Students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa brought some interesting concerns before the science faculty this week: namely, they think science as it is currently understood must be abolished.
"The whole thing should scratched off, especially in Africa," said one of the students.
The students are apparently known as "fallists." Their hashtag is #ScienceMustFall. You can watch them make their case during a meeting here.
Essentially, these students believe that modern scientific understanding is too Eurocentric. One explained:
"I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab'uyalingana. They believe that through the magic' you call it black magic' they call it witchcraft' you are able to send lightening to strike someone. Can you explain that scientifically because it's something that happens?"
Many people laughed at this remark because, well, witchcraft is not something that happens. But according to the student, witchcraft is like Isaac Newton's theory of gravity—it's just one way of explaining the world, among many.
"Decolonising the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again to deal with how we respond to the environment and how we understand it," the student continued.
Down with science: coming to an American university near you? It wouldn't surprise me.
Ideally, universities are the perfect vehicle for reforming idiotic views about science. Let's hope Cape Town is up to challenge of explaining why concerns about social justice should not lead students to reject the theory of gravity.