WUWT smeared by Scientific American's Bora Zivkovic ‏

This tiff started because of this story by Tom Nelson yesterday, followed by this today. This post is my first involvement as all this happened without my involvement or comment until now. I don’t even care that I wasn’t mentioned, but I do care when I’m libeled.

I have just one thing to say to you, Mr. Zivkovic: 

Prove your assertion of “gaming” led to an undeserved win, or retract it and issue an apology.

Perhaps it doesn’t occur to Mr. Zivkovic that Scientific American’s readership is on decline, just like those opinion polls that show people thinking AGW is a serious problem. People are getting turned off to SciAm partly because of ridiculous and hateful things like this being said on the part of the current crop of of writers and editors running SciAm.

And they wonder why people don’t like the magazine like they used to.

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About Bora Zivkovic


Bora ZivkovicBorn in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Bora was always interested in animals and nature. His studies in veterinary medicine were interrupted by the 1990s war in the Balkans, when he arrived in the USA. He went to graduate school at North Carolina State University where he studied how bird brains measure time of day (circadian rhythms) and time of year (photoperiodism). He started ‘A Blog Around The Clock’ in 2004. He teaches introductory biology to non-traditional students at North Carolina Wesleyan College, organizes the annual ScienceOnline conference, and edits Open Laboratory – the annual anthology of the best writing on science blogs.

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MattN

“…forgets to mention award-winning Watts Up With That ”
He didn’t “forget”….

Scientific American, particularly the editorial pages, have gone political. I had a subscription as a gift a few years ago and ended up cancelling it because the nonsense in the magazine. It’s a shame what has happend to that magazine.

PaulH

To paraphrase Reggie Jackson, they don’t smear nobodies.
Seriously though, I too am disappointed how Sci Am has tumbled from a solid technical/scientific journal to become little more than People magazine with a splash of science-y stuff. (Not meant as a smear of People magazine, of course.)

I haven’t read SciAm since about 2006 or 2007. I started reading in about 2004 after a long hiatus and was shocked at how “pop culture” they had become and were often seeming to push political agendas rather than present science. Here are a couple of clues: Whenever I read an article that says “Scientists say”, that is my tip that I am being fed a line of bull. I want to know exactly WHICH scientists say and on what basis. When I also read things like “could”, “might”, “can”, my eyes also glaze over. A meteor can hit the earth’s atmosphere right this second and it could survive entry through the atmosphere and it might strike me as I type this. But it didn’t, apparently. Scientists say that is a very possible scenario.

Dave

Game on!

David C.

I have commented in the past. I have read SciAm every month since I was nine. I am SS eligible now. I dropped my subscription three years ago. I wrote the new editor a long letter why but never got a reply. You would think that they would notice a 50 year subscriber…

brennan

“he studied… bird brains”
Using a mirror, no doubt.

Bill

So he was a pre-Vet and now a biologist and he is getting down on you for being dentistry and meteorology? I work with a lot of biologists and most are not that sharpest tools in the shed.

For many years, I too had a Scientific American subscription, which I have allowed to lapse. Now I refuse on principle to read or even to click on Scientific American articles which may come up on Internet searches, etc. due to the biased/politicized slant to the writing.
I echo. . . It is indeed a shame what has happened to that magazine. Once upon a time, I thoroughly enjoyed reading its pages, virtually from cover to cover. . .

SteamboatJack

The difference between the Scientific American and the National Enquirer is that you can respect the folks at the National Enquirer. They don’t pretend to be something that they aren’t.

tadchem

Scientific American helped me learn to read as a pre-schooler in 1952-3. It sparked my lifelong interest (and career) in science. I insisted my father keep up his subscription until I could take it on myself, and I was a subscriber until 2003. That’s over 50 years of reading Sci-Am (including back issues).
I learned to value analytical thinking and skepticism, and to demand empirical demonstration of hypotheses before I called them ‘theories.’
In 2003 the staff of Sci-Am forgot what it taught me over 50 years, so I cancelled.
Evidently they have not recovered from their politically-induced amnesia yet.

Tim Walker

I agree whole heartily with what Sean said about Scientific American, so many of the old good science magazines have gone rotten at the core. It no longer is about science. It is about using the platform to push the agendas.

Mr Squid

I have respect for warmists who debate on scientific facts. Sad that Zivkovic engages in puerile ad hominem attacks.

Mark S

[SNIP. You must use a valid email address for the privelege of commenting. ~dbs, mod.]

Fear does strange things to “breadwinners”.

ConfusedPhoton

He went to graduate school at North Carolina State University where he studied how bird brains measure time of day (circadian rhythms) and time of year”
How appropriate “bird brain” . With contributors like Bora Zivkovic, is it surprising that Scientific American commands little respect?

jhborn

For twenty years I looked forward to each Scientific American issue. It focused on hard science, its technical writing and illustrating were outstanding–and it had recreational pieces by the estimable Martin Gardner.
Sometime in the ’90s, though, it changed. Initially it was just a lost of focus: it started including occasional social-“science”-type pieces. But the deterioration accelerated, I canceled my subscription, and I haven’t picked a copy up in over a decade. I can’t bear to look at what used to be a truly fine publication.
No doubt tens of thousands have had almost the exact same experience.

klem

I too had a subscription to SciAmerican but I was forced to let it expire. It broke my heart. The magazine was so full of climate alarmist propaganda I could not rationalize paying for it.

