The journal Nature is one of the top scientific journals in the world--it is up there with Science, and publishing in Nature can make your career.
Today, however, the current editors of Nature either betrayed their scientific principles or they went on record to document their political biases, or both. Either way, they exposed much of what is wrong with contemporary science.
What did the editors of Nature do that was such a travesty? Most critics will point out that by advocating for the election of Hillary Clinton the editors crossed the boundaries into crass partisanship. I agree. After all, take a look at some of these quotes:
"Trump is a demagogue not fit for high office, or for the responsibilities that come with it."
"Will the centre hold? Will the United States elect its first female president, Hillary Clinton? It should do. And not just because she is not Donald Trump. Clinton is a quintessential politician — and a good one at that. She has shown tremendous understanding of complex issues directly relevant to Nature’s readers, and has engaged with scientists and academics."
"Nobody knows what Trump’s followers will do next. America is fertile territory for conspiracy theories, and Trump is fanning the flames with allegations that the election is rigged."
So Trump is a demagogue and Clinton is an effective politician and only God knows what those crazy Trump supporters will do next.
Folks, this is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world and the editors shows this degree of insight?
Before you say “so what,” think about your reaction had the Nature editors written something like this:
“Clinton is untrustworthy, duplicitous, and her decades old political relationships have made her a rich, no, an extremely wealthy, politician. The Clinton Foundation is a fraud, a front through which favors are exchanged for donations. Moreover, Clinton shows no more acceptance of science than any other politician.....she uses science to benefit her and her political positions and ditches science when it doesn’t."
Would you still be supportive of Nature’s editors?
That said, I find the real sin of the editors to be the narratives they use to justify their support for Clinton.
" Trump ....has tapped into a much larger undercurrent of legitimate anger that is fuelling political upheaval in many countries...... The xenophobic and populist message spouted by such politicians is ages old and has secured the rise of countless tyrants throughout history. Most recently, hostility towards immigrants contributed to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union."
You get that? UK voters are xenophobic bigots and Trump supporters are courting tyranny.
And then we have their conclusions:
"Although both parties have become more extreme over the past two decades, conservatives have turned their backs on mainstream science to an unprecedented degree."
Yes, we conservatives have turned our backs on science and jump up and down with excitement at the thought of moving society backwards to our prescience state. I can only imagine life without medicine, biology, genetics, and physics. Maybe I can conjure a lightening bolt once we do away with science!
What an asinine and totally bigoted statement by the Nature editors.
Am I to believe that conservatives, who dominate business, a lot of tech, the military, medicine, and engineering are anti-science? Seriously? And am I to believe that liberals, who reject nuclear power, GMO’s, and capitalism, and who often embrace fleeting social fads, are scientifically superior?
Where is the evidence in favor of affirmative-action, gun control, or a host of other liberal causes? Have liberals “turned their backs on mainstream science” and what do you think would have been the reaction had the editors written such drivel?
If you live and work on a university campus, you know that a large and growing number of professors are pseudo-scientists and that many professors are nothing more than New Age cultists. Neither care about truth, falsification, or objectivity and neither show any degree of self-reflection. They are every bit the tyrant, every bit the demagogue, and every bit the religious convert.......and they are ALL to the left.
Will the editors of Nature care to make a comment about those who push postmodern nonsense or about those who advocate for ideas that are entirely without scientific support?
Science is not hostile to conservatives but many scientists are, especially those in the social sciences. I imagine a paper supporting some “conservative” narrative may not find a receptive place in Nature and that the editors would NEVER admit openly that their political biases influenced their evaluations.
This is the type of liberal privilege that pervades the academy and that detracts from the legitimacy of science. But it is more than that: It is pure, unadulterated intellectual bigotry.
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology