Quantum physics is oppressive

559px-Marshall_Stalin

Quantum physics is oppressive, according to a feminist scholar, because it promotes “binary and absolute differences.”  This makes it “hierarchical and exploitative.”  As such, it is “part of the system that enables oppression.”

This is an example of the anti-intellectualism and Stalinism that is plaguing the academic world.  Stalinist because it subjects all knowledge and culture–including scientific findings–to a political critique.  It then seeks to silence and punish scientists, artists, and intellectuals who do not conform to the Marxist, or, in this case, post-Marxist worldview.

But it raises another issue.  The scholar contends, in effect, that the structure of nature–as physicists have studied it–teaches that there are “binary” differences.  For example, positive and negative charges, which she contends encourages people to think in terms of male and female.

She believes that conclusions drawn from nature should be suppressed in the name of social causes. She thinks we should replace quantum physics with what she calls “quantum feminisms.”

But what if society, culture, and human beings are tied to nature?  Maybe nature really has binary differences and this is why society and the human mind also have them.  This is part of what classical thinkers mean by natural law, that human social and moral life are not arbitrary or humanly-made constructions; rather, they are connected to nature; that is, to reality. [Read more…]

The new religiosity

TheWitch-no2

An academic journal published an article by a scholar arguing that if there is “trangenderism,” in which a person’s sexual identity is determined by an individual’s choice, then there also needs to be “transracialism,” in which a person’s racial identity is a matter of an individual’s choice.  Though the article is impeccably liberal, it brought out the “outrage mobs,” who forced both the journal editors and the scholar to do penance for their sins.

At the end of a discussion of this particular case, Nathanael Blake draws some close parallels between the “outrage mobs” and a particular kind of religiosity, one that is all about purity and language taboos, but lacking a concept of grace or redemption. [Read more…]

We mustn’t call breastfeeding “natural”

Henri_Lebasque_-_Mother_and_ChildAn article in the medical journal Pediatrics says that it is “unethical” to describe breastfeeding as “natural.”

“Coupling nature with motherhood,” says the study, “can inadvertently support biologically deterministic arguments about the roles of men and women in the family (for example, that women should be the primary caretaker.”

We shouldn’t couple nature with motherhood? The old politically-correct order insisted on a distinction between “sex,” which was about nature (biological organs, reproduction, the body), and “gender,” which was about culture (gender roles, cultural norms).

Then “gender” went from being a “social construction” to an individual construction. Then “sex” became an individual construction. Nature became swallowed up completely.

In this mindset, nature ceases to exist. And yet I suspect many people who buy into this shop for “natural food” and fret about the way human beings are destroying nature with pollution, development, and global warming. And yet surely they are the ones who are destroying nature in their repudiation of the body, as in transgenderism, and their unwillingness to acknowledge the natural function of sex and its connection to reproduction and thus to family structures.

But breastfeeding is, indeed, the natural way a mother nourishes her baby. She shares this power with all mammals. She and her baby and the father are all part of nature, even as they also are part of a supernature, and denying that fact is a rejection of reality itself.

[Read more…]

Student suspended for disagreeing with Muslim professor

male-213729_640Muslims believe that Jesus was not really crucified.  According to the Qur’an, 

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah“;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power.  (Qur’an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158)

This is taken to mean either that Allah substituted someone else for Jesus, making the other person look like the “prophet,” or that he created an illusion so that a spirit-shape only appeared to be Jesus, which was the teaching of some Gnostics.  In any event, Muslims believe that Jesus, while He existed and was a great prophet, did not really die on the Cross, but that He was rather taken up into Heaven.

At Rollins College, a Muslim professor, in light of his religious commitment, claimed outright that Jesus’s crucifixion was a hoax.  A Christian student took issue with that and argued otherwise.  Whereupon he failed the class and got suspended from school.

Let me offer some perspective based on my four decades as a professor:  In a secular school, professors may talk about religion, including their own, as long as it is relevant to the course and as long as they do so objectively, without imposing their religious views on their students.  In discussing Milton, even when I was teaching in a secular college, I could talk about the Christian concepts of creation, fall, and redemption.  “This is what Milton believed.  You need to know this to understand Paradise Lost.”

The professor here could say, “We Muslims don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross.”  That would be interesting and could prompt some illuminating discussion.  But in claiming outright that Jesus’s death was a “hoax” and then punishing a student for disagreeing, in accord with his own Christian religion, the professor was clearly “imposing” his religious beliefs on the class.  Professors aren’t supposed to do that.

But what about issues of diversity?  Wasn’t the student being insensitive to the professor’s religious beliefs?  Cultural diversity, sensitivity, tolerance, etc., are supposed to manifest themselves in the way faculty members treat students!  Not the way students treat faculty!

Faculty members have the power here.  It’s their job to treat their students appropriately, including showing respect for their religious sensibilities.

I don’t know the whole story.  Maybe the student was disruptive, disrespectful, and breaking other campus rules.  But treating Muslims equally means holding Muslim professors to the same standards as Christian professors in the way they handle their religious beliefs in their classes. [Read more…]

Leftists go from frightening to frightened

When someone chalked “vote for Trump” messages on the sidewalk, students at Emory University protested, saying seeing these words made them feel “frightened.”  The administration, playing the role of in loco helicopteris parentis, held their hands, offering counseling and promising to investigate who committed this brazen act of democracy.

Similarly, in Scripps College in California, someone wrote “Trump 2016” on a whiteboard, leading to charges of “racism” and the claim that the campaign slogan was an act of “violence.”  This is all of a piece with university students demanding “safe spaces” where they will be protected from any words or ideas that they find disturbing.

Leftists used to project a menacing swagger.  The old Marxists made posters of themselves as brawny workers with hammers and sickles and openly talked about “liquidating the bourgeoisie” (that is, exterminating the middle class).  In my day, the “new left” college radicals stencilled a clenched fist on sidewalks and whiteboards.  They taunted their opponents with “up against the wall, ************!” (referring to the use of a firing squad).

But now these “post-Marxist” leftists–who substitute race, gender, and sexual identity for the old left’s concern for economic justice and class struggle–are so timorous, so fragile, so easily frightened by opposition, that it’s hard to take them seriously. [Read more…]

Forbidding the use of “husband,” “wife,” “dad,” “mom”

A professor at the University of Florida is forbidding her students to use words like “husband,” “wife,” “dad,” and “mom” as being insufficiently inclusive. [Read more…]