Totally unsurprising Epsteinism

You just knew that Jeffrey Epstein had to have had this conversation over and over again.

“He hates every story starting with ‘billionaire pervert,’” Mr. Hay said. “Jeffrey had long stories about the difference between pedophilia with very young children and tweens and teens a little older.” He added, “It was his way of trying to talk his way around it.”

“Long stories”? Oh, do tell. Let’s hear them. Was Lawrence Krauss a receptive audience for these stories?

On second thought, no. I don’t have a puke bucket on hand. These may come out in the trial, though, so I think I’m going to have to avoid reading the transcripts.


Here’s something else to avoid reading: the official charges against Epstein. Not safe for work if you move your lips while reading.

I almost felt pity for evolutionary psychology

I detest evolutionary psychology. I consider it to be bad evolutionary biology, bad psychology, and just plain bad science. But there is something I detest even more, and that’s when evolutionary psychologists try to confidently explain why I dislike evolutionary psychology, and get everything wrong. Today I stumbled across a masterpiece of the genre, which on top of every other problem, is incredibly badly written to the point of incoherence.

It’s titled “Four Reasons why Evolutionary Psychology is Controversial”, by Bernard Crespi. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t even consider the idea that maybe it’s just wrong. He charges off with a bunch of assertions about why some people dislike it, and misses the mark most of the time.

Evolutionary psychology, like sociobiology or Marxism, has become associated with controversy. Why should it, and why has it? Yes, debates about evolution totter endlessly along, and psychology remains a discipline that sometimes seems orphaned by both humanities and the hard sciences.

So evolution is “controversial”?; but it isn’t, not among scientists. Likewise, psychology isn’t controversial. It’s a real science tackling some of the most complex phenomena we know of, human behavior. There are healthy debates about specifics and methodology and even some general principles, but this doesn’t mean they’re “controversial” as a whole.

Why should combining psychology and evolution ignite a confabulation of loathing, fear, and scientific vitriol?

This is what I mean by incoherence. He’s just said evolution is controversial, and psychology is controversial, and now asks, why should combining two controversial things be controversial? His thesis is a mess. I would say instead that the question is about why forcing two different & valid disciplines together would produce an unpopular mish-mash, but that’s not where he’s going. Among other things, he’s going to express contempt for psychology, and argue that the virtue of evolution is its extreme reductionism. Ick.

Four reasons, by my reckoning.

Yes, he’s got four bad reasons. Let’s go through them.

First, not only do we (here, a royal ‘we’ of evolutionary biologists like myself) expect very many people to not understand evolution, because it is too simple and mechanistic for our meaning-laden world;

Wait. That’s just wrong. People who do understand evolution will tell you that it’s complex, subtle, and mathematical; there are a few core ideas that Darwin came up with that you can pick up by reading a 160 year old book, but it has become rather more sophisticated since the Origin. But now he’s going to begin by giving us a cartoon version of evolution that is simple, and wrong.

we also predict that people should reject evolution because one of its core provisos is that people, you and me, should generally behave so as to maximize their relative fitness.

But…but…that’s not true. Much of human behavior is irrational. We have drives that often lead us to do stupid things that compromise our fitness. Isn’t that one of the important ideas of modern economics?

Maybe one of the reasons that people reject Crespi’s version of evolution is that it is trivially falsified.

Competition, survival, reproduction, of the fittest? Not me, you? For shame.

Someone explain to me what he’s trying to say here.

Evolutionary theory indeed predicts that we should each believe, or at least rationalize, ourselves to be mutualistic, altruistic, and moral nearly to a fault, because that is one of the best ways to get the edge on, or into, our competitors, be they individuals or other groups1.

As a counterexample…Donald Trump. While he may certainly believe that he is a saint, his behavior is not mutualistic, altruistic, or moral. I really don’t understand how Crespi expects to make an assertion without evidence, of a claim that we can trivially counter, and expect us to be persuaded.

So are you a believer now?

No.

Evolution is controversial because its very existence seems to attack our core beliefs about our own goodness, and the biggest questions regarding human purpose.

Now we’re getting somewhere. Yes, I can accept this one sentence, because materialistic, secular ideas about human origins do undermine social and religious conventions, and strip humanity of an external source of purpose. But the statement about core beliefs about our own goodness is just weird, living in a culture where the dominant religious traditions all claim that we are inherently hellbound sinners, that our nature is evil, requiring divine intervention to save us. Also, he’s just going to abandon this point and plummet forward.

Second, psychology purports to study the brain, but can it do so scientifically, like other disciplines?

Psychology studies behavior, not the brain, although there are interdisciplinary scientists who study the physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. So ok, why is it questionable whether psychology is a science?

Will generating questionnaires, and treating humans in modern, novel environments like lab rats, illuminate the inner-workings of the most complicated known structure in our universe?

“Generating questionnaires”, which is not the only technique psychologists have at their disposal, is simply one mechanism for observing human behavior. Putting humans in novel environments is an experimental method. So psychology uses both observation and experiment, key parts of the scientific method, so what’s the complaint here?

The hard sciences are hard because they are reductionistic – they infer mechanisms, processes, parts that, combined together, explain the workings of whole systems.

Reductionism, especially the kind of naive reductionism Crespi seems to be advocating, is not the be-all and end-all of a science — not evolutionary biology and not psychology. There is a place for synthesis and emergent behavior in both disciplines.

They conduct controlled, predictive experiments.

Like psychology does?

They have conceptual frameworks built from math and data, not fashion.

Like psychology does?

Look, “hard” and “soft” sciences are colloquial buzzwords that do not reflect the actual methodology of the labeled disciplines. I know too many psychologists, so-called soft scientists, who apply more mathematical and statistical rigor to their work than I, a “hard scientist”, do. I get away with it because I work with simpler phenomena that have a higher degree of reproducibility, and fewer confounding variables. So far the only thing Crespi is saying is that he has an irrational bias against psychology.

So armed, they ratchet forward, fact by incontrovertible fact. ‘Soft’ disciplines are soft because they reject reduction, and indeed often claim post-modern relativity for all.

That’s pure nonsense. Most psychology studies are strong examples of reduction, attempts to simplify and quantify complex phenomena by reducing variables. His statement that they “claim post-modern relativity” is garbage, another common buzzword thrown about by lazy incompetents. Citation fucking needed.

Psychology is a soft science because it cannot reduce – there is no place to go except neuroscience, which would swallow it up with nary a belch, given the chance.

I come from a background in neuroscience — in biology, we do a lot of work on single cells, or small manageable networks of cells. Psychologists are looking at a whole different level of behavior. This assertion is assuming that complex, higher-level behavior is derivable from the biophysics of individual cells. It is not.

Evolutionary biology is historical but also reductionist, in that it specifies the precise set of processes whereby all phenotypes have come to be, and change, and it tells us how to discover what functions they serve.

Say what? With few exceptions, we don’t have the “precise set of processes” — we have general models with predictive power. We certainly don’t know how all phenotypes have come to be, or what functions every phenotype serves. This is kind of a charitable panglossian optimism that he refuses to apply to any other discipline, and that also plays right into the hands of creationists. But now we get into the revealing stuff.

As such, it illuminates all domains of science, from genetic sequence through to human behavior – or at least would, if allowed to by academic practitioners. Psychology is controversial because it is a soft science trying to answer the hardest of question, how the brain works. It can’t.

“If allowed to by academic practitioners” — there’s a reason that the majority of academics do not accept this smug reductionist view that you can explain behavior with genes — it’s false. We can’t.

Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. It tries to answer questions appropriate to its purview. To bring up a question not within its purview and criticize it for failing to answer it is dishonest and deceptive.

