South African students call for the “fall of colonizing Western science” and its replacement by “separate ways of knowledge”

I don’t know much about this video sent by reader Jason, but apparently it’s a meeting between the science faculty of UCT (The University of Cape Town) and a group of students calling for the “decolonization of science”—that “Western science must fall” and be “scratched out” because “Western knowledge is totalizing.” The hashtag #ScienceMustFall is apparently a going thing in South Africa.

The one student speaking demands a new science that incorporates the protestors’ own “separate knowledge”. But what is that “separate knowledge”? She mentions only one phenomenon that she credulously accepts: one group believes that you can send lightning to strike someone through black magic.  But she adduces no evidence, only the claim that “some people believe this” and then demands “can you can explain that scientifically?” I’d like to see a demonstration first!

One of our South African readers sent out this tw**t that gives a link to an article about #ScienceMustFall:

The article, by an anonymous author at My Broadband, takes apart some of this student’s claims, and you can see more discussion at the #ScienceMustFall site (most of it denigrates that “movement”).

It’s dangerous for people to claim that there are “other ways of knowledge” besides science—knowledge that includes black magic. These other ways are touted by postmodernists, humanities professors, and some feminists, but, as far as I can see, they haven’t led to substantive knowledge. Science is now a universal practice, with real knowledge produced by those of all faiths, nations, and ethnicities, but attempts to “scratch out” Western science (which is no longer Western) are doomed to failure. One example is Lysenkoism: a genetic “theory” enforced on Russia by Stalinist ideology, and the result was massive crop failure and starvation.

This is not, of course, to say that valuable knowledge can be produced by non-scientists. Many of our medicines, for instance, derive from “folk remedies” produced by indigenous people (quinine for malaria is one example). But ultimately, the value of these things must be demonstrated by scientific testing.


  1. Jim Knight
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    WOW! If South African students can produce lightening that they could aim at other people, certain factions of the South African civil government and the military would very quickly dominate the African continent, and probably a great many other places…

    Test it! Prove it a ridiculous claim.

    • Posted October 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Testing it would be using science. And science must fall. You have to just “listen and believe.”

      • Doug
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Why didn’t Blacks use it against Whites when they were living under apartheid?

    • Posted October 15, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Being a Witch myself (Bardic, American branch), knowing from experience that psychic phenomena (the basis of “real” magic) do exist, that there is a huge body of evidence supporting that fact and that too many scientISTS are biased against it (“On any other subject, one-tenth the evidence would have convinced me; on this subject, ten times the evidence would not convince me”), I would certainly agree that “western” science practitioners can be bigots as much as anyone else. However, “western” science in itself is quite good at disproving those biases — and discrediting the biased.

      This young lady starts out biased, thinking (like an infant) that whatever she wants *must* be right, and that discredits her right there. I’d say, let her and her supporters go right ahead and study their alternate ways of thinking, and let the rational adults study science, and see which of them does better in the real world outside of academia — especially when the next plague comes along.

      Better still, put an end to their hypocrisy. If necessary, use force to make the pious believers act and live according to their beliefs. That means, they can’t be allowed to use any of the products of Whitey, western science, but MUST use only the tools, techniques, and products of their own “ways of thinking”. See how many of them survive.

      –Leslie < )O(

  2. Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of W.H. Auden’s line: The enlightenment driven away.

    We now enjoy the “Western version” of methodology bashing thanks to belligerent science illiteracy and political polarization.

  3. Chris G
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Oh shit, now the western PC-brigade will adopt this anti-science rhetoric and I’ll have yet another topic to argue fruitlessly about with my kids.
    Thanks South African students!
    Chris G.
    P.S. I know for a fact the power to direct lightning at a person does not exist, because my kids would have honed the skill and used it against me on many occasions.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I find the continuing silence from “Chris G” to be very worrying. Did the kids get the incantation right at last?

      • Phil Giordana FCD
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        2 hours 30 minutes is not long enough to be qualified as “continuing silence”.

        Source: other ways of knowing.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear I feel a story coming on.

        Paddy is out duck-shooting with the local priest. Now Paddy is a rather excitable character and the first time he misses an easy shot he jumps up and yells “F*ck! Missed the bastard!”
        This perturbs the priest, who says severely “Paddy, the Lord does not like to hear bad language”. “Sorry, father”
        So Paddy contains himself – most of the time – till he misses another easy shot and again yells “F*ck! Missed the bast-” “Paddy!! I’ve told ye how your language disturbs the Lord! If ye keep on swearing like that the Lord is like to send a bolt of lightning to strike you down!”
        So Paddy is duly cowed by this and behaves himself all day until, late on, he misses the easiest shot of the day – right in front of him – and can contain himself no longer. “F*ck!! Missed the b- ” And instantly the whole world turns blinding white and Paddy is hurled backwards onto the ground, near-deafened by the shattering noise. And when he picks himself up a moment later there is just a huge smoking crater beside him where the priest had been. And from the clouds comes a thunderous voice “F*CK! MISSED THE BASTARD!”

        Sorry ’bout that…


        • Mark Joseph
          Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          No need to apologize! 🙂

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 15, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Ah, the good old standards.
          Short version : Paddy goes to confession. “I’ve been a naughty boy, having carnal thoughts.”
          Priest : “Was it with Mary from the Magdalane Laundry?”
          Paddy : “No”
          [lather rinse and repeat as often as you can stand]
          [Paddy gets his pennants and is kicked out into the rain to meet his cronies.]
          “What did you get, Paddy?” “Twenty ‘Hail Maries’, ten rosaries, and five good names and addresses.”

    • Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      That’s actually not a scientific argument: what you need is a random test group of 1000 kids or more who try to use their mental power to strike their parents with lightning, and a control group who could only protest their parents by scoffing, yelling, and running off to their room, but can’t use lightning.

  4. Tom
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    If this is not a hoax, (I suspect it is) it would seem to be incredible that their experience of treating HIV with quack nostrums has not taught some people how daft and dangerous they are?

    • Carmen Ray Anderson
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      this is no hoax… tragically, this is very real and these sentiments are accompanied by the burning of science labs and libraries, violent disruption, death threats and the closure of institutions for higher learning in South Africa. This is no hoax

    • Harrison
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      People turn to quack medicine because they lack an understanding of the real mechanisms of disease. That the quack medicine doesn’t work isn’t going to cause a sudden realization because they still don’t know WHY it failed.

  5. Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Typo: “This is not, of course, to say that valuable knowledge can be produced by non-scientists.”

    • Matti K
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 2:05 am | Permalink

      Scientist or not, valuable knowledge is always produced by observation, recording, and rational processing, followed often by trials to confirm the results of the processing.

  6. Richard Bond
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I claim cultural appropriation: the main speaker was wearing jeans. Also the chairwoman had straight hair, bleached towards the ends.

    • Dave B
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink, they were sitting on chairs. Chairs! with legs and everything.

      • eric
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Practically everything in that room, including their clothes, is a product of 20th century western science.

        I know this is crazy, but here’s an idea: if you’re at University and you don’t like science, don’t take it. If you want to develop some other way of knowing, go develop it. There’s simply no reason to tear anyone else’s accomplishments down.

        • eric
          Posted October 14, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Oops, 21st century…

          • Diane G.
            Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            Naw, I think you were right the first time. A lot of the contents are more than 16 years old. 😉

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          That was my first thought–they are complaining via Twi**er–that is, posting on a computer that was designed, built, and programmed by people at IBM, Apple, and similar places, based on theoretical work on transistors, integrated circuits, etc. done by other Western scientists.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted October 15, 2016 at 3:54 am | Permalink

            Have they no sense of irony?

            • Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

              Irony is not detected by these “other ways of knowing”.

        • Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Finally, we agree on something!

  7. Kevin
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    No Science? Is that really their wish. No inexpensive clothing, no roads, no clean water, no medicine and no more smart phone.

    Good grief. If western civilization has done anything repugnant it is through the slavery of religion, specifically Christianity.

    • Peter Austin
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Well, they can always get clean water, develop medicine en design smart phones based on their ‘separate knowledge’ instead of ‘Western science’ … nothing keeps them from doing so, right?
      I’d say: go for it. See how that works out for them.

