Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update: Glick's Fake Quote

Yesterday, I wrote about Edward Glick’s imaginary quote. Today’s InsideHigherEd has an update with Glick admitting that I was right, and he mistakenly confused the original source of his story.

Also, “Blog of Convenience” deserves credit for independently raising the same questions I did a day earlier. That blogger got an interesting quote from Glick via American Conservative: “I am afraid I can't be more specific. It happened months before I decided to write the piece. However, please assure readers that with my own ears I heard a Duke University professor says this on NPR.”

Glick was so determined to believe that Republicans are banned from academia that he imagined a conversation on the radio that apparently never happened.

In the comments of the InsideHigherEd article, Feudi Pandola claims that Glick’s quote is “the essence” of Brandon’s statement. I think that’s fundamentally untrue, as Scott Jaschik points out in the article. Glick’s quote made an explicit statement that “we don’t hire Republicans.” Brandon has said exactly the opposite, that they don’t inquire into the political beliefs of applicants. Glick’s statement claims that all Republicans are stupid. Brandon’s statement is that stupid people are generally conservative (which is not the same as saying that all conservatives are stupid).

For example, people who believe that the universe was created 6,000 years ago and humans lived alongside dinosaurs are highly likely to be conservatives, and they are unquestionably stupid (at least in that view). These people are highly unlikely to be hired by an astronomy or evolutionary biology department. Likewise, someone who believes that human reason is worthless and the Bible is the only book that should be read is likely to be a conservative, likely to be stupid, and unlikely to be hired by a philosophy department (and unlikely to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy). However, that doesn’t mean that all conservatives or religious people are stupid, and Brandon, for all his inept terminology, never said that.

However, I would strongly oppose any official investigation of Glick (or the more egregious errors of Michael Bellesiles or Ward Churchill), because I think the proper punishment for unintentional mistakes of this sort is public disclosure.

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