Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Stephen Barnard (
Sun, 04 Aug 1996 15:15:57 -0800

> On 3 Aug 1996, Bryant wrote:
> > In article <>,
> > Shannon Adams <> wrote:
> > >Bryant wrote:
> > >> Please explain (or "deconstruct" or whatever) how each of the following are
> > >> expressions of political or social bias:
> > >> 1. E=mc^2
> > >> 2. Newton's second law
> > >> 3. the identification by Francis and Crick of the structure of DNA
> >
> > >All of these are example of the Western cultural context.
> >
> > Wrong. All of these are descriptions of the physical world. Newton's
> > observations about gravity may not be described mathematically by WaiWai
> > hunters, but they still exhibit caution around waterfalls.
> >
> Sorry, Bryant, but even in the Western cultural context, you will find
> interpretations which vary enough from the ones you stated to allow the
> "social context" interpretation (which in malicious hands becomes "social
> bias"). For example, Aristotle's explanation for gravity ("things seek
> their own level") is very different from Newton's. It is possible (&
> easy --- we're not *that* far divorced from Aristotle's world) to envision
> a world order in which Aristotle's definition is significant & Newton's is
> silly, if not meaningless. So, while Aristotle, Newton, and your distant
> hunters will all watch their step around waterfalls, there will be
> culturally significant differences in the explanation they give for doing
> so.

This is such utter, baloney-like hogwash. Aristotle was *wrong* and
Newton was *right*, at least to a first approximation, until his theory
of gravity was superceded by Einstein's. Eventually Einstein's Theory
of General Relativity will probably be superceded (not overthrown) by a
more complete quantum theory of gravity. And so it goes.

The lame attempt of postmodern "thinkers" to inject their poison into
hard science bound to fail, if only because the technological world we
live in is so dependent on scientific knowledge. It doesn't really
matter what someone "intends" to communicate in a novel, or what meaning
a reader brings to it, except to the extent that obsessing about this
trivia allows academics to publish more papers and get tenure. The
content and explanatory power of scientific theories *do* matter.

Steve Barnard