Doctoral student Nathan Cofnas of the University of Oxford is facing immense pressure from his peers in academia to retract a research paper on the relationship between race and IQ. According to Cofnas, professors and others in academia have organized a campaign to “ruin” his reputation as a scholar.
According to a column published in Spectator USA, researcher Nathan Cofnas, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, is facing calls for his “cancellation” over a research study he published in an academic journal on the relationship between race and IQ.
The debate on the relationship between race and IQ has been controversial for some time. Political scientist Charles Murray and psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein published The Bell Curve in 1994, which reignited the debate on this topic. Since the book’s publication, it has received both criticism and defense from scholars around the world.
One scholar, Macquarie University Philosophy Professor Mark Alfano, encouraged the public to “ruin” Cofnas’ career. “You’re about to learn why people generally avoid fucking with me,” Alfano wrote in a tweet.
A group of philosophers led by Alfano decided to take their anger at the paper to the next level, and they set out to cancel its author (me). In Alfano’s words, he wanted to ‘ruin [Cofnas’s] reputation permanently and deservedly’. Soon after his ‘You’re about to learn…’ tweet, a change.org petition asking the editors of Philosophical Psychology for an ‘apology, retraction, or resignation (or some combination of these three)’ was posted on the philosophy blog Daily Nous. Daily Nous, run by University of South Carolina philosophy professor Justin Weinberg, is one of the two most high-profile philosophy blogs on the web. Weinberg did not explicitly endorse the petition, but presented it in a somewhat favorable light. He included a picture of tainted water from Flint, Michigan, apparently to illustrate the petition’s claim that I had ignored the major role played by lead poisoning in race differences in IQ.
Yale University Philosophy Professor Jason Stanley called on the academic community to denounce Cofnas and Philosophical Psychology, the academic journal that published the research article.
“Philosophical Psychology published a paper trumpeting ‘race science.’ Some have called for it to be retracted. I fear (again) a larger backlash against those calling for its retraction is mounting. I hope those who are defending free speech remember ALSO to denounce the paper,” Stanley wrote.
Philosophical Psychology published a paper trumpeting “race science.” Some have called for it to be retracted. I fear (again) a larger backlash against those calling for its retraction is mounting. I hope those who are defending free speech remember ALSO to denounce the paper.
— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) January 19, 2020
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