Science is racist because....

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Science is racist because....

Postby mr friendly guy » 2016-10-16 09:13pm



Jesus Christ. Science is racist because its western knowledge and colonisation. We need knowledge that speaks to us (Africans). This is why a lot of sceptics don't like some of the thinking coming out of social sciences, where reality is subjective rather than objective. Its been infiltrating science for a while now - remember Newton's Principia is a rape manual.

For those who want commentary. I particularly recommend the second link because it also talks about the bullshit in social sciences.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i80qaETtw8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k-kEhVBdnY
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-17 12:24am

This is what you get from someone who is deeply, profoundly unaware of what science is. The very fact that she's talking about "science says Newton saw an apple fall and came up with this equation out of nowhere and this is the only way to explain gravity" as if that is what science is suggests she has literally no comprehension of what science is, or how it works.

If her mental model of science is "this list of things a bunch of white people put in books so they can tell me what's what," no wonder she resists it.

But the problem here is not that she's anticolonialist, the problem here is that her science education was an atrocity and didn't teach her anything meaningful about science. With no framework for that, she's in no position to understand the difference between fact and fiction, and a fiction told by people she likes will appear more appealing than a fact told by people she dislikes.

There are similarly anti-science people in every corner of the Earth, this is not a new or unique issue, and it isn't a product of post-modernism or anti-colonialism or anything else whatsoever. EVERY social movement that has firm political views on who is RIghteous and who is Not... Always, without fail, these movements wind up having to argue something along the lines of "science is overrated." Because sooner or later their preconceptions clash with scientific fact, and the movement isn't wired to gracefully say "okay, science is right and I'm wrong."
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-10-17 01:30am

So, barring someone making them face reality, what will be the logical extension of this? Would there be a cultural adaptation of accepting 'black magic' becoming a normal part of society, to try and have these stories accepted as true? What is the cultural consequence of this?

As an example, if I was in a meeting like this, and I said that my deceased great grandmother could fly around the room by the power of eating cinnamon, would that have to be accepted as true, because I said it is so? Or would this have to be folklore that was passed down for generations to be considered true? If asked to prove it, I could simply say that it is part of my truth, and that your opinion against me is damaging.

Am I missing something in her train of thought?
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2016-10-17 06:01am

While lack of fundamental education is a serious part of the problem, the other problem is that scientists overwhelming come from places of wealth and power, leading to a feeling of scientific imperialism as native ideas are shot down. While this is largely a similar struggle to that of creationism, the problem is that in this case the traditional power structure is entirely opposed to the ideas rather than coming down on different sides of it, which causes those that believe this to feel even more slighted by the system of power.

After five minutes of googling, this is a presumably small part of a series of political protests known as FeesMustFall by students in South Africa. There is an underlying decolonization argument to these debates as well, which is much of what you see here.

The real underlying problem is that many on the side of science in debates like this have horrible ideas in other ways. One of the OP's links, Thunderf00t, is extremely misogynistic, notably having a vendetta against the site Feminist Frequency and its criticism of sexism in video games. This was a part of GamerGate.

Don't get me wrong, ideas like that of this young woman are horrible, but that doesn't mean there is a reason they are being made other than lack of education.

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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-17 06:16am

FaxModem1 wrote:So, barring someone making them face reality, what will be the logical extension of this? Would there be a cultural adaptation of accepting 'black magic' becoming a normal part of society, to try and have these stories accepted as true? What is the cultural consequence of this?

As an example, if I was in a meeting like this, and I said that my deceased great grandmother could fly around the room by the power of eating cinnamon, would that have to be accepted as true, because I said it is so? Or would this have to be folklore that was passed down for generations to be considered true? If asked to prove it, I could simply say that it is part of my truth, and that your opinion against me is damaging.

Am I missing something in her train of thought?
I would dearly like to know, if there is. Though I will note that the obvious reason Gray Haired Moderator Lady delivered a chewing out (not a lot of teeth in it, more of a gumming really) was because the unseen fellow who spoke interrupted someone who was already speaking. He was heckling, not rebutting.

Granted that she might have done the same thing if he'd given a more moderate and reasoned response (like yours). But she might not. We'll never know.

I will also note that Reboot Science From Scratch Lady was somewhat abusing the protection granted by the "no interruptions, gentle tone" discussion forum, by spending several minutes on an impassioned rant and not giving those who disagree with her time to respond. Were I present, and if the rules of the discussion didn't already cover that issue, I would suggest to the moderator that, for the sake of keeping discussion balanced as well as 'safe,' people be encouraged to be succinct. That way, others can add and share meaningfully, rather than having to sit down and take notes for some kind of bizarre point by point rebuttal, the equivalent of a massive piece of quote spaghetti in a forum post.

Adam Reynolds wrote:While lack of fundamental education is a serious part of the problem, the other problem is that scientists overwhelming come from places of wealth and power, leading to a feeling of scientific imperialism as native ideas are shot down. While this is largely a similar struggle to that of creationism, the problem is that in this case the traditional power structure is entirely opposed to the ideas rather than coming down on different sides of it, which causes those that believe this to feel even more slighted by the system of power.

After five minutes of googling, this is a presumably small part of a series of political protests known as FeesMustFall by students in South Africa. There is an underlying decolonization argument to these debates as well, which is much of what you see here...

Don't get me wrong, ideas like that of this young woman are horrible, but that doesn't mean there is a reason they are being made other than lack of education.
Put this way. This woman's impassioned speech would read a bit differently if she were not laboring under misapprehensions about the basic nature of science. She seems to view it as "the white people's mythology" for all intents and purposes.

If she did not, she would talk about the need to "take back science." She might talk about the need to have science that Africans feel comfortable participating in. She might talk about how science can be abused as a vector by arrogant people to not only try and correct things that are genuinely harmful, but to slap down and batter people- and that is an abuse of science, because science is about truth and reason, not about power and cruelty.

But she wouldn't be talking about 'tear down this edifice' if she really understood what she were proposing to tear down.

And nothing she'd be saying would be a problem. The problem is not that this woman has something to say- the problem is, specifically, that she is saying things that undermine her own case and would be disastrous if acted on. She wouldn't say those things if she understood science better.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Flagg » 2016-10-17 07:15am

I don't care if you're a relatively poor person with Zulu anscestry and believe in and spout stupid supernatural horseshit from their culture or a billionaire with AngloSaxon anscestry and believe In and spout supernatural horseshit from their culture in a Social Sciences class/debate/study group, you should be interrupted and have that shit shut down. If it traumatized them, go to a safe space (I heartily agree with safe spaces, outside the classroom/debate/study group) and they can suck thier thumb.

Because spouting bullshit and having it given equal credibility within that setting is far more harmful than being told black magic, voodoo, and rising from the dead 3 days after dying from being nailed to a board and having a believer in such bullshit be offended and need to sit in a beanbag chair and cry elicits zero sympathy from me.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby ray245 » 2016-10-17 08:21am

The problem is the idea of "safe space" is being abused because it allows people to spout whatever they want to believe in without being questioned themselves.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-17 09:44am

ray245 wrote:The problem is the idea of "safe space" is being abused because it allows people to spout whatever they want to believe in without being questioned themselves.
There are two separate issues.

One is whether "safe space" means you have a reasonable guarantee of freedom from interruption. This is quite a reasonable expectation. Nobody has a right to heckle in a civilized debate forum. At best, heckling may be a tolerated privilege, but it is not a right.*

The other is whether "safe space" means you have a reasonable guarantee of freedom from contradiction. That is a very different animal.

