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What the "Tolerant" Will Not Tolerate

By David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) | May 26, 2016

by David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)

Over the last couple of decades, universities have undergone an academic cleansing of conservatives. They have gone from being on the “left” to being on the “far left” as data from the Higher Education Research Institute shows. They have surveyed universities annually since 1989 and found that the percentage of conservative faulty has dropped from 18 percent to 12 percent and the number of far left faculty has risen from 42 percent to 60 percent in the same period.

Nicholas Kristof lamented what has happened in his recent New York Times op-ed titled “A Confession of Liberal Intolerance.” He, himself a progressive, was lambasted by his readers for even suggesting universities hire, as one reader wrote, anyone “with a worldview that are known to be empirically false.”

Multiple studies show that the percentage of conservatives in the humanities and social studies is even lower than 12 percent, with slightly higher percentages in the sciences and math, but I expect those numbers to continue to drop. In particular, I increasingly see Christian faculty members who don’t hold progressive views not hired, not promoted or even fired. If you question the assumptions or fail to go along with the agenda, you are soon out the door.

A CMDA member, one of the finest doctors I know, recently left a major medical school where he served as a faculty member. He headed a residency program there for many years with distinction, but when the school insisted he participate in a service that violated his most deeply held beliefs, his career there was over.

I recently became aware of a small organization called the Heterodox Academy made up of faculty from a wide variety worldviews who are fighting back. Without viewpoint diversity, they believe there will be no one to challenge the assumptions underlying research. They also eagerly admit that academics are biased toward confirming their own theories and validating their favored beliefs.

Nowhere have we seen that more than in the research being accepted at face value to validate the LGBT agenda. Almost without exception, the research is shoddy science being done by LGBT activists determined to confirm their worldview. The unconfirmed and unchallenged data is then used as a cudgel to change the stance of professional medical associations and even change the law, as we have seen on the same-sex adoption and marriage issues. Any journal brave enough to print research countering their worldview is attacked and vilified to the point it is now almost impossible to get research published that counters the LGBT narrative they demand to be seen as true. So much for academic freedom.

Many people are mystified to see the significant support, especially among university students and recent graduates, for Senator Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist living in the world’s greatest democracy. We shouldn’t be surprised. These students and graduates have been sitting at the feet of social scientists in their classes for a semester or more while being taught that social justice equals socialism or worst. While 7 to 9 percent of sociology professors are Republican, double that number, 18 percent, are avowed Marxists.

This disease, this intolerance of anyone who challenges your worldview, is as unhealthy as it is common in our country. Without allowing and even encouraging diversity of thought, whether from the far left, moderates or conservatives, we head down an extremely dangerous road. We endorse discrimination; we stifle debate; we corrupt research; we move closer to academic totalitarianism. Lest we forget, those who control the schools ultimately control the country.

Those claiming to be tolerant don’t tolerate those who disagree with them. We don’t need more “safe spaces,” we need a vigorous and open debate of ideas. As Christians, we should welcome it.

Related Resources

The Erosion of Tolerance

Counter Culture

Standing Against Persecution: My Journey to Start a CMDA Campus Chapter

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