It is hard to exaggerate how homogeneous are political views in the academic world. Law professors are the most liberal category among all lawyers who are themselves quite liberal. Many precincts within the university are even further left than the legal academy. But this nation is founded on the premise that the clash of views leads to better ideas and better policy. The ideologically monochromatic cast of our academic world should thus be of concern to many, regardless of their political perspective. That is why I am so pleased that a new organization, The Heterodox Academy, has been established to try to bring in a fuller representation of a wider range of views.
As Jonathan Haidt, one of the leading professors of social psychology, said in his welcoming post:
At HeterodoxAcademy, our contributors have documented the near absence of political diversity in many fields, and we have demonstrated the damaging effects that this homogeneity has on scholarship in those fields. We are not the first to do so. Scholars have been calling to this problem for decades… and nothing has been done.
This time will be different. We have come together to pool resources, analyze current trends in the academy, discuss possible solutions, and advocate for policies and systemic changes that will increase viewpoint diversity in the academy and therefore improve the quality of work that the academy makes available to the public, and to policymakers.
Members of this venture include well-known academics, like Professor Haidt and Steven Pinker as well as more obscure ones like this writer.
Christian apologetics—and, one suspects, arguments generally—can take two basic forms: they can be directed toward trying to persuade others of the truth of one’s position or they can be self-reflective, focusing on arguments that one finds personally persuasive and to explain one’s personal conviction as to why one argument is more persuasive than another. In True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of our Complex World, David Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at Pennsylvania Law School, has written a book that is an exemplar of the latter. Rather than seeking directly to persuade the reader of the truth of Christianity, Skeel's apologia instead reads…
One of the most interesting fields for understanding human behavior is evolutionary psychology (the successor to sociobiology). Despite appearances to the contrary, this field includes both conservatives and liberals. It continues to provoke, however, tremendous debates on both political and theoretical issues.
One of these debates involves the level at which natural selection occurs. One way of framing this issue is whether natural selection operates only at the level of the gene or also at other levels, including the group. People who believe that group selection occurs often describe themselves as favoring multilevel selection, since they believe selection occurs at multiple levels. (I should note that advocates of multilevel selection might not agree with the way that this paragraph defines the debate.)