Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Chemistry World: Suppression of academic freedom is a global crisis

In North America, we think mainly in terms of toxic snowflakes, of the sort that made it dangerous for their biology prof to be on campus. But elsewhere, it can be worse. From Maria Burke at Chemistry World:

Thousands of people in the higher education sector have been targeted in Turkey where state and university authorities continue to take sweeping measures in retaliation for alleged political links or content of research, publications or teaching. Punitive actions by the Turkish state have included imprisonment and prosecution; dismissal and expulsion of scholars and students; and restrictions on travel and institutional autonomy.

There have been many reports of widespread restrictions on academics’ travel. Over the past year, for example, Turkey has issued decrees stripping thousands of scholars of their passports. As the decrees led to the academics being fired and banned them from working at state institutions in Turkey, removing their passports also means they can’t continue their work, at home or abroad.

The report also highlights administrative actions in central and eastern Europe over the last year, which have threatened the autonomy of universities, including the Levada Center in Russia, the European University in St Petersburg, and the Central European University in Hungary. SAR believes the aim is to punish researchers or institutions for their affiliations, or content of research and teaching. More.

The United States recently withdrew from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), citing the rise in anti-Israel bias (put less politely, anti-Semitism). Israel is leaving too.

Here’s an idea: Every country that supports academic freedom and science as opposed to government crackdowns and identity politics should withdraw from UNESCO. Then, two decades from now, let’s evaluate the science output of the leavers vs. the remaining UNESCO members. Why isn’t that fair?

See also: Are wealthy, white, male mavericks part of science’s problem? Science can be productive as science or else as identity politics. One must choose.

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Marchin’, marchin’ for Science (Hint: the problems are back at your desk, not out in the streets)

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Are wealthy, white, male mavericks part of science’s problem?

From philosopher of science Adrian Currie at Aeon:

There’s a scarcity of jobs compared with the number of applicants, and very few high-ranking and ‘big impact’ journals. This means that the research decisions that scientists make, particularly early on, are high-risk wagers about what will be fruitful and lead to a decent career. The road to academic stardom (and, for that matter, academic mediocrity) is littered with brilliant, passionate people who simply made bad bets. In such an environment, researchers are bound to be conservative – with the stakes set so high, taking a punt on something outlandish, and that you know is likely to hurt your career, is not a winning move.

The resulting mediocrity shows.

The biologist Barbara McClintock devoted enormous effort and paid a very high price for her path-breaking research into so-called ‘jumping genes’ in the mid-20th century.

The response from the scientific community was initially hostile – not to the basic phenomenon McClintock had discovered, but to the complex, interwoven picture of biological systems that she developed on the back of the discovery. For 20 years, McClintock was forced to switch gears completely and work on the study of maize. It wasn’t until the 1970s that her peers came around, and she was duly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983. ‘One must await the right time for conceptual change,’ she wrote in a shoulder-shrugging letter to a fellow geneticist in 1973.

Mediocrities’ most valuable bureaucratic skill, besides enforcing orthodoxy, is wasting other people’s time. We all grow old, we all die, they figure, so let time cart out the good ideas that never had a chance… while we retire in comfort, where all shall have prizes.

This part is an alarmingly bad direction:

There’s also a worry about the kind of mavericks we’re listening to. Most of those floating around today are wealthy, white and male. That’s not surprising: to be a successful maverick, chances are you’re already pretty privileged. Why? Well, you need a sense of entitlement and the confidence to take on the mainstream. More.

Ah! Class, ethnicity, and sex are a reason to avoid new ideas? A person who thinks that has abandoned science anyway for the endless solace of grievance identity politics. But then marchin’, marchin’ may be good for their personal health, if nothing else.

Science can be productive as science or else as identity politics. One must choose.

See also: Iconic Darwinian John Maynard Smith on teaching the controversy

Eureka! Scientist discovers that the post-modern left hates science the way it hates every form of external reality

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Biology prof Bret Weinstein’s persecutors face sanctions from Evergreen State College

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2016: Corey Feldman said he’d love to name names on Hollywood pedophilia

Tell him not to bother. From Seth Abramovitch (May 2016) at Hollywood Reporter:

A recent interview with Elijah Wood has reignited the conversation on pedophilia in the entertainment business. The Lord of the Rings star later clarified, first to The Hollywood Reporter and then on his personal Twitter account, that his comments about “something major … going on in Hollywood” were based not on his own experiences and observations but rather on news reports and the 2015 documentary film An Open Secret.

But another former child actor — Corey Feldman, star of such iconic 1980s movies as The Goonies, Stand by Me and The Lost Boys — was not so lucky. In past interviews, his A&E reality series The Two Coreys and his 2013 memoir, Coreyography, Feldman has detailed how he was preyed upon by men in the industry. His own experiences were not as nightmarish as what befell his Two Coreys co-star, the late Canadian actor Corey Haim. Haim was just 11 when, Feldman says, a man raped him on a movie set. (Haim died in 2010 at age 38 after years of drug addiction.)More.

Reality check: Why not just assume that there are Harvey Weinsteins in Tinseltown who happen to prey on kids? Actually, why not assume that the whole barrel of apples is bad? Must we sort through every one?

And if anyone brings up a moral opinion any typical Hollywood person has, quietly change the subject. Changing one’s viewing habits would make even more difference. Learning what those people had to be willing to do in order to get a chance to entertain us should feel like watching a dogfight while knowing how awful a life it is for the dog.

See also: Three times as many Academy Award winners thanked Weinstein as thanked God

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What Weinstein cost Hollywood is the right to self-righteous posturing

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How did a confused liberal political scientist come to be a hated man?

From Justin Dean Lee at Los Angeles Review of Books:

MARK LILLA IS a hated man. Or so one might conclude from the rancor he has absorbed since publishing his controversial New York Times op-ed “The End of Identity Liberalism” in November 2016. A colleague has even accused him of attempting to make “white supremacy respectable” again.

What exactly has Lilla written to provoke such vitriol? A treatise for social Darwinism? Tips for sewing homemade Klan hoods?

Of course not. He has merely voiced publicly what many other Democrats have been saying in private: that the party’s focus on identity politics has come at the expense of winning elections, which means the very groups it purports to care most about are being underserved. Lilla proposes that the left abandon this self-defeating discourse and reinvest in reasoned appeals to the common good. More.

Reality check: Then Lilla is living on the wrong planet and should get off. Progressive politics by its very nature parasitizes disadvantaged groups and makes them lifelong helpless pawns of the progressive establishment. By the time the victims are properly processed, they have nothing to offer but their victimhood votes.

Progressives who are not, ultimately, like that must live on a different planet, maybe somewhere where honesty is permissible and results matter. Somewhere past the Bootes Void maybe.

See also: Progressives destroy everyone else’s history

Progressive comic book artists unite to harass non-progressive critic

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Bookstore employee frets at selling un-PC book

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Three times as many Academy Award winners thanked Weinstein as thanked God

From Christine Rousselle at Townhall:

Well here’s a rather telling fact about Hollywood, courtesy of CNN’s religion editor Daniel Burke. Over the last 20 years, 30 Academy Award winners have explicitly thanked Harvey Weinstein during their speeches. During that same period, a mere seven thanked God.More.

Reality check: That shows that the winners have their own priorities right. They want what Weinstein can do for them far more than they want what God can do for them.

But what about the people who are disturbed by the predation but choose to listen to the unhinged moralistic rants as if they were more significant than jailhouse rap? Never mind what’s the matter with Hollywood. What’s the matter withthe audience.

See also: What Weinstein cost Hollywood is the right to self-righteous posturing

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The Atlantic on what Facebook did to American democracy

They still can’t believe Hillary lost and have no intention of honestly considering why. From Alexis C. Madrigal at The Atlantic:

Tech journalists covering Facebook had a duty to cover what was happening before, during, and after the election. Reporters tried to see past their often liberal political orientations and the unprecedented actions of Donald Trump to see how 2016 was playing out on the internet. Every component of the chaotic digital campaign has been reported on, here at The Atlantic, and elsewhere: Facebook’s enormous distribution power for political information, rapacious partisanship reinforced by distinct media information spheres, the increasing scourge of “viral” hoaxes and other kinds of misinformation that could propagate through those networks, and the Russian information ops agency.

But no one delivered the synthesis that could have tied together all these disparate threads. It’s not that this hypothetical perfect story would have changed the outcome of the election. The real problem—for all political stripes—is understanding the set of conditions that led to Trump’s victory. The informational underpinnings of democracy have eroded, and no one has explained precisely how. More.

Reality check: No one has explained precisely how? Let me try: Americans realized they actually had a chance to reject the politics of both parties. Many Dems turned to Sanders and many Republicans turned to Trump. There were more Republicans. Next question?

See also: Why rubes don’t trust traditional media any more: Because we can get wrong information anyway without paying for it or putting up with tons of ads.

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Is it too late to be saved from “secular privilege”?

From Andrea Palplant Dilley’s interview with political scientist Mary Poplin at Christianity Today:

Dilley: How would you define “secular privilege,” a term introduced by David Hodge in one of the essays in your book?

Poplin: Here’s a great example. When [US Senator] Dianne Feinstein interviews a candidate, Amy Barrett, for a judgeship, she presumes that she herself is neutral and that this candidate is not neutral just because she’s an orthodox Catholic. Bernie Sanders did the same to another appointee. But, of course, Feinstein has a worldview, too. Barrett doesn’t believe in abortion, she’s been active in Catholic organizations … all that gets brought up. In the interview, Feinstein asked the question: How can [Barrett] make good judgments if she holds a religious worldview?

So the purpose of the book is to make explicit that secularism is a sort of umbrella of ideologies defined by its exclusion of religion, primarily of Christian voices, certainly in the US and Europe. Secularism defines itself by what it is not; it has no agreed-upon moral compass, so it’s an umbrella for anything from the far right to the far left and everything in between—as long as it’s not religious. As Stanley Fish says, secularism has survived by pretending to be neutral, but it’s anything but neutral. More.

Reality check: Increasingly, people who vote for progressives – if they have any doubts about the progressive agenda – are voting themselves off the planet.

See also: Quebec inches toward euthanasia for demented, triggered by avoidable sob story

and

Obsolete medium CBS notices euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands

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What Weinstein cost Hollywood is the right to self-righteous posturing

Glenn Harland Reynolds (Instapundit) asks at USA Today,

If people realize the system is exploitative and inhuman, will they still watch movies?:

They aren’t turning on Weinstein because they suddenly found out what he was like. They always knew. They’re turning on Weinstein because America found out what he was like, and they’re hoping to distract people before they draw the correct conclusion about what Hollywood in general is like. More.

Reality check: Why would anyone take Hollywood has-beens’ faux outrage about, say, Trump’s jock talk from years ago now that we have had more than a snootful of Weinstein?

Is it getting to the point that people who take Hollywood seriously are, um, Not Cool? Has it come to this?

See also: Self-righteousness will be the death of Sweden

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The weird thing that happens when Hollywood makes lots of movies few people want to see

From Brad Brevet at Box Office Mojo:

August 2017 wrapped up as the worst August in twenty years with calendar grosses delivering a combined $657.7 million from 225 movies, 35.5% behind last year’s gross and failing to top $700 million for the first time since 2000. Thanks to the continued performance of Annabelle: Creation, which just topped $100 million domestically yesterday, the month did deliver a $100+ million earner, a feat that looked as if it might not happen not too long ago. Annabelle also helped Warner Bros. top the month with nine films in release grossing nearly $165 million. Sony finished in second with $151 million, led by The Emoji Movie, which brought in $50.5 million over the course of the month after releasing over the final weekend in July.

Universal’s The Mummy finished its run in August with a mere $80.1 million domestically. Budgeted at $125 million, the studio hoped the Tom Cruise starrer would make a larger splash as they kicked off their Dark Universe franchise. Fortunately, while domestic returns were low, the international box office helped push the film’s worldwide haul to $407.8 million, a figure the studio will be looking to improve on with their two upcoming additions to the “universe” with stars including Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem taking on the roles as The Invisible Man and Frankenstein’s Monster respectively. More.

Reality check: It used to be people ranted at friends and family members or mental health professionals about private grievances and sought fame and fortune by expressing common feelings better than audience members would have done.

Some say the international box office will save the industry but that depends on whether the international interest is based on presumed Coolness in the United States. Don’t expect Hollywood to face that issue in a businesslike way just yet.

Unmoored from typical U.S. audiences, the industry could end up making propaganda flicks for a variety of global interests, especially those that would distribute them through their controlled media. We shall see.

See also: Dying traditional media journalists’ arrogance is “beyond annoying”

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Why rubes don’t trust traditional media any more

From staff at Newsweek:

RETRACTED: PADDOCK’S GIRLFRIEND USED TWO SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS AND WAS MARRIED TO TWO MEN AT THE SAME TIME

The initial report was based on the marriage record of Danley, who was known under a different name when she married Geary Danley in Clark County, Nevada. Newsweek mistakenly matched that record to a second public record of a different person.

Keep Up With This Story And More By Subscribing Now More.

Reality check: Next time, they could be broadcasting false information about you or me. Correct doesn’t seem to be Cool now, maybe it’s a sign of lack of Cool to even care.

See also: Old time journalist regrets the loss of news coverage standards in US 2016 election

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Could the Las Vegas massacre be a tipping point?

