How the gender debate gave me perspective on the dark side of human nature.
This is a special post for paying subscribers only. I usually refrain from putting articles behind a paywall because Reality’s Last Stand articles normally contain important information and analysis that should be read by as many people as possible. But this essay is a personal reflective piece that isn’t a useful or necessary contribution to the sex and gender debate, so this one is just for my supporters. Enjoy!
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
I am a staunch atheist. I was very involved in the “New Atheist” movement in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and used to run a blog called Warm Little Pond, named after a phrase Charles Darwin used when pondering the origins of life, that was dedicated to debunking pseudoscience and religious-based arguments against evolution. In a way, my old blog wasn’t so different than Reality’s Last Stand, except then I was standing up for biological reality against Right-wing evolution deniers instead of Left-wing sex deniers.
Naturally, as an atheist, I reject religious framings of morality in favor of those rooted in evolution. The terms “Good” and “Evil” also turn me off. It’s not that certain acts can’t be thought of as good or evil in a secular sense, but the “Good vs. Evil” framing has connotations of an eternal cosmic battle between supernatural forces, which I view as both false and overly simplistic. Chalking people’s harmful actions and impure motivations up to “Evil” parallels concepts like “systemic racism,” “patriarchy,” and “whiteness.” These are overly simplistic, ether-like concepts that appeal to people because they collapse the complexity of humans and events into neat categories that can seemingly account for anything. Because these concepts are vague, unfalsifiable, and consistent with practically any outcome, they are void of any real explanatory power. In my view, what some call “Evil” can be explained by normal people with good intentions in the grip of false beliefs.
But now I think I understand Evil. Or at least I feel it. I still don’t believe in “Evil” per se, in the supernatural sense, but having been involved in the gender debate for nearly five years now, I believe I have a better understanding of why “Evil” is such an enticing concept that has been with us for a very long time.
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