Social Construction and Biological Realism

Whenever a discussion of gender comes around, the idea of social constructs is always tagging along, these concepts forever being associated with one another. But what does it mean to say that gender is socially constructed? People usually have an inkling of an idea, but discussions about the topic often fall to the way side because it is clear that people do not have a clear understanding of what they are talking about. If one wants to talk about social construction, then one needs to establish specifically what is meant when one says that X is a social construct. Once I do that, I will apply the theory of social construction to gender and lay out one of the feminist arguments for the social construction of gender. Finally, I will go through the limitations of the feminist view on gender as a social construction and provide a modified view of gender that I think is more grounded in biological realism.

Social Constructs

Social constructs are used as a part of a larger theory of knowledge and human development, which emphasizes the importance of the social situation and how that influences how we come to know things and also how we develop into who we are. This can be understood by dividing social construction up into multiple dimensions. I think there are four dimensions to social construction that can intersect with one another in the form of a Punnett square. The first two dimensions are idea construction and object construction. The second two dimensions are emergent constructions and conscious constructions.

An idea construction is most obviously understood as a category of objects, with associated traits attached to them. These categories can be of anything, but in this context we will be focusing on categories of people. Categories are constructed in the sense that they have no ontological presence in reality. They are a psychological construct that humans generate socially. Human beings talk and act like these categories of people exist in reality, and through the subsequent social interactions, the categories become reified (1). An example of an idea construction would be the categories of rich and poor, or the 1% and the 99%. Wealth differences exist on a spectrum, with no obvious discrete boundaries separating people into different groups. The categories of rich and poor are socially constructed groups of people.

An object construction is most obviously understood as socialization or social learning. The objects in question are individual people, and they are constructed through the interactions with other people in a particular social situation. People learn how to behave properly by paying attention to the social cues around them. Generally speaking, there exists a majority consensus among a group of people who proceed to punish and reward themselves and the other minority of social actors through threats of social ostracization, among other things. The result is that people within a social context are constructed to follow certain norms through social interactions with others (1). An example of this would be moral norms within a particular social context. If the majority of people believe that lying is wrong in a particular social context, then they will enforce a norm amongst themselves and the other minority by refusing to associate with people who lie. This motivates people to toe the line and eschew lying, thus constructing their morals.

An emergent construction is something that emerges from the interactions of individual people in an environmental context over the course of time. This process is defined by the fact that it is not something that is consciously decided upon. It is a bottom up process that is not directed by any given social actor, but instead grows out the situation. Emergent constructs evolve and adapt over time through experience with the natural world. As a result, they become attuned to the psychology and the natural environment that the people are living in. An example of an emergent construction is language. Language is not something that is dictated from the top down. If any given dictionary added a new word to their list, the general population would not necessarily follow along. This is because language is a bottom up process, where terms and their usage grow out of the interactions of people. Language usage changes over time because people follow trends, and usually not because people consciously want to change the language.

A conscious construction is most obviously understood as the opposite of emergent constructs. Rather than being something that unconsciously grows out the interactions amongst many different individuals, these constructs are consciously decided upon and are usually enforced through the power of institutions or through powerful forms of socialization. There is usually an explicit reason for these constructs, whether that is political or scientific. An example of a conscious construction would be non-binary genders and the associated pronouns. These are social categories of people that were constructed specifically for people who feel like they do not fit into the male or the female gender categories in society. Further, the construction is something that is enforced with strong socialization, where people who do not comply with these constructions are accused of denying trans people their right to exist. Strong socialization is necessary given that the construction did not grow out of the interactions naturally, but is being enforced from the top down by a smaller class of people.

As should be evident, these four different dimensions to social construction fit into a Punnett square, such that there are four different intersections of possible social constructs. There are emergent idea constructions, emergent object constructions, conscious idea constructions, and conscious object constructions.

Gender as a Social Construct

Before I get into the social construction of gender, it is important establish that when gender is being spoken about, it is referring to the social and cultural roles applied to the male and female sexes respectively.

When the claim is made that gender is a social construct, the substance of such a statement is two fold: first that gender is an idea construction, in the sense that the categories of gender are constructed, and second that gender is an object construction, in the sense that the people who are being categorized are socialized to fit the categories. The social construction of gender happens through the interaction between the idea construction of gender and the object construction of gender.

The process starts with the idea of gender categories. There is the idea of what a man is, with the associated propositions, and there is the idea of what a woman is, with the associated propositions. A man is strong and capable of supporting a family with his work. A woman is caring and capable of raising a family. Those of the male sex are placed in this category of man, and so it goes with the female sex. This constructed category then interacts with the actual people within the category. The people come to believe that this category is real and that they should adhere to it. This leads to the object construction, where the male and female sexes are subject to socialization in accordance with these categories. The categories are then further reified and reinforced by the object construction. This is what it means to say that the idea construction of gender interacts with the object construction of gender. The idea informs the socialization process and creates a feedback loop, where the socialization further reinforces the idea.

The fact that women were limited to the home life and men were the ones out in the world making history is evidence that men have had a disproportionate influence on the construction of ideas. Men are primarily the ones that construct the gender categories and they define them in such a way that they privilege themselves over women. This is the root of women’s oppression, which feminism declares itself to be against. They desire to increase the amount of influence that women have on the construction of ideas and take steps to redefine what gender means. The specifics depend on the brand of feminism we are talking about.

Underlying Assumptions

On the face of it, the feminist case for the social construction of gender seems rather straightforward. However, there are some underlying assumptions to their model of gender that I believe need to be addressed.

The first underlying assumption is the axiom that human behavior is one of two possibilities: that it is natural and inevitable, or that it is an arbitrary convention that can be changed. This assumption is a false dichotomy that forces one’s position to either extreme. You either believe human behavior is genetically determined and will never vary, or you believe that human behavior is merely a socially constructed convention that can be changed at will. This is wrong for two reasons, the first having to do with idea construction, the second having to do with object construction.

Ideas—or more specifically, categories—do not fall into the natural or conventional dichotomy. There are few categories that actually exist in nature, in the sense that they have essential properties that set them apart from one another. The natural elements are good examples of natural kinds. However, categories like species and social groups of people are not distinct natural kinds. There are competing ways to define species, each with their own complications, and the categorization of the genders is even more varied and dubious, as not all men or women fit the traditional social and cultural schema. At the same time, to say that these categories are completely conventional is not entirely true. If I claim that men are taller than women, this is not just an arbitrary convention, given that an objective marker is being referenced: men on average are taller than women. So that category is not natural, because not all men are taller than women, but it is not pure convention either, because there are actual differences in the average male and female height.

Objects—or more specifically, people—do not fall into the natural or conventional dichotomy either. By natural I mean that the behavior is genetically determined and by conventional I mean behavior is socially constructed. No human behavior is genetically determined. Such a belief is obsolete and remains alive today only as a frivolous accusation against scientists who believe that genetics influence behavior (note that determined and influence are not the same thing). Not very much behavior is solely socially constructed, either. Take moral norms against murder. The specifics of what qualifies as murder may be constructed, but every society agrees that murder exists in some form and that it should be punished. The field of molecular genetics supports this, suggesting that nature and nurture, or nature and convention, are just false dichotomies. All human behavior can be considered a phenotype, which necessitates both genetic and environmental information to manifest itself.

What this means is that the behavioral differences between the sexes can be explained by both genetic differences and differences in socialization. The assumption that because socialization exists, we can therefore assume that it accounts for all of the difference, to the exclusion of genetics, is unfounded. A good example of this would be strength differences between the sexes. We know that men are stronger than women, on average, because at the extremes of our abilities, within the Olympics, men outperform women. However, we also know that men are expected and encouraged by society to be strong, while women are discouraged, as it is considered unattractive.

Indeed, you could apply the previous model of social construction to what I am talking about. The process starts with the natural sex differences in strength, which differ on average. People recognize this behavior and construct generalized categories of men and women based on their observations: men are physically strong and women are physically weak. These abstracted categories then inform a socialization process, where men are expected to be strong and women are discouraged from being strong. The socialization ensures that any exceptions to the rule are toeing the line and working themselves up towards this abstract standard being set for them, which further reinforces the categories that have been constructed: a feedback loop. In short, the strength differences between the sexes are explained by both genetic differences and socialization.

The feminist model, because of this natural/conventional dichotomy, incorrectly assumes that if there is some social construction/convention involved, that there couldn’t be genetic differences. This does not logically follow.

The second underlying assumption is that a socialization process can be kicked off by an idea that has been constructed. In the feminist model, the information that enters the system starts with an idea. An idea is constructed and this kick starts the process. The problem with this is that the model does not really explain where this idea came from. The model says that disproportionate male influence leads to the construction of these patriarchal ideas, but if men are socially constructed too, then they can’t be the source of the ideas. So where do these ideas come from; what influences the construction of this idea? Compare the feminist model with my explanation of how strength differences between the genders manifest. The process is kick started, not by an idea, but by the reality that there are biological differences between the sexes. The idea comes from inductive reasoning. This grounds my model in reality. Ideas are abstractions with no metaphysical essence beyond being brains states and therefore cannot be relied upon to ground your model in reality.

The response to this would be to claim that pregnancy is the reality that informs the construction of the idea of gender. The fact that women get pregnant informs the idea that women are the primary caregivers of children, which then kick starts the social construction process. I think this is a step in the right direction, but I will have more to add in the next section of this post, which will destabilize the entire argument.

The final underlying assumption is that the social construction process takes place in a veritable vacuum. The model ignores, or strongly deemphasizes the importance of, not only genetic influences, but also of the natural environmental forces that inform social organization. By extension, this ignorance leads to their side stepping of two dimensions of social construction that I mentioned in the beginning: emergent constructs and conscious constructs. Most feminist theorists seem to treat all social constructs as being consciously created by social beings. This is reflected in their pinning the blame of traditional gender roles on men. Men mistreated women by consciously constructing roles in society that subordinated women to their will. But is it really accurate to assume that gender is a conscious construction? What if gender was an emergent construction that evolved and adapted over time to fit the sexes within a particular environmental context? Indeed, all traditions are emergent constructs, rather than conscious ones, having evolved and adapted over time to a particular group of people in a particular environment.

Social Construction and Biological Realism

I think there can be some reconciliation between the social construction model of gender and a biological realist model of gender. The objective of my model is to represent human behavior along gender lines throughout the years, leading up until today.

My model describes a process that begins with three underlying realities. These three realities are as follows: the fact that in pre-industrial societies, the kinds of jobs that any person had access to was largely restricted and focused on hard physical labor; the fact that before the 1960s, a reliable form of birth control was not available; and the fact that there are genetic differences between the sexes that influence their behaviors. The first two facts posed a significant constraint on women’s options in life. Not only were most of the jobs outside of the home centered on physical labor that men were more suited for, but women lacked reliable birth control, which vastly increased the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant when she had sex. The third fact states that genetic influences on male and female behavior lead to average differences in how they behave. This biological realist perspective will be expanded upon at the end of this section.

These three underlying realities ensured that the majority of women chose to remain in the homes, while also ensuring that the majority of the men chose to leave the home to work for the family (particularly in a pre-industrial society). These norms were recognized as a pattern, and the idea of what a man and what a women were was constructed inductively. These were categories that contained many different propositions, centered on what a man and woman were like. These categories informed the socialization process and allowed for the construction of the objects (or people). The exceptions to the rule were encouraged socially to conform to the ideal standard and this further reinforced the categories of gender.

An important takeaway is that I reject the claim that men and the ideas they pushed were the driving force behind the construction of gender in a society. The traditional gender roles did not exist because the men, pushing sexist ideas, took control of society and excluded women from the public sphere against their will. The roles existed because of the three underlying realities enumerated before. This is not to say that social norms did not exist and did not have any exclusionary force on anyone, but that these norms were merely reinforcing the existing social reality by generalizing it out, rather than driving the existence of the social reality.

It should go without saying that my model of gender is an emergent construction. There are no conscious social actors directing this process by deliberately constructing the categories. The ideas of what men and women are—and the behaviors that they are socialized into—grew out of the situations our species found themselves in, evolving over time to match our psychology, physicality, and environmental context.

The first two underlying realities that I enumerated before are pretty straightforward. The third underlying reality is where I expect people to balk, especially if they are sympathetic to the idea that gender is a social construct. In response, I have a series of facts that I think are important to take into consideration.

Men and women tend to have different brain structures (2). This is not to say that there is a “male brain” or a “female brain,” but that there are tendencies towards different brain structures. Men and women have generally different hormone levels, with men having higher levels of testosterone and women having higher levels of estrogen. Men and women tend to have different personalities, according to the big five personality traits (3). These differences are not only cross-cultural, but they become starker the more liberated from the home women become. Specifically, women tend to score higher in neuroticism, in openness to emotions, and in agreeableness. Men tend to score higher in assertiveness and openness to ideas. Men and women also differ in their general interests, with men showing more interest in things and with women showing more interest in people (4). Men and women differ in their preferences towards STEM fields (5). The data suggest that, across cultures, women score just as well or better than men, on tests of ability. However, across cultures, women become less represented in STEM the more liberated they become. This suggests that although men and women have the same capability, when it comes to STEM, they seem to have different interests, which is consistent with the last fact. Men and women differ in their mate preference across cultures (6). Men prefer women that they find sexually attractive (read: fertile), while women prefer men that they find to have earning potential, are dependable, funny, and kind. Other factors come into play as well when selecting mates, but these factors are among the cross-cultural findings that we have. There are also universal/cross-cultural differences in gender roles (7). In the vast majority of societies, men have been the primary occupants of the public and political realms. Men have always been more violent, aggressive, and prone to theft. Women, in contrast, have always been the primary caregivers of children. And even still, many of the old gender norms still exist to some degree, even today. Even when women leave the home and go out into the world, they disproportionately choose degrees that involve care or interactions with children (8). Speaking more generally to human behavior, we have evidence to suggest that variance in genetics has some explanatory power with regard to the phenotypic variance in many traits (9). These are well-established facts, making up the first law of behavioral genetics.

Finally, evolutionary predictions cannot be ignored. We know that human beings have been shaped, body and mind, by the forces of natural and sexual selection. Our bodies are teleonomically designed by selection to fulfill the function of reproduction. This reality applies to men as well as women. Men’s bodies and behavior were teleonomically designed for the purpose of producing and disseminating sperm. Women’s bodies and behavior were teleonomically designed for the purpose of producing eggs, selecting sperm, and bearing children. The evolutionary model predicts precisely the traditional gender roles that we can observe, stating that both physically and behaviorally, men and women evolved to fulfill their function in reproduction.

There are many points that could be taken away from this, but the overall point is that these facts should call into question the assumption that the feminist model of gender makes, which is that the sexes are equal by default. Based on no evidence, the sexes can be considered equal, until evidence suggests otherwise. But why should this assumption be made? If any assumptions are to be made, then it should be that sex differences are partly genetic until evidence suggests otherwise.

Selecting the Best Model

It is important to note that when you want to arrive at the truth of the matter, you need to compare the different potential models and select the best one based on its parsimonious explanatory power and its ability to predict future data. The point to take here is that you cannot nitpick at one side of the debate and pretend like that entails the validity of the opposing model. Neither model is perfect, so which one is more accurate?

I believe my model of gender construction is better than the feminist model because of the critiques I mentioned in this post—the assumed false dichotomy, the assumption that ideas can drive construction, and the assumption that social construction happens in a vacuum—but also because of the further explanatory power my model possesses over the feminist model. The feminist model provides no explanation for why gender roles changed over time in the modern West, especially when they did. Their model assumes that men consciously constructed gender so that women were excluded for thousands of years. Then, something magical happened! Men became enlightened and realized teh wimminz for what they were, thus allowing them to have a voice. But why did this happen? Why were women’s voices ignored for millennia, only to have a major turn around in the last century? Why not earlier? Why did it happen at all?

In contrast, my model does provide an explanation for why this change happened and also why it happened when it did. The change had to do with a modification of two of the underlying realities. First, when the West came upon the industrial revolution, this opened up the job markets to include increasingly many jobs to the market beyond the simple hard physical labor that used to dominate the market. Second, when the first reliable forms of birth control hit the market this severed sex from reproduction and thus freed women from the naturally imposed parental responsibilities tied to sex. The combination of these two shifts struck down two of the underlying realities that my model proposes. With these constraints gone, the liberation of women from the home life became inevitable. Of course, the social and cultural norms would not change instantly, and some people would be motivated to push back against this change, but since these norms merely reinforce the differences rather than drive them, they were inevitably going to change to some degree.

Finally, the fact that certain gender differences in behavior still exist, like in occupation choice, even in spite of major changes over the past century, is partly explained by genetic differences between the sexes.

There is a major impasse between the feminist model and my model that is highlighted here. The feminist model suggests that male influence on the construction of gender ideas is what drives the social construction process. My model suggests that a combination of realities—that of limited job markets in pre-industrial societies, lack of birth control, and genetic differences between the sexes—drive the social construction process. The feminist model emphasizes collective human agency, where we have the capacity to control how we live together (or only men have had that capacity until recently). My model emphasizes the lack of collective human agency. It assumes that genetics and the natural environment inform and constrain our behaviors. Indeed, you could say that the feminist model presupposes free will, while mine presupposes determinism. (Given that human beings are immanent to the natural world, being made of the natural elements like carbon, assuming that we are free from the deterministic laws of nature is dubious.)

I am also prepared to make predictions based on my model. I predict that as genetic research continues to advance, we will find evidence for behavioral differences with respect to specific genes. I also predict that unless there exists a significant amount of social engineering—such as quotas—women’s representation in positions of power, or in politics, will be less than that of men’s, as a rule across cultures. So it goes with women’s representation in the home. These predictions can and should be made more precise; I just want to get across the general idea.


The idea that gender is socially constructed implies certain falsehoods about human behavior. Namely, this idea implies that behavior is either natural or conventional, that behavior is idea driven, that men largely control the discourse of society, and that human behavior is minimally influenced by genetics or the natural environment. My model builds off of these critiques, providing an alternative explanation for why gender was constructed the way it was. But it is worth asking, am I still claiming that gender is socially constructed? It is true that all social and cultural norms are constructed, in some sense; they necessarily generalize. The issue rests with the question of why social and cultural norms are constructed the way they are and to what degree they are constructed. I propose that genetic and natural environmental influences on behavior provide a basis for this. The process of social construction is then relegated to a mere reinforcement of these inclined behaviors through normalization, where a majority consensus is generalized out and enforced accordingly. The social construction process is subordinate to genetics and the natural environment, in other words.

Either way, the intention of this post was to provide some kind of reconciliation between social constructivism and biological realism.

Word Count: 4540




(1) Social Constructs:

(2) Brains:

(3) Personality:

(4) Things vs. People:

(5) STEM:

(6) Mate preference:

(7) Human Universals:

(8) Degrees:

(9) First Law:


Human Nature

The general concept of human nature is the most important thing to establish when trying to understand human behavior and human relations. Despite this, human nature is one of those foundational truths that most people don’t seem to think about, especially critically, and when they do, they seem to miss the mark by a mile. In this post, I intend to provide a systematic explanation of what I think the fundamental truths of human nature are, and then explain the logical implications of such a model. There are three foundational truths that my conception of human nature is founded upon. They are as follows: model contingent epistemology, philosophical determinism, and amorality. I will go through each of these premises in turn and justify them—and once that is done, I will build up a comprehensive model of human nature, all the while incorporating other models of human nature, such as the evolutionary model.

Model Contingent Epistemology

The first foundational truth is model contingent epistemology. This is the first truth because it is in line with the ultimate definition of all truth; in other words, it is not limited to my conception of human nature, it is relevant to all knowledge about our empirical reality, as it is a theory of knowledge. Truth ultimately comes down to whatever is most useful for a subjective perceiver in his attempts to understand objective reality. Models are one such useful tool. A model contingent epistemology, then, is an approach that relies on the construction of linguistic and/or visual models that represent empirical reality. All knowledge is filtered through these models. The models, as stated, are linguistic and/or visual, and they also take two forms: descriptive or explanatory. A descriptive model describes an observable phenomenon, while an explanatory model explains the phenomenon by describing the mechanisms that account for the phenomenon.

The implications of this approach are numerous. The first implication is that knowledge is not contingent on empirical reality in any direct sense. Instead, there is an epistemic barrier between the models that we construct and the observations that we make. In short, knowledge claims about our empirical reality are not certain. In the hard sciences there is a model of the hydrogen atom, which represents our empirical observations acquired through experimentation. Yet our experimental observations have not been performed on an exhaustive set of hydrogen atoms within our known universe. Despite this, the model is considered true because it is the most accurate model so far given the current set of collected data. The model is then generalized onto all hydrogen atoms, whether experimented upon or not, and we make assumptions about the nature of those atoms based on the model. The natural response to this is to point out that it’s unlikely for hydrogen atoms to suddenly start differing from the current model, but the language betrays the truth of the matter: it is “unlikely.” Likelihood does not allow for certainty [N1].

The second implication is that delineation between potential models for a particular phenomenon comes down to likelihood, since certainty cannot be achieved. In this, I am sympathetic to the epistemology of Karl Popper (1). All people have natural intuitions about the nature of our empirical reality. These intuitions are not necessarily accurate, yet they are ubiquitous and cannot be escaped. I outline the specific manner of which these intuitions, or mental abstractions, manifest in my previous post “Epistemology: The Justifiable Acquisition of Knowledge” [N2] (2). The idea behind my approach is to bring these intuitive understandings out into the forefront, represent them with a model so they can be tested in accordance with the epistemic values of predictive power, falsifiability, and parsimony. If the model can hold up to these values, then it is more likely to be an accurate representation than other proposed models; consequently, it can be considered true.

The third implication has to do with the nature of these constructed models. These models necessarily generalize. Our empirical reality provides a chaos of subtle and nuanced phenomena, and these subtleties are generalized over and simplified by these models. Depending on the phenomena being observed, these generalizations will adhere to the epistemic value of predictive power to varying degrees. Physics provides the most accurate generalizations, while the social sciences are much less precise. The most obvious examples of these kinds of generalizations would be scientific laws and theories. To be specific, I will use Newton’s first law of motion as an example. The first law states that any object in motion stays in motion, and any object at rest stays at rest. This is a generalized description of all observable motion in our frame of reference.

Newton originally conceived of this law when trying to describe the motion of the celestial bodies in the sky. As he modeled the motion of the bodies to an extraordinary degree of accuracy, he also derived that the laws applicable to the celestial bodies were also applicable to motion on earth. This is an important development to understand because before Newton’s time, people had believed that the motion of the celestial bodies was due to different natural forces than the motion of objects on earth. In the sky, the celestial bodies constantly moved in patterns; down on earth, objects fell to the ground at a relatively constant acceleration and they always came to a stop after being set into motion. By deriving that these two kinds of motion resulted from the same forces, Newton could then extrapolate his laws of the motion for the celestial bodies on to the motion of objects on earth (3).

What this indicates is that we don’t understand that Newton’s laws of motion apply to motion on earth because we can construct a perfect mathematical model of the motion of any given object on earth. We constantly have to make caveats to our calculations, like ignorance of air resistance and friction, and even when we implement those into the calculations, they assume these variables were constant, which is not necessarily true [N3]. Instead, we primarily understand that the laws apply because that is entailed by the derivation that the motion of the celestial bodies are explained by the same phenomena as the motion of objects on earth. This derivation allows for the generalization that any object in motion stays in motion, and that any object at rest stays at rest.

Finally, I want to expand upon the three epistemic values that I mentioned before: predictive power, falsifiability, and parsimony.

To the critically minded audience, the construction of models seems to be fairly arbitrary. I laid out a series of implications of a model contingent epistemology and the consequences seem to be devastating. How do we know that these models are accurate in the first place? The answer comes first and foremost to the value of predictive power. Predictive power is the value of models that have the ability to accurately predict future observations. Once a model has been proposed, an experimenter can deduce a hypothesis, or a prediction, from that model and test it to see if future observations confirm it. If this model has the capability to consistently make accurate predictions, then after an arbitrarily decided point in time, they can consider that model accurate. An example of this would be Newton’s calculations of the motion of the celestial bodies. These calculations were designed to model our empirical reality, and the model was taken seriously because the calculations allowed people to predict the placement of the celestial bodies at certain points in time. The predictions were confirmed time and time again.

Falsifiability is the second epistemic value. Falsifiability is the value of models that have the potential of being wrong, and which are therefore testable. Karl Popper gives two examples to explain the difference between a falsifiable model and an unfalsifiable model. The first example is the work of Sigmund Freud, specifically regarding his ideas about psychoanalysis. One such claim Freud made was that all men had an Oedipus Complex. This complex was a subconscious desire to have sex with one’s mother. When he wanted to prove this, he would point to the numerous outcomes in behavior for men. When men married women that looked like their mothers, this was evidence for his model because these men were giving in to the complex; when men married women that looked nothing like their mothers, this was also evidence for his model because these men were trying to suppress the complex. It should be immediately obvious to any critical thinker that there is no way to conceive of a way in which Freud’s model is wrong. Even where there are two contradictory outcomes, they both somehow support his model. In other words, his model was unfalsifiable, and could not be tested for accuracy.

Popper contrasts this example with his second example. Around the same time, Albert Einstein was proposing his theory of relativity. The theory of relativity proposed that gravity was caused by a curvature in space-time. This model had explanatory power, but Einstein was going to take his model a step further and put it to a test. He predicted that during a solar eclipse, the placement of the stars would be distorted around the eclipse due to the light travelling from the stars being redirected by the curvature of space-time. If the placement of the stars were distorted, then that would support his model of relativity; if the placement of the stars were not distorted, then that would disprove his model. In other words, you could conceive of a way in which Einstein’s model was wrong and this allowed him to test it. This is why Freud’s ideas of psychoanalysis are considered to be pseudoscience and Einstein’s ideas were accepted by the scientific community, at least until quantum mechanics came around (1).

The final value is parsimony. Parsimony simply refers to a model that makes as few assumptions about an observable phenomenon as possible. If a model makes a lot of assumptions in order to justify itself, then that increases the likelihood of the model being inaccurate. Assumptions are risks and the more risks you take, the more likely you are to fail. An example of this would be the two possible explanations for rainfall. An old explanation for rainfall would be that a god exists and that he sends the rain by his will. Another explanation would be that the evaporation of water down on earth and its collectivization in the form of clouds would accumulate water vapor in the sky; if the water condenses or the temperature drops suddenly, then the water precipitates and rainfall is the result. Setting aside the other epistemic values, the first model does not hold up to parsimony, relative to the other model. There are a series of assumptions that the first model makes that the second does not. The first model assumes that a god exists, it assumes that this god can control the laws of nature, and it likely assumes that this god has an interest in human affairs. None of these assumptions are backed by empirical observation. However, if empirical backing for these assumptions does crop up in the future the model would no longer fail according to the value of parsimony.

So, a model contingent epistemology is a theory of knowledge that filters all knowledge claims about empirical reality through generalized models. The models are linguistic and/or visual representations of our observations that are verified through the adherence to the epistemic values of predictive power, falsifiability, and parsimony.

Philosophical Determinism

Philosophical determinism is a position on the debate of free will. Basically, it is a model that states that all human behavior acts in accordance with determined laws of nature, instead of being free to the will of the subject. In other words, free will does not exist, and our perception that it does is merely a phenomenological illusion.

This model claims that human beings are products of the natural world that we live in and because of this immanence we are subject to the laws of nature. A prediction from this would be that the matter we are made of could be found in the natural world around us; the matter that makes us up is not unique to us. This is supported by the fact that we are made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, among many other elements; these are all elements found in the natural world around us. Because of this, all the laws of nature can be extrapolated onto human beings; this is a parallel to what I mentioned before: Newton’s laws of motion for the celestial bodies could be extrapolated onto the motion of the objects on earth.

Additionally, in accordance with the epistemic values of falsifiability and parsimony, the existence of a soul is rejected on the grounds that the existence of a soul is unfalsifiable and that it is an unnecessary assumption.

Once it is established that human behavior is subject to the established laws of nature, determinism naturally follows. The motion of objects act in accordance with deterministic laws and human behavior produced by our physical brain states necessarily reflects this. The one response to this would be to invoke quantum mechanics, which conflicts with much of classical physics. Some interpretations of quantum mechanics dismiss determinism as relevant to understanding nature. In response to this, I will point out that there is still disagreement about the proper interpretation of quantum mechanics even among the experts. Quantum mechanics is an unintuitive enigma that still baffles physicists to this day. Moreover, there are determinist interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the De Broglie-Bohm theorem. At this point, we can only say that quantum mechanics is inconclusive. Additionally, the determinist assumption works on systems at our frame of reference; this combined with the fact that we need to find a model that reconciles classical physics with quantum mechanics, as opposed to supplanting the former with the latter, means that assuming determinism is not out of left field. Finally, even if the Copenhagen interpretation—or some other non-determinist interpretation—is true, this would still not be able to account for free will.

Now that philosophical determinism has been established, the next question would be to ask how human behavior is determined. What model could we construct of human beings that would accurately predict human behavior, stand up to falsification, and embrace parsimony? Human beings are biological creatures. Our biological make up, physically and behaviorally, is characterized by a collection of genes being expressed in an environment. In other words, everything that we are is a collection of phenotypic expressions. What can be taken from this is that our intuitive understanding of human behavior being a result of our nature and nurture warring with one another is false. When genes are expressed in an environment, nature and nurture are not conflicting, they are actively interacting with one another to manifest behavior (and our physical makeup). They are both necessary components to human behavior. Put simply, nature and nurture are a false dichotomy. This can be expanded to an understanding of groups of people. Cultural norms—which are shared values, beliefs, and traditions—and social structures—which are groups of people working together for mutual benefit—are the collective phenotypes of the genetic populations that perpetuate them. Similar to the expression of an individual’s behavior, the environment and our genetic make up actively interact with one another to manifest culture and society (4).

While phenotypes cannot be broken down in to their component parts, you can make comparisons between phenotypes and explain differences and similarities using two general components: a genetic component and a natural environment component. Genetics are a probabilistic framework for human behavior. The natural environment determines the rest and includes—but is not limited to—the material conditions, the climate, and geography. Individual behavior, cultural norms, and societal structures are all ultimately informed by these two foundational components. This is a general model of human nature and it provides the necessary groundwork for understanding more specific phenomena in human behavior. Before I give an explanation of a specific phenomenon in human behavior, it is important to establish the third and the final foundational truth that frames an overall model of human nature: amorality


I believe that amorality naturally follows from the understanding that human beings are biological creatures subject to the forces of natural selection. I have explained the nature of biological creatures in the last section and I will build off of that with a brief explanation of the evolutionary model. The evolutionary model rests on three principles: (a) reproduction to excess (i.e. replication of genes); (b) introduction of variant alleles into the population through random genetic mutation (and introgression); and (c) differential selection pressures on the phenotypic expressions of these variant alleles. The result is differential allele frequencies within and between populations. This model can be used to make countless predictions. To name a few, the model predicted: that all animals (and organisms) evolved from the same ancestor and are made of similar matter; that animals would all be foundationally characterized by genetic information; that these genes that, in part, determine our expressed traits, will have varying degrees of similarity between different species; that you can construct a family tree of relation between species based on the degree of genetic similarity; that you can map the genetic family tree onto the previously defined taxonomic categories, which are based on phenotype; and that you can then predict the placement of fossils in our records based on their membership to a taxonomic category. These predictions have all been confirmed.

Amorality is recognizing that our conceptions of right and wrong are merely intuitions that are part of an evolved mechanism embellished upon by cultural conditioning to conform to social processes. We evolved to be a social species; specifically, we are selfish individuals that enter into mutually beneficial relationships with others. There are certain norms that ought to be conformed to, or the society will break down due to the selfish individuals disassociating. Examples of this would be murder, stealing, and being a free rider. Since our moral sense is recognized as a mere evolved mechanism for survival in groups, it not only implies that most moral norms are restricted to an in-group—with ideas to the contrary being a recent development—but it also means that morality no longer has the transcendent qualities usually associated with it [N4]. Morality cannot be considered objective because it does not exist external to the mind, rather it is a product of our psychology and is, at best, intersubjective.

But even the claims of intersubjectivity fall short. Looking back at the evolutionary model defined above, one of the principles states that variation is introduced into a population over time through random genetic mutation. Differential selection pressures then brings about the change over time. In other words, if human beings evolved moral intuitions over time, then they would necessarily have to be characterized by variation at the genetic level. While some of the variation may be the result of environmental effects, a proportion of this variance is necessarily attributable to genetic variance. Individuals within a group will possess genes that place them at varying positions regarding their moral intuitions about a particular behavior. Some people will abhor behavior like murder; some people might be disgusted; some people may simply not prefer it; others, still, will be completely indifferent; the rest may want to kill others. All of these people have the potential to exist; evolution merely states that those that come later in the list are selected against and the alleles associated with the traits consequently have lower frequencies in the population. Moral norms, then, are generalizations enforced by consensus, rather than by metaphysical laws. That they are treated as a metaphysical normative claim is a socially enforced delusion.

In addition to moral norms being enforced by consensus, there are many less obvious moral intuitions that the majority of people do not conform to—rather, there is a divide. This often happens in both large and multicultural societies, though it is possible in any society. There are two or more sub-groups of people who hold conflicting intuitions about how society ought to be structured. Ultimately, these disagreements amount to what we know as politics. The determinant of which norms are applied to society at large comes down to power politics [N5]. The more divided the people, the less stable these enforced moral norms are.

Once the delusion of morality is acknowledged, then an important proposition is put forward, that which is important for understanding human nature. This proposition is that moral progression is an illusion. There is no moral arc to human existence as time goes by. Instead, our moral intuitions change over time due to changes in the two components that I mentioned in the last section: our genetic make up and the natural environment. As I had said then, cultural norms and social structures are informed by these two components; moral norms are embedded within culture and society. When a person claims that moral progress has occurred, they are merely looking back on a history where human beings were living under completely different material conditions through the lens of intuitions they were conditioned into in their own time.

A consequence of this temporal understanding of moral intuitions is that if the change in material conditions or natural environment that brought about the shift in morality reverts back to the original conditions, all moral “progress” would be lost quite suddenly. If you take away the abundance of resources that human beings live with in the West today, our species would form into cooperative groups and compete with one another for scarce resources. Regard for common human good would disappear.

One common objection to amorality is the claim that we evolved over time to become more cognizant of an objective morality that exists out there as a metaphysical entity. In the same way that our sensory perceptions evolved over time to become more accurate, our moral sense evolved over time to become more accurate.

This argument does not hold up for multiple reasons:

First, this is a false equivalence. Our sensory perceptions evolved over time to become more accurate because of our active interaction with objective reality. Objective reality places selection pressures on us by punishing us for not being able to perceive it properly. But this does not apply to objective morality. We don’t actively interact with this metaphysical entity in the same way that we do an objective reality. Objective morality does not place selection pressures on us and punish us for failing to understand it. If there are selection pressures, how does this work? I think the response to this would be to ask how we could evolve to understand truth. If we are only capable of understanding something by actively interacting with it, then there is no reason to believe that would even understand truth. This rebuttal fails because it presupposes that truth is a metaphysical essence existing external to the mind. There is no reason to suppose that truth is metaphysical. Truth is defined as whatever is most useful to a subjective perceiver in his attempts to understand objective reality. He is capable of accessing truth because accessing truth amounts to understanding his surroundings.

Second, I reject the assumption that we necessarily evolve over time to have more accurate sensory perceptions, let alone an accurate understanding of objective morality. If you look to other animals that have evolved in the same objective reality as we have, you will find that our sensory perceptions are not all the same. Dogs have better smell than humans, hawks have better eyesight than humans, and humans have better processors for this information than any other animal. This suggests that different sensory apparatuses evolve to suit different environmental pressures, rather than evolving towards some absolute standard of quality. Human being’s eyesight is a good as it needs to be, our smell is as good as it needs to be, and our processing ability is as good as it needs to be. More importantly, the second our sensory apparatuses no longer need to be as accurate as they are, they become an unnecessary cost of energy. If a new environment makes it so our sensory apparatuses no longer have to be so accurate, there is no reason to believe they would stay that way, as they would be selected against.

Tying this to the idea of morality, there is no reason to believe that we are more in line with an objective moral standard today, than we were thousands of years ago. What if we evolved an accurate moral sense millennia ago and have since been evolving away from it? According to this possible reality, you would be locked within your evolved and conditioned moral sense that is now fundamentally low in accuracy, so how do you know this is wrong? If you merely think the best explanation is that we have become more enlightened, what makes you think we won’t evolve out of it in the future?

Third and finally, objective morality in this argument is unfalsifiable and lacking in parsimony. Indeed, to make any claim regarding metaphysics would violate these epistemic values. How do we know our moral sense is accurate at any given point in time? How do we even know this is a meaningful question to ask? And why is this even necessary? Why should I assume that an objective moral standard exists when I could just reject it entirely and make one less assumption?

Amorality is not necessarily rejecting moral intuitions, but recognizing that intuitions are merely subjective, that the intuitions evolved as a part of a larger mechanism for reproduction, that moral norms boil down to consensus and power, and that moral progress is just an illusion.

Derivations From My Model

My model of human nature is one that builds itself upon foundation of two necessary components. There is the genetic makeup of a population and there is the natural environment the population lives in. The genetic component is informed by the evolutionary model. The natural environment accounts for differences due to material conditions, climate, geography, and more. Out of these two components come culture and society, which are essentially collective phenotypes of the genetic populations that manifest them. Moral norms, too, are embedded in the culture and society that a population perpetuates. Human behavior manifests deterministically from these two foundational components, rendering any moral progress a mere illusion of changing material conditions, genetics, and/or other environmental conditions.

This general understanding of human behavior can be used to understand more specific phenomena in human behavior. The relations between the biological sexes are one such phenomenon. To start, I will establish a few predictions about male and female nature as they are suggested by the evolutionary model. The evolutionary model accounts for the existence of biological sexes, defined according to their roles in sexual reproduction. Females produce eggs; males produce the sperm that fertilizes the eggs. We are also mammals, so females gestate, in addition to producing the eggs. Given these different roles in the act of reproduction, women and men were subject to different selection pressures. Women’s role in reproduction requires much more risk. If they are going to have sex, they will often get pregnant, have to bear the child, and then care for it afterwards; it is in her best interest to be careful with her choices and to make good with those around her i.e. be agreeable. The man, however, does not have to do any of this; he merely has to impregnate a woman and only takes the expense if he stays to help raise his children. Human males do have a general desire to stand by their children, yet their obligations relative to women are much less. These truths have been with our species for millions of years, since before we even evolved to be human. The genes associated with promiscuity and general risk-taking in women are selected against, as they predispose women to poor reproductive choices; then, the genes associated with agreeableness are selected for, as they predispose women to behavior that is beneficial to their role as a mother and to her children. Evolutionary change naturally follows. Another prediction would be that women evolved to have a predisposition towards the care of children. The genes associated with the care of children are more likely to survive than the genes that make women indifferent to children.

The relevant predictions that I will take here will be the predictions that women evolved over time to be risk-averse, to be agreeable, and to value the care of children, all relative to men. Also note that these are average differences. Remember three things: models of empirical reality generalize, variation is actually a principle of the evolutionary model, and differential allele frequencies are how differences manifest according to the evolutionary model. Categorical distinctions do not come in to this. These two predictions have wider implications for the roles that men and women have in cultural and social structures. If women are more risk-averse than men, they will be less likely to represent themselves in positions of high threat to their safety and to their children. One such position would be positions of power, such as those in politics or those at the head of various social institutions. In addition, if women are more agreeable, then they won’t be as interested or successful when it comes to dominating power structures. And if women value the care of children more than men, then they will be more likely to represent themselves in positions centered on the care of children. These are two specific predictions made by my model that can be tested.

One way these predictions could be tested would be to look at human behavior across cultures and societies. If these predictions were correct, then it would predict that the majority of the cultures and societies would be structured in such a way that men would disproportionately represent positions of power, and women would disproportionately represent positions related to childcare. The occasional exception to this rule can be accepted, as genetic effects on human behavior are probabilistic, rather than deterministic. Genetics are still the best explanation for such phenomena, as they can account for the overall rule while also allowing for exceptions. As it happens, the anthropologist Donald Brown compiled data from anthropologists from around the world and from that data he extracted what he called human universals. Human universals are basically aspects of human behavior, culture, and society that are consistent across all human groups; this is taken with the caveat that some of these universals may be near universals, meaning there may be rare exceptions, due to methodological limitations; either way, these universals provide an useful wealth of data that we can use to confirm or reject my two predictions with. Two relevant universals would be disproportionate male representation in politics and in the public realm and women being the primary caregivers of children (5).

There is another way that my two predictions can be tested. Focusing in on the West, you can look at how the relations between the sexes have changed over time in that general culture. Before the industrial revolution, civilization in the West was largely agricultural. The division of labor was incredibly low, as most people were simply farmers, and our culture and social structures reflected this (6). Men were the farmers and women were the caregivers of children, falling in line with what they were generally suited for in that simple social structure. Once the industrial revolution came around, this brought about a tremendous shift in the way society functioned. This was a shift in the material conditions. As a result, the structure of social systems and culture slowly changed to match the new conditions. The division of labor rapidly rose, introducing new jobs and subsequently creating new markets (7). This built rapidly over time, becoming more advanced and complex, leading up to the current day. Now there are a plethora of occupations for women to choose from beyond the hard physical labor of a pre-industrial society.

It is no mistake that the feminist movements demanding women’s acceptance in the public sphere happened in the wake of these developments. The correlation between these two revolutionary changes is something my model would predict, since the supposed moral progress of women in the West is just an illusion. The feminist movements were not movements of liberation for women, but natural biological responses to changing material conditions.

Additionally, my model would predict that even today, men would disproportionately represent positions of power in politics and in the public sphere, while women would both disproportionately represent stay at home parents and jobs related to the care of children. Women make up 19.1 percent of the United States congress (8); there has never been a female president in the United States; women make up 4.2 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (9). Woman who mother children while working do so at a rate of 69.9 percent, as opposed to men, who fathered children while working at a rate of 92.7 percent (10); women make up 85 percent of degrees for health professions, such as nursing; they make up 82 percent of degrees for public administration work, such as social work; they make up 79 percent of degrees for educational work, also being disproportionately represented in the K-12 education (11). So even after all of the change, there are still hints of the original sex differences in behavior from pre-industrial societies [N6].

Note that so far I have fallen in line with my three epistemic values that I enumerated in the first section. My model is capable of making predictions about how human beings will behave around the world and how they behave over time. My model’s predictions are falsifiable, because if the likelihoods of these behaviors were flipped, or if the sexes were equally likely to behave in these ways, then my predictions would be wrong.

My model is also parsimonious relative to the opposing model: The most common model about sex differences today is that there are no, or at least a limited amount of, natural psychological sex differences [N7]. Strong social constructivists believe that gender, and perhaps biological sex itself, is constructed discursively through a self-perpetuating socialization process. We behave as if we are a defined entity, but our idea driven behavior itself is what actually defines us. As a result, any observed differences are due to manipulations by socialization. The assumptions of this model are as follows: (a) the model assumes that the sexes are equal underneath all of our socialization; (b) the model assumes that socialization primarily acts as a perversion, or a distortion, of our true nature; (c) the model primarily assumes that socialization as an explanation is mutually exclusive with a biological explanation; (d) the model assumes that society, and socialization, is divorced from genetics; and (e) the model assumes that ideas are the primary motivators of human behavior.

These assumptions are either lacking in evidence, or they are outright contradicted by the evidence. There is no reason to assume that the sexes are completely psychologically equal; the evolutionary model does not predict it and the empirical evidence does not support it. As far as I am concerned, the only reason this position is even considered legitimate is for ideological reasons.

The next two assumptions, in addition to not being supported empirically, are contradicted by the following example: there are sex differences in strength; I think this is both due to genetic differences between the sexes and due to socialization; male and female performance in the Olympics shows us that men have a much higher threshold for strength capacity; we also know that men are more likely to be encouraged to lift, while women are generally discouraged from lifting, both in accordance with beauty standards. So, for this specific example, not only is the socialization not a perversion of our natural state—rather, it is a reflection of it—but the socialization is working in conjunction with genetics to produce the disparity in strength between the sexes.

