[LINK] Academics branded 'anti-US over FTA research'

Chris Maltby chris at sw.oz.au
Mon Jul 31 18:17:41 AEST 2006

>> Alan L Tyree wrote:
>>> Well, maybe. But as far as I know, the only academic in recent times
>>> that has suffered *actual* censorship (in the form of being
>>> deprived of the right to teach classes, etc) is Andrew Fraser at
>>> Macquarie.
> On Mon, 31 Jul 2006 13:01:52 +0930 Glen Turner wrote:
>> Well perhaps you should work for CSIRO and hold a view on
>> global warming contrary to that of the government. That was
>> notorious enough to be reported in Nature as "Culture of fear
>> reigns at Australian research lab".

On Mon, Jul 31, 2006 at 04:05:24PM +1000, Alan L Tyree wrote:
> I'm definitely not saying that unpopular views don't get robustly
> rubbished. I still don't know of any academics who have suffered "real"
> punishment as a result of unpopular views. Except Andrew.

I think it's important to note that there is a substantial difference
between CSIRO scientists differing from the government's official
view about climate change and disparaging comments made about racial
differences to a suburban newspaper. There needs to be the freedom
to discuss unpopular or disturbing topics, but there also needs to
be a matching responsibility to do that in ways which advance the
understanding of the field, not pander to public prejudice.

I have no objection to scholars making scholarly statements on any
topic (including racial differences), but it's a different thing to
support the right for scholars to make statements which are not even
remotely scholarly and (for example) might be prohibited by laws
against defamation or racial vilifaction.

At least to me, the intimidation of the CSIRO scientists and attempt
to suppress the results of their research remains more of a threat to
academic freedom than the way Macquarie University dealt with Fraser.


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