EPISODE 235: “Defining a Man and a Woman: What’s At Stake” with Dr Jay Richards
Until recently, no precise legal definition of sex—and especially the terms “male” and “female”—was needed because no one contested it.
Up to now.
Gender activists are rapidly moving to redefine sex in federal laws and regulations, such as Title IX, to include “gender identity.” If this succeeds, it will subvert all preexisting legal references to sex, contrary to their plain intent.
The movement to redefine sex to include “gender identity” is part of a larger agenda to dissolve sex as a stable legal category and create chaos.
This is a massive and infuriating issue and we need to understand the deeper agenda that lies underneath it.
For some answers I’m joined in this episode with Dr Jay Richards, Director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the Heritage Foundation about his recent essay on “Why States Must Define Sex Precisely”.
“Why do we need to define male and female precisely? Well, as everyone now knows our institutions – our schools, corporations, government and our military – are now almost entirely suffused and saturated with something called gender ideology.”
“Gender ideology denies the reality, or at least the adequacy, of describing human beings as male and female in biological terms. That sounds crazy and extreme to people. So they think that can’t be what’s happening. But that is exactly what’s happening.”
We need to win the fight to define the terms.
The federal government under Joe Biden has been moving rapidly to redefine sex in federal law and regulations to include gender identity. Title IX, the law that guarantees women equal treatment in federally funded high schools and colleges sports programs, will be gutted.
We know why we separate men in women’s sports. It’s based on justice and a recognition of these fundamental differences between men and women. That would be denied here.
Defining sex as gender identity in Title IX means that if a man wants to compete in female sports and is denied that, he will have his civil rights violated simply if he identifies as a woman.
Or in another instance, if a man who has raped and murdered women is sentenced to a men’s prison, and then self identifies as woman, he will have to be moved to a women’s prison.
The Deeper Agenda
The gender identity issue is part of a mosaic of a larger effort to deconstruct every institution in society. It’s roots lie in cultural Marxism, in something called conflict theory – as conflict between two groups – oppressed and oppressors.
“The cultural Marxists tell us that you really can only properly explain social reality, human beings, society and culture in terms of a conflict between oppressors and the oppressed. It’s a cartoonish type of sociology.”
Look at the real meaning of the term “queer” in LGBTQ. It’s a verb.
“To queer is to de-center or destabilize our categories of reality. You’re thinking sex, you’re thinking boy and girl. What they’re claiming is that mere stereotypes have been imposed upon us by doctors, namely our sex assigned at birth. The oppressors.”
“This has never been about the one in a hundred thousand adult men who want to cross dress. It’s never been about drag queen shows. It’s about the sexualization of children and the destruction of the reality of the sexual binary in our culture and our language, and in our laws. That’s what this is about.”
They’re driving to redefine things that everyone in all times and places knows and understands, and disparage them as Western oppressive categories.
“It’s a cultural wrecking ball. This is not serious philosophy, this is certainly not serious science. These are power hungry utopians using whatever tools are at hand to destroy the present order.”
There’s a lot more about their agenda in this episode. Listen in.
EPISODE 235 TRANSCRIPT
Speaker 1 (00:00:04):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers. Fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:00:24):
Welcome To the Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton.
Well, I’m back today with my great good friend and my favorite all time polymath, Dr. Jay Richards, who’s an expert in so many things. Jay has written a soon to be published book called Fight the Good Fight: How An Alliance of Faith and Reason Can Win the Culture War. And he’s writing it with James Robison. Jay, you got a new gig. You’re now at Heritage and we talked about summarizing your title, but I really want to do justice to the whole new title.
Jay Richards (00:01:02):
Bill Walton (00:01:03):
Director of Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, and the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in Religious Liberty and Civil Society.
Jay Richards (00:01:13):
Yeah, that’s a paragraph, isn’t it?
Bill Walton (00:01:17):
Well, I don’t think it does you justice. This is five or six times we’ve been talking together.
Jay Richards (00:01:22):
Yeah, at least.
Bill Walton (00:01:23):
The first time we talked was my second show and we did it out in Rappahannock County.
Jay Richards (00:01:28):
Bill Walton (00:01:29):
And the great segment was when your daughters came on and they were homeschooling and I was very interested in what it was like to be homeschooled, and they were fabulous. Now, I understand one of your daughters is where?
Jay Richards (00:01:44):
She is at The Heritage. So my older daughter is at the Heritage Foundation. She’s a research associate in the Simon Center, which is different from the William Simon Fellow, it’s a different Simon. And writing on lots of really interesting and somewhat controversial topics. And actually, my younger daughter, who is a college student, is interning at Heritage this summer, actually.
Bill Walton (00:02:04):
Oh, that’s fabulous.
Jay Richards (00:02:05):
So they’re probably are not going to like the fact that I mentioned this, but-
Bill Walton (00:02:08):
Well, that’s all right. Yeah, well, I’m proud of you, but I’m really proud of them, it’s great. They’re charming. It’s great to see how well they’ve worked out.
Jay Richards (00:02:18):
Well, homeschooling, it pays dividends. They didn’t believe it at the time, but turns out you can have a good and normal and flourishing life.
Bill Walton (00:02:27):
Absolutely. Well, Jay’s book is a big book. It’s a short book, but it covers everything that needs to be covered in the fight for our liberty and how faith and reason seem to have been shoved out of the public square. We can’t cover everything in the book, so I thought what we’d do is cover just a couple of, I think, really essential things that we all need to know more about.
The first one is, Jay’s written an article recently, which relates to the book. The title is, Why States Must Define Sex Precisely. Now, the question we’re all asking is why on earth are we talking about the definition of what’s a man and what’s a woman? And we’re going to get into that. We’re going to do this in two segments today. The first one, we’ll talk about men and women, and then the second segment is something I’ve covered and Jay’s covered in the past together and separately, climate change. And in particular, I want to get into the notion that radical climate change, it is a radical agenda, you begin to realize how anti-human it is.
And I think just as importantly, it totally throws the habitat and species protection cares under the bus in the interest of wind and solar. And you look at what it’s doing to habitat and species, I think climate change is going to deserve a second look.
Jay Richards (00:03:51):
Bill Walton (00:03:51):
Jay, let’s start with why on Earth we’re … I know why, but anyway, pick it up from there.
Jay Richards (00:03:58):
Yeah, so why do we need to define male and female? Well, everyone that has not been hiding under a rock knows that our institutions are now almost entirely suffused and saturated with something we’ll call gender ideology. And gender ideology is just this idea that a person’s true identity is this internal subjective sense they have of their gender, called a gender identity, rather than the fact that we are free, bodily sexed being. So instead of sex, instead of male and female as a biological reality, we are these things called gender identities. And sex is a mere social construct called sex assigned at birth. So that’s gender ideology.
It’s worked its way into all of our institutions, whether it’d be school or media or now governmental institutions. In fact, it’s a high priority, if not the top priority, of the Biden administration. What the Biden administration has been in the process of doing is redefining sex where it occurs in federal law and regulations to include gender identity. This is the key thing. Sex didn’t need to be defined before, say in Title IX, the law some 50 years ago, that guarantees women equal treatment in federally funded programs, high schools and colleges, things like that. It’s about making sure women have equal opportunity in colleges.
Well, the people that wrote in past Title IX didn’t think to define what a woman is. They didn’t think to define what male and female are because it wasn’t contested. You don’t bother to define terms when everybody knows what it is. Well, it’s now contested. And so if sex can include or be a gender identity under Title IX, that means that a man who wants to compete in female sports and is denied that, will have his civil rights violated simply if he identifies as a woman. So it doesn’t require that he be a woman to compete against women in women’s sports, it simply requires that he identify as such.
And how do you figure that out? Well, if he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman. It’s that simple. That’s gender ideology. On the other hand, if you think, well, no, we segregated sports in the first place because males and females are different and it would be unfair and unjust for women, certainly in high school and absolutely in college, to have to compete against males, we just wouldn’t have significant female sports. That’s just one example of this.
