Big Science Has Corrupted Its Mission
If the leading journal Nature is any example, Big Science has unmasked itself as a left-leaning, political, ideological movement.
If you read science journals for empirical facts about natural phenomena, you will definitely find some. If you seek the work of honest researchers endeavoring to use logic and evidence to understand the world, you will find that, too. But if you read the editorial pages, you will find the editors dunking a filthy fly in that ointment, loaded with the germs of leftist, globalist, political bias. Even worse are articles in journals and on “science news” sites that pretend to be empirical, when they really intend to rationalize their leftist ideology.
Daniel Sarewitz is one of Nature‘s more thoughtful and fair-minded commentators, but look at this recent statement after the U.S. election. With what scientific method did he conjure up these generalities?
There is much — much — to worry about with Trump’s election, starting with his apparent intolerance of fundamental tenets of civil society, such as rule of law and freedom of speech.
It would not be hard to find commentators on the other side of the political spectrum who could adduce evidence for the exact opposite opinion. Couching his insults with “apparent” does little to cushion his naked bias. To be fair, Sarewitz considers policies in a Trump administration that might be good for science. He recognizes that Trump is a political outsider with broad support from disaffected Americans. “As such, his presidency at least has the potential to open up productive new policy pathways,” he ends. “We will soon find out if he is serious about doing so.” Sarewitz is saying that he is not serious until proven otherwise.
He also implies that Americans who voted for him were simply “disaffected” as if selfishly feeling they were left out of power. In Sarewitz’s analysis, they didn’t believe in the conservative principles they heard from Trump. It’s not possible they were repudiating Clinton’s principles and habits. No; it was just one of those social movements, “a long-term political consequence of bipartisan trade, economic and innovation policies that have focused on growth and competitiveness while largely neglecting the negative impacts of technological change and globalization on quality of life in the American heartland.” By implication, if they knew better, they would never have voted for this “shocking reversal that testifies to disaffection on many fronts.” He seems blind to his elitist patronizing. And he’s one of the milder ones.
The Editors of Nature engage in a childish pun: “Reality must trump rhetoric after US election shock.” What’s implied in that headline? Trump is outside of reality. He’s a demagogue. We are shocked. Who’s “we” you ask? Actually, lots of people were not shocked, but rather pleasantly surprised. The only ones who were shocked were the Biggies: Big Science, Big Labor, Big Education, Big Government, Big Media, and Big Law. Think of how an impartial headline might have been written instead: “New U.S. president has opportunity to put his campaign promises into practice.” Nature‘s horror owes nothing to the scientific method. In their first paragraph, they parade their naked hostility:
There is a huge difference between campaigning and governing, as president-elect Donald Trump is surely realizing by now. It is impossible to know what direction the United States will take under Trump’s stewardship, not least because his campaign was inconsistent, contradictory and so full of falsehood and evasion. People have not voted for his policies, because what are they? Americans have instead put their faith in an ideology, and rejected a political class and system that they feel, with some justification, has moved on without them.
Here they relegate Trump and all his supporters to “people of faith” – to blind idealogues who followed a liar. Where is the balance here? Where is any mention that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was caught in multiple lies, cases of perjury, and instances of pay-for-play corruption to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars? Where is the concern over her putting the national security of the free world at risk? Is Nature “shocked” by that? And did they ever consider that their UK publication has no business interfering with U.S. elections anyway, pretending to speak for all scientists?
In an Editorial last month, this journal argued that Trump was unsuitable for office. His contrary approach to evidence, disrespect for those he disagrees with, and toxic attitudes to women and other groups have no place in a modern democracy. His election gives Trump the chance to prove the many people who shared that view mistaken. And that, we know for sure, is one thing Trump relishes. For those who opposed him, now is not the time to turn away from politics. There can be no normalizing or forgetting the malignant words and attitudes that Trump used on the campaign trail.
Need we remind Nature that Hillary Clinton called Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables” that she considered “irredeemable”? How “toxic” was that? Did they consider that a large percentage of voters may have voted for the lesser of two evils? For a different point of view, watch Brittany Hughes in her “Reality Check” video rattle off a long list of reasons other than “racism” why voters elected Trump.
The Editors and writers expressed some willingness to give Trump a chance to prove himself. In another piece in Nature, four writers admit that “much of the incoming US president’s agenda is simply unknown.” They show themselves willing to listen to “some” who caution against a “rush to judgment” on Trump. But they make clear that unless the new President supports leftist, globalist, Darwinist views, they’ll be agin ‘im.
