate), attentions. Outside the gatekeepers are the outcasted cranks, whose tenacity inspires popular mad scientist legends. The unacknowledged trait common to every one of these is a traditional conservative's ambition to move up the existing social pyramid and stay.

  • On review, I agree with the downvoter -- this needs reworking. Traditional conservatism should be the leading item, perhaps evolving from the ideals of scientific meritocracy which glibly portrays a reliance on OPM as not at all dangerous. – agc Aug 4 at 15:57

The scientific method requires us to go wherever the evidence leads us. Any belief system that requires the belief in a certain set of dogmas regardless of where the evidence leads us, is a belief system incompatible with science.

In contrast, every ideology is rooted in a set of foundational principles or dogmas. Herin lies a fundamental problem with respect to science.

If one's thinking is to be fully compatible with the scientific method, one is therefore to reject the very concept of ideology by default.

Basically, if it's scientific, it's no longer politics. It's just science! And yes, I believe that science can make and should make all politics obselete! We still haven't managed to abolish religion, however, so I'm not getting my hopes up!

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    @what : The issue still remains. Basically, any ideology not rooted in dogma but based on the scientific method would be... just science. The very moment a scientific theory becomes treated in a dogmatic way, it's no longer scientific! —— While it sure is possible to develop a political system based on the scientific method only, I can't think of a single case where this was applied. I can't even think of any movement attempting to achieve that. I'm afraid man is still too primitive to abandon his biases and replace all ideology by science. – John Slegers Nov 3 '16 at 22:55
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    You are mistaken. While science ideally isn't ideological, the decision to base political decisions on scientific theories is an ideology. – user2197 Nov 4 '16 at 10:58
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    Science can't make politics obselete. What if science tells us: "We can make 90% of the people richer, by enslaving the remaining 10%." Whether we want to implement this or not - do the need of 90% outweight the needs of 10% - is politics. Similar when the question is "We can make 90% of the people richer, by increasing taxes on the richest 10%." Politicians likely choose to implement the latter and damning the former, while both are a 90% vs 10% decision. Science can't help you here. – Sjoerd Jul 31 at 15:06
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    @JognSlegers My point is that science cannot replace politics, because there will always be trade-offs, and people will prefer different sides of the trade-off. (Science can support politics, but decisions should be taken by politicians, not by scientists). Why people prefer A over B is a personal choice, and it's fine to base that on dogma, ideology, or a dice roll - every person will have their own reason. Science cannot replace making that decision. – Sjoerd Aug 1 at 14:30
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    Agree with everything, except the part where you purpose Science to abolish Politics! Such a believe must imply that you are ignorant about how Science itself works! See: journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/… Politics is kind of a "multi-target optimization problem", so which targets to priorize is an arbitrary decision – David Aug 5 at 7:48

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