Open thread for episode 20.01: Russell and Don


Tonight’s show included “the failure of miracles”, and a conversation with guest caller Stephanie Renée Guttormson on transgender issues.

Comments

  1. Mike W says

    I particularly enjoyed Don’s comments on miracles today. Whenever I read about a ‘miracle’ in the press I try to find some corroborative material elsewhere. So far nothing credible has shown up. Having had a Catholic education in my formative years it is amusing to find my thinking then has not ch armed much in fifty years: it’s all bunkum! The call about transgender issues was less informative. I’m not sure I agree with Stephanie, but that aside, her call seemed to be more self promotion than a discussion about atheism. You may concern yourself with the religious issues of gay, black or other minorities (which is great), but I don’t see that other issues that may affect them would be appropriately discussed on your site. Stephanie’s argument that you concern yourselves with black atheists, and therefore her call about transgender terminology is appropriate is, to my mind, tenuous at best, and irrelevant at best. That said, it was interesting to hear her comments. My daughter would love her! Thanks for a great show guys. Atheism can sometimes be a lonely state of mind. It’s reassuring to find others out there who can argue the case so eloquently.

  2. Monocle Smile says

    Nice timing with Stephanie calling in! Or was that a reaction from last week? Either way, good stuff about “male/female” vs “man/woman.” I learned quite a bit.

    Another pantheist? This is so bizarre. I don’t know how anyone who isn’t in love with their bong can see the universe as resembling a living being. These are people who don’t understand the universe at all. There is evidently no agency to the cosmos. None of the things that Jonathan listed are necessarily endemic to living beings, and he’s flatly wrong about some of them (like omnipotence). I mean, he’s probably harmless, but I really don’t like people thinking this wrongly.

  3. sofa_graduate says

    A specific point I wondered about, that quickly came up and was not further questioned or addressed:

    How does “ism” imply a belief system in this context?

    Russell: “We had a caller who wanted to discuss transgenderism.”

    By comparison: “We had a caller who wanted to discuss homosexuality.”

    The suffix “ity” is similar to “ism” in this case. Yes, I understand the one is discussing sexual attraction and one is discussing sexual identity, but let me continue with comparisons…

    What’s the difference between using homosexuality or transgenderism in the context of that sentence? Why is one, I’m assuming, “offensive”, and the other is not? Or would Stephanie consider them both offensive? If so, what is the alternative and why?

    I’m having trouble coming up with one word that could be substituted in place of “transgenderism”, and when Russell used the word I immediately understood his meaning, intent and context as “the state of being transgendered (vs not) and the full scope of everything related to it”.

    To belabour my point:

    “He wanted to discuss homosexual” makes no sense to me.
    “He wanted to discuss homosexuality” makes complete sense to me.
    “He wanted to discuss transgender” makes no sense to me.
    “He wanted to discuss transgenderism” makes complete sense to me.

    I guess I keep restating the same concept in different ways, so I’ll digress, but I really don’t understand what the issue is here.

    Thanks.

    (Any way to add line breaks to a comment to separate paragraphs?)

  4. bschneid says

    What on earth did you learn from the transgender expert?
    Other than the attempted echo chamber, I “learned”:
    1). despite Russell attempting to throw her a softball, gender and sex are “not clearly” scientifically separate (something along the lines that its all very murky);
    2.) it’s all so very emotional, and in NO way is a mental illness damnit;
    3.) it is important to hear these issues on an atheist talkshow, because some atheists are afflicted with this non mental illness.
    I expect next time you will be seeking out schizophrenics, otherkin, etc to tell us to acknowledge their thoughts (realities) because some feminists (oops atheists) happen to have those non afflictions as well.
    Oh wait, those are not part of the female SJW talking points, so no?
    Disappointed, I was waiting for the mic drop. I would have loved to hear, “Because science bitches!” Yeah, science, right on! Instead we got “Don’t be so mean, I am a gurl cuz I say I am!”. Lame. Oh, and I loved her correcting Russell on his correct use of terminology. That gave me a chuckle. It is hard to keep up with the Ministry of Truth’s latest correct PC jargon.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To bschneid

    mental illness damnit

    This is the same shit that they said about people who like gay sex. I bet it’s the same shit they said about people who liked someone of another race (interracial marriage). This is a gigantic “appeal to nature” fallacy; your flaw is equating that which is natural with that which is good. Far from it, often the good thing to do is to go against nature.

    It is hard to keep up with the Ministry of Truth’s latest correct PC jargon.

    Again, this is just like racist asshats being told they can’t use words like “nigger” or “boy” anymore to refer to black people. You’re a miserable, self-absorbed asshole.

    It doesn’t matter if it fits some arcane definition of “mental illness”. Does not matter one fuck. What matters is their right to self determination, their happiness, and their well-being. All you have is hatred of the other, stigmatization: aka plain bigotry.

    No one is disputing the material facts. No one is disputing the facts regarding their genetics and chromosomal makeup. No one is disputing the facts regarding their apparent and assigned sex at birth according to sexual organs. They are simply asking to be treated in a way that they wish, and to be treated with respect, dignity, and empathy. Is it so hard to try to be a decent and caring human being, asshole?

  6. Yaddith says

    No one is ever obligated to accept someone else’s worldview as valid. If you identify as a cat, that in no way obliges me to address you as a feline.

  7. ironchops says

    Don, I can agree that religions/churches are most likely wrong with respect to claims of actual existing gods and miracle claims and such. It is easy to point out all this type of malarkey. You should point out the Psychology of religion and explain why it works. Why don’t you do a series on atheist fails and then offer up a ways to fix it?
    Lucas, The answer is spirituality.
    Jonathan, BS! Nice try.

  8. Don Baker says

    @ironchops, given that atheism is the lack of belief in god claims, I’m not sure what’s failing, exactly. There are some very good anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, and neuroscientists working on those issues and, yes, they would make good show topics. Finally, don’t see “spirituality” as any sort of solution to anything. I’m not even sure it has a coherent meaning.

  9. Robert,+not+Bob says

    @Yaddith, no, of course it doesn’t. But basic decency ought to, especially if “cat-identifying” people were a widely reviled and all-too-frequently murdered minority. And, while psychology isn’t on as firm an empirical footing as, say, chemistry, there’s a lot of real-world evidence for internal gender identity being independent of physical sex.

  10. ironchops says

    @Don: Thanks for answering. I guess you are correct in that it is hard to pick fault with non-belief in false things. I should have read that question before I posted it. It sounded better in my head. It does however seem to me that a lot of atheist are so irreligious that they drive away people who are trying to come to reason, especially when asked questions.

    “Finally, don’t see “spirituality” as any sort of solution to anything. I’m not even sure it has a coherent meaning.”

    I suppose you are correct again. To me spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. I did not make this definition up (cut and paste) but it seems to make sense to me. We have a highly evolved brain that causes me to be skeptical and because of that bring into question my own reason to exist. Am I just worm food? Or Am I important to anything or anyone?

  11. corwyn says

    @10:

    In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves

    Every time I try to unpack that claim, I end up thinking the claimant means “…something bigger than ourselves that doesn’t exist” I will say something, like “yes, I am connected by gravity with the Earth which is bigger than me.” And they will respond, “No that isn’t what I mean.” They aren’t be happy until the thing proposed doesn’t exist.

  12. corwyn says

    @10:

    it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.

    Got any evidence at all for that claim?

  13. Monocle Smile says

    @Yaddith
    Gender identity isn’t a worldview.
    If you can’t distinguish between this topic and identifying as a cat, then I can’t help you.
    You are correct that you have every right to be an asshole. But that doesn’t oblige anyone to treat you like someone who isn’t an asshole.

  14. adamah says

    MS said:

    I don’t know how anyone who isn’t in love with their bong can see the universe as resembling a living being. These are people who don’t understand the universe at all. There is evidently no agency to the cosmos.

    Obviously you are forgetting the cosmos includes living beings (e.g. Homo sapiens, as well as other species), who display agency.

    MS said:

    I mean, he’s probably harmless, but I really don’t like people thinking this wrongly.

    MS, watch the part of the episode where Russell explained how it’s a fool’s errand to expect everyone to think as you do.

    Stephanie had a minor conniption over Russell’s use of the term, ‘transgenderism’. This objection is based on only one of the many definitions of the suffix, ‘-ism’ when it’s referring to an arbitrary belief system (religion).

    Apparently Stephanie has been breathing the rarefied air of her own special-interest echo chamber for too long, as the suffix is also used to refer to an act (criticism), practice (cannibalism), process (plagiarism), and even systems of government (communism).

    From Websters:

    Full Definition of -ism
    1
    a : act : practice : process
    b : manner of action or behavior characteristic of a (specified) person or thing
    c : prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a (specified) attribute
    2
    a : state : condition : property
    b : abnormal state or condition resulting from excess of a (specified) thing or marked by resemblance to (such) a person or thing
    3
    a : doctrine : theory : religion
    b : adherence to a system or a class of principles
    4
    : characteristic or peculiar feature or trait

    I tend to side with the points raised by bscheid (the one whom EL ironically undermined her whole preachy “treat people with respect” by calling him an ass-hat not one sentence later).

    EL, cut the childish nonsensical name-calling, as it only reveals the major personal issues (e.g. those feelings of powerlessness) you are struggling with; the childish name-calling ONLY comes across as a desperate plea for attention.

    Of course, you don’t HAVE to treat other posters with courtesy, but you have been warned by one of the mods before (yet you still persist). Your own rope, dude…

    Russell asked the pantheist:

    “I have no interest in applying the word ‘God’ to the universe. Can you convince me why I should?”

    Because the Universe may have feelings, too, and we should respect its wishes to be identified as ‘Pan’.

    🙂

    Oh, the great convergence of disparate topics on the show, huh?

  15. adamah says

    Bscheid said:

    I expect next time you will be seeking out schizophrenics, otherkin, etc to tell us to acknowledge their thoughts (realities) because some feminists (oops atheists) happen to have those non afflictions as well.

    You may be unaware that multiple fFMI studies have been conducted within the past 15 yrs that have scientifically validated that those schizophrenics who report hearing voices in their heads actually DO experience activity in the regions of their brains that are involved in hearing external sounds; they seem to have crossed wiring, whew they confuse external vs their own internal voice, and cannot discern.

    The implications for those who claimed to hear God’s voice (eg Abraham, Moses, Jesus) is obvious, since they may have only been a small subset of the population afflicted with a known condition, the most disabling condition being full-blown schizophrenia (vs the milder form, schizo-affective).

    There’s even a network of websites seeking to increase public awareness of the condition:

    http://www.hearing-voices.org/

    Remember, science has completely disproven the ancient religious explanation for disease and illness (“God causes illness as a punishment for sins”. Jesus supposedly healed on the basis of being able to forgive humans their sins). In comparison to Jesus’ “Sin hypothesis of disease”, for a few centuries now we’ve had Pasteur’s “germ theory of disease”.

    In typical fashion, most believers simply move the goal-posts, silently forgetting the cornerstone beliefs of their own religion (or modifying them and downplaying these aspects slightly so as not to disrupt their faith).

  16. adamah says

    MSSaid:

    Go fuck yourself. Not engaging.

    Damn straight: you’re not engaging in a civil constructive discussion of the topics, but simply name- calling and hurling insults.

    That’s the hallmark behavior of a troll…

    Worse yet, you’ve repeatedly been warned by a mod (Russell) to knock it off, specifically when you previously derailed a thread with a ego- driven round of name-calling directed towards me (amongst others).

    I’m not one to call for others to be banned, but if you persist despite repeated warning, then it’s your own rope to hang yourself with, if you must……

  17. indianajones says

    Adamah: A house is not a brick. It may have bricks as part of it. Got it? The rest is left as an exercise to you and/or the reader.

    Grant me strength….

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    EL, cut the childish nonsensical name-calling, as it only reveals the major personal issues (e.g. those feelings of powerlessness) you are struggling with; the childish name-calling ONLY comes across as a desperate plea for attention.

    Talk about projection.

  19. ironchops says

    @corwin #11, True that but in place of a nonexistent god it becomes our place in evolution history and the overall wellbeing of our species ability to survive. It is our place in society and our families. Those are all much bigger than ourselves.
    #12, I think the definition needs to be tweaked by ditching the word “universal” using the word “A lot” in place of “All”. All seems too absolute. I have no real evidence. My kneejerk reaction is that over 30 million copies of The Purpose Driven Life was sold and that this book attempts to answer the question “What on Earth Am I Here For?” My theory is that most Homo sapiens born have asked this question, just a theory mind you.
    I have figured that I want to just live as good as I can by contributing to and loving my family and society the best I can or know how to do rather than burdening my family and society by being selfish. I would rather give than take in most cases, but I will take some help if I think I need it. I do all this without any god.

  20. avianradiation says

    Russell makes an offhand reference at some point in the episode (sorry, I should really go back and find the time stamp but don’t have time right now) to what seemed to me to be a position change by Matt about the existence of god. Russell said something like, “Matt’s been saying lately that one could say that god doesn’t exist rather than that one doesn’t believe in any gods,” or something like that. I’m sure it’s a terrible paraphrase, but if someone is familiar with what I’m referring to or if Russell or Matt could come and explain that would be great. I’ve been following the show for years and would be fascinated to know if Matt’s position is evolving in that direction.

  21. avianradiation says

    @my last comment #21: Found it! At 51:50: “Matt lately has taken to answering [the question of considering oneself a “soft atheist”] a little differently and saying something like, ‘I know god does not exist.'”

  22. adamah says

    Indianajones said:

    A house is not a brick. It may have bricks as part of it. Got it? The rest is left as an exercise to you and/or the reader.

    Sorry, but if you’re hoping to persuade others, you’re going to have to offer a bit more than a simple-minded analogy (that’s a fave rhetorical device used by Jesus, except referred to as a ‘parable’. It’s an incredibly flawed rhetorical tool, since it’s so vague and hence open to misinterpretation).

    Your problem is compounded since you failed to quote exactly which words you are responding to. I have no idea, and even less willingness to unpack it.

    Bottom line is, that’s your problem, not mine, since if you want to convince anyone, YOU bear the burden of explaining your rationale so others can comprehend it.

    So back to the topic of Stephanie’s objection to the term, “transgenderism”:

    I Googled the term, and the first hit on Wikipedia defined ‘transgenderism’ (and ‘transmovement’) as “a social movement seeking transgender rights and affirming transgender pride.”

    Sounds like a proper use of the ‘-ism’ suffix, referring to an ideology or movement.

    And what beef does Stephanie have with that, exactly?

    Perhaps Stephanie wants to quibble over minor semantics (perhaps she didn’t call to discuss the transmovement itself, but called to discuss ‘transgender issues’). Nevertheless, it strikes me as largely irrelevant, since for all intents and purposes, they’re one in the same: discussing the movement involves educating the public, which is what she attempted to do. Same-same….

    Hence my agreeing above with bscheid, who objected to the need to keep up with the latest Ministry of Truth hair-splitting to avoid giving offense.

    I suppose if one is looking to take offense and get one’s nose bent out of joint, they’ll find it wherever they see it (even if it’s only an imagined apparition, or a voice in their head only they can hear).

    Apparently Stephanie posts here, so maybe she’d care to explain the grounds of her objection to the term?

    (I recall seeing her post in last week’s thread, but I gave up on the thread after it degraded into yet another tiresome competition between MS and EL to see whom could out-Tourette the other).

  23. adamah says

    @avianradiation, I strongly suspect that Matt is suggesting that he’s concluded that Jehovah, the God of Abraham depicted in the Bible (Old Testament and New) does not exist, based on logical inconsistencies found in the Bible itself, it’s endorsement of slavery, etc, etc.

    You need to specify which God doesn’t exist, since you cannot properly extrapolate from the Abrahamic God to all the others (Mithras, Ahuru Mazda, etc).

  24. Pete says

    The most annoying thing about these “miracles” is a couple of people possibly “get better” and it’s all hallelujah this praise be that.

    Modern science saves billions of lives, preventing sickness before a cure is even needed and it barely gets a Meh!

  25. avianradiation says

    @adamah #24: I sensed that Russell was referring to a different position, one that involved “knowing” rather than “concluding.” Most atheists conclude that god doesn’t exist, for a multitude of reasons. Matt concluding that god doesn’t exist wouldn’t bear mentioning. What interested me was that Russell noted that “lately” (the term that makes me think this is a nuanced position) Matt has said that he knows that god doesn’t exist.

    Again, my interest is in a second-hand anecdote so maybe there’s nothing to this. I’m not challenging the position, I’m just interested in an explanation of what Russell and/or Matt meant.

  26. corwyn says

    @20:

    How is anything in your response a justification for “the answer is spirituality.” You have chosen an example for ‘spirituality’ which I suspect most of those ‘a lot’ you talk about, would disagree with.
    The fact that millions of copies of a book (one of many) claiming to answer the question of why are we here, with the answer spirituality, were sold is evidence, since it has been said so many times before, that it is an insufficient answer.

  27. avianradiation says

    Also, I can’t continue commenting on this thread without saying that I support Stephanie. I think it’s important that trans* atheists have a space within atheist communities to talk about issues pertaining to them. I also want to say that I don’t support the attack on Stephanie regarding her response to Russell’s use of the term “transgenderism,” despite the dictionary exegesis done afterwards by folks on this board. Russell himself, the “victim” of this attack, apologized and moved on. Maybe upon reflection he feels differently, I don’t know. But let’s not get offended on his behalf.

    Sidenote: I have no idea how the use of “SJW” and “Ministry of Truth” aren’t yet taken to be incendiary trolling terms. At this point in internet culture, it’s clear that these are derogatory terms meant to bait and to show disrespect. They add nothing to any discussion. In other words, they’re just a form of name-calling. Why do proponents of these terms use them so freely, and seem to think it’s an ok way to go about discourse?

  28. ironchops says

    Hi corwin @27- Ok…forget the term spirituality and since there is no good definition for that term this whole argument is done. I got that from here http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/purpose/spirituality/what-spirituality. I will say that most of those “a lot” also disagree with atheists and I do believe they are sadly mistaken. I also said that I have no evidence for that claim and that was just a kneejerk response. I can see that will never hold water so to speak. What would you call the seemingly inherent pull to want to be a part of something good and to find acceptance among others? Like Don said, “dying sucks” and I just need to believe I exist for a reason more than just fertilizer for the next life forms to come along.
    Thanks for answering.

  29. says

    on another note, kent hovind’s defense “i don’t think that’s deceptive” sounds just as effective as his earlier defense “i don’t think that’s tax evasion”

  30. corwyn says

    @29:

    What would you call the seemingly inherent pull to want to be a part of something good and to find acceptance among others?

    ‘Sociology’? People will object to that as (essentially) not woo enough. Many people want to push away understanding in order to maintain mystery, but that is not the way of enlightenment.

    I just need to believe I exist for a reason more than just fertilizer for the next life forms to come along.

    That is a terrible reason, as entropy says you are failing at it by continuing to live. No, I am interested in what I call The Great Gambit. 10,000ish years ago my ancestors embarked on a policy of agriculture, the only possible long term positive effect of which is transporting life off this particular planet, and onto another one, while not destroying this planet. This is an enormous purpose, feel free to join in.

    Note that this is a reason I place upon myself. Wanting a reason to be placed on you by someone else is slavery, and oh so often leads to inventing something to be that reason-giver.

  31. kkehno says

    I want to chime in the transgenderism label. It’s way too similar to homosexualism that is mostly used by the hater crowd that says being gay being a choice. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that we don’t have a translate word for ‘transgenderism’ as we do have one with ‘homosexualism’ which is ‘homoseksualismi’. It would be like ‘transgenderismi’ or ‘transsukupuolismi’ which both sound really horrible 😀

  32. projectp says

    Has anyone seen this guy? “Meet the 52 Year-Old Father Who Identifies As a 6 Year-Old Girl” (google it)
    At what point do we acknowledge a mental illness and how is this case different from someone who is just transgender?
    If someone thinks they are the opposite sex because of a hormonal imbalance then why give them the hormones of the sex they are not?

    So far in the past few years of this on going public discussion i have not had these questioned answered to even a small degree of satisfaction. The answers would have to be based in science for me to be satisfied.

  33. says

    @33 projectp

    Mental illness is described by the omniscient Wikipedia as:

    A mental disorder, also called a mental illness, psychological disorder or psychiatric disorder, is mental or behavioral pattern that causes either suffering or a poor ability to function in ordinary life.

    I can see how the 6 year old girl person could be dysfunctional, whereas transgender people wouldn’t qualify. Being a man or woman in the workplace doesn’t make a person dysfunctional. Behaving like a child does.

  34. says

    Keep in mind here a basic burden of proof. It’s not as though everyone’s mentally ill until proven otherwise. If one wants to establish that transgender people are mentally ill, they’ve adopted a burden of proof to make the case that they’re 1) suffering or 2) dysfunctional in life.

    That would be the scientific approach.

  35. projectp says

    Jasper,

    A sociopath can function just fine in society but they still have negative effects and would be better off if treated.
    Many transsexuals commit suicide so i would not go so far as to say they are always completely functional and do not meet the definition of mental illness. You may be functional in society thinking you are something that you are physically not. Thinking you are a woman when you have a penis is out of alignment with reality.

    Also “It’s not as though everyone’s mentally ill until proven otherwise. ” is not what i was saying.

    The question is 0.2 to 0.3 percent of the population, are transgender, thinking they are a sex that they are biologically not. Do this small number of people have a mental or other form of medical condition causing this?

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @projectpighead
    Yet another knobhead who refuses to understand the differences between sex and gender despite repeated explanations.

    Many transsexuals commit suicide so i would not go so far as to say they are always completely functional

    Gee, it couldn’t possibly for the same reasons every marginalized group has a higher suicide rate, could it? Screw you.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To projectp
    I have some small amount of an academic interest in the actual mental health well-being of certain outliers, like trans people, and your example of the 6 year old girl is very interesting. For me, it’s something of an open question.

    One of my particular interests is in regards to young children. I’m very conflicted about what to do with young children who identify as something other than their anatomical sex/gender. I’ve read plausible arguments that they are just wrong, and they don’t know what they’re talking about, and maybe they’re just trying to emulate mommy or daddy, and it’s a phase that they will grow out of. One particular incident that struck me is that a young boy, IIRC less than 10, expressed that he was the opposite gender. Upon careful examination by a trained psychologist, purportedly, the root cause of it was that the boy thought that he needed to be a woman to be a grown-up because he had only a single mother in his life. It seems to me that it would be an obvious disservice to start hormone treatments on that child, and in general, at the very least, we should pry very deeply and carefully into the reasons of a child who wants sex change hormones.

    The problem is that some people want to start them on hormone treatments as soon as possible, as according to my (rather limited) knowledge on the topic, hormone treatments et al are not magic. They come with serious drawbacks, serious risk of complications, most obviously sterility but definitely others. I happen to never want kids, but I know that many, many people do want kids, and it seems extremely risky, perhaps unwise, to give hormone treatments to young children. The further complication is that hormone treatments are most effective when the kids are young, IIRC most effective before the onset of puberty, which is precisely IMHO when they should not be trusted to know what is best for them.

    First, as a principled matter, my highest value is the right of self determination for every adult. That means that they should be allowed to do as they will, even if it’s hurting themself. Of course, I think that to be a decent human being, it’s a requirement to talk with people when you think that they’re making a mistake and making themselves worse off.

    The thing is, I don’t know if trans people are making themselves worse off by undergoing hormone treatments, plastic surgery et al, and if they are making themselves worse off by choosing a gender role opposite of their anatomical sex. I am very, very cautious to extrapolate from existing suicide rates for precisely the reason Monocle Smile notes: the existing ridiculous bigotry against trans people is a very likely source for increased suicide rates.

    Maybe with much better information as to the physical and mental health effects of “choosing” to be trans, I might counsel people against it. However, in that hypothetical world, I would use the tone of a concerned friend talking to someone who is smoking or excessively drinking (alcohol), and I would still treat them with dignity, compassion, and respect, which might mean shutting the hell up and letting them live their life their way upon request.

    But unfortunately I live in this world, and in this world I do not have access to the information about the actual physical and mental health effects. I feel that I do not have sufficient basis to make any sort of conclusions. In other words, I see interesting arguments on both sides, and it’s close to a coin flip from my perspective whether trans people are living their life correctly. I’m not going to interfere (verbally) on that complete lack of basis.

    So, pragmatically, my position is that if an adult does it, I’m not going to counsel against it, because I don’t know if they’re making the right or wrong choice, and presumably they know better than me. As for children, I am still undecided, and I am very, very conflicted about what the proper approach should be. I don’t know, and that makes me extremely uncomfortable. We could easily be visiting extreme child abuse on some children by supplying hormone treatments, and from some of what I’ve read, I think we are to some subset of children who identify themself as trans. For other children, I don’t know.

    PS: To others, I don’t know what else projectp has written on this topic, or any topic. I’m only going off the two posts in this thread, which seem reasonable IMHO.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    You don’t remember him? He’s the Technocracy dude. But regardless, it’s reasonable to only go off the two posts anyway.

  39. projectp says

    Thanks for the insight EL. I too have not made any hard decisions on it. I definitely do not hate Transgender people my father happens to be transgender. I would say though i am leaning toward one side more than the other.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile
    Apparently my brain bleach worked, until you reminded me. Lol.

  41. indianajones says

    Adamah: I refer to your opening paragraph of post 14 where, if I read correctly, you combat the thesis that (paraphrasing) ‘the cosmos is a living being’ with (again paraphrasing and if I reading correctly) with ‘but duh! The cosmos has living things in it!’ This seemed to me equivalent of calling a house a brick cos it has bricks in it.

  42. coolcat says

    I feel like there’s definitely not enough skepticism in regards to transgenderism.

    I’ve been researching the topic of transgenderism for awhile and I’ve gotten very little answers. I’ve found conflicting answers, some saying transgenderism is when you feel like you should have different genitalia, but others saying no that’s wrong it’s when you prefer, for example, women’s clothing over man’s clothing or vice versa. Most of the answers I get is that they just “feel” like a woman or a man which I don’t know what that means. I’ve never felt like either so I have no frame of reference personally, but even I did why would I, why would anybody act on that? People have feelings about things all the time, it doesn’t mean you act on them and it doesn’t mean anything. It could just be your mind playing tricks on you, and it’s something you should question more. I’m concerned that people aren’t questioning it more as we have gender therapist and regressive liberals that are pushing for people to just be who you feel like you should be rather than question who they are.

    I find the pronoun thing to be very trouble. There’s this idea that if you don’t call someone by their correct pronoun you’re being disrespectful towards them. That’s controlling other people’s speech and I’m fervently against that. And this is the major problem I have with the transgenderism movement, if you don’t agree with them you’re a bad person. We have to just accept it even though there’s little to no science backing to it or even a clear definition of what it means. I can’t accept that, I need something that has research behind it because right now gender seems to be nothing more than a concept that people made up in their heads.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but this sounds like a religion. I don’t mean to pull the “religion” card out but it really does to me. I’m getting the same kind of responses from the Transgender community, that I got from Christians when I started questioning the faith. It just raises a ton of red flags for me.

    I’m open to it being true, but I need good answers and less hostility towards those who don’t agree.

  43. specialffrog says

    @coolcat: What research have you done, exactly? Also, is expecting people to call me by my actual name “controlling other people’s speech”? And what do you think “gender” is if it isn’t something made up (collectively) in our heads? Where is the science backing the idea that some clothes are “men’s clothes” and some clothes are “women’s clothes”?

    if you are really a skeptic you should start by be most skeptical of the things you would like to be true.

  44. projectp says

    Coolcat @43

    “There’s this idea that if you don’t call someone by their correct pronoun you’re being disrespectful towards them. That’s controlling other people’s speech and I’m fervently against that. And this is the major problem I have with the transgenderism movement, if you don’t agree with them you’re a bad person. We have to just accept it even though there’s little to no science backing to it or even a clear definition of what it means. I can’t accept that, I need something that has research behind it because right now gender seems to be nothing more than a concept that people made up in their heads.”

    Agreed and well said. When i speak about the issue I avoid the word for that very reason. I say sex, at this point it is unambiguous and the regressives haven’t tainted it. But some people are so regressive that they will ignore the fact that you said sex and act as if you said gender. Just ignore them, they are beyond reason anyway.

  45. BensonBear says

    Sorry to post here, but I was at an old post at your old site, “Ah, the righteous arrogance of crackpots”, and it invited readers to post at the new blog.

    Michael Persinger, inter alia a tester of psychics, was recently in the news and I was googling about him. In your post, you criticize an experiment he did as being moronic, but never explained why when people asked.

    As far as I can see, it was not moronic, so I would hope you can elaborate. He had this psychic hold photos, face down, not being able to see them, and attempt to describe the person in each photo. Then a person who brought in the photos, and knew the people in the photos, read the descriptions and attempted to match them to the photos. This person was far more successful than he would have been by chance, the most plausible explanation being that the psychic had generated good descriptions WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PHOTOS.

    You (Russell) called it “moronic” because “The narratives can easily provide context known from experience on what the picture might be.” How is this possible? The psychic did not see the pictures, they were touched face down.

    Thank you for addressing this point years later.

    Sorry, I do not know how to add separate paragraphs so this is all run in together.

  46. specialffrog says

    @projectp: So “sex” and “gender” are identical terms and are both unambiguous? Do non-human animals have genders making the phrases “male kangaroo” and “man kangaroo” equally valid and equivalent? Or do you mean that “gender” and “sex of a member of the human species” are identical terms?

  47. Russell Glasser says

    @BensonBear: You are misreading the thread. I dug up that old (2009) post http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/06/ah-righteous-arrogance-of-crackpots.html
    and the only use of the word “moronic” is from a commenter named James, who said: “Why woudl you do this? This is…moronic. The narratives can easily provide context known from experience on what the picture might be. They might be Sherlock Holmsing it. Why not do something indeed random and isolated? this just invites outside variables into the experiment. ”

    I don’t know who James is, and I don’t know what his reasoning was. I don’t think I was still following the thread at this point. If anyone wants to take a crack at this topic, feel free to chime in.

  48. tonyinbatavia says

    coolcat @43, here’s the tell that you clearly don’t know how to research: “[T]ransgenderism is when you…prefer, for example, women’s clothing over man’s (sic) clothing or vice versa.” A sentence like that makes it look as though you have been doing all your research in Volume 3 of “Idiots Try to Explain Things They Obviously Don’t Understand.” It’s no wonder you have only gotten “very little answers.”

    As for the pronoun thing being troubling, it’s not troubling at all, really. Using preferred pronouns just means you are trying to not be an asshole toward others. Or is that the troubling part for you, the idea that you might want to be respectful? If that’s troubling, then you just need to accept the fact that you really aren’t a good person.

    Finally, here’s the tell that you’re just another dime store troll parroting stupid bullshit: Your use of the phrase “regressive liberals.” That phrase is weak fuckin’ sauce, but it is the current rage with douche nozzles who demand an unfettered right to be flaming asshats towards others.

  49. BensonBear says

    Russell, you wrote
    “the only use of the word “moronic” is from a commenter named James”

    Oh my, very sorry about that, indeed, that was very sloppy on my part. I was quite eager to get some answer, sorry to pollute this thread to do so (There still is an email for “james” so I will try that).

    The thing is, the experiment as described sounds okay, if adequate controls were in place (which, given what I can tell about Persinger, is very unlikely, although it should not be hard to eliminate fraud in such an experiment).

    ObOnTopic: the fact that people would even compare people who think they are other than their originally assigned gender with people who think they are cats just serves to indicate the sort of problem the former face.

  50. BensonBear says

    Russell: I can get you a link to, and perhaps a copy of, the paper (don’t have one yet) although I doubt it was in a reputable journal, and I doubt there is enough to establish that a decent procedure was carried out. My only complaint was that the criticism given was poor, since the person tested was not allowed to see the images in the photos (although we are not told about the backs of the photos, how thick the paper was, could he see through the paper, were names and dates written on the back, etc. One would thing these things were checked for, but again, knowing Persinger, I would not be surprised if they were not).

    From the blog, the paper is titled “the Neuropsychiatry of Paranormal Experiences and appears in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences 13:515-524, November 2001. Which is weird because, where is the psychiatry?

    Prima facie looks like a real journal, but haven’t looked into it.

    The bulk of the thing is not the testing of the psychic, which he seems to take for granted was beyond question, but his attempt to explain the results.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    Do I really need to post the wikipedia link to gender dysphoria again? I might add a snarky “let me Google that for you” link. Seriously, I have a hard time believing people are really as bad as coolcat at doing “research” to the point where it’s less ridiculous to think they are being dishonest.

  52. Yaddith says

    BensonBear: So you are suggesting that gender dysphoria is not comparable to species dysphoria? That sounds suspiciously speciest to me.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To coolcat

    I feel like there’s definitely not enough skepticism in regards to transgenderism.

    Not enough skepticism? Of what.. exactly? Trans people are not claiming that they have a bodily anatomy which they do not have. Trans people are not claiming that they have a particular genetic makeup which they do not have. Perhaps some trans people are making particular claims about neurology (like having a “male” brain vs a “female” brain), but I suspect that such claims are not common. In short, I don’t see what skepticism has to do with the conversation because trans people are not making claims. What claims do you think we need to be more skeptical of!?

    I’ve never felt like either so I have no frame of reference personally, but even I did why would I, why would anybody act on that? People have feelings about things all the time, it doesn’t mean you act on them and it doesn’t mean anything. It could just be your mind playing tricks on you, and it’s something you should question more. I’m concerned that people aren’t questioning it more as we have gender therapist and regressive liberals that are pushing for people to just be who you feel like you should be rather than question who they are.

    Just like gay reversion therapy? Am I right? ~snark~

    Also: “regressive liberals”. Right. So you’re probably a wack-a-loon Republican or libertarian.

    Here’s the most-serious reply I can muster: (As I said above), I believe in the right of self determination, and if that’s the way that they want to live their life, then they should be allowed to live their life that way. Further, I believe that we all have a duty to tell each other when we think that someone else is making a mistake in their life, like smoking cigarettes or excessively drinking alcohol. However, I’m nowhere near convinced that most trans people are hurting themself, and I have a weak suspicion that they are doing what is best for themselves. Further more, even if I was convinced that trans people are hurting themselves, we are not the parents of that other adult, and that other adult has the final say in how they are going to live their life, and it would be tyrannical for us to use force to stop them, even if they are hurting themselves.

    BTW, as far as I can tell, this is the same situation that I find myself in regarding gay people (who have gay sex, who are in a gay reliationship, etc.), except because of my greater familiarity with the topic, I am pretty well convinced that gay people are making their lives better by being gay, having gay sex, being in gay relationships, etc. (But again, even if they were hurting themselves, it would be tyrannical to use force to stop persons from knowingly hurting themselves.)

    That’s controlling other people’s speech and I’m fervently against that.

    And you’re just a self-absorbed asshat, apparently with zero empathy and compassion, who apparently does not care at all about the feelings of others. Whereas, decent human beings find it incumbant on themselves to try to be nice to others, and respectful, and compassionate, and to go out of their way to some degree to make everyone feel welcomed, safe, appreciated, respected, etc. It’s the basic human decency that is at the heart of every social relationship (or that which should be at the heart of every social relationship).

    Tangent: And to adamah, if you’re going to complain about my language again, piss off already.

    And this is the major problem I have with the transgenderism movement, if you don’t agree with them you’re a bad person.

    As I asked above: Agree with what? What is there to agree to? What factual claims are being made that you think are wrong?

    Of course, if you cannot muster the basic human decency to use a particular pronoun on request, then you probably are a miserable human being.

    We have to just accept it even though there’s little to no science backing to it or even a clear definition of what it means.

    Again, accept what? What claims? What claims do you think are being made?

    I can’t accept that, I need something that has research behind it because right now gender seems to be nothing more than a concept that people made up in their heads.

    I don’t understand what you’re saying here. Are you taking the position that “gender” is not a proper description of the world? I think that’s foolish. Obviously there are gender norms and gender roles which vary culture to culture. Of course gender is a social construct.

    For comparison: For the most part, “race” is a social construct. Most of what we all know as “race” has very little basis in objective biological classification, and it has almost everything to do with classification schemes that are arbitrary, and culturally-specific, and the result of accidents of history rather than any sort of proper scientific approach.

    In that sense, “race” and “gender” are both social constructs, and they are also very useful description of particular cultures and societies. In other words, most people in particular cultures will identify and treat others according to particular classifications which are sometimes known as “gender” and “race”, in spite of the fact that race is largely a social construct, and gender roles are largely social constructs.

    Having said that, the study of particular cultures, and their race classification systems and gender classification systems, is an objective science. We are studying the very real behavior of very real persons – who happen to be operating on classification schemes that are largely arbitrarily and not-“objective”.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but this sounds like a religion. I don’t mean to pull the “religion” card out but it really does to me. I’m getting the same kind of responses from the Transgender community, that I got from Christians when I started questioning the faith. It just raises a ton of red flags for me.

    Again, faith? Do you mean faith claims? Can you please name those faith claims? Because I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t see any faith claims in the trans community.

    Ok. I’m not very active in trans communities. Maybe there are some, like regarding brain structure claims, but AFAIK IMHO that’s a red herring, and not particularly germane to the conversation that we should be having. So-called “transgenderism” can survive just fine without any potentially bullshit claims regarding brain structure, “I was born this way” claims, etc. The question of whether it’s genetic, learned, chosen, etc., doesn’t really matter IMHO regarding what sort of human basic decency should be employed in how we interact with others.

    To be clear: I am not saying that you are a bad person if you accidentally get the pronoun wrong, or forget. If you choose to use the wrong pronoun, you’re just being mean for no good reason AFAICT. If you forget too frequently and accidentally use the wrong pronoun, it’s possible that you are not caring enough, and again that’s being mean for no good reason. On the flip side, if a trans person flips out over the first-time wrong pronoun use, or the occasional or rare accidental wrong pronoun use, then I think the trans person is being unreasonable.

    Quoting projectp

    I say sex, at this point it is unambiguous and the regressives haven’t tainted it.

    Apparently projectp is a horrible human being too.

    MS, are you sure that this was the technocracy guy? I remember having a better estimation of that person than what projectp apparently is – an uncaring, heartless asshole – at least on this particular topic anyway.

  54. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And PS:
    I must emphasize. As mentioned above, there is a drastic difference between sex and gender. Imagine a cliche scifi TV episode where the main characters swap bodies, and now you have a male-gendered mind in a female-anatomy body, and a female-gendered mind in a male-anatomy body. (Assuming two originally-cis characters.)

    I believe that this is by far the best demonstration that sex and gender are different, and I believe that this is by far the best way to explain the difference between sex and gender.

  55. Spoon says

    1) Don is gay? I had no idea. I’ve seen a lot of episodes and this is, I think, the only time I’ve ever heard him mention it.

    2a) Pronouns don’t belong to you. Pronouns belong to everyone collectively so that they can refer to you. Pronouns only work when there is a common understanding of what they’re intended to mean. You don’t get to choose your own because choosing your own breaks the functionality of the system.
    2b) If you appear to be female then you should expect to be referred to with pronouns like ‘she’ and ‘her’. If you appear to be male then you should expect to be referred to with pronouns like ‘he’ and ‘him’. You can ask people to use the opposite pronoun set but you cannot expect them to agree.

  56. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You can ask people to use the opposite pronoun set but you cannot expect them to agree.

    If someone doesn’t agree, then in my humble estimation, that person is being mean for no good reason. Why would you not?

  57. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Yes, I’m sure. Go back to one of the earlier threads (it had several hundred comments) where all that went down. Both the username and avatar are the same. It was worse than you remember.

    @Spoon
    Are you going to be anything more than a hit-and-run douche this time?

  58. rodney says

    “If you identify as a cat, that in no way obliges me to address you as a feline.”

    That would be kind of a dangerous thing to identify as though, what if you ran into somebody that hates cats, and they decided to have you put down or de-clawed? All you could do is meow at them.

    I don’t know, I guess I’m too old to understand the transgender thing, I know I don’t care if somebody identifies with the opposite gender and wears the clothes of that gender, it’s no skin off my nose.

  59. projectp says

    EL you are calling me “horrible human being” for what exactly?

    Also the 52yr old male transgender can say you are being mean to him for not referring to him as a young 6yr old girl. I don’t care if he thinks I am mean for not calling him a grown man. I don’t live in other peoples fantasy worlds.

    If that is what you mean by horrible then you are just wrong. Why not pander to the religious peoples feelings as well.
    This sure seems hypocritical.

  60. corwyn says

    If someone doesn’t agree, then in my humble estimation, that person is being mean for no good reason. Why would you not?

    Because it basically removes the meaning from a word, rendering it useless.

    And can we please get on with that project? I have an associate who grew up in a language which does not have gendered pronouns, and he always gets them confused even now. I grates every time he does it, and I wish it didn’t. It would make things so much easier.

  61. corwyn says

    @57:

    I believe that this is by far the best demonstration that sex and gender are different, and I believe that this is by far the best way to explain the difference between sex and gender.

    Sorry, but no, it doesn’t help. One describes a person who *remembers* being a male body, the other describes a person who imagines what it feels like being in a male body. How exactly would they know?

  62. Monocle Smile says

    @corwyn

    One describes a person who *remembers* being a male body, the other describes a person who imagines what it feels like being in a male body. How exactly would they know?

    I think you’re wrong about this. Transgenderism is not, if I understand it correctly, about imagining what it feels like to be in the body of the opposite sex. It is about identifying socially with one gender more than another and having that not line up with one’s physical makeup. There’s an important distinction here.

  63. says

    @36 projectp

    A sociopath can function just fine in society but they still have negative effects and would be better off if treated.

    While that may be true, that does not make that person mentally ill. Also, maybe the “treatment” for transgender people is a sex change. There’s nothing wrong with being biologically male or female, or psychologically male or female. If given the choice between “treating” the body, or “treating” the person, I’d rather treat the body first, and leave the autonomous person alone (and give them that choice).

    Many transsexuals commit suicide so i would not go so far as to say they are always completely functional and do not meet the definition of mental illness.

    As others have mentioned, suffering/dysfunction that “mental illness” is about the internal struggles, not the consequences of things done to them by others. If atheists are driven to suicide by persecution from the majority, that doesn’t make atheism a mental illness.

    You seem to be answering your own question as to whether they qualify.

    You may be functional in society thinking you are something that you are physically not. Thinking you are a woman when you have a penis is out of alignment with reality.

    No, because we’re talking about two different things – the mind, and the body. The aligned reality is that there’s a disconnect between two aspects of ourselves. There’s nothing contrary to reality about that.

    Also “It’s not as though everyone’s mentally ill until proven otherwise. ” is not what i was saying.

    That’s fine. It sounded like you were going down the road of “scientifically prove to me that they aren’t mentally ill”. Since the default is “no”, we wouldn’t need to invoke any scientific process, unless someone was trying to make a case.

    The question is 0.2 to 0.3 percent of the population, are transgender, thinking they are a sex that they are biologically not. Do this small number of people have a mental or other form of medical condition causing this?

    Varying from the norm isn’t a “medical condition”.

    But I’d go with “yes”. There are mental and biological reasons why transgender people pop up, just like for anything else. It’s not random… but that wasn’t your question. You asked at what point we consider transgender people to be mentally ill.

    They aren’t clinically suffering… it’s not equivalent to chronic depression. Most of the unhappiness comes from what’s done *to* them by others. I don’t think transgenderism could qualify as a mental illness unless some other thing was added, such as chronic depression, etc…. but then it’d be that other thing.

    There is a clear medical definition of “mental illness”, and “having a mentality that is abnormal” is not within that scope.

  64. says

    Another SCIFI example of an analog is in Terminator: Salvation (spoilers).

    There’s a guy who, unknown to him, was converted into a robot. Most of the movie is spent with him being a badass human fighting the machines. Eventually, it’s revealed that he’s one of these robots.

    The fact that he thinks he’s a human, but is actually a robot, doesn’t mean he has a mental illness. Clearly, there’s an issue, but we wouldn’t assume that his mind is at fault automatically.

    In the end, the moral of the story is that the humanity part of him overrides the physical identity.

    Clearly, there’s an issue with transgender people. They’re the ones who are first to realize it, and start seeking solutions. Maybe they choose to stay the way they are. Maybe they choose to switch biology. Maybe they seek to alter their minds. Whatever that solution is, it’s up to them. They’re in the best position to figure out how to deal with their custom situation, and it really helps when others aren’t complicating matters for them, by trying to get them institutionalized, among other things.

  65. Yaddith says

    rodney: Believe it or not, there actually are people who identify as a cat, or a wolf, or some other animal. Just do a Google search for “species dysphoria.” If my friend “George” asked me to call him “Sally,” I’m sure I would be willing to do so out of courtesy. But if he asked me to call him “Felix,” I might have to respectfully decline! At some point, feeding someone’s fantasies is downright dangerous.

  66. specialffrog says

    @Yaddith: On the off chance you are being serious, do you recognize that gender is at least somewhat a fluid concept in a way that species is not? Or are you one of those people who pretends that gender and sex are the same thing and this is entirely unambiguous? If so, see my additional questions at post 48 above.

  67. adamah says

    Indianajones said:

    This seemed to me equivalent of calling a house a brick cos it has bricks in it.

    Ok, I see your point now.

    BTW, I’m not a pantheist: I personally feel it’s overly-broad, since apparently one must profess a reverence for EVERYTHING? Does that include those humans who kill others on religious grounds? Sorry, I wouldn’t go that far, for if you revere EVERYTHING, you in effect actually revere NOTHING (‘revere’ being special: this isn’t Lake Woebegone, where all the children are smarter than the others).

    Fact is, ‘Mother Nature’ in all of its manifestations just ain’t pretty at times, and Nature couldn’t give a hoot what we think of it (since natural selection isn’t a consciously-controlled process).

    Do the living species who demonstrate high levels of agency drive the definition of the word, “cosmos”?

    And to your point: you and I are nothing more than an collection of cells: does a single cell in your kidney define “you”? Of course not: the emergent properties of whole organism is greater than, in your terms, ‘the brick’.

    But back to pantheism, if you don’t have reverence for all, yet you’re willing to label it “as God”, then it becomes a matter of assigning relative importance to non-living (inorganic) vs living (organic) matter, and placing one extant species over another, or valuing some certain behaviors within a species over others, etc.

    So all in all, pantheism strikes me as largely mental masturbation, one huge attempt at begging the question of God’s existence which simply kicks the can down the road and ultimately gets us nowhere closer to answering the question.

    On the other hand, pantheism has utility if your goal is to engage in word trickery to avoid giving offense to theists (“see, the word ‘theist’ is the name!), rather than making as an honest attempt to stake out a position of non-belief and state it in no uncertain terms (as atheists do).

    E.g. when asked if he believed in God, Einstein said that he believed in Spinoza’s God (who was a pantheist), so it’s a convenient way of dodging the question, counting on very few listeners who understood Spinoza’s thoughts on God, and knowing they’d be satisfied to misinterpret his statement as Einstein saying he believed in God (yeah, theists! Einstein apparently believes in God, when he doesn’t).

    I don’t know if in the modern climate Einstein would be comfortable publicly outing himself as an atheist (as Dawkins did), but it’s rather pointless speculation to engage in historical relativistic judging of Einstein (a cultural Jew who lived in Germany/Austria during the era of Nazi holocausts).

    After all, the guy WAS a genius: perhaps it would be wise to reconsider the futility of stating one’s non-mainstream beliefs to those who really don’t want to hear it (esp. if you’re an atheist blogger living in Pakistan)!

  68. Yaddith says

    specialfrog: It seems to me that it is those who equate “I feel like a woman” with “I am a woman” are those who are pretending “that gender and sex are the same thing.”

  69. specialffrog says

    @Yaddith: That makes no sense unless you think “woman” refers to sex and not gender. And are you saying that you consider “sex” and “gender” to be different things? If so, how do you think gender is determined?

  70. projectp says

    @70 SF wrote to Yaddith:
    ” On the off chance you are being serious, do you recognize that gender is at least somewhat a fluid concept in a way that species is not? Or are you one of those people who pretends that gender and sex are the same thing and this is entirely unambiguous? ”

    Behaving like a woman when you are of the male sex is LIKE presenting as a cat when you are human. Presenting as a woman when you are a male is just pretending. Religious people pretend there is a sky daddy.

    Let everyone pretend all they want, I don’t care It’s their lives and they can live them how they see fit. I will not join in, because in my life i choose not to pretend. That is how i choose to live MY life. Anyone wanting to force me to live my life their way is just an asshole.

  71. projectp says

    SF please stop describing the difference between sex and gender. we all know gender is a behavior and cultural roles.

  72. Yaddith says

    specialfrog: Yes, I believe that “sex” and “gender” are two different things. Sex is biological and gender is psychological.
    Equating “I feel like a woman” with “I am a woman” is a category error.

  73. adamah says

    specialffrog said:

    On the off chance you are being serious, do you recognize that gender is at least somewhat a fluid concept in a way that species is not?

    Uh, I take it you’re not a biologist then, since are you aware that evolution (the process by which new species are formed) is a fluid process, too, every bit as much as gender identification is?

    Are you aware of the incredible difficulty of determining when a new species arises, and that there’s many functional differences in the criteria used to define exactly what constitutes a new species, and when that happens?

    If you’re unaware of the difficulty, you only need to take a look at horses, donkeys, and mules, and realize the line is quite blurry.

    (Creationists demand to be presented with crocoducks, when it’s not that simple. They also fail to understand the implications of fossilized archaeopteryx when they’re staring at them, since that’s as close as it gets).

    Don’t get me wrong: there’s very little that ISN’T fluid in the world of biological sciences, whether it’s gender identify, or arising of new species.

    However, you’re trying to paint a solid line which simply doesn’t exist, as the point yiddith raised is a valid concern: are we actually enabling what could be a delusion? EL provided an example of a child who might’ve been harmed if the physicians granted the individual their wishes and started HRT (as the old saying goes, when the Gods want to punish humans, they grant them their wishes).

    But given the fluidity of our current time (it’s impossible in 2016 to discern what another human is truly thinking or feeling), I side with those who cite the principle of bodily autonomy as their driving principle, since the individual ADULT (or ‘mature minor’ who’s been declared as such by a judge) has to live with the consequences of their decision(s): they should be able to decide whether to start HRT, undergo surgery, etc, after obtaining informed consent of the greater risks of DVT, estrogen-responsive cancers, etc.

    It’s a complex situation, with no clear-cut “one size fits all” answers, and anyone who tells you otherwise is likely talking out of their backside orifice driven by their own ego and biases.

  74. specialffrog says

    @projectp: Feel free to answer the questions I asked you in post 48. Also, what does “behaving like a woman” entail?

  75. Monocle Smile says

    Yaddith,
    You didn’t watch the show. “Woman” and “female” are not synonyms.

  76. corwyn says

    @66 EL:

    You could try to discuss your view with me… Don’t just make knee jerk placement of people in pigeon holes, figure out where you (both) are miscommunicating, where you (both) differ in priors, and where you (both) differ in results.

    I don’t know what it is to think like another person (about gender or anything else), I can guess a bit about external things such as actions or speech, but… No, nevermind, I have a better way of phrasing it. *No one* has *ever* successfully demonstrated that they can say what it is *my* mind state. (I assume that this is not unique to me). If someone said that they felt like they were me, I would laugh. How could they know? What would that even *mean*?

  77. corwyn says

    @65 MS:

    identifying socially with one gender

    Can you be more precise about what you mean by this phrase?

  78. specialffrog says

    @projectp: If you accept that gender is “behaviour and cultural roles” what makes someone a man or a woman and what do “behaving like a woman” or “pretending to be a woman” mean?

    @Yaddith: If gender is psychological, what is the difference between feeling like a woman and being a woman? I’m really not finding your statements to make any sense.

    @adamah: I know species boundaries are fuzzy but they do exist and we can unambiguously tell a cat from a human in all cases in a way that does not apply to gender.

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To corwyn
    I don’t know what to do at this point except repeat myself. Did you read everything in this thread? I don’t know what to say beyond that.

    I’m also not pigeonholing you per se. Of what you’ve said, it’s far less indicative of being an asshole compared to coolcat and projectp (“That’s controlling other people’s speech and I’m fervently against that.”).

    Let’s talk about this:

    I believe that this is by far the best demonstration that sex and gender are different, and I believe that this is by far the best way to explain the difference between sex and gender.

    Sorry, but no, it doesn’t help. One describes a person who *remembers* being a male body, the other describes a person who imagines what it feels like being in a male body. How exactly would they know?

    I’m not sure what to say to that. Let me try this.

    I was doing some reading, because I was curious, and I might as well educate myself on the issue if I’m going to be talking about it so much.

    https://sites.psu.edu/evolutionofhumansexuality/2014/04/07/gender-identity-nature-vs-nurture/

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr04/gender.aspx

    I was surprised. It seems that gender is much more innate biology than I would have first thought. (Disclaimer: Socialization still plays a role, so says the study, but again it’s far less than what I first thought – assuming the study is to be trusted.)

    Taken at face value, this is what I understand about the world:

    There is one metric for kinds of brains that forms a continuous spectrum, where most brains are clustered around two points, which we often call “male” and “female”, also “man” and “woman”. To my surprise, prenatal hormone levels seem to be the most important determining factor, with socialization playing a very minor role. Also, XX vs XY genetics plays little to no role, except as it causes certain hormone levels. Further, some genetic defects can cause genetically XX fetuses to have hormone levels that match normal genetic XY fetuses, and vice versa. Ex:
    http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgen-insensitivity-syndrome

    Another spectrum that we might be interested in is the visible anatomy of the person, and visible anatomy has a particular metric that is a continuous spectrum, with most instances clustered around two points, which are often called “male” and “female”. In other words, most people have exactly one of a penis or a vagina, but there are a few outliers, which is often called “intersex”.

