Nature, one of the most influential scientific journals in the world, published last Tuesday (25) an editorial expressing favoritism for Lula and opposition to Bolsonaro’s re-election. The article, titled “There is only one choice in Brazil’s election — for the country and the world”, warns that a second term for Bolsonaro would pose a “threat to science, democracy and the environment”. For the magazine, the vote next Sunday (30) is the most important since the end of the military dictatorship in
. She compares Bolsonaro to Trump for his stance during the pandemic, and calls him a “populist.”
The magazine focuses more on listing what she sees as Bolsonaro’s mistakes than praising Lula. , but lists as merits of the Workers’ Party governments “large investments in science and innovation”, strong environmental protections and expansion of educational opportunities, in addition to the Bolsa Família program and the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon in 80% between 2004 and 2012. It also mentions Lula’s 25 months in prison for corruption, a conviction overturned by the Federal Supreme Court.
“No political leader comes close to being perfect,” comments Nature, “but the past four years are a reminder of what happens when those we elect actively dismantle institutions designed to reduce poverty, protect public health, stimulate science and knowledge, uphold fairness and the integrity of evidence”. If Bolsonaro wins another four years, the publication concludes, “the damage could be irreparable.”
Politicization of academic publications
The scientific journal is not the first academic publication to use its pages to try to persuade Brazilians to vote for Lula. The medical journal The Lancet did the same last September, going beyond Nature in praising other left-wing Latin American leaders like Gustavo Petro , former guerrilla president of Colombia, and Gabriel Boric, president of Chile, whom they jointly called “renewed hope for progressive social change.”
In addition to the politicization in editorials, the magazine itself Nature is also politicizing publication guidelines, as was the case with new rules published by its subsidiary Nature Human Behaviour. Not only do the guidelines use vocabulary born in progressive identity activism, but they also have the potential to be abused in order to only approve works on human nature that reaffirm the political dogmas of progressivism, as scientists concerned with the news commented.
Smart people can differ radically in their political opinions. In the opinion of philosopher Thomas Sowell, the root of this difference lies fundamentally in the way political groups view human nature. Because of the way science has professionalized and institutionalized, a particular political view is more attractive to scientists than others, both because of pre-scientific beliefs about what is possible about human nature and because of more mundane considerations about which political view. will give them more tax money, with fewer charges. What appears to be a neutral assessment of candidates, therefore, may just be a reflection of the generally unscientific way in which political beliefs spread through heads.
, before the American presidential elections, Nature did a poll with 900 of its readers. A large majority of 86% supported progressive Joe Biden. A poll of political opinions by the Pew Research Center, in 2009, found that two-thirds of scientists consider themselves progressive or very progressive.