Saturday, November 11, 2006

Intellectual freedom: Do we have to fight that battle all over again?

We wrestle with significant questions regarding the mind and the brain: Is the mind an illusion? Is it merely the buzz created by neurons? Is it an immaterial reality? One thing we will certainly need to sort all this out is academic freedom: Pundit David Horowitz brings us up to date on his academic freedom campaign:
In September 2003, I began a national campaign to persuade universities to adopt an academic bill of rights, aimed at extending traditional academic-freedom protections to students and restoring objectivity and fairness to classrooms. Mounting such an effort is not easy. Getting the issue of campaign finance reform on the national radar, for example, reportedly required some $120-million and the work of several major public-interest organizations. My campaign consisted of two staff members and myself, and a budget to match.

Yet three years later, the issues that I raised — the lack of intellectual diversity on campuses and the intrusion of political agendas into the curriculum — have become topics of discussion at colleges throughout the country. This July, moreover, Temple University became the first institution to adopt a student bill of rights as a response to my challenge.

How did this happen? Oddly enough, no small part of my success can be attributed to my opponents' tactics.

From my reading of this and other accounts of the conflict, Horowitz's opponents make their agenda perfectly clear: Their own stale, tired materialist views cannot long sustain the assault of fresh minds, intellectually free. Hence the need to eliminate intellectual freedom wherever possible. Such systems tend to crumble from their own brittleness.
My other blog is the Post-Darwinist, which keeps tabs on the intelligent design controversy.

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