Marquette Warrior: December 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Takes Note of Harassment of Marquette Warrior

From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: an article on the fact that Marquette has “investigated” a complaint from a student who accused us of sexual harassment based on gender for our debunking of feminists’ bogus statistics on campus rape.

FIRE notes that the incident:
. . . provides a good example of how unwarranted investigations of campus speech can cause a deeply problematic “chilling effect” at a university. Universities must not pursue investigations of protected expression just because someone submits a complaint; as soon as it is clear that the expression in question is protected speech, the inquiry must end, even if there are other factual disputes. Prolonging the investigation tells everyone on campus that the university will pursue charges against you no matter how frivolous or malicious the complaint. The likely result is that people self-censor and keep their mouths shut rather than risk such investigation and a possible punishment.
Of course, for the politically correct types on campus, this is the point. They are deeply hostile to free and open debate.

FIRE goes on the quote Marquette’s own Student Handbook on the legitimacy of differences of opinion:
It is clearly inevitable, and indeed essential, that the spirit of inquiry and challenge that the university seeks to encourage will produce many conflicts of ideas, opinions and proposals for action.
Of course, Marquette’s Student Handbook also includes several very dangerous and over-broad statements that could be used to stifle speech. For example:
Harassment is defined as verbal, written or physical conduct directed at a person or a group based on color, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation where the offensive behavior is intimidating, hostile or demeaning, or which could or does result in mental, emotional or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or harm.
Read at face value, this could mean that if a frank discussion of ghetto crime makes a black student feel “discomfort” that could be harassment. Of course, a feminist talking about the evils of male sexism could make a male student feel uncomfortable, but the odds of anybody seeing any problem with that are nil.

FIRE concludes:
Yet by pursuing this investigation, Marquette is letting a single student entangle a professor in disciplinary proceedings simply due to protected classroom expression. How many professors at Marquette are now going to steer clear of sensitive topics just to avoid an Ethics Point investigation?
The truth, of course, is that even without this kind of inquisition, any prudent junior faculty member, wanting to get tenure, better stifle any urge to say anything politically incorrect. And a lot of tenured people, not wanting to “make waves” or generate hostility, tend to “lay low” and keep their opinions to themselves.

Welcome to the modern politically correct university.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wise Men Still Seek Him

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mean Spirited Christmas Greeting from the Marquette Center for Peacemaking

While some of their activities are bland enough, a Christmas e-mail from the Center for Peacemaking reminds us that, at root, they are mean-spirited leftists. Here is part of the text:
After four weeks of Advent awaiting the coming of the Savior, December 25th can leave us a bit puzzled, if not disappointed.

Because we need a savior. Doesn’t take much in the way of spirituality to figure that out. We just need to look at the “signs of the times.” With a government pledged to “perpetual war,” and more and more wealth (as the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations constantly remind us) taken from the needs of the many to benefit the very few (and yes, those two facts are related), with ongoing environmental degradation, and with over 17 million US households listed as “food insecure,” our world, our country needs some serious saving.

But what do we get on Christmas day? Not a team of expert economists, not a super committee of legislators, not a war council or a national security organization, but a baby – an infant (root meaning: “can’t talk”), someone insecure, vulnerable and needing assistance, not offering it. What was God THINKING?
So there is no “peace on earth, good will toward men.” Rather, there is class warfare and hatred of the military.

If the people associated with the Center for Peacemaking were morally serious, they might actually know that government in the U.S. spends over two trillion dollars per year to pay social welfare benefits.

If they were morally serious they would actually question why “over 17 million US households listed as ‘food insecure’” notwithstanding the fact that government spends 54 billion dollars per year on the food stamp program.

Morally serious people actually care about the details of public policy. Those who prance and preen and tout their concern for the poor in blissful ignorance of how public policy works are not morally serious. They are simply engaged in a kind of moral masturbation.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Marquette Warrior Harassed by University Over Debunking of Bogus Feminist Rape Claims

Week before last, we dropped in to speak with Political Science Department Chairman Barry McCormick about a different matter, and were told he had something unpleasant to discuss.

