Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#1272: John C. Wright

John C. Wright is apparently a fairly popular science fiction writer, as well as a conservative Catholic with an ax to grind. We are not here going to engage with his rather staggeringly dishonest or – if not dishonest – batshit crazy defenses of Vox Day or Orson Scott Card or his claims to be persecuted on their behalf (“When Mr Card is being punished for speaking out against homosex, he is being punished for being a true Christian”). That’s been dealt with elsewhere (also here). Let us instead have a look at his own take on the issues that originally led to criticisms of Day and Card. You see, Wright is a firm misogynist and staunch opponent of contraception. That combination has a tendency to produce some painfully stupid arguments, and boy, how Wright delivers. Says Wright:

In order to understand the perfect sexual experience, we first must say what sex is: […] The sex act is the act of sexual union in sexual reproduction. The sexes, however, are spiritual rather than physical: men are masculine in psychology and mind and soul, masculine in speech and deportment and nuance in all they do just as women are feminine. The sexual union is spiritual, ordered toward the end of reproduction.

The staggeringly fallacious appeal to nature doesn’t even begin characterize that mess of garbled stupidity, but it does provide some clues to how Wright is going to get to his conclusion, right?

Since sex is ordered toward reproduction, anything that hinders it is an imperfection. Prudence, if nothing else, would warn potential mother and potential fathers not to do the act which makes you a mother or a father until you have a household and loving union ready to rear children. If you are artificially sterile, or using contraception, you are holding back, you are not passionate about the sex, you are trying to use the sex rather than surrender to the sex.

Hence, contraception is wrong because … ? Oh, but he isn’t done. What, do you think, is the woman’s duty in all this?

For her part, she must vow to love and honor and obey. And if you do not understand about that obey part, you do not understand women. She wants a leader, an alpha male, a chief, a Christ, and you must be willing to die for her as Christ was willing to die for you, or she will not feel secure in your love. If she does not swear to obey, you are not a couple, not a dyad, not a unit, but are still two sovereigns dealing with each other at arm’s length, not intimate, and she cannot trust you fully, cannot love you fully, not with a divine and self-sacrificing love.

The best that can be said of the argument is that it gives us a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a mind unencumbered by reason, sanity or decency.

And furthermore, did you know that Christianity is the source of all decency? Without Christianity, there would be no compassion, love or virtue, but only shame, exploitation and darkness. Since compassion, love and virtue exist exclusively in Christian traditions and the extent to which others exhibit these virtues it is because of their Christian cultural heritage. And note that “pagan non-Christian” is synonymous with “Leftist”, which is – apparently – synonymous with “political activist”.

Wright is also a global warming denialist on the authority of John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, who cited the Oregon Petition as evidence for a broad scientific consensus denying AGW. What about evolution? According to Wright: “Darwinism is not only correctly called a theory, it even more correctly called an unscientific theory, a philosophical theory, in that it is not open to disproof by normal scientific means of measurement, observation, experimentation; and it makes no testable predictions.” No, he doesn’t have the faintest clue, and to clinch it: “There is no such thing as ‘Darwin’s Law’ parallel to ‘Newton’s Law’ because Darwin makes no predictions of outcomes.” Uh, no, that’s not the distinction between a scientific theory and a scientific law. And did you know that “the discovery of genetics and the more careful study of the fossil record has demolished both the idea of gradual changes, and robbed the Darwinists of any understandable mechanism [no, he gives no details] whereby organisms gradually and naturally go from, for example, 48 chromosomes in an ape to 46 chromosomes in their alleged descendants, human beings”? No, Wright didn’t bother to consult the what scientists say about those chromosomes, but hey, what did you expect after his rant against contraception above.

Diagnosis: Flamboyantly crazy and comprehensive denialist as well as, frankly, a freak.


  1. The first sentence describes this man completely.

  2. I used to have a professor by that name - thank goodness, a completely different guy.

  3. I find it rather perplexing how many reactionary Catholics oppose evolution (or "darwinism") considering that the official church doctrine declared it acceptable and not contradicting the Bible back in 1996.

  4. To be fair to Catholicism, and as a Catholic myself, Mr. Wright definitely represents some fringe beliefs in his denial of evolution and climate change. Although he's essentially correct (at least from what's quoted here) in his summary of the Church's teaching on contraception, being presented in this context make it seem like utter quackery, instead of the beautiful and fulfilling teaching that it actually is.