From the clip provided we have no way of knowing whether the rules of the discussion prohibited contradiction. We only know they prohibited an interruption- and an uncouth, zero-substance one at that. You may sympathize with the viewpoint the interrupting party stands for, but the point remains that if he can't respect debate rules, he should cede his chair at that debate to someone more capable of doing so.
______________

*[Before anyone invokes the rules of this board, I would like to point out that it is literally impossible to heckle or interrupt someone on a message board. You can't stop them from presenting their message completely, in toto. It's impossible to do so. A spoken discussion forum with several dozen people present has to operate on very different rules, and nobody would ever get a word in edgewise if everyone acted as though they were entitled to interrupt the speaker]
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Kingmaker » 2016-10-17 10:01am

But the problem here is not that she's anticolonialist, the problem here is that her science education was an atrocity and didn't teach her anything meaningful about science. With no framework for that, she's in no position to understand the difference between fact and fiction, and a fiction told by people she likes will appear more appealing than a fact told by people she dislikes.


Many people with equally bad education in science do not assume science is a western colonialist plot, so I don’t think that is a sufficient explanation. Ideology/belief can and does motivate willful ignorance about seemingly obvious things; look at creationists for an example closer to home. Creationists mostly didn’t lack for someone to explain basic evolution or biology to them, and by and large the fundamental problem wasn’t that the explanation wasn’t good enough. It's that their beliefs encouraged them to reject the idea.

I suspect this group is in roughly the same boat; anti-colonial fervor and skepticism of western thought motivates the misunderstanding*. The problem is that anti-colonialism is extended from a political project into an all-encompassing worldview.

So, I’m partially agreeing with you: the problem here is not anti-colonialism per se. However, I think the problem is the overextension of an idea, rather than mere lack of education.

*not helped by a partially justified belief that science was sometimes used to justify colonialism.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby mr friendly guy » 2016-10-17 11:14am

Simon_Jester wrote:
There are similarly anti-science people in every corner of the Earth, this is not a new or unique issue, and it isn't a product of post-modernism or anti-colonialism or anything else whatsoever. EVERY social movement that has firm political views on who is RIghteous and who is Not... Always, without fail, these movements wind up having to argue something along the lines of "science is overrated." Because sooner or later their preconceptions clash with scientific fact, and the movement isn't wired to gracefully say "okay, science is right and I'm wrong."

Of course there are antiscience from all political fringes. Its just that I haven't seen it using the western anti-colonial justification before. The closest that I can think of is the Nazis describing Einstein's theories as "Jewish physics," or Lysenkoism attacking science as capitalist, both of which are decades ago.


From the clip provided we have no way of knowing whether the rules of the discussion prohibited contradiction. We only know they prohibited an interruption- and an uncouth, zero-substance one at that. You may sympathize with the viewpoint the interrupting party stands for, but the point remains that if he can't respect debate rules, he should cede his chair at that debate to someone more capable of doing so.

The problem is, she asked a question. - So can you explain that scientifically? She was also facing someone specifically, which is reasonable to interpret that it was open for a response.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby mr friendly guy » 2016-10-17 11:32am

Adam Reynolds wrote:
The real underlying problem is that many on the side of science in debates like this have horrible ideas in other ways. One of the OP's links, Thunderf00t, is extremely misogynistic, notably having a vendetta against the site Feminist Frequency and its criticism of sexism in video games. This was a part of GamerGate.


1. If you think criticising Feminist Frequency is a vendetta, then you really haven't really seen much. Thunderf00t has made waaaaay more videos criticising Creationism, but I don't think anyone is going to accuse him of having a vendetta against Creationists.

Now Thunderf00t does have vendetta's, WWE style against other youtubers - usually ones who try to shut his channel down. That is VenonFangX using a false DMCA claim (he made VenonFangX apologise on a video), some Muslim apologist (who made a video apologising to him, IIRC correctly using DMCAs) and Laughing Witch, who boasted openly on YT about trying to get him fired from his job by writing to his employer telling them he was a Nazi while he was working in a country where being such is not just frowned upon, but illegal (his smack down was hilarious and she made an apology, then followed up with a non apology, but we all knew who came out on top, including the SJWs crying victimhood when their own activism is turned against them).

Again, if you think several videos criticising feminist frequency is a vendetta, I think your definition of vendetta is quite broad.

