The magic of saying


The epistemology is obviously a joke, but the allegiance underlying the joke is for real. His allegiance is to team men are women if they say they are, and his hostility is to team men are not women just because they say they are.

I would have thought that verification by “because I say so” would be anathema to scientists. I especially would have thought that when the issue is an obvious material fact which is being denied on the basis of an internal subjective mental state. That doesn’t work for other things – we can’t say “I am the Chrysler building” or “I am a humpback whale” or “I am the solar system” and expect to be believed, so why does it work for men who say they are women? Why does a scientist treat it as obviously and rock solidly true?

Granted “women” and “men” are squishier categories than those. It’s possible to masquerade as the other sex, and it may even be possible to fool people for a while. Several of Shakespeare’s plays are constructed around women (played by boys) masquerading as men, and women were not allowed to perform on stage in most cultures until quite recently. But actors play monarchs, murderers, extraterrestrials, all sorts of identities not their own; that doesn’t change the underlying realities. Burt Lahr was never in any danger of actually becoming a lion.

We can all pretend it’s true that men become women by saying the words, but feminists have been explaining why that would be the end of women’s rights so let’s not decide to do that. Apparently Phil Plait doesn’t give a shit, which is sad.

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