March 24, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Journal Nature Would Rather Lose Public Trust than Stop Politicizing Science

Stung by research that showed decline in trust because of
political endorsements, Nature remains unrepentant and stubborn


Nature is widely viewed as the world’s leading science journal. After the 2016 election, Nature and other powerhouses in Big Science displayed no love for President Donald Trump. They constantly criticized him in their editorials. Then, before the 2022 election, Nature endorsed Joe Biden over Trump. This angered some readers of both political parties, who viewed political endorsements out of bounds for science.

How bad was the loss of trust? And did Nature learn its lesson to stay out of politics? No; they doubled down.

The Evidence

Political endorsement by Nature and trust in scientific expertise during COVID-19 (Floyd Zhang, Nature Human Behavior, 20 March 2023). A political economist from Stanford, Floyd Jiuyun Zhang went to look for impacts on trust in science from Nature‘s endorsement of Joe Biden for president over Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

High-profile political endorsements by scientific publications have become common in recent years, raising concerns about backlash against the endorsing organizations and scientific expertise. In a preregistered large-sample controlled experiment, I randomly assigned participants to receive information about the endorsement of Joe Biden by the scientific journal Nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. The endorsement message caused large reductions in stated trust in Nature among Trump supporters. This distrust lowered the demand for COVID-related information provided by Nature, as evidenced by substantially reduced requests for Nature articles on vaccine efficacy when offered. The endorsement also reduced Trump supporters’ trust in scientists in general. The estimated effects on Biden supporters’ trust in Nature and scientists were positive, small and mostly statistically insignificant. I found little evidence that the endorsement changed views about Biden and Trump. These results suggest that political endorsement by scientific journals can undermine and polarize public confidence in the endorsing journals and the scientific community.

It’s not just Nature that showed extreme bias toward Democrat and leftist politics and extreme bias against Donald Trump. We’ve been reporting for years that all of Big Science (journal editors, lobbyists and academic deans) have been waging a political war against all things conservative, as if they are an arm of the Democrat party. Zhang gives additional evidence of the bias:

Scientific organizations and publications have become increasingly involved in electoral politics. In the run-up to the 2020 US presidential election, numerous influential scientific publications, including Nature, Scientific American, the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and Science, published editorial pieces criticizing then-president Donald Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his antagonistic attitudes towards science. Most of these journals urged voters to replace Trump. Among them, Nature, Scientific American and the Lancet explicitly endorsed his challenger Joe Biden. This marked the first time Scientific American or the Lancet had made a political endorsement. These publications were joined by 81 American Nobel laureates in endorsing Biden’s candidacy.

No Exculpatory Evidence Offered

One should take note that claims of “mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “antagonistic attitudes toward science” are in the eye of the beholder. Trump took immediate action against the pandemic, closing off travel to infected countries, restocking personal protective equipment (PPE) that had been depleted by previous administrations, ordering rapid manufacture of ventilators, sending hospital ships to New York and California that were overwhelmed with patients, and incentivizing drug companies to produce vaccines in record time with his moonshot-like “Operation Warp Speed.” This undoubtedly prevented many deaths. Trump held near daily news briefings, allowing Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to give their advice on what to do, until it became obvious that their endless recommendations to shut down businesses was destroying the economy. By the end of his term, Trump was overseeing the vaccination of millions of Americans—a feat thought impossible in such a short time.

In retrospect, it is hard to claim that Joe Biden, who benefited from Operation Warp Speed (the vaccines, supply chains and distribution logistics), did any better in handling the pandemic. Many Republicans would say his policies have been disastrous, unconstitutional and anti-scientific. For instance, he promised that “If you get the vaccine, you will not get Covid.” But then many got Covid after getting the vaccine! The civil rights of those opposed to being injected with the experimental, non-FDA-approved vaccines were trampled on, resulting in many thousands of first responders, military personnel and government employees being fired even after they had natural immunity from Covid, and after the vaccine was proven not to prevent the newer strains that had emerged. This continued throughout Biden’s administration into 2023. Also, Fauci’s integrity has been called into question because of his involvement in funding research at the Wuhan lab in China, and emails showing efforts to censor other scientists.

