There was a time when I would defer to the dictionary to settle linguistic arguments; but no longer. The Cambridge Dictionary, like it’s cousin, Merriam-Websters, recently altered the definitions of the words man and woman to include people who identify as a gender other than their biological sex.  The definition of woman, which previously represented the longstanding view on sex, now states that a woman is “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”  Similarly, a man is now defined as “an adult who lives and identifies as male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”

Much like the Fascists of 1930’s Germany who regulated every aspect of daily life including both the colloquial and official contexts of the German language, we are now experiencing the modification of the meaning of many common English words to comport with woke ideology.

Knowing my penchant for reading astrophysics a friend sent me his copy of Starry Messenger, Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Tyson is an American astrophysicist, a disciple of Carl Sagan, author, and science commentator known for making science both fun and understandable from his books and hosting his science series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Tyson is expert at explaining arcane cosmological topics, such as ‘dark matter’ and ‘naked singularities’ in terms the layman can understand, so, I was eager to read his new book.  In its review, the NY Times wrote, “Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.”

Having read Tyson before I assumed that with political and cultural views more polarized than ever, a clear-thinking scientist such as Tyson could provide a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us by bringing the rationality of science to the issues of the day, and I really wanted to read Tyson’s opinion about transgenderism.

No one argues that as denizens of planet earth we willingly sort ourselves by hair color, skin color, what we eat, what we wear, who we worship, who we sleep with, what language we speak, what side of the border we live on, and so forth.  And at the same time, the physical universe itself has an amazing array of properties, i.e., size, temperature, density, location, speed, rotation, etc.   And in most cases, these properties divide cleanly into categories we can define unambiguously e.g., whether a substance is solid, liquid or gas.

However, I’ll bet you didn’t know there are occasions that when under laboratory conditions, water actually boils as it freezes, with the net result that the solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of water all exist simultaneously.  Nonetheless, the requirement that objects, things and ideas fit into neat categories runs deep in the human psyche.  But as Tyson opined, perhaps there are alternatives when answers aren’t ‘somewhere in between’ but rather, ‘everywhere in between.’

But human nature rejects ambiguity.  While we speak of the seven colors of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, and embrace them readily, if we possessed the visual acuity and attendant vocabulary to describe them, we could identify thousands of colors and their subtle hues as they blend seamlessly with no sharp boundaries anywhere.  Which is why when astrophysicists talk about color, they do so by referencing specific wavelengths of light without invoking any of the color categories we use in our daily lives.

Meanwhile, woke ideology wants us to believe there are as many as 20 nonconforming gender designations that identify fellow humans who are not cisgender heterosexual, (people whose inner identity and gender corresponds with the assigned sex and mating preference is the ‘opposite’ sex.)  And for those of us who came of age during the mid-20thcentury, cisgender heterosexual is all we knew – it was in movies, on TV and in our books.  It’s little wonder we perceive cisgender heterosexual as normal.

But Tyson contends that there is nothing magical about boundaries, and one day we may discover no discrete categories at all, as the multidimensional gender universe unfolds along a continuum like the colors contained in sunlight.  Now, I am not about to argue with an exalted scientist regarding gender identity.  However, there are times when as a practical matter, with “practical” being the operative word, when a clear delineation is necessary, and many of those times occur in the world of competitive athletics.

Fortunately for us, that’s a surprisingly simple matter to resolve, because when competing in events such as, swim meets, track meets, wrestling, boxing, tennis, golf, etc., anything other than a binary representation is patently unfair.  So, here’s a radical thought: when determining who should compete in any given athletic event, those born with two X chromosomes should compete in one category and those born with an X and a Y chromosome should compete in another.  It’s not that complicated.

Quote of the day: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin