When ideology blinds

An eminent historian said in a lecture I heard the other day, something to the effect that writers on history are always taking contrary views of each others’ work – that’s the way the debate progresses, that’s the way the system works. It’s an adversarial process for getting at the truth. At least one hopes it gets us nearer the truth. By and large it is a good one and one that should offer, over time, act as a defence against the crime of twisting an manipulating the truth to serve the purposes of ideology.

He was referring to historical writing but this process is one which serves all academe equally well. Modern historiography has benefited greatly from the honest rigour which this process has generated within it and few writers will now get away with the excesses of some of the historians writing 100 years ago or more.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for other more modern disciplines in the academic field. Just now the feeding frenzy being indulged in by the ideologues circling, snapping at and ready to devour the sociologist Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas, Austin, is a sad example of the level to which academics can lower themselves – leaving aside the scavenging media elements feeding on the scraps of Regnerus’ reputation flying around from the mauling being given to him by his erstwhile colleagues. Continue reading here…

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