Bill Walton (00:06:32):
Well, you’re talking about gender construct?
Jay Richards (00:06:36):
Bill Walton (00:06:37):
Construct is an interesting word. The French gave us that, didn’t they? This was back into French-
Jay Richards (00:06:44):
Bill Walton (00:06:44):
Jay Richards (00:06:45):
Bill Walton (00:06:47):
Jay Richards (00:06:47):
I won’t just blame the French, the Germans and the Austrians.
Bill Walton (00:06:50):
Well, that’s right [inaudible 00:06:51], but the Germans were-
Jay Richards (00:06:52):
We’ve got critical theory in here and we’ve got some French postmodernism here.
Bill Walton (00:06:57):
So this is part of a mosaic of a deconstruction to deconstruct every institution in society.
Jay Richards (00:07:02):
That’s right. To queer every category, and this is the verb instead-
Bill Walton (00:07:05):
What do you mean, that’s the verb? What do you mean queer everything?
Jay Richards (00:07:08):
To queer everything, this is queer theory. So here I’m not using … That’s not the pejorative, that’s the verb that is used by the ideologues. To queer is to de-center or destabilize our categories of reality. You’re thinking sex, you’re thinking boy and girl. What they’re thinking is that this internal sense of gender identity and mere stereotypes that have been imposed upon us by doctors, namely sex assigned at birth. So no sex, rather we’re going to have gender identity and sex assigned at birth. This is part of the program. You can see the same kind of thing happening certainly in other disciplines.
Bill Walton (00:07:46):
And they started out with other disciplines. This started at deconstructing literature, Shakespeare, whatever.
Jay Richards (00:07:52):
Yeah, meaning of text.
Bill Walton (00:07:54):
The meaning of text.
Jay Richards (00:07:54):
Bill Walton (00:07:55):
And nothing had any reality, everything was text. And it was in a particular … Something like Shakespeare was just to show the white male power hierarchy and how that was oppressive.
Jay Richards (00:08:08):
Bill Walton (00:08:09):
And every single one of Shakespeare plays, regardless whether it’s a comedy or tragedy, was to drive home that hierarchical agenda.
Jay Richards (00:08:18):
That’s right. And there’s a mix here, Bill, because if you want to reduce Marxism to something called conflict theory. Let’s say that all the kind of varieties of Marxism, at bottom what they posit is that you really can only properly explain social reality, human beings, in society and in culture in terms of a conflict between two primary groups. It might be the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat. It might be whites versus Blacks, gay versus straight, male versus female. That’s the kind of conflict theory. Marx [inaudible 00:08:51] focused on economics.
Bill Walton (00:08:52):
So when we get at the radical division … I want to keep going, I just want to … So if they define it as conflict between two groups, oppressed and oppressors-
Jay Richards (00:09:01):
Bill Walton (00:09:02):
… that really gets at why we’re so divided right now.
Jay Richards (00:09:06):
Bill Walton (00:09:06):
Because everything has been deliberately bifurcated.
Jay Richards (00:09:08):
Absolutely. And it’s a cartoonish type of sociology. To imagine, one, that conflict is really the only powerful explanatory category, and two, that people can be reduced to these two groupings. But of course, Marxism just said, well, the most meaningful conflict is the conflict over the economic relations, the owners versus the workers. Cultural Marxism with Gramsci and the critical theory, they said no-
Bill Walton (00:09:36):
Jay Richards (00:09:36):
Bill Walton (00:09:36):
1920s. Italian [inaudible 00:09:38]
Jay Richards (00:09:38):
He’s an Italian Marxist [inaudible 00:09:39]
Yes, exactly. And basically said, “Well, the real stuff in society are these cultural institutions.” And so what cultural Marxism is, despite the media’s efforts to say that it’s an anti-Semitic slur, it’s not, it just describes this turn in the Marxist school away from focusing on economic conflict and toward social and racial and other kinds of cultural conflicts.
Gender ideology is an inheritor of that intellectual tradition plus French postmodernism, with the focus on language and text. And then this radical relativism, in which all you have in a sense are these social constructs. You don’t have a real thing. You don’t have a real biology that describes things. And then what follows relativism, because nobody’s really a relativist, they’re just relativist about your views, is a radical totalitarian spirit. So if everything’s just power plays and language games, then somebody’s going to have power and if it’s going to be arbitrary, it might as well be us.
And so you combine that, so imagine critical theory and cultural Marxism, French postmodernism, and then the totalitarian spirit that always follows relativism, because it’s not stable, that’s where you get critical race theory, gender ideology, queer theory. There’s a dozen of these. And you can identify them either because they have the word “theory” in them, or because if you’re in an academic setting, they have the word “studies” after them.
Bill Walton (00:11:10):
Jay Richards (00:11:10):
So you don’t have physics studies-
Bill Walton (00:11:10):
Yeah, [inaudible 00:11:12], studies, yeah.
Jay Richards (00:11:12):
… but you’ll have women’s studies or gender studies.
Bill Walton (00:11:14):
So explain the queer verb again?
Jay Richards (00:11:16):
Yes. Of course, queer was the-
Bill Walton (00:11:18):
[inaudible 00:11:18] To queer means to what?
Jay Richards (00:11:19):
To queer is to destabilize or to de-center categories essentially. So queering sex would be to say, okay, there’s no stable categories. Queering consent or queering the distinction between adults and children, which, that’s the sort of cutting edge, these categories we have are oppressive constructs.
Bill Walton (00:11:39):
Well, next it’s going to become between animals and humans.
Jay Richards (00:11:42):
Yeah, I think that’s probably already here. And since the animals can’t fight back, they’ve already, quite frankly, moved. They don’t have a representative, and so they’ve moved very quickly to the barrier between children and adults.
Bill Walton (00:11:53):
So we set the sex issue, and I do want to dig into the distinctions, into the context of deconstructing, destroying all the Western institutions.
Jay Richards (00:12:03):
Yeah. And just not Western institutions, just the deliverances of natural reason. Male and female, for instance. You don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be a Westerner to understand that there are males and females. This is a simple deliverance of reason.
And of course, for the gender ideologues, these are part and parcel of Western oppressive structures. But that’s shows you how bad the argument is that they would attribute even things that everyone in all times and places knows and understands, that they would disparage that as Western logo-centric, logic-chopping, oppressive categories. This is not serious philosophy, this is certainly not serious science.
Bill Walton (00:12:45):
The whole culture of Marxism has a power agenda. [inaudible 00:12:48]
Jay Richards (00:12:47):
Yeah, it is.
Bill Walton (00:12:47):
It’s all about power.
Jay Richards (00:12:49):
It’s a cultural wrecking ball. And when I give lectures on this, people often say, “Well, that seems strange,” because you can immediately think of contradictions in the view. It seems incoherent. And I say, “Look, don’t imagine this is going to be some tight philosophical system.” It’s not even like traditional Marxism in that way, which Marx’s thought was true science. It’s a cultural wrecking ball, that’s what these are. These are the utopians use for whatever tools are at hand to destroy the present order. And then they imagine that whatever their imagined utopia, that will somehow take its place.
Bill Walton (00:13:21):
Well, you know James Lindsay?
Jay Richards (00:13:22):
Bill Walton (00:13:23):
Yeah, he’s fantastic. Yeah, this is all about power.
Jay Richards (00:13:27):
It is. And Lindsay is actually probably the, if not one of then the best sort of analyst of these things. He’s really, really good and gets way down in the weeds. But honestly, for people that want to get down in the weeds, listening to Lindsay, you can’t get better than that.
Bill Walton (00:13:47):
He’s in the weeds, but we love it.
Jay Richards (00:13:49):
No, but it has to be done. I mean, that’s the reality.
Bill Walton (00:13:50):
We need to do it.
Jay Richards (00:13:51):
We need to do it.
Bill Walton (00:13:52):
He’s done the work to get to this point.
Jay Richards (00:13:52):
And the reason this is hard to fight or resist is because it’s [inaudible 00:13:57], it’s always constantly moving and changing. The people on the other side will claim, “Well, you don’t understand us,” or, “How dare you label us with a term.” They’re doing that with gender ideology right now. “How dare you use that term.”