The fourth assumption fails because society is the collective phenotype of the genetic population that produces it. Society can’t exist independent of genes, so assuming that there is no connection between the two is fundamentally wrong. Additionally, in much the same way that nature and nurture are false dichotomy when discussing the behavior of an individual or the general behavior of a group, the idea that certain norms are either socially constructed or genetic is a false dichotomy. It is invariably both. The best example of this would be language. The fine details of language are obvious socially constructed, but linguists like Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker argue that humans also have an innate faculty that augments our language constructing abilities. In the words of Chomsky, “We grow language,” rather than learn it. This is suggested by the fact that there are consistencies between all of the different languages around the world. This is referred to as a universal grammar: a general structure to all language. So even language is not purely socially constructed. Genetics play a part (12).

Finally, the fifth assumption is self-evidently nonsense. If ideas are the primary motivator for human behavior, then there would be no way to account for why certain ideas are selected, as opposed to others. What makes idea A more appealing than idea B? Is it other ideas? Then why were those ideas chosen; more ideas? In order to avoid a regress of ideas, then you need to ground behavior in something else. Since human beings are biological creatures that evolved into who we are over millions of years, we evolved the capacity to produce and disseminate ideas some time along that evolutionary history. This suggests that ideas exist as a supplement to our biological nature. Ideas are a way in which we are so complex. This is more directly understood in this way: ideas are selected based on their ability to plug into our existing psychology. Our psychology, in turn, is a phenotypic expression, produced by our genetics actively interacting with the environment that they are found. This is supported by the fact that the ideological persuasions that regularly ensnare people have many things in common. One such commonality would be the simplified dichotomous characterization of human relation: the oppressor/oppressed dichotomy. Marxism has the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, feminism has men and women, the alt-right has whites and non-whites, race theory has the same two but in reverse, and so on. These ideologies are plugging into our tribal intuitions and this accounts for why they are selected for, as opposed to ideas of perfect tolerance and unity.

I think it also bears noting that the alternative model is on the cusp of being unfalsifiable; is it possible to conceive of a way that this model is wrong? Ask any promoter of this model what would convince them that the model is wrong. Chances are, they won’t be able to answer. Not only this, but it has absolutely no predictive power beyond merely saying, “human malleability is infinite!” The model is garbage in every respect.

The construction of gender, as an expression of biological sex, is best understood as compared to the construction of language. There is a general framework to all languages that is rooted in our genetics in some way; this is suggested by the consistencies across cultures. Environmental forces then determine the fine details of each language. Gender follows this same pattern. There is a general framework for gender that is rooted in our genetics; this is suggested by the consistencies across cultures. Environmental forces then determine the fine details of gender in each culture.


My model of human nature is predicated on three foundational truths, those being a model contingent epistemology, a philosophical determinist conception of human behavior, and amorality. A model contingent epistemology filters all knowledge claims about our empirical reality through generalized models that are confirmed according to the epistemic values of predictive power, falsifiability, and parsimony. This foundation of knowledge leads to the establishment of philosophical determinism, which states that all human behavior is subject to the laws of nature; human behavior is a phenotype, determined by the genetics and the environment. This leads to amorality, which states that moral intuitions are merely evolved mechanisms for functioning within groups. Moral progression is an illusion and is better explained by changing material conditions for a genetic population. Once the three truths have been established, then a model can be established to explain human behavior in more specific contexts. Generally, there are two foundational components to human behavior: the genetic make up of the population and the natural environment. Culture and society are the collective phenotypic expressions that result from these components. Moral norms are embedded in culture and society. The relation between the sexes is one specific context that can be explained using this model. The biological sexes behave in generally consistent ways across cultures and societies and temporally, demonstrating that there is an underlying biological nature to sex, even in spite of the variations.

This model can be used for more than sex differences. The idea is to provide a general model that can then be used as a tool for understanding all collective human behavior.


[N1] Indeed, it is only in the hard sciences that we can almost assuredly expect there to be no exceptions to the model. The same is not true for the softer sciences: In biology, there are hardly any universals. Try naming a single trait for human beings that has no exceptions.

[N2] This recommendation should be taken with the caveat that my views have since changed slightly. Look to the comments section of the suggested video to get the general idea. The refined version is what I elucidate here: that we have innate intuitions about the nature of our empirical reality and that these are ubiquitous and inescapable.

[N3] This is not to say that our mathematical models are useless. They have predictive power and they can be used to great effect. They do not have to be perfect for them to have utility. Also, Newton’s model for the celestial bodies is not perfect, either.

[N4] I think the reason the in-group our moral intuitions apply to is expanding is due to multiple inter-related factors. First, we are living in large complex societies. We rely on many others for their goods, and it is in our best interest to work alongside them. This fact is bolstered by the second factor, which is government. Having a centralized monopoly of power helps regulate human behavior when we are in large groups. Finally, we are living in a time of resource abundance, at least in the West. Without resources to compete for, there is less reason to compete violently with an out-group.

[N5] I characterize (political) power, the ability to control people, as having two independently sufficient components. There is the violence component. This is straightforward: people who threaten violence have the capacity to control people. Then there is the illusory component. In large part, power is an illusion. Basically, “power resides where men believe it resides.” These components alone are sufficient for power, but they can also work together.

[N6] In accordance with what I mentioned in the section on amorality, if society were to collapse, we would relapse back into a more patriarchal structure.

[N7] Be on the lookout for people who use the motte and bailey bait and switch tactic on this point. For those who aren’t familiar, the motte and bailey tactic is where someone hops between two different beliefs. One belief is very radical and hard to defend; this one corresponds with the bailey. The other belief is much more moderate and easier to defend; this one corresponds with the motte. The bait and switch is when they start out with the bailey, and once you pick that apart, they immediately retreat back into the bailey. “The sexes are psychologically equal!” “How do you explain X?” “Oh! I’m not saying that they are completely equal!” The point is that they are starting from the assumption that we are equal and are only conceding ground where they have to. Pin them on this assumption.

Word Count: 7395




(1) The Logic of Scientific Discovery:

(2) Epistemology: The Acquisition of Justifiable Knowledge:

(3) Hidden Unity in Nature’s Laws:

(4) Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide:

(5) Brown’s list of human universals:

(6) Pre-industrial societies:

(7) Industrial societies:

(8) Women’s representation in congress:

(9) Women’s representation as CEO of fortune 500 countries:

(10) Women’s representation in the home:

(11) Women’s representation in degrees:

(12) The Blank Slate:

Further reading:

Evolutionary Psychology: An Introduction:

Epistemology: The Acquisition of Justifiable Knowledge

Epistemic certainty of objective reality is something that human beings have yet to achieve. This is not to say that epistemic certainty is necessary to make knowledge claims, though. If a claim of knowledge can stand up to scrutiny, then it can be considered true. I call this justifiable knowledge. In this context, justifiable knowledge is defined as a belief that proves to be reliable: these beliefs can be verified, agreed upon, and are not likely to change on a whim. The acquisition of justifiable knowledge is a fairly long and complex process and understanding this process can also shed light onto how this process can be confounded. This makes the identification of faulty claims made by other people much easier. The process will come in stages, starting from complete solipsism and ending with an established epistemology.


To start, my place in the universe must be established. I, like all people, understand myself to ultimately be solipsistic. I know who I am and what goes on inside of myself; I know that I exist; this is the general idea behind Descartes’ statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Additionally, the outside world is filtered into my consciousness through my sensory apparatuses. My understanding of a chair sitting in front of me is represented by sense data from these apparatuses; examples would be my eyes as I gaze at the chair, my fingers as I brush them over the surface of the chair, my nose as I smell the glaze over the wood, my ears as I hear the knock of my knuckles against the chair, or even my tongue if I choose to lick the chair. This provides me with a kernel of doubt over whether what I perceive is in any way accurate. Who is to say that my sensory apparatuses are accurate? It is not like I can step outside of my sensory apparatuses and perceive the chair independently of them. Moreover, who is to say that there is an objective reality at all? In this context, an objective reality is defined as something that exists independent of the mind. Is it not possible that I am just a brain sitting in a vat, where that chair sitting in front of me is simply a projection from my brain? That chair, then, would be dependent on my mind to exist, rather than independent. This is the first major epistemic barrier to my attainment of justifiable knowledge.

My response to this quandary is to define substantive distinctions and unsubstantive distinctions. A substantive distinction is a distinction that has meaning to a perceiver. An unsubstantive distinction is a distinction that has no meaning to a perceiver. The best way to communicate what is meant by these definitions is to give an example. Imagine two possible realities: One reality is the one assumed by every individual from the moment they are born; there is an objective reality that exists and it is being accurately represented by my sensory apparatuses; in short, my sense data can largely be trusted. The second reality is one where everything that my sensory apparatuses are telling me is wrong; for all I know, these sensory apparatuses are making everything up and I am really just a brain floating in space. These two possible realities established, the obvious question should be: is there a substantive distinction between these realities? In both cases, I am subjected to a world of sensory information: my empirical reality. In both cases, this empirical reality has implications for the way I live and understand the world. In both cases, nothing outside of this empirical reality has an impact on me in any discernable way. The only distinction between these two realities is something that I will probably never be able to detect in the first place. Consequently, I consider this to be an unsubstantive distinction.

Moreover, not only is the question of whether my sense data is accurate or not unsubstantive, but I can also quickly establish the existence of things based on their ability to be detected within my empirical reality. Anyone can claim that object X or object Y exists, but simultaneously cannot be detected by sense data; but this is no different from saying that objects X and Y don’t exist at all. The most obvious example of this would be god: god exists, but I can’t see him, touch him, hear him, smell him, or taste him; I can’t sense him in any way. This is no different from saying there is no god. In short, justified knowledge is predicated on my sense data: my sensory experience.

This is empiricism.

Apparitions in the Air

Once empiricism has been established, I can then move on to the next major epistemic barrier to justifiable knowledge. This one has to do with hallucinations and other apparitions that confound my ability to make sense of my empirical reality. First, hallucinations should be defined. Intuitively, people would think hallucinations are images a person sees, but which don’t exist in objective reality. Yet in the last part, I established that there is an epistemic barrier that prevents me from understanding whether my sensory apparatuses are correct in their representation of objective reality. This asks the question of how I even know hallucinations exist in the first place. What makes people think hallucinations are a thing at all?

When I stopped think about this, I recognized that hallucinations are not so much recognizing that my sensory apparatuses are disconsonant with objective reality, but recognizing that my sensory apparatuses are disconsonant with each other. Think about it this way, when I perceive a wooden chair, all of my sense data taken from separate apparatuses line up with one another: I can see a chair made of wood, I can feel the chair made of wood, I can hear the chair made of wood (provided that I knock my knuckles on it), I can smell the chair made of wood, and I can even taste the chair made of wood (if I so choose to do such a thing). Hallucinations are telling because these different apparatuses are disconsonant with one another. Usually, if the chair was a hallucination, I would be able to see the chair, but nothing else. Or, if I were to use another example, perhaps I would be able hear a voice, but nothing else. The nature of hallucinations established, it necessarily follows that justified knowledge is acquired from sensory apparatuses that are consonant with each other. I can see it, touch it, hear it, smell it, and taste it. These five things all match up to one another. When one of these apparatuses falls out of line, then I know something is wrong.

Justified knowledge is then acquired, not only from sense data, but sense data where the different sensory apparatuses are consonant with each other.

Objects and Categories

Like before, there is another epistemic barrier that must be surmounted. This barrier also has to do with how consistent my sense data is, but instead of asking whether the different sensory apparatuses are consonant with one another, I am instead asking whether objects that fall into specific classifications are consonant. Singular objects are characterized by many different traits, pertaining to their appearance and to their use. Objects are then classified by select common traits. This leads to problems, as I begin to question what defines an object at its very core and whether the object can be accurately characterized by the common traits it shares with other objects. As before, the best way to explain this would be to provide an example. I imagined a chair before (specifically a wooden chair). The first thing that comes to mind is that fact that not all chairs are wooden. If I want to understand what a chair is, then I need to broaden it beyond the subcategory of wooden chairs. The second thing that comes to mind is the fact that when talking about a chair, I am not necessarily talking about a specific object, called a chair, but a category of objects that are all labeled as chairs. This category references specific common traits between these objects, rather than every trait for each of these objects: some are made of wood, some are not, and so the material of the object is not one of those specific traits.

So, what are the specific traits that define what a chair is? A few ideas that come to mind would be that a chair is for sitting, a chair has four legs, and a chair has a backrest for relaxation. But there are problems with using these traits. If a chair is used for sitting, then what about chairs used for design, like in an art project? Do they lose their designation as chairs, or are they simply chairs within an exhibit? If a chair has four legs, what about chairs that have five wheels at the bottom, attached to a five-pointed star base? Are they not chairs? If chairs have a backrest for relaxation, what if I snap one off of the chair? Does it no longer classify as a chair, or is it just a broken chair? The initial response to this would be to point out that chairs are made up of multiple traits, not just singular traits. But this asks the questions, how many and which ones? Is there any way to adequately specify all of the common traits that characterize what a chair is? The speculation would be endless.

The solution to this is to recognize the distinction between the concrete and the abstract. Concrete things are the specific objects I perceive through my sensory apparatuses. An abstract is an intangible generalized representation of a concrete thing or a set of concrete things that is conjured by my mind. Earlier, I pointed out that when talking about a chair, I am not necessarily talking about a specific object, but a category of objects. A category of objects is an abstract. Since an abstract is defined as an intangible generalized representation of concrete things, it necessarily brushes over the exceptions to the overall rules. When an abstraction is recognized, it is the amalgamation of all of the generalized traits of a particular set. For example, I recognize that chairs tend to be used for sitting, I recognize that chairs tend to have four legs, I recognize that chairs tend to have a backrest for relaxation, and so forth. By taking all of these recognitions and overlaying them on top of one another, I can amalgamate a cluster of associated traits and then extract a generalized abstraction of what a chair is. This is rather nebulous, but how it is specifically defined is contingent on the purpose. The point is that many of the previous questions are answered in relation to this abstraction. A chair that is an art prop, a chair without four legs, and a chair with the backrest broken off are still chairs because all of the traits that make up these objects fall largely in line with the abstraction. The objects are understood in relation to the abstraction.

At this point, then, justified knowledge is acquired from sensory experience, where the sensory apparatuses are consonant with one another and where an abstraction can be extracted.

Communicating Abstractions

Another epistemic barrier to justifiable knowledge would be the fact that everything defined up to this point is rooted in my subjective experience. Abstractions are especially ambiguous and I would be right to question their accuracy. If I want to acquire justifiable knowledge about objective reality, ideally I should step out side of my own subjectivity and relate my understanding with other people. This will make my understanding intersubjective, rather than subjective, taking myself one step closer to objectivity. So the question is how am I supposed to communicate these abstractions with other people?

Abstractions are represented and then communicated with others through the use of models. Models are representations of abstractions that can be broken down into two distinct categories: visual models and linguistic models. Visual models are pictures or images. Linguistic models are mathematical or communicative language (like the English language) describing the abstractions; more specifically, these are equations or propositions. Both of these models allow me to externalize abstractions and make them known to other people, who can then assess them for accuracy. As stated before, this allows me to achieve a degree of intersubjectivity. This is part of the reason why I can put a generic picture of a chair on a screen and have everyone in the room understand the general category being referred to.

Up to this point, justifiable knowledge is understood to be acquired from sensory experience, where the sensory apparatuses are consonant with one another, where abstractions can be extracted, and where abstractions can be represented by models and then communicated to other people.

Systems of Objects

What I have established so far is how to justifiably hold a knowledge claim about objects or sets of objects that fall under a general category, as they are revealed to me by my empirical reality. This knowledge can extend to interactions between multiple objects. In order to do this, models can be expanded upon to describe the patterns in behavior between a few or many objects. Basically, the model describes a system of objects and how they influence one another. An example of this would be the solar system: the motion of the planets around the sun. Originally, Newton’s complex series of calculations helped describe the motion of each planet as it traveled around the sun. This is a linguistic mathematical model being used to represent the system of objects.

Models can also be used to explain why objects are behaving in the way that they are within a particular system. The models represent the underlying mechanisms that account for the behavior within the system, rather than simply describing how the objects are behaving. Going back to the previous example about the planets travelling around the sun, Einstein’s calculations both describe and explain this system. The calculations describe the motion of the planets, bolstered by the explanation that gravitational pull is actually a depression in Spacetime. His calculations, like Newton’s before him, are a linguistic mathematical model that represents a system of objects interacting with one another. Explanatory models are superior to descriptive models, so it should be understood that Einstein’s model superseded Newton’s model.

So justifiable knowledge can be expanded to include knowledge about systems of objects, where many objects interact with one another. The models used to do this are either descriptive or explanatory. This is the logic behind scientific laws and scientific theories, respectively.


The standards described up to this point make justifiable knowledge intersubjective, but intersubjectivity is not objectivity. Just because my peers and I agree with each other about a particular model, does not necessarily indicate that the model is accurate in what it is meant to represent. This is the last epistemic barrier to justifiable knowledge: bridging the gap between intersubjectivity and objectivity. In order to do this, I need to devise a method that will allow my peers and I to agree upon models that are consonant with empirical reality. As it should be obvious, there are many ways in which bias can distort my claims of knowledge—from disconsonant sensory apparatuses to poor abstractions to poor representations of those abstractions to poor representations of systems—so how can these potential biases be filtered out?

The solution to this quandary is the pragmatic testing of linguistic models to see if they can accurately predict future observations in my empirical reality. The idea is that if I rely on a particular model and use it to make falsifiable predictions about future observations, then it’s ability to make true predictions suggests the model’s accuracy. I mentioned falsifiability. If a prediction is falsifiable, then this means it has the potential of being wrong. This allows for honest testing, rather than confirmation bias brought about by non-specific predictions that are correct no matter what. The use of falsifiable predictions is a process that is especially useful when using linguistic models. Both Newton’s and Einstein’s models were accepted as accurate based on their ability to predict the placement of the celestial bodies in the sky. Newton’s predictions were extraordinarily accurate, while Einstein’s were even more accurate. The predictive power of these models were what led people to take them seriously, rather than simply relying on the intersubjective agreement that they seemed accurate.

What can be concluded? Justifiable knowledge is acquired from sensory experience, where the sensory apparatuses are consonant with one another, where abstractions can be extracted, where the abstractions can be represented by models, where the models can potentially be expanded to systems of objects, and where these models can be tested for predictive power by many parties. This is how truth is acquired.


Solipsism is the starting point of every individual. I know that I exist, but whether or not the sense data I receive is accurate is another question. Ultimately, whether sense data is accurate is unsubstantive. This asks the question of where hallucinations come from. Hallucinations are ultimately my sensory apparatuses failing to agree with one another. Once this is understood, I can effectively rule them out as I make empirical observations. In my empirical reality, I can identify objects and group them based on commonalities. From these patterns, I can extract generalized abstractions. These abstractions are represented by either visual or linguistic models for the purposes of communication with others. These models can then be expanded to represent systems of objects, rather than individual objects or sets of objects. The expanded models either describe or explain systems of objects. Finally, these models are verified through testing. Through the use of linguistic models, I can deduce falsifiable hypotheses and test them to see if they can accurately predict future observations. If they can, then this model can be said to be accurate (or true).

The idea behind this epistemological approach is to externalize the search for truth. Instead of relying on my subjective musings of what I think is true, I am tying my search for truth to my actions, as it is reliant on the pragmatic testing of models for accuracy; this way, other people can join in on the search for justifiable knowledge.

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In Defense of the Traditional Family (Response to Will Kymlicka)

In this post I will be responding to the political philosopher Will Kymlicka, as he wrote in his book Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction. The part I will be responding to will be in his section written on Feminism. The book is intended to be an educational text, but there is a clear (and intentional) bias throughout, so I will be working from the assumption that Kymlicka agrees with the arguments he put forward. In the chapter on Feminism, he breaks down three major arguments in favor of contemporary feminism in the West, the first of which being what he refers to as the dominance approach. In this argument, he tries to show that taking a stance against discrimination of women is not enough to achieve sexual equality. This is because the very manner of which society has been set up is for the benefit of men. If one wants to make society more equal for women, then one must rethink how society is structured. One such way that he demonstrates this is by critiquing traditional marriage, demonstrating that it is an oppressive institution that makes women dependent on men. I will attempt to represent Kymlicka’s argument on such a subject as accurately as I can and will then provide a rebuttal to his points.

The Feminist Argument Against Traditional Marriage

Kymlicka asks us to “Consider a society which restricts access to contraception and abortion, which defines paying jobs in such a way as to make them incompatible with childbearing and child-rearing, and which does not provide economic compensation for domestic labour.” These three conditions are the foundation upon which a patriarchal society is situated. As long as these three conditions are present, then society is sure to be structured in a way that oppresses women and privileges men. The fact that they do not have any legal means to avoid pregnancies through the use of contraceptives and abortions, and simultaneously are not allowed to raise children while working a full-time job, forces women to make life decisions that lead them towards dependence on men. Kymlicka argues that women’s means for doing this are becoming “sexually attractive to men.” They will inevitably not go for the same economic opportunities and will instead try to appeal to men. “This, in turn, results in a system of cultural identifications in which masculinity is associated with income-earning, and femininity is defined in terms of sexual and domestic service for men, and the nurturing of children.” This characterizes patriarchy. There are roles that men and women are prescribed to and they are specifically defined to place men in a position of privilege over women. As a result of these differing pressures on men and women, they go into the institution of marriage with differing outlooks. The woman is going in dependent on a man to help her survive, especially if she intends to have children. Then, as time goes by, the marriage only makes her more dependent, as she is expected to be the one who stays home to take care of the children. She is incapable of establishing a career so the prospect of a divorce is almost out of the question. If the woman can’t support herself outside of the marriage, while the man can, then that gives the man leverage over the woman. He has less incentive to maintain that marriage than she does, so he can use this to control her.

In response to the oppressive nature of the institution of marriage, Kymlicka claims that society needs to reject the three basic conditions that serve as the foundation for patriarchy. If abortion is legalized and contraception is made available to the population, if institutions of employment are structured in a way that makes them compatible with child-bearing and child-rearing, and if women are compensated for the all of the domestic duties done by them, then this will have a trickle down effect, where masculinity and femininity as roles in a society are defined equally. As is obvious, this argument is put forward purely in the abstract. Kymlicka is not claiming that any particular society, especially in the West, fits this characterization perfectly. He does, however, claim that all Western liberal democracies contain elements of what is described and are, therefore, all are patriarchal to some degree (1).

Problems With The Feminist Argument

There is quite a lot to unpack with this argument, so to begin, I will start by saying that I will be critiquing various elements of this line of reasoning followed by an argument for why the institution of marriage is actually preferable. Not only is it not oppressive to women, but it is specifically tailored for everyone’s benefit, as it acknowledges human nature.

Let us take a look at the three conditions that provide the basis for a patriarchal society:

Condition One

The first of which is not having access to abortion and contraceptives. Standing against this condition is the most reasonable of the three. If women are denied access to abortion and contraceptives, then that will severely alter their approach to everyday life, as they will have to either practice chastity while gunning for a career, or latch on to a man who will support them. Unfortunately for feminists, abortion in particular is something that is more nuanced than they would like it to be. Looking at it in the abstract terms of gender equality, it seems to be common sense that abortion be legalized. It is not that simple, though. There are detractors, many of them women, who believe abortion to be an immoral act, as it involves terminating the development of a fetus after it has already begun. I will not get into the weeds of this issue in this post; I am simply pointing out that there exists another dimension to this issue that feminist will happily ignore if they can get away with it. It is one of those issues where both sides of the debate are so uninterested in the other side of the argument that it inevitably devolves into moral grandstanding and accusations. But to get back on point, if we are going to involve the issue of abortion in this debate, whether you like it or not, it is not accurately characterized by giving the women a choice over whether she wants a child or not. Some people claim that the child has a life with value. Middle ground may be accessible with the acknowledgment of adoption centers, as they can serve as a replacement for abortion, but this will inevitably require concessions of the feminist side of the debate, as women will still have to deal with the implications of child bearing.

Condition Two

The second condition is a society where institutions of employment are defined so that they are incompatible with childbearing and child rearing. This is mainly referring to how institutions do not have employee benefits like paid maternity leave, which hurts women’s prospects of successfully maintaining a career while also having a child. This is regardless of whether that woman is married or not.

The first point I want to make here is that employee benefits like paid maternity leave will actually have a negative effect on women’s employment prospects. Something that is regularly being talking about in intersectional feminist circles is the concept of unconscious bias and how this affects women and minorities in their everyday lives. Studies have shown that men and women have their applications for jobs selected for at differing rates, even when the applications are identical. This is considered to be a great issue in the modern West, and it even has its own big, scary name to shock the masses into action: systemic oppression. Upon the adoption of paid maternity leave, I argue that what is referred to as systemic oppression will only increase. Place yourself in the shoes of the employer for a moment. If you have the possibility to hire a man or a woman, you would absolutely take into account the fact that the women will likely go out on paid maternity leave at some point or another, possibly multiple times. This will increase the amount of bias against women in hiring.

The first response to this is to provide paternity leave as well as maternity leave, but this is complicated by the fact that men rarely ever use their paternity leave, mainly because it is not necessary. They may be able to take time off to care for the child, but they don’t birth children, so it is not the same. It is unrealistic to expect that paternity leave will mitigate the amount of discrimination against women upon being hired. The second response to this would be to use social pressure to influence how people are hired. In other words, use quotas that prescribe the amount of people within a particular demographic that can be hired within that institution. An example of this would be an institution making sure fifty percent of their employees are women. This will eliminate the discrimination against women in hiring even in spite of paid maternity leave. The problem with this is that institutions that are now adopting this strategy are no longer hiring people according to their qualifications. Instead, they are hiring people on the basis of characteristics that say nothing about their ability to contribute to that institution. In the interest of maximizing the output of any institution, it is advisable to avoid such practices. Over time, it is possible that the market will be a disincentive to companies opting into this quota solution, as other companies could be more successful than them. If this happens, then government action would be required to maintain quotas. You can see where this is going.

Government control is a slippery slope. Government solutions often create problems, which require more solutions. Using the government to force paid maternity leave on business owners will ultimately lead to more systemic oppression of women in hiring, which will spur on even more government intervention to fix that new problem: quotas. It is questionable whether this will ever end. The issue is much broader, too: Requiring paid maternity leave is a government intervention in an employer’s business, which sets a precedent of government control of private property. Once this precedent has been established, it then opens up the possibility of other ideological forces using this government power to push whatever agenda they may espouse. If you can do it, so can they.

This strategy also involves throwing individuals under the bus. Men who are qualified for those positions can potentially lose out against women for no other reason than because they were born that way: mainly because of a presumption of inherent privilege. This privilege is conceived of at a collective level of understanding of human relations, and is then grafted on to individuals. In other words, they claim that men as a collective generally have it better than women as a collective, so it is okay to assume that every individual man has it better than every individual woman. This argument is obviously absurd. Men who are homeless are in no way more privileged than even a single mother on welfare. Group trends are nothing more than just that: group trends.

Paid maternity leave is the main employee benefit discussed here, and it mostly relates to women’s need to take time off as a result of child bearing. Child rearing is another matter. What Kymlicka is demanding here is that institutions of employment be structured so that it is compatible with the raising of a child. Working out the practical application of this seems to be an impossibility. Is it really possible to hold both a job and also raise one’s children? This is not how family structure manifests itself in reality. Usually one parent stays home with the children, and this is usually the mother. If the mother is single, then she is required to have her children cared for by another, which is generally not seen as desirable. It just strikes me as wholly unreasonable to think that this part of the condition can be avoided.

Condition Three

The third condition is a society that does not provide economic compensation for domestic labor. The stance against this condition is the most unreasonable of the three. The belief that women don’t get economic compensation for domestic labor is completely unfounded. Women who do domestic work in a patriarchal society, as described above, do get compensation for their work. The woman does the domestic work in exchange for resources acquired by her husband. This is what marriage is: an exchange of resources and services. The man gives the woman protection, resources, and his seed and the woman gives him sex, domestic services, and children. This is to achieve the common goal of raising a family together. The only gripe one can have with this is that the man doesn’t exactly give the woman a wage, but this is just being technical. The woman is receiving resources from the man and this is partly because of her domestic labor.

Kymlicka’s characterization of the institution of marriage eviscerates the exchange that I described. He completely ignores the nature of the exchange in order to claim that women are being exploited. This is exemplified in the following quote that I provided earlier: “This, in turn, results in a system of cultural identifications in which masculinity is associated with income-earning, and femininity is defined in terms of sexual and domestic service for men, and the nurturing of children.” Note how he slips in the phrase “for men” after his description of femininity to remind the reader that she is subject to the will of the man. At the same time, when he describes the conception of masculinity in society, he neglects to slip in the phrase “for women” despite the fact that that is precisely what the man is expected to do. This is one of those absurd double standards wherein when women do things for men, this is an example of women being exploited because it is for the benefit of men, often at the expense of women; but when men do things for women, this is also an injustice towards women because they are now dependent on men for those things.

I think the response to this would be to point out the nature of the exchange. What the man is providing are resources necessary for the survival of the woman, while the woman is simply giving the man things that he may desire, but does not necessarily need. This imbalance is what makes it unequal and gives men leverage over women. My response to this is going to be my biggest critique of this argument thus far. Kymlicka’s mistake is that he makes what I will call the humanist assumption.

The Humanist Assumption

The humanist assumption is the assumption that any two particular groups of people—men and women, in this case—are equal to one another, particularly in behavior and temperament, until proven otherwise. This is an assumption made by most people in the West that I believe is fundamentally flawed. Focusing in on men and women specifically, why is it that we work from the default position of equality between the sexes until shown otherwise? Have men and women ever been equal in temperament and behavior in any society throughout human history? If this is the case, how often is it? Couple this with the obvious physical differences between the sexes, you should wonder why this assumption is being made. Obvious physical differences like breast development and genitalia are not evidence of behavioral differences, in and of themselves, but they should make you question what your default position on this subject should be. Are men and women equal until proven unequal, or are they unequal until proven equal? I argue the latter. This is especially reasonable when you consider that these observable differences are not necessarily all biological in origin. There are environmental influences, as well as biological ones. The humanist assumption starts from the extraordinary position of zero biological differences.

