By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer, Video by Igor Stepczynski | Broadcast Reporter
Ben Shapiro attacked what he sees as a left-wing war on science in his speech Thursday night at Baylor, one of several stops as part of the Fred Allen lecture series.
The 35-year-old conservative commentator for The Daily Wire drew a packed house at the 2,200-seat Waco Hall for his speech titled “Why Does the Left Hate Science?” Shapiro’s speech was sponsored by Baylor’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. In the hour-long speech, Shapiro took aim at three issues he claims represent liberal denial of science: abortion, transgenderism and climate change.
The first target for Shapiro was abortion, and his main argument centered on the discussion of when human life begins. Shapiro is ardently pro-life, and he said the human life has one clearly-defined beginning.
“The left insists that it has a scientific perspective on abortion, which is bizarre because their perspective is that a woman gets to decide randomly when a human life constitutes a human life,” Shapiro said. “Literally at any point she can decide one day it’s a human life, she can decide the next day it’s not a human life… This is utterly, utterly unscientific… By every biological criteria a new human life begins at conception.”
Pamela Wei, a Baylor alumna from Shanghai, China, attended Shapiro’s speech. Wei said she did not agree with all of Shapiro’s points, but found herself in lockstep with Shapiro’s views on abortion.
“There’s no social benefits to justify abortion just like there’s no social benefits to justify slavery,” Wei said.
After abortion, the commentator set his sights on transgenderism. Shapiro said the growing acceptance of transgender individuals signified a breakdown of societal norms.
“If I say that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, this is obviously deeply controversial because the entire society has fallen down and hit its head,” Shapiro said. “I know, this is basic stuff. There are these categories— they’re called male and female, they exist in all mammalian species… If they were just talking about intersex people they’d at least have an argument. If they’re talking about Caitlin Jenner is a woman in the same way that my wife is a woman, this is obviously untrue and it’s very silly to boot.”
While Shapiro railed against mainstream acceptance of transgenderism, he clarified that transgender individuals deserve respect. Shapiro said he would call a transgender individual by their preferred pronouns to be polite.
“This is not meant to be mean. If I’m in a room with somebody having dinner with them and they happen to be transgender, I’ll call them by any pronoun they want because I don’t want to be rude because I’m trying to be polite,” Shapiro said. “But as a society if we’re going to dictate that men and women are interchangeable terms… then we have gone off the deep end.”
Andrew LaGesse, a student at Southern Methodist University, made the trip from Dallas with a few friends to see Shapiro. LaGesse said he found Shapiro’s speech enlightening.
“I think overall [what stuck with me the most was] understanding what the left is doing as far as their interpretation of science these days,” LaGesse said. “I’m especially interested in the gender debate… it’s just good to hear some common sense.”
For his last topic, Shapiro discussed climate change. Shapiro acknowledged the existence of climate change and the significant role human activity plays in it. Where Shapiro said he had a problem was with the left’s proposed solutions to climate change. Shapiro said while people on the left tend to propose revolutionary solutions to climate change that would reshape economies around the world, their “dirty little secret” is that they know such proposals are unrealistic.
“Most of the people on the left recognize that the pie in the sky proposals that are being made by democrats or global carbon taxes are not going to happen,” Shapiro said.
While Shapiro spoke on campus Thursday night, his full lecture was live streamed and can still be found online.