Thursday, April 17, 2014
Where are the defenders of science when it comes to claims about gender by the postmodern left?
It's not that violations of scientific integrity from the postmodern left are never mentioned. In fact, one of the best books I have read in recent years is Higher Superstitions: The Academic Left and It's Quarrels with Science, by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt. The authors of this cogent and extremely well written book (which I reviewed for the Lexington Herald-Leader a few years back when that newspaper actually had a book section).
There is also Alan Sokal's now legendary exposure of the postmodern journal Social Text, to which Sokal submitted a bogus and nonsensical article on science and hermeneutics (a legitimate term when properly used, but which is widely abused by postmodern scholars) pretending to be by a posmodernist scholar which was accepted. After its acceptance and publication, Sokal announced his hoax, after which Social Text, and its editor Stanley Fish were rightly ridiculed.
But since these two incidents, the Science Patrol has largely ignored the threats pointed out by Gross and Levitt, choosing to train their sights almost exclusively on threats they perceive coming from religion and the political right.
When was the last time you heard New Atheists (the most active faction of the Science Police) like P.Z. Myers, Jerry Coyne―or people like Gross and Levitt―call out feminists or "gender studies" scholars for their ludicrous, unproved, and many times unprovable claims about sexuality―claims for which they constantly claim scientific warrant?
For example, where are the scientific voices questioning the claims of gay rights advocates who now assert that there are multiple gender categories―fifty-one of them, by Facebook's count? Surely this claim falls within the wide definition now used by the Science Police of a scientific claim.
When I debated the issue of gay rights on "Kentucky Tonight" a couple of weeks ago, I asked Chris Hartman, the executive director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, if all of these gender categories were genetic. At first he refused to answer the question, but later came back and said they were.
Why do such claims get a pass from the defenders of Science? Surely its not because of political bias.