Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mike Adams Wallows in the Fair and Balanced Fallacy

For a prime example of the fair and balanced presumption in conservative writings, examine this article from Mike Adams. In it, he tallies the political affiliations in the women's studies minor at his university, intending to make a point to the newly appointed Associate Provost of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion:

"For those not counting, the party affiliation tally of the 20 professors (now 19, as one recently passed away) teaching in the WSM is as follows:

Democrats 15
Not Registered 3
Unaffiliated 2
Republican 0

This all reminds me of the time when the aptly named Dick Veit (English Department) falsely accused the College Republicans of trying to exclude blacks and Jews from their club. At the very time of his accusation, the English Department had thirty-three professors, none of whom were Republicans. Veit insisted that his department was always professional and never tried to exclude anyone.

I guess the questions for Jose Hernandez are really quite simple: What happens when you flip a peso 20 times and it never comes up heads? Can Jose see that the system has been rigged? And, will he have the courage and integrity to create real diversity and inclusion in Women’s Studies?"

Here again we see the unstated presumption that the figures should not be what they are. His analogy to a coin flip implies he thinks it should be about 50/50. Once again, the question that should be asked of Adams, as with O'Reilly, is what the figure should be, and why that figure. Aside from ignoring the political realities of the day, where Democrats outnumber Republicans about 3:2, Adams is also ignoring the overwhelming difference in attitudes between Republicans and Democrats, not only in an area such as women's studies, but towards universities in general. Perhaps it has passed Adams' notice, but when one peruses the population of abortion protesters, evolution-deniers, and those with a general anti-science anti-education bent, they are dominated by Republicans.

Conservatives have now taken the lead in egalitarianism from liberals who used to constantly make this same mistake in race and gender relations by assuming, again ignoring historical and societal issues, that all groups should be represented in all fields equally. Now a group with a decidedly anti-education bias wonders why they are not highly represented in higher education? Next I suppose sumo wrestlers will complain about being underrepresented among jockeys.

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