Millennials are our future innovators and will proceed to uncover the currently undiscovered mysteries of the world. Some, however, wish to hinder the potential of our nation’s youth by encouraging a hypersensitive and biased outlook that once led to detrimental effects on society. Have they not learned from history?
“Research Justice 101: Tools for Feminist Science” is an event set to take place at the University of California, Santa Cruz on January 31st. Free Radicals will host the event, which the school describes as a:
“Feminist and anti-racist community organization of scientists, that aims to incorporate a critical social justice lens into science.”
Although examining social matters is essential to progress, the sponsors of the occasion are biased sources. Experimental studies should not be conducted through any “lens” other than objectivity. Furthermore, their standpoints are hypocritical; such partiality has historically led to horrific consequences for the very groups they claim to defend.
History of Sexism
For instance, in the midst of the women’s rights movement of the 20thcentury, the German neurologist P.J. Möbius published a famous essay entitled Concerning the Physiological Feeble-Mindedness of Women. In the pamphlet, Möbius argued that the female brain is inherently “animalistic, dependent, and naïve,” and that granting women equal rights would threaten and corrupt society to primitive standards. Today, we know that there are no such differences in the brains of men and women.
The harm produced from instances of invalid inquiry is not limited to gender studies. As reported by Liberty Nation, in the 19th-century many popularly accepted phrenology. The concept taught that dents in the skull dictated intelligence, and was used to depict particular groups, especially blacks and Native Americans, as lesser. Through objective analysis, we know today that the shape of the head is not indicative of one’s level of intellect.
Interpreting findings from a skewed viewpoint has undoubtedly caused significant harm to humanity. As explained by Liberty Nation’s Tess Lynne, the purpose of science is to uncover evidence without emotional, political, or any other outside factors that could invalidate results.
As a Hispanic female neuroscience student and researcher, I do not wish for trusted and trained scholars to publish works that will merely make me “feel good” about my gender or race, in contrast to the promotions from Free Radicals. Instead, the ultimate goal is to uncover truths for the improvement of humanity. For this reason, we must question experimental methods, designs, and conclusion before readily accepting evidence.
Furthermore, as noted by one of the many influential neuroscience researchers I have personally learned from at my university, scholars are not gods, and the legitimacy of their findings are mainly dependent on the technology available at the time. For instance, equal intellect among genders and races may still be questioned if not for the advent of EEG and fMRI scans. Imagine the progress in ten years’ time and the uncovered facts due to such technological advancements.
If Free Radicals strongly advocate their cause, should they not want it tested in concordance with the scientific method to examine the supportive evidence? Why are they afraid of objectivity? Facts are not a danger to sane individuals.
Furthermore, why would the group promote holding one-sided outlooks during data interpretation, which once proved detrimental to the very groups they claim to defend – females and racial minorities?
Students attending the UC Santa Cruz will hopefully question the motives of Free Radicals and seek information on proper experimental methods. Millennials are, after all, our future innovators and will decide if the U.S. continues to advance, or sadly regress to publishing hypersensitive and emotionally driven results under the guise of empirical findings.