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I’ve joked on Twitter that one aim of conservatives should be to defund disciplines whose avowed goals are to espouse a particular ideological viewpoint. Of course “scholars” in those disciplines might dispute the characterization of their chosen fields in such a manner, but the reality is that that’s how they roll. Conservative or moderate viewpoints are considered illegitimate and not worthy of consideration in many of these departments and disciplines. The political spectrum goes from mainstream liberals on the Right to Marxists on the Left. There is no reason that the the “master” should be paying for someone to burn down his house.
Of course these viewpoints are concentrated in the “studies,” which is ironic as many of the scholars in this field don’t study much, as opposed to being activists and ideologues espousing their views at length. Traditional humanities and philosophy are relatively sane compared to Women’s or Ethnic Studies, but I see where Rod Dreher’s reader, a professor in STEM, is coming from when he suggests that “Why Not Close Humanities Departments?”
I was thinking of this when reading this in Nature, Gene variants linked to success at school prove divisive:
The findings have proved divisive. Some researchers hope that the work will aid studies of biology, medicine and social policy, but others say that the emphasis on genetics obscures factors that have a much larger impact on individual attainment, such as health, parenting and quality of schooling.
“Policymakers and funders should pull the plug on this sort of work,” said anthropologist Anne Buchanan and genetic anthropologist Kenneth Weiss at Pennsylvania State University in University Park in a statement to Nature. “We gain little that is useful in our understanding of this sort of trait by a massively large genetic approach in normal individuals.”
Buchanan and Weiss are smart. Money is what fuels research, and without that oxygen further studies may not be possible. At least in the short term. Whole genome sequencing will become ubiquitous soon, so understanding these patterns is going to be a matter of joining a few tables somewhere. Imagine a future where Facebook has your genome as part of your profile; they could glean a lot about human behavior genomics simply by combining genetic states with online browsing and engagement patterns.