Author: Quillette Magazine

Academics’ Mobbing of a Young Scholar Must be Denounced

The latest victim of an academic mobbing is 28-year-old social scientist Noah Carl who has been awarded a Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellowship at St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge. Rarely has the power asymmetry between the academic mob and its victim been so stark. Dr Carl is a young researcher, just starting out in his career, who is being mobbed for being awarded a prestigious research scholarship on the basis of his peer-reviewed research. While getting a position like this is normally a time for celebration for junior academics, Dr Carl has gone to ground, unable to defend his reputation from libellous attacks, as he has been instructed not to talk to the media. Three hundred academics from around the world, many of them professors, have signed an open letter denouncing Dr Carl and demanding that the University of Cambridge “immediately conduct an investigation into the appointment process” on the grounds that his work is “ethically suspect” and “methodologically flawed.” The letter states: “we are shocked that a body of work …

The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond

Editor’s note: For the past year scholars James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian have sent fake papers to various academic journals which they describe as specialising in activism or “grievance studies.” Their stated mission has been to expose how easy it is to get “absurdities and morally fashionable political ideas published as legitimate academic research.”  To date, their project has been successful: seven papers have passed through peer review and have been published, including a 3000 word excerpt of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, rewritten in the language of Intersectionality theory and published in the Gender Studies journal Affilia. Below is a response to the scandal from five academics who are currently researching, publishing and teaching in the fields of Philosophy, English Studies, Behavioral Genetics and Economics. From Foolish Talk to Evil Madness — Nathan Cofnas (Philosophy) Nathan Cofnas is reading for a DPhil in philosophy at the University of Oxford. His work focuses on the philosophy of biology, broadly construed. He has published on such topics as innateness, the ethical implications of individual differences in intelligence, and Jewish …

Who We Are

PAULINA NEUDING – European Editor I’m the former Editor-in-Chief of Kvartal, a Swedish language magazine offering new perspectives and deeper insights on sensitive topics much like Quillette. Apart from speaking the Scandinavian languages, I am fluent in German and Polish and am a trained lawyer. I have extensive experience working as a high-profile editor in a European setting, and am intimately engaged with Europe’s contemporary culture. My articles have been published in Politico, The Spectator and the The New York Times and from 2019, I will lead the European branch of Quillette, sourcing articles on European culture that are of interest to international readers. RECENT ARTICLE: Sweden’s General Election Turmoil BRADLEY CAMPBELL – Contributing Writer I am an associate professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles. I am broadly interested in the study of moral conflict — clashes of right and wrong — and had written mostly about law, violence, and genocide until I more recently began to examine the conflicts on college campuses over microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and free speech. I am the author of The Geometry of …

Wrongspeak

Wrongspeak is an all-new podcast featuring two Toronto-based political commentators committed to telling stories about “the things we believe to be true but cannot say.” Its mission is to push listeners past received wisdom, follow the evidence, and open up a fearless but constructive dialogue on important issues. Jonathan Kay is the Canadian editor of Quillette, is a former engineer and lawyer, a best-selling New York Times-reviewed book author, and a political commentator whose work appears regularly in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, CNN.com, and Canada’s National Post. Dr. Debra Soh is a former academic researcher with a PhD in sexual neuroscience who contributes to Quillette, Canada’s Globe & Mail and Playboy. Wrongspeak is available on iTunes and other podcast platforms. Follow on Twitter/Facebook: @Wrongspeak. For more information: wrongspeak@gmail.com 

Steven Pinker: Counter-Enlightenment Convictions are ‘Surprisingly Resilient’

