Why I shall not renew my Scientific American subscription

I sent the following to Scientific American editors on 23 October 2021:

Scientific American has gone down the same road as the “journal” Social Text. Because modern education has so damaged the minds of the editors, staff, and writers for Scientific American, I have determined not to renew my subscription — after 54 years — because my sheer enjoyment in every article abruptly ceased when Martin Gardner was replaced by Steve Mirsky, Lawrence Krauss and Naomi Oreskes, and articles by scientists were replaced with articles by “science writers.”

Editors and staff and “writers” need to read this, and the original article to which it refers, and reflect deeply on both:

How Alan Sokal Won the Battle but Lost the “Science Wars” - James B. Meigs, Commentary Magazine

It was the greatest emperor's-new-clothes gag in modern intellectual history. Physicist Alan Sokal's famous hoax article — a putative attack on the legitimacy of science and even on the notion of ‘objectivity’ itself — appeared in the trendy academic journal Social Text in the spring of 1996. With its precise mimicry of postmodern language and ideas, Sokal's parody worked like a laser scalpel, mercilessly exposing the movement's incoherence and foolishness. Even the paper's title — “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” — perfectly captured the Olympian pretentiousness of the field. And the journal's editors fell for it. Hard....

Rather than Sokal's parody succeeding in demolishing the postmodernism movement's incoherence and foolishness, his essay became an instruction manual for how to insinuate that incoherence and foolishness into every human activity.

Unfortunately, that instruction manual has resulted in articles in Scientific American becoming deeply contaminated with the same incoherence and foolishness. Can one make a rational scientific argument that a study of the relationship between gender and autoimmune disease might be defective because it was a cisgender study? Can a woman really reduce her risk of autoimmune disease by insisting she is a man, and dressing and cutting her hair like a man, and having her breasts removed, and other body parts added or modified?

Let me know if Scientific American ever returns to treating the scientific method as the best method we have to construct a continuously improving approximation to describe reality, instead of treating it as a text that postmodern literary critics can deconstruct, unpack, or interrogate.

Van Snyder
La Crescenta, CA