Open Thread and Link Farm, Cartoon Physics Edition

  1. Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship – Areo
    This trio of writers wrote twenty deliberately bad hoax papers to submit to prestigious “grievance studies” journals, and were able to get seven papers published, or accepted for publication, before questions were being asked and they felt they had to fess up. I want to wait and see what more knowledgeable people’s takes on this are (eta: see here, for example), but my initial reaction is that – even though the authors are obvious ideologues – this is rightly embarrassing for women’s studies, fat studies, etc., and indicates that work needs to be done to make their peer-review process more skeptical. That said, I also note that the hoaxers lack any control group; that is, they didn’t bother testing to see if similar hoax papers were publishable in journals outside the fields they targeted.
  2. Unlearning the myth of American innocence | US news | The Guardian
    How people in Turkey see the US. Thanks to Grace for the link!
  3. Twelve years ago, Amber Wyatt reported her rape. Few believed her. Her hometown turned against her. – Washington Post
    A well-written, enraging long-form article.
  4. Science Says Toxic Masculinity — More Than Alcohol — Leads To Sexual Assault | FiveThirtyEight
  5. If you’re shocked that Brighton University is offering advice on sex work at freshers’ week, you need a reality check | The Independent
    A sex-worker-safety group sets up a table with pamphlets at the new students’ fair, and some people – including, alas, some feminists – lost their shit. I clicked through to the Sun article to see which feminists are angry about this, and was not surprised to see that both feminists the Sun quoted are TERFs. I don’t know why being anti-trans and anti-sex-worker are linked, but in practice they usually are.
  6. London’s Super-Recognizer Police Force | The New Yorker
    I have prosopagnosia, or “face blindness.” So it was interesting to read about people from the opposite end of the face-recognition spectrum. I was amused to read that, like prosopagnosiacs pretending to vaguely know everyone they meet (to avoid offending actual acquaintances), super-recognizers often lie and pretend not to have met people before (because saying “oh no, we chatted in line to a movie four years ago” creeps people out).
  7. Why Dallas Authorities Are Desperate to Attack Botham Jean’s Character – Rewire.News
  8. Critique of Just Love, Part Two | Thing of Things
    This blog post discusses the differences between “no means no consent,” “enthusiastic consent,” “verbal consent,” and “affirmative consent.” Like me, Ozy comes to the conclusion that “affirmative consent” is the position that makes the most sense.
  9. Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials – Foreign Policy
    It’s just so fucking petty. I guess this is what conservatives want – or at the least, what they vote for.
  10. The truth about false rape accusations — Quartz
    False rape reports, and the people who make them up, have a pattern. “… it’s radically unlikely — and in practice does not happen — that a false accuser would invent a story where the issue of consent could seem ambiguous.”
  11. ‘Designing Women’ Creator on Les Moonves: Not All Harassment Is Sexual [Exclusive] | Hollywood Reporter
  12. How Hungary’s Viktor Orbán destroyed democracy, and what it means for America – Vox
  13. Wodaabe Wife-Swapping Rituals | Sex in a Strange World
    “The Male Beauty Pageant Where Female Judges Sleep with the Winners”
  14. 10 Questions We Need Radical Feminists to Answer Pronto, Answered | Thing of Things
    Answering questions from a right-wing website. (They don’t mean “radical” the way we do.)
  15. FACT CHECK: The Unsolvable Math Problem – Snopes
    A urban-myth-sounding story, about a math student mistaking an “unsolvable” proof for homework and then successfully completing the proof (two, actually), is more-or-less true.
  16. “Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high. We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate — which meant climbing up to the diving board and walking to its edge. We were as interested in the people who decided to climb back down as the ones jumping. We filmed it all with six cameras and several microphones.”
    I found this short film strangely enthralling. Here’s an alternative link if the Times doesn’t let you in.
  17. FYPhysics! – The Moving Sofa Problem
  18. Critique of Just Love, Part One | Thing of Things
    As in “love that follows principles of justice,” not as in “only love.”
  19. Seven endangered species that could (almost) fit in a single train carriage | Environment | The Guardian
  20. What Julia Salazar’s Win Means About Our Changing Tribe – The Forward
    The “our” in this case refers to us Jews. “…young Jews and Jews of Color are increasingly moving to a model of Jewish identity that involves choice rather than ethnic purity or religious affiliation. And they are rejecting exactly the kind of truth-finding missions that Salazar has been subjected to.”
  21. Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong – The Huffington Post
    I don’t think much here will be new to most “Alas” readers, but it gathers a lot of stuff together, and I like the interviews and photographs.
  22. Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot | Smart News | Smithsonian
  23. This city banned cars and no one seemed to mind | DriveTribe
  24. How Money Affects Elections | FiveThirtyEight
    It matters a LOT less than we think (at least, for the question of who wins). Except during primaries.
  25. The Spider-Man Proposal Easter Egg has a Darker Side | Houston Press
    Like more than a few stories about gaming, this one ends “…has deleted her her social media accounts due to harassment.”
  26. Rihanna’s beauty is subversive – Cheryl Lynn Eaton
  27. I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him – The Atlantic
  28. 11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth – The New York Times
  29. Alternate link.

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

153 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Cartoon Physics Edition

  1. 101
    lurker23 says:

    If I were to lose my mind and violently attack my husband, I might, if I surprised him and was very lucky, get in one punch and bruise him before he could peacefully restrain me.
    If my husband were to lose his mind and violently attack me, I would be helpless. He could kill me.This is the reality in most (NOT ALL) heterosexual relationships.

    yes that is true because men are bigger and stronger, and they can win a fight

    Women are twice as likely to end up dead. That is an oppressive system.

    i do not understand this, though. why is being bigger and able to win a fight “oppressive”? what do you mean when you use that word?

  2. 102
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    Jobs which are more dangerous than they need to be – like coal mining and logging – are also things that are really change-worthy. I wish that men like you would focus more on issues like those

    Men commonly refuse to care for their own well-being, in many more ways than by doing jobs dangerously. Specifically focusing on developing safer methods to do logging is fairly useless, because the issue is not so much the lack of safer methods, but more an unwillingness to demand and use safer methods. Many men refuse to use the safety equipment that is available to them. Trying to change the culture of loggers ignores that the issue is not the culture among loggers, but in society in general.

    To address this issue head on, we need to challenge the forces that discourage men to recognize, care about, complain about, ask help with their problems, suffering, etc. A man or boy who gets laughed at for behaving safely learns that he is only accepted if he demonstrates a (willingness to) disregard his safety. Nothing fundamentally changes unless we stop laughing.

    Attacks by men cause more injury (both physical and psychological)

    I disagree with the certainty of that claim, as I’m not convinced that the unwillingness by men to say or even recognize that they have suffered psychological harm, means that they actually suffer less.