    Another spectrum that we might be interested in is the sex chromosome genetics of the person. Again, there’s a distribution that clusters around 2 points, namely XX and XY, but there are outliers, such as XXY and XYY.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter_syndrome

    And then of course there are cultural gender roles. There’s absolutely nothing in biology that says men wear ties and top hats, and women wear long dresses. That’s just accidents of history. IMHO obviously, the entire content of cultural gender roles is not completely arbitrary, and IMHO probably some portion has some semblance to genetics and innate biology, but I imagine very little does. Anyone who claims to know is probably a fool. See:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/12/28/an-honest-appraisal-of-evo-devo/

    So, we have anatomical sex (penis vs vagina), genetic chromosomal sex (XX vs XY), brain/min sex/gender (which is largely determined by prenatal hormone levels), and learned gender rules. And for each of these, there are outliers. Some people born with a penis and a vagina. Some people have weird sex chromosomes, like XXY or XYY. Some people have two distinct but different sets of DNA (the technical term is human chimera). Some people have middling or unusual prenatal hormone levels, which may cause a “brain sex” outlier. And of course gender roles are all over the place, with many, many outliers.

    With me thus far?

    Perhaps contrary to the show, I don’t see a consensus regarding the usage of the terms “man”, “woman”, “male”, “female”. Further, as I hope I just showed, reality is richer than what these simple 4 terms – 2 metrics – can capture. So, I have very little respect for someone who says that their definitions of these terms are obviously the right ones.

    But again, it seems to be that as part of basic human decency, if someone wants to be treated in a certain way, reasonable allowances should be given to treat that person in that way. To me, it’s obviously a basic and fundamental part of what it means to be a decent and reasonable human being who is taking part in healthy inter-personal relationships. It’s a very reasonable and minor request to call someonea woman when they might have a penis. They’re not asking you to assert something flagrantly false like saying that they don’t have a penis. Nor are they asking you the equivalent of asserting something flagrantly false like they can leap tall buildings in a single bound. People are just getting hung up on semantics, often based on a false understanding of reality.

    And further, even if reality was as simple as some people might say, it’s often rude to state plain facts regarding someone, for example calling someone fat. Further, many people often give white lies, like “you look pretty in that dress”. At the very least, calling someone a “woman” when they ask for it, even if they have a penis, seems to fit pretty well into this category of “white lies” that again IMHO very often forms a core part of healthy inter-personal relationships.

    IMHO, I have difficulty with inter-personal relationships, and part of it may be my strong dislike of such “white lies”, and so I can sympathyze.

    However, to say that this can of “make believe” rises to the level of delusion is IMHO quite unreasonable. Even calling it lying is quite unreasonable IMHO. Perhaps it’s a form of pretend, but there’s nothing wrong with pretend when everyone knows it’s pretend. People who go to church may be delusional. For contrast: at first glance, people who go to Dungeons and Dragons game or Live Action RolePlaying sessions are just as delusional as people who to go church – even moreso! Roleplayers constantly talk about being personally able to do superhuman feats, personally cast magic spells at will, etc. At least most churchgoers have the decently and reasonableness to admit that they are not superhuman and they are not capable of obvious, testable magic on demand. However, roleplayers know that they are not really wizards or superhuman martial arts masters. It just gives them pleasure to pretend to do so. Are you going to start taking a shit on roleplayers because they’re lying or delusional!? And at worst – ignoring all of the other arguments I’ve made in this post – how is someone asking that you call them a woman any different in any materially relevant way?

  80. says

    I wish you’d stop using “agnostic atheist”. It’s silly and it hurts us.

    Yes, of course we’re not absolutely 100% certain no gods of any stripe, but not in any way that’s different than how we’re not absolutely 100% of anything. Using “agnostic” in this case throws a bone to theists, even if unintended, by implying their claim is somehow special.

    Replace “Santa” for “god” (btw, how do I get my apparently Xtian iPhone to stop trying to capitalize that for me?) and you’ll see the problem. You don’t believe in Santa (an a-Santa-ist let’s call it). Why? Because there’s no compelling evidence for the proposition, as well as the proposition violating the way the world works. Yes, it’s technically possible you’re wrong. By your nomenclature you ought to be calling yourself an “agnostic a-Santa-ist” and that’s just silly.

    All knowledge is provisional. Yes of course as a skeptic you’re open to new evidence. That should apply to everything. The god hypothesis is no different than any other extremely unlikely hypothesis and doesn’t deserve special treatment. Use “atheist”. Full stop. (And don’t get me started on the “soft atheist” thing)

  81. projectp says

    @projectp: If you accept that gender is “behaviour and cultural roles” what makes someone a man or a woman and what do “behaving like a woman” or “pretending to be a woman” mean?

    Woman
    noun
    1.the female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man.

    Female
    noun
    1.a person bearing two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei and normally having a vagina, a uterus and ovaries, and developing at puberty a relatively rounded body and enlarged breasts, and retaining a beardless face; a girl or woman.

    Meaning they meet the definitions (These are out of the dictionary not my own).
    Pretending to be a woman would mean you are not a female and you are behaving like one.
    Or as transgender people say frequently , “I am presenting as a woman” or “I am presenting as a man”.

    The definition of gender changed in the mid 20th century (according to oxford) to the meaning you and others use.
    But from the 14th century to the mid 20th it was synonymous with sex. A lot of people think of sex as gender because it makes sense and has been that way for a long time.

    I think new words should have been created for the acting out of roles. But until then i will say sex and not use the word gender, so i can be clearer.

  82. BensonBear says

    @Conversion Tube: “Benson Bear have you seen this. Well know Magician Derren Brown fools Psychics”

    No, it seems it was just posted yesterday! Not sure of the relevance to what I was asking except very broadly. I am well aware that many people can be fooled into thinking psi phenomena (good enough general expression in this context) are happening by people with very good ordinary skills. So a la extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, I guess we always just keep saying, including in the Persinger case (not some untrained psychic, but a neuroscientist also very interested in the nature of evidence), that the person witnessing the experiment was simply duped.

    Perhaps Persinger was duped, but it wasn’t as straightforward as the person I was asking claimed, since he was saying the experiment was badly designed because the subject could just report what was in the pictures. A very poor criticism because the pictures (like in the video you showed) were hidden from his view.

    So there would have to be some other explanation. I was not there to see what the possibilities were, but I would think someone like Persinger could prevent fraud from happening. You will say easier said than done but I think he could do it. In this case, they were not even trying to do it since they basically believe in these “powers” to begin with.

    That being said, I cannot see how the magician could do what he did. The idea suggested in the comments of planting suggestions, sorry, that is just not believable. I think in fact he added this stuff as a red herring, The suggestion of a “psychic clipboard” is possible only if that technology has improved and he was able to stick in in the notepad undetected (magician skills would make that quite doable — off camera he might have expressed interest in the notepad etc) , or even worse if he was able to make them use a notepad he came with which is possible since these folk are probably not thinking to skeptically. I am more inclined to believe that, as an entertainer, the whole video might be a scam and the one psychic is actually his accomplice.

    But none of these strategies would work in the Persinger case from how it is described. Unless the accomplice is Persinger himself or unknown to him one of his lab assistants.

    Incidentally, Persinger has just allegedly found that he can induce telepathic states across a very long distance with some electro-magnetic field producing device that he is urging everyone to build at home for themselves. (Google Persinger Excess Correlation).

  83. Yaddith says

    Monocle Smile: I agree. “Woman” and “female” are not synonyms. But “woman” and “female human” are synonyms. And, yes, I did watch the program.

  84. Yaddith says

    specialfrog: Feeling like a woman is psychological. Being a woman is biological. Why is this a difficult concept to grasp?

  85. says

    I suspect I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but hearing Russell say, in a couple of different ways, something along lines of, “Is it OK if I say this?” while talking to the transgender guru struck me as both sad and a little creepy. Not Russell, who was simply trying to play by the (IMO) arcane rules being laid out by the caller, but the simple fact that we are down to this — having Thought/Language Police for whom even good intentions aren’t enough.

    And no, I do not want to live in a world where assholes use their critique of “P.C.” as an excuse to level offensive language at women and minorities of all kinds. And no, I am not one who believes that *I* should be the arbiter of what someone should be called.

    But goddamn, isn’t it a problem when we are turning to self-declared language police to ask their permission if it’s acceptable to use certain words? Is it possible that we are all just plunging down a rabbit hole of idiocy and oversensitivity?

    Frankly, I like the way Lenny Bruce handled it. Refuse to give words power they don’t have.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    @Claywise

    But goddamn, isn’t it a problem when we are turning to self-declared language police to ask their permission if it’s acceptable to use certain words? Is it possible that we are all just plunging down a rabbit hole of idiocy and oversensitivity?

    Transgenderism is unfortunately a recent resident of the limelight, so hopefully soon it won’t take a ton of thinking to speak about this topic properly. I think you’re being myopic…there was a time when terms for blacks and gays that are today either incorrect or offensive were largely not considered such. Today we know better.

  87. Monocle Smile says

    @Yaddith
    Stephanie makes this very clear: Male/Female refers to biological sex. As in, chromosomes. Man/Woman refers to gender. So you watched the episode, but didn’t listen to perhaps the most important part.

    @projectp

    The definition of gender changed in the mid 20th century (according to oxford) to the meaning you and others use.
    But from the 14th century to the mid 20th it was synonymous with sex. A lot of people think of sex as gender because it makes sense and has been that way for a long time.

    You know what happened? We learned more and now we know better. Same with pretty much every social issue that’s rooted in things that occur “outside the norm.” I don’t care if you’re old as shit; this isn’t an excuse to be a douche when it’s extremely easy and costs you nothing to not be a douche.

  88. indianajones says

    Adamah. Why then attack this position ( shortened for the sake of brevity): ‘ I don’t know how anyone … can see the universe as resembling a living being. ‘?

  89. projectp says

    ‘we need to watch out for peoples feelings’ ‘your a douche ass scumbag prick blah blah blah’ nothing funnier than hypocrisy.

  90. Yaddith says

    Monocle Smile: So now I am supposed to accept Stephanie’s definitions of words? Calling into a talk show does not make one an expert on anything. I prefer to use the commonly accepted dictionary definitions of words. It helps to facilitate clear communication.

  91. specialffrog says

    @projectp: So you recognize that the definitions you posted are not really current and claim to accept that sex and gender are different but you will continue to pretend that they are interchangeable because somehow this is clearer? That is all straight out of the evolution-denier playbook and yet people who support calling people by their preferred pronouns are the religious ones?

    @Yaddith: So sex and gender are different things but “woman” is a biological term and means the same thing as “female human”? Your position literally makes no sense.

  92. projectp says

    These definitions are about as current as you can get, respected dictionaries from the internet. You are in denial.
    This has nothing to do with evolution either so drop that straw-man. It doesn’t matter what you prefer, reality says different and that is the side science is on. The physical world not your preferred/imaginary world. Am i debating a theist?

  93. specialffrog says

    @projectp: How you are acting like an evolution-denier is in quoting irrelevant dictionary definitions and being deliberately muddled about the use of terms in order to make your argument.

    You said this, “the definition of gender changed in the mid 20th century (according to oxford) to the meaning you and others use,” but despite this acknowledgement you want to stick with the old definition so you can claim that transgender people are claiming to be the opposite _sex_ from that which they were assigned at birth.

    And what “science” are you talking about that supports your purely-semantic argument? Can you point me to a scientific paper that says sex = gender or that scientifically tells us what “behaving like a woman” means?

    Also, you don’t appear to know what the term “straw man” means either so that’s something else you might want to research.

  94. adamah says

    Indianajones asked:

    Why then attack this position ( shortened for the sake of brevity): ‘ I don’t know how anyone … can see the universe as resembling a living being. ‘?

    Russell is like many atheists in that he’s so preoccupied with conquering the God meme that he forgets that the term ‘cosmos’ doesn’t refer only to distant galaxies, black holes (and the large mass of star dust found scattered throughout the void of space), but also encompasses all living organisms found in the Universe.

    Hence the term ‘cosmos’ includes Homo sapiens, the dominant species on our Planet. Thus his puzzlement: he’s forgotten about humans!

    And just as consciousness arises as an emergent property (due to the sum of the contributions of millions of neurons in the brain), let’s not forget about their reliance on other cells, e.g. cells in the kidney and liver that eliminate wastes from the bloodstream, so clear cognition can continue unimpeded by metabolic waste products, etc.

    Point being, there’s an interdependence of functionality with distal components of the same organism, but analogies are limited in utility; maybe scaling back the level of the pantheist’s claim might better illustrate my point?

    So setting aside the possibility of a multi-verse for the moment, think of our Planet as the whole Universe.

    A failure to appreciate the ecosystem approach and interdependence of plant and animal species has been partly to blame for the host of environmental issues we face today, the most obvious example being global climate change, where pollutants poured in the air in China and Pakistan have far-reaching effects on the other side of the globe; distant species are being driven to extinction, rainfall patterns are altered, etc.

    A climatologist understands that hurricanes in the Caribbean are known to arise from dust storms on the Sub-Saharan plains of Africa (the so-called ‘butterfly effect’); the world of quantum mechanics even supports the idea of a level of interconnectedness existing at the quantum level, even operating over great distances (thanks to the phenomenon known as ‘entanglement’).

    So why am I not a pantheist, you may ask?

    Aside from the reasons I’ve already outlined above, I object to the ‘reverence’ requirement: although the thrill of discovery IS profound and the Universe is pretty amazing in how it operates, emotions (such as showing reverence, celebrating, etc) are best reserved for AFTER the discoveries are made since they tend to cloud one’s rational thought and objectivity.

    But for lay-people, great! Revere away! Even though it strikes me as a tad narcisstic (having reverence for one’s own kind), it’s at least a step in the right direction of moving away from the ‘God delusion’.

    Learning more about the Universe is one good way to fill one’s schedule, and generally makes for a more-responsible citizen of the Earth.

    But as someone who studied the phenomena of the Universe to earn my living, uh, no thanks: I’ll pass, as I have my own non-religion.

    🙂

  95. adamah says

    And since we’re on the subject of gender dysphoria disorder, I’m curious what everyone thinks (including Stephanie, if she’s lurking) about ANOTHER manifestation in the same general category, “racial dysphoria disorder”.

    You may remember Rachel Dolezal, a Caucasian woman who self-identified as black, even running the NAACP chapter in her state! She adopted the stereotypical appearance of a black person, with black curly hair, darkened skin, etc. and adopted the mannerisms.

    However, her parents publicly “outed” her, presenting a family photo of Rachel as a teenaged blonde-haired woman of Northern European descent (and it’s likely DNA testing would confirm her European ancestry).

    SO, is she entitled to claim alliance with blacks, since she ‘feels’ like she’s black?

    (AKA Racial Identity Disorder, this condition is most-commonly found amongst affluent white youths living in Suburban America, their behavior characterized by listening to rap music, wearing FUBU clothing, sporting massive gold chains/grilles, and talking as if they’re members of another racial group.)

    Humor aside, I’m curious as to everyone’s thought on this: does she need to consider whatever implications there may be on those she feels a kinship with, i.e. those who cannot likewise simply change their appearance and mannerisms without facing backlash for “passing (as whites)”?

    I should disclose my own cultural bias is analogous to those who don’t feel like a member of either sex: as a ‘hapa’ (an offspring of racially-mixed parentage), I don’t identify with ANY racial group, since I’ve never had that luxury (or burden, as it may be, the ‘burden’ being the risk of becoming a close-minded bigot).

  96. projectp says

    @projectp: How you are acting like an evolution-denier is in quoting irrelevant dictionary definitions and being deliberately muddled about the use of terms in order to make your argument.

    so any dictionary that goes against your opinion is irrelevant? maybe you should rethink this position.

    You said this, “the definition of gender changed in the mid 20th century (according to oxford) to the meaning you and others use,” but despite this acknowledgement you want to stick with the old definition so you can claim that transgender people are claiming to be the opposite _sex_ from that which they were assigned at birth.

    no they are pretending they are the opposite sex “assigned” at birth, ridiculous saying assigned btw because something is assigned by a mind. Some people claim they ARE the opposite sex of their genitalia. They say their brain has it right and everything else in their body got it wrong somehow. I am saying their mind has it wrong and i will not pretend in either case.

    And what “science” are you talking about that supports your purely-semantic argument? Can you point me to a scientific paper that says sex = gender or that scientifically tells us what “behaving like a woman” means?

    That is not what i am saying, again a straw-man. I am saying that it is unscientific to claim you are something that you are not. You are trying to argue against a position i do not have thus i said straw-man.

  97. adamah says

    MS said:

    I don’t care if you’re old as shit; this isn’t an excuse to be a douchewhen it’s extremely easy and costs you nothing to not be a douche.

    You use the word “douche” as if it were a pejorative, when it’s merely a feminine hygiene product to clean a woman’s genitaila ( and one for which no analogous product exists for males).

    Is there something particularly nasty or unclean about female genitalia, such that it’s lesser than make genitaila?

    Regardless of your answer, as a feminist, I demand you immediately offer an apology to all women for perpetuating this stereotypical sexist slur.

    And if you persist in using this offensive term in the future, you can expect to be called on the carpet for it every time….

    Signed,

    Adam (a proud member of the Self-Appointed PC Police Dept)

  98. projectp says

    To be more clear I am talking about people who say their brain has it wrong and they are the opposite sex and you are talking about people who admit they are a man for example and want to play the role of a woman.

    I disagree with you that being a man or a woman is just the roles. I believe it should be tied to your sex.
    Make a new word for a person that is playing a gender role.

    From oxford dictionary:
    female
    Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes:

    woman
    An adult human female.

  99. specialffrog says

    @projectp: Your dictionary definition is demonstrably incorrect in the context of the current discussion. Moreover, your entire argument seems to hinge on this fudging of context.

    When “gender”, “man” and “woman” are used in the context of discussing transsexuality, the definitions being used by others are _not_ the ones you are citing. Do you agree?

