I’ve been following a situation at the University of Chicago, where a Christian scholar was researching scientific arguments for when life begins by surveying biologists across the nation. In this post, I want to focus on how biologists responded to being asked scientific questions about when life begins, and also how the University of Chicago tried to stop the scholar’s research and block his PhD.
Here;s the summary from The College Fix:
Steven Jacobs has described some of his time in the academy as “agony.”
The University of Chicago PhD spent the last half-decade in a grueling fight to gather and publish research related to the American abortion debate. During that time he was ridiculed, mocked and defamed; accused of committing academic dishonesty, politicizing science and conducting his work with personal bias; compared to the Ku Klux Klan; and in general painted as an unprofessional radical who was, in one academic’s words, “not deserving of a PhD degree.”
All of this came about simply because Jacobs asked thousands of scientists several questions about when they believe human life begins – questions one respondent referred to as a “trap” and another called “horribly manipulative.”
The results of Jacobs’ work would eventually reveal a stunning fact about American academia in the field of biology: professors overwhelmingly agree with the pro-life position that human lives begin at conception. Gathering that data, arguing it, and getting it published, however, was a crushing and drawn-out affair.
The overwhelming consensus among these biologists (over 80%) was that life begins at fertilization, exactly as pro-life advocates say. But the vast majority of these biologists were pro-abortion, because they didn’t think that murder was morally wrong.
It really was an ordeal, because Jacobs is a white, Christian male. So he had everything against him in the university. You can tell from some of the responses he got how hostile most academic biologists are to Christianity and especially to the pro-life position.
The College Fix has some of the interesting details on the censorship from people at his own university:
At one point, Jacobs said, an academic specifically instructed him not to speak with The Fix, citing several articles it has published about the abortion debate on college campuses. The professor was concerned that any reporting done by The Fix on Jacobs’ work “could be used by pro-life advocates.”
[…]Jacobs’ advisor told him to halt his data-gathering, though eventually that advisor would defend Jacobs before the school’s ethics committee, after which the research was allowed to continue.
[…]However, after beginning the survey again, this time in September 2016, “my study was once again canceled within a week.” Jacobs’ advisor was beleaguered with accusations that he himself “had no integrity for even approving [the] research.”
[…][W]hen he approached his advisor to restart the study, he was shocked to find that the supervisor had changed his mind about the undertaking.
[…]That advisor would eventually step down from supervising Jacobs’ work.
[…]“I was told that my survey seemed like it was developed by the Ku Klux Klan; I was told that my work could expedite the extinction of the human race; I was told that I should be ashamed of myself since I was damaging the reputation of the University of Chicago,” Jacobs said.
[…]Eventually, after numerous rejections, Jacobs found a professor willing to serve as a principal investigator over his research. He continued to face relentless pushback from his academic community. At one point there was concern that the ethics committee “would not only stop my data collection, once and for all, but that they could invalidate all of the data I had collected,” rendering it useless for study.
Over the next year, while preparing his thesis, Jacobs continued to receive criticism from his former advisor, who claimed that the premise of the research was a “red herring.”
“In the days leading up to my defense, he made me remove any mention of that study from my dissertation’s abstract, accused me of sounding like a pro-life pundit, and said that he didn’t want to have his name on a document that could be cited by pro-life people,” Jacobs said.
At Jacobs’ dissertation defense, that advisor pushed back against Jacobs’ thesis, stating that he was “worried that pro-life people would use my work” and that “it would be a poor representation of the University of Chicago, if that were to happen.”
The comments from some of the respondents were interesting, revealing that many people in academia are filled with hate and rage against people they disagree with:
One respondent to Jacobs’ survey “accused me of nefarious intentions and threatened to sabotage my work by telling other biologists to not participate in my study,” the scholar said. That professor “ultimately reported me to my school’s ethics committee.”
[…] “Abortion has been legal for over 40 years. It’s time for all the religious nuts to get over it,” said another.
It’s certain that he won’t be able to find work in secular academia, because they are very intolerant of a diversity of ideas.
“I have gotten the sense that this has been talked about a lot,” he said. “I’ve been regularly told I can’t get a job in academia. I’ve been told don’t try. I’ve been told maybe a Christian school would hire me. “
Everyone who works in the secular academy has to agree with the Democrat party, otherwise, they are ejected from academia.