Scientific bull… (you know the rest)

Do you take what scientists and researchers write and publish for granted? You shouldn’t.

No, I’m not supporting conspiracy theories or promoting stuff like creationism in favour of evolution. There are just times when you read a scientific article and just know the stuff you’ve just read is utter bull… crap?!

Many people, especially scientists and other intellectuals, speak against Wikipedia and other open projects because anyone can edit such a database and, indeed, they are right, but when you see what can be found in a work labelled as “scientific“, a work whose authors are prestigious university professors and such… you come to realize that Wikipedia and other open projects are a bastion of knowledge, especially since texts on a decent open project are often verified – you just might be unlucky to stumble upon a text before its verification. Scientific works, on the other hand, are not verified. After all, who’d verify a text written by a “prestigious” scientist?

Anyway, one such “prestigious” scientist is Spike Peterson, a respected professor of the University of Arizona.

I am talking about her article Political Identities / Nationalism as Heterosexism published in International Feminist Journal in 1999.

Pretty much from the start I got the impression the article is overexaggerated and a bit outstretched, but I just thought well, I may find it that way, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. However, that was before I came to this part:

Particularly chilling examples of decrying abortion as treason are quoted in Julie Mostov’s discussion of nationalism in the Balkans. She writes:

Croatian President Franjo Tuđman blamed the tragedy of Croatian nation on “women, pornography and abortion”…

Mkay, first let’s make it clear that I do not idolize Tuđman nor do I go into a trance whenever I see or hear his name because he was the first Croatian president – the president who led the country through the war – like many of my country mates (both man and women). Many things (both positive and negative) can be said about him [the biggest negative in my eyes being his plan to divide Bosnia with Milošević (sadly and ironically Bosnia has ended up divided anyway 😦 just not the way Tuđman planned)]. One thing, that simply can’t be said about him is that he had anything against women, let alone blaming them for the “tragedy of Croatian nation” (I do wonder what kind of tragedy that is 😮 ).

To further elaborate, these are the notes I took about the quote:

Although Tuđman is often idealized in Croatia, he did have his vices (such as wanting to divide Bosnia). However, he definitely did not blame the “tragedy” of Croatian nation on women and abortion. Firstly, some of his close associates were women, one of whom, Jadranka Kosor, became Croatian Prime Minister a decade later. Secondly, he was proud of the rights women in Croatia had (and still have) (including the right to abort) and had no intention of reducing them. If indeed he thought of the abortion as such a “tragedy”, there wouldn’t be any discussions about illegalizing abortions in Croatia now because they would have been illegalized a long time ago since Tuđman was Alfa & Omega of Croatia in the nineties. I can’t be sure what stance regarding pornography the late President had. All I know is that his nephew’s (“Porno Tuđman”) porno film is quite popular on the Internet.

So, after finding out that at least one of “particularly chilly examples of decrying abortion as treason” (the other being Hungarian nationalists tying abortion to the death of the nation and decreeing it “national catastrophe”, which I can’t vouch for) is an utter lie, I began to question the overall quality of the article …and the overall quality of Spike Peterson as a research for not doing the slightest check of the stuff she wrote …and the overall quality of the University of Arizona for having such lousy researcher(s) and actually sponsoring them. After all, it’s been 16 years since the article was published and so far I haven’t seen an apology of Peterson nor of the University. Actually, I’m pretty sure Peterson still believes the crap she wrote. I got the impression that Peterson had been in her cosy little office in Arizona “doing research” not stepping one cm² outside the US (maybe even Arizona) her whole life and, thus, not gaining any first-hand experience. To put it in simply, she trashed things she knew nothing about expect of what she’d heard.

As you can see, Peterson didn’t make the crap up. Rather, she quoted Julie Mostov, another “prestigious” professor [this one from Drexel University (so, yeah, I have my doubts about the quality Drexel University, just like I have my doubts about the quality of the University of Arizona for the same reason)]. The work she quoted is “Our Women”/”Their Women” Symbolic Boundaries, Territorial Markers, and Violence in the Balkans from 1995.

I, of course, checked Mostov’s article before making my final opinion (the article is a babbling similar to Peterson’s with no first-hand experience). I found the quote like, obviously, Peterson had done before me. However, unlike Peterson, I actually checked the “source” of her information. Surprise, surprise, unlike Peterson’s article, Mostov’s doesn’t even have a clear reference to the claim about Tuđman, merely a footnote not really leading any way.

Since both Peterson and Mostov strike me like people who’d jump on me being a sexists or having something against women just because I criticized the two of them, the two big feminists; no, I’m nothing of the sort. Those of you who have dropped an eye on my previous posts can vouch for me. Anyway, there are two reasons why me criticizing you like this doesn’t make me a sexist (nor anything of the sort): One – neither of you two is the centre of the universe (you’re neither the sole two human beings nor the sole two women), so something being said about you doesn’t affect the rest of humanity (nor just the female part). Two – I’m not obsessed with the contents of people’s pants. The fact is that both of you are poor researchers (especially Mostov since Peterson’s only real crime is trusting people like Mostov) and put shame on your universities and on the scientific community as a whole, and you’d be the same poor researchers who would still bring the same shame if you had balls in your pants.

A few days ago Business Insider published the article 23 Words that don’t exist in English but perfectly capture the experience of travel. Indeed, what does travel have in common with science and research? I can’t think of anything expect that sometimes discoveries are made during travel. Well, you can definitely conduct research while travelling. Actually, sometimes the sole purpose of travelling is conducting research. Anyway, a Finnish word, huuhaa is on the list (as is Croatian word vukojebina 😀 ). Aye, I love pretty much everything Finnish, but what makes huuhaa interesting is its meaning: according to Business Insider, huuhaa are “unfounded or unscientific claims and beliefs used to scam people” (aye, I need a Fin to verify the meaning 😀 ). I do wonder whether Peterson and Mostov just pulled a huuhaa or two 😮

Now, I wouldn’t be any better than Mostov and Peterson if I didn’t provide you with the articles in question so you can make your own mind, wouldn’t I?

Political Identities / Nationalism as Heterosexism by Spike Peterson is available here.
“Our Women”/”Their Women” Symbolic Boundaries, Territorial Markers, and Violence in the Balkans is available here. Unfortunately, you can only download the article for free from an institution registered to Wiley Online Library. I suggest you try downloading the article from the nearest (university) library. If the library you’re at doesn’t have free access to Wiley, I recommend Googling a bit because it is very likely the article is available in another similar database, a database your library does have free access to. I apologize for not giving you the article directly, but I don’t want to break any copyright.

In the end, I’d like to show you the notes I took of Political Identities / Nationalism as Heterosexism during the reading. You can download them here 🙂


Posted on 31st May 2015 at 15:46 GMT
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