Strange bedfellows

Well, gosh, I’ve seen it all now: Answers in Genesis is eager to defend an evolutionary biologist. I suppose it helps that the biologist is an incompetent boob who promotes a lot of bad ideas, and AiG will always favor bad ideas.

Until very recently the statement that male and female are “real biological categories” wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. Most of society, academia, and even the political arena accepted without question that there are two sexes/genders—male and female. But now, what was formerly a benign statement about an obvious reality will end your career. At least, that’s what happened to one evolutionary biologist.

Colin Wright—an outspoken critic of creation and intelligent design—claims he has been “canceled” for speaking up on the biological reality of male and female. In speaking out against the transgender ideology permeating and transforming our culture, he claims he can no longer find work in academia because he’s been labeled a transphobe or as someone holding ideas simply too dangerous to risk guilt by association. (Creationists have had this same problem for decades—simply holding to what the Bible teaches, and what is confirmed by science, about the age and origin of the earth and life is enough to end careers; ironically, creationists are falsely called anti-science by people who now claim there are more than two genders of humans, which is anti-science.)

Oh, Colin Wright. He’s been whining for a while now that nobody wants to hire him, particularly on his venue of choice, Quillette, where he is a managing editor (which explains a lot). I’m not surprised — if his name came up on a job search here, I’d be arguing strongly that he ought to be rejected, and I doubt he’d even get out of the first round of reviews. He’s an evolutionary psychologist! He claims that if you don’t accept his weird understanding of race and sex, you’re an “evolution denier”. He is a transphobe who is confident that there is no continuum of sex and gender, that there is only an absolute binary. He’s also fond of calling everyone who understands that there are more factors than just genes that affect individual identity “blank slaters”, that inanity that Steven Pinker made popular.

It’s not at all odd that Ken Ham would support a crank scientist who believes bullshit that defies our modern understanding and evidence, and further endorses a lot of regressive, conservative views. The only question is…how does Colin Wright feel about his new best friend?

By the way, another reason to shun the idiots at AiG, besides their stupid ideas about evolution, is that they are deeply transphobic.


  1. Matt G says

    The anti-vaxxers, who are frequently at the left end of the spectrum have made common cause with the anti-mask, anti-distance COVID-deniers on the right. We live in strange times.

  2. KG says

    The anti-vaxxers, who are frequently at the left end of the spectrum – Matt G@1

    Can you cite some examples? I’m not saying you can’t, but I frequently see this assertion made (usually by dedicated “bothsiderists”), and can’t recall ever seeing any evidence for it.

  3. specialffrog says

    @Matt G: I think at this stage the larger segment of the anti-vax community are the anti-government conspiracy enthusiasts. I”m not saying the rich liberal anti-vaxxers aren’t still around but it does not seem like they are the bulk of the movement at this stage.

  4. kome says

    Crank magnetism. That’s all I got. The cranks stick together because the underlying cognitive processes that give rise to all the crank ideas is basically the same.

  5. Matt G says

    Please make sure you read what I wrote carefully – I didn’t say that there was MORE anti-vaxx sentiment on the left. There are much lower rates of creationism on the left, but it’s nowhere near zero.

    RFK, Jr. comes to mind, as well as the New Age, herbal remedy, homeopathy, pro-organic, anti-GMO, crystal energy, reiki, magnet therapy, acupuncture crowd. Most of the liberals I know subscribe to some (usually most) of these views. Ask your liberal friends who don’t visit atheist blogs and you’ll be shocked by their scientific illiteracy. It’s depressing. One very liberal friend recently told me that humans are closely related to trees. I’m a member of a feminist group. Almost all of them buy into some kind of pseudoscience.

    Liberal and conservative anti-vaxxers have different motivations:

  6. Matt G says

    KG@3- RE: bothsiderism. I saw a survey which said that two thirds of republicans are creationists, and one third of democrats are creationists. Saying “republicans are creationists and democrats support evolution” is wrong – it paints as black-and-white what is really shades of gray. I’m a flaming liberal, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see when a liberal is making a bad argument – that’s just tribalism. We weaken our position when we fail to call out bad thinking on our side.

  7. mnb0 says

    @8 MattG: it’s equally wrong to assume that Democrats are “at the left end of the spectrum”. Only few are, like AOC and Bernie Sanders. That you call yourself “a flaming liberal” tells me nothing. I’m not a liberal. not even in the American meaning of the word, and am left-wing enough to call AOC and Sanders very moderate.
    As for RFK Jun., I found nothing about his social-economical views, so it’s premature to call him left-wing.
    In other words: don’t assume that a left-winger like me is on the side of a flaming-liberal like you. But I share your sentiment of “calling out bad thinking on” my “side”.

  8. KG says

    Matt G@7, 8,

    You’ve given precisely 1 (one) example – RFK Jr. – and since Kennedy accepted an offer made by Trump to become the chairman of the Vaccine Safety Task Force, his lefty credentials are looking pretty shabby. If you want “New Agers” to count for your claim, you need to show evidence that a significant number of them are both anti-vaxers and politically left.

    We weaken our position when we fail to call out bad thinking on our side.

    I agree. But we need to be able to back up such a call out with evidence rather than hand-waving anecdote – or the call out itself is an example of bad thinking.

  9. blf says

    Orac has repeatedly pointed out that both the vaccine hesitant and the committed antivaxxers are spread across the political spectrum with no obvious concentration at any points on that spectrum (in the States). What is concentrated (in the States) — is on the “conservative” side (e.g., thugs and looneytarians) — are politicians jumping on the freedom to choose gambit; i.e., supporting easy personal preference exemptions and hobbling more medically sound policies. This is also were you find quack groups such as teh AAPS (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons), who, despite the sortof-respectable sounding name, are deep into looneytarian quackery and woo-woo.

  10. publicola says

    Perhaps we should re-define the terms “sex” and “gender”. Sex should be defined as what you’re born with, and gender should mean how you identify. This way, we could avoid all these silly and confusing semantic arguments. You could now be of the male sex, but also of the female gender, (or somewhere in between).

  11. ChrisE84 says

    @12 And what would that solve? Isn’t that a capitulation to TERFs and the extreme right?

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