Here is the story of (and links to) our Big Paper on Merit, Ideology and Science. (One colleague and I have a paper in press on the intrusion of ideology into our own specific research areas; that will be out in late June.) As for this behemoth of a paper, which, we think, says things that need to be aired, we managed (after a long haul) to get it published in a respectable, peer-reviewed journal: The Journal of Controversial Ideas, founded by Peter Singer and two other moral philosophers. If you click the screenshot of the title below, you’ll go to the Journal’s website where you can download the pdf. (If you can’t get a pdf, they’re free, so ask me.)
The point of “In Defense of Merit in Science” is simple: merit is now being downgraded by ideologues in favor of conformity of science to predetermined—usually “progressive”—political goals. This is a disaster for science and the public understanding of science. (One example is the ideologically-based denial that there are only two sexes in animals.) The paper is in effect a defense of merit as the best and only way to judge science and scientists, and a warning that if prioritizing merit in science erodes (as is happening), we’re in for a bumpy ride, as Russia was in the time of Lysenko. (Russian biology still hasn’t recovered from the ideologically based and totally bogus science of the charlatan agronomist Trofim Lysenko. Stalin had Lysenko’s faulty ideas of agronomy made into official agricultural policy, and the result was that millions of people starved to death in the U.S.S.R. and China. Opponents of Lysenkoism were fired or sent to the gulag.) We’re not—and hopefully will never be—at that disastrous point in this century, but the inimical effects of downgrading merit in science and using ideological criteria instead are already pervasive and evident. I’ve written about them at length. (One is the valorization of “indigenous ways of knowing”, which is poised to destroy science in New Zealand.)
But I digress: here’s the paper’s abstract.
Abstract:Merit is a central pillar of liberal epistemology, humanism, and democracy. The scientific enterprise, built on merit, has proven effective in generating scientific and technological advances, reducing suffering, narrowing social gaps, and improving the quality of life globally. This perspective documents the ongoing attempts to undermine the core principles of liberal epistemology and to replace merit with non-scientific, politically motivated criteria. We explain the philosophical origins of this conflict, document the intrusion of ideology into our scientific institutions, discuss the perils of abandoning merit, and offer an alternative, human-centered approach to address existing social inequalities.
There are 29 authors, men and women of diverse nationalities and ethnicities, ranging from junior researchers to Nobel Laureates (two of the latter). You will recognize some of the authors, like Loury and McWhorter, whose work I write about a lot. All the authors are in alphabetical order, but I have to note that by far the largest share of the work on this paper was done by Anna Krylov, as well as her partner Jay Tanzman. Anna was generous enough to not take the first authorship, to which she was fully entitled. But the alphabetization does bespeak a certain unanimity among authors in the way we feel about this issue.
Click the screenshot to read the paper (or rather, to get to a place where you can download the pdf).
The paper is a long one—26 pages—but I’d urge you to have a look. We’re hoping that this represents the beginning of pushback by scientists against the ideological degradation of our field, and that by speaking out, we’ll inspire others to join us.
Now, a bit about our troubles in publishing it. We sent the paper to several scientific journals, which will remain unnamed, and they all found reasons why they couldn’t publish it. One likely reason was that merit in science (and everywhere else) is being displaced in favor of, well, “political correctness”, and defending merit is seen as an “antiprogressive” view. In other words, any journal publishing this would be inundated with protest. (But I’m sure Peter Singer doesn’t care: he’s been the victim of opprobrium all his life, and I’m a huge fan.) We were at a loss of where to put this laborious piece of analysis, but then I remembered the new Journal of Controversial Ideas, and suggested sending it there.
They finally accepted it, but I tell you that it was a VERY stringent review process, requiring two complete revisions of the paper. That’s good, because the paper was vetted by several critical reviewers and I think it’s a lot better for having been criticized and rewritten. And nobody can argue that it wasn’t reviewed!
But it’s always struck me as VERY ODD that a paper defending merit should be so controversial that we had to place it in a journal devoted to heterodox thought. So I decided to write an op-ed about this irony, joined by Anna. The op-ed, too, was rejected by a certain famous newspaper, but the Wall Street Journal snapped it up immediately. Yes, the WSJ’s commentary section (this piece is classified as a commentary) is largely conservative, but, as I always say, who else would publish a piece that’s offensive to The Elect?
You can read our Commentary by clicking on the screenshot below, but it’s paywalled and by agreement we can reproduce only a short part of the piece. Perhaps you know someone who subscribes and can fill you in on the rest. By the way, it was the editors, not us, who wrote the title and subtitle. I love the title, but the subtitle may strike some as a bit hyperbolic.
Here are the first three paragraphs of our Commentary (what they asked us to limit social-media publication to), but I hope the paper won’t mind if I add the last short paragraph, just because I like it.
Until a few months ago, we’d never heard of the Journal of Controversial Ideas, a peer-reviewed publication whose aim is to promote “free inquiry on controversial topics.” Our research typically didn’t fit that description. We finally learned of the journal’s existence, however, when we tried to publish a commentary about how modern science is being compromised by a de-emphasis on merit. Apparently, what was once anodyne and unobjectionable is now contentious and outré, even in the hard sciences.=
. . . . Yet as we shopped our work to various scientific publications, we found no takers—except one. Evidently our ideas were politically unpalatable. It turns out the only place you can publish once-standard conclusions these days is in a journal committed to heterodoxy. . .
. . . But [our paper] was too much, even “downright hurtful,” as one editor wrote to us. Another informed us that “the concept of merit . . . has been widely and legitimately attacked as hollow.” Legitimately?
In the end, we’re grateful that our paper will be published. But how sad it is that the simple and fundamental principle undergirding all of science—that the best ideas and technologies should be the ones we adopt—is seen these days as “controversial.”
Well known German and French newspapers have also agreed to publish pieces on the JCI paper; these will be coming out in a week or so and I’ll link to them as they appear. I notice that Bari Weiss has also mentioned the paper in the TGIF column in The Free Press today. (Nellie Bowles, the regular TGIF author, is on a reporting trip to Texas.)
Finally, there’s a press release that you can see by clicking on the link below. It describes what the paper is about, what our goals were, why it was published in The Journal of Controversial Ideas, and a few quotes about the paper from authors. If you can’t read such a long paper (shame on you if you don’t!), at least read this:
A juicy comment by an author:
Commenting on publishing in the Journal of Controversial Ideas, co-author and professor of mathematics, Svetlana Jitomirskaya, says: “To me it feels quite absurd that we even had to write this paper, not to mention that it had to be published in the Journal of Controversial Ideas. Isn’t it self-evident that science should be based on merit? I thought that no scientist took arguments to the contrary seriously. I was shocked by the reasons PNAS rejected our paper. The reviewers, all presumably distinguished scientists, were clearly in favor of the opposing arguments.”
71 thoughts on “Our big paper on the importance of placing merit over ideology in science, and an op-ed in the WSJ”
This is great –
Website technical note :
The “Abstract” excerpt font is white on gray background. Barely legible. Using latest/greatest Safari/iOS.
This has been true for a week or so too.
Not Safari! Safari good!
I’ll leave it at that (and I know what to look into now)!
I’d like to edit one thing : I change the robotic “This is great” to :
This is such a clear, refreshing piece of writing! I’m thrilled to see the matchup between the epistemological pairs, citing the right literature, new stuff I never heard of (Mertonian principles) and I could go on as I usually do!
I’ll be carrying this with me everywhere!
Not much I can do about that. Just go to the paper itself; the link will take you straight to the abstract.
How would those on the ideological side feel about flying with an airline that selected its mechanics for reasons other than mechanical competence?
Yeah. I would guess that “merit” would have merit under such circumstances.
May I respectfully ask if your comment ought to be seen as high sarcasm?
Because this is reality, not a hypothetical. United Airlines proudly announced radical affirmative action (racial quota) for hiring pilots. This was two years ago, and the project received tremendous flack … I don’t know if they are carrying it out.
I don’t know what is more frightening, “diversity hiring” for mechanics or pilots!
Probably high sarcasm since I expect that most peckensniffs make exceptions when their own comfort level is at stake.
But I think the consideration of merit is probably more important with mechanics since once in the air, it’s hard to correct poor workmanship. In contrast, in the cockpit there is a backup system.
Whoever they hire(d) still have to meet basic requirements for flight time, competency, and so on. Your comment assumes “diversity”=”stupidity”. Not fair at all.
Not if they lower the bar, as they are doing in med schools and other places to increase diversity. And no, the comment does not assume “diversity” = stupidity. It assumes that “more diversity means lowering entry standards,” which happens to be the case.
I appreciate the way you put that last sentence. More diversity can also imply higher entry standards! It depends on whether there was true lack of diversity in the first place, and why. Consider a situation where some groups of the population were underrepresented, and the reason for that was unjust discrimination. In that case, increasing diversity means increasing the hiring pool, and suddenly the bar can be raised. To see it more clearly, consider the original situation: artificially small hiring pool because of an irrelevant requirement for entry put in place to exclude some groups. Indeed, exclusive hiring practices are by definition possibly excluding some great candidates.
So assuming that those making hires are interested in merit at all, requiring increasing diversity can actually result in more reliance on merit…unless there is something else going on that undercuts the process. For instance, requiring diverse hiring for those mechanics, but allowing a system that excludes some groups from mechanic training—that won’t work. The entire pipeline of opportunity and training and employment must be diverse.
Yes, pilots, mechanics, surgeons, and lawyers. That is when people should figure out that merit is what matters. Ideology should melt under reality
Mechanics. Much more insidious. They work on multiple aircraft. Their errors can go undetected for a long time until 2 planes drop out of the sky in short succession.
I was going to answer, “They already are,” but John Donohue beat me to it.
I’m looking forward to reading the article. It may take a couple of days to get through it, so I hope that your discussants will continue to post even after you move on to other topics.
It is indeed ironic that this was published in Controversial Ideas. I hope that it brings more attention to the journal. It’s deplorable that the “mainstream” journals don’t see the merit in, well,… merit. I hope that they end up with egg on their collective faces.
I just read it, the actual article is only 20 pages and very readable.
It’s also excellent. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference.
Many thanks for your excellent work. So sad that scientists need to focus on these politics, taking their energies away from doing productive science.
Kudos for this project. Those ‘shocked’ that ‘we even have to broach this subject’ need a shake-up. It is no longer The Age of Reason. I hope you go wide with the paper.
Add: “Merit” as primary has not exactly reached the schools of education. I follow a highly-regarded professional journal in the field of education called “TC Record.” and was vectored onto this study, “Whiteness as Property in Science Teacher Education,” authored by a professor at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Video intro to the paper
link to the full text (free).
I read the full abstract just now. The ‘tone’ is blisteringly clear, but the claim is buried in Critical Methods Jargon … and thus invisible.
I’ve watched that video twice, trying to understand the problem the study was investigating (or was it an intervention attempting to solve the problem?). I don’t understand how anyone gets far enough along in their education as to get to a college-level teacher prep program and feel like he or she doesn’t have “access to science.”
I used to get the Teachers College newsletter for its views on reading instruction, but it became clear to me that the school was far more interested in social justice issues than effective reading instruction.
[ 2nd comment b/c first didn’t make it ]
I found James Lindsay’s analysis invaluable for understanding how the simplistic critical-theoretical formula works – perhaps start with the “functional core” of problematizing :
Or one might start by reading the 1619 Project entry for a good real world example:
I hope everyone finds Lindsay’s “Translations from the Wokish” as useful as I do. (I admit: I find it good fun to write my own wokish!)
And I am pleased to see a good analysis of Problematics in the supplemental of the subject paper if this post!
