More from New Zealand, a nation whose science is circling the drain

January 23, 2022 • 12:00 pm

I’ve written a lot about New Zealand lately, in particular the schools’ and government’s attempt to force the teaching of “indigenous ways of knowing” (mātauranga Māori) into the science classroom as a system coequal in value with modern science. That means not only equal classroom time, but equal respect, treating indigenous ways of knowing as complementary if not identical to “scientific truth”. Note that I’m not dismissing the value of mātauranga Māori (henceforth “MM”) in some spheres, even science. For MM contains “practical knowledge”, like how to catch eels, that could conceivably be inserted into science courses.

And of course MM s the worldview of the indigenous people, and thus an important part of the history and tradition of New Zealand. It thus deserves to be taught in anthropology or sociology classes. But the science within MM is precious little compared with the larger titer of myth, legend, superstition, theology, and morality that are essential to MM. This other stuff is not a “way of knowing” and thus cannot be taught in science classes. Note as well that MM is also explicitly creationist. Do Kiwis really want to confuse students by telling them that Māori creation myths are just as “scientific” as is biological evolution?  Teaching MM as science is just as fraught as teaching any indigenous “way of knowing” as science: it’s a pathway that leads inevitably to the degeneration of science education in a country.

If you want to see what’s in store for New Zealand’s secondary schools and universities, have a read of the brochure below (click on screenshot to get a free copy), which is the University of Auckland’s “five year and ten year plans” for where it wants to go vis-à-vis education and reputation. I’ve read it twice, and have concluded four things:

a. There’s no “there” there: it’s all a bunch of chirpy aspirations about making the University a world thought leader, but without any tangible steps for doing so. I’ve rarely read a “plan” so devoid of content.

b. It’s abysmally written and loaded with Māori words that you can’t understand unless you’re fluent in the language (have a look, for instance, at the title).

c. It’s basically a plan for handing over half the curriculum and its planning to Māori, including teaching MM, though they constitute only 16.5% of the New Zealand population (Asians are 15.3%).

d. There is nothing at all about science in the plan except this lame quote from the “research and innovation page” of aspirations:

Be a research partner of choice for industry, policymakers and community organisations.

• Review promotion and reward systems to appropriately recognise the value of a range of research endeavours.

• Upskill and build capability of staff and students in research impact, engagement and science communication.

(“Upskill”? Is that a word.?) At any rate, you get the sense from the above of what’s in this screed: a lot of fine-sounding words without any substance. In fact, the one mention of science I’ve just quoted is the ONLY time that word is used in the entire 28-page vision statement, while the words “mātauranga Māori” are used six times. That’s way more than “coequal”!

The sole mention of science:

One of six mentions of MM:

And what kind of vision plan says nothing about science education?

The deep-sixing of modern science in NZ is pretty much a done deal, as the Ardern government has decided that the initial agreement between the “Crown” (settlers) and the Māori—embodied in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, known in Māori as “Te Tiriti”) should be interpreted as meaning that  Māori should ultimately get not just equity (since they’re a minority of Kiwis), but extra equity: half of the money and half of the power.

Now pushback by minority groups everywhere is largely about power, which is fine because oppression is a withdrawal of power. But my reading of the government’s push is that power is to be apportioned to indigenous people so that they get at least half the say in everything.

It’s as if the government of the U.S. decided that Native Americans got not only half the research funding for science, but half the say in teaching their “way of knowing” in science classes. This just won’t do, as times have moved on. MM rarely changes, and most of it cannot be falsified, while science steams its way forward. This is not to say that Māori shouldn’t have more power than they do already (I can’t speak to that), but that the government of New Zealand apparently is so ridden with guilt that it’s ready to hand over its science and its universities—not to mention its dosh—to Māori or to anybody who claims Māori ancestry.

The money issue had escaped my mind until I read the article below, which appears at a reputable website (Point of Order) and was written by a reputable journalist, Graham Adams. His point is that the drive to establish hegemony of MM has as a main goal the acquisition of money for Māori-centric research (I know of examples of this, but they’re quite trivial)—in fact, half of all money allocated for research. If you want to hurt scientific progress in New Zealand, that’s a good way to do it. One can of course—and should—try to interest Māori in modern scientific endeavors, but that’s not what Adams is talking about.