    • somer
      Posted October 17, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      According to John Reader of Africa: Biography of a Continent. The atlantic slave trade started with no intention of slavery – it was a religious quest of several Portuguese kings. It developed into the slave trade later. The Portuguese were sending out expeditions searching for “Prester John” namely the ruler of Christian Ethiopia – who they wished to aid against the Muslims – they couldn’t go directly because of the Islamic countries in between so they hoped to reach it going round the continent. Ethiopians had sent envoys several times to Christian lands seeking assistance before this. Centuries later some Muslims established vast slave plantations on the East coast of Africa involving several millions.

      This anti science stuff is dangerous. They think opposing science is anti colonial when its the opposite. – it plays to the worst people in the ANC – corruption, superstition and dictatorship – at a time when the country is trying to broaden political representation to punish the current leadership of the ANC for betraying free South Africa

  8. rickflick
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    For all her enthusiasm for “decolonization”, I would be surprised if this young lady does not visit a shaman for medical treatment. Fortunately, from what I could see, the reaction of students in the class was very skeptical. Let’s hope this silly anti-science trend fades away quickly so that students can get on with becoming well trained professionals with a good science background.

  9. J. Quinton
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    People who claim that there’s a such thing as “Western science” are implicitly claiming that there’s a thing called “Western math”.

    As though in non-Western countries, 2+2 equals something other than 4. Or, well, pi is something other than 3.14 (heh).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      As is well-known, 2 + 2 = 5, for sufficiently large values of 2.


  10. Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Well, if you don’t care about:

    Whether your airplane stays in the air
    Whether your medicine works (or kills you)
    Whether the bridge over the river will stay up
    Whether your phone will work
    Whether you will have power
    Whether we will have effective controls on global warming

    Then, by all means, go right ahead: Back to the dark ages.

    Just don’t expect the rest of us to follow.

    • reasonshark
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      I do wonder if it’s the result of a “white lab coat” view of science: in other words, a stereotype of the enterprise. After all, if I were to approach random people and ask them what they imagine when they think about science, most would point to technology and labs and engineering and mathematics and indoor boffin-work. Few would talk about its epistemological grounding, its “way of thinking” aspects, or its emphasis on method over results and conclusions.

      Unfortunately, it’s a stereotype designed to make it seem like an exclusive club. That makes it a target for social identity conflicts, especially given that historically most of it has been the result of Western strains of thought, or at least is seen that way. That also makes it easy to associate science with, e.g. Western colonialism. Guilt by association is a common if regrettable cognitive bias.

      I think science needs to be seen more as an extension of the principles of honesty and integrity, and less like “that subject only nerds like at high school”. Science is far more universal than that. Like the principles of reason – because of the principles of reason – it’s culturally transcendent in reality.

      I think I understand what causes movements like this, but it makes me sad to think what they’re missing.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted October 15, 2016 at 3:57 am | Permalink

        Well said.

  11. dargndorp
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The young lady is sadly mistaken – lightning bolt isn’t black magic, it’s an evocation spell (3rd level, to be precise).

    • Posted October 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink



    • RPGNo1
      Posted November 2, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      descriptor [electricity] acc. to Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition, to be more precise. 😉

  12. Flemur
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “My friend the witch doctor”

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      Sorry, when I read that, all I could hear in my head was Ooh eeh ooh ah ah… Hands up if you know the rest.

  13. Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    She thinks science is “colonial” but shes got it exactly backwards. Science is egalitarian. Everyone can determine whats true and it doesnt matter who you are or where you come from. You can prove the ‘authorities’ wrong if the evidence is on your side. She tells the audience that some Africans can cause lightning to hit specific people. She expects us to take her word for it and gets angry when someone objects. This is the true colonial/authoritarian approach to knowledge: “I’ll tell you whats true and you better not question it”

    • Frank Bath
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I love Popper’s ‘Science is the rational unity of mankind.’ Says it all.

      • Carl
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        We could not do much better than to have the young study Popper’s ideas concerning science and knowledge. It wouldn’t hurt the old either.

    • peepuk
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      If we put things in perspective it’s not difficult to see where this anti-western-science sentiment and “other ways of knowing” comes from and why it will not easily go away.

      Science is the most important distinctive contribution of the West to the rest of the world.

      Science biggest supporters are mostly western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD).

      Science has been adopted and accepted by almost all governments and big corporations because it gives power; as we all know these institutions are not very popular.

      Roughly 99,999% people in the world are not researchers and will likely not contribute to the knowledge of our world.

      A lot of Science is difficult to understand, even for very smart people, and takes a lot of time and effort if we try. A good illustration of this is “Science’s Humanities Gap”
      (see F.I. ).

      In short :

      Science creates too much cognitive dissonance to become popular, and is too difficult to understand for most people (including me).

  14. jeffery
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out just what it is one does when one is “totalizing”…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Fiddling expenses.

  15. Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    With Jacob Zuma as our ”leader” (sic) is it any wonder that this type of mentality is , sadly, becoming the norm in SA.?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I saw a good cartoon the other day about South Africans watching the US elections. They spoke of Clinton being dishonest and corrupt vs Trump’s stupidity and bullying, and how terrible it was that one could be president. The last panel was about how South Africa had all that in one president.

  16. MP
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    It’s funny how she is using English – a colonial language – to express her anti-colonial views.

    • Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Sixo from Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”, the most rebellious among slave characters, used this logic consistently and decided to abandon English. But this made him unable to communicate (the slaves spoke no other language) and eventually he reverted to English.

  17. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    “Africanise” science??
    Sorry, but my experience of Africa is that the laws of science (physics, chemistry) work the same there as elsewhere.
    Now, accountancy, particularly expenses. They do seem to follow different laws. But that’s human behaviour, not proper science.

  18. Christopher
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Please, why don’t you go up to the roof, step off, and then you show me about other ways of “knowing” gravity.

  19. Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    There’s a whole “field” called “postcolonial science studies” where this is a thing. I find it insulting to our species, much like S. Harding’s equivalent “feminist science” (which is neither).
    The same bad arguments (or “arguments”, since logic is “Western”, right? :|) are trotted out.


    I should add, in fairness, that some aspects of this field shade into sometimes legitimate criticism of technology and industry, but without an understanding of science or the distinctions between the three, this critique cannot amount to much. For one thing: it makes it impossible for craft, with genuine merits for the environment, etc. to become technology.

  20. Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    first it was religion and now it’s victim me tooism

    science doesn’t care what people look like

    and it’s not subject to beliefs

    and it’s something that pre-industrial nations really never figured out

  21. Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I spent a day at the University of British Columbia at an anthropology information fest.

    the lectures about the use of computers to sort and laser scanning instead of making drawings

    and making videos instead of writing memos

    making science available

    was undermined by the Templeton Foundation’s funding taint and acting like that the cultures being studied had real force, rather than being cultural expressions

  22. Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what the “sacred rules” are, but I suspect they have something to do with taking idiotic ideas seriously.

  23. Pliny the in Between
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Well, this example doesn’t exactly refute the below referenced discussion of human decision-making.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      That always bears rinsing and repeating.

  24. Vaal
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to face-palm as gently as I can, so as not to hurt myself.

    I was recently in a conversation with an “Idealist” who holds that our consciousness creates reality: if enough people believe something, it becomes real and true.

    Any attempt to ask ‘how do you know that, what method are you using, how have you accounted for these other possibilities’ was rebuffed on charges of “asking me to engage in the fallacy of scientism.”

    Once you encounter a mind so addicted to careless thinking and self-bias, it’s tough to even establish basic grounds of communication.

    The students in that video need a ground up approach, the basics of critical thinking, but first they would have to be led to water, and good luck with that.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      “I was recently in a conversation with an “Idealist” who holds that our consciousness creates reality: if enough people believe something, it becomes real and true.”

      That is exactly the idea envisaged in Terry Pratchett’s novels, most notably “Small Gods” and “Hogfather”. In the high magical field of the Discworld, a god’s power and influence is directly proportional to the number of their followers.

      (In defence of Sir Pterry, of course, he was writing fantasy fiction).


      • Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        There is a kernel of truth in it (and it was the basis of the Hogfather plot): if enough people believe in justice, there will be justice as they imagine it; if enough people believe in democracy, it will become real and true. And the other way round, if too few people in a given society believe in peace, justice, rule of law, democracy, these things will continue to be absent, in a vicious circle.