Third, evolutionary psychology was forged in a crucible of polemic, as specific schools of thought, such as the school of highly-modular fitness-increasing brain functions developed by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby. These researchers staked out strong claims, trained talented students, and attacked intellectually-neighboring tribes.

Yes, they invited controversy by modeling the evolution of the brain in ways that they could not support with evidence, and postulating structures (“modules”) that were poorly defined and lacking in actual support. That’s the primary problem, not that their students were evangelical about it all.

Adopting one side of polarized viewpoints, and sticking to it, remains a highly-effective route to scientific notoriety, even though in almost all such fierce academic battles both sides are partially correct, and both partially wrong.

“They were just doing it for the clicks.” I’ve seen that argument before. Also this weird claim that both sides are equally wrong and the truth lies in the middle. Bleh.

We are a deeply tribal species, and we love observing, or joining in, a good scrap. In this case, though, an entire emerging, integrative field has become conflated with extreme views of how the mind thinks, which has made for inviting targets but distracted from the much more general usefulness of evolutionary thinking.

Yeah, why can’t everyone just use the methods of evolutionary biology to answer their questions? No matter what they are. Also, precisely what is this emerging field integrating? I would think it’s evolutionary biology plus psychology, but we already know Crespi despises psychology. Why would you praise a field for fusing with a discipline you detest?

Will psychology eventually be torn asunder, like anthropology has been into post-modern, anti-evolutionary ‘culturalists’ versus mainstream but human-centric and evolution-minded biologists? Will economics? One can only hope.

So. Much. Bad. Writing.

And so much right-wing buzzwording. “Post-modern” is always a good insult for people who don’t understand it, and no, I don’t see cultural anthropology as abandoning evolution. What about economics?

“One can only hope” … what? Is he saying that tearing disciplines asunder is a desirable outcome?

Fourth, ‘psyche’ indeed means ‘soul’, and for psychologists, the hostile tribes of evolutionary biology threaten to steal it away, and subsume their discipline in its mechanistic, reductionist embrace.

Whut?

He’s making an argument from etymology? Because “psychology” is called “psychology” does not imply that all psychologists therefore believe in souls.

The irony here is that if there is any discipline that has no soul – that is, no unifying conceptual framework – it is psychology, which has flitted from one arbitrary, more or less imaginary construct to the next since Wilhelm Wundt began treating introspection as data.

Now we redefine “soul”. Jeez, but Crespi is annoyingly tendentious.

Of course psychology has produced deeply fascinating insights over its many years. Of course we need a top-down approach to understanding how the brain works, to meet neuroscience inexorably burrowing up from the bottom. But don’t we need a mind-set that recognizes that the brain and mind have evolved, like finches and opposable thumbs?

Yes, psychology has a niche and works well within it. However, there is nothing in psychology that implies that the brain has not evolved.

Any discipline would fight like hell to defend its very existence, or at least resist radical transformation at the hands of competitors. Controversy indeed often leads to scientific revolution, with casualties on both sides.

Where is this nonsense coming from? The existence of psychology is not imperiled by evolution, or by knowledge about the material structure of the brain, so this is a purely imaginary conflict. All the psychologists I know have been fairly materialistic and see biology of the brain as complementary to their work.

So let’s wrap all this tangled trash with Crespi’s grand conclusion.

Evolutionary psychology is like evolutionary anything: it is founded on a way of thinking about how the world works, how it has come to be, and how to understand it. It works by telling us what hypotheses to test, what data to collect, and how to interpret our results. The fires of controversy over this emerging field have generated both heat and light, but better understanding of their sources will, I think, help us to control the flames and put them to better use.

