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Academic Elites Don’t Appreciate Uppity Scientists Who Buck the Consensus

Robert L. Crowther, II

censorshiplogo.jpgHere come more threats to academic freedom, not unlike those seen by intelligent design proponents and Darwin skeptics. Over the years we’ve covered many, many cases like this where someone who expresses doubt about Darwinian evolution is harassed, fired, denied tenure, and so on.

“The significance of this is a threat to academic freedom and it’s also a threat to academic science,” Siegel said. “If scientists have to produce work that meets a certain view to keep their jobs, researchers are going to stop publishing negative findings for fear of being fired.”

No, they will simply stop researching period in the subject areas that get them in trouble. The average scientist can find lots of fruitful areas of research that won’t get her in hot water with the pointy-headed elites who’s all-seeing academic eyes keep a watch out for anything that is out of line with the current orthodoxy. And journal editors will avoid publishing controversial papers for fear of reprisal. If you are already overwhelmed in your job, you are unlikely to take on a risky paper. Better to just steer clear of such areas.
But of course we all know that Academia (may it last forever in all its gloriousness) doesn’t drum people out because their views differ from the established consensus.

“If 100 people conclude one thing and another person concludes something completely different, then it’s natural for his credibility to be called into question,” Maxwell said.

Just ask Galileo. Or more recently, Sternberg or Gonzalez.