The present controversy surrounding the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia causes me to wonder about the present status of academia. I can say without hesitation that the liberal arts departments of our universities have been taken over by postmodern philosophy. Postmodernism is built upon a radical view of relativism that not only denies absolute truth, but takes the cynical view that "truth" is determined by the people in power as a means of re-inforcing their power. The postmodern technique of "deconstructing" truth is the process of disclosing the winners and losers in the culture. For example, the postmodern view is that Western culture is the product of white heterosexual males who have, by their beliefs and values, marginalized non-whites, females, and non-heterosexuals. Since in the postmodern view truth is all about power, e.g. the winners write history, then it is appropriate for the marginalized to seek political power in order to advance their agenda. Political correctness in our colleges and universities is not about "truth" it is rather the pursuit of justice for an oppressed class.
As a result our universities are filled with courses and departments oriented toward these marginalized groups, whether it be feminist studies, African-American studies, or GBLT studies. The consequence of postmodern thought is that these departments "advocate" for their group, and if truth is relative they feel justified in taking a political rather than an objectively neutral approach to their subject. Because of this lack of objectivity and outright advocacy, postmodernism has dramatically changed the environment of post-secondary education in America.
There are two academic disciplines that must never be subjected to postmodern thought: law and science. These two areas of thought and life are too important to the health and future of our society to be subjected to the radical relativism and political correctness of postmodernism. Sadly, both seem to be effected. In law, we saw "empathy" become the test for a proper leagal decision. Empathy, which implies a postmodern view of class or race, undermines the objectivity of the law and leaves us with a politcally correct leagal system. Now, in this global warming scandal, we see scientists playing fast and loose with data in an attempt to attain a politically correct goal. The approach of these scientists appears to be to defend a pre-ordained conclusion and the political approaches to solving the "problem." My fear is that with environmentalism being a cause celeb for the intellectuals of the West, scientists have allowed their commitment to the scientific method to be subverted by their politics. I hope I am wrong, but I also fear that I am not.