It seems that Marquette has a whistle blowing website (Ethics Point) designed mostly to let employees rat out people who have been stealing money from Marquette, and such.

But somebody had complained that we said something that was “demeaning to rape victims.”

What in the world could be the basis of this?

What do we say about rape in our classes?

Debunking Feminist Rape Claims

We deal with the issue in our introductory American Politics class in the context of media bias, and how one can recognize media bias when the media accept bogus and inflated numbers as factual. This was the case in the 1970s with regard to the number of combat divisions the Warsaw Pact had threatening Western Europe, and in the 1980s with the number of homeless people in the U.S.

Then we get to a more contemporary example: one that the students have almost certainly been subjected to as part of their university indoctrination: the idea that 25% of all college women are victims of “date rape.”

The number is absurdly inflated. We point out that in the study most widely quoted (the Koss study) 73% of the women categorized as having been “raped” by a feminist researcher didn’t interpret what happened to them as rape. Indeed, 42% had intercourse again with the guy who supposedly raped them.

(Our analysis of another campus rape study is here.)

What is happening here? Feminists are defining rape far too broadly. Ambiguous sexual encounters, often fueled by alcohol, are defined as “rape” by feminist researchers, but not defined that way by purported victims.

We point out that feminists insist that if a woman consents to sex under the influence of alcohol, she has been raped.

(Feminists have gotten this definition written into law, a fact that helps women not at all, since these kinds of sexual encounters are virtually never reported to police and even less frequently prosecuted.)

Often, some guy who hasn’t yet learned that, in academia, he’s not supposed to question any feminist claim, will raise his hand in our class and ask “suppose the guy has been drinking too? Why didn’t she rape him?”

We always respond, sarcastically “you’ve got to look at this from the feminist point of view. Males are the oppressor class, and women the victim class. So of course the guy is responsible.”

We typically add “if you wake up in the morning and ask ‘what in the world did I do?’ you haven’t been raped. If you’ve been raped you feel violated. If it requires a feminist political activist to explain to you how what happened was rape, you weren’t raped.”

This past semester we piled on a bit by pointing out to our class that “this is yet another issue, like abortion, where academic feminists simply don’t think like real women in the real world.”

Marquette Responds

Upon hearing from McCormick about the charges, we contacted a lawyer we know – one who loves to sue Marquette – and were advised that we had a right to see the precise charges against us. We conveyed this to McCormick, and just yesterday he got back to us with this:
[T]he Provost [John Pauly] . . . presses me to move forward on the response to the Ethics Point complaint in a timely manner. University Counsel has determined that you may read the text of the complaint, but that I should not give a copy of the complaint to you.
So we meet with McCormick at 2:00 p.m. today. We will report on how the meeting goes.

That we should ever be required to defend to university bureaucrats what we say in class is a gross violation of academic freedom. Faculty have a right to disagree with any political movement – including feminists. And social science faculty have a right to debunk bogus social science statistics.

But this is Marquette in 2011. Timid bureaucrats are unwilling to defend the notion that faculty have a right to say things that feminists don’t like.

[Later, after the 2:00 p.m. meeting]

The meeting was a bit dull, with McCormick insisting that the only purpose was to get our story on what happened. This was simple, since our blog post contained everything we say about rape in class, virtually verbatim.

We did get to look at the student’s complaint, and it roughly accurately recounted what we said, then went into a rant about how rape is a serious problem on campus, and thus we were engaging in “harassment based on gender.” Apparently, in the mind of this feminist, you are “harassing” women if you refuse to accept bogus and inflated statistics on rape. She rhapsodized about a dorm that put out blue ribbons to oppose rape, but didn’t explain how that justifies lying about the incidence of rape.

McCormick admitted that this Ethics Point site had never been used before to register a complaint about what a professor said in class. In essence, the university is making this up as it goes along.

But the complaint should have been dismissed immediately. Taking the complaint absolutely at face value, we did nothing but disagree with feminist claims about date rape, something clearly protected by the canons of academic freedom.

