How to deal with ideological diversity? #DiversityJC recap

In our May #DiversityJC discussion we decided to talk about how to deal with ideological diversity and how to deal with it. It seemed an appropriate timing, with all the…fuzziness around this election cycle. You can see the introductory blog post here. The topic was suggested by Matt Burgess and before our discussion he published a blog post with his thoughts and some data to start the discussion. That actually sparked some conversation between the moderators before the actual discussion, which started with two announcements:

Yes. It is generally accepted that being a republican = being evangelical = don’t believe in science, as being liberal = being atheist. In fact, according to this article, the percent of Republicans that are evangelical Christians is about 34.3%. And the actual percent of atheists/Agnostics among Democrats is 8.7%! However, when Democrats predicted the percentage of evangelicals or Republicans the number of atheists, the percentages were much larger than reality.

According to a new study by Douglas J. Ahler (of UC Berkeley) and Gaurav Sood, pretty much everyone is wrong about everything when it comes to estimating how large certain demographics are within political parties. 

Indeed, there’s a lot of diversity in between those groups as well! Although we tend to get around people that has similar points of view than us, most of us do not fully agree with everything a group/political party/church has to say. But, religious people can make decisions based on the values they align, what could be the reason why there aren’t many conservatives in academia. In fact, @matthewgburgess pointed that “conservatives are both more underrepresented and more heavily discriminated against than most other traditionally underrepresented groups in academia”. 

This question brought many examples of situations when this happened. In general, it seems that people avoid getting into situations like that. Sometimes, they just agree to disagree, other times just use the”uh-huh” and a nod strategy whenever politics are mentioned (as @NE14NaCl_aq pointed out). @DrEmilySKlein also mentioned that some people seem to be very careful of being open on their faith to colleagues or students.

There was a long discussion about the difference of disagreeing and being wrong. While Ian Street agreed to the question, Rafael Guerrero said that he doesn’t think it’s part of his job if the disagreement is not about science.  also thinks that as scientists, it is your job to do good science. Anything else is voluntary. But in the end, we agreed that it is okay to disagree and for people to be wrong.

Thanks to everyone that joined our discussion, and we hope to see you next #DiversityJC on June 17th, 2pm ET!






Video Neil Gross, Why are Professors Liberal?

Dem Lawmakers Shout ‘Shame!’ As GOP Scrambles To Save Anti-LGBT Provision:




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