Marinated in wokeness!

In my previous post on the now-cancelled Coyne (the catapult is probably on the way to his office even now), I neglected to mention the other ludicrous part of his comment defending Ronald Fisher, and since transphobia has been brought up in the comments, is particularly appropriate.

Of course the spread of wokeness means that balanced assessments like this one are rare; usually just the idea that someone espoused eugenics is enough to get them canceled and their honors removed. It saddens me, having already known about Fisher and his views, that what I considered my “own” professional society—the Society for the Study of Evolution—and a society of which I was President, is now marinated in wokeness, cancelling Fisher, hiring “diversity” experts to police the annual meeting at great cost, and making the ludicrous assertion—especially ludicrous for an evolution society—that sex in humans is not binary (read my post on this at the link).

See, Jerry Coyne knows better than most of the members of the Society for the Study of Evolution…and in fact, more than almost all the other national and international biological societies. I’d be impressed if he wasn’t insisting on something that is flatly wrong. The simplest and most obvious refutation — has he never heard of intersex individuals? (He has, but his argument is that sex is strongly bimodal, a fact that doesn’t refute anything in the statement below, and suggests that he doesn’t understand the difference between uncommon and nonexistent.) The differentiation of sex is complex with multiple opportunities for variation.

If you were curious, here’s the ludicrous assertion by the SSE:

We, the Council of the Society for the Study of Evolution, strongly oppose attempts by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to claim that there is a biological basis to defining gender as a strictly binary trait (male/female) determined by genitalia at birth. Variation in biological sex and in gendered expression has been well documented in many species, including humans, through hundreds of scientific articles. Such variation is observed at both the genetic level and at the individual level (including hormone levels, secondary sexual characteristics, as well as genital morphology). Moreover, models predict that variation should exist within the categories that HHS proposes as “male” and “female”, indicating that sex should be more accurately viewed as a continuum.* Indeed, experiments in other organisms have confirmed that variation in traits associated with sex is more extensive than for many other traits. Beyond the false claim that science backs up a simple binary definition of sex or gender, the lived experience of people clearly demonstrates that the genitalia one is born with do not define one’s identity. Diversity is a hallmark of biological species, including humans. As a Society, we welcome this diversity and commit to serving and protecting members regardless of their biological sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

I can’t disagree with any of that.


  1. Amy Peterson says

    “Am I the one who’s wrong? No, it’s the wokeness that’s the problem!”

  2. nomdeplume says

    “the genitalia one is born with do not define one’s identity” and it is no one’s business but your own.

  3. consciousness razor says

    Well, let’s be honest…. Coyne has been a dipshit and an asshole for at least ten years or so, right? I bet you had probably cancelled him at some point and maybe just forgot. Ever since, his cancellation has proceeded and intensified almost imperceptibly through retirement and the more recent parts of his curmudgeonhood.

    By the way, if it’s taking this long, you really need to check on the status of your order from Catapults-R-Us.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Just what do the myriad critics of “The Woke” call themselves? “The Asleep”? “The Comatose”?

  5. says

    “Wokeness” is just the first step on the way toward JUSTICE. Kids who are “woke” are waking up and seeing the injustice and cruelty of the modern world. There’s miles of learning growth still to do. I’ve been an SJW for two decades and I’m still learning. I will be learning and learning until the day I die because the world is an everchanging mutable place. Accept that or die alone old and bitter like my grandfather.

  6. Scott Petrovits says

    I had completely forgotten about Coyne until you brought him up. I was curious, so I checked his Twitter feed, replied to a tweet lamenting how the “Perpetually Offended” (read: people who know more than Jerry Coyne, lol) were now discussing how aloha shirts might be symbols of colonialism, actually. And then he blocked me. What a twit.

  7. dontlikeusernames says

    People get to define themselves and their identity?!? My god, where will it end!?!?

