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January 20, 2005

Welcome to the Madrassa - Summer's Retraction

It was only a matter of time before the forces of the unenlightenment had their way. After days of purposely misconstruing Larry Summer's remarks to allow them to launch their baseless attacks, so as to maintain the blank slate facade that underpins their whole world view, the brigades of the Politically Correct have managed to make the President of Harvard grovel for forgiveness:

I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologize for not having weighed them more carefully. . . .

That includes carefully avoiding stereotypes, being alert to forms of subtle discrimination, and doing everything we can to remove obstacles to success.

I have learned a great deal from all that I have heard in the last few days. The many compelling e-mails and calls that I have received have made vivid the very real barriers faced by women in pursuing scientific and other academic careers. They have also powerfully underscored the imperative of providing strong and unequivocal encouragement to girls and young women interested in science.

I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women.

[ . . . .]

The Axiom of Equality reigns supreme and we are on the way to equal outcomes, damn the consequences. Anything less is de facto evidence of discriminiation - and the subtle discrimination is the most damning kind and its remediation will require even more intrusion and corrective action on how people think, speak, and act. Godless had it just right when he wrote that Atheism is not Satanism.

Larry Summers made a tactical mistake in heeding the criticisms of academics who called for an end to University Presidents being crass careerists simply focused on fundraising and self-aggrandizement. He thought that a university was a place for open debate. His mistake was twofold; 1.) that his job was anything but fundraising, and 2.) that he was heading a university and not the Madrassa that it's transformed into.

I am utterly disgusted at the suppression of free enquiry we've witnessed these last few days and if anyone wonders why the bloggers on this site use pseudonyms, well wonder no more.

As Dave Schuler, paraphrasing Voltiare, put it "I may agree with what you say but I deny your right to say it."

Addendum from Razib: Glaivester notes that Summers' comments are being misrepresented. That is, a relatively straightforward statistical point about the distributions of two populations has been transformed into an essentialist assertion about all individuals within two categories. But, there is also what I term the "Pascal's Wager strategy," constrain the options, pretend as if Summers was arguing only for innate differences in the distribution between male and female aptitudes as the only factor, and once you can muddy the waters on that issue, he's wrong.

Posted by TangoMan at 11:23 AM