Ideology undermines scientific credibility | Evolution News

Photo: March for Science, by Vlad Tchompalov via Unsplash.

The scientific establishment groans that it is no longer trusted. True. But there is a good cause. The leadership of the hard science sector has become increasingly ideological, undermining the global credibility of science.

Save the Supreme Court

Here are two recent examples. Earlier this month, Scienceone of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, published an editorial that could have appeared in the Nation Where Washington Post on . . . how to fix the united states supreme court which has become too conservative. From “Save the Supreme Court and Democracy,” by Maya Sen – a Harvard social scientist, which means not a “scientist” at all:

The United States Supreme Court has been busy. He recently overturned a nearly 50-year-old precedent protecting the right to abortion, upheld the right to carry guns outside the home and crippled the capacity of the Environmental Protection Agency. to regulate broadcasts – while signaling an aversion to contemporary empirical evidence and instead favoring “history and tradition.” Although the majority of Americans disagree with many of these rulings, the court comes just beginning to reshape the country.When it resumes in October, the court will be set to ban affirmative action, undermine federal drinking water regulations and possibly allow state legislatures to restrict voting rights without the oversight of state courts.

With the exception of environmental regulations, none of this has anything to do with actual science. Science is not about politics, opinion polls or subjective opinions. It’s about presenting facts about the natural world and applying them. Authorizing, prohibiting or regulating abortion is not a question that science can answer. This question belongs to the realms of morality, ethics and politics. Ditto the gun policy.

The answer to this unscientific problem? The usual policy suggestions:

Reforming the court to prevent extreme ideological movements can be difficult, but not impossible. For example, an 18-year term limit for judges would regularize appointments, thereby eliminating the game around vacancies and reducing the incentives for judges to retire strategically. This would help prevent an extreme partisan imbalance and thus keep the court closer to the ideological mainstream. Term limits have broad bipartisan support and would bring the United States into line with other Democratic peer nations, all of which have term or age limits on their high courts. Other promising proposals from academics to help reduce the ideological imbalance include reconfiguring how the United States selects judges and expanding the size of the court. Others – such as removing the court’s jurisdiction – would address the argument that the court wields too much power.

Here’s the thing: This politically blatant piece will make no difference to any political or political decisions that are made about the Supreme Court. But by publishing it, the publishers have seriously undermined respect for Science as a journal – and corroded the credibility of science as a crucial human endeavor – just as it did when the journal published an article endorsing the “rights of nature”.

Science and non-science

During this time, at Nature Human behavior — newly adopted guidelines may prevent the publication of a scientific article based on non-scientific considerations. Excerpt from “Science must respect the dignity and rights of all humans”:

We require that any content submitted for publication be respectful of the dignity and rights of individuals and human groups. Researchers are urged to carefully consider the potential implications (including unintended consequences) of research on human groups defined by attributes of race, ethnicity, national or social origin, gender, family identity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political or other beliefs, age, illness. , (disability) or other status, to reflect their point of view as authorship if they are not part of the group under study, and to contextualize their findings to minimize potential abuse or risk of harm to the groups studied in the public sphere.

Even if a study has significant scientific merit, it may not be published due to the real or perceived political or social implications of the findings. Why would I think such a thing? For instance:

Sexist, misogynistic and/or anti-LGBTQ+ content is ethically wrong. Regardless of the type of content (research, review or opinion) and, for research, whether a research proposal has been reviewed and approved by appropriate ethics specialists, editors may raise concerns with authors about matters potentially sexist, misogynistic and/or anti-LGBTQ+ assumptions, implications or discourse in their submission; engage external ethics experts to provide input on these issues as part of the peer review process; or request edits (or correct or otherwise edit after posting) and, in severe cases, refuse posting (or remove after posting) sexist, misogynistic and/or anti-LGBTQ+ content

You know what I mean?

Instructions are also given on the language to use and the assumptions to make when writing about different groups. It’s a long piece, so I’ll only include this passage which clearly shows the “woke” approach expected from the authors:

Gender identity — an individual’s conception of themselves as male, female, masculine, feminine, non-binary, ambivalent, etc., based in part on physical, psychological and social factors. It is the internal experience of a gender role. There is a wide range of gender identities including but not limited to transgender, gender queer, gender fluid, non-binary, gender variant, genderless, agender, non-gender, bigender, trans male, trans female , trans male, trans female and cisgender

Science goes off the rails badly when it succumbs to ideological pressures – as it did with the eugenics movement. Elevating ideology above fact-finding threatens to elevate subjective considerations above the objective lens that embodies the scientific method, threatening the overall credibility of the scientific sector and potentially hampering the work of scientists pursuing hypotheses. heterodox that may offend current cultural sensibilities. If this continues, we will all be losers.

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