More academics step up to defend science

When the New Zealand LIstener published a letter by seven professors from the University of Auckland in defence of science in July, the professors came under attack from some scientists and academics. As well, two of the professors are now being investigated by the Royal Society of New Zealand over what it claims are “misguided” views regarding Māori knowledge. This has provoked debate and a number of prominent academics and scientists have spoken up in defence of the seven professors. Newsroom has published a column today by six academics defending science and open debate.

Academics: Don’t stifle healthy debate

In the wake of the controversy surrounding a group of academics who argued that traditional Maori knowledge cannot be equated with science, six of their colleagues say our universities must remain places of robust debate

In their 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explore the recent explosion of anxiety and depression experienced by young people in many of the wealthier countries of the world.

Lukianoff and Haidt lay the blame on “three great untruths” that, they believe, have taken hold in these societies, one of which – in an inversion of Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous maxim – is, “what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker”.

By this they mean that our society has become so risk-averse that many young people have grown up without experiencing the psychological strengthening that comes with suffering setbacks and overcoming difficulties. Read the rest of the article here


  1. Great to see this is being challenged in the context of the crisis of rationality and science.
    People nod and frown and acknowledge this until you point out that Climate Change is also a product of this toxic milieu – oh, they say, but the science is settled!

  2. Thank you for this link. I don’t know how young people who have seemingly never had to deal with contrary ideas are going to cope as civilization collapses, which I think is a given.

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