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Permission to speak not granted: the editor of Science gives his ruling

This “Threadreader” page shows a now-deleted set of tweets by the Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, Holden Thorp:

In light of @Nature’s excellent editorial about why it makes sense to comment on politics (all the way, in their case, to making an endorsement), this is the Pew finding that is most relevant. Following the admonition to stick to science is conceding the idea that scientists can be sidelined in policy decisions. “Stick to science” infantilizes scientists and tells us to sit at the kids table and let the adults decide. We must fight back. Here’s the editorial:

Should Nature endorse political candidates? Yes — when the occasion demands it

Political endorsements might not always win hearts and minds, but when candidates threaten a retreat from reason, science must speak out.

Sure, if you ask if folks in the public if they lose faith in science if journals venture into politics, many will say yes. But they don’t actually want science, they want scientific information they can use as they see fit. 3/n @Magda_Skipper @laurahelmuth @KBibbinsDomingo

This gives people the permission to say things like “climate change may be real, but I don’t think we should have government regulation to deal with it,” which is unacceptable. We can’t concede that by letting people pick and choose. Good for @Magda_Skipper for speaking out.

Emphasis added. Found via Stuart Ritchie.

35 comments to Permission to speak not granted: the editor of Science gives his ruling

  • It seems as if Holden Thorp has forgotten that we are a democracy (even if in name only) rather than a noocracy.

    As it is Big Science has been caught red handed passing off fraudulent science as both fact AND truth when it gives them greater power and increases the size of their bank balance.

    The days of unbiased and neutral science are long gone, if they ever existed at all.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    Sadly, this is yet another example of Follow The Money. If you want to do Big Science (which now includes almost all science), you need Big Money; Big Money comes only from the Big State, who want the results they want. Of course dissent is not welcome. Feynman will be turning in his grave…

  • Sigivald

    Someone remind them that science has not a single thing to say about valuations.

    Science can tell us, notionally, “human action is causing climate change”. It can tell us “these are the likely effects as things stand”. (I have little faith in the latter set of predictions as commonly presented, but it is in science’s domain to make such predictions, and one can do so honorable and well.)

    Science absolutely cannot tell us whether we ought to do anything at all about it, or accelerate it, or try to stop it, let alone how we Ought To Do That.

    Those questions are questions of moral valuation, which science is necessarily utterly silent on.

    He forgets that, and when he forgets that, he harms science – because one cannot serve two masters, and “the truth about the universe’s physical configuration” is one master, while “what my worldview and politics see as the best way to achieve goals I like” is another one.

    To the extent people still trust “science”, it’s only and to the extent that it sticks to being science, not science-flavored policy preferences.

    Science can tell us how to do something we want; it cannot tell us WHAT TO WANT, or how to weigh the side effects of our means, or anything else like that.

  • Steven R

    Science and Nature are technical journals. They may be the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, but they are still fundamentally technical journals. They shouldn’t be endorsing or involved in politics in any event.

  • Science can tell us how to do something we want; it cannot tell us WHAT TO WANT, or how to weigh the side effects of our means, or anything else like that.

    Science should provide evidence and options, nothing more.

    As it is they seem to desire to wear the white coats of percieved neutrality and objectivity while picking-and-choosing which policies to support and which to undermine (mostly through bias and brazen selectivity) to achieve the best outcomes for themselves in terms of power and wealth.

    That ain’t science. That’s politics. If the scientists want to be politicians they should remove their white coats and get bloody elected to Parliament.

  • Steven R

    “Stick to science” infantilizes scientists and tells us to sit at the kids table and let the adults decide. We must fight back.

    No, it doesn’t infantilize scientists. It tells scientists to stay in their lane inside of technical journals. Do you want politicians pushing legislation publishing in scientific journals? There is a time and a place for everything. Putting political opinions in technical publications of any stripe, be they scientific, medical, engineering, or safety, is the wrong time and place. Science’s job is to provide humanity with an understanding of the universe and how it functions and what it means to us.

    If an editor of a journal wants to bloviate about whatever political issue is at hand, then do so, but he is free to do it on his time and his dime. Write a guest op-ed for something like the New Republic or the NYT. Start a blog. Write a book and get it published.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    While I agree with all the comments above, I fear that the ship has not only sailed but has been sunk and raised several times and is currently crewed by the skeletons from Pirates of The Caribbean.

