The theme of social justice has regained cultural urgency recently. Does science have any role to play? Certainly, when one thinks of addressing the disparities of power, profit, and privilege, one typically thinks of charities, social workers, political activists, or courtroom lawsuits. Not science. The world of facts is profoundly different from the realm of values. Reasoning from ­empirical evidence is unlike reasoning from ethical principles. So, no (most might contend), objective science seems to transcend social issues, with all their subjectivity.

Here, however, I wish to challenge this view (this month’s Sacred Bovine) and show how, in some cases, science is most decidedly relevant to social justice (see also Yacoubian & Hansson, 2020; Shmaefsky, 2020). Further, this connection can be an effective tool to engage students who might otherwise regard abstract science as aloof from human concerns.

First, it may be helpful to review just how facts...

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