Monday, May 20, 2024

Censorship, Cancel Culture And Science

Social media has banned many people. Specifically, Conservatives. Personally, Twitter banned me in January 2021. Not for threatening anyone or using profane or abusive language. I simply either spoke the truth or posted other articles accompanied with my opinion.

The way social media is governed it’s obvious that free speech on certain platforms doesn’t mean free speech at all. It means that your thoughts can be heard only if they agree with the governing body’s thoughts on a given subject. Push the envelope too far and you find yourself permanently banned.

Cancel culture is alive and well, but when it bleeds into scientific research something needs to be done.

One area that is being detrimentally affected is genetic research. Geneticists are scientists who have special training in the study of genes and heredity, such as the passing of genetic information from parents to their children.

Recently, a leading journal the Nature of Human Behavior published an editorial announcing that it will not publish studies that show the “wrong” kind of differences between human groups.

They apparently have taken this stance even if the research and results are scientifically sound. This apparently isn’t a new problem. Prestigious journals have been known to reject submissions for years, particularly if they go against the grain of trending political dogma.

However, before any scientist can contemplate publishing anything, they must be able to complete their research. For American geneticists that means being able to access the National Institute of Health, (NIH).

The NIH is not the only database available to geneticists, but it is far and away the most extensive, containing genetic information about several million people and extensive data on health, education, income, and occupation.

Unfortunately, the NIH now withholds access to this information if it believes the research being pursued will enter “forbidden territory.”

So what is forbidden territory? Apparently, the study of intelligence, education, and health in connection with genetics. It seems that the NIH is limiting exploration into the connection between genetics and intelligence fearing that research may cast negative stigmas.

The scientists disagree. They believe that these studies, which do not involve inquiries about race or sex, pose no greater threat to anyone’s dignity than research based on non-genetic factors. For example, attempting to predict someone’s academic performance genetically, creates no more of a stigma than using a person’s childhood family structure.

Limiting exploration into this information undermines one of the main goals of gathering this database, that being the study of risk factors for various diseases. Scientists believe that intelligence and education also represent risk factors, so censoring their usage impedes their ability to pursue this basic goal.

Personal privacy is an integral part and is understood by all. However, these restrictions seem to be centered not in science, but rather on someone’s or a group’s personal beliefs on what is out of bounds.

The NIH took a hit when there were claims that some of the personnel may have been involved in blocking information about Covid originating in a Chinese lab.

This latest stance won’t enhance their integrity.