The Book!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Scalia Was Anti-Science


He made somebody's friend feel bad. Maybe.

Salon features another hatchet job on Antonin Scalia. This one accuses Scalia of being anti-science, almost entirely on the basis that his judgments on constitutionality were discouraging to a friend of the author who studied physics. Not because of physics, but because he/she identified him/herself as “transgender.” It doesn't get much crazier than that. First, of course, Scalia is not responsible for not finding any right to transgenderism in the US constitution; it is not his fault that such matters are reserved to the states. His job is not to make up what ought to be in the constitution, but to determine what is. Second, the undeniable fact that transgenderism is not in the constitution does nothing to prevent state legislatures from passing what laws they will on the matter. It does nothing to prevent them from legalizing it, only does not invalidate any attempt to illegalize it. Third, transgenderism is in fact perfectly legal; the author's complaints are limited to the trivial inconvenience of which washroom they are entitled to use. Fourth, US states have actually been accommodating of transgenderism. All but six states allow sex to be changed on birth certificates, for example. All allow it on drivers' licenses.

Fifth, the author is guilty of a particularly bad example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. He notes that his friend, soon after he/she “came out” as transgender, fell into a deep depression, and quit physics as a result. He implicitly rules out the possibility that either physics or postgraduate work were responsible for his/her depression, by giving the statistic that 40% of transgendered individuals have attempted suicide. But he blames this on Antonin Scalia? Far more likely, as per Occam's Razor, that this is not caused by “discrimination,” but that either 1) transgenderism is a symptom of depression, or 2) a transgender lifestyle makes you depressed.

I'm so proud. Now excuse me while I kill myself.

“So that,” the article concludes, “is Antonin Scalia's contribution to physics.... He died as he lived, gun at hand, dreaming of killing helpless prey from a position of safety and comfort. May his successor on the Court have a loftier vision of law, and of life.”

If one is judged by the quality of one's enemies, this is positively embarrassing for Scalia. This is all they've got? This is it?


No comments: