Hundreds of academics demand Cambridge investigate researcher accused of publishing ‘racist pseudoscience’

Dr Noah Carl appeared at controversial London conference accused of giving platform to eugenics

Tom Barnes
Friday 07 December 2018 18:53 GMT
Cambridge University has been urged to examine Dr Carl's work by a group of more than 300 academics
Cambridge University has been urged to examine Dr Carl's work by a group of more than 300 academics (Medium)

Hundreds of academics have signed an open letter accusing a researcher of producing “racist pseudoscience” after he was appointed to a role at Cambridge University.

Dr Noah Carl has become a controversial figure after speaking at a conference where eugenics was allegedly debated and publishing a paper arguing stereotypes about the criminality of certain immigrant groups in the UK are “reasonably accurate”.

The Oxford-educated social scientist’s appointment as the Toby Jackman Newton Trust research fellow at St Edmund’s College has drawn criticism from numerous professors, who are calling on Cambridge to conduct a review into the contents of his work.

An open letter signed by more than 300 academics from Cambridge, Oxford and dozens of other renowned institutions across the world, claimed some of the researcher’s papers were “ethically suspect and methodologically flawed”.

“We are deeply concerned that racist pseudoscience is being legitimised through association with the University of Cambridge,” the letter stated.

“This fellowship was awarded to Carl despite his attendance at, and public defence of, the discredited ‘London Conference on Intelligence’, where racist and pseudoscientific work has been regularly presented.

“Carl’s work has already been used by extremist and far-right media outlets with the aim of stoking xenophobic anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“In a context where the far-right is on the rise across the world, this kind of pseudoscientific racism runs the serious risk of being used to justify policies that directly harm vulnerable populations.”

The London Conference on Intelligence was staged on at least three occasions at University College London (UCL) between 2014 and 2017, with the university later denouncing the gathering and claiming it had taken place on campus without its approval or knowledge.

Speakers at the fringe event discussed controversial topics surrounding human intelligence and the conference was subject to claims it gave a platform for the espousal of eugenics.

Among those known to have attended was Richard Lynn, a psychologist whose belief in racial differences in intelligence has seen him accused of promoting “scientific racism” and Gerhard Meisenberg, editor of the journal Mankind Quarterly, which has been described by some as a “white supremacist” publication.

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Dr Carl spoke at the event on at least one occasion, although the exact content of his presentation is unknown.

The researcher has previously dismissed claims he is a “pseudoscientist”, insisting the London Conference on Intelligence had been “widely mischaracterised”, as has his paper on immigrant crime rates.

Dr Carl told The Independent he would not be commenting publicly on the petition at this time.

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