A Math Paper Is Sent Down the Memory Hole
It should be no surprise to anyone that Political Correctness has managed to conquer subjects such as English Literature or Sociology. The more subjective and speculative the subject is, the easier it is for ideology to exert its Death Grip. So you’d think that Mathematics – the most objective subject in existence – would be uniquely preserved as a bastion of traditional academic values. Well . . . you’d be wrong. In fact, Math is particularly dangerous to academia’s occupiers, because it can be used to objectively prove the ideologically unacceptable.
American Mathematician Ted Hill recently discovered this to his cost when his paper [An Evolutionary Theory of the Variability Hypothesis, August, 2017] applying mathematics to make sense of the “Genetic Male Variability Hypothesis” (“GMVH”), was subject to nakedly Orwellian treatment, partly caused by a Jewish Mathematician.
Hill was fascinated by the hypothesis, commented on even by Darwin, that in all species there is more genetic variability in males than in females. As Hill has pointed out in a recent article on his adventures in the online magazine Quillette, this is why men are over-represented at the extremes of distributions such as birth weight or Math scores. More males have outlier high IQ – meaning more male science Nobel laureates. However, more males also possess outlier low IQ, resulting in greater numbers of male prisoners and vagrants [Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole, By Theodore P. Hill, Quillette, September 7, 2018].
The Emeritus Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, was intrigued to discover that nobody was clear why this sex difference existed. So, Hill and Russian Sergei Tabachnikov, of Pennsylvania State University, worked out a model and posted a preprint in an open access Math archive in May 2017.
The pair submitted their paper to The Mathematical Intelligencer, specifically to its “Viewpoint”, the purpose of which is to present “controversial” studies. The editor-in-chief, Prof Marjorie Wikler Senechal, was enthusiastic about publishing it: ‘Discussing this issue dispassionately and with a mathematical model will be an important contribution towards rationality’ she wrote [Hill has put all the correspondenceonline]. She even suggested mentioning the trouble that Harvard President Larry Summers had got into in 2005 — he was fired — for wondering out loud if GMVH helped to explain the lack of females studying Math and Physics. [Why Feminist Careerists Neutered Larry Summers, By Stuart Taylor, The Atlantic, February 2005]. Hill’s paper was revised various times and then scheduled for publication in the first 2018 issue.
In August 2017, while the paper awaited publication, Tabachinov posted the accepted paper on a pre-print site. But at exactly the same time, a moral panic erupted about the lack women in Silicon Valley and Google’s James Damore was sacked for correctly implying that it was partly due to GMVH in an internal memo [Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, August 7, 2017]. Within days, the full force of the Witch-Finder Generals was unleashed on the two naïve nerds.
On August 16, someone from Penn State’s “Women in Mathematics” contacted Tabachinov to glibly claim that she was in favour of the open discussion of controversial issues but some people will just see it as using the authority of Math to support “potentially sexist” ideas. Campaigners then started to deluge Tabachinov’s department.
The department’s Head said though they valued free speech this sometimes conflicted with other crucial values. Colleagues told him that the paper was “bad and harmful” and that he should withdraw his name to “restore peace in the department” and avoid losing “political capital”. The paper was even compared to “scientific racism”. The email correspondence reveals Tabachinov’s disbelief at what was unfolding around him: “You are participating in a witch-hunt, trying to silence a colleague” he wrote to a colleague whose name has been redacted. “I am infinitely saddened by these events.”
The paper’s funding body — the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was acknowledged in the article — then demanded their name be removed from it. A Freedom of Information request revealed that a professor from “Women In Mathematics” — Diane Henderson “Chair of the Climate and Diversity Committee” — had written to them saying that the paper “appears to promote pseudoscientific ideas that are detrimental to the advancement of women in science, and at odds with the values of the NSF” — words the NSF’s letter pretty much repeated. Righteous Henderson has previously been a lead author on a Math paper riddled with calculation errors, as she’s been forced to acknowledge.
And on the same day, the editor of The Mathematical Intelligencer wrote to Hill saying that colleagues feared “extremely strong reactions” to the accepted paper and there was a “very real possibility that the right-wing media may pick this up and hype it internationally.” Therefore, they would not publish the paper.
