Just as Feminists consider science to by Sexist and a plot of The Patriarchy, it is claimed that Science is Racist and a tool of oppression wielded by the White oppressor. The solution that is proffered is to “decolonize” science and replace objective scientific reality with a more magic friendly “science”.
A perfect case in point can be seen by a group of students in South African students who even have their very own hashtag: #ScienceMustFall:
So, they basically reject science as an oppressive tool of the White man because it denies witchcraft and magical lighting bolts thrown by tribal wizards:
“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana. They believe that through the magic‚ you call it black magic‚ they call it witchcraft‚ you are able to send lightening to strike someone. Can you explain that scientifically because it’s something that happens?”
Perhaps that student just stumbled upon a LARP:
Clearly, they do not even understand what science is:
“Western knowledge is totalising. It is saying that Newton, and only Newton, knew or saw an Apple falling and then out of nowhere decided that gravity existed, and created an equation, and that is it. The only way to explain gravity is through Newton.”
The irony is that they are parroting philosophies thought up by… White people, as noted in the comments over at David Thompson’s blog:
“I wonder if the same offended young woman – the one so offended by (white) Western modernity – is fully aware of the extent to which she is merely regurgitating the ossified words of long dead, white western European male intellectuals?
“I mean at one point she quite literally parrots Sartre (‘western knowledge is totalising’) and the whole de-colonising shtick comes from Said which in turn came from Foucault.
“If she wants to ‘decolonise the university’ those might be good places to make a start before having a go at the scientific method.”
The phrase “decolonize your mind” is a general epithet to deny, out of hand, the possible validity of a thought or opinion because it is associated with “colonial oppressors”.
To a large degree, this nonsense has the same root cause as the desire to create a feminist science, and includes many of the same misconceptions and idiocy, abet with a bit of the bon sauvage thrown in.
To the decolonizers, science is a “social construction” because it is but one of a myriad ways of examining and ordering the natural world. In other words, just one of many ways of doing so. Magical lightning bolt throwing Mchawi are just as valid as rocket scientists, if not more so due to the formers elevated states of not being a colonizing oppressor. The colonizers, then use their particular method to oppress the apparently magical indigenes (ignoring that peoples were invading and conquering other territories well before Europeans arived), meaning that liberation must axiomatically oppose science as it is definitionally a tool of oppression.
There is no such thing as “White science” just as there is not such thing as “African science”: There is just science and not-science.
Is all or some of science socially constructed? Only in that the scientific method, specific techniques, and hypothesized were devised by human minds. But the scientific method can not be “White” or have any intersectional aspect. The scientific method, et al., developed and evolved over generations into what it is today. Yes, it developed most fully and to a far greater extent and result in Europe than elsewhere, but it is not a tool of racist oppression, but a tool of discovery and enlightenment that is anyone’s to use, if they but grasp it. It is about determining what happens—about is rather than ought—and how what happens can be determined though methods that bring us closer to a better understanding of the truth by rejecting demonstratable falsehoods. The scientific method involved testing and trying to figure out how to question the results via further testing. Science is about doubt, not belief. One does not believe scientific results and knowledge, one simply lacks doubt to one degree or another.
There is a clear conflation of science with political ideologies. This type of conflation leads to the Thule Society and Lysenkoism. Replacing “androcentric” science with a decolonized one, then, isn’t just about changing methods and views, but a political necessity to conquer and overthrow the unbearable Whiteness. By so conflating science with social studies and political ideologies, science can, when in conflict, we deemed to be wrong and be made to adhere to some broader pseudo-spiritual truth. Interpretations from results, even when exemplifying the scientific method, can very—but this is far, far different than to set forth the idea that an objective reality exists.
Scientific laws aren’t proscriptive but descriptive; only in the sense that the described results can be used predictively can science be said to be prospective, but certainly the results per se do not and can not be determinative.
Furthermore, by analogizing scientific results to the political and the philosophical, they cease to be scientific. Science isn’t about morality, principles, cultural values, or gender ideology; science can only inform—or misinform—individuals in this regards.
Ultimately, science is not a “White” thing or a tool of colonizing oppression, it is a tool that can be used to elevate society out of the mire. To reject that is not just an embracing of a de-Enlightenment of society, but a rejection of logic and reason, if not objective reality itself.
Hat Tip: David Thompson.