    • Posted October 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Subjective idealism is irrefutable if held reasonably dogmatically, as it usually is. (Deepak Chopra?)

      Sometimes, when the originator is reasonably intellectually honest, one can imagine a refutation. Bunge’s first philosophy paper proper in English is entitled “New Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous”, and it undermine Berkeley’s argument for subjective idealism, with a “Lockean ad hominem”.

      • Carl
        Posted October 17, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Subjective idealism is irrefutable if held reasonably dogmatically, as it usually is. (Deepak Chopra?)

        One of my favorite lines is Schopenhauer’s answer to this (which he calls theoretical egoism, and we might call solipsism):

        Therefore we, who for this very reason are endeavoring to extend the limits of our knowledge through philosophy, shall regard this skeptical argument of theoretical egoism, which here confronts us, as a small frontier fortress. Admittedly the fortress is impregnable, but the garrison can never sally forth from it, and therefore we can pass it by and leave it in our rear without danger.

        The World as Will and Representation, Vol I, Section 19

        • Posted October 18, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          The funny thing is that Schopenhauer himself was a subjective idealist! Or at least, a subjective will-ist, I suppose.

  25. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I cannot resist the quip that these folks are…confusing empiricism with imperialism.

    (The first comes from Greek empeiría meaning experience, the latter from Latin imperium meaning rule.)

    • Filippo
      Posted October 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      When I was younger, an elder with Philistinic tendencies (who dismissed my interest in reading as “having my nose stuck in a book”) admonished me that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Of course I doubt that she has ever heard of Alexander Pope.

      Some years later I came across the full quote:

      “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,
      So, if drink at all – drink deep –
      From the Pirean spring.”

      • Carl
        Posted October 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for this, from Pope’s An Essay on Criticism

        I have to add the next two lines:

        A little learning is a dangerous thing;
        Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
        There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
        And drinking largely sobers us again.

        A lot of familiar sayings come from Pope, who also influenced the founding fathers (see his Essay on Man). His complete works are available on Amazon for a pittance.

  26. cryptodira
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    This argument reeks of ablism! I can’t believe such ignorance is happening in %Y!

    Only the abled-bodied have the privilege to denounce science!

    Such bigotry!

    /s (just in case)

  27. Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for spreading this to a wider audience. I just… there’s no way to reason with people that are so adamant about ignoring evidence. Basically, disagreeing with their views is, by their definition, wrong and a sign that you are not “decolonised.” This sort of thing threatens to destroy what higher education there is in South Africa and there are actually some very good institutions. It’s just not clear if they will survive constant regressive attacks.

  28. Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  29. madscientist
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    What a complete failure to understand science and its history. Well, this is what happens when people are as ignorant as Ray Comfort. Oh well, belief in witchcraft is every bit as valid as belief in the bible – after all the bible is full of stories of witchcraft – sticks turning into snakes, bushes magically burning, people dying and then walking about partying a few days later, magicians creating the sky and stars and animals, magic ladders that lead into the sky – the list just goes on and on.

  30. Dionigi
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Folk medicine is being tested but in a haphazard way. Scientific testing can cut down the time required to decide if a medicine is affective or not. If one doctor is using a remedy and it appears to work he does not know if it is the remedy that worked, the patient got better despite the remedy or if the patient would have got better in any case. The time taken for accurate results, from this hit and miss method, could be years and during that time many remedies are being handed out that are useless or downright dangerous. The time taken for folk remedies to be proven allows many to die or suffer needlessly. But yes they can come up with cures as has been shown but for every cure there are thousands of failures.

  31. nicky
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    The “feesmustfall” campaign had some sympathy with me, although I thought it was mistaken. It would not really help the ‘previously disadvantaged’, say the poor. And let us not decieve ourselves, the poor are still very much disadvantaged in South Africa, especially in education.
    I think that we should concentrate on good pre-school and primary education, maybe even boarding schools (during the week) in townships and ‘plakkerskampe’. That would be money well spent.
    Now this idiotic ‘sciencemustfall’ campaign I can only see as a tantrum by spoiled brats. [Note, there are some underlying vipers. It appears (no I have no reference) some ‘Western’ companies tried out medications on african populations where they would not have been allowed to do so in the ‘West’. I suspect that is one of many reasons to be suspicious of ‘science’ here.]
    The stalinist parody shown in the video, only it is not meant to be a parody, gives us food for thought. Scrap the ‘Arts’ departments at SA’n universities, I fear it is the only way to get rid of this idiocy. (and the funds can be used for improving primary education as referred to above).
    I take hope from the fact that the ANC (which sadly has become a cesspool of corruption) suffered severe losses during the last local elections. If that trend continues there is still hope.

