Thursday, March 30, 2017

Charles Murray at Villanova

Social Scientist  Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, spoke tonight at Villanova University. There were protesters awaiting him. has reported that three protesters were removed by security. Fox News has just reported that Murray was escorted from the building by security. I am unclear if he was able to finish his speech.

Murray, whose appearance at Middlebury College in Vermont a few weeks ago, is accused of being racist because of what he wrote in The Bell Curve. He denies the charges.

And guess who openly advocated shutting down Murray's speech. None other than Drexel University professor George Ciccariello, of whom I just wrote over his tweet about wanting to vomit when he saw a man on an airplane give up his first class seat to a man in uniform.

Tonight I checked out the campus paper, The Villanovan, to see what was being reported regarding Murray. I found what I think is a very sensible op-ed-certainly more sensible that Ciccariello.

Also in The Villanovan is a letter signed by several Villanova professors. They think that Murray should have shared the stage with someone who disagrees with him. Here is their main objection:

"However, when one side of the debate is rooted in spurious assertions about the genetic inferiority of particular groups--assertions that foreclose the possibility of half of our faculty and students engaging as equals in this debate--we believe it is incumbent upon us to speak out." 

I understand the objections to Murray based on his past work, but the topic of tonight's speech  was "What does Trumpism mean for liberty in the long run?"

I will follow up to see what the extent of the disruption was.

* Update:

Apparently, those three protesters only briefly halted Murray's talk. Once they were escorted out, Murray finished his lecture.

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

For many years I did not bother to read Murray's best known work, The Bell Curve. But, when I submitted my first draft of an article on racism for a soon to be published reference work, it was returned by the editors with a request to discuss Murray, and his fellow author, Herrnstein's work. So, perforce, I had to read the book, because otherwise, I could not say anything useful about it. I found that Murray's argument was weakly built on a series of dubious inferences, but he did not adhere to traditional tenets of racism or white supremacy. Most telling, he freely admitted that there were black geniuses and white morons. He did assert that the aggregate IQ curves for the "white" population and the "black" population were noticeably different, with the "white" curve shifted toward nigher intelligence. He assumed that IQ was a reliable measurement of intelligence. I have a personal doubt about that, since my IQ was measured as anywhere from 70 to 140 in four tests administered when I was attending public schools. He argued that higher IQ is associated with greater success in college admissions, hiring and lifetime income... but while this could mean it measures greater ability, it could also reflect that colleges and employers give considerable weight in making decisions to standardized tests. He certainly appeared from his writing to be a man you could sit down and have a good argument with -- even while sharing a beer, if you drink such.