    And the icing is your claim that you claim you are on the side of science and reality while saying “I believe [being a man or a woman] should be tied to sex.” Why is your belief relevant here?

  100. =8)-DX says

    Just adding on the end of the thread: kudos on getting an actual trans person on the line to explain a basic trans 101. Philosophical ramblings on “what it is to be a man/woman male/female” aside, I think it shouldn’t be that much of a problem for atheists to accept the facts about trans people:

    1) FACT: Trans people experience gender disphoria which includes extreme stress and makes their lives miserable.
    2) FACT: Trans people experience significant harassment, rejection, hatred and bigotry much more significantly than atheists in religious communities.
    3) FACT: Trans people have a staggering suicide rates (over 40% attempt suicide in their lives) and this has been shown to directly correlate with their (lack) of acceptance by society, including using the wrong pronouns and referring to trans people in terms of their sex assigned at birth, and denying them the medical care associated with their transition.

    So swallow your fuckin’ arrogance – using your “skeptically arrived at pronouns” is literally killing these people. In any secular moral system, the minor discomfort resulting from changing one’s language to support trans people is incomparable to the lifelong pain and suffering these people endure. Most of the cultural baggage aimed at trans people is fuelled by religious bigotry, any sceptical arguments are basically sematics, so it seems clear to me which side of this issue atheists should be on. At least any atheist worth their salt.

  101. =8)-DX says

    @adamah #103

    You use the word “douche” as if it were a pejorative, when it’s merely a feminine hygiene product to clean a woman’s genitaila ( and one for which no analogous product exists for males).

    Actually no, douches are not “hygiene products”, they were a horribly sexist bit of commercial woo, entirely based on the idea that “vaginas are dirty and smelly! Clean them!” Current medical science aknowledges that vaginas are self-cleaning, that introducing water (or worse, soap-based products!) into the vagina is harmful to vaginal microflora, that when vaginas smell the reason tends to be residual male sperm (and you want that microflora present to deal with it) and therefore that the “vaginal douche” is literally “a useless, antiquated, sexist piece of bullshit”. Now that definition is an apt description many people called douche. (Some feminists dislike any mention of the word, yes, but if the facts are clear and it is used in this way, most don’t have problems.)

  102. projectp says

    SF said: “Your dictionary definition is demonstrably incorrect” lol MY definition. it is the definition on every dictionary i have read and none of them are MINE.

    My opinion is just as relevant as yours. Get over yourselves. All of this crying over someone else’s views is just pitiful.
    I am OK with others disagreeing and living their lives the way they see fit. But I will not play along with the charade and I will live my life the way I see fit.

    I do not hate anyone for being transgender or believing they are a 6yr old girl when they are a 52 yr old Father or whatever they want to pretend. Quit trying to control other peoples thoughts and opinions by abusive language and insults. This is part of what the regressive problem is. justifying calling someone a douche while at the same time being so hurt over the she/he pronouns is not coherent at all.

  103. Monocle Smile says

    @projectprick
    Do you feel the same way about “nigger” and “faggot?” Do you whine when people ridicule and insult those who use those terms?
    Trans people are not pretending. You are demonstrably wrong. Shut the fuck up.

  104. specialffrog says

    SF: You don’t hate anyone for being transgender you just it think is okay for transgender people to be mocked and marginalized because you are entitled to your opinion on gender. It’s funny how you started off talking about science and reality and now its all about your opinion and your beliefs.

    And now I’m apparently not allowed to criticize your opinion or else I’m trying to control your thoughts.

    In what sense are you a skeptic exactly?

  105. projectp says

    Not playing along with someones delusion is NOT the same as calling them a nigger. This is the regressive nonsense I was talking about.

  106. Monocle Smile says

    Because, projectprick, gender dysphoria is a real thing and causes a high amount of stress. Intentionally using the wrong pronouns and declaring that they are merely pretending is exactly why trans people have the high suicide rates you crassly referenced earlier. You are the problem.

  107. projectp says

    Also Not playing along with someones role playing is NOT the same as calling them a nigger. This is also regressive nonsense. In both cases you are just wrong, and you are hypocrites.

    You can criticize all you want SF but to use abusive language and name call is hypocrisy. Once you do that you do not have a case at all

  108. specialffrog says

    @projectp: What abusive language have I used? Is pointing out that you are a bad skeptic abuse? Is that worse than you pretending I am somehow being “regressive”?

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be pointing to science and evidence that supports your claims any time now.

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    projectprick

    ~frowns~

    To projectp

    Not playing along with someones delusion is NOT the same as calling them a nigger. This is the regressive nonsense I was talking about.

    What delusion? What beliefs are delusional? I’ve explained in excruciating detail that they are not delusional. They do not hold demonstrably false beliefs (that are relevant to this topic). When one says “I feel like a woman” but one happens to be anatomically male, they are not stating that they don’t have a penis. They are not expressing a delusional belief. They are using the word “woman” to mean something different than you. Can you please either name the delusional belief, not claim, or stop making this goddamned foolish strawman already?

    You’re misusing the word “delusion”.

    You can criticize all you want SF but to use abusive language and name call is hypocrisy. Once you do that you do not have a case at all

    Are you a sock puppet of Adamah?

    You’re also misusing the word “hypocrisy”. I don’t see any hypocrisy going on. Maybe you think my position or the position of others in this thread is that abusive language and name calling is always bad. If such a person did name call someone else, then that would be hypocrisy. However, I’m not taking that position, and I bet several others in the thread are not taking that position either. Rather, my position is that you should be welcoming and accommodating of people who themselves are welcoming and accommodating, and to people who are not welcoming and not accommodating, then it’s often quite reasonable and sometimes productive to take a shit on them (verbally). There’s no hypocrisy there. Only by strawmanning the position into some absolute principle can you derive hypocrisy. And of course, that’s probably a form of projection, projecting your own wrong-headed absolutist thinking onto others.

    In short:

    Do you agree that trans people are using the word “woman” as a word to name a concept / abstraction that is something other than 1- visible anatomical sex, and something other than 2- chromosomal sex (XX vs XY)?

    Thus, do you agree that trans people are not delusional?

    Thus, you are clinging to a definition of particular words (“man”, “woman”) for no explicable reason, seemingly with the intent of causing emotional distress, or at least with regradless disregard for causing emotional distress. In other words, why do you feel the need to stick to one definition of a word over another definition, when that choice is causing extreme emotional distress, and it’s causing you to be exclusionary and non-welcoming to people who deserve better? Remember, definitions are arbitrary. Words don’t have intrinsic meaning. Words have meaning by consensus.

    And all of what I wrote in my earlier post at 85.

  110. =8)-DX says

    @projectp #117
    “Not playing along with someones role playing”

    Yeah right. Like atheists are totes fine with Christians saying they really secretly believe in their god, just hate ‘im. People get to label themselves, others not respecting that are being assholes (remember skeptics still call christians christans, woo-peddling “psychics” psychics, despite not believing any of that shit). And concerning trans people, it’s an empirical fact that not respecting their gender/pronouns actively harms them.

    It’s not “playing along with their role playing”, it’s “imposing your beliefs on others”. And that’s bad and atheists should know that, because others do it to us all the friggin time.

  111. projectp says

    I am talking about your “side” when it comes the the abusive language.
    here are some fine examples.

    “Because, projectprick”, “I don’t care if you’re old as shit; this isn’t an excuse to be a douche when it’s extremely easy and costs you nothing to not be a douche.” “you’re just another dime store troll parroting stupid bullshit”, “You are the problem.”, “using your “skeptically arrived at pronouns” is literally killing these people.” ” being an asshole compared to coolcat and projectp “, “@adam Go fuck yourself. Not engaging.”

    SF You have been dishonest when you misrepresent what i say. A bit more civil for sure, which is why i have replied to you. But my patience is wearing thin. You don’t seem to understand the difference between pointing out something and accusing. You are very dishonest in trying to make your arguments.

  112. specialffrog says

    @projectp: how have I misrepresented you? And your argument literally involves pretending transgender people are saying something they are not and yet I’m dishonest?

    Are you familiar with what Humpty Dumpty says about the definition of words in Alice and Wonderland?

  113. StonedRanger says

    @Projectp Respectfully waiting for you to cite your science that backs up your stance. Reciting the dictionary is not citing scientific anything. Just like quoting the bible is pretty useless to an atheist. Thanks so much.

  114. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Again, some of those examples of abusive language are totally justified. Especially this one:
    > using your “skeptically arrived at pronouns” is literally killing these people.

    Not my problem (or the speaker’s problem) that you happen to be wrong, extremely wrong, and that you happen to be causing extreme emotional distress for no good reason. Yes, it might make you uncomfortable when someone says that you’re being a dipshit and explains how and why. I suggest you deal with. Then, after having figured out how to cope with someone thinking and saying that you’re a horrible human being, you should then argue that their assessment is wrong, or you should accept the truth of their assessment and shape up. The proper approach then is not to complain that you’re being insulted – which you are – but to shape up and be a better human being.

    You are the hypocrite. Earlier, you complained saying that other people are trying to control your language, and that doing so is always wrong. That’s exactly what you’re doing here to us when you complain about us using “abusive” language.

  115. =8)-DX says

    Re: “using your “skeptically arrived at pronouns” is literally killing these people.”

    That’s a statement of fact, not and ad hominem attack, or abusive language. I admit I had some fucks and a friggin in my posts, but those were aimed at ideas, not a particular person.

    I meant the word “literally”, literally, not figuratively. Something people are doing to trans people is harming them and leads to their deaths, that is a fact, however brutal. Pointing people to the consequences of their actions is not itself abusive.

  116. tonyinbatavia says

    projectp, though I am one of your quoted potential hypocrites, I think you might be onto something here. Let’s explore…

    One group — the one to which you belong — insists on the unfettered right to treat others like shit because of who they are. “So,” you say, “I don’t care how it affects them, they can just get bent over their delusions. No preferred pronouns for them!”

    The other group — the one to which I belong — observes the fuckheaded insistence of the first group and says, “Since you choose to act like flaming assholes toward others just because of who they are, abusive language for you, you fuckheads!”

    From your perspective, the latter group is wrong to call the former group fuckheads. And maybe you’re right. Maybe those in the former group are just fuckheads who simply can’t stop wanting to treat others like shit because of who they are.

    Is that what you’re saying, that you really are just a fuckhead who can’t help but act out and treat others you don’t understand like shit? If so, I hereby plead guilty to hypocrisy and I officially rescind my abusive name calling. Living as a fuckhead, and not just acting like one, must be very difficult.

  117. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Yeah, I’m not keen on being sensitive towards someone who has previously threatened me with physical violence.

  118. projectp says

    You can say the language is not abusive all you want. you are wrong.

    EL and MS The difference between you and I is, I don’t care if you use abusive language. You want me to stop using what you perceive as abusive language to transgenders yet you use abuse language on people all the time. I am just pointing out the hypocrisy. So no, i’m not being hypocritical because I do not have the intention (as you do) of dictating what is wrong or right for people to say.

    If you think using a pronoun that is not the preferred one is actually the cause of someone killing themselves then you are wrong again. Your crazy.

    Stonedranger, Definitions are not dogma like the Buybull. They are what makes communication effective.
    I will stick with them so everyone knows what i mean. When the definition for gender changed according to the dictionary i acknowledged this and no longer use it to mean sex. I challenge you to ask people what gender means, most of the time they think it still means sex. I think it should.

    I am not arguing that role players are delusional I am specifically talking about people like the 52yr old father that thinks he IS a 6yr old girl. Or someone who thinks their brain was born in the wrong body. At the same time i will not role play along with the role players. I don’t care if you think that makes me an asshole, I already think that of you.

  119. projectp says

    MS you have used abusive language and many people in fact you do it in almost every single post you make whether I am around or not.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Quoting projectp

    I am just pointing out the hypocrisy.

    I wish you would respond to what I have written, rather than the strawman of my position that exists solely in your head. Let me copy-paste for you.
    Quoting me:

    Rather, my position is that you should be welcoming and accommodating of people who themselves are welcoming and accommodating, and to people who are not welcoming and not accommodating, then it’s often quite reasonable and sometimes productive to take a shit on them (verbally). There’s no hypocrisy there. Only by strawmanning the position into some absolute principle [EL: that abusive language is always bad] can you derive hypocrisy. And of course, that’s probably a form of projection, projecting your own wrong-headed absolutist thinking onto others.

  121. projectp says

    Quoting EL @ 56

    “And you’re just a self-absorbed asshat, ….. Whereas, decent human beings find it incumbant on themselves to try to be nice to others, and respectful, and compassionate, and to go out of their way to some degree to make everyone feel welcomed,

    Tangent: And to adamah, if you’re going to complain about my language again, piss off already.”

    lol, hilarious!

    Many other examples. But you are always right EL. especially about regressives. Oh wait! no! wrong again! the term regressive actually came from the LEFT. I bet you don’t even know what it means…

    British liberal activist Maajid Nawaz first introduced the term in 2012 in his memoir Radical.
    On you tube the LIBERAL SHOW David Pacman talks about it by showing Richard Dawkins and Bill Mayer talking about it.
    /watch?v=-MNGKqAF0YU

    Also on the LIBERAL show The Rubin report. /watch?v=h5fXEp4O6Lo
    You are very ignorant on to many things to have a meaningful conversation.

  122. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If you’re going to cite Richard Dawkin and Bill Mayers as ideals and paragons of proper left politics, you’re the ignorant one.

    This is just a giant pissing game. I don’t give a fuck about the etymology of the term “regressive liberal”. I don’t give a fuck about who happens to use it. I don’t give a fuck when you cite authorities who happen to disagree with my position (although I might give a fuck if they have cogent arguments against my position, and I will care more if you provide links to such arguments, but Dawkins and Mayer do not have such cogent arguments, and you didn’t even try to provide links).

    Are you ever going to bother to respond to any of my substantive points? Or are you going to continue to lie, seemingly quite blatantly at this point?

  123. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me correct that:
    If you’re going to cite Richard Dawkin and Bill Mayers as ideals and paragons of proper left politics, and if you think that I’m going to agree with the purported credentials of being paragons of proper left politics, then you are the the ignorant one. Both have some rather severe flaws and blind spots. So much so that whenever I hear the name Richard Dawkins, my first thought is not “the wonderful biologist / atheist / philosopher”, but rather “what idiotic thing did he say on twitter now?”.

  124. projectp says

    lol more straw men… “If you’re going to cite Richard Dawkin and Bill Mayers as ideals and paragons of proper left politics,”

    Never cited them as such. you are out of your league. i pointed out the the phrase has been in the liberal discussion since 2012. heh heh “Paragons”.

    And your name is “EnlightenmentLiberal” lol.

    What IS your position? that people should not be able to call a transgender person a pronoun that they do not want to be addressed by? what should be done with them? label them as an asshole? is that it? then why even talk about it.
    Absolutely pointless… Shame them into doing what you want? good luck with that pointless exorcise because my bet is people won’t buy into this BS in large enough numbers for that to ever happen. Are you one of those SJW’s that prefer to snap their fingers instead of clapping for fear of “triggering” someone?

  125. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ack. Sorry for multiposting. Just so mad.

    Also on the LIBERAL show The Rubin report. /watch?v=h5fXEp4O6Lo
    You are very ignorant on to many things to have a meaningful conversation.

    What? What’s your point? That because the show calls itself liberal, or because you call it liberal, plus the fact that I call myself liberal, that must mean that I should believe whatever the show says? No really, what is your point here? Again, it seems that you’re just doing a giant pissing game. You’re citing authorities vaguely, and not even citing their arguments clearly, and further you should already know that I already know about most of these people, and that I disagree with their positions on these issues. What do you hope to accomplish?

    It’s like you’re trying to appeal nakedly to my tribalism for the word “liberal”. I wish you would know that I have no such loyalty. I will vehemently attack anyone when they step out of line, even if they’re my own mother (which has actually led to severe strain in the relationship).

    Stick to the facts. Stick to the arguments. Cite the arguments of authorities if the arguments stand on their own merits.

    We are not having a dispute about highly academic and technical scientific matters. We are having a dispute about basic philosophy and morality, and thus I will not recognize anyone as an authority on the matter, because there is no such thing as moral authorities. Perhaps someone might make good moral arguments, but their arguments should be comprehensible to all, and they should stand or fall on their own merits.

    Remembering the previous thread on technocracy, plus this one: God damn you’re a fool.

  126. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    lol more straw men… “If you’re going to cite Richard Dawkin and Bill Mayers as ideals and paragons of proper left politics,”

    Never cited them as such. you are out of your league. i pointed out the the phrase has been in the liberal discussion since 2012. heh heh “Paragons”.

    Then why cite them? What was your point of your post?

    And your name is “EnlightenmentLiberal” lol.

    Yes, and?

    What IS your position? that people should not be able to call a transgender person a pronoun that they do not want to be addressed by? what should be done with them? label them as an asshole? is that it? then why even talk about it.

    Absolutely pointless… Shame them into doing what you want? good luck with that pointless exorcise because my bet is people won’t buy into this BS in large enough numbers for that to ever happen. Are you one of those SJW’s that prefer to snap their fingers instead of clapping for fear of “triggering” someone?

    Yes, that is exactly my position. Just like if someone uses the words “nigger” or “boy” to refer to a black person, public shaming is a proper tool to get them to stop.

    And I still don’t know what you mean when you say “buy into this BS”. What BS? I’ve asked many, many times before regarding your use of the word “delusion”. What delusion? What is the delusional belief of trans people? And don’t project your meaning of the word “woman” onto the trans community, because you damn well know that they are using a different definition and meaning of the word “woman”. Are you ever going to explain yourself?

  127. projectp says

    But already explained several times and the last paragraph @ 128. you are not really reading what i post so should i pay attention to what you post?

  128. specialffrog says

    I think projectp’s position is clear: he is the language police trying to stop people from using the modern sense of the word “gender”. Despite this desire to return to things to how they used to be he is not in any way regressive in this desire.

