It’s the end of the world as we know it

November 19, 2020 • 3:30 pm

Noted in passing, here’s an “exhibit” put up by the National Park Service itself.

Indeed, things are rarely simple in nature. Queer ecology has put paid to the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes in humans (and in other mammals, birds and fruit flies), as well as to the idea that an American Robin is a “box” differentiated from a Northern Cardinal “box”.

What a great new way to view the world! Thanks to the biologists at the National Park Service, I am freed from my subservience to colonialist and essentialist biology.

Your tax dollars at work . . . .

h/t: Luana


53 thoughts on “It’s the end of the world as we know it

  1. Perhaps they mean birds like the cardinal with one half female & one half male?! But hat is s binary bird so maybe not.

    Btw I still get the web version not the mobile one, ever since you said you had wordpress issues. Makes it very difficult to read on phone… 🙁

  2. The last time I saw something in a new light was when my wife swapped-out an old bulb from my reading lamp. She replaced it with one of them new-fangled LED bulbs. It will be interesting to see how certain RWNJs react to this addendum(?)to Muir Woods’ signage. There are plenty of Scamvangelicals who seek out “travesties of justice” like this notice so they can display their outrage and request funding from parishioners to battle the evils facing them on the ground, in the air, and at sea.🙏

    1. There are plenty of Scamvangelicals who seek out “travesties of justice” like this notice so they can display their outrage and request funding from parishioners to battle the evils facing them

      Indeed there are, and my suspicion on reading this is that this sign was posted by one such Scumvangelical precisely so they could “find” it (or have it “found” by a third party).
      Things which stink, to me
      – cheap and nasty laminated sign that doesn’t fit the board it is posted on (do Scumvangelicals consider landscape orientation to demean the manliness of their erect portraiture “norm”?)
      – threats of dire retribution from on high (a theme always close to the surface of the Scumvangelical mind – if this were England I’d suspect a public school education and a lot of thrashings)
      – … using involved incantations probably meant to deter the non-specialist reader from actually following up on them.
      It looks to me as if someone thinks that Photoshopping warnings about bear poo smelling of jalopeno and having little bells in it is below them.
      BTW, getting a “note checker” (battery powered UV light source) is really interesting for seeing things in a new light.

      1. Y’all really need to look at the government website. It could be a really well-done spoof. That would be preferable to the alternative.

  3. I’m a little confused by this. Is the park somehow imposing a moral imperative on the heterosexual visitors, in particular, that sexuality is important to bear in mind at all times when enjoying tye park — especially sexuality which either isn’t theirs or what they think theirs is?

    But I think one piece of thought which I’d also share is — not exactly taken from Neil DeGrasse Tyson : Nature doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it.

    1. Just for fun, ask the kind of airhead that takes this crap seriously to change *their* mind about something related to their favorite hobby-horse.

    1. From what I can tell, queer ecology is a loblolly of various beliefs and propositions about nature, not all having to do with gender/sex. In fact, the wiki entry made me think of Dawkins’ essay about what I think he called the notion of the Platonic essentialism of species.

      Trying to put queer ecology in its best light (why? you may ask), questioning entrenched ways of looking at the world can be a good thing. And science has, or should not have, any problem with doing this.

      However, this whole “movement” smacks of trying to replace one perceived status quo with another, “woker” version.

      1. I think one should always argue against the strongest, most sensible version one’s opponent’s argument.

        This is “steel-manning” and is very useful. If nothing else, it makes one think seriously about the other position.

    1. Those’ll be the wind-pollinated ones. Not getting dollied up to try to attract the opposite sex? Must be gay.

  4. I’m also wondering what a good example of “unnatural” would be — reading glasses? or do they mean “supernatural”, and if so, what about “supranatural”, or “subnatural”?

  5. Well, I’ve certainly just seen the National Park Service in a new light. And a $100,000 fine and/ or one year in jail for “removing this exhibit”… words fail me.

  6. I think this is a perfectly valid and valuable lesson. As the Wikipedia page says- “Queer ecology recognizes that people often regard nature in terms of dualistic notions like “natural and unnatural,” “alive or not alive” or “human or not human,” when in reality, nature exists in a continuous state. The idea of “natural” arises from human perspectives on nature, not “nature” itself.”

