We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.
We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.
To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
Recent Blog Posts
In his recent piece for The New York Times, “What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right about Free Speech,” Ulrich Baer offers a defense of student groups who disrupt campus speakers. Baer argues that freedom of speech means “balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.”
The obvious problem with Baer’s philosophy is that there is no objective criteria for evaluating the “inherent value” of any given viewpoint, nor for determining when it deprives another of recognized membership in a community. This problem of subjectivity is compounded by the ideological imbalance in higher education, which raises questions about the ability of liberal academics to collectively assess the merits of conservative speech. In recent years, students have attempted to interrupt a large number of speakers whose political... Read more →
I recently took the opportunity as a natural scientist to speak at an affiliated March for Science in Lewes, Delaware. The goal of my talk was to give a short, HXA inspired speech to encourage people to consider viewpoint diversity as it relates to environmental issues. The speech was very well received by professional science writers and university faculty. I appreciate the resources provided by HXA that help me develop ideas on how to tackle viewpoint diversity in the natural sciences. The text of the speech is attached to this post. This was my first attempt to promote viewpoint diversity in the sciences. Any mistakes or misrepresentations are mine alone. Read more →
Was the content of Charles Murray’s speech controversial? Social psychologists Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci (at Cornell) conducted an anonymized audit study of Murray’s speech with 70 college professors and found it was rated “middle of the road” rather than liberal or conservative.
Law professor and HxA (Heterodox Academy) member Jonathan Adler argues that law students would better understand originalism if there were more ideological diversity in legal academia. At The Volokh Conspiracy, Adler also summarized a new empirical analysis of ideological uniformity in the legal academy.
At The Boston Globe, Michael Levenson covers a controversial editorial in the Wellesley College student newspaper, which argues that “hate speech” is not a protected form of speech, and that hostility against opponents is sometimes acceptable. There’s more coverage at Bloomberg.
It’s easy to think of human problems as cumulative. If Bob lives in a Mississippi flood plain, Phil lives near the San Andreas fault, and you live in an area that’s prone to both earthquakes and floods, you should cumulatively have both Bob’s problems and Phil’s problems. Social problems, however, don’t always accumulate that way. The problems of being an African-American woman are not simply the sum of the problems faced by the average African-American and the average woman. Similarly, the problems of being a poor immigrant are greater than the cumulative sum of the problems faced by the average poor person and the average US immigrant. The term intersectionality was coined to describe this phenomenon.
The term interaction effects could have been used—it’s a non-ideological, non-partisan term that had been in use since the 1930s. But, in the early stages, intersectionality scholars weren’t using statistics. In fact, the term... Read more →
Heterodox Academy member Flagg Taylor, associate professor of political science at Skidmore College, has written a thought-provoking essay in The American Interest about the goals of higher education, and why the cultivation of the mind is at odds with the current emphasis on “passion” and “engagement.” Read more →
To increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.
We welcome adjuncts, post-docs and graduate students on May 8th!