In the 21st century, woke progressivism has inundated itself in mass culture, academic institutions, and left-wing political policy. However, in its most recent expansion it has perniciously invaded scientific institutions in an attempt to totalize a political agenda.
In seeking to have a totalizing narrative, woke progressivism attempts to leave no stone unturned. The insatiable appetite for illiberal normativity has resulted in the most underhanded attempt to transform science into a mill factory for producing pseudoscience in support of clear social preferences.
Over the last few weeks, national media outlets have covered some of the latest products of the woke progressive pseudoscience mill factory. For instance, NBC News promoted the idea that the body mass index (BMI), invented by Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet, is unscientific. “BMI does not come from science or medicine,” said Dr. Fatima Stanford, an obesity medicine specialist and the equity director of the endocrine division at Massachusetts General Hospital. As if to say attempts to understand natural phenomena using mathematics is an illegitimate enterprise. Euclid (father of geometry), Isaac Newton (one of the founders of calculus), Albert Einstein (father of general relativity), and Alan Turing (father of modern computer science) are rolling in their graves.
Back in the 20th century, unintelligent pseudo-knowledge was generally brushed off as nonsense. Flat earth theories, for instance, were generally ignored as a childish hobby by individuals with a more serious orientation of the world. Unfortunately, the once ridiculous childish hobbies are masquerading as scientific inquiry.
The great irony of the 21st century is that flat earth theories would likely be welcomed by the today’s scientific community as a legitimate inquiry into natural phenomena in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Unfortunately, DEI talking points determines what counts as legitimate endeavors into scientific research under the woke regime. Recently, social psychologist and NYU professor Jonathan Haidt announced that he will resign from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology due to “newly adopted requirement that everybody presenting research at the group’s conferences explain how their submission advances ‘equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals.’”
DEI has become the new puritan litmus test for woke progressives. Failure to see race makes one a racist. Failure to not see race makes one a racist. Failure to submit to the tenants of antiracism as prescribed by the prophet Ibram X. Kendi makes one a racist. The women accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials received better justice in the face of absurdity.
Not showing any signs of slowing down, the woke progressive pseudoscience mill factory is increasing production to expand its totalizing narrative as far as possible. We are told by recent findings in “science” that there are racial disparities in sleep. (One must wonder if Freddy Krueger has adopted a prejudicial attitude as of late.)
The Atlantic published an exposition on several studies that claim racial disparities in sleep exist. One study in particular found “black participants…were five times more likely to get short sleep, defined as less than six hours a night.” The study also found that “[w]hites in the study slept an average of 6.85 hours; blacks slept an average of 6.05 hours.” This was also demonstrated to be the case in another study discussed in the article, whereby “a 669-person cohort in Chicago—44 percent were black; the rest were white… [Diane Lauderdale, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago] and her colleagues found, on average, an hour difference between blacks’ and whites’ sleep.”
Lauderdale et al. found the disparity in sleep decreased as “blacks got wealthier.” She continued, “[t]he race gap is decreased if you take into account some indicator of economics.” However, other studies referenced in the article noted no difference in the black-white sleep disparity even when controlling for economic indicators.
A San Diego sleep research team believes one possible explanation for the black-white disparity in average sleep time is due to discrimination. The “research question” driving the study, “[i]f people are feeling really discriminated against, then of course they are not going to want to get into a really deep stage of sleep.” And under the woke progressive pseudoscience mill factory, of course, they find support for their opinion.
The article states, “it turned out that there was, in fact, a correlation: More discrimination meant less slow-wave sleep.” How they supported the opinion that discrimination is a correlating fact was by asking participants to take a survey “designed to assess the level of discrimination they felt on any given day.” Participants were asked to agree or disagree with statements like “In my life, I have experienced prejudice because of my ethnicity” and “My ethnic group is often criticized in this country.” The team took the survey data and cross-referenced them with sleep data.
Ignoring the fact that survey data of this nature is notoriously unreliable, that correlation does not mean causation, and disparity does not imply discrimination, the article makes the leap that “black-white sleep gap…also has implications for the policy world.” And the totalitarian hand emerges from the shadows.
Ultimately, the woke progressive regime is not interested in facts. It is not interested in science. As we have seen, pseudoscience works all the same as long as they have media outlets willing to publish it. The goal is to advance a narrative that paints woke progressives as benevolent authoritarians with the end goal of them having absolute political power to underwrite policies as they see fit.
What I would like to see is the scientific community aggressively push back against woke narratives. Science is not the arena where political philosophies are debated. We provide facts. We don’t manufacture facts for political parties or interest groups. We should only be in the business of what is, and not the business of what ought to be. Until the scientific community pushes back against the woke advancement to totalize social and political discourse, it will always be scrutinized as a mill factory for woke propaganda masquerading as science.
Also, Brian Resnick, the author of The Atlantic article, should have consulted Dr. Stanford about the finding “[i]n America, blacks are…1.5 times more likely to be obese.” Dr. Stanford would have informed Resnick that there is no objective measure to determine obesity. According to the Dr. Stanford, “BMI does not come from science or medicine.” He would likely believe obesity increases the risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness is fake news because the analysis is predicated on BMI data.
Ah, what joyous science.
Joshua Peters is a philosopher and social critic from Raleigh. His academic background is in western philosophy, STEM, and financial analysis. Joshua studied at North Carolina State University (BS) and UNC Charlotte (MS). He is a graduate of the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders.