Academic Freedom, Indeed

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The ID movement has issued a great deal of rhetoric about “academic freedom” and “censorship” and how they allegedly can’t get research grants, even though they never seem to actually come up with specific research proposals.

Well, the shoe is now on the other foot. Nature today reports on a grant review received by Brian Alters, an education professor at McGill who specializes on evolution education, and who was an expert witness in the Kitzmiller case, much-cited by Judge Jones:

Doubts over evolution block funding by Canadian agency Study to measure ‘popularization of Intelligent Design’ refused funds. Hannah Hoag

A Canadian federal agency has denied funding to a science-education researcher partly because of its doubts about the theory of evolution.

Brian Alters, director of the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University in Montreal, had proposed a study of the effects of the popularization of intelligent design — the idea that an intelligent creator shaped life — on Canadian students, teachers, parents, administrators and policy-makers.

At a public lecture on 29 March, Alters revealed excerpts from the rejection letter he received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The letter stated that, among its reasons for rejection, the committee felt there was inadequate “justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent-design theory, was correct.”

But there is a silver lining:

Philip Sadler, a board member of the centre and director of science education at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is more philosophical. “If he was trying to answer the question as to whether all this popularization had had an impact, he just saved the government $40,000,” says Sadler. “He found the evidence without doing the study.”

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This is quite a surprise, McGill University Read More

29 Comments

Hmmmm.…. the link http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/440720b returns this message:

The DOI you requested – 10.1038/440720b – cannot be found in the Handle System. Possible reasons for the error are: * the DOI has not been created * the DOI is cited incorrectly in your source * the DOI does not resolve due to a system problem

Is there a typo in the link, or has the linked document been removed?

The link doesn’t seem to be working.

Oops, that is the DOI for the article, but perhaps it has not been registered yet. Alternatively, try: http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060[…]440720b.html

NATURE Wrote:

At a public lecture on 29 March, Alters revealed excerpts from the rejection letter he received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. … Susan Bennett, an English professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta and chair of the SSHRC committee, could not be reached for comment by the time Nature went to press.

And they know they’re experts on evolution. Heck, if a lawyer can understand the subject so well, why not an English professor?

Dang, my brand-new stainless steel irony meter just exploded.

Dang, my brand-new stainless steel irony meter just exploded.

That’s why I always use chrome-moly steel with brass fittings and tungsten guts.

Those meters will withstand ambient levels of irony and B.S. in excess of 5k ppm.

Unfortunately, they don’t come cheap and I blew out my last one on the Creation Safaris website. That should cost me at least three month’s salary to replace.

Unfortunately, they don’t come cheap and I blew out my last one on the Creation Safaris website. That should cost me at least three month’s salary to replace.

heck, after that one i went back to using divining rods instead.

no moving parts.

less accurate for the small stuff, but works just fine for just about anything IDiots post.

Re “Dang, my brand-new stainless steel irony meter just exploded.”

Next time maybe titanium? ;)

Henry

Today I am embarrassed to be Canadian. I’m going to try to find the SSHRC and give them what for.

The media contact at SSHRC is [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Please write to her and ask for an explanation. I did.

Though there was a grant last year for “Protecting Canadians with Intellectual Disabilities”, that might explain something.

They probably got Steve Fuller to a review the application.

Here’s another version of the story, from the Ottawa Citizen. This link might prove more reliable, today at least: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen[…]&k=40427

Further evidence to support my suspicion that Social Sciences is an oxymoron. (I know, I know, it’s probably unfair but things like this don’t help.)

Protest emails can be sent to Dr. Stan Shapson, the President of the SSHRC at [Enable javascript to see this email address.].

The committee found that the candidates were qualified. However, it judged the proposal did not adequately substantiate the premise that the popularizing of Intelligent Design Theory had detrimental effects on Canadian students, teachers, parents and policymakers. Nor did the committee consider that there was adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of Evolution, and not Intelligent Design theory, was correct.

Maybe he could beef up his proposal with a copy of the Kitzmiller verdict.

As a Canadian who’s field also falls under the purview of SSHRC, I’m embarassed by this. The Gazette (Montreal English paper) somehow reported the four referees who rejected the application - I wonder if they are going to be speaking more about this … I wondered about postmodernism, but one of the referees according to that source was an economist, so that seems unlikely. Maybe a collusion (pomo/reactionary)? Mind you, it isn’t as if there was a Calgary political scientist involved … (I don’t think.)

