Friday, March 3, 2017

Science In Crisis

Brought to you by Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Forum

Image result for UK university bias cartoon

British Universities Stifle Debate As
Academics Lurch To The Left
Groupthink mentality is rife within academia, with 90% of British universities censoring speech on campus last year, a new report released today by the Adam Smith Institute reveals. People with right-wing and conservative views are underrepresented in British universities, making up less than 12% of academics, even though 50% of the general public vote for right-wing parties, risking systematic biases in scholarship. --Adam Smith Institute, 2 March 2017

British universities suffer from “group-think” with a strong left-wing or liberal bias among academics and an under-representation of conservative views, a report claims. It argues that the trend poses a threat to higher education because it raises the possibility of future clashes with right-of-centre governments that may strip universities of funding. There is an increased risk of unconscious academic bias and a possible threat to free speech. --Greg Hurst, The Times, 2 March 2017

The censoring of free speech is rampant across the UK, with nine out of ten universities curbing free speech on university campuses. This is according to the 2017 Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), published by the online magazine Spiked. According to the rankings, 63.5% of institutions are marked ‘Red’, meaning that significant restrictions are placed on speech through “the banning [of] particular speakers, materials and ideas”. Spiked, in the preamble to the rankings describes these universities as “hostile to free speech and free expression, mandating explicit restrictions on speech, including, but not limited to, bans on specific ideologies, political affiliations, beliefs, books, speakers or words”. --University Observer, 1 March 2017

Politicians’ claims that universities are systematically prejudiced against researchers and students with conservative views raise the prospect that Western institutions could become key battlegrounds in a new age of “culture wars”. Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary, lit a fire under the long-standing debate over supposed liberal bias last week in her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. After asking how many in the audience at the biggest conservative conference in the US were college students, she said: “The fight against the education establishment extends to you, too. The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. “They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community. But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights [including free speech] of people with whom you disagree.” --John Morgan, Times Higher Education, 2 March 2017

Science is facing a “reproducibility crisis” where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, research suggests. Concern over the reliability of the results published in scientific literature has been growing for some time. According to a survey published in the journal Nature last summer, more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments. --Tom Feilden, BBC News, 22 February 2017

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