Guest post: What kind of “experts”?

Originally a comment by Artymorty at Miscellany Room 8.

Per the New York Times:

Experts said that young people increasingly have the language and social acceptance to explore their gender identities

This drives me crazy. What kind of “experts”? The journalistic principle in play should be to weigh the testimony of “experts” against the possibility of influence by a religious belief system that’s applying pressure on the debate.

If you’re talking about any other religious belief — say, Scientology — it becomes very clear that there’s two kinds of “experts” about it: believers themselves, and those who look at the belief system from the outside. Everyone on the inside will of course have nothing but good things to say about it because they have to. It’s people on the outside, who at least ostensibly have more freedom to look at it critically, who journalists should seek out for comment.

Of course with trans ideology you could still be under pressure to keep quiet and/or play along with their beliefs even if you don’t personally identify as one — far more so than with Scientologists. Obviously you won’t get an objective take on Scientology from Tom Cruise or Elisabeth Moss, but nor will you from anyone whose line of work could one day put them on the set of The Handmaid’s Tale or a Mission: Impossible movie. For the rest of us trapped in Gender La La Land, disagreeing with trans ideology is the same, and possibly worse: we could even find ourselves in trouble with the law.

So the press really has to take the social pressure aspect into account any time they cite “experts.”

But journalists don’t see it that way because journalists (a) don’t recognize that trans ideology is a quasi-religious belief system, based on ideas that are not backed by science, rooted in feelings that can’t be quantified scientifically; and (b) journalists don’t recognize the extent of the pressure people are under to affirm these religious beliefs. They conflate nonbelief in gender ideology with fringe characters who lack expertise in gender “science” and are motivated by an ideological hostility to progress.

Of course they got this idea in the first place by treating gender ideology believers as “experts” at the outset, and from the very moment journalists took the gender gurus at their word that they knew what they were talking about and that anyone looking in from the outside who disagreed was not to be trusted, this bias just became self-reinforcing.

So we really need to push hard on the fact that gender ideology is a new religion rather than a new science, and one that’s using manipulative tricks to push its agenda. It should be so obvious that this is true! But —by Xenu — look how well their strategy is working: half the atheist movement has fallen for it.

L. Ron Hubbard, crazy as he was, had shrewd insights into how to spread his cult, one of them being to glom his beliefs onto the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, because that’s what had the most appeal to Americans at the time. It wasn’t just a new science, it was a new science that made you glamourous and successful! In just the same way, the pseudoscience of trans ideology has been yoked to the virtues of progressive politics: gay and lesbian rights; identity politics; the civil rights movement. In a way that’s even more fiendishly clever, because its appeal is deeper than aspirations to fame and fortune: it’s morally righteous. Righteousness is stubborn as an ox, and prone to blindness. Blind righteousness is dangerous.

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