Bill Walton (00:14:08):
Well, the thing about all this, and I’m a business guy essentially and spent a lot of time in private equity, finance, Wall Street, et cetera. So I tend to be very practical, I guess, did some time as a CEO. And I remember the joke, Bill Cosby, now since been, I guess … Anyway, this is the Bill Walton show, and I’m about to tell a, I think, I hope a good joke here with Jay Richards-
Jay Richards (00:14:32):
Involving Bill Cosby.
Bill Walton (00:14:36):
[inaudible 00:14:35] We’re talking about sexual differences between men and women. So this could get … Anyway, so Bill Cosby, I’m listening to his album from the early sixties when he was quite funny, and I guess he went to Hofstra or one of the-
Jay Richards (00:14:48):
Bill Walton (00:14:48):
He was a football player.
Jay Richards (00:14:49):
Bill Walton (00:14:51):
Temple, he went to Temple.
Jay Richards (00:14:51):
He went to Temple.
Bill Walton (00:14:52):
Temple. Hofstra was the enemy. Yeah. Anyway, so he was telling a story about being in a philosophy class at Temple, and the professor said, “Why is there air?” And everybody’s supposed to be thinking about that. And Bill said, “Well, I don’t know, blow up footballs, basketballs.” I kind of find myself in that category that we’re having to talk about the sexual difference between men and women and what is the distinction, but it’s part of the power agenda.
Jay Richards (00:15:25):
Bill Walton (00:15:25):
It’s part of the power agenda. And it matters how these are defined because of the laws we have.
Jay Richards (00:15:30):
That’s exactly right. It’s absolutely crucial. And because the difference between male and female is now contested, states need to define it in state law because they use the terms. If you’re in the state of Montana or Oklahoma, they’ve used male, female, men and women. They used the terms. You’d be surprised that almost no states have actually nailed these down tight. But here’s the sort of more frustrating thing is everyone tacitly knows what men and women are, but coming up with your tacit understanding is not the same as coming up with a tight definition that captures the thing, sort of captures reality in its joints. And so it’s actually much harder to define male and female than the average person would think. And so very often if, say, state legislators are going to come up with a bill to do this, they will wander into the traps set for them by the opposition, by failing to define these things precisely.
Bill Walton (00:16:23):
So there’s two definitions that the subjective notions are, one, internal sense of gender called gender identity, and then the second is sex assigned at birth.
Jay Richards (00:16:35):
Right. Those are categories provided by gender ideologues as substitutes for what we think of as biological sex, that is that sex is thing just you find out there in the world that can actually be accurately described. They say, no, we have this subjective internal sense of gender, that’s your gender identity. And then what sex is really just something that’s assigned to us at birth based upon sort of anatomical stereotypes that doctors apparently learned in medical school and then sort of imposed upon us. And so this is the sort of key thing to understand. Gender ideology denies the reality, or at least the adequacy of describing human beings as male and female in biological terms. That sounds crazy and extreme to people. So they think that can’t be what’s happening. That is exactly what’s happening. It’s why they are loath to use the word, sex. They will talk about sex assigned at birth instead.
Bill Walton (00:17:31):
But what they hang their hat on here is in part the fact that, as boys and girls are born, there’s a certain percentage of them that are born with some sort of deformity.
Jay Richards (00:17:45):
Yeah, some ambiguous [inaudible 00:17:47].
Bill Walton (00:17:47):
It’s an incontestable amount. I think it was like 0.018%-
Jay Richards (00:17:50):
That’s right. [inaudible 00:17:55]
Bill Walton (00:17:54):
One in 100,000 or one in 10,000.
Jay Richards (00:17:54):
Yeah. It’s very small. It’s a handful of kids that have properly called, they have disorders of sexual development that can either be just disorders that happened when they were developing in their mother’s womb, or it can be a chromosomal abnormality. And so what gender ideologues want to do is confuse you so that … People are vaguely aware that there are these disorders of sexual development that seem to people, to be exceptions to the way we normally identify males and females, will make you think that the idea of a gender identity is somehow related to this, it’s not, and then confuse everyone so that suddenly they’re actually denying that sex is binary in humans, which is just insane. It’s not true. Every biologist knows it’s not true. And yet now we’ve even got official scientific organizations like Scientific American falling for this stuff and actually perpetuating this nonsense. And so you can see why it’s really important that we nail this down. It’s important for the benefits especially of women. Women in bathrooms, women in prisons, women in sports, all are at risk because of this. And so those are a few of the reasons we have to do this.
Bill Walton (00:19:02):
Well, who were the thought police on this? Because we have a most recent Supreme Court justice, in her hearing, saying she couldn’t define a woman.
Jay Richards (00:19:11):
Because she wasn’t a biologist. Right. Now, that was a tell, because she implied that, well, if you were a biologist, you would know how to define it.
Bill Walton (00:19:20):
Do you think she was that clever?
Jay Richards (00:19:21):
No, she’s not. No. And I assume she’s clever in her area. She was clever enough to know that this was a trap, right? Because either she says, well, there are no women, women are just people who identify as women. Then they’d say, okay, well, so if a man had applied for this position and identified as woman, would he be a woman justice? She couldn’t say that. And so she couldn’t define it in one way, but she couldn’t define it biologically because then she’d be violating the canons of gender orthodoxy. And so she was acutely aware of that. And so that’s why Matt Walsh’s film is so great, because he realizes asking the question-
Bill Walton (00:19:59):
Matt Walsh, explain that for me.
Jay Richards (00:20:00):
Yeah. Matt Walsh is at The Daily Wire, of course, his great documentary, What is a Woman? We just ask lots of people this question. Everybody’s seated, I assume, it’s amazing. But precisely, because it forces people onto the horns of one or the other dilemma that they don’t want to be on if they’re committed to gender ideology, or at least if they don’t want to offend the gender ideologues, which is what I assume we had in this hearing before the Supreme Court, is that of course, the judge, now justice, she knows what a woman is, obviously. She knows she’s a woman, but she knew she couldn’t clearly answer the question without getting gored on one of the horns of the dilemma.
Bill Walton (00:20:39):
So if they prevail, and there’s a blurred distinction between men and women, whatever you feel you are that day is what you are. What are the practical implications of that?
Jay Richards (00:20:50):
The practical implications are that if a man is a rapist and is has raped and murdered women, that’s in prison, in a men’s prison identifies as woman, he will have to be moved to women’s prison. That has to be done. If a boy is 13 and his teacher tells him he might be born in the wrong body and he’s really a girl, then he’s really a girl, according to his gender identity, then the proper way to help him medically would not be to help him adjust to his bodily reality, it would be to transform his social surroundings and his body to conform to his/her internal gender identity. It requires that any male identifying as a woman be allowed to compete in women’s sports, on and on and on. Women’s bathrooms, women’s locker rooms, all the things that we intuitively understand. We know why we separate men and women in bathrooms. We know why we separate men in women’s sports. It’s based on justice and a recognition of these fundamental differences between men and women. That’s being denied here. And so basically, any public institution for which the distinction between men and women matters is going to be destroyed if the agenda of the gender ideologue succeeds.
Bill Walton (00:22:07):
Well then, I’m just pondering. So the-
Jay Richards (00:22:16):
You’re responding like any good boomer normally responds to this conversation. It is just sort of-
Bill Walton (00:22:21):
Jay Richards (00:22:21):
… stunned silence. Yes.
Bill Walton (00:22:22):
Well, I can’t believe where we are where we are.
Jay Richards (00:22:25):
Yeah. No, exactly. I can tell you, Bill, I’ve noticed this-
Bill Walton (00:22:27):
And by the way, there’s one thing I was thinking about whether I should tell this story. I read something, I’m forced to read all this stuff because I’m trying to do this show and I’m trying to find interest. Well, the transition, the actual transition from biological male to purportedly female is not very satisfying physically.
Jay Richards (00:22:49):
Bill Walton (00:22:49):
You don’t quite get all the equipment.
Jay Richards (00:22:50):
You can’t do this or you create, at best, partial facsimile.
Bill Walton (00:22:55):
And the reverse is true [inaudible 00:22:57]
Jay Richards (00:22:57):
You can chop things off. You can cut parts of your body off and try to create a facsimile of other things. I’m trying not to be too graphic, but we can’t reproduce these organs, needless to say.
Bill Walton (00:23:09):
So let’s talk about what the correct, precise definition is.
Jay Richards (00:23:15):
Okay, so here’s the key thing. We don’t define sex in terms of chromosomes. For some reason, everybody thinks that’s how you define it. They think, oh, this is all easy, XX, XY. No. What XX and XY are is those are part of the pathways under normal development by which sex is developed. But we all knew what sex was and could recognize it before we knew about chromosomes. And so you define sex, and we should understand sex in terms of biologically, you’d say the phenotypes. So these particular-
Bill Walton (00:23:50):
Jay Richards (00:23:51):
Bill Walton (00:23:52):
Jay Richards (00:23:52):
Not genotypes, right?
Bill Walton (00:23:55):
What’s pheno mean?
Jay Richards (00:23:56):
Think of the body structure.
Bill Walton (00:23:57):
Jay Richards (00:23:57):
That’s the best way to think of this. And so what sex is, it’s the reproductive strategy that mammals and many other organisms, including humans, have developed that we have for reproducing. And so it refers to these two body structures or body systems and corresponding gametes. So a male is a member of the species that, under normal development, produces small, relatively mobile gametes called sperm and has a body structure and an endocrine system and hormonal profile that corresponds to that. The female is the member of the species that, under normal development, produces large, relatively immobile gametes called ova. There are exactly two. We have exactly two gametes. There’s not a third one. There are no ERGs. There’s no [inaudible 00:24:48], right? There’s no third or fourth gamete. So that’s why we say sex is binary in human beings. It’s one or the other.
Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t developmental anomalies that make it more difficult to tell if someone,
Bill Walton (00:25:02):
Jay Richards (00:25:03):
For example, chromosomal anomalies in which you have XXY or XYY. Or you can have an, believe it or not, you can have an XX male if the SRY gene on the Y chromosome moves over to the X chromosome. You can have an XY female. So there are exceptions that will destroy your definition. So if you’re defining something, all you need to show that the definition is inadequate is to have a single counter example. And most people, because they haven’t really thought carefully about this, they vaguely remember, well, I remember the XX, XY thing. That must be it. That’s fairly simple. Most of the time you could use that chromosomal screening to figure out if someone’s male or female. But that’s not the definition of it, because there are exceptions. And so this is the sort of thing that’s baffling to people. Or you might say, well, women are people that can nurse and get pregnant.
Well, that’s true only of the set of individuals called women, only women can get pregnant. And there are no men who can get pregnant and bear children, but there are women who can’t bear children. So a woman that’s had a hysterectomy, for instance. And so if you defined woman as every person that can have children, you’re going to-
Bill Walton (00:26:18):
Not all can.
Jay Richards (00:26:18):
Right, you can’t do it. Either you’re a female that has not gone through puberty or a woman that for various reasons can’t do that. So it seems like, gosh, this is really kind of complicated, and do we need to go into this detail? Absolutely. And legislators and politicians, and the people that are talking about this have to nail this.
Bill Walton (00:26:34):
We have 20 state legislatures that have worked on this.
Jay Richards (00:26:37):
So we have, as of today, 20 states that have restricted-
Bill Walton (00:26:40):
And you’re working with them.
Jay Richards (00:26:42):
And have restricted medical procedures for minors for so-called gender affirming care. So cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers, and transition surgeries. So that’s a kind of manifestation of gender ideology and pediatric medicine. But even those bills, for the most part, don’t define male and female precisely. And so that’s something that I’ve been saying for a while. States need to do this. You can’t just define sex vaguely and say it has to do with reproduction and chromosomes or something. No, you have to say what a male is, what a female is, and it’s got to be objective. It’s got to be based on the facts of biology.
Now, what’s going to happen if this happens? Well, states will define it in one way. The federal government’s going to define it, under Biden, in a different way. There’s going to be a fight in the courts, as there is in all these things. But the fight ought to be over biological reality. And that’s the fight that our side wins because we’ve got biological reality on their side. They’ve got a weird and incoherent postmodern philosophy on theirs.
Bill Walton (00:27:41):
Well, and it’s not just postmodern, it’s mystical and mythological.
Jay Richards (00:27:45):
Bill Walton (00:27:45):
I’ve a friend who I like a lot, and she very poetic reads all these different things. And I said, “I’m going to do a show on same sex or the difference between men and women.” She says, “Oh no, there are many cultures that have many sexes.”
Jay Richards (00:28:00):
It’s not true.
Bill Walton (00:28:00):
Like Central Indians, or African tribes. They have many, many cultures.
Jay Richards (00:28:06):
Bill Walton (00:28:07):
And my answer was, “Well, they may have mythologies, but those are not the realities.” Was that the right answer?
Jay Richards (00:28:14):
Sort of. [inaudible 00:28:15].
Bill Walton (00:28:14):
Sort of, okay, I’ll pause.
Jay Richards (00:28:16):
But even in those cultures, they recognize males and females. They may not know biology, but everyone knows males and females. What they have is-
Bill Walton (00:28:22):
So what do they do?
Jay Richards (00:28:23):
… categories, for say, a man that wants to live as a woman. So we’ve always had a small set of people that are uncomfortable being their biological sex and want to present as something else. And so there are a couple of cultures that even have terms for that sort of third thing. It’s not a third sex. And if you ask people in that culture, they would understand that. But people unfortunately in the West have gotten all these terms messed up in their heads, and they think sex is the same as gender identity.
Bill Walton (00:28:46):
Well, the libertarian in me thinks, well, if you want to live as a female and you’re male, I’m okay with that. But we just don’t need to change all our laws.
Jay Richards (00:28:52):
Well, yeah, right. If you’re an adult, and if a man says, I want to appear as a woman. Okay, are you just wanting to dress like a woman and live and let live? Or do I have to pretend that you’re actually a woman? That’s what you’re saying. Okay, I’m not going to actually think you’re a woman. I’m not going to lock you up in jail for doing [inaudible 00:29:12]
Bill Walton (00:29:13):
And don’t make me use the preferred pronouns.
Jay Richards (00:29:15):
Bill Walton (00:29:16):
If I want to, fine. But don’t-
Jay Richards (00:29:17):
But don’t do it. [inaudible 00:29:19]
Bill Walton (00:29:18):
Compelled to putting them in all their emails.
Jay Richards (00:29:20):
That’s right. They make you do it. That’s what this is about. This has never been about the one in a hundred thousand adult men, for the most part, that wants to cross dress. It’s never been about drag queen shows behind closed doors. It’s about the sexualization of children and the destruction of the reality of the sexual binary in our culture and our language, and in our laws. That’s what it’s about.
Bill Walton (00:29:44):
Okay, well, keep up the fight. We need to win this one.
Jay Richards (00:29:50):
Yeah, we do.
Bill Walton (00:29:50):
We know why there’s air.
Jay Richards (00:29:52):
Absolutely. We know why it’s there. And it’s not just for footballs and basketball.
Bill Walton (00:29:57):
Well, let’s shift gears. I’m here with Jay Richards, the Heritage Foundation, prolific author, great friend, great polymath, knows a lot about a lot of things. That’s why he’s so much fun to talk with. And we’ve been talking about how we define male and female, and it’s obviously a hot topic today. Now, we want to shift to another topic in the insane asylum, which is climate change and the climate change agenda. And you’ve written about climate in your book. I think it’s, let me recollect the title. It’s something Domain. Do you remember your title? Well, anyway, it’s about the climate.
Jay Richards (00:30:36):
Yeah, it’s about the climate, absolutely. And you may not know, I’ve been interested in this topic, actually, for decades, and the discussion about gender ideology and climate change are actually related. Here’s how they’re related. In both cases, we’re dealing with an ideology that falls apart on closer inspection, masquerading as careful science. This is something I, myself, I think from studying the philosophy of science, I’m acutely sensitive to, but is the use of-
Bill Walton (00:31:04):
Say that again.
Jay Richards (00:31:05):
Bill Walton (00:31:05):
Because that’s worth people putting into their memory banks.
Jay Richards (00:31:09):
Bill Walton (00:31:09):
Say it again.
Jay Richards (00:31:11):
The gender question and the climate change question, we’re dealing with a bad ideology masquerading as good science. And so if you study the history of velocity of science, you’ve seen this happen. And so you recognize it. The same thing with COVID, right? this is reason I think some people that just fell for it immediately and others thought, okay, wait, I think lockdownS [inaudible 00:31:34]
Bill Walton (00:31:33):
Remember when our show on COVID got banned?
Jay Richards (00:31:35):
Exactly. Yeah. No. Thank you. I helped you get your first show [inaudible 00:31:41] Both, but yeah, exactly. You got your first show banned talking about it. Things that I would be quite certain are now completely uncontroversial, at least should be. But at the time, were just outrageous. And so you really, really need to understand how to recognize, okay, is this based on real scientific evidence and study and careful consideration, or is this an ideology? Every ideology in the modern world is going to claim to be based on science, because that’s the kind of … Science is sort of the keeper of the public domain. Might have been in the Middle Ages, it would’ve been the church and the clerics. Science, now, sort of has that position. So everyone from Marx to the president wants to appeal to science for their ideology. And so climate, the whole climate debate does this as well.
Now, of course, there is a climate science, it’s a multidisciplinary field that involves everything from solar physics to dendro-chronology, which is the study of tree rings and things like that, and various kind of paleoclimatology, all these different kinds of science in which we try to figure out what’s happening in the Earth’s climate in the past, in the present, in the future, and what might be affecting it. So that’s a real science, but let’s call it the kind of hysteria over anthropogenic climate change. So the hysteria over the idea that humans are not only affecting the climate, but are affecting it dramatically and destructively, that is just simply not based on a fair and honest assessment of the evidence.
Bill Walton (00:33:12):
Well, I love the way you attacked it in your book, because I guess I love it because it’s the way I think about it, which is, number one, is the Earth warming? Number two, if it is warming, are we causing it? Number three, if the Earth is warming and we’re causing it, is that bad? The fourth one is if the Earth is warming and we’re causing it and that’s bad, would the proposed solutions make any difference? And then-
Jay Richards (00:33:41):
The next question, what should we do instead? Because the answer to number four is, no. The Paris Climate Protocol-
Bill Walton (00:33:49):
Doesn’t get you there.
Jay Richards (00:33:50):
Just not going to do a darn thing, and all these crazy proposals for carbon zero by 2035 or whatever, it’s impossible. It can’t happen.
Bill Walton (00:34:00):
Help me out. What’s carbon zero?
Jay Richards (00:34:00):
The idea of carbon-
Bill Walton (00:34:00):
What’s net neutral? Is that the same thing as carbon-
Jay Richards (00:34:05):
Net neutrality, of course, with internet policy. Net zero or carbon zero is just the idea that you’re going to reach a stage in which we’re not adding any carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. And so maybe we’re not removing it, but we’re not adding any. Now, the problem is that CO2 is a product of combustion. It’s sort of a product of almost all of our industrial activity. And so to transition to a form of energy or energy resource that does not release any CO2, it’s going to have to be something completely different than what we’re doing. And it’s not going to be so-called renewables like solar or wind. First of all, because those are fabulously expensive. They’re intermittent, and they themselves, to maintain and to build, require a lot of use of hydrocarbons.
Bill Walton (00:34:57):
Well, I want to get to your one, two, three, four.
Jay Richards (00:34:59):
Bill Walton (00:34:59):
But I do want to … It dawned on me, I don’t know a couple months ago, that for all this obsession with climate change and CO2 and the Earth warming, that the solutions, if it’s wind and solar, are massively destructive of [inaudible 00:35:16].
Jay Richards (00:35:15):
Bill Walton (00:35:16):
Massive destruction of species and are anti-human.
Jay Richards (00:35:21):
And are anti-human and pro-China.
Bill Walton (00:35:23):
Jay Richards (00:35:24):
Yeah. It’s just like everything bad.
Bill Walton (00:35:25):
So they run the table with this.
Jay Richards (00:35:27):
Yes, exactly. And so you can see why certain people would like us to imagine we’re going to solve this problem.
Bill Walton (00:35:32):
If you’re President Xi.
Jay Richards (00:35:33):
[inaudible 00:35:34] Yeah, exactly. Now, the way I say that, there’s some people that sincerely believe that this is a catastrophe. And you can tell that they’re serious because they recognize the problem. They say, “Okay, well, I think we’ve got to pivot away from using hydrocarbons.” What’s the live alternative? Nuclear power. But most of the people advocating this will not talk about nuclear power, which proves that they’re not serious.
Bill Walton (00:35:57):
Because it’s part of the de-growth agenda.
Jay Richards (00:35:59):
Absolutely. A lot of this-
Bill Walton (00:36:01):
World economic forums right out there-
Jay Richards (00:36:03):
Absolutely, it’s de-growth. And some of the folks, I quote some of them in the book are quite explicit about this. They imagine that sort of pristine nature untouched by humans, that’s the ideal. And anything that human beings do to change or transform the environment, that’s bad.
Bill Walton (00:36:20):
I love the way you tie it into the Bible, which is something that is often done and it’s flat wrong. Who’s it, Lynn White?
Jay Richards (00:36:28):
Lynn White, the famous article.
Bill Walton (00:36:31):
He wrote an ecological crisis based on the Bible, and he said, we’re virtuous because we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence except to serve men.
Jay Richards (00:36:42):
That’s right. This is in every environmental ethics textbook you can find, this article. So the claim was that the biblical idea is that the only purpose for nature is to serve human beings. The problem is that’s not what the Bible says at all. Human beings are sort of, in Genesis, crowning achievement of the creation. But God in Job, He calls Job and Job’s accusers before Him and says, “Where were you when I created the Pleiades and Orion?” Look at Behemoth and Leviathan. In other words, God has all sorts of reasons for creating the world that don’t have anything to do with us. In Genesis, He creates humans on day six as an encore to day six. But all the other days when He creates, He also declares them good. So this idea that it’s sort of Christian idea that the creation only exists to serve human beings.
First of all, it’s not a Christian idea. In fact, the Christian idea is quite different. And I think that’s important. One, to sort of vindicate scripture, but also because any Christian or Jew that’s actually interested in caring for the environment, you’ve got all the intellectual resources that you need. You don’t need radical environmental ideology to care for the natural world. That’s something that should be uncontroversial. The question is whether the claims of radical climate change are true. And then as I ask the questions, what’s happening? What’s causing it? Is it bad? And what should we do about it? Those are separate questions that could have separate answers.
Bill Walton (00:38:11):
And as you’ve written here, the environmental movement goes far beyond just the environment and treats human beings as the problem.
Jay Richards (00:38:18):
Bill Walton (00:38:19):
John Kerry was at a conference last week or two weeks ago, and he actually said we could do a lot to solve the CO2 problem if we stopped farming.
Jay Richards (00:38:30):
Bill Walton (00:38:30):
If we stopped eating-
Jay Richards (00:38:32):
Stopped eating and stopping breathing.
Bill Walton (00:38:33):
We got 7 billion people on the planet. We get rid of four or 5 billion. We’re in good shape.
Jay Richards (00:38:38):
Prune them down. Absolutely. Years ago, I got a letter-
Bill Walton (00:38:40):
We’re making light of that, but that seems like that’s actually what they think would be a good thing.
Jay Richards (00:38:46):
Certainly, I’m not going to accuse all environmentalists of thinking this.
Bill Walton (00:38:49):
Just John Kerry. We’ll stick with John.
