The free link to a new paper by Luana Maroja and me in Skeptical Inquirer has now appeared, and you can access it by clicking the screenshot below. It’s the cover story and is about 9300 words long (I am unable to furnish “reading times”!). It’s also in the paper magazine, where they give the full references since you can’t use the hyperlinks on paper.
The opening photo is subtle, and I like it a lot.
Our purpose was to demonstrate how “progressive” ideology is worming its way into organismal and evolutionary biology, impeding research and promoting misconceptions about science to both the public and scientists themselves. We do this by discussing six areas: the sex binary, evolutionary psychology, sex differences, individual differences, group differences, and the sacralization of indigenous knowledge. (I believe I’ve discussed all of these topics on this site). I won’t say any more about the piece, but if you read it I hope you enjoy it.
Here’s the summary from the beginning of the paper:
SUMMARY: Biology faces a grave threat from “progressive” politics that are changing the way our work is done, delimiting areas of biology that are taboo and will not be funded by the government or published in scientific journals, stipulating what words biologists must avoid in their writing, and decreeing how biology is taught to students and communicated to other scientists and the public through the technical and popular press. We wrote this article not to argue that biology is dead, but to show how ideology is poisoning it. The science that has brought us so much progress and understanding—from the structure of DNA to the green revolution and the design of COVID-19 vaccines—is endangered by political dogma strangling our essential tradition of open research and scientific communication. And because much of what we discuss occurs within academic science, where many scientists are too cowed to speak their minds, the public is largely unfamiliar with these issues. Sadly, by the time they become apparent to everyone, it might be too late.
By “too late,” of course, I don’t mean that science will be gone or swallowed by ideology. Rather, I mean that the character and practice of science may have changed permanently—and for the worse.
Our thanks go to the many people from whom we sought advice about our ideas (too many to list!) and especially to Robyn Blumner, who encouraged us to submit the paper to the magazine, and to interim editor Stuart Vyse and managing editor Julia Lavarnway for shepherding the paper to print and e-space while making really useful edits.
Oh, and as Steve Job would say, “There’s one more thing.” This paper grew out of the Stanford Academic Freedom conference panel on “Academic Freedom in STEM,” where both Luana and I talked (you can see our short presentations here). I presented these six topics, but Luana also talked about them in a very different piece she wrote for Bari Weiss’s Free Press. We decided to join forces and write a longer and more comprehensive paper.