The sexy politics of gender-science

"Scientific" gender diversity
Dumbed down science

2016-05-13-sexy science-3

I am not happy to write this post. It is in a way sad that I have to. I believe I made all the arguments and all the explanations in my previous posts (Let’s be careful what we wish for, Why it matters and ‘Scientific’ gender diversity), but it seems that, yet again, I ran into the problems of the ideological divide.

I was reminded, yet again, that everything is politics, that our very understanding of reality is determined by our underlying vision of that same reality, that I cannot explain my way out of the “Conflict of Visions;” or as Ayn Rand put it: “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.”

The news

I had three news items to start the day with:

The first is about politics, the second is about science, the third is about ideology and the poverty of communication.

The conversations

What’s interesting about the (three) critical comments I got is that not even one addressed the points of my post. You can check them out, they are all in the comment section of the previous post.
One tried to convince me that the problem exists (which I never denied), the second tried to educate me about biological anomalies (the existence of which I also never denied) while the third just dumped a truckload of ‘information’ on me saying “Here is your answer!” I found that one especially offensive. It is a well known practice of those who are either incapable or too lazy to make an actual argument. It is a combination of intimidation and bullshitting. (I had a colleague who regularly pissed me off doing it to me.) The assumption behind the strategy is that you will not waste your time with it but will be too embarrassed to admit it. If you do look into it, and question the bullshit, you will end up with another pile but still no answers. I cannot be intimidated easily and I did go through the pile which turned out to be mostly garbage (It makes me shiver to think what they would be like without the peer review). My review found it horrifying.
It made me realize that the problem I originally stated is far worse than I thought. What was interesting about it is the comment it came with: “You might want to educate yourself more to ensure of not falling into dogmatism and to see this issue through peer reviewed medical science publications.” [emphasis mine]
I did not know that questioning accepted wisdom is called dogmatism. The most important characteristic of this 150 research abstracts and articles is how dogmatically one sided they are. They remind me of the progressives at the turn of the 20th century sterilizing thousands of the ‘feeble-minded’ to improve the human race. They had a similarly firm conviction about the value of their actions, but let’s get back to the attitude later.

The problems

For the few who still cannot get it, let me be Obama clear:

I understand basic biology. I know about gender (and sex) changing species. Hive insects have three. I learned it in grade school. I know that there are several species that can change their sex naturally responding to changes in their environment. No reasonable person can deny that genetic, physical, hormonal, mental and behavioral aberrations do exist. Yes, people can be born with extra chromosomes, just as they can be born two sets genitals, without an uterus, joined at the hip, with extra fingers or with abnormally large or abnormally small heads.
Yes, people can be born with a predisposition to homosexuality, schizophrenia and autism. People can have a predisposition to become pedophiles, psychopaths or alcoholics.
No part of this is in question! The only question in any of these cases is what are we going to do about them? Are we going to ban alcohol sale or offer treatment to alcoholics? Lock up and medicate schizophrenics or let them live in the gutters? Are we going to condone pedophilia (Afghanistan), cover it up (the catholic church) or punish even the hint of it (the Western world)? Should we entertain schizoid and paranoid fantasies just to make the sufferers of these conditions feel more comfortable? Will that really help them? Is giving a drug addict another shot help? Is the rope what a suicidal person really needs?

In our personal, social and political lives we all have to find a balance with our decisions between what’s desirable, possible and acceptable. When we help someone, we should make absolutely sure that our help actually helps and does not make matters worse.
Helping those suffering from gender dysphoria may be desirable. The question is what is possible.
If there was a magic pill that could create a fully functional woman from a man or vice versa, I would be all for it. I cannot imagine that anybody would be against. Maybe version X of CRISPR-Cas 9 will be able to rewrite entire chromosomes in every cell in our body, maybe we will learn to control everything they do to our hormones and maybe at some point we will have the ability to safely transplant a fully functional uterus and induce a male to produce eggs from her own ovaries. We are just not there yet and I cannot imagine getting there within a hundred years. Anything we do until then is just an ever more elaborate deception with predictable consequences.
Yes, I do have a philosophical opposition to the denial reality, political voluntarism and irresponsibility, but these are not my only reasons to oppose politicised bad science.

Real vs Frankenstein science

The primary function of science should be the understanding of the world.
In the garbage pile my learned friend dumped on me, I could not find a single honest scientific inquiry. There was one study cited finding identifiable features in the brain scans of FtM trans subjects.
I found only one other suggesting caution in diagnosing children.
The rest was only Frankenstein science (and no, I am not using the word lightly). Playing God with poor results and without real concern about potential consequences. One of my commenters expressed his firm belief that “Transition (medical and social) seems to be the best treatment for transgender people so far.” What does he base his beliefs on?
What makes it ‘seem’ to be the best treatment?
Where is the longitudinal study comparing the outcomes of  pimozide treatment vs full sex reassignment vs an untreated control group? Which one produces the best results, the greatest degree of personal well-being?
Doing such research would be real science, as would be trying to understand the causes both biological and psychological.
What is the explanation for the 3 to 1 ratio? (Three times more male to female than the inverse)?
What causes the hormonal imbalance and what can be done from preventing or counteracting it?
Is there a genetic component to the problem and would it be possible to solve it on the genetic level?
Is there a common element in the pregnancies or the early childhood environment of people with gender dysphoria?

Victor Frankenstein did not try to understand life. He wanted to control it. Marx did not want to understand the world, he wanted to change it. The sterilization and euthanasia plans of the progressives were driven by the same motives. Considering the harm gender reassignment can cause, the medical risks it entails and the short and poverty stricken lives it typically produces, it is legitimate to question the integrity of its promoters.

The overwhelming majority (>90%) of the research papers I looked through are discussing how to do it, how to do it better and (most depressingly) how to start “treating it” from an ever younger age.
I did not encounter any research indicating any scientific curiosity or an open mind. Just blind dogmatism. An unwavering belief in the superiority of their morality, solid commitment to the approach and a righteous sense of the political mission. Transgenderism is a fundamentally political project, an arrogant progressive mission driven by the conviction that sheer will can trump reality. It is a manifestation of the unconstrained vision of the world.

The politics

Transgenderism is a political project on many levels. It is a distraction, a political base builder and a political polarizer. It is an into-your-face arrogant display of power designed specifically to piss off its opponents. It is sexy politics.

What makes an issue, a subject, a question politically sexy? Its sex-appeal, obviously. Its ability to turn people on, to make them go for the idea and whatever that entails. Not only supporting it, but championing it, fighting for it and empowering the classes that can “do something about it.”

A sexy political idea will always be polarizing. Abortion? Very sexy. Gay rights? Off the charts. Gender equality? Very sexy. Global warming, racism, inequality? Sexy, sexy and sexy. Social justice and communism? Super sexy. Gun rights, free speech, drug legalization, patriotism? All very sexy for other parts of the political spectrum.
What makes an idea sexy for a politician? Great political gain with very little political cost. Issues that are highly ideological, moralizing and some ways personal at the same time.

Transgenderism has every element of a sexy issue. To start with, it is about sex. It is polarizing along moral lines soliciting strong reactions from all sides. It is outrageous and insignificant at the same time.

Just consider the Obama edict. He wants ALL schools to comply. In the 2015-2016 school year, there are 50.1 million public school students in the US. They attend any of 58,500 public schools which averages out to about 508 students per school. If we accept the prevalence numbers of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3 in 100,000 male to female and 1 in 100,000 female to male), we will end up, on average, with one transgender student in every 49 public schools. These numbers are, of course, challenged by the trans community, but even if we accept much higher estimates, the numbers are still ridiculously low. (“The most recent prevalence information from the Netherlands for the transsexual end of the gender identity disorder spectrum is 1 in 11,900 males and 1 in 30,400 females.“) That would cut the number down to maybe one student in every eighteen average size schools.

Sexy political ideas are a great distraction. Since people can get all worked up about it, they pay attention to it. The ACLU is championing it and the media will lap up every bit of news about it. While we are paying attention to a marginal aspect of a subject affecting a minuscule percentage of the people (0.004%), we are not paying attention to more important things. The debt, regulations, monetary policy and immigration – even though they affect far more people in far more fundamental ways – are boring in comparison.

Science has an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with politics. Some science validates political power, politicians feed the scientist in return. The relationship isn’t any healthier or more respectable than the state’s relationship with crony capitalists, the dependent or the entitlement classes.

Nobody gives a damn about the trans-gendered. They are just the pawns in the game.

7 replies on “The sexy politics of gender-science”

  1. I feel ya, Zork. The science train, sadly has long left the station. I found this quote from the book mentione below, a very adequate description of the same pehnomenon and it happened long ago.

    “Thus, the normal defenses of modern science had been flattened by a perfect storm of forces gathered in postwar America. In its impressionable infancy and compelled by an urgent drive to cure heart disease, nutrition science had bowed to charismatic leaders. A hypothesis had taken center stage; money poured in to test it, and the nutrition community embraced the idea. Soon there was very little room for debate. The United States had embarked upon a giant nutritional experiment to cut out meat, dairy, and dietary fat altogether, shifting calorie-consumption over to grains, fruits, and vegetables. Saturated animal fats would be replaced by polyunsaturated vegetable oils. It was a new, untested diet—just an idea, presented to Americans as the truth. Many years later, science started to show that this diet was not very healthy after all, but it was too late by then, since it had been national policy for decades already.”

    Excerpt From: Teicholz, Nina. “The Big Fat Surprise.” Simon & Schuster, 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by protected by copyright.

    I have a theory that I’ve devised empirically. We live in a world where in the general discourse of people, black is white and white is black. People seem to have this sadistic need to use the exact opposit description of the effect they are actually speaking of: war on poverty has been in fact a shot of vitamins in poverty’s arm, war on drugs has made drugs all the more profitable, egalitarianism is actually promoting discrimination, anti-discrimination laws do nothing except discriminate, green certifcates only make pollution profitable, foreign aid is destroying foreign countries, and when a wack job lefty is helping you rid yourself of dogmatic beliefs they’re usually just trying to instill their own dogma.

    I think the root cause of the problem is abandonment of truth as a universal value and the subsequent obscuring of the universal quality of morality.

    I think Bill Whittle, of all people, may have found the right way in dealing with these lefties: his idea was to take the effects of their policies, both historically and with reasonable projections and hit these virtue signalling progresivits where it hurts them the most with “why do you hate these people?”. The reason for that is that we always go back on the defensive with science and facts, but they don’t even care. For them, as soon as they got their virtue signal out and put us on the defensive they “won” the argument. It all sort of ties into an idea that I’ve been toying with: what if you can’t think of yourself as being evil, but you’re completely unaware of that? In this way, you’re falsely reassured by thinking of yourself as being good, but it really has no value because you can’t think otherwise, in fact it has negative value because it prevents you from analyzing your own self.

    Thanks for indulging the ramble!

    • zorkthehun says:
      By all means, ramble on! The quote is perfect, I will check out the book. Your summary on what I do not even know how to label is also great. I would suggest that ANY socialist policy with positive aim will end up achieving the opposite of its stated goal. I believe that this is not by accident and I aim to find the answer why it is so.
      • BikerDad says:
        I would suggest that ANY socialist policy with positive aim will end up achieving the opposite of its stated goal. I believe that this is not by accident and I aim to find the answer why it is so.
        It was, back in the days before the socialist policies started building the track records of virtually unmitigated failure, generally, by accident. As to why it (failure) happens, it’s because their policies are predicated on an erroneous understanding of reality. Whether it still IS by accident is something that’s hard to determine, simply because where does the erroneous ending of reality end, and the wilful bait and switch begin? There is no doubt that SOME people who advocate socialist policies KNOW that they are likely (99.99%) to fail, but because the policies will accrue more power to them, they don’t care, especially since far too often the response to initial failure is to double down, resulting in yet more power. And legions more of those who advocate the policies are, to quote a past big player in this realm, “useful idiots.”
        • zgh says:

          Well, that is indeed the question: the line between stupidity and willful ignorance, the difference between the useful idiots and the cynical opportunists or between the fanatic believer and the ruthless oppressor.
          What is difficult to understand for a person of reason is how smoothly some can cross those lines and how easily some can live with cognitive dissonance. We also tend to underestimate the power of self-justification. I am quite certain that both Hitler and Stalin thought of themselves as highly moral people.

  2. Zork Hun says:
    Another mail exchange

    Dear Zork,
    When you have time I thought you might be interested in following reading which was assigned
    to a class I took a couple of years ago in the History of Enlightenment Europe:

    In medieval and renaissance Europe gender diversity (homosexuality, transvestism, transgenderism, etc) was considered chiefly as a sin, a moral failure —
    much like theft and adultery. With the enlightenment that attitude began to change as people became interested in trying to understand gender diversity in medical, biological, or social terms.

    Although there are two predominant genders there is also everything in between. You might also be interested in the the Wikipedia enter “Intersex” which discusses sexual diversity. Gender and sexual diversity must be closely linked because hormones produced during fetal development undoubtedly play a large role in determining sex, sexual orientation, gender identification etc. From the point of view of a biology, (inheritable) diversity of every kind is the fuel which drives natural selection, the engine of evolution.
    ======= Reply:
    Hi G.,

    Thanks for the link and the idea, they led me down some interesting paths.
    Having that said, I keep wondering what am I doing wrong trying to get my message across.
    I wonder when will I get the first accusation of being a gender-denier, trans-phobic or whatever insane accusation the left will invent next.
    I also wonder what makes you think that I don’t understand the problem?
    The fact that I do not agree with the politics involved? Do you really think that it is the understanding that I am missing?

    I know that biological differences exist. I (sort of) understand gender diversity.
    The question, however, is not the existence of these conditions; the question is what are we going to do about them.
    Where are we going to direct our research dollars: prevention or pretension?
    Are we going to police social acceptance or help the people with the various conditions to cope with their condition?
    …. and I could continue with questions like this.
    What I found most interesting in your letter is this sentence:
    “From the point of view of a biology, (inheritable) diversity of every kind is the fuel which drives natural selection, the engine of evolution”
    Really, Gary? Inheritable reproductive dysfunctions driving natural selection? Could you try to rethink this idea?
    Wouldn’t reproductive dysfunctions be evolutionary dead-ends by definition?
    People who are suffering from such conditions should not be mistreated in any way, but they also should not be celebrated as representatives of some sort of evolutionary vanguard.

    It seems that I cannot easily walk away from this subject, you will see more of my points in upcoming posts.

    Zork (from Vienna)

  3. […] in the comments of the first post, but you will find some points made in the comments to the second one as well. The unifying characteristic of the comments I recieved is the avoidance of addressing my actual […]
  4. Alex says:
    You are right to be concerned about this– the entire point is to legally redefine the human. I highly recommend reading this article on the money behind the movement The writer Jennifer Bilek has done excellent research into this movement and its aims

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