People are skilled at lying to themselves

Both Alex and Heina have excellent articles on the association of religion with LGBTQ people. It’s an absurdity that Christianity accommodates both Fred Phelps and Marcella Althaus-Reid, telling us definitively what Jesus’ opinions on homosexuality were, and both of them giving completely contradictory answers. The problem is that Jesus and Mohammed and Moses are completely malleable imaginary authority figures who can be invoked to justify anything — Jesus simultaneously blesses the peacemakers and comes with a sword in that muddled book of myths, the Bible, so pacifists and warmongers are both happy to adopt his ‘philosophy’. It’s not at all surprising, then, that both queer folk and gay-haters happily quote their holy books to justify whatever the hell they believe.

But it’s dishonest. And it invalidates the holy books — they’re obviously just Rorschach blots for any gullible brain looking for an authoritarian fallacy to back up their bullshit.

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New Age rape-blaming

I really can’t help it — when astrology is mentioned, my lip curls into a sneer, my gorge rises, my vision is clouded over with red, and I start snarling out profanity. But you can’t even imagine how outraged I can be when astrologers start predicting and blaming rape on the stars. Seriously. I think I cut my tongue on my newly erupting fangs, which is why I started spitting blood.

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Not so much a defense of Watson as an indictment of modern biology

An interesting post on The Trouble with Jim Watson. Watson and biology are victims of a successful paradigm — you could still argue that that paradigm is partly Watson’s fault! — and you can’t really kick Watson unless you also take a few swings at how molecular genetics has produced a skewed, simplistic, and deterministic view of how life operates.

The trouble with Watson, then, is not how aberrant he is, but how conventional. He is no more—but no less—than an embodiment of late twentieth-century biomedicine. He exemplifies how a near-exclusive focus on the genetic basis of human behavior and social problems tends to sclerose them into a biologically determinist status quo. How that process occurs seems to me eminently worth observing and thinking about. Watson is an enigmatic character. He has managed his image carefully, if not always shrewdly. It is impossible to know what he “really thinks” on most issues, but I do believe this much: he believes that his main sin has been excessive honesty. He thinks he is simply saying what most people are afraid to say.

Unfortunately, he may be right.

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Two steps forward, one step back

Most Minnesota high schools have settled something well: there will be no further discrimination against transgender students in athletics.

Capping months of emotional debate that brought tens of thousands of e-mails, the board overseeing high school athletics in Minnesota overwhelmingly said yes Thursday to opening up girls’ sports to transgender student-athletes.

The decision by the Minnesota State High School League will take effect in the 2015-16 school year, making the state the 33rd to adopt a formal transgender student policy.

The board set out criteria for determining whether transgender students who were born male but identify as female can be eligible for girls’ teams at the nearly 500 schools in the league’s membership. State law already permits girls to compete in boys’ sports.

Except (there’s always an “except”)…

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