The Adjudication of Science
The Adjudication of Science

From an early age, students with the potential to reach the heights of post-doctoral research are advertised a portrayal of academia as a haven for the scientific method. The method, we are told, is the pillar upon which we come at the truth. In the words of NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt, “Truth—that’s the purpose of higher education”. Over the past few years of scientific censorship and heresy, a number of high-profile intellectuals have come to a realization that is both tragic and profound. In practise, the adjudication of science diverges significantly from its idealized portrayal.

In turn, this leads us to question the foundational assumptions of academia. The tactics of censorship and the imposition of social costs upon the spreading of certain ideas are incongruent with the scientific method. Ideas are true, false, or fuzzy. The truthier an idea, the greater its potential as the basis of a subsequent theoretical advancement. When such suppressive tactics are used against true ideas, scientific progress can only be hindered, as a result.

Let’s consider the opportunity cost of this hindrance. Academic institutions need 2 things to exist: donations and tuition fees. Here, there exists a motive to maximize the two. On the one hand, tuition is an economic good whose profit can be maximized like any other. As per microeconomic theory, the dominant strategy is to admit as many students as the university’s infrastructure and resources can support while setting a tuition fee which corresponds with a marginal revenue of 0 (i.e. the price point where a marginal increase in the fee results in declining attendance and revenue).

However, there is no limit to how many donations a university can accept. Instead, the general propensity to donate, among those who can afford to do so, is mediated by the university’s brand. The greater a university’s contribution to the dominant culture (by way of research), the greater its brand prestige. Moreover, the revenue-maximizing price point for tuition is also higher, the greater the brand prestige. The purpose of money vis-à-vis a university’s activities is to enable more of what it already does. What happens to this status quo when a university suppresses its own contribution?

In this case, the brand is tarnished and, with reduced prestige, the donor class begins to wonder why it ought to invest the same amount of money into something which now yields a lower reputational return on investment (which is the donor’s motive). Indeed, the recent DEI scandals exemplify this phenomenon.

Furthermore, parents, who are typically the funders of their children’s education, will find themselves with an incentive to seek universities which yield a higher educational return on their investment (or consider alternatives altogether). In fact, there is a historical precedent for this in the early 17th century when Christianized universities had become rigidly dogmatic, thereby resulting in a decline university prestige and attendance.

If a university is willing to swallow this opportunity cost to suppress the truth, is its true purpose really to come at the truth? More broadly, can an ideologically neutral institution even exist? Can church and state truly be separate? Carl Schmitt would beg to differ. Instead, the German jurist theorizes that institutions exist to develop and assert the religio-culture which legitimizes the state. In that framework, heresy is that which threatens the legitimacy of the state and, in a country that is legitimized by liberal values like equality, its institutions cannot afford to give credence to true illiberal ideas or to promote contrarian intellectuals to positions of authority. Western democracies are no less theocratic than the Islamic Republic of Iran or the USSR.

As the conservators of the state, intellectuals are thus held in very high esteem. They are respected, deferred to, and, in the case of males, they are consequently higher up in the hierarchy of female sexual desire. As such, there is an evolutionary incentive to protect that social status. When an up and coming intellectual contributes a true idea that challenges an established intellectual’s work, the latter’s social status is threatened. Here, we see that evolutionary drive is itself another factor in the suppression of truth.

Case Studies

Let’s take a look at how both of these factors have hindered scientific progress with 2 case studies. In our first case study, we examine how the evolutionary drive to protect social status has harmed the field of physics.

Recently, Eric Weinstein appeared on the Chris Williamson podcast to talk about academic suppression and adjacent topics. There, he provides a chilling inside view into the history and failure of string theory, where he recounts the influence of Edward Whitten. Despite 40 years of donations, investment, prestige, and public relations articles, string theory has ultimately not lead the field into a greater understanding, beyond its own internal model. How did we get here?

Weinstein plays a clip from an interview Whitten partook in. The interviewer asks if Whitten has been tempted by other theoretical roots. Astonishingly, Whitten responds “there are no other roots, just words”. Here, Whitten evidences his own dogmatism and closed-mindedness. If a different model is more predictive than string theory and Whitten dismisses it off hand, then he will have hindered the advancement of physics, in doing so. This is particularly the case because of the social cost of running contrary to the scientific consensus which is determined by the likes of Whitten.

More to the point, Whitten’s position is disingenuous and unscientific. He is part of a group of people who refuse to listen to anything else and, when confronted with contrary findings, they incorporate that as part of string theory. In Weinstein’s words, it’s “heads you win and tails I lose”. Evidently, evolutionary drive supersedes the truth.

