Historical fallacies, morphed ideas of “enlightenment” and truth by repeated assertions

I have been working long for understanding the “Western system” of scientific approach. I agree, there is elitism, there’s academic gatekeeping, a lot of marketing and creation of echo chambers around purported effects of the “impact of research”. The last is a contentious issue and has seen a lot of hand wringing around the measurable impact of “research”. Much of it is junk research or regurgitated across different institutions for lack of clarity. However, in most “literal narratives”, I have started seeing the outlier impact of the history of “enlightenment”; especially in Europe.

The trigger for a long title and this post was Robert Hacker, who wrote on Medium recently. While I was trying to wrap my head around the transformative platforms (including Artificial Intelligence) and a training manifesto for the “early state career scientists”, this para earlier on in the write-up caught my eye:

A Strategy for Academic Research in the 21st Century | by Robert Hacker | Sep, 2022 | Medium

The history of science and mathematics provides much guidance to students, Ph.D. candidates and early career researchers on promising fields for new research and commercialization. This approach is based in part on the historical patterns in science and technology determined by Nikolai Kondratiev[6] (technology cycles), Thomas Kuhn (scientific revolutions and paradigms), and Carlotta Perez (industrial revolutions). Modern science begins with the Enlightenment at the beginning of the 17th century[7], what some call the First Scientific Revolution. Much of mathematics was discovered at the same time beginning with Newton and Leibnitz work on calculus, but in this article we will only discuss the math if it helps the story about science.

Newton’s ideas on calculus (or mathematics) were stolen from India. In an era when heliocentric “theories” were condemnable by death, I wouldn’t expect much. India had the historical misfortune of being under oppressive regimes and bad traders in the form of the East India Company, and subsequently knowledge carted away along with the wealth.

I don’t recommend reading this hogwash further beyond the said para. If the history can’t be correct, the assertion of “transformative platforms” can’t be either. His claim to fame was a hand cranked “one laptop per child” and extensive marketing to push a half assed idea for African kids. This is the classical “white privilege” or the “white-man’s burden” example. I usually refrain from pointing these out on the blog. However, historical inaccuracies are unacceptable and the “transforming narratives”. We need multidisciplinary science approaches, which is a known problem. The way to achieve the end goals is debatable.

This one from Robert “Hacker”, isn’t.

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