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Academic Freedom — Sweeping Up the Shards

Rob Sheldon

academic freedom

The online magazine Quillette has a tradition of providing a forum for people who can’t get heard on the regular channels, perhaps due to political correctness. Here is an article, “The New Evolution Deniers,” by evolutionary biologist Colin Wright at Penn State. 

He thinks that the slogan “gender is a social construct” denies Darwin. Here are the conclusions:

Back when evolution was under attack from proponents of Biblical Creation and Intelligent Design, academic scientists were under no pressure to hold back criticism. This is because these anti-evolution movements were almost exclusively a product of right-wing evangelicals who held no power in academia. Now we have a much bigger problem, because evolution denialism is back, but this time it’s coming from left-wing activists who do hold power in academia. This makes the issue both harder to ignore and harder to remove. Social justice and hyper-militant trans activism now seems to act as a kind of anti-universal acid, and not merely a strong buffer solution. While the universal acid of evolution eats through old cherished beliefs and replaces them with deeper understanding and a clearer picture of reality, the anti-universal acid of social justice ideology is a recklessly destructive force, aiming to abolish scientific truth and replace it with relativistic postmodern nonsense…

But it seems clear to me that academia now is not as it was advertised a decade ago when I started down this path. It is no longer a refuge for outspoken, free-thinking intellectuals. Instead, it seems one must now choose between living a zipper-lipped life as an academic scientist, or living a life as a fulfilled intellectual. Currently, one cannot do both.

Denying Darwin

So evidently, shutting down Christians was “outspoken, free-thinking” but shutting down evolutionary biologists is “a zipper-lipped life.” It seems that Darwinism is a good “universal acid,” but the post-modern products of Darwinism are “a kind of anti-universal acid” (whatever that might be, he doesn’t seem to know his pH scale). Despite the pain they feel, Darwinists don’t seem to realize it is their own hands that have torn down the edifice of knowledge. They still think that discrimination is valid when they are in charge, that courtesy is only for friends, that objectivity is their personal possession.

The mere argumentation used in this article reveals that the academic battles for truth were lost a generation earlier, and today we are simply sweeping up the shards.  

Photo credit: MabelAmber, via Pixabay.