I’m trying to wade through his metaphor. He seems to be equating evolutionary psychology with evolutionary biology (they aren’t the same at all), and that the controversies over evolutionary psychology are interfering with its assimilation of psychology (boo, hiss). To summarize his four incoherent arguments for why EP is controversial:

  1. Evolution is simple, reductionist, and predicts humans are altruistic, therefore it is good.
  2. Psychology isn’t synonymous with neurobiology, therefore it is soft and bad. Psychology just plain sucks.
  3. Evolutionary psychology is controversial, which makes it popular.
  4. Psychology sucks, part 2, because it has no soul, and evolutionary biology steals souls, and besides, psychology doesn’t recognize that the brain evolved.

This is simply bad logic.

I don’t think psychology should just accept the dominion of evolutionary psychology, because EP is wrong — it’s a purely adaptationist paradigm built on flawed preconceptions and lazy methodology. EP can’t possibly test assumptions about the evolution of the human mind over the last 100,000 years by facile observations of Western middle-class college students. Especially not when it’s defenders don’t understand evolution at all, and reduce everything to blind adaptationism.

But then, this article by Crespi is so awful that I can imagine all the evolutionary psychologists begging for him not to help them anymore.

I thought CNBC was supposed to be slightly “liberal”

Some people think so. But then I ran across this article: This simple tipping trick could save you over $400 a year. Before you click the link, guess what the “simple trick” is.

It’s the stunning insight of “tip less”. In order to justify two dozen paragraphs, a video, and a fancy info-graphic, though, they have to justify it with some cheesy detailed rigamarole about how instead of shifting the decimal point in your bill one to the left and doubling it to get 20%, you should know the sales tax rate in the state, look at the tax on your bill, and use that to calculate the tip.

The second group uses the information provided to them on their bill to double the tax (8.875 percent in a place like New York City) and arrive at a tip close to 18 percent. In a state like Maryland where tax is 6 percent, they triple the tax instead.

It’s math, therefore it is correct. Never mind that you’re simply stiffing the staff a few bucks and then inventing a secret formula to rationalize it.

And then they have a bar graph to illustrate how much you’d save by tipping less, and went out to Times Square to interview people and ask if they were supportive of their “trick”. I hope the nerd who slapped that stupidity together feels really dirty right now.

Their earthshaking conclusion: less money tipped is more money saved. No shit, Sherlock. I am forced to conclude that CNBC is simply stupid, not liberal at all.

Oh, god, Peterson is such a fool

I’ll say something more substantial about this later, but Jordan Peterson opened his mouth and said something stupid, and I got slapped in the face with it this morning, and I’m still trying to recover.

Morgane Oger is a transgender woman, and a court ruled that she’d been discriminated against and libeled by Christian flyer that was sent around that misgendered her and made various religious claims condemning homosexuality. This has obviously stirred up the conservative Christians and Jordan Peterson (but I repeat myself). What Peterson wrote is such flaming nonsense I’m going to have compose something to explain cell non-autonomous sex determination — and maybe some disambiguation about chromosomes vs. DNA vs. cells that I would have thought an “evolutionary biologist” like Peterson should already understand.

But then I made a mistake. A terrible awful mistake. I thought I honestly should look a little deeper into what Peterson actually says at length, because I know the first thing that will happen if I criticize that demented drongo is a swarm of his cultists would fall on me howling about how I have to listen to hours and hours of his lectures to understand him. So I tried.

I opened up one of his podcasts.

OH MY GOD.

That thing is 2.5 hours long. Hours of garbage about…this.

Lecture II in my Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories from May 23 at Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto. In this lecture, I present Genesis 1, which presents the idea that a pre-existent cognitive structure (God the Father) uses the Logos, the Christian Word, the second Person of the Trinity, to generate habitable order out of pre-cosmogonic chaos at the beginning of time. It is in that Image that Man and Woman are created — indicating, perhaps, that it is (1) through speech that we participate in the creation of the cosmos of experience and (2) that what true speech creates is good.

It is a predicate of Western culture that each individual partakes in some manner in the divine. This is the true significance of consciousness, which has a world-creating aspect.

