Privilege Cranks

My theory, which is mine: it shows why Einstein was wrong! The earth is flat! Vaccines cause autism! Creationism is true and dinosaurs walked the earth with humans because the geological record is a lie! There is no climate change and if there is it is not caused by humans and if it is, it would be fantastic to warm things up a little - who doesn't love the beach!?! You and your sciency science will never convince me otherwise!

Who in the science blogosphere has not had a close encounter of a bothersome kind with cranks of one variety or another? Many of us dedicate our time to debunking these cranks and trying to insure that legitimate and helpful scientific information is readily available and accessible to the general public. Our esteemed repositories of scientific knowledge do not give air time to these cranks. You won't see Nature allocating  precious coverage to a flat-earther and their ramblings. You won't find creationism featured in a blog post on the SciAm blog network.

But the privilege cranks. Oh, the privilege cranks!  How tenderly do we suffer the little privilege cranks to come unto us! We forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of science.

They write their screeds, and screech their nonpologies, using the mouthpiece of Glamour Mags. They present their mind-numbingly boring nattering condescension as if a compilation of every bit of debunked privilege defense were a brilliant, flawless diamond they just unearthed - and they do it in an exclusive blog network!

They crank, and they crank, and they crank, and they crank. And no matter how much goddam debunking time and effort one part of the scientific community expends, still the cranks are able to spin their fables in the most highly regarded scientific circles. They even crank  journal articles - that are then used to support the crank commentary.

Don't bla to me about freedom of speech. The Discovery Institute wants "freedom of speech" in the scientific community too, but we don't have any problem telling them they are WRONG and are NOT doing science.

Scientific American, you loaned your imprimatur to a crank. Was it an accident? Or are the cranks running the show there?

I shouldn't have to fight the center. Stop treating privilege cranks like what they say is worth listening to. Let's at least agree to stop treating them like they are in a conversation about gender equity or affirmative action. You don't have a science conversation with anti-vaxxers or climate change denialists. You try to work against the damage they do. We work with each other to achieve an equitable world, and against the nutjobs to try and undo, block, or mitigate the damage they cause.

So let's call these nutjobs what they are: privilege cranks.

5 responses so far

  • Cara says:

    I was struck by the heading blurb calling Neil DeGrasse Tyson's reply "characteristically articulate".

    The columnist should have stuck to "Tyson made an excellent point".

    The part about Tyson not really understanding that he wasn't a social scientist, and there's [i]psychological research[/i] about how women are dumber than men, so he should STFU and stick to physics--priceless. "Dude, we're talking about WOMEN, not YOU, so...yeah. Help a bro out, here."

  • Cara says:

    Those were meant to be italics, obvs.

  • Cara says:

    Sorry for the serial posting, but I'm just astonished at the crap in that column. The sweeping, ass-pulled, stereotyped generalizations are really fun. Did you know that women are MORE interested in veterinary medicine than human medicine? I didn't. And that it's because animals are childlike? That's the first word I think of when I see a big ol' horse or cow, "childlike".

    Gosh, I wonder why these monolithic "women" I hear talk of don't become doctors that treat children?

    Oh, and the coup de grace: "We've learned about sex differences, and the more we learn the more labyrinthine bullshit we have to come up with to insist that women really ARE in existence solely to do the work men don't want to do so SHUT UP."

    • Zuska says:

      I'm impressed you made it that far through the post. To be honest, I could not read the whole thing. It was so tiresome, cliched, boring, same-old same-old craptastic crankery. Maybe I am just too old to have patience for this stuff any more. There's not a new idea under the sun in any of it, but it's always presented like omg this just in women suck! true science says so! if you don't believe me you are an antiscience feminazi! I am just Rational Logic Man and this is the Sad Truth I am telling you! go nurture an animal! physics is hard and manly!

      The only small twist this time was this asshole had the balls to call Neil DeGrasse Tyson "articulate" in the process of dismissing everything he said and 'splaining away his authority to have any say at all on the topic of gender. Because, you know, he's just some black dude. Not a fancy ass official white guy sociologist.

  • Cara says:

    "Go nurture an animal!" Exactly. Like a cat or a toddler, they're interchangeable ya know. And as we know, taking care of mammals is so much EASIER than doing differential equations and suchlike.

    I wonder what Dr. Tyson's reaction was to being called "characteristically articulate". I mean, this douchebag just HAD to use the word "articulate". Couldn't pick another one. Could. not. He just HAD to prove that he wasn't going to cave to the PC whiners, but insisting it was okay, because, see, Tyson's articulate ALL THE TIME, just like a white guy with a Ph.D! Mayhap he hopes to reclaim the word "articulate" for Whitey.

    What an asshole. That is all.