Mark S

“Gamed” is completely the wrong word. However, I’m also of the opinion that “pseudoscience” is a perfect description of this blog. Why Anthony chose not to contest it, or call for further retraction, one can only wonder :p
REPLY: Based on my training, the way “pseudoscience” is framed is an opinion, but the way “gamed” was framed is presented as a fact. I get called all sorts of opinionated things every day (such as yours), and if I worried about those things, I’d be very busy with just that. Suggesting I rigged or gamed a contest implies dishonesty, malice, and collusion on my part to pull such a thing off with thousands of voters, and that enters the realm of libel. – Anthony

AnonyMoose

He thinks that RealClimate has its origin in Usenet-style discussions? No, its origin is in the Public Relations offices.
He pooh-poohs WUWT due to its hordes of followers. Well, yes, Alexa.com when compared to scientificamerican.com has only a quarter as many visitors. SA should be worried that a mere blog has one-quarter as many visitors as it does — but should be more worried that the WUWT readers read many more pages and spend much more time on WUWT than SA’s visitors. WUWT does not merely have many visitors, it also has more material which requires reader involvement, and the readers are willing to be involved.
SA’s amateur scientist features used to be a major attraction. People don’t find SA’s amateur politician features to be as interesting.

gator69

Bora(k), the student of bird brains…

John Renie was the last Si-Am Editor worthy of the title. The magazine has yet to recover.
As for guessing who “gamed” the awards, if there’s gaming going on, “BoraZ” is a more likely suspect.

more soylent green!

I dropped my subscription to Sci Am a decade ago. Too much advocacy and not enough science for my taste. Discover magazine made the same change when they later started published articles by renowned “scientist” Laurie David. Popular Science was late to jump the shark, but has finally caught up with its peers by replacing science reporting with AGW propaganda and smears on skeptics.
I don’t know what science magazine I’m going to subscribe to now. It seems that whenever I subscribe to one, they change their editorial policy!

gator69

Sorry, that should read ‘Bora(t)’…

DJ

I loved SciAm for decades, until it got agendized. I stopped subscribing, and now I don’t even bother reading it. The endless proselytizing is distracting, and it detracts from the science, which is why I used to read it. On the plus side, it is an immediate warning that the science is likely biased. You’d think they’d know better. That they don’t is further proof that it’s not worth reading.
As for the libel…..
http://www.defamationlawblog.com/

albertalad

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill

Jason Calley

@ David C. and a several others
“I have read SciAm every month since I was nine.”
Yes, same story here. I am not quite SS eligible (but close!) and I started reading Scientific American at about the same age. In the mid 1960s I even ran across a stash of old issues and read all the back issues to about 1950. Brilliant magazine! Or at least it used to be. Somewhere around 2000 they started going seriously downhill, and by 2005 I let my decades long subscription lapse. For the last ten years or so, reading SciAm has become like having a conversation with an old friend who has faded into dementia.
The magazine is no longer either scientific or American.

polistra

SciAm went commie a LONG time ago, probably around 1968. They’ve been viciously crusading against every aspect of normal civilization well before the whole AGW thing came up.

highflight56433

“And they wonder why people don’t like the magazine like they used to.”
Dropped my subscription back in the mid 90’s. Personalities liken to Bora are the prevailing wind in the circles of envy stricken rag sheets like (Socialistic) Scientific (Anti) American. Take away their subscriptions and the pass away into the nothingness they begot themselves.

dermonster

“Prove your assertion of “gaming” led to an undeserved win, or retract it and issue an apology.”
To which I can only add the chant:
Back it up or take it back!
Back it up or take it back!
Back it up or take it back!

Gail Combs

Sounds like SOUR GRAPES.
“The Team” figured they could, with Fenton Communications money and expertise put together a very popular “Real Science” blog. Fenton Communications BTW brought us the the Alar scare and countless other bogus health claims

If you have been scared about food or pesticides in the last 10 years, chances are Fenton Communications played a key role in provoking that fear. The scares just don’t ever stop. But they all have one thing in common —— a lack of evidence and abundance of deceit….

Fenton Communications lists many progressive front groups like Moveon.org, WWF, Sierra Club and the International Forum on Globalization. Their Selected Client List includes The Guardian and Global Green USA

We accelerate progress. Fenton opened its doors in 1982 with a unique mission: serve the public interest by creating powerful issue campaigns that make change. With our clients, we have contributed to some of the defining change movements of the past quarter century, from ending apartheid and curbing global warming to protecting people from harmful toxins….
Fenton’s Track Record
We are the firm that helped:
* Galvanize public opposition to end apartheid
* Legitimize global warming as an urgent threat to our future
* Compel government bans and restrictions on toxins…
http://www.fenton.com/about/

Rabbit

I only got it for the “Mathematical Games” anyway. 🙂

highflight56433

“Suggesting I rigged or gamed a contest implies dishonesty, malice, and collusion on my part to pull such a thing off with thousands of voters, and that enters the realm of libel. – Anthony”
Speaking of libel, I am surprised at the lack of libel suits when there exists so much publicly written malicious and libelous content. Professional jealousy is never professional; just makes them look as fools they are.

