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"Rioting students determined to defy gravity"

  1. Oct 17, 2016 #1


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    Was surprised to read this news story from South Africa. I guess this is what happens if your science education isn't poor.


  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Oct 17, 2016 #3


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    I was expecting a link to the Onion.
  5. Oct 17, 2016 #4


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    It always shivers me, if I read things like that. We have done such in our history: it has literally been hell.
    To connect science to social attributes is probably one of the worst ideas mankind has ever come up with.
    I seriously recommend these students to read the vita of Felix Hausdorff.
  6. Oct 17, 2016 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    It's not just South Africa. Google Hunter Havelin Adams and the Portland Baseline Essays.
  7. Oct 17, 2016 #6
    As a South African student, I'm somewhat surprised that this made international headlines. What's more saddening is that the students who made the comment are students of one of the most well respected academic institutions in the country.

    There is this whole historical reasoning to their argument, which frankly speaking is just plain idiotic. The sheep don't understand that it's all a political agenda and most of us students want to continue with our studies. Our academic year is at risk of being scraped because of these rioters.
  8. Oct 17, 2016 #7


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    I remember the Portland Baseline Essays, but I didn't know anything about the individual contributors. Adams is listed in the Encyclopedia of American Loons.

    From the piece cited above
  9. Oct 17, 2016 #8
    I can't read the link and can't find any confirmation that the riots are about anything but the cost of education.
  10. Oct 17, 2016 #9


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  11. Oct 17, 2016 #10
    That guardian article not only makes it (the anti-euro movement) sound a lot less stupid, it makes it sound like it makes some sense.

    I found this YouTube of a white South African criticizing what appears to be only one black South African student who seems to be purveying the anti-western science idea:

    In other words, the article in the OP seems to be using one very fringe person to taint the larger movement which (based on the guardian article) is really about something else: rejection of a euro-centric culture where the best blacks get is to work at Walmart waiting on white customers.

    We can easily find plenty of Americans who reject evolution and believe in intelligent design, etc. etc. who would be happy to demonstrate for a more bible-based approach to science if prompted. Can't use them to characterize all US students.
  12. Oct 17, 2016 #11
    South Africa is also the country with one of the highest populations of AIDS victims, because it was widely believed that raping a virgin would cure one of AIDS... so a generation of young girls contracted the disease.

    That fact might help put this in perspective.
  13. Oct 18, 2016 #12
    Seems to be a myth. Although the percentage is the highest in the world, actual distribution of people who get aids is more or less what you'd expect:

    Orphaned children are at risk, but not because they're virgins:
  14. Oct 18, 2016 #13


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  15. Oct 18, 2016 #14


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    He doesn't look bored, he looks concentrated.
  16. Oct 18, 2016 #15


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    Well... :ok:
  17. Oct 18, 2016 #16

    Fervent Freyja

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    Of course, the belief that having "sex with a baby'" can cure HIV and AIDS is a myth with no scientific basis. However, many babies and young children have been raped since the myth arose decades ago. It could be that the number of victims (on account of the myth) have been overestimated in publications for the last decade, I'll give it that. But it is undeniable that at least a few thousand children have been raped by men infected with HIV or AIDS, in attempts to cure themselves. There is no question there. There has been much media coverage and publications on the topic. This was actually prescribed by healers and even a decade ago it was a common belief that it was a cure!

  18. Oct 19, 2016 #17
    I watched a video about this which showed the event in question and that's not what I saw. First of all the forum was basically a safe space, there was one guy in the audience that challenged the speaker and he was quickly silenced by the panel leader. Secondly there were several people there on the panel who did demonstrably agree. Thirdly the language she used about "deconstructing" is EXACTLY the same that "social science" and other nests of post modernism use to insert their own agendas into whatever they're trying to look at, and yes many of them in western countries have said similar things about science being a "western construct". This isn't a unique idea and it's far more pervasive at universities than you think. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/science-is-not-entirely-a-social-construct/

    I'll also point out that South Africa used to have an AIDS denier as a Minister of Health who tried to promote "traditional African medicine" to treat AIDS, of course like all "traditional medicines" from everywhere it doesn't work. When asked about subjecting them to clinical trials to see if they work, like real medicine, she said "We cannot use Western models of protocols for research and development".

    I also reject the notion that this is going against a "euro-centric culture where the best blacks get is to work at Walmart waiting on white customers." since we see this attitude by more than a few white people at western universities and in the new age movement in the general populace, and in the context of a country where the Prime Minister is black and most of the government is black I find that all the more absurd. Apartheid ended more than 20 years ago.
  19. Oct 20, 2016 #18
    It looks like you didn't read the Guardian article. Postmodernist ideas about social constructs have nothing to do with why this guy started all this.

  20. Oct 20, 2016 #19
    Obviously the "myth" I'm debunking is the myth that raping virgins to cure aids caused South Africa to have the highest incidence of aids in the world.
  21. Oct 21, 2016 #20
    Many "traditional medicines" practitioners and much of their knowledge has been suppressed or incorporated (mostly unacknowledged) into standard medical practise by doctors. It's common to select obviously rubbish "traditional medicines" and state all of them are useless or harmful.

    from Wikipedia
    Researchers from Nottingham rediscover Anglo-Saxon antimicrobial

    Of course most such recipes haven't survived and it's a matter of opinion whether any of them worked.

    Scientific imperialism, anyone?
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