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How Biology Has Been 'Subverted' by Left-Wing Ideology

(AP Photo/Advanced Cell Technology)

Jerry A. Coyne and Luana S. Maroja are two biologists with impeccable credentials who, between them, have written 160 scientific papers. Their joint paper on how left-wing ideology is transforming biology and threatening to destroy the entire field of scientific inquiry is an absolute must-read for those who want to understand the challenges and maddening roadblocks placed in the way of researchers.

“The science that has brought us so much progress and understanding — from the structure of DNA to the green revolution and the design of COVID-19 vaccines — is endangered by political dogma strangling our essential tradition of open research and scientific communication.”

For someone like myself brought up in the 1960s and ’70s and taught by the good Sisters of Mercy to revere the scientific method, what radical leftists have done in placing handcuffs on researchers, telling them what they can safely study, what words they can and can’t use, and the substitution of ideology for scientific truth, demands a strong pushback. And perhaps this long, thoughtful paper can get the ball rolling.

Biologists, unlike some other scientists, thought themselves somewhat immune from the culture wars. Boy, were they wrong.

Skeptical Inquirer:

We were wrong. Scientists both inside and outside the academy were among the first to begin politically purging their fields by misrepresenting or even lying about inconvenient truths. Campaigns were launched to strip scientific jargon of words deemed offensive, to ensure that results that could “harm” people seen as oppressed were removed from research manuscripts, and to tilt the funding of science away from research and toward social reform. The American government even refused to make genetic data—collected with taxpayer dollars—publicly available if analysis of that data could be considered “stigmatizing.” In other words, science—and here we are speaking of all STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)—has become heavily tainted with politics, as “progressive social justice” elbows aside our real job: finding truth.

Biology is so basic to the human condition that trying to bend science to the will of idealogues so that results don’t reflect truth, but rather a politically convenient answer, is destroying the fact that biology is a science. Some things are immutable — like the sex binary — and this has led to fantastical twists of logic that would be laughable in any other context.

Coyne and Maroja point out that the assault on reason began on campus and has since become so widespread that it endangers the kind of basic research vital to new discoveries.

In biology, these changes have been a disaster. By diluting our ability to investigate what we find intriguing or important, withholding research support, controlling the political tone of manuscripts, and demonizing research areas and researchers themselves, ideologues have cut off whole lines of inquiry. This will decrease human wellbeing, for, as all scientists understand—and as the connection between heat-resistant bacteria and PCR tests demonstrates—we never know what benefits can come from research driven by pure curiosity.

It should be noted that Coyne and Maroja’s enthusiasm for “research driven by pure curiosity” does not always turn out well. Some virologists in Wuhan, China, got very curious about how nasty they could make a bat disease. It took six million lives to find out.

But that’s an outlier. The history of scientific discovery is replete with serendipitous discoveries — scientists looking for one thing and finding something totally different. The story of penicillin is an astonishing example of that. And basic research will no doubt yield other breakthrough discoveries that can’t be quantified in dollars and cents but are absolutely priceless to the process of discovery.

The authors took six examples of how left-wing ideology subverted biology. Number one on the list is “Sex in humans is not binary; it’s a ‘spectrum.'”

But despite the facts, the dichotomy of sex—especially in humans—has recently come under ideologically based attacks. Even in apparently objective discussions of sex and gender, individuals are often said to have been assigned their sex at birth (e.g., “AFAB”: assigned female at birth), as if this were an arbitrary decision by doctors—a “social construct”—rather than an observation of biological reality. Even the Society for the Study of Evolution, which should know better, was swayed by ideology to publicly declare that biological sex should be viewed as a continuum. Teachers have been hounded out of their jobs and deprived of their classes simply for declaring that human sex is binary. As we’ll see, this controversy comes from a deliberate conflation of a biological reality, the sexes, with a social construct, genders.

All the silliness about giving biological males tampons is nonsense. But because the left equates “sex” with “gender,” the ideological morphs into the scientific, and we see the movie Idiocracy in full bloom.

The second example of left-wing stupidity is “All behavioral and psychological differences between human males and females are due to socialization.” This particular bit of idiocy has become gospel to radical feminists and many transgender advocates.

To a biologist, this kind of blank-slateism—which may stem partly from the Marxist faith in the infinite malleability of humans—is profoundly wrong. Multiple studies clearly show that there are average differences between men and women in a long list of behaviors influenced by biology, including sexual interests, parental care, aggression, degree of promiscuity, risk-taking, interest in people versus things, empathy, fearfulness, spatial abilities, violence, and traits connected to social relations.

Finally. the authors claim that “the ideologically driven distortions of biology come from one mindset: radical egalitarianism.” If there’s one thing that describes modern “progressives,” it’s radical egalitarianism applied to every facet of life. They call it “equity,” but in reality, it’s a deterministic view of the world that can be subjectively applied to reward — or punish — those who dare disagree.

Pushing back against this tyrannical machine will be the scientific equivalent of the American Revolution.

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