CFACT Promotes Free Speech at GVSU

CFACT Driessen Fellow Darren Fife, in partnership with Grand Valley State University’s TPUSA club,organized an event to educate students about the importance of free speech in America.

The event, dubbed “Hot Take and Cakes”, had the group offering students a free piece of cake if they would write a “hot take” and post it on the board. The idea was to demonstrate how everyone held some non-conventional beliefs and expressing them was not harmful. In fact, openly expressing such thoughts spurs conversations and societal growth. When such ideas are repressed, it stifles freedom and even scientific advancement. 

A student writes down his “hot take”

Take, for example, Dr. John Clauser. Clauser, as a grad student, had a non-conventional theory that would disprove much of the “settled science” of that era. He submitted his doctoral thesis on this hypothesis and, after reviewing the work, his advisor told him, that while the math appeared correct, publishing such a bombshell that undermines so many other people could be detrimental to his career. 

Clauser, undeterred, asserted he wanted to move forward with it anyway. As predicted, after receiving his PhD at Columbia, he could not get traction with any university in the country. No physics department would touch him, and ultimately he had to settle on a job working at a lab where he stayed for the remainder of his career. 

Decades later, long after the deans whose careers were tied to the previous theories had retired, he did get the last laugh. When physics had finally caught up with what he had realized fifty years earlier, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the advancement of the subject.

This type of academic apartheid still exists today,which is why CFACT so heavily emphasizes free speech on campus. After students filled in their “hot takes”, they were rewarded with a slice of cake and given various free speech literature, including CFACT’s “Science Requires Free Speech” pamphlet which teaches them about Climategate.