Guest post: The void that stared back at me

Originally a comment by Nullius in Verba at Miscellany Room 4:

Screechy Monkey wrote:

Actually, following some links from that Pharyngula comments section, the asterisk is supposed to indicate that trans* covers both transsexual and transgender people.

And transfemine, transmasculine, transfemme, transcetera. Like the LGBT… alphabet soup itself, the T keeps splintering into ever more narcissistic subsets. Geek humor: it’s almost like a “recursive” acronym/initialism. Example: GNU, which stands for “GNU is not UNIX.” Ha. Funny, right? No, I’ve never understood the purported humor, either.

Sastra wrote:

I was also unaware of how trans ideology had morphed into the idea that science had done away with the two sexes by introducing a science-based gender identity — and that failure to agree was a form of murder.

That’s exactly how I found my way back here. I checked out of the online atheist/skeptic blogosphere around 2011 when drama was infecting everything. (“Sexual harassment!” “Rapey!” “Racist!” “Sexist!”) I’d mostly ignored the gender-theory stuff. Even when Bill Nye stepped in it with his show, I figured the blow-back was just from right wing religious nutjobs. It was only last year, about this time, actually, that I happened to watch a doc about the Evergreen College affair and read The Coddling of the American Mind.

That spurred research into the efficacy of trigger warnings and safe spaces, which, of course, exposed me to a whole bunch of vocabulary I’d been ignoring. There followed a bunch of youtube searching on pronouns, gender, gender identity, sexual differentiation, and gender identity disorder/dysphoria. Then a slew of hours on JSTOR searching for the same things and related psychological phenomena, etiologies, comorbidities, and treatments. And even more hours digging through philosophy journals for anything vaguely non-gobbledygook explicating the epistemological basis for treating “I feel like an X, therefore I am an X” as an authoritative statement.

The void that stared back at me was an answer all on its own.

So now I’m apparently one of those “anti-SJW bigots” or something, simply because I refuse to convert to Wokism or even recite the Wokecene Creed. On the bright side, it is, at least, a fascinating time to be alive if you’re interested in religion as a phenomenon. We get to see in real time how new religions form, take hold, spread, and gain temporal power. Wheee?

Artymorty wrote:

That’s the problem when a supposedly progressive website prioritizes being “friendly” over the hard work of critical thinking (it’s right there in the blog title): when you turn your brain off and just feel the good vibes, maaaan, it’s very easy to be misled by bad actors. That’s why all those hippie-granola California/Portlandia types keep getting sucked into cults and persuaded by superficial arguments like anti-vax which feel “nice” on the surface but are deeply unscientific and irrational upon critical inspection. There’s nothing rational about prioritizing “friendly” at all costs. It’s actually kinda cowardly, and kinda narcissistic.

If’n you look at ’em, a lot of the responses to Sastra could have been taken verbatim from skeptic-religious discussions. That nominal atheists could deploy them unironically is depressing, since it reveals the sort of lazy cognition that brought them to their atheism in the first place. Rigorous analysis of evidence and argument was not the genesis of their unbelief; following people who gave them goodfeels was.

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