    I’ve read a comment by a man who had sex with a woman against his will. He initially didn’t think that he was abused and/or harmed, because he thought that rape was something that men do to women. Yet he started to suffer from trust issues, anger issues and such. Surveys into the consequences of sexual abuse generally ask people whether they believe that they have suffered harm due to the abuse. This man would have said no at the time…because he was taught that what actually happened to him can’t happen to him. Only later did he reject these harmful beliefs and recognize that he was victimized and that it did impact his mental health. How many men suffer, but never reject these harmful beliefs and thus never recognize why they suffer?

    So I don’t trust these particular statistics, because other evidence suggests that the statistics are incorrect. For similar reasons, I trust victim surveys over police statistics, because there is substantial evidence that men are discouraged to go to the police more than women.

    [I wish that men like you would focus more on issues like those] and less on trying to tear feminists apart.

    In the past, it was primarily traditionalism that discouraged men from self-care, asking for help, offering help to men as much as to women, demand separate rules for women and men, discriminating by gender, etc. Nowadays, it is increasingly feminism that does those things, especially in relatively progressive environments. I live in such an environment, so I address mainly what I know best and what offends me most, because I see it happening.

    Criticizing feminism, especially by pointing out the double standards, falsehoods, etc is crucial, because (some) feminist activists go on the offensive to (for example) prevent recognition of male suffering, while the rest of the feminists don’t push back against this in an effective way. I refer you back to the paper by Straus for how this works in academia. Straus didn’t target feminists or seek to discredit feminism. Simply doing good science that clashed with common feminist dogma was enough to clash with oppressive feminists. Only after enduring this for decades did he speak out against feminists at the age of 83 when he no longer needed many favors in the waning days of his career and he could afford to offend the feminist establishment.

    As far as I can tell, no (group of) feminists did anything meaningful against the abuses he noted. So if you want people like me to not call feminism harmful, perhaps you should work to make feminism less harmful.

    Academia are increasingly abandoned by and/or cleansed of moderates and conservaties, so even just for the sake of protecting science from dogmatic lefties, it is crucial to push back against them.

    Yes, actually, you did [argue that women are not greater victims than men]

    Frankly, I consider the question which group is more victimized to be utterly uninteresting, because it is unanswerable (as it requires comparing apples with oranges) and because it makes no difference for what I consider to be an ethical approach.

    There are situations where men have it bad. We should seek to improve those situations if we can because of a concern with the well-being of fellow humans, just like we should seek to improve things for women who have it bad. The goal should be to minimize suffering, not to equalize it, where we refuse to help people if their gender is deemed to be less victimized on average. Aside from being unethical, it’s also absurd because individuals don’t experience the average suffering of their gender. Both genders have individuals who suffer greatly and individuals who are incredibly well off. We also don’t refuse to treat the millionaire with cancer, because the average millionaire has it so good. So why should we refuse to help a victimized man, even if one believes that man have it better on average?

    The statements that you quote were aimed at people who claim exclusive or near-exclusive victimization of women and/or who refuse to help men where we can do so very reasonably. Especially when those people base their claims on falsehoods and double standards, or even worse, when they work to suppress scientific data that (could) prove them wrong.

  3. 104
    Kate says:

    Lexus sustains minor damage when it drives into a group of peaceful protesters crossing the street in a crosswalk where they had the right of way. No injuries have been reported.

  4. 106
    Kate says:

    Many men refuse to use the safety equipment that is available to them. Trying to change the culture of loggers ignores that the issue is not the culture among loggers, but in society in general.

    This just looks like rank victim-blaming to me. I have a working class job* with mostly men. I don’t see this. All the men I work with are very happy to use safety equiptment as needed. But, I work for a company and in a country** that encourages that. But, in any case, how is attacking feminism going to change the situation?
    * I was raised middle class by parents who were raised working class. I have a Ph.D., and am married to a Professor. But, I essentially work in a warehouse, and most of the people I work directly with don’t have college degrees [eta again – nor does my job require a college degree].
    ** Australia. And it has struck me how much kinder Australian men are to each other than American and British men. [edited to add: and in my experience feminism is stronger here than in the U.S.; the company I work for is also more feminist than average]

    I refer you back to the paper by Straus for how this works in academia. Straus didn’t target feminists or seek to discredit feminism.

    The paper you support when it fits your views and disregard when it doesn’t. O.K. then…

    Academia are increasingly abandoned by and/or cleansed of moderates and conservaties, so even just for the sake of protecting science from dogmatic lefties, it is crucial to push back against them

    .
    This is actually, demonstrably untrue. I’m exhausted, and can’t find the link at the moment. But, I have linked to it before. The most lefty professors are the oldest. The yonger generation is far more moderate.

    I trust victim surveys over police statistics, because there is substantial evidence that men are discouraged to go to the police more than women.

    Men are discouraged from presenting themselves as victims, but “Bitch just went crazy! Women, what can you do, am I right mate?” I suspect happens a lot – both legit and not.

  5. 107
    Kate says:

    Why did Marvel drop Chuck Wendig, and why was he suspended from Twitter?

  6. 108
    Sebastian H says:

    Kate “When I was younger, I would look at First Things and complain that all these Catholic theologians are taking certain premises for granted. But, of course they are – combined they are the premises of Natural Law – it is their foundation! I don’t agree with the premises of Natural Law, but I recognize that if you accept them, debates within that framework are logical. ”

    Right, but we tend to think that there shouldn’t be a vast number of Natural Law departments in most of the major public universities in the United States. So having an internally coherent set of assumptions isn’t really enough.

  7. 110
    Kate says:

    Sebastian – to the best of my knowledge, there are no “Departments of Natural Law” “Departments of Feminism” or “Departments of Scientific Method” anywhere. At the very least, they are not common because that’s just not how things are generally named.
    There are a lot of public universities with Departments of Religious Studies, many of which have sub-specialties in Catholicism at public, as well as private and religious institutions.

  8. 111
    Gracchus says:

    There aren’t “Departments of Feminism”, but isn’t a “Department of Women’s Studies” pretty close?

  9. 112
    closetpuritan says:

    It sure seems like a large portion of the discussion of “grievance studies” in this thread has involved comparing feminist studies with “science”, arguing that it’s not scientific, and basically conflating women’s studies with academic work done with feminist goals or a feminist perspective in mind, and further conflating that with postmodernism. The bell hooks excerpt doesn’t sound too different in terms of its assertions from the not-specifically-feminist Freudian literature critique that my professors seemed to love when I was taking literature classes. Neither of them is really the kind of writing that appeals to me, but just as you judge a work of art based on how well it does what it’s trying to do and not based on whether you like what it’s trying to do, it doesn’t make sense to judge a humanities paper based on how well it would work as a science paper.

    Nancy Leibovitz mentioned Sarah Hrdy’s Mother Nature earlier. That focuses on biology and anthropology and is a lot different than, say, the bell hooks piece. This was something from that book that really stuck with me (I had it all typed up and was able to find it from back when I mentioned it in a blog post):

    …Wilson published his pioneering work on Sociobiology, which included a notoriously inaccurate description of foraging societies that claimed that “During the day the women and children remain in the residential area while the men forage for game or its symbolic equivalent in the form of barter and money.” A Victorian (and a 1950s suburban) ideal of mother tending the hearth was substituted for the actual life of a highly mobile Pleistocene gatherer.

    But Wilson, let’s recall, was an entomologist and had to give himself a crash course in ethnography in order to write the chapter on humans for Sociobiology. Perhaps more telling, professional anthropologists themselves failed to register this whopper–even anthropologists who had actually helped collect the data indicating that a woman in a hunter-gatherer society might travel a full 1,500 miles in a year while carrying a year-old baby. The error was simply overlooked because it corresponded with expectations about how the world should appear. (p. 496)

    ***

    Not specifically related to the discussion here: some of the discussion of the Sokal Squared hoax seems to imply that the very premise of the hoax papers, and not just the way they were written, should have been obviously ridiculous. In the case of the “feminist AI” one, it seems equally obvious to me that the premise is not ridiculous, in light of this recent news story (which also briefly summarizes some previous examples of AI “learning” sexism from the examples provided for it to learn from).

  10. 113
    Ampersand says:

    Ozy argues that almost none of the published Sokal Squared papers actually have obviously ridiculous premises.

  11. 114
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    But, in any case, how is attacking feminism going to change the situation?

    Because feminists generally refuse to discuss the issues in a way that is respectful & helpful to men and try to prevent other views from being heard (and so aggressively that is creates a culture of fear).

    For example, there is an attempt by feminists to apply feminist theory to men in academia. The most prominent professor in this field is Michael Kimmel, who founded and runs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook. They have published two white papers:
    – Gender Inequality in: STEM Fields and Beyond The Case for Engaging Men and Boys
    – Men as Allies in Preventing Violence Against Women: Principles and Practices for Promoting Accountability

    Both are about men doing things for women, not about how men’s lives can be made better or how inequality that harms men can be reduced. Kimmel is also the spokesperson for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), which used to be called the ‘National Organization for Changing Men.’ That former name seems a lot more honest.

    What does NOMAS have to say about child custody:

    Abuser groups—who would call themselves men’s rights or father’s rights groups– have promoted shared parenting as a way to get their foot in the door. In our still sexist societies, the mother is usually the primary attachment figure and more involved parent so if one parent had to be chosen it would be the mother.

    and:

    There is good research that found shared parenting is always harmful to children because it is so disruptive. There is legitimate research that shared parenting can work if it is voluntary, the parents are able to cooperate and live nearby.

    Or this other article:

    How can a dad – unemployed or working outside the home – be a good father? Not by fighting for custody or demanding “shared parenting” after divorce or breakup. The best way a dad can be a good father is by providing support to the mother of his children, including both financial and emotional support. According to Florida attorney Elizabeth Kates, “a father’s most important role, and the one common “father factor” in all research that indicates any correlation between father involvement or presence and positive effect on child well-being is: a father who emotionally cares for, financially supports, respects, is involved with, takes some of the work load off of, and generally makes life easier, happier and less stressful for. . . his children’s mother.”

    So being a good father is being a provider and if the mother doesn’t want the father to parent, then being a good father is accepting that you will never see your children again. Of course, all mothers are perfect angels who never abuse or unfairly refuse shared custody to fathers. This is both misandrist and anti-egalitarian.

    The paper you support when it fits your views and disregard when it doesn’t.

    I don’t just blindly believe or disbelieve things, I actually consider things critically. I don’t think the claim in the paper that I disagree with is absurd, because a lot of evidence points to it. I just think that the evidence is tainted.

    This is actually, demonstrably untrue. I’m exhausted, and can’t find the link at the moment. But, I have linked to it before. The most lefty professors are the oldest. The younger generation is far more moderate.

    Demonstrably true.

    Your claim, even if it is (objectively) true, actually doesn’t actually rebut mine. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find more Marxists among older professors (or more heterodox beliefs among older professors in general). It is quite possible to be more moderate/conservative than a Marxist and yet not be a moderate or conservative.

    Men are discouraged from presenting themselves as victims, but “Bitch just went crazy! Women, what can you do, am I right mate?” I suspect happens a lot – both legit and not.

    Sure, my claim is not that women don’t experience this. My claim is that it happens more to men and that feminists typically claim the reverse & demand solutions to help women who experience this, but rarely for men who experience this.

    This is the general pattern when it comes to feminism/SJ: the issues of groups deemed to be oppressors are downplayed, by cherry picking, telling falsehoods, ad hominem attacks, whataboutism, etc, etc.

  12. 115
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    closetpuritan,

    Freud’s methodology was completely unscientific. Most of his claims have been debunked by real science. I strongly disagree that science is merely a matter of taste.

    Your quote seems a lot closer to the truth: that people who do anthropology tend to discover what they expect to discover.

  13. 116
    closetpuritan says:

    LimitsofLanguage, you’ve misunderstood and/or I wasn’t clear.

    Freud is not (currently) science; I agree with that.

    Freud was extensively used in academic literary criticism in the college literature classes that I took (IIRC, especially in the French literature classes), but not at all in the science courses I took.

    My point was that not all academia is either “grievance studies” or science, and comparing it to academic writing I’ve encountered in the humanities (but not in the “grievance studies” parts of the humanities) the bell hooks quote sounds pretty typical… in fact it’s arguably a little more anchored in concrete reality than some of the Freudian-influenced academic writing I’ve encountered. Science is not a matter merely of taste, but bell hooks is not trying to do science.

    Somewhat tangential thought: scientists are often conceived of by the public as either striving to be, or in fact, objective, but even when there are no questions of political ideology involved, scientists are often pushing their pet theories–debate can get heated on something as apolitical as, say, plant hydraulics. It might be more accurate to conceive of science as similar to the adversarial legal system used in courts in many countries.

  14. 117
    Sebastian H says:

    Closetpuritan—capital C ‘criticism’ share all the problems that are being highlighted in this discussion. So you’re right, it’s typical in various strains of the humanities. That’s the problem. The fact that Freud is still taken seriously in the humanities is a problem, not a good thing.

  15. 118
    nobody.really says:

    Look, Landsburg just wants to summarize our old Bach vs. Bieber debate.

  16. 119
    Kate says:

    The fact that Freud is still taken seriously in the humanities is a problem, not a good thing.

