‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science

Jan 14, 2020 by

A scholar with an agenda targets as ‘dangerous’ our conference on filtering out faulty research.

By Peter W. Wood – An unhappy side effect of the digital age is “cancel culture.” Anyone with an attitude of moral superiority and a Twitter account can try to shut down an event where opinions he dislikes are likely to be spoken. For several years the National Association of Scholars has inveighed against this infantile form of protest, which undermines free expression of ideas and legitimate debate.

Now the cancel caravan has arrived at our door.

We are holding a conference co-sponsored by the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., in early February. It is meant to be an exchange among scholars on the problem of “irreproducibility” in the sciences—fake science or failed science, or something-ismissing science. It’s a big problem these days, but there’s no agreement on what to do about it. Our goal is bring together experts who have diverse and often conflicting views to see if they can come to some agreement about how to improve the situation. The conference is titled Fixing Science: Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis.

Leonid Teytelman is one of those Russian types.

But one scientist, armed with a keyboard and contempt for contrary opinions, has set out to cancel our conference. Leonid Teytelman has busied himself writing to the speakers at the event to warn them away. And he has found fellow censors who agree the conference is “problematic.” Our critic calls us “clever and dangerous.”

How so? Once a Twitterstorm starts, the reasons multiply. Our list of speakers includes no women. (All declined our invitations.) Our initials share three letters with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, or Nasem, therefore we are “deceptive.” Wikipedia describes us as a “conservative” organization. We are also accused of “climate denialism,” and of having invited some climate-change skeptics to speak.

Source: ‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science – WSJ

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