The result is that absurd ideas enter the public psyche and not one expert will risk their career by contradicting them.
The democratization of publishing is an exciting breakthrough in all of human history. I’d rather have it than not. But this post-truth era that is emerging is worrying.
Did it ever really had a purpose? I find that the black, gay, indigenous, movements of the 50s, 60s, 70s and so - that is, before the solidification of "woke" ideology, had much more coherent demands and narratives.
In fact, society wise, they were much more militant too, and in periods when it was actually costly to be in favor of those causes. Now the "woke"-ists are mainly following the easy path, and the top of them, makes a career for themselves (plus the whole supporting industry). Not to mention that at the time, the liberation movements at the time were mostly comprised and fought from by the affected peoples themselves (blacks, gays, lesbians, trans, native americans, etc).
Now it's predominantly white aspirational classes that champion wokism and police the field. They found a way to make this about them (and a way to use it as a class signal between their own, like they'd use their superior music tastes and dress style).
Why is there no neuro-psychology component in gender studies for example?
Go learn in some depth of “woke” ideology before getting fired up online about it. Learn it from “woke” people and talk with them and take it seriously and maybe next time you might bring some critical thought to the table instead of the same rote “woke people bad and anti-science” drivel.
If you find fringe examples, and force it enough, yes. Because, thousands of years of global civilization are invalidated because of what this or that tribe does.
So to say something like that the gender binary is an oppressive and unjust norm in global society because trans, intersex, non-binary, gender-fluid, etc people exist does at least seem more justified when you find that it’s not the only naturally occurring way for humans to categorize themselves.
There are all kinds of outliers for anything, from child killing to incest, even consumption of shit as part of some rituals. But just because there are outliers doesn't mean that the ways that the huge majority over time and space followed are not natural way of things.
The way of life of this people or that tribe, doesn't nullify the ways of billions upon billions for millenia. It just shows that it's not something like an invilatable physical law - but nobody thought it as such.
Same ways that societies that parents casually would kill their children (like e.g. happens with unwanted daughrers in India) doesn't mean there's not a natural and societal imperative to care for them. Just that social custom, special interests, etc, can go beyond that.
And it's not like they were "coerced" - civilizations and peoples came to the same answers and culture types time and again independently, even to the point of not having geographical connectivity with one another.
>So to say something like that the gender binary is an oppressive and unjust norm in global society because trans, intersex, non-binary, gender-fluid, etc people exist does at least seem more justified when you find that it’s not the only naturally occurring way for humans to categorize themselves.
Well, bi, gay/lesbian, and trans people have existed since the dawn of time (and tons of historical figures have been). It's not like societies didn't know they exist (or had roles for them, as in ancient Greece and Rome).
The norms for societies however were categorized by how the majority is (which is why they were called "norms"), and optimized for what helps reproduce societies and peoples.
Why would societies organize social life based on some minority concerns (as opposed to just respect and give rights to those minorities)?
Gender has an enormous impact on the human body so the idea that the brain (the most important organ of all) is 100% neutral and unaffected by gender is simply
To try to argue this is pure ideology. Anyone with a bit of commonsense and life experience would agree.
For anyone interested Harald Eia (Norwegian comedian) has done some interesting videos on the topic.
Apparently these videos were significant enough to influence govt policy in Norway
Everything is a social construct, right... Really heady, intelligent stuff. Extremely interesting. Mindblowing.
"Not all societies abide the gender binary."
There are also a lot of societies where women are considered inferior and don't have any rights.
Must such distinctions be legally regulated?
It's a matter of time until the bullseye fear is replaced with anger and gives way to courage, and until the mob annoys enough people as to lose any persuasion or power it currently holds. It'll take time, but history shows that change is inevitable.
It's almost as if the Chatham House Rule is some sort of universal game theoretic truth that keeps getting rediscovered in different fields.
I ask because I've been flirting with the idea of having more closed off groups, playing with using Discourse for it, as it's a self-hosted platform and I can tweak plugins/themes and close it off to the public. But I'm open to others, and more so, really just curious to learn about some of these communities, how or why they've chosen the level of exclusivity/inclusivity that htey have, etc.
‘Invite only’ works for small groups. For more than say 50 people, a planned incursion can occur by getting one mole in and that mole inviting others.
How did that happen, how did you meet them?
Almost always, yes. But by a German professor in Journalism and Communications on historical censorship on a website that has "brew" in the domain? Certainly.
In contrast, telephones don't amplify messages in the same way, and radio had the drawback of being temporary since broadcasts couldn't easily be recorded and distributed like pamphlets and books.
For example, it looks like a reasonable (evidence-based) discussion on COVID is not possible on Youtube unless it reflects what google censors think the current scientific truth should be https://youtube.com/watch?v=5iABaxRWGxk&list=PLSl6im8mc0fIRu...
Sadly this has infected other publications: Last week The Economist did not do an official obituary of E.O. Wilson, they did a drag queen instead. Wilson was relegated to a four paragraph notice in the science section.
Wilson was badly attacked by Marxists in the 1970's for his book on ants, Sociobiology.
One of my favourites was about the guy who played The Creature from The Black Lagoon. I wouldn't read too much into their choice.
In fact, the same declining quality (though not with the same specifics of course) is the case in every industry where they're fighting for increasingly thinner profit margins.
It was the same back in the day (as far back as Mark Twain, Hearst/"Kane" and the first newspapers), where it was all about political and magnate influence to please some sponsor or another, and cheap writing to get people to buy papers.
If journalism had a veneer that it wasn't about the bottom line, that was when money were plenty, because there was a brief (not that innocent, but much better than before and after) period, say between 1940 and 2000), when:
(a) consumer spending got big
(b) advertising budgets grew
(c) while still having no "per page view" metric available,
(d) and before the race-to-the-bottom of the online era, as there weren't hundreds of thousands of competing news sources plus every amateur with a website plus social media plus 24/7 tv
that gave print journalists the luxury of working independently and with more prestige.
Popular journalism has never NOT been biased and at worse absolutely awful for those without power. For that reason, freedom of speech and diverse outlets are important. For whatever reason, people just don’t know much about the history of journalism.
- Yellow journalism is a thing and was responsible for riots, murders and possibly a war: https://www.history.com/news/spanish-american-war-yellow-jou...
- The press of the US South openly advocated and encouraged lynchings: https://www.poynter.org/maligned-in-black-white/
- The LA Times apologized for its stereotypical poor chronicling of issues facing people of color: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-09-27/los-angeles...
- The Kansas City Star has apologized for its reporting of minorities: https://eji.org/news/missouri-newspaper-confronts-and-apolog...
This erroneous argument I see frequently is similar to saying "botched surgeries happened in the past, therefor modern surgery is just as bad as it's always been."
...and then I can go on to list three anecdotes like you did about individuals who died under the surgeons knife 50 years ago.
It's not logical. It's also hard to imagine it as being an honest argument. Can you honestly tell us that you haven't noticed a decline in the quality and accuracy of journalism over your lifetime? The contrast from my perspective is blatant and staggering.
Being "woke" initially just meant acknowledgement of existing social stratification, and was a meme/label just like being a "Chad" or a "Karen". It was a simple state of being, which has been blown out of proportion by the trends OP outlined. Everything gets bastardized and watered down to the point where it isn't the same thing at all anymore. Now, were seeing amplification of people screaming "that's racist" at everything. I think most things deserve scrutiny, bit I agree the bar for that scrutiny needs to be much higher than the SA article.
Everything I’ve seen from Glenn (to be fair, that's filtered by what his fans make popular on other platforms, because I’m not actively following him) since he shed traditional journalistic standards enforced by editorial oversight at the outlet he founded has been fairly naked ideological hackery that demonstrates why he was wise to establish traditional journalistic standards and editorial oversight when he founded the outlet he left for substack.
Previously his ideological bias was pretty clear, but his journalism was nevertheless, if not flawless, at least recognizable as such. Now he's just throwing red meat to an ideologically-allied fan club
There are however plenty of journalists to carry the established, tired, party line for mock rage and cheap partisanship. You'd be fine with WP, NYT, the Guardian, and many others, there's no shortage of my-party-right-or-wrong types.
Er, no he was very far outside of that (with very much the same ideological bent he has now) even when he was at the Intercept
He votes Democraft (despite being upset at them), is gay, and married to a (male) politician of the Brazillian far-left. (not just "left", his party has "socialist" in the name but has people with strong ties to the communist party and several members openly defend communism).
This model can produce good journalism in some cases (when the people have taste and the journalist doesn't try to optimize his way to placating larger masses) but can also produce bad journalism (say, subscriptions are what sustain all kinds of crap content creators via things like Patreon to Twitch, and hell, OnlyFans).
You're only going to get "good" reporting if it pays well to do so, and pays poorly to do "bad" reporting
So, I'm guessing that Scientific American's readership just changed, and they went with what sells.
Today it's mostly cheap gossip (even from major media), rage-inducing pieces, shallow coverage, sponsor ball licking, and "embedded" journalism, that is, exclusives and handouts from the government, the enterprise, and millitary, instead of exposes.
And this goes beyond Scientific American to all media, including those that were already run by and targeted to minorities in the past. It also happened with media in countries without demographic changes, so it's not about whites vs some increased more diverse demographics.
It's the race to the bottom caused by the web, decline of print, rich advertising metrics having them by the balls (not aiming for abstract readers and letting journalists free to write, but being able to micromanage how articles are written to get maximum views).
Newspapers didn't close or go to smaller offices and fire tons of foreign correspondents, staff photographers, and proof editors, for example, "trying to appeal to the widest demographic", but because they couldn't afford them.
A single ad in a single print issue of the New York Times can easily cost a quarter million dollars. A Google Display ad costs pennies. Online advertisements can no longer support real journalism, only click-bait.
Most news organizations have gone back to the idea that they have to then have users pay subscriptions to view their content online. This, unfortunately breaks the sharability of news stories and creates a frustrating user experience.
I only see two paths forward for print new:
1. Bundle with other services print, streaming, etc etc. Most people won’t pay 20 dollars a month or whatever it costs to subscribe to the NYTimes, but they might if it was part of a package that includes other things.
2. News organizations should go non-profit. This alleviates some pressure to have profit margins and opens up donations as a potential revenue stream.
I mentioned that to the editor. I forget the exact words I used, but they were an attempt to be diplomatic, and she replied with something to the effect that the magazine had to have an audience. That was not encouraging. It had had an audience for more than 100 years just as it was.
The dumbing down continued until I couldn't enjoy it at all anymore, and I finally cancelled my subscription. That was a sad day. Now get my science news from r/science.
All things are ephemeral, especially in media. We're just marketed at to believe otherwise.
About 1/3rd of submissions and half of the comments appear to be more politically motivated than scientific and mostly US-centric. Just in the current top 10:
> Republican activists perceive Republican senators with very conservative voting records to be moderate if they do not support Donald Trump.
> Study: Emotionally manipulative political ads fail at swaying new voters, but excel at ensuring party loyalty.
> Conspiracy mentality (a willingness to endorse conspiracy theories) is more prevalent on the political right (a linear relation) and amongst both the left- and right-extremes (a curvilinear relation)
I wouldn't be surprised if most people posting there are from the US and from a certain fraction of the population at that. A rather small and uninteresting bubble compared to science as a whole.
Going back to your comment: Neither would I be surprised if r/science 50 years from now was run by a corporation RSCIENCE LTD, drip-feeding "curated" clickbait garbage in-between ads.
They could have opted to bring the audience up to the magazine. But that is The Road Not Taken.
Tomás de Iriate, Spanish (1750-1791)
I have the Amateur Scientist 3.0 CD-ROM, including columns from 1928 to 2001, and I just pulled out an October 1974 column, "Electrostatic Motors Are Powered By Electric Field of the Earth". I remember reading it at the time and noticing that one motor diagram had a commutator drawn so that it shorted the supply for half of the rotation. I wrote a (probably precocious and annoying) letter to C. L. Stong alerting him of the problem, signing it as "Dan Griscom, Age 12". Mr. Stong wrote back, confirming that I was right, and signing it as "C. L. Stong, Age 72". (Still have the letter...)
And yes: the magazine has gone downhill.
Also, uploading it to Internet Archive wouldn't be a bad idea either :-)
I know a lot of DataHoarders, who would love to get a hand on this ;-)
The latest episode was about the nanoarchitecture of butterfly wings, which is a fascinating topic.
A researcher mimicked the nano structure onto a piece of metal, a disk the size of a nickel, which is so hydrophobic that two disks close to each other would float, as it had essentially a bubble trapped between them.
The subtext of the show was about "combating climate change". So the narrator ludicrously suggests that it could be used to create floating cities because global water levels are rising.
Like the kids say these days 'Ain't nobody got time for that'. I'd rather watch a 10 min video on Youtube that covers the same topic.
BBC horizon documentaries pretty much took the prize when it came to endless stock video with ambient music and aimless "poetic" quotes from various eccentric scientists talking about some interesting but essentially fantastical topic far removed from any reality or future.
My guess is that the primary challenges are
a) finding a subject that happens to exactly fit the 60-minute time slot without requiring grievous cuts or padding. I imagine it is hard to know this in advance. I notice, for instance, the bigger, famous theatrical documentaries don't exactly have a uniform run-length.
b) production costs. Sure, you could fly around the world to interview another 4 experts and get another 3-hours of footage (that you cut down to 15-minutes) and have a graphics artist who charges $1,000/day generate more models ... or you could just recycle and pad with cheap filler to reach your run-time. After all, you were only given a budget of $X,000 to make a 60-minute documentary.
An interesting example is when Veritasium, who normally does the usual YouTube science content, got some big budget funding for one video  and produced it in a style more like what you’d see on TV. It was striking how there was so much filler and dramatization to try to make it interesting, and the whole thing felt dumbed down compared to his usual content, for example , which is deeper and relatively information-dense.
And there are channels like PBS Spacetime which go far, far beyond anything I’ve ever seen in any media aimed at a general audience .
> “First, the so-called normal distribution of statistics assumes that there are default humans who serve as the standard that the rest of us can be accurately measured against."
Only half of the story is Scientific American going downhill. The other half is that social activism creeping into science. A professor and researcher, regardless of if they're a social activist, shouldn't disparage statistics like that. It's also troubling that she either 1) understands statistics that poorly or 2) twists the meaning to make a point.
However, twisting scientific terms by using double meanings of terms that have differing colloquial meanings like the scientific american does, doesn't accomplish that and helps nobody.
"Somewhere there was a first planet that formed in the entire universe. We'll never know about it. We'll never know when it formed or what its fate was. But it formed somewhere!"
The quoted phrase, on the other hand, understandably conveys the idea that planets are not specific to the solar system, and that other systems have formed and died billions of years before.
"As a reader of the magazine for the past 35 years or so, Scientific American, the print publication, has devolved into what Popular Science was about 20 years ago. Sensationalist headlines, writing geared towards a much lower reading comprehension level and the introduction of politics and opinion in various articles.
A sad state of affairs for a once great publication, unfortunately.
However, the mantle has been taken up by online publications such as Quanta, Aeon, Edge and Nautilus, as well as various science authors on Medium and Substack."
I really miss the quality content that Scientific American had in their issue from the 70s and 80s.
Yes and no. Yes, many of these formerly prestigious publications have declined. No, they no longer qualify for the honor of being called journalists.
Words matter. We have to stop rewarding bad behaviour.
This one and most of the other quotes sound like they were written by some AI.
The series reminds me of being a kid and taking home my granny's old encyclopedia set. I'll normally just grab one of the Scientific American Library books and peruse through it reading bits here and there.
Second choice would be MIT Technology Review.
Edit: I've read the full article and it is borderline incoherent. I have no idea what in the world she is talking about or how it even remotely relates to E.O. Wilson, much less why in the world they would post this mere days after his death. The article actually barely mentions Wilson other than slandering him in the sentences it does and provides no references to his work or anything that substantiates, well, anything the author is arguing for or against. Yet, the author takes the time to reference near lunacy.
The article ends with:
> The early work of Venter and Collins was foundational to my dissertation, which examined tumor markers of ovarian cancer. I spent time during my training at the NIH learning from these iconic clinicians and scholars and had occasion to meet and question both of them. As a person who uses science as one of many tools to understand the world, it is important to remain curious in our work. Creative minds should not be resistant to change when rigorous new data are presented. How we engage with old racist ideas is no exception.
What does that have to do with anything this article was supposably about? It makes no sense. Yet, someone (multiple people?) approved this article.
The platform is an example of social journalism, having a hybrid collection of amateur and professional people and publications, or exclusive blogs or publishers on Medium, and is regularly regarded as a blog host.
I tend to take things I read on that website with a grain of salt.
While the article in SA does seem appalling, I don’t see this single article’s publication as justification for this broad indictment of SA. It’s concerning, yes. But it’s ONE ARTICLE, and that’s all the piece talks about. OP may well be right, but they haven’t shown it by the citing of ONE ARTICLE.
For me, it's enough to think something is seriously wrong there at Scientific American. The more I think about it, the more the article makes little sense to me. I can't even understand what it has to do with E.O. Wilson. The timing of the article would imply that the article was written in just a couple of days by a recurring author. So they used the death of a notable scientist to push some agenda.
I take it that Scientific American didn’t have a pre-written obituary for E.O. Wilson.
