The editor in chief of Science misleads readers into thinking that there is no contradiction between wanting high academic standards and wanting equity

July 11, 2022 • 10:45 am

The article below is by H. Holden Thorpe, who is editor-in-chief of all the Science journals, and it appeared in the most recent issue of the flagship journal Science (reference below). You can read it by clicking on the screenshot, or download the pdf here (both for free).

The point Thorp is making, which is in the title itself, is so palpably false that I can’t believe he doesn’t know he’s deliberately distorting reality for the sake of ideology. This is performative wokeness on a huge scale: almost lying for ideological reasons:

Thorp asserts that improving diversity, presumably by beefing up the number of minority students in schools, does not lower the standards of the school. This, of course, is manifestly false: we all know, and schools know, that to achieve something even close to equity (equal representation of students from all groups), you must lower admissions standards. This is already being done in a big way, through affirmative action and the removal of barriers to admission. The elimination of standardized tests like the SATs is one sign of this. And, according to the Bakke decision, this is perfectly legal, although one cannot have a quota system.

The preferential rejection of Asian and Asian-American students at Harvard, for example, occurred because applying the very high usual admission standards would result in a woefully low percentage of black and Hispanic students. Instead, Harvard, like many other schools, now uses a nebulous form of “holistic” admissions that includes assessing “personality fit”, on which Asians were scored low. This case will make it to the Supreme Court, I suspect, which will probably overturn the decision that Harvard’s practices were legal.

Now I’ve said many times that I do favor a limited form of affirmative action as a form of reparations towards those who didn’t have equal opportunity in the past. So yes, I favor “inclusion,” though not to the extent of either Thorp or many colleges. But I do not pretend that affirmative action, or “inclusion” as it’s called, does not involve lowering standards. It does: the object is not to keep them the same, but to keep the bar at least high enough that people who are qualified to study at a school, or to be promoted to the next grade, are the ones who get in.

In contrast, Thorp recognizes a lack of equity, but doesn’t attribute it to cultural or environmental differences between groups. Instead, he says that it’s the educators’ fault. With the right kind of teaching, Thorp asserts, all students can master scientific material. It just needs a big reform in educational methods. I quote from his article:

It’s common to hear that improving student diversity in higher education requires lowering the bar to admission and watering down the curriculum so that all students can pass the course of study. I’m not aware of anyone who is advocating such a trade-off. [JAC: Of course they are; they’re just silent about it.] There are known methods of teaching that allow more people from different backgrounds to master scientific material without compromising the quality of education. These include a greater use of active learning methods that engage students with course material through discussions and problem solving (as opposed to passively taking in information). Making such reforms may require faculty to learn new ways of teaching. But isn’t that the job—to foster education for everyone?

Another common refrain is that understanding science requires a high degree of skill in mathematics. I’ve heard firsthand from faculty that students can’t pass their classes unless they have previously achieved a high score on standardized tests in math such as the SAT or ACT. That is a breathtakingly pessimistic view. These high scorers are often students who’ve had the opportunities and resources to prepare for pre-college exams, which vast numbers of students have difficulty accessing. Isn’t the whole point of teaching to provide a pathway to achievement?

In the end, Thorp us convinced that the teachers have simply failed the students, most notably in STEM:

Opening the doors to science for everyone requires that faculty learn the most effective methods for teaching a diverse student body. Yes, it’s more work on top of the many other faculty duties, so universities must provide resources to make the adjustments, such as revamping classrooms for active learning, providing time for faculty to redo their curricula, and doing the hard work involved in having the faculty and institution make the cultural changes that students need. And everyone should have more optimism about who can become a scientist.

It’s not the job of faculty and institution of universities to “make the cultural changes” that students need. For if differential achievement is based on different cultures, surely the differences begin making their effects known when children are very young.  Creating equality of opportunity at that time is the job not of universities, but of the government, parents, and society. By the time students get to universities, it’s way too late.

The second of the three paragraphs above assumes that the difference between groups rests on test preparation, but in reality it’s based on a huge difference between groups in culture, background, and environment. (I can’t say anything about group genetics because we have no information on it.). And it’s the teachers’ fault for not finding creative ways to teach math. But in reality, they’ve tried, even using “culturally sensitive math”, but it hasn’t worked.  We don’t yet know what teaching methods can work to bring deprived students up to equity of outcomes. Indeed, even in Kathryn Harden’s book on differential achievement within groups, The Genetic Lottery, although she demands that equity be achieved within whites (she doesn’t deal with different races, but assumes that inequities among white students results from their different genes), she’s at a loss to recommend what changes be made in schooling. (I reviewed her book for the Washington Post.)

