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Testing Tenure: Let the Market Decide

written July 2006 | comments (2)

This article was part of an invited open peer commentary on an article entitled “Is Tenure Justified? An Experimental Study of Faculty Beliefs About Tenure, Promotion, and Academic Freedom” by Stephen J. Ceci, Wendy M. Williams, and Katrin Mueller-Johnson, published in a 2006 issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, volume 29, pages 553–569.

Abstract of Ceci, et al.

The behavioral sciences have come under attack for writings and speech that affront sensitivities. At such times, academic freedom and tenure are invoked to forestall efforts to censure and terminate jobs. We review the history and controversy surrounding academic freedom and tenure, and explore their meaning across different fields, at different institutions, and at different ranks. In a multifactoral experimental survey, 1,004 randomly selected faculty members from top-ranked institutions were asked how colleagues would typically respond when confronted with dilemmas concerning teaching, research, and wrong-doing. (continue reading…)

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Darwin for Conservatives

written July 2006 | comments (8)
The link between Adam Smith’s invisible hand and Charles Darwin’s natural selection is just one reason why conservatives should embrace the theory of evolution

Charles Darwin is back in the news, with Kansas school board members once again shifting seats Left and Right (with liberals this time winning out). Is there really a liberal-conservative split over the theory of evolution? There is. According to a 2005 Harris Poll, 63 percent of liberals but only 37 percent of conservatives believe that humans and apes have a common ancestry. Similarly, a 2005 Pew Research Center poll found that 60 percent of Republicans are creationists while only 11 percent accept evolution, compared to 29 percent of Democrats who are creationists and 44 percent who accept evolution. (continue reading…)

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Why God’s in a Class by Himself

written August 2005 | comments (38)

Intelligent Design (ID) creationism has resurfaced in the news again after President George W. Bush’s remarks were (mis)taken by IDers to be a solid endorsement by the president for the teaching of ID in public school science classrooms. (Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger 3rd, said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.”)

There was considerable media hype over the story, and I did a number of interviews, including a query from a reporter who asked for my opinion about whether one can believe in God and the theory of evolution. (continue reading…)

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Woodstock of Evolution

written July 2005 | Comments Off

Charles Darwin famously described the origin of species as the “mystery of mysteries,” a phrase he cribbed from the astronomer John Herschel, whom Darwin visited in Capetown, South Africa during the five-year round-the-world voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. The meeting happened a few months after Darwin departed the Galapagos islands, at which point he had not yet solved the “grand mystery,” despite the myth that Darwin first understood the mechanism of evolution in this magnificent archipelago. (continue reading…)

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Why I Am An Atheist

written June 2005 | comments (53)

I am an atheist. There, I said it. Are you happy, all you atheists out there who have remonstrated with me for adopting the agnostic moniker? If “atheist” means someone who does not believe in God, then an atheist is what I am. (continue reading…)

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