    Of course I speak as a skeleton, I mean scientist.

  • bobby b

    I think it’s fine if they wish to opine on such things, but the danger (to them) is that, if we see that they get their logic so badly wrong in their social opinions, we can’t continue to respect their supposed competency in anything, including science.

    They just gave away some of their “goodwill” – their authority, their importance – as the price of this opinion. They’re the Bud Light of science.

  • JJM

    bobby b: “They’re the Bud Light of science.”

    Yep. They’re scientists only in the sense that they worship at the altar of scientism.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b
    I would not deny anyone the right to opine (or to make a fool of themselves).
    It’s just that ( as you know) they try and do it dressed in the robes of “Scientists” and claim special privileges which should only pertain to their very narrow area of expertise (not the robes, of course, anyone should be allowed the robes).

  • Steven R

    Scientists can be wrong nd delusional. They are human beings too. They can even be so hidebound by dogma, whether political or religious, that they effectively stop being scientists. Look at handful of physicists and astronomers that reject heliocentrism because the Bible says it’s wrong or the handful of biologists that reject evolution in favor of intelligent design. But that doesn’t mean the scientific community as a whole should interject themselves into the political arena just because a couple of editors say they should. If anything, the community should vocally rise up and demand those editors sit down and shut up and stop dragging their good names into the mud just to score points with politicians and writers and the unwashed masses.

  • bobby b

    Clovis Sangrail: ” . . . they try and do it dressed in the robes of “Scientists” and claim special privileges which should only pertain to their very narrow area of expertise . . .”

    Oh, I do understand that. I suspect that they don’t understand that, though, because they just sullied those robes and are risking some of those special privileges as the price of saying what they said.

    Nature and Science both had built up over the decades an importance, a believability, professional standing – a science-community version of corporate goodwill. Each time they announce another flat-earth social opinion, they use up some of that goodwill – “okay, we’ll listen to you because you’re Nature” – and so they are now, in sum, accorded that much less respect than they had before.

    They can do this a few times – they have a lot of goodwill – but eventually they’ll become the new Scientific American – a politics rag that used to be important.

  • Martin

    By so blatantly using ‘science’ as a smokescreen for political partisanship, they’re ironically doing a lot to vindicate postmodernist critiques of science.

  • Fraser Orr

    The word “science” ultimately derives from the Latin verb “scire” meaning “to know”. Science is knowledge not wisdom.
    What I find curious about this is if you read any decent science paper it is always FILLED with hedging, hesitation, skepticism, demands that more work be done. I just made this up, but this is the sort of thing you see in a scientific journal:

    “Although these data seem to show a significant (p=0.5) decrease in mortality for lung and pancreatic carcinoma stage IIIb or earlier (sample size 526, with a 12.3% higher survival rate at 5 years over placebo) we can only conclude that a more detailed and wider ranging study would be necessary to derive any reliable long term, generally applicable clinical recommendations. Furthermore, this study offers no data on the efficacy of the studied drug on Stage IV carcinoma, or such diseases in other organs. Consequently, we recommend that further study be done on this promising regime”.

    Which is to say even within their own lane scientists are very hesitant to say “this is the correct way to do things.”

    Of course this study would be reported on CNN as “Scientists discover cure to cancer!!”, and on Fox News as “FDA delays approval for cure all cancer drug.” But that is a different matter.

    If scientists are to comment on policy prescriptions I propose that they do so in a scientific manner, which is to say, they propose a hypothesis, then an experiment, then gather the results from the experiment and refine their hypothesis. But they aren’t doing that. When they propose public policy they do so just by declaration rather than based on any evidence based conclusions, or by making huge extrapolations from tiny samples with highly chaotic results. I’m sorry, this just isn’t science.

    If you learn one thing from the history of science it is that expertise in one field does not at all imply expertise in another. After all, even Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest scientist and mathematician in human history, was an alchemist and a total religious nutjob.

    Of course scientists have a right to their opinion about policy ideas, the same way they have a right to have an opinion on which music is best, or where they think the best place to live, or the best person to marry are. But these aren’t science either. You shouldn’t put things that aren’t science in a journal called Science, any more than you should put celebrity gossip in the Financial Times.

  • Sure, but the old way of doing things, notionally called “Evidence based policy making” has been turned on it’s head and we’ve now got “Policy based evidence making” in which the politicians say “This is the truth”…like the whole climate change alarmism bullshit.

