Anybody over thirty will remember the Wild West internet of the late 90s and oughts. You could say anything, see anything, do anything. It was great.
It was a manly enterprise. The seeming chaos, competition, and desire to push boundaries led to explosive innovation and growth.
Which, as you know, attracted the shushing women, the petty bureaucrats, the idiot tyrants, the perpetually “outraged”, and greedy politicians. It is now a not-manly enterprise.
We know what happened after the invasion of the “outraged”. Except for obscure corners, it’s all over. Follow their “Safety” “anti-hate” “anti-misinformation” rules or get canceled. Everything is now under tight control. Try logging on in China and post something about Winnie the Pooh. Or here and say some vaccines are harmful. It’s not that you can’t do it. But when you do, they’ll find you.
Science followed a similar, but longer path. It began as a vigorous masculine pursuit, and has descended into a Be Nice! effeminate quota-driven social activity. It took longer to follow the same course as the internet partly because much of science was obscure and difficult, but mostly because the objects studied had no political interest. When is the last time you heard CNN raving about quantum chromodynamics?
Alas, it was inevitable things of interest to our rulers would be studied and that politics would take over. And once politics wrapped its slimy fingers around a field it became subject to all the standard terrors. Now no area is safe. It hasn’t reached the end of the road yet, but it’s all downhill from here.
We saw this week the Noble Prize in physics went to…global warming. You can read Lubos Motl on this:
The climate modeling hasn’t led to any new yet reliable insights. In those 50 years, while the short-term weather models have made some progress, the long-term models have made virtually none and it is especially the case of the question about the magnitude of the influence of CO2 on the climate.
This award to a failed field was not, of course, enough to appease the outraged. Mere minutes after the prize was announced, this tweet popped up:
How sad is this graph? pic.twitter.com/MkZoCcaziQ
— Dr Nisreen Alwan ? (@Dr2NisreenAlwan) October 4, 2021
Now, any sane ordinary person would take this picture as proving, yet again, the age-old wisdom that men are better than women at the kind of quantitative complex thinking required in these areas.
They’d think that and move on, because they themselves, like most of us, men and women, don’t have these skills. Just like not all people can be offensive line centers in football, you can still appreciate those who can, without desiring to perform the same activity.
Not anymore. The Diversity & Perversity quota police have identified prize distribution as a “disparity”. That is all the “proof” needed to show it needs “correcting”.
It will be, too. I would bet next year’s or the year after’s Physics prize goes to a black, a woman, or both. It will be Diversity and not Perversity, because that will seem less obvious the fix is in. Yet the fix will be in.
It’s a long shot that even I’d bet against, but there’s a chance Great Thunberg gets the Physics prize for “raising awareness”. Scoff if you like, but “awareness” and “education” have long been seen as equivalents to real fields because of the infiltration of politics. In math, for instance, this equivalence has been formalized (“math education”). So don’t count ignorant Greta out yet.
Anyway, whatever Diversity wins, the award will, in turn, be used as “proof” that, in spite of all historical evidence to the contrary, Equality is true. And that will be used to hunt down more heretics and “disparities.”
You can try to fight against this, but, just like the internet, you’ll be canceled.
Oops. Merit means without regard to disparities-that-outrage.
And “outrage” was what happened when it was learned Abbot was to give a lecture—on geophysics—to MIT. The howling mob descended—on the internet, of course—and MIT canceled him.
The gutless coward and head of the department which canceled Abbot, Robert van der Hilst, whined that Abbot’s talk would have “included a public outreach component.” Which was the thin reed van der Hilst grasped as his excuse to ax the talk. It’s worth quoting this in full:
“We felt that with the current distractions we would not be in a position to hold an effective outreach event,” van der Hilst said in a statement.
“I made this decision at my discretion, after consulting with faculty and students in the department, and knowing that some might mistake it as an affront on academic freedom — a characterization I do not agree with.”
He can’t agree out loud because he knows that agreeing is admitting he is a coward.
Yet he cannot be ignorant, so he must agree in quiet. His gutless act—repeated now endlessly everywhere in science—will cause him to hate.
He will hate himself, and those who remind him of his retreat. He can turn inward and fester, or he will lash out and embrace woke politics as a way to calm his internal turmoil. Look for him to purposely invite Diversity or Perversity for his next lecture, and for words saying how “important” this is.
That kind of negative feedback happens most often, which is how this spreads.
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