Upon the removal of the humanist assumption, the assertion that marriage gives men power to control women starts to fall apart—this argument being that women are dependent on men to support them, so women will naturally value the marriage more than men, giving the man leverage over her. The problem with this stance is that they are ignoring biological drives in men that influence their behavior. Men evolved to be protective of women, as it was beneficial to the survival of the species as a whole. I discuss this more in depth in my post, The Curious Case of Sex Relations (2). This leads to social norms, such as men sacrificing themselves for the sake of their women that rarely, if ever, happen the other way around. The relevant point is that this shows commitment. It is hard to argue that men have less commitment than women to a relationship if men have a biological drive within them that sometimes leads them to kill themselves for the sake of their women. The feminist critique also completely side steps the emotional component to marriage, that being love. A major binding force to these relationships is this emotional bond that men and women have for one another. When looking at tendencies to dismiss romantic attachment across cultures, it was found that men were no more dismissive of this emotional attachment than women were (3).

Neither of these points show that women are not dependent on men, as I am sure a feminist will be quick to point out, but I am going to go one step further and assert that women, specifically those that have children, are inherently dependent. Two things should be established: most women want children, and children are tied to their mothers. A mother and her children should be treated as a single unit. Because of this, motherhood renders women dependent. Feminists are correct to point out that women are dependent on men in the traditionalist framework, but they are naive to think that this can be changed. Think about it this way: when a woman has a child, she must find someone to financially prop her up, whether that be her husband or boyfriend, the father through alimony, the state through welfare, food stamps, charity, or their employer through paid maternity leave (or any combination of these things). The prospect of being a single mother is horrible. This is for a reason. Mothers need support. Traditionalism recognizes this and specifically tailors itself for their benefit.

Kymlicka’s humanist assumption also leads him to make a presupposition in his argument about men and women. He assumes that both men and women are equal in their desires; he assumes that they have the same paths to fulfillment. Here is a series of relevant facts that I think one should consider: When looking at self-reported surveys of happiness, women tend to evaluate their self-esteem on how close they are in their relationships with others and with god, while men tend to evaluate their self-esteem based on their active leisure and mental control. Women focus on domestic and personal problems, while men focus on matters without, like their job. Women’s love life and family life are the most relevant factors in determining their happiness, while, for men it is their job and appearance. When looking at depression, women are more likely to be depressed because of family problems, while men are more likely to be depressed because of financial issues. When looking at stress, women are more likely to report stress being caused by other people (relationship issues), while men are more self-focused, reporting stress over academic success or other related endeavors (4).

These facts show an obvious trend that women are more focused on relationships, while men are more focused on their success in their career. And even if you do want to make the humanist assumption and claim that this is all neatly explained away by socialization, you would have to explain why there are cross-cultural trends in personality differences between the sexes. Cross-cultural trends are a strong indicator of biological underpinnings to human behavior. Given that women score higher on agreeableness and openness to feelings, it lends credence to the series of facts shared here (5). Women also prove to care more about resources and socio-economic status than men do when selecting mates (6,7). It’s almost as if men and women evolved specifically to fit the roles prescribed to them in the traditionalist framework. Finally, both men and women have been getting progressively less happy in the West within the past thirty years. Not only this, but women have been twice as likely to have depression than men for the past twenty years (4). This is not to say that the destruction of traditionalism is the cause of these things, as this is only some correlation, but if the progressive liberation of women from the private sector correlates with the regression of their own happiness, then it should at least make you stop and think.


This established, men and women are proving themselves to fit into the traditionalist framework quite well. Traditionalism places women in a position where they interact with people, that being motherhood, and places men in a position where they are working at a job. Nothing I have said here necessarily translates into absolute and rigid roles for men and women, but the general trends will and should exist. Arguments about oppression are nonsensical. Given the fact that men and women make up about the same percentage of their populations, it strikes me as naive to try and argue that social norms like that of gender roles within traditional marriage do anything to suppress women as a collective relative to men. This would require extraordinary evidence. Feminists are presented with two possibilities: women’s oppression by social norms is a naturally occurring phenomenon in human behavior, or women simply exhibit interest in different things, leading to the two sexes taking up different roles in society. Either way, pointing out the apparently oppressive nature of the dynamics of these two roles is ultimately irrelevant, as biology is strongly suggested by how consistent these circumstances are.


Kymlicka’s feminist critique of the institution of marriage is flawed at best. Abortion is too contentious an issue to receive the treatment it does in this argument. Paid maternity leave is not the panacea it is pretended to be. The institution of marriage is fundamentally an exchange, which is ignored. And finally, it fails to take human nature into account and properly recognize the differences between the sexes. Because of this, it characterizes the male and female dynamic in the traditional sense as oppressive when it is actually preferable. It does not render women dependent on men; it recognizes that this dependency is inherent to the human condition and specifically tailors itself for that reality.

Word Count: 3824




(1) Book: Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction: Second Edition

(2) Post on gender relations:

(3) Relationship attachment in men and women:

(4) This is a compilation of sources; the primary sources are at the bottom of the page:

(5) Personality differences:

(6) Male and female attraction:

(7) Another study on male and female attraction:

Unconscious Bias

In our every day lives we get judged by every characteristic you can possibly imagine. We are prejudged based on sex, race, height, looks, the sound of our voice, our physique, and so on. Human brains are biologically designed to recognize patterns in behavior, as this was an evolutionary adaptation that allowed us to survive in dangerous environments. The hypothesis is that humans who could recognize patterns in behavior in other species have higher fitness than humans who treated every organism they encountered as an atomized case. Human beings, on a mass scale, will never go against this adaptation. The point is that these unconscious biases are part of our every day experience.

Before I go on, I want to note that this post is talking about unconscious prejudice, not conscious prejudice.

The interesting thing about the examples I gave in the beginning is society’s response to these prejudices and how they differ from one another. The first two I mentioned, race and sex, have a very clear response: that these types of prejudice are wrong and should be curbed by any means necessary. Now we have studies on implicit bias and the like, showing things like applications for jobs being picked at different rates, and more. Now contrast that to something like height. If you are incredibly tall, then that affects how people will perceive you, especially when they first meet you. You come off as more imposing and dominant. And then the opposite is true for short people: you naturally come off as more submissive and less imposing.

And most people react to this reality in an incredibly different manner. We implicitly accept the fact that people are prejudiced according to height in this way, as it is just a fact of life, and usually end up ignoring it. The people being judged, instead of expecting society to change to suit their own conception of themself, change to suit society’s opinion of them. A short person will eventually accept that they will never be imposing to prejudiced onlookers and they will adopt a more passive approach to life. There are exceptions, but we all know of the stereotype of the scrawny, male teenager who thinks he’s a whole lot tougher than he is; and we all know how satisfying it is to see him get his ass handed to him when he crosses the line.

My question is why we aren’t treating race and sex based prejudice like this latter example. As I have already pointed out, prejudice is something that is inherent to us, so simply saying that it should go away is not feasible. Not only are you demanding perfection from imperfect creatures, but you are demanding that they go against their biology. This will never happen on a mass scale, unless you have an oppressive ideology to herd the masses. But people on the Left will never accept that bias based on race and sex is acceptable. I think much of this has to do with the history of racism and sexism, and I certainly think this would be the response. Ultimately, I do not think that this is a fair reason to make the demands that the Left makes.

The Left claims that the history of racism and sexism feeds into today and that this is why issues surrounding race and sex are so important. I can get behind this idea, but I would like to see how it would play out in a specific example of prejudice. Let us compare two examples: In the first example, say that a man prejudges another based on his height. He assumes that he is going to hurt him based solely on the fact that his is tall and imposing. And this is not a fair judgment, as the man is actually very nice. In the second example, a man prejudges another man based on the fact that he is black. He assumes that he is going to hurt him based solely on the fact that he is black. And this is not a fair judgment either, as the man is also very nice. Are these two examples not the same? Why should I assume that the second example of prejudice is worse than the first? Does the history of racism change anything in these specific examples? Why? Is it fair to just assume the prejudice based on race is worse “because history?”

I think the response to this would be to mention why prejudice is wrong in the first place. They would claim that prejudice is wrong because it hurts people’s feelings and that this is how history plays a role in the difference. Black people are conscious of a history of racism and that leads them to perceive these prejudices differently. It is the effect that matters, not necessarily the action.

There are two problems with this. First, this is a great generalization of people’s behaviors. We are talking about two individual cases and this response applies assumptions based on group membership to make the point. We do not know if the black man in the example will truly be mulling over the history of racism. Second, these instances of prejudice are not always something that the target is conscious of. If we look at biases in hiring, as I mentioned earlier, then we see that some applications are selected more often than others. This isn’t emotional hurt though; there is a material effect on the target and it is ultimately something that they are not aware of. How would a history of racism justify the claim that racial prejudice is worse than prejudice based on height when there is a material effect, but no emotional effect? Say that you could have hired the tall man and the black man, but rejected both after the interview because their respective characteristics intimidated you. Their personalities were exemplary and fit the job, but you ultimately rejected both because of unconscious prejudice. Are these actions equally bad, or is the racial prejudice worse? Why?

I don’t think it is worse. This is why I think we should transition into a society that shrugs off unconscious prejudice based on race and sex and deals with it in the same way that we do prejudice over someone’s height. Prejudice is inevitable, so people need to learn to accommodate that in their lives.

Word Count: 1062



The Curious Case of Sex Relations

The biggest problem with modern day politics is the fact that we get too bogged down in our own moral assumptions about the world. If you actually want to understand politics—and by extension, human behavior—you have to recognize that human beings are animals. We aren’t free agents trying to change the world for some higher purpose. Everything we do is fully informed by the interplay of our genetics and the environment we grow up in. Because of this, there are recognizable trends in human behavior that are observable across cultures and throughout history. The best way to understand these trends is to approach it from an evolutionary perspective.

When I think about sex politics, I don’t look at it according to what is just and what is not just, at least not when I want to lay down the basis for my understanding of the subject. Instead, I look at it through an evolutionary lens, because I think much of this is easily explained in this way. I want to note that this argument is not a one hundred percent proof of anything. Through Occam’s razor, this evolutionary explanation is the one I fall back on.

The first thing I want to do is refute a few common misconceptions held by many people about the biological explanation for behavioral differences. Claiming that there could be a biological reason for a difference in behavioral trends does not mean every individual person in these collectives are equally different from one another. We are talking about trends, not absolutes. The only way evolution can work is with genetic variation, so of course there will be exceptions to the trends I am talking about. Pointing to any exceptions does not negate the argument since the argument rests on the claim that these trends exist for a reason.

The next thing I want to refute is the false assumption that biological explanations for behavioral differences necessarily indicate that the differences are fully genetic. Things are rarely one hundred percent due to genetics. There is almost always some environmental component along with some genetic component. So when I say that there is an evolutionary explanation for a behavioral difference, this merely means that the basis is genetic; differences can certainly be amplified by the environment. For example, if a certain genetic population A has genes that make them predisposed to aggressive behavior relative to genetic population B, then it should be noted that population A will also construct a social environment that conditions people’s behaviors to be more aggressive, thus amplifying the aggregate aggression. Pointing out that the social environment in population A affects people’s behavior is not an argument for why there is no genetic component to their aggression relative to population B.

Finally, I think I should establish what men and women are, given this rise of postmodern deconstructionism. In many cases, I think postmodernism goes a bit too far with their deconstruction of some categorizations. This subject would be one of those cases. Here, we are talking about human relations as it pertains to our role in evolution. So the biological sexes are defined by their gametes, or by their role in sexual reproduction. Men create the sperm, women create the egg, and any deviation from this is an evolutionary dead end.

All of this established, I will get to the actual point of the post: When looking at sex politics throughout history, I have come to the conclusion that you can place men and women at opposite ends of a spectrum. This spectrum has freedom on one end and safety at the other. The closer you are to the freedom end the freer you are, at the expense of your safety, and vice versa for the other side. Men have been placed on the freedom end of the spectrum, while women have been placed at the safety end of the spectrum. Feminist scholars usually characterize this as patriarchy, where men take up the public sector of life, with women being relegated to the private sector. Basically, men are the ones out in the world working for a wage and women are left in the home for domestic duties. They generally are correct, though I think my characterization is better since I am not pathologically adhered to the idea of how unjust this is. Whether it is unjust or not is irrelevant. Biology does not care about your morals.

I think there is an evolutionary explanation for why the varying forms of patriarchy exist. As biological creatures, it is in our nature to reproduce and spread our genes on to the next generation. Much of our behavior can be traced back to our desire to do this. Because of this, the male and female roles in society are predicated on our respective roles in sexual reproduction. Given the fact that women are the ones who bear the children, and also given the fact that this is a long and arduous process that makes them incredibly vulnerable, it makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint for our species as a whole to value the safety of women. If women are not kept safe, then that will imperil the entire species. And this does not apply to men in the same degree, since all they need to do is inseminate and their deed is done. Ideally, he should remain alive so he can provide for the woman, but since their tribe can compensate, his value is less than that of the woman.

Put another way, a women who is prone to taking risks is less likely to successfully reproduce and pass her genes on to the next generation than a woman who prefers safety. Going through nine months of pregnancy is a severe handicap on reckless behavior. Through the process of natural selection, the genes related to risk averse behavior will begin to take up a larger and larger percentage of the female population. At the same time, if women are becoming more prone to safe behavior as a collective whole, then men necessarily need to compensate if the species is to survive. There needs to be someone to risk their life against the horrors of the natural world in order to retrieve the resources needed to live. A safety prone woman paired with a safety prone man is less likely to succeed in passing her genes on to the next generation than a safety prone woman paired with a bolder man. The result of these selection patterns is women who are collectively less likely to put themselves in harms way and men who are collectively willing to compensate for that.

And there is evidence of these sex differences up until today. These behavioral differences can also be looked at in terms of the five big personality traits. They are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If you score high on all of these, then you are inventive and curious, efficient and organized, outgoing, friendly and compassionate, and nervous and prone to worrying, respectively. They all score around fifty percent heritability based on our knowledge gained from twin studies, so genes have an effect.

A study with a sample size of 23,031, across a selection of 26 different cultures, has shown that there are recognizable trends in personality traits generally held by women relative to men. Women tend to score higher on neuroticism, agreeableness, an element of extraversion known as warmth, and openness to other’s feelings. Men tend to score lower on neuroticism, agreeableness, and higher on openness to ideas and assertiveness, the latter being an element of extraversion. There is some variability in the degree to which these differences exist, but the freer the society the more stark these differences get. This strongly suggests that there is some biological component to the differences in personality traits. Given these differences, women are more likely to have the personality traits of person who places herself in positions where there is little risk and low stress. This is consistent with my hypothesis for an evolutionary explanation for patriarchy.

Applying this to history, the further back you go the more dangerous the public sector gets. Depending on how far you go depends on precisely what horrors you may experience, but this trend absolutely exists. This correlates with another trend: the further back into history you go, the more likely it is that men dominate the public sector. In other words, the more dangerous something is, the more likely it is to be the domain of men. It was men who historically went out into the world as hunters, coal miners and soldiers. The only reason for the move of women from the private sector to the public sector as time goes by is because of western development that has made the public sector a much safer environment. Today the public sector isn’t coal mines and battlefields, but desk jobs with air conditioning.

So it makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint, for women to be historically placed in the private sector where it is safe, with men placed in the public sector where it is free (but dangerous); our species would likely have gone extinct if it wasn’t otherwise. It also makes sense to have this rise of feminism to push women into the public sector today. The public sector of life has been softened, so there is no longer a severe existential threat to women or, by extension, the species as a whole. This is not to say that the public sector is as safe as the homelife, but this is explained by the influence of feminism and its desire to protect women. Our biological drive to keep women safe is still kicking.

The important thing to note here is that there will likely never be a society where men and women are equal in representation, when these institutions are specifically tailored for an output of the best of the best. Although our species has evolved in environments that are much different than it is in the modern west, our evolved behavior will not just disappear. Women prove to be generally more competent than men in some fields, and vice versa for men in other fields. In the event that we allow people to fall where they may in a free society, a least a soft form of patriarchy is likely to characterize our species.

Word Count: 1728





Re: Non-Binary Genders | Contrapoints


The first thing I want to comment on here is your mention of traditional gender roles. This is brought up as if to imply that these traditional gender roles are generally seen as the desired state to live in, as opposed to a state with non-binary genders. This is not necessarily true. You can reject both the traditional gender roles and the existence of non-binary genders, as I will detail later on in this post. It is likely that you know this, but due to the fact that this particular statement was not made in response to any individual person, rather a general response to the people on YouTube, I really can’t know for sure.

(I cut out about thirty-six seconds of introduction. 0:28-1:05)


I object to your claim that non-binary people don’t need to provide arguments in support of their own existence. The first problem I have with this sentiment is the idea that this can be characterized as an issue over their existence. This was your wording. And it is nothing more than loaded language. The issue is not whether people who identify as non-binary exist or not; it is over what their identity actually is and how it should be accepted in the mainstream. Rejecting this identity does not mean they, as a person, don’t exist in the world, but that this manifestation of their identity is objectionable.

The second thing is your actual claim that they don’t need to provide arguments in favor of the non-binary identity. They do. This isn’t some moral condemnation. Even if you agree with the widespread acceptance of non-binary genders, this argument still stands. What non-binary people are asking for is a change in social consciousness. The acceptance of non-binary identities runs completely counter to the current understanding of both gender roles and identities in the west. Practically speaking, if you want to bring about change, then the burden of proof lies on your lap, not the other way around. I certainly don’t think non-binary identities are a practical solution in society. It vastly over complicates things, and demands too much of other people. I could be convinced, but I don’t see any reason to accept it at this point.


This harkens back to what I previously said about going against the social consciousness. When you propose an idea that is counter to what people expect, especially something as heretical as introducing brand new genders, you not only cannot expect people to go along with it, but there is no reason for them to go along with it either. Why? You must provide an argument for that. As far as I am concerned, this non-binary shtick is just an ideological fad manifesting in the Left that will almost certainly die out in a few years or so. The modern day progressives have a pathological adherence to group identities and non-binary genders are an expression of this.


This is not as simple as an appeal to authority. An appeal to authority generally involves someone basing his argument off of something an individual person in an authoritative position said, particularly when that person actually has no authority on the subject at hand. What Blaire is referencing here is not a statement or opinion made by one person, but the general consensus in the medical community. Because of this, I think there is an argument to be made that non-binary people are not the same as those who are transgender. Basically what this consensus is is the best, most well educated, stance on the issue at this point. It isn’t perfect, especially due to it being a soft science, but it functions much like hard science in that it provides the best description/explanation of the universe around us given our current knowledge. If someone provides an argument for going against this consensus, I am happy to listen, but I won’t just accept it.

And I will grant you that non-binary could be included as a diagnosis at some point, but this simply means they don’t feel like they fit into any particular gender category. This does not mean that new gender categories ought to be magicked into existence to play into their delusion. Ideally, they should be treated psychologically since this is a problem with the mind. If not, then there is no point in diagnosing them in the first place. People with gender dysphoria are diagnosed so they can get treatment; what reason should non-binary people be diagnosed if the solution isn’t to change them, but the society that they live in? This is comparable to homosexuality, which you brought up yourself. Homosexuals are an evolutionary dead end. If a bunch of chemicals were dumped in the water that turned the friggin’ straights gay, we would go extinct, if not for artificial insemination. From a biological standpoint, there is no reason to believe that homosexuality is, in any way, natural. Yet, it is no longer a diagnosis. This is because we have decided that homosexuals do not need to change. Society changed, not the homosexuals. So you can only have one: either the social consciousness ought to change to accommodate non-binary people, or the non-binary people ought to change to fit society. Whether this non-binary phenomenon can actually be diagnosed, and is not just some ideological fad, will have major implications in this.


With regard to your comments about biological sex, intersex is nothing more than a birth abnormality. The entire reason that we, as biological creatures, are separated into two sexes is because of the need for sexual reproduction. The male sex creates the sperm and the female sex creates the egg; the sperm fertilizes the egg and the offspring is the result. Intersex does not come into this. There is no hermaphrodite middleman when two people have sex. And this also applies to the differing karyotypes that you brought up on the screen. XO, or just X, is what you would call Turner’s syndrome. This is when a biological female, yes, female, is born with only an X sex chromosome. The symptoms differ, but the sufferers from this condition typically have problems with spatial visualization and display certain physical deformities that include webbed neck, low-set ears, short stature, and swollen hands and feet at the time of birth. Sufferers also generally need hormone treatment in order to gain breasts and menstrual periods. Finally, they are sterile. Treatment can be given to help mediate this, but I think my point stands: people with Turner’s syndrome have a condition. This is not evidence of a third category of sex. In fact, they solely belong to the female sex. The other karyotypes share a rather similar story, including ones you did not mention, such as XXXY, XXXX, XXYY, and XXXXY. The XYY and XXX karyotypes are the two that display phenotypic effects that aren’t as severe as the rest, so they are the exception. But this does not address my point at the beginning that intersex people do not contribute to reproduction; so biologically speaking they have an abnormality. The biological sex binary exists for a reason.

I also want to make a point concerning gender roles/expression. You offhandedly mentioned these, but what I have to say will be relevant to my comments on gender identity. Gender roles are predicated on biological sex. They are socially constructed, with a general adherence to the biological reality of sex. When you look at gender roles throughout history the general rule is that there are two. Of course, there are exceptions, considering the fact that we are dealing with something that is socially constructed, but the emphasis here should be put on exceptions. There is a reason that, in most societies, there have only been two gender roles: the fact that it is predicated on biological sex.

Keep in mind that there is no objective way to look at gender roles, since gender roles are simply our way of perceiving people in society. This is supported by the fact that these exceptions people generally bring up all differ in what these extra gender roles are. Some societies consider the extra gender role to be a state between the two normal gender roles. Some think it is effeminate men. Some think there are four genders, which include the typical roles along with two extras: masculine women and feminine men. People are simply collectivizing themselves according to their behavior in a way that makes sense to them in their society. This can differ.

The main point I want to stress here is that there is no objective reason to accept any particular gender role in society, not even the ones we currently have in America.

Finally, your assertion that gender identity is what is in question here is dubious. Given the fact that non-binary people don’t feel like they fit into any gender category, it really is impossible to say what exactly this means. Do they feel like the current gender roles are too restrictive and they want a new role tailored just for them? Or are they experiencing something closer to what transgender people face, which is a deep inner feeling that something is wrong with their very psychology? These are not the same thing and the implications matter. If the latter were true, you would be right in classifying non-binary as partly an issue of gender identity. If the former were true, then I would say it isn’t an issue of gender identity at all, but that of purely gender roles. This is where medical diagnoses come in handy. They can act as the adjudicator. I am personally inclined to say the former is true. As I specified earlier, gender roles are simply our way of perceiving people in society. This can be take form in many different ways, for many different reasons. I think the progressive ideology today that emphasizes group identity is the reason for this new recognition of non-binary gender roles.

An added note for you to consider is that these so-called grey areas to biological sex don’t actually correlate with gender dysphoria or any of the extra gender roles. Hermaphroditic people don’t necessarily have gender dysphoria. And how often have these extra gender roles been ascribed to people with Turner’s syndrome, or any people with differing karyotypes, for that matter? The reason for this disconnect is because all of these things are each their own issue. They are all genetic defects of a different sort. If these were grey areas you would expect them to correlate, would you not? The grey areas in biological sex would overlay each other and on top of the grey areas of gender identity, and then these would be the extra genders roles that have popped up throughout history. But this is not the case.


This right here perfectly encapsulates the problem. Most people do not consider gender to be a major factor in their identity. We live in an individualist society and any sort of group identity runs counter to this. And this is all based on feelings. So how can you determine the difference between having a non-conforming gender identity and simply wanting a gender role tailored for you? As I said, medical diagnoses should be used.

(I cut out some funny bits Contra put in. 4:32-5:53)


By and large, you are correct here. Language is determined by its usage, not by any sort of rules that it follows. The dictionary is more descriptive than it is prescriptive. Though it is important to note that it is not as simple as you make it out to be. You can break the language down into two classes of words: open class and closed class. The names of these two classes explain just how flexible the words are when it comes to changing them. Open classes contain words like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. These are open to constant change. Any speaker can modify these words with either inflectional or derivational morphemes. Respectively, these change the grammatical meaning of the word or change the word entirely. An example of this would be the word “fuck.” This word is rather unique, since it can become any of the open class words through its usage. It can be a noun: “You stupid fuck.” It can be a verb: “You want to fuck?” It can be an adjective: “This fucking guy.” And it can be an adverb: “Are you fucking stupid?” You can even invent new words, when it comes to open class words and they don’t necessarily have to be pre-established in order for it to have a comprehensible meaning. An example of this would be “verbing.” “Verbing” is a homological “word” that describes the process of adding an [-ing] morpheme to the end of a word to change it into a verb (usually from a noun). People do this often when they want to be playful with language, and the meaning of what they are saying is usually obvious. So this establishes the flexibility of an open class word.

The next group of words is closed class words. These words, true to the name, are words that are generally closed off to meddling. Words that fall into this category include: determiners, auxiliary verbs, coordinators, complementizers, and . . . pronouns. These words do not take on inflectional or derivational morphemes and their usage is quite prescriptive. This is not to say that they can never be changed—the second person singular pronoun “thou” is now “you,” which was formerly confined to the second person plural usage—but this isn’t something that just happens overnight. Unlike open class words, you can’t just invent new words on the spot and expect the people to understand what you are saying or to go along with it. It is entirely possible for the usage of the word “they” to naturally change as time goes by, but this is really a question of what comes first: will these pronouns become part of common usage, or will this non-binary fad fall out of favor? Only time will tell.

Finally, to address the onscreen claim that people use singular “they” whether they know it or not. Technically that is correct, but there is nuance attached to it. First, the singular usage of “they” is very informal, so there are many language professors who would never accept that in a formal setting, like if you are writing an essay. That aside, the singular usage of “they” is only used when the identity or the gender of the person being spoken about is unknown. It makes sense to use singular “they” in the following context: “The author states X. They then go on to state Y.” The subject of that sentence—the noun phrase, “the author”—is vague in that the author’s gender is unknown, so you can acceptably use the singular “they.” But there are interpretation problems when you use the singular “they” in contexts where the subject’s gender is hinted at through a name. This is evident in the following sentence: “Jack chose to quit work after speaking with an employer. They didn’t think the interaction went very well.” What does this mean? Is “they” the formal third person plural usage of the pronoun, referencing both parties mentioned in the sentence? Is this a sloppy, informal reference to the employer who is genderless? Or is Jack non-binary, using the “they,” “them,” and “their” pronouns? You need more context. This issue could be worked out some time in the future, who knows? But the point is that we don’t use singular “they” pronouns to reference specific people we are knowledgeable about, we only use them to informally reference people we aren’t knowledgeable about.


(I will skip ahead approximately 14 seconds to make a full response to two closely related questions. 7:24-7:38)


I completely agree with your statement that gender roles evolved in a time where it made more sense to have them. Especially in the modern day, people don’t always fit into their respective gender role set up by society nor do they need to. I part ways with you when you imply that these new gender roles are a step in the right direction. I have never understood the logic behind the idea of creating new gender roles. Here we have a problem: male and female gender roles are too rigid and some people just do not fall into either of the categories. This is because gender roles are basically the general behavior/expression of each of the sexes. Expecting people to fall perfectly in line with any gender role is like expecting everyone in a class with a grade average of seventy-two percent to each have a seventy-two percent. It does not follow. The solution to this should not be to increase the amount of emphasis we place on group identities like gender roles and then try to invent more categories by reaching up into our asses and pulling out the shittiest name we can find. The solution should be to reduce the amount of emphasis we place on gender roles as a group identity. Stop acting like these categories matter so much. Instead, emphasize individualism and personality. You don’t need to fit in with any fucking gender role. Just be you.

(I cut out the outro of the video. 8:35-9:27)

Word Count: 2877





Gender roles:

Alex Jones:


If you claim to be a nihilist, that can mean a whole host of different things. I do consider myself a nihilist, but it is important to specify exactly what I mean when I say that. To communicate this, I will boil nihilism down into three specific categories: there is existential nihilism, moral nihilism, and rational nihilism. The first two of these reflect my view of the world quite well, while the last one is a bit more complicated, as you will see.

Existential Nihilism

Existential nihilism is the belief that life, specifically human life, is ultimately meaningless, or that it has no purpose. Since I consider myself an atheist, this belief naturally follows. There is no evidence of a god out there, particularly one that cares about human beings and holds them up as his prized creation. We simply exist as a result of many causal actions. Whatever meaning that is applied to our existences is self-applied, which is only natural for self-aware beings to do. This is a rather common belief amongst most atheists, but I am going to take it a step further. Even within the context of our own self-constructed world of meaning, there is really no purpose to be found. Even in the world constructed by humans, I likely won’t ever have an effect. The only reason why I follow politics and post these writings online to my scant following is because I am human, just like everyone else: cursed by a desire to matter in a world where that is impossible.

There is another dimension to my lack of purpose in this human world. For most people, having a purpose is tied to being a good person. A person’s purpose in life usually has to do with them helping others, in one way or another, but, being the pessimist that I am, I see this desire to do well to others as a way of making you feel better. You see yourself being “good,” and the resulting feeling encourages repetition of that behavior. I have two things to say in response: one, I don’t care for having a purpose or being “good” if it’s down to only good feelings; and two, more importantly, I think it is entirely fruitless. I have realized quite a while ago that there is no such thing as a “good guy.” Even the best of us have dark sides, and no matter what we do, people will suffer and die. So I don’t care about being good, I care about achieving my own political aims. This is no different from anyone else. A good example to illustrate this would be the migrant crisis. The left views itself as the moral stance on the subject. They see people fleeing from their country, which is at war, and they know they must help. These are the kinds of people with a childish view of the world. They have a simplistic understanding of what it takes to do something like this and they end up justifying horrible things to get this “moral” end they stand with. John Oliver has claimed that he has no care for how many people die in the terror attacks that result from letting in the migrants. He believes that all the death brought down on the American people is simply a worthy “risk” to take. And he naively thinks that he is still a “good guy,” or, he at least still has the gall to morally posture in front of everyone.

