Some academics have grand egos, which somehow lets them metaphorically get into cars with shifty drooling strangers holding out some candy. Sometimes it is simple cash, sometimes it is just the pleasure of being admired and having their academic egos polished. No criticism of the hosts is allowed then, but I will try anyway.
Which brings me to a research integrity conference in California, set for February 7-8 2020. It is called Fixing Science- Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis and is organised by the conservative think tanks called Independent Institute and National Association of Scholars parading as NAS, which presumably is supposed to be confused with National Academy of Sciences, internationally known by its acronym NAS.
The scholars of that copycat NAS and of the Independent Institute are, shall I put it this way, very conservative, funded by the Koch brothers, Templeton Foundation and oil industry. Their fight is against “political correctness”, embodied by climate change science, but also by liberal values, by the state persecution of erotically-inclined male academics, and what drives NAS mad is any campus discussion on gender, feminism or racism. Instead, NAS would rather have students learn about the historic achievements of white Europeans, while firmly rejecting any insinuation that USA as the world’s most prosperous nation was build on white supremacism.
Most obviously, the reason why NAS and Independent Institute organise such research integrity events is to prove that climate scientists are dishonest and we must continue burning fossil fuels because the climate change science is not reproducible anyway. That was covered already in 2017 by Undark magazine, so i will not go into it.
The upcoming conference was much ridiculed on Twitter for being a white men-only event. A faux-pas, easily fixed by inviting some women next time and all is well. But there are much bigger problems with NAS, and climate change denialism is not the only one. Many posts on NAS website are openly misogynous and others raise the suspicion of white supremacy agenda. Not everything is available to public: NAS operates their own scholarly journal, Academic Questions. It is published by Springer Nature, but can be also accessed via a personal application to NAS. I will list below some of posts of NAS website and you make up your own mind.
The psychologist Dorothy Bishop blogged about this event, and she advises not to go. It is clear from her description of the academic speakers that their participation at the NAS event is not a mistake of oversight. Mark Regnerus seems to have an issue with same-sex partnerships, Elliott D. Bloom, Patrick Michaels and Anastasios Tsonis made their names by denying the impact and the anthropogenic nature global warming, while Louis Anthony Cox has “fringe ideas” about air pollution.
Those academics without a literally toxic environmental agenda, like Lee Jussim and Brian Earp, will probably come to have their egos rubbed by fellow white men of conservative persuasion. If you ask them to reconsider going to bed with NAS and Independent Institute, they will accuse you of bullying and harassment, as Jussim publicly did.
Another invited speaker is Daniele Fanelli, a self-proclaimed polymath, and for some reason internationally acclaimed expert for research integrity and reproducibility. Two problems which he himself already solved, case closed.
The organisers David Theroux (President Independent Institute) and Peter Wood, (President NAS) are of course openly hostile towards climate science. The conference is supposed to provide them with academic manpower in their struggle against teenage girls from Sweden. Scientists are eager to abide, even what NAS says about gender and race issues seems not to be seen as a problem. So here are some examples I found.
On sexual harassment
(regulated in US universities by so-called Title IX):
- “NAS applauds President Trump for two recent executive orders affecting Title IX regulations, which help curb bureaucratic rule and preserve the rights of the accused.” Link here.
- “The Kavanaugh drama can actually be traced, in part, to our college culture since 1991, the year Anita Hill’s sexual harassment accusations failed to keep Clarence Thomas off the Court. That culture is most on display in campus Title IX proceedings, which often emulate a Verdict first! Trial later! approach to complaints of sexual assault.” Link here
- Academic Questions: Wild, Wild Nights! A modern college love story with a flare of kangaroo courts and Title IX. Poetry by Bruce Bawer
- “Title IX regulation confronts the individual with the power of the Federal government, regarding a matter of the greatest intimacy—sexual desire—in the context of an activity of the greatest importance—education” Link here.
- “Gender Inequity Among the Gender Equity Enforcers: In a sample study, NAS found that 83% of Title IX Coordinators are female.” By Peter Wood, link here.
- “My organization, the National Association of Scholars, has been criticizing the new Title IX regime for years. We also have an older history of wrestling with the excesses of the feminist-inspired attacks on academic freedom.” By Peter Wood, link here.
