Intelligent Design

Popular Science shuts down comments, citing the presence of dissent from the scientific consensus

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Popular Science’s online arm has just shut down its comments section. Guess why?

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

Do you question the scientific consensus on a subject? Do you think the consensus is fundamentally flawed? Too far-reaching in its scope? More confident than it should be? Then Popular Science has a message for you: shame. SHAME!

Science is not what’s being championed at, nor is ‘bedrock scientific doctrine’ challenged by dissent. Consensus is. Orthodoxy is. Likewise, being ‘politically motivated’ with regards to science is not a problem – it is having political, social and even religious views that PopSci has decided are unacceptable. Dialogue and discussion is welcomed by the self-appointed champions of science – if and only if it results in an outcome they favor. If they suspect it doesn’t, then the dialogue and discussion is over.

Why, it’s almost as if science was never really the concern to begin with.

15 Replies to “Popular Science shuts down comments, citing the presence of dissent from the scientific consensus

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    They must have found themselves well and truly ‘on the back foot’, in their comments section. I smell fear in the air. Quite pervasive. Pass the popcorn.

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    Or should I say, ‘popscicorn’!? Looks like popscicom, doesn’t it?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: New video upload of John Lennox at Yale
    Is Anything Worth Believing In? John Lennox at Yale University – video – recorded in April 2013

  4. 4
    EvilSnack says:

    A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise…

    No, it was a politically-motivated, decades-long war on dissent and freedom. And Popular Science has surrendered.

  5. 5
    Jerad says:

    Not a decision I would have made. Very sad.

  6. 6
    chris haynes says:

    Popular Science’s reasons are beyond satire

    “Another, similarly designed study found that just firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers’ perception of science.”

    Readers perceptions are affected by comments!!!! So: No Comments!

    “If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch. ”

    Again, comments might affect opinion!!!! Cant have that. So…No Comments!

    One wonders if Popular Science’s website was hacked, to display this nonsense. Perhaps by a Sinister Creationist Conspiracy, funded by the Koch Brothers, to make Scientists look like goofs.

  7. 7
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    The removal of comments is a good thing in my opinion on certain websites. Countless websites have their articles and/or web-pages destroyed by arguments and trolling in the comment sections based on controversial issues such as race, sex, politics, or the origins debate. Unfortunately this problem has now spread globally across the internet. You now found music or film videos that have absolutely nothing to do with evolution or creation but countless trolls in the comment section arguing over the subject.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Science Apocalypticism Is Modern Man’s Most Lethal Plague – Michael Egnor – September 25, 2013
    “Climate Alarmists Have A 97% Failure Rate
    Now that the Arctic sea ice scam has collapsed, as far as I can tell every single Hansen et al alarmist prediction has failed miserably. This is by far the biggest junk science incident in history.
    Ten years from now, people like John Cook will be publishing fake papers claiming that scientists never believed in global warming. It was all media driven, but scientists always knew that solar activity drives the climate.”
    Actually, Darwinism is the biggest junk science incident in history, but who’s quibbling? The Darwinian prediction that most of the genome is junk DNA has impeded molecular genetics research for decades and squandered countless millions of research dollars. Only recently have leading researchers and journals come to admit that the Darwinian prediction was spectacularly wrong. (link at site),,,

  9. 9
    nullasalus says:

    Personally, I don’t care that Pop Sci shut down comments, or at least that act alone doesn’t bug me. I can think of various good reasons to do so, not a one of which is ‘suppressing dissent’. But the mag decided to not only shut down those comments, but shut them down pretty well explicitly because of the effects dissent have on people’s opinions. They consider themselves to be champions on science, and their definition of ‘championing science’ cashes out to, at least in part, ‘getting people to parrot consensus, especially on hot button issues’.

    For added fun, check out the top 10 popular articles on Let’s have a look at some of the work these champions engage in!

    #4: Have Modern Scientists Made Any Advancements In Alchemy?

    #5: FYI: Why Do I Poop More When I Have My Period?

    #9: Pretty Much The Entire Human Race Bought The New Grand Theft Auto

    #10: Doctors Vacuum A 2-Foot-Long Clot Out Of Man’s Leg

    Well, at least they won’t have to worry about someone citing perceived problems with explanations in evolutionary biology. That will free them up to write an article where they link an amateur youtube video of a raccoon passing gas after eating too many banana peels out of the garbage, aka, championing science.

  10. 10
    OldArmy94 says:

    For them to think that they are THAT important is hilarious. They are merely one or two steps away from being the next US Weekly or Entertainment magazines.

  11. 11
    bevets says:

    Important light was shed on the ancestry of the human race by the discovery of the (a) Siamese twins (b) Cardiff giant (c) Gibson girl (d) Piltdown man. ~ Popular Science August 1939 p.126

    see also: Popular Science October 1931 p. 23

  12. 12
    Barb says:

    Wait, there’s more! Good God, are these really considered “bedrock scientific doctrines”?

    – Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments
    – Your Autumn Guide To Apples [Infographic]
    **Note that guides to apples can also be found in Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Rachael Ray, and Redbook magazines
    –These Magnetic Nanobots Could Carry Drugs Into Your Brain
    Erase Bad Memories In Your Sleep
    **Okay, this could be interesting.
    –Are Acid Flashbacks A Myth?
    **Why do I suspect that baby boomers funded this?
    –7 Fantastic Vintage Anatomy Drawings
    –Valve Announces Multiple Steam Consoles, Will Not Show Them
    Valve? Steam? The same places that my son plays Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic? Okay, then. For Science!
    –Why Doesn’t The iPhone 5S Have NFC?
    –11 Terrifying Childcare Inventions From The Early 20th Century
    –Chemistry’s Biggest Loser: Official Atomic Weights Change For 19 Elements
    –Mean, Sexist Gorilla Gets Kicked Out Of Dallas Zoo
    **This last one, seriously, WTF?

  13. 13
    Robert Byers says:

    Why not rename their mag popular hypothesis unsupported enough to fall short of theories.
    Then allow commebnts!!

  14. 14
    Moose Dr says:

    If they believe that the data is on their side, they should hire some commenters (properly identified of course, ideally the author of an article) to prove the dissenters wrong. If science is just “they” said, we said then it is just a power game, not a search for truth.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Crevo has a good summary of the recent papers that tried to address Meyer’s book, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’:

    Evolutionists Tap Dance Around Cambrian Explosion – September 25, 2013
    Comment after review of the articles: “The Darwinist answers to the Cambrian explosion are vacuous, vapid, vacant, void, and vagrant. They dodge the question, filling their time with question-begging circular irrelevancies. They fail to acknowledge the existence of their critics, except when necessary to vent their voluminous voracity for vituperation.
    Where did the information come from to build new body plans? That is the question! “Uh, duh, well, maybe evolution just ran faster, that’s all. Maybe there was more oxygen back then. Maybe that’s just how evolution works. Maybe a combination of the above.” Are you satisfied? Anyone giving answers like that to explain a major failure of their project should be fired on the spot.”

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