The anti-science views of third-wave feminists

Because of its connections with postmodernism, third-wave feminism has sometimes shown a disturbing trend of doing down science. That, of course, is because postmodernism rejects objective truth, valuing feelings and “lived experience” over science, which it sees as not only un-objective, but as a tool and embodiment of the patriarchy. This attitude was, of course, mocked by Sokal in his famous Social Text hoax paper, and you can find plenty of examples in his books. One will stand for all: feminist philosopher of science Sondra Harding characterized Newton’s Principia Mathematica as a “rape manual”. I could give more, but why bother? You can find them on your own.

Of course not all third-wave feminists reject the objectivity of science, or the notion that there are real truths about the cosmos that can be found via science. But there are enough of them to disturb me, as I see this attitude as even worse than creationism. Creationists, after all, reject just one scientific theory—evolution—while accepting nearly all other findings of science. But those who claim that the scientific enterprise is useless at finding truth cast aspersions on all of science. I wonder if people like Ellen Granfield, who have that attitude, use cellphones, get immunizations, or take antibiotics.

Last November, Granfield wrote a piece at Everyday Feminism called “This history reveals that science isn’t nearly as objective as you think.” The “history” is simply the history of science, rewritten by Granfield and others of her ilk to cast aspersions on science because—horrors!—its conclusions sometimes change! That means, to them, that science is neither reliable nor objective. So, here are the three ways Granfield takes down science (quotes are indented, bold is her emphasis):

1.) Science isn’t objective. 

Modern, mainstream science finds itself deeply embedded in a supposedly objective, quantifiable worldview – one that is at best faulty, and at worst, is a form of scientism which denies new findings.

The Nobel Prize physicist Brian Josephson calls it “pathological disbelief” – a rebuffing of facts when the facts don’t fit the prescribed program of the science community writ large.

In a lecture given at a Nobel Laureates’ meeting in 2004, Josephson rallied against “science by consensus …anything goes among the physics community – cosmic wormholes, time travel, just so long as it keeps its distance from anything mystical or New Age-ish.”

He points to the theory of continental drift – proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912 – which was long maligned and ridiculed. It has, of course, long since been accepted, but more than twenty years after his death.

Josephson points to this story as a stark reminder that the course of human history is not governed by objective truth of any kind, especially in the history of science; the truth is always shifting.

I wonder if Josephson takes advantage of the findings of science. If he really believes what he says—and I doubt he meant it the way Granfield does—then he shouldn’t be going to doctors or using GPS devices. The canard that because some conclusions change, science is a futile endeavor, ignores the fact that some findings of science haven’t changed (last time I looked, benzene still had six carbon and six hydrogen atoms, and DNA remained a double helix), and that it’s the very nature of science that its conclusions are provisional rather than set in stone for all time.

2.) Evolution is bunk. Granfield, it seems, agrees with the creationists, and that’s not an exaggeration:

One of the most obvious examples of scientism today is the theory of evolution, which is still upheld as the dominant explanation of how life generates itself. The problem is that biologists still can’t answer the most basic of questions involved, including the origin of life itself, sexual reproduction, or how species originate.

Mainstream science – despite declaring again and again that this theory explains these functions – in truth merely describes biological phenomena involved in ecosystem diversity.

The political fight over curriculum between religious Fundamentalists and neo-Darwinists has pushed any meaningful discussion of this topic off the table, as mainstream science remains stubbornly fearful of giving up ground if they admit that there are serious controversies raging around the theory of evolution as the catch-all explanation for our current existence.

It leaves no room for the possibility of Intelligent Design Theory, which posits “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause.” IDT is often made synonymous with creationism – neo-Darwinists argue that it’s just Creationism in disguise – but there are many scientists and philosophers alike that believe IDT is just as compelling a theory as evolution for “the way things are.”

“Ecosystem diversity”? In the passage above she’s espousing a Postmodernism of the Gaps argument: because we don’t yet understand things like how life began, or why organisms have sex, then evolution is crap. Well, there was a time when we didn’t have any idea how creatures changed over time, and why—the time before Darwin. Does Granfield really reject neo-Darwinism? If she does, her fellow feminists should run like hell away from her. She is, it seems, a creationist of sorts, since she approves of Intelligent Design, and doesn’t understand that it really is a form of creationism: a supernatural being directing evolution.

Nor does Granfield know anythging about “how species originate”. If she did, she’d realize that we understand plenty, and that the writer of this website wrote a big book showing what we know about it.

3.) Woo is better. I won’t summarize Granfield’s fulminating approbation for the Gaia Hypothesis, the consciousness of all matter, or the advantage of cardiac thinking, but here are a very few quotes:

The field of science is ripe with compelling counternarratives to evolution that we’re choosing to ignore, from the symbiosis between microbes and minerals that together formed earth’s diversity as shown by Robert Hazen, to Tyler Volk’s understanding of bacteria using metapatterns to generate themselves into ever more complex life, to species diversity that stabilize living ecosystems.

There’s also Lewis Thomas‘ theory that humanity could be a complex form of microbial life the planet produced in order to seed itself into the solar system.

and

As nature writer Stephen Buhner eloquently illustrates in his book The Secret Teachings of Plants, it’s now believed that when we stop thinking and start feeling with the heart, our physiological functioning becomes more balanced and calm; neuronal discharge in the brain comes into phase with the heart and lungs in a process called heart coherence.

More than half our heart cells are neural, the heart’s nervous system wired to the brain’s amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, and cortex. The heart has its own memory and is the primary organ of sense; the brain is secondary and responsive.

We feel the world first, but when we believe – and are told, again and again – that the brain is the center of our being, our perception of our humanity and the world becomes stymied.

Oy! What is she talking about?

and

Perhaps the most egregious of all aspects of scientism is the denial of intelligence in the natural world – by everyone from evolutionary biologists to theoretical physicists—as fundamental to the universe. Many aspects of mainstream, modern science are heated battles over such an acknowledgement.

Shivers of despair course through mainstream science in its dogged quest to disprove design in the universe: Jeremy Narby’s argument that all life is sentient in Intelligence in Nature; Stephen Buhner’s Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm; the concept of an innate intelligence behind the enigma of the carbon atom and the conditions for life Paul Davies explored in The Goldilocks Enigma; the argument that if the Big Bang had been precisely any more or less powerful, atoms could never have formed; Lynn Margulis and symbiogenesis; James Lovelock and the Gaia Hypothesis. . . .

. . . The dominant belief that science itself is predicated on a denial of intelligence in the universe and the superior power of quantifiable observation is fallacious; historians are being forced to admit this as evidence comes to light that the greatest minds science has known – from Copernicus to Newton – believed in and based their work on intelligent design.

Enough. Lunchtime is almost here and I don’t want my stomach upset. Just let me finish by giving the final sentence of Granfield’s travesty—a call to reject scientific authority and find the truth in your own way, presumably through thinking with your heart rather than your brain. All those scientists, well, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about:

It [getting insights about nature] means finding the truth on your own, not waiting for others to tell you what is right or wrong, because there is no such thing as objectivity, especially in science.

That attitude is not only stupid but dangerous. Shame on Everyday Feminism for pushing such pablum.

149 Comments

  1. Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    She’s promoting religion on Everyday Feminism! Someone ought to warn Greta Christina 🙂

    • Sastra
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      It’s not “religion” — it’s Spirituality!!

      But Greta’s still not going to be impressed.

      Neither will most feminists, I think. This fluffy “thinking with the heart, not the head” crap coming from women using their ladybrain is pretty much the antithesis of feminism.

      • GM
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Not really, it actually follows directly from a lot of writings in the genre.

        Feminists have been for decades promoting a “feminists epistemology” and have long argued that logic and reason are tools of white male oppression.

        The connection between that line of thinking and the nonsense on display in this case should be fairly obvious

        • Robert Bray
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Yes. The book entitled ‘Women’s Ways of Knowing’ (1987) by Mary Belenky et al. was highly touted and studied at the time of its publication and afterward. One of its claims was the objectivity of women’s subjective knowledge, if one may put it in such a paradoxical way.

        • somer
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          you assume most feminism historically has been like this article, whereas actually the vast majority of it (certainly 2nd wave and before) is concerned with equality for women. Before the recent modern world – and particularly in the modern western world – the scarcity of female eggs and women’s biological role of raising children has placed women under the influence of men with very low social status and power. This isn’t saying life was easy for men either by any means – indeed it was more violent, dangerous and filled with more scarcity than today. Women also faced danger from very high deaths in childbirth as they had to have so many more pregnancies. And then any populations imposed things like infibulation or foot binding as a means of insuring women’s sexual fidelity (Gerry Mackie, FGM: The beginning of the End in Female Circumcision in Africa, Shell Duncan and Hernlund eds)

          Only modern society – with its facilities and comforts and power underwritten by industry and science and its dependence on an enormous array of services (hence economic role of women) has overcome this.
          Science depends on the right ideas but it also depends on modern infrastructure including modern industrial processes and resources to produce its experimental equipment and store its knowledge.

          Moreover humans have a large environmental and social component in their behaviour in that it is virtually impossible for a human male and female to successfully raise offspring with no contact with other humans – either their help or the technical and other knowledge, facilities and goods society provides. Its just that in modern times humans have been able to modify enough of the numerous obstacles that ecology and physics imposes on them to ensure population and resource security enabling women to have a far better role.

          Likewise if you value pre modern roles and aspirations for women – and pre modern restraints on the human condition – look no further than Islam or medieval Christianity. These curb rational impulses that block maximum reproduction of the community – and offer men (especially in islam) a steady source of sex. Its just the individual has to make some sacrifices to the society to maximise their overall reproductive chances.
          Both religions encourage maximum reproduction, promise hell to unbelievers and place a premium on spreading the faith – and the faith community. In other words they aggressively propagate their members by evangelisation or the sword – explicitly the sword in the case of Islam. They both have a tendency to spread into other lands. In compensation for the rigours of the faith and as a check the inequalities of large organised and authoritarian society, both religions mandate care for the poor – and Islam is more explicit about requiring a poor due, discouraging excessive personal spending and banning interest and some other forms of profiteering although it encourages loyalty to clan and kin and normally forbids charity to non Muslims. It also lionises the ancient Arabic way of life

          If the environment is the concern then if modern powers destroy themselves and each other from climate change or war or both, then they will be succeeded by anti science, anti secular and illiberal forms of society which will probably prevail for great epochs and do less damage to the environment. Islam and the primitive forms of Christianity fit the bill. Poverty and brutality will reign. Hopefully modern society will make necessary changes without retrograde primitive throwbacks. Hopefully too it will avoid overthrow and destruction by illiberal powers.

          Both Islam and Christianity ban non procreative sex – and Islam also bans celibacy. There is an obsession with women being obedient to men – as conditioning against infidelity and non compliance to men’s sexual demands – particularly of course in Islam. To the point that men are authorised in the Quran to beat wives whilst both Quran and Sunna point out that women are subordinate and considered inferior to men in every way. Both religions – but especially Islam – are obsessed with guaranteeing each man access to a mate who is highly likely to be sexually faithful to him. Of course married people (particularly women) can be stoned for adultery. The husband (but not the wife) only has to swear a couple of times that his wife is unfaithful for her to be condemned. To be assured of a wife, the Muslim man might have to be a bit older (due to polygamy), but he will marry since women are expected to marry young and are very very rarely allowed to divorce of their own accord. Moreover men (but not women) may also acquire any number of sex slaves sourced through jihad and may have sex with them from at least the age of nine (some say from two). In both religions male infidelity with prostitutes and the like isn’t punished and sometimes men are also allowed mutta (temporary marriage in addition to normal marriage)

          All this obsessive reproduction has a price for everyone. Islam is even more obsessed with hell than Christianity – plus there are tortures in the grave before the day of judgement and it demands rituals and prayers from 4.30 in the morning until bedtime, and demands the umma (religious community) personally chastise or punish those who are not compliant – with the ultimate threat from the state of death for apostasy – specified in holy scripture.

          • GM
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            whereas actually the vast majority of it (certainly 2nd wave and before) is concerned with equality for women

            But that was 50 years ago. It’s the third eave now.

            Also, given that in the modern West there are no rights that men have and women don’t (while the reverse is not necessarily) true, that sort of feminism serves no purpose.

            So all that is left is feminist theory. And SJWs looking for something to complain about.

            • somer
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

              And it is hardly a major force in society – not all third wave feminists are like this. As I say elsewhere on this thread there are many more anti science factors in Western (and non western) society. The ideas also are originally from male philosophers of the 20th century. And as Jerry pointed out in another article even some scientists believe some of regressive philosophies.

              • BJ
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

                So the problems within modern feminism are the fault of men? What a novel idea…

              • Blue
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

                ! +1 !

                Blue

        • Sastra
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          I can’t comment on the general overview of feminism, since I don’t know, but the feminists I read are in the ASH community (atheist/skeptic/humanist) and they hold this sort of thing in abhorrence. They’d probably agree that too many feminists embrace an anti-rational epistemology, but I suspect they’d call it a radical fringe.

  2. Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite responses has become “When I see new evidence, I change my mind. What do you do?”

    Shuts down a lot of grandstanding and religious tripe.

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      But don’t you think everyone THINKS they do this? Nobody would say “I stick to the same beliefs whatever facts I’m confronted with”.

      • Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, it seems that many people will indeed say just that. See, for example, the 2009 Pew study on religious attitudes in the US. One question asked was:

        “If scientific evidence was to contradict one of your religious beliefs, would you continue to hold to what the religion teaches, or would you accept the contrary scientific finding?”

        64% of respondents said they would continue to hold to the religious belief in spite of the scientific evidence.

        • Paul Davies
          Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Well I stand corrected. I have changed my opinion based on your evidence. However I still maintain that claiming to be objective and open to new evidence is no guarantee that you actually are. I include myself in this and suspect I’m less rational in my appraisal of evidence than I should be or think I am.

        • Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Even so, I doubt the 64% would accept that they are sticking to their views despite the facts. They’re more likely to claim that their scriptures are a more reliable source of truth than science. (I’m not endorsing this view but I think it’s a more accurate representation.)

          • Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I think you’re right. And I think the same applies with postmodernist thought. After all, if experiential facts are just as valid, or more so, than scientific facts, then there’s no inherent contradiction.

          • Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            Are you the teleologist/physicist Paul Davies who was quoted in the N.Y.Times of Aug. 11, 1996 as saying that the universe is ruled by an “innate tendency to developer more complex structures….(and)seems purposefully tailored to ensure the emergency of beings like us…or similar sentient creatures”, and this same article states that he believes that God chose laws of nature that would guarantee the evolution of intelligent, self-reflecting beings.(I’ll give you a chance to recant if you want.)

            • Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

              No, that isn’t me. Is this what is sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks theory? You often hear physicists marvel at the fact that if a certain constant or value were very slightly different, the universe wouldn’t exist. (They don’t all link this to a divine creator.) I’m not a physicist (or anything scientific) but that line of argument never feels quite right to me. It seems a bit like saying it’s amazing that our legs are exactly the right length to reach the ground.

              • Torbjörn Larsson
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

                It is not so marvelous if you look at a system that can vary, which should be the null hypothesis on physics parameters. Then you should find yourself within 2-3 sigma from an optimum on most but not all parameters, with few if any outside. The problem comes when you assume that only a perfect optima is allowed.

                For instance, Earth could easily been a bit larger and Sun a bit smaller, so the biosphere could have supported more life under a longer time. It is now believed that Earth sits comfortably in the habitable planet size range [ https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1443/nasa-releases-kepler-survey-catalog-with-hundreds-of-new-planet-candidates/ ]. But the Sun is oddly large at among the 5 % largest and most short-lived. Maybe that is not too problematic, c.f. how the last Planck legacy archive analysis improved the low-l microwave background modes to variations just shy of 3 sigma from the expected amplitudes. So the universe does not look like an outlier, and in that perspective Sun is not one either.

                The problem with assessing basic physics parameters in that perspective is that they correlate versus habitability. Physicist Victor Stenger used to point that out, but I think later analysis has concluded that the combined distributions are indeed narrow and hence the above perspective is still viable.

              • Posted June 26, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

                It’s not a theory, but a proposition, at best, and usually cited by creationists, not scientists. It’s also referred to as the Fine-tuning argument. Though Creationists cite the argument as evidence for a god, it actually refutes creationism regarding biology and failed propositions such as irreducible complexity.

                If the universe is fine tuned for life, there is no need for divine intervention in biology; If God is the only explanation for the non-scientific idea of irreducible complexity, then the universe is not fine-tuned for life. The two ideas contradict each other.

                It’s apparently true that if you vary any of the fundamental constants by a little, the universe may never have formed, but we can’t say what may have resulted if the constants varied by a lot. There may be other “sweet spots” in the relative values of the constants that would produce something that worked. The Fine Tuning argument is myopic, and an argument from ignorance at best.

              • Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

                No, that’s a different topic. The quote from the other Paul Davies is a teleological one, i.e. it assumes that there is a purpose and
                end goal..in this case referring to the evolutionary process. This process involves both randomness and certainty, which is what the book Chance and Necessity (by Jacques Monod)addresses. Chance refers to genes and genetic recombination when the egg is fertilized. Necessity is involved in natural selection, where the most well adapted individuals are more successful breeders and their genes dominate in a population.However, both Goldilocks and teleological thinking show an ignorance of statistics and of the concept of randomness. Believers refuse to believe that the set of conditions we on earth live by could have appeared randomly, even though any specific set of conditions was equally likely to prevail. In our case, had it not prevailed, we wouldn’t be here. These people reject the notion of randomness and therefore lean towards creationism. Teleologists may or may not believe in a creator publicly or overtly, but by even proposing the notion that a certain outcome is inevitable they infer that there was a force or entity that set things up, i.e. predetermined the outcome. All of these share the notion that humans were inevitable and destined to appear. Thus it was quite bizarre to see a physicist like Paul Davies taking a teleological position. But he is hardly alone. After 9/11 equally bizarre conspiracy theories emerged, all of them showing utter ignorance of the principles of randomness and statistics. Here’s an example to keep in mind if you use the NYC subway system and have occasionally missed the train by seconds as you are descending the stairs. And then this happens again and again and again. Can this be explained? Don’t bother. There are sixty minutes in a hour so each time you miss the train it is a purely random event, like a coin toss. The same goes with the Goldilocks theory. There was an equal chance that the earth’s distance from the sun was only one possible location. There was an infinite number of other possibilities…and no necessity that any one would prevail over any other.

            • colnago80
              Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

              Prof. Paul Davies is on the faculty of Arizona State University and is a physicist posing as a biologist whose knowledge of biology has been seriously questioned by real biologists such as biochemist Larry Moran, formally on the faculty of the Un. of Toronto (he retired a few days ago).

              • Torbjörn Larsson
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

                Davies seems to be a deist at the very least, but he is not “posing” as a biologist I take it, he is doing research in astrobiology [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Davies ].

                His physics is good – the Bunch-Davies vacuum
                is accepted as the basic cosmological vacuum state, I take it – but his astrobiology results have not found much use what I know of. It was he who set up the “Shadow biosphere” tar baby working hypothesis in which “arsenic life” co-author Felisa Wolfe-Simon got stuck. “I had the advantage of being unencumbered by knowledge. I dropped chemistry at the age of 16, and all I knew about arsenic came from Agatha Christie novels.”

                If there is *one* fact that science knows with high likelihood, it is that there was a DNA/phosphorous based universal common ancestor to all life. It is difficult to see what Davies was thinking, even in the case of exploring remote possibilities. Of course it should be looked at, but people do metagenomics so would see signs of earlier splits “for free” one would hope. But I presume having an ease of life emerging but one human species observed would support a deist that may have taken “human exceptionality” as a given. So maybe that was it?

              • Torbjörn Larsson
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

                I mean, I can see someone authoring a paper on a “shadow biosphere” just to get something out even if it is an unlikely hypothesis. But then actually divert resources to work specifically on it instead of relying on current exploration seems unwarranted, to say the least.

      • Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Huh? Do you know any conservative Christians or Muslims? “Your evidence doesn’t Trump my faith.”

        • Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but they’re more likely to say the evidence is wrong than that they are refusing to accept it.

          • Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            True enough for many. Maybe for most. But there are some who don’t deny the facts who argue that their view, their god, their book, supersedes whatever paltry facts we dig up.

          • Merilee
            Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            Like Rick Perry with the Koch Brothers’-financed climate-change evidence. “well, I just don’t believe it…”

  3. pck
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I soothe myself with the thought that given enough people, you’d eventually find a creationist feminist. I’d like to think that the former attribute is caused by religion rather than feminism.

  4. Merilee
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Groan

  5. Christine Janis
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The heart doesn’t have its own nervous system, but the gut does. Betcha I know what organ she’s actually thinking with.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “wonder if people like Ellen Granfield, who have that attitude, use cellphones, get immunizations, or take antibiotics.”

    Probably, but at the same time believe cellphones give you brain cancer, immunizations cause autism and antibiotics are a ruse of “Big Pharma”. I have a hard time keeping my cool among such ignorance. I won’t even go into the rage I went into when I received a Health and Safety alert at work about cellphone exposure. I kept calm but inside I was the Tasmanian Devil in the Looney Toons cartoons.

    • Christine Janis
      Posted June 26, 2017 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      How I feel

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I like it!!

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Next time, instead of taking a flight somewhere in big science machine, I’ll use my heart to fly me to my destination…because the science machine is the manifestation of the patriarchy while my heart is pure. 😡💩🙌

  8. Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I think the ‘science isn’t objective’ argument is really interesting because in many ways scientists, being human, are indeed prone to bias, peer pressure, etc. And there are many instances of prominent scientists (even arguably Einstein) clinging to cherished beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence. HOWEVER, it’s the best method we have for finding out about the world – in fact, it’s the only show in town. And also, to their eternal credit, scientists DO change their minds if the evidence mounts up against them (even if it takes a bit longer than it should, objectively) and are prepared to follow the data even if it contradicts their intuition.

    • eric
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      The other frustrating thing is seeing outsiders quote these cases at us as if they’ve discovered some deep and secret flaw that scientists have never considered. When in fact it’s scientists that most often discuss things like the history of the acceptance of plate tectonics and asteroids/meteors. We’re the ones that know and warn each other about ulcers and H. pylori. We’re the ones who talk about N-rays and Piltdown man. We’re the ones who quote Feynman about not fooling ourselves, and know that Lemaitre and Zwicky got a bit of a raw deal because the idea of a ‘start’ to the universe was considered too religious to their peers.

      A non-scientist pointing out to a hard scientist that scientists can be biased is a bit like a passenger warning a pilot that sometimes planes crash due to pilot error. Thanks, we know, believe us we’re doing our best to reduce it and prevent it…now maybe you should return to your seat/armchair.

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:13 am | Permalink

        Yes, Eric, I agree that scientists are generally very honest about their failings and admirably wash their dirty linen in public. For the record, I think if things are true, it shouldn’t matter who points them out.
        Your analogy with planes crashing is interesting. It highlights the fact that scientists and their experiments are not 100% infallible (which is also true of pilots and planes) – and that scientists (and pilots) are well aware of this. But the phenomenon I was talking about in my earlier comment is more akin to a plane flying off course because the pilots are arguing. I think scientists are less willing to acknowledge this aspect of their fallibility / humanity because it is more threatening to their status (and perhaps their funding).
        Jerry recently wrote a post about the way the philosopher Jane Tuvel was ‘crucified’ (Jerry’s word) for suggesting that people self-identifying as other races are acting no differently from people self-identifying as other genders. The attacks on her seemed to demonstrate a fair amount of mob mentality and not very much level-headed assessment of the arguments. (Significantly, her paper had passed peer review, a more private process.) I realise philosophy isn’t science, but I think academics in scientific disciplines are not immune from this kind of behaviour. You are probably familiar with the Monty Hall problem and with the reaction of the Mathematical community when a female journalist suggested how players could improve their odds.
        So in short, I think scientists are willing to admit their errors and definitely happy to admit that their knowledge is limited (the accusation that ‘scientists think they know everything’ is infuriating because it’s so plainly false) – BUT they are generally unwilling to admit the extent to which there are heresies in science, or the fact that there is still quite a lot of playground politics (and perhaps a bit of sexism too) within the scientific community.

        Sorry about the over-long comment!

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      This is true.
      It is also no secret.
      Every good scientist, or philosopher (he hesitates to say) ought be, and probably is well aware of this fact.

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        I agree that they are probably aware of it, if you were to discuss it in the abstract. I’m sure the scientists who opposed plate tectonics, or rejected the theories of Lemaitre and Zwicky, were aware of it, but probably would have sworn blind nevertheless that their objections were based purely on a rational assessment of the data. People are terribly bad at accepting their own biases. So when Dennis writes in Comment 2 above – One of my favorite responses has become “When I see new evidence, I change my mind. What do you do? – I can’t help wondering how he can be sure that this is what he does. Because as you and others are rightly pointing out, there are some very able scientists who believed they were responding purely to evidence but who turned out not to have been (and sometimes later admitted it).

    • darrelle
      Posted June 26, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      The key is not that scientists on an individual basis are very much less susceptible to bias, peer pressure and other human failings. The key is the process of science. The methods. The methods of modern science have been designed over a long process of trial and error to enable people to working together to figure stuff out that is reliable and useful, despite individual human failings.

      Scientists as individuals may be somewhat better than non-scientists at controlling for their human failings but that isn’t what makes science work. What makes it work, still imperfectly, is the process, the methods. Scientists still muck things up all the time because of their human failings, but the process is enough to swing things enough that we eventually get useful and reliable information out of the process at a slow, steady rate.

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Yes, I agree that the process of science is designed to override individual bias and that this by and large works well – although a surprisingly large number of supposedly rigorous scientific experiments turn out not to be replicable. (Or perhaps not surprising – it depends on your starting point.) However, the scientific method is not so successful at preventing the irrationalities of group dynamics. In particular, individuals can be reluctant to go against prevailing theories for fear of the damage it may do to their careers.

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        I should make clear that I completely accept how valuable the scientific method is and how staggering the achievements of science have been. I just get a little anxious about over-stating its credentials and don’t quite buy the line that although individual scientists show human failings, Science overall has learned to neutralise these. I think it makes progress in spite of them.

  9. Mark R.
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    So much of the human condition is spent wasting one’s time without realizing it. Those writing this foolishness is a case in point. Those attending church today is another case in point.

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      At the church, you at least may see friends and sometimes listen to nice music.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know about the music, but I do see the point in seeing friends.

    • tomh
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      “So much of the human condition is spent wasting one’s time”

      I don’t buy the “wasting time” argument. One’s time is one’s own, we each have a finite amount of it, to spend as one wishes. The writer evidently finds this the most gratifying use of her time, it seems the height of condescension to proclaim she is “wasting” it.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        I see your point, though I don’t feel I’m at the height of condescension. Perhaps we’re both being hyperbolic.

        As a youth and into High School, I was made to attend church for years and years. I never liked it and always felt it was a waste of time. My secular friends were out skateboarding, going to the mall, video and board games…basically having fun and doing what they wanted. One out of 2 weekend days I had to spend the morning and early afternoon at church. By the time we got home, all my friends were off doing things. No cell phones meant I couldn’t meet up with them. My parents didn’t think it was a waste of time, but I sure did. I again state this is not the height of condescension, perhaps I’m disgruntled because my parents forced me to waste my time.

        • tomh
          Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          The difference is, your time was not your own then, you had no choice how to spend it. The author’s time is her own to spend (waste, in your view) as she sees fit.

          • Mark R.
            Posted June 25, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes, waste.

  10. Blue
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    What I want to know is why such folks and
    others link a(ny)thing feminist with themselves
    and / or with this postmodernist muck.

    Cuz it isn’t. It is not feminism. Not .that.
    at all by which I and my sphere throughout
    the 1950s on in to the currency of
    the here and now of the World’s 21st Century
    live. Uh – huh. No.

    This is:
    https://northcarolinanow.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/thank-a-feminist-if

    Blue

    • BJ
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      You always make claims like this when it comes to feminists behaving badly (that, somehow, it’s not really feminism), but there has been a huge amount of science denialism among feminists for at least several decades now. It started with denial of many/most/all aspects of sexual dimorphism and has moved into many other scientific facts since then. Just because you don’t agree with what many feminists (including many influential ones) have to say on these issues doesn’t mean “it is not feminism.”

      • Blue
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        This “claim” of mine you, BJ, in re
        ” ‘it is not feminism’ ” know through
        what evidence / know how ?

        Blue

        • Craw
          Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          How does he know you say this stuff is not feminism? Suggestive is comment 10 on this post, where you say “It is not feminism.”

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        “…(including many influential ones)”

        Who? Influential to anyone beyond their own irrational supporters?

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I have considered it means that feminism has fractured into different forms. Your version of feminism might be like mine (it is I think the old school): That women and men are equally capable in matters of the mind, and women should be allowed to attain power, position, and salary equal to men. There are other things, but that is the direction I take.
      In this current fragment, we hear enlarged emphasis not on equality with men but on but on hatred of men. Especially white men.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Well, we don’t have to listen to them, do we? I don’t know what the answer is to academic post-modernism (it’s not just the feminists, as you know), but it’s not to throw out good liberal causes just because some attention-freaks are trying to run the program.

        The current po-mo “feminism,” gender studies, ethnic studies, etc., anti-intellectual movement needs to be addressed. I tend to think those in academia who still value knowledge and facts need to speak up about nonsense in other departments. Parents need to look at curricula before they pay their kids’ tuitions.

        But have a look at the page Blue posted a link to above. I think everyone has a stake in traditional feminism; even if you’re not a woman there are mothers, sisters, wives, partners, daughters, teachers…women everywhere whose hard-won liberties are quite imperiled at the moment. Not to mention too many third-world women whose lack of education and self-reliance threatens not just those cultures but in many ways the fate of civilization.

        OOps, sorry Mark, didn’t mean to write a screed, and especially not one that appears to be aimed at you. It’s certainly not!

    • GM
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      This is like saying that killing and enslaving infidels is not what real Muslims do, even though it is a quite explicit mandate in their holy book and it is what their prophet (peace be upon him ;)) lead by example in doing.

      This stuff (about feminist epistemology, situated knowledges, science being a tool a white male oppression, etc.) has been in print for decades now. It’s what people get tenure based on in universities, and it is what they teach to students.

      How can anyone claim it has nothing to do with feminism when it is inseparable from feminism in its origin and propagation?

    • Blue
      Posted June 27, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      My original querying is: .why. at all
      this connecting in to feminism is made.
      I make no claiming; that isn’t necessary.
      When these apparently threatened persons and
      others have themselves studied, then thoroughly
      further researched, the contents of merely
      these three works: Dr Rosalind Miles’
      The Women’s History of the World, Ms Rachel
      Swaby’s Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed
      Science and the World and Dr Mary Daly’s
      GYN/Ecology, then they will have to critically
      examine their want to apparently ignore or to
      individually reposition the vast content of
      feminism contained within these explanations.
      (as with postmodernist – repositioning that
      actually isn’t … … in re feminism.)
      No first, no second, no third or nth –
      skirting around or camouflaging needed.

      What could be asked is why only 52 scientists
      in Ms Swaby’s book? IF “always” there had been
      egalitarianism? IF “always” there had been
      egalitarianism, then the contributions to
      civilizations from huntings & gatherings on to
      the present day are countless and endless.
      “Always” have been.

      What .is. (O so oft internalized as)
      threatening and quite (dis)counted, endlessly,
      … … in fact … … is .the deserved
      recognition. that I and others give to these
      accounts, these explanations, these citations
      and the contributions of girls and women.
      In another fact: Quite often to the point of:
      trying to censor me and others. Trying to shut
      us down. Got to get them wimminz quietened.

      Blue

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Unless a person completely rejects society, and goes to live as a hermit, I consider anti-science talk to be just so much hypocrisy. Do you drive, fly, take medicines, use a computer, electricity, etc., etc? Then you implicitly are relying on science. This is merely an outgrowth of Romanticism’s rejection of rationality, and a desire to avoid facts which don’t support your narrative. Go back to Russia.

    • GM
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      What does Russia have to do with this?

      Russia has made zero contribution to feminist theory.

  12. Barney
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Creationists don’t just reject evolution. They also reject astronomy (the size of the universe), cosmology (the age of the universe), physics (radio-isotope dating), geology (the age of the earth, the way sedimentary rocks are laid down), and glaciology (the age of glaciers and ice sheets). Probably much more science, if you start to think about the various results from the past 400 years of study …

    • GM
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Creationists are indeed better on science than feminists, but there is a better way to say it than that they just reject one science out of many. They do indeed reject quite a few disciplines.

      But feminist theory and postmodernism reject the premise that there is an objective truth to be figured out (which is one of the foundational premises behind science) and they reject that a universal epistemology rooted in logic and reason can do that job (another foundational premise)

      Thus they reject the very foundation of science.

      Creationists, on the other hand, agree with science that there is an objective reality out there to be understood, and they do not dismiss logic and reason (under the constraint that they do not contradict revelation). The disagreement is on the role that deities play in it.

      Epistemologically, things are a bit more varied — classical Catholic theology is actually very close in its methods to science (which is not a coincidence, science historically originated from classical Catholic theology), but other variations of Christianity, especially in the East, reject that approach.

      But overall, on a fundamental level, postmodernism is indeed much more opposed to science than religion.

      With one notable exception — Sunni Islam. Sunni Islam adopted the view that Allah is so all-powerful that he actually creates and recreates the world every moment according to his will. From which it follows that there are no real causal relationships in the world, i.e. everything happens because Allah wanted it to happen that way, not because of a strict logical necessity. It should be obvious why you can’t have science if that is your metaphysics as science, after all, is the study of those strict logically necessary causal relationships.

      And that makes Islam and postmodernism very close with respect to their relationship to science — they basically have the same effect.

      That they have allied politically too should not be escaping one’s attention either.

      • Barney
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        That’s a horrible broadbrush attack on “feminism”. I think you mean something like “postmodernist feminism”, as found in the article this thread is about. All the feminists I know are fine with science – many of them work in STEM areas. Some of them taught me.

        By definition, creationists reject much of science. There is no requirement for feminists to do so. Taking the example of a few loonies and then using that to characterise ‘feminism’ just screws up logic, reason, and reality. It also seems remarkably generous to creationists, and I can’t work out why anyone would want to be that.

        • Craw
          Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Creationists don’t reject truth, they reject certain propositions that are true. Feminists like the one who wrote the linked article reject science in itself, and some reject truth in itself.
          These are very different things.

