Noah Carl

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Noah Carl is a British sociologist and intelligence researcher. He was investigated and subsequently dismissed from his position as a Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellow at St Edmund's College, Cambridge after over 500 academics signed a letter repudiating his research and public stance on race and intelligence, calling it "ethically suspect and methodologically flawed", and stating their concern that "racist pseudoscience is being legitimised through association with the University of Cambridge."[1][2][3] An investigation by the college concluded that Carl's work was "poor scholarship" which violated standards of academic integrity, and that Carl had collaborated with right-wing extremists.[4] Some newspaper columnists criticised the decision to dismiss Carl as an attack on academic freedom.[5][6] Others questioned whether St Edmund's had failed to properly vet him before he was hired in the first place.[7][8][9]


Carl received a BA in Human Sciences, an MSc in Sociology and a DPhil in Sociology from the University of Oxford.[10] His DPhil thesis was titled Cognitive ability and socio-political beliefs and attitudes.[11] Prior to his appointment to the St Edmund's College, Cambridge fellowship, Carl received media attention for papers on the link between artistic tastes and views on Brexit,[12] the reasons why London pubs are disappearing,[13] and a study for Adam Smith Institute which found that conservatives were heavily underrepresented among academics at British universities.[14][15] Additionally, he was in the news for a study on the relationship between intelligence and trust in other members of society.[16][17]

His work has been published in academic journals such as Intelligence, the Journal of Biosocial Science, the British Journal of Sociology. He is the second most prolific contributor to Open Quantitative Sociology & Political Science, an online journal that has been described in the New Statesman as a "pseudo-science factory-farm",[18] and he has contributed to Mankind Quarterly, which is described as a white supremacist journal.[19] According to an article in the New Statesman from February 2018, Carl had also published two papers on whether larger Muslim populations make terrorism more likely and one suggesting that British stereotypes about immigrants are "largely accurate".[20] In relation to the latter article, the New Statesman quoted Dr. Niko Yiannakoulias of McMaster University as commenting: "It is never OK to publish research this bad, even in an inconsequential online journal."[20]

Carl has spoken twice at the London Conference on Intelligence, a private conference on human intelligence at which some attendees presented papers on race and intelligence and eugenics.[20] He was one of 15 attendees to collaborate on a letter defending the conference following media coverage. The letter was published in the journal Intelligence in September 2018.[21]

Appointment controversy[edit]

In December 2018, Carl was awarded the Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellowship, a 3-year fellowship at St Edmund's College. More than 500 academics signed a letter opposing Carl's appointment to the fellowship, stating their "deep concern" that "racist pseudoscience is being legitimised through association with the University of Cambridge."[1][22] Clément Mouhot, one of the letter's organizers, was quoted in The Guardian as saying that Carl's work relied on "selective use of data and unsound statistical methods which have been used to legitimise racist stereotypes about groups".[23] The St Edmund's Combination Room also produced a statement arguing that Carl's work "demonstrated poor scholarship, promoted extreme right-wing views and incited racial and religious hatred."[4]

An internal investigation at St Edmund's concluded that Carl's work demonstrated "poor scholarship" and "did not comply with established criteria for research ethics and integrity", and that it fell outside the normal protections for academic free speech as a result.[4][24] The investigation also found that Carl had "collaborated with a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views", and that continuing his affiliation would risk allowing the college to be used to "promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred" and damage the reputation of the college. Carl was subsequently dismissed from his fellowship.[2] A separate investigation into the appointment process itself found no irregularities in the process of recruiting Carl, but did recommend changes to future hiring procedures.[4][25]

An editorial in The Times was critical of the decision to terminate Carl's post, arguing that his "main offence seems to have been to challenge the 'woke' left-wing orthodoxy".[5] Opinion columnists in The Telegraph and The Spectator also criticised the decision.[6][26]

Historian Evan Smith argued that the narrative advanced by Carl's defenders "has little basis in reality", and that it is rather these defenders who seek to stifle free speech by mobilizing a fear of "wokeness" in order to diffuse the power of student protest.[27][28] Reaction from supporters of Carl's firing also focused on questioning whether St Edmund's had failed to properly vet him before he was hired in the first place.[7][8][9]

In June 2019, Noah Carl began crowdfunding a legal challenge to his dismissal.[29][30] In September 2019 his $100,000 fundraising goal was reached.[31] Varsity reported that this campaign was coordinated by a company created by a developer named Conner Douglass who had provided similar services to white nationalist Richard Spencer and other neo-Nazis involved in the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[7][29]

In March 2021, Carl withdrew his claim; the case was settled by a confidential agreement between both parties.[32]


  1. ^ a b "Open Letter: No to Racist Pseudoscience at Cambridge". 19 December 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Adams, Richard (1 May 2019). "Cambridge college sacks researcher over links with far right". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  3. ^ Busby, Eleanor (2 May 2019). "Cambridge University college sacks academic over links to far-right extremists". Archived from the original on 21 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d "Statement from the Master regarding the outcome of the investigations into complaints about the appointment of Research Fellow" (PDF). 30 April 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b "The Times view on the sacking of Noah Carl: Monoversities". The Times. 10 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b Mirza, Munira (5 May 2019). "Intolerant zealots are strangling the intellectual freedom of our universities". The Telegraph.
  7. ^ a b c Stacey, Stephanie (24 September 2019). "Dismissed research fellow Noah Carl raises over $100,000 to fund legal action against Eddie's". Varsity.
  8. ^ a b Dexter, Louis. "Can Cambridge University just listen to their student body and stop letting in unethical, unacademic right-wing speakers, like, now please?". The Cambridge Tab.
  9. ^ a b van der Merwe, Ben (1 May 2019). "Former Nuffield fellow Noah Carl expelled from Cambridge". Cherwell.
  10. ^ "Dr Noah Carl The Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellow". St. Edmund's College website. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  11. ^ Carl, Noah (2017). Cognitive ability and socio-political beliefs and attitudes (Thesis). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  12. ^ Hern, Alex (10 October 2018). "Brexiters like realism, remainers prefer impressionist art, study finds". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Why London's pubs are disappearing". The Economist. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  14. ^ Hurst, Greg (2 March 2017). "Lurch to left raises concerns for campus free speech". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  15. ^ Moore, Charles (3 March 2017). "We must be ever vigilant of the Left's insidious domination of our institutions". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  16. ^ Beck, Julie (20 March 2014). "Study: Smarter People Are More Trusting". The Atlantic.
  17. ^ "Studie der Universität Oxford: Warum dumme Menschen keinem trauen". Wirtschaftswoche (in German). 18 March 2014.
  18. ^ Van der Merwe, Ben (20 December 2018). "No, objecting to Cambridge's appointment of a eugenicist is not about free speech". New Statesman.
  19. ^ Gresson, Aaron; Kincheloe, Joe L.; Steinberg, Shirley R., eds. (14 March 1997). Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined (1st St. Martin's Griffin ed.). St. Martin's Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-312-17228-2.
  20. ^ a b c Van Der Merwe, Ben (19 February 2018). "It might be a pseudo science, but students take the threat of eugenics seriously". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  21. ^ Woodley of Menie, Michael A.; Dutton, Edward; Figueredo, Aurelio-José; Carl, Noah; Debes, Fróði; Hertler, Steven; Irwing, Paul; Kura, Kenya; Lynn, Richard; Madison, Guy; Meisenberg, Gerhard; Miller, Edward M.; te Nijenhuis, Jan; Nyborg, Helmuth; Rindermann, Heiner (September 2018). "Communicating intelligence research: Media misrepresentation, the Gould Effect, and unexpected forces". Intelligence. 70: 84–87. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2018.04.002. S2CID 150156004.
  22. ^ Lally, Catherine (7 December 2018). "Cambridge dons revolt over 'racist' fellow's role". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  23. ^ Adams, Richard (7 December 2018). "Cambridge gives role to academic accused of racist stereotyping". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  24. ^ Bradbury, Rosie; Cook, Joe (30 April 2019). "Controversial research fellow Noah Carl dismissed by St Edmund's". Varsity Online. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  25. ^ Elias, Patrick (30 April 2019). "External Investigation into the appointment of the Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellow" (PDF). St Edmunds College, Cambridge.
  26. ^ Campbell, Hugh (4 May 2019). "The truth about Noah Carl". The Spectator.
  27. ^ Smith, Evan (26 June 2021). "Conservatives Are the Ones Attacking Free Speech at Universities". Jacobin.
  28. ^ Smith, Evan (10 August 2020). "The 'crisis' over academic freedom from the 1970s to the 2020s". History Workshop Journal. 91.
  29. ^ a b Bradbury, Rosie; van der Merwe, Ben (12 July 2019). "Developer who created crowdfunding site for white supremacists set up private limited company for Noah Carl". Varsity. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  30. ^ Young, Toby. "How Noah Carl is fighting back against Cambridge". The Spectator. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  31. ^ Stacey, Stephanie (24 September 2019). "Dismissed research fellow Noah Carl raises over $100,000 to fund legal action against Eddie's". Varsity. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  32. ^ "St Edmund's College Announcement 03-03-2021" (PDF). St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021.

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