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February 28, 2005

Diversity in academia

Via The Poor Man and Sean Carroll.**

Aaron Swartz

A shocking recent study has discovered that only 13% of Stanford professors are Republicans. The authors compare this to the 51% of 2004 voters who selected a Republican for President and argue this is "evidence of discrimination" and that "academic Republicans are being eradicated by academic Democrats".

Scary as this is, my preliminary research has discovered some even more shocking facts. I have found that only 1% of Stanford professors believe in telepathy (defined as "communication between minds without using the traditional five senses"), compared with 36% of the general population. And less than half a percent believe "people on this earth are sometimes possessed by the devil", compared with 49% of those outside the ivory tower. And while 25% of Americans believe in astrology ("the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives"), I could only find one Stanford professor who would agree. (All numbers are from mainstream polls, as reported by Sokal.)

This dreadful lack of intellectual diversity is a serious threat to our nation's youth, who are quietly being propagandized by anti-astrology radicals instead of educated with different points of view. Were I to discover that there were no blacks on the Stanford faculty, the Politically Correct community would be all up in arms. But they have no problem squeezing out prospective faculty members whose views they disagree with.

**Fun diversity fact: Sean's blog is a Pisces. Happy Birthday, Preposterous Universe!


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"Mediocre people need representation, too." - Senator Roman Hruska

Terrific. If academia really is all that liberal, then it seems to me to suggest something rather unflattering about conservatives. But then I'm an elitist liberal myself.

Hmm,>Pisces. "Their natures tend to be too otherworldly for the practical purposes of living in this world as it is." I've heard less accurate descriptions.

So one out of every 20,000 Stanford academics believe in telepathically communicating with the little demon that lives inside of me? Guess I'll have to call USC.

Funny, ir appears everyone is blogging about this today, myself included, with various interpretations....

You know the way conservatives work they probably want astrologers, at least christian ones that nancy regean would approve of, to take over from some of those liberals.

I wonder what % of the Republican faculty at Stanford also appear on the rolls of the Hoover Institute?.. and compared to # of Dems? ^..^

ps. I like the reorganized blogsite, Lindsay... makes access easier, in my case. ^..^

In the 1970's, Playboy did an article about how mashed potatoes were the gateway to hard drugs abuse and chronic alcoholism. I think tongue in cheek may be the proper response, or a loud guffaw!

If all these liberals are doing all this propagandizing, how do you explain the minority stastus in political society of the political left?


Actually, I happened to see the original post the other day and pointed out to the author that he needs to learn a bit about logical fallacies, namely the false analogy. The author claimed to me via e-mail he was doing a "reductio ad absurdum," but unfortunately it works as that kind of argument only if you accept the false analogy.

A new study by Ninjas Anonymous has revealed that virtually all of the cabinet members and appointees of the White House hold values most Americans would consider "Conservative" or "Republican."

99.9% of all White House chief staff are self-described "Republicans." This marks a drastic departure from the makeup of the American electorate, which has near even splits between Republicans, Democrats, and Independants, and also contrasts markedly with the political leaning of the D.C. district, which favor Independants and Democrats heavily.

Professor Ninja claims that despite his considerable experience and excellent resume, he was turned down for a senior position at the Whiet House because of his political leanings. "This is not an atmosphere friendly to different ideas. If you don't follow the political views of the people in charge, you face disciplinary action."

Equal representation is a tenet of democracy, yet White House Democrats are being eradicated by White House Republicans. The White House is a place where men and women develop ideas and conclusions on many topics. The Republican domination of the Executive branch affects all Americans.

At the White House in this country, the lopsided faculty steer political discussions in a predictable direction -- to the right.

(the above message may contain snark, or trace elements of snark. If you are allergic to snark, immediately watch Fox News and consult a doctor. Side effects may include not laughing, not getting it, or being offended. Snark is not for everyone. If you develop a rash or heart problems, immediately discontinue using snark and consult your physician).

As Orac alludes to, this is really about affirmative action. The argument which is often put forward in favour of AA is that diversity is good and that if there are less blacks/hispanic students/academis in a university than there are in the general population, quotas ( or quota-like measures ) should be used. Consos are saying the same thing about consos. They're using equality of results too.

The fact that they can also take a swipe at academia is a nice bonus to them.

So, if you want to challenge those claims, challenge that.

What? That doesn't make any sense. The argument for affirmative action you mention (far from the only one in favor of it) is that diversity in the student body is a good thing. Nobody is claiming that conservative students are under-represented, or that they are being unfairly rejected from universities because of their ideology.

Actually, strike that -- conservative whining about how oppressed they are by "liberal elites" is practically the new national sport, so I'm sure someone, somewhere, is making that completely ridiculous and idiotic claim.

The argument is often that diversity is a good thing, period, because it means talents aren't passed over, that there is a diversity of views ( there's a number of other arguments linked to diversity, could dust off a textbook from last semester if you want more ). You must also know that diversity arguments are used for AA in jobs, not just university admissions.

So, the consos must be saying that if diversity is good when it comes to hiring workers and diversity is good in universities, diversity must be good when it comes to hiring university workers too."

"practically the new national sport"

Not that new, unfortunately. Sore losers, sore winners.

But, wouldn't it be nice to have some more non post-structuralist, post-modernist deconstructionists in anthropology departments? How about some more non structuro-marxists in feminist studies departments?

Just to be clear, I was saying that those complaining about the cultural elites are sore losers and winners.

This is not a scientific study, or anything, but there are *no* post-structualist, post modern deconstructionists in the anthropology department of my current university.

Here are some of the research programs that we do have, based on halway conversations and the SLU web page:

We have one person who studies a neolithic culture that lived in what is now Kenya. He works mostly from physical evidence--bones and such.

We have one person who is compiling a dictionary of a previously unwritten language in papua new guinea.

We have person who is doing work on ceramic and mortuary sculpture in late iron age south indian societies

We have one person who works on the Apache

We have one person who works on the effect of the physical geography of kenyan culture.

No one mentions any post-structuralist stuff in their research overviews. (We do have some post structualists in our sociology department, though.)

In the end, post-toasted obscure philosophy simply isn't that big an influence on the academy, despite what anti-intellectuals would have you think.


Sorry I overgeneralised based on my uni.

You must also know that diversity arguments are used for AA in jobs, not just university admissions.

But it's the university admissions policies that most often come under attack from conservatives. The University of Michigan case was about admissions, not hiring.

But, wouldn't it be nice to have some more non post-structuralist, post-modernist deconstructionists in anthropology departments?

Certainly not if it involves anything remotely like the kind of "solution" that David Horowitz has in mind.




"The University of Michigan case was about admissions, not hiring."
They must be saying that if it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander. If diversity works its magic for student admissions, it should work its magic in teaching and research. That's why the person called is a reductio ad absurdum. They attack the admissions policies indirectly.

"Certainly not if it involves anything remotely like the kind of "solution" that David Horowitz has in mind."
Sure, no argument there. Better Marxists than neocons, which doesn't say much about Marxists.

If diversity works its magic for student admissions, it should work its magic in teaching and research.

That doesn't necessarily follow, as Aaron demonstrates. First, not all forms of "diversity" are of equal value. Second, college professors are generally expected to be held to a higher standard than college students.

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