Poisonous word smoothy

A paper from the Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education:
Disrupting and Displacing Methodologies in STEM Education: from Engineering to Tinkering with Theory for Eco-Social Justice

It has been argued many times over the course of decades and across diverse paradigms that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education practices-as-usual (re)produce systems of dominance: be it patriarchy, heteronormativity, white supremacy, Eurocentrism, (neo-)colonialism, able-ism, classism, labor inequity, anthropocentrism, and/or others. Thankfully, there are many who are doing the critical and creative work of (re)opening STEM education to the possibility of eco-social justice to-come through a plurality of productive approaches, orientations, and stances: anti-oppressive, anti-racist and critical race-based, decolonizing and de/colonizing, queer, Indigenous, gender-equitable, post-colonial, community-based and participatory, critical place-based, inter-species, and many more. Further, there are many examples taking richly critical and complicit stances to work within and against logics of exclusion. Yet, in doing so, many of these engagements are oft depoliticized and atheoretical practices of inclusion in ways that continue othering those formerly excluded, albeit differently…

Those are the first four sentences, and less than half the first paragraph. There are one-hundred forty one words. Polysyllabic opportunity is taken at every turn. Especially where a Social Justice meme can be invoked for the target audience.

In, well, quite a few words for four sentences, Marc Higgins, Maria F. G. Wallace and Jesse Bazzul check every identity group/victimhood box, and add “and/or others” and “and many more” for good measure. Tomorrow’s outrage groups can’t be easily identified.

This may be the clearest (partial) paragraph in the piece, since it consists primarily of lists of the oppressed and oppressions.  The redundancy of “many” and “oft” in the last sentence is a minor point of confusion in a paragraph designed to be incomprehensible except to the cognoscenti. It is just a warmup for the even more intentionally obscure word smoothy to follow. Translated, that half paragraph is rendered:
Some people we know have been saying STEM education is socially unjust for a long time. It’s a good thing those people are trying to make STEM education conform to the post-modernist assertion that we can’t really know anything. The only truth is power. Justice demands STEM education be like the ________ Studies curricula.

I’ll admit some of that is interpretation based on understanding the code words, but we’ll get to more evidence for my poetic license below:

…the curricular inclusion of Indigenous perspectives is differentially problematic if we cannot also attend to the taken-for-granted and naturalized epistemological, ontological, and axiological commitments and enactments of what we are including perspectives into.

This sentence is probably the best example in the paper in the paper of esoteric obscurantism, as well as absolutely terrible writing even in context, but I’ll give translating it a shot:
Including Native American mysticism in basic STEM teaching methods will not be useful if we can’t also reject the essentially Enlightment ideas of logic and rationalism. It will be doubleplus ungood if we don’t do more to make hard science “woke.”

Last example, I promise:

…There are now multiple productive exemplars which critically engage methodological processes to disrupt and displace restrictive norms which linger and lurk with/in educational research and its concepts which left unchecked (re)articulate forms of oppressive power. The space of “innocence” which serves to mask methodological power is perhaps no longer tenable for not addressing taken-for-granted referents to system which (re)produce dominance, inequity, and foreclose the space of responsibility towards one another across lines of difference and power…

The double negative is a thoughtful touch, as is “exemplar” where “example” would have done. (That’s like “utilize” instead of “use.”) “Lurk” and “mask” subtly add to the bias of the evidence free critique.

Translation:
Lately, we see many useful examples of “critical theory” being applied to STEM research/teaching methodology. This is important in order to disrupt the oppressive power of the so-called scientific method, which pretends, by definition, it is unbiased. As we all know, that isn’t so. Maybe we’re not doing a good enough job destroying it. Such systems are bad things, because they exclude those who aren’t competent within them.

This paper is full of coded micro-approval virtue signals, and assumes its world-view is unassailable. But, that’s not the worst problem it poses. It is part of the withering, post-modernist attack on hard science. Those who practice hard science in our educational institutions should be warned: From their Womens Studies beachhead, the post-modernists have already marched through English, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, History, et. al.; Biology is next; Mathematics will be last, but they’re coming for you.

Hat Tip: Jordan Peterson

Margaret Sanger would be disappointed

Progressive Creationism: A Review of ‘A Dangerous Idea’

[D]o they genuinely think that equal rights are contingent on environmental determinism? Not just politically, because it’s easier to persuade people to embrace equal rights if they believe humans are born as blank slates, but logically? Are they the stupid ones?