          • GM
            Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Yes, exactly.

          • alexander
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:35 am | Permalink

            However “truth” is not a scientific concept, it is a religious or mystical concept. Scientists say that an electron is a single particle. This is the understanding of what an electron is at the present time, in 50 years our understanding of an electron could be different. No statements in science are absolute. Only religious statements are absolute, and thus the “truth.”

            Perhaps mathematical statements are absolute, and this may explain why some mathematicians are attracted by mysticism (this statement is not a “truth,” I could be wrong!)

            • alexander
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:41 am | Permalink

              This is why I never use the term “believe” in my articles. I would never say “scientists believe that electrons are single (with no substructure) particles.

            • Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

              Actually, “truth” is studied by several branches of philosophy: semantics (which is also a part of linguistics), epistemology and logic (also part of mathematics).

              See also Asimov on degrees of being wrong.
              (Or a formal version in Bunge’s 1983 works in epistemology.)

          • darrelle
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            That doesn’t address Barney’s comment. Barney was calling GM out on precisely the same thing GM was calling Blue out up above, only GM in his comment here was much less ambiguous about it.

            GM, and you apparently, either reject even the perfectly rational and entirely ethical and justifiable brand of feminism that claims that women should have equal rights, respect and opportunities in both the legal and social spheres, or he is so fixated on the toxic brands of feminism like the one on display in this article that he has become irrationally confrontational about anything that even hints at feminism. It isn’t a pretty sight.

            • GM
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

              GM, and you apparently, either reject even the perfectly rational and entirely ethical and justifiable brand of feminism that claims that women should have equal rights, respect and opportunities in both the legal and social spheres

              WTF did I just read?

              Where did you see me say anything of the sort?

              Note that I never said what I am about to say now in this thread, I have said it in previous ones, but nobody probably remembers:

              If I were to choose between the following:

              1. Total oppression of women of the kind that existed in Medieval Europe and exists today in the Middle East

              2. The destruction of modern science

              I am choosing 1).

              And it is not a hard choice at all.

              One of these things is essential for the long-term survival of the species, the other is not.

              But this is not at all the same thing as opposing equal rights for women on principle. It is only if the choice has to be made.

              The problem is that feminist theory is trying to force me to make that choice by making the frontal assault on science that is core to feminist theory inseparable from the fight for equal rights.

              Which, BTW, is a farce at this point — what exactly rights do men have the women don’t in the West? Name one. I am not aware of any. So what is there to fight for? Nothing.

              So what are we left with? Only the “theory”.

              • somer
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

                Come on GM – feminists leading charge to actually destroy science is a figment of your imagination – POMO as I said is an overwhelmingly Male Philosopher phenomenon. Only Some feminists are like this (against any interests of women), there are heaps of Non Female regressives, and there are plenty of religious and arrant Trump supporters who hate science.

              • GM
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

                OK, so according to you we should not believe people when they say what they say.

                BTW, this is the same logic that European governments are using with respect to Islam. We can all see how well it’s working for them

              • somer
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

                see my thread earlier – there are far many more anti science forces – most of them male. Plus you lump all modern women together. Plus you would prefer a return to an anti science and science free era because of your feelings about women generally today.

              • GM
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

                Plus you would prefer a return to an anti science and science free era because of your feelings about women generally today.

                ?????????????????

                Where did I say anything remotely resembling that statement?

            • Craw
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

              “GM, and you apparently, either reject even the perfectly rational and entirely ethical and justifiable brand of feminism that claims that women should have equal rights, respect and opportunities in both the legal and social spheres, or he is so fixated on the toxic brands of feminism like the one on display in this article that he has become irrationally confrontational about anything that even hints at feminism. ”

              This ungrammatical and illogical mess presents a dichotomy: either I reject the equal treatment of women or GM is fixated. If you are going to make baseless accusations against people you should try harder to make them coherent. Did you notice I said “like the one who wrote the linked article” or did you simply choose to ignore it as inconvenient to your aspersion?

              • darrelle
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

                No, I was simply being a dick. Did you miss that? I’ve noticed that your reading comprehension is often not very good.

              • Craw
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

                Well, I was able to read da roolz, so there’s that.

              • Diane G.
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

                Da roolz also say something about not monopolizing a thread. It’s not often enforced–sometimes one or more of our great commenters really does have a lot of knowledge and insight to provide, and sometimes interesting conversations just spring up and entertain/enlighten us all. But lately discussions here have been turning into SIWOTI threads where posters aren’t content until they feel they’ve “won.” There are a lot of other places online where we can get that–they’re the ones that caused a lot of us to find our way here instead.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

                +258!

            • Blue
              Posted June 27, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

              “All the feminists I know are fine with science
              – many of them work in STEM areas. Some of them
              taught me.”

              Yes, this, darrelle and Barney, and taught me,
              too. Thankfully! ! +1 !

              Blue

              • Blue
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

                in re, GM, to your “Which, BTW, is a farce at
                this point — what exactly rights do men have
                the women don’t in the West? Name one. I am not
                aware of any. So what is there to fight for?
                Nothing,” specifically your “name one?”

                NOT that I need this — cuz I never, never,
                never would need, let alone, want this —
                cuz for me & for the feminists within / of my
                sphere ?! This ‘d be THE Biggest – Ever
                ICK Factor ! =

                But some still mightily and delusionally
                inculcated, western women still “think” in
                their patriarchal fogs that they need this:
                to become Roman Catholic priests.

                Blue

        • GM
          Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          As I clearly explained, feminists are on a fundamental level much more hostile to science than creationists.

          And they are a much more potent threat, because there are basically zero creationists in positions of power in universities, while feminists have almost completely taken over the institutions whose mission it is to preserve and advance knowledge.

          You see their assault on science when it comes to issues of gender, sex, and biology. Do you think they are going to stop there?

          Basically all of evolutionary biology is completely incompatible with feminist theory. How long before they feel sufficiently strong to go after it? That moment will come.

          And when it does, again, unlike creationists, they will have a lot of power to actually do real damage. Do you see the danger?

          • Barney
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:21 am | Permalink

            No, you didn’t “clearly explain”. You made a series of logical and definitional errors. So here’s the dictionary:

            Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

            Creationism: The belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution.

            On a fundamental level, feminists are not at all hostile to science. Creationists are.

            It’s a creationist view that has just banned the teaching of evolution in Turkish schools. There has been no equivalent problem caused by feminists anywhere in the world. Ever.

            It’s creationists who get into presidential contests in the USA. Hillary Clinton is a feminist; she is also a strong supporter of science. The biggest denial of science that Republicans commit and have policy effects on, about climate change, is correlated with creationism. Creationists are far more likely to reject climate science than non-creationists.

            You are paranoid about feminists.

            • GM
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 4:36 am | Permalink

              Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

              I have explained that dishonest dirty rhetorical trick on numerous occasions here, why do we have to go over it once again?

              And more importantly, why are you still using it?

              That might be one meaning of feminism.

              But there is also feminist theory, and there is also what feminism is about in practice in the year 2017.

              What feminists are doing is to rhetorically equate opposition to the lunacy that is feminist theory (i.e. the verbal vomit of the likes of Judith Butler, Sandra Harding, and others of that sort) with misogyny. And it works like a charm — this is why it is now in many contexts impossible to say that humans are a sexually dimorphic species or that transgenderism is a disorder without fearing for your job.

              On a fundamental level, feminists are not at all hostile to science.

              Once again, science is about understanding the objective reality around us. Postmodernist feminist theory denies that such a thing exist and it also promotes a situated knowledge epistemology, which is completely fundamentally opposed to that of science.

              If you have no idea what I am talking about you have zero right to be in this conversation.

              If you do have an idea what I am talking about, you are either being dishonest or willingly blinkered.

              • Barney
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

                Giving the dictionary definition of a word is a “dishonest dirty rhetorical trick”? OK, you’re telling everyone else to ignore their commonly agreed definitions, and to instead conform to the definition you have made up.

                We can see you are another person who likes to have their subjective take on reality favoured over everyone else. You have a lot in common with postmodernists. Maybe you’ve spent too much time arguing with them in some insignificant college, while you’ve ignored what feminists, and creationists, say in the real world. You seem to think that everyone on this website should have kept up with the arguments you make. Is it your site, all of a sudden?

              • BJ
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

                +1. I used to call myself a feminist because I fell for that old “feminism just means equal rights for women” canard. Once I realized what most of the movement was actually doing, I started calling myself an egalitarian (which, it’s no surprise, has become a dirty word among the feminist community at large, as they see people who call themselves this as conservatives trying to cover up their own misogyny). Nearly everyone believes the sexes should receive equal treatment, and since they usually do, feminist theorists have come up with new problems (microaggressions, touching someone on the shoulder without their consent is sexual assault, male gaze is catcalling, etc.) to promote their cause and force people to say they are feminists. Still, only about 20% of people in the US identify with the label, and I imagine many of those 20% do indeed think they’re just saying, “I believe in equal rights for both sexes,” and that they must say they identify with the label in order to make this belief clear. To know what’s going on behind the scenes, one has to look to certain corners of the internet, various departments on college campuses, and other places that most people wouldn’t think or don’t have the time/energy to look.

