On February 17, Portland State University held an event to discuss viewpoint diversity moderated by PSU philosophy professor Peter Boghossian, with a panel including former Evergreen State biologist Heather E. Heying, writer Helen Pluckrose, and former Google engineer James DaMore, who was fired in 2017 after writing a memo about the biological differences between men and women. When Heying spoke of the simple biological differences between men and women, some leftist activists hilariously threw a fit, rising up in protest and sabotaging the sound system as they exited.
At the event, which was titled, "We Need to Talk About Diversity," Boghossian preceded the brouhaha by asking Pluckrose what “social constructivism” meant. Pluckrose responded, “It’s the idea that all of our traits, our characteristics, abilities, cognitive, psychological, behavioral, are learned from societal norms; the idea that there can be innate or biological or inherited differences are dismissed. And so, we’re in a position where if there is injustice, or if there is an imbalance anywhere, sort of an inequality of representation, then the explanation for that can be the societal injustice.”
Boghossian turned to Heying, asking, “What can we take from what Helen said to help us make sense of James’ memo?”
Heying answered, “James argues, accurately, that there are differences between men and women. This is a strange position to be in, to be arguing for something that is so universally and widely accepted within biology. What is not as widely accepted is that culture is also evolutionary; but I’m going to argue that both biology and culture are both evolutionary. Let’s look at differences between men and women that are explicitly anatomical and physiological; are men taller than women on average? Does anyone take offense at that fact? I would say you could be irritated by it; you could be irritated by the fact that women have to be the ones who gestate and lactate; you could be irritated by a lot of truths—”
At that point a young woman with green hair stood up and led the protesters out.
Heying continued, “—but taking offense is a response that is a reflection of reality. So, men and women are different on height; they’re different on muscle mass; they’re different on where fat is deposited on our bodies. Our brains are also different.”
At this juncture the exiting protesters knocked over something in the rear of the auditorium, deliberately sabotaging the sound system.
Heying calmly continued, “So there are some binaries—”
Someone called “Security!”
Boghossian interrupted, “This is what happens — did they shut off the volume? Can everybody hear?"
As one woman was led away by police, she ranted, “He’s a piece of s***. That is not okay. Even the women in there have been brainwashed!”
A young male protester pontificated, “… should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society."
As the young woman left, she called out, “F*** the police! Power to the people!”
Meanwhile, because the sound system had been damaged, Boghossian called out, “All right, we’re going to raise our voices. The conversation’s going to go on,” prompting cheers and applause from the audience. He continued, “Let me be crystal clear: that sort of behavior is unacceptable in civilized society. (applause) And if that person is a student, they should be given a warning, and if they do it again they should be expelled from the university.”
Video starting at 18:08: