Thursday, 9 February 2023

"STEM, objectivity, rigour and replicability are not products of the West. Postmodernism and its latest incarnation 'Critical Social Justice,' however, are.

"It is absolutely essential that we make more people aware of this aspect of the 'Decolonise movement, in particular [i.e,, 'decolonising' science by 'problematising' rigour, objectivity and replicability]. 
    "I don’t think I have ever seen anything more imperialist than claiming STEM [the study, practice and artefacts of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] to be white & Eurocentric. Complete ahistorical nonsense that can only be written by someone who has never had to try to work with the 'maths' that existed before Europe adopted Arab numerals and maths. As a late medievalist, let me inform you that trying to do maths working in 7s over 20s in Roman numerals as Europeans did before this is a primary reason for so many calculations of anything from that period being wrong.
    "Aside from it being factually wrong to claim STEM to be white & Western, it is an insult to all the doctors, scientists & engineers the Western world needs to recruit from Africa and Asia to keep those fields running. If all the Indian, Nigerian and Pakistani Brits left for their former homelands or that of their parents and grandparents, [Britain's] National Health Service (NHS) would collapse, engineering would struggle and we’d be much diminished in output in science more broadly. As I have had to point out to anybody insisting that my critiques of fields using the approaches of Critical Social Justice are just a way to attack the work of 'people of colour,' if that were actually my motivation, it would be medicine and technology I’d have to critique, not Critical Social Justice, as this is where black and brown Brits are most represented.
   "STEM, objectivity, rigour and replicability are not products of the West. Postmodernism and its latest incarnation 'Critical Social Justice,' however, are. If you want to ‘decolonise’ Western 'ways of knowing,' start by weeding out that one, not the development of science which has been a worldwide project for millennia, although Europe was a relative latecomer to it."


Dave Lenny said...

Local qualifications in STEM will be worthless overseas and uncompetitive in NZ companies which want to build bridges to last or heal sick people effectively, if indigenous knowledge becomes the gold standard here. Like it or not, modern science etc are predominantly, but not exclusively, a product of the last 400 years in the West, Pluckrose’s acknowledgement of the contributions of others notwithstanding, and they have become international because they work better than local, traditional alternatives.

Indigenisers might want drinking water that meets Matauranga Maori standards for mauri, but I want water that meets international scientific standards of portability - the same as you might find in Tokyo or New York.

Several years ago in Auckland Hospital’s Greenlane clinic, a basal cell carcinoma was excised from my arm and stitched up by a Korean intern, supervised by an Indian doctor (though judging by his accent, he might well have been NZ born) and home care of the wound explained to me by a Filipina nurse. When I worked in HK, the first GP my wife found was a local who spoke excellent English and was as satisfactory as my NZ GPs - it turned out he had worked as a doctor for several years in Howick, though he hadn’t trained in NZ. I had two stays in a HK hospital with excellent treatment by Chinese surgeons and nurses, using the machinery and methods of international medicine.

Hooray for globalisation and international standards!

Dave Lenny said...

...potability... Damn you autocorrect.