The data all show, and I won’t adduce it here for fear of being called names, that schools with selective admissions or a desire to keep equity as students go through school, invariably lower standards to maintain equity. It’s clear that it is impossible not to lower standards in order to increase the representation of a severely underperforming population. Thorp knows this, but has to say otherwise lest he be called a racist. In reality, he should have just kept his gob shut. But Science, like many scientific journals, is engaged in performative editorializing in a big way. 

And, as I said, teachers—our unsung heroes—have been desperate for years to not leave students behind. They’ve tried most everything, to the extent that even Harden can’t think of anything new.  But equity has not been achieved. I don’t think it will until equal opportunity and resources are there from when a newborn is in the cradle. (Do they still have cradles?) And that is going to take a lot more than changing methods of educating students.

Here’s a passage from a new post on Freddie deBoer’s blog, an article called “Education doesn’t work 2.0“. (It’s free, but subscribe if you read him often.} DeBoer doesn’t mention anything about race or ethnicity here; he’s talking about a general lack of malleability of every kid towards education (perhaps only white kids). But many poorly perfoming students are white, too, so unless there is are ethnicity-specific ways of teaching that don’t apply to low achievers among whites, we’re stuck.


The brute reality is that most kids slot themselves into academic ability bands early in life and stay there throughout schooling. We have a certain natural level of performance, gravitate towards it early on, and are likely to remain in that band relative to peers until our education ends. There is some room for wiggle, and in large populations there are always outliers. But in thousands of years of education humanity has discovered no replicable and reliable means of taking kids from one educational percentile and raising them up into another. Mobility of individual students in quantitative academic metrics relative to their peers over time is far lower than popularly believed. The children identified as the smart kids early in elementary school will, with surprising regularity, maintain that position throughout schooling. Do some kids transcend (or fall from) their early positions? Sure. But the system as a whole is quite static. Most everybody stays in about the same place relative to peers over academic careers. The consequences of this are immense, as it is this relative position, not learning itself, which is rewarded economically and socially in our society.

This phenomenon is relevant to the question of genetic influence on intelligence, but this post is not about that. The evidence of such influence appears strong to me, and opposition to it seems to rely on a kind of Cartesian dualism. However, one need not believe in genetic influence on academic outcomes to recognize the phenomenon I’m describing today. Entirely separate from the debate about genetic influences on academic performance, we cannot dismiss the summative reality of limited educational plasticity and its potentially immense social repercussions. What I’m here to argue today is not about a genetic influence on academic outcomes. I’m here to argue that regardless of the reasons why, most students stay in the same relative academic performance band throughout life, defying all manner of life changes and schooling and policy interventions. We need to work to provide an accounting of this fact, and we need to do so without falling into endorsing a naïve environmentalism that is demonstrably false. And people in education and politics, particularly those who insist education will save us, need to start acknowledging this simple reality. Without communal acceptance that there is such a thing as an individual’s natural level of ability, we cannot have sensible educational policy.

Finally, I’ll give a comment from a colleague who wrote me about the Science editorial:

Not only is Thorp’s claim inconsistent with available data, but he himself resigned as chancellor of UNC because of a scheme that lowered academic standards in the African American Studies department to the point that students were given grades in classes that didn’t exist.

From his Wikipedia article:

“In 2013, Thorp resigned from the position of chancellor amid allegations of widespread academic fraud, which were later outlined in the Wainstein Report. The Wainstein Report describes the findings of an independent investigation conducted by the former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein. It describes abuses spanning over 18 years, which included “no-show” classes that had little to no faculty oversight. Approximately half of those enrolled in these classes were athletes.”

Here is the Wainstein Report:

Thorp’s article doesn’t need much debunking. In five minutes on the Internet you can find how standards for STEM admissions have had to be substantially lowered to increase equity.

45 thoughts on “The editor in chief of Science misleads readers into thinking that there is no contradiction between wanting high academic standards and wanting equity

  1. This is pure blank-slateism: the only difference between students is how they’ve been taught, so if they’re currently not doing so well then we simply need to teach them better.

    Even if there were something in that, as Jerry says, college could well be too late to make up the difference. Human brains learn better when young, and if you don’t learn maths early on you’ll struggle to pick it up later.

