Rhode Island Professor Denounces Science, Statistics, and Technology As “Inherently Racist”

We have previously discussed the radical declarations of University of Rhode Island and Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence. (A view defended by other academics). Loomis is now back in the news with a declaration that “Science, statistics, and technology are all inherently racist because they are developed by racists who live in a racist society, whether they identify as racists or not.” It is a curious position from the person who heads graduate studies in history at the University of Rhode Island.

For many, science and statistics are fields that are inherently objective not racist. While racism can certainly impact any field in a myriad of ways, these fields are based on proven experiments and calculations. One can support scrutiny of our programs to root out racism without dismissing all fields as “inherently racist.” Yet, this view of math and science is being voiced by others, including those who denounce math as a “tool of whiteness.”

Loomis’ statement came as part of a tweet in reference to a New York Times article and added “This is why I have so much contempt for those, including many liberals, who ‘just want the data.’ The data is racist!”

 

I have defended the right of Loomis to make his past comments as a matter of free speech. While Loomis has shown nothing but intolerance for opposing views, he has every right to express disturbing, extremist views.

On this occasion, he is making a statement that would appear to undermine the basis for graduate studies at his school and other schools.  While I still view the statements as protected, they would appear to undermine faith in the basis of much of the work of his colleagues.  The tweet prompted University of Rhode Island Assistant Director of Communications Dave Lavallee to issue a statement:

“Mr. Loomis’ recent social media posts on science, statistics and technology are entirely his own opinions, and in no way represent the positions or values of the University of Rhode Island..His recent tweet runs completely counter to URI’s first Cornerstone Value, which says, ‘We pursue knowledge with honesty, integrity and courage.

In making such remarks, Mr.Loomis calls into question the work of thousands of researchers and scientists across the country and particularly the outstanding work done by our talented and diverse researchers at URI. While Mr. Loomis has a First Amendment right to make such comments as a private citizen, he does not have the right to make such unsubstantiated claims in the context of his university position or role.”

From my perspective, the most important aspect of that statement is the acknowledgment that Loomis has First Amendment protections in uttering such viewpoints. The question for the university is whether those viewpoints undermine his role in leading graduate studies, particularly in dismissing the very basis for much of that work as racist.  Loomis claims that “all” science, statistics, and technology is racist. Period. It is a patently absurd statement that is devoid of any intellectual foundation or inquiry. It will certainly appeal to many who relish extremist and rejectionist views, including some in academia. However, it is the very antithesis of our intellectual mission as scholars and it does a great disservice to the many respected academics at the University of Rhode Island.

Nevertheless, Loomis wrote a column entitled “When Fascists Attack” for the site Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Loomis is listed as as one of a handful of “members” who contribute to the site. (For the record, that is the same site that ran a column by a Colorado law professor who claimed that raising questions about the 2020 was akin to Holocaust denial. That attack occurred a few days after the election when I noted that there were irregularities in the election, including an error in reporting the results from a district using Dominion software. I noted that the error involving a few thousand votes that was quickly corrected, did not indicate any widespread fraud, and would not affect the outcome of the election. It merely raised the question of whether such systems were still vulnerable to “human error.” The site denounced that statement was akin to denying that the Holocaust ever occurred.)

In his column, Loomis blasts the university by writing: “I guess this is how my administration responds to the need for anti-racism in American life and on campus, by openly throwing professors who talk about racism and technology under the fascist bus. Great job URI.”  It appears that now Rhode Island, in Professor Loomis’ view, is opposing anti-racism efforts and supporting fascists by rejecting his view of science, statistics, and technology.

Loomis insists that his rejection of all science, statistics, and technology as racist was

“utterly uncontroversial point that when facial recognition technology is throwing innocent Black people in prison, it reflects much larger problems of how racism influences our technology and science in an inherently racist society. … This is…utterly uncontroversial? Or it should be anyway. We see this over and over and over again, from how the medical profession ignores pain in Black patients no matter their social status, how Black people are wary of the vaccine because of traditionally poor treatment by the scientific community, how all sorts of forms of technology end up exacerbating discrimination, etc.”

What is striking about this response is that it is divorced from his actual statement. It is raising insular issues like facial recognition that have been discussed by others without rejecting the entirety of science or statistics. Indeed, I just published a long study that addressed that issue and its underlying causes as part of a comprehensive look at biometrics and privacy.  See Jonathan Turley, Anonymity, Obscurity, and Technology: Reconsidering Privacy in the Age of Biometrics, 100  Boston University Law Review 2179 -2261 (2020).

Loomis’ reference a couple of specific areas where racism is a well-documented problem and many of us have sought to suggest ways to address racial injustice. It is not a defense of Loomis’ categorical rejection of all science, statistics, and technology.  That view is not “uncontroversial,” it is unhinged and irrational.

 

This column was edited.

115 thoughts on “Rhode Island Professor Denounces Science, Statistics, and Technology As “Inherently Racist””

  1. The Enlightenment is dead. Not sure, however, what comes next. Probably, nothing good.

    Buy food and ammo, get healthy, get connected to your neighbors. Tech is never going to save our skins, you can be sure of that much

    When universities tolerate “professors” saying garbage like this, freely, as sane voices are suppressed,

    if you do not hear the drumbeats of war then you are deaf

    Of course, if you have read “Decline of the West” from nearly a century ago, by Oswald Spengler, then this remark seems strangely ironic, see, “Faustian Man”

    Sal Sar

  2. Loomis references a couple of specific areas where racism is a well-documented problem and many of us have sought to suggest ways to address racial injustice.

    No, he doesn’t. The pain thing is not documented. It’s 100% speculative.

  3. Black female coach accused of physical, emotional and psych abuse of….black female players.

    https://hbcugameday.com/2021/01/22/ex-vuu-coach-annmarie-gilbert-accused-of-abuse/

    Ex-VUU coach AnnMarie Gilbert accused of abuse

    Former Virginia Union coach AnnMarie Gilbert had her debut season ended at Detroit Mercy after players refused to play for her

    After building a D2 power at Virginia Union, AnnMarie Gilbert’s first year at Detroit Mercy has come to an abrupt end.

    The program has shut down for the season but not because of COVID-19. A letter obtained by the Detroit Free Press and signed by 14 of her players and several parents accused Gilbert of “emotional, mental and physical abuse” of their daughters. She’s also accused of violating NCAA rules regarding hours of athletic activity.

    The letter, sent to UDM AD Robert Vowels, accuses Gilbert of creating a toxic environment and demanding players hide injuries and sicknesses, including COVID-19 symptoms, on game days.

    Gilbert has declined to comment to the DFP, but Vowels released a statement regarding the accusation and the end of the season.

    “The health and well-being of our student-athletes is our athletic department’s top priority. We have talked with all players and members of our women’s basketball program about their concerns. We take them very seriously and will continue to review them closely.

    “As we have prioritized the needs of our student-athletes during this challenging academic year, we have decided to suspend the 2020-21 women’s basketball season.”
    Robert VOwELs

    AnnMarie Gilbert accused of telling players to hide injuries

    The parents of the players spoke to the Free Press under the condition of anonymity but said they realized they were dealing with a major problem after a recent Zoom.

    “Everybody had their own little things but thought it was isolated,” said another parent, who also requested anonymity Wednesday. “It makes it tough under COVID when there’s no interaction between parents – you don’t see each other at games, there’s just no connection there. Last weekend, everybody got on a Zoom and told their stories. It started real slow, and then somebody told a story and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ And then someone else did.

    “It’s like, ‘Oh, she’s just evil. She’s bad to everybody.”

    The student-athletes spoke with Vowels about their concerns on Tuesday, but showed up to find Gilbert at practice on Wednesday. According to the Free Press, the players told the AD they would not play if Gilbert was coaching.

    Gilbert came to UDM last April after an extremely successful stint at VUU where she was 135-18 in five seasons. She led the program to three CIAA titles during that span and her team was in the NCAA Tournament every year, making it to the D2 national title game in 2017.

    Prior to coming to VUU, Gilbert had a solid run on the court at Eastern Michigan from 2007-2012. The program went 94-64 and won the Mid-American Conference in her final year. She resigned following the 2012 season after the program was hit with multiple probations and violations of excess practice time and recruiting issues.

  4. I do not have a psychology degree but I did take a psych course taught by Dr Kaplan at SDSU back in the early 70s. IMO This Looney Tune is a danger to himself and to anyone with whom he comes into contact. It is one thing to harbor illogical thoughts but publically sharing them shows a deficiency of sanity and must be interpreted to be a plea for help.
    help him! help who? the bombadier! I am the bombadier…

  5. Obama affiliated with ANTIFA. Shocker

    https://www.newsarticle.us/fbi-surveillance-malia-obama-seen-leaving-antifa-meeting-in-baltimore-3/

    FBI Surveillance- Malia Obama Seen Leaving Antifa Meeting In Baltimore

    Since the possibility of Antifa being declared a terrorist organization has been suggested, the FBI has become proactive with their treatment of the notorious group. They’ve been keeping a close eye on suspected names on Antifa membership rolls, tapping phones, questioning on the street, and conducting surveillance operations at their regular weekly meetings.

    At one such meeting in Baltimore, last Sunday, a very familiar face to all Americans was seen leaving the premises – Malia Obama, eldest daughter of former president, Barack Hussein Obama.

    The FBI report states that Antifa meetings had been held in the Mason’s Hall in downtown Baltimore every weekend for the past year and had increased in frequency since President Trump’s disparaging remarks about the city a couple of weeks ago. The group was easily identified as an Antifa Klan by their vocal opposition to our president as well as things like their clothing – “F**k Trump” shirts being commonly worn by all. Who but Antifa would wear such a thing?

    The FBI refused to comment in detail about their discovery of the Obama child in membership but did provide a short statement to the press. Special Agent Esteban Contreras spoke:

    “We have been keeping an eye on this group for months. They’re troublemakers. You can tell. They have nothing good to say about Trump and organize policy protests regularly.

    I can confirm that Malia Obama was seen amongst the group and that she has attended at least three meetings. I will not, however, speculate on details of her involvement in terrorist activities at this time.”

    This news will come as quite a blow to the Obama family as it exposes more of their terrorist activity to the world. It will be interesting to see how they and the Democrat Party try to spin it.

    1. What would Malia Obama be doing knocking about in Baltimore? None of Mooch’s trophy properties are there, she isn’t enrolled in school there, and her supposed paramour is not from there.

      1. What would Malia Obama be doing knocking about in Baltimore?

        Maybe breaking bad? I wonder if she throws a Molotov cocktail at a policeman she will get an ‘A’ in Social Studies?

        1. No clue. It seems to me she has some rancid major like ‘film studies’. If you’re going to study film, enroll in a school with a satisfactory vocational program (of which there must be more than one in SoCal). The counseling she gets from her parents stinks. Marian Robinson and her late husband had an excuse – elite higher education was a world they knew nothing about (something they had in common with Madelyn and Stanley Dunham). Not so Mooch and BO

    2. this article directs me to a popup blocker. i call bs

      she prolly still has secret security. do you think they would be along for the ride? i dont

      sal sar

      1. Steve Ford had a funny story of playing chess with his Secret Service detail on 20 January 1977. He said at noon they all got up and left, bye bye. He was alone for the first time in 29 months. Ford was 19 at the time. I doubt the Obama girls still have Secret Service protection, though they do change the rules from time to time. At one time, the law was altered to provide for the end of protection for former President’s households 10 years after leaving office (while grandfathering the current beneficiaries). They may have repealed the alteration. If they didn’t, W and Laura have lost theirs. Since Jacqueline Onassis shlepped around Manhattan without any detail for 19 years and since the Nixons had no detail after 1986, a twelve year limit seems sensible (without any grandfathering; it’s time to stop pretending Rosalynn Carter’s life is in danger).

    3. J. Turley, if you want to be known as running a good ship, try cutting some of the lying hacks out of your site.

  6. And the all white jury agreed. Trump should leave Mar A Lago. The neighbors harbor no prejudice towards the son of the klansman.
    They don’t like him because he stinks.

  7. A lot of otherwise intelligent people do not understand what “racist” means.

    It means prejudice towards a person or people based on their race. Activists have tried to alter its meaning to only apply to “marginalized” groups or minorities. But no matter how hard they try to alter the lexicon to suit their politics, they cannot force a change in a word’s meaning.

    A black man who beats up a little old Latino, based on his race, is a racist. The black man doesn’t have to be president of a bank to be a racist. He just has to hate or despise someone because of their race. When North Korea forces a captured defector to have an abortion because the father is Chinese, that’s racist. If a Latino kid targets other black kids to beat up, that’s racist.

    And if anyone says all whites are evil or “privileged” unfairly then that’s racist, too. And the rhetoric certainly has the power to harm – college admissions, hiring, even literature submissions for publication.

    Facts aren’t racist. They aren’t biased. They are just data. Math isn’t racist. Statistics aren’t racist.

    It’s the people who either refuse to acknowledge facts or twist them to suit their agenda who bring their own personal bias.

    “Math is the tool of whiteness” – well, that’s a statement guaranteed to lead to failure and poverty.

    Don’t study in school. Getting good grades and working hard is white. Now that’s a motto that will make you go far in life. Should someone tell the Asians that math and technology are whiteness? They shall be surprised. As will Indians and Latinos and black people excelling in math, tech, and the sciences.

    Is the wheel racist? Because I’m absolutely sure that whomever first invented the wheel thousands of years ago did not subscribe to modern values. Perhaps fire is racist, and therefor we should all go on a raw macro diet.

    If technology is racist, then Loomis should set down his keyboard, now, and make his own writing implements and paper out of charcoal and onion skins.

  8. “Mr. Loomis’ recent social media posts on science, statistics and technology are entirely his own opinions, and in no way represent the positions or values of the University of Rhode Island”

    ******************************************************************************

    The problem with that statement is that as long as he remains employed he DOES represent the University of Rhode Island.

  9. These WOKE liberals remind me of the FLAT EARTHERS of yore, it’s flat darn it and anyone who says otherwise is a numskull.

  10. How can prove or disprove his statement(s) without data, or better known as statistics. Silly statement by another mindless professor, utter nonsense!

  11. If science, math, and technology are racist, then racism has become a good thing.

    I’m so sick of these liberals scum and their irrational garbage.

  12. Runaway immigration and globalization are radicalizing the base of the Democrat Party and the West Coast. Education and entertainment are being radicalized, too.

    IT’S GOTTEN SO BAD, EVEN STEM EDUCATION IS UNDER ATTACK BY RADICALS.

    Liberals have to recognize these ILLIBERAL influences need to be checked NOW, even if that means joining forces with conservatives on some issues. You can start by insisting that the Democrats keep the filibuster and stop threatening the Supreme Court with court packing.

    JUST ARGUING FOR FREE SPEECH HASN’T WORKED. It’s a nice gesture, but you’re spitting in the wind.

  13. At the rate we are going, if everything is racist, then nothing is. In fact, actually claiming racism will be racist. Same for every other ism. Oh the horror. Imagine having to judge the actions of others based on an objective standard.

  14. You say that you believe in systemic racism but you don’t go as far as this guy. He comes to the logical end based upon his premise. Are you in or are you out?

  15. Math is racist because 2+2=4. Not 2+2=5. The sad thing is that many people believe exactly what this guy is saying. His announcements are just a more detailed expression of the idea that racism is systemic. It follows then, that racism must permeate
    every aspect of our lives. There have been many others who espouse his opinion. They just leave out the details. He simply tells us that the “final solution” is violence. Why should we be surprised at their final conclusion?

      1. Most educated idiots think the year ends at midnight December 31st yet a century or millennium only has 99 or 999 years. If you think back to my post on the Universal Empty Field Theory now a UEFL as it’s a proven fact of hard science. the above will be a simple exercise in reading and saying Of course What else. If not you are from California and voted for the Socialist Party.

    1. What does a “non-racist” bridge look like?

      Today, in Silicon Valley, NASA, and in the Pentagon, whatever the public statements on “diversity,” it is also clearly understood that ICBMs, Falcon rockets, C4ISTAR and high-performance combat aircraft do not function according to the ravings of critical race theory. China’s rise to power and wealth began when Mao was shunted sideways. Mao can still be venerated as the Great Helmsman, or as a sheng ren, a “sacred man,” but China’s leaders know that in order to build supersonic missiles capable of sinking US aircraft carriers they need designers and engineers who can master the necessary mathematics and physics, not Maoist zealotry.

      Again, do not take seriously what leftists say but by what they actually do.

      antonio

    1. I think he knows his only claim to 15 minute durations of fame, are to be as facially outrageous as possible.
      Ordinarily we ignore crazy people in the streets shouting to invisible people, but when they have conned their way to a professorship, now it’s newsworthy.

Leave a Reply