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"Diversity" nonsense in physics: Online Opinion, 16/1/2014

Babette Francis

Marko Vojkovic is a brave teacher for pointing out in The Australian (ll/1/14) that "There's no Asian way of looking at physics" and that sociology should not dominate physics. I once drafted a caption for a cartoon in which a feminist had devised a computer program to "examine gravity from a gender perspective". Some friends said I was exaggerating but they didn't realise the half of it.

Feminist Luce Irigaray has argued that the relativity equation E=mc2 is a sexed equation because it "privileges the speed of light over other speeds which are vitally necessary to us, and which therefore belongs to the 'masculine physics' that 'privileges' rigid over fluid entities...". Do you get it? Light is "masculine" because it moves like an arrow while sound is "feminine" because it moves in waves.......

Irigaray overlooked, or didn't know, that light also exhibits wave characteristics and sound travels in a straight line.

As I said, Vojkovic is brave in taking on the "diversity" establishment when one considers what happened to Professor Larry Summers while he was President of Harvard University. Summers is one of the foremost US economists; before becoming President of Harvard, he held a string of distinguished appointments under the Clinton Administration. He was Chief Economist at the World Bank, Under- Secretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury, and in 1999 Secretary of the Treasury. Summers also worked in the private sector and as a columnist for major newspapers. In 2009-10 he served as the Director of the White House United States National Economic Council for President Barack Obama.

Between the Clinton and Obama Administrations, Larry Summers was President of Harvard University from 2001 - 2006, when he was forced to resign following a no-confidence motion.

And what was his capital offence? He happened to mention that he had tried non-sexist upbringing on his daughter by giving her toy trucks to play with, but she pretended they were dolls and named them "daddy truck" and "baby truck". As if that was not bad enough, Summers went on to speculate that there may be some innate differences between males and females and perhaps some studies could be undertaken to explain why fewer women than men succeeded in science and maths careers.

Such statements are a hanging offence in academia. Even though Massachusetts where Harvard is situated does not have the death penalty, feminists might have made an exception for Summers.

There is plenty of research to support Prof. Summers’ illegal thoughts, but feminists believe some topics - like sex differences - should never be researched. You know, like conducting an experiment on human beings to see how much physical torture they can endure without becoming unconscious.

Professor Nancy Hopkins of Harvard did nearly become unconscious - she was in the room when Summers voiced his criminal thoughts, and she stormed out of the room because "I would either have blacked out or thrown up". In other words, she got the vapours, just like the fragile maidens in Regency novels. However, they had the excuse of tight corsets for their fainting spells, what accounts for feminist hysteria? It surely could not have been "that time of the month" for the entire female faculty of Harvard?

I recall some years ago the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union claim for an extra 12 days "menstrual leave" - in addition to ordinary sick leave - for their female members. If some US admiral had suggested that female pilots should not be used to land planes on aircraft carriers (a tricky operation at the best of times) because it "might be that time of the month", he would have been drummed out of the navy, maybe even keel-hauled. But the AMWU claim illustrates the feminist capacity for embracing both horns of a dilemma. While denying there are innate differences between the sexes, they want special privileges to compensate for differences they claim don't exist.

If one protests that such a stance is not logical, feminists retort that logic is a male construct, females function through intuition and have no need for logic. (This may explain why feminists don't do brilliantly at maths).

Feminists also claim that women are more compassionate, and that the world would be a kinder place if there were more women in power. Well they certainly were not compassionate towards the unfortunate Larry Summers. The internet nearly suffered a melt-down with feminists expressing their horror and indignation and demands that he submit to a week of "intense discussions".You know, like a year at a Chinese re-education camp for Public Enemy No. l.

The US Congress also got into the flagellation with Democrat Senator Ron Wyden claiming that Summers "knows he clearly crossed the line". Time magazine ran two stories including a cover feature on the issue.

Despite Summers abject apologies and caving into every demand - he appointed two task forces - on women in the Harvard faculty and on women in engineering, to recruit, promote and support women, it did not placate the feminists. Summers' task forces consisted of 22 women and 5 men - in feminist maths that is equality, so it may actually be the bridges built by the wimmin engineers that need support.

Summers also appointed a Commissioner of Faculty Diversity, but that didn't help either. A no-confidence motion on Summers was passed and he resigned as President of Harvard.

And therein lies a lesson for Education Minister Christopher Pyne, Kevin Donnelly, Professor Ken Wiltshire, Marko Vojkovic et al - you will never be able to placate the diversity brigade or the feminist sisterhood. So have the courage to do what you think is best to free the national curriculum and education from the shackles of dubious political ideologies. Use logic to refute your critics - this strategy will so infuriate the feminist sisterhood they might even faint and leave you an open battle-field.

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