Some scientists have expressed fear about how Trump’s presidency will affect research in the United States. The president-elect has questioned the science underlying climate change and has linked autism to childhood vaccinations; his vice-president, Indiana governor Mike Pence, does not believe in evolution or that human activities have caused climate change. Still, some science advocates caution against a rush to judgement about how the Trump administration will approach science and research issues.
Readers might well question the credibility of Nature, though. In a companion piece, Ramin Skibba examines the fact that the experts were wrong: “Pollsters struggle to explain failures of US presidential forecasts.” If “Most surveys did not predict Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton,” given the best mathematical models, on a matter of empirical measurement, how then are we to trust the subjective opinions of the editorial board on politics?
“The industry is definitely going to be spending a lot of time doing some soul-searching about what happened and where do we go from here,” says Chris Jackson, head of US public polling at Ipsos, a global market-research and polling firm based in Paris….
“It’s a big surprise that such a wide variety of polls using such a wide variety of methodologies have all the errors fall in the same direction,” says Claudia Deane, vice-president of research at the Pew Research Center in Washington DC.
Another Nature editorial is amusing in this regard. “Fed up of Earth? Try Mars,” they say. Canada may not be far enough for some celebrities who vowed to leave the United States if Trump won. (Some conservatives are happily offering to pay their airfare.) But lest one think that the red planet will offer utopia, the editors quickly respond, “Establishing a Martian outpost is likely to bring many of the same societal problems we face on Earth.” They briefly consider some rules of government that have been discussed for a moon colony or Mars colony, but give up:
The picture of Mars painted by these discussions, in other words, is a planet divided by politics, culture, religion, economics and inequality. Sound like anywhere you know?
Anywhere, that is, outside of the editorial offices of their own Big Science empire. That is utopia.
There must be something in British tea these days. New Scientist, another UK voice for Big Science, can’t bring itself to believe that any reasonable person would vote for Trump. The only possible explanation, to writer John Hibbing, is that conservatives have some weird biological fluke. Maybe a random mutation hit their brain or something. “My biology made me do it? Why some voters may embrace the right.” Whatever it is, it doesn’t affect those who embrace the left.
A cute bunny or a coiled snake? If given the choice of looking at happy or ominous images, humans spend more time on the ominous ones. We also remember threatening stimuli more readily and display heightened physiological responses to them. This makes perfect evolutionary sense since organisms not attuned to threats in the environment are less likely to survive and prosper….
Hibbing, apparently unaware that “evolutionary sense” is a sophoxymoronic phrase, puts on his white lab coat to measure “threat sensitivity” in his lab rats, the conservatives:
For example, those who have measurably higher levels of threat sensitivity – recorded via changes in skin conductance, for example, when presented with a threatening image – are more likely to support law and order policies such as mandatory sentences and the death penalty, increased defence spending, restrictions on immigration, gun rights, unifying, patriotic displays, and traditional lifestyles such as heterosexual families.
If they were in their right minds (or, he would say, their “left” minds), they certainly would take the Clinton position on these matters. That would be rational. Conservatives evolved from irrational ape-men. Liberals float above the Earth in a community of wise gurus who understand Darwinian evolution.
Why are the predominantly conservative and therefore mainly threat sensitive supporters of Donald Trump so eager to restrict migration, to treat lawbreakers harshly, and to elevate their group above all other groups by “making America great again” when they are remarkably sanguine about the long-term dangers of global warming?
Part of the answer may lie in the contours of human evolution. Throughout our history as a species, the primary threats we faced emanated from other human beings, either from members of the tribe over the hill or from members of our own group breaching accepted norms of behaviour.
His Yoda Complex fully engaged, Hibbing ends with sad reflections about the future of those evolved primates down there. “It may be no coincidence that the candidate to rise out of a threat-sensitive voter base was not a tree-hugging, planet-saving environmentalist but rather an isolationist, anti-immigrant, law-and-order populist. And with populists emboldened and a common biology to tap, more could follow elsewhere.”
Hibbing is certainly free to head for the hills where he can hug all the trees he wants, smoke some joints, and engage in unworkable ideas about saving the planet. It will be fun without law and order until another lawless hominid arrives and says, “Gimme that or you die!”
Isn’t it interesting that Nature recognizes a flaw in human nature that would carry over to Mars or any other promised land? If they were to ever get off their ivory towers and down with the rest of humanity, they might recognize their own fallenness as a part of the human race. Maybe they would ponder what a dastardly job Darwin’s blind watchmaker did on Homo sapiens. Maybe they would begin to have horrid doubts, like Father Charlie, about the convictions in their own monkey minds. Maybe they would cry out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall save me from the this body of death?”
That would be the necessary bad news before the good news.