    Scientific methods dominate in academic research, as they should until something better comes along. But science can only tell us what is and is not. It can tell us facts. It can’t tell us what is right and what is wrong. It can’t tell us what is beautiful and what is ugly. It can’t tell us what is important. Therefore, it can’t tell us which questions scientists should ask in the first place. Scientists themselves will be the first to acknowledge that.
    So, look, Freud’s theories have been very harmful, particularly to survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. His perspective is marginalized (but not eradicated from) in the social sciences, as it should be. But, the notion that his thought shouldn’t be taken seriously in the humanities, when it played such a huge role in the art, literature, politics…whole culture of western Europe and the U.S. (and perhaps beyond, I don’t know) in the 20th century; and continues to have such a major influence in popular culture is absurd…and dangerous.
    Colleges and Universities are supposed to represent a wide range of view points and approaches understanding the world. Of course, I want my perspective to be dominant. I think I’m right. But, I don’t want it to dominate every other perspective out there. I want wrong things being taught alongside right things, because what if I’m the one who’s wrong?
    It is true that academics are more liberal/left leaning than the rest of society. But, conservatives, as we see in this thread, don’t share the values of the academy. They think it is unfair and oppressive to them if people support views they oppose anywhere out there in the world. Then, when people on the left object to them coming into our spaces and trying to dominate our conversations, they think that we are oppressing them when we tell them to shut up and let us have the conversation we want to have.

  17. 120
    Ampersand says:

    Nobody Really, that thread turned into quite a debate! And Nobody did a really great job in it.

  18. 121
    Gracchus says:

    We only know Freud is deeply flawed -because- people active in the humanities questioned, deconstructed and ultimately refuted his hypothesis. It’s not like a bunch of physicists and engineers disproved Freudian theories.

  19. 122
    closetpuritan says:

    Sebastian–
    That type of writing is both way outside my expertise and not to my taste–but my instinct is to agree with you at least on the Freudian stuff that I’m thinking of. Kate mentions that Freud has been a huge influence on literature so if, say, we’re studying Lord of the Flies we need to understand it from that perspective, but a lot of the stuff that I’m thinking of seemed to treat Freud as someone that the critic agrees with and not just someone that the author agrees with.

    I’m just trying to point out that it seemed to me like a lot of the discussion was setting up a dichotomy of “‘grievance studies’, which is always postmodernism/Criticism, and pomo/Criticism is always ‘grievance studies'” vs “science, which is not done with any of the same motivations as ‘grievance studies'”. There can be pomo/Criticism/etc that is not feminist/antiracist etc, and science that is done with feminist motivations (example), and it seems like many people who don’t like pomo/Criticism etc think that what they dislike is only the social justice and not the Criticism. It doesn’t seem productive to have the starting point of the discussion be “this isn’t good science” on something that isn’t trying to be science, any more than it would be productive to criticize a novel for not being good science.

  20. 123
    SEBASTIAN H says:

    Kate, “Then, when people on the left object to them coming into our spaces and trying to dominate our conversations, they think that we are oppressing them when we tell them to shut up and let us have the conversation we want to have.”

    Yes, I think you’ve accurately reflected the feeling academics in those areas have. It is just a matter of some contention whether or not huge swaths of the university are “left spaces” where one should be able to tell conservatives to “shut up and let us have the conversation we want to have”.

    Closetpuritan “many people who don’t like pomo/Criticism etc think that what they dislike is only the social justice and not the Criticism.” Speaking only for myself, I strongly detest the pomo/Criticism and therefore dislike the fact that otherwise important study areas such as gender studies, ethnic studies, and other social justice oriented studies seem to be teeming with it.

  21. 124
    Kate says:

    Yes, I think you’ve accurately reflected the feeling academics in those areas have. It is just a matter of some contention whether or not huge swaths of the university are “left spaces” where one should be able to tell conservatives to “shut up and let us have the conversation we want to have”.

    Should we also insist that biologists allow all of their discussions to be interrupted by creationists? That Egyptologists (like myself) and scholars of Afrocentricity settle our disagreements before delving deeper into our respective approaches to study of the ancient world? While I disagree with the approach of Afrocentric scholarship, writ large, a lot of their criticisms of Egyptology are actually valid, and I am both a better person and a better scholar for having wrestled with them.

    And….”Huge swaths”? Really???? Departments like women’s studies, African American studies, queer studies (I’ll call them “cultural studies”), are a tiny, tiny fraction of the academy. They were created in the first place because views of entire genders and racial groups were excluded from the academy. Now, a few areas of the humanities and social sciences have some departments dominated by them. But, the hard sciences, engineering and design, computer science, law schools, business schools, art and music academies, philosophy, theology … the list could go on, including much of history, and classics…. All of these areas are areas where the influence of cultural studies ranges from practically non-existent to an important part of the debate. And some of the influence that cultural studies have come to have is because they are actually sometimes right about some things.

  22. 125
    Ampersand says:

    Sebastian wrote:

    This misunderstands what they were doing with the Mein Kampf paper. The gotcha isn’t “you failed to recognize plaigarism”. The gotcha isn’t “you failed to recognize Mein Kampf”. The gotcha is “an unhinged screed which is deeply based around defining and demonizing its unfavored ‘other’ can be mistaken for scholarship”.

    You made a similar point in the comments of “Thing of Things.” As I said there, I wonder if we’re reading two different Mein-Kampf-based hoax papers? The Sokal Squared hoaxers wrote two Mein Kampf papers, but only one was accepted for publication, and that on – “Our Struggle is My Struggle” – was focused primarily around the idea of solidarity, and of criticizing “choice feminism.” (The one that was never accepted was focused on whiteness.) I think the point of the hoaxers, in “Our Struggle is My Struggle,” was to try and slip Hitler’s fascist, anti-individual ideas into a feminist journal.

    However, as I said earlier, they weakened that point by pointing out that there are limits to what sacrifices can reasonably be made – a nuance that Hitler didn’t include. Indeed, that nuance was not in the first draft of “Our Struggle is My Struggle”; a reviewer told them to add it.

    (I suppose you could mean that “choice feminists” are being “demonized” in “Our Struggle Is My Struggle”? But that seems like a stretch, unless you consider criticism of a political ideology to be the same as demonization of the people who hold that ideology.)

  23. 126
    Ampersand says:

    Incidentally, after reading “Our Struggle Is My Struggle,” I wonder if part of the secret to a successful hoax is to make the paper mind-numbingly boring to read. The “fat weightlifting” paper was pretty damn boring too.

  24. 127
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    But science can only tell us what is and is not. It can tell us facts. It can’t tell us what is right and what is wrong.

    Completely correct. Scientists should not pretend that their work mandates certain politics or ethics, but neither should people who favor certain politics or ethics pretend that their views will tell us what the facts are. Proper science and proper ethics is recognizing the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. Note that this is also how I distinguish between proper postmodernism, which is about pointing out true subjectivity that exists vs improper postmodernism that denies objectivity.

