The battle of the chromosomes and human ungratefulness
I came across a much upsetting piece of news a couple of days ago: Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist, world renowned author and activist, had his 1996 Humanist of The Year award revoked by the American Humanist Association over a recent tweet of his. The tweet was posted on the 10th of April and was intended to inspire debate on transgender ideology. Specifically, Dawkins wrote: ''In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.
You can imagine the extend of the online outrage this tweet caused. We live in a world where 'liberal' opinions on gender and identity have become a form of new, secular religious dogma that no one seems to have the right to say anything about, or even attempt to discuss like Dawkins did! A man who I have been admiring for his scientific integrity and commitment to the truth since I read his 'Selfish Gene' when I was 15. He has been one of the greatest British scientists and thinkers ever, a devoted humanist and activist who has dedicated his life trying to make the world a more reasonable place. His ways have not always been the smoothest but during his active years so far he hasn't shown any disrespect to people on the base of their gender, sexual preferences or race. People who have read his work know it's quite the opposite actually. His criticism of Abrahamic religions is actually a cry for reason and an attack on patriarchy, including racism, misogyny and homophobia that come with it.
So what is this man's crime that caused a turbulence and disruption big enough for him to be treated by some as an online villain ? He initiated a discussion. He asked a reasonable question. Why can't a person identify as of different race than the actual genetic one, but they can identify as of the opposite sex? It's a pretty reasonable question. After all, the genetic differences between people of different races are less than than the ones between men and women. What is the basis of this distinction, who decided this is how things are now, and why can't we not talk about it? If an evolutionary biologist does not have the right to discuss such scientific matters then who does? Politicians of course! Now, I see two problems here. The first and bigger one is the ongoing attack on free speech. Social media banning users, deleting posts and videos, people losing their positions and dignity over something controversial that they said ages ago and new hate crime laws being voted for recently in the UK and Scottish parliament. So are we supposed to be afraid to express our opinions and beliefs? Is this part of the new normal? As much as I would like to I cannot see this not being related to the pandemic governments rhetoric, our confinement in our houses and the slow and gradual acceptance of our loss of personal freedom. And what is most controversial about these opinions and conformist beliefs, is that it is the 'liberals' and 'lefties' who strongly express them. The people who have traditionally fought for the ideal of democracy and against the restriction of freedom of any kind. You cannot have democracy without freedom of speech, a five year old knows that. So, what is going on?
The second problem I see is less obvious, and although it is a part of the first problem, it also has a life of its own. Is this about male entitlement again? How is it naturally assumed that it is so simple to be a woman that you can just decide one day that you are one? I feel that this is another attack on women. Lets not fool ourselves, we haven't so far reached a point of equality between men and women and there are still a lot of issues to be addressed. We are not even close. Sexism is bigger than racism and homophobia, mainly because it affects half the human population. And yet we still let religions abuse women in the name of religious tolerance (or better, fear), men bully them and discriminate against them at work every day, parents and husbands sabotage their confidence every other minute since the time of their birth. It is still there, it is often subtle and not many like to talk about it. I feel we need to celebrate women first. We need to celebrate every aspect. We need to celebrate the menstruation and the clitoris, or at least start acknowledging their existence and function. We need to help women to stop being embarrassed for being female. We need men to feel that it is OK for a woman to be better than them at work. Thousands of years of suppression and now they tell us everyone can be a woman if they feel like it. No! It is not that easy. Nobody has proven anything like that yet and until then people have the right to doubt it. And since we live in a so called democratic society, we can doubt it openly and without fear.
After all, we need scientists like Richard Dawkins, and not ignorant politicians with neo-totalitarian agendas, to discuss subjects like this and come to a conclusion based on scientific evidence and good old fashioned reasoning.