Skepticism, Language, and the Fact that We’re All Cynics

So I was reading this kid’s blog, HessianwithTeeth and I enjoyed it because I always enjoy people who like to say smug, controversial things.  I like to say smug, controversial things.  Anyway, Hessian says:

Today I received a reply to a comment I wrote on YouTube. The person considered themself a skeptic, but they couldn’t be bothered to supply any evidence to support their claim that masculinity and femininity are biological despite the fact that different cultures around the world hold to different ideas about what is masculine and what is feminine. Skeptics are supposed to be critical of all claims, and they are supposed to look at the evidence before they decide what is true, but so few actually do that. So many skeptics ignore the evidence and determine what they believe to be true on what society accepts, or who they hero-worship, or what they simply feel to be right. But that isn’t being skeptical.

Now, my initial thoughts are these:

  1. Is the Youtube comment area really the place to discuss the differences in human physiology?  Maybe ((shrugs))
  2. He brings up an interesting topic without framing it correctly and that is “language”–we’ll get to that later.
  3. It’s a bit ironic if you read the rest of his rant/post

Language is a funny thing and oftentimes we have errors in communication because people have allowed pop culture to redefine words that have historical use.  Now, it is generally the progressive who eschews tradition and believes that language and concepts evolve, therefore we don’t have to have a base line of common usage, especially when that baseline may hurt someone’s feelings.

This is the (to use a religious analogy) setting up a Tower of Babel scenario where we will never have proper dialogue because we are all willing to allow others to create their own definitions of what a word is, rather than fall back on custom.

To this I say not all custom is bad, especially when it helps to create a space from which to progress such as it is when we speak of language.

Hessian brings up (also without links of evidence) that cultures all over the world define “masculine” and “feminine” differently?  Is this really true?  If you went to a man in Yemen would he truly define masculine differently than a man in Arkansas?  In Beijing would a woman there define femininity differently than the woman in Ghana?  I am interested in seeing his evidence.  I suspect it will be some bizarre little tribe someone and he is using the minority to encapsulate the views of the majority, but I could be wrong.  I doubt I’m wrong, but I could be.  I see a lot of this lately, so call me a cynic.

Language came from observation, popular acceptance, and common perceptions.  There is an interesting paper on the Bonobos (always the Bonobos ) about this very subject.  Naturally, there would be stragglers, but (and progressives–pay attention because you love this shit) for the “greater good” of being able to communicate with each other people came to use the same words for things with the same meanings.

We have become a society riddled by the same “hero worship” and political correctness that we are overly-wordy.  We can no longer say “gender differences” it must be “sex differences”.  Okay.  I’m fine with that for the purpose of a blog, but in real life Imma gonna just say what I feel like.  From Wiki:

Sex differences in humans have been studied in a variety of fields. In humans, biological sex is determined by five factors present at birth: the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, the type of gonads, the sex hormones, the internal reproductive anatomy (such as the uterus in females), and the external genitalia.[1] People with mixed sex factors are intersex. People whose gender identity (their internal sense of their own gender) differs from their biological sex are transgender, transsexual or genderqueer.

A distinction is sometimes made between sex and gender. Sex differences generally refer to traits that are sexually dimorphic. Such differences are hypothesized to be products of the evolutionary process of sexual selection.[2][3] By contrast, the term gender differences refers to average group differences between males and females that are presumably based on sexually monomorphic (the same between the sexes) biological adaptations—and these group differences are presumed to be due primarily to differential socialization.

Now, for those “skeptics” out there who believe we are the same–and we are, black/white/male/female we’re all humans with 99.9% of the same DNA.  However, in that .1% lies all of our individuality and I cling to that.

“Science” (I love how people talk about science like it is a person and not a methodology) has said that we will become either two different species or all women in the future depending on the type of mood Science is in that day, so technically we can just forget about what is masculine and embrace the Feminine anyway.

Right?

BTW, I think Science is a female.  I know we can’t see Science because it lives in the cloud with all of its angels and stuff, but like it seems very moody and always changes its mind on things kind of like me that one week of the month.

Anyway, on to the rest of Hessians awesome rant.  BTW, I do agree with you on a lot.  Not everything but a lot.

Lately, to be supportive of those who are “genderqueer” we have downplayed where biology and gender meet because it’s not nice to hurt people’s feelings.  I would imagine in a few short years you would not be able to get a research grant outside of Big Pharm to do studies that align gender and biology since the university grant system comes with mostly federal dollars, but while we still have it here is an article on 10 Gender Differences Backed By Science (read it now because it won’t last long).

I remember when the Female Brain came out and progressive-feminists (I was one at the time) shit the bed over it trying to debunk it and all they could do was find bits and pieces of soft science to debunk some of her footnotes.  I think this also had a lot to do with my move to voluntarism because when I saw that people like me were tearing her down– a neuroscientist, a hard science scientist, with vague low-population studies from psychologists, a soft science where your questions can skew the response (unlike neurological studies with MRIs)  I started to rethink this progressive mindset I had and began to think for myself.

I’ve found a lot of the “think for yourself” proponents get really mad when you actually do that.  My college professor had a “Question Authority” bumpersticker, but if you ever questioned his you got a B+ instead of an A.  Just an anecodote, not saying it’s Science.

Anytime someone rebuts political correctness someone loses their panties.  Anyway, I know progressives love Psychology so from Psychology Today:

From a biological perspective, it wouldn’t make much sense if the minds of men and women were identical. There are some important genetic, anatomical, and physiological differences between men and women: given the many brain-body connections, it is both realistic and reasonable to expect that male and female brains may work in slightly different ways, giving rise to sex differences in cognitive abilities, personality, emotions, and behavior.

Please read the whole thing, but only if it’s not too upsetting.

Here’s another one that links to the actual study but provides a synopsis on why we’re different, but I’m getting tired already.  It’s what we moody Science bitches do sometimes, we get moody and write blog dissertations.

Our friend Hessian then goes off topic for whatever reason, probably an angry rant as I am prone to do on here to imply some things about the people he’s referring to, almost a slight shade, at religion…

So please, if you call yourself a skeptic, please make sure that you are as willing to apply your skepticism equally to all of your beliefs. And please make sure that you are willing to accept that you might be wrong. Because as soon as you say “I know x for certain” you cease being a skeptic. And as soon as you fail to apply the rigorous research needed to accept a belief you cease to be a good skeptic.

I think he’s saying that yall need to shut up about science if you believe in the Man in the Sky…or something.

Look…people can believe in gremlins and still have a sound point on another aspect of science–why?  Because humans are ambiguous creatures because ambiguity obviously was a positive evolutionary trait.  If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have it.  We are the end result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary tweaking.  Ambiguity allows us to not always take some things at face value.  Ambiguity is its own form of skepticism.

Skepticism is not cynicism.  Skepticism is not debunking.  Skepticism is not saying “prove it”–no, no.  The origins of the word came from the Greek philosopher Pyrrho (hahahaha I said “ho”) who believed that it is impossible to know anything at all.

Skepticism is not saying “There is no God unless you can prove it”.  Skepticism would be “I have no idea if there is a God what evidence do you have and I’ll put it in my smart phone for future reference.”  You cannot be a true skeptic and an atheist.  You must be agnostic to apply the actual doctrinal approach, but that’s not really fun.  Skepticism leaves you without firm opinions and you also seem like a know it all that talks a lot and says nothing.

Who needs that?

The truth is that most of us, Hessian and I included, are cynics and hypocrites.  We eschew things which come from people we don’t like and embrace that from people we do.

I am totally a hypocrite and a cynic.  I hate Hollywood and love Kit Harington (Kit, the Universe told you to call me).  I hate progressives and adore Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders.  I am cynical of any study that comes from a progressive and am less so of someone who is a libertarian or an anarchist.

I just have come to terms with this awhile ago.  Know thyself.

I do.

My feelings on gender are this: If you believe that you are a woman (ala Bruce Jenner) you are.  Your brain is your own.  This Jewish philosopher once said: Whatsoever believeth a man in his heart, so is the man.

I think that transgender people, furries, gay people, straight people–all of us have one life.  It is our life.  It is the only thing we own and we MUST live it the way we choose or else we no longer own it.  If Bruce or my friend Danielle tell me they are women, awesome.  They’re women as far as I’m concerned.

However, I say that as a freethinking individual who makes individual choices and I don’t think that someone else has to agree because neither Bruce nor Danielle need that validation.  They want it because that’s human, but they don’t need it.  RuPaul was right about that.  Once you get over other people’s opinions of you, it’s all uphill after that.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s