You've Never Heard of Jocelyn Bell, and More on CRT

Jocelyn Bell Discovered Pulsars, The Media Focused On Her Body. Anti CRT People Can’t Define It, I provide a logical disproof to two major arguments of theirs.

Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars work for which her PhD advisor, and the head of the Cambridge astronomy group won the Nobel Prize.  They could’ve awarded it to three people.  She did NOT need to be left out of it to recognize those two men.  The issue is not that they did nothing, but that what she did was at least as important if not much more important.  She has since won the breakthrough prize. 

Also, the anti CRT side continues the moral panic du jour and I will discuss why the steel manned version of their argument also fails, as usual, by reductio ad absurdum.  That the “logic” behind a movement is so flawed is the hallmark of every moral panic since the Salem Witch trials.

The barriers that stood in the way of Jocelyn Bell still exist to this day and are the reason for what is called the “leaky pipeline” that is used to describe why so few female students in STEM become professors in STEM.   Why is academia an area stepped in the language of equity for decades not the path of least resistance?  The reason is that the academe is a product of the culture that creates it.  That culture still sees White men (of a certain age and class) as being “real scientist”.   When asked to Draw A Scientist both young children and college students tend to draw someone who looks like Rick from Rick and Morty, or Dr Brown from Back to the Future.  A latent attitude which people then tend to justify either consciously or, more likely, subconsciously using statistics … which would be the result of the very barriers we are discussing.   Claiming that women and certain minorities are less able or willing to be scientist. This is provably false with tons of research.

At least in the case of systemic sexism no one of good faith would argue that teaching that it exist and structuring education to be equal between girls and boys is a bad thing. At least not yet. Racial issues are, as always a hot button.

On Critical Race Theory

Allow me to steel man the anti-Critical Race Theory side by showing a video from a YouTube channel from a production I respect.  America Uncovered is made by the same people who make China Uncensored.

Vice news presents a counter to this pretty well but straw mans the anti CRT argument.

What do I think?  Anti CRT people like those in the first video likely do not realize just how common it is for a school district to not teach that the KKK is morally wrong.  Likely people like Chris Chappell know intellectually that such places might exist in some little bumble ___k towns.  Perhaps they don’t realize just how common the “lost cause” narrative is.  There are populous places where slavery is taught as if it was good for Black people and the KKK is not taught about

A few Black people, Ty Smith, in the above America Uncovered video, think their being successful disproves the overall society wide trends that CRT seeks to address.  If that was the case, then the fact some Black people were free before the Civil war would mean that Slavery was the fault of the enslaved. 

One line of my own ancestors were free people of color before the civil war.  They even owned slaves in central Missouri. Therefore, the fact they were successful means that Slavery was the fault of the enslaved they just needed to be more industrious and have a better work ethic.   Once again even the steel manned version of the argument fails by reductio ad absurdum.    Changing the time frame from 2021 to 1821 the logic of “look at me I’m Black and I’ve succeeded oppression is a lie” … fails so simply and obviously. Ok one could attack my argument based on the change of time frame. So let us not even go to that extreme. Ty’s argument fails even without that.

A Review of Reductio Ad Absurdum

First let us look at this in its pure logical form courtesy of Logicallyfallacious.com

·       Assume P is true.

·       From this assumption, deduce that Q is true.

·       Also, deduce that Q is false.

·       Thus, P implies both Q and not Q (a contradiction, which is necessarily false).

·       Therefore, P itself must be false.

Example #1:

I am going into surgery tomorrow so please pray for me.  If enough people pray for me, God will protect me from harm and see to it that I have a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Explanation: We first assume the premise is true: if “enough” people prayed to God for the patient's successful surgery and speedy recovery, then God would make it so.  From this, we can deduce that God responds to popular opinion.  However, if God simply granted prayers based on popularity contests, that would be both unjust and absurd.  Since God cannot be unjust, then he cannot both respond to popularity and not respond to popularity, the claim is absurd, and thus false.

To assume P is true STEEL MAN it.  Do not straw man it.  Give P, the argument you wish to disprove, in its strongest terms. 

Ty Smith claims that the fact he has succeeded means that CRT which teaches that historical and systemic oppression exist should not be taught and is a lie.   Ty smith succeeding is P and Q is that CRT is a lie and should not be taught. P implies Q.

We can also deduce from Ty Smith succeeding that Ty Smith overcame challenges because of his race but as he himself says he did not let them stop him.  Ty Smith says he faced challenges due to his race therefore CRT is true in that such barriers exist and make it statistically less likely a Black person will succeed.   P also implies not Q.

A contradiction!  Therefore, Ty Smiths argument fails by Reductio Ad absurdum… TWICE.   That is the reason no one whose profession is education, or education policy, or protecting intellectual freedom is listening to that type of argument.  It just does not hold up to logical examination.

The same goes for arguments such as those put forth by Yeonmi Park or Kenny Xu.  Yeonmi’s argument is a bit different.  It goes that North Korea was awful the USA is so much better therefore discrimination here isn’t a problem it’s just in the hearts of those who feel discriminated against.  (She likely has no idea how those sounds, and her miseducation is the fault of Columbia Univ).  One could call hers the Comming To America argument.

America is so free there are no real problems here. Though she certainly did not have an easy life before clearly that does not mean discrimination does not exist. For a few weeks the right presented a parade of Asian recent immigrants to offer testimony most all of it falls into the same category. They with all due respect just don’t know better.

Kenny Xu does not have the same excuse.  He’s pretty much chosen to lean into being the model minority even while advancing a line of argument, so easily dismantled, that disproves any idea that all Asians are automatically super smart. No, they are just as smart as anyone else no more and no less. It is the opposite of racist to assert this observable fact. See the tragic results of PRC flood control measures to get an idea of how average the population of Asia is as a whole. Just like every other large population group.

CRT Is Marxist And Therefore Should Not Be Taught.

Now as for the position of Chris Chappell, Joshua Phillipp, and others that CRT is based in Marxism this is a much stronger argument.  Yes, many of the people who were involved with starting it had Marxist leanings.  It does have a collectivist lean to it.  So, lets break it down.

P: CRT has Marxist ideology baked in   therefore 

Q: CRT should not be taught because it will bring on a Marxist revolution and make Black people support the Chinese Communist Party.

P: CRT has Marxist ideology baked in   therefore

Not Q: CRT should be taught as it demonstrates what collectivist thinking leads to. Thinking one race is better than another, which leads to oppression, racism, capitalism just for one group, while another gets slavery.

Thus, taking an anti-Marxist position the idea that CRT should not be taught is false by Reductio ad absurdum. 

Furthermore, by application of rigorous logic one can see how teaching CRT can lead to a realization of how bad collectivist thinking is.  The “Marxist struggle”, here about race instead of class, exist precisely because of the collectivist thinking of those who made Black people Slaves for hundreds of years.  That if such thinking is carried to an extreme bad things happen.  We’ve seen it in the US, and we are seeing the CCP repeat a version of all the mistakes the US made.

Put another way, without complete individual freedom and equality it can be said that capitalism has never really been tried. Only a strictly logical approach to this issue leads to that realization.

Why I Care

I feel compelled to discuss this because this happened. This is the body cam video. This should outrage anyone. This is why CRT needs to be taught more than anything. To make people like this cop think … why am I acting this way.

Nekkia Trigg say her name.

The foundation for individual rights in education FIRE has a good nuanced small l libertarian view which I as a big L libertarian agree with on the whole as a big L Libertarian party member.

The reality is, as usual, complicated. Proponents of these bills need to realize that they can’t legislate these ideas out of existence, and that the more egregious bills are not only unconstitutional and thus totally futile, but throw fuel on an already raging culture war fire.

Opponents of these bills need to read the bills and be honest about what’s actually in them and recognize that their opponents are motivated by something other than a desire to hide the true history of slavery. It is my hope that, wherever you lie on this issue, this article has given you a greater understanding of the opposing side. And if not, you’re welcome to join those yelling at me across both sides of the aisle!

I cite the people I do because they have arguments that can even be stated as logical propositions. As one can see from the Vice video there are arguments out there so weak they straw man themselves.

Conclusion

Systemic bias is like the structure of a building that was designed before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Before the ADA buildings would routinely have stairs and no elevator or wheelchair ramps.  Some buildings are still that way.   A subtle reminder to the differently abled that they are not always included.   The structure of our society is similarly built to favor people of certain race, gender, and class. What was done to Jocelyn Bell and the fact that many still do not know her name are proof the barriers still exist.

If that which is inimical to minorities and women, the ones who aren’t tools, is essential to capitalism then capitalism is a failure.  I reject the premise that teaching an honest history is Marxist. A which explains precisely how long Black people were slaves, the removal of the American Indians to reservations, and the “reason” for Jim Crow which was pure White Supremacy.  Jim Crow which did not even have an economic reason to be a thing and only ended 56 years ago

IF you liked this please check out my long standing blog at science 2.0. Breaking science news I get will appear there first. My reporting focuses on fundamental physics but these opinion pieces will appear there as well.