A University of Chicago associate geophysics professor spoke out against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Tuesday after the university cancelled his guest lecture amid criticism from campus activist groups.
During an appearance on “America’s Newsroom,” Dorian Abbot said that after hearing the news about his cancelled event, his wife, who was born in Ukraine and had to be baptized in secret, likened the situation to her time living under the Soviet Union.
“When she heard about what was happening on campus when I first told her she said ‘it sounds like what my mother told me about Soviet times,’” Abbot said.
“The free society’s at stake here,” he added.
Abbot said that the activists and MIT academics were outraged by comments he and another professor, Ivan Marinovic, made in an August Newsweek opinion piece, wherein he criticized current diversity, equity, and inclusion standards in higher education.
In the piece, Abbot characterized the standards as “treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century.”
While speaking with Trace Gallagher, Abbot further clarified his statement, noting that a fundamental principle of moral philosophy is treating “each person as an individual with inherent dignity.” Violating that principle would run the risk of repeating previous human rights atrocities, said Abbot.
Yet, Abbot asserts that these statements had nothing to do with the speech he was set to give at MIT. Instead, he was set to focus on climate science and the possibility of life on other planets during the John Carlson Lecture.
According to the MIT Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences website, “The John Carlson Lecture communicates exciting new results in climate science to the general public.” Abbot added that politics in his field can harm scientist debate, and advocated to “get the politics out of science” and keep the focus on the research and data.
Story continues at: No Climate Science