Colin Wright Profile picture
Evolutionary biologist. Managing Editor @Quillette. Lover of whisk(e)y, fitness, cats, and ideas. Email: cwright1859 at gmail dot com
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17 Oct
People aren't talking nearly enough about the Equality Act that Biden says he'll enact within 100 days of taking office.

This act changes the definition of "sex" in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include "gender identity." This will make all sex-based rights impossible to enforce.
Read the whole Equality Act for yourself below. It is pretty nightmarish.…
By including "gender identity" WITHIN the definition of "sex", as opposed to making gender identity a separate protected category, all sex-based rights and protections will be based solely on the sex someone merely "identifies" with, regardless of their actual biological sex.
Read 5 tweets
17 Oct
This "study" looked at whether external qigong, an Ancient Chinese practice involving waving your hands over someone to guide "qi energy" through them, could reduce chronic pain.

Might be good to have a sham control, right? Nope! That would impose "Western biomedical concepts"!
What the hell is the point of even doing a study and submitting it to a journal if you refuse to use the methods that would enable you to determine whether or not the effects were real and infer a causal relationship between treatment and outcome?
By the way, their EAT treatment they used as a "control" (it's not) stands for "equal attention time" and consisted of someone just chatting with the participant for 30 mins.
Read 5 tweets
6 Oct
In humans, as in most animals or plants, an individual’s biological sex corresponds to one of two distinct types of reproductive anatomy that develop for the production of sperm or egg cells and associated biological functions in sexual reproduction.
See my @WSJ essay with developmental biologist @FondOfBeetles below.

This is our plea to the scientific community to "stand up for the empirical reality of biological sex", for denying biology is harmful to those most vulnerable in our society.…
And see my @Quillette essay below that explores in more detail the science of biological sex and exposes the pseudoscience behind "sex spectrum" ideology.…
Read 5 tweets
4 Oct
Get 'em while they're young.

"It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but you have to start somewhere. For Gladwyne Elementary School, it’s starting in the fourth and fifth grades."…
Some Amazon reviews of the book:

"As I finished reading the story, I wondered if I should apologize for being white."

"I think any caucasian child would genuinely feel bad after reading this—or having it read to them." ImageImage
Here's a 5-Star review: Image
Read 5 tweets
24 Sep
1/ ATTENTION: I posted this tweet following the publication of @AsraNomani's article in Quillette where she first broke news of Kendi's contract. I made a very significant mistake in not allowing Asra to break news of this contract herself on Twitter. She deserves all the credit.
2/ Please read her fantastic essay below where she details the current admissions situation developing at Thomas Jefferson High School, and where she broke the news of Kendi's $20K contract.…
3/ My sincerest apologies to Asra for stealing her thunder on this. She has put in so much work on this project, and deserves 100% of the credit.

To anyone following the story of Thomas Jefferson High that may have new info or leads, please contact @AsraNomani directly!
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
Fairfax County Public Schools paid Ibram X. Kendi $20,000 for a 45 minute presentation with 15 minutes of Q&A.

Critical Race Theory is an incredibly lucrative industry.
As @razibkhan told me, don't hate the player, hate the game. We need expose the vacuousness of CRT so that schools/companies/institutions are no longer willing to fork over $20K to have a snake-oil salesman like Kendi indoctrinate people over Zoom for 45 minutes.
For more on this, see the latest by @AsraNomani and Glenn Miller in @Quillette:…
Read 4 tweets
17 Sep
I oppose establishing right-wing "patriotic education" as much as I oppose an education based in left-wing Critical Theory. We can't make public education an ideological/political battleground.
Let me put it this way. I don't want history education in public schools to be "pro" or "anti" anything. I want it to be accurate. There's a difference between portraying historical events as good or bad (fine) and portraying the USA itself as good or bad (not fine).
What we should stress is that, despite the bad things that have occurred in the past, there has also been a lot of good and moral progress. This is true! While we cannot redo history to purge it of all the bad bits, we can learn from our mistakes and make a better future.
Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
1/ Very pleased to see "Critical Race Theory" called out by name in the highest office. Unfortunately this means Democrats will likely now fully endorse CRT in order to oppose Trump, but this battle of ideas needs to happen. CRT will not hold up well to public scrutiny, IMO.
2/ There are complex costs and benefits associated with forming strategic alliances to combat CRT. I don't pretend to know them all. But, from my perspective, the benefits currently appear to outweigh the costs. This assessment, however, is subject to change with new info.
3/ IMO now is not the time for rigid ideological purity tests. If we want to get things done, we need to be strategic and amass a large coalition of support. And that means temporarily tabling certain issues—important issues—in order to tackle comparatively more important ones.
Read 5 tweets
15 Aug
1/ It should be obvious that when someone has accumulated many thousands of followers, some percentage of them are ALWAYS going to be really shitty people.