Don't get me wrong, ideas like that of this young woman are horrible, but that doesn't mean there is a reason they are being made other than lack of education.

You do realise in your opening line you contradict this statement about no other reason other than lack of education for her making these retarded statements when you kind of give another reason for it, like "scientists overwhelming come from places of wealth and power."
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-17 11:52am

Kingmaker wrote:Many people with equally bad education in science do not assume science is a western colonialist plot, so I don’t think that is a sufficient explanation. Ideology/belief can and does motivate willful ignorance about seemingly obvious things; look at creationists for an example closer to home. Creationists mostly didn’t lack for someone to explain basic evolution or biology to them, and by and large the fundamental problem wasn’t that the explanation wasn’t good enough. It's that their beliefs encouraged them to reject the idea.
There are four possible combinations:
1) Good science education, no ideology
2) Bad science education, no ideology
3) Good science education, ideology
4) Bad science education, ideology.

(4) tends to be much worse for a person than either (2) or (3). The problem is not one the presence or absence of a single factor. The problem is that, given the presence of another factor, the absence of the first factor is a disaster.

I suspect this group is in roughly the same boat; anti-colonial fervor and skepticism of western thought motivates the misunderstanding*. The problem is that anti-colonialism is extended from a political project into an all-encompassing worldview.

So, I’m partially agreeing with you: the problem here is not anti-colonialism per se. However, I think the problem is the overextension of an idea, rather than mere lack of education.
Lack of early education is one of the things that results in people overextending their ideas. Because if your brain is a giant pool of ignorance, except for One Big Idea that has the advantage of being at least locally correct as a solution to some problems...

That One Big Idea is going to start spreading out to occupy more and more of your headspace, filling up the spaces that other, more useful and relevant ideas didn't fill.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If all you have is detailed knowledge of Islam, everything starts to look like a problem to be solved by throwing more Islam at it. If all you know is how to deconstruct literature, everything starts to look like a social construct to be deconstructed. And so on.

mr friendly guy wrote:Of course there are antiscience from all political fringes. Its just that I haven't seen it using the western anti-colonial justification before. The closest that I can think of is the Nazis describing Einstein's theories as "Jewish physics," or Lysenkoism attacking science as capitalist, both of which are decades ago.
Other people have used code words like "long-haired intellectuals" or "ivory-tower academics" or whatever. The American right in particular has been antiscience whenever it suited their purposes for decades; other groups have been doing much the same.

This is at most an interesting new subspecies of a very well known family of organism. I'm not going to deny that it IS interesting... but it's not all that novel.

From the clip provided we have no way of knowing whether the rules of the discussion prohibited contradiction. We only know they prohibited an interruption- and an uncouth, zero-substance one at that. You may sympathize with the viewpoint the interrupting party stands for, but the point remains that if he can't respect debate rules, he should cede his chair at that debate to someone more capable of doing so.

The problem is, she asked a question. - So can you explain that scientifically? She was also facing someone specifically, which is reasonable to interpret that it was open for a response.
Agreed- although we from our camera angle cannot truly judge all that happened. Another point I would make to the moderator (grey-haired lady, apparently) is that the rules of discussion need to be clear on such things. If a speaker addresses specific members of the audience, are they entitled to speak? If not, they are effectively being told to sit quietly and be bullied. Can direct questions be answered without it being disruption of the space? If not, it would behoove the speakers not to ask questions they know are going to have the effect of baiting others to interrupt them.

Maintaining a good discussion environment takes a lot of work, and it is the responsibility of ALL parties involved to respect that.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby ray245 » 2016-10-18 12:39am

Simon_Jester wrote:
ray245 wrote:The problem is the idea of "safe space" is being abused because it allows people to spout whatever they want to believe in without being questioned themselves.
There are two separate issues.

One is whether "safe space" means you have a reasonable guarantee of freedom from interruption. This is quite a reasonable expectation. Nobody has a right to heckle in a civilized debate forum. At best, heckling may be a tolerated privilege, but it is not a right.*

The other is whether "safe space" means you have a reasonable guarantee of freedom from contradiction. That is a very different animal.

