Quote of the week – the death of 'Popular Science' commentary


Apparently, the science was too popular, so what do these fools do? Alienate their readers of course:

Starting today, PopularScience.com will no longer accept comments on new articles. Here’s why.

Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off.

The stupid, it burns like a magnesium flare.

The go on to quote some study as the reason, and blame climate change discussions:

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

Read it all here: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments


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Two Labs

So, the problem is not scientists behaving badly by stretching conclusions from insufficient evidence, the problem is when thy are called out for doing so by the “general public.”

You just can’t disagree with SCIENTISTS, I suppose.


In other words…..they were losing the comments war and couldn’t back up their “science”

David Ball

Their “solid bedrock” is experiencing liquefaction.


Hear no evil… speak no evil… see no evil. See? Everything’s OK now. Trust me.

I guess they still resent the fact that so few believe the earth is flat. Popular Science – the true defenders of a flat earth.

Ashby Manson

So…leaving comments can change the way a story is read? Good heavens! Um, isn’t that why people leave comments? To effect the way people see the story?
The real problem appears to be that they aren’t successfully defending their beliefs, maybe because the evidence isn’t on their side!
…and I don’t for a second buy that evolution is being undermined by vigorous debate. That’s a baloney straw man.

Comments can be bad for science.” sort of implies thinking can be bad for science.


Doctrine as in religious doctrine is about right.


Popular Science doesn’t want to be popular anymore. 😆

“Comments can be bad for science.” Huh? Bad? For science??? How? The only thing bad for science is censorship.
I think what they mean is, “Comments can be bad for the idiots who pretend they are talking about science and trigger a reaction from those who actually know science.”
I guess their readership number will go down now. Oh well, long may they live and learn.

Mike M

Who needs em’ anyway when we can find out Watts Up right here?

Ed Caryl

They just wrote their obituary!

Hahaha–how long before they’re renamed “Popular Gaia”?
“You keep saying ‘science,’ but I’m not sure it means what you think it means.”

They just need a moderation team as good as WUWT’s.

Olaf Koenders

So they’ve decided to end the greatest “peer review” system available. Looks like they can’t handle the truth, or this is all they can do about it 🙂


So now it’s PopDogma?


As noted on a slightly more vulgar, but fun website; the author, Ms. LaBarre, seems OK with commenting about her job on Twitter.
Suzanne LaBarre ‏@suzannelabarre
Why do I poop more when I’m on my period? JOURNALISM
Who needs moderated comments and thoughtful posts, a 140 characters – right now should do?


“I’m not winning so I’m going to take my ball and go home” (Exit stage right pouting and stomping his feet.)

“Comments can be bad for science.”
Translation: “We are unable to defend [our] ideas.”


When I looked at the site, they provided a link to this cutting-edge article (along with the afore-mentioned poop/period piece):
“Why Dudes Who Can’t Smell Never Get Laid”
Somehow I don’t think my grandfather would have shared his PopSci with me when I was 8 with such important “science” as those articles between the covers!


Well, there goes their readership, but it is happening to all of them, from journals, magazines to newspapers, they all lost their way along the way and curiously can’t seem to understand why. Their close the eyes, ears, and mouth attitude is resoundly rejected by most credible scientists who realize that freedom of speech IS the bedrock of science itself. If they cannot describe their hypothesis clear enough for all to understand and accept then it is they that need to reconsider that possibly it is they who are mistaken and reopen their eyes and ears. What I have found is the skeptical scientists of climate changes are the most open and knowledgable of them all, by far.


I quit reading Pop Science 20 years ago. I read some articles on something I was well versed in and the stories were so far from the truth they were sci fi. Only thing that shocks me is it took this long to shut down comments.

I mean: Translation: “We are unable to defend our ideas.”
But that’s a good example, isn’t it? I made a mistake. I wrote “out” rather than “our.” It can only improve things to have the mistake pointed out.
Of course, if you are making pots of money from your mistake, it may not seem like an improvement to have the mistake pointed out. However that is only if you love money more than Truth. And that is where temptation creeps in, and the rot starts.

I’ve posted this before:
Why did I stop reading Popular Science – Editors who brag about their sons homicidal fantasies about killing SUV drivers:
The Editor of Popular Science Wrote:
“DURING A RECENT FAMILY DRIVE out of town, my 13-year-old son,
Rex, launched into a diatribe from the backseat, blasting the environ-
mental myopia of every lone driver spewing unnecessary CO2 behind
the wheel of a hulking SUV. (He actually wanted me to bump them off
the road, thus ensuring that he won’t join their ranks until long after he
turns 16.) “Don’t they realize that if this keeps up, Manhattan is going to be
under water before long?” he demanded”


Who are the idiot advertisers using this for ad placement and how outdated are their target market assessments?

Jim S

Let’s start posting Pop Sci articles here, and comment….


If you can’t beat ’em, ignore them… Popular Science is sick of being beaten up and getting its lunch money taken by the big kids, so it’s home schooling from now on.


