I grew up with Scientific American and over 50 years the two of us developed a symbiotic bond. I trusted the science, written by actual scientists, and in return I bought those yearly subscriptions. I even saved each issue, organizing them as I organized no other. For 36 of those years I used the information and diagrams to teach others and rarely, if ever, did I have reason to question ‘the science’.
Then, in the latter 80s, the magazine began to change, Scientific American, science for we ordinary folk, was bought out by a West German publishing company, Holtzbrinck, for $52.6 million. In the following years the science slowly faded away to the bleached carcass of scientific journalism. In an attempt to improve circulation the science was dumbed down and began to be more and more politicized. Scientific American became one of the most clamorous voices for climate change, promoting solar and wind and turning its back on nuclear energy. It even started taking partisan stands in American elections.
I continued subscribing for some years, the synthetic science growing larger and destroying my confidence in the magazine. Eventually I reached a breaking point, it was the article “The Swallows of Fukushima” a story devoid of facts about some journalist walking the deserted streets of post apocalyptic Fukushima and noting that the swallow nests they saw were empty. Lots of descriptive imagery as taught in Literature for Scientists classes. I think my take away was supposed to be ‘maybe the accident didn’t kill anyone but it sure played havoc with some birds’. All drama no science.
My actual takeaway was to cancel my subscription.
An article by John Hinderaker at Power Line:
“The Science” Isn’t Scientific
One of the saddest aspects of the Left’s takeover of our institutions is what it has done to the scientific establishment. This is a big topic, but for now let’s stick to the Lancet, which once was one of the world’s most respected medical journals. Now, it is largely a joke, pushing hack politics–race, gender, climate change–instead of seriously advancing medical science.
This degeneration long predates covid. In 2016, I wrote about the Lancet’s editorial denunciation of Donald Trump, which read like a parody. In 2017, I noted an article by Lancet’s editor in chief, who argued that Marxism is the key to public health. And in 2018, I mocked the Lancet’s editorial calling for an end to eating meat. For the climate!
The covid epidemic accelerated a lot of bad trends, including the left-wing takeover of “science.” The epidemic led leftists not only to produce a lot of propaganda in the guise of science, but to prohibit anyone from disagreeing with it. At Substack, professors Norman Fenton and Martin Neil offer an entertaining instance: “The Lancet has become a laughing stock.”
This is their summary. The original contains links and screen shots of the emails, etc.:
* On 6 May 2021 The Lancet published a blatantly flawed study of the effectiveness of the Pfizer covid vaccine on the population of Israel, claiming it was 95% effective.
* On 17 May 2021 we submitted a rapid response 250 word letter explaining why the study was flawed.
* After an initial response saying they would ask the authors for a response to our letter we heard nothing until 20 months later.
* On 8 January 2023 we got an email out of the blue from The Lancet Senior Editor Josefine Gibson apologising for never having got back to us about the letter, saying that they had asked the lead author Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis (SA-P) to respond to our letter but, because she did not provide any formal response, they have decided not to publish our letter.
* We tweeted The Lancet’s response and within 24 hours it got over one million impressions. We also published a substack article highlighting the fact we were now aware of additional problems with the paper relating to SA-P’s relationship with Pfizer.
* On 10 January 2023 we got an unsolicited email from Josefine Gibson (which we can only assume was a result of the reputation hit they got from our tweet) saying “Thank you for bringing your letter from May 2021 back to our attention. We are looking into next steps and will get back to you as soon as we can.”
* On 11 January 2023 (at 10:58) we sent an email to The Lancet’s Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton [Ed.: The guy who says Marxism is the formula for good public health policy] directing him to our substack article (which highlighted these new problems relating to SA-P’s relationship with Pfizer) stating that The Lancet was clearly taking a credibility hit surrounding the publication of the Israel-Pfizer study and its response to criticisms of it.
* On 11 January 2023 (at 11:21) we got an email from Josefine Gibson apologising for the ‘sub standard experience’ we had with The Lancet. She said that, after discussing it with Horton, they were now inviting us to publish the original letter or an update to it, suggesting the update ‘reflect more current experience with the vaccine’.
* On 12 January 2023 we submitted our updated letter (of an agreed 350 words).
* On 13 January 2023 we got a response from Josefine Gibson saying they had decided against publishing the letter.
One of the problems with the world’s “elites” is that they are generally pretty stupid.