Graphical Abstracts Show IQ-Decline in Science

I recently learned that some science journals have started the bizarre practice of including a visual representation of the results of a paper. This is called a “graphical abstract” or a “visual abstract”. In my view, this demonstrates that there is large-scale cognitive decline in society. Not only are the masses getting dumber and dumber, our cognitive elites are, too.

In a recent comment, I mentioned that I had come across a study that explains all those “sudden and unexpected” deaths by linking them to the vaxx. This might not appear particularly mind-blowing, but a good part of science consists of verifying what the public already accepts to be true or confirming phenomena nobody even questions anymore. Of course, this only happens after a period of aggressive opposition, which is why we first got a flood of papers on how “safe and effective” the vaxx is. The paper is called, “Autopsy-based histopathological characterization of myocarditis after anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination”, which you can translate to “Autopsies have shown that the vaxx causes myocarditis”. Of course, as we do not perform autopsies on the living, this also implies that people are dying of the vaxx. You may think that the headline gives a good impression of what the paper is about already, but you would be wrong. This is how the message of the paper is conveyed visually:


Science meets Idiocracy.

We can translate this image as well. It states that the question of whether the vaxx wrecks your heart has been answered in the affirmative. To put it simply: Take the vaxx, get fucked. This adds absolutely nothing that the headline did not already express.

From what I gather, those visual abstracts are intended to guide the reader when going through a large list of papers. As you may know, the output of scientists is bigger than it has ever been, and the quality of the papers scientists produce has reached a nadir. If you work in science, you stay abreast by subscribing to feeds. You skim the titles and abstracts quickly; this does not even take a lot of time, and anything that may be relevant for your research you bookmark for later skimming or reading. Often you don’t even have to do that as science is incredibly specialized so you probably know that the five other people in your niche of a niche of a niche are working on anyway.

A visual abstract does not only not add anything and it also is a great example of our collective cognitive decline. If you are not smart enough to quickly understand what the title of a headline means then perhaps you should not work in science at all. Yet, due to the woke zeitgeist we are currently forced to endure, we need to lower barriers of entry so that more women and minorities can play scientists.

Visual abstracts are a ludicrous instrument. They are also an anachronism, just like emoji. Written language can express arbitrarily abstract concepts. In contrast, your expressivity with emojis and other languages based on symbols is quite limited. Of course, this point escapes anyone who only has a rudimentary command of their mother tongue. The Egyptians did not write novels on papyri — they barely wrote down any tales or stories — whereas the Greeks and Romans recorded philosophical treatises on lambskin as their languages were based on alphabets instead of pictograms.

The first association I had when looking at the graphical abstract above was with the movie Idiocracy. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where a receptionist sits in front of a panel with symbols, thus simplifying communication. Of course, this is a necessity as the people in this movie are no longer able to use complex language. This is what it looks like:

We are moving full steam ahead towards the world of Idiocracy. Even just a few decades ago doctors and scientists used to enjoy high reputation in society. Thanks to rampant diversity hiring as well as the incessant politization, this is no longer the case. Now this trend is accelerating, with this profession undermining any remnant of respect it still may have had.

I expect that we will see further weakening of standards. It may sound ludicrous now, but I consider it conceivable that in about a decade or so, there will be some journals that no longer publish proper papers in standard prose. Instead, “scientists” may only fill a template with bulleted lists. If you think this is impossible to happen as it would be utterly ridiculous then perhaps think back to the year 2012 and ask yourself if you saw a future in which we have graphical abstracts. The decline in society happens anywhere you look.

8 thoughts on “Graphical Abstracts Show IQ-Decline in Science

  1. It’s probably important to add that the German medical doctorate doesn’t equal Anglo-Saxon medical doctorates. In Germany the medical doctorate is a joke: six months at most.

    1. I have to contradict you here. The German medical doctorate comes after acquiring the medical degree, which is a first degree, and which takes six years. In contrast, the American M.D. is a second degree, which takes four years to complete. I would argue that the requirements for the M.D. thesis at Yale, certainly not a run-of-the-mill institution, are well below what you need to produce to get your German doctoral degree in medicine.

    2. Gerd:
      Six months? What on Earth are you talking about? It is, as Aaron says, a lengthy program. In fact most European countries (at least in the EU) have six-year medical programs.

      The dissertation isn’t required to actually become a physician in Germany, it just affects whether you get the doctoral title or not. It seems a growing group of German students are abandoning theirs:

    3. I wasn’t referring to “medical studies”. Medical studies take six years in Germany and you get an “M.D.” title… medical doctor.

      But in Germany we also have the “Dr. med” title, which is a medical PhD. It’s a German oddity: The medical PhD (Dr. med) is ridiculously undemanding. You can get it by doing a six-months-long shallow statistical analysis. From what I know the German “Dr. med” isn’t even acknowledged as PhD in the Anglosphere…

    4. The US M.D. is also not equivalent to a PhD. I am not sure what you are aiming at. Any German M.D. who wants to pursue an academic career furthermore pursues their “second PhD”, the so-called “Habilitation”, anyway, and this is a much more demanding piece of work that normally far exceeds what you have to do for a PhD in the anglosphere.

    5. PhDs in other areas like Engineering or Physics take a lot longer and are more demanding. 3 years at least. The German medical PhD (Dr. med) is a joke. 6 months of garbage.

  2. Egyptian symbols eventually acquired sound values, but only for the consonants. As for the Romans, they probably used calfskin rather than lambskin.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. This does not change the argument in the article, though.

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