Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Against labeling privilege

Scott Aaronson has stumbled into a political dispute again. These are always fun to read. His views are that of a typical academic Jewish leftist, but he has an honest streak that causes him to choke on some of the more dogmatist leftist nonsense.

This time he refuses to go along with social science attacks on white male privilege, and he even declares that Marx and Freud were wrong. More importantly, he denounces those who idolize Marx and Freud. Previously, he approved of European countries keeping out immigrants in order to maintain their cultural and demographic identities.

This time he says Marx was wrong, and this:
In any case, I don’t see any escaping the fact that, for much of the 20th century, Marx and Freud were almost universally considered by humanist intellectuals to be two of the greatest geniuses who ever lived. To whatever extent that’s no longer true today, I’d see that as an opportunity for reflection about which present-day social dogmas might fare badly under the harsh gaze of future generations. Incidentally, from Newton till today, I can’t think of a single example of a similarly-catastrophic failure in the hard sciences, except when science was overruled politically (like with Lysenkoism, or the Nazis’ “Aryan physics”). The closest I can think of (and in terms of failure, it maybe rates a few milliMarxes) is Wegener and continental drift.

Even Lubos Motl agrees this time, altho he can resist sniping at some other things Aaronson has said.

I try to avoid talking about the social sciences here, because if I did, then it would make the physicists look too good. I would rather point out where the hard sciences are going wrong, as there is some hope of fixing them.

On another political issue, Nature News reports:
Canadian election brings hope for science

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative party is ousted by the Liberals.

Canada’s middle-left Liberal party won a stunning victory on 19 October, unseating the ruling Conservative party after a tight three-way race. Researchers are hoping that the country’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will help to restore government support for basic research and the country's tradition of environmentalism.

The Liberals have promised to amend some of the damage done to science and evidence-based policymaking in Canada under the Conservative government, which came into power in 2006. Under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, research funding shifted to focus on applied science, many jobs and research centres were cut and the nation gained an international reputation for obstructing climate-change negotiations.
This sounds more like a left-wing editorial to me. It appears that all of our leading science journals are hopelessly infected with leftists.

Update: Also, more leftist censorship:
A well-known French weatherman has been put on an indefinite “forced holiday” after writing a book criticizing climate-change research and saying that, even if it does exist, it will probably have some very positive effects, including more tourists, lower death rates, lower electricity bills in the winter, and higher-quality wine.

Philippe Verdier, famous for delivering nightly forecasts on the state-run news channel France 2, has authored a new book casting doubt on the research of world climatologists.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is surreal to have science 'experts' talk about people being imprisoned or punished by the state for questioning their often politically motivated 'science'. And here I thought open scientific inquiry was to be encouraged. Oh well, it makes it easier to tell who is lying.

    When someone reaches for the power of the state to win an scientific argument, they have already lost both the argument and their credibility.