one alternate way we could describe this is to say that by demanding academics conform to the consensus, universities are enforcing uniformity of opinion and refusing to tolerate dissent. But we could say that of any attempt to apply a standard of intellectual rigor. The existence of “standards” could be taken as a refusal to tolerate differences of opinion, an authoritarian insistence that some knowledge is “correct” and other perspectives should be ignored.
Note: The insidiousness of this thought process
Should students be taught multiple points of view on whether phlogistons are real? They don’t tend to hear multiple points of view on that question, because one point of view is substantially more grounded in real-world evidence than the other. And it’s all right that the history department doesn’t let half of all World War II lectures be conducted by Nazi sympathizers for the sake of “balance.” Balance isn’t necessary or desirable on questions where an outmoded theory has been disproved by hard evidence, and “hearing both sides” on literally every question can lead to a kind of radical relativism where academics abandon their task of finding, preserving, and teaching the truth.
Note: This all makes sense ostensibly, but who gets to make these decisions on what's correct vs not, and what is it based on? Yes, it's hard to advocate for the nazi ideals, but also we've found time and time again that history and "facts" tend to hide aspects of the truth in favor of agendas and propaganda. We're only ever taught that white people have created everything and they take credit for everything, but if we don't allow for other POVs, then we miss out on sister rosetta thorpe and so on, that show us there's more than what's being taught to us. Think of all the things we've taken to be true, only to learn decades later that it was only one side of the coin, or worse, a complete fabrication.
I don’t think it’s necessary or healthy to pretend the conservative point of view doesn’t exist. Nor do I believe in censoring alternate views; it is always possible that an unusual or heterodox view, particularly in the sciences, may someday become the new consensus.
Everyone’s work needs to be subjected to scrutiny and no consensus should survive merely because it is the consensus.
part of the point of scholarship is to try to create a category of thought that is more careful and thorough than random opinion. It doesn’t always work, and it only does work when challenges to consensus opinion are accepted, but this is different from saying that the challenges should be put on the same level because they are challenges rather than because they have shown themselves to be valid.
Note: It's fair enough to say, let's have differing thoughts, but they need to be validated rather than automatically put on the same level without due course.
We should study the arguments made by slaveholders to defend slavery, but we do not want professors who romanticize the Old South with easily disprovable myths and lies
Note: Here's a good place as any to reference the thing by SMBC. https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/respect
They cannot be legitimized because they are widely held, but nor can we reject them simply because we dislike them.
Note: The summation of it all.