    Then the scientists set off to find evidence for the whatever contention is being held (and funded very well for doing so).

    As always “He who pays the piper calls the tune”, so those scientists which deliver as required by the politicians get the big bucks and accolades and anyone attempting to question or disprove said contentions gets called a skeptic, has zero access to funding and is thrown to the wolves.

    If that’s science, I’m Napoleon Bonaparte.

    In fact, anyone who follows scientific principles will call it what it is. Not science, but fraud and dogma enabled by corruption and petty place-seeking.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Holden Thorp is a splendid demonstration of the difference between stupidity and insanity.

    I could let it go at that, in since the comments above (not all of which i have read yet) contain pretty much all the specific arguments needed to demonstrate insanity.

    In particular, Sigivald has shown the relevance of the is/ought dichotomy — something that, i fear, neither Holden Thorp nor Paul Marks will be able to appreciate.

    It must be added, however, that i do not trust people like Holden Thorp to understand what reality IS, let alone what it OUGHT to be.

  • Fred Z

    @Peter MacFarlane: It’s also an example of one of Conquest’s laws “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” To which I would add that even an explicitly right-wing organization will almost certainly be enmoled by lefties flying false flags, taken over and destroyed.

    @Steven R: “Scientists can be wrong and delusional” is not how I see it, in line with my father’s dictum that “90% of everything is crap”. I respectfully suggest that it should be “There is a 90% chance that any given scientist and/or their work is wrong and delusional.”

  • Mr Ed

    This gives people the permission to say things like “climate change may be real, but I don’t think we should have government regulation to deal with it,” which is unacceptable.

    Where is the method statement, and the data, to back up this assertion? What control was used? Is there a positive control and a negative control? What is the sample size?

    It doesn’t sound at all scientific.

    And peer review is not ‘scientific’. A peer review of Isaac Newton’s alchemy would be bunk, a peer review of his physics and mathematics would be worthless.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b

    They can do this a few times – they have a lot of goodwill – but eventually they’ll become the new Scientific American – a politics rag that used to be important.

    And that’s what makes me very angry.
    I grew up reading Scientific American and adored it. Now it makes me nauseous.

    To give one example of things going wrong-I sat on a grant panel where we were considering an application from statisticians to get funding to improve their, for want of a better term, “climate model statistical replicators”.

    These were computationally relatively simple and cheap statistical “models” which largely replicated the incredibly slow and expensive ensemble modelling of climate scientists. They said the statistical models already did a pretty good job.

    I asked them why, rather than just trying to improve the match, they weren’t trying to understand why these simple statistical models could match the climate models at all. They, and everyone else on the panel (except the chair) seemed perplexed and offended by the question. As far as they were concerned, the climate models were simultaneously canonical and ineffable. It was like I’d exposed myself in church.

  • Slartibartfarst

    History shows that, to some extent, this discussion would seem to be about the symptoms of a socio-economic disease of corruption (the prostitution of Science) having come about and that we were forewarned against by US President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell speech to the nation. He presumably saw the potential for what could emerge (or maybe it was already emerging at the time) from the mechanism that he had been instrumental in creating – the “military-industrial-congress complex” (though apparently he had been asked to drop reference to the “congress” bit).

    Below is taken from a post written by Isaac Orr | August 21, 2021, in “American Experiment”.

    President Eisenhower’s farewell address warned about science as an appeal to authority.
    The COVID-19 pandemic and debates about energy policy and climate change highlight a troubling trend among many liberals to use science as an appeal to authority to stifle important debates about public policy, rather than a system of obtaining knowledge through trial and error.

    Liberal policymakers often claim they are “following the science” to justify unpopular and costly public policies and to label anyone who disagrees with them as a “denier.”

    President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, which is often referred to as his “Military Industrial Complex” speech, issued a stark warning about the influence of federal funding of scientific research, and how this could unjustly influence public policy.
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society….
    End of extract.
    Science is our greatest tool for furthering the human condition, but it is not immune to corruption and influence peddling. Eisenhower astutely warned against these dangers. You can watch the speech for yourself below.

    __________ #Nullius_in_verba ___________________

  • Hand’s up if you read that in Slartibartfast’s voice?

