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Wokeness (And Women?) Have Ruined SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
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See also: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s Race-Denying Susan Goldberg Strikes Again: “No One Is Born A Genius”

It is now clear that our once-highly-respected popularizer of the latest scientific research, Scientific American, is hopelessly misnamed.

Clearly, any “Managing Editor” of such a magazine should be devoted to science and, thus, to placing the pursuit of the empirical truth above all of other considerations. However, a recent ad for this very position tells us that Scientific American is committed to “diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in our workplace and our journalism.”

In other words, the magazine will misreport, or fail to report, scientific discoveries if they in any way question, or even if they fail to directly promote, Woke dogmas.

Clearly, with this policy, America’s oldest continuously-published magazine is not only failing its science-enthusiast readers, but it is failing anybody who is not a Woke ideologue.

VDARE.com has been following the metamorphosis of Scientific American into Anti-Scientific American for some time.

It first came to our attention in 2008, just prior to the “Great Awokening” which seems to have started in about 2010 [Our Research Shows the ‘Great Awokening’ Preceded Trump—and Outlasted Him, By David Rozado et al., Newsweek, September 7, 2021]. In 2008, Steve Sailer reported that Scientific American had declared “War on Occam’s Razor.” The lack of scientific integrity in the article which Sailer quoted was so obvious that he made no further comment. “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life, than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved,” Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying. This was put down to “unconscious bias” rather than the overwhelming evidence that street muggers in US cities are likely to be young, black men [see Why Race Matters, by Michael Levin, 2005].

This was, maybe, a subtle foreshadowing of what was to come. The collapse of Scientific American’s once-firm scientific foundations really only became clear in 2014. This was the year in which Nicholas Wade published his cautious defense of the reality of important genetic race differences, A Troublesome Inheritance and it was also the year that the Woke Mob was sufficiently organized, due to the rise of social media perhaps, to be able to seriously pressure this prestigious magazine.

In April 2014, a doctoral student called Chris Martin argued in a Scientific American blog that female under-representation in scientific fields may be not only due to “past discrimination” but also because of “innate sex differences.” “This slovenly article above is so full of outdated information it is painful,” Woked one commentator among many. Martin was duly fired.

Then in May, Ashutosh Jogalekar gave a relatively favorable review of A Troublesome Inheritance, stating that the book confirmed the need to, “recognize a strong genetic component to [social and cognitive] differences.” The backlash was enormous but “science” was still sufficiently important to Scientific American that, in July, the blog editor bravely defended the reviewer. However, Jogalekar then wrote a piece in which he defended the scientist and pick-up artist Richard Feynman, dismissing Feynman’s “sexist” behavior as merely reflecting the “male-dominated American society in the giddy postwar years.” The text was memory-holed and this time Jogalekar was fired—covered by VDARE.com here, here, and here.

By October 2014, John Derbyshire was telling us that both the academic journal Nature and Scientific American had descended into “Cultural Marxism,” which was what we called “Woke” nearly a decade ago. But there was a gap of three years before the magazine did something else seriously Woke, which is giving a transwoman free rein to talk about how “she” really is a woman but only realized it in the second half of “her” thirties.

And, as of 2017—we’re during the Trump Presidency now, so the raging Left are in runaway rage mode—the starting pistol is finally fired. Scientific American rapidly and manifestly turns to the “Dark Side” in scientific terms. In December 2017, we have British-Indian anti-science journalist Angela Saini arguing in the magazine that there are no innate sex differences in psychology, which is manifestly untrue. By January 2018, she’s back, maintaining that there’s no sexism in hunter-gatherer tribes, the ones where men hunt and women don’t. A few months later, Jeremy Adam Smith is arguing in the magazine that white men are stockpiling guns because they’re paranoid and weird, not because they have legitimate fears about the collapse of law and order in an increasingly non-white society, the collapse of law and order than you see in South America and Africa.

Scientific American heavily promoted Angela Saini’s anti-science book on race Superior in 2019 and then, in 2020, we see its “keening, slobbering, self-flagellating confessions of guilt,” as John Derbyshire put it, as it apologizes for its coverage of race a century earlier.

In the same year, the magazine treated us to a piece on “How to Unlearn Racism,” implying that it really is now part of the Woke Cult: the new religion of anti -racism in which you can never be sure that you’re “anti-racist,” just as Calvinists can never be sure they’re part of God’s Elect. So, you deal with it via self-flagellation, anti-racism signaling (to be reassured of your righteous non-racism) and projection.

This politicization of the magazine coincides with, of course, with the politicization of science and growing public distrust in it. By the end of 2021, when a genuine, fearless scientist—E.O. Wilson—died, Scientific American ran a piece by an African-American nurse on his “racist legacy.” Forget his extraordinary contributions to understanding human psychology and biology; he dared to cautiously explore empirically clear racial differences.

And this brings us back to 2022, when the magazine’s “Managing Editor” is to be appointed based on his, her or their (singular) Woke credentials, rather than based on ability and scientific knowledge.

What is the cause of this change? Well, obviously there’s the way in which Leftists—who are highly Machiavellian, i.e. have a strong desire for power and control, will seize anything that has prestige and turn it into an ideological mouthpiece, so making it less prestigious and causing them to move onto something else, as they are doing with universities. It may be that the rise of social media—and the ability to find like-minded people—as well as socioeconomic factors such as too many graduates competing for too few graduate jobs, resulting in them competitively Woke-signaling, is also relevant.

But I don’t think it’s irrelevant that in 2009, the editorship, for the first time, passed to a woman, Mariette DiChristina, and then, in 2020, to another woman, Laura Helmuth, who, by the way, is interested, a la Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in “countering mis-information.” Helmuth has also condemned Nobel-Laureate and DNA-discoverer James Watson for discussing the facts about race differences in intelligence [James Watson Throws a Fit, by Laura Helmuth, Slate, December 1, 2014]

As I have discussed before, females are on average less interested than males in scientific ideals such as systems and objective truth and they are more interested in empathy, equality, and socially conforming. Hence, these qualities are far more important than understanding science in any new Managing Editor.

Lance Welton [email him] is the pen name of a freelance journalist living in New York.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: American Media, Political Correctness 
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  1. meamjojo says:

    I think a large part of the problems we face as a society is due to too many woman in politics and the workforce.

    Woman are naturally conservative in their approach to life and its risks, due to their natural proclivity to protect their children.

    IMO, the Covid pandemic and many of the actions taken to try and fight the virus were initiated by woman or by politicians kowtowing to the fears of woman (and hoping for their votes).

    Woman are also the primary drivers of Wokeism, gender equality, equity, personal pronouns and all the other related BS.

    I look forward to the continual gains of AI/robotics, who will become our rulers and do away with all this BS.

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @Realist
    , @MarkU
  2. Walker87 says:

    Everything is downstream from culture, just look at what’s taking place in science fiction. EVERYTHING now has to be about women and brown people. Great science fiction franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who are all now utterly wrecked.

  3. While I have no doubt Unscientific Americans (title of a 1982 (((Roz Chast))) book; “Early Life” plus Every. Single. Time. is getting tiresome…) has gotten really bad as of late, it was already quite bad in the 1980s when I started really paying attention to the first article in each magazine which was overtly political and of course hard Left. Petr Beckmann who escaped Communist Czechoslovakia in 1963 said you could predict what the topics of these articles would be about by reading a Czech publication six months before them.

    One particular set stood out to me, a MIT based group that kept making ludicrous claims about the goals of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, derided as “Star Wars”). A favorite was “thus and so is beyond the foreseeable state of the art.” These were so bad they implicitly declared this to be true for the 200 inch Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory, which is 1930s technology (first light in 1949, but the grinding was paused during WWII). Or the same about a power source a couple of people could cobble together in an alley with car batteries; OK, that wouldn’t be space rated, but….

    So it was somewhat amusing to watch their list of claimed impossibles decrease with each article, but of course the “I F***ing Love SCIENCE!!!” NCPs of the day lapped up these articles and I assume beyond. For another example, see the platform they gave a chemist worried about funding shifts trashing Drexler style nanotech. It should go without saying the targets of these articles were seldom afforded even a short response in the letters to the editor section.

    So having been captured by the political Left half a century or more ago, we’d expect exactly what you’re reporting today, that the rag would continue following its dogmas instead of real SCIENCE!!! Have also noted people discussing how various intellectual regular features of the magazine were dropped over the years, like the fascinating “The Amateur Scientist” dropped in 2001, started in 1928.

    Hmmm, per Wikipedia: “In 2001, Scientific American came under new management. As part of a redesign of the magazine, all of the long-running columns were retired, including ‘The Amateur Scientist’.” I’d long stopped subscribing so I didn’t notice.

    Thanks for bringing us up to date on its Forward! “progress.”

    • Replies: @inspector general
  4. Realist says:

    The collapse of Scientific American’s once-firm scientific foundations really only became clear in 2014.

    Not so. Scientific AmericanNature and National Geographic for that matter have been unscientific rags for decades…well into the last century. I agree that the demise of the scientific philosophy of these once reputable journals was slow at first, but was obvious to those in scientific fields. And all three were aimed at the semi scientifically inclined public.

  5. Realist says:
    @meamjojo

    I need to qualify my agreement. I agree up to:

    I look forward to the continual gains of AI/robotics, who will become our rulers and do away with all this BS.

    I hope that was tongue in cheek.

  6. I used to subscribe to SA back in the 1980’s and 90’s. I sensed it going downhill even then, articles having a consistent pro-Establishment, pro-big government bias. BTW, I date the “Great Awokening” to the start of Obama’s second term, which was also when Wokeness began infesting and destroying all forms of entertainment including comics, games, and science fiction.

  7. @Realist

    Yeah, I noticed that. If not, it’s a prime example of the mentality that got us where we are.

    Physics wannabe’s who use a pseudoscience (psychology) and a soft science (biology) to “prove” that only physicists are “smart.”

    They conclude that the liberal arts are for dummies, and even use that to “explain” why they’ve been overrun by Marxists and Postmods. Having shamed every “smart” White kid into physics, what do they expect?

    Meanwhile, the liberal arts set the agenda for the rest of the culture, including the sciences.

    They wake up one day to find physics is full of Woke women and brownies, and they wonder how that happened.

    You’ll notice that the really “smart” guys, the Phoenicians, never made that mistake. The founders of Critical Theory, Adorno and Horkheimer, were Jews, but they were steeped in classical German Kultur, which is why they knew how to take over a society (and why they had such contempt for American “high” and “low” “culture.”) (*) Horkheimer looked to Schopenhauer for wisdom, not some glorified test tube washer in a lab coat.

    So no, AI won’t save us. Even now social media companies etc. are whining about ‘racist” AI programs and the need to “fix” them so as to get the “right” results.

    (*) Marcuse was an exception: he was a CIA stooge from the start.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @MarkU
  8. the liberal arts set the agenda for the rest of the culture, including the sciences.

    Why is that so? It certainly wasn’t always the case, nor is it in a number of other societies like the PRC.

    I’d say something about gatekeepers, but first you have to have a system where liberal arts ones can exercise a decisive influence on culture.

  9. meamjojo says:
    @Realist

    I hope that was tongue in cheek.

    It was not. I am a fan of the sentient machines that exist in the SF of writers like Iain Banks Culture novels and Neal Asher’s Polity universe.

    Humans are just a small step on the way to sentient machines and the long future ahead.

    • LOL: Realist
  10. Realist says:
    @James J O'Meara

    They wake up one day to find physics is full of Woke women and brownies, and they wonder how that happened.

    A good part of that reason is that physics departments lowered their standards…in general STEM studies.

    • Agree: MarkU
    • Replies: @Punch Brother Punch
  11. RJ Rock says:

    Scientific American was once an essential element – perhaps even the focal point – of the English-speaking scientific community. To see why, examine an issue from anytime before the 1980’s. It has long, long since faded into tripe. Nothing has replaced it, although there are now online journals such as the Inference Review that, for the moment, are just as interesting as Scientific American was in its heyday.

    Scientific American’s purpose for the last few decades has been to provide the assurance of socially acceptable boundaries to would-be scientists within which critical thinking is safely allowed. To do this with any credibility does require that the editors specialize in this area.

  12. @Realist

    Bullshit. 84% of physicists are men. 92% of physicists are either white or Asian. Do some basic research before you spout off.

    https://www.zippia.com/physicist-jobs/demographics/

    • Replies: @MarkU
    , @Realist
  13. @Realist

    Realist is Example ‘A’of why whe need to imprison and enslave all STEM graduates

  14. MarkU says:
    @James J O'Meara

    Physics wannabe’s who use a pseudoscience (psychology) and a soft science (biology) to “prove” that only physicists are “smart.”

    What a horrible strawman argument, no one who is anyone ever said that only physicists could be smart. You come across as a butthurt egotist.

    What was probably said that upset your poor fragile ego was that to reach the highest ranks in physics (or mathematics obviously) it was necessary to be extremely intelligent because you have to be able to cope with higher mathematics. There are concepts in physics, theoretical physics in particular, which have no ‘concrete’ counterpart and can only be described using higher mathematics. That statement in no way precludes the possibility that people from other disciplines can be equally intelligent but it does mean that those disciplines are more accessible to people with more normal IQ’s.

