A concentration camp by any other name is still a concentration camp » « Not a fan of Mary Midgley, but even less of a fan of scientism Spot the interesting entry from the 16th edition of Williams Obstetrics Share this:PrintEmailShare on TumblrTweet A concentration camp by any other name is still a concentration camp » « Not a fan of Mary Midgley, but even less of a fan of scientism
That’s funny. According to the NLM catalog, that edition was published in 1980, and I guess that’s when the indexer slipped that in.
Eleven hundred pages, this must be a heavily abridged version. But treatment options seem to include chemotherapy, chicken pox and chlamydia, so there’s hope yet. Modern medicine truly is a marvel.
Brilliant! Back in the late 80s I was a project manager for a typesetter that worked on big college textbooks. One time we did a really good job, really fast for a publisher that was really desperate, so the person running it for them asked me for the names and birth years of the principal typesetter, proofreader & makeup artist. Why? She put us in the index as a little nod of appreciation, the way medieval masons used to carve a cartoon of the foreman somewhere. The book was less than 1,000 pages long and none of us were born before 1,000 AD, but I never heard of any complaints.
I’ve indexed several titles (mostly during the 00s) and have hidden some earnestly subversive entries back there. Wasn’t caught at it.
“That’s funny. According to the NLM catalog, that edition was published in 1980, and I guess that’s when the indexer slipped that in.”
A similar entry appears in the previous edition as well.
More interesting: the indexer was the wife of one of the authors.
While I do have a science degree, I went to a university that required a whole heckuva lot of liberal arts as GE. There was a whole course called Western Civilization that you could take if you begged or or had good grades or had good SAT scores or were planning to major in a liberal arts field.
In my experience, the actual incidence of scientism is much less than the total number of times they scream it out when they fail.
Also in my experience, the professors played nasty power games if you remotely disagreed with them because they knew that if you were liberal artsy, they could totally destroy your carreer or even likelihood of getting a degree. Silly them for including all those non-exclusive “or”s in their qualification, because my degree was in Geology.
They could and would complain ferociously, including involving their department and school heads to the Geology department and my professors of the courses I was taking about how I dared disagree with them and did not understand how I got away with it. And expressed disbelief that I would dare disagree with them again. It didn’t work for them. One of them tried to fail me and I needed to threaten that I met the requirements by syllabus for a C and if I didn’t get that I would file a grievance. Rightly, nobody in any geology field I worked with after cared about that particular C. The poor poor dear.
Needless to say they gave me an F on all further papers. Because of course, their little Stalinist cabal is always right.
Yeah, they can take their “scientism” and feel smug all they like. But they are much more likely to be incoherent, wrong, closed-minded or living in an echo-box. It’s a pity that at that time I didn’t know the friend I have now who has a philosophy degree. It would have been much more fun.
I chased down a review of the book. It wasn’t so much a review as an in-depth discussion of male chauvinism in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology with ‘Williams Obstretics’ held up as exhibit A.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
I once took a course where my own work was cited in the course text. I had been clear in my own publication my work lacked external validity, but that we had nothing better and the problems with external validity weren’t going away any time soon so we could use that data to at least affirm that for some sub-populations of X, Y was true. That in turn could be used to justify (I hoped) more and better research.
The course text also was careful to communicate this hesitance on my part to make generalizable conclusions, so I had no problems with the course text at all. The prof, however, went on to cite my figures uncritically, as if they were true of the entire population X with no hesitancy or qualification. (She also made a couple outright errors, making clear that she’d only read the course text, not my paper, and had guessed at contents of my paper where the course text was silent.)
I’d discussed the chapter with other students before class that week, and one of them wanted to know if the APA-style (thus last name only) citation was to my family, since the last name wasn’t and isn’t common (not even in France, where it at least occurs more than in the US). Before I even had a chance to respond, one of the other students answered for me: this second one had looked up my paper and noted that last name, first name, and a couple other details matched.
So we go into class that week, and though I’d learned a ton from the prof about the aspects of the class subject I hadn’t previously researched, and I find myself cringing at the misrepresentation of my own published work. But what could I do? I raise my hand, I seem to be an arrogant, self-important jerk interrupting her lecture with my own agenda. All that was left was simply to exchange a couple knowing looks with others in my study group.
I imagine this indexer feeling like she was doing something similar: it wasn’t her book, she couldn’t just unilaterally change it, but damned if she couldn’t show herself rolling her eyes knowingly for the people who bothered to glance in the right direction.
May I merely say, Tee-Tee? What? OK. Snicker, then.