“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated”
Minding the Campus is an outlet that defends academic freedom, so this ‘award’ is a carefully crafted piece of sarcasm.
Louis K. Bonham writes:
Introducing the Minding the Campus Lysenko Award
With campus cancel culture now so commonplace and brazen that even leftist publications like The Atlantic are sounding the alarm, we are now inaugurating a new MTC award: The Minding the Campus Trofim Lysenko Award for the Suppression of Academic Speech (a Lysenko Award, for short).
Who was Trofim Lysenko?
The son of Ukrainian peasant farmers and illiterate until he was 13, Lysenko became an agronomist of initially dubious reputation. His earliest experiments (which involved sowing certain crops in the winter to get yields in the spring—hardly a new idea) were marked by poor design and likely fabricated results. Nevertheless, the young Lysenko loudly proclaimed that they validated his principal theory: that genetics did not exist, and that, instead, plants and animals could simply be trained to develop heritable traits, allowing them to grow and prosper under any conditions…
Our winner, however, has no such excuse. While also involved in l’affaire Abbot, she is not on the MIT faculty or in its administration, so unlike Prof. van der Hilst, she was not thrust into the fray. Nevertheless, this Williams College department chair helped lead the keyboard warriors demanding that Prof. Abbot be disinvited from giving the Carlson Lecture—not because his science was unsound, or that he was unqualified, or that he had broken the law or committed a tort, but because he believes that individuals in higher education should be evaluated based on their individual merit rather than their membership in an identity group. Scandalous, I know. Apropos to the purpose of our award, when interviewed by the New York Times, our winner justified her actions thusly:
What, she was asked, of the effect on academic debate? Should the academy serve as a bastion of unfettered speech?
“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” she replied.
Trofim Lysenko would be pleased, although he likely would have formulaically dismissed the need for academic rigor and debate as being the product of fascist-bourgeois-imperialist-capitalist culture, instead of the current wokeism of “straight white men” as the source of the world’s problems.
So congratulations, Williams College Professor Phoebe Cohen, you are the first recipient of the Minding the Campus Lysenko Award for the Suppression of Academic Speech.
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