  129. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok. Responding to that:

    I am not arguing that role players are delusional I am specifically talking about people like the 52yr old father that thinks he IS a 6yr old girl. Or someone who thinks their brain was born in the wrong body. At the same time i will not role play along with the role players. I don’t care if you think that makes me an asshole, I already think that of you.

    You’re just projecting.

    From what I can read, the 52 year old does not think that he is a 6 year old girl in terms of his anatomy. You’re projecting your meaning of words onto the speaker, when the speaker is clearly using different meaning. It’s not delusional under the speaker’s clear meaning. It’s only delusional when you get to pick and choose, and insert meanings that are not the speaker’s. That’s dishonest.

    Or someone who thinks their brain was born in the wrong body.

    That’s not delusional. That’s back up by real science in some cases. Links from above:

    https://sites.psu.edu/evolutionofhumansexuality/2014/04/07/gender-identity-nature-vs-nurture/

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr04/gender.aspx

    Ok. And so what if they’re wrong about that. What does that have to do with the basic human decency of addressing the person in the way that they want to be addressed? It’s almost exactly comparable to saying “please” and “thank you”. At that first level, it’s just part of basic human decency. Do you say “please” and “thank you”. Or do you think that expectations that you say “please” and “thank you” are stifling your free speech, and it’s just a form of that evil political correctness? For the life of me, I still cannot fathom what you find so difficult about basic social ettiquette. And this is coming from me for god’s sake, one of the worst people ever in basic social skills.

    I asked you before. I’ll ask again: How the 52 year old delusional? What belief of his is actually demonstrably false?

  130. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And suppose I should have written “hers”. Meh. Did I mention I’m bad at this whole social ettiquette thing? Stupid gendered pronouns.

  131. adamah says

    EL said:

    What delusion? What beliefs are delusional? I’ve explained in excruciating detail that they are not delusional. They do not hold demonstrably false beliefs.

    They also don’t hold demonstrably true beliefs either, since there’s no way to independently confirm gender ID.

    In fact, compared to fMRI studies conducted on voice-hearers that have validated their perceptions by showing tangible proof that activity I occurring in the regions of the brain used when hearing external voices, trans individuals are operating on blind faith, and asking us to do, too….

    And you’re certainly not claiming all trans- individuals claiming to feel like the other gender are not actually deceiving themselves? Certainly you’re not that clueless, are you?

    If so, you apparently haven’t heard of the story of Mike Penner (aka Christine Daniels, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times) who committed suicide in late 2009. Mike underwent sex reassignment surgery and despite presenting as a female for some time, she/he committed suicide a few years later when he came to regret the decision; worse, he faced blowback from the trans community by feeling guilty for not feeling good about his decision.

    So who’s literally killing people, again?

    Certainly you’re not suggesting all trans individuals will absolutely not later decide they made a HUGE mistake, and experience regret?

    If so, take a look here, as here’s one individual who’d beg to differ with you:

    http://www.sexchangeregret.com

    (Let me guess your likely response: he’s an asshat, since he’s OBVIOUSLY lying about feeling regret (when he clearly wasn’t delusional or deceiving himself and others when he said he felt like a woman. M’kay, lay that double standard on us….)

    So sure, let’s talk scientific research that has studied the issue: EL, what is the suicide rate amongst transgendered individuals who underwent reassignment surgery?

  132. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    (Let me guess your likely response: he’s an asshat, since he’s OBVIOUSLY lying about feeling regret (when he clearly wasn’t delusional or deceiving himself and others when he said he felt like a woman. M’kay, lay that double standard on us….)

    I assume this was partially snarky, but also partially serious.

    No. Unlike you, I don’t second guess people’s own feelings and identity. That’s why I hold the right to self determination to be one of my highest values. I also generally assume a good modicum of principle of charity, and so I generally start with the assumption of honesty, and only accuse someone of dishonesty with good basis. I do that in part because I feel it makes for the most productive conversations, because it allows me to take the high road.

    To the extent that you were serious here, I have no idea why you would think that I would ever accuse that person of lying. Your prediction of my behavior makes no sense. There’s no reason for you to have that expectation of me.

    To be clear – the obvious solutions are 1- he initially made a mistake w.r.t. his sex change surgery, 2- he wasn’t mistaken, but she faced so much criticism and anguish from people like you that she thought she would be happier as a man. Neither obvious solution involves lying. Of course, maybe it’s some mix of the two, or maybe it’s something else. Based purely on your description, I see no reason to assume lying.

    And based purely on your description:

    worse, he faced blowback from the trans community by feeling guilty for not feeling good about his decision.

    Based on just your description, I say that the members of the trans community which gave blowback – I say that those people are asshats, and hypocrites. Hypocrites for not “trusting” in his own feelings, and not letting the person live their life in the way that they see fit.

    Of course, I suspect the real situation is a bit more complex than what you’re making it out to be, and I suspect that if this blowback is true, then you haven’t given a full and accurate recount of what actually transpired.

  133. Monocle Smile says

    @projectp
    The definition got more accurate. Gender refers to psychology. Sex refers to biology. The terms changed to reflect our understanding. You appear to only see it as “regressive” because you’re an old shitpile who resists change at every corner unless you think of it yourself.

  134. projectp says

    MS you can explain away all you want, we all know what the concept is you are wasting your time. The fact that you can’t not see how this muddies the waters just shows your stupidity. The intelligent thing to do would have been to make a new word. You are so wrong about everything and i always just wait for you to put your foot in your mouth. Never have to wait long. Now it is time to tell you that i am not an old man. Once again MS fails. i’m sure you are used to it.

  135. =8)-DX says

    @projectp #146

    MS you can explain away all you want, we all know what the concept is you are wasting your time.

    As has been amply demonstrated above, you are failing to understand concepts, because you have decided to adhere to certain (limited) definitions, rather than understand the topic at hand. Definitions of words are descriptions of common usage. Common language usage includes the definition of “atheist” as “believes there is no god”, or “woman” as “a member of the female sex”. Common usage also includes things like “theory” meaning “an idea someone had” instead of “large body of scientific knowledge which explains the associated empirical observations and has been thoroughly tested.” (or somesuch).

    What is muddying the waters is your failure to understand that language doesn’t define people, rather people use language to describe their experiences. If the clever thing is to “make a new word”, then you should be fine with (and try to understand) trans people talking about gender, gender disphoria, sex assigned at birth, gender identity, presentation, passing, MTF, FTM, HRT. Yeah people who you don’t understand should “make a new word” to describe themselves but it can’t be any word actually used in the English language or associated with the thing they are trying to describe.

    There was this radical notion a few years back, that “women are people” and then for instance that “marital rape happens”, or “birth control is healthcare”. Using existing language in novel ways to describe newly perceived realities is (and has always been) the only way to “make new words”. Unless you still consider “woman” to mean “property of the husband” or “atheist” to mean “god hater” or “man” to mean “property owner, voter” or “black person” to mean “slave, property”, you are being the biggest hypocrite yourself.

  136. indianajones says

    Adamah. Your propensity to wander off into tangents and not actually address the points I would like clarified (eg as far as I can tell your most recent answer was because Russell says and because you’re not a pantheistic. Before that there was something about because Einstein was a smart guy) wearies me. And I only argue with people who are ‘OMROFLCOPTORZG WRONG ON THE INTERWEBZ’ while it is fun. So whatever but your position is no clearer to me and no doubt that is all my fault.

    Projectp. Please lose your rapidly thinning patience altogether! I wanna see what happens!

  137. specialffrog says

    projectp: The modern use of “gender” is “regressive” despite it being novel and yet you wanting to return to the way things were before is not? In what manner does that make any sense? That’s not even coherent under Nawaz’s definition.

    I’ll ask again: in what sense are you a skeptic? A key rule of skepticism is that you should be most auspicious of claims you would like to be true.

  138. specialffrog says

    @joearnold: yes the bigotry against trans people allegedly because of “science” or something is fairly disturbing.

  139. projectp says

    According to brand new rules that were just issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, you could potentially be fined $250,000 if you purposely offend someone that is transgender. This includes such offenses as calling a transgender man “him” when he wants to be called “her”, or not allowing a transgender woman to use the women’s bathroom. This only applies to employees of the city obviously. This is not progressive or fair.

    Nawaz’s definition has been expanded on as i am sure you know so WTF are you talking about? The same philosophy of “making the world a more comfortable place” at the expense of your own freedom/ideals is regressive. SJW’s and 3 wave feminist fall into this category as well.

    Gender has been redefined so that when you ask someone “what is your gender” it doesn’t really tell you anything. This is not progressive either. It muddies the water and makes the word almost useless. Gender = A or B, is now Gender = A or B or A & B That is an illogical equation.

    In your regressive minds it is not possible to disagree without hate, this is foolish and illogical.

  140. tonyinbatavia says

    I dunno. I think you can be a fuckhead without hating. But be clear: You’re still being a fuckhead.

    By the way, I don’t think you use the word “regressive” nearly enough. As the go-to supposed put-down used by assholes who believe they’re actually giving offense while merely transmitting immediately what asshats they are, you haven’t reinforced nearly enough just what a asswipe you are. C’mon, projectp, up your game and use this already-meaningless phrase much more so we can continuously be reminded that your opinions are complete shit.

  141. specialffrog says

    @projectp: Do you think public employees should be able to be racist, sexist or homophobic in their interactions with the public? If so, you believe in an imaginary version of free speech that has never existed and shouldn’t. Do you think that free speech means that people can’t criticize you for saying stuff or that employers can’t fire you for your behaviour?
    If not, your entire argument is still that transgender isn’t a real thing, which you have been unwilling to defend.
    So pretend that I am “regressive” all you like. The argument you are making has been tried in other contexts and has not fared well (see changing definitions of marriage).

  142. projectp says

    tonyinbatavia It is your opinion that my opinion is complete shit. i guess i should go and cry in the corner as the over the top PC crowd does when someone uses an offensive word. I find the arguments you are making offensive but you don’t hear me crying for people to get fired because of it. I can just be happy i am not a shit-heel like you.

    SF The argument has not fared well only with people like you. It has fared very well with a lot of people. Just because you are the majority on this tiny blog doesn’t mean anything. Even if you were the majority it wouldn’t make you right.
    when calling someone him when they are a male, that is the point we have regressed as a society. I do not want the authoritarian world you want. People should be able to say whatever they want free speech.

    And no gay marriage is not even close to being the same. We are talking about biological facts vs human ideas and concepts.

  143. projectp says

    “when calling someone him when they are a male,” should read “calling someone him when they are a male, can get your fired, that is the point we have regressed to”.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    According to brand new rules that were just issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, you could potentially be fined $250,000 if you purposely offend someone that is transgender. This includes such offenses as calling a transgender man “him” when he wants to be called “her”, or not allowing a transgender woman to use the women’s bathroom. This only applies to employees of the city obviously. This is not progressive or fair.

    Where have any of us called for anything like this? Nowhere as far as I can tell. This is another classic strawman. You’re saddling us with a position that is not our own, then attacking it, and then also expecting us to defend it. I think it’s again another instance of projection, where you are projecting your own tribalism onto us. Unlike you, many of us here will quickly and vehemently disagree with any of our own “tribe” when we think that they are wrong. This is just another example of your wrong-headed thinking; ex: you tried to pull it before by citing Dawkins and Mayer, as though we’re supposed to give a fuck what they think on this topic. (You said that wasn’t your intent, and I don’t buy it; I think that was another lie.)

    It has fared very well with a lot of people. Just because you are the majority on this tiny blog doesn’t mean anything.

    Just another instance of your projection of tribalistic thinking. Another strawman. You’re arguing with us, not with the other “regressive liberals” of the world. I have no personal responsibility to defend any viewpoint which I do not actually hold. I have no personal responsibility to adopt and defend positions of groups for which I am not a member. I get to decide what groups I belong to, and what tribal and group identification labels apply to me.

    I agree with you concerning the New York Law. If you want to argue with someone who supports the New York Law, then go find someone that supports the New York Law, or at the very least find someone who is part of an organized political group that sponsored the bill, pushed for the bill, raised money for advertising for the bill, etc., because I am not a member of any such group.

    Knock this shit off already. It’s ridiculous dishonest.

    PS:
    Also, the constitutionality of that New York Law is highly questionable. I’m pretty sure that if it’s passed, then it would be struck down immediately by the courts. The city is free to fire any employee for behavior that it does not want from its employees, but imposing fines is a power that the government does not have, even over its employees.

  145. projectp says

    EL Once again i will tell you i wasnt citing the for political point, but to show that “regressive” was being talked about for a long time by people who identify as liberal. your the one attacking strawmen.

    As far as the law goes I WAS NOT TALKING TO YOU. EL = daft.

    ” I’m pretty sure that if it’s passed, then it would be struck down immediately by the courts. ”

    It is already law in NYC.
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/downloads/pdf/publications/GenderID_InterpretiveGuide_2015.pdf
    Local Law No. 3 (2002); N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-102(23)
    wrong again…

  146. StonedRanger says

    Will someone please wake me up when everyone realizes that trying to have a conversation with project was a waste of time several shows back and its a waste of time now. Shaking my head again. Pretty soon Im going to have great big neck muscles from it.

  147. specialffrog says

    Projectp: So to confirm, you think that people should be free to say racist things to people without worrying about being fired? In almost twenty years of employment I have never worked anywhere without policies around that. You can’t be arrested for being an asshole but it isn’t inherently consequence free.

    And are you saying that sexual orientation is biological but gender identification isn’t? Citation needed.

    And the gay marriage parallel is apt because opponents of that tried to pretend they weren’t just repeating the arguments racists were making twenty years prior.

  148. chikoppi says

    Yikes. This thread.

    My understanding. The brain manifests some of the behavioral and psychological characteristics typically included in what society describes as “gender.” These characteristics are inherent to brain physiology and typically correlate to, but are not caused by, other biological traits such as genitalia or chromosomes.

    For some people the physiology of the brain generates gender characteristics that do not follow the typical pattern of biological correlation.

    Are they bad people? No. Are they sick because their gender experience doesn’t map to the norm? I don’t think so. Do they deserve human decency, perhaps even an abundance of deference due to their plight navigating a society that largely ignores their experience? Yes, I think that would be appropriate.

    Gender isn’t strictly binary. “Not typical” isn’t “broken.” Has genitalia “X” is not the sole determinant, or perhaps even the most useful determinant, of gender identity.

    If a person who looks like a male tells me they identify psychologically with the female gender and prefer that pronoun, so be it. I’m not going to call them a liar or add to their distress by imposing an arbitrary label merely for my own convenience.

    Nothing about this has to do with “language police.” I think it has to do with recognizing that, in some instances, some seemingly simple concepts are a little more nuanced than we typically have to acknowledge.

  149. projectp says

    SF: The only speech that needs to be protected is offensive speech. No one needs to protect “I love you, have a nice day!”
    So yes i think you should be able to say anything you want without being fired for saying something offensive.
    Now if the content of what you are promoting goes against the organizations goals and you want to go in another direction that is a conflict of ideas and you should part ways. But saying “him” to a male that wants to be called “her” is not an offence you should be fired/fined for. If you say nigger/honky or whatever no you should not be fired. The line should be drawn ONLY at physical violence or theft.

    Honestly, I would rather know what a person really thinks.

  150. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    But saying “him” to a male that wants to be called “her” is not an offence you should be fired/fined for. If you say nigger/honky or whatever no you should not be fired. The line should be drawn ONLY at physical violence or theft.

    And at this point, I don’t even have to say anything to ridicule projectp or to rebut his positions. All I need to do is quote projectp; no quote-mining needed!

    So yea. I guess I’m done with projectp. Sorry if I annoyed anyone else with the lots of back-and-forth posts.

  151. Chikoppi says

    What? If a person employed in the private sector is consistently and needlessly offensive to customers that person should be fired. I don’t pay someone to express their personal views. I pay them to do a job.

    If a person employed in the public sector, acting in the capacity of providing government service, creates an environment of intimidation or discrimination they should be fired. Individuals don’t get to decide who has the right to access common goods and services. That is determined through a constitutional and democratic process.

    You have some truly bizarre ideas if you think either of those situations equate to totalitarianism.

  152. projectp says

    I think we are talking apples and oranges. I am talking about freedom of speech in general. Also the specific case of workers talking among themselves. Of course you have the right to fire anyone you hire for just about whatever you want.
    I just don’t think you SHOULD fire someone for saying him/her to another worker when the other worker wanted the opposite pronoun. it is much more nuanced than i care to type i guess.

  153. projectp says

    Never was talking about an employee talking shit to a customer. Don’t know where you got that idea…

  154. projectp says

    Constant harassment of one employee to another is also different than using the wrong pronoun and would constitute more more than name calling on one occasion which is what we were talking about. At least what i was talking about. But you people like to spin…

  155. Patrick67 says

    @projectp:

    I’ve been watching this particular show blog without comment, but I think its time to leave one. I’ve seen many of your postings on other shows and almost to a one you seem to be confrontational on every subject. Not that there is anything wrong with that up to a point, but on each of the shows you have commented on you seem to have made a point to try to point out flaws in the thinking of the hosts and the regular group of responders to the blog. If it were just you I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about it but I see more than just you doing it, not only here but on the show’s Facebook page. I know that I will hear about it from you a little later today no doubt, but unlike some of the others on this post I don’t care. There is no doubt in my mind there is a semi-organized group that seems to be trolling the AE at the moment. It’s an attempt to discredit the show. You’re not fooling me. You are a Troll. Your whole purpose here is to cause anger and to make sure you point it out, even at the expense of getting angry yourself. While I am not certain of this, there is a red flag going off about you that says you are not even an Atheist. So much of what you allude to in your posts is the same kind of logic disconnect I run into on science sites with creationists and ID supporters. Some of the things you speak of as already mentioned by others are from the same logic as used against racial equality, sexual equality, and sexual orientation equality. It’s the “free speech” BS that I hear in real life and other sites. It’s the “I support free speech as long as it allows me to be rude and hateful towards anyone I don’t agree with” ploy.

    I’ve noticed that you are fixated on transgender pronouns on this particular show blog. Very fixated indeed. And before you start throwing out claims that I’m transgender, I want to nip that in the bud right off the bat. I’m as heterosexual as any man can be and I have never had any desire to change my gender or sexual affiliation whatsoever.

    Do you even know a transgender person projectp? If you do, how do you relate to them on a daily basis. For anyone else out there that reads this, I would be curious about your responses to transgenders you know as well.

    I do know a transgender person who is in the process of transgendering from male to female. While I don’t pretend to have all the latest scientific answers as to why a person feels the desire to live their life as a gender that is opposite of what they are born (I’m not even sure that this is the correct way to express this), but I most assuredly believe there is more to it than just just some arbitrary choice made on a down day over some petty event in a person’s life. Based on what I know of the transgender person I know, I am absolutely certain this didn’t happen on a whim.

    Before I continue I want to ask you another question projectp; how do you converse with a transgender or a “normal” person for that matter with “pronouns?” For example would you say,”Good morning. How are her feeling today? I need some help on a project. Would she like to help me with it?” Just how would any pronouns such as He/She, Him/Her, come into play when relating to someone one on one regardless of transgender or regular gender on a normal every day basis?

    The transgender I know was a man who I will refer to as John for a moment and later as Jane. I worked for several years with this person although not every single day. I operated an injection molding press. John was a machine tech who worked with a group of others to keep the presses up and running properly. If a press went down, I simply paged a machine tech by saying “I need a machine tech to press#, it’s down.” Not even a mention of a name no matter who was on duty at the moment. If the press had a quality issue, I would page a tech stating that I had a particular quality issue with press#. Who ever responded would stop by the press and ask to see a sample. I would show it to them and they would adjust the press. Day after day I would do my job and almost never did I use the name of a tech and I absolutely never referred to any tech by the pronouns he/she or him/her in all the years I ran a press. There was never a need. I did use you a lot.

    During this period John began to transgender to a woman. He approached HR about it and people who worked with him were notified accordingly. I continued to work with Jane for about three years until I retired and never once did calling her Jane or using those hated pronouns of yours ever come up. They were never necessary in everyday conversation. That is why I question your worry over pronouns. The only reason anyone would have to use the pronouns you are referring to, including the Transgender person, is if someone was discussing that person in the 3rd person. I suppose that if you were a supervisor and had to include the transgender person in a report you would have to use the pronouns or at least their name.

    Unless you just had the desire to be rude to the transgender person for some reason the use of the pronouns would never come up. I just don’t understand your need to feel you need to reserve the right to be rude to such a person, whether you agree with their gender claims or not. When it comes down to the bottom line in life, you can choose to be a dick about certain issues that you don’t agree with, or you can decide to show compassion even if you don’t agree and not be a dick. I’m just not sure why this seems to be such a terrible decision for you.

    And by the way, on the day I retired I made a special point to call Jane by her chosen name Jane. No big deal, but I did get a smile from her and a thank you.

  156. specialffrog says

    @projectp: you don’t appear to understand the constitution if you think the first amendment means you can say anything with no consequences.
    See my previous comments about core principles of skepticism because a lot of what you believe is demonstrably untrue. Maybe try learning about things before you argue about them?

  157. Chikoppi says

    projectp, you said:

    “The line should be drawn ONLY at physical violence or theft.”

    And then:

    “Constant harassment of one employee to another is also different than using the wrong pronoun and would constitute more more than name calling on one occasion which is what we were talking about. At least what i was talking about. But you people like to spin…”

    I think you are still considering your position on some of these issues. So am I. I admit to not having a nuanced understanding of the transgender experience. I do accept that it is a very real phenomenon for some individuals and that it has the potential to cause a great deal of distress. I would prefer that my ignorance not be the cause of suffering for others, so I act with an abundance of caution; erring on the side of deference, if you like.

    You’ll have to choose how you engage with others as well. I’ll merely encourage you to consider their welfare in equal measure with your own.

  158. projectp says

    Patrick67

    1. I have only commented on 1 other thread here.
    2. I do not have facebook.

    After seeing you had no idea of what you were talking about, i just stopped reading your post.

    Chikoppi

    yeah we should all constantly reevaluate things. But I still think that speech is not a problem, i do not equate harassment with speech. in other words when voicing your opinion you should be able to voice it without fear of being jailed/fined etc. I was never talking about fucking with someone everyday. I think any reasonable person would agree.

  159. projectp says

    SF I think I understand it well enough to know that people can call someone a honky etc without being fined or jailed.
    If you have an undesirable opinion and voice it you will not be jailed for that either (westboro church) . If you think that is not true then you are the one who does not understand it.

    There are plenty of people that i disagree with but i stand by their right to speak freely.

  160. specialffrog says

    Projectp: So do you think the constitution means that you can’t be fired for speech or face other non-criminal consequences? Because that is what you were indicating earlier.

  161. Chikoppi says

    projectp, et al.,

    Maybe it would be useful to re-assert the question? I understand it to be, “is it reasonable to refuse to use the gender pronoun preferred by a person who identifies as transgender?”

    This question does not invoke censorship or first amendment issues. It is assumed the speaker has the right to refuse use of the preferred pronoun. We can also separate the question from employment situations and assume a non-commerce setting.

    I think I’ve stated my position well enough above and won’t restate it here.

  162. projectp says

    SF said: “Projectp: So do you think the constitution means that you can’t be fired for speech or face other non-criminal consequences? Because that is what you were indicating earlier.”

    WTF is wrong with you people? i NEVER asserted that… I said i feel that you shouldn’t be fired for voicing your opinion. Not harassing anyone and not that is was currently illegal to fire/fine someone in a place of employment… in fact i posted a link to NYC.gov showing that you CAN fine/fire someone for it NOW.

    Chikoppi you have been clear. agreed no need to reassert.

    To your question:

    Yes I think it is reasonable to refuse to use the gender pronoun by a person who identifies as transgender.
    I know in some workplaces you can be fined/fired and i think that is wrong.

    People can be offended by many things that are unreasonable and what is offensive is subjective.
    The craziest thing I have heard so far is the feminist thinking that clapping is offensive so use jazz hands.
    Being scared of offending others just sweeps everything under the rug and honest conversations do not happen.

  163. Patrick67 says

    @project:
    I made a claim that you posted many times on this blog. I couldn’t remember for sure whether there was a 3rd show that you left one comment or not. If that was a mistake then I am sorry, but you most certainly have left many replies on the two posts you did appear on. I never made a claim you posted on Facebook.. I did however make a claim that not only you were trolling on this blog but others were doing it too and that there were others trolling on Facebook in the same way.

    I still want to hear an answer. Do you know and/or work with a transgender person? How do you communicate with them? Why are your fav hated pronouns; he/she and him/her, necessary to talk to them? Assuming a transgender had an actual pronoun set that they preferred, how would you use them when conversing with the person in question?

    Hello. How are he/she? May I have a word with him/her?

    Wouldn’t you always use a gender neutral word such as you in personal conversation? Why would you ever have to use a gender specific pronoun when talking to anybody regardless of real gender or perceived gender? The only possible specific word I ever use when having a conversation is a person’s proper name, and 99% of the time I usually don’t use that unless it is someone I know well, and even then I may only use it in my initial approach to the person.

    The only time I would ever use the he/she or him/her pronouns would be when I was talking about some one to another person or persons. Why are you so fixated on gender pronouns that you probably won’t have any need for in 99% of interactions. Once again, regardless of whether you support transgender people or not, why is it so important to you that you need to reserve the right to be insulting to someone you may barely know. Like I said before in my other post, you have two choices in this issue. One, when faced with a transgender who would prefer to be referred to as a gender you don’t approve of, you can choose to be rude and call them by whatever term you choose to use; or two, you can show empathy and compassion despite your disagreement and show respect by calling them by their preference. Why would anyone choose to be rude? Just because you can? In what world does that make any sense?

  164. adamah says

    EL said:

    Unlike you, I don’t second guess people’s own feelings and identity.

    (Said in my best Mr. Spock impersonation, complete with a raised eyebrow: “Fascinating…”)

    EL, you seemingly lack self-awareness if you don’t recognize the irony of your claiming to not 2nd-guess the thoughts of others, when within the very same sentence you engage in yet another fallacious straw-man attack (“unlike you”).

    In the past, you’ve incorrectly
    assumed I was Caucasian, when I’m not (did my Jewish handle ‘Adamah’ lead you astray? Hint: I’m not Jewish, either).

    You’ve also claimed others were projecting, which would require you to 2nd guess their words since you know their feelings better than they do.

    So for the record, here’s your chance to present evidence where I’ve EVER claimed to know someone’s “feelings” better than they do.

    You can’t do so, as I didn’t.

    Instead, I’ve held consistently that since most people cannot properly express their feelings (much less explain WHY they feel the way they do), and since one’s thinking changes with time, it’s a fool’s errand to claim anyone can know emotional states with absolute certainty.

    Psychology is the field of study which attempts to explain why people do what they do, but since the subjects themselves are quite ‘plastic’, so too necessarily is the science.

    Now on the other hand, if your straw-man was constructed with the intentional goal of deceiving others, now that level of BSing takes balls!

    The nonsense continues with this:

    I also generally assume a good modicum of principle of charity, and so I generally start with the assumption of honesty, and only accuse someone of dishonesty with good basis. I do that in part because I feel it makes for the most productive conversations, because it allows me to take the high road.

    Be honest with me: you must’ve been giggling when you wrote that, right?

    Once again, the exquisite irony of EL perceiving himself as “taking the high-road” whilst bandying the endearing term, ‘asshat’ in almost every post: now that’s just too precious for words, and labeling it as anything other than delusional dysfunction does a disservice to EL.

    (I grant that I may be confusing you with MS, since you both seem cut from the same intolerant cloth; you both seem to be engaged in a battle to see whom can out-Tourettes the other…)

    Anyway, minor regression aside, let’s return to the main topic under discussion, namely, those transgenders who regret their decision to transition.

    EL said:

    To be clear – the obvious solutions are 1- he initially made a mistake w.r.t. his sex change surgery, 2- he wasn’t mistaken, but she faced so much criticism and anguish from people like you that she thought she would be happier as a man. Neither obvious solution involves lying.

    Of course, maybe it’s some mix of the two, or maybe it’s something else. Based purely on your description, I see no reason to assume lying.

    If you cannot tell (and apparently you cannot), I was mocking your characteristic hyperbolic style of attack with my use of the word, “lie”.

    Since you apparently missed the sarcasm, please feel free to substitute another term that reflects my actual position: ‘self-delusion’, which doesn’t require having any intent to deceive others (since the person may actually believe it to be true).

    After all, that’s my position on the subject: an unknown # of transgender individuals are likely self-deluded, repeating a false narrative, thanks to the same societal forces that drive acceptance of other delusional beliefs (e.g. professing a belief in God, or in a Xian Nation, those social forces driving adoption of a non-mainstream controversial religious belief, eg Scientology, JW’s, etc).

    You asked for an example of someone who considers such people as deluded: here’s a direct quote from Walt Heyer’s site, where he uses the term ‘delusional’:
    http://www.sexchangeregret.com/research

    you feel trapped in the wrong body, all you need is sex change surgery and your problems will go away and your dreams will come true, right?

    No. The fact is: surgery will not fix the underlying delusional psychological problems that caused the request for surgery.

    Granted, Walt is not a mental-health professional, but simply a transgender individual who underwent transitional surgery, and hence has first-hand experience with the issue (as well as discussing the issue with more transgender folks than we can shake a stick at).

    BTW, it’s interesting to note that you admit in #1 that the decision to transition may in fact be a mistake for some?

    Unless you can provide an alternative explanation, for all intents and purposes you’re actually agreeing it to be self-delusion: believing something to be true which actually isn’t, experiencing a revelation that occurs after you’ve had time to reconsider.

    I suspect many trans- individuals are much like Walt Heyer was before he transitioned, viewing it as the panacea that’ll finally bring them happiness and peace. But as Walt says elsewhere, it’s important to work through personal issues and learn to be comfortable in one’s own ‘skin’, since there’s a veritable cottage industry in medicine sprouting up to push such cash-pay medical/surgical procedures as a cure-all for gender dysphoria, when a sober analysis of the stats shows it falls far from the mark.

    Such a recognition is something few trans- activists are willing to acknowledge, since they’re too busy over-reaching by engaging in ‘special pleading’ to not give equality, but special privileges to the transgendered.

    Adamah said:

    worse, he faced blowback from the trans community and felt guilt for not feeling good about his decision.

    EL said:

    Based on just your description, I say that the members of the trans community which gave blowback – I say that those people are asshats, and hypocrites. Hypocrites for not “trusting” in his own feelings, and not letting the person live their life in the way that they see fit.

    Of course, I suspect the real situation is a bit more complex than what you’re making it out to be, and I suspect that if this blowback is true, then you haven’t given a full and accurate recount of what actually transpired.

    It’s good to see you acknowledge the existence of other possible explanations, as it not hard to imagine that trans- seek out like-minded individuals who tell each other what they want to hear. But like all subcultures, members risk losing the only social network they often have if they openly and honestly discuss their experiencing regret.

    Upshot is they find themselves more socially-isolated than ever before, since they’re now outcast from the group of outcasts.

    BTW, I’ve noted your non-response asking for thoughts on Rachel D.?

    It’s no wonder you’re reluctant to discuss the case, since bringing up her name must place you in quite a conundrum, for here’s a white woman who claims special affinity and membership in a minority group, when her genes and phenotype would suggest otherwise.

    How is this Caucasian woman not a CLASSIC example of your dreaded “white privilege”, with her adopting the identity of a black female and offering only her feelings as sole justification?

    Are one’s feelings the Universal “get out of jail free” card now, i.e. any action or claim is OK, just as long as one says they really feel it in their heart of hearts?

    How is that any different from believers who defend their belief in God based only on THEIR feelings?

    My, oh my….. And some here dare to self-identify as rationalists, when the evidence would suggest otherwise!

    Hint: if you’re driven by guiding principles ( e.g. equality), you should be able to insert any ideology into the argument, and it would be just as cogent. Anything that demands “special pleading” should be recognized as such, and the person bears the burden of providing extraordinary evidence to justify its adoption.

    As far as the science goes, your Googling ‘transgender neurology’ only reveals you’re likely a lay-person: a medical professional would likely use Lexis/Nexus, etc. to review current research into transgender issues: such paid services catalog and show results of studies published in the med. literature (and are not going to display articles that appeared in USA Today).

    That minor point aside, you DO understand that conducting medical research is World’s apart from developing clinical tools and diagnostic criteria to be used in a clinical setting to provide a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, right?

    As even an educated lay-person SHOULD know, there currently are no clinical means available to test and confirm a pt’s claim of ‘gender dysphoria’; psychiatrists and psychologists are still relying on interviews with pts, etc. You’re suggesting a completely objective ICD-10 exists for ‘gender dysphoria’, when that’s simply not the case.

    I’m aware of the study conducted in China last year which reported finding characteristic patterns in the MRI of trans- individuals, but while its interesting and promising findings, it’ll require YEARS of further testing and refinement in order to develop diagnostic criteria.

    Even then, as a best-case scenario, such results would likely only give a high-probability of an accurate diagnosis (which is a hugely difficult task, given the spectrum and fluidity of human sexuality which you’ve acknowledged above). Before that happens, it would be grossly improper and misleading to conclude the existence of characteristic brain activity patterns in a small group of trans- individuals can be used on others to serve as a “gender ID” test, since the existence of ‘false positives’ and ‘false negatives’ makes that claim to be fraught with peril, as it’s incredibly improper to apply obtained results (“these transgendered individuals participating in the study share a characteristic pattern in their MRI”) to the individual (“therefore, anyone showing a similar pattern is transgender”).

    You cannot have your cake and eat it, too, coming up with simple answers to complex issues; there’s still much more work left to do.

    BTW, I’m reminded of the show from a few weeks ago where Don chuckled over the sheer silliness of Ted Cruz’s suggestion that only Syrian Xians should be given refugee status, for how do we determine who a “true” Xian is?

    Following the lead of neuroscientists studying gender identity issues with MRI, I suppose we could conduct studies on Syrian Xians, and look for characteristic patterns of activity in their brains when they view Xian iconology, and we’d be there!

    Yet a week or two later, here’s EL, vastly over-reaching by suggesting we currently have the means to validate a person’s innermost feelings via clinical methodology.

    Say what? Not even close… (That goes to the comment above about mic-dropping after saying “science, bitches!”)

    If there’s a better example of selective bias (i.e. giving preferential treatment to those ideas we’d most like to be true), then I cannot imagine what it might be.

    BTW, the co-morbidity with mental illness amongst the transgendered population is also something GLBT advocates and mainstream media won’t be shouting from the trees, but it’s well-documented in the literature.

    Here’s an article Walt Heyer wrote for the purposes of raising public awareness of the problem:

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/19/transgender-regret-is-real-even-if-the-media-tell-you-otherwise/

    So I repeat the direct question I asked you above: what is the suicide rate amongst transgendered individuals who underwent reassignment surgery?

    Hint: it’s HIGHER than that of transgendered who haven’t undergone transitional surgery….

  165. Monocle Smile says

    @adam
    You work way too hard at being a fuckstick. Like I sai before, this is how you masturbate. Nobody is going to read the entirety of that pitiful rant.

  166. projectp says

    There are two kinds of people here (this debate) people like EL and MS and people like Chikoppi and I.

    EL and MS are both here to prove people wrong and that is all they want to do. I won’t go into the motivations but here is a great example. EL said “I will vehemently attack anyone when they step out of line, even if they’re my own mother”

    wow, “step out of line”… and deliberate twisting of my positions. nuf said..

    MS is like the little chihuahua that follows the pit bull EL whatever EL says goes (most of the time). case in point @38 and 39. But at 39 he tries to get it going and set the direction. No real opinion of his own, just what the herd thinks and then its off to shout it as loud and rude as possible. I would bet my life that if EL would have not said he didn’t find much in disagreement at that point then MS would have went full steam ahead. Your argument does not matter he will not pay attention to it especially if it shows him to be wrong. When all else fails he will just dismiss and attack.

