This morning, I logged on to www.Boortz.com to check out Neal's daily reading assignments. The first thing that caught my eye was a story about Newspeak magazine-or, Newsweek, as they prefer to be called. It seems their story about the desecration of the Koran by US troops isn't exactly flushing out upon closer examination.
In light of this apparently monumental lapse of professional judgment, many are asking a very serious question: Did Newsweek, in its zeal to attack the Bush administration and the Iraq War, run a false story that has sparked violence, murder, and anti-American sentiment around the world?
In other words, do the people at Newsweek have blood on their hands?
I frequently ask myself a similar question about my colleagues in the so-called social sciences. In their reporting of the news (or "research") in the social sciences, they frequently fail to run with stories, which might save a lot of lives. I often ask myself whether social science professors have blood on their hands as I think about some of the following taboo subjects:
Black on White Crime. A couple of years ago, a student of mine was beaten within an inch of his life while walking alone after midnight in downtown Durham, North Carolina. At first, the police thought he had been a victim of a hit-and-run incident that crushed several of his bones and punctured his lungs. He barely survived.
Later, the police (realizing it was a bat that hit him, not a car) concluded (based on an outbreak of similar cases in the area) that he had probably been attacked by a minority gang that required the maiming or killing of a white person for initiation. What if the student, a criminal justice major, had been told the truth about inter-racial crime? What if his professors taught him that blacks-though outnumbered six-to-one in the population by whites-actually attack whites many times more often than whites attack them?
Would white students be more likely to avoid minority neighborhoods while walking alone and late at night? More importantly, would this information save lives?
Homosexuality and Health Risks. Recently, an economics professor at UNLV was accused of sexual harassment for stating that homosexuals were less likely to invest in the long term because their lifestyle shortened their lifespan and because they were less likely to have children. If students were told the truth about homosexuality, would they be as likely to choose a homosexual lifestyle? If homosexuality is not a choice, why would anyone want to suppress this information? More importantly, would an honest discussion of the risks of the gay lifestyle save lives?