When they inevitably rear their ugly heads, people will often say "Wow, look at this following YOU'VE cultivated!"
2/ This line of criticism is tempting but wrong. It's an easy way to convince yourself the person with the large following is bad, and dismiss them and and their arguments wholesale. This urge should be resisted.
3/ I frequently argue with decent people about gender and trans issues, and inevitably receive inflammatory comments and DMs that reflect some variant of "Die TERF scum!"

It's tempting to write off every proponent of gender ideology as containing some drop of this extremism.
Read 5 tweets
11 Aug
1/ THREAD: New BIG paper in Nature:

Transgender and gender-diverse individuals were 3.03-6.36 times more likely to be autistic and had elevated rates of multiple other neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions than did cis-gender individuals.…
2/ This study has huge clinical implications. Clinicians largely treat gender dysphoria (GD) as an independent condition when in reality it is likely a symptom of many underlying comorbidities that go unaddressed.
3/ Treating GD with the single broad brush of social and (frequently) hormonal as well as surgical transition does not address what may be *causing* GD in the first place.

However, due to "conversion therapy" laws being extended to include GD, physicians are often not allowed...
Read 7 tweets
11 Aug
This "TERF Wars" article was recently published in The Sociological Review. Let's see what they say about biological sex...

Racialized norms!
Ergo... sex is a social construct!

Now there's a non sequitur if I've ever seen one!… Image
"'Gender critical’ feminists’ arguments often run against (and ignore) decades of feminist theorising on the ontological and epistemic status of ‘womanhood’ and ‘femaleness.’"

...Yeah, because it's absolute trash and doesn't begin to even approximate biological reality.
In science, when your "theorizing" doesn't conform to reality, you don't double-down and insist reality must be as you imagine; you go back to the drawing board and try again. This is the only reliable way to produce knowledge.

"If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong."
Read 5 tweets
4 Aug
1/ Prediction: The "assigned male/female at birth" lingo will become the medical standard due to pressure by activists. It already is in some places. Once adopted, activists will insist these "assignments" are non-consentual—even violent—acts of potential misgendering.
2/ Because of this, activists will demand that medical professionals make no such "assignments" at birth, leaving the birth certificate blank, and allow people to decide for themselves what sex they are later.

It sounds nuts, but I am pretty confident they'll attempt to do this.
3/ I think it's essentially a coin flip as to whether or not they will succeed.
Read 6 tweets
1 Aug
1/ Many people think I claim to have been "canceled." This is not true. I've never claimed this. I chose to leave academia because I believe cancel culture was likely successful in destroying my reputation enough that pursuing a tenure track job would have been a waste of time.
2/ But I wasn't fired. My recent essay described my experience dealing with cancel culture, but I don't maintain that I *was* canceled or that I didn't receive any academic job offers last year and this year because of cancel culture. That may be the case, but I can't prove it.
3/ The worst part about being targeted for cancelation is that the effects are often hidden. There's no way for me to know how many (if any) job interviews I DIDN'T receive because of cancel culture, because NOT getting an interview isn't detectable the same way getting fired is.
Read 5 tweets
19 Jul
I'm very happy to see that many centrist voices on Twitter appear to be gaining floods of new followers lately.

I think more and more people are finally coming around to the fact that something appears very off with current "Social Justice" narratives & their proposed solutions.
For example (expand images):

@cvaldary ImageImageImageImage
Read 7 tweets
15 Jul
1/ If only the biology of sex worked like this. First of all, "male" & "female" are not identities, they're biological sexes. Second, non-binary is not the same as intersex. Third, the vast majority of non-binary people are unambiguously biologically male or female, not intersex. ImageImage
2/ Fourth, there is no other way to interpret non-binary identities as anything other than not feeling comfortable with regressive stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. Fifth, most people don't live up to, or even strive to be, perfect stereotypes of their sex.
3/ Sixth, this is normal and doesn't make you any less of a male or female.

