Coersion

Here’s a story about a soon-to-be former professor of Biological Engineering at MIT who did not get tenure, and who will be out of a job at the end of January.  Now, this is not a sudden change in his fortunes (he’s been fighting for tenure since first being denied over two years ago).  He’s jumped through all the appeals hoops and is not getting tenure.  He’s going on a hunger strike, and unless he is granted tenure, or unless the MIT provost resigns, “I will die defiantly.”, he says.

He says that the issue is racism.  “I will go as far as I can because [racial bias] is not just a problem at MIT,” Sherley told The Scientist.

Oh brother.  I had to read further to find out that this guy is not exactly a flake.  Indeed, his resume and list of publications is rather impressive.

I see two things here.  1) Why the heck doesn’t he understand that it’s the implications of his research on the debate about embryonic stem cells that’s in question?  2) What’s with this extortion bit?

I’ve seen this thread of thought before.  It goes:

  • It is not good to be a victim.
  • Adults are not victims but powerful.
  • I don’t have to be a victim if I stand up and insist upon getting what I want.
  • I am an adult, who who should not be afraid to get my way.

All things I pretty much agree with.  But seeing the application of this logic in action leaves me impressed with it’s absolute immorality.

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