Professor William Snider’s Aug. 23 Point of View “The why of Democratic professors” rejected Senate majority leader Phil Berger’s position that less liberal job candidates are “discriminated against” when applying for university positions.
The inadequacy of Snider’s argument, grounded as it is in irrelevant generalization and in attitudinal myopia, only reinforced Berger’s point.
Snider has “never heard political affiliation mentioned in any job search, or “party affiliation or political leaning raised” in hiring deliberations. But one does not have to use the language of politics to dismiss an intellectual position toward an academic topic, be it unionization vs. right-to-work, “freedom to choose” vs. “right to life,” or human vs. natural involvement in climate change.
Snider provided a salient example of just such unspoken political bias in his comment that, though climate science is outside his field, “we respect the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of scientists” in that area. But science is not a matter of majorities (see, for example, Galileo vs. the Catholic Church), and surely it should not be a matter of “respecting” some scientific conclusions rather than others.
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All good science, whatever its conclusion, deserves respect, especially in the university.