2S I CHRONICLESn160,000, presented Mr. Piel’s words as an editorial (17nJanuary 1986 issue), along with a footnote which made itnclear that it was an excerpt from his Moscow State Universitynaddress.nAlthough the appearance of discreetly packaged Sovietnpropaganda in Science was an isolated event—a blandnglobalism characterizes the typical Science editorial on thenworld scene—it highlighted the extent of science journalism’snpoliticization. The mental texture is routine nuts-andberriesnleftism, but with a new spice added by activist seniornscientists who, since their participation in the constructionnof the American nuclear bomb, have been on an extendednguilt trip.nOrganizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientistsn(UCS) and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS)npromote this political agenda. A January 1986 UCS letter tonsolicit new members opens:nDear Friend,nPresident Reagan’s relentless drive to developn”Star Wars” has become the major obstacle to armsncontrol.nAt the Geneva summit, our President wasted annunprecedented opportunity to negotiate with thenSoviets. . . .nApparently the 1980’s have modified the 1960’s slogann”We must not negotiate through fear, but we must not fearnto negotiate” to the simpler “We must negotiate.”nMr. Piel retired from the presidency of the AAAS, whichnpublishes Science, in 1986, but during his term both he andnthe president of the American Physical Society served onnthe interlocking boards of the FAS, the UCS, the ArmsnControl Association, and the Pugwash movement. So it’snno surprise to find these organizations’ politics reflected innthe content of scientific journals.nIt is Scientific American itself which affords the mostnpowerful example. At first blush this would seem to be annimprobable suggestion; arhcles on the origin of the solarnsystem or innovative laser applications in manufacturing donnot afford much scope for political bias. But the magazinenalso has frequent articles about military subjects, particularlynnuclear weapons. Since the late 1940’s it has featurednover 100 such articles, most of them appearing in the last 20nIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles:nWords in Collisionn”More and more, poets resemble alchemists or conspiratorsnwho communicate in an arcane tongue. Poetic teachingsnattract only the initiated, the specialists and fellownsufferers who spend their days in libraries and institutes,nor gather only for symposiums and congresses.”n—from poet Gojko Djogo’s “A Mouse or anPrometheus”nnnyears.nAlthough the subject of nuclear weapons is unavoidablynpolitical—no one would claim that nuclear bombs are builtnto satisfy scientific curiosity—there is nothing wrong, pernse, with articles about them. It was the discoveries ofnscience that made nuclear weapons possible, and it isnessential that scientists should be able to engage in publicndiscussion of their significance.nBut it is precisely this political context—the momentousnquestion of whether the Western democracies will survive,nor succumb to, totalitarian encroachment—which ScientificnAmerican consistently ignores. So great is the gapnbetween the magazine’s implicit view of the U.S. positionnand the actual position in which the U.S. finds itself that anhypothetical U.S. citizen whose sole source of informationnabout the wider world is Scientific American would be at anloss to understand why his fellow citizens bear the burden ofnmaintaining a large, modern military.nInstead, the magazine retreats into an escapist worldnwhere increases of U.S. military strength decrease U.S.nsecurity, while increases of Soviet military strength increasenU.S. security. The reader is not subjected to anything soncrude as a declarative sentence—rather, he is invited to seenmodernization of the U.S. military in a negative light withnthe Soviet dictatorship as a benign background figure. An1982 article by Randall Forsberg promoting the nuclearnfreeze provided an example. At that time (November 1982),nwhen NATO was still a year away from initial deploymentnof new U.S. Pershing II intermediate-range missiles andncruise missiles, the nuclear freeze’s crucial feature was thatnit would prohibit such deployment while making no demandsnon the USSR, which was in the process of deployingnan estimated 900 warheads on its new SS-20 intermediaterangenmissiles targeted at Western Europe. “The newnSS-20’s actually reduce the nuclear threat to WesternnEurope compared with the old SS-4’s and SS-5’s they arenreplacing,” stated the article and then soothed any misgivingsnabout this perspective with suitable rationalization.nThe magazine’s authoritative popular-level articles aboutnscience, technology, and medicine, which by their naturenare completely apolitical, are a surprisingly effective vehiclenfor its political agenda. Even though most people have littlenor no knowledge of science, they are aware that “in terms ofnthe fulfillment of declared intentions, science is incomparablynthe most successful enterprise human beings have evernengaged upon.” They hold science in high regard and, bynassociation, are disposed to hold science-related publicationsnin high regard as well.nScientific American is a prestigious magazine. EightysevennNobel prizewinners have written for it, and the NewnYork Times calls it “this country’s and perhaps the world’snoutstanding forum for communication between the scientistsnand the intelligent public.” In its promotional material.nScientific American goes further, billing itself as “The FinalnAuthority.” (This boastfulness would make most scientistsnnervous. Scientists do not expect to uncover ultimate truths;ntheir realization that as the island of knowledge grows so itsnshoreline with the surrounding ocean of ignorance becomesnlonger and longer instills a natural sense of humility.) Sadnto say. Scientific American dispenses not science but anmixture of science and the politics of The Nation.n