I’ve never been a huge fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, but at least he was good at conveying the wonders of physics and cosmology. My one problem with him as a science communicator was that he tried too hard to cater to his audience, as if making them like him was one of his main goal. (Ergo his former issues with being called an “atheist” rather than the gentle and acceptable “agnostic.”) And, by and large, people did like him, for he was smart and enthusiastic.
Now, however, he’s gone into another area, and here he hasn’t been so successful. The area is sex and gender, and in his 14½-minute diatribe below (for that’s what it is), his blustering is directed at nothing other than trying to eliminate women’s-only spaces, like changing rooms, sports, jails, rape counseling centers, halfway houses for battered women, and any number of places in which biological women would feel uncomfortable if biological males who identify as trans females, were to be present. Note that Tyson addresses and dismisses only the concern of biological females, not biological males. Why is that?
He also gets angry, arrogant, and pedantic in a way that’s profoundly unappealing but gives us a window into his psyche. He may not be an unpleasant and haughty character, but he sure seems like it here.
Tyson has gone down this road before (I posted on it here), but in this case he devotes time not only to the gender “spectrum”, misconstrued as people feeling “X% female and 100% – X% male”, but, more important, also to getting rid of women’s only spaces, which he thinks is merely a scientific problem that’s not too hard to solve in a way that allows men into women’s-only spaces. He’s wrong, because here he fails to recognize that we’re dealing with a complex and largely insoluble problem dealing with both human emotions and the inevitable differences between men and women in both thought and physicality.
First, the YouTube summary:
Konstantin Kisin questions Neil deGrasse Tyson about his views of gender on a spectrum. They discuss societal constructs of gender, female-only spaces and debate the future of sports and how to resolve the issue of trans athletes.
You all know Tyson, but perhaps not Kisin, described by Youtube as a:
Russian-British satirist, podcaster, author and political commentator. Kisin has written for a number of publications including Quillette, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph and Standpoint on issues relating to tech censorship, woke culture, comedy and culture war topics in the past but currently publishes articles on these subjects on his Substack. He has co-hosted Triggernometry since 2018, a YouTube channel and podcast featuring fellow comedian and co-host Francis Foster.
There are two parts to this conversation. The first involves Tyson’s claim, which he made in a video before, that gender is a flexible spectrum because “people wake up feeling 80% female and 20% male and thus put on makeup.” Or, if the proportions are reversed, they put on a “muscle shirt”. The claim is not only that people dress and adorn themselves based on their assumption that they’re a separable mixture of male and female notions, leading to a “sex spectrum”. Tyson wants to be the good guy, so he says that people should be able to dress how they want depending on how they feel.