And things got even worse. A math professor called Amie Wilkinson complained to the journal about the paper, vilifying it and the journal on Facebook, and getting her statistician father to highlight supposed problems with it, to give her greater credibility. Wilkinson seems to have an axe to grind about there not being that many women in Math: “There were zero women on the research faculty, not even in the postdoctoral level” she told her university newspaper of her grad school days. [Q&A: Amie Wilkinson, Chicago Maroon, March 12, 2013]. She is also involved in the Association for Women in Mathematics, an interview with her aptly titled: “Defying Doubts, Pursuing Passions” [Amie Wilkinson: Defying Doubts and Pursuing Passions, By Grace Wu, AWM, April, 18 2013]. Wilkinson has since put out a statement defending free speech and playing down her involvement in suppressing Hill’s paper, claiming she wanted the paper rebutted, not removed. Her Facebook correspondence, published by Hill, reveals this to be a complete lie. She stated that Senechal, “ended up rescinding the paper (good, although why did she accept it in the first place)”.
Then, facing the possible end of his career over the growing furore, Tabachonov — who was raised in Soviet Russia — withdrew his name from the article. Ironically, in corresponding with one of the paper’s reviewers, Tabachonov had written that, ‘It will be a very sad state of affairs if reasonable people won’t be able to rationally discuss scientific matters, even if these matters are politically charged. The worst thing for a scientist is self-censorship.’
Hill — a Vietnam veteran, presumably quite used to fighting Marxists — would not withdraw the paper. And soon there seemed to be some good news. A sub-editor of the online New York Journal of Mathematics, having read the paper online and, having heard about Hill’s shocking treatment, got in touch to say that he’d be interested in publishing it. It was sent out for peer review, received positive reports, and was published on November 6, 2017.
The now sole author sent out the link to colleagues, but three days later the article simply vanished from the website – “down the memory hole.” Jewish Mathematician Benson Farb, who was on the journal’s editorial board, had demanded that the journal’s editor-in-chief, Mark Steinberger, remove Hill’s paper at once, calmly explaining that it was “ridiculous . . . pseudo-science . . . politically-charged” and “a non math piece of crap.” He also requested that the sub-editor be fired for “rail-roading a politically charged paper (full of pseudo-science) . . . through the editorial process.”
It turned out that Farb’s wife was none other than . . . Amie Wilkinson. So this pioneering feminist mathematician not only went running to Daddy to stop the naughty boy’s paper being published but to Hubby as well.
Stirred-up by Farb, half the journal’s board then told Steinberger that they would resign and “harass the journal until it died” unless Hill’s paper was unpublished. Hill’s subsequent complaint against the nepotistic Maths power couple — both professors at the the “free speech” champion University of Chicago — for unethical conduct was dismissed out of hand, because they were apparently “exercising their freedom” . . . to prevent the publication of ideas that had passed the semi-sacred peer-review process.
Hot-headed Farb – like his wife clearly shaken up by recent criticism due to the Quillette article – put out a statement on 11th September 2018 publicly accusing the dying Steinberger, who passed away 4 days later, of being unethical for not including a retraction note when Hill’s paper was removed . . . despite the fact that it was Farb that pressured this then presumably ill mathematician to un-publish the paper in the first place.
In January, we reported the case of the London Conference on Intelligence. At the time there was a media witch hunt against academics who had dared attend this conference to calmly debate vital issues, including race differences in intelligence. There was, however, a predictable backlash because the entire field of psychology is polluted by Social Justice Warriors. For toxic scholars to have penetrated pure Mathematics as well is a very worrying development.
But, on the plus side, alternative media has allowed the hypocrisy, pseudoscientific nature, and rabid ideological fervour of “scholars” like Amie Wilkinson to be humiliatingly exposed. They are left of the defensive, publishing glib press releases proclaiming their supposed belief in freedom of debate while their online messages scream for it to be shut down. And the public are more aware than ever before just what a cess pool of ideology-dressed-up-as-science their high-education-bound tax dollars are funding.
In February 2012, Wilkinson’s husband, who refers to scholarship he disagrees with as “crap,” said, in his University of Chicago commencement address, “As British physicist J. J. Thomson said: ‘Research in applied science leads to reforms, research in pure science leads to revolutions.’
Let’s hope he’s right . . . though the opposite of the kind of revolution he and his wife would like.
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