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Mortarboard mob “disappears” respected mathematician

What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

He and Gunter Bechly should talk.

Recently, Barry Arrington noted the story out of Brown University, where a paper got “disappeared” for making the point — that would seem so obvious to anyone who spends much time with teen girls as to hardly merit a paper — that sexual attitudes can be contagious. Ted Hill is discovering what it is like to be Gunter Bechly (driven from his post and “disappeared” from Wikipedia).

In Bechly’s case, it came about because, a former Dawkins fan, he saw that there is evidence for design in nature. In Hill’s case, he was not just marketing eye candy about why men pay on the first date (or don’t) or promoting anti-Semitism (fashionable once again). He has a solid research area with massive statistical backing: There is a basis in biology for the fact that men are naturally more likely than women to end up either with the Nobel Prize or a life sentence (that is, more likely to be outliers). Which is to say, the difference between men and women is not merely the outcome of social injustice.

Hill did respectable research on the topic (GMVH, greater male variability hypothesis), which he tried to publish in a familiar journal. That’s when he discovered that the progressives who dominate the academic world have declared war on reality:

My aim was not to prove or disprove that the hypothesis applies to human intelligence or to any other specific traits or species, but simply to discover a logical reason that could help explain how gender differences in variability might naturally arise in the same species.

I came up with a simple intuitive mathematical argument based on biological and evolutionary principles and enlisted Sergei Tabachnikov, a Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, to help me flesh out the model.

Hill’s colleagues would later desert him when the mortarboard mob descended, so let’s get them out of the way.

Coincidentally, at about the same time, anxiety about gender-parity erupted in Silicon Valley. The same anti-variability argument used to justify the sacking of President Summers resurfaced when Google engineer James Damore suggested that several innate biological factors, including gender differences in variability, might help explain gender disparities in Silicon Valley hi-tech jobs. For sending out an internal memo to that effect, he too was summarily fired.

No sooner had Sergei posted a preprint of our accepted article on his website than we began to encounter problems. On August 16, a representative of the Women In Mathematics (WIM) chapter in his department at Penn State contacted him to warn that the paper might be damaging to the aspirations of impressionable young women. “As a matter of principle,” she wrote, “I support people discussing controversial matters openly … At the same time, I think it’s good to be aware of the effects.” While she was obviously able to debate the merits of our paper, she worried that other, presumably less sophisticated, readers “will just see someone wielding the authority of mathematics to support a very controversial, and potentially sexist, set of ideas…”

Of course, that’s a falsehood, whether the Woman in Mathematics recognizes it or not. If she is a progressive, she does not want to discuss controversial matters openly. So events proved.

In my 40 years of publishing research papers I had never heard of the rejection of an already-accepted paper. And so I emailed Professor Senechal. She replied that she had received no criticisms on scientific grounds and that her decision to rescind was entirely about the reaction she feared our paper would elicit. By way of further explanation, Senechal even compared our paper to the Confederate statues that had recently been removed from the courthouse lawn in Lexington, Kentucky…

Hill found another publisher but the published paper was mysteriously deleted from he journal’s web site and replaced by a different paper.

Unaware of any of this, I wrote to Steinberger on November 14, to find out what had happened. I pointed out that if the deletion were permanent, it would leave me in an impossible position. I would not be able to republish anywhere else because I would be unable to sign a copyright form declaring that it had not already been published elsewhere. Steinberger replied later that day. Half his board, he explained unhappily, had told him that unless he pulled the article, they would all resign and “harass the journal” he had founded 25 years earlier “until it died.” Faced with the loss of his own scientific legacy, he had capitulated. “A publication in a dead journal,” he offered, “wouldn’t help you.” Theodore P. Hill, “Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole” at Quillette

Colleagues, we are informed, were “appalled” but nothing happened, of course, except that the harridans continued, unabated and unabashed.

And, of course, Big Science is silent, as always. The boffins are even silent now that the thugs have started coming for math.

Why must so many people discover the betrayal individually? The academy is rotting from the head down. People who choose to fight must fight together.

Note: Here’s the paper. Readers can judge but it doesn’t sound like the usual bosh about prehistoric man.

Hat tip: Eric Holloway

See also: Suppressing science at Brown University (David Klinghoffer, Evolution News)

Which side will atheists choose in the war on science? They need to re-evaluate their alliance with progressivism, which is doing science no favours.


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