Seventh (and finally), gender activists should instead expand their understanding of what normal male and female behavior and preferences look like.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jul
1/ Critical Social Justice is so enticing to many because it quite literally stresses the idea that "If you feel it, then it's true." But this is a breeding ground for false positives.

Science, in contrast, stresses the exact opposite: "The easiest person to fool is yourself."
2/ The skeptical approach in science does not eliminate false positives, but it does greatly mitigate them.

This is what makes science more reliable, but it's also what makes it so frustrating!
3/ Learning to not just be OK with being wrong, but to actively seek to debunk yourself at every turn is a hard mentality to cultivate. This is not the default state for our minds. It must be painfully instilled against evolved psychological self defense mechanisms.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jul
1/ The are several ways cancel culture erodes academia:

1. Directly getting people fired for their heterodox views.
2. Getting other academics to stay silent &/or avoid certain questions/topics out of fear.
3. Causing heterodox students to avoid going into academia altogether.
2/ I've seen & received many emails from all of these groups.

This not only puts suffocating limits on the idea space academics are allowed to explore, but also creates a feedback loop that leads to more & more ideological skew over time.

It's an epistemological death spiral.
3/ Before social media/internet university search committees had very limited information about a candidate's political views. Asking such superfluous questions is, rightfully, considered taboo during an interview. If you're hiring a microbiologist, their politics don't matter.
Read 9 tweets
11 Jul
1/ Common dismissal tactic here. No, I will not share private emails sent to me by department chairs in confidence, or out those who I've spoken with on the phone. I don't care if you're convinced. I know what I went through.
2/ Unfortunately it's a lot easier to cancel someone by poisoning their reputation to the point where they have difficulty receiving job offers than it is to outright fire someone in a spectacle.

I can't prove how many interviews or job offers I DIDN'T get because of it.
3/ I can only say that my CV was extremely competitive for my career stage, and in the 2 years and 150 jobs I applied for, I only received 3 phone interviews. Meanwhile woke colleagues with substantially worse CVs received many interviews and job offers.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jul
"Sweden’s Board of Health and Welfare confirmed a 1,500% rise between 2008 and 2018 in gender dysphoria diagnoses among 13- to 17-year-olds born as girls."

Two words: social contagion…
The above is a tweet I deleted a while back because people were attempting to cancel me for it. It is oversimplified. Social contagion is one plausible explanation, among others, for the dramatic rise in youths claiming to be gender dysphoric.
I regret originally caving to the mob's attempt to cancel me for it. So here it is again. The tweet isn't perfect, but I don't care.

We need to be allowed to tweet imperfections without worrying we'll lose our jobs.
Read 4 tweets
11 Jul
1/ What is cancel culture? A few months ago I was a postdoc at Penn State with an soon-expiring contract, job hunting for tenure track professorships.

I posted the following tweet citing the well-known "social contagion" hypothesis forwarded by Dr Lisa Littman's work on ROGD.
2/ Some people thought this was cancel-worthy & attempted to spread word of my "vile transphobia" to my colleagues, even tagging diversity organizations in my field.

"Colin is on the job market. I hope the EEB community is paying attention."

The goal was to limit my employment.
3/ Then some activist posted a "job" on the largest job board in my field, visited by hundreds if not thousands of biologists a day during hiring season, that read:

"Colin Wright is a Transphobe who supports Race Science."

People also told me they contacted hiring committees.
Read 9 tweets
7 Jul
1/ Many scientists, including me, ignored critical theory for so long. It's very hard to believe, as a scientist, that anyone could take it so seriously. It felt akin to Flat Earthism.

Why supply the oxygen of attention when ignoring it should cause it to suffocate on its own?
2/ This is/was very naive. This has happened before during the so-called "Science Wars" of the 90s. This is something I've had to research myself, since somehow this era was never mentioned in any biology class I've ever taken.

Below are some book recommendations:
3/ "Higher Superstition" by Gross & Levitt…
Read 6 tweets