A reader writes:
Take a look at this:
I first got wind of it earlier today when it started popping up in the Twitter feed of one of the academics at my institution (favorably, of course). It’s a statement protesting Trump’s proposed sex definition change arguing that there is no way to definitively determine someone’s biological sex, and even if there were, that evidence should be ignored if it contradicts a person’s self-identified gender.
The statement currently has over 1600 signatures from scientists around the country. More than five are from my institution. This is where we are. This is why I don’t operate a social media account, don’t socialize with co-workers, and censor myself very, very carefully when I publish my writing. It’s not because I’m anti-social. It’s because I’m afraid. How long is it going to be before someone asks me the wrong question, or I slip and make some statement that falls afoul of the gender / race / political orthodoxy, and I get the pink slip? I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in academia, but I do know I’m on my way out. To stay here more than another three years or so is out of the question.
Academia is no longer a safe place to be if you’re a traditional Christian, or even if you just hold mainstream views on sexuality from a mere ten years ago. That’s the long and short of it.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement:
As scientists, we are compelled to write to you, our elected representatives, about the current administration’s proposal to legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth, based on genitalia, and with plans to clarify disputes using “genetic testing”. This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.
The proposal is in no way “grounded in science” as the administration claims. The relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood. There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex. Furthermore, even if such tests existed, it would be unconscionable to use the pretext of science to enact policies that overrule the lived experience of people’s own gender identities.
So now actual scientists are asserting that genitalia and chromosomes tell us nothing meaningful about maleness and femaleness. That “the lived experience of people’s own gender identities” — that is to say, the individual’s desires — are more important that objective facts. Scientists are saying this. And not just a few scientists, either: over 1,600 of them.
From the International Journal of Epidemiology (2007), this piece by Martin McKee on how ideology compromised science in the USSR. Excerpt:
In 1917, the USSR inherited a thriving scientific community, with strong collaborative links abroad, especially with Germany. During the nineteenth century, Mendeleev had developed the periodic table. Others contributed significantly in areas such as physics, mathematics, mineralogy and agriculture. Borodin undertook groundbreaking work in organic chemistry while composing many highly acclaimed musical works. In 1904, Pavlov won the Nobel Prize for Medicine while, 4 years later, Mechnikov shared the same prize with Erlich for their work on phagocytes. Scientific societies flourished, as did specialist journals. These journals were the setting for vigorous debate, focused on the novelty and objectivity of research. Ideological intrusions were rejected or ignored.
In the years immediately after the revolution, Soviet science continued to prosper, viewed as a contributor to the creation of ‘the first socialist society’. Thus, during the 1920s, the scientific community was protected from the hardships experienced by the general population. Foreign literature was quickly translated into Russian and contacts with scientists from abroad were routine. However, the replacement of aristocratic patronage by state funding did mean that a small number of officials, and by extension senior scientists blessed with their favour, were able them to exert almost total control over their specialist fields. However, almost at once, the Bolshevik Peoples’ Commissariat for Enlightenment engaged in a twin track policy of co-opting the talents of the existing bourgeois scientists while at the same time creating a new cadre of proletarians who would develop a new Communist science. leading to the emergence of an alternative model. The Communist Academy, established in 1923, conformed to the structure of the Party, with a self-appointed Presidium of high ranking officials exerting discipline over its members. Papers were discussed on the basis of their ideology rather than their validity or novelty. Its journal ‘Under the Banner of Marxism’ stated that ‘we are not investigators who observe from a distance the development of ideas, the struggle of social and class forces and the tendencies in our society. We are fighters, our journal is a journal fighting for the materialist world view’.
Over time, traditional scientists saw the benefits of close association with the Party. Increasingly, the word Marxism appeared in the titles of their papers, even if not in the texts. Scientists holding entirely contrary views used almost identical arguments to contend that their version of reality was the true Marxist one. Soon, one’s ability to claim Marxist credentials became the main criterion for advancement and those holding opposing views were criticized for their anti-materialist views. However, the co-existence came to an abrupt end in 1928, when Stalin, concluding that the adherents to Communist science were now sufficiently numerous, called for ‘a mass attack of the revolutionary youth on science’. Scientists who refused to conform, or who were denounced as a consequence of personal rivalries, were sent to the Gulag, where many died. Institutions were subject to periodic reviews which invariably concluded with the words ‘The leadership of the institute has been Bolshevised’. Those expelled were replaced by younger staff promoted from the children of the proletariat.
You think wokeness is going to stop after it ruins the humanities? Think again.
That’s not enough for Emile Ratelband, a 69-year-old who feels like he’s in his 40s. The Dutch pensioner is asking a court in his hometown of Arnhem, southeast of Amsterdam, to change his birth certificate so that it says he took his first breath on March 11, 1969, rather than on March 11, 1949. The judges heard his case Monday and promised they would render a verdict in the next several weeks.
Ratelband sees his request as no different from a petition to change his name or the gender he was assigned at birth — and isn’t bothered that this comparison might offend transgender people, whose medical needs have been recognized by the American Medical Association. It comes down to free will, he maintains.
“Because nowadays, in Europe and in the United States, we are free people,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age. My feeling about my body and about my mind is that I’m about 40 or 45.”
Ratelband’s desire to remake himself is distinctly American, he said, and comes from his training under Tony Robbins, the motivational guru and master of the life hack. He lived and traveled with Robbins for about six months in the late 1980s, he said, and came to believe that “you have to make your dreams come true from visualization.”
“This is American thinking,” he said.
Go, Emile, go, you and your radically nominalist self! Accelerate the contradictions!
It’s amusing, but in a culture whose elites live by the pseudo-religion of Scientism, in which scientists have the authority of priests in ages past, the corruption of science by ideology is terrifying.
Back to the start of this post: this Christian reader works in a university, and is afraid to say anything to anybody, for fear he might say the “wrong” thing, and it will cost him his job. It’s Woke Totalitarianism, and it’s the coming thing.
UPDATE: Matt in VA just posted this comment:
“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
― Theodore Dalrymple
UPDATE.2: Reader Hal comments:
It’s worse than this Rod.
Very recently, an editorial supporting this nonsense (and opposing the HHS decision to define sex) appeared in Nature magazine.
If you’re not aware, Nature is one of the premiere scientific journals in the world. Being published in Nature confers a high mark of legitimacy to your work. Publishing and editorial decisions from Nature can carry a lot of weight in one’s specific field as well as the greater scientific community.
For Nature to get behind this movement is a big deal. It can lead to reluctance on the part of scientists to challenge these ideas, even if they find the ideas entirely laughable. There’s a great deference towards consensus opinion among scientists, and nothing says that stronger than the declared blessing of the best and brightest minds according to the premiere journals.
The funny thing is, regardless of whatever lip service they give to this stuff, the doctors and scientists of the world will continue to carry on their work as if sexual dimorphism is real. When they set up clinical trials or animal studies, they’ll divide their groups into men and women. No one running a study on a new drug or vaccine is going to perform preliminary analysis to look at all the different features these ideologues think makes sex “ambiguous.” This is even doubly so for animal studies, where low-paid lab techs spend a few moments dividing up the animals on the basis of their genitals.
No, this is a move entirely of politics and ideology, and it worries me that it’s gotten the imprimatur of the scientific publishing world.