This is a split from the thread on Stephen Hawking.
There is fundamental question lurking underneath that debate about the relationship between science and ruling class ideology.
This question has already been touched on by JK who states: "[The article] sets up science, in fact it appears only a certain kind of science, as in and of itself virtuous and ideologically-free, such that the scientific life becomes a locus of personal virtue and "service to humanity." Hawking had a "scientific mind" and served humanity from the centers of bourgeois academic privilege and prestige, whiel the rest of us either do bullshit work or engage in professions that are hopelessly tainted by ideology or which actually only reproduce captialism. Of course, the idea that science as practiced in bourgeois society is beyond ideology is itself spurious--especially the philosophically and abstract math-heavy field of cosmology that Hawking championed. In fact, some of the major precepts of what one might call "establishment cosmology" have been attacked by other scientists--many of them associated with the political left--as inherently ideological. I have no desire to enjoin the substance of this debate here, but it is important to acknowledge that it exists."
The question here is not the merits, or otherwise, of SH's cosmological theories but whether science itself is a form of enquiry that can escape the confines of ruling class ideology. Since it is meaningless to claim that science is a form of ruling class ideology without specifying which historical class it emanates from, the next question is whether science is a specifically bourgeois form of thought?
If science orginated before the capitalist mode of production did (say in Newton), then to what extent is it a specifically bourgeois form of thought? Does it represent feudal thought (in which case, how does it survive today), or revolutionary bourgeois thought?
If so, how does "bourgeois" science relate to the characteristics of the bourgeois mode of production?
It should go without saying that even if we conclude that science can step outside class boundaries, this does not automatically lead to the conclusion that it always does so. Is science truly transcendent? Or is it still limited by bourgeois (and other) class relations?
Lastly, there is the small matter of communism. Will a communist society continue to employ scientific method? Or will a new method arise? What is the relationship of Marxism to that method? Is Marxism the application of science to society or is it a fundamentally different methodology that can be applied to the natural sciences?