We, the undersigned, feel that the academic paper 'Mind the gap…in intelligence: Re-examining the relationship between inequality and health' written by LSE lecturer Satoshi Kanazawa could be read as promoting racist stereotypes. Dr Kanazawa claims to show that the lower life expectancies and higher levels of infant mortality in less developed nations are the result of lower levels of intelligence, rather than economic inequality.
We also regret the negative publicity this has attached to the LSE, which prides itself on being a diverse and tolerant institution, through the media coverage surrounding the publication of this paper.
We ask that the LSE reaffirms its opposition to racist or racially reductionis[t] standpoints and condemns the publication of any research that may jeopardise students' safety and well being by providing ammunition for those seeking to promote a racist agenda.
Almost every single sentence of this petition betrays its anti-intellectual PC ideology.
1) The mere fact that something "could be read" in a racist way does not justify opposition to it. Surely we should instead oppose those things that really are racist. Despite what some leftists apparently believe, a mere accusation is not enough to establish guilt.
2) The petition then objects to what Kanazawa's research "claims to show". But it never addresses the crucial question of whether the research succeeds in showing this. Yet that is the only question relevant to assessing academic research. Academics are meant to pursue truth, not comforting conclusions. We should object not to Kanazawa's heretical claims, but to their lack of reasoned support (assuming they are in fact unsupported).
3) Okay, the third sentence is harmless enough. Though it seems a bit hypocritical to lament bad publicity in a public petition against the school!
4) The conclusion is a straightforward denial of academic freedom. The LSE's response has been entirely appropriate:
The LSE declined to offer any opinion on Kanazawa's conclusions but defended his right to publish controversial research. A spokeswoman said: 'This is academic research by Dr Kanazawa based on empirical data and published in a peer-reviewed journal. People may agree or disagree with his findings and are at liberty to voice their opinions to him. The school does not take any institutional view on the work of individual academics.'
The petitioners, in contrast, are asking the school to condemn unpopular research, based simply on the claims it makes, and without regard for its academic merit. That's so incredibly wrongheaded, and fundamentally anti-academic, that I'm struggling for words. (Maybe you could go read Butterflies and Wheels instead.)
By all means, refute Kanazawa's arguments. Even condemn him for irresponsibly drawing politically dangerous conclusions on such a flimsy basis. But for God's sake don't just complain about heretical conclusions without regard for their truth! Such ideological witchhunts give the Left a bad name. Aren't we meant to be the "reality-based community"? Let's please start acting like it...