  • Alan Peakall

    Fred Z: There is an apposite quotation from James Watson: One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.

  • Paul Marks

    I can remember when some people said that it did not really matter that the the humanities were being corrupted by the left – as the natural sciences were the only things that really mattered.

    This was wrong on two levels – firstly the natural sciences are NOT the only things that matter, and (also) if the humanities are corrupted this leads to the corruption of the natural sciences, as the study of natural sciences depends on a series of principles that are philosophical, indeed political, in nature (no pun intended).

    Without such assumptions as the objective nature of truth, and the value of free debate (assumptions that are from the humanities) the study of the physical sciences breaks down – and becomes the horrible mockery of science that we see in publications such as “Nature” today.

    In the United States “scientific” journals went so far as to campaign for the proposed far left Constitution in Chile (a Constitution that was rejected by the voters) as, supposedly, the insane ravings of the document were “scientific”.

    This stuff is no more “scientific” than the “scientific socialism” of the Marxists – it is propaganda based on the crushing of dissent.

    The West, by abandoning its philosophical principles, is losing the ability to really study the physical sciences – as the study of the physical sciences depends upon having an open mind and allowing freedom of debate and discussion, and this is increasingly not allowed.

  • Steven R

    Hand’s up if you read that in Slartibartfast’s voice?

    I certainly did.

  • Fraser Orr

    I think the Eisenhower comments really are spot on, which is not something you’ll hear me say about a politician too often.

    If one were to read a study saying “fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes” one might discount it were it paid for by “Big Oil”. If one were to read a study talking about the “Safety and efficacy of such and such a drug” one might discount it were it paid for by “Big Pharma”. Such a method of assessment of the quality of a study is so perfunctory that we barely even mention the assumption about paying pipers and the tunes he plays. And yet when we read a study favoring more government power and control and find that it is sponsored by “Big Government” we don’t have the same reaction?

    I think also that it is a dilemma for science people. I think as a general rule science people are a bit more skeptical of government action than on average. But government offers them gobs of money, or offers gobs of money to fund things they like. For example, why is governments paying for things like the Large Hadron Collider? I wonder how many of you wince at this? After all, I like science and it is a really cool project. But really. Why are we paying for it? Imagine all that money being back in private hands doing privately funded innovation. I suppose you can argue that NASA and ARPAnet were directly related to defense projects so might be justified by government money, but NASA bought out the whole industry of science in the 1960s, and made it a subsidiary of the government.

    Ultimately it is part of two deeply toxic trends that have consumed the west over the past 100 years — the politicization of everything and the centralization of everything. When every problem needs to be solved by the government then every area of human life becomes a political statement. When orthodoxy is demanded, when any disagreement is judged as a stain on the moral character of one’s interlocutor, then variation, federalism, options, become horrifyingly unacceptable. And so we have today the denouement of this all. Everything centralized, everything political, everything tribalized, everyone angry and unhappy, and the government the only source of money for anything.

    FWIW, I think the west is WAY past the point of no return.

  • Steven R

    A big part of the problem is we are way past the point where scientists can make discoveries without loads of money involved. Galileo made all kinds of breakthroughs and set the stage for Classical Mechanics in his workshop, but now even a modest plasma physics lab in a small state school will still have a couple million dollars in equipment. Some backyard astronomer might find a stray comet or something, but the real work of astronomy these days involves probes and missions that last years upon years and cost half a billion dollars. Even a wildlife biologist going into the field to study beavers is going to need a support system of some sort and that costs a tremendous amount of money. And that doesn’t even get into the whole debate over scientists still being forced to pay journals like Nature and Cell and Science and PNAS to publish their works and how much those journals charge for access. It’s not unheard of for a scientist to pay 5 grand to submit a paper and that money has to come from somewhere.

    If the money comes from government in the form of grants, it’s at least supposed to go to open access to the world (or to pay for a government project like a particle physicist working on a beam weapon for the military). But if we rely on a scientist asking private business for money what happens when the scientist makes a huge discovery that is not in the interest of the company to release? Obviously it gets quashed. And that’s one of the biggest issues I have with the idea of privatization of libraries and the police; do libraries owned and paid for by RJ Reynolds allow anti-tobacco materials to be accessed? Does a police force owned by OCP and contracted by a city move against company officers suspected of a crime? Does Weyland-Yutani tell humanity they discovered a new lifeform because it is of interest to everyone or do they keep it secret to exploit it?

