More on Evergreen State: Disruptive students actually get punished, and ex-professor Heather Heying writes about the Left’s anti-science stand

The Olympian, the local paper of the town where The Evergreen State College (TESC) resides, reports that that College and its invertebrate president, George “I Need to Pee” Bridges, has actually punished some of the disruptive students who ran amok at the College last spring. I’m bowled over:

About 80 students were sanctioned for breaking the student conduct code at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, where race-related protests broke out on campus during the spring, college officials say.

About 120 incident reports involving 180 students were filed during spring and summer quarters, college spokeswoman Sandra Kaiser told The Olympian.

“Of those 180 students, approximately 80 were found responsible for their actions,” she said. “They received sanctions ranging from formal warnings, community service and probation, to suspension.”

The students were adjudicated using the student conduct code, she said. Kaiser said the cases weren’t solely related to protests, and would not specify how many student protesters received sanctions.

In addition, non-students who were involved in the disruptions were issued criminal trespass warnings, and one person was “subsequently arrested and permanently barred from campus,” said college spokesman Zach Powers.

Suspension! Of course that just means an interruption of attendance, not expulsion. And I wonder how many students got punishments more severe than formal warnings. Further, the cynic in me says that this was a pro forma move that TESC had to take to regain credibility in the eyes of the public. After what was in the news this spring and summer, what rational parent would send their parents to that cesspool of Authoritarian Leftism?

Still, let these punishments be a lesson to the baseball-bat wielding thugs shouter-downers.

Related to this is an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by Heather Heying, former biology professor at TESC (she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, also a bio professor, left the college about a week ago after receiving a $450,000 settlement). As you may recall, Bret touched off a lot of the protests by refusing to leave campus on the “Day of Departure,” and he and Heather were demonized, called “racists,” and then threatened, ultimately having to leave town—and the College they loved.

Heather and Bret aren’t going gently, and both are engaged in calling out the campus culture that led to the fracas at TESC. Heather’s letter “First, they came for the biologists,(probably behind a paywall for you, but judicious inquiry might get you a copy) is about the Left’s demonization of science—something that a few readers have contested the last few days. It begins with a great sentence: “Who would have guessed that when America cleaved, the left would get the National Football League and the right would get uncontested custody of science?” It then moves on to the postmodernism that afflicts the Regressive Left and, which I maintain, is metastasizing like a cancer into the main body of the Left. Which end of the political spectrum, after all, are blank-slaters, denying any genetic or evolutionary influences on differences between genders and ethnic groups, or even on our own modern behavior (evolutionary psychology)? It’s not just the Right that rejects the science when they find it politically unpalatable.

Some excerpts from Heather’s piece:

What may not be obvious from outside academia is that this revolution is an attack on Enlightenment values: reason, inquiry and dissent. Extremists on the left are going after science. Why? Because science seeks truth, and truth isn’t always convenient.

The left has long pointed to deniers of climate change and evolution to demonstrate that over here, science is a core value. But increasingly, that’s patently not true.

The battle on our campuses—and ever more, in K-12 schools, in cubicles and in meetings, and on the streets—is being framed as a battle for equity, but that’s a false front. True, there are real grievances. Gaps between populations exist, for historical and modern reasons that are neither honorable nor acceptable, and they must be addressed. But what is going on at institutions across the country is—yes—a culture war between science and postmodernism. The extreme left has embraced a facile fiction.

Postmodernism, and specifically its offspring, critical race theory, have abandoned rigor and replaced it with “lived experience” as the primary source of knowledge. Little credence is given to the idea of objective reality. Science has long understood that observation can never be perfectly objective, but it also provides the ultimate tool kit with which to distinguish signal from noise—and from bias. Scientists generate complete lists of alternative hypotheses, with testable predictions, and we try to falsify our own cherished ideas.

Science is imperfect: It is slow and methodical, and it makes errors. But it does work. We have microchips, airplanes and streetlights to show for it.

