The letter has called on St Edmund's to "dissociat[e] themselves from research that seeks to establish correlations between race, genes, intelligence and criminality in order to explain one by the other"Simon Lock

Over 280 academics have signed an open letter condemning the appointment of Dr Noah Carl to a research fellowship at St. Edmund’s College due to his past research on links between race, criminality, and IQ.

The letter, signed by over 75 Cambridge academics alongside academics at universities across the world, described Dr Carl’s work as “ethically suspect and methodologically flawed”, and called on the University of Cambridge to “immediately conduct an investigation” into Dr Carl’s appointment process to the Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellowship.

It also demanded that the College, University, and the Newton Trust “dissociat[e] themselves from research that seeks to establish correlations between race, genes, intelligence, and criminality in order to explain one by the other”, noting their concern of “racist pseudoscience... being legitimised through association with the University of Cambridge”. 

In the past two years, Dr Carl, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at Nuffield College Oxford, has published two articles on the online publication site Open Quantitative Sociology & Political Science, also known as OpenPsych, where he has alleged that the percentage of Muslims in a country’s population are positively “associated with Islamist terrorism across Western countries”.

In one of his papers, Dr Carl wrote: “It seems plausible that the higher the percentage of Muslims in the population, the greater the share of citizens susceptible to Islamist radicalisation, and therefore the larger the fraction of the population that the security services should need to monitor.”

The publication site on which Dr Carl has published five papers, OpenPsych, describes traditional, blind peer-review processes as “anachronistic”, saying that they “[do] not take advantage of modern technology”. It instead uses a system where publications and revisions are checked by non-anonymous ‘reviewers’ – who are not required to hold advanced academic qualifications.

Dr Carl is known to have attended, and later publicly defended, the London Conference on Intelligence – a controversial conference on race intelligence and eugenics secretly held on the University College London (UCL) campus.

The conference has previously hosted psychologist Richard Lynn, who the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an organisation which monitors extremists and hate groups, describes as an “unapologetic eugenicist” and a “favorite among white supremacists”, citing Lynn’s contributions to “several white supremacist journals”.

In another OpenPsych paper, published in 2016, Dr Carl has claimed that “consensual stereotypes” about particular races and nationalities are “generally found to be quite accurate”, despite describing his findings as “circumstantial in nature”. This paper’s findings – based on a non-random sample from a YouGov poll surveying perceptions of immigrants from 23 countries – were later cited by far-right media outlets InfoWars and The Daily Caller.

The open letter criticised Dr Carl’s work as being used by outlets “with the aim of stoking xenophobic anti-immigrant rhetoric”.


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Responding to recent criticism on his research, Dr Carl wrote a personal blog post disputing what he described as arguments that “if you are interested in population differences in cognitive ability, then you are––ipso facto––a ‘pseudoscientist’”.

Dr Noah Carl has been contacted by Varsity for comment on the open letter.

In an article published earlier this year entitled, ‘How Stifling Debate Around Race, Genes, and IQ Can Do Harm’, Dr Carl also defended recent work linking race and IQ in the book, The Bell Curve, which has seen wide condemnation from many prominent academics over its assumptions that intelligence could be reducible to IQ, could be ranked, or that it is genetically based.

A spokesperson for St. Edmund’s college told Varsity: “The College is looking into the complaints it has received. Once the full facts are gathered, appropriate action will be taken.”

“In the meantime, we continue to expect our staff and students to treat one another with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times”, they added.

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