Breaking with 175 years of tradition by endorsing a candidate for U.S. president:
What is perhaps most striking about the editorial is its list of overwhelming political objectives in the name of science. Whether or not the authors understand the implications, the logic of the piece delivers a rather significant and damaging blow. However, the damage is not inflicted upon their intended target in the way they assume. Rather, it is the very possibility of scientific inquiry itself that is the true victim. The editors have fundamentally missed the reality before them, which is that the politicization of reason and science does not lead to freedom of thought and discovery. What results, instead, is the absolutization of politics itself.
The protection and flourishing of scientific inquiry that is needed has slipped through the intellectual fingers of Scientific American‘s editors. Generally speaking, scientific or medical conclusions are not as certain as the expert class would like people to believe. The authors presume, and explicitly defend, conclusions which require greater nuance than is either provided or even alluded to.Brian Jones, “Science And Soft Totalitarianism” at The American Conservative
One thing that’s pretty certain is that the decision will come back to haunt them if they remain serious about science. Their pronouncements on a variety of subjects will necessarily be read as mere political positions.
It will be meaningless to harp on the claim that the public doesn’t “trust science” when “science” is a set of political positions.
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.
The irony! Scientific American is holding forth on an algorithm that might solve “political paralysis” Why should we now believe that SciAm’s account of Brett Hennig’s “alternative democracy” ideas is presented to us for any reason other than to sell SciAm’s chosen political candidate for US prez? The thing about sudden partisanship is that you can buy it but you can’t sell it. It’s almost like the folk at Scientific American don’t really get that.