In my estimation, it's become so shallow that i don't even bother following links to it from HN anymore. Whenever i see an entry in HN, i just move on.
I can even pinpoint when they passed the road of no return - it's when they mixed politics with science here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-are-living-in-... and https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-americ... here.
That was when I realized they didn't care about actual science, they cared about appearance.
The old scientific american would have never written an article intended to make people act a certain way by changing the name of things.
I [used to] read it for science, not politics.
They (and I) still look back on it fondly.
The original Cosmos is still available, and it's quite good.
These videos may not be the best, but it shows a side of him that I find distasteful. He behaves the same way in every panel I’ve seen him in.
I'm optimistic that there will be a renaissance of objective Journalism, and eager for it to happen.
This sounds like plain racism, nothing to do with wokeness.
I'm sure many of us would already be retired if we could claim even a fraction of that for every time we are treated poorly.
Otherwise you have the famous Fight Club recall formula.
"[...] three other witnesses (all non-Tesla contract employees) testified at trial that they regularly heard racial slurs (including the n-word) on the Fremont factory floor [...] they also agreed that most of the time they thought the language was used in a ‘friendly’ manner and usually by African-American colleagues."
Sounds like black-people making the workplace non-White friendly. Didn't see anybody sueing because of that...because lets be honest, "wokeness" is racist against white people.
Literally anything to protect daddy musk from criticism.
There's nothing that the networked financial scams that we refer to as first world economies love more than making the real issue irrational predjudice rather than anything material.
We'll pass peak woke after the white male backlash results in serious consequences for already oppressed people. Then we'll get back to white male identity politics, and the papers won't be any more objective than they were before.
My favorite story about all this was that in 2016 MSNBC was so sure of Clinton's pending win that the new head was going to completely revamp the network editorial line in order to attack Clinton from the right. Instead, with the curse/blessing after the election of the Trump media gravy train continuing, they doubled down into what we see today. How do you attack Trump when you generally agree with him on policy? Wokeness and Russians, while periodically slipping in actual political objections, which consisted of objections to withdrawal from lucrative wars, not arming the Ukrainians, and tariffs.
Wokeness is a PR strategy. A summer of marching in the streets, and the police are more funded than ever.
Start with many and end with many. Not one. Not even you You will die one day and hence it is not just you or your belief.
Open your mind. And walks on.
Sometimes I feel like we've forgotten what a reputation is and how they work. At the very least, it seems we've decided that opinions are functionally equivalent facts.
Across society we seem to be regressing to the lowest common denominator. Entertainment, education, consumer goods, advertisement...this can't be sustainable.
Cue the film _Idiocracy_
The Demise of Scientific American (scottaaronson.blog)
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29778348 (419 comments)
On her Twitter, the writer of the piece [Monica McLemore] wrote: "I purposively didn’t quote his work so you could read it for yourself."
Not a good look for an aspiring scholar when her very first word is a misapprehension of everyday english.
He'd given up on SA by the 1980s, saying their quality had declined.
I think that looking at the advertisements in the magazines tells you what part of the problem is. They are aimed at a fairly old demographic and probably the one remaining that still buys magazines.
The other significant issue is ads. No-one wants to spend ad money on ads that do not provide the type stats that Facebook and Google do. Before the internet the relationship between an ad campaign and increased sales wasn't causal. Maybe the ads worked. Maybe they didn't.
Now advertisers have far more information about the success of their campaigns and much, much more control over how ads are targeted.
So why would anyone do print or newspaper ads?
So magazines and newspapers are left with a diminishing pool of advertisers who target a declining demographic.
tldr it's because the oppression
Sounds like when I was a kid and said "the devil made me do it". Taking responsibility for our (in)actions is a necessary prerequisite for being an adult.
You can't fully blame the system or the individual. It's both. Why must everything be a binary war nowadays?
Plus "average" rates of health and illness conceal considerable heterogeneity - even among those in the same environment, so it's rarely all that illuminating in practice. External factors are important, but more important still is knowledge that the individual almost always has some power to alter their circumstances, or to leave to find a different and better one. And even if this were mostly false, believing otherwise helps make it true.
The rest of your statements are vague and hand-wavy, and I'm not sure how to respond.
We are forever intertwined with our environment. The only way to untangle it is to pick one guiding principle. I choose personal responsibility as it's the only way to stop perpetuating victimhood and suffering across generations.
> The only way to untangle it is to pick one guiding principle.
