For an enterprise supposedly as unpolitical and bias-free as science classically is supposed to be, conservatism is surprisingly rare.

Since we last reported the leftist bias in scientific institutions (Jan 19, 2012), has there been any shift to the right?  any penitence for embracing and promoting one political party?  No; it has gotten worse.   Here are just a few of the most egregious examples in recent days.  These not only state leftist positions, but openly advocate them.

Anti-Israel:  The only redeeming feature of this example is that at least Science magazine published a protest letter by John R. Cohn of Thomas Jefferson University.  The Science May 18 cover story was a special feature on “Human Conflict.”  Out of all the possible pictures of human conflict imaginable, what did the editors of Science choose?  It was a photo of a bombed-out building attributed to the Israeli Defense forces.  Cohn’s letter, published two months later, accused the editors of politicizing science:

I am writing in reaction to the cover photo and accompanying caption selected for the 18 May special issue on Human Conflict. It seems disingenuous to claim that of all the world’s conflicts, a building identified as destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was “not [chosen] for any political message or endorsement.” Nobody eschews war more than Israelis, who, unfortunately, also know the consequences.

If the editors wanted striking visual impact and gruesome evidence of inhumanity, there were better choices: the killing fields of Cambodia, the destruction of the World Trade Center, Rwanda, Dresden, Hiroshima, Bataan, Darfur, Armenia, Normandy, Auschwitz… unfortunately, the list of greater carnage is nearly endless.

By identifying the IDF as perpetrators, the caption undermined the photo’s role as a generic illustration of the consequences of conflict. Indeed, there was no need to identify the details. They were a distraction. The photo no longer represented abstract human violence, but rather one more illustration of Israel, taken out of context. Portraying Israel as the aggressor obscures the fact that the country is trying to defend itself against decades of assaults provoked by ethnic hostility—attacks still taking place. That is politicized science, which serves to encourage—not discourage—conflict….

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