Big Science Blind to Its Political Bias
More evidence that institutional scientists, journal editors and reporters live in an echo chamber that betrays their ideals of unbiased knowledge generation.
There have been so many articles displaying worldview bias in Big Science that we couldn’t cover it all in our 12/23/16 article, “Big Science Blind to Its Bias.” Let’s turn to politics. Shouldn’t scientists be neutral when it comes to political parties and candidates? The evidence shows that scientific institutions are essentially a cheering section for the Democrats – so much so, that they don’t even need to explain why. It’s merely assumed that president-elect Donald Trump is evil and Republicans are a hate group. For a group of people assumed to respect evidence and logic, this attitude is highly unscientific and illogical – especially for Darwinians.
To see why, consider Science Daily‘s article, “Hard-wired: The brain’s circuitry for political belief.” If the claims of psychologist Jonas Kaplan from USC in this article are to be believed, scientists simply follow the political beliefs in their social circles, which are hard-wired into them. It’s all just a matter of brain networks and neuronal responses going on in their amygdalas. If Darwinians accept the physicalist, irrational basis for their political beliefs, how can they be impartial? They become like the mindless sheep they assume characterize Republicans. Their own beliefs are equally unscientific and illogical. His Yoda Complex in high gear, Kaplan never turns his claim onto himself. If, as the article says, “The findings can apply to circumstances outside of politics, including how people respond to fake news stories,” he has no way to distinguish his theory from fake news. His own brain must be a victim of its peer group. On what basis could he claim otherwise?
Big Science’s knee-jerk hatred of Donald Trump and the conservative movement he represents provides a case in point of irrational, illogical groupthink. No matter what side one takes on the election, this response should be disturbing. What you find in the journals is a choir singing in unison: Trump is bad, populism is bad, nationalism is bad, conservatism is bad, everyone who voted for Trump is a stupid hater, and we should do everything to stop him, because his followers are ruining the climate and don’t like globalism. Is that what “science” should be saying?
Researchers baffled by nationalist surge (Jeff Tollefson in Nature). In his opinion piece, Tollefson sounds like Clinton on the campaign trail, labeling Trump with xenophobia and other deplorable things, even playing the Nazi card. He witnesses the Trump phenomenon, the rise of Marine Le Pen in France, Brexit and other movements as an outsider. He doesn’t get it, nor do his friends; “researchers [i.e., his fellow leftists in Big Science] are struggling to understand why these disparate forces have combined to drive an unpredictable brand of populist politics.” A photo caption reads, “Donald Trump’s US election win stuns scientists.” Question: what does this reveal about their scientific credibility? They didn’t see any of this coming. They are out of touch with the feelings of hundreds of millions of people. Some scientists!
Science advocacy: get involved (Chris Woolston in Nature). While this article doesn’t address Trump’s win specifically, Woolston interviews three science insiders telling their peers to become politically involved. Some of their “scientific” positions have merit (fighting pollution from microplastics), but the other leftist positions are merely assumed: fighting climate change, increasing funding to Big Science, etc. As shown in Part 1, these scientists are blind to their elitism. They don’t have a mind to listen and learn. Education must all go one way, from “scientists” to “people.” (Scientists aren’t people per se; they are Yoda clones on pedestals, dishing out wisdom from on high.)
Simply studying populism is no longer enough (Matthijs Rooduijn in Nature). While Trump supporters rejoice in hope for economic vitality and a new birth of freedom, Nature lets this sociologist write about the “darkening political mood” his election brings. While Rooduijn allows some good in populism, his dark rhetoric sees evil coming in “nativism” and “right-wing politicians” that threaten liberalism, to the point he consciously abandons his impartiality. “So I have changed my mind and my approach,” he says. “I will remain as neutral as possible in my academic work, but I increasingly feel obliged to take part in the public debate about this topic, and to warn in the media of the increasing tension between populism and liberal democracy.” What disturbs him the most? The idea that countries should protect themselves from invasions by terrorists.
Glee to gloom: Climate and the ‘Trump effect’ (Phys.org). The science media are all in for Obama, and all out to attack Donald Trump, this short article illustrates. Trump is bad simply because he dares to question global warming and might threaten to not go along with the globalist, internationalist, warmist conspirators at the Paris Accords. No debate here; the science is settled, according to the elitist insiders. Disputers are evil by definition. One whiner says, “Even if Trump doesn’t do a complete about face on climate, ‘we are likely to see a slowing down of progress compared to what would have happened if Clinton had been elected,’ said [Michael] Oppenheimer [Princeton].” Needless to say, “progress” is a loaded word.
