[Taxacom] Academic rigour

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Mar 6 17:07:59 CST 2011

Hi Rob, and all,

>and not an ugly bit of prejudice
I would like some clarification of who exactly you think I am being prejudicial 
towards? It was an entirely general remark intended to give one example of the 
sorts of "politics" that might (and probably does, somewhere in the world, e.g., 
see http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/7662 for something 
along these lines) go on. Perhaps New Zealanders, like yourself, can be just a 
wee bit oversensitive to such matters? I am only confident of once seeing 
"positive discrimination" first hand in an academic institution, many years ago 
now, which was when the opinion of one lecturer was shouted down by some of his 
colleagues, which resulted in a student (who happened to be blind) getting 
a perfect run of A+ grades... not a "race issue", but same principle. Perhaps 
you deny that there is any link at all between race and rates of academic 
achievement? Then I suggest you drive the few kilometres from Remuera down to 
the slums of Glen Innes and look out the window ... get real! It has nothing to 
do with levels of intelligence, just background and the prejudices of 
(hopefully) the past ...


From: Rob Smissen <SmissenR at landcareresearch.co.nz>
To: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Mon, 7 March, 2011 11:24:51 AM
Subject: [Taxacom] Academic rigour

Hi all

Have been following the discussion of recent junk taxonomy with interest and 
some amusement.

But, without wanting to point fingers or make accusations, I do want to object 
to Stephen Thorpe's remark about

"... a token ethnic minority PhD that may not have otherwise been quite 
up-to-standard without 'extra help'".

That makes me extremely uncomfortable and I hope it is no more than an 
ill-considered off-the-cuff remark and not an ugly bit of prejudice.

I am not familiar with any institutions that offer such a degree program.


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