Nuffield students defend Noah Carl after “racist pseudoscience” petition

The three politics students alleged that the petition against Noah Carl was a threat to academic freedom

Three Nuffield PhD students have signed a letter defending the former Nuffield fellow Noah Carl, after he was denounced in a petition signed by hundreds of academics.

The three politics students alleged that the petition against Noah Carl was a threat to academic freedom.

In a letter to the editor of the Times, they wrote: “We are not writing to corroborate Dr Carl’s conclusions. We are simply concerned by the use of popular opinion as the arbiter of truth. This is dangerous.

“The letter’s signatories may be experts in their own fields but they do not have the subject expertise to judge Dr Carl’s research. That responsibility falls to peer review.”

Other Nuffield students have expressed support for the petition, arguing that Carl’s work is both of poor quality and likely to provoke racism.

One Nuffield student told Cherwell: “He absolutely is not uncovering uncomfortable truths. He wouldn’t know how to do that.”

Noah Carl, who is now a fellow at St. Edmund’s, Cambridge, has faced calls for his removal for what the petition describes as “ethically suspect and methodologically flawed” research into the connection between race and criminality and his connections to the far-right through the London Conference on Intelligence.

The three Nuffield PhD students, writing in the Times, said: “A young researcher’s career and reputation are at stake; the bar should surely be higher than innuendo in an online letter that anyone can sign.”

A second Nuffield student who spoke to Cherwell said that Carl’s time at the College had left a legacy of “tension and bitterness.”

The first-year student told Cherwell: “Nuffield has proved to be an alienating and deeply divided social science research community, in part because of the legacy of Noah Carl and continued support for him and his racist work amongst a vocal minority of the student body (though not, to my knowledge, amongst Nuffield academics).

“I know many students who just try to avoid college life as much as possible because of this culture of acceptance, or at the very least tolerance, of far-right politics.”

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JCR President of Nuffield College, Matthias Haslberger told Cherwell: “No complaints about Noah Carl were made to me. Noah ceased to be a member of the JCR in the summer of 2017 when he graduated and started his postdoc.”

Articles written in defence of the researcher have also appeared in the Spectator, Quillette, Spiked, the National ReviewBreitbart, and the Daily Wire.

23/12/2018 Correction: The article formerly read that “The JCR President did not respond to a request for comment”. However, the President had not been successfully contacted at the time. 


  1. Emil Kirkegaard is mocking this article on his Twitter. The problem with him is he’s a crypto-fascist who denies being far-right like Noah Carl. Instead of racism, he calls himself a “race realist” and instead of alt-right he calls himself an alt-centrist etc, so it’s wordplay. One however doesn’t have to look far to see his far-right political beliefs such as claiming Muslim immigration is “self-destructive” and he wants to ban Muslims from entering Europe. This is the far-right extremist Noah Carl published papers with and edited a journal at Kirkegaard’s OpenPsych – widely regarded as racist pseudo-scholarly journals.

  2. A blog response (now deleted) from the individual who wrote most of Noah Carl’s RationalWiki article:

    “response to the letter, the editorial of the right-wing online magazine Quillette wrote an article and have created their own open letter defending Noah Carl. The number of academics who have currently signed the latter is a lot smaller than the former; secondly signatures include several infamous far-right individuals e.g. Helmuth Nyborg (a white nationalist who has spoken at an American Renaissance conference), James Thompson (organiser of the pseudoscientific London Conference on Intelligence, where Carl was a speaker), Adam Perkins (an Islamophobe whose offensive tweets about Somalis caused an online petition demanding a “formal apology” to KCL’s Somali community), Edward Dutton (a crank who has published pseudoscience on race and penis-size), Dimitri van der Linden (a sexist who argues men on average have higher IQs than women because of bigger brains) and Michael Woodley of Menie (an aristocrat who writes on eugenics).

    A repeated misleading claim by Quillette is Noah Carl has done nothing wrong in his peer-reviewed papers. I agree, but this was never the issue. His methodologically flawed research papers are non-peer-reviewed in the OpenPsych journals. Despite OpenPsych claiming they’re peer-reviewed, they’re not (for reasons I’ve already outlined in detail). The OpenPsych journals are academically fraudulent and were co-founded by Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, a pseudointellectual, who describes himself as a “scientist”, but whose only qualification is a BA in Linguistics from Aarhus University; the university has even said that Kirkegaard isn’t a scientist and have criticised his self-published OpenPsych papers. Note that Kirkegaard made Carl an editor of an OpenPsych journal on sociology.

    Kirkegaard is openly Islamophobic writing Muslim immigration to Western countries is “self-destructive” and he supports anti-Islam, right-wing parties, including the Sweden Democrats. This is relevant because Carl has published two controversial papers about Muslims and a reviewer for both was none other than Emil Kirkegaard, while Carl has reviewed a paper Kirkegaard wrote about Muslim immigrants. Furthermore, it turns out Carl’s main (dubious) source for data in his papers – is an Islamophobic hate group. These papers, alongside another that argues stereotypes towards immigrants in UK are “largely accurate” (criticised for serious methodological flaws) were quoted by many far-right websites to support their xenophobic opposition to Muslims/immigration e.g. one of Carl’ papers was featured under a picture of UKIP’s 2016 “Breaking Point” billboard (and note Carl “likes” Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP, on his Facebook profile).

    At the time of publishing his papers at OpenPsych, Carl added his academic institution as a contact email ( and had even thanked Nuffield College, Oxford University in the acknowledgments section of his papers. I found this suspicious and so emailed Oxford University in November 2018, who told me they requested Carl to remove his Nuffield College email from OpenPsych and within a week, he changed it to Because Noah Carl was no longer a research fellow at Nuffield College and left there the same month I sent the complaint – Oxford University didn’t require to take any action against him, and informed me the concern about him misusing his university email was solved. I agreed, and although I had raised this issue elsewhere, I wasn’t responsible for the open letter, nor contacted Cambridge University.”

  3. Emil Kirkegaard is not a reliable source of information. He has been described as a child-rape apologist by many newspapers. He also claims transsexual people are mentally ill and posts racist memes on his twitter. By defending his friend Noah Carl he is only further damaging his reputation.

  4. I am a student and a Muslim who was looking forward to attending Cambridge University in the future, I am very offended by the racist views of Noah Carl and Emil Kirkegaard. I am now looking to attend other universities.

    Noah Carl has put shame on St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. Many new students will not attending this College because of his racism. It shows that the College have been incompetent. The correct thing to do is to fire Noah Carl. He does not deserve his research position and salary at the University.

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