“Science” is heading downhill pretty fast in one really important sense: It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between “science” and “sciencey.”
Note: Berezow seems to think that Scientific American is losing readers. A very recent attempted rah rah at Poynter is ambiguously worded.
It will be meaningless to harp on the claim that the public doesn’t “trust science” when “science” is a set of political positions.
Here’s Scientific American in a more entertaining mode. Remember when Deep Thought, the computer in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) spit out the Answer to the great question of life? It was: 42 But 42 does have some interesting features.
Mme Justice Ginsberg was eighty-seven years of age and suffered with pancreatic cancer. It is remarkable and commendable that she lived as long as she did; not at all a surprise that she died. Why is her death a “terrible blow” as opposed to a foreseen near-term event?
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.
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.
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.
Does anyone remember when science was distinct from science fiction? But in those days, great discoveries were made. Who needs great discoveries when an active imagination will do just as well?
It’s worth noting that we haven’t established that there are even fossil bacteria on Mars. But we are starting to hear more than ever that there are intelligent aliens out there, most recently from Ars Technica and Scientific American. Fundamentally, we have found nothing since the Sixties that truly suggests extraterrestrial civilizations. Nothing. If they want to keep looking, fine. Nobody’s stopping them. But spare us the dramatics.