What in the world is our culture coming to?
A couple of weeks ago, Portland State University held a discussion on diversity that was moderated by one of their Philosophy professors, Peter Boghossian. The panel included infamous (former) Google engineer James DaMore who was fired after writing a memo about Google’s (and the tech industry at large) lack of real diversity. Also appearing were Biologist Heather Heying and writer Helen Pluckrose.
The crowd was an obvious mix of the far left and the more moderate/open-minded which generally appear at these college events. While the subject matter was controversial, the real trouble didn’t begin until Boghossian asked Pluckrose to explain what “social constructivism” was.
Helen Pluckrose: “It’s the idea that all of our traits, our characteristics, abilities, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, are learned from societal norms; the idea that there can be innate or biological or inherited differences are dismissed. And so, we’re in a position where if there is injustice, or if there is an imbalance anywhere, sort of an inequality of representation, then the explanation for that can be the societal injustice.”
Boghossian then asked the biologist, Heying, to use Pluckrose’s explanation of social constructivism to interpret DaMore’s controversial memo.
Heather Heying: “James argues, accurately, that there are differences between men and women. This is a strange position to be in, to be arguing for something that is so universally and widely accepted within biology. What is not as widely accepted is that culture is also evolutionary; but I’m going to argue that both biology and culture are both evolutionary. Let’s look at differences between men and women that are explicitly anatomical and physiological; are men taller than women on average? Does anyone take offense at that fact? I would say you could be irritated by it; you could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones who gestate and lactate; you could be irritated by a lot of truths…”
It was at this point that the leftists in the crowd began to revolt, but Heying paid no mind and continued with her explanation.
“… but taking offense is a response that is a reflection of reality. So, men and women are different on height; they’re different on muscle mass; they’re different on where fat is deposited on our bodies. Our brains are also different.”
This is when the protesting students decided to get violent and sabotage the auditorium’s sound system.
To punctuate their rude, close-minded behavior a pair of the protesters decided to finally give voice to their anger.
A woman, speaking of DaMore, yelled, “He’s a piece of s***. That is not okay. Even the women in there have been brainwashed!”
Then a man added that the crowd, “should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society.”
The young man failed to explain how biological facts could possibly equate to “fascism,” nor did he realize that not tolerating certain views in society is pretty much the definition of fascism. Ironically, these students have embraced the tenets of fascism while simultaneously demanding that fascism be destroyed.
Thankfully, Boghossian and his panel were undeterred by the rude protesters and soon carried on with the panel.