    I don’t see how a scientist would have a problem with that. In my own work of dinosaur phylogenetics, there is no one place where some lineage becomes ‘birds’ for instance. It’s all gradual and multidirectional, with any categories we create like Aves or Avialae being subjective and largely based on historical accidents like the early discovery of Archaeopteryx before all the Jehol Chinese fossils.

    1. I explained to you in the post why I have a problem with that. Species are very often purely objective “lumps” of nature. There is no intermediate between a robin and anything else, or a modern human and everything else. The origin may be gradual, but now we have an entity–a species–that is not subjective and not blurred. It is a box. Likewise, human sex, as with the sex of most animals, is binary with the exception of developmental anomalies.

      Sometimes there are discrete boxes and these are two examples.

    2. @Mickey One kind of response is to point out that there really are binary categories in nature. Gamete types are binary: sperm or oocyte.

      Another kind of response is that scientific progress in understanding the world *requires* models of the world, and those models always trade off realism (or nuance or whatever) against simplicity. Many of the best models (best = useful or predictive) are the simplest models, with binary categories that represent the overwhelming majority of real-world cases. Reducing continuity to binaries or categories or boxes is useful.

      Of course as some commentators used to say around here a few years ago, it’s important not to mistake the map for the terrain. But in science one really can’t get anywhere without the map.

      At least that’s how I think about a lot of these issues.

      1. there really are binary categories in nature. Gamete types are binary: sperm or oocyte.

        Is that a good example? I was under the impression that calling a gamete a “sperm” or an “egg” was pretty much a question of relative size. Different phyla (or orders, maybe even more distally on the phylogenetic tree) definitely make different choices over which genes to partition into “eggs” versus “sperm”, so genetics isn’t terribly helpful.
        Do the mitochondria always come from the larger of the two gametes, particularly in those families (orders, phyla) with relatively similar gamete sizes? Would that provide a binary distinction?

    3. “I don’t see how a scientist would have a problem with that”

      Good gravy they don’t. So why call it “queer ecology”? It’s just science.

    4. But scientists already knew about the gradual nature of evolution without needing all this queer ecology bollocks. They already knew that the lines between certain categories are fuzzy.

      Queer ecology is just a way to insert identity politics into science and pretend it has something important to contribute.

      Aves is not a subjective concept by the way. It’s a certain set of branches of the evolutionary tree. It’s defined by the way things evolved not by humans. There may be some uncertainty about how some long dead branches or twigs fit into or don’t fit into Aves, but that doesn’t make the whole group subjective.

  7. After Queer Ecology, we will no doubt be treated to Postmodern Ecology, Critical Race Theory Ecology, and, of course, Tree Justice Ecology. The latter, focusing on the social injustice of assigning trees to the arbitrary boxes of “deciduous” versus “evergreen”, will evolve into a campaign to Defund the Park Service.

  8. I found a video on the site that shows what they mean. Some of the text in the video is exactly the same as the sign.

    It’s rather bland – trees that reproduce by cloning, banana slugs, homosexual activity in bats & other species, and then the “box” concept is demonstrated by metaphor — a creek that was boxed in by the CCC became too fast to nurture baby salmon. I don’t see what’s queer about that, but the varieties found in nature are rather standard fare if you have friends in that communities.

    [URL chopped to abide by da roolz]


    1. homosexual activity in bats & other species

      I’m sure that’s old news to Jerry, but new news to many park visitors. I hope there are other signs in the park that give the actual details. Otherwise this sign is just a waste of space.

  9. “When was a time you saw something in a new light?” Well, that was today, when I read Jerry Coyne’s comment.

    It made me laugh. The woke outlook is absolutely and outrageously hilarious, was the gist of my epiphany. And so I recommend that the propagation of this outlook be conducted with comedic frivolity henceforth. One might even create safe space beyond one’s skull — wouldn’t that be amazing?

  10. There really is a religious nature to these ideologies, and in particular there is a strong resemblance to American-style evangelical Christianity.

    Not only must they try to cram every aspect of reality within the narrow confines of their theology, they must make sure that everyone else does the same!

  11. If Nature is so diverse, why does park video only feature Hector (Queer Education Program manager); Stephanie, (Lesbian Park Guide); and Elizabeth, (Bisexual Park Guide)? Why aren’t the other entities of LGBTTIQQ2SA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, and allies) represented?

    Apparently, I need to know.

  12. I’ll tell you what’s queer in nature.
    Two Asian female tourists walking a mountain trail in high heels, halter tops and mini skirts.
    True story, they were given a round of applause for completing the walk.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *