Monday, October 26, 2020

Science Journal Editorials On Politics

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Science and Society

Ed Hessler

I've called attention to science journals taking very pro-active editorial positions on candidates for president of the United States. This year the most and the strongest I can recall.

Should science journal editorials make such comments? Will this only worsen matters, leading to a further politicizing of science?

Genevieve P. Kanter is an assistant professor of medicine and medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine weighs in with an essay written for STAT.

In short she thinks it is a "grave error," to use a medical term that as patients, family and friends of patients we don't like to hear the word "grave" from a physician.

Among her reasons: 

--They are not similar to newspaper endorsements for there is no wall between the editorial page and the news pages. 

--It hearkens to the time when "wealthy newspaper owners used their editorial pages to extol the merits of their political chums."

-- Perception, e.g., that the editors are politically biased which might also trickle down to authors who "might believe that critical analyses of certain policies, theories, or scientific events would be rejected or muzzled.'

So on what should editorial allegiance of science journals be grounded? "Not person or party,' Kanter argues but to science methods and processes. ...[I]t is more sensible for science editors to focus on policies, not politics."

In other words, no planting yard signs in front of organizational offices.

It is a good read for which see here.






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