To my eldest daughter,
I saw that you posted this video on your Facebook wall. I almost left this comment there, but decided against it for a couple different reasons. So many things are wrong with what she’s saying here that I had a hard time knowing where to begin. I’ll begin with the idea that occurred to me first.
1) It is an example of gnostic thinking. This video is pure gnosticism, which, among other things, is a denial of the importance of the human body. See, for example, what she said at the 1:10 mark about “… living meat skeleton…” The entire video is attempting to negate the importance of our interlocking parts.
2) It’s an example of Screwtape’s advice. Remember what I said about Letter 1 of the Screwtape letters, and how important it is? Let’s quickly review how Screwtape contrasted truth and falsity with other characteristics:
He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.
Look at the video again, at about the :46 mark. She mentioned the word “outdated.” That immediately reminded me of the above quote. I was reminded of it again at the end, when she told people to be themselves in their gender expression, which was an admonishment to be courageous. So do you see? There are no direct truth claims being made in her video. She must ignore mountains of science telling us that sex differences are real, and that they matter, in order to make her argument.
3) Physical sex is public information, not private information. At about the :50 mark she claims that physical sex is private to every individual. In my opinion, this is the most explosive claim in the entire video. Let’s unpack that thought to see how damaging it is.
It is no secret that women are not as strong as men and that men commit more crime than women do. I was recently in New Orleans, alone, wandering through the French Quarter. My risk for being accosted was much higher from the males around me than the females. Instantly knowing which sex somebody is provides me with important information and helps me make decisions. Here’s another example: a couple years ago I was jogging along the street by my apartment. I saw young man on a dirt bike behind me, riding slowly towards me. He eventually caught up to me and started making small talk. I was immediately suspicious of him. We got to a corner where a traffic light stopped us. It turned green and I let him cross while I waited. At the same time, I pulled out my phone to call a friend. Perhaps confirming my suspicions, when he got to the other side he got off his bike and started fiddling with it. The light turned green and I crossed over, walked passed him, and kept talking to my friend. I turned around a couple times, and he got on his bike and rode back in the other direction. Now, imagine if I was unable to determine his physical sex. This would have made me more vulnerable than I already was, since I may have lowered my guard if I thought he might be a woman.
If everybody’s physical sex is no longer public information, this puts women at risk since they’ll have less instant information about their risks while they are in public places.
Don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that all men are criminals. I’m just stating the statistical facts regarding them. Given how much I’ve railed about our cultural rejection of the category of “father” (see here and here for two examples), I hope I’ve made it clear just how important men are.
4) Did you notice the straw man fallacy? At about the 1:00 mark, she states that when somebody asks about the sex of somebody else, they are asking “What genitals do you have?” She has misrepresented the intention of what the person is asking, then she ridicules that intention. That is a classic straw man fallacy. She’s reduced the question into an inaccurate form in order to dispute its (inaccurate) premise; she’s disputing that sex differences matter by making people look ridiculous who seek information about them, not by actually arguing from science that sex differences don’t exist or are irrelevant for women walking alone. Notice too the expression on her face after she poses the question. In fact, the way her left eyebrow is cocked throughout the video is a subtle form of shaming. I don’t need to examine somebody’s genitals to know what sex they are.
Thank you for posting the video and for your commentary on it. You said essentially what Dr. Morse has said: “A good and decent society should obliterate all differences between men and women except for those that are deliberately chosen by individuals…. Society’s job is to endorse the individual’s self understanding and enforce it throughout the rest of society.” That’s a quote from her talk in Salt Lake City last year.
I love you very much and am very proud of you. xxxooo