From the clip provided we have no way of knowing whether the rules of the discussion prohibited contradiction. We only know they prohibited an interruption- and an uncouth, zero-substance one at that. You may sympathize with the viewpoint the interrupting party stands for, but the point remains that if he can't respect debate rules, he should cede his chair at that debate to someone more capable of doing so.
______________

*[Before anyone invokes the rules of this board, I would like to point out that it is literally impossible to heckle or interrupt someone on a message board. You can't stop them from presenting their message completely, in toto. It's impossible to do so. A spoken discussion forum with several dozen people present has to operate on very different rules, and nobody would ever get a word in edgewise if everyone acted as though they were entitled to interrupt the speaker]


The "safe-space" I am talking about is a little different. What she seem to be doing is to turn the discussion topic into a "safe space" topic, in which you can't rebut her without "harming her emotionally". By turning the topic of science into a debate about culture and Imperialism, anyone who challenge her view can be seen as an aggressor and pushing a neo-colonist agenda from her point of view. Science itself becomes a tool of oppression against Africans to her.

Although I do have to point out that she is right about science, but only to a minor degree. While science itself isn't a Western construct, our organisation of science as a subject very much is. Gunpowder is considered a medicine in ancinet China despite its wide range of use, simply because of the people that created it.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-18 01:19am

The thing is, no one really TRIED to rebut her meaningfully in the time of the clip- mostly because the clip records only her own rather... exercised... remarks. During that time, she was heckled, but not rebutted.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Grumman » 2016-10-18 06:33am

Adam Reynolds wrote:While lack of fundamental education is a serious part of the problem, the other problem is that scientists overwhelming come from places of wealth and power, leading to a feeling of scientific imperialism as native ideas are shot down.

No, the other problem is that only stupid people see a correlation between nations using science and having wealth and power and think that's a reason not to listen to scientists. It's like rejecting a diet and exercise regime because everyone who vouches for it is thin and healthy.

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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby SpottedKitty » 2016-10-18 07:11am

Simon_Jester wrote:This is what you get from someone who is deeply, profoundly unaware of what science is. The very fact that she's talking about "science says Newton saw an apple fall and came up with this equation out of nowhere and this is the only way to explain gravity" as if that is what science is suggests she has literally no comprehension of what science is, or how it works.

Very much this, unfortunately. Anyone remember the huge series of essays Isaac Asimov wrote for one of the glossy SF magazines? I have some of the collections (somewhere in my library that thinks it's a bedroom; been a while since I last read any of them), and I'm sure I remember he covered this subject many times.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby ray245 » 2016-10-18 08:09am

Grumman wrote:
Adam Reynolds wrote:While lack of fundamental education is a serious part of the problem, the other problem is that scientists overwhelming come from places of wealth and power, leading to a feeling of scientific imperialism as native ideas are shot down.

No, the other problem is that only stupid people see a correlation between nations using science and having wealth and power and think that's a reason not to listen to scientists. It's like rejecting a diet and exercise regime because everyone who vouches for it is thin and healthy.


It's more like rejecting a diet because the overweight person wants being fat to be "morally" superior position.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-18 10:44am

No, it's the view that science is merely an attempt by whites to create a cultural framework that justifies pushing everyone else around and devaluing them.

It's more like distrusting diets because you believe they're mostly a plot by skinny people to rob, cheat, or otherwise harm fat people.

Or like thinking alarm clocks are a plot by morning people to take advantage of night owls, by making the ability to wake up early critical to our society, while making the ability to stay up late useless or actively counterproductive.

See, the issue here is that the speaker thinks of science as "white people mythology," not as, you know, actual science in the sense that people on this website understand the term. This is why there's a point in her rant where she says that people who are "able to reason" should be able to do better for themselves. I'm not sure she has a clear picture of what that process would look like- scrapping 'science' and starting over- but that's the issue.

