How Richard Dawkins Beat the Gender Delusion
And how anyone can
A big misconception of our time is that people who leave religion behind—and perhaps who go as far as to critique it—are more reasonable. Standing in stark contrast to that idea is the fact that the New Atheist movement has wholeheartedly embraced gender ideology.
But, credit where it’s due, there is one prominent New Atheist figure who has bucked the trend and come out strongly against the insanity: evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. And it’s a topic he’s been visiting a lot lately.
Just at the end of last month, Dawkins discussed “preferred pronouns” and the claims that misgendering is violence on his podcast, The Poetry of Reality, closing out the show with some poignant observations:
Shouldn't we just indulge the harmless whims of an oppressed minority? Maybe—were it not for a strain of aggressive bossiness which insists not so very harmlessly and not sounding very oppressed that the rest of us must humor those whims and join in. This compulsion even has the force of law in some states and alas we often zip our lips in abject self-censorship because we aren't as Brave as JK Rowling and don't fancy becoming a target of Twitter mob vitriol. No, we don't fear Big Brother or the Stasi, we fear each other.
Previously, in an October episode of The Poetry of Reality, Dawkins compared the magical sex changes of gender ideology to Catholic transubstantiation: the belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist turn into the body and blood of Christ.
Similarly, in the cult of woke, a man speaks the magic incantation “I am a woman” and thereby becomes a woman in true substance while her intact penis and hairy chest are mere Aristotelian accidentals. Transsexuals have transubstantiated genitals. One thing to be said in favor of today's Catholics: at least they don't, nowadays, insist that everybody else must go along with their beliefs.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that Dawkins “gets it.” In truth, it doesn’t seem as if he was ever completely captured by the gender cult. Like many, however, he used to be willing to consider men as women and extend pronouns as a social courtesy before gender ideology really took over society with its madness. In 2015, he even tweeted:
Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her "she" out of courtesy.
This is the place where many well-intentioned people started. Unfortunately, it is also the place where many whose good intentions started running amok stayed even after we began to see the negative ramifications of gender ideology.
Thankfully, Dawkins wasn’t one of those people. In March of 2021, he tweeted that he had just finished The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity by Dr. Debra Soh. He strongly recommended the book and opined that, “If even half is true of what she says about the intimidation of scientists in her field of sexology, we need to support the fight-back.”
The book seemed to have sparked a desire in Dawkins to discuss the issue in greater depth. Less than a month later, he again tweeted about the topic:
In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.
This time, Dawkins really stepped in it.
His tweet provoked a reaction that was so overblown it surely helped him see the true face of this authoritarian movement. It caused the American Humanist Association to withdraw the Humanist of the Year award it had granted Dawkins in 1996.
Alison Gil, a trans-identified man and vice president for legal and policy at American Atheists, told The Guardian: “Given the repercussions for the millions of trans people in this country, in this one life we have to live, as an atheist and as a trans woman, I hope that Professor Dawkins treats this issue with greater understanding and respect in the future.”
Bad Dawkins! He should have sat in a corner and thought about what he did.
Instead, the incorrigible evolutionary biologist doubled down, to much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In November 2021, Dawkins continued to affirm that sex is binary, which caused the blog Pink News to throw a tantrum with the headline “Richard Dawkins is still questioning whether trans women are really women and we’re so very tired.”
But he wasn’t done yet. Later that month, Dawkins announced that he was reading Material Girls by Kathleen Stock. He called the book excellent, remarkably sensible, and a “superfluous debunking of ludicrous anti-scientific philosophies.”
In a hilarious turn of events, a trans-identified man who calls himself Katy Montgomerie responded to the tweet by pointing out that Dr. Stock was a signatory of the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights.
This seems to have prompted Dawkins to look at the declaration himself. A short while later he signed it, tweeted it out, and encouraged others to sign it as well.
Dawkins has stood solidly against gender ideology ever since, despite what surely must have been an incredible amount of pressure from the New Atheist community. Just this past summer, he published an excellent article in The New Statesman titled “Why biological sex matters.”
“Sex is a true binary,” he writes in the piece. “It all started with the evolution of anisogamy – sexual reproduction where the gametes are of two discontinuous sizes: macrogametes or eggs, and microgametes or sperm.”
He also outlined his firm stance against coerced speech and stealing the word “woman” from women:
You have a right to your private lexicon, but you are not entitled to insist that we change our language to suit your whim. And you absolutely have no right to bully and intimidate those who follow common usage and biological reality in their usage of “woman” as honoured descriptor for half the population. A woman is an adult human female, free of Y chromosomes.
Dawkins continues to have detractors who regularly accuse him of transphobia. They were none-to-pleased, for example, when he spoke with Helen Joyce, author of Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.
In fact, this prompted Hemant Mehta, founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, to dramatically declare that Dawkins had abandoned science and reason “to spread anti-transgender rhetoric embraced by religious conservatives.”
Give us a break.
Such guilt trips didn’t work to whip Dawkins back into line because he was genuinely interested in the truth of the matter. He was willing to ask questions, read a variety of perspectives, and engage in discussion. Too often, individuals cave to the threat of social exclusion. Hell—other prominent figures have been threatened with less than being stripped of an award before quickly recanting statements or questions that had them accused of transphobia.
And, if anything, this whole saga proves that people appreciate courage, even if it’s just the courage to speak incredibly basic and self-evident truths. Dawkins still maintains a large audience and widespread respect.
More importantly, he maintains his own self-respect. That’s something those who would have you lie about reality want you to give up, but it’s the key to escaping the delusion.
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