Gentlemen, you can’t say that here!

This is the free speech society!*

Trans row: Man who said ‘women don’t have penises’ banned from free speech society panel

The dogma is settled.

Later, he was removed from his assistant editorship at Durham University’s philosophy journal.
Student editor who retweeted “women don’t have penises” story fired from university journal

Then the Merseyside Police and mayor of Liverpool started looking into the transgression**:
Is it a crime to say ‘women don’t have penises’?

The counter argument to “women don’t have penises” can be summarized with this contemporaneous example from Newsweek:

“Well, since gender identity is not determined by what kind of genitals someone has, a person with a female gender identity might well have a penis. In other words, yes, some women do have penises.”

This is true – if you use the same definition for “person with a female gender identity” and “woman.” And, therefore, it is boringly trivial.

Since the question under consideration is whether women can have penises, simply substituting the word “women” in your conclusion for the phrase “people with a female gender identity” in your premises dishonestly enlists tautology as a defense.

Assuming your conclusion through poorly executed semantic trickery – ‘gender identity’ is exactly the same as ‘sex’ – does not advance your cause. Just because you think (“feel” in the parlance) that your wife is a hat doesn’t mean you can wear her on your head.

Let me clarify Newsweek‘s defense of calling penises female genitalia (changes emphasized): “Well, since gender identity is not determined by what kind of genitals someone has, a person with a female gender identity might well have a penis. In other words, yes, some people with a female gender identity do have penises.

There are women who are objecting to this conflation of ‘gender identity’ with ‘sex.’ I welcome them to the club of those who’ve been objecting since the ’60s, to the idea that sex roles are totally socially constructed. I celebrate the fact we’re all now subject to deplorableness.

I don’t expect the editors at Newsweek to understand logical thinking most of us learned in grade school, but it’s worse than that. That meaningless syllogism emanates from the Ivory Towers of the University of Nottingham, where its author is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. It’s likely, therefore, she is familiar with the logical requirements of a syllogism. It’s equally likely she rejects logic itself as patriarchal, heteronormative, colonialist, and misogynist; or some combination of all of those.

How did universities worldwide come to be hotbeds of this delusion? I’m working on a post to explain that, which will be published in a day or three.

—–
*With credit to President Merkin Muffley who said, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

**How long before the word transgression is banned?

Meaning and Millennials

“I think that often people come to the conclusion that life is meaningless because that is a better conclusion to come to than the reverse, because if life is meaningless, well then who cares what you do. But if life is meaningful, if what you do matters, then everything you do matters, and that puts a terrible responsibility on the individual. And I think that people are generally unwilling to bear that.”

-Jordan Peterson

Professors Jordan Peterson and John Vervaeke are colleagues in the University of Toronto Department of Psychology. They share an interest in the study of life’s meaning and reject moral relativism as nihilistic. They’re students of science and metaphysics.

Vervaeke, psychology specialties: Perception, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
PhD 1997 University of Toronto, Philosophy
BSc 1991 University of Toronto, Specialist in Cognitive Science
MA 1985 University of Toronto, Philosophy
HBA 1984 McMaster University, Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude

Peterson, psychology specialties: Social, Personality and Abnormal
PhD 1991 McGill University, Clinical Psychology
BSc 1984 University of Alberta, Psychology
BSc 1982 University of Alberta, Political Science

Their voices are sorely needed as the Humanities move ever deeper into postmodern despair, absurdity and self-deception; and Science faces political pressure to abandon scientific method as sexist and/or racist.

Our educational system has gone to a lot of trouble to replace such sources of meaning as family, competence and merit by deconstructing individual responsibility into a collectivist competition for victimhood participation trophies. Reason is similarly challenged: There are no truths, only interpretations.

This has negative consequences, especially for those who grew up during this cultural shift. To be sure, much of what follows doesn’t apply to most Millennials, but we see evidence daily that there’s a problem.

One example: We’re told Millennials in the workplace desire “purpose over paycheck.”

