Monday, November 28, 2011


Over at Skepchick, I really liked new blogger Natalie's post asking to what extent "social concerns" should be incorporated into the skeptic agenda.

Writing from the perspective of a feminist, transgender rights advocate, and skeptic, she raises some very good questions relevant to any movement that is not comprised of people who all share the same exact identity.

I think a lot about Liss' quote "there is no neutral in rape culture," and I think that any good skeptic would want to have an awareness of hir biases. As Natalie notes, "it's hard to be an unbiased thinker when you're immersed in a biased culture." If we accept that we live in a biased culture and you're not examining your biases and remaining open to the fact that you have them, you're going to be complict in preserving those biases within the culture.

Secondly, when social concerns are not incorporated into the skeptic agenda, it often leads to alienation of less privileged groups and a perpetuation of certain privileges. (See also, Why I'm A Feminist). For as skeptical as some people can be about religion and pseudo-science, it is remarkable how not skeptical they can be about prevailing narratives of gender.

In addition to the more general topic, Natalie discusses the assumptions that the medical community historically made about gender in the treatment of transgenderism. In short, the medical community has not always been skeptical enough of gender, and specifically which aspects of gender are social constructs and which are biological.

It's a great read and I look forward to reading more of her contributions.

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