Social liberalism, which currently holds sway over what respectable Americans are allowed to think even as disrespectable Americans run the country, has brought a lot of progress and also a lot of bullcrap. I consider myself a social moderate because I couldn't care less what adults do in their personal lives, but I'm not going to command that it be endorsed, celebrated, and taught to children everywhere in the US. Last night I read one of the finest articles I've read this year: "The New Evolution Deniers" For those of you who may be new here, I'm fully on board with evolution, and in fact the only part of this article I disagree with is whether Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens are/were worthy of admiration. (No.) I find it pleasantly surprising but not ironic in the slightest that this apparent atheist is basically defending the LDS Family Proclamation without knowing it. It's just another confirmation of my conviction that true religion has nothing to fear from true science and that an understanding of evolution, especially human evolution, deeply enriches my theology and vice-versa. I pity the poor fools who think they're in conflict.
You should read the whole article, but basically the author tears apart one of these instances where conservatives are openly hostile toward science while liberals pretend to care about it - you know, like how conservatives think climate change isn't real while liberals acknowledge that it is but do little or nothing to reduce their carbon footprints. I don't know much about all the sex and gender stuff going around so I stay quiet about it, but some things are mind-numbingly obvious. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was, to learn from this article that there are a substantial number of delusional people insisting that biological sex - not gender, which is a related but separate thing that the article and I are not getting into, but actual biological sex that includes brain chemistry and body parts - is a "social construct". I'm not making this up. Read the article. I know I shouldn't be surprised by anything in this deranged society anymore. I suppose everything is a meaningless figment of my imagination, and can be whatever I want it to be. But then, if that were true, my world would look a lot less like this and a lot more like steampunk Hyrule with lightsabers.
As the article suggests, this bullcrap seems to come from anthropology. I've taken a few anthropology classes and enjoyed them very much, but I did hear some bullcrap. The thing about anthropology is that it isn't quite concerned about objective truth like most fields of science. It records facts about human behavior, but it's supposed to treat everyone's culture and beliefs as equally valid without trying to prove or disprove them - and that's as it should be, of course, but it doesn't address the reality that not all beliefs regarding objective facts of the physical world are correct or equally valid. They're just not. Just a couple days ago an anthropology professor here at USU gave the example that when he goes into a Pentecostal church in Brazil to study the members, he doesn't tell them their beliefs about creation and the age of the Earth are wrong, but as an educator he knows full well that evolution is real and the Earth is not 6,000 years old. So there's a disconnect between anthropology and reality that appears to have been hijacked by lunatics and weaponized in an attempt to beat the rest of science into submission.
Here's a thought: if your ideology is so vulnerable to actual facts that you have to bully, intimidate, and censor people to prevent them from saying things you disagree with, then your ideology is probably bullcrap. If you have to label everyone you disagree with as racists and homophobes and transphobes and mansplainers instead of engaging with their arguments, then you should probably rethink your life. Of course there's legitimate stupidity and hate speech out there that doesn't deserve to be engaged with or taken seriously, but a lot of what people with the mentalities of spoiled five year olds demonize as stupidity and/or hate speech are just legitimate points that they find offensive. A free exchange of ideas is crucial to a successful society (even if it sometimes means letting white supremacists march in the streets instead of hanging them from lampposts where they belong), and nowhere is this more true than in science. Science doesn't care what you want to be true. In any instances where scientists actually are being bigoted or just plain wrong, time and superior science will overrule them as they have in the past with racism and mental illness.
Again, the article and I are not talking about gender here, just biological sex. I don't know much about gender. I don't understand why people simultaneously claim that it, too, is a social construct but also an immutable part of a person's core identity that may not match their biological sex. So I avoid discussions about that rather than put my ignorance on display (insert your own quip about me always putting my ignorance on display here). Certainly it's a no-brainer that lots of gender/sex norms are unnecessary and arbitrary social constructs. There is no reason whatsoever why men shouldn't wear dresses and paint their nails if that's what they want to do. Why did we decide that women can wear pants but men can't wear dresses? Stupid, stupid, stupid. But to pretend that there's no meaningful difference between men and women, or that despite enabling the human race to reproduce for hundreds of thousands of years they're merely two of God knows how many points on a nonexistent "spectrum" just because genital mutations occasionally happen (and I'm grateful that we as a society are finally acknowledging that they happen), is even stupider.
I really don't understand why something so obvious has become controversial.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.