Revisionist Science

Expunging the Privileged Patriarchy from the Annals of Discovery

Social Justice is coming after science; in a few short years it is likely your children’s science textbook will bear no semblance to your own. Having shred the humanities to ribbons – to an unrecognizable shell of what they once were – Justice’s lust for revisionism remains unsatiated. Sadly, while the more “temperate” among us passively watched the progressive throng tear down monuments to confederate generals, we continued in sinful acquiescence as founding fathers found their way in the mob’s malevolent crosshairs. The toppling and defacing of historical physical symbols of oppression was but the beginning – as in typical totalitarian fashion, what soon followed was history itself undergoing a rebranding. In the frenzied vortex of revisionism, definitions have changed, formerly recognized heroes have become villainized, and even official dates of founding have shifted (1776 to 1619). At present, your child’s history textbook likely does not resemble the anachronistic one you read; in the near future, neither will their science.

Until a few years ago, many of us in the field of science likely felt our discipline would be safe from savage Justice. “After all,” we may have opined, “the recounting of history is often vulnerable to the lenses of subjectivity – we know that it is typically the ‘winner’s’ who write history.” Or perhaps we believed because our respective disciplines are established on the bedrock of a solid epistemology – one built on making objective observations, generating hypotheses, putting them to the test, and demanding reproducibility of results – the subjectivism in Social Justice would have no power over the objectivism in science. As you will discover, this view is naïve.

Science is Not Safe

In an alarming editorial in The Journal of Physical Chemistry, Dr. Anna Krylov - Soviet immigrant and professor of physical chemistry at the University of Southern California – penned her recognition of the signs of totalitarianism forcing its way into the sciences under the auspices of Social Justice (more specifically, diversity, equity, and inclusion). To support her case she opens with a historical narrative of how totalitarianism ravaged the industrial town she grew up in. The city called Donetsk today has undergone several name changes in its brief history of 150 years concomitant to the cancel mobs demand for ideological purity at various times.

Krylov recounts how the settlement originally called Hughesovka (Yuzovka) named after Welsh industrialist John Hughes was stripped of its name because Bolshevik commissars deemed the founder was “. . . representative of the hostile class of oppressors and a Westerner.” Prior to Trotsky’s cancellation, the city enjoyed the name Trotsk for but a few short months. In 1924, with Stalin as the totalitarians darling the city was renamed Stalino, but alas when the Communist party he led underwent a reckoning for its campaign of terror and the murder of millions of citizens, Stalin was canceled, and the city was then named after the river Severekii Donets.

From her country’s history the professor draws parallels between the ideological purging demanded by Soviet revolutionaries and the Social Justice mob today. She remarks,

". . . today we are told that racism, patriarchy, misogyny, and other reprehensible ideas are encoded in scientific terms, names of equations, and in plain English words . . . and in order to build a better world and to address societal inequalities, we need to purge our [scientific] literature of the names of people whose personal records are not up to the high standards of the self-anointed bearers of the new truth, the Elect."

Hopefully, you can recognize that science is not safe.

Commissars in the Science Classroom

Justifiably, Krylov complains that these very Elect are telling teachers to rewrite their syllabi and change the way they teach and speak in the classroom. For the obedient vassal having to grovel for tenure, they can source diversity and inclusion statements for use in their syllabus from The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University. Of science, one such recommended statement goes accordingly:

"In an ideal world, science would be objective. However, much of science is subjective and is historically built on a small subset of privileged voices. I acknowledge that the readings for this course . . .  were authored by white men."

If these statements indicting the criminal white past of science were not enough, the uber-woke professor can add:

"I acknowledge that it is possible that there may be both overt and covert biases in the material due to the lens with which it was written, even though the material is primarily of a scientific nature. Integrating a diverse set of experiences is important for a more comprehensive understanding of science."

Hmmm, how could we naively believe that the enterprise of science was about objectivity? But wait, there’s more - for the obedient comrade prof desirous of ceding more control to his/ her/ their woke students, he/ she/ they can humbly entreat:

"Please contact me (in person or electronically) or submit anonymous feedback if you have any suggestions to improve the quality of the course materials."

This degree of condescension by the professor cedes control of the asylum to the inmates.

Revisionism is Not Just for History Anymore

Not satisfied with making a mockery of the humanities, the Social Justice czars not only want to change the way science teachers teach, they now have their sights on revising science itself, so as to “decenter Whiteness” as part of facilitating antiracist pedagogy.

Of course, none of this could not happen if it were not for the tacit and explicit approval of people in science who should know better. In yet another article titled “The Complicated Morality of Named Inventions” published by The American Chemistry Society the authors suggest there are perils with immortalizing the inventors of theories, methods, instruments, mathematical laws, and models by naming these after them. Ehrler, Hutter, and Berry argue that the institution of science runs the risk of “exclusion arising from bias along race, gender, and geography. . .”. Fortunately, the authors are not advocating a retroactive overhaul of names but rather exercising circumspection in naming conventions moving forward.

If history tells us anything, however, a circumspect view to future nomenclature will not quell the demands for “justice” and decolonization from Social Justice ideologues. Krylov points out that in many schools already, physics classes have replaced teaching “Newton’s Laws” with the “three fundamental laws of physics.” Apparently, with the new standard for decentering whiteness and decolonizing the curriculum, the Englishman has to go. Newton is but an initiation point.

With science having its origins in Christianized Western Europe and enjoying consolidation as a very legitimate enterprise with the founding of the Royal Society in England in the mid-17th century, the Social Justice warlords will have their work cut out for them. Imagine the careers that could be built for those who will faithfully scrub the textbooks clean of the offensive units of watt (denoting power), joule (energy), dalton (mass), coulomb (electric charge), pascal and torr (pressure), and kelvin (temperature) to literally name a few.

In addition to the oppressive units, it will take a rather large antiracist bureaucracy to wipe the names of the oppressive patriarchy from scientific theories and laws: Archimedes (principle of buoyancy), Newton (laws of motion), Boyle, Charles, Gay-Lussac, and Avogadro (various gas laws), Hooke (laws governing springs), Dalton (atomic theory), and Kepler (laws of planetary motion), again to name but a few.

In the world of chemistry where I teach, it is unthinkable to consider teaching organic reaction mechanisms without citing the name of the persons codifying the mechanism (Cope rearrangement, Diels-Alder reaction, Hoffman rearrangement, again merely a remnant of names). Models involved in representing organic molecules could similarly see cancellation (Fischer, Haworth, Newman projections, Lewis structures). Acid-base chemistry will see similar modifications in the way we communicate principles if we can no longer utter the offensive names of Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, or Lewis.

From this sampling, it is obvious the ambitious decolonization of the science curriculum - starting with seemingly innocent “suggestions” to make classrooms more inclusive – will prove disastrous. Decolonization efforts demanding the wholesale expunging of thousands of words (names) from the science lexicon will significantly impact our ability to even communicate science information. Consider Orwell’s eerie statement that Krylov opens her own article with regarding the destruction of words from 1984:

"It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

The destruction of words is the destruction of the ability to think. We best heed the warnings from Dr. Krylov: “Normalizing ideological intrusion into science . . . will cost us dearly. We cannot afford it.” Parents, save your textbooks,  you may need them to teach your children science.

graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno, with a BS in molecular biology and a minor in cognitive psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted research in immunology, microbiology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, scanning tunneling microscopy and genetics - having published research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and projects in scanning tunneling microscopy. Having recently completed an M.Ed. from University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Apologetics with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, Emily is currently an instructional designer/content developer for Moody Bible Institute and teaches organic chemistry and physics. As a former Darwinian evolutionist, Emily now regards the intelligent design arguments more credible than those proffered by Darwinists for explaining the origin of life.

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