Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Farewell to Academic Freedom?


For John, BLUFAn up and coming Bill Ayers?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Down county we have the local college newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, with an opinion piece on "Academic Justice" versus "Academic Freedom".  The author of the OpEd, Sandra Y.L. Korn, Class of 2014.
Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard:  one of “academic justice.”  When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.
Yes, if we could have banned all those academics doing research in the area of Eugenics this would have been a better world in the Twentieth Century.  Unfortunately, it was not obvious to everyone that eugenics would lead to, amongst other things, the Holocaust.  Or forced sterilization of women in the US, sanctioned by the US Supreme Court.  (Once more G K Chesterton had it correct, but the Yankee from Olympus had it wrong.)

The problem is, who decides "academic justice".  It would appear that Ms Korn would like to crowd source the answers.  I like crowd sourcing, but in issues of science I am not sure crowd sourcing is the way to go.  On the other hand, crowd sourcing would save a lot of money in terms of research into climate change.  We wouldn't do it.

Also, Ms Korn ties, in the OpEd, to justify the "American Studies Association’s resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine."  I think it is a foolish resolution, but to each his own.  I would be more impressed if they also publicly called for a boycott of Palestinian academic institutions until Hamas backs off and everyone agrees to the right of Israel to exist.

Regards  —  Cliff

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