Is Scientific American Liberal?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Pangloss, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. Pangloss More 'pop' than a Google IPO! Registered Senior Member

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    I'm a long-time subscriber to Scientific American, and lately (year or so) I've begun to notice that the magazine has begun to take on a strikingly liberal bent.

    In the July issue, currently hitting news stands, there's an article on Page 35 called "Undercutting Fairness". Right away the title is a bit of a red flag, but if you go through the article the guy is clearly biased towards on side of the issue.

    If that issue were scientific in nature, I wouldn't have a problem with it. In fact I think he has some interesting points -- certainly his numbers seem to indicate that at the state and local level taxation is slanted in favor of the wealthy. We've been hearing a lot lately about how the *Federal* tax system is heavily in favor of the poor (clearly the author is aware of this, referring to that as "progressiveness" in his opening paragraph), and it's interesting if that's not reflected at the state and local level when taking all taxation into account.

    Interesting, yes. But is it science?

    Last month SciAm, one of the great historical bastions of scientific reporting, ran an editorial entitled "Bush League Lysenkoism", ripping the administration for its position on stem-cell research. Here I don't have a problem -- in fact I expect SciAm to take an editorial position and they clearly marked this as editorial. They may even have a valid point. But I wonder if this indicates a definitive bias on the part of the magazine when it comes to reporting scientific *news*.
     
  2. spuriousmonkey Banned

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    Since when is science not biased?
     
  3. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

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    What I find odd is that rotten.com appears to be liberal now :bugeye:
     
  4. spuriousmonkey Banned

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    Why is that?

    Are they only showing mutilated corpses of right wingers?
     
  5. zonabi free thinker Registered Senior Member

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    Last month SciAm, one of the great historical bastions of scientific reporting, ran an editorial entitled "Bush League Lysenkoism", ripping the administration for its position on stem-cell research. Here I don't have a problem -- in fact I expect SciAm to take an editorial position and they clearly marked this as editorial. They may even have a valid point. But I wonder if this indicates a definitive bias on the part of the magazine when it comes to reporting scientific *news*.


    the thing is, my friend, that the magazine SciAm believes this crap-ass administration is limiting and holding the scientific community back from advancing in new areas of theorums and science.

    yes, i understand that this article was not scientific, but it is related to science.

    they are trying to point out FLAWS of the bush administration, just like many people are doing at this time- including that new movie by micheal moore, and the reports coming out on 9-11, bla bla bla ...

    see, its about being FAIR, which they (SciAm) feels is NOT HAPPENING.

    I think its good for the magazine to have an opinion as well as data.
     
  6. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

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    It's interesting, from the beginning of the iraq war to about 5 months ago, I stopped reading sci am because of what I perceived as a right wing tendency. They, from my perspective, dropped interesting science in favor of endless articles about the "new military". Every cover for months looked more like gun's & ammo than a scientific magazine. ""Super stealth fighters", "Hi-tech soldier", etc... it was endless, so in liberal outrage I gave it up.

    I guess my point is we as readers tend to exaggerate the line between "liberal" and "conservative" media (excluding the extreme elements on both sides). For the most part, science or otherwise, the media tends to look out for it's own interests. I think a fair argument can be made that bush is not exactly a patron of the arts and sciences so of course they'd be critical of him. I suspect if a democrat shows a similar lack of interest in promoting and utilizing science they will also become a focus for unfavorable editorializing.
     
  7. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Scientists, on average, are more likely to be liberal.

    I've seen a poll on college professors a long time ago in the LA Times, and those in the field of science & engineering are anywhere from 60% to 70% liberal (in terms of population proportion).
     
  8. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Man I was thinking the same thing and it's QUITE annoying. I LOVE sciam and it' sad to see it slip into politics. I think it will blow over though. Leftists have their panties all bunched up about the administration, so maybe the editors are just pandering a smidge to whom they perceive to be their base. Perhaps the editors themselves are lefties (which would be amusing to me, since IMO, anyone who is rich and leftist is just plain funny) and they just couldn't keep their trap shut about it anymore. I dunno, but I hope it blows over soon. I'd hate to see sciam in the dumps because of shit management.

    I think they'd do better to stay out of the game of politics, period... unless of course it's a scientific assessment of it, like that cool thing they did on voting a while back.
     
  9. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    Is it any wonder that a science magazine should turn against an administration that is attempting to destroy science? How many positions are there where qualified scientists have been removed so that Bush can put in "scientists" that will quack like a duck and repeat the conservative viewpoint ad nauseum?
     
  10. zonabi free thinker Registered Senior Member

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    well said invert_nexus, this is why i fully support what Sci Am is doing.
     
  11. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    That's a pretty harsh accusation. Can you back it up or do you just hate the administration?

    Oh and I gotta say, I expect Sciam to stay out of politics. I find it horribly annoying that a science magazine isn't sticking to science.

    I don't know. You would probably have a better argument if you did. Regardless though, I think any administration does pretty much the same shit. It's politics, so shallow appearances, mouthpieces and nepitism is par for the course. Your accusation sounds again to be rooted in your disgust for the administration rather than a well thought out argument.
     
  12. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    I'd expect Sciam to stay out of politics as well. But, all I was saying is that I don't blame them for their attitude.

    As to proof, I'll dig around and see what I can dig up. Probably have to look no farther than Sciam... :D Seriously, man, I'll bring back what I find, but there were numerous examples of real scientist's being replaced by "quacks" where ever it was I heard about it from.
     
  13. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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  14. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    Here's an interesting one:http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/example_condoms.htm

    No rubbers for the Bush camp. :p


    Edit: With all that said, I would also like to see scientific publications steer clear of politics, but it appears that they are fighting for their lives...
     
  15. Pangloss More 'pop' than a Google IPO! Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting comments, thanks. I thought it was just me, but I guess there's more to it than that, although I enjoyed Buffy's post as well, saying that she thought it came across as conservative for a while. Something to be said for perspective, perhaps.

    I don't think one or two articles or editorials make an entire case for bias, but I agree with many posters above that they really should just stay out of it. EXCEPT for the editorial page, where I think it's fine. Just my opinion, of course.

    I will say this: I reserve the right as a reader and subscriber to send them my thoughts in a letter, and I've done so regarding their June editorial, titled "Bush-League Lysenkoism". My letter is shown below. I'm hoping they'll run it.

    ---------
    I respect your position and share your concerns regarding the Bush administration’s approach to science. Valid points have been raised in this discussion, and I believe we all benefit from an open debate and discussion. But my concern at the moment is your characterization of anyone who disagrees with your conclusions as being a “blind loyalist” to the President. You even went so far as to compare the man to fraudulent Communist ideologues! I find this comparison disturbing and inappropriate. How can we hope to have a debate and discussion if we dismiss and insult those on the other side of the issue?

    It’s hard enough in this day and age to find ANY source of news or information that isn’t tainted by bias of one form or another. The thought that Scientific American, the very bastion of objective thinking and reasoning, might be just another slanted member of the “liberal media” is almost too much to endure. Nobody says that the editors of Scientific American cannot have opinions, or provide them to their readers. But please consider your words more carefully. Other people besides you have valid points of view.
    -------
     
  16. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    One more.
    It's not so much that Bush is attempting to destroy science. It's that he wants to reign it in to spout his propaganda. But, if successful, he will destroy science (american science) as surely as though it were his original intent.
     
  17. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    I'm with your letter. Well stated.
     
  18. spuriousmonkey Banned

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    Let us get one thing straight though...sciam is not a science journal. It is a popular science magazin. It is out there to sell copies of itself for the benefit of its owners and not to promote science.
     
  19. Pangloss More 'pop' than a Google IPO! Registered Senior Member

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    Actually I've always seen SciAm as riding the fence on that one. Just my opinion, of course -- I think you're point is valid -- but I've always seen them as a cut above the Science/Popular Science/Discovery crowd.

    Nature seems to have a similar niche. The point being that you do see serious scientific articles in these magazines, and it's prestigious for scientists to get their articles published in these magazines. Wheras publishing in Popular Science isn't something they would brag about on their CVs.
     
  20. zonabi free thinker Registered Senior Member

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    i still think its perfectly fine for them to voice their opinions about this corrupted administration, and that has to do ALOT with science, or should i say the administration has nothing to do with science, and thats their point.

    cant you guys see what they are doing(bush admin) ? they are deteriorating any possible advances in human science, and limiting where we can go.
     

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