Where was the Royal Society’s forum for debate during “science” dispute? Professor (and former fellow) explains his resignation

Two distinguished academics – Professors Garth Cooper and Robert Nola – have resigned both as members and as fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand (as Point of Order reported on March 18).

Cooper is a scientist; Nola is a philosopher who has studied and taught the philosophy of science.

Their resignations followed the society’s decision not to formally proceed with a complaint against them as fellows of the Society.

The complaint was laid after they and five other University of Auckland professors signed a letter – headed In defence of science – published in the 31 July 2021 issue of the NZ Listener.

The letter criticised proposals to include mātauranga Māori in the school science curriculum and to give it equal standing with Western/ Pakeha subjects such as physics, biology and chemistry.

The professors do not oppose the teaching of mātauranga Maori in anthropology, Māori studies, cultural studies, or any of the similar social studies. They do challenge its being taught in the science curriculum.

Furthermore, their letter was addressed at claims that science was a coloniser (“we find this quite wrong,” Nola told Point of Order).

Today, he explains why he resigned. Continue reading “Where was the Royal Society’s forum for debate during “science” dispute? Professor (and former fellow) explains his resignation”

Royal Society of NZ is split by disciplinary action taken against prominent professors who signed letter in defence of science

Let’s meet Professor Garth Cooper, described on the University of Auckland website as one of New Zealand’s foremost biological scientists and biotechnology entrepreneurs.

He is professor of Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry at the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he also leads the Proteomics and Biomedicine Research Group. He is a Principal Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre of Research Excellence for Molecular Biodiscovery, a member of the Endocrine Society (USA).  He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (London) in 2013

And – for now – he is a member of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

But the society has subjected him and another prominent academic, Robert Nola, to disciplinary action which looks suspiciously like a witch hunt.

Nola is emeritus professor of the philosophy of science with his own impressive CV.

The society has called off its investigation into a third academic,  Michael Corballis, who died earlier this month.

The Emeritus Professor at the Department of Psychology at the university of Auckland, Corballis was awarded the Shorland Medal by the New Zealand Association of Scientists in 1999, the 2002 Queen’s Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours, and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to psychological science. In 2016, he received the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Rutherford Medal, its most prestigious award, for his work on brain asymmetries, handedness, mental imagery, language, and mental time travel. Continue reading “Royal Society of NZ is split by disciplinary action taken against prominent professors who signed letter in defence of science”