For our second case study, we look at the taboo subject of human biodiversity (HBD) which has often been subject to naked supression. In addition to the same evolutionary constraints, there is an added constraint which further contributes to the hindrance of science, namely that of heresy. Here, we are confronted with the reality that population groups exist and they present inter-group and intra-group variance along a number of physical and cognitive phenotypes. Inequality, along a number of measurements, is the rule and this fact violates liberal dogma and threatens the legitimacy of any state that is legitimized by liberal values.

For many decades, a concerted effort has existed to promote the denial of human taxonomy as a valid or valuable area of study and to refute scientists who assert its validity and value with bad argumentation. As such, HBD tragically remains where it originally was with one group of intellectuals arguing for it and others against it. Here, the pro-HBD crowd must take responsibility for its failure. Rather than taking HBD as a granted assumption and building off of that, they have instead wasted their efforts in an attempt to persuade anti-HBD intellectuals to take a position against their genetic interests. Is the outcome really surprising?

Challenges in Adjudication

Consequently, an entire body of work, which explains and predicts phenomena that consensus population geneticists cannot, has been left unresearched. HBD is the tip of the iceberg that is genopolemology – the study of gene war. Those who partake in this research will quickly find themselves being first-to-market monopolists on ideas that explain and predict many aspects of the human condition. One cannot suppress a monopolist of ideas that society depends on. The fact of HBD is not such an idea which is why it’s easy to suppress, but its natural conclusions can provide such a competitive advantage that the opportunity cost of suppressing them are not worth the payoff. Society will have no choice but to come to genopolemologists for their expertise on the subject material.

Military generals are genuinely interested in being capable of winning wars, Hollywood directors want more box office sales, and corporations want greater customer loyalty. To that end, they quickly recognized how counter-productive it was to preach woke ideology in their messaging and U-turned against the prevailing dogma. In fact, the U.S. military has censored one of its own woke recruitment ads from the entire internet (which resulted in a dramatic failure to meet its recruitment targets). Evidently, the need to win trumps dogma. If the U.S. military doesn’t use genopolemology, it can be used against them by Russia and China. Are military generals keen on bringing a knife to a gun fight?

Here, we see that the truth doesn’t actually change consensus, but dependence does. In both case studies, the advancement of science has been hindered by the manner in which science has been conducted. With the aim of improving research and society itself, I propose an alternative.

For starters, the assumption that scientific consensus arbitrates the validity of a theory is false. All revolutionary theories are, by definition, the contrarian contributions of renegade geniuses and consensus is a lagging (not leading) indicator of validity. Also, there is a disingenuous standard applied where contrarian theories are dismissed if absolute proof is not provided, whereas a more lax standard is applied to scientific contributions that bolster a prevailing theory where a model is deemed superior and accepted if it is more predictive or informative, regardless of absolute proof.

Goodness-of-fit is a standard that is less rigid and allows for the exploration of ideas that can later be used to obtain an absolute proof. Whereas a standard of absolute proof, in itself, merely constrains the exploration of necessary “what if” lines of thinking. Using the more lax standard, one can build a body of work that puts the creator in a position of patronage where they are depended on by others for a competitive advantage.

A Call for Strategic Change

In other words, academia is a gladiatorial area for intellectuals. It is not a consensus game but, rather, a dependence game. Contrary to the words of Professor Haidt, the purpose of academia is not the truth, at least not in practise. Instead, it’s a place where intellectuals engage in male-male competition in an orderly and civilized way by pitting their social antlers against one another. Intellectuals, like other humans, are simply trying to pass on more of their genes.

One does not simply win at chess with a checkers strategy. Due to how academia has been falsely advertised, there is a misalignment in scientific strategy. There is no paper anyone can publish that can, by itself, persuade a consensus intellectual to take a stance against his own life’s work or against the prevailing religio-cultural dogma.

Only when faced with the possibility of a loss in credibility and reputational prestige does a consensus intellectual have an incentive to sit up and take notice. Such a possibility presents an ultimatum to the intellectual: either they contribute to the more predictive model or they will have nothing of intellectual value to offer. Here, we observe a change in evolutionary incentives: “I can preserve my social status (and sexual access) if I jump on this bandwagon.”

I advocate for a cultural and strategic shift in academia to embrace practices that align with the realities of scientific adjudication – that of the dependence game.

The Future of Scientific Conduct

Contrarian intellectuals who adopt a dependence game strategy will lead the way in scientific innovation and set new standards for scientific conduct. Purely by process of selection, this can only result in the emergence of a new breed of intellectuals – not only a new regime, but one that is conducive to civilizational outcomes.

Those who adapt will be remembered as pioneers, while others risk obsolescence.

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Conceptual Open-Source License (COSL)

The original ideas and arguments presented herein are published under the COSL license.