On women and minorities in STEM
- “Last week I published “Bias, Barriers, or Biology” in response to the AAUW’s March report Why So Few? on why fewer women than men pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I argued that while social norms and parent/teacher encouragement play a role in leading women to pursue such careers, attempts to achieve some sort of gender balance are misguided and ignore the fact that men and women are inherently different and their interests aren’t always the same.” Link here
- “What Damore’s Memo Taught Google: The recent attempts to include more women and racial minorities in STEM fields could have drawbacks.” By Peter Wood, link here.
- “Today’s New York Times features John Tierney’s followup to his piece last week about attempts to legislate “gender equity,” which he concludes will never work: a mixture of innate biological factors and individual career choices, rather than a “glass ceiling” or deliberate discrminination account for the statistical disparities between men and women in fields such as physics or mechanical engineering. Tierney cites a solid body of research to bolster his conclusion – including the stellar work of our friend Christina Sommers – but the comments thread indicates that, where this subject is concerned, ideology still reigns supreme for many others. The gap can be explained by “gender bias,” case closed. Unfortunately, Congress seems to be listening to the ideologues at the moment.” Link here.
- “In the Olympics there are few black swimmers, but the best runners are usually black. This is the due both to natural ability and cultural norms. And it’s ok! Having fewer women than men in math and science is ok too.” Article: Bias, Barriers, or Biology?, link here.
On white supremacy
Today’s white supremacists often accept Asians as quasi-equal, probably strategically given China’s and India’s economic and political dominance and their own state-promoted racism. Even some Jews are now keen to be part of the master white race, apparently (I’d rather not join that club though, but thank you for the invitation). What remains in common for all these supremacists: they see the “Black race” as inferior. The following articles suggest NAS might hold such views. They certainly refuse to accept American slavery as something special and point to everyone else as having been worse, in a fit of whataboutism. There is nothing for USA to feel bad about because everyone else back then was worse, and also, USA never economically profited from slavery anyway.
In August 2019, The New York Times started a series of articles to commemorate 400 year anniversary of US slavery: The 1619 project, the year first African slaves arrived in the British New World colonies. NAS went rabid, and replied with a string of articles called The 1620 Project, which included one titled “America Wasn’t Founded on White Supremacy” by the black scholar Lucas Morel, who presumably forgot where the white American settlers and later the US state got their territory from (there is a reason one overlooks Native Americans, there are somehow not many of them left, and those remaining are well-hidden). Other articles in the series are for example:
- “It is a noteworthy date, but not quite the beginning of slavery in the New World or in what would become the United States. The Spanish had brought African slaves long before. And we have at least one account by an early Spanish soldier, Cabeza de Vaca, who was captured and enslaved by Native Americans in the South in the 1520s. Slavery was an indigenous American institution long before Europeans got here.” America is Hopelessly Racist by Peter Wood.
- “To cast enslavement of some as requisite for the wealth of others is bad economics, then, and bad history. But it is also a toxic ideology. The left has long regarded any employment as slavish exploitation.” Slavery Did Not Make America Rich by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
- “Stealing land, owning slaves, and slaying wildlife were, after all, the national sports of pre-European contact African, Arab, and native American cultures. In the event, the life chances of those enslaved under the British empire improved markedly compared to what they would have been in Africa even as freemen, and certainly compared to other slave colonies in the Americas. […]Today, being black in America is one of the best outcomes for a black person globally. If not, more black Americans would own passports and would, over time, have migrated to other places, such as Guyana, Liberia, Haiti, or Sierra Leone. To be black in America is, historically speaking, to have hit the jackpot.” From “Was it Good Fortune to be Enslaved by the British Empire?” by Bruce Gilley
Yes, NAS proudly republished Gilley’s white supremacist masterpiece “The Case for Colonialism“, are you surprised? NAS explains:
“Gilley’s article had undergone double-blind peer review before it was first published, but it aroused immediate fury. More than 16,000 people around the world petitioned to have the article censored. They also demanded that Third World Quarterly apologize and the editor be fired. Fifteen members of the journal’s thirty-four-member editorial board also resigned in objection to the article. Initially the publisher stood its ground, but after receiving serious threats of violence against the editor, the publisher withdrew the article. Gilley, the author, was also personally and professionally attacked and received death threats.”
For NAS, white conservative men are the real victims of persecution. Pity that this study is for invited readers only: Academic Questions: Perceptions of Gender, Race, and Anti-Conservative Discrimination on Campus, by Hal Arkes:
“This study of female college students and recent graduates indicates that campus discrimination based on conservative political ideology might exceed that based on gender.“
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