Taphonomic

AnonyMoose says:
“He thinks that RealClimate has its origin in Usenet-style discussions? No, its origin is in the Public Relations offices.”
You’re right. Equating RealClimate to Usenet is ridiculous. Usenet filtered spam (after the green card spam spam spam spam), never “moderated” dicussions.

A magazine which at one time published things like Vine and Matthews’ theory of seafloor spreading and introduced to the general public revolutionary ideas in science, has become a tabloid rag sodden with petty bias and folk medicine. So none of this should come as a surprise. I dropped my subscription ages ago.

Jeff D

I like so many commenter above I canceled my subscription to SA about 3 years ago. I also could not handle all the political BS that infiltrated what was once a pleasure to read. All this does make me wonder how much the circulation numbers have dropped.

Mac the Knife

Mark S says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:08 am
““Gamed” is completely the wrong word. However, I’m also of the opinion that “pseudoscience” is a perfect description of this blog. Why Anthony chose not to contest it, or call for further retraction, one can only wonder”.
Mark,
What is your background/education? A psychoceramist, perhaps? A climatologist? One can only wonder…….
/Sarchasm intended.
MtK

Went thru much the same disappointment with the drift of SA into NaNa Land as previous commenters. Note that along the same time (1990s) National Geographic and Astronomy magazines both went very green. Dropped them also. Cheers-

Sci American pushed the “Nuclear Freeze” during the ’80’s. I had the privilage of going on the local public radio to counter the Sci Am. Editor’s “Opinion Piece” on the 35,000 nuclear warheads (Randell Forrester, completely illegitimate writer.) “we” had, versus those poor, 3rd world Soviets with their mere 15,000 warheads.
I made such MINCEMENT of the Sci American editor that even the STUDIO RECORDING PERSONNEL told me afterwards, “We regret airing the Sci. American” editor’s piece now that we know how factually wrong it is.” (of course, they could never admit that publically.)
Max

RobertInAz

Another former Sci Am subscriber…..

Michael J. Dunn

I stopped reading ScAm (think about it) in the mid-1980s, when they began to publish heavily biased analyses of the then Strategic Defense Initiative. I was in a position to completely refute their ridiculous analyses…but couldn’t write a word due to my security clearances. Once they tolerate corruption on any topic, there is no way to assure there isn’t corruption of every topic.

Hanoi G

Quit being such a hypocritical cry-baby. Scientists, authors, and bloggers are “slandered” quite frequently on this blog. You seem to be able to dish it out, but you can’t take it. Why am I not surprised?
REPLY: You might want to look up the definitions of slander and libel before you use them in a sentence. – Anthony

Anthony, journals like Scientific American dropped the torch a long time ago. It’s blogs like yours who’ve picked it up. As their sales decline, your readership increases. Snide remarks from creatures like Zivkovic belong in the end of the grapeyard reserved for the bitter ones.
Pointman

Jimbo

The reason why some Warmists believe it was gamed is because they refuse to face reality: the lack of a reasonable debate has forced thousands onto sceptical blogs. When was the last time you read a sceptical / balanced piece from the BBC as journalists should do? They had them over a decade ago but today the BBC has parts of its pension scheme invested in carbon schemes. It’s now money they follow and not the science.
Watts also games the number of visitors to the site compared to Real Climate /SARC

@more soylent green!: “I don’t know what science magazine I’m going to subscribe to now. It seems that whenever I subscribe to one, they change their editorial policy!” Hmmm, then please do us all the favor of not subscribing to any lest that one go bad as well. 🙂
(Feel free to use that as an example of post hoc ergo propter hoc. 🙂

Gail Combs

SteamboatJack says:
July 16, 2012 at 10:55 am
The difference between the Scientific American and the National Enquirer is that you can respect the folks at the National Enquirer. They don’t pretend to be something that they aren’t.
___________________________
AND the National Enquirer is written by entertaining writers not preachy pompous windbags.
TOO bad I really liked SA when I was a kid and read it all the time.

Physics Major

Ditto the above. I’m another former subscriber.

Note to Mr. Zivkovic
I also went to Belgrade university, and lived in the society were you could accuse anyone of anything without a proof, things are different in the more democratic societies.
Only a ‘bird brain’ wouldn’t realize that.
Believing and propagating the AGW nonsense is just about acceptable if it helps you earn living, stepping over the line of honorable behavior isn’t, either produce some evidence, or be a man and apologize.

I’ll simply add my vote to those who once found Sci Am [and it’s translated version] to be a source of scientific inspiration, but lost interest when it became heavily politicized promoting various agendas rather than science.

kim2ooo

Mr. Zivkovic: As one of the Blog voters [ for a number of blogs – not just WUWT ], I sincerely ask for your apology and retraction.
Your accusation stands against my integrity.