Education PhD candidate: Objectivity in science is sexist.

From Joy Pullmann at Federalist:

College science classes are hostile to women and minorities because they use the scientific method, which assumes people can find reliable truths about the natural world through careful and sustained experimentation, concludes a recent dissertation by a doctoral candidate at the University of North Dakota.

Laura Parson, a student in the university’s education department, reviewed eight science class syllabi at a “Midwest public university” and said she discovered in them a hidden hostility to women and minorities:

Instead of promoting the idea that knowledge is constructed by the student and dynamic, subject to change as it would in a more feminist view of knowledge, the syllabi reinforce the larger male-dominant view of knowledge as one that students acquire and use make [sic] the correct decision. More.

The dissertation’s abstract does not immediately signal the rottenness within:

Abstract: This study explored the gendered nature of STEM higher education institution through a feminist critical discourse analysis of STEM course syllabi from a Midwest research university. I explored STEM syllabi to understand how linguistic features such as stance and interdiscursivity are used in the syllabus and how language and discourses used in the syllabus replicate the masculine nature of STEM education. Findings suggest that the discourses identified in the syllabi reinforce traditional STEM academic roles, and that power and gender in the STEM syllabi are revealed through exploration of the themes of knowledge, learning, and the teaching and learning environment created by the language used in the syllabus. These findings inform and extend understanding of the STEM syllabus and the STEM higher education institution and lead to recommendations about how to make the STEM syllabus more inclusive for women. Dissertation.

But we go on to read,

Another aspect of the chilly climate is competitiveness, and the STEM syllabi were also framed as competitive courses, exemplified by grading on a curve, “The final grading scale may be curved based on class performance” (Lower level biology). Grading on a curve is one way that the literature has found to be competitive and discouraging to women and minorities (Shapiro & Sax, 2011). Finally, the competitive, difficult chilly climate was reinforced in the syllabi through the use of unfriendly and tough language, “Do not ask me to figure out your grade standing. I’ll be glad to show you how to do it yourself, but the homepage includes that explanation already” (Lower level geology). Like this statement, many of the syllabi used language that was unfriendly and reinforced the individualistic, difficult and competitive nature of the STEM classroom. Throughout the syllabi, the chilly climate was reinforced through language use and the selection of assessments and teaching methods.

So, if some can’t stand the heat, we just turn off the power to the kitchen!

At Federalist, Pullmann adds, regarding Parson’s claims,

In education theory this exhibits itself as a theory called “constructivism,” and teachers who subscribe to it say students should be set free to “construct their own knowledge” by exposing them to many different environments and giving them freedom to select their own courses of study and even lessons and reading material.

But cognitive research throws cold water over this outdated and ineffective theory about how people learn. It turns out that refusing to give students explicit instruction or set their course of study drastically increases minority achievement gaps. It also turns out that people do construct knowledge, but not independently; we develop knowledge best when it is directly and explicitly transmitted to us as an objective reality to digest. More.

But Pullmann, that’s a benefit, not a feature, as far as the education industry is concerned. For decades,  government will throw ever more money at educrats to “fix” the problems the industry now exists only to perpetuate. Discouraging objectivity in science students supports their goal.

And, overall, wow! This is right up there with Julie Shaw in Scientific American, on the benefits of post-fact science.  Let’s see now, we’ve also got a war going against falsifiability and Occam’s razor, plus a huge influx of feelgood fake physics stories and mounting scandals in peer review.

As we’ve noted, the real problem with all the “marchin, marchin” for science these days is that the troubles killing science are back at the desk. They are not caused by anti-science villains but by people the marchers would probably feel compelled to embrace and march alongside.

It’s like a drug. Get help, people, before you forget what sobriety felt like.

Note: I (O’Leary for News) am leaving it to whoever wants to jump in to make the point that women and minorities should be offended by the idea that they are not capable of thinking objectively. The main thing to ask here is not “Why is this idea stupid?” (But do go on and tell us, if you feel like it…)

No, the main thing to ask is, why is Parson’s view considered reputable and reasonable? If Big Science chooses to throw in its lot with educrats like these, it will have much to answer for.

See also: A scientist on the benefits of post-fact science

2016 worst year ever for “fake physics”?

Jason Rosenhouse: Multiverse is a “done deal,” Occam’s razor doesn’t apply

March for Science in Boston: Geek sign language to ponder

  • BillyHW

    The evidence just keeps on mounting: Women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    • Your methodology is suspect;)

    • Tooth&Claw

      Blanket statements like that are seldom accurate.

    • Most women with children in school would vote against it if they knew and IF they thought any politician had the guts to stand up to Big Bad Ed.

    • Frances

      Given it’s men who are pushing the global warming agenda (think Drs Mann, Suzuki, and Gore, plus their acolytes), maybe men shouldn’t be allowed to either.

      • Watchman

        The problem is that Mann, Suzuki and Gore agree with you – they don’t want you to have a vote either. They want you to shut up and applaud the actions this self-appointed elite will be making on your behalf because they are so much smarter than you and so much more caring, in their eyes.

        • Frances

          Agreed, they don’t want anyone to have the franchise except those of whom they approve.

    • Maggat

      Reading that sort of nonsense make me believe perhaps you are right.

  • simus1

    Is the nonstop marxist indoctrination of students in “education” handled according to these same foggy “free range” do your own thing BS guides ?
    Methinks the answer may be in the negative.
    If the “important” stuff is “taught” in confusion and disarray but some other areas are interesting, non challenging, and very, very carefully manipulated to attract young fools ………………..

  • BillyHW


    • Tooth&Claw
      • The Butterfly

        That list is even more pathetic when you consider that Nobel Prizes in Peace or Literature don’t even count for anything.

        • Tooth&Claw

          Might be pathetic, but can’t discount the fact that some, however few women do contribute in the sciences.

          • The Butterfly

            I don’t think anyone here is discounting the fact that only a tiny handful of women have ever contributed something substantial to the sciences or technological progress.

          • Watchman

            They made the sandwiches for the men who did, critical in the division of labor for specialisation efficiency of those men.

  • Watchman

    In essence, the doctoral thesis seems to say, “We have no standards in Education, so we want you people enrolled in STEM subjects to abandon your standards too.” I don’t see many STEM majors accepting that they should just go away and whatever they discover is good enough for a pass, unless they are forced to do so by the university. The STEM students would realise that this no-standards demand is just a ruse to get grossly unqualified students into highly paid careers without putting in the work.

    Eventually people trained in the new ‘post-fact’ way, hopefully just the Social Sciences, Arts, and Grievance Studies will discover they will have to compete for jobs in the real world – at least those who don’t manage to get themselves a Diversity-reserved job in Government. Then they will find themselves competing against young people with more life skills and a better work ethic for that front-facing job in Starbucks or McDonalds.

    • Frances

      Back in the day, the faculty of education was a frequent second choice for those who couldn’t hack the regular courses. Which was a shame, as it downgraded the status of the faculty and – by implication – of all grads, including those who would become excellent teachers.

      • Watchman

        I think part of the problem was that the teachers (generally) self-selected the empathetic and sympathetic who wanted all their students to achieve, instead of pushing only the high achievers forward. This made these teachers highly susceptible to Marxist and SJW indoctrination, the results we see right now in the universities of students trained by these indoctrinated teachers.

        • Frances

          You are probably right. Remember my teachers – generally tough but fair. And we learned – or else. And I remember the school librarian doing a lot of grammar coaching to ensure basics were learned. But that was then when – generally speaking – parents backed teachers and we were all expected to behave relatively well and learn something.

          Things have changed. Nowadays, teachers are landed with unruly students whose parents are either sublimely indifferent or who actively champion their children’s misbehaviour. It makes it difficult for those teachers who still wish to maintain standards and have their students actually come away from the class having learned something.

          • Watchman

            As well as the teachers not being supported by the school administrators in trying to maintain the standard or learning in those still with prospects. The teachers are told that any failure for students passing or their misbehaviour is due to the teacher’s failure to teach instead of problems in any student’s innate ability, their attitude or their family background.

          • Frances

            Sadly, you are right. Parents were teachers and there are still teachers in the family who care and try to maintain standards. Notice the teacher parents are more strict with the junior generation than other parents, though.

  • Tooth&Claw

    The general public is already discounting the science presented to them as subject to change without notice. The science on heart disease and cholesterol, the science on Alzheimers disease, not to mention the kerfuffle with cancer research, fund raisers and how politics is infecting the research.
    More than ever the public has to dig deep to find proof of what scientists are claiming.
    The distrust is growing.

    • Watchman

      I would still trust a Civil Engineering graduate over a Grievance Studies graduate to design a bridge I had to travel over. Not a whole lot of trust without a few years practical experience under the tutelage of an experienced civil engineer mentor, but still way more more than a feminist Critical Theory graduate.

  • You win again, gravity!

  • Maggat

    I had to stop reading that crap before my head exploded. That demented excuse for an intelligent human being need to have STEM shoved up her ass.

  • Hard Little Machine

    this is what gender studies departments are for.