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MIT Cancels Lecture By U. Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot Under Pressure From Campus Mob (Update)

MIT Cancels Lecture By U. Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot Under Pressure From Campus Mob (Update)

“Those who pressured MIT to cancel Dr. Abbot’s lecture oppose his views on “diversity, equity, and inclusion””

We previously covered attacks on prestigious University of Chicago Geophysicist Doran Abbot, Cancel Mob Attacks U Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot For Questioning Diversity Hiring Dogma:

Prof. Abbot’s big thought crime was expressing disagreement with some aspects of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” he considers counterproductive (and which may be unlawful). Prof. Abbot didn’t express disagreement with diversity as a goal, or extraordinary outreach to minority hiring prospects to expand the pool, or actions to make sure the hiring process was free from explicit or implicit bias. He supports all those things.

Rather, after all that diversity initiative had been accomplished and a hiring decision had to be made, Prof. Abbot expressed the view that the most qualified remaining candidate should be chosen, which is consistent with U. Chicago policy.

Expressing the view that the most qualified candidate should be hired apparently was too much, it required that Prof. Abbot be cancelled.

Prof. Abbot was not cancelled at U. Chicago, the university president rejected taking any action, and didn’t denounce or try to shame him. Instead, the U. Chicago President stood up for academic freedom. Period.

But Prof. Abbot was just cancelled, at MIT, where the same sort of attacks launched against him at U. Chicago caused MIT to cancel a speech by Prof. Abbot.

Here is the event page for the planned (and now cancelled) lecture (via Google cache):

The page now redirects to a password protected page:

Princeton Professor and academic freedom champion Robert George detailed what happened on Twitter:

Professor Abbot confirmed the cancellation on Twitter

The Newsweek Op-Ed co-authored by Prof. Abbot argued, among other things:

DEI violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment. It entails treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century. It requires being willing to tell an applicant “I will ignore your merits and qualifications and deny you admission because you belong to the wrong group, and I have defined a more important social objective that justifies doing so.” It treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being….

We propose an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone. Crucially, this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants, in addition to those based on group membership. Simultaneously, MFE would involve universities investing in education projects in neighborhoods where public education is failing to help children from those areas compete. These projects would be evidence-based and non-ideological, testing a variety of different options such as increased public school funding, charter schools and voucher programs.

I’m seeking more details on what led up to the cancellation, but it appears having a different view on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” set off the now-common pathetic campus mob:

I will add more details as they become known, either as an update or in a subsequent post.

Academia is broken, and the pieces probably can’t be put back together again.


MIT media relations provided the following statement:

On the John Carlson Lecture hosted by the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS): This public outreach lecture will not be held this year at the discretion of the department. At the same time, Prof. Abbot was invited by the department to present his scientific work on MIT’s campus to students and faculty, and has been working with colleagues at MIT to plan a date.

Prof. Abbot responded to this statement in an email to me:

The Carlson lecture is a big honorific public lecture that is associated with a week-long visit during which the speaker also gives a department colloquium (technical material for specialists). My entire visit (scheduled for the week of October 18) has been cancelled, but they have said that they would like me to come give a technical talk at some point, either a department colloquium or something else. I want to forgive and work on maintaining/rebuilding scientific relationships, and I am planning to go when they ask me officially, but this hasn’t happened yet.

I think it’s important to emphasize, however, that this isn’t a replacement for being the Carlson Lecturer. Cancelling the Carlson Lecture sends the message that scientific honors and recognition are conditioned on holding the correct political positions, and that a small group of activists gets to define the acceptable positions.


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nordic_prince | October 3, 2021 at 9:08 pm

Nothing says “diversity and inclusion” like canceling those who think differently than you.

Man, it’s a good thing we Americans live in a country where the dominant (Leftist) political party values diversity of thought, the free exchange of ideas, rigorous debate and dissenting views/opinions.

Oh, wait a minute…

He should give the lecture via Zoom–he’ll have thousands show up to watch it.

Maybe he can make it pay-per=view.

DEI is, in principle and practice: diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment), inequity, and exclusion. Roe, Roe, Roe….

Academia is broken, and the pieces probably can’t be put back together again.

Time to build alternatives. From the ground up.