Ian H Spedding Wrote:

Further evidence to support my suspicion that Social Sciences is an oxymoron. (I know, I know, it’s probably unfair but things like this don’t help.)

See also: “Social Text”,”The Sexual Politics of Meat”, etc.

The content of the”Social Sciences” is, by and large, profoundly silly.

.….. Nor did the committee consider that there was adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of Evolution, and not Intelligent Design theory, was correct.

Duh (slap in the forehead!!). What have the evolutionary scientists been doing for the past 150+ years? I guess some committee members have been navel gazing and not keeping current on the science discourse.

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Here is a link to the article in the Montreal Gazette. It mentions all those who were on the committee turning down Brian Alters’ grant application.

Please, Fatty Yellow Bean, don’t dismiss all the social sciences just because there are a few thousand wackos involved. All kinds of serious work is done by social and behavioral scientists (and by historians who get to pass the final judgement) though sometimes the titles do seem bizarre. For a good edxample, check out Labov’s work on r-dropping. It may sound stupid, but it revolutionized the study of language change. Even the titles you cite could conceal meaningful work. You can’t tell without looking.

Back to the main topic of the post: Does this mean the ID virus has jumped the quarantine line?

Damn! Now where am I going to claim I’m moving to? What’s left? Russia has even less employment prospects than Ohio, and the Japanese don’t like my eyes.

Further evidence to support my suspicion that Social Sciences is an oxymoron.

I once had the pleasure of telling a room full of economists that I didn’t think economics was a science.

And followed that up by telling them that economics was nothing but an apologetic for the existing social order.

I wasn’t invited back the next year. :)

Comment #95005

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 5, 2006 05:37 PM (e)

Further evidence to support my suspicion that Social Sciences is an oxymoron.

I once had the pleasure of telling a room full of economists that I didn’t think economics was a science.

And followed that up by telling them that economics was nothing but an apologetic for the existing social order.

I wasn’t invited back the next year. :)

In my profession we make fun of economists. They’re fairly decent on the simplified big picture, but then they try to take their principles down to the business level and some of them are flat-out disasterous and will lead you into bankruptcy. Also, too many of their models assume humans are rational. We also make fun of their secret manta: “No bod e noze.” :)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

I once had the pleasure of telling a room full of economists that I didn’t think economics was a science.

And followed that up by telling them that economics was nothing but an apologetic for the existing social order.

As a mathematician who takes a strong interest in a wide range of the sciences and the philosophy of science, I’ve come to the conclusion economics has a hard core that is definitely scientific, and a diffuse packaging that is all soft and fuzzy politics. And worse, the two aspects are tightly linked. Unfortunately, the core scientific practitioners suffer from the same inability as most physicists from understanding much, if anything, about the philosophy of science. Physicists, at least, normally don’t have to defend their work as “science”–the trouble about philosophy begins when they try to identify pseudoscience.

SSHRC has responded to my question about Dr. Alters funding, to wit:

Thank you for your e-mail expressing concerns regarding the recent media coverage about a grant proposal by Dr. Brian Alters of McGill University.

The theory of evolution is not in doubt. SSHRC recognizes the theory of evolution as one of the cornerstones of modern science and of our understanding of the world. As part of its support for critical enquiry in the social sciences and humanities, SSHRC has funded many research projects on evolution and society over the years. In 2005, Dr. Alters was awarded a three-year research grant of $175,000 to study concepts of biological evolution in Islamic society. Projects of this nature that meet the standards for scientific excellence will continue to be funded.

SSHRC’s funding decisions are made by an internationally-recognized peer-review process that evaluates and makes recommendations on grant proposals. Each research proposal we receive is reviewed by a volunteer committee of independent Canadian experts, who then provide advice to SSHRC regarding the quality of the proposal and whether it should be funded. Peer review ensures that all SSHRC-funded projects meet the highest standards for academic excellence.

In the case of Dr. Alters’ recent proposal, the committee’s decision was not based on doubts about the theory of evolution; rather, the committee had serious concerns about the proposed research design.

Like all applicants, Dr. Alters may appeal the funding decision on the basis of factual or procedural errors in the adjudication process.

For more information about research that we have funded and the process involved in awarding funding, please visit our website (www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca) or contact our public affairs division. Thank you again for expressing your concerns.

Janet E. Halliwell

Executive Vice-President

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

You can’t be 28836 serious?!?

You can’t be 28836 serious?!?

proverka2007

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on April 4, 2006 4:58 PM.

Voluntary Cessation of Illegal Conduct was the previous entry in this blog.

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