    Colleges and Universities are supposed to represent a wide range of view points and approaches understanding the world.

    Which is decreasingly the case, as academics are decreasingly diverse. While many leftists claim that diversity and inclusivity is what distinguishes them from their opponents, the reality is different. Many progressives don’t actually believe in diversity and inclusivity, but want a specific kind of diversity and inclusivity, that is actually quite intolerant. This is similar to how many ‘anti-racists’ are actually merely pro-PoC, not anti-racist, as they demonstrate by racist comments about white people and such.

    Actual liberals like me call this out, pointing out how people don’t actually believe in and/or act like they say they act. The result is then that I get called a conservative by people like you, which demonstrates how you lack understanding of what actual liberalism is. The immature political discourse in the US is presumably partly to blame, where ‘liberal’ is often used for everyone on the left, including (highly) illiberal leftists. So then the only label left for anyone who is not ‘liberal’ is ‘conservative’.

    Of course, I want my perspective to be dominant.

    In a well-functioning democracy, it is mostly fine to want to have your ethics be dominant when making policy. However, it is not fine for institutions that are paid with public money and/or that are intended for all of society, to only serve a subset. When that happens it results in what the left tends to call ‘institutional discrimination’ and the right ‘the deep state.’

    So again, I must point out that if you are actually serious about (social) justice, you can’t just limit it to those you like, but everyone. The true measure of tolerance, diversity and inclusivity is accepting things that hurt, not those that you like anyway.

    If that argument is not persuasive, I’ll add that being in a bubble where everyone shares a perspective makes people stupid, as dogma is left unchallenged. That bubble then also loses the ability to persuade others, so you’ll probably fail at politics as well.

    If that can’t convince you, I’ll add that if you exclude others, they are unlikely to take it lying down. It seems to me that the group to which you belong has a strong tendency to overestimate its popularity. Go too far and a backlash is likely.

    Then, when people on the left object to them coming into our spaces and trying to dominate our conversations, they think that we are oppressing them when we tell them to shut up and let us have the conversation we want to have.

    When ‘you’ are unwilling to let others have the conversation they want to have, how is that fair? Why would they respect your wishes if you refuse to respect theirs?

  25. 128
    Mandolin says:

    Barry – yes, that’s got to be essential. Boring and probably obfuscatory.

  26. 129
    desipis says:

    Kate:

    It is true that academics are more liberal/left leaning than the rest of society. But, conservatives, as we see in this thread, don’t share the values of the academy. They think it is unfair and oppressive to them if people support views they oppose anywhere out there in the world.

    When was the last time that conservatives put so much political pressure on an academic journal that it unpublished an article?

  27. 130
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, are you saying that “the last time that conservatives put so much political pressure on an academic journal that it unpublished an article” is the only relevant measure, or would other measures – such as conservatives putting political pressure for certain professors to be fired, or certain subjects to not be taught, or for academic departments or programs to be shut down – also qualify?

    The article you linked to is understandably very one-sided (understandably because it is written by the author of the retracted paper). A couple of the people he is accusing, unsurprisingly, have different takes.

    If anyone would like to read an account that isn’t written by one of the direct participants, The Scientist Magazine published an article.

    Basically, there’s a lot of things here that were handled badly. I’m not going to defend every action by every critic of the paper, but I do think that for a right-wing, anti-feminist editor to fast-track a substandard and off-topic paper to publication, handing a rush peer review job to non-experts, because he agreed with the paper’s politics OR because he was deliberately courting controversy, is something that other editors at the same journal, and the editorial board of the journal, and the editor-in-chief of the journal, have every right to object to, up to and including retracting the substandard paper.

    By rushing to bypass the usual procedures, the right-wing editor put the journal in a completely impossible position; either they hurt the journal’s reputation by allowing a substandard, politicized paper that could never have passed the journal’s normal peer review process to stand, or they hurt the journal’s reputation by retracting the paper.

    Some interesting discussion of the issue (the first two links are to blogs from people in the maths community):

    On the recently removed paper from the New York Journal of Mathematics

    Has an uncomfortable truth been suppressed? | Gowers's Weblog

    Discussion of, Has an uncomfortable truth been suppressed? | Hacker News

  28. 131
    Ampersand says:

    I watched the first episode of “The Connors,” and – somewhat to my surprise – it’s genuinely good. Not “Good Place” level good, but an above-average sitcom.

  29. 132
    Gracchus says:

    @Ampersand: I think we all underestimated how strong the supporting cast of Roseanne was.

  30. 133
    Michael says:

    Conor Friedersdorf just offered a great summation of the problems with a certain leftist method of argumentation:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/coddling-american-mind-and-its-discontents/572965/
    “Are Haidt and Lukianoff correct or incorrect about Herbert Marcuse? Is Antifragile a good book? Is cognitive behavioral therapy a worthwhile approach? Is there wisdom to glean from the Stoics or the discipline of psychology? Weigel offers the reader no arguments of substance—just the Idioms of Non-Arguments that all of those things raise questions because ostensibly bad people are tenuously associated with each of them. ”
    And just to show that he’s Completely Missing The Point, Noah Berlatsky basically makes the argument that if you criticize the left, you’re a fascist, since the Left opposes fascism:
    https://twitter.com/conor64/status/1052745250605694976
    This is not a new argument- apologists for the Soviets argued that any criticism of Soviet human rights violations came from the fascists- a letter to this effect appeared in the same issue of the Nation that announced the Hitler-Stalin pact. :)

  31. 134
    Ampersand says:

    Michael, I doubt that Conor would agree that the bad arguments he critiques in that review are unique to leftists, i.e. “a leftist method.”

    And white that tweet of Noah’s was bad, your “basically makes the argument” summation of Noah’s tweet is unfair. Noah explained what he meant at more length here (“more length” = 9 tweets instead of just one, so it’s still extremely short); among other things, he makes it explicit that he doesn’t believe that Conor is a fascist.

  32. 135
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    A major problem with Noah’s longer defense is that it hinges on defending the status quo against reformist outsiders, while:
    – he himself is a reformist, so opposed to the status quo
    – many of the people he criticizes see themselves as defending the traditional institutions as well as important freedoms and believe that they have been or will be damaged by recent and/or proposed reforms.

    What he says is only persuasive to those who already agree with his kind of reform and/or the relatively recent changes to universities. Many of the people he attacks could actually write something very similar to what he wrote, where they blame Social Justice for “undermin[ing] institutions which support freedom.” I’m sure that you are aware that ‘feminazi’ is a term that is used by some to accuse feminists of fascist tendencies.

    His statements ultimately provide no arguments why his view that his opponents are enabling fascism is more correct than those who believe that Noah is enabling fascism, aside from his claim that the wrong kind of people have those opinions and that Haidt, Connor, etc must be wrong because they supposedly align themselves with the Hungarian government, conservatives, etc.

    The problem with this argument is that it is based on a black and white & dehumanizing point of view, where some people are declared evil and then everything they favor is assumed to be evil. An example of how this fails is that Hitler passed anti-smoking legislation, so by the same reasoning, modern anti-smoking activists are supporting fascism and enabling anti-semitism.

  33. 136
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    National Review has a story about disparities between scientific outcomes and left-wing narratives & the ways in which people then protect their narratives.

    In the main, it’s what I argued, although I would argue that this kind of behavior is not specific to the left, but to everyone with strong beliefs in a narrative or a strong interest. So it’s something that also happens to the right and something that is common outside of academia, to organizations of all stripes.

    This is why it is crucial to have checks and balances, especially in the form of researchers (& journalists) with weaker narratives who are generally more willing to follow the evidence, rather than make the evidence follow them. Academia nor journalism should have many activists or be dominated by partisans from one side of politics. Research has been done among both ‘liberal’ and conservative partisan researchers, showing that both have a high tendency to discriminate in favor of their own politics, so it’s important to at least have a balance or even better, have a large number of moderates to keep the extremists in check.

  34. Jeffrey, you wrote:

    I do think the essay I’m quoting is written for people who are familiar with a larger body of scholarship who “know” things I don’t. I just don’t think that these people “know” these things in the same way a biologist understands “genetic drift.” I think they know these things in the same way a misogynist redditor on a PUA sub knows how a woman’s mind works. I don’t believe there to be a rigorous research that justifies the claims made in “Eating the either,” instead, I suspect their to be a bunch of uncareful unscholarly work propped up by a poor epistemology. I do not think there is a body of work that justifices Hooks’s excersizes in mind reading. Perhaps you should ask yourself whether or not it is Hooks who is arrogant. She’s the one making the extraordinary claims. I’m just asking her and her fans to reconsider her certainty while laying down her theory, and provide the same rigor I’d expect to see in a text on evolution. (emphasis added)

    And so you are doubling down on your own lack of “epistemological humility” (which is what I believe you said hooks lacked). Too bad. Not surprising, given the history of your comments here. But, still, too bad.

  35. 138
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    And so you are doubling down on your own lack of “epistemological humility” (which is what I believe you said hooks lacked). Too bad. Not surprising, given the history of your comments here. But, still, too bad.

    Being skeptical when faced with Bell Hooks’s extraordinary claims presented without evidence (as I am) is one thing, Making those claims, and claiming they are in any way academic is another. Your argument is double-edged. If professor Gad Saad makes claims about sex differences using pop-evo-psych and game theory, must you accept what he says until you’ve immersed yourself in the literature? Are you wrong to criticize him if you see his reasoning as uncareful? I don’t think so. Both of us can see unverified or unverifieable claims, as well as other evidence pointing us to suspect that we are dealing with motivated reasoning. Humans have to do this- if we don’t we’re left forced into believing everything, even theories that are fatally contradictory. There would basis for rational decision making. Without something like a bullshit detector, you and I are both poor, starving, or dead.

    You keep appealing to some theory that, if only I understood it, would support “Black Looks” as good scholarship. This is what clergymen say those doubting god’s existence. Can you explain it, even a little bit? Can you tell me about the theory that lets Bell Hooks read minds? Can you explain how she is so intimately familiar with the feelings and motivations of horny white men? I know enough about psychology, and sociology to know that no experts in those fields would be so bold as to make the claims Bell Hooks makes in “Black Looks” (it would take years of research to examine the claims in a single chapter) so where is she divining this knowledge? my suspicion is that she hasn’t divined any knowledge at all, but is engaged in activism. You should apply your own argument Hooks herself. She writes an awful lot on the need to tear down capitalism, but maybe she just hasn’t read enough Deidre McCloskey.

  36. Jeffrey:

    I do think the essay I’m quoting is written for people who are familiar with a larger body of scholarship who “know” things I don’t. I just don’t think that these people “know” these things in the same way a biologist understands “genetic drift.” I think they know these things in the same way a misogynist redditor on a PUA sub knows how a woman’s mind works. I don’t believe there to be a rigorous research that justifies the claims made in “Eating the either,” instead, I suspect their to be a bunch of uncareful unscholarly work propped up by a poor epistemology. I do not think there is a body of work that justifices Hooks’s excersizes in mind reading. Perhaps you should ask yourself whether or not it is Hooks who is arrogant. She’s the one making the extraordinary claims. I’m just asking her and her fans to reconsider her certainty while laying down her theory, and provide the same rigor I’d expect to see in a text on evolution. (emphasis added)

    And:

    You keep appealing to some theory that, if only I understood it, would support “Black Looks” as good scholarship. This is what clergymen say those doubting god’s existence. Can you explain it, even a little bit? Can you tell me about the theory that lets Bell Hooks read minds? Can you explain how she is so intimately familiar with the feelings and motivations of horny white men? I know enough about psychology, and sociology to know that no experts in those fields would be so bold as to make the claims Bell Hooks makes in “Black Looks” (it would take years of research to examine the claims in a single chapter) so where is she divining this knowledge? my suspicion is that she hasn’t divined any knowledge at all, but is engaged in activism.(Emphasis added in both paragraphs.)

    The problem, Jeffrey, is neither your skepticism nor the fact that I have not provided the kind of explanation/evidence you ask for in your second paragraph in this comment. The problem is that, based on your own very limited knowledge and very narrow conception of what constitutes intellectual/scientific/academic rigor, you’ve already made up your mind. And so I don’t see much point in engaging with you on this any further

  37. 140
    Michael says:

    @Ampersand#134- I mean that these particular kinds of bad arguments in that article come from leftists- like accusing a white man of not wanting to admit he was privileged to avoid addressing the particulars of his arguments. I’ve encountered the right-wing equivalent as well- if you suggest that Kavanaugh was guilty, they’ll bring up left-wing support for Stalin or whatever instead of dealing with the evidence for and against his guilt.
    The problem with Noah’s initial defense isn’t just that he seemed to accuse Conor of being a fascist. His longer tweet said that criticism of the universities is dangerous because fascists are responsible for much of it and Conor and Haidt don’t understand that. But the entire point of logic is that an argument is true or false no matter who makes it. Noah’s argument is an excuse to avoid taking criticisms seriously. And it makes him less intelligent. The Coddling of the American Mind contains a lot of interesting information about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , for example, even if you don’t agree with everything the authors write. But instead of engaging with the material, Noah dismisses it out of hand because the fascists make arguments against universities.

  38. 141
    Kate says:

    But the entire point of logic is that an argument is true or false no matter who makes it.

    No, the entire point of logic is that IF you insert true statements into a logically structured argument, you will get a true result. If even one of your premises is false, some of your logically flawless arguments will result in false results. If all your premiese are false, your results will be false.
    Garbage in, garbage out. Logic cannot tell you which premises are true and which are false. There needs to be agreement on the starting point at the outset. That’s why these debates keep going in circles. We do not have a foundation of facts that we all accept as a common starting point.

  39. 142
    Ampersand says:

    Michael, Noah is under no obligation to address Conor’s argument, unless they’re in a formal debate of some sort. It’s perfectly legitimate to, instead of rebutting a particular argument, talk about how that argument fits into larger social trends, and why a particular argument seems to be popular at this moment in history. It’s fair to ask “why are most of the pundits talking about X while ignoring Y?”

    Conor and all the other “free speech pundits” talk a lot about threats to the free speech of wealthy people with lots of access to speech, and are more concerned with the danger of lefty students than any other threat to free speech. In contrast, much more dire threats to the free speech of less powerful people – prisoners, sex workers, undocumented immigrants, etc – are ignored by almost all the free speech pundits (the exception being Reason Magazine).

    I’m not obliged to answer Conor’s arguments (some of which I agree with) in order to criticize the way Conor frames free speech issues, or talk about the harms I think that framing does. Debate is fun, I enjoy debate a lot, but it’s not the only legitimate way to criticize other people’s writings.

    ETA: The thing about how Noah writes, I think, is that he’s writing from a radical left perspective, and insofar as he’s serving a persuasive function, his writing is not aimed at persuading moderates to endorse his views. Rather, it’s trying to persuade left liberals to move further left.

    Honestly, I like his political writing much more than his writing about comics. Some of his writing about comics really pisses me off. It’s not that I always agree with his political writings. It’s that I’m actually much more emotionally connected to comics than I am to the difference between leftism vs radical leftism.

  40. 143
    desipis says:

    Ampersand,

    Desipis, are you saying that “the last time that conservatives put so much political pressure on an academic journal that it unpublished an article” is the only relevant measure…?

    No, of course not. It’s just a recent and egregious example of political interference in the academic process.

    By rushing to bypass the usual procedures, the right-wing editor put the journal in a completely impossible position; either they hurt the journal’s reputation by allowing a substandard, politicized paper that could never have passed the journal’s normal peer review process to stand, or they hurt the journal’s reputation by retracting the paper.

    If they had followed established procedure of issue a retraction containing an explanation of why they were retracting the article it wouldn’t have been a problem.
    The problem is they circumvented this process to “unpublish” the article and tried to pretend it had never been published.

    If the article had not been through the peer review processes established for the journal then retraction would be an appropriate thing to happen. If however, it had been through a peer review process, and there was no form of academic fraud involved, then the article should stand. The correct response in this cause would be to publish a subsequent article analysing the original and detailing its flaws.

  41. 144
    desipis says:

    RJN:

    The problem is that, based on your own very limited knowledge and very narrow conception of what constitutes intellectual/scientific/academic rigor, you’ve already made up your mind.

    Firstly what does constitute academic rigour in a general sense? Secondly, how does the work of Bell Hooks fit into that general sense? And finally, what is the epistemological framework that such works operate in?

  42. 145
    Erin says:

    desipis queries:

    Firstly what does constitute academic rigour in a general sense? Secondly, how does the work of Bell Hooks fit into that general sense? And finally, what is the epistemological framework that such works operate in?

    I think you’re going to be frustrated by the type of or more likely lack of an answer because you may be operating in the wrong framework.

    If you picture a court setting, the usual style of argumentation is between the opposing attorneys. One attorney says something, and then the other one disputes it with his evidence and reasoning etc.

    That’s not the framework that Richard Jeffrey Newman is operating under. He is putting himself in the position of the judge, who then does not have to provide any arguments, he simply has to rule out arguments and/or simply unilaterally decide the issue. As examples of this, Richard Jeffrey Newman is simply throwing out ad hominem statements instead of making any kind of argument:

    Not surprising, given the history of your comments here.

    The problem is that, based on your own very limited knowledge and very narrow conception of what constitutes intellectual/scientific/academic rigor, you’ve already made up your mind.

    Et cetera, and then the flounce, no further discussion is necessary:

    And so I don’t see much point in engaging with you on this any further

    There is just no argument here that anyone can get traction on. The problem with the argumentation style of Richard Jeffrey Newman is that in order to pull it off, he has to have an indisputable position of superiority over all of the other debaters here, which may not be the case.

    This is meant as an analysis of the argumentation style here, which is helpful for an avoidance of frustration on the part of some of the posters and for further advancement towards whatever objective truth may exist in the situation.

  43. Erin @145:

    I bothered to read through Jeffrey’s commenting history here before I made my comment. Did you?

    Also, apropos of this, which I wrote:

    The problem is that, based on your own very limited knowledge and very narrow conception of what constitutes intellectual/scientific/academic rigor, you’ve already made up your mind.

    The limited knowledge I was referring to, in context, was Jeffrey’s admitted lack of knowledge regarding what has been written in women’s and gender studies and—again, this would be clear if you had read my comment in context—his own, admitted, privileging of scientific intellectual/academic rigor over other ways of knowing, which is to me a “very narrow conception.”

    If you want to critique my style of argumentation, that’s fine, but don’t use a half-assed reading and critique of my comments to attack me personally, which is what you’re really doing. That, as you have been told more than once, does not have a place on this blog. Thanks.

  44. 147
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I’ve read almost nothing on Astrology. I’m less knowledgeable on astrology as I am on Critical Theory. I feel OK dismissing Astrology, though. I don’t think Critical Theory is as useless a lens as an Astrological one, but I do think all lenses should be judged according to how they allow us to see the world in more accurate detail than we could see before, and I doubt that Hook’s provides such a lens in Black looks. I’d go so far as to say that she rejects the very metric I’d use to measure such a lens, and that’s whether or not this lens allows her to make more accurate predictions about the world than should could before. In every policy proposal, social criticism, and utopian ideal expressed by hooks is an implied prediction- she’s just not very careful to express her ideas using probabilities (why not I wonder?).

    In my 37 years, I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by many incredibly intelligent and passionate thinkers and intellectuals. I was even lucky enough to marry one. The most thoughtful always anticipate criticism of their ideas as they explain them- recognizing that no ones owes them agreement or understanding. I haven’t experienced this with some of the theorists I’ve encountered in academic feminist spaces (not all!). Bell Hook’s ideas are not obvious. Many are probably not correct. Why does she make such little effort to reach out to the people that probably don’t already agree with her theory? When I was a kid and I didn’t understand something my Dad (such a great dad) would always take the time to try to explain it to me, when he couldn’t, he’d help me find a person or a book that could. The most enjoyable books on evolutionary biology spend a great deal of time making their case, anticipating doubts. People are biased and closed minded, but we aren’t unreachable. Hooks seems to be operating in an epistemological framework where my inability to understand something has less to do with my limited knowledge and more to do with my white maleness and desire to maintain my privilege. I think this is why she spends less time taking on the ideology of those who would oppose her, and more time taking on their identities (even if I were a black man thinking as I do, she would attribute it to internalized white supremacy, she does this frequently). I understand why she might do this, but her failure to anticipate and take seriously her opposition is a huge weakness, and creates a massive blind spot. As I read her book, obvious counter arguments keep springing into my mind, and I’m really bothered why she doesn’t address them. My gut feeling is that she rejects the adversarial nature of western epistemology- she’s a fan of the phrase “alternate ways of knowing.”

  45. 148
    Kate says:

    When ‘you’ are unwilling to let others have the conversation they want to have, how is that fair? Why would they respect your wishes if you refuse to respect theirs?

    I don’t want to prevent them from having their own conversations. I’ve defended the teaching of both Catholic Natural Law theory and Freud – both perspectives that I not only disagree with, but find profoundly harmful, in this thread. I did that because I think they are less harmful by far than tactics used to silence them would be.
    By the way, the part of my post @119, that you selectively quoted @127:

    Colleges and Universities are supposed to represent a wide range of view points and approaches understanding the world. Of course, I want my perspective to be dominant.

    was immediately followed by:

    I think I’m right. But, I don’t want it to dominate every other perspective out there. I want wrong things being taught alongside right things, because what if I’m the one who’s wrong?

  46. 149
    Sebastian H says:

    Richard Jeffery Newman, it seems to me that Erin got it almost exactly right. Before I even got to her post I was reading you at 139 and thinking “isn’t it weird how RJN is almost always approaching commenting from critique mode, rarely ever exposing his own arguments or thoughts to critique, always picking at the nits of other people’s arguments and in a very heavy handed way with little empathy from where they are coming from”

    She absolutely nails it when she says you approach it like a judge who thinks he’s authoritatively above it all rather than a person engaging in discussion.

    Your 139 is a perfect example. You attack the nit of his absolutely defensible (and in my mind not nearly strongly enough worded) statement about rigorous knowledge. He is 100% correct that Hook doesn’t ‘know’ all the things mentioned to nearly the rigor that biologists know things. Even if the statements were allegedly supported by psychological research (which they are not) the state of psychological research isnt remotely comparable to biological research in terms of authoritative understandings of things. You attack his hedges, but he essentially shouldn’t have hedged. The type of knowledge claimed is not currently available, and pretending it is available is a huge flaw in how gender studies (and economics and psychology) presents itself.

  47. 150
    Sebastian H says:

    The above may be too biting, and I apologize for that.

    Look at what you could have done. You could have said “no, Hook really does know the interior thoughts of men” and then shown why she scientifically knows that to the level of biological knowledge. That’s how you would deal with the object level of Jeffery’s concerns.

    I would tend to suspect you didn’t do that because it can’t be done. Hook is indefensible on that point. But then it isn’t fair to attack Jeffery’s knowledge.

    If you want to defend Hook you could say something like “yes she doesn’t have biological level knowledge but she has some reason to think that, and while maybe she should have softened the certainty with which she made some statements she is usefully explicating the following even with uncertain knowledge”

    And trying to extend empathy to you, I wonder sometimes if academics just don’t notice how often caveats that may exist five or ten iterations before don’t get involved when the ideas get commonly passed around. It’s the same problem I have with post modern thought. If forced to pin it down academics will usually say “well of course there is an underlying scientific reality” we talked about that in a rarely cited paper 50 years ago so it is settled. But 7/10 times when you encounter pomo arguments in the wild they will act like that isn’t true. My sympathy for that is the same that I have for Christians who say “our religion isn’t warlike” but don’t want to deal with the fact that IN PRACTICE it is.

    In practice gender studies claims to have a lot more access to a lot of knowledge than it really has. And then it insists on conclusions from that knowledge being applied as if it actually had access to it, rather than the reality which is that they are making barely informed guesses guesturing in a direction. And sure that’s where science starts. But we shouldn’t pretend we are at the end point already.

  48. 151
    Ampersand says:

    Another comment or two and this will officially be a pile on of personal attacks on rjn. Please stop it now.

  49. 152
    Sebastian H says:

    It’s a little disconcerting to have critiques of his method, much more fairly drawn than RJNs critiques of Jeffery’s discussion described as attacks. I even try to see where he’s coming from, a courtesy he does not extend to Jeffery. Would you characterize his responses to Jeffery as attacks? He makes broad and IMO unfair characterizations of Jeffery’s commenting history, inviting comparison.

    How can we respond if techniques he uses are not attacks, while when we use them they are characterized as attacks?

  50. 153
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    The evidence strongly suggests that it is impossible for the extreme left (or extreme right) to be dominant in (parts of) academia and then still leave sufficient room for researchers that have the opposite ideology. I especially want to point you to the large number of ‘liberals’ who are willing to discriminate against a (perceived as) conservative job candidate, which shows a high willingness to exclude.

    Conservatives also report experiencing hostility. Earlier, I’ve linked to the paper by Straus that shows that this hostility can result in researchers being undermined in their work (note that Straus seems center-left to me, but he ran afoul of the extreme left nevertheless). I also know from personal experience that moderates are frequently seen as being conservative by leftists (and leftist by conservatives) and can thus get treated the same.

    Previously, I’ve also linked to evidence that shows that this is not merely a theoretical worry, but that moderates and conservatives have been replaced by ‘liberals’ in academia during the last decades.

    I think that I’ve made a rather strong case for my claims, while those who disagree haven’t shown any problems with my evidence (and have mostly ignored it).

    When someone favors a policy, but believes that the outcome will be much better than the evidence suggests, I will treat them as advocates for what the evidence suggests is the outcome, not their fantasies.

    For example, if someone wants to ban abortion, I hold them responsible for illegal abortions (and women dying as a result). If they claim that (almost) no illegal abortions will happen, I will point out that the evidence disagrees with their claim. However, if they accept the evidence, but are willing to accept more illegal abortions (and women dying as a result), then our disagreement is a matter of subjective values. Getting to this point is progress (especially since this often requires that people resolve inconsistencies in their views).

    So, Kate, you might want your ideology to be dominant and yet not to “dominate every other perspective out there,” but the evidence strongly suggests that:
    – the left is already extremely dominant, in particular in certain parts of academia
    – that the left has been getting more dominant over time
    – that this dominance results in discrimination, which presumably gets worse the more the left dominates
    – that the left considers themselves much more tolerant than the conservatives experience (suggesting that the dominant majority* are blind to the mechanisms and extent of the oppression)

    * Perhaps we should call them the privileged, who are blind to the perspective of those who are facing discrimination?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *