Examples of “Pathological Idiocy” in Universities, Especially in Social Sciences and Related Disciplines

It is an embarrassment to be associated with the academy when pathological idiocy of this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor… What the hell is wrong with us? — Jordan Peterson, Tweet with link to paper

One can follow the hyperlink to see what Peterson was specifically talking about (I didn’t quote from the paper Peterson was criticizing since it was too vulgar). But more generally, in a recording (which might already be deleted from the net), Peterson praised the RealPeerReview twitter website that highlighted some of the publications of the academics which Peterson was likely also referring to when he used the phrase “pathological idiocy.”

RealPeerReview is a watchdog group that calls out outrageous publications which help certain academics in the social sciences and related disciplines retain jobs and get promotions.

In a speech announcing his intentions to create an alternative university, Peterson cited the papers that came on the radar screen of RealPeerReview as examples of how academia has gone wrong in its mission to teach. To Peterson, academia is instead now often in the business of bilking money from people and brainwashing the next generation with “pathological idiocy.”

If one promotes the junk in the social sciences as merely creative writing, that’s OK by me. But who is to judge genius from pathological idiocy in these cases, especially if it is indirectly or directly subsidized by taxpayer money and student debt.

The content called out as junk by RealPeerReview reminds me of the students of Evergreen State University who were enraged that evolutionary biologist Brett Weinstein insisted on teaching a schedule class which students paid money to attend!

See the result of “Pathological Idiocy” inhabiting Evergreen State below — note about 1:45 into the video where Weinstein recounts students saying “scientists are particularly prone to bias” as well Weinstein’s account of the treatment of African American students supportive of him.

What happened to Bret Weinstein was so disturbing, that I will state I emphatically I support his right to teach evolutionary biology! I say that as a card carrying creationist. As much as I disagree with him, I don’t think it’s cool that he got treated this way by a mob of students incited by rival faculty and hostile administrators. That’s simply wrong and immoral.

Genius discoveries in the areas of physics and chemistry are recognized by tangible results — like the use of electromagnetism. In real disciplines like physics and chemistry, there is often a means of determining what is a right and wrong answer, or at least answers that far are closer to truth than not. But this is not the case in modern social “science” and related disciplines.

The issue about what is happening in social science and related disciplines is not freedom of thought, but as Peterson says, “this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor

If one wants to learn to write like that so as to become an entertainer, that’s probably tolerable too. But to represent it as some sort of truth? No way…

One of my favorite books is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s about 10 dollars on Kindle. Gilbert didn’t have to go to university to learn to write the way she did. At least her creative writing had some semblance of rationality. It is represented as a religious writing, an entertaining read, and a personal exploration. But the stuff reported on in RealPeerReview is represented as truth arrived at methodically and systematically, and thus postures as authoritative. I find that problematic.

Most people don’t read the stuff highlighted by RealPeerReview, but University libraries pay lots of money for it, and academics use these junk papers on their resume to help them attain and retain academic positions.

One example of a professor peddling junk (not necessarily papers) is Naima Lowe who was an opponent of Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State. It’s not cool to see professors incite students to threaten and bully other professors. Lowe and the students did that. That behavior reflects the credo of some of the papers highlighted by RealPeerReview, a credo which I view as a means of grabbing power and putting down competitors in academia by bullying them on fabricated infractions.

The authors of the papers called out by RealPeerReview were enraged when they were caught having their ideas actually scrutinized. Most academic authors should like their work discussed. In contrast, the authors called out by RealPeerReview are apparently ashamed that their stuff gets noticed! 80% of the papers have ZERO citations. Contrast this with ID-friendly chemist James Tour who has 400 publications and over 77,000 citations!

Below are some examples dug up by RealPeerReview. I point this out since this makes ID sympathizers like James Tour and the Discovery Institute look so much more rational by comparison:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. … 15.1075317
International Feminist Journal of Politics
WINNER OF THE ENLOE AWARD 2014
Drone Disorientations
HOW “UNMANNED” WEAPONS QUEER THE EXPERIENCE OF KILLING IN WAR
Killing with drones produces queer moments of disorientation. Drawing on queer phenomenology, I show how militarized masculinities function as spatiotemporal landmarks that give killing in war its “orientation” and make it morally intelligible. These bearings no longer make sense for drone warfare, which radically deviates from two of its main axes: the home–combat and distance–intimacy binaries. Through a narrative methodology, I show how descriptions of drone warfare are rife with symptoms of an unresolved disorientation, often expressed as gender anxiety over the failure of the distance–intimacy and home–combat axes to orient killing with drones. The resulting vertigo sparks a frenzy of reorientation attempts, but disorientation can lead in multiple and sometimes surprising directions – including, but not exclusively, more violent ones. With drones, the point is that none have yet been reliably secured, and I conclude by arguing that, in the midst of this confusion, it is important not to lose sight of the possibility of new paths, and the “hope of new directions.”

AND

http://irqr.ucpress.edu/content/10/4/340

International Review of Qualitative Research

becoming cyborg
Activist Filmmaker, the Living Camera, Participatory Democracy, and Their Weaving

M. Francyne Huckaby

This article explores the chimeric hybridity of portable camera, sound recorder, filmmaker, and audience as research and activist cyborg weaving. Situating filmmaking in critical qualitative, ethnographic, and sociological traditions, I share my journey into becoming woman and machine—cine-eye-ear—in the struggle for continued access to public education. Throughout this article I use lowercase letters to deemphasize the importance of the individualized human in cyborg connection.

Writing imaginary emails to dead Korean Drummers is a valid method in some academic circles. I suppose it’s ok as creative writing, but not as some sort of methodical investigation:

Creating Learning: A Korean Drummer’s Lifelong Quest to be the Best

Dae Joong Kang

First Published June 11, 2010 Research Articlehttps://doi.org/10.1177/1077800410373468

In this article, the author interrogates how one famous Korean traditional drummer Mr. Myong-hwan Kim’s lifelong learning is affected by the sociocultural and historical context as it contributes to the construction of his life. This article analyzed an oral history book that contains Mr. Kim’s interview narratives since he died 20 years ago. Instead of systematic coding and theme generation, the author wrote four different notes (analysis note, research journal, transgressive data note, and additional data note) as methods of inquiry. For the research finding report, the author adopted imaginary e-mail exchanges between Mr. Kim and himself with a figuration of creating. The article illuminates how Mr. Kim’s life is interwoven with the historical evolvement of modern Korea in terms of his relentless effort to be the best drummer of his time. Imaginary e-mail exchanges opened up multiple writing spaces between the researcher and the researched, past and present, fiction and nonfiction, and facts and emotional responses.

AND

Straight and White: Talking With My Mouth Full


W. Benjamin Myers
First Published January 1, 2008 Research Articlehttps://doi.org/10.1177/1077800407308905
Article information 

 

Abstract
By using straight and white teeth as a metaphor for a straight and White identity, the author reflects on how this identity is performed, maintained, and often problematic. Using literature about identity performance, three different voices speak to and from straight and White identity. Using irony by blending arrogance and ignorance in the voice of the straight and White author, these voices illustrate the cracks in straight and White performance by taking the extreme positions that these performances often rest on. These voices illustrate how education, religion, and hygiene make and maintain (often) arrogant and ignorant straight and White identities. These three voices speak to each other to demonstrate how a methodology that foregrounds our bodies provides space to understand the visibility of identity performances and the politics of writing about with that visibility.
….

…I simply kept brushing, flossing, mouthwashing, and going to the dentist without a though about what would happen if I stopped…..Dentist visits to my school were fairly common. We got about two a year to remind us of how to maintain our whiteness.

….My straight teeth are not “natural.” Years of my life have been spent perfecting my straightness, and this process is far from over. I am not “naturally” straight.

I might add some more examples in the comment section from RealPeerReview.

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58 thoughts on “Examples of “Pathological Idiocy” in Universities, Especially in Social Sciences and Related Disciplines

  1. One might think the study of fat is a topic of biochemistry. Not necessarily!

    Found through RealPeerReveiw:

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21604851.2019.1629759?journalCode=ufts20

    Fat Studies
    An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society

    Where Do I Fit? A ‘Check-Up’ on the Role of the Fat Researcher in Health Care Spaces

    Abstract
    ….
    My experiences as a fat woman with frequent interactions with health care cannot be separated out from the context in which my research is conducted, as these experiences are the starting point of my interest in examining institutionalized fatphobia in medicine. This paper explores the role of the fat researcher, specifically myself, in fat studies research. As a fat woman I am both hypervisible and hyper(in)visible, and the hypervisibility of my fatness is inescapable.

    Kelsey Ioannoni
    Kelsey Ioannoni is a fat sociologist and PhD candidate at York University. Her research interests focus on the politics of the body and the way in which different bodies are regulated in society, with specific focus on the fat body, weight based politics, and weight based discrimination.

    Uh, well, let’s see, are cardiologists fat phobic?

    Patients needing liver transplants because their livers have become invaded by fat; complication rates that are 12 times higher in overweight patients needing surgery; the list goes on.

    See centers for disease control:
    https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

    If Miss “fat sociologist” PhD candidate is complaining that she is not liked as much as Miss “thin sociologist”, well she has a valid complaint. But that’s not the same as the medical risks associated with being obese.

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  2. From Science Direct (no kidding) found through RealPeerReview:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539508800052

    Structuring feminist science

    any calls for a feminist science have ended with the disclaimer that there is no way to imagine such a science from within an androcentric society. Making the attempt requires dealing with two broad questions: “Is all or some of science socially constructed?” and “By what features is science recognized?” The strategy used here involves defining the components as we know them, asking if they are socially constructed, and, if they are, how they could be changed to be less androcentric. The conclusion is that all of science may be androcentric, and the approach to attaining feminist science may need to be radical, a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method. Alternatively, we may accept a modification of current science, a “feminized” science (defined as doing the same science differently), as consistent with the political goal for feminist scientists.

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  3. Found through RealPeerReview:

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09687599.2016.1188767?journalCode=cdso20

    ‘We swam before we breathed or walked’: able-bodied belonging in popular stories of evolutionary biology

    This article introduces the concept of ‘able-bodied belonging,’ and pays particular attention to the cultural mechanisms in which ableism intertwines with the forms of belonging. Taking a cultural studies viewpoint, the article focuses on present evolutionary biological accounts, and explores the ableist and speciesist assumptions that frame evolutionary biology. The article investigates how these accounts invoke a feeling of belonging to the animal world in ways which reinforce the idea that only a particular kind of body is species-typical of humans. First, the article explores how the cultural stories that emphasize the connection between human beings and non-human species eventually distance particular bodies from humanity. Second, the article shows how humans’ connection to the animal world could emerge in a way that contests the exceptionality of able-bodied humanity.

    A commenter at RealPeerReview said the aim of the paper was:

    “Human bipedalism is an oppressive social construct and teaching people to walk upright reinforces ableist norms.”

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  4. Found through RealPeerReview this article on (gasp) ScienceDirect!

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539505000841

    Vagina equals woman? On genitals and gendered identity

    Abstract

    Gendered identity is often assumed to be predicated on the prior existence of dichotomously sexed bodies: penis equating to maleness and vagina (or the absence of a penis) equating to femaleness. But is it experienced in this way? We analyse talk about the vagina and female gendered identity in focus group (and interview) data collected from 55 women that explores this very issue. Women talked about genitals and identity in four ways: they affirmed a link between having a vagina and being a woman; they explored this link though associated functions (heterosex and reproduction); they questioned the inevitability of the link; and they attempted disruption of the link (although this frequently served only to reinstate the normativity of it). The implications of this analysis for theory and practice are discussed.

    “data collected from 55 women…affirmed a link between having a vagina and being a woman”?

    No kidding Sherlock. Or should I say Captain Obvious.

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  5. Found through RealPeerReview:

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14791420.2019.1572905?journalCode=rccc20

    Archipelagic rhetoric: remapping the Marianas and challenging militarization from “A Stirring Place”

    Engaging critical rhetorical fieldwork in the Mariana Islands archipelago, this article destabilizes colonial naming projects and US federal control that dispossess island places from Indigenous peoples. On Euro-American and military maps, archipelagoes are depicted as distant, tiny, empty, or merely (is)lands for US geostrategic control. I argue for a remapping of the Marianas as expansive, oceanic sites of resistance to colonial cartographic violence and US militarization. Fieldwork in the Marianas demonstrates how Indigenous epistemologies function as archipelagic rhetoric enacted through a Chamoru sense of place. I examine these fluid relational connections to place and their implications for decolonization.

    How are we going to re-map? Change the latitude/longitude coordinates?

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  6. stcordova,

    Feel free to make an argument of some kind, lest anyone suspect that the only “pathological idiocy” here is your own.

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  7. Kantian Naturalist:
    stcordova,

    Feel free to make an argument of some kind, lest anyone suspect that the only “pathological idiocy” here is your own.

    The argument is (amending Peterson’s own words):

    It is becoming an embarrassment to be associated with the academy when pathological idiocy of this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor…

    So the first premise is the above papers called out by RealPeerReview aren’t genuine intellectual/scientific endeavors. They’re junk “investigations” pretending to have the authority of physics. Why should diplomas be awarded for this and university departments formed? If this were represented as creative fiction writing, that would be Ok.

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  8. I was just about to say there is no need to make an argument. The examples speak for themselves.

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  9. As the saying goes:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same

    People were making similar complaints 50 years ago — except that the examples were different. Somehow the world survived.

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  10. stcordova: So the first premise is the above papers called out by RealPeerReview aren’t genuine intellectual/scientific endeavors. They’re junk “investigations” pretending to have the authority of physics. Why should diplomas be awarded for this and university departments formed? If this were represented as creative fiction writing, that would be Ok.

    Sneering dismissal is not an argument. Aren’t creationists and design advocates always lambasting Darwinists for dismissing scholarship they clearly haven’t read and don’t understand? Why shouldn’t you be held to the same standard?

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  11. Richardthughes:
    Friggin lobsterman.

    ETA, for your delectation, he gets dismantled by… MATT DILLAHUNTY! here

    It’s funny how we arrive at different interpretations of this conversation. I didn’t hear any dismantling going on.

    A short time from here – Matt Dillahunty say that there are facts about wellbeing, “You can chop off my head it’s in contradiction to my wellbeing.” He calls this a fact about wellbeing, but Jordan Peterson disagrees, he implies that it’s a supposition, a metaphysical statement, not a fact.

    In Phaedo Socrates says:

    ‘I understand’, he said, ‘we can and must pray to the gods that our sojourn on earth will continue happy beyond the grave. This is my prayer, and may it come to pass.’
    With these words, he stoically drank the potion, readily and cheerfully.

    Here was a man who considered it beneficial to his wellbeing to die.

    Matt Dillahunty believes that there is no continuation of being after death and it is only by making this assumption that he can then regard his statement as a fact.

    Jordan Peterson is making a point that he is making a presumption based on prior belief and therefore cannot state it as a fact.

    Anyway I enjoyed listening to the video.

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  12. CharlieM: I was just about to say there is no need to make an argument. The examples speak for themselves.

    One of the very first things I explain to my first-year college students is that no example or textual citation ever speaks for itself: they can only be used as evidence for or against an interpretation or argument that it is the author’s responsibility to make.

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  13. Kantian Naturalist: One of the very first things I explain to my first-year college students is that no example or textual citation ever speaks for itself: they can only be used as evidence for or against an interpretation or argument that it is the author’s responsibility to make.

    I think it’s clear enough that the argument that follows from this thread is that these are examples of poor science which are creeping into the system. And leaving it at that initially lets others give their opinions and then perhaps some interesting debates and discussions will follow on from this. Maybe he preferred to get the opinion of others before making any specific arguments. His primary concern may have been to bring this to the reader’s attention.

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  14. CharlieM: I think it’s clear enough that the argument that follows from this thread is that these are examples of poor science which are creeping into the system. And leaving it at that initially lets others give their opinions and then perhaps some interesting debates and discussions will follow on from this. Maybe he preferred to get the opinion of others before making any specific arguments. His primary concern may have been to bring this to the reader’s attention.

    I think it’s tolerably clear that Sal is presenting these abstracts as if they were examples of poor science. But he’s done nothing to argue that this is the best way of understanding what cultural studies is even trying to do, let alone whether that’s a thing worth doing.

    Generally speaking, I think it’s intellectually dishonest to dismiss a whole field of scholarship just because it’s easy to make fun of a few abstracts that you find on the Internet.

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  15. CharlieM: I think it’s clear enough that the argument that follows from this thread is that these are examples of poor science which are creeping into the system. And leaving it at that initially lets others give their opinions and then perhaps some interesting debates and discussions will follow on from this. Maybe he preferred to get the opinion of others before making any specific arguments. His primary concern may have been to bring this to the reader’s attention.

    A grain of salt is required for complaints by a young earth creationist about poor science creeping into the system.

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  16. CharlieM: In Phaedo Socrates says:

    ‘I understand’, he said, ‘we can and must pray to the gods that our sojourn on earth will continue happy beyond the grave. This is my prayer, and may it come to pass.’
    With these words, he stoically drank the potion, readily and cheerfully.

    Here was a man who considered it beneficial to his wellbeing to die.

    Not exactly, he hoped it turned out not detrimental which is not the same as beneficial .

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  17. Kantian Naturalist: Generally speaking, I think it’s intellectually dishonest to dismiss a whole field of scholarship just because it’s easy to make fun of a few abstracts that you find on the Internet.

    And who is dismissing the whole field? Have you had a look at the paper Sal refers to right at the start?

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  18. An first glance, I thought this article might mention ‘professional students’ who hang around universities forever, never seeming to truly accomplish much.

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  19. newton:

    CharlieM: In Phaedo Socrates says:

    ‘I understand’, he said, ‘we can and must pray to the gods that our sojourn on earth will continue happy beyond the grave. This is my prayer, and may it come to pass.’
    With these words, he stoically drank the potion, readily and cheerfully.

    Here was a man who considered it beneficial to his wellbeing to die.

    Not exactly, he hoped it turned out not detrimental which is not the same as beneficial .

    More Socrates from Phaedo:

    But men, because of their own fear of death, misrepresent the swans and say that they sing for sorrow, in mourning for their own death. They do not consider that no bird sings when it is hungry or cold or has any other trouble; no, not even the nightingale or the swallow or the hoopoe which are said to sing in lamentation. I do not believe they sing for grief, nor do the swans; [85b] but since they are Apollo’s birds, I believe they have prophetic vision, and because they have foreknowledge of the blessings in the other world they sing and rejoice on that day more than ever before. And I think that I am myself a fellow-servant of the swans; and am consecrated to the same God and have received from our master a gift of prophecy no whit inferior to theirs, and that I go out from life with as little sorrow as they…

    And of these, all who have duly purified themselves by philosophy live henceforth altogether without bodies, and pass to still more beautiful abodes which it is not easy to describe, nor have we now time enough…

    And though I have been saying at great length that after I drink the poison I shall no longer be with you, but shall go away to the joys of the blessed you know of,..

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  20. Richardthughes:
    Friggin lobsterman.

    ETA, for your delectation, he gets dismantled by… MATT DILLAHUNTY!https://www.reddit.com/r/enoughpetersonspam/comments/8en72j/this_debate_jordan_peterson_had_with_matt/

    Apologies for a delayed reply, I was off to church and I only had time to respond to KantianNaturalist.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I like Matt Dilahunty, we had a cordial conversation over the internet, and I also had cordial conversation with his associate Tracie Harris on the Atheist Experience.

    Independent of whether Dr. Peterson won or lost the debate with Matt on a number of topics, the immediate concern is Dr. Peterson’s highlighting of the peer reviewed papers in academia.

    I think statements like this are disturbing: ” “scientists are particularly prone to bias” or ” a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method.”

    I used Lobsterman’s words to introduce my topic because he had the most provocative way of echoing my own feelings about the decline of certain disciplines in academia.

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  21. CharlieM:
    I was just about to say there is no need to make an argument. The examples speak for themselves.

    My thoughts exactly, I’m surprised no one is jumping on examples like:

    scientists are particularly prone to bias

    or calls by feminists for:

    a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method

    Can you imagine someone like me saying stuff like that? I would never hear the end of ridicule, but why do these academics get a free pass?

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  22. CharlieM: And who is dismissing the whole field? Have you had a look at the paper Sal refers to right at the start?

    Sounds like Sal:

    “Genius discoveries in the areas of physics and chemistry are recognized by tangible results — like the use of electromagnetism. In real disciplines like physics and chemistry, there is often a means of determining what is a right and wrong answer, or at least answers that far are closer to truth than not. But this is not the case in modern social “science” and related disciplines.

    The issue about what is happening in social science and related disciplines is not freedom of thought, but as Peterson says, “this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor “

    If one wants to learn to write like that so as to become an entertainer, that’s probably tolerable too. But to represent it as some sort of truth? No way…”

    Sounds fairly broadly brushed, everything can be considered “ this sort” depending of one’s interests. Not real intellectual endeavor.

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  23. Kantian Naturalist: Sneering dismissal is not an argument. Aren’t creationists and design advocates always lambasting Darwinists for dismissing scholarship they clearly haven’t read and don’t understand? Why shouldn’t you be held to the same standard?

    Thank you for your comments, however, the issue isn’t about me, it’s about statements like this being welcomed in academia:

    scientists are particularly prone to bias

    or calls by feminists for:

    a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method

    I have no problem with fiction writing or movies conveying transcendant truths. The movie Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman was fiction, but it had transcendant truths and a something beautiful to show about humanity, but I wouldn’t represent it as a historical claim or a methodical claim about everyday reality. If people want to write creatively and write fiction in order to attempt to convey a higher truth about our place in the universe, that’s A-Ok because parables sometimes give timeless lessons.

    However, when a guy represents brushing his teeth as some sort of actual enforced racism and getting braces to straighten his teeth as some sort of enforced sexuality — uh, I have problems with that on a logical basis.

    I would presume, if I said stuff like that, I’d never hear the end of criticism, but why do these guys get a free pass. Why isn’t the usual crowd of skeptical zone jumping in and sneering what now passes as elite intellectual knowledge in universities?

    Finally, as a card carrying creationist, I was offended that a professor of evolutionary biology, Bret Weinstein was physically bullied from teaching a class he was scheduled to teach and which students paid good money to attend — all based on false accusations that he was racist with much of the same philosophy represented by the above papers.

    Yes, black people, women, minorities have been oppressed,etc. But two wrongs don’t make a right, and taking one’s aggravation at reality out on an innocent scapegoat like Weinstein is just plain wrong. The behavior of that self-righteous student mob was disgusting.

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  24. Anyone want to defend this as quality scholarship?

    HOW “UNMANNED” WEAPONS QUEER THE EXPERIENCE OF KILLING IN WAR

    Killing with drones produces queer moments of disorientation. Drawing on queer phenomenology, I show how militarized masculinities function as spatiotemporal landmarks that give killing in war its “orientation” and make it morally intelligible. These bearings no longer make sense for drone warfare, which radically deviates from two of its main axes: the home–combat and distance–intimacy binaries. Through a narrative methodology, I show how descriptions of drone warfare are rife with symptoms of an unresolved disorientation, often expressed as gender anxiety over the failure of the distance–intimacy and home–combat axes to orient killing with drones. The resulting vertigo sparks a frenzy of reorientation attempts, but disorientation can lead in multiple and sometimes surprising directions – including, but not exclusively, more violent ones. With drones, the point is that none have yet been reliably secured, and I conclude by arguing that, in the midst of this confusion, it is important not to lose sight of the possibility of new paths, and the “hope of new directions.”

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  25. Contrast how people reacted to this statement which I co-authored. People at TSZ were straining at all sorts of gnats and word choices to argue it was a poor abstract and making snide comments about me over it.

    The variable C-terminal domain of human type II topoisomerases as a functionally relevant therapeutic target

    Topoisomerase II is a critical enzyme involved in unknotting and detangling DNA during replication, transcription, and cell division. Humans have two isoforms of topoisomerase II, α (Top2A) and β (Top2B), originating from genes on separate chromosomes and displaying distinct functional roles. In addition, these enzymes are the target of several successful anticancer therapeutics. Unfortunately, these agents are nonselective and a growing body of evidence implicates Top2B as a mediator of off-target toxicities, while Top2A is likely a better target for disruption of cancer cell growth. The isoforms share about 65.2% amino acid identity primarily in the N-terminus and the core regions, which contain the catalytic domains of the enzyme and the regions targeted by all clinically-relevant anticancer agents. On the other hand, the C-termini of the human enzymes share only ~30% amino acid identity across ~400 amino acids. The carboxy terminus does not participate in catalysis, but has been hypothesized to have a role in the regulation of topoisomerase II activity, which may explain how these proteins are independently regulated. Since the C-terminal region has been largely unexplored, we undertook an analysis to identify key differences between the C-termini that may help explain the differential regulation of the topoisomerase II isoforms. The relative rates of synonymous (dS) and nonsynonymous (dN) DNA substitutions between the isoforms suggests that these sequences are under purifying selection for functional constraint (dN/dS = 0.25; P < 0.0001, Z test, 1,000 bootstrap replicates). The 434 C-terminal codons, however, had a relatively high dN/dS ratio of 0.59 (P < 0.0001), reflecting elevated amino acid diversity. In addition, bioinformatic evidence from Phosphosite (Phosphosite.org) indicates that nearly half (91/191 for Top2A) of the putative post-translational modification (PTM) sites are found in the C-terminus. Of the PTM sites found in the Top2A C-terminus, over half (~50) are distinct from those found in Top2B. Aside from sequence characteristics, protein-protein interaction data from the Biogrid database (thebiogrid.org) indicate that ~143 proteins have interaction evidence with either Top2A or TOP2B. Of these proteins, only ~34 are confirmed to interact with both isoforms and several are known to interact with the C-terminal domain of Top2A or Top2B. Taken together, these data suggest distinct sequence, PTM, and interaction profile characteristics for the C-termini of the isoforms of Top2, which may provide critical insight into the differential regulation of these enzymes. We hypothesize that these results provide the foundation for topoisomerase II isoform-specific targeting strategies for anticancer therapeutics.

