Feminism

Professor Defends Absurd Feminist Ice Study: 'The Good News Is People Are Talking About Glaciers!'

The bad news is taxpayers funded the study.

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Glacier
Dreamstime

Remember that crazy study that purported to examine glaciers through the lens of feminism and post-colonialism? Its lead author, University of Oregon Associate History Dean Mark Carey, defended the integrity of his research in a recent interview, claiming that the opposition misunderstood his point. 

He also expressed some measure of happiness. "The good news is people are talking about glaciers!" he said. 

The interview, unfortunately, didn't really provoke Carey to offer much of a defense of his incomprehensible paper, since his interviewer seemed to endorse his assertions that applying the lens of social justice activism to glaciology was a worthwhile enterprise. Carey said: 

Professional research is published in journals for specialists in a given field. When removed from that context and described to nonspecialists, the research can be misunderstood and potentially misrepresented. What is surprising about the brouhaha is the high level of misinterpretations, mischaracterization, and misinformation that circulate about research and researchers—though this has, unfortunately, been happening to scientists for centuries, especially climate researchers in recent decades. 

The good news is that people are talking about glaciers! But there's much more to the story than just the glaciers. People and societies impose their values on glaciers when they discuss, debate, and study them—which is what we mean when we say that ice is not just ice. Glaciers become the platform to express people's own views about politics, economics, cultural values, and social relations (such as gender relations). The attention during the last week proves our point clearly: that glaciers are, in fact, highly politicized sites of contestation. Glaciers don't have a gender. But the rhetoric about ice tells us a great deal about what people think of science and gender. 

But there's a difference between what Carey claims his paper does—makes the case for a gendered examination of glaciology—and what it actually does—recycles platitudes that already presume the inherent value of a social justice framework as applied to the physical sciences. And while it's certainly true that women have been historically underrepresented in the field, Carey's paper fails to shed much light on what this specifically has to do with actual science. Sure, cultural depictions of glaciers were shaped by masculinity and colonialism, but the actual glaciers themselves have the same properties, regardless of the genders or races of the people studying them. Ice is, well, ice. 

Jerry Coyne, an opponent of pseudoscience, made this point quite elegantly in his criticism of the Carey paper: 

In the end, the paper, infused with anecdotes, confirmation bias, and calls for "other ways of knowing," reminds me a lot of theology. It's a maddening and useless piece of work, and it angers me that the money we taxpayers spent on it wasn't diverted to something that actually adds to our knowledge. 

Read the rest of Coyne's thoughts on the matter here.

NEXT: Despite Constant Death Threats, Flemming Rose is Still a "Free Speech Fundamentalist"

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  1. “Just raising awareness” means “I’m full of shit but I’m good, I swears I’m good!”

    1. Yes, but I MUST KNOW, Rico what is the search term you used to find a chick on a glacier…seriosuly. You guys have the biggest licensed picture depot ever. How do you eve go about looking for such things? Amazing.

  2. Ice cold bitch right there…would.

    1. Of course you would. Anyone who says ‘would’ is the kind of guy who would stick his dick in a tater tot hotdish if he didn’t have to learn its name first.

      1. You have the humor of a extinct giant sloth. And you smell like fermented buckwheat.

        1. How does fermented buckwheat smell compared to other fermented grasses?

          1. Buckwheat is a grass? I thought it was an Eddie Murphy character. Or was that Little Rascals? *wanders off mumbling

            1. Eddie’s character was the more appropriately jive-phonetic Buk-weet, a critical differentiation.

              *sniffs (rarified) air in derision

            2. It’s a pseudocereal, True cereals (such as barley, wheat, and rye) are grasses.

              1. My asses are turning the grasses to gasses! Take a number, line up, and take a whiff! Bitch!

                1. finally, a poet who’s a real man!

        2. Actually, the megatherium was purported to have exhibited a surprisingly high level of humor. It is one of the causes of its premature extinction, as it would often stop and laugh at the terrible aim of Anasazi atlatl throwers.

          1. Chip,

            The Atlatl, or spear thrower, was very accurate with practice. A modern analogue is the lacrosse scoop thing, whatever its called. Those players get very accurate with it, where an untrained baseball player might be terrible even if good by hand. Same idea. Its a basic and very helpful improvement on using ones arm, and that’s why primitive spear using cultures all over the world have used it.

        3. Something about masturbation references…

      2. It’s like you’re inside my head.

        1. Thanks Playa, Hugh is a bit of a douche imo. I’ve started skipping him when he gets in conversations.

      3. Why do you hate tater tots Hugh?

        1. Tater tots are the highest form to which a potato can aspire. I just don’t want to stick my dick into them.

          1. Have you ever tried it? You might like it.

      1. “Certain ways of knowing…”

        “New ways of knowing….”

        “Different ways of knowing…”

        Exactly what these are is never specified. Maybe I’m wrong but this is another way of saying ‘my truth is…’, the slimy way of stripping truth of objectivity so that one can claim undiluted bullshit has equal standing with objective truth.

        1. Remind me which is the pro-science party?

          1. There isn’t one. Science happens in spite of them.

        2. It is specified in the paper: art, literature, and folk glaciology.

          Carey cites an artist who made recordings of three glaciers, made phonographs out of melted ice from those glaciers, and then recorded the playback of those 3 phonographs while they melted. Listen here.

          He then cities an author who wrote a short story about glaciers in Pakistan and how they “fuck” the landscape and another that writes two short stories about glaciers, one about a glacial planet without male or female or war and another about an all female team of explorers who reach the South Pole 2 years before male teams but don’t tell anyone about it.

          Finally, he describes one culture that has a taboo against cooking with fat near glaciers because glaciers do not like the smell of burning fat and will surge in retaliation.

          Carey doesn’t explain how those “other ways of knowing” improve the science of glaciology.

          1. So this is like Obama and Trudeau’s pledge to use indigenous science to protect the Arctic?

    2. Interesting factoid: The Eskimos have 37 different ways of saying “feminism is bullshit.”

      1. For people living in a world of ice among whales, I would expect nothing less.

  3. Roby Soave: award-winning millennial journolist, rape apologist, science-denier.

  4. “The good news is people are talking about glaciers!”

    “And ME! They’re talking about ME!!”

  5. “We chose the title “feminist glaciology” to provoke discussion about who is producing knowledge about glaciers and what the implications of that existing knowledge are, including whose voices are left out and what types of scientific questions are asked (and which ones might thus be ignored). We also wanted to present a variety of different sociocultural forms of glacier knowledge that go beyond science, to generate discussion.”

    You’ll have to excuse me, but I still find this immensely stupid and I definitely understand what he’s saying.

    Furthermore, none of his arguments necessitated the ridiculously obscure prose style he wrote his article in. That style is *meant* to make it difficult for people outside the field to understand what is being said. It’s purposefully and unnecessarily difficult to follow. Therefore, writing an article in that highly academic style which laymen can’t understand actually accomplishes the *exact opposite* of what he’s claiming, which is to say that it excludes a large number of people from being able to take part in the conversation.

    So this guy writes articles that can only be understood by an academic audience (even though the subject matter is non-technical so a layman should be able to understand what he’s saying) and then says his goal is to expand the number of voices involved in glacier studies. His actions and deliberately obscure prose style contradict what he claims to want.

    1. So this guy writes articles that can only be understood by an academic audience (even though the subject matter is non-technical so a layman should be able to understand what he’s saying) and then says his goal is to expand the number of voices involved in glacier studies.

      That sure is an awful lot of words there just to say “mansplaining”. That’s what the guy’s doing, right? Mansplaining?

    2. Actually, good scientific papers are often quite readable by a non-scientist interested in the subject.

      I am interested in astrophysics and supernovae and can read most papers I find on the subject. Even if the math is beyond me – which it usually is – the body of the paper generally explains it well enough for me to understand the author’s work.

      Only bad science needs to hide its meaning by obscure phrasing and convoluted sentences.

      1. Only bad science needs to hide its meaning by obscure phrasing and convoluted sentences.

        I am going to hang on to this. It will come in handy at some future date.

        1. While that statement is true that only bad science needs it. Remember that a lot of science majors hate writing with a burning passion. Sometimes the paper is badly written because the author is a bad writer.

          1. Point conceded, Illocust. There are a lot of people who know a subject but can’t express themselves.

            Most of them work at help desks, but a few do actual science.

        2. The same holds true for legal writing.

  6. what this specifically has to do with actual science.

    “Fuck all”?

  7. But what do the glaciers think of the half a million this guy has taken in grant money from the American taxpayers National Science Foundation to write this garbage?

    1. I’d like to find a gig where I can write a few pages of bullshit every few years for a half million?

  8. *Face Palm*

  9. Professional research is published in journals for specialists in a given field. When removed from that context and described to nonspecialists, the research can be misunderstood and potentially misrepresented.

    Perhaps the journals should be kept away from the unwashed masses, what with their inability to comprehend the deep thoughts of the specialist Besserwissers.

    1. Jesus, bitch about open-access journal fees one time and you won’t let it go!

    2. Heh. Yeah, his defense is that we think his study is horseshit only because we are too stupid to understand it. Where have I heard that before?

      *OMWC, I would like your opinion on the integrity of the contents of gas pockets in ancient ice as accurate samples of ancient atmospheres.

  10. Ice is, well, ice.

    Nah, ice, being a physical “reality”, is at bottom a social and linguistic construct.

  11. Perhaps Reason could decrease their anti-Trump efforts by, say, 10%, and devote that energy to combatting the insidious fallacy of “social justice” that is taking over the Western world, and which is easily 10x more dangerous? That should be enough for 5-6 posts a week….

      1. Not entirely….

  12. “The good news is people are talking about glaciers!”

    I didn’t see a single article or comment on this study that was talking about glaciers. Everything was either commenting on the people who made ludicrous statements about glaciers, or the amount of money those people were given to make such statements. No one I know of was prompted to discuss large, floating chunks of ice by this study.

    1. Glaciers don’t float. Icebergs float.
      /pedantic twit.

      1. Glaciers do float. They float over the distance between the shoreline and the calving face where the icebergs break off.

        -jcr

        1. That’s why I come here: I learn new stuff.

      2. Glaciers float just not on water.

        Put an equivalent volume of a heavy metal in the ground, wait a few thousand years and see what happens.

        /bigger pedantic twit

        1. Put an equivalent volume of U-235 on the ground and you won’t have to wait long at all.

          1. Glacier killer

  13. When I saw the word Glacier, I immediately thought of Hillary, so maybe the guy has a point. /he doesn’t have a point

  14. I used to think the fable of The Tower Of Babel was just metaphor or allegory. Apparently I just misunderstood.

  15. When this story came out I wandered over to Gawker to get the buzz. The government didn’t specifically fund this study, it was part of block grant to the University of Oregon’s science department. So neener, neener, neener on Robby. Before these right-wingers cast a judgement they should look things up!

    1. Yeah, and they also argued we shouldn’t criticize the author because he seems smart.

      I like the kind of anti-intellectualism practiced by leftists where they claim to be ‘pro-science’ when what they really mean is ‘I’ll mindlessly believe anything someone tells me provided they’re wearing a lab coat.’

      1. Unless it’s about the lack of dangers of GMOs, or how small amounts of radiation won’t hurt you (and may be good for you), or about innate genetic differences between men and women or between different ethnic groups, or….

      2. A lab coat is the emperor’s new clothing.

    2. The money would been better spent on sports.

    3. So the U of O made this money themselves by some obscene profit scheme ?

      It didn’t come from a fungible account kept filled to the brim by taxpayers ?

  16. Does Bernie Sanders know that there are going to be 5 Indiana Jones films?

    http://hotair.com/archives/201…..ones-film/

    1. Fact: Indy was Bernie’s archaeology professor.

    2. There are only 3 now. Are they making 2 more?

      /nukethefridgeneverhappened

  17. You nonspecialist peasants aren’t supposed to understand my magnificent and intellectually rigorous research! Give me more money!

    1. The original title of his paper was “Bourgeois Buffoon,” but that was rejected as being too on the nose.

  18. Glaciers don’t have a gender.

    Sure they do. In the original French, it is a masculine noun, which is interesting as its Latin root is feminine. Work within the tradition of Sapir and Whorf has shown that grammatical gender does have an influence on how native speakers conceptualize the noun. I recall a study where speakers of Romance languages were asked to give certain nouns a “voice”, like they would if playing with a child. More often than chance, objects that had a feminine grammatical gender were given high-pitched voices and objects with masculine grammatical gender were given low-pitched voices by the participants.