Whatever the explanation, the energy the Social Justice Left devotes to denying basic scientific truths puts the persecutors of Galileo to shame.

Read the whole thing.  And then read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate.

Science suppression

This must be the “other way of knowing” Feminists are on about.

The New Evolution Deniers

Harvard Med School falls silent, won’t clarify why it opposes Trump admin’s definition of sex

New Study Confirms Yet Again Gender ‘Wage’ Gap Due To Women Not Working. Guess How The Media Is Portraying It.

Most people would call it Newspeak. See also Venndetta.

This is not the diversity you’re looking for

UMich student gov MANDATES attendance at ‘Students of Color’ events
RTWT, but this struck me as disingenuous (the vote was 25-2 with three abstentions):

“It is a bit ridiculous to mandate cultural curiosity,” representative Edwin Mui, one of the three individuals who abstained from voting, told Campus Reform.

“As U-M students, we should already have a mindset of fostering diversity and inclusion,” Mui continued. “The fact we must pass legislation to force representatives to learn about different cultures is disappointing.”

Indeed.  But not, I think, for the reasons Mr. Mui regrets. I note no one is being forced to be curious about the College Republicans club.

With the feigned distress of one who refused to take a side, he regrets the “necessity.” But which necessity? The necessity that attendance at Students of Color events be raised? The necessity of virtue signaling?  The necessity of using power to make people do something they obviously prefer not to do?  At not least frequently enough to satisfy U-M’s tiny totalitarians?

Mr. Mui is not upset that University of Michigan student government is force marching the cultural-diversity resistant reprobates who are obviously not real “U-M quality” students. It’s something they should want to do anyway. U-M student government was left with no choice but to make them attend re-education seminars.  That may not work exactly the way they hope.

Mr. Mui doesn’t object to the result; he objects to the U-M student government’s abuse of power being laid bare.  That necessity wasn’t regrettable.  Or necessary.

I wonder if someone will become so enamored of another culture that the U-M student government will have to pass an anti-cultural-appropriation mandate. If they haven’t already.

The selected zero-sum victims cult

Conflate the ideas in the following 3 articles, and ponder.
1) Selection effects

To take a more provocative example [of selection effects], consider the “____ studies” fields in academia. Even if they don’t explicitly require professors to have left-wing ideas, they select for such professors by making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view. In other fields, this is less the case. But I fear that in those other fields, any lack of diversity along gender or racial lines will be used as a wedge to make them to come up with selection criteria that have the effect of pulling in people with a left-wing viewpoint. In economics, I call this the “road to sociology watch.”

2) Does the Zero-Sum Nature of Academic Success Contribute to the Left-wards Bias of Academia?

For a while now, I have had a theory that the zero-sum nature of academic success (competition for a fixed and perhaps shrinking number of tenured positions) affects the larger world-view of academia. (This article that compares academia to a harmful cult demonstrates this zero-sum thinking pretty well.)

3) The Free Speech Crisis on Campus Is Worse than People Think

We’ve heard about microaggressions, said to be small slights that over time do great harm to disadvantaged groups; trigger warnings, which some students demand before they are exposed to course material that might be disturbing; and safe spaces, where people can go to be free of ideas that challenge leftist identity politics. We’ve heard claims that speech that offends campus activists is actually violence, and we’ve seen activists use actual violence to stop it —and to defend this as self-defense—when administrators fail to do so…

[T]he new culture of victimhood combines sensitivity to slight with appeal to authority. Those who embrace it see themselves as fighting oppression, and even minor offenses can be worthy of attention and action. Slights, insults, and sometimes even arguments or evidence might further victimize an oppressed group, and authorities must deal with them. You could call this social justice culture since those who embrace it are pursuing a vision of social justice. But we call it victimhood culture because being recognized as a victim of oppression now confers a kind of moral status, in much the same way that being recognized for bravery did in honor cultures…

Victimhood culture is a new moral culture, not simply a variant of dignity culture. Its adherents and defenders still use much of the language of dignity, as when writer Regina Rini describes the goal of microaggression reporting as “a culture in which no one is denied full moral recognition.” This sounds like dignity culture, except that the implication is that even minor and unintentional slights deny people full moral recognition. The break with dignity culture is more fundamental, though. Dignity culture fights oppression by appealing to what we all have in common. Our status as human beings is what’s most important about us. But victimhood culture conceives of people as victims or oppressors, and maintains that where we fall on this dimension is what’s most important about us, even in our everyday relationships and interactions. And this means that victimhood culture is ultimately incompatible with the goals of the university. Pursuing truth in an environment of vigorous debate will always involve causing offense—and one of the shibboleths of victimhood culture is that it’s okay to offend the oppressors but not the oppressed. Many campus activists, realizing this, have attacked the ideals of free speech and academic freedom. One of these visions will have to prevail—either dignity culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue truth, or victimhood culture and the notion of the university as a place to pursue social justice.

The first article ends with the passage I quoted, and there’s more there to think about. “Making uncomfortable anyone with a different point of view” is a very nice description of why our campuses have become so anti-free speech. RTWT. I also highly recommend perusing the comments.

The second article makes a wonderful point about capitalism. The comments there are also worth a look.

The third article is fairly long, but it does an excellent job making the case that “Victimhood culture is a moral culture, and the activists who embrace it are moral actors, not part of a “snowflake generation” that can’t cope with disagreement.” In other words, victimhood culture is much more of a threat to classical liberal values than you might think if you dismiss it as a silly, passing phase of young naifs surrounded by mentors who view 1984 as a “How to” guide.

This new culture is abetted by social media; where qualifications for oppressed tribal membership are continually redefined, identitarian scoring systems are maintained, and virtue signaling shaming rituals are fueled.

Further reading:

Rule by internet mobs.
Narrow Roads of Bozo Land: How We Came to Be Governed by Online Mobs

Crowdsourced anonymous Kafkaesque accusations.
How An Anonymous Accusation Derailed My Life

The value of victimhood.
Collision with Reality: What Depth Psychology Can Tell us About Victimhood Culture

And what should we fear?
Western Civilisation “Not Welcome Here”

Finally, see if you can connect these dots to Jordan Peterson’s popularity.
Harvard Study: 20% Of College Students Consider Suicide; 9% Attempt It

Victim culture activists truly are as afraid of words as they say they are. It’s not posturing, it’s mental illness posing as a moral code; producing fragile people whose stifling nihilism becomes their only real psychological defense.

Jordan Peterson on why university safe spaces are absurd and crippling:

The Mental Health Crisis | Jonathan Haidt:

In sum:
Strictly select your collective for matching ideology.
View every game as zero-sum.
Create hundreds of victim groups.
Convince students that rights trump responsibilities.

Then teach them they are oppressed by culture outside the ivory towers, and they will demand dignity free safe spaces from within which to plot its destruction.

Venndetta

A Professor at Brown Uncovers a Transgender Inconvenient Truth

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition supporting a Brown University social scientist who is under fire from activists and her own university for research raising questions about whether social factors, rather than biological ones, could influence young adults’ transgender identities.

The point I take from this story is not a bit of evidence informing the nature/nuture debate, nor a “truth” about people who profess to be one of any number of non-cis-normative “genders.”

The point is academics stepping out of their safe spaces to claim the strict application of orthodoxy is not just appropriate, but mandatory. I see Newspeak enforcers.

Here we have academics insisting transgenderism is in no way socially constructed. It’s all nature. Outcomes are biologically predetermined.

These are the same academics who insist any difference in the choices of those with XX chromsomes from those with XY chromosomes is totally socially constructed by a patriarchcal conspiracy. It’s all nurture. Outcomes are culturally determined.

There are two propositions:
1-Differences between transgenders and non-transgenders cannot be based on social influence.
2-Differences between those with XX and XY chromosomes are entirely due to social influence.

What is in common is this: No question can be asked that might challenge SJW orthodoxy.

There’s a Venn diagram there for Dr. Perry.

The Long March

On April 17th I wondered:

Is free speech under assault on college campuses? Well, some people, including President Trump, think not.

Then we have this idiot show up to assure us that to think free speech is in danger on campuses (including those where e you can’t be sure using the made up pronoun “zir” is the only way to avoid administrative persecution) is a vast delusional right-wing conspiracy.

The vastness is only limited by the number of people who weren’t conscripted for the ‘[L]ong march through the institutions.

Jordan Peterson on Chan4

Never fails to impress, and this is even better than most.

Interviewer (hostile): Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?

Peterson: Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable. […] You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.

… a few seconds pass…

Peterson (chuckling kindly): Ha. Gotcha.

Interviewer:You have got me. You have got me. I’m trying to work that through my head. It took awhile. It took awhile. It took awhile.

Watch the whole beautiful thing. Half an hour well spent.

And, BTW, Peterson has a new book out. My copy will be here next Tuesday.