This is an arbitrary statement with no reasoning. It is both possible to expect individual responsibility and also to hold the system accountable.
The system and individual behaviors are intertwined. That's the nature of human reality. They are a feedback loop that affect and create each other. One does not exist without the other. It's like voting - you can vote all you want, but some changes will never happen without modifying the system, e.g. the first-past-the-post voting in the US killing any chance of 3rd party participation. You have to change the system to ranked-choice. There's no way around it.
in societies with limited 'systems', obesity is a non-issue; so if that's the case then it stands to reason that it's the responsibility of the individual to try to disregard the temptations that the 'system' they're a member of places in front of them, no?
This is further reinforced by the fact that heavily-obese countries are not anywhere near 100% obese; individuals in those societies acted with their own sovereignty to avoid whatever physiological issues.
So, in other words, I blame both the individual and the system for the journey towards obesity, but feel that it remains staunchly in the individual hands of the person to avoid whatever pitfalls their individual systems put in front of them.
Does this really sound even remotely plausible?
That's ignoring the very obvious practical issues that make poorer people more prone to obesity - extreme time poverty, exhaustion and stress, limited affordability of healthy food choices, limited physical access to healthy choices, time and money costs of exercise options, and so on.
I'm advocating for BOTH systemic and personal responsibility. Why is that such a crazy stance?
You don't think that corn syrup subsidies and the diabetes industry play a role in US obesity?
Please explain why people from Japan and HK are skinny and healthy and those from Texas are less so, on average.
In some circles, this sort of thing is called eco-fascism I guess.
If the diet change includes a reduction of red or processed meats, switching to healthy non-meat foods would also improve the person's health and reduce their healthcare expenses in the long term.
The financial and health benefits of switching to healthy non-meat foods would reduce racial disparities, if people of color tend to eat a greater amount of meat, as the question implies.
I agree that reducing added sugar consumption should be one of the highest priorities for the average individual who is looking to improve their diet. However, this particular question asked about the racial effects of reducing meat consumption, so the benefits of reducing added sugar consumption wouldn't be the most relevant piece of information to answer with.
After removing fructose, food producers will find a new thing to make people want to eat more, ad infinitum.
The correct follow up question after that answer is for the interviewer to ask how one who lives in a neighborhood where the only food sources are convenience stores and fast food restaurants is to find a good source of grains and legumes.
So of course my spouse and I subscribed for our kids. My first impression was: "It's turned into the Internet." Rather than nice narrative text, the articles were broken up into all sorts of bits and pieces, in vibrating colors. Like the Internet, it actually makes it hard to focus on an article.
Does anyone have any insight as to what this paper's trying to show? Looking at the beginning of the conclusion:
> The central argument of this article is that white empiricism limits who is authorized to make claims about physics and that this is damaging to physics and alters its empirical direction.
All I can get from it is that the author's trying to point out that (1) science has emerged in dialogue between humans, and (2) we should be mindful of who exactly's participating in that dialogue as that influences the kind of science that emerges. This seems somewhat reasonable and a good justification for encouraging a diversity of perspectives.
But what new insight/perspective does the paper really contribute?
For example, earlier in the same paper we find this when talking about some of the author's perceived failings of string theory:
> Surveying what should happen next, there are at least three distinct possibilities:
> 1. Patience is required, and evidence is coming.
> 2. String theory has failed to succeed in expected ways because the community—which is almost entirely male and disproportionately white relative to other areas of physics—is too homogeneous.
> 3. The scientific method overly constrains our models to meet certain requirements that no longer serve the needs of physics theory.
> The second option is effectively unconsidered in the literature. Instead, the case for the third option has been made. This is a curious turn of events. Rather than considering whether structural and individual discrimination results in a homogeneous, epistemically limited community, physicists are willing to throw out their long-touted objectivity tool, the scientific method.
The author hints that "there are at least three distinct possibilities", and from what I understand of postmodernism, it's what's hidden in the margins of the text, i.e. what's left out of a philosophical argument, that usually unravels that original argument entirely. One glaring missing possibility is that we just haven't yet found a better theory or approach that more accurately fits observations than string theory. If that's what the author's trying to convey with option 2, it seems like a pretty unnecessarily racialized and facile way to do so to me, and still hints at an important omission that there may be a totally non-racialized explanation for why string theory hasn't lived up to expectations.