I suppose its embarrassing for them when they are claiming 70% or more of the general public believe that man is causing global warming, when the majority of readers in the comments section disagree.


Popular Science Who? Never heard of this obscure magazine. Why are is WUWT covering had beens? Let’s hear more about Joanne Nova, Donna Lafrramboise and all the action going on in the dynamic blogosphere. Thankfully for the blogosphere we can forget that these mindless zombie journals ever existed.

G. Karst

What they are really saying is that they do not consider their reader’s and subscriber’s opinions as having any importance or worth. Telling your customers such, is a sure way to guarantee, that one will not have to worry about the inconvenience, of the annoying public long. R.I.P.


wayne says:
September 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Well, there goes their readership, but it is happening to all of them, from journals, magazines to newspapers, they all lost their way along the way and curiously can’t seem to understand why.

I looked at Pop. Sci. & Pop. Mechanics a couple of months ago on a newsstand. Both were much thinner than they used to be.

Paul Vaughan

Some clever spin over here (that will make folks here mighty angry):
“Scientists liken certainty of global warming to deadliness of smoking”
“They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy […] 99 per cent certain […] But the role of nature and all sorts of other factors bring the number down to 95 per cent when you want to say that the majority of the warming is human-caused”

Robert Kral

Science is not dogma. It never is. It can always be questioned. Popular Science is now relying on arguments from authority, which is anti-science. Sad but predictable.

Paul Vaughan

Note that: ALL other factors combined including nature = 4% (WTF???)


This is precisely why I gave up on Anti-Scientific UnAmerican. It is now nothing more than a left wing propaganda rag. Zero integrity.

Tim OBrien

When I was younger I read Popular Science every month. But about 15-20 years ago it changed into something blander and dumber. No thanks.

Gunga Din

A.D. Everard says:
September 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm
“Comments can be bad for science.” Huh? Bad? For science??? How? The only thing bad for science is censorship.
I think what they mean is, “Comments can be bad for the idiots who pretend they are talking about science and trigger a reaction from those who actually know science.

And those of us who may not be able to tell you the Latin name of that dead fish but we know it stinks.


Weatherzone, a commercial weather forecaster here in Australia had a weather and Climate forum running for many years.
The global warming trolls worked their asses off to try and get the Climate forum part of the whole Weatherzone forum shut down.
The skeptics had just about every post one of their posts reported and were consequently regularly put in the sin bin until the principals of Weatherzone, instead of just throwing the alarmists out, sin binned the entire skeptical brigade and then in a fit of political and biased political and environmental and alarmist bigoted correctness, a few months ago shut the Climate forum section down and threatened anybody who brought up any climate related posts with immediate banning from the entire forum.
The global warming cultists involved, openly boasted about the forum shut down on another alarmist skeptic hating forum
In doing so the WZ principals have derived a considerable section of the weather interested population of a source of alternative and skeptical information to the completely bigoted and biased alarmist cult supporting ABC and large sections of the media here in Australia.
And all this just when a whole gamut of skeptically orientated papers are finally being published that bring into question and destroying so many of the formerly hard held and suposedly unchallengeable nostrums from the global warming alarmist faith and the greasy climate pole dancing IPCC.
Consequently quite a lot, ie ; most WZ skeptic commenters who were well versed in climate and weather matters and the technical components of those subjects have up and left. The Weatherzone forum is much the poorer for it and the public much less informed and with less information and material at their fingertips which would enable them to make up their own minds
When the principals of that Forum buckled to the onslaughts of the alarmist trolls there went my respect for them.
I have not been back to comment since and don’t intend to.

From their editorial:

If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch.

God forbid that commenters might shape public opinion.

Janice Moore

scientific doctrine (0.0) ?!
That, and
and whether and what research gets funded
seem to sum it up.

DC Cowboy

“scientific doctrine”? Do they have even an inkling of the inconsistency and internal contradiction of that phrase? I suppose not. That’s why they wrote it.

DC Cowboy

And here I thought that ‘science’ meant ‘search for truth’.


Notice how they conflate skepticism with denying evolution and flat-earthism, but the only issue in the comments is with AGW.
It’s System 1 thinking, in which emotion and symbolism trump reason and logic, which is known as System 2 thinking.
And to think this is a magazine purportedly devoted to science.

Janice Moore

Gotta keep those eyes-wide-open, real data, peasants down….
SHUT-UP! (People’s Socialist Science editor in action)

Bill H

Its really bad when the commentors show they have better scientific understanding and knowledge than those writing and publishing the articles. This is a sad state of affairs when you realize that you have fools and charlatans trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and the general public can see it and calls them out on it. Their response is telling… kill the exposure..

Bill H

Janice.. Love the Monty Python clip… The oppressed pheasants… been a while..

Bill H

Kill the exposure rather than fix the problem and address the issues.. Telling in deed.. Religion or political agenda? Because its not about science, as true scientists would not act in this manner.

Janice Moore

Thanks, Bill, glad you liked that one, too.
And your comments above hit the target with precision.