To us, the idea of scrapping science and starting over sounds dumb, because at best you'd recreate all the same things you had before. Because, as we know, there is only one world for all of us. Scientific facts are by definition not cultural constructs, they are things that work the same way if you're black, white, blue, or green. Science is entirely the effort to learn about this shared world, and the fruits of science can be used by all peoples in the same beneficial ways. The only thing you have to sacrifice in exchange, is your willingness to believe a lie.

But this is nowhere near the mental picture that the speaker has of science, as illustrated by her choice of an example to discuss science. "Science is Newton seeing an apple fall and then he creates this equation and it's only his experience that matters" is a great misrepresentation of science, and for that matter Newton's work. It doesn't even come close to the picture of science I outlined in the paragraph above. And her discomfort is with the strawman version, not the real thing.

Because the strawman version CAN be a tool of cultural oppression, if it's only there to invalidate the culture she loves, without giving her anything in return.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Lagmonster » 2016-10-18 11:40am

They're the creationists of South Africa - they talk about tossing away anything which suggests that the magic they believe in isn't real. Imagine them with a Texas accent and a nice suit pontificating about how Darwin was just a satanic conspirator, and you'll about have an idea of the kind of mind you're listening to.

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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-18 11:53am

South Africa is probably a very fertile ground for this, because it experienced an insanely high level of racist/colonialist oppression, one that was intensely traumatic and (this is important) only ended about twenty years ago. The idea that "science is a tool the Boers used to oppress us" probably gets more traction in South Africa than corresponding ideas would in quite a few other African nations.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby ray245 » 2016-10-18 02:56pm

Simon_Jester wrote:South Africa is probably a very fertile ground for this, because it experienced an insanely high level of racist/colonialist oppression, one that was intensely traumatic and (this is important) only ended about twenty years ago. The idea that "science is a tool the Boers used to oppress us" probably gets more traction in South Africa than corresponding ideas would in quite a few other African nations.


The problem is they've developed a persecution mentality to go along with it as well. Sure they can reject science, but they also lost the right go around complaining about being oppressed if that allows other countries to take advantage of them.
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2016-10-18 03:08pm

SpottedKitty wrote:Very much this, unfortunately. Anyone remember the huge series of essays Isaac Asimov wrote for one of the glossy SF magazines? I have some of the collections (somewhere in my library that thinks it's a bedroom; been a while since I last read any of them), and I'm sure I remember he covered this subject many times.

The one I am familiar with is The Relatively of Wrong, in which he uses the analogy of the shape of the Earth to show how scientific knowledge doesn't become obsolete, only more refined. That might be one of the ones you are thinking of.

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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Flagg » 2016-10-18 03:22pm

ray245 wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:South Africa is probably a very fertile ground for this, because it experienced an insanely high level of racist/colonialist oppression, one that was intensely traumatic and (this is important) only ended about twenty years ago. The idea that "science is a tool the Boers used to oppress us" probably gets more traction in South Africa than corresponding ideas would in quite a few other African nations.


The problem is they've developed a persecution mentality to go along with it as well. Sure they can reject science, but they also lost the right go around complaining about being oppressed if that allows other countries to take advantage of them.

Christians, the literal fucking majority in the number of believers across the globe, also have a massive persecution complex. Mainly because it's built into their stupid beliefs. And they too reject science and complain about being oppressed.
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Simon_Jester
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-18 04:10pm

South African traditional-magic advocates at least have the excuse of actually being oppressed on racial lines, well within living memory, by a small but powerful minority of evil abusive fucks.
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ray245
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Re: Science is racist because....

Postby ray245 » 2016-10-18 04:39pm

Simon_Jester wrote:South African traditional-magic advocates at least have the excuse of actually being oppressed on racial lines, well within living memory, by a small but powerful minority of evil abusive fucks.


That's not an excuse to be stupid. Successful former colonies would learn science and technology from their former masters and strive to beat them.
Humans are such funny creatures. We are selfish about selflessness, yet we can love something so much that we can hate something.


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