Maybe I haven't read enough postmodern literature to be able to appreciate this paper's contributions (maybe they're subtle), but from my first reading it ultimately just seems like one long complaint that black women have been excluded from physics by white men, which isn't really a novel contribution in 2020 if the theme already made its way into popular films. For someone so well-credentialed, I really would've expected a more substantial epistemological critique, or at least practical recommendations as to how to cultivate an environment that encourages a diversity of perspectives. Or, even more practically, if the author had actual evidence of bias (i.e. practices of actively excluding people of certain groups from the physics community), why not address that in the appropriate forum?
It's all very strange to me, including why a paper like this is cited in Scientific American.
*case in point, this post has been flagged
Which ignores a huge amount of differences. To pick one eusocial insects of the same species are closely related to the ones they serve, and how slavery is not universal. Family and kinship groups are probably a way better metaphor than slavery. Occasionally some insects use other insects of a different species like aphid farming ants, but that's more like having livestock.
Ultimately by suggesting that genetics causes behavior but also being inconsistent about how that works, Wilson at times reinforced the status quo in problematic and mistaken ways, without looking at cross cultural studies, anthropology, or other fields that might have given him a broader view.
Anyway the idea that criticizing Wilson is somehow immoral because he is dead seems silly. It's not like many of the same criticisms weren't offered when he was alive, for example this 1975 review of his book. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1975/11/13/against-sociobio...
Many people who did great things also said some shitty ones, And some shitty people like Nixon did some good ones. Quite a few people are dead and canonizing them after death as somehow saintly for their good deads and ignoring anything problematic they did rather than challenging their mistaken beliefs where they contradict facts is against the spirit of scientific inquiry.
As an aside, my understanding is that while conservatives continue to try to make "woke" into a state of being or a quality of character, as if folks can achieve it, the original usage was stay woke, IE to remain vigilant and observant of what's going on so you can adapt and learn. As far as I'm concerned we all should be doing that, changing our beliefs as we learn, rather than wrapping ourselves too much up in what we currently think to be true. If Wilson's ideas are worthy they will be born out by current and future inquiry into our nature as human beings.
Though challenging the status quo might require you to go against your sociobiology.
Even if you granted him for the sake of argument that slavery among humans is "natural", so what? That in no way answers the is-ought problem.
I’d sure like to think it wasn’t our natural state, but it sure feels like if society broke down, that’s what we’d default to.
The things that are usually cited as the fundamental differences, such as our intelligence, language, culture, etc I would argue are just differences in degree.
It is not a new criticism of Wilson, people in the 1970s saw it for what it was.
Funny to see mention of Lysenko. Lysenko mainly talked about plant germination. Wilson talked about human brains and how one race is superior to another. It seems Lysenko was more modest than Wilson. It's odd to bring Lysenko up as Wilson is completely ideological and politicized - you'd think they would leave out mention of Lysenko. Of course if you right a political book about one race's superiority to another's and want to pass it off as science, first strategy is to accuse anyone who questions any aspect of it of being ideological.
I'm glad old bastards like Wilson, who would prefer to go back to his youth of segregated buses and drinking fountains, are dropping dead. Of course the day will come that this wack job on Medium foaming at the mouth about inferior blacks and communists will one day kick off too.
Wilson was being called racist by many back in 1975. I agree with them. He was a racist who tried to dress his racist political views up in scientific jargon. Like William Shockley.
If you don't want people knocking you after your death, don't write books saying whites are genetically superior to oppressed races in the US and that slavery is natural.
I found a reference  where Wilson discusses slavery, but he's talking about slavery in ants. The only actual quotation  I've found anyone bring up in this discussion shows Wilson had views the exact opposite of what you imply.
Its not a farfetched presumption that natural selection continued after the emergence of the homo sapien species. What is less likely is the notion that evolution magically stopped above the shoulders while geographically distinct human groups spent thousands of generations adapting physically, culturally, and likely cognitively to drastically different environments.
>OP seems to be trying to whip up a moral panic to suppress speech
These accusations of racism are the moral panic. This is pushback.
Well, the problem is that the science stopped being about "what is more likely" and turned into "what is more pleasant to hear to an average person". Back in the times of physical magazines and written letters, reading a scientific article required non-trivial effort, that worked as a sort of a selection bias, ensuring that the reader would be sufficiently educated, professional and open-minded . These days, finding racism everywhere has become the claim for fame and meaning of life for too many people, so we all now have to take it into account.