I listened to a half hour of it. It’s word salad delivered in a stream-of-consciousness fashion by a babbling loon who talks really fast. I gave up at around the 37 minute mark when he mentions that he’ll get around to talking about Genesis 1 shortly.

Now I have to get out of the house and go for a walk and spend some time in the gym to clear my head. I pity those people who willingly listen to this gomer at length.

Later. After I’ve recovered.


Holy shit. After reading that drivel by Peterson, read this letter defending him by…Richard Dawkins.

Once upon a time, I would have thought Richard Dawkins would have regarded giving a pretentious, empty-headed twit like Peterson a visiting professorship at Cambridge to be an “ignominious disgrace.” And jeez, whining about selfies is just so old-man-shakes-fist-at-clouds.

OK, now I’ve got to go out the door and away. Maybe I’ll also need to spend some time cooing over spiders to cool off.

No, I never heard of him before

I got an email bringing this guy, Owen Benjamin, to my attention and asking if I’d ever heard of him.

No, I had not.

Now I have, and I regret it greatly. He’s a conspiracy theorist who is a fan of Jordan Peterson, thinks we never landed on the moon, that the arguments for a flat earth are reasonable, and that evolution is false. Watch this excerpt in which he brags incessantly about his high IQ, greater than that of any scientist, and then bumbles about claiming that macroevolution couldn’t have happened.

Warning: this video brings on an “expert” to debunk him, and that “expert” is Jean-François Gariépy, a lousy fascist/racist white-ethnostate crusader who doesn’t understand evolution, either. It’s generally a hot mess of ugly.

I had to resocket my jaw after watching that, so I figure it’s only fair that I inflict him on everyone else, too. Jeez, but YouTube is a hothouse for growing the worst people on Earth.

Jordan Peterson gets email

He gets evidence that those damned Leftists are corrupting the purity of STEM, and shares it with the world. It’s embarrassing. He doesn’t understand anything he’s talking about.

Well, I’m just going to have to spit out what went through my mind as I read it.

I would like to inform you that your assertion about post modernism bastardizing the sciences is an accurate one.

Anyone want to take any bets on whether either of these bozos understand what “post modernism” is?

I am taking a Big Data certificate program at York University. We are, for no apparent reason, being forced to read a book about how data analytics is creating inequality and discrimination in our society.

If you bet that he did, you lose. Post modernism is not the same as recognizing structural inequities in society. Expecting students to understand the consequences of their work is not outside the bounds of a course.

Oh, but he is being FORCED to read a textbook for no apparent reason. I would think that a fellow academic colleague would know about this bad attitude: a student comes into a class, thinking they already know it all, and anything the professor assigns is a priori deemed irrelevant. They why are you taking the class, bucko? Did you forget that you’re here to learn new things?

I think there is an apparent reason the student is assigned that book. It’s because Big Data fucking matters. It has an impact on society. You need to be conscious of that fact, here’s a book that is going to make you think about what you are doing.

Unless, of course, you’re a cocky Peterast who thinks actions don’t have material outcomes.

This seems wholly inappropriate for a course that is fundamentally structured around learning computer programming.

Where you, the student, know better than the instructor what is “appropriate” in a subject you haven’t learned about yet.

The specific author we are being forced to read is Cathy O’Neal

FORCED!!! Wait, wait. Cathy O’Neil? MathBabe? @mathbabedotorg? She’s brilliant. Your course sounds like it must be very good, sharing interesting perspectives.

who is part of occupy wall street, black lives matter, and who is a blue haired third wave feminist who uses her credentials to push her ideology.

Yeah, credentials! Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard, taught at MIT, left academia to make money in the financial industry, left that after discovering how soulless it is, has written several well-received books on data science, you know, that subject you claim to be studying. But she has blue hair.

Here’s a short video in which O’Neil explains how data science algorithms are not intrinsically objective.

That sounds like an important perspective, to me. Maybe you ought to pay attention in class, Big Data Person.