    I must also defend psychology. Psychology is not a ‘pseudo-science’ per se, if it uses the scientific method it is a science. Admittedly, especially in clinical psychology, the scientific method is not used and to that extent I am happy to agree with you.

  15. From 1976 to 2015 I was a subscriber to the Dutch scientific monthly “Natuur en techniek”, later “Natuurwetenschap en techniek”, later “NewScientist/NL”. I couldn’t stand the invasion of wokeness. Same thing with the Dutch “Filosofie Magazine” which I left in 2019 (the German online “Philosophia Perennis” is an alternative) .

  16. MarkU says:
    @meamjojo

    The reason that men are being replaced by women is that women are more likely to buy into the corporate agenda because they are more tractable. The famous experiments by Stanley Millgram from the 1960’s demonstrated that women are in general more obedient to authority, I think that trait rather than conservatism is the real culprit.

    • Agree: meamjojo
  17. MarkU says:
    @Punch Brother Punch

    Realist’s actual claim was that STEM studies have lowered their standards (which is true) your post is therefore a strawman argument.

    • Replies: @Punch Brother Punch
  18. Realist says:
    @Punch Brother Punch

    MarkU’s reply is spot on…I can only add you have lost every debate you start with me. Why you are such a glutton for punishment is a mystery. You must be one of Unz’s troll bots.

    • Replies: @Punch Brother Punch
  19. In other words, the magazine will misreport, or fail to report, scientific discoveries if they in any way question, or even if they fail to directly promote, Woke dogmas.

    IAU (International Astronomical Union) revised nomenclature:
    — Capital “B” Black holes.
    — Lower case “w” white dwarfs.

    (Satire?)

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  20. @Pat Kittle

    Maybe but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    But if I remember correctly some recent whinging the usual suspects don’t like the use of “black” in black hole at all…. They are, after all, in popular culture more often a bad than good thing.

  21. @That Would Be Telling

    I did make that up but it’s hard to tell, isn’t it.

    Maybe black holes will become holes of color, science be damned.

  22. Alrenous says: • Website

    The collapse of Scientific American’s once-firm scientific foundations really only became clear in 2014.

    Your standards are too low. The last good Sciam article was in the 70s. I couldn’t even live up to ‘mediocre’ by 2000 AD.

    If you read 70s back-issues and then read a late-90s issue, as I did, it’s impossible to take the latter seriously.

    I like Lee Smolin because his New Scientist articles completely shamed the magazine for everything it’s done in living memory. Not on purpose or anything, but by comparison.

    • Replies: @Alrenous
  23. Alrenous says: • Website
    @Alrenous

    NSF ruined Scientific American.

    In short, prewar scientists were scientists. Postwar scientists are not scientists. The last prewar scientist retired in the 70s, and at that point science became globally dead. There is some zombie inertia, but not enough to particularly matter.

    Nationalization is bad for you. Turns out Communism is a bad idea. Who knew.

  24. @MarkU

    STEM studies have lowered their standards (which is true) your post is therefore a strawman argument.

    False. You won’t get through a physics degree without proving yourself. (You might have to mouth some platitudes about racial and gender diversity.). The “colleges are controlled by cultural Marxism” meme is mostly false and distracting.

    There are genuine areas where colleges are controlled by the far left, though.

  25. @That Would Be Telling

    I agree that SA has been strongly left-biassed for many decades. James Burnham named it as leftist back in the ‘fifties in his Suicide of the West.

    • Thanks: That Would Be Telling
  26. “As I have discussed before, females are on average less interested than males in scientific ideals such as systems and objective truth and they are more interested in empathy, equality, and socially conforming. Hence, these qualities are far more important than understanding science in any new Managing Editor.”

    We love the females in our lives, but any reasonable person would have to admit that society was much better when men were running the show.

    Seeing great magazines such as Scientific American and National Geographic go from quality publications that could be trusted in their scholarship to wishy-washy rags that push nothing but Cultural Marxism is very sad. Thank goodness we have the internet to read anything we want.

  27. @That Would Be Telling

    While it may not be a term in common use any more, I am just waiting for the Woke to lambaste Accounting for the “racist” term “in the black,” and then they find out that it was actually a positive euphemism. 😁 All is not lost on the Progressive front, however. It will only take one mention that “in the red” is (literally) a negative term, the baying pack of hounds that is the woke mob will again set off in pursuit of the Evil White Supremacist, this time demeaning the poor Native Americans…

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