  8. bcw bcw says

    As we know hair can only be black (>75%) so anything else is clearly a birth defect. I guess we could admit a “strongly bimodal” distribution and accept 11% brunettes but clearly there at most two types of hair. Anything else at the percents level and below is clearly defective and we should not admit red heads and blondes as identifying as other hair types but require such persons to be chemically assigned to the appropriate color.

    Having written this, I just remembered that this actually happens in Japan with children being required to dye their hair black for Japanese schools.

  9. says

    It’s been so long that I’ve lost the receipt for the catapult. Or was it a cannon? Or a rocketship? I don’t remember.

  10. microraptor says

    consciousness razor @3: I think that was about the time he first began to rant and rave about the idea that safe spaces were destroying colleges, but it wasn’t until 2014 that he really openly started embracing and promoting far-right ideology. Specifically, he started praising Milo Yiannopoulos because the guy pissed off SJWs while ignoring that the guy’s raging antisemitism. Which I found massively bizarre given Coyne would instantly ban anyone for saying something even the slightest bit critical of Israel.

  11. says

    @#12, microraptor:

    That’s because people who consider “criticism of Israel” to be “antisemitism” are usually hoping to make actual antisemitism get ignored. It’s win-win for antisemites — if they can pull it off, they can use their “support” of Israel to claim they aren’t actually antisemitic and tell local Jews to leave for Israel at the same time.

    This applies to Jewish people as well — Netanyahu’s government pushes the idea while cozying up to far-right antisemitic governments around the world. (Look at who they’ve favored in the US over the last 20 years or so — and if that isn’t enough, look at who they’re buddies with in Europe. IIRC, the only one of the European nationalist borderline-Nazi parties Israel hasn’t been buddies with in the last decade or so is the Le Pen former-Front-Nationale whatever-they’re-calling-their-party-now-that-they’re-hoping-to-rehabilitate-it in France.) AIPAC has been notorious for its willingness to overlook Republican bigotry as long as the Republicans swear fealty to Israel.

    The ADL has dabbled in it, too — but like the centrist faction in the Democratic Party they are starting to wake up to the fact that Republicans were only ever interested in cooperation when it helped them gain power. Now that the GOP under Trump is sufficiently monolithic and mindlessly loyal and detached from reality, they don’t need Blue Dog Democrats or Israeli excuses for antisemitism any more, and you can see that they are starting to drop even the pretense that they ever liked either one of those at all. It’s a pity that their would-be collaborators are going to take a while to notice — there’s a good chance that the people who haven’t got the memo yet (like Joe Manchin) will keep enabling Republicans right up until the Republicans have enough authority to put them in front of firing squads, or — in the case of Israel — fire off the nukes because they’ve talked themselves into the usual wingnut conspiracy theories which Israel has been so happy to help pretend aren’t real antisemitism.

  12. hemidactylus says

    @14- microraptor

    “As a classical liberal (or so I see myself), I have an instinctive revulsion towards the practice of dividing society up into competing groups and demonizing them on an oppression scale.”- Jerry Coyne

    Note the emphasis is mine [Hemi]

    I have no idea if Coyne even knows what “classical liberal” even means. He’s babbled quite a bit about “Critical Theory” without demonstrating the slightest familiarity with the field. The epitome of Dunning-Kruger (as popularly invoked) given he “finished Pluckrose’s and Lindsay’s new book”. I doubt he could tell Adorno from Marcuse from Honneth and he might think Derrida was part of German Critical Theory or that Ibram X. Kendi is too for that matter. Coyne is an ignorant clown but doesn’t let that stop him from rambling nonstop about stuff with which he is unfamiliar.

    So is Coyne really a “classical liberal” or is that a fancy label he latched onto? Discuss.

  13. hemidactylus says

    While I am at it this here ranks as one of the most amusing indications of Coyne stunning ignorance on which he should STFU until actually educating himself (good luck with that):

    “And then the poor PoMos and Critical Theorists get their drubbing (remember, the roots of Critical Theory are in the filthy humus of postmodernism)”
    emphasis mine [Hemi]

    Wow, just wow! Piled high and deeper. This is after he kinda sorta read Lindsay’s and Pluckrose’s book. Even they aren’t that ignorant.

