Press Release: NAS Appoints Dr. J. Scott Turner as Director of the Diversity in the Sciences Project

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; January 12, 2022 – The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has appointed Dr. J. Scott Turner as Director of the Diversity in the Sciences project. As project director, Dr. Turner will be conducting research on the scope and deleterious effects of DEI initiatives in STEM programs across the country.

“From its founding in 1987, NAS has prioritized keeping the natural sciences safe from political interference,” stated NAS President Peter Wood. “We have returned to the subject with renewed energy as DEI sweeps through the scientific disciplines.” With the leadership of Dr. Turner, NAS will be able to expand its investigations of the programs, administrators, and faculty that are compromising the pursuit of scientific knowledge for the sake of political ideology. Dr. Turner’s work will be vital to preserving the integrity of the sciences in our higher education system.

Dr. Turner is a physiologist best known for his work on evolution and ecology. He is retired from the faculty of SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, though still active in his research specialty, the study of termite colonies. His books include The Extended Organism:  The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures (Harvard University Press, 2002); The Tinkerer's Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (Harvard University Press, 2010); and Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something "Alive" and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It (HarperOne, 2017). He has authored more than 100 scientific and popular articles.

In several published essays, Dr. Turner has sharply criticized the politicization of contemporary science, including in The American Mind (“The Brainworms Come For Big Science”), in National Review Online (“The Self-Inflicted Decline of Science and the Academy”), and for the Heritage Foundation (“Science and the Decline of the American Academy”).

Upon accepting the appointment, Dr. Turner remarked: “I am very pleased to be joining the NAS, which has for many years been raising the alarm over the ongoing degradation of the highest ideals of the academy. The sciences have not been exempt, and I look forward to bringing this perspective to the NAS’s mission.”

Dr. Wood added, “Dr. Turner is the ideal candidate to lead this new initiative by NAS. His credibility as a scientist practicing at the highest level of his discipline and his desire to engage in the larger debate over the future of science itself will be vital to the success of the project.”

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at


If you would like more information about NAS’s Diversity in the Sciences project, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].

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