To influence public discourse, you need to take a stand for what you believe. Sometimes, that means ending a business relationship. I am taking my money away from Nature Publishing Group, the British owner of the venerable Scientific American, a magazine that, once upon a time, published articles of the highest quality about science. Today, SciAm publishes a mixed bag of articles about cosmology (still beyond the reach of politics), diseases of affluence and poverty, anthropogenic climate change, income inequality, victimology, and corporate depredation of the planet.
Dear Editors of SciAm:
Micheal Shermer's July 2015 Skeptic article, "Outrageous: Why Cops Kill," is the final straw, confirming my decision, contemplated for more than a year, not to renew my longstanding subscription to SciAm.
I have subscribed to SciAm's print edition since I received my first annual subscription as a birthday present, circa 1975. I was 14 years old. This May, I turned 54.
Mr. Shermer's latest article is yet another example of SciAm's long slide from non-political scientific authority to ideologically tainted, leftist rag. Mr. Shermer provides no data to support his opening sentence, "The ongoing rash of police using deadly force against minority citizens..." Mr. Shermer goes on to cite a variety of suspect sources, pseudo neuroscience and leftist criminology. I suspect that Mr. Shermer knows little about law enforcement, police training, the use-of-force hierarchy, close-quarter combat, self-defense, firearms, or bladed weapons. Mr. Shermer's article is outrageous, and an insult to my intelligence, as well as to my education and training in all of the foregoing subjects.
Once upon a time, SciAm could be relied upon for high-quality, scientific content written by primary researchers and thought leaders from globally acclaimed, first-tier research institutions, mostly in the U.S. Now, SciAm publishes a lot of second-rate, overly editorialized content written by shallow, ideologically corrupted non-authorities, freelance "science journalists," and lesser-known, junior academics from lower-profile institutions.
Good-bye, SciAm. It's been nice knowing you.
William L. Robbins
SciAm subscriber for 40 years
Los Angeles, CA