Friday, June 30, 2023

Lushington D. Brady: NZ Academia Is a Global Joke

As the Labour government promises to throw yet more buckets of cash at New Zealand’s failing universities, no one appears to be giving much thought to whether or not it would be better to simply let them fail. Or, failing that, actively putting them out of their misery.

Because it’s increasingly obvious that, far from “poorer”, New Zealand would probably, on balance, be the richer for unburdening itself of what is increasingly becoming a sick joke in the global academic world. Richard Dawkins, for one, is scathing about the intellectual vacuity, indeed wholesale fraud, gripping too much of New Zealand’s academia.

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne is even less kind.

Here we have another article in a science journal (Nature Human Behavior, which has published stuff like this before), which says almost nothing, but uses a lot of words to do so. I recognize some of the writers as New Zealand activists, including Priscilla Wehi, first author of a dreadful article in Journal Roy. Soc. New Zealand (JRSNZ) arguing that Polynesians made it to Antarctica in 700 AD. This is, of course, a Maori-centered article, and Wehi was trying to “empower” her people by making a palpably false claim, one that was later refuted even by Maori scholars.

The paper that is particularly annoying Coyne right now is the Maoist-sounding “Collective Action is Needed to Build a More Just Science System.”

“There is no social-justice paper about STEM so dreadful that a journal will refuse to publish it.”
 - Jerry Coyne.

I really don’t want to analyze this paper in detail (you can imagine how wearing it is to deal with this stuff for several hours a day), so I’ll sum it up in a few points.

1) Structural racism has operated in science (indeed, is promoted) by science to keep minorities down […]

2) Attempts to solve this problem by creating new organizations and dispensing grant money haven’t been successful.

3) Of course we still need to keep boosting the Maori through affirmative action and dispensing more money,but the real solution to the problem requires “embracing complexity theory”.

As one commenter on Coyne’s blog shrewdly notes, the paper claims that, “Science has been described as promoting exclusion and oppression by rewarding those who practice entrenched norms, including individualism, hypercompetition and productivism, and penalizing those who challenge them.” But described by who exactly?

The commenter checked the paper’s footnotes and discovered that the ‘source’ was a letter to the editor, by two authors with no real expertise to make such a claim and who were, in any case, talking about something else entirely.

Thus, the only conclusion I can draw is that the authors of the article discussed are misleading their readers and making me skeptical of anything they say.

Coyne concurred, noting that other references were at best disappointing and “sometimes misleading”.

But what is this “complexity theory” of which they speak? Why, none other than our old pal, “Matauranga Maori”, or Maori “ways of knowing”. You know, that magical Maori knowledge that led them to exterminate the moa, the Haast’s eagle and most of the forests of the South Island.

How does that work? The authors give a helpful diagram, starting with the fact that birds do better when they fly in flocks than singly (this is “complexity”).

Such stunning stuff the New Zealand academic world churns out.

Hundreds more words’ worth of similarly nonsensical pseudo-academic onanism designed apparently to so numb the reader’s brain that the authors get away with it. As Coyne rightly says:

There is no social-justice paper about STEM so dreadful that a journal will refuse to publish it.

And of course there is no social justice paper from New Zealand academics complete without a slathering of impenetrable pidgin Maori.

Kia mau tau ki tena
Kia mau ki te kawau maro
Whanake ake! Whanake ake!
Stick to that, the straight-flying cormorant!

The leading kawau (cormorant) extends its neck forward as it flies, knowing that when it tires another will move forward into its place.

Take that, Einstein! In your face, Newton! Who needs your “quantums”, Schrodinger? New Zealand’s ‘scientists’ have cormorants – cormorants!

Or, as another commenter on Coyne’s blog notes:

So to sum up:
– science is a bullsh*t detector.
– the author peddles bullsh*t for a living.
– ergo science must change.

And that about sums the state of New Zealand ‘academia’.

These credentialled cretins deserve to fail.

Lushington describes himself as Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. This article was first published HERE


Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

This really is very good. It is becoming an embarrassment to be a NZ university science graduate which in practice now means having studied the black arts. Even in the Middle Ages things didn't get quite that bad in Europe......

Rob Beechey said...

Throwing a bucket of tax payer money to the fiscally failed academia is likely to be gifted without expectations of remodelling or accountability. The bucket thrower, Grant Robinson, a university graduate who qualified with an arts degree and a heavy dose of Marxist ideology used his academic wisdom to place New Zealand from the top of the IMF rating system to the bottom.

Anonymous said...

They are now teaching this crap in science at secondary school. My child came home and said the teacher was pushing Mauri, or the life force/spirit in matter, in chemistry.
This is so disgusting - teaching religious rubbish in science. And Labeen wonder why the public are less trusting of science now.
This rot must stop!

Anonymous said...

Anyone else noted that Labour, specifically Robertson, could suddenly find $120M to fund academia for a couple of years, but has told the Otago public that there hospital has to be scaled back by a couple of theatres and wards because we can't afford them ?
What a hypocrite .

Gaynor said...

Academia also over several decades has plummeted NZ education from world class to below average. It specifically promoted a nonsense reading method that has caused shocking failure by giving us the longest tail of underachievement in the developed world. This is a big factor in Maori underachievement - Academia's solution - more nonsense in stuffing Mataurangi Maori and Te Reo into our schools. This will inevitably lower Maori along with everyone else's achievement even further down the international educational rankings.
Some sections of academia should be seen for what they are which is destroyers of our society. Their horrible ideologies are wrecking havoc on us.