She then relates a fact that I didn’t know, but it’s chilling:

In a meeting with administrators at Evergreen last May, protesters called, on camera, for college president George Bridges to target STEM faculty in particular for “antibias” training, on the theory that scientists are particularly prone to racism. That’s obvious to them because scientists persist in using terms like “genetic” and “phenotype” when discussing humans. Mr. Bridges offers: “[What] we are working towards is, bring ’em in, train ’em, and if they don’t get it, sanction them.”

Despite the benevolent-sounding label, the equity movement is a highly virulent social pathogen, an autoimmune disease of the academy. Diversity offices, the very places that were supposed to address bigotry and harassment, have been weaponized and repurposed to catch and cull all who disagree. And the attack on STEM is no accident. Once scientists are silenced, narratives can be fully unhooked from any expectation that they be put to the test of evidence. Last month, Evergreen made it clear that they wanted two of its scientists gone—my husband, Bret Weinstein, and me, despite our stellar reputations with the students they claimed to be protecting. First, they came for the biologists . . .

I suspect all the rest of the faculty are out of the woods, as they’re cowardly (many called for an “investigation of Weinstein”) and will go along with what The Invertebrate wants. At the root of all this is the postmodernism that denies the existence of objective truth, privileges feelings over facts, and rejects scientific data when it conflicts with their narrative. Remember, these are characteristics not of the Right, but of our side.  Heather closes her piece this way:

Science has sometimes been used to rationalize both atrocity and inaction in its face. But conflating science with its abuse has become a favorite trope of extremists on the left. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick, and not, dare I say, very logical.

Science creates space for the free exchange of ideas, for discovery, for progress. What has postmodernism done for you lately?

 The answer to her last question is this: “If you’re a professor of humanities, ethnic studies, or gender studies, and your work relies on postmodernism, then it’s given you employment. For everyone else: absolutely nothing.”

Heather Heying

h/t: Paul

63 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    sub

    • Darrin Carter
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Sub

      • Darrin Carter
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        E.g. …. Little check boxs.

  2. Jamie
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    postmodernism that denies the existence of objective truth, privileges feelings over facts, and rejects scientific data when it conflicts with their narrative. Remember, these are characteristics not of the Right, but of our side.

    Except that these are characteristics of the right. Ten years of arguing with my self-labeled “conservative” father and reading essays by the likes of George Will and Dennis Prager has shown me as much. Your point is taken that in this instance we are talking about the left, not the right, but it is not accurate to deny that the right is characterized by these flaws.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I’m surprised you’d say that about George Will. Though I disagreed with him mostly I always found him reasonable.

      • Jamie
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        I would not say that Will denies the existence of objective facts. But over the course of years reading him at my father’s insistence, I have come to realize that he employs a range of rhetorical tricks designed to trump reason with emotion, and his “stand” on global warming is straight up science denial.

        I am not trying to draw an equivalence between Will and the worst of the regressive left. I do think it would be possible to have a “reasonable” discussion with him that would not degenerate into a shouting match.

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          I once had a surprisingly frank conversation with a conservative colleague.

          He freely admitted that a discussion (or argument) to him wasn’t about obtaining truth (or a ore accurate approximation of it). He told me he cared about winning the debate/discussion. And he even demonstrated some of his tricks for doing so. He was completely unabashed about this and was in fact smug about it.

          This is a political stance, not a scientific one.

          • Historian
            Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            One needs to ask why your colleague needed to win the debate where truth is not a factor. I can think of two reasons or combination thereof. One is ego, the desire to get personal satisfaction out of besting an opponent. The second is ideological. The person is attempting to win converts to his cause and if truth stands in the way, it must be discarded or denigrated. All too often today, political debate is ideological, particularly on the extremes (of which many more Republicans than Democrats are at that point). This is not healthy for society.

          • Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            That reminds me of a comment I heard a few weeks ago. The context does not matter: “When winning becomes your religion, then cheating is a sacrement”.

        • KD33
          Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          I grew up with a father that sounds similar to yours. You are spot on in your characterization the conservatives I knew, and Mr. Will as well!

    • Randy schenck
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I did not see that denial of the flaws in the right. “It is not just the right that rejects science.” But the point being, the left has become worse than the right and it is the left who cannot recognize the fact.

      • Jamie
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I have no idea how to even begin to operationalize and measure such a thing. What is your methodology?