    We don’t want government involved in funding science, private industry alone funding science opens up a whole lot of ethical questions, and based on history private industry is not going to be on the side of angels, so who funds it when it is so expensive?

  • Science and religion are orthogonal. Science deals with can and cannot, religion in should or should not. There are lots of was of saying this, and results can vary if there are new discoveries or new gods move into the neighborhood, but the two fields of thought should mantain a wary and respectful distance. Right now, “climate science” and “covid” are the new gods in charge, and their faithful are trying a hostile takeover of science, complete with witchburnings.

    This happened to Galileo. Now it’s happening to us. Even if you have learned from history, it doesn’t mean much if the society surrounding you hasn’t.

  • Paul Marks

    There is an increasing gap between real science, the non political pursuit of truth based on free enquiry, objective honest evidence and free debate, and “The Science” – which is a cultural and political agenda which has nothing but hatred and contempt for objective honest evidence and free debate.

    Sadly “Nature” and other journals increasingly represent “The Science” rather than real science – and so do the schools and universities.

    Culture in the West is moving in a direction where is it harder and harder to do real science, to honestly and freely investigate the physical world and to freely debate one’s evidence and reasoning.

    Real science is being replaced by this political and cultural agenda called “The Science”.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Steven R
    A big part of the problem is we are way past the point where scientists can make discoveries without loads of money involved. Galileo made all kinds of breakthroughs and set the stage for Classical Mechanics in his workshop, but now even a modest plasma physics lab in a small state school will still have a couple million dollars in equipment.

    I’d say a few things to this:
    1. That is only true of the specific kind of science we do. There is lots of science that can be done very inexpensively. It is a matter of which type of science we chose to do. For example, the type of science we lament — climate science is theoretically pretty cheap. All you need is access to massive amounts of publicly available data, some programmers and some super fast matrix math machines — something that is readily abundant and cheap due to video games. So why then does that need all that government money — except perhaps to tilt the results.

    2. If science actually contributes value then we can fund it the way we do any other enterprise — by raising money from the public or from company internal investments.

    3. The very presence of gobs of money means that nobody tries to do science inexpensively.

    Consider the LHC. An amazing experimental tool that is MASSIVELY expensive. It has produced a few small results. How exactly has it improved the human condition? We might know a few more things, but my life hasn’t improved one whit because I know for sure the Higgs Field is a real thing. If instead we spent that money (and by “we” I mean “the people from whom it was forcibly taken) on other things we would surely have discovered and invented many, many useful things that would have advanced the human condition. So massive spending is a matter of choice not necessity.

    I’m not, BTW, opposed to blue sky science, but it is absolutely a matter of priorities — what don’t we do because we are doing that?

    And that doesn’t even get into the whole debate over scientists still being forced to pay journals like Nature and Cell and Science and PNAS to publish their works and how much those journals charge for access. It’s not unheard of for a scientist to pay 5 grand to submit a paper and that money has to come from somewhere.

    Well you say “don’t get into the whole debate” and then you do!! 😀 But this again is a decision. It is plainly possible to publish results for no cost. It is also possible to have a review process to assess the quality of results at very little cost too. However, the academic ivory tower represented by these journals wants to maintain their “position in society” and doesn’t want to allow the riff raff to have a say. And I think the real truth here is the “publish or die” pressure on academics comes directly from the constant begging for government money who often make distribution decisions on the basis of publication history (and of course, government orthodoxy within those publications). So journals are a consequence of the government money system, not a separate thing.

    But if we rely on a scientist asking private business for money what happens when the scientist makes a huge discovery that is not in the interest of the company to release?

    This is a reasonable question, and the answer is: it depends. I think an important observation is that things get discovered soon after when they can be discovered. It isn’t some magical epiphany, rather it is the ongoing process of synthesizing other ideas. For example, the transistor was the synthesis of ideas from material science, manufacturing science, earlier electronics etc. It was discovered when all the pre-cursors were in place. And then the integrated chip was discovered when the precursor transistor was discovered and so forth.

    So if you discover something at company A, there is a pretty good chance I’ll discover it at company B soon after. there are a few ways to manage this. One is what AT&T did with the transistor — patents, the other is to just let it ride. I don’t like patents at all, but it is certainly a way to make inventions (or science) public while still profiting. But if it is in the best interest to keep it secret they can do so, only with the knowledge that someone else might very well, and very soon make the same discovery.

