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|Is academic freedom really the issue?
||Elsberry, Wesley R.
Apr 08, 2006
>It seems to me that Wesley R. Elsberry's characterization of the
>Mims/Pianka blow-up is completely mischaracterized. If Mims's charge is
>true (has Elsberry checked it out?), then it has nothing to do with
>academic freedom. The issue would simply be one of a false accusation.
>But that's not the same as academic freedom.
The only way you could say this was an issue of academic freedom is if
>you believe that advocating the extermination whole populations of people
>is to be considered allowable discourse in the academy. That is obviously
>Elsberry's assumption. Does he really hold this position? I can't believe
>he does. But if he doesn't, why is he assuming it in his argument against
It's not "the only way", of course. The way based on recognition that
there are established procedures for making -- and assessing the merit
of -- complaints within the academic community makes hash of the
"Allowable discourse in the academy". I think that simply reduces to
"discourse". There are any number of things that can be discussed, or
even advocated, that would be illegal or unethical if put into action.
In discussion on Wikipedia, someone made the idiotic comment that, "We
don't know that Mims is not being truthful." And I responded there:
It's a complete inversion of the principle that someone is innocent
until proved guilty. Come on folks, it isn't Pianka's place to
establish his innocence (which he is shouldering as a burden anyway),
it is up to his accuser to back up the claim. "We don't know that the
accuser isn't telling the truth" is an invalid justification for
treating a claim credulously.
If Dembski had any respect for academic freedom at all, he would not
be credulously assuming that Forrest Mims's accusations must be right,
which is the basis for skipping any of the mechanisms in place to deal
with accusations of impropriety within the academy and going directly
to the Department of Homeland Security. And I suspect the commenter
Now in the "Do As We Say, Not As We Do" Dept.