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Study Concludes Nature’s 2020 Endorsement of Biden Hurt Trust in Science

Study Concludes Nature’s 2020 Endorsement of Biden Hurt Trust in Science

The progressive attempts to push pseudoscience on Americans are reaping some unintended consequences.

I have been following the ideological capture of our scientific institutions, and today I have some fascinating data to share.

The progressive attempts to push pseudoscience on Americans are reaping some unintended consequences.

In 2020, the British weekly scientific journal Nature decided to weigh in on the general election and endorsed Biden for president.

The reasoning is laughable now, especially in light of the economy-crushing, liberty-depleting, and unscientific policies the current administration unleashes.

If elected, Biden would have the chance to reinstate and strengthen the climate and environmental regulations rolled back under Trump; restore the EPA’s depleted scientific capacity; and return the CDC’s leadership role in the pandemic. He should also move to reverse egregious policies on immigration and student visas, and hold the United States to its international commitments — not least its membership of the WHO and UNESCO.

Donald Trump has taken an axe to a system that was intended to safeguard and protect citizens when leaders go astray. He has become an icon for those who seek to sow hatred and division, not only in the United States, but in other countries, too.

A new study published in a Nature Human Behavior paper by Floyd Jiuyun Zhang of Stanford University shows that the endorsement came with diminished trust in science and its “experts.” In his research, Zhang asked both Trump and Biden supporters to read a summary of the Nature editorial, a screenshot of the editorial’s headline, and the first paragraph of the endorsement.

Zhang, a Stanford Graduate School of Business student, then asked the participants to complete a survey after being told a set of questions. Participants were also informed that the publication is “one of the most-cited and most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals in the world.”

His online survey of 4,260 people demonstrated that Nature’s political endorsement did not influence votes and reduced trust in the publication among voters of the endorsed candidate’s opponent.

This study shows that electoral endorsements by Nature and potentially other scientific journals or organizations can undermine public trust in the endorser, particularly among supporters of the out-party candidate. This has negative impacts on trust in the scientific community as a whole and on information acquisition behaviours with respect to critical public health issues. Positive effects among supporters of the endorsed candidate are null or small, and they do not offset the negative effects among the opposite camp. This probably results in a lower overall level of public confidence and more polarization along the party line. There is little evidence that seeing the endorsement message changes opinions about the candidates.

While the above conclusion could lead one to conclude that only Trump supporters find scientific experts substantially less credible nowadays, let’s turn to the second data point.

Social media is now streaming footage from a promotional video for the latest season of PBS’ biographical television series “American Masters,” featuring former White House Coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in newly released footage of the pair campaigning for covid vaccinations around in 2021.

One resident was not buying anything Bowser or Fauci were selling.

Fauci explains that the technology to develop the vaccine had been in the works for two decades, adding that some 30,000 people died from the flu in 2020 compared to the roughly 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of the time of the video.

But the man brushes him off, saying: “Again, that’s you all’s number.”

He remains unconvinced and expresses misgivings about various incentives that were offered at the time to people who agreed to be vaccinated.

“When you start talking about paying people to get vaccinated, when you start talking about incentivizing things to get people vaccinated, it’s something else going on with that,” he says.

“Your campaign is about fear. It’s about inciting fear in people. You all attack people with fear. That’s what this pandemic is — it’s a fear, it’s fear, this pandemic. That’s all it is,” the man adds before Fauci and Bowser walk away.

Later, a woman tells them: “I heard that [the vaccine] doesn’t cure it, and it doesn’t stop you from getting it.”

Fauci tries to correct her.

The man’s assessment is direct and compelling. Bowser and Fauci came off as condescending, arrogant, and entitled to obedience.

I will also point out that Washington, D.C. is hardly MAGA country.

Yet, the Editor-in-Chief of the Science Family of Journals is bitterly clinging to his belief that delving into politics and pushing narratives is good.

The data suggest just the opposite. Hopefully, the trend continues, and we can return to the days scientists quested for knowledge and facts rather than social media hits, diversity points, narrative promotion, and politically-directed grants.


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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.

Holden Thorp probably doesn’t understand the role of the military in our society, either.

Scientists, like all other citizens, can and should be free to express their opinions. Where they have expertise, they are welcome to present their expertise in support of their opinion.

Scientists have no special expertise in politics. The use of their publications as some sort of bully pulpit is as wrong as it is for a military man to wear his uniform while voicing his political opinions.

I find it disturbing that the Editor-In-Chief of a scientific publication has to be educated on this point, but I have long known that people can go crazy over elections, especially if they have allowed themselves to be convinced they are on the side of the angels.

LukeHandCool | March 24, 2023 at 1:58 pm

Next you’ll be telling me public health officials encouraging people to join mass protests in the middle of a pandemic hurt trust in the public health field.

sorta like asking yer dentist ’bout haemorrhoids:
after all it’s all a part of the same long tube.

MoeHowardwasright | March 24, 2023 at 2:23 pm

First I am not a Doctor. I was a paramedic, Corpsman and 30 years in the medical field. Medical gas, respiratory, medical device and healthcare IT. Fauci was a fraud in the 80’s with AIDS research and treatments. He repeated that fraud during the Wuhan pandemic. Money is the driver of science in America. Grants grants grants. That’s all they care about. The push back against science in the world has been going on for decades.

The Lancet’s 2006 Iraq War propaganda.

2018 article in The Conversation:

What happens when a scientific journal publishes information that turns out to be false? A fracas over a recent Washington Post article provides an illuminating case study in how, even years after they’re published, uncorrected false claims can still end up repeated time and again. But at the same time, it shows how simply alerting responsible journalists and news editors to repeated errors can do a lot to combat false claims that stubbornly live on even after they’ve been debunked.

It all started with a 2006 article published in the eminent journal The Lancet, entitled Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey. The article had many problems, but one of its graphs in particular stuck out. That one figure displayed new estimated numbers of violent deaths in the Iraq War, and came up with numbers massively higher than anything anyone had seriously suggested before.

And although the article’s reported violence numbers increased over time far more rapidly than those reported by other sources, including the Iraq Body Count (IBC) project, the graph gave the inaccurate impression that IBC trends actually tracked their new data quite closely – ostensibly validating what, at first glance, seemed like a very hard-to-swallow new dataset.

In addition, the graph included a third dataset purporting to show violence trends measured by the US Department of Defence (DoD), trends that were again presented as consistent with the authors’ new data. The finished graph was central to the paper’s effort to “mainstream” the shocking new numbers by connecting them with other data on war violence.

Yet a few weeks after the article was published, letters sent to the Lancet from other researchers discredited the graph entirely.

    Tiki in reply to Tiki. | March 24, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) – The Lancet is one of the oldest and most reputable medical journals in the world, […]

    Earlier this week, the publication’s editor for the past 25 years, Richard Horton, took to the airwaves on CNN […]

    Horton claimed, with a straight face, the world should be “thanking Chinese scientists for the warnings that they gave the world” and laid into Western democracies for failing to take heed of these. He then laid the blame for “tens of thousands of deaths” on their policies.

      henrybowman in reply to Tiki. | March 24, 2023 at 6:52 pm

      Look… the medical establishment, in general, over the past three years, has pretty much completely shit its own bed. We should accept that it is now officially a sideshow of Clown World, and move on correspondingly. Anyone who is surprised now about the politicization of medicine has been asleep.

They told you Trump was racist for suggesting travel restrictions from China and to party it up during Lunar New Year.

They told you masks didn’t work and to stop buying them so hospital workers could get life saving masks.

Then they said masks were mandatory and if you didn’t wear one regardless of context you’re anti-science and killing grandma.

Then they told you that the vaccine that skipped critical trial phases in testing was more safe than a drug that’s been available for decades.

And while they sit atop the corpses of every person their assbackward policy killed, they tell you they are the leading scientific authorities and no scaremongers with inflated egos and fat purses.

COVID isn’t the real disease. It’s arrogance.

Holden Thorpe sounds like the name of a villain in an Ayn Rand novel.

These “scientists” aren’t very smart because, of course it’ll lessen one’s opinion of the publication. These “scientists” have been proven to be political agents and activists rather than truly folks in search of the truth. Not all scientists, by any means, but when a publication takes a side in a political contest, they by definition become political themselves. When I was in college, “Nature” was THE publication. If only my professor could get published by “Nature” would be our wish. Now, all you need is to be politically correct and they’ll publish. Doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish. It’s a disease.

Science has been trending leftward for decades. I allowed my subscription to “Scientific American” to lapse some time in the late 1980s because its lean to the left had been apparent for a few years even by that time. Nowadays, they make no attempt to hide their bias.