Flat White

Reason or belief – fact or fiction?

19 February 2022

1:00 PM

19 February 2022

1:00 PM

A British doctor who was dismissed from his government employment for not referring to a transgender, six-foot-tall, bearded man as ‘madam’ has taken his unfair dismissal to that nation’s High Court. While the grounds of his appeal – that the department’s requirement ‘coerced and threatened’ his Christian beliefs – is interesting enough, there is a more important question that immediately comes to mind.

When witnesses are called upon to give evidence they are asked to swear to the truth about their evidence and that truth needs to be related to objects, to what can be objectively verified. In a very practical way, a court would probably allow a transgender woman to describe himself as a woman while advising a jury to disregard that person’s belief while alerting them to the objective equivalence of a transgender woman and a man. In other words, the jury would be alerted to the difference between a person’s belief and a fact.

That would be a very practical approach. A jury might even be advised to decide whether the person was objectively a man or a woman. The problem is, however, that it is completely at odds with both what is taught in our schools and universities and the rules they have drafted to apply to these circumstances where belief is a substitute for fact.

Where once a man was a human being with observable male genitals and a female was a human being with observable female genitals, that has now been cast aside. It is now taught that a man is anyone who feels they are a man and a woman is anyone who feels they are a woman. The need to identify the relevant sexual organs has been dismissed.

With that teaching as a premise, there is no objective truth at all, something that Friedrich Nietzsche anticipated in 1890. While ‘truth’ depends on more than just a coincidence of sense perception and ideas, that coincidence is necessary as the objective support of speech. Our words need there to be an object to which they refer in order that the inferences upon which truth depends have a direct link to the objects of the senses.

If the truth depends only on our beliefs, it is logically true for a white man to believe that he is black, brown, red, yellow, green – or whatever colour he chooses. By the same logic, a man born in New Guinea might believe he is an Australian citizen. What do we do when a person announces that he is no longer a human being, but some other animal? Already, a Bristol university has invented a word to describe a person (only one so far) who identifies as a cat.

Each of these beliefs in relation to identity not only denies that an objective truth is possible but denies that an objective truth is knowable to human reason. It asserts that every evaluation is the product of a subjective feeling and is the foundational premise of modern social sciences. Paradoxically, it even denies the truth of natural science since every scientific experiment commences with an evaluation. Nietzsche pointed this out as well but he had already sped off in a different direction and we know where Nietzsche’s teaching led the world.

It is time, before it is too late, to tell the truth about these relativist topics even as we find laws and rules being drafted to force people to say only what is approved. The only way to know the truth about what is woke and what is not is to rely on reason to resurrect nature as our standard. Reason is the last line of defence against the madness that currently infects so much that was once just common sense.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments