Decolonizing Science: Every Decolonizer Is A Liar

Decolonizing Science: Every Decolonizer Is A Liar

Every person who says they want to decolonize science, or math, or medicine, or whatever, is a liar. They do not tell the truth.

They do not want to decolonize anything. They want to colonize it.

They want to remove ideas they find offensive (from some area) and replace those bad ideas with ideas they find pleasant. Every single decolonizer is an inveterate colonizer. Just ask any woke professor what he thinks, say, of the North’s treatment of the South after the American Civil War. You will very quickly learn the glories of colonization.

Calls for decolonizing are instances of the Imposing Your Beliefs Fallacy. Decolonizers are the first to screech “You are trying to impose your beliefs on me!” The solution is always for the decolonizer to impose her beliefs.

My dear readers, somebody’s, maybe even yours, and with the blessing my own, beliefs are always imposed. Imposed beliefs are, of course, what we call “the law”, de jure and de facto—nowadays mostly de facto.

What this all means is that whenever we hear calls for “decolonizing”, our task is to determine which beliefs the caller wants to impose.

An entire issue of the once-respected British Medical Journal was devoted to “Decolonizing health and medicine.” And they even have an on-going podcast series. Which beliefs they want to purge have been obvious since the misnamed Enlightenment began. But which beliefs do they want to impose in their place?

Before we get to that, there is one thing you must be absolutely clear about. These screechers have not thought their arguments through. They are engaged in academic-fantasy play. Their thoughts are on precisely the same level of freshmen who, after sixty seconds of earnest concentration, decided that if women ran the world there would be no more wars.

The BMJers want to purge logic, rationality, and old-school science from health and medicine, while simultaneously allowing themselves to believe that the practice of medicine will not suffer. Which is to say, they think they themselves will not suffer. Surgeons who have been successfully decolonized will, in their minds, still know the difference between the pancreas and spleen. Whereas a successfully decolonized medicine would return to spells and incantations (thanks to Anon for the tip).

Screechers can only envision a pretend decolonization. Indeed, they can foresee only their own benefit from the praise they will receive for their popular (“stunning and brave”) opinions. Which is the real driving force behind these calls.

The BMJers announce, “The decolonisation movement demands that we examine class, race, gender, and geographical inequities in health and medical institutions and knowledge production, and calls for radical social change.”


Anyway, there’s that rotten fruit of egalitarianism in all its blackened splendor. You would guess doctors, those who practice medicine on real bodies, would know better than any that differences between peoples and sexes are natural and ineradicable. And so practicing doctors do know, though the know less and less as mandated protocol replaces discerning practice.

But that BMJers do not know these differences cannot be eliminated tells us we are dealing, almost certainly, with academics. The main group of people in the world who almost never have to face the consequences of their theories.

Interestingly, one of the featured speakers of the BMJ’s first podcast is “Subhadra Das, UK based researcher and storyteller who specialises in the history and philosophy of science, particularly scientific racism and eugenics”. You can imagine the thrill of the lady academics upon hearing a “storyteller” who doesn’t like “racism”. Do you think they even squealed like the girls who first heard the Beatles?

Later episodes go on about “racism”—you can never have enough “racism”—“indigenous peoples”—-European peoples are never allowed to be indigenous of anywhere—“global health histories”—which means “racism”—and such like material. All well familiar woke ideology.

It’s not only medicine, of course. Woke academics are in every field. Here’s a recent paper: “The decolonisation of mathematics” by John Armstrong and India Jackman.

From the Abstract:

We examine evidence of whether the experience of mathematics in the UK is systemically racist, examining both the decolonial arguments and the empirical evidence…We find some prima-facie evidence of discrimination in the descriptive statistics on the representation of ethnic minorities in academic roles in UK higher education.

In the very first sentence of the paper, the UK authors mention Black Larcenous Marauders. That’s farce. Then, in the second sentence, comes humor: “Decolonisation of the curriculum had its origins in the humanities, but writing a guest editorial in Nature, Nobles, Womack, Wonkam, and Wathuti (2022)…” Sounds like law office in Botswana.

The service these authors have done us is great, for they have perfectly summed up all of decolonizing with the opening of their second paragraph. Let’s give them, therefore, the last word:

In popular understanding, decolonising the curriculum means ensuring that the reading lists include works by black and minority authors, and that such authors are not treated as being inferior to white male authors.

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  1. JerryR

    It must be tough to write an insightful article everyday.

    Who but a select few heard the term colonizer before October 7th? Now decolonizing is the rage. It’s like tolerance. One can only tolerate certain things which means many things cannot be tolerated.

