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.