Sunday, September 17, 2006

The New Intellectual bringing about a New Dark Age

In an interview conducted by the Objectivist Center with Walter Williams, Dr. Williams said;

the kinds of things that are tolerated on the college campuses today—it’s despicable. The shouting down of people that they disagree with. Or the recent running out of the President of Harvard, just because he speculated that the reason why women are not highly represented in the sciences may have something to do with genetics.
Take that incident. In terms of the actual evidence that we have, it turns out that women are never as dumb as men, but, on the other hand, they’re never as smart as men. That is, at the very high end of the IQ range, there are relatively few women. At the very low end of the IQ range, where you find imbeciles and idiots, there are relatively few women. And that might explain why women aren’t in jail as much as men. But he was not being a sexist for saying that; he only said, maybe that’s one of the reasons. Yet he was just lambasted at Harvard University and elsewhere. He also said something else: that maybe another reason is because married women just don’t have as much freedom to devote 80 hours a week to research as males do, because they have some obligations. Many times, married women have obligations of household and kids. But anyway, just for making some reasonable speculations, he was run out—he resigned.
What this shows in the university community and the academy is a growing intolerance for intellectual diversity. They’re for all kinds of diversity, whether it’s sex or race or et cetera, but they’re not for intellectual diversity.

John Stuart Mill wrote:
But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race, posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

I remember all the “hub-bub” over the example Dr. Williams uses. Could it be that the self-proclaimed enlightened elite were upset that their beliefs were questioned?

Mill also wrote:
In the present age- which has been described as “destitute of faith, but terrified at skepticism,”-in which people feel sure, not so much that their opinions are true, as that they should not know what to do without them-the claims of an opinion to be protected from public attack are rested not so much on its truth, as on its importance to society.

It might be a stretch, but there seems to be similarities between Dr L Sumers and Harvard University and Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church.

Galileo questioned the church's scientific beleifs with observations; Dr Sumers questioned the elitist's political beliefs with observations.

Mill again:

There are, it is alleged, certain beliefs, so useful, not to say indispensable to well-being, that it is much the duty of governments to uphold those beliefs, as to protect and other of the interests of society.

Though it hasn’t come to the point of opinions being outlawed, a small group of intellectual elitist are doing their best to make it all but illegal. By trying to silence opinions or thoughts are the intellectuals concerned about truth, as Galileo was, or do they feel that although their beliefs might be lies, theirs are just "indispensable to well-being" like the Church? Intellectuals once brought the world out of the dark ages, now the self proclaimed ones might just take us back in.

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