    Not my fault you’re a monolingual, Associate Dean Mark Carey.

    1. Masculine in Hebrew. But you know… Jews.

      1. Why are Jewish men circumcised?

        Because Jewish women don’t like anything that isn’t 20% off.

    2. HM, does assigning gender to nouns go back to a time when things were assumed to have male, female, or neutral characteristics, or what? I’m genuinely curious.

      1. That’s one of the unanswered questions of the field. No one really knows why some languages have grammatical gender, which can also refer to languages that divide nouns into animate?inanimate classes as well. It could be a reflection of a time when animism was more popular, but it could have been a completely arbitrary development.

        1. That’s one of the unanswered questions of the field. No one really knows why some languages have grammatical gender, which can also refer to languages that divide nouns into animate?inanimate classes as well.

          What are some gender-less languages? If they are from the ‘right’ places, one could have graduate thesis for gender-oppression-patriarchy studies done in detail by next week at the latest.

          1. If we’re talking about grammatical gender only, then off the top of my head: English, Turkish, Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, Persian, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian, Burmese, to start with. But just because a language doesn’t have grammatical gender doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have natural gender. In English, the word “cow” doesn’t have grammatical gender, but it has a natural gender of female as it is used to refer to female bovines (usually).

              1. What a trove of useful information, glad I asked. Thanks.

        2. Given the universality of animism in the human mind that was my guess. Seems pretty obvious.

          Now, who were all those rational people who got upset about the guy pushing the robot around the other day?

          *not me…averts eyes

        3. Thanks, HM.

    3. Sure they do. In the original French, it is a masculine noun

      It is also a masculine noun in Spanish. Which means that there is indeed a patriarchal conspiracy to oppress the feminine-oriented glaciers. Clearly, true equality cannot be achieved until all glaciers finally eschew this antiquated view of the feminine and the masculine and embrace a gender-neutral glacier paradigm that will set glaciers free!

    4. Work within the tradition of Sapir and Whorf has shown that grammatical gender does have an influence on how native speakers conceptualize the noun

      I sense a cart and horse debate here. Does the concept form the noun or the noun form the concept.

  19. My old lady used to move slow, too.

  20. NOBODY wants to think about occam’s razor and disparate outcomes.

  21. Remember that crazy study that purported to examine glaciers through the lens of feminism and post-colonialism?

    It doesn’t ring a bell but at this juncture nothing surprises me. My favorite anarcho-libertarian professor, Dr. Walter Block, has started a Libertarians For Trump website because, he said, El Trumpo’s foreign policy more mirrors libertarians’ than the policies promoted by other candidates. Yeah, that’s like saying that the alley hooker on the right is less ugly than the rest – I would still not want to fuck her lest my dick falls off.

    1. Isn’t “less ugly” basically how all presidential elections are decided?

    2. El Trumpo’s foreign policy more mirrors libertarians’ than the policies promoted by other candidates

      This is just proof that everyone is 100% projecting when they say ANYTHING about a candidate’s “foreign policy”.

      Maybe with the exception of Rubio. He leads and closes by banging his warboner on the podium. And also Clinton, who is the only person who’s actually *had* a foreign policy role.

      Everyone else? its just saying, “i prefer this guy”, then claiming that they have some foreign policy ‘view’… based on nothing but a bunch of vague statements glommed together from different sources, excluding all the other vague statements the same person made which blatantly contradict the same claim. I think everyone in the GOP has claimed they’d bomb Iran *at some point*. Hell didn’t Rand get all Iran-hawky last fall?

      1. And also Clinton, who is the only person who’s actually *had* a foreign policy role.

        and despite that, she is a viable candidate if not the likely nominee. You would think the presidency might be exempt from the notion of promoting someone to the level of his/her incompetence.

  22. That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m voting for Trump.

    1. Wait a minute, Trump’s running? For what?

      1. Grand Poobah of the Order of the Hyena’s Hair

  23. The good news is that people are talking about glaciers!

    You should never have enough conversations about glaciers, my pappy used to say!

    But there’s much more to the story than just the glaciers. People and societies impose their values on glaciers when they discuss, debate, and study them[.]

    Indeed, discussing glaciers and studying glaciers is a society-wide activity. I don’t exactly *know* which societies engage in such an expression of glacier-worshiping but I am sure there has to be at least one… in the universe.

    Glaciers don’t have a gender. But the rhetoric about ice tells us a great deal about what people think of science and gender.

    Goat entrails don’t have a gender, either. I guess that the rhetoric about the reading of goat entrails can also tell us a great deal about how people think of divination and gender. Perhaps.

    I need a beer.

  24. If people would just Stop. Collaborate and listen. We could all understand ice and his brand new invention.

  25. ‘The Good News Is People Are Talking About Glaciers!’

    Yeah, and we’re talking about idjits, too.

  26. But there’s a difference between what Carey claims his paper does?makes the case for a gendered examination of glaciology?and what it actually does?recycles platitudes that already presume the inherent value of a social justice framework as applied to the physical sciences.

    So why glaciology? Why not the study of black holes or carbon nanotubes or cetocoprolalia? What’s glaciology got to do with a feminist critique of the history of science?

    1. Because if he did a study on holes or tubes he’d have to include a trigger warning.
      As I wrote that I forgot if I was kidding or not…

  27. The war on drugs is very sexist and it’s a War on Womyn who Smoke Weed.

    And Hillary Clinton supports the War on Womyn who Smoke Weed.

    She is very sexist.

  28. Picking nits perhaps, but…

    And while it’s certainly true that women have been historically underrepresented not represented themselves very much in the field…

    1. I never understood why ‘nit picking’ was used to trivialize. Anyone who has ever had lice does not think that nits are trivial at all.

      / Nit pics the nit picker

      1. Interesting fact: The genetic difference between the three kinds of louse that live on humans (hair, clothing, and pubic) can be used to verify what anthropologists think is the history of our evolution, and also lend support to the “out off Africa” theory.

      2. But they’re hard to see if you don’t shave the head.

  29. The Sabine River which separates La from Tx has risen higher than it has since 1884. Interstate 10 has been closed down at the Sabine River bridge on I-10.

    It is obviously because of global warming therefor I can’t understand why you people are dissing this glacier man.

    Maybe if we had some glacier women global warming wouldn’t be happening, DUH !

    Suthenboy lives about 2 or 3 hours north of where Interstate 1-10 has been closed on the Texas/ La border.

    Has anyone heard from him since he posted the pics the other day ?

    1. That you were unable to connect the impact of recent glacial erosion on the Sabine River to the historical Rape of the Sabine Women reveals a painful obvious gap in our collective cultural awareness of and appreciation of the role of feminism in climate change science.

    2. The water is going down and my highway is back open. I heard about I-10 closing.

      Thanks for asking OneOut. The wife and I are fine. We live on a high hill, stay well stocked on disaster supplies and booze. We never even lost power.
      It was tough but we rode it out with cocktails and tv.

      Sadly many others didn’t have it so easy.

      1. Good to hear you are OK.

  30. I notice Mark Casey had nothing to say about Glacier Gal!

    1. Oops: Mark Carey.

  31. People and societies impose their values on glaciers when they discuss, debate, and study them?which is what we mean when we say that ice is not just ice. Glaciers become the platform to express people’s own views about politics, economics, cultural values, and social relations (such as gender relations)

    I think i pointed this thing out in the writing of that (godawful) new WaPo writer, Janell Ross…?

    Its one of the most-common features of obscurantist rhetoric, which i like to call “Sentence Stuffing” but which probably has a proper name …

    its a combination of using multiple subjects, verbs, and objects simultaneously (any 2).. while often using vague terms (e.g. “societies”, “social relations”) for each.

    It makes a sentence possibly about 3X3X3 things? or none of them. It creates the appearance of ‘expansive meanings’ without saying anything at all.

    The technique is usually compounded by hinging around on completely amorphous terms like, “Communities” or “values/concepts”

    You can replace “glaciers” with any other noun, and it will say the same (no)thing. Its why po-mo language is so perfectly suited to auto-text generation. All you need to do is seed the text with a few names like Marx & Derrida, & you’re done.

  32. So that’s the hotness melting the glaciers which then causes cooler waters and then…. More cases of shrinkage!!!! Damn and I’m going to the beach soon.

  33. I’ve never seen a more shameless display of latitudinal appropriation and cold-shaming. Where’s my tropical safe space?

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