    Irony, it turns out the Arabs are the colonizers in Gaza and surrounding areas. They didn’t exist there 300 years ago. So are the Israelis getting rid of the colonizers.

  2. NLR

    In Plato’s day, philosophy was the queen of the sciences, in the Middle Ages, it was theology. In the 1800’s Gauss famously said that it was mathematics and in the 20th century, the queen of the sciences was theoretical physics.

    Now, it’s managerialism and wokeness. Those two subjects can evaluate and interpret all the others, say what they do and what they should be doing. And more than that … million of people believe it. For most of the people who believe it, it’s subliminal. But you believe everything bureaucrats and activists say, then it doesn’t matter whether you explicitly say their subjects trump everything else, you do believe it.

  3. Incitadus

    People should do a little research before shooting their mouths off.
    I guess for mid-wits it’s easier to just parrot propaganda.

  4. Cary D Cotterman

    “mandated protocol”

    The “proceed by the numbers, no thinking necessary” ticket most of the world seems to operate on today. The younger one is, the more comfortable he or she probably is with mindless protocol.

  5. Milton Hathaway

    Ever the optimist, I see the continuous invention of new terminology by the enemy as a positive sign that their current rhetoric isn’t having the impact they desire. Here’s a little prior terminology history for this decolonizing meme, compliments of ChatGPT:

    Indigenous Knowledge Revival
    Subaltern Studies
    Feminist Epistemology
    Critical Race Theory
    Cultural Studies
    Liberation knowledge
    Reclamation of knowledge
    Intellectual decolonization
    Empowerment through Education
    Cultural Relativism
    Knowledge Justice
    Historical Materialism
    Critical Pedagogy
    Liberation Theology
    Knowledge Sovereignty
    Critical Indigenous Studies
    Decolonial Feminism
    Epistemological Pluralism
    Critical Indigenous Pedagogy
    Decolonial Art and Literature
    Ethnic Studies
    Postcolonial Literature and Theory

    At this point I got tired of asking ChatGPT “any more?”, but ChatGPT showed no signs of getting bored with the conversation. Looking through the list, only “Critical Race Theory” seems to have gotten any traction at all, although I suppose not outside of the US. If your advocacy requires the continuous invention of new terminology, perhaps the patient is brain-dead and should be removed from artificial life support.

    Side note: Does the observation that ChatGPT never gets bored reveal that it isn’t really “intelligence”?

  6. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Ha! I’m restraining myself from typing “lol”, since I just admonished JH over that tic, but this is really excellent, funny, polemical writing, Briggs. Kudos! What the hell is a “kudos”, anyway? Anyway, great stuff. I marvel that you can write good copy like this day after day. That’s a real talent.

  7. Hagfish Bagpipe

    JerryR: “It must be tough to write an insightful article everyday.”

    For you and me, but not for Briggs.

  8. Hagfish Bagpipe

    And not just insightful but funny, and with great hard boiled style. Dude’s a legend.

  9. Briggs


    Most of it is AI.

  10. Rudolph Harrier

    You are absolutely correct about how they have not thought these things through. I’ve frequently had to talk with this sort of person about proposal for specific new classes, curriculum changes, etc. So far not too much about openly woke stuff, but fads like corequisites, “hybrid learning”, etc. Same sort of administrators who attend “microagression” and “decolonization” workshops though.

    My questions usually take the form of “how the heck is this even going to work?” For example, you want to have us offer ten new two credit courses each year. Who is teaching them? What level of funding do we have to get new people to teach them? What specific topics should be covered? For the hybrid stuff, how exactly will we teach online and in person simultaneously? Are the experiences meant to be identical, or will some stuff be unique to each type of student? If the latter, that would require more hours of teaching, so will this increase in workload be compensated?

    Usually they don’t even understand why I am asking the question at first. They take any question as an attack on their designs. They will say things like “this is something that most people are behind” or “this program will make our world a better place.” When I finally do get them to talk about specifics they will often make up fanciful solutions. For example, we are going to equip every single classroom with cameras that use AI to reposition themselves to whoever is talking and to correct for any audio issues on the fly. Or they will just make things up. For example, they may say that the funding for new teachers will come from a one year grant that already is allocated for existing tuition services. How is that going to work, especially after the grant expires? They don’t care.

    What matters is that you BELIEVE that the project will work. If it fails afterwards, it’s because someone didn’t believe hard enough. These people are almost all managerial level, and the ones who aren’t are experts in getting someone else to do their work, so they never have to fail the challenges of actually implementing any of their ideas.

    The best part for them is that by the time their ideas are implemented and inevitably fail, there’s a new set of buzzwords going around that let them say that some new project will solve everything finally.

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