Paul Krugman and the Leftist Academy
Paul Krugman today tackled the question of liberal bias in the academy in his New York Times column. Stanley Kurtz noted over at NRO that Krugman’s acceptance of said bias as fact is, at least, progress. (Jonah’s G-file on Krugman is good, too.)
That’s true. But good heavens, the rest of the op-ed is a ridiculous mess.
According to Krugman, the GOP is now advocating theocracy. Evidence of this is the increasing political muscle of creationism and the intellectual traction gained by adherents of intelligent design.
Two points I find particularly irritating about Krugman’s piece. First, let’s start with his own words:
Scientific American may think that evolution is supported by mountains of evidence, but President Bush declares that “the jury is still out.” Senator James Inhofe dismisses the vast body of research supporting the scientific consensus on climate change as a “gigantic hoax.” And conservative pundits like George Will write approvingly about Michael Crichton’s anti-environmentalist fantasies.
Think of the message this sends: today’s Republican Party – increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research – doesn’t respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn’t be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party.
In addition to his explicit scorn for “revelation” is his implicit positioning of science and religion as antithetical systems. This is typical of secularists who want to win arguments about creation and evolution simply by definition.
Here’s how it goes: do you believe in a creator God? Aha! Gotcha! You cannot be a rational believer in reason and science if you are any kind of deist, by definition.
This is just a cheap and shoddy argument. And, frankly, this is news to the numerous scientists who are Christians who believe in a creator God. Take a look at the intelligent design sites— one doesn’t have to agree with them, but they are using rational, scientific evidence and arguments.
Secondly, then there’s this egregious comment near the end of the Krugman piece that I haven’t yet seen anyone mention:
And it [bringing conservatism to campus] wouldn’t just be a matter of demanding that historians play down the role of slavery in early America. . .
Please. This is such a slander on conservatives; the New York Times publishing it is inexcusable. Remind me again which political party is home to Senator Robert Byrd, former Klu Klux Klan member? Right, that would be the Democrats.
Furthermore, since Krugman seems so fearful of a theocracy, it might also be well to remind him that the abolition movement was led by Christians. And his beloved FDR wouldn’t sign an anti-lynching law.
C’mon, Paul, let’s do get our history right. That doesn’t even take rocket science.