    ‘Twelfth doctor’: “Western science invented gravity to keep the blacks down” 😂

  32. Posted October 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    This makes me sad. Postmodernism at its finest

  33. lonefreethinkers
    Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    The issue is science cannot explain ethics & morality, instances where science cannot explain a certain phenomena. So ancient knowledge and customs are required. Students were right in knowing about accurate history, as one can find instances of bigotry and racism, for e.g. in history of Nubian civilization.

  34. Posted October 14, 2016 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I view this as part of a larger trend, and reasons are:

    a. similar concepts (safe spaces, relativism, anti-western)
    b. similar community structure (demanding solidarity, not truthfulness)
    c. similar response to transgression (shaming, demanding apology).

    I bet that the other talking points from intersectionality to “punching down” to cultural appropriation (i.e. offshoot of the Critical Race Theory framework) are in there, too. I bet these people are online as hostile as the next “social justice warrior”. I bet their views on Islam fall into the “Regressive” category.

    I find it frustrating that this is clearly “a thing” and yet, it manages to fly under the radar, even though it demonstably spread like a wildfire over US campus, affected atheism-skepticism, fiction writing and gaming and numerous smaller subcultures.

  35. Posted October 15, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    To me this qualifies as “alt-left.” I know our community has been using “regressive-left,” but now that Trump bas popularized the silly/horrible alt-right I feel that “alt-left” will be more easily understood.

    • Posted October 17, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I agree. We need to stop enabling this kind of “left”, it is not fair for more rational forms of socialism à la Sweden.

      In fact, lets stop calling them “left” altogheter, what on earth does Black Magic has to do with Class Struggle and Surplus Value?

  36. Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I have asked myself before why black-majority societies tend to lag behind and fail in important respects. My conclusion is that, for historical reasons, blacks have viewed themselves in opposition to modern civilization. In their view, every achievement of civilization, such as science, technology, health care, rule of law, democracy, free speech etc., has been tainted by its association with people who have invaded, enslaved, subjugated and exploited them.

    I do not know how blacks could be helped to get over this. To begin with, possibly whites should stop glorifying figures such as Malcolm X and should call the spade a spade when blacks develop anti-Western ideologies.

    • Posted October 15, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Indigenous non-Western civilizations were just as “modern” as Western civilization, but they were different. And I’m sure it felt really terrible to be invaded by a foreign culture, especially the culture of people who basically shat on them in every conceivable way.

      I don’t know much about indigenous people’s history anywhere in the world, but humans are humans; we figure out ways of establishing rules of behavior and punishing those who flout the rules; we figure out ways of governing; we figure out ways to make some people feel better some of the time when they are sick. We do these things because we are a social species.

      Now, you might argue that indigenous schemes for accomplishing these things are not as good as Western-style democracies or legal systems or science-based health care, and I would agree with you… but this is my culture; these things seem right to me. I can understand a mindset that says “we were doing just fine before white people showed up.” I might not agree with it, but I can understand it.

      As regards science, there’s no shortage of Westerners who reject it just as enthusiastically as these young South Africans. But technology, now, everyone makes excuses for technology; it makes life easier, and laziness is a productive trait, evolutionarily speaking. Those who got the most calories with the least effort, in pre-civilization times, tended to have a reproductive advantage.

      The anti-science revolution will be Tweeted/Facebooked/Instagrammed/Tumblered.

  37. Davey
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Surely they should be harnessing such powers for the common good. I see an African energy revolution with shamans capturing electricity from the heavens. How Green would that be?

    How many kilowatt hours would you get from a chicken?
    Hopefully they’d draw the line at albino body parts.

  38. Posted October 17, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Dark Magic? Lightening?

    I wonder if she ever heard the tragic story of Darth Plagueis the wise…

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