    So the idea that we need public money to fund these discoveries is based on the poverty based mindset that discoveries are rare sparks of genius in isolation from everyone else that need to be managed and controlled. When the reality is one of abundance, that discovery is a process, a product of previous discoveries, and it is pretty likely that when the precursors are in place many people will make the discovery at roughly the same time.

  • bobby b

    It would probably be tiresome and overly basic to speak about Atlas Shrugged’s State Science Institute in the context of the LHC, especially on a libertarian site. Preaching to the choir and all that.

    But more and more I conclude that Rand didn’t miss much.

    There are many reasons we get huge government science efforts – the LHC, moon shots, etc. The actual promise of scientific advancement doesn’t rank in the top ten reasons for them.

    Our main problem now is, many assumed that “government science” had pure scientific foundations, and moved the financing of all science in that direction.

    Give me some private company looking for new profits through scientific exploration any day. Musk over Fauci, basically.

  • Myno

    A friend teaching at MIT informs me that whereas it used to be that when a research project was completed, the equipment (once no longer in use for that project) was put in storage, and hence made available to anyone who had some idea they wanted to pursue. That practice is now long gone. All such equipment is quietly sold. This fits the new Big Money model where you have to get a grant to do the least thing, including buying the equipment necessary for it. That means that the grant review process, which demands buy-in by all those who might have an opinion on the research in question, filters out all but those in present political favor… even for the smallest of projects. All part of the new “Science Mafia” as he calls it.

  • Boobah

    What happened with Galileo was mostly Galileo’s fault.

    Dude claimed he’d worked out how planets moved (in circles, around the sun) which didn’t get him arrested.

    But when the Pope took the telescope Galileo had given him and looked where he’d said a planet should be, it wasn’t there. Which he publicly noted, concluding that Galileo was wrong.

    Galileo responded by publishing a pamphlet that called the Pope an idiot who probably couldn’t find his ass with both hands, much less a planet. This got him arrested because he lived in the Papal States.

    The Pope had the option to either ignore the whole thing (which wasn’t really an option if he wanted to continue being pope) or prosecute Galileo.

    For prosecution, they could either use the secular lèse-majesté or the ecumenical blasphemy (because the Church’s official line was still geocentric.) They went with blasphemy because it punished Galileo less.

    And folks with an agenda have spent centuries blaming ‘religion’ because Galileo was an ass in public to someone obligated to slap him down for it.

  • Paul Marks

    Boobah has a point – the Roman Catholic Church most certainly had its faults, but doing real science was at least possible under its rule – because the basic philosophical assumptions of science were accepted (objective truth, laws of nature, the importance of logical reason in debate, and the importance of honest evidence in matters of physical science).

    Real science is becoming harder and harder to do in the modern “Woke” West – as real science, like mathematics, is denounced as “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “transphobic” and-so-on and real science may lead to people becoming “Deniers” of both the Covid narrative and the C02 is evil doctrine. And “Deniers” of other things to.

    Increasingly, in the West, real science is being replaced by “The Science” – which has predetermined cultural and political conclusions. Honest evidence is not required for “The Science” – and they supress evidence, and manufacture false evidence (false data), without shame.

    Remember the editor of “Nature” is not just insisting that people accept that C02 is evil – he is ALSO demanding that they accept (as part of “The Science”) that a bigger and more interventionist government is the correct response to the C02 is evil doctrine.

    No dissent either about the doctrine, or the response to the doctrine, is allowed.

    This most certainly does not just cover C02 is evil, it covers just about everything else as well.

    Under “The Science” neither theories (which are not treated as theories – they are treated as doctrines, dogmas) nor the response to them, may be questioned.

    Everything is predetermined to fit a cultural and political agenda – that is “The Science” and that is why it is not compatible with real science.

    Real science will die in the “Woke” West – although technology may linger on, perverted to serve tyranny.

  • SteveD

    Science and Nature can endorse the living daylights out of any policy they want. I won’t even know what their endorsement is because I skipped the boring political editorial at the front of journal to get to the interesting science part. You should too.

  • bobby b

    I think you need to be reading the boring political editorial at the front of the journal in order to discern how they might be slanting the selection of the interesting science part.