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Friday, March 31, 2006

I disagree with what you say...

So Leeds University have suspended lecturer Frank Ellis for saying that he believes there are innate racial differences in intelligence. If you’re looking for somebody willing to stand up for academic freedom, don’t bother asking a university administrator.

Happily, though, the voice of reason is not so easy to suppress altogether, and it can sometimes be heard from the most surprising source. This is from a BBC item on Dr Ellis a couple of weeks ago:-

Dr Munira Mirza, a tutor in multiculturalism and community relations at the University of Kent, told 5 Live she believed IQ differences could be explained by social and historical factors and did not exist for biological reasons.

But she said: "I don't agree with his views but do defend his right to express them. That is the lifeblood of the campus - people can express views and be held to account for them.

"He's not calling all black people stupid - that is a caricature.

"Academics and students are resorting to lazy, blame-game discussion and not engaging in the debate," she continued.

"I would rather disagree with him openly and explain why his theories do not stand up."

There’s really nothing to add to that. It seems too much to hope that there are many more like Dr Mirza, but the existence of even one tutor in multiculturalism and community relations who thinks like this gives a salutary jolt to my prejudices.

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