Unsafe Science: Paid Subscription Option
I am launching a Paid Subscription option. I will still post plenty of free material. But here is why you might consider signing up for a paid subscription.
Support Islands of Scientific Integrity
During the 2020 Summer of Mostly Peaceful Protests and racial reckoning that resulted in the ruination of downtowns Portland and Seattle, upwards of $2 billion in property damage, set the stage for dozens of murders, and inspired police retreat (which has probably contributed to crime spikes across the country), and which was embraced by almost every outspoken voice in academia, I realized that dissidents needed to become organized. Merely advocating for free speech, basic human rights, and the depoliticization of academia has done nothing but lose ground for at least a decade. After eschewing activism my entire prior career, I embraced becoming an activist dedicated to preserving free and open inquiry in academia and beyond.
Unsafe Science is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
In my new role as an activist, it hit me: We need to organize. This is not a single thing, it is many things. For now, this means three things for me:
1. Collaboration with the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) in research on radicalization and other dysfunctions. I will end up doing Substack entries on some of this, but, for now: i. All NCRI research reports are available here; ii. see this NYTimes coverage of our 2020 report on leftwing radicals glorifying violence an dorganizing online; see this recent Washington Post article on our exposé of how Twitter permitted and even boosted adolescents glorifying and promoting self-harm.
2. Founding and launching the Society for Open Inquiry in the Behavioral Sciences (SOIBS). SOIBS has launched several initiatives which I expect you will hear more about in the near future.
3. Launching this Substack, which I hope will help build a community of like-minded people and be more than a mere blog site.
What You Will Get for a Paid Subscription
Unsafe Science is for anyone committed to truth over slogans and dogmas and to Enlightenment norms of liberal democracy more broadly. It is an implementation of academic freedom, and free and open discourse. It is a way for you to get involved and maybe make some difference.
There will be three levels of paid subscriptions: Monthly, at $5/month. Yearly at $50/year, and Founding Member, $250 one shot, for permanent status as a subscriber for as long as Unsafe Science exists. As I describe below, I plan to use most of the subscription income to support SOIBS and student projects (100% of Founding Member contributions will go to these types of initiatives).
Literally What You Will Get
Posts only for subscribers. These will be some of my usual fare (mostly social science and academia) but also some more personal stuff, like various direct replies to those who have denounced me, and How to Hike a 14,000 Foot Mountain as Told by a Novice (in the works).
Immediate access to all Unsafe Science Posts. Although there will still be mostly free posts open to all, some will be subscriber-only, and others will be made available to all after a delay. I hope to start adding audio and video in the not-too-distant future.
Invitations to quarterly meetings with me to discuss anything, including what I am using subscription income for. As described below, at least 2/3 will not be pocketed and, instead, will be devoted to developing this Substack, to SOIBS, or to fund student research on topics such as the radicalization of the academy, online radicalization and hate broadly, and dissident perspectives on social science (such as here, here, or here).
Periodic reports regarding which projects have been supported by Unsafe Science Subscriptions.
Paid subscribers will be able to post comments on all posts. (I tend to like comments, so they may be open to free subscribers as well, but paid subscribers will definitely have this option).
You Will Get more than What You Get: Be a Part of Something
Through at least all of 2023, I commit to dedicating at least 2/3 of the income it generates to establishing Islands of Integrity within academia and the social sciences.
Founding Members (through 2023): All Founding Members’ subscriptions will go to projects described here, and for which I will provide periodic updates here. 100%.
That’s right, it won’t go to me; it will go to causes that, if you are reading this, you probably already endorse. I will be specific.
100% of Founding member subscriptions and 2/3 from regular subscriptions will be devoted to the work of both graduate and undergraduate students working with me. If that sounds mundane, consider this:
If academia is lost to political tribalism, and I think it mostly is, new organizations need to emerge to conduct critical research that is as neutral and unbiased as possible.
Grad students are routinely underpaid, Rutgers University is a strong state school, but its student body is incredibly diverse in every way imaginable and that includes lots of students not born with silver spoons or raised in gilded cradles. Uplifting students, especially students who have not had all the advantages in life, is central to Rutgers mission, one I completely endorse. This is personal for me; I was one of those students (and, if you like, you can find out more about that here or here). But here is the core trick: Most of uplifting students is not uplifting them; it is giving them a chance to uplift themselves.
PLUS! My current and former students already have a track record of standing for free and open inquiry. One, Sean Stevens, is Senior Researcher at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, which has stepped into the non-partisan defender of civil liberties vacated by the ACLU. My most recent PhD/advisee is Nate Honeycutt, who may be joining Sean at FIRE. Danica Brozowski Finkelstein already has an established track record of research on radicalization. Akeela Careem has already established a track record of standing for free speech and is currently working on an essay titled “Why Social Justice Needs Free Inquiry.”
If you want more of these sorts of people trained as social scientists out in the world, your subscription will help accomplish this.
Nothing like good ole capitalism to create incentives: If this goes well, I will produce more content here. This may well include:
podcast, audio, video.
turning essays into audio
commissioning guest writers
hiring tech assistance to improve this site.
I hope you see fit to purchase a paid subscription. I will do my level best to give back more than what you have paid for.
I do reserve the right to close comments if they get unduly nasty. However, if I do this, I think I would first merely restrict comments to paying subscribers anyway.
As unbiased as possible. An essay in the works is tentatively titled “The Trivial Unattainability of Value Free Research.” Coming soon.