Popular Science can’t take the dialectical heat and flees from open scientific discourse due to the inability of its writers to present arguments capable of standing up to public criticism:
Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter….
If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch. Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
I found it amusing that below this article trying to justify its attempt to claim the right to be “championing science” without protest or criticism from its readers, the very first article listed is: “Republicans Block Proposal For National Science Laureate, Fearing Science”. Whatever they are championing these days, it is not science.
It is wonderful news that some of the foremost defenders of scientistry are in full-blown retreat from the skeptics and scientodists. Their inability to defend their “bedrock scientific doctrine” and “popular consensus” is the direct result of their abandonment of scientody for ideological dogma and invented doctrine cloaked in an increasingly thin veil of faux science.
Comments aren’t bad for science. Comments are bad for those who are stubbornly clinging to outdated scientific paradigms that are showing obvious cracks.
Science badly needs a cleansing baptism of intellectual fire to burn away all the professional and academic scientistic barnacles that have affixed themselves to the ship of science and are now threatening to sink its credibility entirely. Genuine scientists, as opposed to the posers championed by the likes of Popular Science, may not be able to defend themselves rhetorically, but they have no need to do so. Science is neither democracy nor holy doctrine, and it is the right of every thinking individual to accept or reject the declarations of scientists as he sees fit.