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Things Biologists Won’t Talk About in Public

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In Academic, Heal Thyself we find more evidence of what happens when truth confronts ideology in academia.

While many issues are rumored to have played a role in Mr. Summers’s resignation (including charges of favoritism in a messy legal case involving foreign investments), the controversy that will inevitably symbolize his presidency was the manufactured outcry early last year over his glancing reference at a conference to possible innate differences between the sexes in aptitude for science and math. The feminist pressure groups rose en masse from their lavishly feathered nests and set up a furious cackle that led to a 218-to-185 vote of no confidence by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences last March.

Instead of welcoming this golden opportunity to introduce the forbidden subject of biology to academic gender studies (where a rigid dogma of social constructionism reigns), Mr. Summers collapsed like a rag doll. A few months later, after issuing one abject apology after another, he threw $50 million at a jerrybuilt program to expand the comfort zone of female scientists and others on campus. That one desperate act of profligate appeasement tells volumes about the climate of persecution and extortion around gender issues at too many American universities.

We need to purge the nation’s university faculties. Political correctness is out of control. These are supposed to be institutes of truth and higher learning not indoctrination centers of leftwing ideology.

worldsoyster wrote: "How would intelligent design explain a difference in brain for male and female? Maybe the designer likes specialization." ID DOES NOT TRY TO EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE if there is one. ID DOES NOT TRY TO EXPLAIN THE LACK OF DIFFERENCE if there is not one. Maybe the naysayer's problem is they STILL (still?) (s*t*i*l*l) don't understand the basic concept. Here it is: Let's say there is a difference between brains in male and female. ID *notes* the differences (if any). Then IF and only IF the differences appear to match a pattern that is both complex and specified, ID will say the differences are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause. That's IT! For now. There's plenty of room for research. I started to list several possibilities, got to six and figured all that is beside the point of this post. The point is: Unlike Darwinism which MUST either explain every single fact there is in terms of counterintuitive evolutionary logic OR admit that it is a fraud, ID does NOT have to explain HOW OR WHY things came to be the way they are. For Darwinism, such speculation is MANDATORY because Darwinism MUST EXPLAIN AWAY the obvious design of things. For ID, such speculation is a useless and unnecessay time waster. Red Reader
It is a bit surprising to see Mr. Summers get so successfully vilainized when more and more studies are showing that male and female brains are different, and there are books available on the subject laying around on the tables at Barnes and Noble. Either from a natural selectionist or a designer point of view, specialization makes sense, with overlap of course, especially for an intelligent species like humans. The more difficult question might be, why would either evolution or a designer make two brains the same in two different genders and waste potential by making them identical? Surely the spectrum of talents is wider in a system with differing talents, yet if there were no overlap that would also cause problems. And this is precisely what we see. avocationist
I think this is interesting. How would intelligent design explain a difference in brain for male and female? Maybe the designer likes specialization. Have we a good answer? This is something that we think about? worldsoyster

Physicists distance themselves from cold fusion because by in large the experiments cannot be reproduced. Initially there was tremendous excitement as labs around the world rushed to duplicate the experiment. When they failed the word fraud came up and justifiably so. Now there have allegedly been a few other successful experiments and that makes for a very odd situation. The bottom line is every ambitious scientist wants to change the current paradigm in their field. That is how careers and legends are made. So scientists are not inherently conservative. They just know that if they are wrong their career will be difficult to salvage. That is why they typically take great care to make sure they are right before they do challenge the paradigm.

There's nothing alleged about successful reproduction of Pons & Fleischmann's results. It has been done many times, in many places, using several different techniques to measure the results to rule out experimental error. The problem is it can't be reliably repeated. Nobody knows what uncontrolled variable is causing the difficulty in repeating it reliably. Reliable reporting on cold fusion research however is not difficult to find. In the future I expect you to do your own homework. It's annoying for me to have to spend my time correcting you. People that annoy me too much get invited to leave and you are already on probation. -ds ftrp11
OK, so scientists are a conservative bunch that don't like heretics. What else is new. But if there really were something to this cold fusion, wouldn't big business have jumped in? After all, cold fusion could solve many of the world's problems not to mention huge $$$. Just wondering. hanseconomist

I just listened to this show on NPR about the "Cold Fusion" debate:


It shows yet again how all the talk about science being a disinterested search for the truth whose practictioners welcome challanges to their pet theories is so much hot air. I have no idea whether the claims of the cold fusion people are valid - but the scientific establishment treats them not as an interesting idea to be investagated with an open mind, but as a heresy to be suppressed, it's finding cut off and it's believers denied tenure.

From the program:

GELLERMAN: Szpak and Boss have published the results of their experiment in a prestigious, peer-reviewed physics journal. And Japanese scientists have reported similar findings. So, how might cold fusion work? Well, few researchers at U.S. universities are investigating the question because it's a career destroyer; those who study cold fusion do so at their own peril. One of the few who has from the very beginning is Peter Hagelstein of MIT.

HAGELSTEIN: This experiment implied the existence of some new physics. Hence, if there's going to be heat there are going to be neutrons; if there's no neutrons hence there's no heat, hence it's all wrong. It got very confused very quickly.

GELLERMAN: Today, because of his continued work on cold fusion, Peter Hagelstein lives a life of virtual academic exile at MIT. He lost funding for his lab and he never did make full professor.

Hmm, sound like anything we know?

Exactly right, Jimbo. I've been following the cold fusion brouhaha since day one. At first Pons & Fleischmann were accused of fraud (sound familiar?) when all they did was jumped the gun a bit in attributing their observations to an unpredicted fusion mechanism (new physics). Today many experimenters have duplicated their results while many others have failed. No one knows why some are successful and others are not. The obvious conclusion is there's an unknown and therefore uncontrolled variable in the experimental setups. -ds jimbo
Aside from the appalling state of Academe as described by the author of this article (Camille Paglia), I love the imagery, "lavishly feathered nests" and "furious cackle". Wow! It inspired me to read the whole thing. jacktone
Appeasement is never an effective strategy against terrorists. geoffrobinson

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