Wednesday, September 16, 2020

SciAm joins partisan politics

I have pointed out how science journals have become increasingly preoccupied with leftist politics, and not
Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. ...

Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.

Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.

This is pretty crazy. I have been reading SciAm all year, and it never suggested any better way of handling COVID-19.

Of those 200k deaths, COVID-19 was sole named cause of death in only 6% of the cases. The vast majority were elderly with multiple other co-morbidities. The changing climate did not cause the California wildfires.

The NY Times has an article saying "conservative media stars dismiss climate change — which scientists say is the primary cause of the conflagration". For its source, it links to a 2018 NY Times story saying that climate change was the source of the 2018 fires, and the paper updated that story to refer to the 2020 fires. That story blames the fires mostly on immigration, but also says that a changing climate can lead to changing fire conditions.

Biden is senile, and controlled by leftist nuts. He has not said anything sensible about either COVID-19 or the climate or any scientific subject. Nobody seriously thinks he has the competence to be President.

This endorsement is just another sign that our academic and scientific establishments have been taken over by leftist ideologues.

Update: One of SciAm's complaints against Trump is this memo:

The memo obtained by media outlets says, in part, that "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. [Anthony] Fauci has been wrong on things."
SciAm calls this a "despicable attempt".

What goes here? Fauci has indeed been wrong on many things, and such knowledge should be considered by the public when relying on his advice. Assessing the accuracy of the pronouncements of an expert is a very pro-science thing to do. SciAm editors obviously just hate Trump, and attack whatever he does.

Update: Scott Aaronson writes:

For the past few months, I’ve alternated between periods of debilitating depression and (thankfully) longer stretches when I’m more-or-less able to work. Triggers for my depressive episodes include reading social media, watching my 7-year daughter struggle with prolonged isolation, and (especially) contemplating the ongoing apocalypse in the American West, the hundreds of thousands of pointless covid deaths, and an election in 48 days that if I didn’t know such things were impossible in America would seem likely to produce a terrifying standoff as a despot and millions of his armed loyalists refuse to cede control.
This is lunacy. Millions of people are buying guns because Democrats are allowing and even encouraging race riots in the cities. The Democrats are the ones trying to abolish free speech on social media, and to take over the govt and abolish the filibuster rule.

Update: Here is a Slashdot discussion. The Trump Derangement Syndrome is amazing. Some commenters point out that there is no hard evidence that Trump's COVID-19 policies were any worse than the Democrats or than the Europeans.

It used to be that the main complaint from academic scientists about Republicans was that favorite projects were not being sufficiently funded. However, that complaint is absent this election year. Apparently Trump is funding all the good science the professors want. They just don't like his personality.

1 comment:

  1. When a scientist can't separate their political beliefs from their scientific positions, they aren't a scientist anymore, they are a technocrat in pursuit of power, not understanding

    For the last twenty years I've watched in growing horror as various 'scientists' abandoned the separation between personal and technical and embrace outright political activism as science. When you elevate your personal political stances over measurement itself, it all goes to hell quickly: I had a physics teacher instruct in significant figures in painstaking detail for over a week, he carefully explained with many examples of why you can NOT mix and match measurements of differing significant figures in calculation since your result is only as accurate as your measurement with the least amount of significant figures (the weakest link of the chain determines how strong the chain is). He asked for any of the students in class to provide a real world example of where the rules of significant figures was being broken, and why this wasn't a good thing. I mentioned that Michael Mann's climate hockey stick was such an example because it was an utter Frankenstein of calculation containing measurements of almost no significance, pasted together proxies (utter guesses upon guesses), and non-measurements like tree rings (they have no known ability to determine temperature) cranked through countless reiterations of the computer model. My physics teacher verbally attacked me, and called me a denier, and told me to shut up and never say such a thing again. I apologized, and explained that I must be in the wrong classroom, as I had thought I was in a college physics class, not a Gaia cult.