Monday, March 28, 2022

How Science Journalism got Politiciized

SciAm reports:
How the Pandemic Remade Science Journalism

It’s no longer possible to separate science and politics ...

It didn’t take long for bad actors to weaponize the confusion to spread misinformation. Patient zero in this “infodemic” was Donald Trump. The former president routinely downplayed the virus’s severity, calling it “no worse than the flu.” He blamed China, stoking xenophobia rather than urging people to protect themselves and others. He mocked people who wore masks, politicizing a basic public health measure, while promoting baseless COVID treatments. ...

There has perhaps been no more consequential or bitter battleground in the U.S. epidemic than vaccines. The anti-vax movement — a small faction but already a potent force before COVID — took advantage of people’s hesitancy about the speed with which the new vaccines were developed to spread lies and misinformation about their effects. ...

All of this has played out against the backdrop of vast inequities in access to vaccines and health care, both nationwide and globally. One of the biggest lessons of the pandemic for many of us has been that racism, not race, explains why COVID has been even more devastating for people of color.

The arrival of new viral variants further complicated messaging. The mRNA vaccines achieved an effectiveness beyond any expert’s wildest dreams.

Yes, science journalism has been hopelessly politicized, and it is evident from this article.

It eagerly blames Trump for saying "Wuhan virus", but fails to mention that Trump was the biggest promoter of the vaccines. The science journalists conspired to suppress vaccine info until after the Nov. 2020 election, so that Trump would not benefit.

Covid has been more deadly for colored people, but there is no evidence that racism had anything to do with it.

Tony Fauci and many others said things that turned out to be wrong, but Trump is singled out as the "bad actor".

For the vast majority of people, covid is no worse than the flu.

Scientific American had been going downhill for years, and the decline has accelerated in the last couple of years. Now it is all woke, all the time.

Another silly SciAm article:

What Quantum Mechanics Can Teach Us about Abortion

As light can exist as both a particle and a wave, an abortion provider can honor birth and fight for a person’s right to give birth when it’s right for them

It is just as stupid as it sounds.

To be woke, it has to be pro-abortion, pro-women, and recognizing that trans men can give birth. So it would not say "a woman to give birth against her will".

Attending thousands of births has been a great joy in my career and has cemented my belief that forcing a person to give birth against their will is a fundamental violation of their human rights.

Given that one quarter of women in the U.S. have an abortion, many Americans have benefitted directly or indirectly from abortion care.

This garbage is unfit for any scientific publication.

Physicist Lawrence Krauss is one the few willing to denounce the trends:

Earlier this month Science magazine, whose editor since 2019 has promoted the notion that science is systemically racist and sexist, ran four hit pieces on physics in a single issue. It was claimed that physics is racist and exclusionary, run by a “white priesthood,” and based on “white privilege.” ...

So, it is important every now and then, to step back and question the assumptions on which they are based.

(a) If the representation of various groups in scientific disciplines does not match the demographics of the society at large, the cause must be racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination.

(b) When interviewed, white male scientists cannot provide examples of racism or sexism in their disciplines

(c) Anecdotal claims of slights based on ability, or of working in an atmosphere that seemed neither friendly nor inclusive are not in themselves evidence of anything except an atmosphere that seems neither friendly nor inclusive.

(d) It is claimed that too few programs exist to recruit and retain women and minorities.

(e) It is claimed that standard merit-based evaluations must be relaxed to increase diversity in science, and that this will strengthen the field.

A woke mob is destroying science, and hardly anyone says anything.

Another SciAm article:

In 2020, as the bodies piled up, it became clear that people of color were dying at far higher rates than white people. They had the jobs that exposed them to infections, the comorbidities that made them more likely to get very sick, and less ability to access quality health care than white Americans. The toll revealed in very stark ways that racial disparities and racism were alive and well in the U.S. At the same time, police were attacking Black people, and those attacks were being disseminated far and wide via new visual technologies. Just as COVID laid bare the racial disparities, the murder of George Floyd unfolded in front of millions of eyes in a way that made racial oppression undeniable. Not only was the structural racism in American society displayed in all its hideousness, but people were dissecting and debating it across social media in a way that had never been possible before.
Most of this is false. Access to high quality health care was killing people, as nursing homes had high infection rates, and intensive-care ventilators were deadly. The biggest comorbidity was obesity, and no one was making colored people get fat.

The George Floyd trial showed that he died of a fentanyl overdose, and no accusations of racial oppression were even presented. There was not really much debate about structural racism. SciAm published article saying it exists, but nothing debating it.

The recent Kyle Rittenhouse case, in which a vigilante who shot white people participating in largely Black protests was completely exonerated, is also alarming. ... Going forward, will they be willing to risk their lives for a cause that is not directly theirs?
Let's hope that they do not risk their lives by trying to kill and innocent boy who are only there to help. This is just an article by a Black man trying to fuel a race war. Note that is capitalizes Black but not white.

Another SciAm article:

The onus of reducing discrimination should not be on women and people of color. But in a world where inequity and bias are commonplace, having a tool to blunt these barriers may come in handy.
The tool is for women and coloreds to identify their sex and race, because the discrimination is their favor!

Here is another crazy political SciAm article:

Laws Vilifying Transgender Children and Their Families Are Abusive

Recent measures in Florida, Texas and elsewhere serve to traumatize trans children and their families, uphold ideas that trans children are inherently troubled, and go against medical advice

The new Florida law does not do any of those things, and merely bans public schools from teaching perverted sexual theories to K-3 (age 5-8) children.

Update: Another SciAm article:

Anti-trans Laws Will Have A Chilling Effect on Medicine

I am a future psychiatrist hoping to care for transgender people. But I fear these laws will make it difficult to do so

On this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility, we should be celebrating the accomplishments, honoring the resilience and advocating loudly for the rights of people who are trans. Yet the growing onslaught of anti-trans legislation targeting the health care decisions that families make with their doctors threatens to cast a shadow over this day.

About a year ago I lost a family member to the mental trauma of transgender discrimination, so I speak from a place of watching someone I love suffer from lack of support. ...

The day when police came to my house to tell my family that my uncle was found dead from an overdose after years of struggling with her identity, I felt like I was living through a nightmare.

So his uncle liked to dress as a woman, died of a drug overdose, and now he wants to give puberty-suppressing drugs to children. The article has no scientific or medical evidence of any benefit to his proposals. At best he cites surveys saying children like it better when others affirm what they are doing.

1 comment:

  1. When your 'science' and your personal politics fit hand in glove to the point it can no longer be discerned where one ends and the other begins, congratulations! You have just identified that your 'science' isn't. Truth and logic don't don't exist as a subset of virtue signaling, groupthink, or identity politics.

    You now have awareness of a problem that can only be resolved by consciously (and sometimes painfully) deciding to separate your politics from your metrics and data.

    Science is about understanding the world. Politics is about controlling the world. Don't cross the streams.