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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Anna Krylov embarrasses herself in print again

When we last discussed Anna Krylov, professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California, here at Pinkerite, it was to criticize her essay "The Peril of Politicizing Science" in which I demonstrated that Krylov was a hypocrite who believes that if she promotes a manifestly political position it is not really politics.

Then there is her logical incoherence - scoffing along with Steven Pinker at the idea that words have power, while simultaneously claiming a grave existential threat over changing the words in the names of science prizes and terms and even in an advertisement for soap

Finally there is her moral incoherence. She clearly thinks that "canceling" is bad - she even equated it with being burnt at the stake. And yet she appears to decry the removal of the name of a murderous Soviet dictator from towns and other public edifices as "canceled."

Well Krylov has published a new piece on the same old topic, this time in the horrendous Quillette, proving I was correct when I said, at the end of my previous critique of Krylov: "she truly is a member of the Quillette/IDW industrial complex."

She co-wrote the Quillette article with someone named Jay Tanzman. Tanzman is identified merely as "a freelance statistician." There is a Jay Tanzman mentioned in a few academic journals where the name is connected to "Tanzman Statistical Consulting, Los Angeles, California, United States of America" but a search for "Tanzman Statistical Consulting" shows no results for that company name.

Krylov reiterates her moral - or perhaps mental - incoherence in this new article (my highlight):
My own home town of Yuzovka, I noted, was called Trotsk (after Leon Trotsky), then renamed Stalino after Trotsky was purged, then Donetsk when Stalin was posthumously canceled by Khrushchev. Survey the stream of recent renamings of awards, buildings, and even laws of physics, and modern parallels aren’t hard to find. The intrusion of newspeak into science and education is truly Orwellian.
So her hometown started out as Yuzovka - which was named after a Welsh businessman named John Hughes. (Don't ask me how they got Yuzovka out of Hughes.) Then the town was renamed after Trotsky, then renamed after Stalin. Once again we see her say that Stalin was 'canceled.' Is that supposed to be a bad thing? She appears to be making a point in complete opposition to her belief that cancel culture is the great Satan.

Nowadays the town is called Donetsk - named after a river. I think we should all thank "cancel culture" for that.

I had to laugh at this section of her Quillette article:

I expected to be viciously mobbed, and possibly cancelled, like others before me. Yet the result surprised me. Although some did try to cancel me, I received a flood of encouraging emails from others who share my concern with the process by which radical political doctrines are being injected into STEM pedagogy, and by which objective science is being subjugated to regressive moralization and censorship. The high ratio of positive-to-negative comments (even on Twitter!) gave me hope that the silent liberal majority within STEM may (eventually) prevail over the forces of illiberalism.

Now of course she provides no evidence that anybody tried to "cancel" her. And we don't know what she means by the word "cancel" - in her lexicon it could mean anything from having your name removed from something to being burnt at the stake.

But clearly she drank the crazy Quillette Kool-aid before publishing the first piece.

The link on the word "others" in the cited paragraph is to a piece by reactionary academic Lee Jussim, whose entire career appears to involve repeating "stereotypes are real" over and over again. In the piece she links to, Jussim moans about, among other "cancellations," racist Bo Winegard failing to have his contract renewed at a college. Winegard holds such extreme views that he advocates for national ethnic quotas which sounds straight out of the Nazi playbook.

In her Quillette piece Krylov warns us, all evidence to the contrary, that there is a nefarious mob out there. How nefarious?

Their efforts are directed, often single-mindedly, at enforcing contortions of language and ideology within their own rarified institutions, forming task forces to rename equations, invent microaggressions, police language, rename moths and ants, and repackage soap. And they are completely vicious in the use of mob tactics to intimidate or cancel those who dare object to their extreme strictures. Again, the parallels with the USSR of my youth are rather obvious.

That's right - renaming things and repackaging soap are the equivalent, in Anna Krylov's mind, of the USSR. This position would be rational if the worst thing the Soviet Union ever did was rename things.

I think this might be the last time I write about Krylov. I am beginning to feel more pity for her than anything else, in her public displays of irrationality and fear-mongering. Writing an incoherent mess for a racist rag like Quillette is a complete embarrassment, especially for someone who had a reputable STEM career. 

When her career ends, I expect she'll claim she was cancelled, but I doubt the reason will have anything to do with her politics.

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