Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis
big-ideas-illuminated-light-bulb-among-the-rest-of-the-unlit-bulbs-stockpack-adobe-stock
Big ideas. Illuminated light bulb among the rest of the unlit bulbs.
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Stanford Academic Freedom Event Angers Who You Might Expect

Whether any further such events will be encouraged is another question…

Remember that academic freedom conference at Stanford (November 4–5) where we were asked to consider that the purpose the conference was that “racism is given shelter and immunity”? So what really happened?

The account at Inside Higher Education oozes hostility. But from one of its less hostile moments, we learn:

During a panel on academic freedom in STEM, Mimi St Johns, a Stanford undergraduate student of computer science, said that students face pressure from peers not to study such fields as petroleum engineering or to pursue jobs in government, even though both of these paths could lead to work on some of the world’s most urgent problems. John Ioannidis, professor of medicine at Stanford, said that this elderly mother was targeted for harassment and suffered related health problems as a result of his COVID-19 research that ran counter to other findings early in the pandemic.

While many other speakers described higher education’s commitment to the pursuit of truth as fading, the conference was heavy on anecdotes and speculative diagnostics relative to clear data. Part of this is because it’s impossible to prove a negative: no one can say how many papers never get written because of self-censorship on the part their would-be authors, for example. But some of the conversation arguably undercut the evident theme of the conference: that academic freedom is under grave threat from leftists who reject reason. In one case, Jonathan Berk, the A. P. Giannini Professor of Finance at Stanford, asked panelists during the STEM talk whether “charlatans [are] trying to get into the sciences” by studying and otherwise working on diversity, equity and inclusion in these fields.

Colleen Flaherty, “Divisive Academic Freedom Conference Proceeds” at Inside Higher Ed (November 7, 2022)

Wow. “Divisive?” The environment described could be worth noting in case the current academic elite is not absolutely right about everything.

You may also wish to read: You may also wish to read: Stanford’s academic freedom conference slammed by academics. Opponents are angered by the fact that, although the conference will be live-streamed, it is by invitation only and no media are allowed. The choice to exclude mainstream media (MSM) is a sign of the times. There is no longer good reason to think that the current mainstream media necessarily support intellectual freedom.


Mind Matters News

Breaking and noteworthy news from the exciting world of natural and artificial intelligence at MindMatters.ai.

Stanford Academic Freedom Event Angers Who You Might Expect