    But then, so far, this stuff gets a free pass and lets the proverbial camel go through:

    Structuring feminist science

    any calls for a feminist science have ended with the disclaimer that there is no way to imagine such a science from within an androcentric society. Making the attempt requires dealing with two broad questions: “Is all or some of science socially constructed?” and “By what features is science recognized?” The strategy used here involves defining the components as we know them, asking if they are socially constructed, and, if they are, how they could be changed to be less androcentric. The conclusion is that all of science may be androcentric, and the approach to attaining feminist science may need to be radical, a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method. Alternatively, we may accept a modification of current science, a “feminized” science (defined as doing the same science differently), as consistent with the political goal for feminist scientists.

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  26. stcordova: My thoughts exactly, I’m surprised no one is jumping on examples like:

    “scientists are particularly prone to bias”

    Isn’t that the essence of accusing scientists of being atheists, that they are biased?

    or calls by feminists for:

    a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method

    Fans of immaterial causation would back that one up.

    Can you imagine someone like me saying stuff like that? I would never hear the end of ridicule, but why do these academics get a free pass?

    You do, what is creationism but an attempt to replace the biased non-theistic scientific method? Or at least the parts which does not support your theistic wager.

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  27. stcordova:
    Contrast how people reacted to this statement which I co-authored.People at TSZ were straining at all sorts of gnats and word choices to argue it was a poor abstract and making snide comments about me over it.

    You posted it here in an effort to get people to help you critique it. Now you seem to be unhappy about it.

    But then, so far, this stuff gets a free pass and lets the proverbial camel go through:

    Ok I’ll bite. You misrepresented her position

    “or calls by feminists for:

    a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method”

    When in fact she wrote
    The conclusion is that all of science may be androcentric, and the approach to attaining feminist science may need to be radical, a total replacement of the scientific enterprise with one not based on the scientific method. Alternatively, we may accept a modification of current science, a “feminized” science (defined as doing the same science differently), as consistent with the political goal for feminist scientists.

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  28. ERRATA, Weinstein recounting the protests about scientists was at 1:35 in the video, at 1:03 in the video was Weinstein recounting the treatment of African Americans supportive of him.

    But regarding the comment about biased scientists:

    in one particularly telling video the president [of Evergreen State] calmly discusses with the leaders of the protest a demand to target STEM faculty based on the empty assertion that scientists are particularly prone to bias.”

    TARGETING science faculty? I’ve never heard creationists conspire to do such stuff to scientists because they think they are particularly biased (over other disciplines). I mean, did the student at EverGreen State think Naima Lowe was the least biased and most reasonable faculty member? Scary.

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  29. newton: The conclusion is that all of science may be androcentric, and the approach to attaining feminist science

    Well thanks for trying. Here are my thoughts.

    Androcentric means focused on men.

    Science is focused on the study of nature, not men.

    How will feminist science improve the accuracy, for example, of measuring and observational devices which are so critical to the scientific enterprise. If the author just wants more women in positions of power and influence, that’s a different story. Certain fields are dominated by men and certain fields dominated by women. Most plumbers are men, most roofers are men, most fireMEN are men. Are we going to start calling fireMEN “firehumans” or “firepeople.” The reason for most firemen being men is simple physiology starting with raw body weight….

    Most physicists are men. What does feminizing these fields mean? Adding more women? OK. Why would that be good for the discipline on a discipline by discipline basis.

    These questions are not adequately addressed, hence, I think Feminism on the whole is sub-par scholarship pretending to be elite intellectualism, when at the root it’s just envy and sometimes hatred of men in certain positions of influence.

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  30. Newton gave an admirable attempt at defending the scholarship of the Feminist science paper. Any takers on the scholarship of this paper. 🙂

    ]
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. … 15.1075317
    International Feminist Journal of Politics
    WINNER OF THE ENLOE AWARD 2014
    Drone Disorientations
    HOW “UNMANNED” WEAPONS QUEER THE EXPERIENCE OF KILLING IN WAR
    Killing with drones produces queer moments of disorientation. Drawing on queer phenomenology, I show how militarized masculinities function as spatiotemporal landmarks that give killing in war its “orientation” and make it morally intelligible. These bearings no longer make sense for drone warfare, which radically deviates from two of its main axes: the home–combat and distance–intimacy binaries. Through a narrative methodology, I show how descriptions of drone warfare are rife with symptoms of an unresolved disorientation, often expressed as gender anxiety over the failure of the distance–intimacy and home–combat axes to orient killing with drones. The resulting vertigo sparks a frenzy of reorientation attempts, but disorientation can lead in multiple and sometimes surprising directions – including, but not exclusively, more violent ones. With drones, the point is that none have yet been reliably secured, and I conclude by arguing that, in the midst of this confusion, it is important not to lose sight of the possibility of new paths, and the “hope of new directions.”

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  31. FWIW, I have to say that it pisses me off when some of that crap gets published. Getting stuff into mainstream philosophy journals is HARD.