We will, of course, say exactly the same things about rape when we teach the same class next semester.

In a properly run university, some administrator would sit this prissy little feminist down and explain to her “this is a university, you are going to hear things you disagree with. Live with it.” But a timid administration, used to genuflecting to all the demands of political correctness, will never do that.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marquette Political Philosopher in New Bluegrass Group

We’ve blogged about our colleague Ryan Hanley, who until recently played in the band Cream City Bluegrass. Bluegrass bands, like other kinds of bands, often break up and reform with somewhat different personnel, and Hanley and one of the other members of Cream City Bluegrass are now with Freshwater Bluegrass.

Their music clips show the band to be accomplished, enjoyable and pretty mainstream (with the exception of an occasional cheesy cover of a 70s pop song).

You can read more in an article in the Racine Journal-Times.

Their next performance is this Friday (December 23rd) 9:00 p.m.-12:00 midnight at Paddy’s Pub, 2339 N.Murray, Milwaukee. We intend to be there.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Documentary on Milwaukee Conservative Talk Radio / More

We’ve blogged about a project by Marquette’s Brien Farley: a documentary on Milwaukee-area conservative talk radio.

When we first blogged about it, only three of the six parts were available.

Now, part four is. We hope the rest appear soon.

This is an excellent opportunity to hear both the prominent Milwaukee talk radio hosts, and their critics, discuss this insurgent medium.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Climategate 2.0 / More E-mails

From Forbes:
A new batch of 5,000 emails among scientists central to the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis were anonymously released to the public yesterday, igniting a new firestorm of controversy nearly two years to the day after similar emails ignited the Climategate scandal.

Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

Regarding scientific transparency, a defining characteristic of science is the open sharing of scientific data, theories and procedures so that independent parties, and especially skeptics of a particular theory or hypothesis, can replicate and validate asserted experiments or observations. Emails between Climategate scientists, however, show a concerted effort to hide rather than disseminate underlying evidence and procedures.

“I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process,”writes Phil Jones, a scientist working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a newly released email.

“Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden,” Jones writes in another newly released email. “I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

The original Climategate emails contained similar evidence of destroying information and data that the public would naturally assume would be available according to freedom of information principles. “Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment]?” Jones wrote to Penn State University scientist Michael Mann in an email released in Climategate 1.0. “Keith will do likewise. … We will be getting Caspar [Ammann] to do likewise. I see that CA [the Climate Audit Web site] claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!”

The new emails also reveal the scientists’ attempts to politicize the debate and advance predetermined outcomes.

“The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out” of IPCC reports, writes Jonathan Overpeck, coordinating lead author for the IPCC’s most recent climate assessment.

“I gave up on [Georgia Institute of Technology climate professor] Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but its not helping the cause,” wrote Mann in another newly released email.

“I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose” skeptical scientist Steve McIntyre, Mann writes in another newly released email.

These new emails add weight to Climategate 1.0 emails revealing efforts to politicize the scientific debate. For example, Tom Wigley, a scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, authored a Climategate 1.0 email asserting that his fellow Climategate scientists “must get rid of” the editor for a peer-reviewed science journal because he published some papers contradicting assertions of a global warming crisis.

More than revealing misconduct and improper motives, the newly released emails additionally reveal frank admissions of the scientific shortcomings of global warming assertions.

“Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary,” writes Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office.

“I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run,” Thorne adds.

“Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC,” Wigley acknowledges.

More damaging emails will likely be uncovered during the next few days as observers pour through the 5,000 emails. What is already clear, however, is the need for more objective research and ethical conduct by the scientists at the heart of the IPCC and the global warming discussion.
So what we have here is a glimpse behind the façade of “science.”

Where “science” is a set of methods about how one knows about the natural world, it’s pretty good and extremely useful.

But when “science” is a social group, rather ingrown, with a distinctive political ideology and distinctive collective interests, no so much.

Here, sociology has trumped the supposed pristine virtues of “science.” We see human nature in full bloom.

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