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Scientific American Is Not Scientific

By September 19, 2023Commentary

I think I have told this story before, so bear with me.  When I was very young, a long time ago now, I became enthralled with science and I began reading Scientific American, which at the time was a very dry technical magazine that to a young man revealed fascinating worlds of fact and technology.  I subscribed as a young adult and read it faithfully for many years.  The magazine gradually changed its visual style to be more appealing, which was silly, but also changed its writing style to be more informal and sensational and also to be ideological. Today the magazine is a worthless rag that imparts anything but science.  It is a fully woke garbage dispenser.  I haven’t read it for probably at least 15 or 20 years.  It is a disgrace and a shame that this has happened.

So when a reader sent me this piece from the magazine, I wasn’t totally surprised.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, because I have repeatedly explained that in fact there is no research that provides any evidence that masks make one bit of difference in the overall community spread of a respiratory pathogen and certainly not for CV-19.  Review after review by established medical evidence groups has come to the same conclusion.  The one these editors so pathetically attempt to demonize is done by Cochrane, probably the most prestigious medical research analyzers in the world.   So we know what the science is.  Scientific American is just doing its usual idiotic job of saying what it believes, not what the science is.  What is especially revealing is the attempt to minimize the value of randomized clinical trial–the foundation of medical knowledge–and elevate made-up research methods designed solely to get the “right” answer.  The unfortunate thing is, the magazine well represents the typical state of official American science–ideology matters not facts and analysis.  (SciAm Article)

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Ann in L.A. says:

    Dissing RTC’s is big in the education world, as well. RTCs tell schools that “discovery learning” doesn’t work, but “teacher instruction” does.

    Back in 1972 the biggest longitudinal education study ever made came to the conclusion that “progressive” education didn’t work, and traditional teacher-led instruction did. They couldn’t find a publisher. Study after study since has said the same thing, and been ignored or also suppressed.

    It’s taken literally 50 years of research banging away year after year, to finally start to make a dent in the “progressive” school ideology. The damage done to generations of students can not be repaired.

  • itellu3times says:

    My only comment is you’re completely right about SciAm, fifty years ago it had content, today it’s all gibberish.

  • Dr. Jon says:

    “Scientific American” has not been scientific for a very long time.

  • Hober Mallow says:

    My experience is much like yours. I have a science background, and thoroughly enjoyed Scientific American years ago (I’m 66 now). It was hard science, translated to the point where a determined lay person could get an understanding of the issues that might have escaped them through reading the originating published academic papers.

    It is a Woke rag now. Too bad.

  • Ken Green says:

    When I was an undergraduate studying biology (in the early 1980s, at UCLA), we had discussion sections that were based on reading, and discussing/debating “review” articles about molecular biology developments. At the time, the consensus of my teaching assistants (who were themselves doing research in molecular bio) felt they were reasonably good summations of knowledge.

    But I watched that deteriorate over time. By the end of my Masters in molecular genetics (1988) I’d determined that Scientific American was no longer, in any meaningful way, a rigorous “popularizer” of science for the educated American, but had become just another popular “science” magazine pushing lame, sensational, and often junk science.

    They never recovered.

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