Our age has come to worship science but despise its methods.
That conclusion follows from reading Austin Ruse’s Fake Science: Exposing the Left's Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data (2017).
Ruse begins his book with a note about polls. Modern political polling is, we are told, a scientific enterprise. But not only did pollsters fail to call the biggest contest in the American election (Clinton vs. Trump) correctly, there is considerable evidence that they failed due to a bias that suggests discomfort with the nitty gritty of evidence. Whether one thinks that their bias is a virtue, a misfortune, or a sin, it is definitely a problem for those of us who need information. And a problem that prompts the question, on what other widely discussed subjects are the conventional claims at odds with evidence?
Ruse, a longtime activist against the progressive sexuality agenda, takes on transgender issues, which are beginning to engulf children. The transgender acceptance drive reminds me often of the recovered memories hysteria of the 1980s, which also engulfed many children and their caregivers. The recovered memories hysteria stemmed from, among other things, a non-science-based concept of human memory. It was unleashed onto a public accustomed to accepting therapists’ claims without much critical judgment. Today, unwise trust is more likely to centre on scientists. But that too often means trusting the stars of pop science media who may merely riff off the prestige of disciplined science.
For example, with respect to sexuality, does biology prevail? Or does it wax and wane in importance according to the social needs proclaimed by lobbies? Many gay rights activists claim that homosexuality is biologically determined. The claim is doubtful, in part because homosexual practices can often depend on culture, as in the case of prison culture or party boys, and are not a demonstration of fixed necessity or even preference. And female attractions to other women are not necessarily inconsistent with being married to a man and having children by him. These well-known facts are documented in a number of the studies Ruse cites.
One outcome of this gay gene/transgender brain war with evidence is that gay activists seek to ban therapy to change unwanted homosexual attractions. Would they also ban therapy to increase such attractions? For example, what about the bisexual who would genuinely prefer to just be gay?
Taking the exact opposite tack, transgender lobbyists claim that a person can belong to the other “gender” irrespective of obvious sexual biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy, due to a gender concept that exists only in that individual’s mind. Which is all the odder when we consider that most neuroscientists hold that the mind does not exist apart from the brain. But that fact is seldom raised as an objection to transgender claims.
Who is right? The answer, unfortunately, is that all of them are right. That is, the power of the sexuality lobbies to enforce their wishes becomes their right to do so, even if their claims contradict both evidence and each other.
That is their ultimate power: To enforce contradictory claims with impunity and even change them at the drop of a hat, demanding immediate acquiescence to the new belief. Most social and political leaders today are simply unprepared for the sexuality lobbies' lack of interest in evidence, reason, or consistency, thus cannot mount any defence against the social harm done. They are far more likely to vilify and crack down on those who protest and legislate the lobbies’ wishes over our heads.
Ruse deals with many subjects in the book (no-fault divorce, fracking, and global warming, for example). Perhaps too many. His information about the current “transgender tots” push is timely. But I wish, for example, that his chapter on the phantom of “hunger in America” had addressed more of the issues around the agrifood lobby’s role in shaping food policy. Still, the book is a very good read for a quick summary of key issues that face us, especially if one must face down a progressive activist in one’s own community.
Note: Author Austin Ruse is considered by some progressive lobbies to be the extreme leader of a hate group because he “touts the idea that the only valid family consists of a non-trans heterosexual man married to a non-trans heterosexual woman and their biological children.” That description would apply to the majority of humans living in families on the planet, which indicates that Ruse’s opponents are probably unrepresentative of the public outside of media-driven politics.
Denyse O’Leary is an Ottawa-based author, blogger, and journalist. See also: Transgender tots, Part II: Unravelling the recovered memories hysteria and Pudging the truth, a look at underlying causes of growing childhood obesity