    Thorp: “These include a greater use of active learning methods that engage students with course material through discussions and problem solving …”

    Isn’t pretty much every STEM teacher already doing that?

    These high scorers are often students who’ve had the opportunities and resources to prepare for pre-college exams, which vast numbers of students have difficulty accessing.

    And that will only get worse if schools start abolishing any and all maths curriculums and tests in which different groups have different outcomes.

    1. “These include a greater use of active learning methods that engage students with course material through discussions and problem solving”
      I’d even say that the application of e g calculus or algebra to real world examples and creative problem solving are the parts where bright math students excel over mediocre ones. Rote learning of methods and their application to purely numerical textbook problems is something that is much moire amenable to diligence and increases of time spent practicing than solving transfer problems.
      I suspect what he really wants to say is that solving problems via teamwork and discussion makes it possible to pretend that a failing math students who took part in the discussion/team has made just as valuable a contribution to the solution as the team member who did the major work/ is just at good as all the team members that would have been able to solve the problem on their own without help.
      Fully agree with your last sentence. The US math curricula of many schools are already a disgrace, as are the foreign language curricula.

      1. Having only now read Mark’s contribution below, I see that active learning is probably something other than I had supposed, at least there seem to be data that it really improves scores of underachievers. The methods I had in mind tend not to.

  2. The claim that students might learn science better if there was less math always strikes me as a disingenuous argument. If it was made without reference to race, such research would be worth looking at. Combining it with race automatically makes it an attempt to lower standards in my mind.

    Do members of the races in question really want standards to be lowered? I’m sure some do but is that really the majority opinion? I have my doubts.

  3. I can add a couple things.
    It has been repeatedly shown that classrooms that emphasize “active learning” result in higher achievement scores in general, but under-represented minorities show the biggest improvements. They make up some of the lost ground.

    But there is, in my view a big but. I do some active learning in my classes (iclicker questions, various collaborative practice problems), but much of the time I’m a traditional but highly energetic lecturer. Meanwhile I have colleagues who are big fans of full-time active learning. Its like a cult to a few of them, complete with their own peculiar language about the different activities. But what they actually wind up doing, it seems to me, is they wind up covering significantly less material. Also, many of the activities involves group work, and invariably there are slackers and students who resent them. That is according to what students regularly tell me. So I like active learning, but I do have concerns with the amounts of it.

    1. I glossed over that paper.

      How was the “identity” / socioeconomic background/race of any teacher controlled for?

  4. Everything I think of to write as a comment makes me utterly depressed, so I don’t.

    I mean, what can I say without reference to an individual’s personal characteristics, conditions of family structure, home life, geographic location, health, and anything else like that …. yes, people do not exist in a vacuum such that those things are independent of academic/intellectual performance/skill – and there are rarities (Ramanujan is a famous figure that comes to mind)….

    Or do I have the components of “diversity” and “inclusiveness” (is it really -ness?) wrong?

    [ aaaand rest. ]

  5. It should not escape notice that Thorp’s demand “that faculty learn the most effective methods for teaching a diverse student body” is fodder for the new
    clerisy of specialists in math education, physics education, and
    similar arcana. I have no doubt that departments, committees, centers, and advanced degrees already exist in these forms of necromancy. It is a sign of the times that a big-time entrepreneur and educator like Thorp is pitching this kind of woo. And it falls to Freddie DeBoer, a brilliant free-lance writer, to summarize the empirical reality in clear language, and draw the obvious conclusion: ” Without communal acceptance that there is such a thing as an individual’s natural level of ability, we cannot have sensible educational policy.”

  6. This outbreak of equity worship reminds me of the catastrophe of Lysenkoism in Russia. Lysenko waged a political campaign using poor evolutionary science as his vehicle. The neo-Lamarckian theory suited the political aims of Powers That Be and dissenters were punished or killed and millions starved to death.

    It is a gross error to prioritise political beliefs over testable science. Thorp should be ashamed, but I expect that he will instead be lauded by people who share his beliefs.

  7. I don’t understand how someone who resigned from a higher education position due to fraud is now the editor-in-chief of Science. While I don’t think he should be permanently unemployed and shunned from all society, jumping immediately to another status position seems wrong. Why does “one of the world’s top academic journals”, where a reputation for ethics must surely be a foundational principle, want him at the helm?

