Politics Religion Science Skepticism/critical thinking Sports

Vox Day’s misogyny

I happen to be in Chicago right now attending the annual meeting of the Society of Surgical Oncology. It’s a meeting that I try to make it to almost every year, and usually it’s a necessary update to my knowledge base. Consequently, I only just this morning noticed my fellow ScienceBloggers Mark Hoofnagle, Mark Chu-Carroll, and P.Z. Myers piling on the latest example of the sexist misogyny that is Vox Day, this time in (where else) WorldNetDaily, in an article entitled The real assault on science. Vox’s article, in essence, views the application of Title IX to science education to increase the representation of women in science as a grave threat to science. Why? Well, let me give you a taste of the hunk o’ hunk o’ burning stupid that underlie his reasons in the form of a couple of quotes:

  • But this is not to say there is not a genuine threat to all three aspects of science today. Unsurprisingly, it comes from the same force that is the primary threat to the survival of Western civilization: female equalitarianism. Flush with their success in decimating the collegiate sports programs of America, the equalitarians have now set their sights on applying the infamous Title IX quotas to science education, despite the fact that women already earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 59 percent of master’s degrees and a majority of doctorates. If successful in this effort, and initial signs indicate that they probably will be, in 30 years, academic science in America will be no more intellectually respectable or relevant than womyn’s studies are today.
  • The idea of biology classes being taught by lesbian professors who believe that heterosexual procreation is a myth or calculus courses being taught by women who can’t do long division may sound impossible today, but tell that to any software developer, and he’ll be able to provide you with plenty of current examples of computer science engineers, some with advanced CS degrees, who have no idea how to even begin writing a computer program.
  • Women love education; it’s the actual application they don’t particularly like. Whereas the first thought of a woman who enjoys the idea of painting is to take an art appreciation class, a similarly interested man is more likely to just pick up a paintbrush and paint something – usually a naked woman.

While I sympathize with P.Z. when he asks “Why do we even stoop to mentioning Vox Day?” the above is just so…dumb that it pretty much speaks for itself. The last part, as Mark Chu-Carroll points out, not only buries the needle on the irony meter, it causes the thing to spark, smoke, and then melt into a quivering pile of plastic and wire, given that Vox is the ultimate example of someone who doesn’t actually do any of the things that he likes to pontificate about and, worse, demonstrates day in and day out that he doesn’t really understand the scientific method or history.

The only thing I’d quibble with is why anyone is surprised or particularly outraged anymore. Let me go back in time for a moment to three years ago.

At that time, this blog was just an itty-bitty blog with a huge ego that didn’t match. Its usual traffic was generally between 100-300 visits a day. One day, I came across Vox’s blog. In particular, I came across a post by him (indirectly linked here; I’m loathe to do anything that might increase Vox’s Technorati rating these days now that my monthly traffic is roughly equal to his) in which he blithely characterized “far too many women” as being “fascists at heart” as part of “Why women shouldn’t vote: Reason 345 & 346.” He then went on to blame women for fascism, concluding “There is a reason why a fascist demagogue like Benito Mussolini made suffragism the very first point in the Fascist Manifesto, after all.” After I launched a brief and sarcastic broadside at this bit of idiocy, Vox actually noticed me (even going so far as to imply that I must be a woman–which to him appears to be the ultimate insult!), leading to a his fans descending on my blog en masse and producing the longest comment thread yet seen here.

Since then, Vox has done some seriously stupid posts showing credulity towards antivaccination canards; a post jumping off from a poorly described study that concluded that housework decreased the risk of breast cancer 30% to a rant about the link between birth control pills and abortion and breast cancer (there’s no good evidence for a link, by the way); a post questioning evolution because…well, Vox just doesn’t like its defenders; a post in which he called comparisons between feminists and Nazis and “insult to Nazis everywhere“; and an article in which he made excuses for rape. Of course, Vox’s piece de resistance of vile wingnuttery came when he used the example of the Third Reich and its mass deportations of Jews and other “undesirables” to ghettos and death camps as a reason why it is not “impossible” to round up and remove 12 million illegal immigrants, a comparison that actually showed that even WorldNetDaily has a limit beyond which its editors recoil at the sorts of things Vox says.

I guess what I’m getting at with this trip down blog memory lane is that none of this is anything new for Vox. It’s what he does. He’s clueless about evolution; he’s clueless about other sciences; he’s clueless about history; and he appears to have nothing but contempt for women, at least when they try to take on roles that he seems to perceive as male. (I’m guessing he likes women just fine when they’re cooking, cleaning, and telling him how smart he is; it’s the strong women, women who have the temerity to demand equal rights or do jobs that have traditionally been viewed as male or who even–gasp!–demand the right to vote who appear to provoke a visceral reaction in him.) In other words, there’s no surprise in Vox’s latest tirade. He’s said it all before in a variety of ways, some even worse than this. None of this means that I think we should ignore him when he posts something as offensive to thinking humans as he did the other day.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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