She has written about how all university admissions are biased, not just Harvard’s, and this is primarily because the SATs and other intelligence testing is correlated to income, and without proof, concludes that this necessitates bias towards privileged people.

If you find in your data analysis that rich people are preferentially getting into college, then that is evidence of a bias. If your hypothesis is that rich people are more intelligent, you need to provide independent evidence that that is the case. (I know what to expect: the circular argument that well, rich people are admitted to college, therefore they must be smart. I got into college, therefore I am smart enough to spot a logical fallacy at a thousand paces.)

It is actual insanity that this woman is regarded with high enough esteem to be teaching her perspective to people who are learning data analytics techniques.

Why is it insane? Because she has blue hair and is a woman, therefore everything is ideological? Read her book. Learn to analyze the information she presents, because that’s what she does. It is, supposedly, what you are taking a class to learn more about.

It appears they want to instantiate an ideological motivation into our purpose for analyzing data.

I know this one, too. You want to pretend that your ideology that data is totally objective and unbiased is not an ideology. You cannot simply “analyze data” without awareness of the assumptions and hypotheses that surround that analysis.

I see this sentiment at my job as well where we have employees who are PHD level social psychologists conducting research projects around the concept of implicit bias testing even though they claim a comprehensive understanding of quantitative analytics.

I don’t get it. This clown is writing to Peterson, a PHD [sic] level psychologist, implying that PHD [sic] level psychologists can’t possibly have a comprehensive understanding of quantitative analytics? I know a few psychologists. Many of them have a better understanding of statistics and mathematics in general than I do. Yet Peterson considers this a valid complaint? Much confusion here.

Also, that understanding of implicit bias comes from a quantitative analysis of data. Try reading the literature…which is what your instructor is trying to get you to do, while you run crying and screaming to Jordan Peterson to get the bad blue-haired lady to stop making you think.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to take my place in this realm with confidence when I am being force fed this propaganda on all fronts.

FORCE FED!! How dare teachers make you aware of what you don’t know. It might hurt your self-esteem. Where’s the hug box for aspiring data scientists who don’t want to be FORCED to think about the meaning of their work?

It is hard to move forward with this constant bombardment of counter factual forces that we are being obliged to follow or be termed unqualified for the position.

FORCES! If you refuse to consider the effects of and reasoning behind the algorithms you use, then it’s true: you’re unqualified for the position. You want to be a mindless coder. That is not what a data scientist does.

Man, that was painful. That Jordan Peterson thinks it was persuasive in any way, rather than just the entitled whine of a selfish child who doesn’t want to learn, should tell us that he is just another know-nothing anti-intellectual.

Boghossian in a panic!

He thinks he’s going to be fired from his position at Portland State. That’s not necessarily the case, but Boghossian has been found guilty of ethical misconduct for his “grievance studies” exercise.

Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University and the only one of three researchers on the project to hold a full-time academic position, was found by his institutional review board to have committed research misconduct. Specifically, he failed to secure its approval before proceeding with research on human subjects — in this case, the journal editors and reviewers he was tricking with his absurd but seemingly well-researched papers.

Their defense is peculiar. James Lindsay literally says “It’s not actually scholarship”, Pluckrose says, “They can’t say we needed IRB approval…because there weren’t any real human subjects”, and that they couldn’t ask for IRB approval because that would tip off the (human) reviewers they were trying to trick. But that’s nonsense — of course you can do blind and double-blind studies on humans, IRBs approve those all the time. Here’s what they actually expected:

“An IRB protocol application should have been submitted to the Office of Research Integrity,” reads a determination letter from Portland state’s IRB dated last month. “University policy requires that all research involving human subjects conducted by faculty, other employees and students [on campus] must have prior review and approval by the IRB.”