And this is seen on the other side of the aisle, as well, though not nearly as often. Some right-wing nationalists jump at the chance to show how immoral the left has become when they say things along the same lines as John Oliver. After a terrorist attack at a college university, at least one student blamed his fellow Americans, saying their racism drove the killer to do what he did. The right-wingers rightly pointed out the horror of this sentiment, but it was clear that they thought they held the morally correct position. They want to help the American people, so that is why they are supporting Muslim bans or other immigration crackdowns.

In my view, neither of these positions is moral. In both cases, people will die. If we let the refugees in, people’s lives will be risked in potential terrorist attacks; if we keep them out, people’s lives will be risked in their war torn country. To act like either position is morally better than the other is absurd. So, I have given up on having a moral purpose in my life. I am not a good person, and I don’t strive to be. I have values on which my political aims are based, but I no longer think this makes me a good person, nor do I think it gives me purpose. I’m just another cockroach, scrambling towards what I want in this world.

Moral Nihilism

Since having a purpose in life is usually intrinsically tied to morality, in that our purpose is striving to do well to others, this a perfect segue into the next topic: moral nihilism. I consider myself to be a moral nihilist. This is simply an acknowledgement that there is no such thing as an objective morality outside of the human species. In fact, I consider morality to be a social delusion (a common belief among those in society that does not exist due to reason or evidence). Morality is humans’ flawed attempt at trying to understand why there are behavior trends within human populations. As a result, I don’t think anyone has moral authority behind their words, not even myself, even though I play along with this social delusion from time to time.

But this is not to say that there is no reason for these aforementioned behavioral trends. If you want to understand this, you need to step back from the moral framework of right and wrong and instead look at things according to evolution. Things should now be looked at according to what is evolutionarily advantageous, rather than what is right and what is wrong. People get antsy when I say this, but it is important to note that I am not trying to argue for why some things, which are typically considered immoral, should be considered moral, but am simply providing an explanation for why these typically immoral things are considered immoral.

To begin: a brief explanation of evolution, to clear up any false assumptions. Evolution is the change of the overall genetic make up of a species over time. Through processes like natural selection, some genes are selected for more often than others, and, over time, these genes become more plentiful, thus evolving the species as a whole. This selection process happens primarily at the level of the individual. Basically, what this means is individuals that have traits that help ensure the spread and survival of their genes are the individuals that pass on their genes most often. As a result, they come to represent the species.

But there is another level at which selection must occur. This is at the group level. When something is selected for at the group level, a trait not only benefits an individual, it also benefits the group as a whole. This is an important point to make because, if a trait is selected for at the individual level, it does not necessitate it being beneficial for the group as a whole. If it isn’t beneficial, it is either selected against or the species dies out.

For example: if you only take into account what is selected for at the individual level, then something like rape would be selected for. Individuals that most successfully spread their genes are the ones most likely to survive, so, naturally, rapists would become more common. But this ignores selection at the group level. A rapist’s behavior may be beneficial for that individual, but it is not beneficial for the group, so it is selected against at the group level. This is because the only way the human species could survive is by evolving empathy. This empathy allows us to be social beings, in which we work together to survive. We were handicapped evolutionarily by the fact that human women can only give birth to one child at a time, generally, and only every year, at best. Our social behavior (empathy included) was compensation for this. By forming into groups, especially familial groups, we ensure the survival of our genes. It shouldn’t be a surprise that our species has a better chance of survival if we form into pockets for mutual survival, than if the men go around raping as many women as they can; and since these two behaviors are mutually exclusive, one will be selected for at the expense of the other.

Once this is established, this explains why behaviors like rape, murder and even simpler ones like lying are considered wrong by humans. The important thing to note is that we don’t think rape and murder are wrong because they are morally bad, but because that behavior is detrimental for our survival. We are biologically inclined not to do these things.

As I stated earlier in the post, I do play along with the social delusion of morality. Since I am human, I do have a capacity for empathy that leads me to formulate opinions about how people ought to behave. But I will say that my opinions have absolutely no authority behind them, no more than any other person in this world. It is simply my goal to convince others of my opinions on morality, rather than assert that I am objectively right.

Rational Nihilism

The third, and the last, form of nihilism that I will discuss here is rational nihilism. This form of nihilism is the belief that reason and logic, or rationality, is a social delusion. The argument is that if it makes no sense to assert that there is an objective morality due to there being no known source for it, then it makes no sense to assert that there is such thing as rationality without naming a source. Not only that, but everything, including rationality is based off of our understanding of the universe, and since our understanding of the universe is restricted to our own perceptions, it can only be considered subjective. There is no way anyone can say rationality would be the same if we stepped outside of our perceptions of the universe and saw it unrestricted. These arguments make sense on the face of it, but I don’t consider myself a rational nihilist because these arguments are self-refuting. I am using rationality to prove that there is no such thing as rationality. The more rock solid the argument I make for rationality being non-existent, the more I implicitly contradict that. No matter what I do, it is impossible for me to show rationality to be non-existent, because all of my thinking is based off of rationality. So, the only thing to do is to put this to rest.

To sum up all of this: of the three forms of nihilism that I discussed here—existential nihilism, moral nihilism, and rational nihilism—I consider myself to be two of them. I find it irrational to have any sort purpose to your life, especially if that purpose paints you as the “good guy” in the world, so I am an existential nihilist. There is no such thing as an objective morality. Morality is a social delusion, and a flawed attempt at understanding why human populations have certain behavioral trends. These trends are simply a result of us evolving into social beings for our common survival. So these acknowledgements lead me to be a moral nihilist. And finally, it is possible for rationality to be considered subjective, but the only way to reach that conclusion is to use rationality as if it is objective, so rational nihilism is self-refuting. All in all, my worldview is quite happy and invigorating.


Brave New World: Assorted Musings

I just finished the book, Brave New World. All in all, it was a very interesting read. To give a basic summary of all of the relevant details, the story is about a “utopian” future, where community and stability are held at the utmost importance. Natural birth has been abolished. In place of it, humans are now bred out of test tubes, where they are genetically altered to conform to whatever caste the state designates to them. Because it is no longer necessary, the family structure has been abolished, as well. Now, all of these test tube grown children are raised by the state, where they are conditioned through hypnopedic processes and punishment to conform to society and do what the state desires. Hypnopedic processes are where messages or ideas are repeated to people on a loop as they sleep, so it becomes engrained in their thoughts. Punishment is self-explanatory, but to give an example, some babies are taught to hate certain things, by punishing them with loud sounds, whenever they go near them. People are taught to abhor individuality, and to desire community above all else. And to suppress any kind of displeasure with the world around them, the state distributes a drug called soma, which is an escape from all pain and suffering. The people in the world don’t know what actual suffering is, because they simply ignore the concept. Art and science are dead, because they both go against the state. It is established that good art is acquired through pain and suffering, so it is all but non-existent, at this point (people are writing about nothing); science is limited, so that new discoveries are only beneficial to the state.

This book is an excellent example of collectivism taken too far. Collectivism, putting the good of the community above the good of the individual, is something that I am incredibly skeptical about. Especially today, individual rights are curbed for the sake of communal good for a particular community. An excellent example of this would be quotas. Discrimination against individuals (white/male individuals, usually) is justified because various minority groups are not properly represented. Care for representation comes from a collectivist perspective, while care for an individual being discriminated against comes from an individualist perspective. Of course, this book is far more extreme than anything we are dealing with today, but it does an excellent job demonstrating why you cannot have both. You cannot fight for common good without curbing the individual; you cannot fight for the individual without curbing the common good.

I also am interested in the focus on pain as something that is humanizing. This is seen in two ways. First, the relationships between the characters are stronger when they share their problems with one another, while their relationships fall apart instantly in the superficial world they achieve with the drug, soma. Bonds form in the face of adversity. These bonds are virtually nonexistent in Brave New World, with it even going so far as to establish emotional loss after someone’s death as alien to their culture. They don’t understand what it is like to mourn the loss of a loved one. Second, as I briefly touched upon in the beginning, great art is achieved through suffering. Writings, like Shakespeare, are abolished because they are no longer consistent with the new world. The people in the new world are no longer conscious of the concepts of pain and longing for love, so they can never understand plays like Othello and Romeo and Juliet. I completely agree with this stance. As someone who likes to write stories myself, I know that I would have nothing packing my stories if I had no knowledge of pain or displeasure. My stories in particular are steeped in despair and horror, so my work requires this more than the average writer. Brave New World ends with John (the Savage) choosing pain over pleasure because of this fact. I agree (though he does take it a bit far).

There is also the idea of religion and god being discussed. The book has a pro-religious message, tying religion in with art, like Shakespeare. It is established that people turn to religion in times of adversity, and since people in that world do not know of pain, they no longer have need for religion. But it is also true that religion brings people together. So, to exploit this fact, there are meetings where people essentially tap into their spiritual side using drugs, but instead of becoming one with god, they become one with one another. It is almost like what hippies do.

Another interesting thing discussed in the book is the difference of cultures. The culture described above is considered civilized, while others are considered savage. Since families and natural birth have been abolished, the idea that everyone belongs to everyone is pushed around. As a result, sexual promiscuity is not only the norm, but it is encouraged. Attachment to one person or another is bad. So when a woman who grew up conditioned into this culture finds herself in another civilization, one considered savage, she hardly fits in. She sleeps with all sorts of men, and is physically punished for it, because these men belong to other women. She is called a whore, etc. and she is ostracized from their society. This is an interesting turn of perspective. Today, in America, things are changing, so that promiscuity is more accepted, but social conformity for us has always been chastity, not the other way around. It is also interesting that the book hints at the fact that chastity is what humans are inclined to do. The only way the “civilized” culture could hold this norm is by conditioning people into holding it up.

All in all, the book was enjoyable. There was this one part near the beginning, where it deliberately jumped around between perspectives, sometimes sentences at a time, and it was very confusing and poorly communicated. There were also parts where Huxley didn’t bother making new paragraphs, instead, letting them carry on for more than two pages, and that always strains my attention span. But, the rest of the story was very good. I liked the prose and the diction. It was much better than most of the garbage I have to read regularly, so it was rather refreshing.


Free College is for the Entitled

In the wake of Bernie Sanders endorsing Hillary Clinton (and consequently leaving the race, officially), I have been looking closer at his policies, particularly his stance on college; free college. Of course, any knowledgeable person knows that college won’t actually be free: the government will tax everyone at a higher rate, and all of the money will be pooled together into one pot to collectively pay for everyone’s college. I find this idea of “free” college to be a bad idea. I understand the practical side of the argument: that it may help get more people into the work force, but this is not compelling in my worldview in any way. I personally hold to the idea of personal responsibility for all adults: each and every man or woman should be responsible for their own lives, and this includes getting any sort of formal education. If you desire further education in your life, then it is on you to pay for your own college.

This logic applies to pretty much everything else in your life: if you want a computer, or a house, or any sort of good, you have to work for it yourself. And yes, I think that college education can properly be compared to these goods I exemplified. College education is something more than a basis of knowledge: it is knowledge that is specific to your job, and is a choice that you make according to how you want to live your life. To most people, it would be absurd to think that we should tax everybody at a higher rate just so we could provide computers for everyone, so why should it be done for our college education? In both cases, they are something provided to people who choose to pay for them. Under democratic socialism it is essentially asserted that everyone desires these things, so we may as well distribute it out to all of them. This is not true. Not everyone needs college education to get through life: believe it or not, it is not a necessity for every job. Under democratic socialism, any person who makes the decision to not go to college will then be forced against their will to pay for everyone else’s education. I call this extortion. If this is to be avoided, it only makes sense to leave the expenses to each individual person.

A common objection to this idea is that our K-12 education in America is done the democratic socialist way. This is true, but you would be ignoring some important distinctions that set it apart. First, K-12 education is a requirement, so this removes the choice element that is so important when rejecting “free” college. Second, as I stated in the beginning, personal responsibility is something that every adult should have; this distinction matters. Children need to be provided for, even if they generally don’t want it. Every child needs to have a base education in order to get through life, so an exception must be made here. Once you graduate high school and become a legal adult, you enter a new phase of your life where you are forced to make a choice: where do you want to go with your life? And based on that decision comes the choice of whether you go to college; like any adult, you will then have to work to receive what you want.

Another objection would be the cost of college. College is so expensive these days; you literally see the complaints about student loan debts every day of the week. Students graduate college with debts ranging as high as eighty thousand dollars, if not more. This is incomprehensibly large. And colleges do this to them; they go for an education, and they leave worse off than before because they’ll be stuck paying debts for the rest of their lives. But whose fault is that? How could you possibly think that racking up a mountain of debt was worth it? If your education was too important, then you could have gone somewhere cheaper. Here’s a heartbreaking fact for you: not everyone can go to the big prestigious college. I recognize that people grow up being told they are special snowflakes, but they need to get it into their heads that there are some things you quite simply cannot do. Did you get accepted into Harvard? Can you also go into a smaller campus nearer to home? Which to choose? Well, if you want to choose, then you’ll have to break it down financially. If you find that you’ll be able to pay off all but twenty thousand dollars of your expenses each year at Harvard, then don’t go! And if you do end up going, don’t complain when you live the rest of your natural life smothered by debt; that was your choice, so it’s your fault; don’t listen to your parents if they tell you otherwise: they’re wrong.

I deliberately took steps to avoid taking out student loans. First, I worked nearly full time during high school; then I saved all of that cash. I also did well in school and applied for scholarships. Then I went to a local college and paid for all of my education upfront. I transferred to a larger college when my education required it, but this was because it was a requirement. I did really well and the college gave me even more money that carried over into the larger college. But the important bit is that I never took out a student loan. Ever. How could I want to? I didn’t want to land myself into debt, and fortunately, my parents agreed. So, if you want to, or need to go to college, then be smart about it. Most people want to stroke their ego and go to some big, prestigious college like Harvard, but that doesn’t make you intelligent; in fact, more often than not, it is probably one of the dumbest decisions you could possibly make.

So no, college should not be free. College is a choice made by individuals, and in the case that they choose to go some other route they should not have their cash forcibly taken from them through excessive taxes. Adults are responsible for their own lives, and this extends to college education. Just because people are incapable of being responsible when it comes to spending money does not mean they need to be coddled and helped along. Your choices have consequences, and protecting people from them will only make the situation worse: they will never learn from their mistakes. And it is fair by this world’s standards. Whether you like it or not, making people pay for their own college education is as fair as you can get.