Purpose should be easy: “You do this. We pay you.”

Instead, it seems likely “purpose” in that phrase substitutes for “precisely aligned with my life values and goals,” or “meaningful.” There’s nothing wrong with such an aspiration, but it isn’t realistic. For one thing, your colleagues would all have to be of one mind. That’s one reason jobs that provide life meaning are not common. Even self-employed I couldn’t be sure my job would always fulfill a particular “purpose,” including meeting payroll. And who could make sure the customers would co-operate? But, some people expect job “purpose” to be supplied by others.

In any case, as we’ll see, Millennials don’t appear to be finding deep meaning through their employment. That might indicate they are incapable of finding it in themselves.

And why would they be? They’ve been conditioned by effusive praise to expect meaning to find them. Meaning becomes external. Like a job. Or ‘Likes’ on Facebook.

A Millennial meaning deficit is strongly suggested by the fact that Millennial suicide rates are soaring: They experience high rates of depression: And they may be the “quintessential postmodern generation.”

They’ve been cut adrift in a sea of narcissism by their parents and their professors, who should have taught them moral values and how to think, but handed them participation trophies and moral nihilism instead. Many Millennials have come to expect constant and instantaneous validation of their merit, whether they’ve displayed any or not. That applies to their opinions too, many of them are convinced that simply taking offense grants them some sort of moral authority.

They’ve been misled about their capabilities. They’ve been lied to about their prospects. They’ve been suckered into huge student debt by what amounts to academic fraud.

A growing cultural anomie should not be surprising. Nor should we wonder why Millennials flock to hear Jordan Peterson, and increasingly John Vervaeke, speak for two hours about how to find meaning. For a dozen lectures.

Reason and meaning are under siege because of guilt by association with Western Civilization. Peterson and Vervaeke are playing defense. Some examples:

I’d say watch the whole thing, but this link will start at 2:04. Watch until you want to stop. TWT is 20:49.
Jordan Peterson *NEW* The Meaning of Life

Here’s an interview about meaning: John Vervaeke: The Meaning Crisis (39 minutes) Again, the whole thing is worthwhile, but the link starts at 18:32. There, Vervaeke puts his finger on the epistemological question raised by Postmodernism. It’s a serious question.

Vervaeke has recently started a series of lectures on YouTube: ‘Awakening From the Meaning Crisis.

Little did I know…

…when I wrote Victimhood competence hierarchies that the College Board would so quickly compound the difficulty of picking the most oppressed group by applying “adversity scoring” modifiers to Scholastic Aptitude Test results.

The College Board’s adversity score will give students a boost for coming from a high-crime, high-poverty school and neighborhood, according to the Wall Street Journal. Being raised by a single parent will also be a plus factor. Such a scheme penalizes the bourgeois values that make for individual and community success.

In my defense, the Board’s attempt isn’t nearly as comprehensive as my proposal, though it suffers the same difficulties even for the subset of the victim/oppressor ratio it purports to capture by shifting racial preferences to a large set of highly correlated demographic, economic, and other cherry-picked factors that retain the ‘advantage’ of disadvantaging East Asians:

Adversity Index

College Board’s new tool seeks to provide environmental context behind students’ test scores by measuring adversity in their neighborhoods, families and schools.

Neighborhood environment
Crime rate
Poverty rate
Housing values
Vacancy rate

Family environment
Median income
Single parent
Adversity score
Education level
ESL

High school environment
Undermatching
Curricular rigor
Free lunch rate
AP opportunity
Source: College Board.

I do wonder about the inclusion of “Adversity score” in the calculation of Adversity score. If it’s the same thing both cases it’s a formula Excel would refuse to calculate as a ‘circular reference.’ Using the result of your calculation as input to your calculation is… well, interesting. It does give the College Board a chance to to iterate the calculation until a specific numeric condition is met.

“Adversity scoring” is a good example of a problem I pointed out in my victims’ hierarchy post: Just as a prejudicial firmament gets well established – race based preferences for college admissions, for example – someone comes along and adds more grievance factors you neglected to consider. That’s a feature to the SocJus folks, not a bug. It lets them make up rules to fit the currently fashionable oppression narrative.

I think Heather Mac Donald’s phrase “Grievance Proxies” is catchier than my “Victim competence hierarchies,” though it does not capture the amusing proliferation of victim-group supremacy competitions.

They is wrong

It could have come from almost any campus, but this is from the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University:

“No science is needed to support transgender and non-binary identities,” the email stated. “It is simply a matter of affirming their experiences.”

No science is possible “to support transgender and non-binary identities” as a replacement for biological, binary sex classifications.  Assuming the conclusion that science-based sex classifications are secondary to each person’s internal mind-state at any given moment is baked into the MSU memo.

As to “affirming their experiences,” isn’t that their job? How can another person do that? Doesn’t that require identity appropriation? How else can one know the experiences are worthy of affirmation?

Clicking on the pronoun link brings up a colorful and interactive web page titled “I [love] the singular they,” which maps out benefits and tools to using the pronoun to refer to a person. The page argues that the singular “they” is “neutral,” “easy,” “inclusive,” and “classy.”

And wrong.

“Writing with non-gender-neutral pronouns is a serious pain,” the site linked by MSU says. “Some prefer the Frankenword ‘s/he,’ while others rack their brain. Some stick with a particular pronoun for one paragraph or chapter, then swap out the one they’re using; others alternate ‘he’ and ‘she’ by sentence, or use a plural adapter, but that all sounds confusing.”

Alternating he/she wouldn’t satisfy ze, in any case. And using “they” as singular isn’t confusing? Why do we even have a plural? So that we can understand a sentence like “Chris thought they were late to the party.” Unless we want to make people say, “Chris thought they was late to the party,” “they” is a non-starter.

The suggestion of the singular “they” is an effort to overcome objections to the plethora of neologisms like “ze, ne, xe,” etc.. Those who want a neo-pronoun need to vote on the one they’ll all use and stick to it. That is, if they actually want it eventually generally adopted, rather than just using the issue to harass others who don’t want to start every conversation with a negotiation about pronouns.

I have a suggestion. If avoiding “misgendering” is so important – use the person’s name.  Now, “Chris thought Chris was late to the party,” is still confusing and certainly stilted.  It still requires you to know Chris’s mind, and whether there’s another Chris, to sort it out.  Maybe “thou” and “thee?”  can be appropriated.

Any of this still requires you to deploy two modes of speech based on another person’s current perception of themselves.  But it’s a “good cause:”

MSU physiology student Shad Soldano … admitted the email “did take me by surprise,” he told Campus Reform, “I feel that the email (in my understanding) portrays a good cause in bringing awareness and hopefully eliminating remaining prejudices towards the transgender community.”

He feels elevating a tiny minorities’ attempted appropriation of culture by a set of prejudices against anyone who objects to compelled speech “portrays a good cause.”

When did feeling replace thinking? When something portrays sensitivity, compassion, and diversity – even if the result is 180 degrees out of phase with the stated intention. The real intention, the one you have to think about, is not benign.

If I must “affirm your experiences,” what’s to stop that at your “identity?”

Where neopronouns lead

The word “science” is being made into a joke; the word “fair,” a travesty.

This is the hill on which the transgenderist attack on women must die, lest sports, science and fairness become meaningless words, and academiot unreality escapes into the wild.

Canadian sports “experts” embrace misogynist practices to please trans activists­

See also:
Not the ‘fairest’ sex, if the powerful logical and emotional arguments against men competing, at their whim, with women in sports does not galvanize resistance to the SJW idea of “equity,” then nothing will.

Here’s just one implication, Free Speech: People are being kicked off social media for “misgendering” men who think they are women. Let them think it, but don’t put them in the 100 yard dash with chromosomal women.

Governments are beginning to compel use of made up pronouns on University Campuses. If the transgenderists are allowed to destroy sports, they’ll force that on the rest of us.