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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
Douglas MacKinnon Columns
COLUMN

The real sea change should occur on campus

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Recently, several liberal professors visited Gov. Rick Scott to brief him on the “closed” science of global warming.

Never mind that many scientists will tell you that science is never closed or settled. These professors — like many in the media, academia and in Hollywood — will continue to scream the sky is falling until they force more polluters out of business and cause the loss of more American jobs.

Should you be one of those scientists who dares to question global warming, you stand the chance — like Galileo and Copernicus when they went against the settled science of the Church and were branded heretics — of paying a price that could range from ridicule and censorship to the loss of your career.

As one who has some understanding of the political process, I would tell these professors that while your breathless predictions of doom may make you heroes in the faculty lounge, they have little or no effect on Scott, or for that matter, Charlie Crist. Both men know the state has a host of real problems that need to be addressed immediately.

No rational person will state that man-made pollutants have no negative effect on our atmosphere. They most certainly do. The questions being debated are how much do they affect climate change compared with the natural cycles of the sun and nature, and is it cost-effective and logical to go after U.S. companies to force them to comply with the dictates of those pushing this closed science?

This debate will go on forever.

That said, there is one place where these liberal professors can have an immediate impact and right some wrongs in their own field. They could call on their fellow liberal colleagues across the nation to end the blatant discrimination against conservative professors and the intimidation of conservative students.

One of the pillars of the liberal movement on college and university campuses is diversity. Unfortunately, such diversity usually stops when it comes to hiring those who exhibit conservative or even Christian backgrounds. Discrimination against conservatives flies in the face of academic responsibility, honesty and liberty.

This ideological purification program used by the left is pervasive and cuts across day-to-day academic activities such as recruitment, hiring, promotion, tenure, grading, curriculum decisions and even graduation and admission into advanced degree programs.

Several years ago, the New York Times surprised many on the left by highlighting one example of such discrimination. The paper reported on professor Jonathan Haidt from the University of Virginia, who polled an audience of 1,000 psychologists in San Antonio. When he asked how many considered themselves politically liberal, a “sea of hands appeared.” When he asked for centrists and libertarians, fewer than a dozen hands went up. And when he asked for conservatives, three hands went up.

Haidt said at the time, “That is a statistically impossible lack of diversity ... anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation, but when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”

As for the professors who lectured the governor on climate change, they are not going to fix global warming in their lifetimes.

But they could instantly strike a blow for true academic freedom and diversity by uniting to ban discrimination against conservative professors and students.

Of course, Florida might be under water before that ever happens.

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