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~ PINKERITE TALKS TO ANTHROPOLOGISTS ~
The Brian Ferguson Interview
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Conversation with Krylov

Dear Dr. Krylov,

I find it curious you oppose politicizing science, when your Wikipedia page indicates you “are active in the promotion of gender equality in STEM fields, especially in theoretical chemistry."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Krylov

While I think the promotion of gender equality in STEM is a worthy goal, it is definitely a political one.

How are your political efforts in science different, or less perilous, than some of the examples you cite in your article, like changing the term “Newton’s Laws”, to “the three fundamental laws of physics”?

Nancy McClernan

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Dear Nancy,

Thanks for reaching out. I do not consider activities that ensure fairness and merit-based approach in science to be political. Fairness and merit-based evaluation is one of the core principles of the scientific enterprise, an essential part of the Mertonian norms (CUDOS). There is nothing political in requiring equal opportunity and equal recognition of people regardless of their gender or race!

Women in science are not always treated fairly and are not always recognized according to their achievements, especially in the past. This is plain wrong and unfair -- and I am doing what I can to fight against it. There are also more significant obstacles that women face -- grounded in societal norms and in our culture. There is a lot we should be doing to remove these barriers -- for example, fighting for accessible childcare. These are serious issues that require serious conversation and real, serious work, beyond Twitter activism. And many of us are working towards these goals...

I hope you would agree with me that renaming equations, policing the language, and repackaging soap is not going to help women (or any other underrepresented group) to develop and advance professionally. Such idiocies only undermine the whole cause and detract the attention from real issues. In any case, my article was not talking about the issues of diversity at all. What my article speaks about is the intrusion of political ideology into science and education, which is already making a lot of damage-- see for example, this very recent article:
https://quillette.com/2021/08/19/as-us-schools-prioritize-diversity-over-merit-china-is-becoming-the-worlds-stem-leader/

Do you get my point?

Anna.

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Dear Anna,

The issue is not who is right. The issue is that yours is a political goal, and that the people who wish to rename the terms also have a political goal. And it is very likely you have the same goal: “fairness", from your own points of view. Yet you scold others for “politicizing science.”

You must be aware that some people believe the reason for women’s under-representation in STEM is due foremost to women having less genetically-endowed ability in STEM. They believe attempting to promote women in STEM is counter to a “merit-based approach.” This was argued infamously by Lawrence Summers, when he was president of Harvard, and fully supported by people like Steven Pinker. The same argument was echoed by James Damore in 2017, and he was also fully supported by Steven Pinker and by people associated with Quillette.

They firmly believe that THEY are on the side of pure science, and those who disagree with them are politicizing science.

I am amazed that you would use an article from Quillette to support your argument. Quillette is a far-right publication that promotes race pseudo-science and is respected by nobody outside the “Intellectual Dark Web” bubble. It is certainly not a scientific publication.

Do you not know anything about Quillette’s politics, or are you in agreement with them? Why on earth would you use Quillette to make a point?

Nancy


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Dear Nancy,

In science, we look at the essence of findings and not who said it or where it is published. This is also part of Mertonian norms. Truth is truth, irrespective of clothes. 

Are you really willing to dismiss an insightful article simply because it is published not in your favorite outlet? You should read the content and then decide for yourself whether these labels are justified. This particular paper is well supported by the data. Quileute is non-partisan and does not have a political agenda. Most of the authors are of liberal political orientation. 

Anna.

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Dear Anna,

I notice you dodged the question of whether or not those who want to rename science terms could possibly be operating from the same desire for fairness as you claim to be. You would rather talk about Quillette.

So let’s do that.

Quillette is a right-wing publication and has been known as such since soon after its inception.


Continuing...


Right up to the present.


"In this age of dull-witted Fox News propaganda, Q-adjacent conspiracy nonsense, and sophomorically glib Quillette contrarianism, it’s not easy to find truly thoughtful conservative writing on American politics."

++++++++

It’s also a fact that one of Quillette’s known funders is right-wing Mark Carnegie.


Although it is true that Quillette attempts to big-lie market itself as non-partisan and its founder Claire Lehmann threatened to sue someone for calling Quillette a “conservative website.” 


You claim “most of the authors (of Quillette) are of liberal political orientation.”

Let’s have the data supporting that claim, like we do in, you know, science.

Finally, the article you shared is not “insightful” it’s the usual right-wing drivel, which is why the link it provides for “promising models” for schools is to an article by Rick Hess, director of Education Policy studies of the right-wing Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute, and that article praises charter schools including the controversial “Success Academy” and the Trump administration’s Betsy DeVos.


Nancy