Pluto might get promoted back to “planet”

Nh-pluto-in-true-color_2x_JPEG-edit-frameThe recent space probe to Pluto revealed it to be no mere frozen rock but a complex world.  Now NASA scientists involved with that project are proposing a new definition of “planet” that would restore Pluto to its former planetary status.

Possible problems:  The new definition would also make the Earth’s moon a planet.  Also 110 other celestial bodies in our solar system.

But read the reasoning after the jump. [Read more…]

Intersectionality

identity-795260_640If you are going to understand and navigate the complexities of oppression, victimhood, and political status hierarchies, you need to understand the concept of “intersectionality.”

The conventional categories of identity politics are race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class, age, etc.  In each of these categories, some identities are privileged while others are discriminated against.  But a particular individual exists within multiple categories and thus holds multiple identities.  Each identity has its own place on the spectrum of privilege or discrimination hierarchies.  They “intersect,” and so a person’s “intersectionality”–that is, the particular combination of identities–defines his or her position on the socio-political hierarchy.

A black man who is heterosexual and middle class is oppressed because of his race, but his sexual orientation and social class are privileged.  A white woman who is lesbian and working class is privileged for being white, but her sex, sexual orientation, and social class make her oppressed.  A black, transgendered, lesbian, working class woman is more oppressed.

With intersectionality, you may be privileged, but you have areas in which you are oppressed.  Or if you are oppressed, intersectionality helps you to see that there are people even more oppressed than you are.

Intersectionality theory offers a complex calculus for calibrating how oppressed a person is, and thus who has the highest moral high ground within a group of leftists.  This explains a lot, as I get into after the jump.

 

[Read more…]

“Pregnant people”

14985289434_e16abb6239_zThe British Medical Association has issued guidelines saying that to avoid offending the transgendered,  health workers should not refer to “pregnant women.”  Rather, say, “pregnant people.”

After all, a biological female–no, that wording is forbidden too; we must say “assigned female”–who identifies as a man can have a baby.  And since we must go by self-identification, that means that men can be pregnant.

The Transgender movement has at least destroyed feminism.  Now that men can claim the identity of women, and vice versa, among the radically correct, it makes no sense to so much as refer to “women.”  Or “men.”  Thus, the feminist-inspired March for Women also proved offensive to the transgendered.

[Read more…]

The Name of Jesus

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).  So tomorrow, the 8th day after Christmas, which falls on New Year’s Day, the church year commemorates the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.

With the baby’s circumcision, He took upon Himself the burden of the Law, which He fulfilled on our behalf.  And with His naming, His identity and purpose are made clear.  “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.”  God saves.  His very name proclaims His divinity and His saving work.

[Read more…]

The word of the year

OED2_volumesThe Oxford English Dictionary–that mammoth reference book that chronicles the history of every word in our language–has announced the word of the year for 2016:  post-truth.

Most commenters are relating the term to the lack of truth in today’s politics, particularly with candidates that the commenter opposes.  The implication is that they think being “post-truth” is a bad thing, that they would like objective truth to come back as a category for our time.

But “post-truth” is nothing more than what postmodernism has done to all objective truth, the notion that we can create what we want to be true by our subjective decisions, that we can create what is true for us.  Thus, strictly speaking,  transgenderism–the view that we can select our own gender identity apart from our objective bodies– is post-truth.  Gay marriage, with its assumption that we can re-create sexual morality and social institutions at will, is post-truth.  The notions that all religions are the same, that attempts at persuasion are nothing more than impositions of power, that my truth is just as valid as your truth, are post-truth.  No wonder that politicians act in the same way.  But those who don’t really believe in object truth might as well embrace the term. [Read more…]

Tom Wolfe takes on Darwinism and its failure to explain language

Tom Wolfe is among our best contemporary writers.  The founder of the New Journalism, which uses novelistic techniques for the purpose of non-fiction, and a novelist who employs real-world research like a journalist, Wolfe is also an iconoclast of contemporary culture.  (See, for example, his send-up of wealthy leftists in Radical Chic, and his mockery of the trendy art world in The Painted Word.)

Now Wolfe takes on the biggest icon of modern thought, the one thinker who must not be questioned and the one  sacrosanct idea:  Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Wolfe’s book, The Kingdom of Speech, is a lively history of Darwin’s theory and its continually demonstrated inability to account for human language.  It also gives us a portrait of Charles Darwin and his nemesis Alfred Russel Wallace, who beat him to the theory of natural selection.  Wolfe also takes on Noam Chomsky, the leading linguist of our day and a leftwing activist, and his nemesis, Dan Everett, a former missionary who disproves his theory on the innateness of language.

Though Wolfe is neither, from what I can tell, a creationist nor an Intelligent Design advocate, he shows how science is made–by human beings, with ambition, politics, and social pressures all playing their part.  The book is informative, funny, and stimulating.  And it is ultimately a tribute to the transcendent Word that underlies all things. [Read more…]