It’s time for a change. For too long ignorance and made-up superstition have occupied the foreground. Ignorance has been given a place at the top table because of the notion that it represents the ordinary person’s point of view. Superstition is afforded the same if not a greater privilege because the act of creating thoughts based on feelings and imagined beings, is worthy of reverence.

Scientists have tried to demonstrate the reality using reason and evidence. The resulting work has told us a great deal, but the truth is that it is not effective in the wider sense. Not because the evidence is not there, but because science is not a political cause. Politics is not scientific, and so it does seem perverse to adopt it for scientific ends. However, politics is used for a variety of ends that started off having nothing to do with it–feminism, environmental protection, building large numbers of useless tractors.

Politics is a blunt instrument, and so you might ask why scientists should adopt it in order to do science, when they are used to finely-tuned instruments. The reason is that scientific instruments measure, politics gets things done. We see democratic politics achieve all sorts of things that were not predictable and are not sensible. Various groups of people around the world are given open-ended privileges by governments because long-dead members of their minority suffered even longer ago. It is fair to say we have seen a bit of that for scientists, especially women, but that is about it. Who is sticking up for science and scientists as a whole?

There are a few people who get in under the radar — Dara O’Briain for example. He studied Mathematics and Physics as an undergraduate; it was not until he was a hugely successful stand-up comedian that he could get the BBC to make a programme about science. And that only ran for one series.

There are one or two soft or cameragenic scientists who get in under the wire and give science a good name. Professors Jim Al-Khalili and Brian Cox spring to mind. They are nice chaps, but I do not see either of them wielding a political scimitar any time soon. Professor Richard Dawkins is often cited as a defender of science against the bonkers and the ill- or uninformed. He is also accused as someone who likes arguing. (It’s hard to disagree with that when one considers just how verbose he is. I spent three hours reading The God Delusion; I have no doubt all of what I read could be edited down to 20 minutes, even by an untrained editor like me.)

So we have a vacuum precisely of a politico-scientific shape. We have scientists who are trying to chip away at blind and woeful ignorance, but with no political voice. At the last count we had just one research scientist in the House of Commons, but he is a Liberal Democrat, which is rather a shame.

That is not to say under-the-wire approach has been entirely ineffective. The group of scientists who adopted a political strategy, political language and a deferential manner, got the funding and political backing for sequencing the human genome. That was an immense scientific and political achievement. In the short term it has been something of a white elephant, it has yet to lead to scientific discoveries of the same magnitude, or to the political backing for other scientific projects of the same magnitude.

So, it can be done, but the stealth approach will not work forever. It is time for scientists to go from fundamental to fundamentalist.