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Scientific American magazine backs Joe Biden in first presidential endorsement in 175-year history

Scientific American magazine backs Joe Biden in first presidential endorsement in 175-year history

"Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly," the publication's editors wrote.

Never once in its 175 years of existence has the Scientific American magazine endorsed a presidential candidate. However, this year, the publication is breaking tradition due to everything that's at stake based on the outcome of the upcoming election. The magazine on Tuesday announced that it was endorsing the former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, while strongly criticizing President Donald Trump for dismissing science on multiple occasions. "Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly," the publication's editors wrote.



 

 

"The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September," they stated. "He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy, and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable future."



 

 

"Trump's reaction to America's worst public health crisis in a century has been to say 'I don't take responsibility at all.' Instead he blamed other countries and his White House predecessor, who left office three years before the pandemic began," added the editors of the magazine, which was founded in 1845 and is one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the country. Speaking to CNN, Scientific American's editor in chief Laura Helmuth explained that the editorial board felt a responsibility to make an endorsement in this presidential election and "use what reputation we have to help people understand that this is the most important election of our lifetimes."



 

 

The magazine's denunciation of Trump's dismissive attitude towards science comes just a day after the President abruptly shut down an official who warned that climate change was fueling the California wildfires. Waving aside the official's plea to take heed of the worrisome data presented by science, Trump said "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch," before adding: "I don't think science knows, actually."



 

 

This misinformed proclamation, as J. Marshall Shepherd—Director of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia—points out, is yet another example of how "people at all levels struggle with the difference between weather and climate. One of the most common science literacy mistakes is to assume a cold day or seasonal transition somehow describes climate. That's like saying a baseball player getting one hit is now leading the league in batting average." In its endorsement of Biden, Scientific American argued that the former vice president "comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policymaking. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals."



 

 

"Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It's time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science," the editors urged. When asked about criticism that would follow the magazine's endorsement, Helmuth said: "The choice was just so clear that we felt like we needed to use what reputation we have to help people understand that this is the most important election of our lifetime."



 

 

"Trump has been so dismal for the scientific enterprise that the things we all care about are just so directly under threat by his administration, and have been harmed by his administration, that we think it fits our mission to say clearly that people who are interested in and care about research, and knowledge, and expertise and making good decisions about policy," he added. "We hope that they understand that's a large part of our mission and Donald Trump is in direct conflict with our mission."

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