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  1.    #1  
    Okay, We Give Up

    There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

    In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.

    Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

    Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that's a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed super powerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That's what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn't get bogged down in details.

    Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

    Get ready for a new Scientific American. No more discussions of how science should inform policy. If the government commits blindly to building an anti-ICBM defense system that can't work as promised, that will waste tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars and imperil national security, you won't hear about it from us. If studies suggest that the administration's antipollution measures would actually increase the dangerous particulates that people breathe during the next two decades, that's not our concern. No more discussions of how policies affect science either, so what if the budget for the National Science Foundation is slashed? This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools' Day.

    Okay, We Give Up

    MATT COLLINS
    THE EDITORS editors@sciam.com
    COPYRIGHT 2005 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC
  2. #2  
    Several Swiss Universities have reported that it has become much easier to recruit top-notch scientists from the US. Until recently, there was more a brain-drain from Switzerland and Europe to the US, but the tide has turned now.

    The past years of isolationist Bush politics and the effects on the international reputation of the US, as well as widespread anti-evolutionist and anti-scientific religious fundamentalism is taking its toll on the best scientists available. Also for foreign students, post-docs, etc., the US have lost a lot of their appeal, the number of foreign students and scientists is in decline.

    Good for us, but frustrating for scientists in the US, I can imagine.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  3. #3  
    LOL!

    I can't wait to see the responses from the "intelligent design" faction. They'll be even funnier than the above, because the posters will actually believe what they say.
    Bob Meyer
    I'm out of my mind. But feel free to leave a message.
  4. #4  
    Funny stuff.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Several Swiss Universities have reported that it has become much easier to recruit top-notch scientists from the US. Until recently, there was more a brain-drain from Switzerland and Europe to the US, but the tide has turned now.

    The past years of isolationist Bush politics and the effects on the international reputation of the US, as well as widespread anti-evolutionist and anti-scientific religious fundamentalism is taking its toll on the best scientists available. Also for foreign students, post-docs, etc., the US have lost a lot of their appeal, the number of foreign students and scientists is in decline.

    Good for us, but frustrating for scientists in the US, I can imagine.
    I called this before he election.
  6. #6  
    "Until recently, there was more a brain-drain from Switzerland and Europe to the US, but the tide has turned now."

    Cite, please.

    And meanwhile, students from all over the world are flocking to our top universities.
  7. #7  
    Yes, we've always attracted students who then take that knowledge and reeturn to their country.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    Yes, we've always attracted students who then take that knowledge and reeturn to their country.
    I'd be very interested to know how many of those students do return to their country, and how many settle here. (Legally or othwerwise.)
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    "Until recently, there was more a brain-drain from Switzerland and Europe to the US, but the tide has turned now."

    Cite, please.
    "The number of foreign graduate students applying to study in the United States has dropped dramatically, according to a survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in early 2004. The precipitous decline, and reports of continuing delays in the processing of international U.S. visa applications, prompted NAFSA: Association of International Educators to issue recommendations in April calling attention to the "prospect of an impending 'reverse brain drain,' in which the United States could lose increasing numbers of gifted foreign scientists to more welcoming countries."

    The CGS survey found that more than 90 percent of U.S. graduate schools of all institutional sizes and types reported an overall decrease in international graduate student applications for fall 2004. .... Applications decreased in all major fields, but the most striking declines were in engineering and the physical and biological sciences.

    "The alarming declines in applications reported by CGS member graduate schools are in areas critical to maintaining the scientific enterprise and economic competitiveness of our country as well as the cultural and intellectual diversity that contributes to the international renown of U.S. graduate education," says Debra W. Stewart, president of CGS."

    (Source)
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)

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