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