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Trans scholar backs out rather than debate Michael Knowles

Transgender academic previously boasted that he didn’t need to ‘prepare’ for the debate

A retired professor who boasted that he did not need to prepare for a debate on transgenderism and womanhood against Daily Wire commentator Michael Knowles has dropped out just a week prior to the event.

Donald McCloskey, who now goes by “Deirdre,” previously taught economics at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“I don’t have to prepare for this debate,” McCloskey (pictured) told the University of Pittsburgh’s student newspaper in March. “I think it’s going to be a silly debate,” McCloskey, who now calls himself a woman, told The Pitt News. “It’s not going to be a debate at all.”

That statement turned out to be true in a way as the April 18 debate will no longer occur. Prior to the debate, McCloskey had also accused Knowles of being a “fascist” and an “anti-Jesus Catholic.”

“A thousand people have signed a petition against Michael Knowles ‘debating” me on transgender matters on April 18 at Pittsburgh,” McCloskey tweeted on March 11. “They should be ashamed. True, Knowles is an anti-Jesus Catholic, a fascist advocating state power over ideas. But we live in a free country.”

Knowles responded to the news in a Twitter thread yesterday. “For weeks, he’s baselessly smeared me as a ‘fascist’ but nonetheless insisted upon the importance of debating ideas rather than running from them,” Knowles tweeted. “Apparently he’s changed his mind.”

“Perhaps he has learned that I’m not the loose cannon that the liberal media have dishonestly portrayed,” the commentator wrote. “Perhaps he’s learned that my opposition to transgenderism derives, not from hatred, but from love of the truth, in this case regarding epistemology and anthropology.”

“Despite reiterating his willingness to debate, Professor McCloskey seems to have understood that his arguments would not have survived scrutiny, so he chose to concede rather than lose in front of CSPAN’s cameras,” Knowles wrote.

“I’m happy to take a victory by default,” he said. “But it’s telling that even a distinguished scholar with three Harvard degrees and half a dozen honorary doctorates cannot defend transgenderism. Of course: the ideology is indefensible.”

MORE: MIT DEI deans refuse to debate

IMAGES: The College Fix; Cato Institute

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.