Monday, December 09, 2019

Black women and evolution of the anti-string movement in the post-Epstein era

Late Jeffrey Epstein was the main father of the ludicrous anti-string-theory movement. While blackmailing American politicians – some people say that Epstein worked for Israel – he wanted a proof that with some money, he could also change the scientists' discourse.



He found someone who can be easily bought, that someone was offered to be paid for pushing science in any direction he wanted, that someone wrote a notorious anti-science book, and he will always be deeply grateful to Jeffrey Epstein for his "unexpected and generous" donation. (My understanding of the sentences is that this gratitude must continue after Epstein's death, too.) And we would have to speculate if we wanted to say something about the other or main reasons that turned this possible "unexpected and generous" donation to reality – what else was going on in between these two men.



That book was a success, has invited lots of "emulators" who offered their own silly critiques of string theory, and lots of the stupid people got happily brainwashed and bought the idea that there was something wrong with string theory (I've met a much higher number of the brainwashed laymen than the number of string theorists I know – in many cases, the revelation was sobering and I have realized that many people weren't as intelligent as I previously believed). Every good physicist knows that string theory is the state-of-the-art foundation of all of physics and doubts about this fact are almost on par with the belief in the Flat Earth.

Epstein's experiment was a half-success. He didn't and couldn't influence the genuine scientists' views but he has influenced lots of the people who think that they are pro-science but they don't actually have a clue how the scientific research works and where theoretical physics has gotten by now.

Some 3 years later, the "someone" who was previously purchased by Jeffrey Epstein had a graduate student and now, when Epstein has been killed (or vigorously encouraged to commit suicide) by "someone" (not necessarily the same one but not necessarily a different one, either: I make no claim here), she is bringing the anti-string-theory fight to a new level.

Incidentally, this former graduate student was perfect according to the adviser who claimed – in the notorious book above – that one needs to fund primarily non-white females who invent "their own research program".



Journal of Women in Culture and Society has just published the someone's former graduate student's new text
Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics
where it is argued that string theory (and to some extent relativity and "covariance" as well) is a product of white patriarchal supremacy that should fail because it doesn't invite black women to give their comments – the former graduate student is half-Jewish, half-black. The paper repeats the same idea in kilobytes of nonsensical sentences and it reads like one of the papers by Boghossian et al. who mass-produced replicas of the Sokal affair – except that this author seems to be serious according to all the witnesses you may find.

Wikipedia indicates (hat tip: A.S.) that this hyper-nonsensical paper is a part of "research" that has been funded by a $100,522 FQXI grant. If you belong to the right group and you write some nonsense about the dependence of [some field of science] on white supremacy, you may get this much money. We often complain about the distortions that the government funding causes in science but similar private sources of money – (Templeton's) FQXI and Epstein – often cause even greater harm than the public funds do.

I don't want to read that paper too carefully and discuss it in detail because it really is ludicrous but you may read what various people wrote about it – e.g. Peter Boghossian, A New Radical Centrism, Petra Marquardt-Bigman, Heather Heying. Well, I think that Jeffrey Epstein wouldn't like where the industry that he has founded is heading but he can't do anything about it anymore.



It really is remarkable that, as someone noticed, she literally wants to equate white male physicists' talking about physics of string theory or quantum gravity with black women's talking about their grievances. Can't she figure out that these are completely different "fields" and the latter doesn't help the former to advance? One can add whining black women (again, she is just half-black and half-Jewish so she should be approximately half-smart in physics) to physics departments but that's something else than adding genuine valuable contributions from black women to physics. Decent people care about the latter, self-serving demagogues probably prefer the former.

Every person with an idea about the real world knows that physics, and especially theoretical physics, has been built and is being built by a set of people with a big majority of white men – which include Ashkenazi Jews who are immensely overrepresented – and there are very good reasons for this unrepresentative composition of the physics community. I have met numerous brilliant female or non-white string theorists so I could tell you quite something about the white male rule's not being quite general. The correlation between the physics aptitude and sex/race is imperfect but it is surely far from zero, too.

String theory is really "theoretical physics on steroids" so it's logical that all these "deviations from demographics" are similar to those in "more plain" theoretical physics but they are even stronger. The fact that the percentage of various groups is different in the general population and in the string theory community is a fact, it is not "dangerous" or "immoral" or "unjust" or "illegal" or "disgusting" in any way, and you should better learn such facts and get used to them. It's simply bad for you and for the society to wage a war on facts.

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