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

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 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh, FFS.

    • Terry Pedersen
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      What craziness next?

    • Type Logician
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, exactly.

    • SA GOULD
      Posted November 20, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      “Kill me now” as we used to say.

  2. Terry Pedersen
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    What craziness next? So far Muir Woods hasn’t been renamed. Maybe I shouldn’t mention it.

    • Greenpoisonfrog
      Posted November 20, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      If it were the Audubon Woods, it would be on the way out though.

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    WTF?! This is all a big black box to me.

  4. Tim Harding
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully this weirdness is just a passing phase, which future generations will look back on in bemusement.

  5. Dom
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    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… 🙁

  6. Steve Pollard
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    ‘Queer’ is right. As in ‘f…ing batshit crazy’.

  7. W.T. Effingham
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    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.🙏

    • GravelInspector
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      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.

    • ruth
      Posted November 20, 2020 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      It’s real!
      https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/queer-ecology.htm

      • SA GOULD
        Posted November 20, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        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.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    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.

  9. kieran
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    The problem is the anthropomorphisation of nature. This is a prime example of that issue!

    • jezgrove
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Maybe they’re just drawing attention to the hermaphrodite worms and snails? No, I thought not…

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Gosh, don’t discriminate against multisexuals, such as ciliates and some mushrooms.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted November 19, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        If real (and it might not be), then sure. That is exactly the sort of thing discussed by activists.

  10. Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    “When was the last time you saw something in a new light?” Um, early this morning?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      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.

  11. Paul Topping
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    It has its own Wikipedia page:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer_ecology

    And its own institute:

    • John Dentinger
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      I will never get back the 7 minutes or so I wasted reading that site.

    • Larry Smith
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • JBlilie
        Posted November 20, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        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.

  12. AST
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know there were gay trees.

    • GravelInspector
      Posted November 20, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

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

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    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”?

  14. jezgrove
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    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.

  15. Kel
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Soon we can have Jew physics. And Christian science. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      We already have Christian Science, and it’s every bit as bad as you might expect.

  16. jezgrove
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    REM were very prescient: “Team by team reporters baffled, trump…” https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rem/itstheendoftheworldasweknowitandifeelfine.html

  17. Mickey Mortimer
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      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.

    • Mike
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      @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.

      • GravelInspector
        Posted November 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        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?

    • EdwardM
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “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.

    • gbjames
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Human and non-human are not discrete? Srsly?

    • Posted November 20, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      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.

      • JBlilie
        Posted November 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Very nicely summarized. I appreciate your clear thinking and writing.

  18. pablo
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    This is that “constant drip, drip, drip, these people are nuts!” That Bill Maher was talking about.

  19. Jon Gallant
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    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.

  20. jezgrove
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    “Tree Justice Ecology” – Cue this song… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JnC88xBPkkc

    • jezgrove
      Posted November 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Oops, that was meant to be a reply to Jon at #19.

  21. ladyatheist
    Posted November 19, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    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.

    https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?

    [URL chopped to abide by da roolz]

    id=AFF7A8DF-D4AC-4A0E-B045-A25C471307AD

    • Posted November 20, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      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.

  22. Posted November 20, 2020 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    What utter nonsense.

  23. Pim Wiersinga
    Posted November 20, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    “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?

  24. Posted November 20, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Tell me this photo is Photoshopped and it’s all a sick joke.

  25. blitz442
    Posted November 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    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!

  26. SA GOULD
    Posted November 20, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    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.

  27. Posted November 20, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    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.


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