State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo has suspended an education student from required teaching programs after he expressed his views on biology in a social media post. In one video, the student says that “a man is a man,” and “a woman is a woman.” The university states that the student’s conservative social media posts call into question his ability to “maintain a classroom environment protecting the mental and emotional well-being of all of [his] students.”
Education student Owen Stevens received an email from SUNY Geneseo, informing him that he was suspended from his field teaching programs after his classmates saw his Instagram videos, according to a report by Daily Wire.
“A man is a man, a woman is a woman. A man is not a woman, and a woman is not a man,” said Stevens in one of the videos in question. “A man cannot become a woman, and a woman cannot become a man.”
“If I’m a man, and I think I’m a woman, I’m still a man. If I’m a woman who thinks I’m a man, I’m still a woman,” the student added. “Regardless of what you feel on the inside, is irrelevant to your biological status. It doesn’t change the biology.”
For Earyn McGee, terminology matters.
McGee, a herpetologist, studies the habitat and behavior of Yarrow’s spiny lizard, a reptile native to the southwestern United States. The University of Arizona graduate student and her colleagues regularly pack their things—boots, pens, notebooks, trail mix—and set off into the nearby Chiricahua Mountains. At their field site, they start an activity with a name that evokes a racist past: noosing.
“Noosing” is a long-standing term used by herpetologists for catching lizards. But for McGee, a Black scientist, the term is unnerving, calling to mind horrific lynchings of Black people by white people in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. “Being the only Black person out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of white people talking about noosing things is unsettling,” she says. McGee has urged her colleagues to change the parlance to “lassoing,” which she says also more accurately describes how herpetologists catch lizards with lengths of thread.
McGee isn’t alone in reconsidering scientific language. Researchers are pushing to rid science of words and names they see as offensive or glorifying people who held racist views.
Scientists have cloned the first U.S. endangered species, a black-footed ferret duplicated from the genes of an animal that died over 30 years ago.
The slinky predator named Elizabeth Ann, born Dec. 10 and announced Thursday, is cute as a button. But watch out — unlike the domestic ferret foster mom who carried her into the world, she’s wild at heart.
“You might have been handling a black-footed ferret kit and then they try to take your finger off the next day,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service black-footed ferret recovery coordinator Pete Gober said Thursday. “She’s holding her own.”
Elizabeth Ann was born and is being raised at a Fish and Wildlife Service black-footed ferret breeding facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. She’s a genetic copy of a ferret named Willa who died in 1988 and whose remains were frozen in the early days of DNA technology.
If the world’s sporting bodies were forced to choose between (a) the traditional differentiation of sports competitions along male-female lines, and (b) a system of unfettered gender self-identification, the choice would not be difficult: The idea that half the planet should focus on being a good loser while male bodies dominate the medal podium is preposterous and sexist.
From puberty onwards, male physiological advantages express themselves as increased muscle mass, higher lung capacity and blood flow, and increased bone strength. As recent studies have shown, these advantages generally don’t go away simply because an athlete has changed their pronouns and hormone chemistry. At the highest levels, the difference between male and female world records typically hovers around 10 percent. The men’s world record in the 100m dash, for instance, is 9.58 seconds. The record among women, by contrast, is 10.49 seconds—a time that is routinely bested by teenaged male athletes at high-school track meets. And so while the number of transgender women competing may still be small, their likelihood of out-competing biological females is high. And in sports that involve physical contact, such as rugby and boxing, ignoring the biological differences between men and women isn’t just unfair, but also dangerous.
Dissecting the Letter
“White supremacy is a lethal public health issue.” The language used here is important. White supremacy is lethal. Racism kills people. What is not written is, “Sometimes white supremacists, acting out of hatred, kill black people,” or even, “All white supremacists are culpable in the murder of black people.” Instead, the agency is assigned to racism itself. It is racism, not racist people, that is the public health issue; it is white nationalism that kills people. This is the same tactic used by antigun lobbies in their slogan “Guns kill people.” If guns kill people, guns need to be illegal. People killing people with guns is already illegal, just as white supremacists killing black men is already illegal. To advance further legal change, you have to change the language. “White supremacy kills people” leads the same people who want guns outlawed to want white supremacy outlawed. While the letter does not draw out these ideas to their logical conclusions, the logic employed is well down the slippery slope of sacrificing free speech.
“We do not condemn [demonstrations that call attention to the pervasive lethal force of white supremacy] as risky for COVID-19 transmission.” That’s weird because every other kind of gathering is condemned by these people as risky.
The University of California at Los Angeles’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior was preparing a National Institute of Health-backed study to better understand brain structures and responses among people living with gender dysphoria. The study was titled, “Gender identity and own body perception – implications for the neurobiology of gender dysphoria.” Its researchers were seeking transgender participants when LGBT activists demanded the study be shut down.
According to the physicians attempting to conduct the study, “We want to understand the neurobiology of gender dysphoria and the interactions between sex hormone therapy treatment, the brain, and the body phenotype.” However, the executive director of the local activist group Gender Justice LA objected, claiming the study “opens the door for advancing the highly disregarded and dangerous practice of conversion therapy.”
Gender Justice LA claims the study is designed to “trigger” gender dysphoria in those who have not begun treatment and therefore would be psychologically harmful to the participants. They asserted that because the study could be used “for the creation of therapeutics to treat gender dysphoria as one would treat anorexia” it could be used as a method of conversion therapy.
The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network circulated a letter to local LGBT communities urging transgender and gender-nonconforming people to stay away from the “dangerous” study.
A pair of nuclear scientists in Pennsylvania is applying their expertise to a piece of metal that may have come from Amelia Earhart’s doomed aircraft in an attempt to glean new insights into the legendary pilot’s disappearance. Director of the Penn State Radiation Science and Engineering Center, Daniel Beck reportedly had his interest piqued when he saw a cable TV documentary on the case last year and, on the program, they showcased some intriguing potential debris from the aviatrix’s plane and mused that perhaps someday modern science could unlock clues hidden in the material. “I realized that technology exists,” he recalled, “I work with it every day.”
With that in mind, Beck connected with Earhart researchers who were intrigued by the possibility that neutron radiography could detect critical details in the metal that might otherwise not be visible. His colleague Kenan Unlu, who is working with him on the project, explained that scanning the piece with a neutron beam may reveal “paint or writing or a serial number” that have been largely worn away over time to the point that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. Additionally, the duo subjected the metal to a “neutron activation analysis,” which “helps precisely identify the make-up of material” down to the “parts-per-billion level.”