Monday, February 05, 2007

Chomsky supports black pro-life professor at MIT

BOSTON (Reuters) - A black professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began a hunger strike on Monday, refusing to eat unless the university reverses its decision to deny him tenure.

James Sherley, a biological engineer whose opposition to embryonic stem cell research has been controversial among his peers, charges he has been denied the same freedom to challenge scientific orthodoxy afforded his white colleagues.

MIT expressed concern for Sherley's safety but said his case was rigorously reviewed and the decision to deny him tenure was fair. Twenty Biological Engineering department faculty signed a statement saying they believed race did not play a role in the decision.

Sherley, who has vowed to stand in protest outside the president and provost office for three hours each morning, says he believes the research is immoral because it requires the destruction of days-old embryos. He works only with adult stem cells.


Linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky and 10 other MIT professors want Sherley's case re-examined.

But MIT has said their decision stands and the process was "thorough and extensive" and followed with integrity.

"While we have encouraged him to seek other means to express his views, the Institute will respect his right, as a member of our community, to publicly express his disagreement in a manner that does not disrupt the work of the Institute or put others in the community at risk," Chancellor Phillip Clay said in a letter to MIT students and staff.

The university now has 740 tenured professors, of whom 27 or about 4 percent are ethnic minorities. Less than half of its junior faculty members are promoted to tenured positions.


It's interesting when different politically correct ideologies clash.

I have no idea whether this denial of tenure is justified. I'm not sure the fact he's black had anything to do with it. I'm more inclined to think his pro-life views are at the root of his rejection.

I don't know if a hunger strike will do him any good. I suppose it will gain attention for his cause. That's the only concrete benefit I can see for him.

More and more, it's becoming difficult for pro-life and religious people to live in this society. Medical professionals, teaching professionals, businessmen, and a plethora of other professions are compelled to accept practices that are against their beliefs.

The standard response is to find another job. That's one way to deal with it. But political correctness is becoming de rigueur, and it's almost like political correctness is driving us from the public sphere.

Pro-lifers really need to speak up in Canada. We must fight those structures that compel us to serve the Culture of Death.