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Now Nature endorses Joe Biden for US Prez—and doesn’t seem to realize what it is doing to itself

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Because, we are informed, “We cannot stand by and let science be undermined. Joe Biden’s trust in truth, evidence, science and democracy make him the only choice in the US election”:

On 9 November 2016, the world awoke to an unexpected result: Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States…

Donald Trump has taken an axe to a system that was intended to safeguard and protect citizens when leaders go astray. He has become an icon for those who seek to sow hatred and division, not only in the United States, but in other countries, too.

Joe Biden must be given an opportunity to restore trust in truth, in evidence, in science and in other institutions of democracy, heal a divided nation, and begin the urgent task of rebuilding the United States’ reputation in the world.

Editorial, “Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president” at Nature

Nature was founded in 1869. Between then and now, many U.S. Prezzes have come and gone. Trump, if reelected could serve only four more years. Biden/Harris could only serve eight years or so.

The puzzling part is why Nature (and stablemate Scientific American) would throw themselves into the fray like this, as if they had no reputation or credibility, apart from politics, to defend.

If it’s all really about politics, fine. Many suspected that but no one could prove it. Now, any statement made on behalf of “science” will be wisely read as on behalf of “politics.” That will harm genuinely urgent causes the most.

When there’s no daylight between “Stop plastic in the oceans!” and “Vote for Schmeezer!”, most people will make up their own mind about plastic in the oceans/Schmeezer. The authority of science becomes indistinguishable from Schmeezer’s media outreach.

Well, at least they brought it on themselves.

Note: Trump’s 2016 victory should not have been the surprise it was. Corrupt and lazy journalism and incompetent polling are the main reason for the surprise: “Pew’s response the morning after the election is worth pondering. “A likely culprit,” we were informed, is nonresponse bias: “We know that some groups—including the less educated voters who were a key demographic for Trump on Election Day—are consistently hard for pollsters to reach.” Again one wonders, if pollsters knew that, why did they not make a greater effort to reach these people? Were there no rewards for getting it right?” More.

See also:

Rob Sheldon responds to Nature’s decision to go political: Are they really scientists or just political hacks? Sheldon: My best explanation is that the editors of Nature, SciAm, NEJM are themselves not research scientists, but political hacks—hired under the supposition that good relations with government funders required not science but PR.

The journal Nature defends its right to cover politics. No one says Nature can’t be active in politics and publish screeds of this type. What its staff can’t do—because nobody can—is be both a participant and a referee. They’ve chosen to be participants, fine. Then, “Listen to science” has as much clout as “Listen to the union boss” and “Listen to the corporate head office.” Which is to say, the next time they bellyache that people don’t listen to science, all one can respond is, “Take a number and wait. Meanwhile, suck it up.”

and

Scientific American breaks with 175-year tradition, endorses Joe Biden for US President.

9 Replies to “Now Nature endorses Joe Biden for US Prez—and doesn’t seem to realize what it is doing to itself

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    No, Nature is not ruining itself. Nature doesn’t WANT to be credible or believed by Deplorables. Deplorables are totally depraved subhumans, ready for extermination. Holy words must not be heard or believed by subhumans, because the act of hearing desecrates the holy words.

    Nature only needs to be heard and believed by the sacred people who control the money and power.

  2. 2
    Belfast says:

    Nature proudly tells us in their home page that the are a member of the grandly named Committee On Publication Ethics, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to define best practice in the ethics of scholarly publishing and to assist editors, publishers, etc. to achieve this.
    No mention of political commentary anywhere in the Committee’s website.
    So, it is likely that the Committee will veer off course and notify all members that they now can pick and choose articles and papers to publish so long as they are politically acceptable, and promote peace, global warming, and abortion, as examples.
    The Wikipedia description of what COPE does was provided by COPE itself.

  3. 3
    JohnB says:

    Well…finally Nature showed what is known for a long time: money, power ,the science of “hidden interests” . This is a good sign , Trump will win.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    Belfast – publishing an editorial espousing a particular view on politics isn’t a breach of publication ethics. There is nothing inherently unethical about journals publishing their opinions on matters of interest, there may only be an ethical problem if they tried to disguise them as a report on research. But it is clear that this is not what an editorial is.

  5. 5
    JohnB says:

    C’mon …Biden doesn’t know where he is or what is running for.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Joe Biden is on TV lying about Trump. So much for trust in truth.

  7. 7
    News says:

    Nature did not need to do this stuff! It signals an alarming loss of self-confidence. It’s as if Queen Elizabeth II were to endorse fashion products…

    Quite the opposite. Elizabeth II has often been criticized for dowdy dress. But she knew that monarchist/Commonwealth women don’t necessarily dress fashionably and don’t care that much about fashionable dress. It’s nice but… civic projects are more important. She cemented their loyalty while shoring up their social position by her visible choices. That’s REAL influence. It’s a give and take.

    Nature is trading real influence for trash. And it’ll come back to haunt them when “Nature supports X” means no more than “The candidate for East Yawp supports X.” A comedown for science as a concept.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    I made a comment on a religious site several months ago that politics has no part in religion and shortly thereafter my comments never appeared unless they were almost bland. Finally they out right banned me . I was always polite but pointed out that their political positions were always going to wrong. All politics is and it was not advantageous for them to endorse something that was probably wrong today or will be seen wrong some time in the future.

    Similarly science shroud avoid endorsing politics because politics will always be wrong and science it getting at the truth.

    My guess is that the actual science is trumping their politics so they want to undermine this science any way they can.

    Politics is the new religion and it trumps the old religion and science.

  9. 9
    Fasteddious says:

    Nature is simply thinking inside their elitist silo. Saying that Trump, “has become an icon for those who seek to sow hatred and division”, is true, but by and large, the ones sowing hatred and division are those on the liberal-left side, hating Trump (their icon) and his supporters, and driving newly-discovered wedges of division into the American populace. The political right did not push for abortion, gay marriage, transgender “rights”, and most of the other issues in the culture war, dividing the USA down the middle! Rather, the progressive, aggressive, transgressive left is pushing these issues who knows where, and turning a dismissive or deaf ear to the questioning and warning voices standing in their way.

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