Exactly. As an extra bonus, having an official declaration of exactly what they were trying to do and how they planned to analyze it ahead of time would have been more persuasive that they were actually doing a real study. But they weren’t, and they’ve even admitted it — if it’s not really scholarship, then what was it? I don’t know. Garbage? A publicity stunt? Propaganda?

It’s also the hypocrisy.

Over all, Christensen said he and Sears believe that Boghossian “wants to have it both ways.” That is, publicly presenting his project as a “rigorous study that exposed flaws in the peer-review system” while also “claiming that the hoax wasn’t a genuine study, and therefore IRB approval doesn’t apply.”

I don’t do research on humans, but even I know this kind of work demands IRB review (spider research doesn’t, at all), and I’m a bit shocked that they didn’t even discuss it with an IRB officer. I don’t even see any reason to expect that the application would be turned down, except possibly over its lack of rigor and poor foundation. By not going through the protocols — which even Boghossian admits are important and necessary — they did a disservice to research.

I agree with this assessment.

“We think that he did commit academic fraud, by design, and that some professional sanctions might be warranted,” Christensen continued. Boghossian and his colleagues “did misrepresent themselves, they did falsify their evidence and they did commit a serious infraction of research misconduct by deceiving these editors, wasting the time of the readers and then publicly slandering the journals and their fields. It is the right of any university to investigate fraud perpetrated by its employees.”

They also wasted the time of reviewers — you know that reviewing papers is unpaid service work for professors, right?

But guess who is defending Boghossian: Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker. Of course.

At least we’ve got the authors on record now admitting that their “study” wasn’t a study, and wasn’t even any kind of scholarship at all.

Shocking revelation about my core discipline

My whole worldview is in upheaval. I thought I had a Ph.D. in biology, and broadly understood what that entailed, but now I learn that the proper way to parse the name of the discipline is not to read “bio” as “life”, but “bi” as in “two”. I’m a two-ologist!

Isn’t folk etymology fun? Especially when wielded by a conspiracy-theorist, racist, sexist, climate-change-denying, pro-war MAGAt to get the rationalization he wants.

Wow. That boy is stupid.

Oh no! The libs castrated the cookies!

I am totally confused now. Tammy Bruce is on Fox News with Tucker Carlson arguing that gingerbread cookies are obviously male.

So, uh…they have penises? Or Y chromosomes? Or higher testosterone levels? Those are the usual criteria these loons use to argue for the inviolability and absolute rigidity of the male/female binary. Cookies don’t have any of those.

Are they finally admitting that gender is a social construct, that in the absence of biological markers they get to dictate by convention what sex a piece of baked dough is?

Also, Tucker Carlson has been spiritually neutered. But we all already knew that.

This “gender reveal” nonsense is getting out of hand

I’ve been in this rodeo a few times: 3 children, 2 grandchildren. We’ve been through that period of anxiety where you want to know the status of the pregnancy, and somewhere early in the second trimester you find out the sex of the fetus…and it’s no big deal, except that it’s a landmark in development, so it’s always good to know that all is progressing smoothly. That’s it. We were not hung up on getting a boy or a girl, because you know they’re all good kids.

Some people, though, stage these elaborate events where they tell everyone it’s a boy or a girl. Really elaborate. Like this act of stupidity:

That was the start of the Sawmill Fire in Arizona — some dumbass had to set off an exploding target with colored smoke to show off whether a fetus had a penis or a vagina. And he just had to set it off in a dry, grassy, arid place. Look at that sere landscape, full of dry brush — you’d think anyone would be smart enough to know that this is not the place for a fiery explosion.

You’ll be pleased to know they’re having a boy, and they’ve also been slapped with a $220,000 fine. He got off really easy.

Before the fire was over, it had burned 47,000 acres and cost $8.2 million to extinguish, with nearly 800 firefighters battling the blaze.

His name is Dennis Dickey, and he’s a border patrol agent. I hope this idiotic act haunts him for the rest of his life. Maybe he can explain it to his son.