Saturday, October 03, 2020

"Thou Shalt Not Disagree with Theory"

 . . . Carrying about justice in society is not a problem - indeed, it's necessary to a healthy society. It is also not inherently a problem if bad ideas enter the academy and gain popularity. This is how knowledge advances - by giving space to all kinds of ideas within our centers of learning, where they can be examined, tested, and criticized. (Some of the most well-established ideas of today - like the "Big Bang theory of cosmology - were considered mad and unethical at one time.) A problem arises, however, when any school of thought refuses to submit its ideas to rigorous scrutiny, rejects that kind of examination on principle, and asserts that any attempts to subject it to thoughtful criticism are immoral, insincere, and proof of its thesis.

- From Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity - and Why This Harms Everybody by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay


Dan in Philly said...

I've come to the conclusion that academics, for the most part, live in the world of theory. Oftentimes in that world, nothing can truly be disproven. If you adopt an ideology that says everything is caused by this one thing, and that ideology is never able to be disproved, it tends to self-reinforce. In the case of racism, they have an ideology that everything is caused by racism, even denials of racism is caused by racism. Therefore, the more one objects to the theory, the stronger the belief is clung to.

Michael Wade said...


Good point. In that system, a confession is a sign of racism and so too is a denial.

Very convenient.