        • Randy schenck
          Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          We could start by looking at the performance at Evergreen. How bad do you think your father was? Did he shut down a college and get teachers run out of town. I do not need a methodology accept to see and observe the reality.

      • Sastra
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        I suspect that it seems like the Left is “worse” because we expect better of them, and often see it up close and personal.

        One of the big things now among the religious right is the presuppositionalist crap about “world view” — as in “everybody starts out with a world view, unquestionable assumptions which filter everything else. Thus, you and I both look at the same thing (such as fossils), but draw completely different conclusions from them. There’s no way for one side to convince the other. We will always have our own “truths.”

        That’s pop postmodernism — except they then add on “We both start out knowing God’s worldview, the Real One, but you picked your OWN because of your wicked, rebellious nature.” Which may not be all that different an approach than the one we’re talking about. The other side isn’t just mistaken; it’s sinful.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          I’d go along with that. Here, the far left is being compared with those who are centre-right rather than far-right. Those on the far right continue to deny science in the way they always have. Examples are the huge proportion of USians who deny human evolution in any form, insist the earth is only a few thousand years old, or that sexual orientation is a choice.

          I expect the Left to be better than that and it’s quite dispiriting to know it’s not. Further, when commentators on channels like Fox News say “left” or “liberal” they’re bunching all of us in with the idiots on the far left, so we want to separate ourselves.

          • Posted October 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Yes. And on that last bit I too see how commenters from the right will lump the entire left into the Regressive category. It is not because they don’t know better. It is because they are fighting a war of ideology, and accuracy and nuance are the first casualties.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted October 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

              Good point Mark.

      • KD33
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Disagree totally the “the left has become worse than the right.” Big difference is that some left college profs and journalists spout nonsense, and there are some dumb lefty anivaxers. But the *right’s* anti-science cadre that greatly outnumber them, and actually run our country (both within government and big business). Also against your point, the vast majority of the scientific community itself identifies as progressive, not conservative.

    • Ryan
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I find that the right hates science, whereas the left hates scientists.

      For example a nut on the right will hapilly admit that he doesn’t trust science and that his beliefs require “faith”.

      A nut on the left loves science. Science is intrinsicly good and cannot possibly come to evil conclusions unless it is being corrupted by racist scientists (who must be stopped, shamed, and fired for the greater good).

      At present I think the left is doing more damage to science simply because they feel compelled to meddle whereas the right is more likely to ignore.

      • eric
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        I find that the right hates science, whereas the left hates scientists.

        I tend to agree. When leftists come across a scientific result they disagree with, they tend to imply that the researchers have done something wrong/biased. When conservatives come across a scientific result they disagree with, they attempt to defund the organization, shut down the detector, etc… in addition to trying, like the left, to have the responsible scientists fired.

    • Historian
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      You are correct because what we are talking about is extremism, regardless of what end it is located on the ideological spectrum. Political extremists are ideologues and purists. They create in their minds a worldview, not subject to revision or nuance, and distort or deny facts that challenge it. Ideologues represent a threat to the stability of the existing society. The ruling elite of the existing society need to determine the extent that the ideologues’ vision is gaining traction among the masses and to address any germ of truth in the extremist appeal. For example, to the extent that there is racism or discrimination on a campus, they must be rooted out without caving in to the nonsense of the extremist demands. That is, the extremists must be marginalized. The failure of the elites to do this will result in social unrest, often met by oppression. This must be avoided to maintain a stable society. There are many examples in history on a national level where the ruling elites have failed to do this, resulting in them being deposed and replaced by the ideologues, who created a tyranny of their own.

    • biz
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Except you are not comparing apples to apples.

      You are comparing the Right’s pundits and bloggers to the Left’s professors. Partisan pundits and bloggers (or the equivalent – yellow journalists) have lied and distorted truth for their polemical purposes for centuries. There is nothing new there. But when (many) academics in fields like history and anthropology deny even the existence of objective truth and knowledge that is something new and very disturbing.

  3. Liz
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Good.

    • Liz
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      “Olympia’s new discipline plans say schools must be fairer and work with parents “ by Claudia Rowe in The Seattle Times from September 25, 2017 was about discipline also.

      https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/discipline-rules/

      “Discipline is ‘a tough and complicated issue,’ acknowledged Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association.”
      Parent-teacher-student relationships are important, but it really isn’t too complicated. Follow the rules or there will be consequences.
      The third bullet point on the proposed updates is interesting. “Any student who is suspended, even short-term, must receive schoolwork, a chance to make up assignments and academic help, if needed, while at home.”

      “…academic help, if needed, while at home.”?
      I wonder if there is a discipline by state rankings list.

  4. jwthomas
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I have retweeted the firewall free version of the WSJ article and you can read it in full here: http://tinyurl.com/y8fw5u9c

    • jwthomas
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Oops! That didn’t work. Ignore my post.

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      I found Heying’s WSJ piece on reddit, on the /politics thread.

  5. Sastra
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    My understanding is that postmodernism is a broad category containing some reasonable concepts which are not only friendly to science, but undergird its foundations. Specifically, that bias is often inherent in even sincere attempts at objectivity — in what we study, what we ask, how we ask, who we ask, and what we bring to the table beforehand. As Feynman said, we are the easiest person to fool.

    Science recognizes this and attempts to provide methodological antidotes. Chief among these is an openness to criticism. We suck at catching our own mistakes, but hey, we’re pretty good at catching the mistakes other people make. The social aspect of science is basic.

    What’s at war then I think is not so much science vs. ‘postmodernism ‘ (whatever that means) — but science vs. therapy. You’re not supposed to criticize people; you’re supposed to validate and support them. Don’t try to make other people into you; let them be themselves. And above all, protect the weak and marginalized. Don’t impose your world on them. All fine and dandy in their place.

    But the social world doesn’t just consist of people doing their own thing and expressing their group or individual identity. It also consists of arguments which are not quarrels . Diversity is for cross-checking, not celebration. Back in the 90’s Wendy Kaminer wrote I’m Disfunctional; You’re Disfunctional, a book about how the culture of self-help and personal therapy was creeping into academia and other places where it has no place but adjunct. I still think about that book today. Recommend.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      My impression has always been that, if post-modernism is about anything, it is about the rejection of objectivity and facts. As heying suggests, they just get in the way.

      • Sastra
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        The postmodern view of science is that it doesn’t deal with establishing TRUTH, but with reasonable approximations and models which get better over time. At least, that would I think be A postmodern view. What gets the press and ire is the one you’re talking about.

        • TJR
          Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          That sounds more like the science view of science.

          Its just that when the fidelity of the approximation looks good enough we call it “truth”.

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          The postmodern view of science is that it doesn’t deal with establishing TRUTH, but with reasonable approximations and models which get better over time.

          That, to me, is the mainstream account of science.

          The post-modernist account, by contrast, is that all such models are merely social constructions, and that they do *not* approximate an underlying reality.

          Instead that are “valid” only within a “worldview” and that each worldview (being socially constructed) is no better or worse than any other.

          • Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            The clearest pomo one liner is H. Collins:

            “The natural world has a small or non-existent role in the construction of scientific knowledge.”

          • Sastra
            Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            Apparently, from what I’ve read, this is ONE postmodern view which is not only consistent with science, but downright scientific. I’m not sure if it’s a mainstream view, an academic view, a minority view, or something propped up and dragged out in the face of criticism. But in any case, I try to be more cautious and specific (which is seldom a mistake anyway.) “Pop-pomo” is my Bad Guy.

            • GBJames
              Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

              Is there some evidence of this beast? I’m inclined to think that scientific pomo-ism is rather like a unicorn.

            • Davide Spinello
              Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

              Please che the twitter feed @RealPeerReview to see what postmodernism is about.

            • Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

              A lot of pomo is full of radical views (like Collins’) which are later “taken back”. Susan Haack has a list from a while ago; I’m sure there are now.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Well said! And that opening is priceless. My observation would be that both the Left and the Right were born at the dawn of Romanticism, which was largely a reaction to the Enlightenment. Both have arrayed in their hosts sections of anti-Enlightenment thought. American conservatism has, for the moment only I hope, lost the battle against irrationalism. The Left is again under siege. I keep hoping that the groups in both camps that support Enlightenment values will come together out of the two parties, and form a new consensus. Perhaps that will Trump’s major achievement?