              • BJ
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

                Barney: it’s not a subjective take, it’s an objective take on what the movement has become. You can quote the definition all you like. but a movement is defined by its actions and the manifestos of its leaders.

              • Craw
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

                *THE* dictionary definition, or *A* dictionary definition?

              • Barney
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

                The definition at en.oxforddictionaries.com – probably the most trusted English dictionary there is. But if anyone can find a definition that says a rejection of science is fundamental to feminism, or even ‘feminist theory’, then it would actually start to make a case.

                I think some people here make a basic logical mistake – they read a few feminists who make remarks about science, and then assume that must be a fundamental part of feminism. Perhaps those feminists claim it too. But look at what people generally mean by feminism, or third wave feminism, or feminist theory, and it’s not about a rejection of science. Just look at the Wikipedia entries, for instance.

              • BJ
                Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

                Barney, it’s you who makes the fundamental mistake. Quote a dictionary definition all you want. If you read feminist theory from the last twenty years, most of it is not about the dictionary definition. If you read feminist websites and listen to most feminist leaders, they’re not talking about your dictionary definition. The printed definition means nothing if it’s not the foundation of the current movement.

                As I said earlier, we are judging the groups on its words and actions. You’re judging it based on the word’s definition.

                Are there some people who consider themselves feminists and are interested solely in this dictionary definition? Sure. I happen to know a few. But I’ve encountered far more who are of the intersectional, critical theory, po-mo, patriarchy-is-everywhere-toxic-masculinity-whitemenruineverything type, and that’s mostly what you get in feminist theory and gender studies. If the literary and theoretical work being produced by the movement largely doesn’t match up with your dictionary definition, than the dictionary definition is of little use in a discussion such as this.

                You haven’t really addressed this. You’ve simply restated that the Oxford dictionary gives the definition you prefer.

              • Barney
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

                But you give a long list of what you don’t like about third wave feminism, and it doesn’t include “anti-science”. Because being against science is not “fundamental” to feminism in general, nor to third wave feminism. A few people in it align to postmodernism, and they may have silly views about rejecting objective knowledge, but it isn’t a basic tenet.

                And that’s why claims like “creationists are indeed better on science than feminists”, “the frontal assault on science that is core to feminist theory”, “feminists are on a fundamental level much more hostile to science than creationists”, and “all of evolutionary biology is completely incompatible with feminist theory” are all complete tosh. Indeed, they are paranoia.

              • GM
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 5:15 am | Permalink

                These things turned out to be surprisingly hard to find compared to the equivalent courses in the sciences (which are often freely available online). I wonder why that is…

                But anyway, let’s take a look at the “Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 103/203” course at Stanford.

                A fairly prestigious institution…

                It does not get more mainstream than that, right?

                Let’s see what the course description says for the Winter Quarter in 2015:

                https://philosophy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/courses/syllabus/phil153_253.pdf

                The aim is twofold: 1) to consider challenges raised by feminist thinkers to standard views about knowledge and creativity and 2) to show students a range of approaches within feminist, queer, and gender sensitive scholarship

                and

                we will read and discuss works that pose distinctive feminist questions about knowledge, research and scholarship: questions about positionality and situatedness, questions about the relations between disciplines, uestions about the implications of postmodernism and postcolonialism for constructive knowledge projects

                What are they reading? Here are some examples.

                Alison Wylie, “Why Standpoint Matters” in Science and Other Cultures, Robert Figueroa and Sandra Harding, eds. (Routledge, 2003) CW

                Helen Longino, “Feminist Standpoint Theory and the Problems of Knowledge,” Signs Vol. 19, no.1 (Autumn, 1993).

                Alison Wylie “The Feminism Question in Science” in Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Handbook of Feminist Research (Sage 2007)

                Longino “Reason, Truth, and Experience: Tyranny or Liberation?” in Sharlene Hesse-Biber, ed. Handbook of Feminist Research (Sage, 2007)

                Uma Narayan, “The Project of Feminist Epistemology: Perspectives from a Nonwestern Feminist” in Gender/Body/Knowledge, Alison Jaggar, et al. eds. (Rutgers UP)

                Eve Sedgwick, Chapter 1, “Epistemology of the Closet”, Epistemology of the Closet (University of California Press, 1990)

                Do I need to provide more evidence or this is sufficient?

              • Barney
                Posted June 27, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

                OK, that’s the social sciences, at best (“the difference feminism makes in creative arts, humanities, and social science research”). The objectivity of social science studies has always been questioned, and that’s pretty inevitable, since the subjects themselves are about societal attitudes. But it’s not about antipathy to science.

                We can see a copy of “Why Standpoint Matters”: http://pages.uoregon.edu/koopman/siap/readings/wylie_standpoint.pdf , which appeared in “Science and Other Cultures”, and it says standpoint theory’s “advocates as much as its critics disagree vehemently about its parentage, its status as a theory and, crucially, its relevance to current feminist thinking about knowledge”. That’s not something “fundamental” to feminism; it’s a controversial topic, that many think isn’t important anyway.

            • GM
              Posted June 26, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

              The biggest denial of science that Republicans commit and have policy effects on, about climate change

              LMAO.

              Democrats are just as much in denial about climate change as Republicans are.

              Republicans: there is no such thing

              Democrats: we will solve it with “green technology” miracles while keeping our current socioeconomic system and lifestyles.

              Both are equally deluded and the distance between them on the issue is minuscule compared to the distance between each of them and the objective scientific reality on it.

              Which is bigger denial of science? Denial of climate change or denial of the laws of thermodynamics and of conservation of energy and matter?

              There is some scope to deny the former.

              There is zero room for denying the latter and it is one of the most fundamental components of modern science.

              Yet denying it is precisely what every politician on both sides is doing. Because precisely zero politicians are out there campaigning against a socioeconomic system predicated on infinite growth in a finite system (which is in blatant contradiction of said fundamental laws of physics).

              So to summarize:

              Both sides deny that the laws of physics apply to humans

              One side denies that climate change is real

              The other side is deluded about the viability of the “green technology” fixes that will supposedly fix it.

              Not a lot of difference when you draw the bottom line.

            • Blue
              Posted June 27, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

              in re “””And that’s why claims like
              “creationists are indeed better on science than
              feminists”, “the frontal assault on science
              that is core to feminist theory”, “feminists
              are on a fundamental level much more hostile to
              science than creationists”, and “all of
              evolutionary biology is completely incompatible
              with feminist theory” are all complete tosh.

              Indeed, they are paranoia.”””

              = p r e c i s e l y, Barney. Thank you.

              Blue

        • Blue
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          Yeah, this of which I concur:
          “All the feminists I know are fine with science
          – many of them work in STEM areas.
          Some of them taught me.”

          Blue

      • somer
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        Islam also holds that EVERYTHING is subordinate to divine revelation and that politics and religion should be the same. Again different from the Western, even Western Christian tradition, which came to hold, even in much of medieval Catholicism that religious matters should be rationally demonstrable.

        Regarding Feminism. It is NOT the same as post modernism – indeed most second wave feminists have little truck with it. Moreover many feminists, exposed to male leftist philosophy at universities, fall for ideological or pomo explanations of misogyny in the interests of conforming to expectations of female support for a community – even a radical social justice ideological community.

        Moreover post modernism, despite what you argue, has its origin and its iconic exposition from Male philosophers of the 20th Century from “the Continent” women were never major exponents of it. It started to take hold in American and English speaking universities in the civil rights period but has grown much stronger and more unreasonable. From the humanities of academe it has increasingly influenced generations since just about any course requires some humanities. POMO denies all “foundational” knowledge including dodgy foundational knowledge like hegelian theories of history – but is suspicious of science as a supposedly political project tainted by the idea of objectivity by a supposedly politically dominant observer over the Other. The vast majority of Pomo not only rejects truth and all theory but de facto adopts its own particular political truth – in Common with Critical theory – the idea that all knowledge is political and that the purpose of learning should be to uncover and amplify the suppressed voices of those deemed always disadvantaged. This is married to the Marxist assumption that all evil is capitalist and Western derived without the historical “imperatives” of Marxism, which also framed any form of female oppression as due to capitalism or perhaps [Christian] religion as a handmaiden of capitalism. Thus not only has most of Pomo come to be about intersectional politics – the most oppressed groups most worthy of attention are held to be non western, non white, and preferably aggrieved groups – people of colour amongst the most special of whom are devout Muslims.

      • somer
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Again the idea that there is no objective truth comes from a variety of male continental philosophers in the 20th Century. I would not agree Science originated from classical Catholic theology – much of the logic came from Aristotle – and the west received very imperfect translations of him until the late middle ages. The method evolved from people like Bacon who insisted on experimental confirmation – a trend that grew and grew often in defiance of the Church. It also grew through the development of scientific instruments of great accuracy (not available or used by the Greeks), the invention of the printing press, the merging of mathematics with theories and observations about all branches of physics (maths was kept separate from these problems for over 1500 years), mechanical gearing of great precision, abandonment of the ancient tradition of leaving difficult to observe – “occult” phenomenon as mysteries, formation of scientific societies, insistence on laying out findings clearly rather than in the artificial dialogue presentation of antiquity and middle ages, and long term institutional/state funding of equipment and scientists – all in place by end of the seventeenth century. Edward Grant – Science in Middle ages, and A history of natural philosophy.

        Moreover I would not agree that Creationists believe in objective truth – they for the most part believe in subjective truth – god and revelation. Even the rational doctrines within the Catholic church – depended on very narrowly framed logic and were not subject to evidentiary proof although there was some nod towards the latter in the last few centuries. Reason can be merely internally consistent with carefully chosen (or deliberately narrow) parameters.
        Also “they reject that a universal epistemology rooted in logic and reason can do that job (another foundational premise)”. I entirely reject Postmodernism’s assertion that nothing can really be known with confidence. Surely, though science is Not about singular absolute Truth. This is what religion claims, and this is the caricature that POMO ascribes to science. Surely science is about determining extreme likelihoods. Science is perpetually being refined – and sometimes theories or even apparent facts are replaced by better knowledge – because it seeks the balance of evidence and explanatory power – in reference to a body of disciplinary scientific knowledge that has already been shown to be true to a degree of extreme likelihood. There are degrees of proof in science, with mathematical laws at the top – but it is a process of working through. But even mathematics can have some conundrums in some areas (e.g. Kurt Godel, axioms can be complete but not consistent at the same time, the many strange paradoxes in areas of quantum physics we don’t fully understand, like dual particle theory, the strangeness of atoms, etc.). So much science around us can be shown to be true and mutually consistent by millions of concrete tests based ultimately on sensory understanding and by concrete improvements/dependency in all aspects of our physical lives that no “reasonable” person should ever doubt it.

        Mathematics is the essential backbone of rigour in science – but it is for the most part unsuited to the humanities. Few things can be explained purely in the spatial and quantitive terms of mathematics – and attempts to define human behaviour and societies mathematically have been disastrous – from narrow capitalist economic theories to Marx’ inclusion of algorithms in Das Capital to Plato’s reduction of all things to Ideals of themselves, or the assumption that language and sentences have algebraic equivalents.

        • GM
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Again the idea that there is no objective truth comes from a variety of male continental philosophers in the 20th Century.

          What does that have to do with what feminist theory is about?

          I never said that postmodernism originated from feminism…

          Surely, though science is Not about singular absolute Truth.

          You’re confusing the existence of objective truth with our ability to be absolute certain about it

          Different things…

          • somer
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            Everything – they got all the ideas from somewhere else. Lacan Derrida Foucault etc etc etc

            ” ‘Surely, though science is Not about singular absolute Truth.’

            You’re confusing the existence of objective truth with our ability to be absolute certain about it” I repeat science is more about finding extreme likelihoods – it doesnt purport to find out something that explains everything that is without any possibility of review. Thats what religion does.

            But you see Medieval Christianity as the source of western science, because, amongst other things it believed in certain knowledge?? Religious ideas are no less or more silly than the feminist referred to. The Church had *some* logical bits which were constrained by religion. The inheritance of logic came from the Greeks and Romans, whilst natural physics was developed a bit in secular universities as natural philosophy (which had nothing to do with religion or theology, although sometimes it was used to justify part of theology).
            there were some other good ingredients in medieval Western christianity – not least its inability to exercise major political control in the feudal establishment. So much of what people believed in was magic.

            But science developed because of opposition to the church, and a host of environmental factors like the need for labour saving devices in the wake of the black death, civilisational exchange, the protestant deferral to the state as the locus of politics, competition between rulers and the rise of state power, sponsoring navigation and science.

            • Blue
              Posted June 27, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

              Y E S ! = “But science developed because of
              opposition to the church, and a host of
              environmental factors like the need for labour
              saving devices in the wake of” … …
              everyfrickin’thing else !

              As evidence for the Rise of Science ? Please
              study, as somer obviously has, … …
              The Burning Times ! after one also studies …
              … The Inquisition !

              Blue

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          I can see a dialogue forming about laying out scientific findings clearly during the Renaissance.

          Mentor: So how are you going to present your findings?

          Protégé: Well, I was thinking of doing the standard artificial discussion – you know, like a dialogue like Aristotle was fond of.

          Mentor: Why don’t you just write it down in plain language & skip the dramatic build up? It will be more clear as people will have less cognitive load devoted to interpretation, which could be wrong anyway.

          Protégé: Oh, I never thought of that! Let’s try that out & see how it goes.

          Thus, the clear writing of findings was born!

          –The End

          • Blue
            Posted June 27, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            in re “as people will have less cognitive load
            devoted to interpretation, which could be wrong
            anyway,” Ms Diane G, = exactomundo !

            hehhehheh !
            Blue

            • Diane G.
              Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:01 am | Permalink

              Et tu, Blue?

              That was our good friend and classicist Diana MacPherson, not Philistine me.

              😉

              And yes, good one, Diana! 😀

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      …and some groups tend to reject anything science-y. I went to school with a fanatical Jehovah’s Witness. Not only did she bring Jesus pamphlets to all the teachers, but she also had her hand up in every science class challenging every single scientific thing the teacher was telling us. She was most likely taught that all science was somehow bad.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    The anti-censorship sex-positive feminists don’t appear to have a problem with science. I doubt those things are coincidental.

    • BJ
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. But it seems these days, anti-censorship sex-positive feminists are not looked upon kindly by the rest of their community. It seems they’re becoming increasingly rare (or, understandably, too afraid to speak up, and thus marginalized to the sidelines).

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Or maybe, just possibly, the Ctrl feminist lunatics in academia right now are attracting an outsizede share of attention relative to their numbers and importance. Those of us who were ground-floor second-wave feminists–I’m talking early 70’s here for me personally–are not about to lose sight of the very real issues that still need to be addressed. And we need feminist men if we’re gonna keep making progress. Perhaps we can forget about just what labels we’re using, ignore or go refute those who are making a mockery of a decent and necessary movement, and get our eyes back on the prize.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          *outsized*

        • Merilee
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          +1

        • BJ
          Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          I would genuinely prefer such an outcome, but that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening. I hope people like you can beat back the madness, but it seems like you’ve been losing for quite a few years now. I wish you the best of luck, though. I’m rooting for you 🙂

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

            I dunno, we ran a presidential candidate* (who actually won by relatively large margin) just recently, numbers have increased in statehouses and legislatures at all levels of government, women have many more opportunities in business, sports, civic affairs, reproductive health, etc. The plight of third world women is at least on the radar screen now. (Depending on which administrations’s radar, of course.) Guess I prefer to take a longer view, but I sure hope to see the pendulum swing back to something like the heydays of liberal activism.

            And certainly those battles aren’t going to fought by po-mo lib arts academic enclaves.

            You know, Pharyngula is a good example of what can happen when you go off the rational tracks…At one time PZ was pretty highly regarded in the secular scientific movement; who goes there anymore?

            *and please, let’s not get started talking about whether she was the right candidate or not… 😉

        • Blue
          Posted June 27, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          ! +1 !

          Blue

      • GM
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

        BTW, one of the striking things about the whole “rape culture” moral outrage and the push for criminalization of normal everyday behavior is that it effectively rests on deeply patriarchical understandings of the relationships between the sexes.

        Why are Islamists hiding their women behind veils and deep into the safety of their homes? So that they minimize all chances of them ever having unwanted sex because the outside world is out to get them and women are helpless victims.

        What are feminists assuming when pushing rape culture myths? Quite the same thing when you think about it.

        It’s baffling — presumably the whole enterprise was about empowering women and overthrowing the patriarchy, yet the sex-negative feminists are hell bent on perpetuating patriarchical attitudes towards sex…

  14. Taz
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    IDT is often made synonymous with creationism – neo-Darwinists argue that it’s just Creationism in disguise – but there are many scientists and philosophers alike that believe IDT is just as compelling a theory as evolution for “the way things are.”

    Exactly! We should listen to the cdesign proponentsists!

  15. Al
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Brian Josephson, though he won a Nobel Prize, has increasingly tilted to some crackpot views in his later years. When I was at Cambridge, he was notorious for his involvement in ESP research, parapsychology and other pseudoscience. I am not the least bit surprised that he is cited as an authority by people looking to put down science and promote “alternative” ways of knowing.

