The College’s new program seeks to promote and facilitate the free exchange of scientific ideas.
HILLSDALE, Mich. — To combat the recent and widespread abuses of individual and academic freedom made in the name of science, Hillsdale College is establishing its Academy for Science and Freedom. The Academy, which will operate out of Hillsdale’s campus in Washington, D.C., will educate the American people about the free exchange of scientific ideas and the proper relationship between freedom and science in the pursuit of truth.
Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 by men and women “grateful to God” for the inestimable blessings resulting from civil and religious liberty. They believed “the diffusion of sound learning” to be “essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.”
Today, political influence and media narrative have dangerously abridged free scientific inquiry, resulting in grave abuses of the liberty promised to American citizens by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Hillsdale’s remedy is the Academy for Science and Freedom.
“What we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic was a silencing of scientific inquiry in favor of policies absolutely hostile to freedom,” said Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn. “Liberty is the common good that defines a free society. Policy and science should seek to preserve it whenever possible.”
The Academy will feature the work of three scholars, who will be fellows at the Academy: Scott W. Atlas, M.D., of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University; and Martin Kulldorff, Ph.D., of the Brownstone Institute.
“The pandemic exposed grave problems with the essential functioning of science, research and debate,” explained Atlas. “Instead of open and free discourse to seek the scientific truths underlying urgently needed solutions, we have seen silencing, censoring, and intimidation of those whose interpretations differed from the desired narrative. This dangerous trend interferes with our ability to address future crises and threatens the very principles of freedom and order essential to democracy.” Atlas added, “Our work in the Academy for Science and Freedom will expose these problems and explore solutions fundamental to the scientific process, principles that all free societies depend on.”
“Science depends on the freedom of scientists to challenge established dogma with arguments and data,” said Bhattacharya. “It cannot function when a small cartel of government scientists, who control a lion’s share of financial support for scientific activity even by private actors, can dictate scientific conclusions at odds with the facts as has happened during the pandemic. The work of the Academy for Science and Freedom will be to reform the funding and function of science so that scientists can be free to do science again and thereby contribute to the flourishing of a free society.”
Kuldorff warned that unless systemic problems within the scientific establishment are amended, the future results will be dire. “As we reflect on the worst public health fiasco in history, our pandemic response has unveiled serious issues with how science is administered. Since the pioneering work of Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes, the foundational principle of science has been the free and open discussion of a variety of scientific ideas. With silencing and censoring of scientists — on for example lockdown harms and natural immunity — we will see the end of 400 years of enlightenment.”
“These three men are held in great esteem both for their expertise and their level-headedness in the midst of the pandemic,” Arnn said. “We are honored to have them.”
“I have admired Hillsdale’s work for a long time,” said Bhattacharya. “It was diligent in learning about COVID-19 and thoughtful and effective in its approach to caring for its students, faculty, and staff throughout the pandemic. I am excited to work with Hillsdale and the Academy for Freedom in Science issues so crucial to the wellbeing of our nation and world.”
The Academy aims to safeguard free discourse in scientific research and public health through various educational activities, including scientific workshops and conferences, public panels and testimony, and academic and popular publications. It will also encourage strategic alliances with academic institutions and other organizations that similarly are concerned about the proper relationship between freedom and science.
More information about the Academy can be found here. More information about its fellows can be found here.