Nick has told us about a troubling – but no longer unprecedented – story described in Quillette.
Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory HoleTed Hill (*1943) is not only a veteran from Vietnam but also a famous mathematician who has done probability theory and wrote a well-known paper on Benford's law (about the frequency of first digits of numbers), among many others.
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OK, he has clearly done politically neutral things most of his life. And his way of talking about the "discrimination" of women make him another feminist in my eyes. It just happened that he wrote a paper about the statistical differences between sexes. The main topic of a paper he co-authored was the wider statistical distribution of men's IQ and other quantities relatively to the female counterparts.
Now, men are more likely to be extreme than women. The standard distribution of men's IQ is some 10% higher than the female standard deviation. It's similar for other quantities. Men are vastly more likely to receive a scientific Nobel prize or a Fields Medal. They're also more likely to be homeless, killed during physical work, and so on.
This general fact has been known for centuries and even at a rigorous enough scientific level, it's been investigated at least since the 19th century. Charles Darwin has dedicated quite some attention to this observation, too. The symbol of men, the "Mars" icon (a circle with an arrow to the Northeast), resembles a sperm that dynamically moves around. The female "Venus" is an egg anchored to the soil by a cross. Even these icons suggest that men – and sperms – are more likely to deviate from the mean value than women – and eggs.
Most of the differences between the men's and women's performance in STEM fields actually isn't due to the 3-point advantage of men when it comes to the average IQ. Most of it is due to the higher variability of men. It's the main inconvenient truth that Larry Summers shyly pointed out in his January 2005 speech which led to his forced resignation from the chair of Harvard's president (after a year of frustrating whining and witch hunts organized by the SJWs).
It's really the main "heresy" whose inconvenience for the far left activists has persuaded me to leave the Academia and the U.S. It doesn't mean that I didn't have 10 other reasons to escape that environment.
OK, Dr Hill has learned about the insufferable situation and the witch hunts that the feminists and similar radical neo-Marxists instantly launch whenever someone dares to say something that is related to this basic "heresy" – that men and women are different. Their paper whose copy still exists on the arXiv (thanks, Edwin!) – explaining a possible mechanism that causes the male variation to be greater – was accepted at various places at various points, they were promised that the journals and places would respect the meritocratic rules and wouldn't be intimidated by the political activists.
Sketch of Hill's explanation (well, I have independently made the same explanation many times, even decades ago): Women are selective i.e. they will only sleep with the men in top 30% (or another fraction smaller than one-half) according to some "quality". This drives the successful "subpopulations of men" to be doing experiments i.e. the successful subpopulations of men will have greater variance in order to have a greater chance to produce men who are this good. On the other hand, men will sleep with any woman that has some prerequisites (men have a lower selectivity) and is in top 70% or something like that. So it's better for the women subpopulations to be safe than sorry to minimize the losses and the variance will be lower for women.But the reality was different. Some hysterical neo-Marxist scumbags have always emerged, threatened Hill, his co-authors, or those who were going to publish their paper, and under the pressure, most of the "verbally courageous and honest" people surrendered, lost their spine, and de facto joined the dishonest feminist filth. In the process, they have violated pretty much every ethical rule that scholars have held dear for hundreds of years.
Whenever someone became the de facto crucial tool for censorship and manipulation with the research, he or she was trying to get rid of the responsibility. We need to kill your paper, otherwise the reactions would be huge. We're nice, it's the objective reactions that kill your paper. No, if you make a decision to remove a paper, it's you who is responsible and who must be punished for that. Other scumbags surely do exist in the world but they don't remove the responsibility from you.
The most unprecedented development occurred at the very end when the paper was already printed in an electronic journal. Totally silently, the paper was erased on the web and a completely different paper was placed on that spot. It's creepy. And it's clearly analogous to the "commissar who vanished" at various photographs with Joseph Stalin. Stalin liked someone up to the moment XY, then he disliked him, murdered him, and he erased the memory of that person from the photographs.
Feminists and similar neo-Marxists are obviously the current counterparts of Joseph Stalin. So far, they didn't get the power to murder 50 million people – although many of them would love to surpass that number. But in other respects, what they can do is worse than what Stalin could. One difference is the following: In the good old times, a photograph was printed in the newspapers and there were hundreds of thousands of copies of that photograph. New photographs without the commissar could have been printed but the commissar couldn't have quite vanished – there were many copies printed on the good old paper. Some of them were in people's collections, bookshelves etc.
But these days, people rely on the electronic formats and the data are increasingly stored "centrally" on Internet servers. So it was possible to make the paper vanish altogether. Almost no one had any saved or printed copy at home. This dependence on the Internet servers obviously increases the risk that some evil players may totally rewrite the facts, rewrite the history.
Another fact that seems troubling to me is that this fabrication of the record doesn't even seem to be illegal. The people who have rewritten the history of the journal without any official press release etc. should be hanged or at least jailed for very many years. But these despicable scumbags keep on walking on the streets and usually even the university corridors. Shouldn't there be at least clearly articulated rules that prohibit the tampering with the record of printed journals without a publicly available explanation?
The story shows that the real threat for the integrity of the scholarly process aren't politicians. It's the feminists and other extreme activists masquerading themselves as scholars. In some cases, they even deserve the label of scholars for unrelated reasons (Amie Wilkinson is somewhere in between – a weak scholar for her age, ludicrously so in comparison with Ted Hill). But they just suck as scholars at the ethical level. They suck as human beings. They need to be removed because they threaten the basic prerequisites of a healthy scholarly environment.
The independence of the universities etc. has been overdone. Politicians have the duty to defend the universities against the intruders-activists who pretend to be scholars but whose real key mission is to execute the Stalinist or feminist terror against genuine independent scholars within the system. The names of many of these terrorists from this terrible story are known. Donald Trump and others have the moral duty to work hard for these terrorists to be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
And that's the memo.