The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project now claims that the terms “male” and “female” should be replaced with “sperm-producing” and “egg-producing,” according to a report in the Times of London.
Supposedly, binary terms like “male” and “female” are not inclusive enough, and scientists from the United States and Canada., which included academics from Harvard, Princeton and the University of California, now suggest that they be banned, with the Times reporting that, “In their view, the language used by researchers often bolsters a discriminatory status quo and should change.
Good heavens! Everything is offensive these days!
To take it a step further, EEB suggested that “mother” and “father” should be replaced with “parent,” as well as “egg donor” and “sperm donor.”
Sounds like a great idea to muddy the scientific waters.
And what’s more, the authors purport that words reflecting the gender aren’t just non-inclusive, they’re also rooted in – wait for it – racism and chauvinism.
“Much of Western science is rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and patriarchy, and these power structures continue to permeate our scientific culture,” researchers wrote in the “Trends in Ecology and Evolution” journal.
Supposedly the University of British Columbia’s three researchers in the EEB initiative relied on Twitter conversations and random people bellyaching to create a list of harmful words to avoid. The group’s website lists its top 24 “harmful terms” with alternatives to not hurt people’s feelings, including saying the term “survival of the fittest” should be removed as it could be linked to “eugenics, ableism and social Darwinism,” and should be replaced with either “natural selection” or “survival differences” instead. The term “citizen science” is apparently “harmful to non-citizens” and should be replaced with “participant science or community science.”
While I can spend the rest of my life explaining why this is just a dumb idea to pander to pansies, Professor Frank Furedi of the University of Kent, said it for me:
I think that when you characterise terms like male/female, mother/father as harmful you are abandoning science for ideological advocacy. Regardless of intent, the project of re-engineering language will cause confusion to many and the last thing that scientists need is a lack of clarity about the meaning of the words they use.
Cue the applause.
This is all a little – actually, a lot – ridiculous. People are making a mountain out of a molehill, and this little “Language Project” has no point.