On Tuesday, academics working in ecology and evolutionary biology called for the avoidance of words such as male, female, man, woman, mother, father, alien, invasive, exotic and race.
Instead, they encouraged the use of terms such as “sperm-producing” or “egg producing” or “XY/XX individual” to avoid “emphasising hetero-normative views”.
But Prof. Dawkins, the eminent evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion branded the suggestions ridiculous.
“The only possible response is contemptuous ridicule,” he told the Telegraph. “I shall continue to use every one of the prohibited words. I am a professional user of the English language. It is my native language. I am not going to be told by some teenage version of Mrs Grundy which words of my native language I may or may not use.”
Other experts also branded the alternatives “absurd” and argued they could cause confusion in scientific fields.
They also pointed out that the terms “egg producing” and “sperm producing” were simply synonyms for male and female, and continued to confirm that sex is binary.
Prof. Karol Sikora, a cancer expert, said: “I certainly do not agree and such language will not be appearing in any of my scientific work.”
Commenting on the research on GB News, Francis Foster, the comedian, said: “As always with these things it’s completely meaningless, it’s going to obfuscate what we are actually talking about and it’s laughable, it’s beyond parody.”
The EEB Language Project, which was launched in this month’s Trends in Ecology and Evolution journal, is compiling a repository of “problematic words” that have been identified by U.S. and Canadian scientists as harmful and it suggests alternatives.
Part of me wonders if we’re not falling into a trap here by publicising this project in what is otherwise an obscure journal. Still, it seems worth pushing back on woke gobbledegook as this stuff has a habit of finding its way into speech and behaviour codes before you know it.