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Academic Feminists Want to Destroy Math, Science

My blood pressure rose, my stomach gurgled as I read the following two accounts of academic feminists who would totter–not male supremacy–but mathematics and science.  The first (see here) is by Rochelle Guterriez, a  professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She claims in a new book that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness (sic).”  She advocates “that things cannot be known objectively;  they must be known subjectively.”    Further, basic material in mathematics emphasizes Western culture too much (the Dead White Man complaint?):  “curricula emphasizing  terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”  (Note:  all quotes are taken from the linked article.)

The second (see here) is by Sara Giordano, a Women’s Study professor at UC Davis, who argued in an article in Catalyst Journal, that rather than traditional science, people should take an “anti-science, anti-racist, feminist approach to knowledge production.”   Shades of Stalinist Lysenkoism!   She proposes that “feminist science practice” (which is???) be introduced that “explicitly unsticks Science [sic] from Truth [sic].”  Further, she is interested in what “scientific illiteracy we might embrace to destabilize science [no uppercase here]  and remake  knowledge production.”  And, pray tell, what is knowledge production?   Science is only a part of knowledge production, but perhaps this isn’t known by academic feminists.  (Again, quotes are taken from the linked article.)

I should emphasize that I do not oppose women taking part in science.   There is a letter from a former grad student in my research group (it was on the occasion of my 80th birthday–a minor Feschriff (sp?)) thanking me for the efforts I took back in the 1950’s (when feminism was not in sway) to argue for her against professors who said women had no place in gradate school, who gave her unfair grades and who wanted to boot her out of the graduate program because she was pregnant. My efforts to change her grades and keep her doing research were successful.   She got her Ph.D. and a successful career thereafter.  There are many women who have made significant contributions to science and mathematics.   One of the most significant is Emmy Noether, who made a profound contribution to theoretical physics by her work relating conservation principles to symmetry.

What amazes and disturbs me is that the two feminist academics discussed above are suckers of the public teat;  they have positions (tenured?) at moderately prestigious universities, financed by taxpayer dollars.    Is the academic enterprise so far gone that there is no hope for recovery?  I don’t see that there’s any cure, other than a stake through the heart–remove all public support from institutions of so-called higher learning and let the marketplace decide what shall flourish.  Although, that may not work either–witness the Ivy League and second and third class stand-ins.   Hmm… any solutions, dear reader?

 

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

19 Comments

  1. Hmm. My severely dyslexic son and I are working very hard to get him into college. Maybe he/we shouldn’t bother. Fourteen, homeschooled, acne; it’s not easy around here. Math and science are bigger problems than reading and writing, which are plenty bad.
    .
    What I would like to say about these two women might well get me banned from TAC.

  2. Much of academia is now a hotbed of Cultural Marxism and political correct. Their only desire is to destroy. Don’t send your kids to places like this. Better they should become good tradesmen. This is what I recommend to my kids who have children and grand children of their own.

  3. My blood is boiling too! These women are asinine! They have been steeped in Stalinist Marxist feminism too long and it has addled their brains. Good grief!!! Do we really want any student of theirs (“things cannot be known objectively”) building our bridges, planes or cars in the future! Absolutely not!

    Sadly, I do not have an answer only outrage. Except, maybe to point them out as the emperor with no clothes. Point out their absurdity and plain wrongness when we see it.

    And to DJH, maybe your son is better off not going to college. Are there any good trade schools in your area? Several kids at our parish homeschool co-op are going the route of trade school rather than College.

  4. I’m an engineer and this is not surprising. I once argued with a female liberal over her “belief” -that if we had had another number system (one not based on 10) we would have different Physics/science. Besides the obvious truths, I argued that we do have differerent number systems, for example: binary, octal, hexadecimal… but to no avail.
    Ah, the Tyranny of Relativism.

  5. I personally would love to see somebody (perhaps me, if I win a billion-dollar Powerball lottery jackpot) establish a Catholic “work college” with a classics-based curriculum–a cross between, say, Christendom or Thomas Aquinas and “Hard Work U” (College of the Ozarks), an Evangelical school in Missouri that requires all students to work their way through and does not allow them to take on debt. Seems to me that requiring real work and real thinking NOT on the taxpayer’s dime would cure many of these problems.

  6. Dr. Kurland, I share your concerns. Yesterday, “Instapundit” posted on Prof. Guttierrez shrieking, “Math is racist. Algebra and geometry perpetuate white privilege.” The blog concluded that “It’s a shakedown” for grant money to be diverted from STEM professors to victim studies cranks.

    A few years ago, I stopped telling myself, “Now, I’ve seen everything.”

    Elaine,

    When I was at (unbelievable as it seems) Manhattan College, NY, the Arts and Sciences school curriculum was Western Civilization and chronologically tracked. Freshman year they had to take ancient era, “survey” courses: History, Philosophy, Theology, Literature. The next three years tracked the same.

    I cannot name the date it started. I’m old enough to remember when the policy for “race relations”/equal opportunity programs was treating all fairly and equally. That went out the window years ago. Now, it’s discrimination proved by made-up “disparate outcomes” and “effects tests.”

    Here are a few other things that perpetuate “white privilege.” The stable, two-parent family; sobriety; hard work, personal responsibility; discipline; . . .

    Grossly unhelpful are complaints that grammar, History, literacy, mathematics, punctuality, personal responsibility, achievement/excellence; etc. are racist.

  7. Awesome choice of picture!
    ****
    The first gal does kind of have a point– but it’s in the same way that guys in century plus old books use “white” to mean “behaving in a traditionally generous Christian manner.”
    Math is rational– it doesn’t allow self-contradiction, and it doesn’t care if you yell at it. It just IS.
    What she identifies as “whiteness” is failure to support the irrational cult of blame and contradiction– for example, bet she would insist that both Sarah Palin and myself are not “really” women, Brianna Wu and Chelsea Manning are. (especially since they have the “correct” views)
    The second one is also right that removing science is needed to destabilize stuff. Blowing a house up entirely is rather destabilize …the underwear gnome type plan is painful, though. (Step one: destroy science. Step 2: collapse. Step 3: ???? Step 4: SUCCESS!)

    Over at Sarah Hoyt’s blog, she mentioned someone else’s line about how Marx influenced ideologies seem to have a pattern of gutting an institution, wearing the skin and then demanding they be treated as if they were the same group that earned the respect. This appears to be a similar “give me the power” setup.

  8. Elaine: you have a very good point about choice of college / institution of higher learning.
    Foxifier: If you go to Giordano’s article in “Catalyst Journal” it doesn’t seem quite as extreme as the quotes I gave. In a way I agree with her: “knowledge production” (what an ugly phrase!) covers a lot a territory besides science. Nevertheless, science, if you follow the rules–theory, empirical tests, etc.–is a powerful tool to understand the world we live in.

  9. Nevertheless, science, if you follow the rules–theory, empirical tests, etc.–is a powerful tool to understand the world we live in.

    I think that is why she doesn’t like it.

    ANYBODY can do it– and if you’re wrong, there’s nowhere to hide. It can be checked, and then you’re just wrong.
    This, I have been assured– when I wasn’t even being abrasive about it! And even tried to make sure I didn’t embarrass anybody!– is “hateful.”

  10. Don, I looked at the “rate my professor” link. Encouraging–the students appear to have some critical sense in complaining about social theory indoctrination in a math class. If I were Trump I could tweet a good one about that.

  11. “Mathematics operates with unearned privilege in society, just like whiteness.”
    Unearned privilege? The amount of mathematics it took to build the computer she used to type that sentence and transmit it to us would blow her mind. But really, what does mathematics contribute to society?

  12. “Any solutions…”

    Yep.
    They should be recognized, Nationally, in a conservative news format. CBS had Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt…or the On The Road segment. A program exposing the buffoonery of publicly funded derelicts might curtail the advance of such blatant disregard for public trust and an accountability of such behavior could be the result of such a program.

    Give these women their 15 minutes of fame!
    Right now!

  13. No wonder there are so few women in commercial nuclear energy. And those that are invariably occupy non-engineering positions. There are always of course exceptions (as I have posted before, the best engineer I ever worked with was a young lady placed in charge of the emergency diesel generators at a pressurized water reactor).

    PS, I despise, loathe, abhor and detest feminism, liberalism and progressivism.

  14. ” any solutions, dear reader?”
    Conservative and old-fashioned liberal academics should form their own pro-liberty pro-science accreditation organization and get USDE recognition.

  15. @Clara- I just saw your question. Yes, I believe there is. The problem with the “trades” is that it is very foreign to my spouse and me. And that is very sad. My father did not pass “guy” skills to me. My husband’s father was very frail, and did not learn “guy skills” either, so my husband did not learn. We have managed to learn some very basic stuff. And I WILL eventually revarnish my kitchen cabinets even if the fumes kill me.
    .
    My oldest son took a “trades” camp when he was younger and did well, but the other children annoyed him. They were a rougher group. He is pursuing a career in the health industry. My youngest is shy, with some social anxiety-not uncommon with dyslexics, actually (they are not all like Richard Branson or Whoopie Goldburg).
    .
    So we shall see. Very unlikely he will end up at Notre Dame, Loyola, or Harvard. Jr. College is doable, and I think they are less nutty.

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