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    George “I Need to Pee” Bridges

    Reminds me of Honey-bunny’s “I gotta go pee” line when she gets caught in the Mexican standoff during the diner robbery in Pulp Fiction.

    Bret & Heather Weinstein shoulda told Bridges to nut-up and “be like a little Fonzie.”

  8. Graham Head
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    There appears to be a typo.

    After what was in the news this spring and summer, what rational parent would send their parents to that cesspool of Authoritarian Leftism?

  9. TJR
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Postmodernism, huh!

    What is it good for?

    Absolutely nothin’.

    Say it again y’all.

    • nicky
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I think postmodernism grew (among other things) from a kind of solidarity with ‘primitive’ societies. And it is ‘good’ for that.
      Look at the idiotic fables and taboos of ‘primitive’ societies (of the ‘savages’), and then look at the idiotic fables and taboos of our own society. In that sense postmodernism actually makes some sense.
      Of course, to paraphrase Dawkins, ‘show me a postmodernist in an airplane, and I’ll show you a hypocrite’, remains valid.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I think relativism – as a counter to cultural arrogance – is a good thing. “Lookit that dumb furriner, he don’t even speak English proper, [therefore] he’s dumber than we are” is a common attitude deserving of derision, as does the automatic assumption that ‘our’ customs are superior to ‘theirs’.

        That much is true.

        Where po-mo jumps the shark is in concluding that, because you can’t objectively ‘prove’ one worldview is better than another, or that it’s messy and invidious to try, then all views and opinions must carry equal weight. Including views counter to scientifically established facts. Po-mo is the reductio ad absurdum of relativism, but since it believes that all views are equally valid, it has no way of recognising the absurdity.

        In sort, they’re potty.

        cr

  10. Lee
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Scientists are busy enough doing science, but someone should take time to organize workshops on the various forms of anti-science taking shape in our society, and how to resist it, based on the methodology of science. Let the postmods shout those workshops down.

  11. Paul S
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Postmodernism is theology for those who don’t want to be categorized as religious. All ideas are equally valid. If you don’t understand postmodernism it’s because you haven’t read the right books.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “Who would have guessed that when America cleaved, the left would get the National Football League and the right would get uncontested custody of science?”

    Damn, that is a great opening line. Right up there with the ones about all happy families, the clocks striking thirteen, and the queer, sultry summer they executed the Rosenbergs. 🙂

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, her prose style is exemplary. As well as the great opening line, the ending is very punchy too.

    • nicky
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Off topic, the best opening line ever is Daphne du Mourier’s “Last night I dreamt I went to Mandaley again”
      Just repeat that a few times in your mind. Unsurpassed, it is opens pregnant visions, it is clear that Mandaley is erased from the Earth’s surface, never to be regained again, it has Heimweh, nostalgia, mystery and hopeless loss, and is deeply enigmatic. (No the book is no masterpiece, but as opening line there is absolutely no parallel).
      The Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek described it as the feeling of knowing your way in a house that doesn’t exist anymore.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Funny you should mention that, since I almost went with the famous opening line of Rebecca, then opted for Sylvia Plath.

  13. pablo
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Well, the Enlightenment had a good run, but it’s pretty much done for. At the present rate of change I predict that within 20 years teaching STEM the way we know it today will be a Title IX violation.

    My hope for the scientific and technologic advancement of civilization lies in China.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Your comment reminds me of various Carl Sagan quotes about the end of the Enlightenment – mostly, I think, from his book ‘The Demon-Haunted World’. He talks about a time in the future “when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…”

      • nicky
        Posted October 3, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        We slide, the Turks are forced….

  14. Harrison
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Suspension seems a better solution than expulsion for first time offenders. Keep in mind many of these kids are victims of POMO as much as anyone, and will grow out of it as they mature.

  15. Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    “The answer to her last question is this: “If you’re a professor of humanities, ethnic studies, or gender studies, and your work relies on postmodernism, then it’s given you employment. For everyone else: absolutely nothing.””

    Actually, I think it has given other people things: unfortunately things of negative value (akin to diseases or thefts).