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  32. The paper Peterson was referring to in my OP was so vulgar I didn’t quote from it in the OP, but here in the comment section I’ll share the abstract as it was published in (gasp) SCIENCEdirect:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0277539584900797

    Refusing to be a man☆

    JohnStoltenberg

    Abstract

    Terms like ‘bisexual’, ‘homosexual’, and ‘heterosexual’ are all part of maculinist culture, for they categorize people by objecting those we share intimacy and trust with. ‘To be a man’ means a certain kind of genital functioning which can and must be rejected, for it is based on two lies. The first is the lie of the male orgasm, which is experientially neither synonymous with ejaculation nor at any point inevitable or uncontrollable. The second is the lie of the male erection, which is necessary only for the penis to be used as a weapon in rape, for, experientially, hard erections are neither comfortable nor pleasurable nor anything other than symptoms of the aggressive tenseness and rigidity of the macho man.

    Ok crowd, do you think this should be published by scientific publishers like ScienceDirect? Do you think this is science or a worthy intellectual endeavor?

    This is what Dr. Peterson thinks:

    It is an embarrassment to be associated with the academy when pathological idiocy of this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor… What the hell is wrong with us?

    Commenters are invited to agree or disagree with Dr. Peterson’s assessment of John Stoltenberg paper.

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  33. stcordova: Ok crowd, do you think this should be published by scientific publishers like ScienceDirect?

    Err, ScienceDirect is not a publisher, it is a proprietary database of published articles. Think of it as an aggregator — each journal within the database has its own standards. Your complaint in this case would be with the “Women’s Studies International Forum”.

    Your argument, insofar as I can ascertain it, is “I may be bad, but these people are worse.”
    There is crap published in pretty much every discipline; that’s uncontroversial. Some of it in social sciences is particularly egregious.
    I generally restrict my critiques to areas where I have expertise, such as molecular biology. Sorry if you feel I have targeted you unfairly; the solution is entirely within your control.

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  34. DNA_Jock

    Sorry if you feel I have targeted you unfairly

    Appreciate the thoughts anyway. Thanks for your comment.

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  35. I can see a parallel here between the modern scientific establishment and its parent the Christian church at the time of the renaissance leading up to the reformation.

    Up to that point the Biblical teachings were disseminated to the masses by the ‘elite’ who were the only ones who had access to the written works. The arrival of the printing press eventually allowed the common people the freedom to read the works and interpret them for themselves. On the whole the leaders did not like the way things were going but they were powerless to stop it.

    In recent times a similar thing is happening with the scientific establishment. The arrival of the internet means that research findings are becoming more available to those who aren’t affiliated with any specific centres of learning. And some of those that control the establishment have been reluctant to share their research and open it up to general scrutiny. And just as the church leaders were unable to stop general access to religious texts so too those leaders of scientific establishments who saw knowledge as personal possessions have been unable to stop the general public gaining access to, and having opinions on, all sorts of research and writings (both good and bad) which were unavailable in the past.

    There is a path from the past where the masses were told how to think by the elite few into the future where individuals have the power to think for themselves and make up their own minds.

    This thread and this blog in general highlights this fact. Just because someone is a specialist in one particular field we should not assume that they are beyond scrutiny and criticism from without.

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  36. CharlieM: This thread and this blog in general highlights this fact. Just because someone is a specialist in one particular field we should not assume that they are beyond scrutiny and criticism from without.

    Yes, I too noted how those elitist researchers on this blog have been extremely secretive and reluctant to explain basic concepts despite the repeated, dare I say voracious, requests for sharing this specialised knowledge by the representatives of the “common masses” here.

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  37. CharlieM: The arrival of the internet means that research findings are becoming more available to those who aren’t affiliated with any specific centres of learning.

    Who is putting those research findings on the internet by the way? Do we have a rat?

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  38. Corneel: Who is putting those research findings on the internet by the way? Do we have a rat?

    Well the reformation and changes to the Christian practices came mainly from within so that should give us a good idea of the way things are going with the scientific establishment. And that’s the way it should be IMO.

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  39. stcordova: Well thanks for trying. Here are my thoughts.

    No problem

    Androcentric means focused on men.

    Or “centered on, emphasizing, or dominated by males or masculine interests”

    Science is focused on the study of nature, not men.

    Or a divine creator , anthropomorphized as male generally, for creationists.

    Anthropology: the study of human societies and cultures and their development.
    the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and their evolution. Males are part of society

    How will feminist science improve the accuracy, for example, of measuring and observational devices which are so critical to the scientific enterprise.

    From a radical feminist viewpoint , removing any systematic bias against women . The same type of complaint echoed by those that decry the materialist, atheist bias of science.

    If the author just wants more women in positions of power and influence, that’s a different story. Certain fields are dominated by men and certain fields dominated by women.

    You would have to read the entire piece , I guess , to make that judgement what the author’s logic is. You tell me, you used it as an example of improper intellectual endeavor.

    > Most plumbers are men, most roofers are men, most fireMEN are men.

    Right, criminals ,as well , if we are counting other fields dominated by men.

    Are we going to start calling fireMEN “firehumans” or “firepeople.” The reason for most firemen being men is simple physiology starting with raw body weight….

    Wow, that is an old school complaint, reverence for grammar, how about firefighters? I think you mean strength not weight.

    Most physicists are men. What does feminizing these fields mean?

    True, a feminist might say, not feminizing ,but removing any bias. Then if it turns out more men gravitate to a field such as roofers, so be it , everyone is on an even playing field.

    Adding more women? OK. Why would that be good for the discipline on a discipline by discipline basis.

    I guess because we claim to live in a society where everyone has a fair chance to pursue their interests. As for science, different viewpoints lead to different approaches which is useful are useful in solving problems, orthodoxy can be non productive.

