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Letter to the editor for July 19, 2021

Letter to the editor for July 19, 2021

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Today’s Cult of Ignorance

Forty years ago, in the Jan 21, 1981 issue of Newsweek, Isaac Asimov lamented America’s “Cult of Ignorance” where many people believe themselves smarter than the experts. Disparaging the experts these days is popular sport and I see this burgeoning anti-intellectualism as a true threat to democracy and freedom. Last month, I watched an Illinois Congresswoman question President Biden’s Education Secretary as follows: “Before we start penalizing teachers for stating a genetic and biological fact about genders, can you please clarify for the committee how many genders there are?”

This question highlights the fundamental and all too common misunderstanding of the relationship between Biology and Behavioral Psychology. If you ask how many SEXES there are, I’d say at least THREE, those being male, female, and indeterminate (e.g. Olympian Caster Semenya). That’s what most Biology textbooks that address the topic say.

If one asks how many GENDERS exist? My son’s Psychology manuals say gender is a spectrum of behavior. Certainly, there are quite a few broad categories of behavior, but any exact number is within the agenda of the reader.

It is rather easy to ascertain the political leanings of anyone by simply paying attention their vocabulary here. If the obvious answer is “two” and no more, it’s a conservative question. If “more than 5” it’s liberal territory. This is a yet another sad indictment how politicized most science is these days. I can’t wait for the comments on the July 16th N&A graphic showing the record June Temperatures for another “here we go again!” moment in global warming politics or for that matter the next legislative hearing on COVID-19 (or as some call it, the “Wuhan Virus”).

Isaac Asimov also said back then, “Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom!”

Amen to that!




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