    I am also suspicious of the fact that the shenanigans were going on in the African American Studies department at UNC. Sounds racist to me to have institutionally low or no standards for that department. It reveals a utter lack of respect for the field and its practitioners. And passing athletes in no-show courses- it’s all about lying to keep certain politcally and financially important groups of students enrolled.

    I am working up a head of steam here about Thorpe. I can’t respect his content or trust his motivations. Am I being unfair?

  8. I think it matters a great deal as to what level of expertise that you want to teach up a kid to. If the level is, for example, a proficiency with math at the usual day to day level that we all face – then we should be able to get just about everybody to that level. And there may be a multitude of ways to teach math to this level, with variation across students as to the method they respond best to. However, I do not think you can teach up just anybody to be a Math Professor or Theoretical Physicist. Nor is there any sure fire method to get people up to that level. It so much depends on the individual. Their brain has to be better wired for math and they actively need to want to maximize their abilities. In my own life, I began as excellent in math relative to my peer group all the way through high school. I was good in my intro college courses, but as I advanced into higher level courses, it became obvious that I was now considerably below average. I didn’t become stupider about math, it was just that my peer comparison group went from everybody to just math geniuses. There was no way with my brain I was ever going to make a career as a working mathematician. Therefore, as far as equity is concerned, we should be flexible in teaching to get as many as we can to the functional level. Equity at the higher levels exists only for that subset with intrinsic ability that can be allowed to flower. I don’t think that such high abilities will be found only in some groups of people and not others. The key is to somehow identify all the kids with extraordinary ability in whatever scientific discipline you want to name and give them a chance to find their own path to success. And only if they want to pursue it!

    1. The depth of study and pedagogy of pre university public mathematics instruction depends significantly on the country where the public mathematics instruction is delivered. This ignores “private” schools, whatever they are called in different countries.

    2. “If the level is, for example, a proficiency with math at the usual day to day level that we all face – then we should be able to get just about everybody to that level.”

      Consider these sentences :

      1. If the writing level is at the usual day to day level, we should be able to get everybody to that level.

      2. If the reading level is at the usual day to day level, we should be able to get everybody to that level.

      Mathematics always gets demoted in this regard – as if the usual day to day use is at the grocery store or for restaurant tips.

      I find basing the value of a reasoning skill on how useful it is to be a disservice to that reasoning skill.

      Writing and reading are tools to understand our thoughts and reasoning. Limiting writing and reading abilities to the daily news or creating Internet accounts is quite short sighted. Mathematics is no different.

      1. Regarding setting the level of maths education below that of reading and writing, consider that a large fraction of high-school grads are functionally illiterate, unable to read well enough to cope with modern society; and many more would be unable to write a coherent paragraph if their lives depended on it.

        ISTM that public education’s minimum acceptable goal should be to grow students into citizens who can function in and contribute to their society. Minimum. On top of that then by all means educate them in aesthetics, history of ideas, etc. etc. But that’s the icing on top.

        Personally, I’ve always liked-bordering-on-loved maths. But I fully appreciate that this is a minority view, and that casualties and survivors far outnumber aficionados. Common answers to frequent student questions of what use is learning (e.g.) the quadratic formula are: it’s on the test; or, it’s part of training your mind to think and not be such an oaf; or, shut up.

        The obvious fact is that virtually no-one who asks such a question about the use of whatever will ever be in a situation where they regret not having learned whatever. Those few who do later find themselves needing to use some particular area of maths (e.g., gamblers) will be motivated to learn it then.

        1. Grant Sanderson gave a talk in which he says :

          “I don’t know about you, but when I was reading Harry Potter, I didn’t find myself asking, “when will I ever use Windgardium Leviosa?” ”

          What Makes People Engage in Math – Grant Sanderson :

  9. I’m going to put up a contrarian view, and y’all can have at it.
    So imagine a university system where admissions and testing standards are lowered, and the costs of education are selectively lowered as well, so that more under-achieving young people from poorer education backgrounds can not only get into college, but also pass classes and eventually graduate. Yes, there will still be a high attrition rate, but more will get through. This is a more aggressive form of affirmative action than we have now. Meanwhile, the high achieving students will still be high achieving, with relatively inflated gpas, not doubt, so there will still be rankings. Still, more underachievers will get through.
    Now suppose that among those underachievers are young people who get better paying jobs and elevated socio-economic status. Their conditions improve, although it will take some years to see these effects.
    Now my question is: Is this entirely a bad thing? What is a university education for, after all?

