Monday, April 19, 2021

Trans Ideology and the New Ptolemaism

The social sciences often make cosmological analogies, and screw them up so badly that I cannot even tell what point they are making.

Here is a new scholarly paper on an academic dispute:

Trans Ideology and the New Ptolemaism in the Academy ...

Ptolemy constructed an inordinately complex model of the universe in order to make all of the empirical data conform to a central, organizing false assumption, namely, that the earth was at the center.

Foucault’s influence in the academy is at least as often lamented as celebrated, and I will not attempt in what follows a comprehensive critique of his work. Instead, I will focus on one tendency his example has encouraged, which, using Rockhill’s analogy, I will call the “new Ptolemaism.” This is a push for scholarship to be insistently insular and to be much less interested in the study of the world than in the study of the study of the world. This kind of work, which is by now very common in the social sciences and humanities, performs the same neat trick every time. It turns out, in every such analysis, that the framing of inquiry turns out to be more significant than the object of inquiry. ... ...

Consider present day calls to remake the academy. There should be more soft sociology of the hard sciences; there should be more women in male dominated disciplines; we should “indigenize” the university. There are two terms in each case; we should reverse the conventional hierarchy of those terms; and the results will be profoundly liberatory, because, Ptolemaically, the university rather than the world is the most important locus of struggle. ...

Gender critical feminists like me notice, of course, that one infinitely more often sees and hears the slogan “transwomen are women” than its counterpart “transmen are men.” To understand why this is the case, you’d have to pay attention to patterns of power in the world rather than to Ptolemaic valence-flipping. One of the signs on my office door that most infuriated feminist academic women colleagues on social media described the parallels between men’s rights activism and trans rights activism. Many feminist academic women clearly saw it as their moral and intellectual duty to decry this assertion.

The Foucealt here has nothing to do with the Foucault pendulum, which helped prove Ptolemy wrong about the motion of the Earth. No, it is a French post-modernist and pedophile rapist.

The author might have some valid points about feminism and trans ideology, but the Ptolemy stuff is nonsense, and the Foucealt stuff probably is also.

Ptolemy did not construct an inordinately complex model of the universe. It was not any more complicated that any other model achieving similar accuracy. He did assume that the Earth was at the center, but the model is not really any different or more complicated from that. He descibed the stars, Sun, planets, and Moon as seen from Earth, so he would have to include the calculations needed for that whether the Earth moved or not. It was not really a false assumption that the Earth was at the center, but a way of defining an Earth-centered coordinate system that is a completely legitimate way of recording observations.

The motion of the Earth was one of the great scientific issues in the history of mankind, but it is nearly always misrepresented.

This Babylon Bee parody is a lot more entertaining on the subject. To understand it, it helps to have seen the November 3, 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone.

1 comment:

  1. At the risk of causing a discussion,

    The Earth actually IS in the center of the universe...being that the universe is ONLY what we can say we have observed so far...and it is the thing upon which we sit as a vantage point as we look out and observe the cosmos all around us. You can always make the argument that this isn't so, but on what measurable (not speculative) grounds? Can you honestly make the argument based on any available observation or measurement that we are approximately located to the side, bottom, top, of the entire universe?

    I for one would apply the simple logic that we are in the middle of what we know of the universe. This perspective of course is determined by our position, not some hypothetical 'someone' observing things on some other far corner of the universe we haven't even seen yet.

    As for the 'trans' nonsense,

    If you wish to understand the level of insanity involved with the trans movement, look up the suicide rates of people with gender dysphoria over the last sixty years. The numbers over the decades do not lie. One of the leading doctors who pioneered reassignment surgery at John Hopkins stopped the procedures because “I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.” and the fact that there is no measurable difference before and after 'transition' in the levels of depression and suicidal behavior... which is considerably higher than the suicide rates in WWII German concentration camps. An incredibly expensive and dangerous procedure with no statistical medical benefit to the patient is absurd. Now trans activists are literally encouraging parents to 'transition' children who haven't even entered puberty yet by having them hormonally castrated...leading to a regret factor well into the high ninetieth percentile.

    What's next? Should we also be consulting schizophrenics what they think reality is to make them feel better? That the things only they see and the voices they hear from inanimate objects should be considered real? I have people in my family who suffer terribly from this mental illness, and whatever the cause, it isn't helped at all by encouraging them to believe their delusions are real.