The racist researcher quoted in the Buffalo shooter's manifesto

BRUSSELS — The researcher claims there has been a drop in IQ in France linked to large-scale migration from North Africa. He co-authore...


BRUSSELS — The researcher claims there has been a drop in IQ in France linked to large-scale migration from North Africa. He co-authored a book on the global decline in intelligence, establishing a relationship between ethnicity and cognitive abilities. And he argues that humans can be broken down into subspecies, a cornerstone of white supremacist ideology.

It was also quoted, among other academic references, in a manifesto written by the racist-motivated teenager who killed 10 blacks at a supermarket in Buffalo last month.

Despite his own extreme views, researcher Michael Woodley – a 38-year-old Briton – was affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of Belgium’s leading universities, and his controversial work was originally undertaken while studying in some of the world universities. most prestigious academic institutions.

The discovery that the shooter had cited Mr Woodley’s work shocked many academics, who said they hoped it could now force institutions to ask themselves questions about their responsibility to society, academic rigor and the space that they agree to extremist ideas.

Alex Mas Sandoval, a Spanish population genetics researcher at the University of Bologna, said he was “appalled” when he learned the Buffalo shooter had tried to use science to justify his actions.

Scientists involved in the field of population genetics and other related fields were “concerned about the misinterpretation of our findings”, he said, adding that he had reviewed the manifesto for any references to his domain.

“In most cases, the killer decontextualized the scientific findings,” he said. But, he added, one person cited by the shooter stood out for his extreme views: Mr. Woodley, whose expertise is in plant ecology, but whose work also includes research into human genetics and intelligence.

“Woodley was explicitly racist,” said Mr Sandoval, who started an online petition to suspend the British researcher and his doctorate. revoked. Mr. Woodley is a graduate of Columbia University and Royal Holloway, University of London. “It has a history of spreading racist and white supremacist theories,” Mr. Sandoval said, adding, “It challenges a consensus based on decades of research.”

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel suspended last week his relationship with Mr. Woodley after Mr. Sandoval launched his petition and a Belgian newspaper published a story on the researcher. In a statement, the university said it was “shocked” that an “item of an article” by Mr Woodley appeared in the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto. A university science committee will now investigate Mr Woodley’s work to decide on next steps, he said.

Mr Woodley declined to comment, but Francis Heylighen, director of the Leo Apostel Centre, an interdisciplinary research institute at the university to which the British academic has been affiliated, described him as ‘absolutely devastated by the turn of events’ .

Mr Heylighen said the center had no position on Mr Woodley’s theories because “he has published dozens of highly technical papers in a variety of respected and peer-reviewed scientific journals, which people who do not have the specific scientific expertise would find it very difficult to assess.”

At the heart of Mr. Woodley’s article cited by the shooter is a fight that human beings can be scientifically divided into subspecies. A chart in which he compared humans with a number of animal species, including jaguars and leopards, was used in the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto.

Theories like the one Mr. Woodley asserted have long been a mainstay of pseudoscientific attempts to justify slavery, colonialism and Nazism that have been widely dismissed by contemporary mainstream scholars.

Dr. Woodley’s academic interests during his career have been eclectic, including papers on ways to communicate with the dead and intelligence in parrots, in addition to human genetics and intelligence.

A Royal Holloway spokeswoman said Mr Woodley completed a PhD in plant ecology there from 2007 to 2011 and his 2010 paper referenced by the Buffalo shooter was “written and published in a personal capacity”. The article described the author’s affiliation as “School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London”.

Elsevier, a major academic and mainstream publisher that produced the journal that published Mr Woodley’s paper, said in a statement that it was “urgently reviewing the 2010 paper” and would consider ” any necessary corrections”. He also said he would “closely follow” the review by the Belgian university.

Angela Saini, a British journalist who wrote a book called ‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’, said Mr Woodley was among a group of far-right academics she studied, centered on a academic journal called The Mankind Quarterly, which has been accused of promoting scientific racism and in which the researcher was published.

“I think things have changed in recent years, partly because of political discourse,” Ms Saini said. “And with the rise of ethnic nationalism and the far right, we’ve become more aware of the risk and the dangerousness of these people,” she said, adding, “They’ve gained a huge following over the years. year.”

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel declined to answer questions about who started the relationship with Mr Woodley in 2013 and for what purpose. According to university records, Mr Woodley was a lecturer at a seminar in Aprilbut the video of his appearance is missing from the official site, which features the recordings of the other three speakers.

And on Mr Woodley’s personal website, sections about his research and media appearances have been removed over the past week.

Mr. Woodley’s status as affiliate researcher meant that he was not paid by the Belgian university, and it is still unclear how he financed his work.

One of his articles mentions this funding was provided by the Unz Foundation, a non-profit organization run by Ron Unz, a software entrepreneur. Mr Unz is the founder of The Unz Review, a far-right website criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for hosting racist and anti-Semitic content. Mr. Woodley identifies himself as an “Unz Foundation Junior Fellow” in several other publications.

“I am independently funded, and the person who is independently funding me will not withdraw my funding because I am involved in political research,” Mr. Woodley said. says Stefan Molyneux, a white supremacist blogger with whom he appeared on a video in 2019. “Actually, he’s more likely to give me more funding because of that, so I’m very lucky.”

Several employees of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have expressed outrage that no one at the university has sounded the alarm about Mr Woodley’s views.

Karen Celis, a political scientist at the university, said she was shocked when she read Mr Sandoval’s petition. “It’s the opposite of what we stand for,” she said. “It made me wonder: how come, if this was known in some circles, the alarm bells didn’t go off?”

She added: “Our university defends humanist values: freedom, solidarity, justice, inclusion. We also defend free research, but sometimes there are tensions between the two, and for me it is clear which side we have to stand on.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The racist researcher quoted in the Buffalo shooter's manifesto
The racist researcher quoted in the Buffalo shooter's manifesto
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