for US prez. Sheldon, our physics color commentator, goes way back with SciAm:
I was a devoted SciAm fan growing up. I collected other people’s old copies and had a collection going back to the 60’s. Then SciAm was bought out by some big publishing firm. And my favorite column, the Amateur Scientist by Forrest M. Mims III , was cancelled because Mims was a Christian. I think it was his uncle that taught me physics in high school. Given the dedication in his book, I think Jonathan Bartlett knows the story best, but for me, the magazine was forever corrupted.
Just like Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State, the game is up when Christians get cancelled, because we’ve set a precedent. It is worse than that, because I exaggerate only a little to say that science itself was an invention of Victorian vicars, so sawing off the branch you are sitting on has very predictable consequences.
Rob Sheldon is also the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent and The Long Ascent, Volume II.
Jonathan Bartlett’s account of why he dedicated his current tech book to Forrest Mims III is here.
Since we’re here anyway, some thoughts from me (O’Leary for News):
The SciAm crew are now spending the moral capital built up over 175 years lavishly.
In an odd way, ID might benefit.
Once they identify with a political party, not only do they become bound to its fortunes, but their pronouncements must be sifted in relation to the interests of that party and its supporters.
How does that pan out? It’s one thing to put up with the dramatic contradictory pronouncements and diktats around COVID-19 if we assume that the authors are non-partisans who are simply at sea themselves. But what if they must be seen as partisans and everything must be sifted by who benefits from the contradictory uproars?
When I explain to people why ID is a reasonable idea despite SciAm trashing it, I am greatly assisted by the fact that its editors are now, among other things, formal political partisans. I have no idea how much of what they say is motivated by that fact, nor does anyone else – and they may not know themselves. So, I will say, let us just look at the evidence for ourselves and not be put off by claims that they represent some sort of pure “science.” They’re now making clear that things aren’t that simple.
There were many crises in the previous 175 years. Some of us remember the Cold War. SciAm kept its trap shut in order to save a certain public perception of science. One that protected Darwinism, for sure. Now maybe, not so much. We shall see.
See also: Scientific American breaks with 175-year tradition, endorses Joe Biden for US President. They can break with tradition in this way if they want, of course. But then they will no longer be able to say that their science is not tainted with (drenched in?) politics. Which is why, no matter what the crisis, no one did it in the past. The outcome, no matter who wins the U.S. election, will be reduced public trust in science. Scientific American could well find itself down there with “media” generally, in terms of public trust.