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist and is the author of several books including Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress published by Viking Press earlier this year. Editors at Quillette contacted Professor Pinker for a Q&A: what follows is a transcript of our Q&A, conducted via email. On Psychology Quillette: What are some of the classic experiments in psychology that you think an educated person should know about? Steven Pinker: Where to begin? I’d cite studies of illusions and biases, to remind people of the fallibility of our perceptual and cognitive faculties. These would include experiments on visual attention by the late Anne Treisman and others showing that people are unaware of visual material they don’t attend to, together with any experiment on memory showing how un-photographic our recollections are (for example, Elizabeth Loftus’s studies on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, or even the low-tech study in which people are asked to draw a penny, an object they have seen thousands of times). Let’s add Slovic, Tversky, and Kahneman’s demonstrations of illusions in reasoning about …

Books to Read in 2018

Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker “Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases…” Read more at Amazon.     The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt “The generation now coming of age has been taught three Great Untruths: their feelings are always right; they should avoid pain and discomfort; and they should look for faults in others and not themselves.” Read more at Amazon.     Female Bodies and Sexuality in Iran and the Search for Defiance, Nafiseh Sharifi “This book uses storytelling as an analytical tool for following wider social attitude changes towards sex and female sexuality in Iran.” Read more at Amazon.   On Kings, David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins “[K]ings are symbols for more than just sovereignty: indeed, the study of kingship offers a unique window into fundamental dilemmas concerning the very nature of power, meaning, and the human condition.” Read more at Amazon.   The People Versus Democracy, Yascha Mounk “Liberalism and democracy, historically twinned, are splitting …

Best of the Web, 18 December 2017

In Memoriam: Remembering Christopher Hitchens Douglas Murray, The Spectator European Anti-Semitism: The Uncomfortable Truth About Swedish Anti-Semitism Paulina Neuding, New York Times U. S. Politics: Inside Trump’s Hour-by-Hour Battle For Self-Preservation Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, Peter Baker, New York Times  #MeToo: Why the #MeToo Movement Should Be Ready For a Backlash Emily Yoffe, Politico Education: Bonfire of the Academies Heather Heyling and Bret Weinstein, Washington Examiner Science: Gender, Trans Kids, and the Effects on My Personal Life Dr. Debra Soh, YouTube

“Problematic and In Poor Taste”

On Wednesday 6 December, a German graduate student named Yannick Brandenburg sent out a call for papers to all members of the Liverpool Classics e-mail list. The list is public, so Brandenburg’s message can be read here in full. In short, his e-mail informed the list’s subscribers that a conference would be held at the University of Wuppertal in Germany next autumn, entitled “(un)documented – Was bleibt vom Dokument in der Edition?” and that it would address such questions as “What significance do particular disciplines attribute to a document/documents?” and “What effect does the conceptualization of the document have upon editorial practice?” Brandenburg invited interested researchers to submit “an abstract of no more than 500 words, together with a short CV and contact details.” The discussion that followed (which can also be found in the list’s public archives) is transcribed below, unaltered: Andrew Feldherr Professor and Chair, Department of Classics, Princeton University Thu, 7 Dec 2017 13:10:58 Given the political situation in my country at the moment and the real tragedies that are being visited daily upon …

Best of the Web, 9 December 2017

Education: Elite colleges are making it easy for conservatives to dislike them Jack Goldsmith and Adrian Vermeule, Washington Post Free Speech, Personified Peter Salovey, New York Times  Race and Racism: The world is relying on a flawed psychological test to fight racism Olivia Goldhill, Quartz Maybe We Should Just Shut Up? Noah Rothman, Commentary A Police Killing Without a Hint of Racism Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic Women in Tech: The Empress Has No Clothes: The Dark Underbelly of Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers Marlene Jaeckel, Medium Sexual Harassment: The Warlock Hunt Claire Berlinski, The American Interest  Is Office Romance Still Allowed? Cathy Young, Wall Street Journal  [Paywall] Science: Is Psychology a Self-Correcting Science? Lee Jussim, Psychology Today Cooperation and the evolution of hunter-gatherer storytelling Daniel Smith et al, Nature Communications Politics 100 Years. 100 Lives. Think Twice. Laura M. Nicolae, The Harvard Crimson