I didn’t read the study (paywall) so I have no clue what her aim or claim is/was. That’s because the Abstract, like her summary of it in the vid, is incomprehensible, wandering, and begging some sort of politically correct conclusion on its face. It sure ain’t “merit.”
I had several massive arguments in comments on TC Record over phonics. They are armored up with political justifications for denying the teaching of reading.
I once asked a neutral person who looked at the arguments of the Reading Wars, “really, what is the reason they resist any attempt to instill phonics.” Her flat answer? “Their union operates like the Teamsters. They don’t want the bother and headache it would take to impart the skill of decoding. Too hard.”
I do subscribe to the WSJ, but this is, I believe, the very first time I’ve read anything in the Opinion section. A welcome exception.
Speaking of merit, here’s a recommendable book that is freely available (open access) on the publisher’s website:
* Thomas Mulligan: Justice and the Meritocratic State
Here’s an interview with the author:
Here is a general theory to explain what has happened. Once upon a time, the schools of ed made it fashionable to denigrate the phonics method teaching children to read, in favor of faddish “whole language” teaching. But Empirical studies showed that the latter fad simply worked poorly, or, in other words, it was without merit. Stung by this intrusion of empirical evidence into their industry, the educrats decided to undermine the concept of merit itself, and insert DEI correctness, which they could control, in its place.
This theory may seem far-fetched. However, it does explain two things: (1) the origin of the anti-merit campaign in the academic world, rather than, say, in the fishing industry; and
(2) there has been no objection whatsoever to the concept of merit in professional sports, with which the schools of ed have no connection.
The denigration you mention goes all the way back to Horace Mann in the early 1800s. He hated phonics and fought to obliterate it for decades. He elevated whole language “method.” Other advocates for public education carried the ball from there. Dewey and Kilpatrick.
I agree that if the fundamental merit skill of decoding our language is trashed, that leads to a general trashing of “merit.”
There has been a big victory for Phonics recently, including all the way to the NY Times. This has not reached the trenches. Most public school teachers do not know how to impart it, the schools of education do not know how to teach their students to impart it, and there is dubious “room” in public schooling to install the correct methods.
So, the Reading Wars are not over.
For years, I have often attended gatherings which involve reading aloud. I sometimes notice middle-aged individuals who tend to confuse one printed word with another, similar-looking word — revealing testimony to the consequence of “whole language” teaching. By contrast, my Down Syndrome son (and favorite being, and frequent partner in word games) Aaron is a much more accurate reader. He was taught to read by a strict phonics method between ages 3 and 5.
That’s not a theory; it’s a hypothesis. Heh
That said, I think you’re quite possibly right, at least in part. I’ll add my own speculation from my experience as a mother with kids in the school system in the 80’s and 90’s. The zeitgeist of the times involved an increasing concern with children having their creativity, hopes, and self-esteem damaged by being told they were “wrong” when they were only “different.” The first examples used were relatively unproblematic: a 5 year old told his drawing of the sun couldn’t be red, it had to be yellow — or maybe a 10 year old marked down because her beautiful poem didn’t rhyme. Later, the demoralizing presence of grades and the stifling restriction of subject matter started to be added. Jeremy wanted to limit his study of science to making clay figures of the planets. That’s how he learns. No Right, No Wrong; Just Different.
The boogeyman was the Authoritarian Parent figure who believed there was only One Right Way — his way or the highway. Reading this paper, I kept seeing echoes of this villain in how Critical Justice Theory approached the concept of scientific rigor.
I’m with Jeremy. Who says the sun has to be yellow? It’s actually white, right? But the only time you can actually look at the sun is right at sunset on a hazy or humid summer evening. And guess what colour it is then!
The sun is actually white. We observe the sun to be different color because of differential absorption of differential frequencies of light by air. A long time ago, I read a book that mentioned all this in passing (The Cuckoo’s Egg). The author (Clifford Stoll) was/is an astronomer who actually knew something about this. The book is actually about the first (one of the first?) computer hackers.
‘different color’ should be ‘different colors’
Many thanks to Jerry and his colleagues for this important paper. It merits (!) close attention, so I have downloaded it and will read it carefully. I just hope that a few policymakers and research funders get round to doing the same.
Haha. That’s a funny last sentence.
Congrats. Re: “…it was a VERY stringent review process, requiring two complete revisions of the paper. That’s good, because the paper was vetted by several critical reviewers and I think it’s a lot better for having been criticized and rewritten.” I’m probably not the only one interested in the ways that reviews changed/improved the paper, to the extent allowable. And pls keep us informed about impacts and responses.
Thank you Dr Coyne and all the other authors, too. Well done. A most excellent piece and one well timed, if not over due. I hope it gets the broad attention it deserves.
I’ll definitely be reading the paper this weekend. Kudos to you, Jerry, and to all of the authors.
It really is far beyond ironic that merit has to be defended. Really, this is so many orders of magnitude beyond a typical irony that a new word probably needs to be coined for it.
Merit isn’t merely an important thing in science, it is all science really is. Science is simply figuring out best explanations for real things. If you take the merit out of science you don’t have science anymore. If you replace merit with ideology then you’ll end up with a political officer corp.
But if the best explanation isn’t also the most Diverse, the most Inclusive, and the most Equitable, then it must be rejected in the interest of explanation Justice. And when you mention “real things”, you assume things detected and measured by empirical testing, replicated experiments, and so on. This colonialist standard dismisses Other Ways of Knowing. For shame!
Congratulations, Jerry et al. And a special thumbs-up to you, Jerry, for citing Anna Krylov’s generosity in authorship.
I’ve spent the last couple of days wading through tendentious nonsense. Your paper was a breath of fresh air on a spring morning….until I got to the addendum where it’s clear you have no friends in the White House. Good luck.
A recent article by Naomi Wood (The Crime of “Talking to Tucker Carlson”) is also worth a read, and includes the paragraph:
Also. “It’s truth depends on who said it”
Jerry and Anna Krylov’s Wall Street Journal piece can be read here for free:
Félicitations, I will read it for sure. I note that no Canadian institutions are represented (but I don’t know if some of the authors are Canadian).
Are we so bad in Canada?
No Canadian academic is going to contribute anything to a paper that expresses skepticism about indigenous ways of knowing. Career suicide. Our universities and granting agencies all endorse reconciliation and decolonization and the faculty are all on the game.
Not entirely true. There are a handful of outspoken heterodox Canadian academic honey badgers out there.
Congratulations, Jerry. You and Anna now have the third most popular opinion piece of the day on the WSJ site. Good luck trying to unseat DeSantis-Disney or Biden-Trump! Most of the country is still caught up in the side shows.
Good to see that you are still publishing! I hope you are steeled for the inevitable kick-back!
Thank you so much for being a part of this. If people do not speak up against this radicalism that is taking over society, I fear for the future of the West.
Also, that quote by Michael Sandel is bonkers. Does he really think that sending kids to Stanford at random would be the same or better than the current process? I would love them to try that for even just a semester to see the results. And he’s totally wrong that one can’t predict college achievement. There’s decades of data proving that we can.
Yes. I was disappointed in Sandel. I audited his intro ethics several years ago and thought it very good, but was not sure that this was the same m. Sandel.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for these efforts, PCC(E).
Very good, Jerry! I will read the paper as time allows (still grading at the end of a long semester). But this abstract of the paper and its telling history was very enlightening.
I hope it helps to turn the tide. Or at least to make Postmodernists in the sciences start looking over their shoulders.
The author has left the names of the journals that rejected the paper out. Bari Weiss mentions one. Quote
“This paper’s authors—hardly a group of unknowns—say they first tried to publish the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). But the journal’s editors reportedly advised them to remove the word “merit” from the title of the paper, which is simply titled: In Defense of Merit in Science. According to the journal’s editorial board, “This concept of merit. . . has been widely and legitimately attacked as hollow.””
Yes, indeed – a very timely and extremely worthy attempt to stem the present avalanche of damaging ideology that comes, in large part, from those who know little or nothing about science. Also – takes a degree of courage to put something like this into the international arena, given that academics can be bludgeoned for expressing considered, professional opinions or, indeed, for stating the truth.
Very well done to all of those who contributed to this excellent piece; not least to Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger, an eminent theoretical chemist, who is among those leading the defense of science and education in New Zealand.
Excellent! The authors have pulled together significant material from critical theory, postmodernism, Social Justice v. social justice, and science and math research. We normally see science arguments in isolation from the epistemic arguments and history of post modernism. And of course the broad selection of authors allowed for this complete picture. Instead of giving a bibliography of a dozen books to people who ask me about CRT or social justice, all of which, it turns out, are in the bibliography of this paper, I can now simply refer them to this paper as an excellent start and go deeper from there.
That all said, we seem to have no friends on the policy-making boards and influencing committees of academe or government research. The DEI beach head has been established and must be addressed by the authors and friends taking this show on the road, insist that there should be representation of these ideas at OSTP. Visit Nicolle Wallace and the MSNBC crowd…and not just once…make it part of the material the prof Pinker’s new activity at Harvard uses…there must be a campaign to overcome the structural disadvantage that is washing over the working science research community. Public repetition and persistence across venues. And please remember the “E” of STEM…
I once had a boss at NASA who told me there are three metrics for any endeavour: activity; output; and outcome. Your aim is always to schieve an actual outcome…have an impact to change something. The authors have satisfied the activity metric through meeting and developing the material in the paper. They have satisfied an output metric by writing and publishing the paper. Now let’s close the deal by pushing the ideas that are so well stated into a measurable outcome.
Thanks for bringing all of this together!
From the present post: “The op-ed, too, was rejected by a certain famous newspaper, but the Wall Street Journal snapped it up immediately. ”
Ahhh, the travails of moral clarity in deciding if indeed all news is fit to print. And speaking of that, here is an interesting kerfuffle at the very progressive American Prospect:
“On Tuesday, the American Prospect had the gall, the chutzpah, the unbelievable caucasity to publish a story that acknowledged Tucker Carlson’s long history of bringing anti-corporate, anti-war, populist messages to the largest cable news audience in the country. Bringing a fresh, nuanced perspective to readers unlikely to have encountered it within their partisan bubbles used to be considered good journalism. But in 2023, when journalism aims not to educate but to propagandize, it’s an act of heresy.
Thankfully, this transgression did not escape the watchful eye of Regime Media Ombudsman Jamelle Bouie, who tweeted his displeasure. That prompted a cascade of invective from liberal right-thinking Twitter, whose feelings about Tucker align nicely with the Pentagon’s.
By the next morning, David Dayen, the Prospect’s executive editor, had issued a public apology/hostage letter for allowing his reporters to diverge from the Approved Narrative. “Ultimately our readers hold us accountable, and specifically, they hold me accountable,” Dayen groveled, in a perfect description of audience capture.”
Feel free to post this link, for what it’s worth:
Hey everyone, there’s a 27-page supplemental material you’ll want also – I’d get it at the same time as the main article for convenience, bt that’s me.
Here it is :
On the question of racism in science in New Zealand – again, feel free to post or not to post:
We hear repeated allegations of systemic bias in science and academia across many countries. Some of it may be true but a lot of it may be unfair and in need of further consideration.
Thank you for your untiring service in defense of truth and classical liberalism, Prof CC!
One thought that constantly occurs to me when reading postmodern verbiage is “Why should I believe you? Who are you, anyway?” These people didn’t play any role in the quest for human equality and civil rights in this country, or anywhere in the world over the millennia. They swooped in over the past couple of decades, declaring their ownership of legitimate and urgent social issues, declaiming the possibility of objective truth while proclaiming what the truth is, declaring the impossibility of knowing another’s standpoint yet proclaiming to be able to read minds and hearts, claiming to understand and represent human beings while seeing humanity only in terms of race, gender and ethnicity, claiming to provide “other ways of knowing” yet unable to provide any concrete examples, only failures such as the claim that biological sex is nonbinary.
Why on G*d’s green earth ought anyone to believe them?
I hope this paper will make a difference. It seems like these sorts of arguments rarely change anything in the long run, but a least this one is getting a lot of attention.
In a bit of odd timing, ten days ago Heather MacDonald just published a new book about basically the same topic as your paper: https://www.amazon.com/When-Race-Trumps-Merit-Sacrifices/dp/1956007164
You might find it worthwhile to familiarize yourself with this book. It covers a lot of the same ground that your paper does, but in more detail.
The thoughts and information in the big paper can make a difference but onlyif gets into policy making discussion by science funding and policy makers – beyond our weit choir.
Thank you Jerry!
Here’s a fascinating Wikipedia bio of one of the figures mentioned in the paper :
Astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (born 1900, died 1979)
Here’s a quote I’d like to highlight – a slight edit for clarity – from p. 11 :
“The scientific community must come to the realization that such articles [ numerous statements issued by scientific societies and papers published in … respected journals ] are not innocent expressions of well meaning individuals. They are not exaggerations or outliers, but are true to the creed of the ideology that produced them.[6,14] The sheer volume of these publications illustrates the extent of the ideological intrusion into science.
Below we analyze three recurring themes in these papers: (1) science is white and colonial; (2) science is racist; and (3) merit based policies should be replaced by identity based policies.”
Just completed the excellent article. Very well reasoned and appropriately sprinkled with the kinds of absurdities that illustrate the intellectual bankruptcy of the CSJ movement.
I hope that the article is widely read and widely cited. Given its publication in a less-well-known journal, I hope that mainstream outlets pick it up and amplify the important message. Put simply, CSJ is reducing our ability as humans to address the scientific problems of our time, solutions upon which the future of our species depends. It needs to be exposed as the pernicious danger that it truly is.
Because the article uses enlightenment reason tethered to reality, it risks being summarily dismissed by the CSJ zealots precisely for that reason. We all need to be prepared to respond when that happens, but I’m not sure how. Those who reject reason will reject any reasoned argument in its favor.
Please consider putting together a book-length defense of reason and merit. The principles espoused in the article need to amplified and disseminated broadly. Fixing this mess sometimes feels hopeless because CSJ has so deeply penetrated our institutions. But reason still has the advantage because it actually works. It solves problems. It advances the quality of life. The arc of history is long, but still bends toward reason.
“I hope that the article is widely read and widely cited. Given its publication in a less-well-known journal, I hope that mainstream outlets pick it up and amplify the important message.” I hope so too, but I won’t hold my breath.
At the risk of being considered a conspiracy theorist, I’m far from sure though, it occurred to me that ‘Wokism’ is part of Russia’s “Hybrid Warfare”. How to better destroy the West than to remove ‘merit’ from science? If successful, it will inevitably lead to the decline of the West.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not really convinced about it, but I consider it a definite possibility that grass-root resentments are stoked by the FSB (or even the CCP). The FSB has a long track record of stoking resentments and covertly manipulating other countries’ politics.
Thank you Jerry for the delightful op-ed in WSJ which was a great start to Friday. I looking forward to the paper itself. I would hope the circle of skeptics which has supported free inquiry and “free thinking” ultimately supports your well-reasoned points. I share the concern about the response from PNAS and think that there is a need to keep the concept of scientific merit clear.
After download..This is a good paper worth recommending to friends on Facebook etc. It is open access and as another poster mentioned, there is useful supplemental material in a second download, including info about the authors and links to more stuff. I like figure 2 which graphically engages the reader with an explanation of scientific “merit”
Hi Jerry et al.
Another article of possible interest on the Defense of Science paper:
Had thought postmodernism as such was over: dead and buried. Your predecessor was Gross and Leavitt HIGHER SUPERSTITION.
That should be Levitt.