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From the ivied halls: Attack on human “privilege” in relation to plant life

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From William Nardi at The College Fix:

The latest “privilege” identified within the hallowed halls of higher education appears to be human privilege.

This year, the Modern Language Association of America has put out a call for papers on “critical plant studies,” seeking papers addressing the “vitality, agency, sentience, and/or emotional life of plants.”

Critical plant studies “aims to do for plants what human animal studies began to do for animal life over 20 years ago — attributing greater agency and autonomy to the non-human world strengthens the ethical standing of beings historically relegated to the lower rungs of the chain of life,” said John Ryan, honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia, in a 2016 lecture hosted by UC Santa Barbara.

Explains scholar Hannah Stark: “[C]ritical plant studies challenges the privileged place of the human in relation to plant life and examines this through a series of lenses: ethical, political, historical, cultural, textual and philosophical.” More.

So, because plants are complex, treating them as if they had minds is warranted? You’d think this was a hoax, and we don’t rule that out. But in the age of post-fact science it needn’t be one. Couple thoughts:

The most likely driver for tax-funded drivel disciplines is a cruel reality: Far more people today have degrees than formerly. But there just aren’t suitable jobs for them in the real world. And vast numbers of those people are poorly adapted to the real world anyway.

Lunatic disciplines are their only alternative to pouring coffee somewhere in front of a tips jar. To placate them, we are expected to accept their “disciplines” at face value and entertain whatever public policy they suggest. Wait till the rocks have minds folk get their turn at the conference centre mike…

Second, because claims about plants necessarily interact with science, we see here once again the problem with the marchin’, marchin’ approach to defending science: The people who are undermining science are not out yelling in the streets; they are ensconced in the academy. And the public begins to hear about what they write about.

Or, as I’ve (O’Leary for News) said elsewhere, march if you want; it’s good exercise and fun. But your real problems are back at your desk.

See also:  Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?

Can chimpanzees be non-human persons?

According to a women’s studies researcher, we need the right kind of post-fact science to help women succeed.

Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science”

Marchin’, marchin’ for Science
Science marching away from its real problems

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