The funny part is that genetically were are very similar to the cave people some 50K years ago, and the huge difference in life quality is caused purely by what we learn, what values we teach to our kids, and where we pick our role models. Any genetic differences between races would pale in comparison to something you can learn in your lifetime. But this baby has somehow been thrown out with the water - one side is now convinced that all problems of certain demographics are unfixable and are caused by genetics, the other side attributes 100% of them to an unquantifiable oppressor and thinks that burning books and renaming formulas will somehow solve them, but nobody actually wants to put effort developing personality traits and habits that actually help a person achieve success in life.
 as in "willing to examine weird-looking ideas from a rational standpoint, even if they personally don't like them" as opposed to "supporting the politically expected ideas even if they contradict the rational approach"
"Look it up yourself" is the battle cry of a lazy redditor, not someone who's supposedly an academic. Other people don't have to make your argument for you. It's on you to do that.
I’m not even sure that the researchers assume any differences are caused by genetics. I think that’s an important part of the research: what differences exist? what are the causes? can we show some are genetic? can we show some definitely aren’t genetic? what are the outcomes?
NO!! This is known to be false. The average does not mean "most" measurements match the... mean. And it actually does happen that the normal distribution is often (wrongly) interpreted as defining some kind of standard specimen that does not, in fact, exist.
There's a famous story about that exact topic, relating to US pilot seats. Excerpts from an article about it:
> Using the size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the 10 physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot,” which Daniels generously defined as someone whose measurements were within the middle 30 per cent of the range of values for each dimension. So, for example, even though the precise average height from the data was five foot nine, he defined the height of the “average pilot” as ranging from five-seven to five-11. Next, Daniels compared each individual pilot, one by one, to the average pilot.
> Before he crunched his numbers, the consensus among his fellow air force researchers was that the vast majority of pilots would be within the average range on most dimensions. After all, these pilots had already been pre-selected because they appeared to be average sized. (If you were, say, six foot seven, you would never have been recruited in the first place.) The scientists also expected that a sizable number of pilots would be within the average range on all 10 dimensions. But even Daniels was stunned when he tabulated the actual number.
> Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all 10 dimensions.
That's not to refute the anecdote's takeaway, but the same reasoning doesn't apply to a unidimensional unimodal distribution.
Yet the airline story does show that the mean (a bag of means of different factors) can be used -- is often used, wrongly -- to construct an average standard (or ideal) specimen. That specimen is then used as a reference, yet it doesn't exist.
1/ The normal distribution without a standard deviation tells us little about where a specimen lies in a given population;
2/ A normal distribution is often assumed when next to nothing is known about the actual distribution, and that's an even bigger problem, especially in social sciences.
Use meaningful words. Form an opinion. Have good reasons for that opinion. Defend your position with facts and logic. If not, speak not.
I think the problem is that "woke" ideology employs a lot of deliberately slippery language and rhetorical flourishes that make it difficult to argue with. It employs motte and bailey strategies everywhere.
I recently lost a friendship with someone who converted to wokeness. I say 'convert' because he was religious in his fervor. We were discussing a particular Netflix series fondly when he stopped and told me that he musn't get tied up enjoying it too much, because he knows it's just a ploy to get him to forget all the other ways that white people and white society "deliberately designed" to cause him to hate himself for being non-white.
"My anger allows me to think clearly. By making me forget it, this show is how a white supremacist society gives me a few breadcrumbs to just be happy for a moment. So even though it has some positive representations of my people, it really is just more white supremacy designed to make me hate myself."
I tried to tell him, as gently and empathetically as I could, that I was quite sure that, at least in this particular case, Netflix was not trying to get him to hate himself and he could maybe allow himself to enjoy the show. He told me that I was blinded by my white fragility.
I don't know how to argue with this, or what to call it. But his system of belief increasingly touched every topic in every conversation we had until he finally stopped talking to me for being white (although he framed it that I had "chosen the side of white supremacy").
Perhaps cult deprogramming techniques can help woke people. I don’t know anything about them, but it’s worth looking in to .
Ignore the arguer. Speak only to the argument.
But, like, the etymology of many words is obscure; sometimes we do use words as arbitrary references, whose semantics cannot be inferred from their form, no?
How many times is it used on this page?
> in reference to a specific sort of ideology
It is a pejorative reference, a slur intended to belittle and insult. That makes its use as such an ad hominem attack.
> So in trying to sound cool, the user ends up sounding racist or sexist, again, depending on context.
> > So in trying to sound cool, the user ends up sounding racist or sexist, again, depending on context.