Richard Dawkins comments on an Scientific American article titled "Denial of Evolution Is a Form of White Supremacy" with "Scientific American was once a great journal." Source: Twitter

What does "Scientific American was once a great journal" mean? It seems to me to mean "Scientific American was once a great journal, but now it has degradated." I am not sure it is what Dawkins means here.

What does it mean?

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    That's exactly what it means; SciAm used to be held to be a respected source of good scientific information expressed in a way that a reasonably well-educated layman could understand without being an expert on the particular subject matter. Recently, there are opinions that it is no longer a consistently good source of good scientific information. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 16:48
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    'Degradated' is not a word in English. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 17:01
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    degraded, but you mean: is no longer a good quality journal.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, that is the implication. To paraphrase:

Scientific American used to be a great journal.

This implies "it is not a great journal anymore". I won't attempt to analyse why Dawkins believes this.

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    See also the famous Mitch Hedburg joke which plays on this implication: "I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too."
    – randomhead
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 5:23

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