One comment on “The Crisis in Academia, Quantified

  1. I agree with some of your recommendations:
    1. Definitely; Peer review should be double-blind.

    2. Certain media platforms breed a mob mentality, Thier metric of ‘user engagement’ means stoking outrage. Even the left acknowledges that Twitter is a terrible place for nuanced debate.

    (Blogs are far better for substantive discussions, so good on you for creating one!)


    Where I disagree with you: (which, thanks to the internet and–human impulse–is 100% of what the downstream conversation will be about):

    I would not discriminate against a self-described Republican. But I WOULD discriminate against a self-described Trump supporter.

    [Disclaimer: I’ve recently left academia for an NGO, and am_not/have_never_been_in a hiring position].

    *Why it’s unfair to discriminate against conservatives write large*
    Concepts like ‘Republican,’ ‘conservative,’ and ‘right’ are so broad that I could never presume to know their values and beliefs based on label alone. Maybe they’re corporatists who dislike taxation; maybe they’re libertarians who want to minimize govt. interference; maybe they’re white nationalists; maybe they’re pro-life or pro-gun. Frankly it’s irrelevant because my job as a scientist is to deal with objective a.k.a. evidence-based problems. These are matters of personal value–to which we’re all entitled as Americans.

    Indeed; most former presidents did not impose their will on objective facts. Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama had no opinion on the state of the ozone layer, no opinion on the state of the climate; or on vaccination policies–they understood the limitations of the executive branch and their own expertise. These are evidence-based matters; not partisan positions. President Trump turned that on its head, and decided that every matter (subjective or objective) was within executive reach.

    Without evidence, he asserted that climate change was a ‘Chinese hoax’, that the sound of wind turbines causes cancer, and that Covid19 would simply ‘go away.’ None of these scientific predictions have gone well for him. To be clear; Trump’s stances on election day 2016 were far from clear; but in 2021, those who still identify as Trump supporters agree with or at least excuse the majority of his stances (regarding both values and objective facts).

    *Why open Trump support is indicative of a willingness to sacrifice scientific integrety*
    So, in 2021 self-identification as a ‘Trump supporter’ is about more than values; it is a stance on how much one values evidence/objective facts. Don’t get me wrong–I doubt anyone completely agrees with their own political platform (e.g. I’m a liberal democrat who thinks ‘political correctness’ is idiotic–but fortunately that’s not on the ballot; while a livable minimum wage is.) In a two-party system, those are the compromises we make. But Trump has been uncompromising in his insistence that climate change is false, that covid is stunt, and that trickle-down economics works. Based on the evidence gathered across numerous sources, these stances are simply false. For fairness, I will bind myself to the same proclamations of Barack Obama–so that I also have some skin the game (and Biden too if you want.)

    TLDR: People who still proudly/openly identify as Trump supporters have shown that they are willing to sacrifice their scientific integrity for….something else. What that is (other than tribalism of some sort?)
    I only wish I knew.

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