I find this list, by Jay Schalin at the John William Pope Center, to be somewhat suspect. Let’s look at the very first thing we read (which, in all fairness, might not be written by Schalin):
Here’s a list of ten commonly-held beliefs in academia that don’t square with what the rest of the country thinks.
Immediately we realize that this isn’t about whether these “myths” are wrong — just that they aren’t what the “rest of the country thinks”. We are thus warned to proceed with caution. Here’s the list itself — though you should go read the article to find out why some of these are thought to be myths:
1. There is no liberal bias in academia.
2. Everybody should go to college.
3. Academia is more noble than the business community.
4. Diversity makes everything better.
5. All faculty research is necessary and/or important.
6. Academic freedom means anything goes.
7. Higher Education drives the economy.
8. Natural aptitude doesn’t matter.
9. Morality is relative.
10. All cultures are equally good.
Numbers 2, 6, 8, and 9 aren’t really things that “academics think” — so to the extent that they aren’t true, they’re just myths, not “Myths of the Ivory Tower.” Number 2 in particular is something that most professors, I think, seriously disagree with.
Frankly, while some academics may think number 1 is true, I’m not sure it’s anything close to a majority. I think most people recognize the liberal bias, enjoy it, and see it as something weighing in liberalism’s favor.
I doubt that number 10 is something that anyone thinks, academic or not.
Number 5 is trivially false, in the sense that Newton’s work on Alchemy wasn’t “necessary and/or important”. So I guess it can be called a “Myth”. But that’s a pretty facile interpretation of the idea. To the extent that something resembling “All faculty research is necessary and/or important” is actually thought by academics, I think it’s true. All research is important — because it’s part of a larger project. Obviously one could look back at a theory that has been debunked (say… that Knowledge=justified true belief, or Newton’s aforementioned Alchemy) and say “Well, that wasn’t necessary.” But we don’t know that until someone debunks it. Schalin likens academic writing to “an infinite number of monkeys typing randomly”. He means to be pejorative, but (1) that’s sort of how scientific discovery works, and (2) the monkeys that we as a society choose to fund at our typewriters tend to be very, very smart people. So we’ve got some decidedly above-average monkeys.
Sometimes articles need to be pointed out because they are good articles that raise important points. Sometimes an article needs to be pointed out because it is really a substandard, slapdash attempt at scoring cheap rhetorical points. Unfortunately, I think this is one of the latter.