Monday, October 23, 2023

Whiteness in Physics Classrooms is Epistemicide

I try to avoid political topics, but woke papers are now infecting Physics journals.

Last year, the American Chemical Society published a paper on deconolonizing chemistry education, in a special woke issue.

Now the American Physical Society has published Observing whiteness in introductory physics: A case study. It is criticized here, here, here, and here.

The paper tries really hard to relate white supremacy to learning thermodynamics in a physics class. I don't see it, but that is supposed to be the original contribution. My whiteness prevents me from seeing it, the authors would say. More striking to me is the conventional woke wisdom they regurgitate.

Our goal in this paper has been to “make whiteness visible,” in the tradition of Critical Whiteness Studies. In particular, we have sought to make visible how everyday physics classroom interactions reproduce whiteness as social organization, and how physics representations, values, and pedagogical tools play a role in this reproduction. That whiteness is “ordinary” in physics classrooms is not surprising, given critical race theory’s assertion that whiteness is endemic to every aspect of U.S. society [7]. The ordinariness of whiteness’ reproduction is not surprising either, given critical scholarship’s emphasis on the invisibility and hegemony of whiteness.
Since the paper is about whiteness, you have to understand what it means by "white". It is not the skin color or the biological race. The paper is emphatic that there is no such thing. It does occasionally identify particular people as being white, but it is not clear what makes them white, if not race or skin color. It also makes a point of not capitalizing white, as it capitalizes Black, Color, and Hispanic. This is because whites have no culture, and no common identity. Even "Activists of Color" get two capital letters, but whites get none.

These papers are just lying when they say that race is a social construct with no biological reality. Popular racial classifications are nearly identical to results of objective DNA tests.

The impact of whiteness in physics classrooms cannot be understated. One outcome of enforcing a social organization with a (consistent) center and margins is epistemicide [45], or “the extermination of knowledge and ways of knowing” [37] (cited in Ref. [45]). We see glimmers of this in the data we have shared in this paper.
It goes on to explain that some white student solved a thermodynamics problem using an energy interaction diagram at a whiteboard. This was "an example where one form of knowledge building was discontinued (or extinguished) in service of another." Apparently he is called white because he solved a physics using white patriachal thinking, not because of his skin color.

This is analogous to white supremacy and patriarchy driving genocide. We are not killing Students of Color in the classroom, but we are marginalizing their bad science ideas.

The work is funded by the National Science Foundation. You tax dollars are funding this garbage, and our leading science journals are publishing it. You would probably be ostracized as a racist, if you disagreed with it.

The current Scientific American says:

The Theory That Men Evolved to Hunt and Women Evolved to Gather Is Wrong

The influential idea that in the past men were hunters and women were not isn’t supported by the available evidence ...

The inequity between male and female athletes is a result not of inherent biological differences between the sexes but of biases in how they are treated in sports.

They must think we are really stupid. Or that we will blindly accept scientific authorities. Or that we will be afraid to dispute woke pronouncement. I don't know. Scientific American was a great magazine for about 150 years.

Modern experts like to make fun of medieval scholars for trying to turn lead into gold, and the Sun going around the Earth. But what will our descendants think of 21st century science?

Update: Here is another example of bad science cited to support woke ideas. Coleman Hughes is a Black podcaster who gave a talk in favor of color-blindness, as pushed by M.L. King. He just posted a response to criticism. In brief, the TED folks tried to blackball his talk, claiming that it was disproved by social science saying that we must have racial preferences for Blacks. The social science is bogus, of course.

Update: Biologist Jerry Coyne debunks the rest of that SciAm article. Referring to the above quote:

Here the authors are wading into quicksand. In fact, the entire quote is offensive to reason, for it implies that, if women were treated the same as men in sports, they would do as well. Given the differences between the sexes in morphology and physiology, such a claim flies in the race of everything we know.  ...

In the end, we have still more evidence that Scientific American is no longer circling the drain, but is now in the drain, headed for, well, the sewers. It used to have scientists writing about their field, with no ideological bias, but now has ideologues (these authors are scientist-ideologues) writing about science in a biased way and misleading. 

1 comment:

  1. Whenever some pulls this whole 'whiteness' garbage on me, I merely ask, 'And what would you say 1 + 1 was? Does it change if you are black, brown, or purple?'

    Or you could just be snarky and say 'If what you say is true, why aren't black people superior scientists and engineers? Does not their 'other than whiteness' give them some kind of measurable advantage?'

    As Ben Shapiro says, being a short, white, Jewish guy doesn't exactly lend itself to being a great basketball player. This can be visibly noticed, and yes, genetics does play a part.

    If it can't be measured or observed, as far as just science goes, I don't give a damn.'