  16. bbenzon
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Did you know, for example, that

    Many have observed — I’m certainly not the first — that this technology [Google Maps] enshrines a Cartesian model of space that derives directly from a colonialist project of empire-building.

    This business of flattening and distorting space so that it can be graphed with latitude and longitude? That makes sense when you’re assembling an empire — which is why the Mercator projection emerged in Western Europe in the 16th century. It doesn’t help, of course, that Google Maps is owned by a corporate entity with intentions that are pretty opaque.

    Now, the Mercator projection was invented in 1569 while Descartes wasn’t born until 1596. Whoops!

    Now, I supposed there’s a certain superficial logic behind the notion that the Mercator projection has some nefarious connection with colonialism. European colonialism was well underway at that point and the Mercator projection was particularly useful for nautical navigation.

    However, according to the Wikipedia article

    The development of the Mercator projection represented a major breakthrough in the nautical cartography of the 16th century. However, it was much ahead of its time, since the old navigational and surveying techniques were not compatible with its use in navigation. Two main problems prevented its immediate application: the impossibility of determining the longitude at sea with adequate accuracy and the fact that magnetic directions, instead of geographical directions, were used in navigation. Only in the middle of the 18th century, after the marine chronometer was invented and the spatial distribution of magnetic declination was known, could the Mercator projection be fully adopted by navigators.

    Whoops! But I suppose that, in the world of postmodern reckoning, this counts only as a delay in realizing the full colonialist potential of the Mercator projection.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Well, *any* map, in reducing a three-dimensional surface (and approximately a curved one when a large enough area is covered) to a flat sheet, is a distortion. In that sense all of the hundreds of map projections are geometric approximations i.e. false. (The only exception is a globe).

      Of course if you’re about to invade – or defend – a place, accurate maps are extremely useful. The British government mapping service is still called the Ordnance Survey, ffs! But that doesn’t mean that accurate maps aren’t invaluable for innumerable peaceful uses too.

      I would say that Google Maps in particular, along with its concomitant Satellite View and Streetview, are if anything powerful influences towards understanding other nations and recognising that they’re ordinary human beings too. And in that sense anti-colonialist. You can ‘drive’ down a street in Irkutsk or Antofagasta and see that it’s just a normal human settlement, not some weird alien outpost. Virtual travel may not broaden the mind as much as real travel, but it goes quite long way in that direction, IMO.

      cr

    • Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Again they don’t understand the science-technology distinction. For example, if one thought that the ethnically correct thing to do was to leave other groups alone (like the Prime Directive from Star Trek) a good map will tell you where *not* to go.

  17. ploubere
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I’m not yet ready to concede the label of Left to the regressives. The Right allowed their nutcases to take over the party; the Left needs to resist that by discrediting the usurpers. Heying’s article would be more helpful if she didn’t lump all the Left in with the worst, and imply that the Right is now the reasonable side. That’s not an accurate analysis.

    • biz
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Such pointed language is needed as a wake up call. There is -way- too much excusing and head-in-the-sand going on in the mainstream/center Left now. Almost everyone I know is taking the attitude that ‘how can you even care about what happens at these rinkydink colleges when Nazis!11!! are marching in the streets of Charlottesville??’ The mainstream/center Left is looking away while the far/postmodern/intersectional Left is rapidly taking over all of the important institutions.

  18. darrelle
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    “About 80 students were sanctioned for breaking the student conduct code at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, where race-related protests broke out on campus during the spring, college officials say.”

    Based on the history of this saga so far, I’m skeptical. I’d like to know something about what students got punished and what students didn’t. Not likely to get any information on that due to confidentiality, if nothing else.

    But, after all, the Weinstein’s got punished not the instigators in the administration. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the students that got punished were students that stood up to the trouble makers.

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Alan Sokal, creator of the Sokal hoax, said he was an “old-fashioned socialist who simply didn’t understand how deconstruction/post-modernism was supposed to help the working class”.

    (A Google search for this quote’s first hit is my posting it on this website previously in 2014, and I’m not even on my home computer.)

  20. xray
    Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t know about most varieties of postmodernism, but the Postmodern Jukebox is pretty good.


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