How Woody Guthrie can help us fight for science (Jacqueline M. Vadjunec in Nature). The bizarre headline reveals something of Vadjunec’s hippy roots. Notice the presumptive political elitism in the subheading: “After the election of Donald Trump, Jacqueline M. Vadjunec offers a message of resistance and hope from deep within the US Bible Belt.” Resistance? Yes, against the Trump voters. Hope? Yes, of winning the backwoods sheeple in Oklahoma over to leftism. “If Woody could use his voice to speak up, so can scientists,” she says. She is on a resistance campaign, fighting the “mood of anti-science” she feels in the Trump camp. It’s wonderful that Vadjunec wants to be nice in her indoctrination tactics. “We also need to accept different ways of knowing or even talking about climate change: ways that open doors to start a conversation; ways that are more context specific, culturally sensitive and nuanced than science in general might be comfortable with.” (Most scientists, this indicates, think they should be more pugnacious.)
Donald Trump’s choice for head of the US environment agency is dismaying (Editorial in Nature). Any bipartisanship here? Any desire to reach out and cooperate with the new Trump administration and his cabinet pick Scott Pruitt? Any accommodation to readers who may not be leftist, globalist warmist alarmists? None. “The bad news just keeps on coming,” the editors say. They can count on their pessimism because they merely assume there aren’t any Republicans or conservatives among their readers. Trump represents their “worst fears” coming true: “at this stage it is getting harder to give Donald Trump the benefit of what little doubt remains about the kind of US president he will be.” It may well be that “Pruitt has demonstrated a wilful disregard for science, and has repeatedly put the interests of fossil-fuel companies ahead of those of his own constituents.” We don’t know. CEH doesn’t take a position on Pruitt. But what is clearly evident is Nature‘s flagrant political bias – its emotional outburst against Trump and his cabinet, coupled with a complete absence of any criticism of what the Democrats have done to America for eight years.
Does it matter if Donald Trump has a science adviser? (Alexandra Witze in Nature). This article illustrates how Big Science acts like a special interest group with a leftist bent. Witze praises Democrat presidents who picked science advisers, but criticizes Republican presidents who were slow to pick them. She’s worried about funding. She criticizes President Bush who put a damper on funding for embryonic stem cell research, failing to mention anything about the ethical controversies involved.
Is Donald Trump pushing more scientists towards political activism? (Emma Maris in Nature). Theme of this article: scientists are so “distraught” with Trump’s win, they are forging their scientific plowshores into swords to enjoin the fight against the conservatives. They call this the “Trump Effect.” To her credit, Marris gives one paragraph to someone who “thinks that researchers should offer to help Trump for the sake of society.” But then she quickly turns back to praising the ones fighting him.
US earth scientists plan for uncertain future under Trump (Jeff Tollefson and Alexandra Witze in Nature). Do you get the picture that Big Science identifies as Democrat? That they are unified against Trump, Republicans and conservatives? That man-caused global warming is a given? Read this if unconvinced. Tollefson and Witze use bellicose rhetoric, seeing “science” doing battle with the new administration. “It feels like a war on science, and on climate science in particular,” says Alan Robock, a climatologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “That’s very upsetting.” Maybe Tollefson and Witze will attempt some semblance of balance further down in the text. Nope. Considering who Trump will pick to run NASA, NOAA and the USGS, they say:
“Those are places to insert a progressive agenda into an otherwise kind of ugly and cloudy landscape,” says Daniel Kammen, an energy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
McNutt advises scientists to stay clear-eyed as they confront whatever challenges the Trump administration brings. “I see so many people in this country freaked out,” she says. “That is exactly what those who want to disrupt science are hoping to achieve.”
Is it science’s job to “insert a progressive agenda” anywhere? Any mention of hundreds of millions of voters who turned away from the Clinton-Obama-Paris progressives? No; just the minority who were “freaked out” when Trump won. The New York Times posted a map of “change from 2012”, showing all the states that turned red (Republican) away from blue (Democrat). A larger mass movement could hardly be found. Some analysts noticed that all of Clinton’s popular vote majority came from one state: California. Big Science and its Big Media reporters, identifying with leftist liberal Clinton supporters, position themselves in opposition to a lot of people. That doesn’t make them wrong. It does, however, make them overtly partisan, contrary to the ideals of science. They are so partisan, they don’t even make any attempt to identify or seek the views of conservatives. How can that be scientific?
Big Media’s Dirty Hands
These articles show Big Science Media running what amounts to campaign ads for Clinton.
Pro-Trump bot activity ‘colonised’ pro-Clinton Twitter campaign: study (Phys.org). Well, if it’s a “study,” it must be true. This article pretends to find evidence that Trump rigged the election using automated Twitter accounts. The “study” was conducted in the halls of Big Science. Any word about the overt election fraud strategies of paid Democrat operatives revealed in undercover videos from Project Veritas? Crickets. Any mention that the recounts gave Trump more votes, or that Clinton lost more delegates to rogue electors in the Electoral College than Trump did? More crickets. The article seems geared to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the Trump campaign.
Seizing environmental opportunities under a Trump presidency (Phys.org). This article takes the “glass half full” view, saying that it is “not all doom and gloom for the environmental community” after Trump’s “shock win” for president. How to seize the opportunity? Whatever you do, don’t help Trump! Instead, “forge ahead with implementing the climate treaty signed in Paris, irrespective of the US position.” It’s almost a call for civil disobedience. Question: why does the reporter think its readers will automatically view this as a good strategy?
Congressional Tweet About ‘Disgraceful’ Article Ignores Science (Laura Geggel at Live Science). Geggel places all her bets on “climate scientists” who tell her not to trust anything coming from Congressional Republicans or her “far right” rival, Breitbart News. Her hero is Michael Mann, a climate activist. Her trusted advisers are Democrats. Don’t expect scientific objectivity in this hit piece. It would be nice if she made her political affiliations overt, but she presents herself as a neutral science reporter. Geggel’s article ends, “Live Science reached out to the committee for a comment on scientists’ criticism of the tweet, but did not hear back by press time.” Rather than delay press time till she got an answer, she printed it anyway. Hardly scientific.
ACA repeal could cost California more than 200,000 jobs (Phys.org). It’s no secret that Trump and conservatives want to “repeal and replace Obamacare” which passed in 2009 without a single Republican vote, and with Obama personally making empty promises to the last Democrat holdouts in order to get their support. In order to salvage Obama’s legacy, articles like this scare readers into worrying about what might happen if Republicans get their way. This “study” comes out of UC Berkeley. It wouldn’t be so partisan if it presented both sides. But unscientifically, it mentions nothing about the millions of jobs lost because of Obamacare, when employers laid people off or reduced their work to part time to avoid the stiff costs of the ACA. Republicans point to Obamacare as one of the biggest job-killers in the country. You won’t hear that in this Phys.org piece.
Take any Republican hot-button issue: abortion, free markets, religious liberty, whatever – and you will find Big Science and Big Media fighting it. They want unlimited money for unlimited research on embryonic stem cells, three-parent babies, aborted baby body parts – the whole works (see Science Magazine‘s tidbit about limitations on fetal tissue research from Planned Parenthood as one of the “Breakdowns of the Year”). Their positions mirror those of the Democrat party platform. They are all for imposing global restrictions on individual countries’ energy policies. They support things that have nothing to do with science, and even violate common sense, like open borders that invite terrorists and transgender rights that let men walk into women’s showers with videocams. They use Democrat/progressive buzzphrases with reckless abandon: marriage equality, denialist, reproductive health.
Big Science and their lapdogs in Big Media have shamed themselves into becoming leftist/progressive arms of the Democrat party and the EU globalists. Fortunately, Big Science does not speak for individual scientists, a non-trivial minority of whom are conservative or Republican, but who dare not say so out loud in their peer group. If they had the freedom to speak out, science would benefit from the debate, and journalism would return to doing its job: reporting the news.
Here at CEH, when we report on climate change, we analyze scientific papers that agree with human-caused global warming, not climate “skeptics” and “deniers.” We weigh their evidence. Live Science never takes seriously any critics of the Big Science consensus positions. Their writers serve the warmist alarmists as their press agents, showing little objectivity. The same is true for all the press departments of the ivory tower, whose job it is to make their leftist scientists look good. That material then feeds into the organs of dissemination of “science media,” like Phys.org, Science Daily and EurekAlert. It’s a big racket.
The sources we cite above, from Nature on down to Phys.org, all operate within a leftist echo chamber. When talking about genes, molecular machines and birds and animals, much of what they say is good. But take any controversial topic with political overtones, and blue blood leaks out. We’re not against people taking positions, but Big Media and Big Science should admit their bias. For organizations whose ideals should reflect the public interest, and the taxpayer money that feeds science, they should at least try to make an attempt to be objective. Reporters should make an attempt to hold scientists’ feet to the fire and evaluate their claims critically. These self-serving, mutually reinforcing institutions do a great disservice to the public. To borrow a political phrase, it’s time to drain the swamp.
Next, we will look at Big Science’s blindness to its philosophy of scientism and other self-refuting positions.