Re: Credibility of SciAm

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 21:18:10 +0000


> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > Are there any others who are disturbed by the trend in Scientific
> > American? Are we loosing one of the in the past best popular
> > scientific journals to a mere journal of opinion?
> I feel the same in the sense that I do not think these opinion-type articles
> have any place in a journal that touts itself as a scientific resource for
> sophisticated layman. Many SciAm readers lack of the scientific proficiency to
> separate author opinion from scientific consensus or fact.

I find the opinion that SciAm is "one of the best popular scientific
journals" rather sad -- and even sadder is that it's probably true.
The problem is that I have had a very low opinion of SciAm for quite
a few years, shortly after I noticed that on *any* controversial
issue the scientific articles published in this magazine would weigh
*heavily* toward that side which could be most accurately summarized
as "give the government greater control of the economy".

On issues where that isn't relevant -- for example, the debate over
the relationship between dinosaurs and birds -- SciAm has seemed
pretty good.

But IIRC this magazine was about the first "scientific" publication
to inform us that there is a solid consensus among relevant experts
that human-caused global warming is a problem and we must do
something about it. At that time, judging by articles and letters in
peer-reviewed scientific publications, the apparent vote among the
relevant experts was 25% against, 15% for, and 60% insufficient

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