    Which again brings us to the same point ID and creationism makes.

    These questions are not adequately addressed,

    You realize that is an argument for more feminist study, not less.

    hence, I think Feminism on the whole is sub-par scholarship pretending to be elite intellectualism, when at the root it’s just envy and sometimes hatred of men in certain positions of influence.

    Of course you do, women should know their place.

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  40. newton,

    That was one of the better rebuttals I’ve seen to anything I said. Thanks.

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  41. stcordova: It is an embarrassment to be associated with the academy when pathological idiocy of this sort is published and cited in the same manner as genuine intellectual/scientific endeavor… What the hell is wrong with us?

    Commenters are invited to agree or disagree with Dr. Peterson’s assessment of John Stoltenberg paper.

    First step would be to read the actual paper.

    Second ,Soltenberg is a writer not an academic.

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  42. stcordova:
    newton,

    That was one of the better rebuttals I’ve seen to anything I said.Thanks.

    Shooting fish in a barrel. No offense intended.

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  43. newton:

    Right, criminals ,as well , if we are counting other fields dominated by men.

    And mental institutions!!! Now why do you think that is? Is there something inherent in the biology of men vs. women.

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  44. CharlieM: Well the reformation and changes to the Christian practices came mainly from within so that should give us a good idea of the way things are going with the scientific establishment.

    Damn right it’s coming “from within”. It is researchers that are putting up their research online, publishing open access, blogging, or doing other forms of public outreach and education. Dissemination of research findings is a matter of course. Quite unlike any pre-reformation Christian church leaders I know of (not very many, I must admit).

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  45. newton: Shooting fish in a barrel. No offense intended.

    No offense taken, it’s refreshing compared to the fumbduckery I hear from others.

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  46. Regarding the higher rate of men in mental institutions, some indirect line of data:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19031491

    Greater intrasex phenotype variability in males than in females is a fundamental aspect of the gender differences in humans

    Human studies of intrasex variability have shown that males are intellectually more variable. Here we have performed retrospective statistical analysis of human intrasex variability in several different properties and performances that are unrelated or indirectly related to intelligence: (a) birth weights of nearly 48,000 babies (Medical Birth Registry of Norway); (b) adult weight, height, body mass index and blood parameters of more than 2,700 adults aged 18-90 (NORIP); (c) physical performance in the 60 meter dash event of 575 junior high school students; and (d) psychological performance reflected by the results of more than 222,000 undergraduate university examination grades (LIST). For all characteristics, the data were analyzed using cumulative distribution functions and the resultant intrasex variability for males was compared with that for females. The principal finding is that human intrasex variability is significantly higher in males, and consequently constitutes a fundamental sex difference.

    Now, because of political pressure, few want to touch on the subject of intrasex differences in certain other parameters like IQ and other mental capability metrics! I mean, bell curves like this tell a story that isn’t politically correct:

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  47. I think you guys are talking past each other. I think Sal starts from a reasonable position and then digs himself in a hole with a poor choice of words and muddled ideas

    newton: (Sal said) Most physicists are men. What does feminizing these fields mean?

    True, a feminist might say, not feminizing ,but removing any bias. Then if it turns out more men gravitate to a field such as roofers, so be it , everyone is on an even playing field.

    I think you’re trying to show Sal how enlightened you are but it turns out you’re not a feminist. You’re the worst of the worst in the oppressive patriarchy. You’ve just expressed the exact same opinion that got James Damore fired from Google and got him listed with the lowlifes of the alt-right.

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  48. stcordova: Ok crowd, do you think this should be published by scientific publishers like ScienceDirect? Do you think this is science or a worthy intellectual endeavor?

    As was previously pointed out, ScienceDirect is not the publisher, so the whole line of criticism here rests on a false belief.

    If one looks closely at Stoltenburg’s essay, one will see that it originated as an essay in 1977 in a book that he edited and published with Monthly Review. Monthly Review is not, and does not purport to be, an academic press. It was explicitly founded as an publisher of Marxist theory and practice.

    Stoltenburg’s essay was then republished in Women’s Studies International Forum a few years later. Since Elsevier owns that journal and Elsevier’s content aggregator is called ScienceDirect, the result is that Stoltenburg’s essay shows up in ScienceDirect.

    At no point in this process were any scholarly standards violated: Stoltenburg is writing about being a male feminist in the context of 1970s second-wave feminism, in a book he edited, with a Marxist press. One might disagree with what he says or how he says it but there’s no expectation of academic faux neutrality there, and so there’s no norm being violated. Why Women’s Studies International Forum picks it up, I don’t know, but presumably the editors of that journal wanted to include perspectives by male feminists and found something valuable in Stoltenburg’s essay. Elsevier owns that journal (and in fact the several thousand academic journals across all disciplines are owned by two or three big publishing companies) and so Stoltenburg’s essay shows up in their content aggregator.

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  49. stcordova: Is there something inherent in the biology of men vs. women.

    One would have to do a lot of cross-cultural comparisons in order to determine how much is biology and how much is culture. Without the cross-cultural comparisons, any judgments about biology vs culture is premature.

    This is intended, by the way, as a equal-opportunity criticism against both the “sex differences are biologically determined” crowd and the “gender differences are socially constructed” crowd. The fact is that it would take a huge amount of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration to generate the data set necessary to disentangle the various confounding variables.

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