On hearing any assertion my first thought is to wonder whether it is true or not. That strikes me as fundamental. I am well aware that I am likely to prefer some findings to others, and that I will be quicker to accept a finding which accords with my previous studies and what my tutors taught me, and with my personal inclinations, such as they are, though those change with age and experience.
However, if an assertion is untrue then, however attractive it may be to me, it is a falsehood and I must admit it, clear it from my mind, and say so in public. I wish that I were able to accept contrary findings as quickly as confirmatory ones, but that may come with maturity. Until then I confess I take some time to adapt my views to the new reality. Registering and quoting contrary research is the easy part, and can be done immediately. Taking down an explanatory mental framework takes a bit longer, but it happens before long, and it must for all of us, if we are to run our fingertips across the face of reality.
However, in terms of the academic ideal, once an idea is broken because the facts are against it, it is bust and that’s an end to it. Start again.
Some researchers take a different view. They say that some ideas, even if true, are not to be promulgated because they are dangerous. Naturally, this raises the question as to who decides whether an idea is dangerous. It gives precedence to the censor over the thinker. It requires that the thinker should always think of the censor, even when the censor may be imaginary.
Without much thought I have taken it as read that my readers will share a fundamental interest in truth, and saw no reason to belabour the issue. However, from time to time researchers argue in favour of taboo. I have been sent a philosophy paper which was something of an eye-opener, in that it showed me that a number of people still argue that to discuss group differences in intelligence is a moral error, to be avoided at all costs, even the cost of truth.
Nathan Cofnas (2015) Science Is Not Always “Self-Correcting” Fact–Value Conflation and the Study of Intelligence. Found Sci DOI 10.1007/s10699-015-9421-3
In my view morality bites both ways: there are moral consequences from banning research as well as moral consequences from carrying out research, though the former consequences are often forgotten in the fears aroused by the latter. I take the simple view that it is better to know more than to know less, and that I do not want my curiosity to be curbed by other people’s love of ignorance.
I will give the author the last word, to prompt you to read his paper:
The scientific basis of eugenics was not discredited by the Holocaust any more than the theory of relativity was discredited by the bombing of Hiroshima. Nathan Cofnas.