As for science, Trump advanced 5G and broadband communications, “allocated no less than $200 million each year in grants to prioritize women and minorities in STEM and computer science education,” encouraged NASA to hire more women and girls, and took numerous environmental protection actions including protection of the oceans and improvements to climate modeling. Democrats may not have liked Trump’s actions to limit abortion and reduce Obama’s takeover of vast tracts of land by executive order, but that does not qualify as antagonism toward science. Republican commentators would surely have plenty to say about Biden’s science policies and profligate federal spending on questionable “scientific” projects. The Big Science Cartel is concerned about funding and autonomy, which do not equate to the “scientific method.”

Political endorsements can affect scientific credibility (Nature News, 21 March 2023). The main Nature journal allowed Arthur Lupia to  comment on Zhang’s report in Nature Human Behavior. Lupia reviews the findings, noting that support for Nature‘s “science” among Trump supporters dropped like a rock, by 38%. The journal’s endorsement of Biden did not change readers’ candidate preferences, but made Republicans so disgusted with Nature‘s reputation for “science” that they were likely to distrust the journal on other things, like vaccination and alternative treatments for Covid.

Lupia notes some limitations of the study, but takes alarm at its main point: political endorsements by scientific societies can affect their credibility.

In science, credibility comes mainly from commitment to the scientific method. In politics, at least in democracies, it comes mostly from the ability to articulate why certain moral, ethical, economic or social trade-offs offer the best way to live. Scientific information can and should inform political discussions, by offering clarifying information about likely consequences of actions. But science is almost always insufficient to resolve deep and diverse moral and ethical debates about how we should live.

The current study provides evidence that, when a publication whose credibility comes from science decides to politicize its content, it can damage that credibility. If this decreased credibility, in turn, reduces the impact of scientific research published in the journal, people who would have benefited from the research are the worse for it. I read Zhang’s work as signalling that Nature should avoid the temptation to politicize its pages. In doing so, the journal can continue to inform and enlighten as many people as possible.

Political economist tests the impact of the journal Nature endorsing Joe Biden’s presidency (, 21 March 2023). Under an airbrushed portrait of Joe Biden smiling, Bob Yirka comments on Zhang’s study. His ending paragraph may have been intended as a swipe at Trump supporters’ science knowledge, but actually makes it sound like Democrats lack critical thinking skills.

Zhang found that Trump supporters found Nature to be less well-informed on science matters after learning of the endorsement. They also rated Nature as being more biased on contentious issues. He also found that the endorsement reduced Trump supporters’ willingness to look to Nature sources for reliable information regarding the pandemic. And surprisingly, he found that support for scientists in general by Trump supporters dropped after learning of the endorsement.

Any Remorse?

Should Nature endorse political candidates? Yes — when the occasion demands it (Nature editorial, 20 March 2023). And so Nature was caught red-handed, violating its mission to seek the truth about the natural world, and turning Big Science into a political weapon. One would think they would apologize and vow never to do that again. But no; they doubled down and became adamant that their journal empire is obligated to take political sides. “Political endorsements might not always win hearts and minds, but when candidates threaten a retreat from reason, science must speak out,” they say. They just equated themselves with science! How brash is that? Their political power has gone to their head. They need to go back into a lab and practice the “scientific method” like James Joule did.

Nature doesn’t often make political endorsements, and we carefully weigh up the arguments when considering whether to do so. When individuals seeking office have a track record of causing harm, when they are transparently dismissive of facts and integrity, when they threaten scholarly autonomy, and when they are disdainful of cooperation and consensus, it becomes important to speak up. We use our voice sparingly and always offer evidence to back up what we say. And, when the occasion demands it, we will continue to do so.

Their credibility just bottomed out. For one thing, they are writing this after the first half of Biden’s presidency, and so they have to own all the catastrophes that his administration brought: the disastrous pull-out from Afghanistan, the energy crisis, high cost of gas, worst inflation in 40 years, shortages of critical supplies, ongoing Covid-19 failures and mandates, the open border crisis, the drug death crisis, the sex trafficking, the rising racial division, rising crime, record deficit spending, higher taxes, the 100+ billions of dollars in support for an endless war in Ukraine, and lately, the realignment of the west’s enemies (China, Russia, Iran, and more) into a global axis of evil that threatens the world with nuclear war. What, no word about this “track record of causing harm” from the Nature editors? No word about transparent dismissal of facts and integrity? It’s clear what they care about: “scholarly autonomy” (translation: don’t tell scientists what to do with taxpayer money) and “consensus” (the opposite of science).

That’s not all. Whatever damaged credibility they had left just imploded into vanishing vapor. Why? These editors are evolutionists! They hate intelligent design. They censor any hint of skepticism about Darwinism. They have no solid moral compass. They believe that virtue, integrity, cooperation and every other measure of righteousness are products of natural selection via evolutionary game theory, which is subject to change by mindless forces. And so it is fair to conclude that they are just playing games with their readers. Or worse, it means that their selfish genes are manipulating them like marionettes. Their efforts to “speak up” on behalf of “science” is not about truth at all. It’s about increasing the fitness of their selfish genes and material neurons.

Astute readers should read their virtue signaling through the Darwin lens they themselves have endorsed. If Darwinism is true, then nothing is provably true, including Darwinism.

Nature publishes a lot of good science, but compare Springer-Nature as a company with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. You can buy some delicious flavors of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. The owners, though, are far-left social justice warriors who hate America. They use their profits for a foundation that drives hate between races, “to build movements to dismantle oppressive and discriminatory systems toward a more just and inclusive world” (understand the terms here; this is code for socialism, if not communism). In a real sense, Ben & Jerry are taking advantage of America’s blessings to undermine the country, to bite the hand that feeds them. The ice cream is made by hard working employees who follow intelligently-designed algorithms (recipes) to attract customers. The customers—as well as probably many employees—remain mostly unaware of the views of the founders/owners. In the utopia sought by Ben & Jerry, dictators will tell you what flavor you can buy (if any is in stock), and what price you will pay for it. Most likely it will be a forbidden luxury. Eat your bugs, peasant.

In a similar way, many of the scientists who publish in Nature do yeoman’s work honestly. A lot of their articles taste good. The editors certainly do not or cannot inspect all of the papers printed in their 42 journals, and they most certainly do not do the actual science that gets published. But they have political and academic power, and have sided with global leftists and secularists who push global agendas like climate change and socialism. Trump got in their way. Biden is more easily manipulated to steer taxpayer money into their coffers. That is why they endorsed him.

I fear they will live to regret it. If their utopia comes, we know from history what will happen. They will live in a miserable world of want, unable to heat their homes at night when the sun isn’t shining and the windmills don’t turn. They will live under a tyrannical regime that dictates what they can buy, sell, and where they can go. The regime will force them to publish “science” that promotes the regime, like Stalin did with Lysenko. The tyrants and insiders will enrich themselves while the poor get poorer. By then, they will have completely forgotten what they might have had under a president who loved American ideals, liberty, the Constitution, and God-given rights. Too late, they will see a grinning devil who duped them.

They made their bed, and now they must sleep on it. They have sworn allegiance to their kingdom, and now they must live under its rules. Big Science is to science what the Soviet Union was to government.

While the rest of us are still free, let us stay vigilant. The pursuit of truth about the world through controlled experimentation and testing remains a noble goal, but it is only possible to minds with a solid moral compass and appreciation for the truth. Those come with the image of God. They do not derive from materialism.

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  • J.Y. Jones says:

    Wow, superb article!! Nobody could have said it better. But I’m sure NATURE will say everything involved here even worse, by the stand they are taking. God help us if their way of thinking (and Ben and Jerry’s) ever takes over our country–and we are perilously close.

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