The woke ideology attacks the human sciences

Posted on September 3, 2022


In a tweet posted last Friday, famed Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker chokes in indignation. The August edition of Nature Human Behaviora prestigious peer-reviewed journal published by Springer Nature Publishing, is now hateful to him:

Journalists and psychologists, take note: Nature Human Behavior is no longer a peer-reviewed scientific journal, but an enforcer of a political creed. I will no longer arbitrate, publish or quote (how do I know if articles have been checked for truth rather than political correctness?)

In question, the new line of the publication centered on human behavior, which now subordinates science to progressive ideological imperatives woke from the moment. The text by Stavroula Kousta begins badly, repeating a scenario too well known in a world of American research plagued by puritanism woke :

“Although academic freedom is fundamental, it is not unlimited. »

There follows a list of ethical recommendations aimed at “protecting” groups which, although not directly participating in the research, could be harmed by the scientific production of the journal as soon as the publication proposals seem discriminatory, racist, sexist, ableist. or homophobic or could appear to justify infringing on the rights of specific groups. Simply because of their social characteristics, they would simply be scrapped or even unpublished. Science, the paper reads, has been complicit in “structural racism” for too long, and that needs to change.

Censorship woke

For Bo Winegard of keel, the objective is unequivocal. It is a question of censoring, a priori as a posteriori, the texts which are not in line with the party:

Since it is already common practice to reject false or poorly argued work, it can be assumed that these new guidelines were designed to reject any article considered a threat to disadvantaged groups, whether or not its main claims are true, or at least well supported. In a few sentences, we went from a banal statement of the obvious to draconian and censored editorial discretion. Editors will now have unprecedented power to reject articles based on nebulous moral concerns and anticipated harm.

On his blog, the biologist Jerry Coyne worries in turn about the presumption of guilt which now weighs on the sciences relating to human behavior. Who will judge the “hurtful” nature of the articles and on what criteria?

The former teacher says:

“People these days are so eager to get offended that [c]These recommendations risk turning into a pure censorship of any science likely to offend anyone. »

Certain studies relating to genetics, heredity and more generally to human behavior brought back to biology (we are thinking here of sociobiology or evolutionary psychology) and cognitive sciences have often aroused hostile or at least skeptical reactions. progressive circles.

For Steven Pinker, in recent decades, research in the field has largely undermined the ideology of the blank page (blank slate) which for him constitutes the unthought of the social sciences. If not everything is cultural, but there is a human nature that models behaviors and shapes personalities at least as much as culture, then for some people the specter of natural inequalities, racism or even biological determinism reappears. If in his essay published two decades ago on the subject, Pinker seeks to ward off in the cultivated public this panic fear of the persistence of human nature as a legitimate field of scientific research, the news tells us that nothing is won .

The return of lyssenkisme USA version

Preemptively censoring science in the name of progressive moralism is not only foolish, immoral and dangerous: it is also placing oneself on the terrain of Lysenkoism, named after Trofim Lyssenko, Stalin’s favorite “geneticist”. By claiming to defend Marxist-Leninist science against bourgeois science, Lyssenko condemned Soviet research to years of stagnation and regression. Hope the wokism disappears faster than his Moscout alter ego.

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