An excerpt (my emphasis):

The incendiary stoush was sparked last July by seven eminent professors stating in a letter to the Listener that indigenous knowledge is not science and therefore does not warrant inclusion in the NCEA syllabus as being equal to science.

Yet in the five months since the letter was published, virtually no one among those opposing the professors has argued convincingly that mātauranga Māori is scientific (even if some small elements of it could be called proto-science or pre-science).

On the face of it, the debate by now should have been declared a clear win for the professors and their supporters.   In rebuttal, their principal critics — including the Royal Society NZ, Auckland University Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater, the Tertiary Education Union and prominent Covid commentators Drs Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy — have not gone beyond asserting that  mātauranga Māori is a valuable and unique system of knowledge that is complementary to science.

This view is not contentious in the slightest — and was explicitly endorsed by the professors themselves in their letter.

So, if most everyone agrees that mātauranga Māori is mostly not science but is nevertheless a worthwhile and complementary form of knowledge, the obvious solution to the standoff over including it in the NCEA curriculum would be to teach it as a component of, say, social studies. But not as part of the science syllabus.

That way, you’d think, everyone wins — Māori knowledge would be taught in secondary schools, and the argument over whether it is sufficiently scientific would vanish.

However, a simple accommodation of this kind was never going to be possible because the NCEA syllabus is merely the tip of a large iceberg of policies to recast our entire science education system — from schools to universities to research institutes — as an equal endeavour between Māori and non-Māori in which mātauranga Māori is everywhere accorded the same status as science.

And thats the rub, because “status” includes money.

More:

The NCEA syllabus represents just one small step in fulfilling a much wider co-governance programme based on a radical view of the Treaty as a 50:50 partnership between Maori and the Crown. For that reason, advocates of incorporating Maori knowledge into the science curriculum cannot afford to concede even an inch of ground to the professors and their supporters lest their stealthy revolution be undermined.

In short, the push to promote indigenous knowledge cannot be allowed to fail at any level for fear it will fail at every level.

The project to gain parity for mātauranga Māori throughout science education and funding is detailed in Te Pūtahitangi, A Tiriti-led Science-Policy Approach for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Published last April, it can be seen as a companion to the revolutionary ethno-nationalist report He Puapua and shows how a radical overhaul of the education system could, or should, be implemented.

This overhaul in fact gives more than equity to Māori when it comes to funding, for their research quality gets weighted 2.5 times as heavily as does research from non-Māori. This is likely to translate into big differences in research funding.  Not even in the U.S. will the NSF and NIH prioritize grants and research evaluations based on ethnicity. The NIH tried to do that, but stopped the practice when it became public and was seen as unfair. One possibility is to fund only projects that involve Māori scientists. But since there’s a paucity of Māori scientists, the NZ initiative is, I think, likely to shake out as “no funding except for projects that combine modern science with MM.”

While the University of Auckland touts how wonderful it is and how much of a world-class research institute it will be, it and the NZ government is simultaneously ensuring that the research quality and reputation of the entire country will go into the dumper. And it’s largely done out of guilt, for equity alone simply cannot justify these actions. Robin DiAngelo would make a pile in New Zealand!

In the next installment (not for a while), I’ll give some examples of MM “ways of knowing” that have been touted as scientific.

48 thoughts on “More from New Zealand, a nation whose science is circling the drain

  1. “Robin DiAngelo would make a pile in New Zealand!” That might sum up most of what underlies this trend in NZ. I would bet that a lot of the pressure for it comes not from Maori individuals, but from non-Maori academics of small abilities and large ambitions, using MM “allyship” as a vehicle to increase their own status and influence. Analogous to the academic partisans of Michurinism in biology, who, once upon a time, rode that vehicle to status and influence in a galaxy far away.

    1. Both Dawn Freshwater and Siouxie Wiles (Siouxie? I bet that is an ‘adopted’ name) come from Britain, they are not even native NZ-landers.
      Which would not be a problem if their case were good, but their case is evil.
      Nurse Freshwater does not have a most basic clue about science, but Wiles should know better,

      1. Siouxie an adopted name? Probably from Siouxie Sioux, lead singer of The Banshees. The band formd in London in the 70s.

      2. It was indeed changed by her. Her first name was Susan I think. I thought at first Souxie/Banchees, but she’s too old, then I wondered “Hippy parents”? but no, it is self curated.
        D.A.
        NYC

          1. Thanks for that link, Andrew. She does confirm the Banshees connection.
            Also, couldn’t help noticing a distinct lack of Matauranga Maori ways of knowing in any of the answers. She talks a lot about science, and being inspired by mentors and good science (biology) teachers. Strange then that she’s not standing up for science in this ways of knowing being co-equal to science in NZ nonsense.

          2. Associate Professor roughly equals Professor in the US system, whereas an NZ Prof is roughly Prof with a chair. Probably most NZ academics retire as an A/Prof.

            Research funding for most of us is a mix of university, government (ultimately) grants and sometimes commercial sources. Appealing directly for donations and crowd funding is unusual but not unheard of – philanthropy is becoming a more important source than it used to be.

  2. What I did not realize until these posts started was that the Maori didn’t arrive until the 1300s or so, aka several hundred years AFTER Leif Ericsson first reached Greenland from Iceland. I would have expected more like at least 10Kyrs earlier then the English for the Maoris.

    Paraphrasing something an old friend once said, “These people seem to think that 500yrs is a long time ago.”

  3. The great Kiwi scientist, Ernst Rutherford, is supposed to have said, “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” He considered himself a physicist and they say he was surprised that his Nobel was in chemistry. It’s not recorded how much MM he knew or if he thought it too was just philately.

  4. In America, the population of Native Americans increased by 85% in the last decade.
    I imagine that in New Zealand, a lot of people are going to realise they are actually Maoris.

    1. This is exactly what has happened in NZ. Until 1975 you had to be 50% Maori (blood quantum) as with Native Americans. But as that meant there wouldn’t be many Maori left, the definition was changed to ‘anyone’ who identifies as Maori. So if you are 1% only but can identify an ancestry through whakapapa (family tree as we whiteys call it) and can name your iwi (tribe) you can register for reparations. Many of these “Maori’ are very pale and love to deny, or at least not mention their European ancestry. Our new Governor General’s father came from Yorkshire. When she was first appointed she was very proud to mention this fact and that she was therefore a great example of ‘unity’. A recent piece by Maori TV only identified her tribal affiliations which must now be given in brackets after any Maori-Iding person’s name. Many Maori surnames are actually transliterations from English eg. Wirihana for Wilson, Harawera for Hatfield. I live in Auckland (born here to English immigrant parents) and can tell you that all of this Maorification and co-governance by 2040 is actually frightening. Many of us are considering leaving NZ

      1. Be sure to read “Decolonization is not a metaphor” 2012 Tuck and Yang to get a sense of what your new overlords might be planning for you (and us, but you might be first if you’re not careful.)
        https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/18630

        Hope you give Canada a look if you consider emigrating. It’s not straightforward even if you have a job offer or capital to invest.. The climate sucks but we say “Sorry” a lot and housing is no more expensive than in Auckland. 95% of the population isn’t going to let 5% de-settle them.

          1. 🤣As a Yank who’s lived in Canada for 40 years I can never remember which spelling is which. Same with defense/defence. I still write neighbor and color.

  5. If I were a New Zealander student aiming for a science career, and of any ethnicity, I would look for ways to be a transfer student. If I were an academic in science, I would be looking for jobs outside of the country. How would their publications even fit in non-NZ science journals?

  6. Beware of the Wokespeak plural of “knowledge”—”knowledges”! For the ideological purpose of using it is the willful devaluation and relativization of scientific knowledge.

      1. What I’m saying is that…

        “The pluralized understanding of “knowledges” (see also, “ways of knowing”) in the Social Justice conceptualization is another counter-Enlightenment attempt to widen the understanding of what constitutes knowledge. In this case, it is rooted in the postmodern ideas of social constructivism, discourses, and power.

        Including other knowledges and ways of knowing can look like valuing the religious origin myths of indigenous people as much as the scientific evidence of their arrival in their part of the world and their genetic ancestry. It can include regarding traditional medicine as equally valuable as medicine that has been proved to work. Research justice might involve regarding poetry, painting, or interpretive dance portraying a woman’s experiences of sexism or a racial minority’s experiences of racism as equally valid research as quantitative studies into gender or racial imbalances in employment or the criminal system. It can involve prioritizing a morbidly obese person’s experience of being fat as more authoritative than medical evidence of her obesity-related health problems. It has included calls in South Africa to place black magic on par with science. In short, the drive for the inclusion of multiple knowledges and ways of knowing is the drive to include things that are not research within the category of research.”

        Knowledge(s): https://newdiscourses.com/tftw-knowledges/

  7. Be a research partner of choice for industry, policymakers and community organisations.

    On the one hand, I can’t see biotech companies wanting to partner with groups that think prayer heals people. But maybe on the other hand, they’ll see this as a very easy way to extract grant money from the government of NZ. You don’t have do to anything hard or actually create useful products, just do a prayer study.

    One possibility is to fund only projects that involve Māori scientists. But since there’s a paucity of Māori scientists, the NZ initiative is, I think, likely to shake out as “no funding except for projects that combine modern science with MM.”

    I disagree. I think instead it create tokenism or “front companies” the same way it did in the US. When our government starting setting aside federal bids for small, veteran, and minority owned businesses, a lot of veteran and minority businesspeople created small businesses that could bid for that work but not actually do much of it. These groups partner with a regular big government contractor who can do the work they can’t do. They add a ~5% fee to the labor of the big company and keep that as a ‘pass through.’ When they win the bid, they keep the small bit of the work for themselves that they can or wand to do, and give the rest to their partner…but now the government is paying 5% more for that work than if they had not set aside the contract for a small (minority etc.) owned business. End result: the exact same contractors ended up continuing to do most of the work for the US government, but for a higher cost.

    The same thing will happen here. the Unis and private corporations who want this funding will partner with some token Maori professors or organizations. This will let them access the grants and contracts for scientific work they want to do. The Maori partner will take some of the funding off the top while passing most of the work thorugh to their ‘western science’ partner. And the NZ government will end up paying more than they do now for basically the same R&D they were doing before, because of the pass-through cost.

    1. That is foreseeable in the commercial sphere. In the academic sphere, a different gimmick can be expected. Researchers who are clearly pakeha—perhaps, e.g., British transplants with pink hair—will discover that their research projects have a mysterious inner philosophical connection with the Maori Way of Knowing encapsulated in MM. In short order, claims of this sort will become as routine in NZ grant applications as a publication list, maybe more routine.

      In another part of the Anglosphere, the Government of Canada has established the New Frontiers Research Fund. The guide to applicants includes the following sage words of advice.
      “Within the selection process:
      actively challenge the notion of rewarding or overvaluing the familiar, such as traditional, westernized approaches to research; consider whether the interview questions allow candidates to speak to different ways of knowing, methods and/or experiences (e.g., how will space be given to candidates to speak about, and be evaluated on, research based in Indigenous ways of knowing?”

  8. I don’t even know the meaning of the phrase “ways of knowing”. Is it synonymous with “methods of obtaining knowledge”?

      1. “Ways of knowing” is much older than wokeism. They might have a special meaning for the phrase, but this is basically the same postmodern antiscientific baloney that rises and falls in a ~25 year cycle. There was a run of it in the late ’80s early ’90s, and before that Michel Focault’s original version in the mid ’60s to early ’70s (though I don’t really know if that was the first iteration).

        Basically, one generation thinks it’s cool and tries to apply it. The next generation figures out it goes nowhere and squashes it. The granddaughter generation didn’t grow up with it (because their parents squashed it), so when they go to college the learn about it they think it’s new and cool and radical, so they try to apply it…rinse and repeat.

        This is not to say that if we do nothing, it will go away on it’s own. We need to oppose it to make it go away, and obviously the longer it affects academia in a cycle, the more damage it does. But it is to say that putting in the good solid work of opposing it will likely work after a while. This iteration started in the 2010s, so I’d expect the generation starting college in the 2030s will squash it as a terribly misguided idea of their parents’ generation, if we don’t do it first.

        1. I am a freelance writer and frequently contribute to research-university publications.

          About three years ago, I interviewed two young women scientists and graduates from a major research institution in the Western United States. I can’t quite recall details, but they had formed a group for young female scientists.

          During the conversation, one of them kept talking about “other ways of knowing.” I inquired what she meant, and she mentioned the example of consulting local indigenous residents about conditions, species in the rain forest, and so on, when doing scientific research in the area.

          I pressed further: “But if an indigenous local said he could bring rain in times of drought through a religious ritual, that would be a claim we could, and should, investigate through the traditional scientific method, yes? In other words, check it out before assuming it’s true.”

          The other young woman cut in to begin explaining to me why I, as an older white (and, they no doubt assumed correctly, “cishet”) American male, I wasn’t getting it.

          “I’m just saying that ultimately, whatever ‘other way of knowing’ scientists investigate, in the end doesn’t it make sense to go back to the scientific method to confirm what’s most accurate about reality?”

          The interview was cut short not long after. I wrote the story without their claims about “other ways of knowing.”

  9. “Our distinctive application of whanaungatanga will ensure that we remain connected to our common human endeavours.”

    They are going to communicate with all of us, but using terms that none of us know.

  10. Who was it here who said that the “new” Maori vocab reminded him of returned exchange students from Europe using various European words in their speech to show off? So true.

    The peppering of (all) official NZ Gvt correspondence has reached an apotheosis lately but has been decades in coming (NZ passports have been issued in Maori and English for 17-ish years now).

    It is a wildly divisive and virtue signaling practice IMHO, especially since almost nobody speaks Maori there as a first language. And very few as a second one.
    D.A.
    NYC (formerly of Auckland)
    ps But I love that picture, mid piece, of the Waitemata (Auckland) Harbor, similar to my old view. Auckland is a city rivalling Rio in sheer beauty.

    1. It reminds me of the Sokal Hoax. Sokal was responding (in part) to the tendency of postmodern cultural studies at the time to string together large amounts of buzzwords into phrases that sound deep or impressive to laypeople, but really say little or nothing. IMO the use of Maori vocabulary here is probably similar: it is an attempt to make the reader feel like they’re in over their heads; that the authors are showing deep expertise beyond the readers’ understanding so that you don’t question them…while in reality, they don’t say much at all. It’s like a theater play version of science: all the bells and whistles, in cheap cardboard overlay form. Journal-article-as-performance-piece.

      As Jerry pointed out many many moons ago, when you cut through all the obfuscating language, the gist of postmodern articles tends to fall into two categories: claims (about society or science) that are surprising and interesting but wrong or unfounded, and claims that are true but not new, surprising or interesting.

  11. This is getting very depressing indeed – I had not realised how far the rot had spread beyond NCEA until recently. Auckland University is the only NZ university ranked even in the top 100 overall internationally, and is probably worse than that in science. I don’t think it’s entirely my English arrogance that has led me to take a dim view of NZ science education in general, but now they seem intent on making it even worse. My son did engineering at Auckland around 10 years ago, and even at that time physics was widely regarded as the subject you did if you weren’t smart enough to get into engineering – the engineering degree is internationally recognised, allowing NZ engineers to work overseas, and they are unlikely to mess with that at least.

    Sadly, few people are even aware of what’s going on, and probably fewer care. The only area I see pushback (if that’s a word) happening is in the Three Waters reforms, a program to merge the current motley collection of water boards into four larger entities in the name of efficiency, which may be a good thing, but in the process handing over 50% control of water to Maori representatives in the name of “co-governance”.

    At the end of the piece by Graham Adams he mentions a government green paper on “Future Pathways” for research, science, and innovation. This was released on 28 October 2021 with no publicity that I saw, and is in theory open for consultation until 2 March 2022. The consultation is probably a sham, as in the case of Three Waters, but I feel minded to make a submission anyway, and other concerned NZ readers may feel the same. I don’t know what form such a submission might best take, and don’t want to just write a random whinge, so if more knowledgeable readers have suggestions I would be glad to hear them. The green paper documentation may be found here:

    https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/future-pathways/

    1. “…the engineering degree is internationally recognised, allowing NZ engineers to work overseas, and they are unlikely to mess with that at least.” Even engineering is not immune to the negative influence of an overweening ideological academic culture. The effects of ideologizing on science in the USSR have
      been analyzed in detail in several books by Loren Graham; and he discussed the specific case of engineering in “The Ghost of the Executed Engineer”, Harvard University Press, 1993

      1. Jon Gallant,

        Looks interesting.

        You no doubt know of Lysenko, but you may not know that many are arguing, with a great deal of justification, that the same process is happening here in the West.

        See this debate in Nature from some 13 years ago:

        “The Soviet Union lost a generation of genetics research to the politicization of science when Trofim Lysenko, director of biology under Joseph Stalin, parlayed his rejection of Mendelian genetics into a powerful political scientific movement. ….

        It is difficult to imagine this situation repeating today, when rival views feed the scientific process, and inquiry and debate trump orthodoxy. Yet the spectre of Lysenkoism lurks in current scientific discourse on gender, race and intelligence. ….”

        https://www.nature.com/articles/457788a?proof=t%C2%A0

        Gender in particular, what with the “magico-spiritual undertone”, with the “merging of science, magic, and religion in explaining children’s gender transition” (Sahar Sadjadi, Journal of Cultural Anthropology).

    2. I can sympathize. Here in Canada our Statistics Department wanted feedback regarding their “gender and sexual diversity statistical metadata standards”. To which I submitted a response some 6 months ago, but they don’t seem to have done anything with it or with those of other people.

      https://www.statcan.gc.ca/en/concepts/consult-variables/gender#a4

      Their whole framework is a bloody joke as is “gender” in general; see their definition for “male gender”:

      “Male gender: This category includes persons whose current gender was reported as male.”

      Tells you lot, doesn’t it? “Circular Definitions R Us”.

      But New Zealand’s Statistics Dept is just as bad, their “definition” for sex in particular:

      “Sex: The distinction between males and females based on the biological differences in sexual characteristics (Statistics NZ, 1995). Sex is biologically determined and is based on chromosomal and physical attributes.”

      But *which* characteristics uniquely differentiate males from females? The standard biological definition is based on functional gonads.

      http://aria.stats.govt.nz/aria/?_ga=2.135330993.1433053733.1593671441-939313310.1593671441#ConceptView:uri=http://stats.govt.nz/cms/Concept/wJ0XnRMiS24x87GN

      While they more or less acknowledge the difference between sex (reproductive biology) and gender (“behaviour associated with males and females, that is masculinity and femininity respectively”), they wind up shooting themselves in the feet by asserting that “Sex reassignment occurs where a person has undergone the necessary treatment to permanently change their sex”.

      “permanently change their sex” – what a bloody joke.

      http://aria.stats.govt.nz/aria/?_ga=2.135330993.1433053733.1593671441-939313310.1593671441#StandardView:uri=http://stats.govt.nz/cms/StatisticalStandard/FrytLv0KtGf6RhVY

      Good luck – to us all – in trying to change such egregious anti-science and anti-intellectual claptrap.

      1. Chromosomes (allegedly) contain DNA. DNA is just white male myth, invented by white males to give power to white males.

        1. Don’t forget that Mendel reported that some traits are “dominant” in the F1 hybrid generation.
          And Thomas Hunt Morgan’s identification of trait determination with chromosomes rested on
          the (horrors!) “sex” chromosomes, and the association with the X chromosome of a mutant gene
          called (double horror!) “white” (for eye color). All an obvious case of white empiricism, which will soon be either eliminated from schoolbooks, or at least preceded by a trigger warning.

      2. TBF, I’ve found NZ Stats to be generally excellent. I use their period life tables extensively, and sex rather than gender identity really is important when doing calculations based on life expectancy rates. AFAICT when they talk about sex in the context of actual numbers, they really do mean sex. Hopefully this will not change when the next set of tables comes out in a few years. Their definition of ethnicity is much trickier:

        “The ethnicity concept used in life tables is the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is self-perceived, and people can belong to more than one ethnic group. For example, people can identify with Māori ethnicity even though they may not be descended from Māori. Conversely, people may choose not to identify with Māori ethnicity even though they are descended from Māori. Ethnicity is also not defined by birthplace.”

        1. Andrew S,

          I was actually quite impressed when I first checked out their web page several years ago, their masthead in particular: “Aria – Your Concept and Classification Management System”. A brilliant idea, though I haven’t a clue what “Aria” means.

          Fairly important to have a precise set of consistent definitions; it wasn’t for nothing that Voltaire said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms”.

          The problem, as I had indicated, is that they’ve made a dog’s breakfast out their definitions and terminology for sex and gender, particularly in using “male” and “female” as the differentia for both sex and gender. One might reasonably ask, exactly what is it that uniquely differentiates the male gender from the female gender – in 2500 words or less? Incoherent twaddle.

          The late Justice Scalia had an illuminating analogy, quoted even in Wikipedia’s article on Gender, that cuts through the rather toxic and mephitic miasma, that made a useful distinction:

          “The word ‘gender’ has acquired the new and useful connotation of cultural or attitudinal characteristics … distinctive to the sexes. That is to say, gender is to sex as feminine is to female and masculine is to male.”

          And NZ Stats even acknowledges the use of “feminine” and “masculine” as genders – or at least as two ends of a spectrum – on one of their pages, but then they turn around and use “male” and “female” as genders. Words that are totally meaningless as such.

          Fairly venerable principle of logic, going back to the 12th century in fact, called the principle of explosion: “from contradiction, anything [follows]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion

          Think that NZ Stats needs to take that principle under advisement, give some serious thought to how much of their “sex and gender classification management system” is incoherent and inconsistent twaddle, is riven with contradictions because they’re pandering to the delusions of transgenderists.

    1. All I can say as an expatriate kiwi scientist is that I am very, very glad that I made the active decision to move to leave NZ and to a well known European university a few years ago.

      1. A couple of years ago, New Zealand was suggested as somewhat familiar context for migration of Swedes, with social security and even social democrat leanings if that is your ideology.

        But now I feel that I would never understand the self flagellation culture.

    2. Aneris,

      Given your credible and quite cogent comments on “white empiricism” in Jerry’s earlier “Scientific American does an asinine hit job on E. O. Wilson, calling him a racist” [Dec 30], and likewise on Prescod-Weinstein’s mangling of the fundamental difference between relativism and relativity – presumably something of a career-limiting failing for someone who’s ostensibly a cosmologist and (assistant) professor of physics and astronomy; and given that her “essay” was published by the University of Chicago Press, one might reasonably suggest that your “come to Europe, talented, skilled NZ scientists” might reasonably apply to various scientists at the University of Chicago … 😉

      https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/704991

  12. Somewhat relatedly, have you seen what happens on ISS as we write? “In January 2022, we will be performing the first archaeology off of the Earth.” [ https://issarchaeology.org/ ]

    “Our project, initiated in 2015, is the first archaeological study of a space habitat — in this case, the International Space Station (ISS). We seek to understand evolving cultural, social, and material structures in the ISS’s unique context.”

    “Taking the archaeological approach that cultural patterns and social relations structure interactions with technology, our project aims to address questions outside the scope of standard histories. These include: How do crewmembers interact with each other and with equipment and spaces originating in other cultures? How does material culture reflect gender, race, class, and hierarchy on the ISS?”
    [From “About”.]

    Of course ISS is “colorist” since white surfaces are often used for thermoregulation. But what is “standard histories” and what would “non-standard” be!?

    it’s your tax dollars at work, on a world class laboratory where unique experiments are limited due to time and personnel constraints. From a local context of firm separation between “hard” natural sciences and “soft” social sciences it is often curious and sometimes worrying how these divides are mixed. Anthropology and archaeology, which is hard in studies of population genetics for instance, are such [sources: Wikipedia]:

    “Archaeology or archeology[a] is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities.[1][2] In Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines, while in North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology.”

    “In the United States, anthropology has traditionally been divided into the four field approach developed by Franz Boas in the early 20th century: biological or physical anthropology; social, cultural, or sociocultural anthropology; and archaeological anthropology; plus linguistic anthropology. These fields frequently overlap but tend to use different methodologies and techniques.”

  13. This is so untrue. ‘Science’ is being liberated from racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonialism. So-called ‘science’ is not just ‘another way of knowing’. It is a tool that cisgender white males use to subjugate all other groups.

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