Sara Reardon from Nature magazine, the most widely read science journal in the world, put the word out: what working scientist would admit publicly to supporting Trump?
Why wouldn’t any scientist admit to supporting one of the two (major) nominees to the presidency of the once United States of America? Maybe the responses to Reardon’s tweet give a clue.
“I’m doing a side piece on ignominious career blunders, mind if I borrow some quotes”
Who’s up for murder? “you will tell us if you find one? We need them for our herbarium.”
“I cannot see how someone with adequate knowledge in the scientific method could agree with Trump’s statements.”
“HAHAHA. As if any Trump-supporting scientist is going to commit career suicide by admitting such.”
And then the truth: “Come tell us who you are, so we can put a blackmark on your career file! Not even a Nobel Prize saved Watson.”
The scientists who support Donald Trump
“Science policy fades into background for many who back Republican candidate in US presidential race.”
[Kaylee, not her real name, a woman biologist and Catholic is for Trump.]
Trump, a Republican, has run a brash, often divisive, campaign that has prompted some leading members of his own party to disavow him. He has drawn criticism for his treatment of women, his pledge to block Muslim immigration to the United States, and his plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Still, Kaylee says, “I am 100% certain I will not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Trump’s Democratic opponent, despite her fears that supporting Trump could harm her job prospects…
Her fears do not surprise Neil Gross, a sociologist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Surveys have shown that conservative faculty members are a minority in US universities, although the proportion varies by field (see ‘Field reports’). “My sense is that the candidacy of Donald Trump has really intensified disputes that were there already in academic life,” Gross says. “If Republicans in academia and science felt uncomfortable before, I think the candidacy of Mr Trump has made them all the more uncomfortable.”[Our friend Stan Young is for Trump, as is a fellow named David Deming, a geophysicist.]
William Briggs, a statistician at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, likes the fact that Trump has not emphasized science. “The federal government has become far too involved in setting the scientific agenda,” says Briggs, who argues that Obama has misused science in politically charged debates over climate change and energy policy. “I think Hillary would worsen that.”
…[Kaylee’s] lab’s principal investigator…has given her a safe space to express conservative views.
But not everyone is so lucky. And as the 8 November election nears, talk of the hard-fought presidential race grows trickier to escape. Some scientists who support Trump worry that political discussions in the lab will not only harm their careers in the long term, but also hinder current collaborations with colleagues, and waste time…
My affiliation is off slightly. I am an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at Cornell, in charge of nobody and nothing and with no funding; and I don’t live in Ithaca (once voted the most enlightened city in the world). I spoke with Reardon for some forty-five minutes: another day I’ll discuss the important details of that conversation. Meanwhile…
Did you notice it? Was it obvious?
Imagine if Reardon wrote this: “Some scientists who support Hillary worry that political discussions will not only harm their careers in the long term, but also hinder current collaborations with colleagues.”
You can’t imagine it, can you. The very idea is preposterous! Of course supporting Hillary wouldn’t be problematic; indeed, it is the only sane thing to do. Nobody anywhere, even at the most “conservative” institution you can imagine, would suffer more than a sidelong glance for supporting Hillary.
But Trumpers have to go underground, like “Kaylee”, if any part of their careers are ahead of them. If they are near retirement and mostly untouchable like Young, they can speak out. If they are on the outside and resigned to that fate, like Yours Truly, there’s no more harm that can be done by revealing themselves.
The reasonable fear of unthinking vindictive colleagues is a prime reason to support Trump.
Nature, perhaps wisely, turned off comments to Reardon’s article. But there’s been reaction on-line. Responding to a tweet of the article’s title, one fellow said “All four of them :-)”, to which Reardon replied, “Plenty more who didn’t make it in there or changed their minds. And people are afraid to admit it.”
A non-scientist science-worshiping journalist said “Sounds to me like mental gymnastics to look past his contempt for science.” Note: science is not a conscious being worthy of worship. Try saying “He has contempt for walnuts” to see what I mean.
Dumb jokes abounded, like: “Some scientists support Trump (many anonymous due to strong bias of colleagues in favor of rationality and facts).”
There were numerous bug-witted responses to Nature’s original tweet.
“THEY’RE CRAZY SAME THAN TRUMP.”
My favorites, “yes, when you a RACIST, you always support another RACIST regardless of facts” and “pitiful scum… Poor excuse for a scientist. But yeah, racists back racists…”
Only a racist? Sigh. I am also a homophobic trannyphobic Islamophobic sexist.
The article just came out, so there’s bound to be more reaction. I’ll see that updates are put here; and you can add finds in the comment section.