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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