Category Archives: Education

The “March For Science”

Derek Lowe explains why he won’t be marching. I agree.

[Update a while later]

Arthur Lambert isn’t attending either:

…there’s no denying this march is political. It is a mistake to position the scientific method against the Trump administration or any other one, for that matter. That would serve only to undermine a central premise of the march: that scientific knowledge is apolitical. Organizers argue that the march is “nonpartisan.” While this may be the official line, I’m skeptical of whether anything approaching it can actually be achieved, especially on the heels of a divisive election. For example, I recently spoke with a colleague who was organizing a poster-making session for the march. She proudly described her design as an “I’m With Her” arrow pointing toward planet Earth.

I was also “with her” last November, but that should be beside the point. I fear that, contrary to its mission of inclusion, the march may actually alienate many of those it seeks to convince. Scientists are highly educated, the academic version of the 1 percent Wall Street class. They are also overwhelming Democratic. I can assure you that this has little to no impact on their science or for the potential public impact of their findings. But it would not be unreasonable for a rural blue-collar worker, watching the marches from afar, to perceive them as yet another attack from the condescending elite. We cannot drum up the broad support for science that the march seeks by aggravating a deep divide already present in this country.

Want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

[Update a while later]

Bill Nye is the perfect talking head for a march against science:

March organizers have paid lip service to critical thinking and “diverse perspectives” in science. However, Nye is a good example of someone who promotes science as a close-minded ideology, not an open search for truth.

He attacks those who disagree with him on climate change or evolution as science “deniers.” He wouldn’t even rule out criminal prosecution as a tool. Asked last year whether he supported efforts to jail climate skeptics as war criminals, he replied: “Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?”

Real science encourages debate. It doesn’t insist that scientists march in lockstep. Or that they speak with one voice. In fact, scientists disagree on far more issues than the March organizers admit.

Bill Nye the lock-up-the-heretics guy.

[Update mid morning]

Bob Zimmerman says that the march against science is a Democrat Party operation.

[Update a while later]

“I love Neil de Grasse Tyson, but he’s wrong on climate.”

I don’t find him all that lovable, myself.

[Sunday evening update]

Judith Curry has a lot of links to “untangle the March for Science.”

[Bumped]

[Monday-morning update]

Bill Nye the Constitutional-Ignorance Guy.

[Update a while later]

Nye freaks out when schooled by an actual scientist on CNN. Just like his meltdown with Tucker Carlson.

No, Howard Dean

There is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment:

Of course, one can certainly argue that First Amendment law should be changed to allow bans on hate speech (whether bigoted speech, blasphemy, blasphemy to which foreigners may respond with attacks on Americans, flag burning, or anything else). I think no such exception should be recognized, but of course, like all questions about what the law ought to be, this is a matter that can be debated. Indeed, people have a First Amendment right to call for speech restrictions, just as they have a First Amendment right to call for gun bans or bans on Islam or government-imposed race discrimination or anything else that current constitutional law forbids. Constitutional law is no more set in stone than any other law.

But those who want to make such arguments should acknowledge that they are calling for a change in First Amendment law and should explain just what that change would be, so people can thoughtfully evaluate it. Calls for a new First Amendment exception for “hate speech” shouldn’t rely just on the undefined term “hate speech” — they should explain just what viewpoints the government would be allowed to suppress, what viewpoints would remain protected and how judges, juries and prosecutors are supposed to distinguish the two. And claiming that hate speech is already “not protected by the first amendment,” as if one is just restating settled law, does not suffice.

These people are idiots.

The Rot, Even At Claremont College

Jay Nordlinger paid a visit, and made an ill-received speech:

There are simply people who want to be political, 24/7, all the year round. I’ve met plenty of them. There’s nothing you can do to stop them. Politics, for them, is like oxygen. I’ve also met plenty of people under dictatorship who are forced to be political. They would dearly like to lead a normal life — to tend their garden, so to speak. But oppressors have forced them into dissidence.

Also, I’ve discovered this: Many people are attached to what they regard as their identity — an identity of a political, even a tribal, nature. I touched on this phenomenon in a recent essay (here). I realize this is not a news flash: People are tribal. Duh. It’s just that America is less exempt than I once thought it was.

Why is America swimming in identity politics? Because so many people want it. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have it. The older I get, the more I realize that the liberal spirit is relatively rare. A universalist spirit is relatively rare. I find this on left and right. People cling to their tribes, their skin colors, their ethnicities, what have you. Go team go. E pluribus unum may be our motto, but a great many people in America reject it, I can tell you.

I never believed it before. I have come to believe it.

You could write a book — or at least a long and interesting scholarly essay — called “Balkanization by Choice.” That’s a lousy choice, in my book.

But who’s asked me? I must say, I leave the Athenaeum in a spirit of defeat. Seldom have I found an experience with students so demoralizing.

Very depressing. The left may not be currently winning at the ballot box, but they’ve taken over our educational system and the culture.

[Update a few minutes later]

Heather MacDonald responds to the totalitarian students and faculty of Claremont:

“We, few of the Black students” only pretend to be postmodern relativists. They are fully confident that they possess the truth about me and about their oppressed plight at the Claremont schools. An alternative construction of their reality—one, say, that pointed out that as members of fantastically rich, tolerant, and welcoming American colleges, they are among the most privileged human beings in history—would be immediately rejected as contrary to the truth and not worth debating. “We, few” would also reject the alternative truth that far from devaluing Black students, the administrations of the Claremont colleges have undoubtedly admitted many with levels of academic preparation far below that of their white and Asian peers, simply to fulfill the administrators’ own self-righteous desire for “diversity.”

Typical of all such censors and petty tyrants, “We, few of the Black students” now want to crush dissent. They ask the Claremont University Consortium to take action, both disciplinary and legal, against the editors of the conservative student paper, the Claremont Independent, for the open-ended sins of “continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.” These are the demands not of relativists but of absolutists determined to solidify their power.

As for “We, few’s” gross misreading of my work, it shows that reading skills are in as short supply at the Claremont colleges as writing skills. My entire argument about the necessity of lawful, proactive policing is based on the value of black lives. I have decried the loss of black life to drive-by shootings and other forms of street violence. I have argued that the fact that blacks die of homicide at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined is a civil rights abomination. And I have tried to give voice to the thousands of law-abiding residents of high-crime areas who are desperate for more police protection so that they can enjoy the same freedom from fear that people in more wealthy areas take for granted.

As Nordlinger points out, these children have no idea what true oppression is.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Berkeley is rotten, too. Thoughts from Greg Lukianoff:

The Berkeley administration is incentivizing anyone who doesn’t want a particular speaker to be heard to threaten (or even engage in) acts of violence. This all but guarantees that speakers who are controversial on a particular campus will be silenced, and teaches a generation of students that resorting to violence will be rewarded. Students are learning deeply illiberal lessons. I can think of few things that are more corrosive to higher education or a pluralistic democracy.

Anyone who responds to speech with violence should be prosecuted. So far, to our knowledge, nobody has been charged at Middlebury College, and possibly only one person has been charged in the Berkeley riots.

When students physically block access to speeches or shout down speakers to prevent them from being heard, they should likewise be punished. Failing to address these disruptions grants an ongoing heckler’s veto to would-be censors. This is inimical to both freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus.

There is a reason nobody says, “If you want to stop a bully, give him everything he wants.” Failure to address violent responses to speech only encourages more violence, while turning great institutions like the University of California, Berkeley, into environments where what can be said — and therefore, what can be taught — is dictated by a minority of violent students and other protesters.

To put it in stark terms, not taking a stand against violent protesters is eventually going to get someone killed.

And it will be Trump’s fault.

Bill Nye, The Cognitive Dissonance Guy

I haven’t been able to get all the way through this interview yet, but he sure is full of himself. I found this a little amazing:

Is there anything about Trump’s administration, and here I’m thinking specifically of Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, that leads you to believe the government will support the kind of innovation you’re hoping for?

I’m going to wait to see on Scott Pruitt. I want to engage you on this question, but I think maybe you’re politicizing something that doesn’t need to be politicized. I mean, the EPA was created by Richard Nixon. The EPA and the National Parks were set aside by conservatives. With respect to Scott Pruitt, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bureaucracy just sort shrugs its shoulders at his directives and says “we’re going to be here long after you’re gone. We’re going to carry on doing what we were doing.”

That reminds me of the saying, “The function of an institution is to perpetuate the institution.”

That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about laws.

No, you’re talking about a lawless agency that Pruitt was brought in to rein in and get under control. He seems to be as ignorant of how government works as he is about science and climate.

Rick Perry showed up at the Department of Energy and realized what’s involved, that he’s in over his head, and now he’s going to let the thing run the way it was being run. But in contrast, Mr. Scott Pruitt — it’s not that he’s unqualified, it’s that he thinks the EPA shouldn’t exist.

If he really believes that, he’s profoundly ignorant of Scott Pruitt. It’s frightening that so many young people pay so much attention to this ignoramus.