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Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD[…]

It’s important for universities to embrace new ideas.

Pinker: I think a political leadership that blows off science is going to lead to nothing but disaster.  But I think though for their part, people in universities and newspapers have to open their minds to have the same kind of critical self-reflection that everyone must have; realize that universities can also spiral into kind of a self-contained, ideological, almost religious cult; and that it’s important for universities to open up and welcome ideas from smart people who aren’t in that particular orbit.  I think that think tanks and policy institutes have been invaluable in that regard; that there are certain ideas that don’t come out of university departments because a university becomes a tribe or a culture, has an ideology, and they have to realize that they’re not an infallible and welcome ideas.  I don’t think universities have been completely successful in doing that either.