Free speech on college campuses …

Workout notes: Swim: 500 easy (roughly 1 minute per lap), 5 x (50 fist, 50 free) on 2:10 (roughly 1:55), 5 x (50 drill (fins), 50 free), 5 x 100 on 2:10 (1:43, 1:45, 1:43, 1:42, 1:43), 100 pull, 100 fly/back (fins)

My ear plug stem broke off, so I had to go home and pull out the ear plug with tweezers. I then noticed that I was a bit fatigued so I didn’t walk.

Personal: I learned something new (to me) as a spin off of teaching the actuarial mathematics course (in the context of the Woolhouse approximation)

Though many don’t think of it in this manner: this is a bit like finding another formula for the error terms for the trapezoid rule (approximation of integrals). I might write a math blog post about this.

Topic of the post

Free speech on campus is an interesting issue. On one hand, one doesn’t want deliberately harassing and intimidating speech aimed at individuals (e. g. threats). Of course, these things are illegal by law. On the other hand, one wants the free discussion of ideas.

Now “free discussion” of ideas does NOT mean that discredited ideas are given a captive audience platform. For example, ideas such as creationism have been examined and found to be incorrect. This is NOT a valid competing idea and if a biology professor wants to teach this as a valid science idea, it is fine to fire that professor for professional incompetence. Faculty should be held to a high professional standard, and students should be held to a lesser standard during exams, course projects, etc.

But when it comes to forums, e-mail messages, debates, etc., I am very uncomfortable with administration deeming certain ideas “off limits”, even if those ideas are those I don’t like. Example: it is fine to, say, discuss the negative aspects of affirmative action, or to have an honest discussion of the correlation of race and IQ (which leads to: “what does race mean”, can the IQ of a population change with a change in social conditions, etc.). So this balance is well discussed in the following blog posts:

Washington Post

And Jerry Coyne has a very good 3-part discussion here, here and here.

One of the confrontations between an angry student (who was acting inappropriately, as far as I am concerned) and someone in charge of a residence is shown here: (I do not know exactly what the student was upset about, but this student clearly crossed the line, in my opinion)

Of course, there are some things that shouldn’t be tolerated, such as threats like these. These things have nothing to do with ideas.


November 12, 2015 - Posted by | civil liberties, social/political, swimming | ,

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