Denying research opportunities because they do not align with an agenda is inane and potentially destructive.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the alarming progress in the ideological capture of our scientific institutions, especially as news related to discoveries, research, and theories were coming from journalists and pundits who often had little to no advanced education in physical or life science, statistics, engineering, or other technological areas.
Professor Jacobson recently asserted STEM is “DEIing,” reviewing a report issued by the National Association of Scholars on how DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) identity-group ‘social justice’ ideology is taking over STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Today, I offer some more disturbing examples of how race-based theories and social justice priorities negatively impact real research and hinder science.
James Lee, a behavioral geneticist at the University of Minnesota, says that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now blocks access to an important database if it thinks a scientist’s research may enter “forbidden” territory. Lee makes an important point that taxpayers paid for the Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), which combines genome scans of several million individuals with extensive data about health, education, occupation, and income.
My colleagues at other universities and I have run into problems involving applications to study the relationships among intelligence, education, and health outcomes. Sometimes, NIH denies access to some of the attributes that I have just mentioned, on the grounds that studying their genetic basis is “stigmatizing.” Sometimes, it demands updates about ongoing research, with the implied threat that it could withdraw usage if it doesn’t receive satisfactory answers. In some cases, NIH has retroactively withdrawn access for research it had previously approved.
Note that none of the studies I am referring to include inquiries into race or sex differences. Apparently, NIH is clamping down on a broad range of attempts to explore the relationship between genetics and intelligence.
What is NIH’s justification?
…The federal government was under no obligation to assemble the magnificent database that is the dbGaP. Now that it has done so at taxpayer expense, however, it does have an obligation to provide access to that database evenhandedly—not to allow it for some and deny it to others, based on the content of their research.
The capture isn’t only impacting American science. Across the Atlantic, the British Royal Society of Chemistry claims chemistry is racist, as only one in 575 professors is black.
The RSC report also shows that ethnic minority students are interested in studying chemistry at university, but they are put off by what they perceive to be an unwelcoming atmosphere of academic research. This is especially true of black students and researchers.
Official figures show that at undergraduate level 4.9% of students studying chemistry-related subjects identify as black, significantly higher than the national 3.0% of the UK population. But most choose not to enter research. Those who do fall away at every stage of the career ladder: 1.4% of postgraduate chemistry researchers identify as black, 1% of lecturers and 0% of professors.
Academic science research is unwelcoming, hard, and soul-grinding. As I worked toward a doctorate in chemistry, I saw the struggles to get grants, do research, and publish papers up close and personal. I preferred a different life, so I left graduate school and never looked back.
There are many reasons for people selecting the careers they do. Smearing a scientific field as racist because it doesn’t meet a quote is senseless.
Distributing grants based on race, or gender identity, or current narratives is no way to fund meaningful science that will lead to useful results or innovative discoveries.
Denying research opportunities because they do not align with an agenda is inane and potentially destructive.DONATE
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