Reader Gary Boden sent over a link to Heterodox Academy. Some friends of ours are part of this, like Judith Curry and Scott Lilienfeld. In their words:
We are social scientists and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines. We have all written about a particular problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” It’s what happens when everyone in a field shares the same political orientation and certain ideas become orthodoxy. We have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
Their big move was a paper “Political diversity will improve social psychological science.” The Abstract:
Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity — particularly diversity of viewpoints — for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving….
Stop right there. Diversity is one of those words pleasing to the ear, it sings a seductive song, it tells of a golden destination, it…well, enough floweryness (this is for Will). Nobody in their right mind wants diversity in the academy, or, come to that, anywhere.
Diversity in viewpoint is a good thing, is it? The full range of thought possible by humans would be the most diverse, therefore we should seek infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Yet only the insane would demand true diversity of thought.
One guy holds the idea, and teaches and advocates for the same, that faculty should be split open and their carcasses put on a spit. Another guy has the same idea for the faculty’s children. Another has the same idea for you.
In the Department of Family Studies is a new fellow who thinks your mother is a puta and leads the class to her house to chant, some in support of your mother’s experiment in living, others opposed. Over in Logic is a professor who will try his utmost to convince his students, using all his powers of persuasion, that there is no such thing as cause or truth.
Oh, wait. We actually already have those guys.
But enough. You get the idea. Supply your own examples. Diversity of thought is dumb.
How about diversity of ability? Well, why not hire the severally encephalopathic to staff the myriad departments of Diversity? Surely they couldn’t do a worse job. But putting them in the Physics Department is not such a wise idea. I won’t give any more examples; they’re easy enough for you to generate.
Diversity of ability is dumb.
That leaves diversity of characteristics. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply—the implication being non-women, non-minorities are discouraged. Would hiring more black females pretending to be men but who self-identify as “gay” (did you think I made that one up?) improve the Mathematics faculty? If so, then by all means let’s have quotas. Otherwise, let’s not.
Diversity of characteristics is dumb.
Now what the Heterodox demonstrate is that the Academy, particularly in Sociology departments, are staffed almost entirely by lefties. Which is what everybody already knew. They also demonstrate what readers of this blog already knew, that ideology often masks for research (I’ve done hundreds of examples; they have others in their paper). And they make the obvious point that this ideology-as-research is harmful.
Their solution is to leak in some righties to mix with the lefties to temper their enthusiasm. They call this “viewpoint diversity.” And they want to increase diversity for diversity’s sake because they, like nearly all of us these days, see diversity as a good in and of itself.
Diversity isn’t an unconditional good; it is an unconditional evil.
What we really want are people devoted to the truth. Okay, easy to say, hard to do. After all, the current staff over in Sociology think they have the truth, which is why it’s so easy for them to miss their confirmation bias. Too, the lefties are increasingly coming to believe that their enemies are not just wrong, but immoral. Hiring a token neo-conservative isn’t likely to have much of an influence in that kind of atmosphere. Given budgetary and other constraints, forcing any department to be 50-50 on some disputed and disputable measure of politics will never fly.
Solution? Treat ideological departments as we would any other toxic waste site. Rope them off, keep the kids away, do your best to ignore the fumes seeping out. And rebuild somewhere else.