The College Fix (www.thecollegefix.com) posted a story about the conservatives as an underrepresented group at Cornell. I went to the original source, which was a new story by the Cornell Daily Sun. The link is here: http://cornellsun.com/2015/10/15/cornell-faculty-donations-flood-left%E2%80%88filings-show/
Conservatives no longer work at Cornel because:
Let’s play a game: Instead of the term “conservative” substitute one of the following: Blacks, Women, Hispanics, or Homosexuals. Get the point?
But wait, you say: Conservatives really are anti-science and everyone who teaches at a university is a scientist! Thus, they really don’t belong. Well, interesting you should say so. We address this in our book but I’ll add a few other points.
First, notice how a belief in science is narrowed down to two issues: a belief in evolution and a belief in man-made global warming. That’s it. No other issues define a belief in science. If you read the Cornel article, you will have read where even an English professor claimed the mantle of being a scientist by citing these criteria.
Second, apparently any deviation from these beliefs is cause for disqualification from being a professor at Cornel (and just about every other institution).
Let’s broaden our horizons, however, and think this through.
It is true that conservatives and liberals differ in their acceptance of global warming and of human evolution. These beliefs have been subject to substantial empirical investigation and, speaking broadly, it appears as though part of the difference has little to do with the actual understanding of either evolution or global warming. Instead, these are target issues that also define in-group and out-group status.
Many liberals, for example, “believe in evolution.” But what does this mean? Well, for some it means that they believe humans have changed form over time (they have) while for others it means that a divine force didn’t create the world (no way to prove). Still others can’t begin to tell you anything about evolution....they just know that it is a requisite belief to be part of their group.
Even those that “believe in evolution,” however, place arbitrary limits on the consequences of evolution. For example, evolutionary theory would predict substantial biological differences between men and women and evolutionary theory would predict “biological” race, not just social race. Personally, I would like to ask the Cornel english professor if he also believes in these aspects of evolution. My guess? No.
And those pesky conservatives? It is true that over 40% of conservatives do not believe in evolution--a number that is too high (Note that almost 60% of republicans believe in evolution--from a Pew report in 2014). Some of this is wrapped up in religious beliefs but some of it is also part of in-group identity. And some of it is wrapped up in a duel belief: That God created the universe and set everything in motion but that mankind did change, adapt, and evolve. I think the Catholic Church holds this doctrine.
Oh, and wait, other data show that evangelical Christians, the group probably most hated by the left, are not uniform in their beliefs about global warming. Indeed, many evangelicals believe that taking care of the world necessarily means addressing in a responsible way the causes and consequences of global warming. Go figure.
All of this, however, begs a couple of questions: Are there any other differences that liberals hold that are anti-science and what does a belief in global warming have to do with teaching English?
Well, a little bit of searching found a great Pew Research Center study on differences in beliefs about science. They even surveyed AAAS scientists as a control group. So, let’s see if there are differences where liberals are MORE anti-science:
There are other differences, too. Some small others not so small but you get the point.
But wait. There are differences in beliefs about science by the groups that liberals favor. Let’ look:
So, overall, depending on the issues we look at, dems also hold a lot of “anti-science” views. Note that I didn’t include data on the number of dems/liberals who believe in astrology, mysticism, and unsupported environmental theories. Had I, the differences would have increased.
Also notice that the groups liberals support also hold some of the most anti-scientific views measured.
Now think about the comment by Prof Little:
"Prof. Andrew Little, government, said that while it would be “nice to have more balance,” he would not advocate compromising the quality of Cornell’s professors, which he suggests would be the effect of seeking out Republican faculty.
“Placing more emphasis on diversity of political beliefs when hiring [would] almost certainly require sacrificing on general quality or other dimensions of diversity,” he said."
Let me get this straight: Hiring a republican would compromise the quality of faculty at Cornel but hiring just about everyone from the far left has no effect? Do you see the ideology here?
Also, what does a belief in small government, or being anti-abortion, or wanting taxes reduced have to do with teaching English, sociology, or any other social science? Is there any evidence that holding these beliefs as a professor somehow harms their teaching? What about their research? Is there any evidence that believing Planned Parenthood should not receive 1/2 billion $$ in public tax money harms teaching about Shakespeare or research into social stratification?
And what about the argument that conservatives simply don’t want to work at Cornel? I’m sure this is true. After all, who would want to work at one of the best universities in the US? Who would want tenure, an awesome salary, great benefits, and control over their schedules? These are things that conservatives truly hate. I mean, gee whiz, the thought of a conservative enjoying the intellectual life of Cornel? Almost out of the question.
Ask yourself this: If you were a conservative professor applying for an academic job or a new graduate student out on the market, would you let your beliefs be known?
*** Edited: Ted Cruz shouldn’t be a professor at Cornel? Ted Cruz, the magna cum laude graduate of Princeton and Harvard--that Ted Cruz? Can you say “political litmus test?"
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology