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← New Scientist flips the bird at scientists, again

New Scientist flips the bird at scientists, again - Comments

Thurston's Avatar Comment 1 by Thurston

That's such a shame, I always liked NS. Has Roger Highfield attempted to justify this decision anywhere?

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 10:38:00 UTC | #337982

DoctorE's Avatar Comment 2 by DoctorE

Next issue

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 10:42:00 UTC | #337986

Anarcho-Syndicalist's Avatar Comment 3 by Anarcho-Syndicalist

If this is the position of NS, then I for one am appalled that they even put the word science in their title. As for the "magazine" cover in the above post, PURE GENIUS!!! I would have to read it, just for the entertainment factor.

To add to the discussion, here's the link to the article at new scientist.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 10:59:00 UTC | #337997

Bueller_007's Avatar Comment 4 by Bueller_007

NS has made it very clear that they don't want the readership of real scientists. So let's not give it to them.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:03:00 UTC | #337999

j.mills's Avatar Comment 5 by j.mills

What does it take to get through to these guys at New Scientist? Do they WANT to wreck their reputation?

I hereby boycott the magazine. I haven't looked at a copy in 20 years, so it won't be too difficult! :)

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:06:00 UTC | #338002

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 6 by Jay Cee

I think for once many of us are actually ahead of the game here PZ. I've been boycotting it for a very long time.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:23:00 UTC | #338007

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 7 by Quetzalcoatl

I have a subscription to New Scientist, and have found it a useful resource. It's a shame that it seems to be going downhill, resorting to publicity-grabbing stunts like this.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:29:00 UTC | #338009

Ian's Avatar Comment 8 by Ian

That's it. I'm not renewing my subscription.

New Scientist is dead. Long live Scientific American.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:30:00 UTC | #338011

beanson's Avatar Comment 10 by beanson

I suppose it's like most popular culture these days- they have to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to survive. If they put something rarified on the cover no one will buy it outside of those blowsy accademics who have always been loyal. (no offense Quetz) They are shouting to compete with the jazzier titles (eg. Razzle) they want sexy tag lines, no matter that the tag line don't match up with the meat of the article inside

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:39:00 UTC | #338016

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 9 by Bonzai

When New Scientist published its “Darwin was WRONG” cover a few months ago, several of us wrote in to complain about the distortion of Darwin’s work. ..

Well, apparently Roger Highfield is not repentant: he has used that cover AGAIN in advertising his rag (see below).

Yeah well your letter certainly helped add to the publicity, which was what their marketing people were after. Maybe they are eagarly waiting for a second letter from you guys now..

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:39:00 UTC | #338015

Fuzzy Duck's Avatar Comment 11 by Fuzzy Duck

Why do they keep this up? I mean, obviously for attention and controversy. But it's grossly disingenuous.

New Scientist was always among my least favorite of science magazines, anyway.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:40:00 UTC | #338017

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 12 by Quetzalcoatl


No problem. I hardly qualify as a blowsy academic. :-)

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:43:00 UTC | #338019

DiveMedic's Avatar Comment 13 by DiveMedic

While incredibly disingenuous and reminiscent of a tabloid cover, there probably would not be much wrong about using such a cover to grab attention aside from poor taste.

Given the current climate where creationists are able to have so much political sway, to even create the illusion that the entire theory of evolution can be legitimately called into question is absolutely wreckless and, to put it bluntly, profoundly stupid.

They made their mistake and were rebuked for it. That should have been the end of the story. For them to continue to parade that garbage about is unpardonable.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 11:57:00 UTC | #338022

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 14 by mordacious1

Comment #354117 by DoctorE

Let's not get "New Scientist" confused with "Scientific American".

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:00:00 UTC | #338023

tvictor's Avatar Comment 15 by tvictor


Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:06:00 UTC | #338024

the way's Avatar Comment 16 by the way

I think Bonzai may be right.
I mean, who's attention are they trying to grab? Does the average man in the street really care whether Darwin was right or wrong? The only people (in the most) who would do a double take at the title would be the scientific and the cretinist crowd.
Best just to ignore/boycott without a fuss

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:08:00 UTC | #338025

Bernstein's Avatar Comment 17 by Bernstein

Could Darwin be wrong?

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:16:00 UTC | #338027

gyokusai's Avatar Comment 18 by gyokusai

mordacious1 sez:
Let's not get "New Scientist" confused with "Scientific American".

Indeed, let's not.

I also think a boycott is in order. Plus, it found its place in my ongoing "Ain't faith just lovely?" series.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:20:00 UTC | #338029

MelM's Avatar Comment 20 by MelM

Fuel on the fire! Yes it was.

From the Dennett, Coyne, Dawkins, Myers letter to NS Feb 18 2009

Indeed, within hours of publication members of the Texas State Board of Education were citing the article as evidence that teachers needed to teach creationist-inspired "weaknesses of evolution", claiming: "Darwin's tree of life is wrong".

