Saturday 18 February 2023

Now Woke Scientists Are Gunning For Words And Phrases They Think Should Be Banned

 Whoops. Shouldn’t have said “gunning” in that headline. That’s violent. Apologies.

Members of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project — founded by scientists in the U.S. and Canada — have put out a list of “harmful terminology” in science that they want banned.

Writing in the Trends in Ecology and Evolution journal, the scientists say they want to “champion inclusive language” in science, which is “particularly important for redressing the ongoing marginalization of many groups.”

They laid out 24 words and phrases to which they object, and offered replacements.

They don’t like “feminized” or “masculinized.” “Feminized implies that ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ are biological traits rather than social constructs,” they said. Instead, they suggest writers simply “describe the specific traits.”

They don’t like “blind” or “double blind,” two kinds of experiments scientists sometimes run. Why? They are “disability metaphors.”

“Survival of the fittest”? Sorry, Charles Darwin, that phrase implies “eugenics” and “ablelism.” Instead, they say you should use “natural selection” or “survival differences.”

And all of these terms are horrible: “master / master file / master equation / master variable.”

“Perpetuates harmful stereotypes and connotations to the enslavement of people of color and normalizes language implicated with slavery and enslaved people,” the scientists wrote. Instead, use: “primary / main document / primary equation or variable.”

Weirdly, they don’t like the word “rape,” either.

“Equates rape with a reproductive strategy rather than a violent and traumatic act, which can lead to dangerous misconceptions that is a natural behavior, and the use of the term forces survivors to be confronted with it which is traumatic.”

Instead, use “forced copulation,” they said. Well, that’s solved now.

And male/female are right out. “These terms are used to reinforce societally-imposed ideas of a sex binary, emphasising cis-normative and hetero-normative views.” Instead, go with “sperm-producing/egg-producing or XY/XX individual.”

The project by the scientists follows another, titled “Evolving From Violent Language,” which was created by Anna Taylor, a communications director and “diversity, equity, and inclusion champion” at technology company Phenomenex.

“The guide is for those who would like to replace mostly violently framed idioms with more positive and inclusive language,” Taylor told The Daily Mail.

The guide offers new acceptable phrases:

  • “I won’t avoid it any longer” for “I’ll bite the bullet”
  • “We’re going to launch” for “we’re going to pull the trigger”
  • “Can you send me an email?” for “can you shoot me an email?”
  • “That was a bit excessive” for “that was overkill”
  • “Let’s not focus on that anymore” for “let’s not beat a dead horse”
  • “I’m going to gnosh heartily on those tacos” for “Imma murder those tacos” (OK, we made this one up)

The guide drew scorn on social media.

“Why? What’s the point in ‘evolving from violent language’? And what’s violent about deadline? Because it has dead in it? Death isn’t inherently violent; it’s simply everyone’s final phase. I respect everyone’s trauma but we’re way too sensitive if we can’t handle colloquialisms,” wrote one user.

Another said the guide is simply misguided.

“It just seems like ‘evolving from violent language’ when it isn’t even violent language that causes harm to people, detracts from the ACTUAL violent language that IS harming people, eg. racist, misogynistic, homophobic terms and phrases still being used to this day.”

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