Cancel culture has reared its ugly head once again, and this time in a new and unprecedented way.
A lecture by a physicist was canceled at one of America’s premier institutions of science, MIT, because of the lecturer’s politically incorrect views about diversity.
Dorian Abbot is a professor in the department of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard.
Abbot was scheduled to give the annual John Carlson lecture at MIT’s Lorenz Center in the earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences department. The topic was to be “climate and the potential for life on other planets,” but this lecture will no longer take place.
In August, Abbot and Ivan Marinovic, an associate professor of accounting at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, published an opinion piece in Newsweek entitled “The Diversity Problem on Campus.”
Abbot and Marinovic argued that the politically correct regime taking control of America’s universities, which they identify as “DEI” (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is undermining the mission of what universities are supposed to be about. That mission is, per Abbot and Marinovic, “the production and dissemination of knowledge.”
When universities no longer look for the “most talented and best trained minds” when hiring, and politically motivated criteria drive hiring practices, the university’s “core business”—the “search for truth”—is undermined.
They propose that “MFE” (merit, fairness, and equality) be adopted as the regime to define hiring practices to displace DEI. MFE is about hiring based on individual merit and qualifications alone.
Abbot is now paying the price for publicly expressing such heresy. Twitter outrage descended on the administration at MIT, and the university disinvited Abbot.
It seems academic speech is now less about what is said and more about who is saying it.
Abbot and Marinovic were right on target in their Newsweek essay, suggesting that the politically correct regime supports everything about racism that we supposedly have been fighting against.
Racism is about obliterating individuality and making predetermined judgments about the identity of any individual based on socially defined characteristics of the group to which they are assigned.
How can any Black child in America not be injured when they are taught their most important feature is their skin color?
It doesn’t matter whether they are being rejected because of their color or accepted because of their color. That messaging undermines their humanity.
Science advances when we recognize that truth is bigger than and beyond any single human mind. Truth is discovered, piece by piece, through humility and hard work, not political arrogance, pretending we already know it.
We might recall that modern science only emerged some five centuries ago. It wasn’t all that long ago that most believed that the sun moved around the Earth rather than the other way around. Scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, through honest observations, concluded the prevailing view was wrong. This was politically incorrect then; they were attacked, and their books were banned.
One famous graduate of MIT was the great Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman.
Feynman observed, “Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”
The increasing deference of reality to public relations—suppressing the truth to serve what the politically correct want to be true—is destroying our national integrity, hurting the people we are supposedly trying to help, and threatening the future of our nation.
Political correctness is undermining personal responsibility and personal development. Now it is threatening to undermine science and truth.
MIT should step up and apologize to Dorian Abbot.
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