And not just in academia. In K-12 education as well. And in the so-called ‘news’ media. Pretty much everywhere it can be done. Which, generally speaking, will not be in many, if any, deep blue states.

A blue to red migration has started and I don’t see it ending anytime seen. I see it accelerating.

There will not be an offsetting red to blue migration.

    henrybowman in reply to JHogan. | October 3, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    We could arrange one. Or more.

    Andy in reply to JHogan. | October 4, 2021 at 12:10 am

    We’ve had 5+ sets of families move from our town to other red states. Tennessee is getting the most with Florida and Texas absorbing others. Those who haven’t moved are stuck due to jobs or family.

    Tennessee just got S&W, they recently got Beretta and Ford just announced a big move there (like new 4 plants). With no income tax, they are competitive with Texas.

    Of all the growth in Tennessee, Redfin reports about 10% is from NY, and another 10% is California. Keep in mind most of this exodus are hard working people AND/OR affluent. They are cashing out of overpriced houses in NY and CA and buying cheaper nice houses and will have PLENTY of disposable income to dump into the local economies. I guess that will work out good for Beretta, S&W since its a pro-2A state.

    These are conservatives who are tired of being treated like Jews in 1930’s Germany in blue states. I know everyone hates that comparison, but the hate is real. Try walking into a store w/out a mask in Seattle and say that comparison is not true.

      CincyJan in reply to Andy. | October 4, 2021 at 9:47 am

      I was in the Nashville area last fall, and was surprised at how blue that city is. A long Usland transplant was particularly bitter about it,.

        Andy in reply to CincyJan. | October 4, 2021 at 3:15 pm

        Nashville it seems to be the Houston of Tennessee, though I hope not that bad. I haven’t checked voting but the rest of the state seems to be pretty red. In checking crime stats, I was not as impressed as I’d like to be with some of the smaller towns as I would have liked: Crosseville, Cookeville and even some in eastern TN.

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to CincyJan. | October 4, 2021 at 5:43 pm

        It’s all of the formerly California-based company instead of settled in Nashville. They brought to many of their Californians with them. Full disclosure: I’m a California. But when I moved to Tennessee, I left it all in my rearview mirror. I fear with a California National will do is do it all the New Yorkers in Massachusetts people did the California in the 50s.

    alohahola in reply to JHogan. | October 4, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    I am a blue-to-redder.

I know WWII analogies can be a bit too much at times, but more and more our universities are beginning to resemble German universities in the 1930s in some ways.

    artichoke in reply to LukeHandCool. | October 4, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    True. Recall the story of Hitler or his rep visiting Goettingen to ask Hilbert how the world’s best math department was doing. Hilbert answered that there was no more math department there; the brains had left (well, he was still there, but many had left.)

An acquaintance of mine recently said: “Diversity is not our strength. It’s also not a weakness, it’s a description. Capabilities are not determined by color of one’s skin.”

This is so disappointing. For the longest time MIT was a holdout in a world of higher ed madness and functioned as close to a pure meritocracy as one could find (things like legacy and athletic prowess had little impact on one’s potential to be accepted).

Now this great institution is giving in to the mob which will only serve to dilute the quality of education and research across the Institute.

Very sad for MIT and America.

    artichoke in reply to Massinsanity. | October 4, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    Rafael Reif has been president for a while now. There was just a lot of greatness to work through before the wokeness could emerge.

      henrybowman in reply to artichoke. | October 8, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      The rot at MIT started becoming obvious around the time of the Aaron Swartz case, when they played coy about a massive case of IP theft committed by an interloper who wasn’t even a student (or otherwise connected to MIT). Their traditional “take responsibility, you’re grown up now” culture developed even more serious cracks when they closed the Senior House dorm (the campus haven for social and sexual misfits, if you can imagine how many sigmas out that would be at MIT) because it had a high dropout rate. This overt wokeism is only the final clang of the closing bell.

If your a deaf to challenges to your beliefs, Your are doomed to wallow in your own ignorance..

I notice that the majority of the fascists who canceled this professor are women. Why is it that women are so easily brainwashed?