    1. Isn’t a similar scenario in place in the United States already in the form of vocational/technical colleges, _some_ state colleges (“party schools”), and the seemingly increasing universities/colleges including “online degrees”?

      But also to offer a critical question to this whole topic – what about simply cranking up the stringency on “whites” (<- I don't like this term, but what can I do)? And how do we know what standards are decreasing or increasing?

      Perhaps rhetorical.

    2. We have a form of what you are describing. It is called Community College. I teach in a demanding department at a CC. I am pleased to be part of a system where entry is a High School diploma, giving many more people an opportunity for higher education. Many of my students are ethnic minorities and first-generation college students. Unfortunately, the drop-out rate is pretty steep because our courses are not easy. But many students do make it through the program, transfer to University, and have a professional career. There is pressure on the College to increase rates of degree/certificate/transfer completion. But I personally have never experienced pressure to lower standards.

      1. Right, that type too – “community college”. Don’t students there generally intend to apply to four-year schools at some point?

        1. As I noted in my comment, many students transfer to universities. To circle back to the original topic, in order for the students to succeed, we have to set standards. Our AA degree is only worthwhile to transfer universities because they know our students are well-prepared. I am an “equality of opportunity ” liberal, which is already a utopian ideal. I do work to improve my teaching, but I will never be able to guarantee equity of outcome.

      2. “… make it through the program, transfer to University”

        “transfer” suggests leaving one school without graduating, yet it says “make it through the program” beforehand. So I was confused.

        1. Probably I am using language from the College about getting our students to successfully move from our college to a university, having all of their community college credits accepted. Not trying to be confusing.

        2. The main use of community college is to either get a minor degree (in this case an associate’s), and then transfer to a bigger university and finish your bachelors, if so choosing. In that way, they would be “transferring”. While they would graduate with a degree, they’d be transferring their credits/degree and finishing it off in a university. Or, the second use of community college is for a really cheap degree, usually an associate’s or a smaller field with a bachelor’s, if it is given. There are many that choose this path, specifically as mentioned before: minorities, first-generation collegr students, poorer families. In many ways it’s a lot easier for students to handle then a full fledged university.

          1. “…. they’d be transferring their credits/degree and finishing it off in a university. ”

            OHHHHH, that makes sense now, thanks.

      3. Good on you Emily! I started my tertiary education at a campus of the University of California. My calculus prof would spend most of the lecture bitching about the government and the section tutor was usually high. I flunked out after a semester. I worked for a short time and restarted at the local community (junior) college. Most of the teachers there actually taught and were fantastic. I got back on track, eventually got my PhD from Yale, and now am an academic myself. I often say, “Those who can, teach.”

    3. Partly agree. I believe one of the rationales for affirmative action was that would improve the chances of the next generation, born to a beneficial middle class home environment thanks to affirmative action that helped their parents. Also, better education correlates with a number of positive outcomes (that, however, may or may not be caused by the education itself).
      But no matter how many in a society are well educated, there will still be work to be done that needs no academic qualifications above a high school diploma plus vocational training. Many of these jobs are badly paid and insecure today, and that is a social problem that IMHO needs fixing, but it will not be solved by longer academic schooling for more people. Keeping people with little academic leaning in college with the main motivation “I’ll earn more with some college” is probably not an efficient use of societal resources.

      1. Not certain what vocational training that leads to poorly paid jobs you refer to. Private voc-tech colleges that give out worthless degrees that don’t lead to employment are the types of crooked institutions that the Dept of Education needs to shut down.

        Community Colleges have programs in welding, auto mechanics and other such studies that lead to good-paying jobs. Who cares if a skilled welder or electrician has a degree. I would like to see more women getting under an auto and learning how to work on an electrical vehicle instead of settling for home-health-care aide jobs.

        In general, the good paying union jobs that only required a HS education are mostly gone, and that is a huge issue for our nation. Not everyone needs a college degree. But post-HS training seems to be a requirement for a decent job.

    4. I am generally against affirmative action (but let me explain). In any field which is limited affirmative action may be perceived by other people who failed to get in or get a job as being discriminated against, since ‘their’ place was taken by someone less qualified. This may increase social tension rather than reduce it.

      I am in favour of ‘smoothing the way’, removing discriminatory obstacles for people who wish to benefit. This would include ensuring careers advice and job adverts are available to all and extra tutoring where applicable. With identical entry conditions no-one can feel discriminated against.

      1. I think the idea is that AA was designed to address the issues you suggest, but also – CMIIW – as a measure of _reparations_.

        Either Glenn Loury or John McWhorter have suggested (don’t quote me) that AA has done its job by now.

    5. I definitely wouldn’t want to receive medical treatment, from an underachiever graduate, wouldn’t want to walk over a bridge designed by one, or have one teach my kid, etc.
      Besides, many of the underachievers will be from well-to-do, well-connected families, and after graduation will use these advantages to take good jobs from the high achievers. Other underachievers will use their race to take good jobs from high achievers. As a result, not only high achievers but everyone will suffer, getting poor services. Over time, there will be fewer high achievers, because there will be no demand for them.

  10. For those who want to follow up a bit more on what “physics education research” is up to, here’s an article I wrote with links to earlier articles etc.
    I’ve seen some good work in this field, e.g. replacing deadly TA-at-the-board discussion sections with more structured active learning sections, but much of the published work is illogical drivel.

  11. Dr. Thorp advises “faculty and institution (to) make the cultural changes that students need.” Apparently, some cultural changes were needed, and not made, in Xanthon, the biotech company that Dr. Thorp co-founded. A business journal reported as follows in 2002 about Xanthon’s last days.

    “Just two years ago, Xanthon had big plans.

    The company had hired Perkins & Will, a Chicago-based architectural firm, to design a state-of-the-art, 80,000-square-foot facility. The blueprints were drawn for the facility, and the employee count was expected to double from 50 to 100 by this year.

    But technical glitches intervened, more than once delaying the rollout of Xanthon’s first product, a drug discovery tool. Instead of hiring employees, the company laid off 10. By late 2001, a $15 million fundraiser fizzled. In January, Jim Skinner, Xanthon’s chief executive officer and co-founder, quit. By March, another 18 positions had been cut.

    Unable to raise cash, Xanthon cobbled together about $5.7 million in bridge loans from existing investors. The company subsisted on the loans for several months. But on June 21, all but three of the remaining 21 employees were laid off.

    One of the three remaining was Peter Heath, chief financial officer. He and his two colleagues shut down the business. Heath did not return phone calls.”

  12. It is clear to me that intelligence has a very significant genetic component, while environment in all its facets also has very significant effects. How much of the one and how much of the other is obviously difficult to ascertain. I’m happy assuming ca. 50/50, though my personal tendancy is to see more genetic influence.
    When I lean too far toward the genetic side, though, I recall stories like Jaime Escalante’s, the East Los Angeles teacher who became famous for getting high numbers of his high school kids from rough neighborhoods to excel in calculus even to the point of passing the AP calculus exam. So while genetics certainly load the dice, there are a whole lot of throw-away kids out there who only need a teacher or two who really inspires them for them to be able to access a degree of intelligence inside of them that otherwise no one would ever have seen.

      1. Indeed. And also relevant is South Park’s take-off in season 12 episode 05, where Cartman teaches inner-city students how to succeed like white people.

        1. Is that what inner-city youth actually want to do though? Has anyone asked them? Sure, they want “stuff” and they want “respect”, but do they actually want to succeed on our terms? To us, success is largely defined as avoiding trouble with the law, finishing school, and doing job, marriage, children in that order.

          Perhaps that’s what the South Park episode was parodying. If so, I get it.

          Edit: Ha. OK, not quite.

          1. For the benefit of others who got misled by my overly-deadpan comment, here’s IMDB’s summary:

            Cartman goes to an inner city high school and teaches the kids how to cheat. He dresses up like Jaime Escalante and repeatedly says, “How do I reach these keeds.”

            It’s relevant to the main thread because whether the kids cheat the system or the system cheats evereyone, the end result is similar.

  13. I think we have to face the fact that we are moving from a merit-based society to an equity-based one.

    Sadly, Thorpe does not represent any sort of fringe, but rather mainstream left-of-center thinking.

  14. I wonder if the assumption that the equity the editor refers to is racial is actually a red herring. He seems to be arguing for the inclusion of dummies of all colours. So just as the paralympics take place after the Olympics, he envisions a science world where after the ordinary Nobel awards, there will be the Nobels for the Mentally Challenged. It’s all very inclusive, but we ain’t getting fusion in thirty years that way!

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