July 11, 2002

OBSCENE MORAL EQUIVALENCE, a continuing series: Here’s how Patrick Bateson, Provost of Kings College, Cambridge, justifies Mona Baker’s removal of two Israeli scholars from an academic journal based on their nationality:

Always,” he said, “science is set in social contexts.” As an example he cited Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz doctor who tortured Jewish children in experiments.

“Supposing we had the possibility of collaborating with a Mengele,” Professor Bateson said. “That would be a case where everybody would say politics would definitely come into science, and say we could not let that happen.”

Sometimes I think I’m too hard on the Euro-academic crowd. But maybe I’m not hard enough.

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