39 votes

Scientific American endorses Joe Biden: We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now

48 comments

  1. [30]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Honestly, it could be argued that it's not even an issue of politics at this point. Trump is being demonstrated as objectively bad, which isn't something you could say about a president since...

    Honestly, it could be argued that it's not even an issue of politics at this point. Trump is being demonstrated as objectively bad, which isn't something you could say about a president since maybe Reagan, who arguably planted the seeds for Trump, whether or not he knew it. Yeah, they've all done bad things, but none of them have caused this much trouble, even in wartime, or pandemics.

    26 votes
    1. MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      I had a similar conversation with my Neighbors. They like Trumps policies, loathe Pelosi, and believe the cure for Covid is being held back until after the election. I never would have guessed...

      I had a similar conversation with my Neighbors. They like Trumps policies, loathe Pelosi, and believe the cure for Covid is being held back until after the election. I never would have guessed they loved Trump. They are originally from Europe, and claim they peruse more than just Fox News.

      4 votes
    2. [26]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      I have to say that this has been a fact in my country from the day he took office and watching Americans come to this conclusion through years of bullshit that was so obvious from the beginning...

      Trump is being demonstrated as objectively bad,

      I have to say that this has been a fact in my country from the day he took office and watching Americans come to this conclusion through years of bullshit that was so obvious from the beginning has been fucking insane.

      4 votes
      1. [25]
        thundergolfer
        Link Parent
        Are you both referring to the badness in his competency, or his overall badness? I'm a little confused by the emphasised use of "objective". To plenty of people, presidents like Obama and Clinton...

        Are you both referring to the badness in his competency, or his overall badness? I'm a little confused by the emphasised use of "objective". To plenty of people, presidents like Obama and Clinton and Bush were also obviously bad , but not clearly not to the mainstream. What perspective is being counted as "objective"?

        Trump's obviously had a hand in the deaths of thousands of American citizens via the COVID pandemic, but Bush obviously had a hand in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. What kind of objectivity decides that Trump is bad, but Bush (or someone like Nixon) isn't?

        8 votes
        1. elcuello
          Link Parent
          The fact that you compare him to others in terms of politics is part of the problem. Trump is so bad in his overall appearance, attitude and personality that his politics doesn't really matter...

          The fact that you compare him to others in terms of politics is part of the problem. Trump is so bad in his overall appearance, attitude and personality that his politics doesn't really matter here. He's a bad human being and that has been obvious from the start.

          2 votes
        2. [2]
          TheJorro
          Link Parent
          Well... what has he not been bad at?

          What perspective is being counted as "objective"?

          Well... what has he not been bad at?

          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            He is not bad at being bad.

            He is not bad at being bad.

            2 votes
        3. [21]
          RNG
          Link Parent
          This odd amnesia about the not too recent past is absolutely baffling to me. The Bush presidency, for example, legalized extrajudicial torture in CIA black sites and GitMo, the systematic...

          This odd amnesia about the not too recent past is absolutely baffling to me.

          The Bush presidency, for example, legalized extrajudicial torture in CIA black sites and GitMo, the systematic investigation and harassment of US Arabs and Muslims, passed the USA PATRIOT Act, and yes, killed over 1 million innocent people. In the midst of incalculable human rights atrocities, the Bush administration threatened the International Criminal Court should they decide to prosecute these absolutely unconscionable acts. When we examine policies like banning STEM cell research and eroding Church/State separations, we certainly can't conclude that that administration was "science-loving" either.

          For some reason, liberals seem to prefer a smart, calculated war criminal who is a professional statesman (having an "adult at the wheel") over an incompetent outsider who breaks the sacred norms of how a "proper statesman" should act.

          10 votes
          1. moocow1452
            Link Parent
            Because the incompetent outsider is both incompetent and an outsider. It makes the country look bad and citizens feel uncomfortable when we have the incarnation of our nation's id and naked flaws...

            Because the incompetent outsider is both incompetent and an outsider. It makes the country look bad and citizens feel uncomfortable when we have the incarnation of our nation's id and naked flaws as the prime statesman, and if they any sort of ability to control their impulses and could hold a Bible the right way, they'd probably be as well written about as Reagan.

            7 votes
          2. [13]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            You can oppose two administrations while remaining objective enough to know that one was better than the other. There’s no contradiction in doing so. This goes much deeper than “he doesn’t look...

            You can oppose two administrations while remaining objective enough to know that one was better than the other. There’s no contradiction in doing so.

            This goes much deeper than “he doesn’t look presidential”. Just read the article.

            5 votes
            1. [12]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              I did read the article. It centers on Trump's mismanagement of the current pandemic, something that isn't unique to Trump. The majority of Republicans, the majority of conservatives nationwide...

              I did read the article. It centers on Trump's mismanagement of the current pandemic, something that isn't unique to Trump. The majority of Republicans, the majority of conservatives nationwide share his views. He isn't uniquely bad in his response.

              Additionally, whether we tackle this from terrible legislation passed or by body count, the Bush presedency is far worse in my opinion.

              3 votes
              1. [11]
                mrbig
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Maybe wait a little before making your mind. Bush served two terms. He also had to respond to the first large scale attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Context matters.

                Maybe wait a little before making your mind. Bush served two terms. He also had to respond to the first large scale attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Context matters.

                1 vote
                1. [10]
                  RNG
                  Link Parent
                  Pretty much everything I've mentioned occurred in Bush's first term. Sure, context contains explanatory power, but precisely which human rights atrocities I've mentioned are even in part...

                  Pretty much everything I've mentioned occurred in Bush's first term.

                  Sure, context contains explanatory power, but precisely which human rights atrocities I've mentioned are even in part vindicated by this context? The profiling and systemic harassment of Muslims? The torture of innocent people? The slaughter of a million people?

                  Every atrocity ever committed has a historical context that explains why the decision was made. The apologetic line of "consider the context" has a historical tradition of attempting to justify any number of atrocities, genocides, and gross abuses of human rights.

                  Since Pearl Harbor was brought up, I don't think many would even consider attempting to justify the internment of Asian-Americans due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Context can explain why internment happened (to a degree, German Americans, for example, weren't systemically included in the process,) but this context doesn't begin to justify this racist policy, nor should one attempt to use it to do so.

                  1 vote
                  1. [9]
                    mrbig
                    Link Parent
                    I never meant to justify any actions from George W. Bush or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I merely stated that context matters. That is all.

                    I never meant to justify any actions from George W. Bush or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I merely stated that context matters. That is all.

                    1. [8]
                      RNG
                      Link Parent
                      Perhaps I've misunderstood you. In the context of our discussion (comparing the human rights abuses by the Bush administration to Trump's mismanagement of the pandemic) how exactly does the...

                      Perhaps I've misunderstood you. In the context of our discussion (comparing the human rights abuses by the Bush administration to Trump's mismanagement of the pandemic) how exactly does the historical context of 9/11 matter regarding any of the atrocities mentioned?

                      2 votes
                      1. [7]
                        mrbig
                        Link Parent
                        In the context of 9/11, excessive reaction, while not at all excusable, can be considered somewhat rational under the circumstances. If the US hadn’t been attacked, those actions would be entirely...

                        In the context of 9/11, excessive reaction, while not at all excusable, can be considered somewhat rational under the circumstances.

                        If the US hadn’t been attacked, those actions would be entirely irrational and way more perverse.

                        1 vote
                        1. [6]
                          RNG
                          Link Parent
                          I think I understood your position correctly the first time. It does seem that you believe that the context morally justifies these actions to some appreciable degree. I'm not sure I understand...

                          It the US hadn’t been attacked, those actions would be significantly more immoral.

                          I think I understood your position correctly the first time. It does seem that you believe that the context morally justifies these actions to some appreciable degree.

                          I'm not sure I understand which actions by the Bush administration were part of the "excessive reaction" as none of the people I mentioned were parties involved in 9/11. The crisis of 9/11 was capitalized to further profit-motivated and racist ends, these actions weren't merely excessive reaction.

                          Germany was faced with tremendous economic hardship in the '30s, but their later actions were against the Jews who weren't a party to this economic crisis. We'd agree that these actions weren't an "excessive reaction", rather a capitalization of the crisis in furtherance of other ends. (This example demonstrates the idea, I don't intend to compare Bush to Hitler, so hopefully this forestalls a Godwin's law objection)

                          I think most atrocities occur in this way. A crisis is capitalized upon by those in power to carry out actions they know they couldn't get away with in any other context.

                          1 vote
                          1. [5]
                            mrbig
                            Link Parent
                            No, I absolutely do not. I just think that there is more than two options (good or bad). I presented you a bad actual situation, than I presented a hypothetical that would be even worse. Two kinds...

                            It does seem that you believe that the context morally justifies these actions to some appreciable degree.

                            No, I absolutely do not. I just think that there is more than two options (good or bad).

                            I presented you a bad actual situation, than I presented a hypothetical that would be even worse. Two kinds of bad.

                            You’re using binary thinking, and because of that you’re having trouble to interpret my argument. That’s all.

                            1. [4]
                              RNG
                              Link Parent
                              Doesn't this mean exactly what it says? If (US was not attacked): action would be less moral Therefore since: US was Attacked: action was less immoral What am I misunderstanding? If an action was...

                              It the US hadn’t been attacked, those actions would be significantly more immoral.

                              Doesn't this mean exactly what it says?

                              If (US was not attacked): action would be less moral

                              Therefore since:

                              US was Attacked: action was less immoral

                              What am I misunderstanding? If an action was "less immoral" due to historical context, it necessarily follows that the historical context morally justifies the action to some degree.

                              1. [3]
                                mrbig
                                Link Parent
                                No, it does not follow at all. Two actions can have the attribute “immoral” to different degrees, while retaining their immoral nature.

                                No, it does not follow at all. Two actions can have the attribute “immoral” to different degrees, while retaining their immoral nature.

                                1. [2]
                                  RNG
                                  Link Parent
                                  That's why I said the action is "in part justified" or "to some degree justified", I intended to capture the fact that some degree of immorality is said to have been justified by the historical...

                                  That's why I said the action is "in part justified" or "to some degree justified", I intended to capture the fact that some degree of immorality is said to have been justified by the historical context

                                  1. mrbig
                                    (edited )
                                    Link Parent
                                    The problem is that you’re using the word “justified”, which weakened the argument. A justified action is a reasonable one. That’s not what I was trying to say.

                                    The problem is that you’re using the word “justified”, which weakened the argument. A justified action is a reasonable one. That’s not what I was trying to say.

          3. [6]
            elcuello
            Link Parent
            I fucking hated Bush politics but Trump is not worthy of your whataboutism in my opinion.

            I fucking hated Bush politics but Trump is not worthy of your whataboutism in my opinion.

            8 votes
            1. [5]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              Not every comparison is "whataboutism" especially when the discussion being had is whether or not Trump is the "objectively worst president since Reagan" or if Trump is the first president in the...

              Not every comparison is "whataboutism" especially when the discussion being had is whether or not Trump is the "objectively worst president since Reagan" or if Trump is the first president in the modern era to be "objectively bad."

              Moving forward, to avoid confusion, it might be helpful to read the context of the comment you're replying to.

              The rehabilitation of Bush's reputation among liberals is also incredibly concerning, but perhaps a discussion better had elsewhere.

              6 votes
              1. [4]
                elcuello
                Link Parent
                I actually didn't mean whataboutism in a negative way and maybe not worthy a comparison would be better wording. I think it's ridiculous to compare Trump to any recent president and although you...

                I actually didn't mean whataboutism in a negative way and maybe not worthy a comparison would be better wording. I think it's ridiculous to compare Trump to any recent president and although you have a valid point in Bush is being unfairly redeemed in Democrats eyes that fact alone is should be a testament to just how bad Trump is in every way. He's so bad in every way that comparisons are unnecessary and that's why it's a waste of time talking about other presidents.

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  RNG
                  Link Parent
                  Sure, Trump's bad, but I simply can't fathom thinking he is anywhere near as bad as the Bush administration.

                  Sure, Trump's bad, but I simply can't fathom thinking he is anywhere near as bad as the Bush administration.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    elcuello
                    Link Parent
                    This sentence encapsulates what have become of the US in the last 4 years. What. The. Actual. Fuck.

                    Sure, Trump's bad, but I simply can't fathom thinking he is anywhere near as bad as the Bush administration.

                    This sentence encapsulates what have become of the US in the last 4 years. What. The. Actual. Fuck.

                    1. thundergolfer
                      Link Parent
                      What? Bush's presidency oversaw the Iraq War which killed > 500,000 Iraqi civilians and killed or wounded ~40,000 USA citizens. Trillions of dollars that could've been spent on education and...

                      What?

                      Bush's presidency oversaw the Iraq War which killed > 500,000 Iraqi civilians and killed or wounded ~40,000 USA citizens. Trillions of dollars that could've been spent on education and healthcare was spent in this war.

                      Trump's Presidency has been a carnival of incompetency, but Bush's Iraq War and general War on Terror is far worse than anything Trump has achieved.

    3. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Nitpick: “bad” is a nebulous category and sayIng something or someone is “objectively bad” doesn’t add anything beyond saying they’re bad.

      Nitpick: “bad” is a nebulous category and sayIng something or someone is “objectively bad” doesn’t add anything beyond saying they’re bad.

      6 votes
      1. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Using the word “objectively” here has the rhetorical effect of stressing the fact that Trump is not just bad from a certain political position or point of view, he should be considered bad from...

        Using the word “objectively” here has the rhetorical effect of stressing the fact that Trump is not just bad from a certain political position or point of view, he should be considered bad from all reasonable standpoints.

        “Bad” is an useful category for things that are nefarious in all or almost all of its aspects. It’s useful precisely because of its broadness.

        9 votes
  2. [18]
    andre
    Link
    This was a well written article with a ton of cited sources. It will change zero votes.

    This was a well written article with a ton of cited sources.

    It will change zero votes.

    18 votes
    1. [13]
      Rez
      Link Parent
      Eh, you never know what kind of niche audience something like this will reach. Plenty of people are barely online beyond the necessities and what entertains them, and may not talk politics in real...

      Eh, you never know what kind of niche audience something like this will reach. Plenty of people are barely online beyond the necessities and what entertains them, and may not talk politics in real life. Plus if it truly is an existential situation as many argue, then an endorsement like this demonstrates commitment to that intensity of rhetoric. The employees there will be able to tell themselves they flexed the power they could in this moment. At the end of the day, something changes peoples' votes, whether it's convincing them to switch, abstain, or to turn out.

      Basically I just as a rule wouldn't disparage, even implicitly, any good quality effort. Their effort is most likely to have a neutral-to-positive effect on the outcome. Saying it won't have any positive effect is an effort much more likely to have a negative-to-neutral effect on the outcome. As such, even if you believe that this effort is pointless, it's useless-to-harmful to share that sentiment if the goal of defeating Trump is important to you.

      16 votes
      1. [12]
        andre
        Link Parent
        I think that the Tildes community is so overwhelmingly anti-Trump that these types articles are just re-stating things we already know and won't facilitate any meaningful new conversation. It's...

        I think that the Tildes community is so overwhelmingly anti-Trump that these types articles are just re-stating things we already know and won't facilitate any meaningful new conversation.

        It's increasingly impossible to have a coherent argument with anyone who still supports Trump. I live in Texas, and my parents are brainwashed by Fox News. I've tried several times to articulate just how bad of a person Trump is (with evidence), but they're more concerned about the left wing of the Democratic party using Biden as a puppet to open all the borders and eliminate private property. Also, did you hear Biden groped a little girl? What a sexual molesting creep. Donald Trump, on the other hand, works hard and is eloquent.

        They're both college educated. My dad is a chemical engineer who loves science, and sharing this article with him would achieve absolutely nothing. Cognitive dissonance is incredibly powerful.

        12 votes
        1. [2]
          SuperGracchiBros
          Link Parent
          Very fair point! I thought this article was worth sharing not so much for its anti-Trump stance, but because it shows the expansion of politics into places that have tried to be apolitical for a...

          I think that the Tildes community is so overwhelmingly anti-Trump that these types articles are just re-stating things we already know and won't facilitate any meaningful new conversation.

          Very fair point! I thought this article was worth sharing not so much for its anti-Trump stance, but because it shows the expansion of politics into places that have tried to be apolitical for a long time.

          21 votes
          1. andre
            Link Parent
            Fair enough - it is indeed notable when institutions break 175 year norms.

            Fair enough - it is indeed notable when institutions break 175 year norms.

            8 votes
        2. [2]
          Rez
          Link Parent
          I meant the article's existence, period, not how it might slot into your life. In terms of sharing it on Tildes or forwarding it to your dad? Sure, that probably won't change anything. But there...

          I meant the article's existence, period, not how it might slot into your life. In terms of sharing it on Tildes or forwarding it to your dad? Sure, that probably won't change anything. But there probably is an apolitical/apathetic audience that also pays for a Scientific American subscription that may conceivably be affected by this article.

          If you've given up hope of convincing people, that doesn't mean the next thing you should do is convince others to give up hope too. As I said, at the end of the day, something changes how people vote. The election is not going to be the exact same as it was 4 years ago.

          8 votes
          1. andre
            Link Parent
            I take your point, and believe me, I definitely don't want to do anything that could contribute to Trump's re-election. It's a good article, and I'm glad it exists, if for no other reason than...

            I take your point, and believe me, I definitely don't want to do anything that could contribute to Trump's re-election. It's a good article, and I'm glad it exists, if for no other reason than it's eloquent and a good aggregation of sources.

            I'm not trying to convince others to give up hope - however, I really doubt re-hashing Trumps failures is going to change anyone's mind.

            4 votes
        3. [6]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          They aren't concerned about it: they're deflecting with whataboutism. It's a common tactic in those parts of political world: if it challenges your narrow view of the situation, see if you can...

          but they're more concerned about the left wing of the Democratic party using Biden as a puppet to open all the borders and eliminate private property. Also, did you hear Biden groped a little girl?

          They aren't concerned about it: they're deflecting with whataboutism. It's a common tactic in those parts of political world: if it challenges your narrow view of the situation, see if you can raise a different matter to avoid discussing the real issue, which is: your views might suck.

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            andre
            Link Parent
            No doubt. John Oliver did a whole piece on this. I think the more difficult hump to overcome is accepting that the views you've held for decades are based on lies you've been told daily.

            No doubt. John Oliver did a whole piece on this. I think the more difficult hump to overcome is accepting that the views you've held for decades are based on lies you've been told daily.

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              teaearlgraycold
              Link Parent
              As someone that wrote in Sanders in 2016 partly due to right wing and Russian propaganda against Clinton and regrets it, I would hope that I'm somewhat inoculated against that thought process. I...

              As someone that wrote in Sanders in 2016 partly due to right wing and Russian propaganda against Clinton and regrets it, I would hope that I'm somewhat inoculated against that thought process. I have some practice admitting my beliefs were backwards.

              9 votes
              1. [2]
                NoblePath
                Link Parent
                I don’t think that voting sanders in 2016 was an irrational choice. Noone, probably not even Trump and most on his “team” expected him to actually win. And voting for Sanders was a way to indicate...

                I don’t think that voting sanders in 2016 was an irrational choice. Noone, probably not even Trump and most on his “team” expected him to actually win. And voting for Sanders was a way to indicate mistrust and disagreement with DNC machine, which, quite frankly, might botch this election too.

                What you are demonstrating by (i assume) committing to biden this time is not a willingness to admit you were wrong, but an ability and willingness and flexibility and acuity to exercise good judgment based on new information.

                This is not to say that willingness to admit mistakes is a bad thing, or that you aren’t so willing. I’m just pointing out you have another, related effectiveness trait you are demonstrating here.

                4 votes
                1. teaearlgraycold
                  Link Parent
                  It’s not as though Trump’s odds were extremely low. 30% is enough to seriously consider. I knew that if he won people would die as a result, and the pandemic response has proven me right. Granted,...

                  It’s not as though Trump’s odds were extremely low. 30% is enough to seriously consider. I knew that if he won people would die as a result, and the pandemic response has proven me right.

                  Granted, the 200,000 deaths so far wouldn’t be 0 were Clinton President. But many people that died wouldn’t have.

                  7 votes
            2. ThatFanficGuy
              Link Parent
              I think it goes a little deeper than that. See, my father is quite like that, if from the Russian side of things. (I'm Russian. He's Ukrainian but has been living in Russia for decades.) He...

              I think it goes a little deeper than that.

              See, my father is quite like that, if from the Russian side of things. (I'm Russian. He's Ukrainian but has been living in Russia for decades.) He watches state TV and its hosted shouting matches filled with pseudo-political strong-arming of the state-preferred narrative on a daily basis.

              I don't think he does it because he's so utterly gullible and lacking in agency. I've seen similar inclinations in him going back a decade at least. They weren't nearly as pronounced, but they were there.

              I think it's because there's always a discontent portion of the population who feel as though their views aren't being represented, or that their reality is much duller than they'd prefer. The views of such a person are easy to hijack, manipulate, and exploit to a particularly-malevolent state's benefit. All you need is an enemy, and if you don't have one, create one.

              Putin did it by pitting Russia against the Evil West and its supposed high quality of life. Trump did it by pitting red-blooded Americans against... everyone, it would seem: women, Mexicans, black people, environmentalists, socialists, Jews, anyone-who-isn't-pro-Trump...

              John Oliver could do ten more episodes on those ideas alone, and it won't dig deep enough. It's a complex issue where it's easy to feel defeated and powerless against the flood of bullshit because it's being manufactured by professional bullshitters in large quantities. Rational solutions on personal level don't apply because bullshit tends to hook onto the second most powerful emotion of them all: fear.

              I don't know how to deal with this, either. I suspect the solution is not on the personal level, either: it's on the social level. I'm sure a lot of people with an inclination towards justice and a disgust towards the methods the opposites use to deliver their version of it could do some good.

              6 votes
        4. nobody
          Link Parent
          As a non-US citizen, I am glad someone's shared this article. When you're not following the US situation closely, it's nice to have a TL;DR about Trump's bad politics.

          As a non-US citizen, I am glad someone's shared this article. When you're not following the US situation closely, it's nice to have a TL;DR about Trump's bad politics.

          2 votes
    2. [2]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      In 2016 I was still in school, and had tons of fellow physics classmates who cared deeply about science, but were either apathetic or cynical towards electoral politics and didn’t bother voting. A...

      In 2016 I was still in school, and had tons of fellow physics classmates who cared deeply about science, but were either apathetic or cynical towards electoral politics and didn’t bother voting. A lot has changed since then of course, and many people are more politically engaged than they were in 2016. That being said apathetic voters surely still exist (as evidenced by “high” turnout still often being below 50% of eligible voters), and this type of endorsement could be enough to convince some of them to vote. I bet it would have for some of my classmates in 2016.

      11 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        Don't forget that many of those non-voters are not only abstaining because of apathy, but because of perceived disenfranchisement. Some people think neither candidate even remotely matches their...

        Don't forget that many of those non-voters are not only abstaining because of apathy, but because of perceived disenfranchisement. Some people think neither candidate even remotely matches their values, and many others are upset because their preferred candidate did not win their party's nomination.

        6 votes
    3. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I suppose anyone reading this most likely already know many of those things.

      Yeah, I suppose anyone reading this most likely already know many of those things.

      2 votes
    4. rish
      Link Parent
      I believe this is the period when Americans should encourage as many as voters to actually go and vote. And keep their voting information updated. Voter turnout in 2016 was just 55.5%

      I believe this is the period when Americans should encourage as many as voters to actually go and vote. And keep their voting information updated.

      Voter turnout in 2016 was just 55.5%

      2 votes