From Mark Steyn, re his recent Minnesota tour:

Scott Johnson [Powerline] reports:

This was a triumphant return… Mark commented most powerfully on the lack of humanity demonstrated by now former CBS vice president and senior counsel Haylee Geftman-Gold in response to the massacre. (Paul Mirengoff provides the details in the adjacent post.) By contrast, Mark spoke of his own sympathy for the victims of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando even though he is not a practicing homosexual. “Or a non-practicing one,” he helpfully added, despite the familiarity he acknowledged with the theatrical milieu (gesturing behind him toward the set of Romeo and Juliet).

Commenting on his own disclaimer of homosexuality, Mark paraphrased Hamlet’s judgment on his mother: “Methinks he doth protest too much.” I’m laughing even as I type it out…

Mark’s remarks on the Las Vegas massacre said something original and true. Thinking them through would afford the benefit of a liberal education in politics. More.

Reality check: Original and true? Could that massacre be a turning point, on account of the celebs, would-be celebs, media faces, profs, etc., who made clear that they hoped these Trump supporters would die. They said this even though it simply isn’t known how many of the targets were Trump supporters. The event was not a Trump rally executive committee meeting, after all; it was a pop music fest. And a disquieting number of progressive opinion leaders are willing to stereotype anyone who might go to such an event as a Trump supporter. Their attitudes “intersect” nicely with the attempts to shut down varying kinds of culture other than their own and restrict contact between cultures.

What we have learned: Progressives foaming at the mouth about “hate” are mainly projecting their own attitudes onto others. And they do mean it. We can never let them have serious power again.

See also: Progressives destroy everyone else’s history

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Progressives destroy everyone else’s history

From Mark Steyn:

I mentioned on television yesterday that the Democrats have much greater success slicing and dicing the First Amendment than they do the Second – because gun ownership is real and concrete and the confiscation and banning of actual things is easier to grasp than the incremental shriveling of something abstract such as freedom of expression. But it is striking how the assault on the latter has accelerated ever since, in the wake of the church shooting in Charleston, the Democrat-media complex forced the banishing of the Confederate flag and even of reruns of “Dukes of Hazzard”. In two years we’ve progressed from taking down the Confederate flag to toppling Civil War statuary – and now the removal of a monument to America’s first great songwriter, Stephen Foster. That last saddens me.

The object is to unmoor Americans from their entire inheritance – because a citizenry so unmoored is that much more pliable and ripe for anything the social engineers wish to inculcate.More.

Reality check: Progressives deny anyone except themselves the right to memories or a story. For example, virtually no one except progressives thinks that The Cat in the Hat is racist. More to the point, most us have personal associations with it. Forcing us to give the character up because they themselves have decided, on some obscure ground, that the cat is racist, is one of the best pieces of evidence for the totalitarian bent of the progressive movement.

They won’t stop. They can’t. They will be after your childhood memories next.

Increasingly, for the sake of living any semblance of a normal and reasonable life, we must see to it that progressives are slowly, surely, and peaceably retired from public life. They can think a paper clip is racist in the privacy of their own homes. Better for everyone.

I asked our American friend what he thinks and he notes,

And yet I think this continuous overreach of ridiculousness only lessens their effectiveness and hastens their end. How could it be otherwise? True, we have to suffer through Cat in the Hat nonsense (there’ll be more of course) but they seem to
be doing a better job of writing themselves off than our side could ever have done.

I responded,

I keep telling friends that the horrendous profs, celebs, and TV airheads who think it a good thing that the country music fans were mowed down (because they might be Trump supporters) are a gift from heaven.

One can say to people on both sides of the border, the only thing that separates us from holocausts and holodomors today is political systems that do not give progressives that much power. But progressives are working hard to change that…

They are making it quite obvious even to those who support gun control that getting them out of public office, government jobs, and key platforms should be a bigger priority right now than gun control. If you want to live without needing their permission.

See also: Progressive comic book artists unite to harass non-progressive critic

and

Bookstore employee frets at selling un-PC book

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The Arctic IS melting! Read this:

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

Then check the date:

– Washington Post on November 2, 1922 Fact checked by Snopes as true.

Washington Post: Democracy dies in darkness.

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Eureka! Scientist discovers that the post-modern left hates science the way it hates every form of external reality

From Heather Heying ( Bret Weinstein’s wife, also a biologist) at Wall Street Journal:

The revolution on college campuses, which seeks to eradicate individuals and ideas that are considered unsavory, constitutes a hostile takeover by fringe elements on the extreme left. Last spring at the Evergreen State College, where I was a professor for 15 years, the revolution was televised—proudly and intentionally—by the radicals. Opinions not fitting with the currently accepted dogma—that all white people are racist, that questioning policy changes aimed at achieving “equity” is itself an act of white supremacy—would not be tolerated, and those who disagreed were shouted down, hunted, assaulted, even battered. Similar eruptions have happened all over the country.

What may not be obvious from outside academia is that this revolution is an attack on Enlightenment values: reason, inquiry and dissent. Extremists on the left are going after science. Why? Because science seeks truth, and truth isn’t always convenient.
More. (paywall)

Congratulations to Heying for stating so bluntly what many intelligent people in science must have suspected: Post-modernism is a war on reality—and that includes science. Post-modernism is already invading science but people who are now afraid to set foot on their campus are more likely to notice it than big science bureaucrats.

At a high level it equates Cool speculation with experiment (see string theory, cosmic inflation theory, and the multiverse, key ideas that thrive in the absence of evidence). Down to Earth, it promotes ideas like algebra is racist, “Western” math is a dehumanizing tool, and engineering is sexist. Oh, and, irrespective of information value, don’t cite white male geographers. Etc.

It’s not hard to see where all this is headed, but if he were still around, we could ask Trofim Lysenko, who had dissenting biologists killed. Wars on reality usually end that way.

Which is why many of us were taken aback when big science folks threw their support behind the recent marchin’, marchin’ for science phenomenon. Granted, they hate Trump, but were they really unable to see that the marches would be taken as implicit capitulation to the SJWs poised to invade deeper into science armed with a battery of divisive and otherwise unproductive social causes?

Well, at least the big science folks will have plenty of time and opportunity to issue corrective statements in the next few years.

See also: Biology prof Bret Weinstein’s persecutors face sanctions from Evergreen State College

Post-modern science: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself

This just in: Evergreen U settles with biology prof over threat of harm due to non-PC stance

Could Evergreen State College in Washington, USA, be declared a state pen?

Evergreen biologist files suit

Evergreen biology prof Bret Weinstein’s shocking testimony at You Tube

Our future leaders if we do nothing:

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Biology prof Bret Weinstein’s persecutors face sanctions from Evergreen State College

You know, that non-PC nerd who was warned that it wasn’t safe for him to go back to teach and eventually settled for $500k. From Eric Owens at Daily Caller:

School officials at the 4,000-student school received approximately 120 incident reports involving 180 students during the days-long series of protests, reports The Olympian, the main newspaper in the town surrounding Evergreen State.

“Of those 180 students, approximately 80 were found responsible for their actions,” Evergreen State spokeswoman Sandra Kaiser told The Olympian. “They received sanctions ranging from formal warnings, community service and probation, to suspension.”

Read the rest of the story, it gets crazier. Then:

Last month, school officials announced that Evergreen State is now facing a $2.1 million budget shortfall as well as a five percent plunge in enrollment. More.

The secret of accountable authority is to know when to use it — for example, when publicly funded universities become dominated by a mission to suppress ideas.

Note this curious detail: “An unidentified person who does not attend Evergreen State was also “subsequently arrested and permanently barred from campus,” Evergreen State spokesman Zach Powers told The Olympian.” Michael Shermer also mentioned at Scientific American that the 2016 prof assault case at Middlebury featured off-campus thugs:

… Editor’s Note (8/18/17): This sentence was edited after the print article was posted online. The original stated that students at Middlebury College “physically attacked” Charles Murray and his campus host, Allison Stanger. In fact, a police investigation determined that it appears several participants in the demonstration against Murray came from outside the campus community and that those wearing masks used “tactics that indicated training in obstruction and intimidation.” Although the attackers were never identified, and thus the police were unable to press charges, Middlebury maintains that the masked assailants were not students but outside agitators.

Free advice for U adminbots: If you tolerate thugs on campus, no surprise, you will attract more vicious and more experienced thugs from the back alleys. If you can’t figure that out, quit soon so we can replace you with people who can. It isn’t hard math, after all.

And while we are here, instead of focusing on punishing the students, try cutting off the problem at the source by going after the profs who lead students to believe that thuggery is freedom. Why should those profs retire in comfort while the students, acting in good faith, have become unemployable menaces, convinced that everyone else is to blame?

See also: This just in: Evergreen U settles with biology prof over threat of harm due to non-PC stance

Could Evergreen State College in Washington, USA, be declared a state pen?

Evergreen biologist files suit

Evergreen biology prof Bret Weinstein’s shocking testimony at You Tube

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