I want this article to not be as bad as it seems.
But I think it actually is that bad.
First, the so-called normal distribution of statistics assumes that there are default humans who serve as the standard that the rest of us can be accurately measured against. The fact that we don’t adequately take into account differences between experimental and reference group determinants of risk and resilience, particularly in the health sciences, has been a hallmark of inadequate scientific methods based on theoretical underpinnings of a superior subject and an inferior one.
Okay, reading this charitably she clearly means that the reference data for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions is often gathered from groups who are less vulnerable to the conditions (white people, men, people without comorbidities, etc.) That's a major problem, but it's not a problem with the normal distribution, it's a problem with data. And of course there are no theoretical underpinnings of superiority or inferiority, the normal distribution can be derived from coinflips. It is very hard to avoid the inference that she's extrapolating all this from the word "normal." But it can't be that, can it? Scientific American must have editors. Surely.
And it gets fucking worse.
Ant culture is hierarchal and matriarchal, based on human understandings of gender. And the descriptions and importance of ant societies existing as colonies is a component of Wilson’s work that should have been critiqued.
I can't bring myself to go on reading in any depth, but this is the worst part.
This will require commitments from journal editors, peer reviewers and the scientific community to invest in retrofitting existing publications with this expertise. They can do so by employing humanities scholars, journalists and other science communicators with the appropriate expertise to evaluate health and life sciences manuscripts submitted for publication.
WHY, WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? So they can infer a value judgement in the phrase "normal distribution?" So they can point out the racism implicit in the concept of an ant colony?
This article is such a perfect demonstration of why this is a terrible idea that I'm almost hoping it stops the Woke destruction of science in its tracks.
Why can't she discuss the racism in medical research without vomiting this insanity all over it? Her research is about pregnant women of colour at risk of preterm birth - that's really important! Attacking basic statistics isn't helping them. Hiring Woke Studies graduates to fill science journals with nonsense isn't going to help them. It's not going to help anyone. This is so bad.