  16. Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Must catch my breath. Got through the terrible bit on evolution being bunk, and I had to just walk away for a while.
    If a creationist and postmodernist ever mated and formed a hybrid offspring, what would it be like? I shudder to think.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      A presuppositionalist.

      • Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        John Angus Campbell, after a fashion.

        He was/is a fellow with the DI. I met him before that gig, in the context of a very pomo-friendly “science studies” course which ironically/accidentally also included Richard Lewontin on the guest list. (One of these things is not like the others …)

        Anyway, he presented a “rhetoric of science” piece on “Why Was Darwin Believed”. I charitably offered some realist-philosophy-of-science input on the project and was greeted with the usual “polite” version of pomo blather, so I gave up. It was only later than I saw his name with the DI.

  17. Jacob
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Josephson is a bit of a crank too…

    http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/

    From Wikipedia, “He set up the Mind–Matter Unification Project at the Cavendish to explore the idea of intelligence in nature, the relationship between quantum mechanics and consciousness, and the synthesis of science and Eastern mysticism, broadly known as quantum mysticism. Those interests have led him to express support for topics such as parapsychology, water memory and cold fusion, and have made him a focus of criticism from fellow scientists.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Josephson

    • BJ
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a regular Deepak Chopra…

      • Leigh Jackson
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Nobels can be cranks but there are no Nobels for being cranks. Deepak is no Nobel.

    • colnago80
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Josephson is an example of a once reputable scientist (he won a Nobel Prize in physics for the Josephson effect) who turned into a nutcase. Josephson accepts such dubious notions as PK, ESP, and cold fusion, all of which have no evidence supporting them. He is in the tradition of Linus Pauling, William Shockley, Luc Montagnier and J. Allen Hynek.

  18. Sastra
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I know people who have this love/hate relationship with science. On the one hand they want to reject cold reason and substitute the warm, fuzzy ways of knowing which gives credence to virtually every idea, as long as its provenance is warm, fuzzy, and non western.

    On the other hand, they hold up their own science, with its studies and theories and books endorsed by a very few people with legitimate expertise and many more with inflated claims to expertise, and complain that the Establishment is ignoring their ground-breaking, cutting-edge, completely solid well-done science.

    Pick a horse and ride it. Yes, they both run towards a cliff, but two different cliffs and you really can’t ride madly off in every direction.

  19. Derek Freyberg
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    “the argument that if the Big Bang had been precisely any more or less powerful, atoms could never have formed”
    SO WHAT?
    If atoms could never have formed, we wouldn’t be here to think about all this.
    Atoms have formed, we’re here, the Big Bang was precisely as powerful as needed (always assuming that the Big Bang is the correct explanation for the genesis of the universe, which is above my pay grade).
    This is just the Texas sharpshooter argument, or the Douglas Adams puddle argument, for astrophysics. It doesn’t improve with repetition.

    • Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      The only reason we can think about esoteric complex things is because we have a mind (brain). Only a complex brain could ponder the origin of life or the universe. Only a complex brain could develop logical thinking that could theorize: if the Big Bang created the galaxies, what existed before it? Being able to ask these questions is a product or artifact of our brain. Other animals don’t go around wondering about origins. And our brain refuses to accept the notion that maybe there was ALWAYS something and NEVER nothing. I may be wrong but it seems to me that this is what Lawrence Krauss is saying. Sort of.

      • tomh
        Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        “Other animals don’t go around wondering about origins.”

        To be fair, we don’t know what other animals wonder about.

  20. Leigh Jackson
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Susskind on intelligent design and the anthropic principle:

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      I promise no more links after this.

  21. Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  22. Benjay
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Shame on I for skimming this. Can’t understand the goal.

    Science is a tool. Technology is what works. Culture is slag in the machine. Religion is gunk, now, since whaling ended, and petroleum began to repaganize us.

    When the primer lost the ‘&’ it was time for a change.
    Cultural slagging that led to intellectual backsliding.

    Science is a word. Work stands out. There is concensus, and scrupling. Whatever works. War & Peace was more of a scientific achivement, than a literary one. For me.

    War and Peace proves what?
    Moby Dick.

  23. Benjay
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    *goes in living room, turns on The Big Bang Theory and eats cheezies. Hahaha.

  24. Benjay
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I used gps for much of my career, ritualistically, religiously almost, to go to extremes with my point. I never never depended on it. GPS. It saved me some walking.

    I don’t see many doctors around.
    Many Samaritans.
    Stop picking on little women Jerry.
    You old kook. Coot?

    Third-wave ________________.
    ?

    “They are coming at us in waves!”
    – soccer coach, somewhere, as ponytails fly

    Bring on the fourth wave.

    S$infeld refused to embrace Ke$ha.

    Run Jerry. The huggers will get you.
    The look he gave her bent a spoon, somewhere.
    Heart hug your ass. For Gaia’s sake.
    Pseudo-science matters.
    James Randi needs play minds to comphrehend.
    Well, he is retired now, no heir, so yeah, cancel pseudoscience.

    How many women would admit to being “third-wave” such and such-and-such? I don’t know.
    They are not separating the science, from the institutions?
    Church.

    The feminists raze debate, or heighten it? Demolishing it? Building it? I don’t know. Labels are for suckas? Yes.

    Whasa sucka? A lollipop?

  25. Benjay
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Is bullshit a science, or just bs?

  26. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    ‘scientism’ again?
    Massimo Pigliucci has a lot to answer for, for popularizing and giving some validity too, that somewhat erroneous and foolish notion.

    He was wrong when he wrote about it, but now any ignoramus can use the word ‘scientism’ and believe they are operating on valid ground.

    Instead of the brute ignorance it is a cover for.

  27. Benjay
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    People are too busy managing reputations to do science, or even post a blog post about it?

  28. Francisco
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    She is a religious infiltrated. Is repeating St Agustin´s teachings about to find god and Truth inside you. Is the irrationality that helps believer to follow his heart than the proofs against god, religion etc.
    I met in the last months several “local leaders” among LGTB, leftist parties, anti-sects movements. ALL OF THEM WERE fifth column people. Religion needs to sew confusion and discredit against their real enemies, (science, rationality, minorities persecuted by religion, etc)because openly arguments are proof of falsity of all and every religion…

  29. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I find this ironic:

    The original article was posted back in September 2016 on a site where “The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has a voice”. But the “author has chosen not to show responses on this story.”
    [ https://theestablishment.co/the-myth-of-scientific-objectivity-efdd863b5921 ]

    So much for the conversation, or the assured position of the author.

  30. Posted June 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Correction: *Sandra* Harding.

    The “historical route” to lack of scientific objectivity has always bugged me as a category error, at least without historical philosophy of science which actually understands the scientific developments as they proceed. (There is also other poor scholarship, see for example Soble’s defense of Bacon, which shows that some “critics of science” don’t even cite correctly.) A lot of “debunking” that goes on is scientifically wrongheaded and so vitiates the conclusions. Example: Paul Gross showed more than 15 years ago that a favourite of pomos and “feminist science studies” about supposed appeals to “macho sperm and passive eggs” was never in the embryological literature. Other examples include McClintock’s scoffing at her historians: “feeling for the organism, indeed” or that sort of thing.

  31. jakc
    Posted June 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    “One of the most obvious examples of scientism today is the theory of evolution, which is still upheld as the dominant explanation of how life generates itself. The problem is that biologists still can’t answer the most basic of questions involved, including the origin of life itself”

    Evolution of course isn’t about explaining the origin of life. We know life started, and while the origins of life is an interesting question, the study of evolution is about the variation of life. The origin of life may well be a question for the thermodymacists and not the biologists

  32. Posted June 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Hate to say it (okay, maybe not really), but in the words of Camille Paglia: if it weren’t for men, women would be still living in mud huts.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:46 am | Permalink

      How quintessentially sexist of you.

      • bluemaas
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Still. Still. Still, Ms Diane G, not ?
        And on USA’s I n d e p e n d e n c e Day
        holiday time … …
        without a break in the androcentrism
        even now.

        And not in any discussions in re
        any other group but for women and girls.

        Angeringly exhausting.
        For you, Ms Diane G, m’Darlin’ Mr Waylon’s
        A M E R I C A ! of
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YYzIWTE1L4 and,
        of course, thus for Mr McConkey:
        https://goo.gl/cbNUCf

        Blue

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          Sorry for the late reply, Blue–my daughter was home for the holiday and I wasn’t online much.

          I love the Waylon song! ‘Course, I’ve always loved Waylon, too. 🙂

          And yes, your next link was an excellent and most appropriate comment.

  33. Posted June 30, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I don’t suppose Dr. Popper may be of any help to Ellen Granfield?


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