  14. billseymour says

    @11: LOL. It seems like troups could run over the hill in much less time than it takes to load and cock the machine, and get off much more accurate shots.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Re. Transphobia. It seems some fish have solved the issue in a straightforward manner: They are male while small and become female when they grow larger. If they ever evolve sapience , transphobia is unlikely to become a thing.
    And when I consider chameleons, nature does not seem to consider skin color an immutable quality either.
    So those who yell “it is unnatural” are not well informed.

  16. davidc1 says

    @8 I used to read his blog ,in Dec 2019 i was a bit pissed off that that twatfaced twat johnson got elected ,i posted a harmless comment about wanting to kill all tories .
    H said i should say sorry or he will ban me ,i replied saying it had been fun reading his blog ,and wished him all the best .
    Haven’t been back since .He did send me a nice message in August 2018 when i told him one of my cats had ben run over .
    He does seem to brand anyone who makes even the smallest criticism of Israel as an anti-semite

  17. blf says

    poopyhead@10, The mildly deranged penguin has a fine collection of trébuchets, and is quite willing to send one. She’s now looking up the latitude and longitude of UMM, and will then use one of her ballistic trébuchets to send a suitable model. Look for a large spider-ish contraption (lots of bits and pieces sticking out in various directions, especially after landing) crashing down out of the sky rather soon. Some minor repairs might be required, she doesn’t bother with contraptions like retrorocketstrébuchets, parachutes or skycranes (and complains Nasa isn’t interested in her methods of landing on, e.g., Mars).

  18. Meurig ap Gweirydd says

    I do hate people who can’t grasp extremely large or extremely small probabilities.

    The odds of Jerry Coyne (also true for each and every human ever born) existing as the person he is are around one in 30 trillion (1:30,000,000,000,000), based solely on the (rough) average number of available eggs in his mother’s ovaries and the average number of live sperm in his father’s ejaculate at the time of conception.

    Does this mean Jerry Coyne can’t possible exist? I wish it did, but obviously he does exist despite all the odds against it.

  19. says


    Just what do the myriad critics of “The Woke” call themselves? “The Asleep”? “The Comatose”?

    They call themselves “Red-Pilled.” Because they all watched The Matrix and saw that the effect of the red pill was to make whoever takes it…not wake up?

    Okay, they probably actually didn’t watch The Matrix.

  20. Pierce R. Butler says

    183231bcb @ # 23: They call themselves “Red-Pilled.”

    Back in my street days, we just called those pills “reds”, and pharmacists called them “barbituates”. Both called those who ate them “nodded out”, or “dead” … fair enough for the opposite of “woke” in any sense.

    This really ought to rank down there with “Teabagger” as a neofascist verbal self-pwn.

  21. hemidactylus says

    @24- Pierce R. Butler

    I thought “teabagger” was what those of us who despised the “Tea Party” called them for obvious reasons. Did they actually call themselves that? I preferred “tinfoil tricorns”.

    Tea Party itself came from someone named Rick Santelli whining at the Chicago Merc about the gov’t helping people with their mortgages during the mortgage based securities driven economic collapse.

  22. Pierce R. Butler says

    hemidactylus @ # 25 – Yes, some of them did call themselves “teabaggers”, back in what passed for their glory days, but that only lasted for a few weeks before their, ah, less unsophisticated comrades passed the word not to use that word.

    You’re right about Santelli – he was also a commentator on CNBC, which gave his rantings wide coverage. He intended to push an anti-Obama tax revolt (“tea” for him meant “taxed enough already”), but found his “movement” quickly co-opted by the usual reactionary Culture War crusades.

    I suppose the progression from “Tea Party” to insurrection does follow the historical pattern, and we might shoehorn the Committees of Correspondence and the Minutemen and maybe even Thomas Paine in there somewhere – but without a France stepping up with lots of guns and money, the rest of the Revolutionary parallel seems rather unlikely. (I feel sure V. Putin knows enough history not to want to play the role of Louis XVI.)