Big Science Embraces Disinformation
If it’s for the common good, lying and manipulating the
public is justified, say leftist totalitarians in academia
If your mental image of the scientist is the morally pure, unbiased guy in a white lab coat measuring chemicals in a flask, you need to catch up to the 21st century. There may be many rank-and-file scientists who approximate that image, but the Big Science Cartel is a huge unelected political force wielding significant power over public policy. And because any thought of creation or intelligent design has been scrubbed from the classroom for decades, the remaining cadre of outspoken scientists and their leaders are mostly atheists and Darwinists with left-leaning, globalist intentions.
The generalization doesn’t fit every scientist, of course. But it does fit the powers who arrogate the right to “speak for science.” We’ve been documenting the leftist bent in journals and science news sites for a long time (e.g., 14 Oct 2020, 1 Feb 2020, 5 Dec 2018). Anything dealing with public policy coming from Big Science is indistinguishable from Democrat Party positions, whether it be about abortion, education, LGBTQ, government spending, economics, affirmative action, climate and energy, public health, race relations, foreign policy, civil rights or any other Democrat hot-button issue. Reading the flow of verbiage from Big Science and Big Media, one might be justified in concluding that “science” today has a new mission: prop up Democrats and tear down Republicans.
One egregious example was when leading scientists published an attack on the Covid lab-leak theory in The Lancet when Donald Trump was president, calling it a conspiracy theory without evidence. Now, well after the damage was done, the probability that Covid-19 began in the Wuhan Lab is becoming accepted by government agencies and leading secular journalists (see Nature, 2 March 2023). The scientists were willing to lie in order to keep Trump from winning a second term.
Misinformation is hard to define, but usually means untrue statements stated or repeated carelessly without regard to the facts. (In practice, it usually means statements that disagree with the “experts,” the scientific consensus, or the Democrat Party.) Disinformation, by contrast, is spreading falsehoods intentionally in order to achieve a political goal: the Big Lie propaganda tactic used by Soviet communists and exemplified in the novel 1984. There’s a degree of overlap between the terms.
Roots of Scientific Disinformation Rationalizing
So intent have they become to advance their mission, Big Science and Big Media are now advocating disinformation for the common good (where they get to define what “the common good” means). It’s OK to lie for their version of truth, they ironically believe. This utilitarian view of public policy grew out of several influences.
1. One is the greed for government funding, as lobbyists and and journal editors began to realize that Democrat Party politicians, not Republicans, were more likely to divert citizens’ tax dollars their way without demanding accountability.
2. Another influence is the decline in a theistic view of the world, with its insistence on absolutes and on human exceptionalism. Belief in absolute truth promotes scientific integrity, whose motto is “follow the evidence wherever it leads.” That’s a moral value that has no foundation in atheism.
3. Another major influence on Big Science is the evolutionary view of world history, where the fittest survive not because of truth, but because of power. With Yoda Complex purring, the elitist big cats in charge of scientific priorities view the mass of humanity as herds of particularly interesting mammals, mere pawns in evolutionary games. They employ evolutionary “game theory” to empower themselves (the “cooperators”) against their opponents (the “cheaters”). In this view, whatever strategy works is morally good. Might makes right. If they have to lie to maintain their fitness, what God is there to stop them? What moral pole star is there to follow? The idea of a conscience went out with Darwin. Now, the powerful fell they can take control of the evolutionary steering wheel.
Words Now, Actions Follow
The point may come where the elitists in Big Science will no longer reveal their intentions in journal papers or science articles, but will act on their policy goals behind closed doors. For now, we can watch how they think and work.
Words yes, actions unlikely (Editorial by H. Holden Thorp, editor of Science Magazine, 9 March 2023). As an indicator of the political bias in Big Science, watch how Thorp uses his power at the helm of the premiere American science journal to push for leftist values: DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), CRT, and antiracism. He specifically criticizes conservatives like Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida for trying to defeat the leftist activists in his state. Thorp applauds the NIH that issued a statement in support of leftist values, but look how upset he is about attempts by elected officials to hinder the activism by unelected bureaucrats:
Numerous conservative states are pushing back against all of this, most visibly the state of Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis is considering a run for US president in 2024. DeSantis and his counterparts in other conservative states like to rail against critical race theory, which centers on the idea that racism is systemic, exactly as spelled out by the NIH in their statements. At least 25 states have considered legislation that would limit or eliminate DEI programs or otherwise constrain ways in which universities could teach about related topics. The most recent higher education bill in Florida would ban any funding for DEI.
What is going to happen when the NSF and NIH try to live up to their statements? Will they insist that states accede to the DEI requirements of their grants? Unlikely. When I asked Tabak about this, he sent me a carefully worded email that said, “NIH is not in a position to dictate the parameters of the laws that a state enacts.” He repeated this when I asked whether NIH would strive to require its grantees to live up to the ideals that the NIH has put forward. That’s too bad.
Thorp simply assumes that his political values should be forced on the public by Big Science, without debate or a vote. That is elitist anti-democratic totalitarianism at heart. It also illustrates Big Science’s propensity to fall in line with the latest liberal fad like DEI and CRT, just like they did with eugenics in the 20th century. The leftist bias in Big Science is so rampant, it would take far too long to list even the recent examples. Suffice it to say that conservative-leaning articles are rare to non-existent.
Are nudges sinister psychological tricks? Or are they useless? Actually they are neither (The Conversation, 25 Dec 2023). Articles like this make us wonder if the elitists read our material, because we have criticized “Nudge Theory” on several occasions as methods for political manipulation in lieu of honest debate (5 Jan 2022, 29 July 2022). Maybe they feel obligated to issue a rebuttal. Three professors (Elkins, Hoffman and Chuah), like self-appointed misinformation-checkers, have arisen to preach the post-truth. They say,
To recap, a “nudge” is about making a socially desirable decision easier or more attractive. That is all.
Oh, is that all? These three profs are completely blind to their elitism. Who decides what is a “socially desirable decision”? It’s the elitists in power! They can “nudge” the public to wear masks, lock down and take the jab by whatever means necessary. The profs claim this does not limit anyone’s free will. But hidden in their text is the clear presumption that experts know best; they know what is “good” for the rest of us. The elitists are the nudgers, the public the nudgees.
Notice that these elitists make no attempt to listen and learn from anyone outside the expert class. There is no attempt to promote debate about about policy. There is no room left for voting. If you read their post, they criticize conservatives and praise their own elitist peers who try to measure the effectiveness of nudging. But here’s a test of their integrity: are they willing to be nudged back? We have some test questions for them (11 June 2017).
Want People to Use Less Water? Tell Them It’s Going to Cost More (Bloomberg News, 2 Feb 2023). Here’s an example of elitist nudging in action, published by Nature. “A new study finds that warning people about an imminent increase in water prices is even more effective at reducing consumption than the increase itself.” So is it OK to tell a lie to score higher on effectiveness in changing behavior? The manipulative odor oozes out of this article and its “new study.”
Meat shaming tags shown to reduce likelihood of buying meat (Phys.org, 22 Feb 2023). Here’s another example of scientists “nudging” people to conform to their values, in this case animal rights. The scientists explored the effectiveness of nudging people not to eat meat by putting “meat shaming” messages on packages, like “By eating meat, you make animals suffer.”
Activism and Propaganda
Scientists use TikTok to explain, fight climate change (Phys.org, 9 March 2023). Ask yourself if it is the job of a scientist to use social media to influence public opinion toward a Big Science consensus. This article is about climate activists using TikTok to breed a new generation of climate activists willing to engage in civil disobedience, like they do.
Why populism has an enduring and ominous appeal (The Conversation, 12 Feb 2023). Pay attention to that loaded word “ominous.” Some popular movements may be ominous, but what ominous movement is on the authors’ minds? Notice the big photo of conservative governor Ron DeSantis who is trying to rid Florida schools of “woke” ideology that elitists snuck into the schools without a vote of the citizens. The article also attacks Bolsanaro, the conservative president of Brazil who barely lost to a communist in a disputed election, and Kari Lake, the conservative who narrowly lost a governor’s race in Arizona in another disputed election that she claims had widespread fraud. The authors have only praise, though, for Black Lives Matter, whose members torched cities and rioted throughout the summer of 2020, and whose founders are avowed communists who enriched themselves with the millions in donations virtue-signaling CEOs sent them.
The American right has gone to war with ‘woke capitalism’ – here’s what they get wrong (The Conversation, 24 Feb 2023). A big picture of conservative Ron DeSantis shaking hands with supporters begins this diatribe against conservatives. Cannot the editors of The Conversation find one conservative to praise, and one liberal to criticize? The bias is overpowering. The “expert” political scientist who wrote this is all for the ESG investment strategy that is destroying countries with its insistence on supporting leftist/globalist values.
Christian nationalists are enamored with Putin, even if they oppose Russia, new research from Northeastern professor says (Northeastern University, 9 March 2023). This is such a misinformation-dripping, anti-Christian big lie, it’s hard to fathom how a university could print it as a ‘science research’ article. Most Christians could probably not find one other Christian that is “enamored with Putin.” Putin is despised by Christians! Putting the term “nationalist” with “Christian” is a smear tactic, intended to target anyone who wants their country to be successful. And associating Putin with other conservative leaders is intended to taint all conservatives with Putin’s deserved bad rap.
One Somewhat Fair Article
Misinformation: why it may not necessarily lead to bad behaviour (The Conversation, 23 Feb 2023). The four authors of this article explain why “misinformation” is often in the eye of the beholder, and that concerns about misinformation have a long history. They also respect the intelligence of citizens to recognize misinformation most of the time. “If there is no agreement on a definition of misinformation,” they point out, “it’s no surprise that there is no clear cut way to determine its role in shaping beliefs and, in turn, how those beliefs affect behaviour.” They criticize studies that assume bad information necessarily leads to bad behavior, and point out that censorship often backfires. They advocate a balance between attempts to stop misinformation against freedom of expression. For these reasons, this article is tolerably fair.
The authors of the final article assume that misinformation on scientific subjects comes from outside the institutional sources. It could have been improved by pointing out that misinformation not infrequently comes from within Big Science itself.