Even though Scientific American had never endorsed a presidential candidate in the magazine’s 175-year history, its top editor on Tuesday said that there was little internal debate over a decision to back former US vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.
Editor-in-chief Laura Helmuth said that US President Donald Trump’s administration was much worse for the scientific community than the magazine had feared.
The magazine’s endorsement was posted online on Tuesday, a day after Trump questioned the science of climate change in relation to the California wildfires.
Helmuth said the timing was coincidental and the editorial was written during the past two months.
Scientific American said that “the evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has basically damaged the United States and its people because he rejects evidence and science.”
The editorial by senior editor Josh Fischman sharply condemned Trump for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The magazine criticized Trump for seeking cutbacks in scientific funding and hobbling the US response to climate change.
Biden “has a record of following the data and being guided by science,” the magazine said.
There has been some pushback.
Helmuth said that the magazine has been monitoring requests for canceled subscriptions and has received some — many from people who were not subscribers, anyway.
Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp tweeted that while she agreed with the magazine’s arguments and planned to vote for Biden, “I do have mixed feelings on whether this is a good use of scientific clout and credibility.”
University of New Mexico psychology professor and author Geoffrey Miller said that the magazine was betraying 175 years of principled bipartisanship “for the sake of some cheap, short-sighted, opportunistic virtue signaling.”
“I’m old enough to remember when your magazine had some integrity,” he wrote on Twitter.
However, Helmuth said the magazine has not ignored politics; the US Atomic Energy Commission burned 3,000 copies of an issue in the 1950s because of its stance against the hydrogen bomb.
In 2016, it wrote an editorial questioning Trump’s fitness to be president, although it did not endorse then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“Part of our magazine’s mission is to show people how the world works — whether it’s black holes, evolution, viruses, or systemic racism,” Helmuth said. “We felt it was our duty as part of that mission to warn people that Trump has been disastrous for research, science, health and the environment.”
The magazine hopes it does not have to make a presidential endorsement again, she said.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference