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Jerry Coyne: Just sign Chicago “Statement on Principles of Free Expression”

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Darwinian biologist Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution Is True, as a newly minted free speech warrior, has started to look critically at claims that university students need to be “protected” from threatening ideas:

Several dozen American universities have adopted the “Chicago Principles,” our university’s “Statement on Principles of Free Expression,” which is the most liberal speech “code” in the U.S. It’s basically the First Amendment applied to the campus of a private university, and in my view it’s an unalloyed good. But of course there’s a movement against free speech on many campuses, for it is said to permit “hate speech” (often construed as “speech that I don’t like”), or to constitute some sort of danger or harm to students.

One of the resisting campuses has been Williams College in Massachusetts, widely recognized as one of the best undergraduate liberal-arts schools in America.

As I’ve reported before (see here and here), a faculty proposal to adhere to the Chicago Principles has been met with stiff resistance by other faculty and by students, who say that the principles enable hate speech and racism, as well as lacking the “nuance” needed by Williams College—but not apparently by schools like the University of Chicago and Princeton. Jerry Coyne, “William College gives charge to committee about adopting the Chicago Principles” at Why Evolution Is True (blog)

Good for him but what will be really interesting to see now is how many of his fellow Darwinian evolutionary biologists join him in protest. People tend to think the mob is coming for someone else, someone who “deserves” it.

People who take this stance can’t also be trying to prevent ID-based theories from getting a hearing on principle. And Coyne has not been a friend of intellectual freedom in the past. Cf Jerry Coyne denounces Mike Behe’s book unread It’s not even like he wouldn’t have time to read it. He’s retired.

See also: Darwinian Jerry Coyne as free speech warrior Coyne, if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up with Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Bret Weinstein on the dark internet, where Cool people can say or imply anything they like about you and hordes of the angry aggrieved can feel good about shouting you down. Good for you if it happens but count the cost.

Evolutionary biologist tries to gather shards of truth The trouble is, as Rob Sheldon has pointed out, “ 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.”

Maybe The “March For” Fad Will Die Out Before The Anti-Semitism Hits Science Coyne is concerned about anti-Semitism. He’d be a fool if he weren’t because he is—as he discusses on his blog—he is Jewish himself. Znut it’s part and parcel of the Social Justice Warrior movement as it really is, not as people may think it should be or hope it is.


Jerry Coyne is learning, but not fast enough (about anti-Semitism among the social justice warriors (SJWs, the marching Woke) (Update: From the looks of things, he is learning faster now. He must have got round to reading his mail or something.)


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