So, the NS threw some gasoline onto this fire in Texas. (NCSE news Mar 19 2009)
Updates from the Lone Star state
With evolution sure to be a hotly debated topic at the next meeting of the Texas state board of education, with a bill just introduced in the Texas legislature aimed at restoring the contentious "strengths and weaknesses" language to the standards, and with a different bill aimed at exempting the Institute for Creation Research's graduate school from the regulations governing degree-granting institutions in Texas, there's no shortage of news from the Lone Star state.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:23:00 UTC | #338031

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 19 by rod-the-farmer

Nah, if you REALLY want to make a difference, get a copy (reasonably current) and write to the advertisers. Tell them you will

1) cancel any subscriptions you might have (this is true, even if you don't have one)

2) ask all your friends to cancel THEIR subscriptions,

3) stop any current or planned purchases of their products & services

4) ask all your friends to stop any current or planned purchases of their products & services.

5) make it a point to bring up the fact that their company advertises in a magazine that distorts science, apparently to drive sales, whenever you meet other science supporters.

Make the point that if they consider the scientifically literate as their target market, they will lose that community by advertising in this magazine.

That should fix them.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:23:00 UTC | #338030

jonjermey's Avatar Comment 21 by jonjermey

New Scientist's approach to the global warming debate also leaves a lot to be desired. Every issue for the last five years or so has had at least two or three stories about the dire results we can expect to see from global warming. None of the contrary evidence has ever been mentioned; nor have any follow-up stories ever been published to indicate whether these looming disasters actually occurred. The articles contributed by external experts are usually fine, but the credibility of the editorial material is zero.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:28:00 UTC | #338033

WilliamP's Avatar Comment 22 by WilliamP

I'm sure that Stalin and Hitler believed in the theory of gravity. Would New Scientist put them on the cover, proclaiming that they were right in their next issue discussing the theory of gravity'

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:30:00 UTC | #338035

Chris Davis's Avatar Comment 23 by Chris Davis

I've never liked it much. Any magazine whose Letters page is always two-thirds full of letters from scientists explaining why their last issue was bollocks is one to avoid.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:30:00 UTC | #338036

Bernstein's Avatar Comment 24 by Bernstein

Comment #354161 by rod-the-farmer

Did you consider that you might be unnecessarily punishing a whole group of people due to the actions of one man?

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:31:00 UTC | #338037

Koreman's Avatar Comment 25 by Koreman

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:41:00 UTC | #338040

MaxD's Avatar Comment 26 by MaxD

Their new advertising campaign is actually worse than the original headline! "Inquisitive minds need fuel" Right below that, "Darwin was Wrong." The creationists are going to eat this up as well, and we will see this in their broshures, pamphlets, and other publications.

We are fairly used to them misquoting, falsely attributing, obfuscating, but lets not keep giving them easy things to twist to their nefarious schemes!

EDIT: Also their original article does nothing even remotely like proving the provacative title that graced their cover. So what if gene transfer would blur the relationships. Does it then follow that decent with modification didn't occur and that lineages did indeed branch? What a rag.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:43:00 UTC | #338041

JackR's Avatar Comment 27 by JackR

I used to love NS back in the seventies, when I was a young man learning physics and astrophysics. I thought it was a real attempt at a crossover science mag that both scientists and interested laymen could appreciate.

Something went wrong in the nineties. That's when I gave up on NS. It became a bit tawdry, a bit too fond of going for the "gee-wow-who'd'a-thunk-it?" bullshit. Occasionally I could barely distinguish some of the articles from things I might read in the Fortean Times.

It seems the situation has not improved since the nineties.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:54:00 UTC | #338045

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 28 by Rodger T

If the NS put topless babes on page three ,they might increase their circulation.

23. Comment #354167 by Chris Davis


Sat, 21 Mar 2009 12:55:00 UTC | #338046

Mango's Avatar Comment 29 by Mango

Have your cake and eat it too -- read your library's copy of New Scientist.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 13:04:00 UTC | #338047

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 30 by rod-the-farmer

Re 24. Comment #354168 by Bernstein

Did you consider that you might be unnecessarily punishing a whole group of people due to the actions of one man?

No, but that is a good idea.........OK, I'm done now.

The man is the editor. He bears sole responsibility for what goes on the cover, and inside "his" magazine. He is of course entirely free to chose what he wants. Just as we are free to choose which mags we read, and whose products we buy. Freedom of speech allows us to express our indignation, and any actions we may choose to pursue. A boycott is a legitimate tactic. As for "unnecessarily punishing a whole group" ? Nope. If they work for the editor, they are hopefully free to argue with him about his policies. Especially if they are his sales staff. If they come back and say they are getting flak from advertisers about his choices for the cover, he is free to ignore them, and possibly lose ad revenue. Or, to rethink his position. Just as they are free to seek other jobs. I am surely not the only person in the world who would refuse to work for a company based on philosophical differences. I have myself already quit one lucrative job rather than work for people whose corporate directions I didn't like.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 13:07:00 UTC | #338048