Jay Richards (00:38:52):
Yeah, we’ll stick with Kerry. But the reality is, if you get into the environmental and creation care space, it doesn’t take you long to find someone that’s deeply misanthropic and to realize that a lot of what they think is not based on a careful look at the evidence. It’s just based on this kind of moral intuition that humans are the problem. And to solve the problems of nature, we need a lot fewer humans.
Bill Walton (00:39:12):
Number one, is the Earth warming?
Jay Richards (00:39:14):
Is the Earth warming? So the question here depends on from what baseline. So if we’re talking about is the Earth warming since 1000 AD, if you were to sort of look at that trend line, look at the best evidence, doesn’t look like there is. In fact, it’s probably slightly warmer on average, on the Earth surface around 1000 AD, because of the so-called medieval warming period. If you, however, say, started at 1850s or the beginning of the real uptick in the industrial revolution-
Bill Walton (00:39:41):
Which is their usual starting point.
Jay Richards (00:39:42):
Yeah, usually start at 1850 or 1870.
Bill Walton (00:39:44):
Jay Richards (00:39:45):
So start at the industrial revolution.
Bill Walton (00:39:47):
Back when we started making things productive, and we made people live longer, live healthier.
Jay Richards (00:39:51):
That’s right. Allowed billions-
Bill Walton (00:39:52):
[inaudible 00:39:53] people out of poverty.
Jay Richards (00:39:54):
Bill Walton (00:39:54):
Little things like that.
Jay Richards (00:39:55):
Yeah. Little trivial improvements here and there, right?
Bill Walton (00:39:57):
Jay Richards (00:39:58):
But let’s just say we’re going to put a pin in our graph in say-
Bill Walton (00:40:01):
Jay Richards (00:40:01):
1850, and look at the best evidence from 1850 to the present. I think, yeah, we are warmer now than we were then of roughly two degrees fahrenheit. So, okay, if that’s what we’re talking about, that’s very narrow. From 1850 to the present, Earth’s a little bit warmer. Okay, fine.
Bill Walton (00:40:22):
Two degrees fahrenheit, not-
Jay Richards (00:40:24):
Two degrees fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:24):
Jay Richards (00:40:24):
Two degrees fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:25):
Jay Richards (00:40:26):
So less than that, obviously, fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:28):
So continue. This is-
Jay Richards (00:40:31):
So the second would be, are we causing it? That’s a separate question. So you can observe something, you can observe polar bears looking for places to swim or whatever. You can say, well, okay, this seems to be evidence that the Earth is warming. That doesn’t tell you what causes it. Is it change in sunspot cycles and magnetic features? Is it something we’re doing? Is it some other thing we don’t know about? Now, the assumption of the sort of climate panickers is that human beings are the primary cause of this. And this isn’t without foundation, because we know that certain types of gases such as methane, water vapor, and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, which just basically means that they can absorb more infrared radiation. So you get sunlight comes in, hits the Earth’s surface, some of it bounces off the Earth back out into space.
Some of it gets absorbed in the atmosphere. It’s what’s responsible for keeping Earth’s surface much warmer than it would be otherwise. So that’s the greenhouse effect. The idea is that, okay, we know that humans have been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere since, again, let’s just pick 1850, and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. So at least hypothetically, it could be that our introduction of additional CO2 into the atmosphere has caused this additional warming. Now, it’s actually much, much harder to nail that down. That kind of makes sense at a theoretical level, but it’s actually not easy to prove that. And we know there are other potential sources of warming.
Bill Walton (00:42:02):
Is this is correlation or is this causation?
Jay Richards (00:42:04):
At this point, it’s just … So correlation would just be we see warming-
Bill Walton (00:42:08):
And we see an increase in CO2?
Jay Richards (00:42:10):
Right, that’d be correlation. But then you have a kind of theoretical account of how this could have been.
Bill Walton (00:42:15):
Well, you know Jerry Corsey?
Jay Richards (00:42:17):
Bill Walton (00:42:17):
Jerry Corsey has been on, and he’s written another [inaudible 00:42:20]. I get all the best writers on this show. He points out that we’re right now at about 420 parts per million.
Jay Richards (00:42:29):
Billion, or parts per million. You’re right. You got it.
Bill Walton (00:42:30):
And that’s just an infinitesimal amount of the atmosphere, most of the [inaudible 00:42:36] oxygen. So the idea we’ve got this trace gas, which is driving all this change when it could be the sun, it the could be the Earth rotation, it could be all sorts of things that are happening. And yet, if you examine the deeper agenda, which is an anti-human agenda, and I’m going to go out on limb here, that’s the only thing we can really control, carbon dioxide. And we can do that by shutting down the western, or actually now, global industrial economy.
Jay Richards (00:43:04):
That’s right. Shut down what we’re doing and prevent the poor countries that still need to do it from doing it themselves. That’d be the way to shut this down. Now, it could be trace gas, but hormones are trace chemicals in our body, and they can have major effects. And so the theoretical assumption is not just that the CO2 is causing the warming, because we know just from physics, the amount of warming that you can get from the CO2 is actually pretty minimal, and you have to keep doubling the concentration in order to increase the warming by one degree.
Bill Walton (00:43:34):
Well, we’ve only gone up 50% in 170 years.
Jay Richards (00:43:37):
So you’d have to go from, let’s say you go from three to six and let’s say that raises the temperature one degree. You have to double it again to get one more degree. And so very quickly, it becomes almost impossible to increase the warming in that way. But the theoretical assumption is that there are all these feedback mechanisms that are triggered. And so a positive feedback is a feedback that amplifies the effects of the warming and a negative feedback would be one that sort of mitigates the effects. Most of the models, that’s where we get these predictions of catastrophic global warming. We can’t observe the future. They’re based upon these theoretical models that predict what’s supposed to happen.
Bill Walton (00:44:19):
Weren’t these the same theoretical models that Al Gore used in Inconvenient Truth-
Jay Richards (00:44:21):
Bill Walton (00:44:21):
And proved to be flat, astonishingly wrong?
Jay Richards (00:44:24):
Well, one of this is the key thing is that the models-
Bill Walton (00:44:28):
Think about that. Al Gore and John Kerry as presidential candidates.
Jay Richards (00:44:31):
Yes, I know. And they may be doing more damage now, who knows, behind the scenes.
Bill Walton (00:44:35):
Should have let him be president.
Jay Richards (00:44:37):
But the models predict way more warming than we actually observe.
Bill Walton (00:44:40):
Jay Richards (00:44:40):
So the warming we observe is about what you would expect just from the CO2 increase itself.
Bill Walton (00:44:47):
So the takeaway from this, if you’re listening or watching, is to be very suspicious about CO2 as an important metric.
Jay Richards (00:44:54):
Or as a major driver of catastrophic climate change.
Bill Walton (00:44:57):
Now, do you have another culprit for driving … Is there anything else you think could be doing [inaudible 00:45:01]
Jay Richards (00:45:01):
Well, I don’t think any of this is catastrophic. I actually think it’s possible that the warming is the result of the CO2, but we really just don’t know at the moment.
Bill Walton (00:45:08):
But if there’s more CO2, it’s better for growing plants.
Jay Richards (00:45:12):
Bill Walton (00:45:14):
If there’s a rise in temperature, it makes more land arable. It means something like Siberia could become agricultural.
Jay Richards (00:45:21):
Yeah, absolutely. It would increase. So that’s the third question. Is it bad?
Bill Walton (00:45:24):
Okay, let’s go to number three. Is it bad?
Jay Richards (00:45:26):
[inaudible 00:45:26] pivoted there. Because the assumption is that if the Earth’s warming and we’re causing it, that it’s bad. We would only know it was bad if we knew what the optimum temperature was. So we say, okay, well, this is the optimum temperature for all the things that we want on balance. And then if we were moving away from it, that would be bad. If we’re moving toward it, that would be good. The problem is we don’t know what the optimum temperature is. I would assume for human wellbeing, it’s somewhere between zero and a hundred degrees centigrade. But even the UN, and the IPCC, they estimate, so this is the kind of official UN estimate, that moderate warming in the near term is probably net positive. In other words, it has more benefits than costs. It’s going to be only the warming toward the end of this century that they project will be somewhat bad, though, even in that case, it’s actually-
Bill Walton (00:46:15):
End of the century? That would be-
Jay Richards (00:46:17):
End of this century. The warming would get severe enough that it would have more costs than benefits. That’s the way to think about it. It’s not a catastrophe, even in the UN estimate. People don’t know that, but that’s their argument based upon the projective models.
Bill Walton (00:46:30):
Well, let’s get into who’s making this argument. IPCC is a piece of the United Nations.
Jay Richards (00:46:34):
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is-
Bill Walton (00:46:37):
Jay Richards (00:46:38):
… the entity created by the UN, not to figure out whether we’re causing climate change, but to figure out how bad our effect on the climate is. So it presupposes the account, and then their mandate is just to find out how bad or good it is. And so it’s already kind of been set up with the theoretical assumptions in place. But even having said that, if you look at the official reports, they’re actually much more modest in the things that they described than you’re going to get if you’re just following the headlines.
Bill Walton (00:47:09):
Interesting thing about their reports is their numbers seem pretty modest, and I’ve been forced to read about this.
Jay Richards (00:47:15):
Bill Walton (00:47:16):
The words are dire.
Jay Richards (00:47:18):
Yes. The words are dire. And if you read the summary for policymakers, which is usually written by an English major that doesn’t even know the science. And so it’s the summary. Nobody’s really reading the reports. It’s always hyped up. And very often, in fact, Steve Koonin, in his terrific book, Unsettled, points this out there’s often a chasm between the report itself and the summary.
Bill Walton (00:47:38):
Steve Koonin is-
Jay Richards (00:47:39):
Yeah. Yeah. He was actually in the Obama administration. He’s a physicist. He’s written a book called Unsettled, just a careful, intellectually honest analysis of what the evidence says. And people don’t often realize that, but even if you just go with the official UN testimony, we’re not talking catastrophe. We would be talking about, okay, something we might want to try to do something about or something like that. Now, I think even that’s too much. I think the reality is, I’ll get my own view, I agree, there’s been some moderate warming. I think it’s probably likely that we’re a contributor to it. It seems plausible to me. I don’t think it’s bad. I think it’s probably on balance good. And the range of variation is well within natural variation. That’s the key thing.
People think that if you tell them, “Okay, well, but climate changes all the time.” They’ll say, “Yeah, but we’re causing anomalous climate change. It’s heating up much more quickly now than it has in the past.” It’s not true. Anybody that can look at historic climate data from the ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland knows we’ve got had massive variations, obviously, in the climate of the Earth on its surface. And we’ve had massive variations in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. And so if the climate were highly sensitive to variations in CO2, we would see that in the records of the actual climate.
Bill Walton (00:48:57):
Is there any actual evidence of damage from climate change? I know everything gets attributed to climate change. If there’s a tornado, climate change. If there’s-
Jay Richards (00:49:07):
If there’s a drought.
Bill Walton (00:49:08):
There’s a drought, it’s climate change. If the Yankees lose the pennant, it’s climate change.
Jay Richards (00:49:12):
Bill Walton (00:49:13):
It’s sort of-
Jay Richards (00:49:14):
All these things.
Bill Walton (00:49:14):
Everything’s attributed to climate change.
Jay Richards (00:49:16):
Bill Walton (00:49:18):
Do we have a set of examples you can actually say, climate change has caused this bad outcome?
Jay Richards (00:49:23):
None whatsoever. And in fact, the theoretical predictions is that climate change. So we sort of lead to warming, the warming leads to change, and then those lead to bad things like more intense hurricanes, more frequent hurricanes and monsoons, more droughts, all these kinds of things. Those are theoretical predictions of what would happen, but none of that is observed. There’s been no trend whatsoever over the last century, for instance, in terms of the number of hurricanes or the intensity of hurricanes. Again, Koonin treats this all this very well. This is widely known to the people that sort of study this stuff, that all these predicted trends aren’t now happening. And so when the media tells you, oh, this is the result of climate change, first of all, they’re playing a shell game because any individual instance of weather can’t be used as proof of overall climate. Climate is about the sort of average of weather over a long period of time. So any individual storm can’t be attributed.
Bill Walton (00:50:19):
Well, and actually the number of violent storms have been reduced the last hundred years.
Jay Richards (00:50:21):
That’s the funny thing. If anything, it’s probably slightly better.
Bill Walton (00:50:23):
There are fewer hurricanes.
Jay Richards (00:50:25):
Bill Walton (00:50:25):
There are fewer tornadoes.
Jay Richards (00:50:26):
Yeah. That’s the sort of funny thing about it, is that not only is there no trend, the trend seems to be slightly in the other direction.
Bill Walton (00:50:31):
So number four, it’s warming, we’re causing it. That’s bad. Solutions. The solutions are stunning.
Jay Richards (00:50:41):
Bill Walton (00:50:41):
Really, and this is where I began to think this has got to be cynical.
Jay Richards (00:50:44):
Bill Walton (00:50:45):
And the other thing I’m just mystified about it, there are a lot of smart guys I’ve worked with on Wall Street and other places, 190 IQs, and they’re still talking about things as if climate change were an existential problem. Bob Rubin.
Jay Richards (00:51:01):
Yeah, he’s a smart guy.
Bill Walton (00:51:04):
He’s a pretty smart guy. He’s talking about existential risk, which brings me to the question, you’ve been studying this longer. Do they really believe it? Or is cynical because we also have something called the climate industrial complex.
Jay Richards (00:51:17):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So of course. So I would say it’s probably a mix. I think of it in terms of concentric circles. You have people that just get sucked in and don’t know anything about it, and they’re just believing the media. Then you have smart people that, it’s not their subject.
Bill Walton (00:51:30):
Those would be most Republicans. They’re light green.
Jay Richards (00:51:33):
Yes, exactly. Like most Republicans. Exactly. And then frankly, most Democrats, they care about the Earth and they just trust the New York Times headlines or whatever. And then you’ve got some people that are sort of true believers. And I think there’s some people that sincerely believe this, though they’re usually much more nuanced because they know the details are complicated. And then I think you have to have some cynical people. So anyone that really thinks this is an existential threat, that thinks the Paris Agreement, which was voluntary and was basically a bunch of countries saying, okay, we’re going to kind of slow the amount of carbon dioxide we’re putting in the atmosphere. But China and India, who are the biggies, aren’t doing it. And even the countries that agreed to comply are not doing it.
In fact, the United States, which did not agree to it, has done more because of our shift from coal to natural gas, which is actually, as the other side would measure these things, that’s an improvement. So that’s the sort of irony. That’s the kind of reality, the idea that just slightly reducing this is going to make a difference when you’ve got China just putting massive numbers of coal plants online every week makes no sense.
Bill Walton (00:52:41):
Two per week.
Jay Richards (00:52:42):
Yeah. Just on and on and on. And they’re not going to stop doing that. I wouldn’t expect them to stop doing it. They’ve got a lot of development still to do. And so this idea that something like this, or maybe this plus 10 even is going to get us to where they think we ought to go. It’s just ridiculous. It’s just basic arithmetic. And they’ve got to know this as well. And so the fact that they’re not saying, we need to do everything we can to make our electrical grid nuclear rich, we need to be building nuclear plants as fast as we can. The fact that they’re not saying that tells me that at some level, they’re just cynical. I know this is about a power game rather than about actually saving the Earth.
Bill Walton (00:53:22):
Well, and I get the name of these egregious bills in Congress. What is it? The Inflation Reduction Act. Do I have that right?
Jay Richards (00:53:30):
Bill Walton (00:53:32):
It did nothing. It exacerbated inflation.
Jay Richards (00:53:34):
Bill Walton (00:53:35):
But where that money went is, to me, the most interesting and upsetting part with the most of it, big chunks of it went, I think, there’s a $400 billion climate fund, which is going to be run by John Podesta.
Jay Richards (00:53:50):
Some of this stuff, you almost think it’s got to be made up.
Bill Walton (00:53:52):
And another half a trillion dollars of climate subsidies.
Jay Richards (00:53:56):
Bill Walton (00:53:57):
Who’s that go to? It goes to Goldman Sachs. It goes to wealthy investors-
Jay Richards (00:54:01):
Bill Walton (00:54:01):
And the left.
Jay Richards (00:54:02):
And now you’ve got the Biden administration wanting the American people to pivot to electric cars by 2030 and 2035 at a rate that’s just simply impossible.
Bill Walton (00:54:14):
Jay Richards (00:54:15):
It’s not a pivot, it’s a shove.
Bill Walton (00:54:15):
Yeah. Electric trucks.
Jay Richards (00:54:18):
Bill Walton (00:54:18):
And the military wants electric tanks.
Jay Richards (00:54:20):
Bill Walton (00:54:21):
Where they plug them in in Ukraine? It’s not clear.
Jay Richards (00:54:23):
You got to plug them. This is the problem. And so it’s not really fixing the problem. It’s like, okay, fine if you want an electrical car, but if the grid is still using hydrocarbons, you’re just transferring the place where the hydrocarbons are being used. So people that are telling me we need to all drive electric cars, but they’re not actually doing anything to change the electric grid realistically, by adding nuclear. It’s just not serious. I don’t know what else to say about it except it’s just absolutely absurd. So even if you think the Earth’s warming catastrophically, we’re causing it and it’s bad, there is no reason to think that any of the kind of political solutions on offer will make any difference whatsoever. And so the question is, if you’re worried about it, what’s the best thing to do?
And I argue the best thing to do, even if you’re worried about it, is to help people to adapt. Because the richer you are and the wealthier country is the easier it is for them to adapt. It’s always going to be increase in the cost of energy or a change in the climate or the local atmosphere that’s going to affect the poor the most significantly. And so what we should want is poor countries to develop, even if that means using as it will, more hydrocarbons in the near term. And then the bonus to that is that once people get wealthy enough, they start caring a lot more about the climate than they do when they don’t know where the next meal is coming from.
Bill Walton (00:55:37):
Well, but why should you care about climate if you don’t have enough to eat?
Jay Richards (00:55:42):
Bill Walton (00:55:43):
Yeah, you shouldn’t. You mentioned China. China’s a massive beneficiary of this.
Jay Richards (00:55:48):
Bill Walton (00:55:49):
If you wanted to develop an agenda to impoverish the people that they would like to rule, this would be it. But it’s interesting, China’s a lot shrewder about their agenda than we are they. They’ve got the Belt and Road initiative.
Jay Richards (00:56:05):
Yes. They’re very-
Bill Walton (00:56:06):
They’ve gone around the world. They’ve helped with infrastructure in South America, Central America, Africa.
Jay Richards (00:56:11):
They’re giving loans to develop coal plants that the IMF and the World Bank will not give. So China’s giving loans to developed world-
Bill Walton (00:56:18):
Well, that’s the bite. [inaudible 00:56:21] Those are the two subsets. So if you look at the NGO or the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, all kinds of strings attached. In the first place-
Jay Richards (00:56:32):
Bill Walton (00:56:33):
… they want the country to be equity driven.
Jay Richards (00:56:38):
Bill Walton (00:56:39):
And they want-
Jay Richards (00:56:42):
They want education to be suffused with gender ideology.
Bill Walton (00:56:44):
And they want you flying the flags to celebrate that.
Jay Richards (00:56:47):
Bill Walton (00:56:48):
And then one of the other things they want is they want climate-friendly development, which means wind and solar.
Jay Richards (00:56:55):
Bill Walton (00:56:55):
If you’re in Africa or Central America, you’re asking, “You kidding, we’ve been trying…”
Jay Richards (00:57:00):
Can we get electricity everywhere, please?
Bill Walton (00:57:03):
Can we try?
Jay Richards (00:57:03):
Bill Walton (00:57:03):
A little diesel generator maybe to for the village. So we’re offering things that they don’t want. China’s offering what they do want and China’s winning this competition.
Jay Richards (00:57:14):
Absolutely. And then the other piece of this is that the move toward car batteries and solar panels massively benefits China because they’ve got access to a lot of the rare minerals and lithium and the things that we don’t have or don’t want to mine here. So if this were a Beijing conspiracy of the People’s Republic of China to get the West to destroy itself economically and then to transition to a type of energy that will benefit them massively, it would look exactly the same. I don’t actually think this is a conspiracy. I think this probably is mostly cooked up by Westerners, unfortunately.
Bill Walton (00:57:50):
They’re just taking advantage of it.
Jay Richards (00:57:52):
But it might as well be. It might as well be a conspiracy. This is how it would look.
Bill Walton (00:57:55):
Well, I want to set down my marker though. I really do care enormously about the habitat and species. I’ve got 75 acres out the side of a mountain and we’ve got every … it’s fantastic. And this climate, this wind and solar is insane.
Jay Richards (00:58:13):
It’s a disaster.
Bill Walton (00:58:14):
It takes 500,000 pounds of minerals to create a 1/1000 battery that goes into a car. And where are those mines going to dig? They’re not going to dig in Connecticut.
Jay Richards (00:58:24):
No, it’s going to be child labor in Africa, and it’s going to be China and places like that. It’s just the worst thing you can think of. This idea that you care about birds and so you want to put a bunch of giant guillotines in the air everywhere. I just, I’m not following the logic.
Bill Walton (00:58:41):
My favorite, and I use this too much, in California, they call wind farms, I think, Condor, the eagle, Condor Cuisinart.
Jay Richards (00:58:50):
Yeah. It’s depressing, but that’s the reality. And the other thing is that, as you said, Bill, people that actually care about these things, they need to disentangle that care from the climate change agenda because it sucks all the air out of the room and actually prevents us from focusing on things that actually benefit the environment.
Bill Walton (00:59:06):
We have real habitat issues, real species, real environment, real rivers, all sorts of things we need to be mindful of. But it’s not-
Jay Richards (00:59:13):
That’s how I got into this initially. I honestly thought, oh, it’s about that. It turns out it’s about something else.
Bill Walton (00:59:17):
Well, Jay, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Jay Richards (00:59:19):
Yeah, we do.
Bill Walton (00:59:20):
We’ve got to get the word out and you’re doing it. And if you’re not too weighed down by your new title, that’s impressive though. That’s a big operation. I’m really-
Jay Richards (00:59:32):
Bill Walton (00:59:32):
You’re able to do a lot of good from there.
Jay Richards (00:59:34):
It’s terrific. And I’m just so excited about the stuff Heritage is doing. It’s great to be part of the team.
Bill Walton (00:59:39):
Yeah. Well, this is great. So this has been the Bill Walton show. I’ve been here with Jay Richards, a brilliant, brilliant assessor of all things. I don’t know what, economic, cultural-
Jay Richards (00:59:50):
And all things depressing.
Bill Walton (00:59:54):
And hope you’ve enjoyed the show. As you know, we like to produce shows you like and would love to hear your comments on our Substack page and also on our website, which you could be reached with billwaltonshow.com. Please send us your ideas about shows and people and topics you’d like us to get into and we will do that. And as always, you can find us on all the major podcasts and other video platforms like Rumble and YouTube and Substack and CPAC now on Monday night. And you can find Jay Richards at heritage-
Jay Richards (01:00:28):
Bill Walton (01:00:28):
And your J.Richards at-
Jay Richards (01:00:31):
And actually my Twitter is @DrJayRichards.
Bill Walton (01:00:33):
Great. Okay. Anyway, so thanks for joining and we’ll be back again with hopefully something else that you will like as much as I like this one. Thanks, Jay.
Jay Richards (01:00:44):
Bill Walton (01:00:45):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to the billwaltonshow.com to choose from over a hundred episodes. You can also learn more about our guest on our Interesting People page. And send us your comments, we read everyone and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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