top of page

Subscribe Form

Thanks for submitting!

Search

Bob Brockie: THE FLIGHT FROM REASON



In the 1960s, French intellectuals Michelle Foucault, Jacques Derrida and others dreamt up a new philosophy that came to be known as Postmodernism.


Dissatisfied with modernity, they sought to overthrow its thinking . They asserted that men, women, black, white, straight, gay, powerful or powerless read words differently, that truth, reason, justice, social progress, and natural reality mean different things to different people and are really code words for the establishment. They think the Enlightenment is a fraud perpetrated by white males to consolidate their own power. They want to empower the marginalised.


These people argue that there are no such things as facts, only opinions about facts. Everybody’s opinions are of equal value, whether you’re a rocket scientist or a stone-age nobody, and everybody’s opinions are to be respected and never questioned or challenged. The supernatural and ambiguity are OK. Rules are made to be broken. Make your own rules. Anything goes.


Postmodernists argued that science is not absolute, and no better than any other system of knowledge — if not worse. In 1996, the postmodern journal Social Text published a ‘science wars’ double issue in which eighteen authors presented their case against science. A typical extract laid out the battle lines:


“In these wars, the self-appointed defenders of Science are seeking to police the boundaries of knowledge and to resurrect canonical knowledge of nature, against the attempts of the Others (including feminists, antiracists, psychoanalysts, post-colonialists, leftists, multiculturalists, relativists, postmodernists, etc., in all our bewildering diversity) to extend, transform, or maybe even dissolve the boundaries between the privileged truth claims of science and other knowledge”.


Postmodernism spread like wildfire in the late 20th century. Free of rules, architects, artists, musicians, linguists, sociologists, and educationists struck out in new directions with some remarkable achievements but left science untouched. Since the 1990s, most of the world has moved beyond the extremes of postmodernism but, belatedly, New Zealand has entrenched it in the country’s laws, in its schools, and universities.


New Zealander Sir Paul Callaghan famously wrote the aim of science is “To make discoveries of permanent value, to transcend nation, race, culture and political perspectives in truly international endeavour, and to collaborate with people all over the world”.

Council reps from the humanities on our Royal Society, calling themselves Te Whainga Aronui o Te Aparangi, don’t wear this. They have brought their postmodernist ideology with them and, parroting Flaubert and Derrida, assert that science is "based on ethnocentric bias and outmoded dualisms (and the power relations embedded in them)” and want “to place the Treaty of Waitangi centrally and bring alongside that, inequality and diversity issues holistically”


Postmodernist councilors have white-anted the scientific integrity of our Royal Society, and brought political, racial, cultural, and religious bias into its workings. In embracing the Treaty, they are imposing political, racial and cultural obligations, expectations, and limitations on scientists - the equivalent of imposing the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Hindu Vedas, or the Book of Mormon on them.


World science and matauranga cannot be reconciled. Science operates in the natural world but Maori thought is rooted in the supernatural.


Matauranga is often defined as traditional knowledge, passed from generation to generation. A prominent Maori maintains that indigenous knowledge belongs to iwi and that they should control it. How different is science! All science is provisional, and open to criticism and challenges. But challenge matauranga and you will be branded a racist.


Earlier this year, a Government educational Working Group argued that Maori science (matauranga) be given equal status with world science in our school curricula. Seven Auckland professors were alarmed at this idea and wrote that Maori knowledge ‘falls far short of what we define as science.’ The academics were also alarmed that kids could be taught that science is a tool of colonisation and belittles Maori culture.


President and CEO of the Royal Society, ‘utterly reject [the professors] narrow and outmoded definition of science’ and, again parroting Foucault and Derrida, ’strongly uphold the value of matauranga’. What is a science teacher to say when a pupil asks which of the two stories is true?


Our Royal Society was once a bastion of science but has now abandoned truth, reason, and science, to become a mouthpiece for faddish woke politics. The supernatural world of matauranga would be better taught in religious studies instead of science.


Robert Ellison Brockie MNZM is a New Zealand cartoonist, scientist, columnist and graphic artist. He was an editorial cartoonist for the National Business Review from 1975 to 2018, specialising in political satire.

4,452 views26 comments

26 Comments


The engine of postmodernism, it’s revolutionary source, is freedom. Freedom to indulge any sexual degeneracy one feels like. This is the credo of the postmodern left, whom have displaced the traditional left. Modernity is degenerate.


This is alarming as the modern right liberal, and alt-conservative, also believes in freedom. But, with no roots the enlightenment movement has also devolved into freedom to be degenerate.


Search “Foucault cemetery boy” and take off your rose tinted glasses. Foucault wrote a nice sentence, yet was mad, and died of aids from his hedonistic lifestyle, convalescing in the system he sought his life to destroy.


Like
zespritz
zespritz
Nov 07, 2021
Replying to

The ting most lacking, undoubtedly a byproduct of our education system, is perspective. I noticed this first many years ago when a lady guest of a RNZYS sailing outing wrote to the newspaper about the disgusting state of Te Kouma Bay.

The squadron travel there once a year for a sailing outing and She had seen a single turd floating by. By the way she described to holocaust of sewerage degradation you would have thought the earth would likely extinguish. The true reality is Te Touma Bay has enough water to float about 20 Titanics and wait, salt water is a natural disinfectant, But wait there is more, the Bay empties and refills on the tide for another 364 days…

Like

Don't worry, us silly old farts are going to be saved by the young smart progress people along with our planet, I was surprised to see even our Queen has come to the conclusion that only the young people know what is best for us along with her dear son big ears Charlie and what can one say about the great environmentalist himself Sir attenborough, all good things we know are been dumped faster than a hot potato, to be replaced by myths and dead end ideas that will leave our society poorer and lost in some crazy place.

Like

While mowing the lawn this afternoon I found myself hankering after an earlier time, probably descrbed as the "bad old days" ... You know, when we had people living in cars, it must have been true because we saw weeping TV presenters telling us about it every night.


A time when the worst things a Prime Minister could do was keep an election promise and spend $26 million seeking the "people's" choice of a flag or tug a pony tail. My god, imagine $26 million being a sum to get all het up about and where are those wonderful journalists now?


Thankfully now we don't have those things, we have "gender studies" and the demise of common sense while young…


Like

Good, Maori might keep away from our maths. What would they do with the infinity of calculus?

I have been disturbed by the Royal Society for many years. I have a finely tuned sense of technology and its advancements and to find it being trashed is to throw out the future before it even arrives. That's dictatorship not a free society.


(How many are aware that search for"cold fusion" has yielded an alternative. With researchers collaborating world wide, in the past two years a repeatable source of almost free energy has become available. The commercial race is now on.

What's been discovered is that hydrogen in the presence of a metal and low voltage plasma with a small pulsed electric…

Like

phildrane
phildrane
Nov 03, 2021

It has bothered me for some time that, sadly, when my time is up, I would be shuffling off this mortal coil leaving the world in a worse state then when I arrived back in 1949. I blamed this largely on the seemingly never-ending inter-state conflicts and the threat of World War III. More recently the Internet has made me more aware of this far worse peril - the damage done to children, grandchildren and great grandchildren by radical postmodernist teachers, academics, intellectuals and politicians over the past fifty years. A list to which we can now, apparently, add Scientists.

Here in New Zealand our attention has been completely diverted from this 'creeping menace' by a raft of national disasters (earthquakes,…

Like
Replying to

From what we had experienced in communist countries, the important thing is that the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, family friends don't give up and explain again and again, show, teach the kids the truth. Buy good books while you can, record films, documentaries, download archive sources showing the real history. There may come the time when we don't have these opportunities any more (look at the prohibited films like Gone by Wind etc.).

Like
bottom of page