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Tom Morrow. | October 4, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    I don’t know, but this sort of thing is why the 19th Amendment may have been a bad idea.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Tom Morrow. | October 4, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Jordan Peterson says that in psychological tests, women generally outscore men in the characteristic of “agreeableness.” When someone says “Let’s cancel this person”, women are more likely to agree to go along than men.

      henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 8, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Wow. Ironically, canceling someone is not being very agreeable to start with. That gives the phrase “agree to disagree” an entirely new level of meaning.

I’m getting tired of universities caving into these fragile grad students and postdoc students–either they value knowledge or they don’t. Ms. Chen is a perfect example of someone putting their hands over their ears, singing “lalala” because she doesn’t agree with someone–a more childish example of behavior, I can’t imagine.

    henrybowman in reply to rochf. | October 8, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    The ladies got their taste for blood cancelling Richard Stallman, MacArthur Genius Grantee, creator of GNU, and founder of the free Software Foundation. Intellectually, Stallman was a dynamo; socially, he was Rain Man. MIT knew this when they made him a professor, as he had studied and worked there in various capacities since the ’70s. But some student got a hair across her *** for something he wrote that she perceived to be a defense of Jeffrey Epstein (it wasn’t), lied about it to the world, and decided she knew better than the MIT administration who should and should not be hired. Now this unemployable genius is entirely off the world’s radar (bagging fries?) while his oppressors are busy wokening MIT even further.

    Full disclosure: I would cross the street (though not hide in a closet) to avoid interacting with Richard Stallman, due to significant experience. But he didn’t deserve this brownshirting, especially for the (dryly logical) opinions he held and sometimes expressed.

“In many cancel culture cases we’ve covered @LegInsurrection it’s frequently the grad and post-doc students who are the most aggressive – treated poorly by their universities and have bad job prospects, they take their frustrations out on perceived heretics.

One must also consider if these aggressive and poorly-treated students already have a chip on their shoulder–or just plain bad performance or research abilities–in the first place.

I’ve noticed aggression and chips on shoulders of excellent and well-treated students, too. The fellowship(s), the fellowship amount(s), and the accolades are NEVER ENOUGH for them.

I was relieved by the contents of this article. I was afraid I was going to read that plate tectonics is now considered “racist”.

This is very sad. I agree with Prof. Abbot that being asked to deliver a named, endowed lecture is a valuable credential. Perhaps someone should start a database of such occurrences, just as we have the CRT database and the general “cancelation” database.

If Prof. Abbot had been disinvited because the department had discovered that he had started to transition to being a woman, all of academia would be up in arms because gender identity is not relevant to the merits of the John Carlson Lecture. Yet, the department is not willing to apply the “not relevant to the merits” standard to the objections regarding his DEI views.

star1701gazer | October 5, 2021 at 8:58 am

Sadly, we have lost an entire generation of education. The economic impact of this loss will be felt for many, many years. These ‘degreed professionals’, in every field will leave college and enter the workforce, with a poor education, few actual skills, and a closed minded attitude that will make them next to worthless. This will reduce productivity and slow innovation to a crawl. These people will be a drag on society for far too long.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to star1701gazer. | October 5, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Maybe this class of people, with their lack of actual skills, will accelerate what I have desired for quite some time. That is major companies should take people with obvious talent, and offer them an apprenticeship program. A piece of paper is exactly that: a piece of paper. Whar are needed are skills.

Oh, it’s worse than it looks. Even the “canceled” guy is himself infected. Consider his statement,

Crucially, this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants, in addition to those based on group membership

The highlighted clause has nothing to do with the program he’s talking about. It’s a purely gratuitous dig at an entire population–in other words, he’s expressing blatant, overt racism. Well, phooey–even the “good” guys are bad guys.

I’m a target of constant e-mail bombardment from one of the MIT alumni propaganda offices, and a couple of months ago this news finally convinced me that the ‘Tute had gone full woke. I suppose the good side is that I’ll save bags of money now that I no longer feel obligated to make alumni contributions to such a corrupt and despicable organization.

Steven Brizel | October 8, 2021 at 2:51 pm

This is what happens when the inmates are running the asylum.

You forgot the most important question in the modern era: What kind of shirt was he wearing?

I mean that’s how we judge the qualifications of rocket scientists and geophysicists, right?