    Then you have Chikoppi who is here to discuss things and really find out what other people think. While he disagrees with me on the pronoun thing ( i think) his goal is to discuss and not just prove someone wrong.

  167. adamah says

    Projectp said:

    EL and MS are both here to provepeople wrong and that is all they want to do.

    From here, it looks like you have a very-low threshold for your definition of the word, ‘prove’, since it’s more like they both want the exclusive right to be able to declare others as wrong, and no one dare question their royal edict or its off with the heads!

    That’s just bald-faced authoritarianism, in my book.

    MS angrily sputtered:

    @adam
    You work way too hard at being a fuckstick. Like I sai before, this is how you masturbate. Nobody is going to read the entirety of that pitiful rant.

    Stephanie, is that you? For if not, you sure seem invested in this discussion of transgenderism as if it’s highly-personal to you, and you’ve apparently lost all sense of objectivity and rationality.

    Once again, I’m reminded of the AE show where Russell pointed out the futility of trying to present evidence when the other person only puts their fingers in their ears and chants, “La-la-la! I can’t hear you!”

    Anyway, the disconfirmatory evidence is out there for anyone who’s open-minded and unbiased enough to consider it.

  168. projectp says

    adamah said:

    “From here, it looks like you have a very-low threshold for your definition of the word, ‘prove’, since it’s more like they both want the exclusive right to be able to declare others as wrong, and no one dare question their royal edict or its off with the heads!
    That’s just bald-faced authoritarianism, in my book.”

    lol , yeah but i should have added that they failed to prove anything and it was exclusively a desire.

    I would love for them to respond to your post @181.

  169. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If you cannot tell (and apparently you cannot), I was mocking your characteristic hyperbolic style of attack with my use of the word, “lie”.

    Protip: Sarcasm doesn’t carry well on the internet. I suggest you use a smilie or other indicator when you mean to be sarcastic. Also, see “Poe’s Law”.

    Of course there will be some people who have sex change hormones and surgery for whom it was a mistake, and for whom they will later recognize it as a mistake, and where that it is objectively a mistake. That’s a simple, obvious, and undeniable conclusion from the facts about the number of people on the planet, and the fact that people are not infallible, plus basic statistics.

    Also, delusion is a strong word. I believe the following definition is from DSM-5:
    A false belief based on an incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

    Optionally, as Richard Carrier argued once, it may be reasonable to weaken that definition slightly to include religious people and other widespread delusions. I have mixed opinions about this, but I mention it anyway:
    A false belief based on an incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

    A mere false belief is not a delusion. A mere mistaken belief about the world is not a delusion.

    For example, if I order a particular meal from a restaurant, and I do not like its taste, then that would be a mistake. While ordering the meal, I might have had the belief that I would enjoy the meal, but that belief was false. However, because I did not yet have access to incontrovertible proof to the contrary, the false belief did not rise to the level of a delusion.

    And again, I ask: What is the belief of trans people that is delusional? You may think it obvious, but your thoughts on the topic are not obvious to me. Please state succintly, explicitly, and as clearly as possible, the belief or list of beliefs which you claim are delusional. Your thoughts on this topic are still far from clear.

    when a sober analysis of the stats shows it falls far from the mark.

    Citations please.

    Of course, this is highly dependent on you being able to clearly articulate an answer to the above question.

    How is that any different from believers who defend their belief in God based only on THEIR feelings?

    Again, I fail to see a connection, and I’m pretty sure that’s because you’re painting a strawman of the trans position. That I cannot confirm until you’re able and willing to clearly specify what you believe are the delusional beliefs.

    Hint: if you’re driven by guiding principles ( e.g. equality), you should be able to insert any ideology into the argument, and it would be just as cogent.

    Uh, no. People who claim that god exists are making a material, falsifiable claim about external reality. They are making the claim that some powerful creature exists, which stands or falls on its own merits.

    AFAIK, trans people are merely expressing themselves. “Claiming that a powerful creature exists” and “expressing one’s own feelings” are fundamentally different, and your argument falls apart. In general, the foremost expert on someone’s own feelings are the person themself. That’s the basis of the harm principle, of the right to self determination.

    Rachel D

    You asked that as a general question, not to me specifically, and I didn’t have anything terribly useful to say. This also reminds me of the whole problem of TERFs vs trans. It seems to be a similar if not the same issue. It also puts the problem into a new light for me.

    Couple gut reactions:

    I’ve seen seemingly good evidence (quoted above) that there is a biological basis for an anatomical man to mentally identify as a woman. Based on my current knowledge, I have very, very low odds for any sort of biological basis that would cause a white person to mentally identify as a black person. Having said that…

    Again, self determination. If that person wants to “pretend” to be black when they were born white, whatever. I don’t care. It’s actually easier on me here, because it won’t affect the way I treat them at all (mostly), unlike the minimal annoyance with trans people where I have to remember the right pronoun. There might be some obscure points that are hard to resolve – I’m thinking specifically of affirmative action programs of colleges – but one could raise similar concerns for trans men to women, and I don’t remember anyone even bringing that up, and so I conclude abuse is rare.

    I need to examine my own opinions now. I suspect that there is a greater outcry from the public on cultural appropriation for the black-to-white, but it seems to me to be the same problem of man-to-woman and the concerns of TERFs, where there is far less outcry. I’m tempted to attribute some of that to white guilt, guilt over colonialism, and cultural relativism gone awry, aka the concern over the white person “pretending” to be a black person seems overblown, IMHO, but again, just like with the TERFs, I am somewhat sympathetic to the position of people who are upset when the white person “pretended” to be a black person, even if I think overall that they’re wrong.

    I can’t give you a hard answer, except again to emphasize my respect of self determination, because I don’t know. In other words, I like being inclusive. In other words, I am tolerant of those who are tolerant, and I am intolerant of those who are intolerance. In other words, I am inclusive of those who are inclusive, and I am exclusive of those who are exclusive. In other words, if someone is living their life in the way that they see fit, and if they’re not harming anyone else (minus informed consenting adults), then at worst you should talk to them if you think that they’re making a mistake, but otherwise you should live and let live.

    And in result, it seems like you’re one of the people who take a piss on the whole of psychology because it’s not rooted in biology or hard neurology. Gotcha.

    Even then, as a best-case scenario, such results would likely only give a high-probability of an accurate diagnosis (which is a hugely difficult task, given the spectrum and fluidity of human sexuality which you’ve acknowledged above). Before that happens, it would be grossly improper and misleading to conclude the existence of characteristic brain activity patterns in a small group of trans- individuals can be used on others to serve as a “gender ID” test, since the existence of ‘false positives’ and ‘false negatives’ makes that claim to be fraught with peril, as it’s incredibly improper to apply obtained results (“these transgendered individuals participating in the study share a characteristic pattern in their MRI”) to the individual (“therefore, anyone showing a similar pattern is transgender”).

    And again, I give very little fucks if there’s an identifial biological or neurological basis. That’s what it means to respect the right to self determination, and that is precisely what you seemingly do not yet understand. It mostly does not matter if there’s a biological basis, or if they’re just making it up knowingly and willfully. Does not matter. If and when you realize why it doesn’t matter, then you will realize your fundamental error. Again, it has something to do with basic human decency, being nice, being inclusive, going to reasonable lengths to make others feel welcomed and included, etc., and it doesn’t matter if they’re making it up or if they’re born that way, etc.

    Quoting MS:

    adam
    You work way too hard at being a fuckstick. Like I sai before, this is how you masturbate. Nobody is going to read the entirety of that pitiful rant.

    I did, because I’m silly.

    Quoting Adamah:

    From here, it looks like you have a very-low threshold for your definition of the word, ‘prove’, since it’s more like they both want the exclusive right to be able to declare others as wrong, and no one dare question their royal edict or its off with the heads!

    That’s just bald-faced authoritarianism, in my book.

    Goddamnit. Why do I even bother. Remind me to not engage with Adamah either.

  170. specialffrog says

    @projectp:
    So I said this:
    “So to confirm, you think that people should be free to say racist things to people without worrying about being fired?”

    You replied this:
    “But saying ‘him’ to a male that wants to be called ‘her’ is not an offence you should be fired/fined for. If you say nigger/honky or whatever no you should not be fired. The line should be drawn ONLY at physical violence or theft.”

    EnlightenmentLiberal mocked this position, to which you replied:

    “Thankfully we have the constitution we do.”

    And yet somehow this statement of mine is misrepresenting you:
    “So do you think the constitution means that you can’t be fired for speech or face other non-criminal consequences? Because that is what you were indicating earlier.”

    Nice try.

    Anyway, I think I’m done with this conversation unless you want to actually provide evidence for any of your claims, such as the fact that sexual orientation is biological but gender identification is purely psychological and that this is a meaningful distinction.

  171. projectp says

    i said that “Thankfully we have the constitution we do.” @166 and it is not in response to anything he just said but to his general authoritarian attitude.

    SF You are a lying piece of shit. I made a complaint about how you can be fired for speech at work @160 .
    You are trying to take me saying i don’t think you should be fired and spin it to me saying you can not be fired!
    I am said we have free speech to say those things outside of work but should have them at work as well. but you know that, you just want to prove someone wrong as well instead of having a discussion.

    Fuck off.

  172. projectp says

    again @ 164

    “So yes i think you should be able to say anything you want without being fired for saying something offensive.”

    note the word SHOULD.

  173. adamah says

    Thought 1:

    EL , you’ve repeatedly acknowledged (and I’ve repeatedly agreed) that it’s impossible to ascertain the innermost thoughts and feelings of others with 100% accuracy, as none of us are telepathic. Instead, we must rely on what others communicate via words, facial expressions, gestures, etc. And since communication is inherently a fallible process, one cannot know with absolute certainty what another person is experiencing or thinking; some degree of speculation and imagination is required.

    Obviously fantasies can differ from reality.

    I’ve gone to great lengths to limit this discussion to those trans- who’ve later expressed regret for their prior decision to transition: unless they’re also mistaken about feeling post-op regret (!), their testimony based on actual life experience is relevant to the discussion (although psychologists openly acknowledge memory of past experiences is sometimes flawed due to subjectivity and selective memory, let’s just set that confounding issue aside for a moment).

    Thought 2:

    Now, if you look at the clinical guidelines for diagnosing gender dysphoria in DSM-V, you’ll see that most of the required criteria are solely reliant on unverifiable reports of symptomatology, e.g. the patient has to self-identify as belonging to the other gender, despite having no actual experience with actually being that gender.

    So if you combine the ideas contained in Thoughts 1 and 2, do you now see the huge ‘fly in the ointment’?

    How can anyone know what it’s like to be the other gender, since a transgender openly acknowledges they’re NOT a member of the other gender (since one required criteria says they must express a desire to be the other gender)? Yet they require such a diagnosis in order to transition via surgery/HT, thus simulating the gender?

    Yet all they have to go on is speculation, merely imagining what it would be like to be a member of the other gender.

    So it’s a logical Catch-22.

    As far as whether they’re intentionally deceiving others or not, the temptation is for the transgendered to repeat those ‘magic words’ to their doctors so they’ll give them a diagnosis so they can transition under a doctors care; psychologist A.A Lawrence warned colleagues of the risk of patient deception in the following letter:

    Lawrence, A. A. (1999). [Letter to the Editor]. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28, 581-583.

    EL, you asked for clarification of what I consider the delusional beliefs to be, since you claim it’s not obvious.

    So stated explicitly, the delusional belief (at least, for those who transitioned, but then experienced post-operative regret) is:

    1) they were born of the wrong gender;

    also, to a lesser extent, the belief that:

    2) transitioning would be a cure for all their woes, where undergoing surgery and HT would make them feel happy and fulfilled if only they snipped-snipped.

    Physicians are all-too familiar with the latter phenomena: clinically it’s referred to as “having unrealistic expectations” for the treatment outcome, and surgeons of all types must deal with patients who have too-high expectations (be it eye surgeons, oncologists, plastic surgeons, etc). In fact, having heightened expectations is actually a contraindication for some procedures.

    “Illusory superiority complex” is partly to blame: many people feel an aura of invincibility, thinking bad things only happen to everyone else, and not them: after all, they’re special.

    Doctors will spend much time delivering an honest informed consent to a patient, only to have them poo-poo their warning as the doctor being excessive worry-warts.

    So belief #2 is not uncommon, and hence its more questionable as to whether it rises to meet the accepted definition of a delusion.

    EL said:

    Of course there will be some people who have sex change hormones and surgery for whom it was a mistake, and for whom they will later recognize it as a mistake, and where that it is objectively a mistake. That’s a simple, obvious, and undeniable conclusion from the facts about the number of people on the planet, and the fact that people are not infallible, plus basic statistics.

    Mostly agreed, except the part where you claimed it to objectively be a mistake.

    In 2016, there is no objective component found within this subjective arena; the closest you’ll come to objective findings are the afore-mentioned MRI studies, and those have yet to be adopted for use in-clinic.

    EL said:

    Also, delusion is a strong word. I believe the following definition is from DSM-5:

    A false belief based on an incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

    OK, that’s one accepted definition of a ‘delusional belief’.

    But note the emboldened words, “external reality”

    Remember, the frame of reference for ‘internal’ in psychology is the human mind; therefore, ‘external reality’ encompasses not just the external world, but also the human body.

    That should be patently obvious when remembering the existence of psychological diagnoses such as ‘body dysmorphia disorder’, where the patient looks in the mirror and sees the bloated face of an obese person looking back at them; everyone else looks at the person and sees a walking anorexic skeleton….

    Keep that ‘external reality’ part in mind, since you failed to note it in your analogy that followed:

    EL said:

    For example, if I order a particular meal from a restaurant, and I do not like its taste, then that would be a mistake. While ordering the meal, I might have had the belief that I would enjoy the meal, but that belief was false.

    However, because I did not yet have access to incontrovertible proof to the contrary, the false belief did not rise to the level of a delusion

    Your analogy fails, since ‘tastes good’ is a matter of subjective opinion, hence open to differing interpretations, even open to differing opinions from the same restaurant critic eating the same exact meal at a later time!

    One’s variable physiology partly determines what tastes good at any given moment, e.g. pregnant women are known to crave bizarre-tasting foods that they’d otherwise find quite distasteful.

    So we don’t even need to consider your analogy as an example of a “delusional belief”, since there is no ‘incontrovertible proof’ to be had when it comes to opinions (i.e. subjective matters of taste).

    On the other hand, when a male looks down and sees his penis dangling from his body, THAT’S an example of an “external reality” that most people would consider as ‘incontrovertible proof’ that he is in fact a male.

    As far as the “almost everyone else believes” requirement for a belief to be considered as delusional, you’d likely not disagree that if we ran a public opinion poll in the form of a multiple-choice test and showed people a picture of a male with a penis, then asked them what gender the person was:

    A) a man,

    B) a woman,

    C) not enough information given.

    The majority would answer ‘A’, when the correct answer actually is ‘C’.

    Hence the danger of ‘appealing to public opinion’, since the delusion definition relies on the general public understanding the difference between gender ID and one’s sex, a subject for which most are largely ignorant (and if they weren’t, Stephanie wouldn’t have needed to call up the show and review basic concepts taught in Human Sexuality 101).

    Another factor you seemed to have missed is it’s not the belief itself that determines whether it’s ‘delusional’ or not, but the presense of a diagnosis which is based on holding such beliefs.

    If you look at DSM-V for diagnosing ‘gender dysphoria’, you’ll see the list of conditions that need to be ruled out includes schizophrenia, a condition where the hallmark symptomology is holding delusional beliefs (such as IDing with the another gender). So the same belief held by different individuals may be delusional when stated by a schizophrenic, yet not so when the belief is validated by giving the person a legitimate “true” diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

    (Yes, I believe the condition is actually real, and does exist: however, the devil is in the details of discerning who actually experiences it, and who doesn’t.)

    So once again to reiterate, it’s not the belief itself that defines whether it’s a delusional belief, but the reason why the person makes such a claim (schizophrenia, intentional deception, gender dysphoria, etc).

    Adamah said:

    when a sober analysis of the stats shows it falls far from the mark.

    EL said:

    Citations please.

    Walt Heyer’s site offers citations to many such studies. Follow the link I posted above, as I’m not doing your reading for you.

    EL said:

    Uh, no. People who claim that god exists are making a material, falsifiable claim about external reality. They are making the claim that some powerful creature exists, which stands or falls on its own merits.

    Come on, you must be pulling my leg!

    Certainly you must’ve heard Matt D. repeatedly explain that the God claim is NOT falsifiable, since it’s a supernatural claim; hence its not open to any scientific inquiry for the purposes of falsifiability. You must be trolling, at this point, as it’s hard to believe you’d make that claim with a straight face.

    EL said:

    AFAIK, trans people are merely expressing themselves. “Claiming that a powerful creature exists” and “expressing one’s own feelings” are fundamentally different, and your argument falls apart. In general, the foremost expert on someone’s own feelings are the person themself. That’s the basis of the harm principle, of the right to self determination.

    Hmmm, it seems EL fails to comprehend the basic difference between matters of personal subjective opinion vs matters of objective truth.

    Saying “I like chocolate ice cream” is on a different level than saying “many plants are green”. EL’s confusion over these basic concepts is the only logical failure I’m seeing.

    Now, moving on to Rachel D, EL said:

    I can’t give you a hard answer, except again to emphasize my respect of self determination, because I don’t know.

    So why doesn’t your respect for the principle of self-determination apply to EVERYONE else too, including those who’d openly disagree with you?

    Don’t look now, but someone’s bias is showing….

    In other words, if someone is living their life in the way that they see fit, and if they’re not harming anyone else (minus informed consenting adults), then at worst you should talk to them if you think that they’re making a mistake, but otherwise you should live and let live.

    Oh, the irony of EL claiming to follow the “live and let live” principle, while his posting history reflects a pattern of attacking anyone who disagrees with the most venomous ad hominems his feeble mind can muster…

    Oh, on this random snipe:

    And in result, it seems like you’re one of the people who take a piss on the whole of psychology because it’s not rooted in biology or hard neurology. Gotcha.

    Wrong again, Bucko: apparently you’ve not read any articles on my blog, where I’ve used the work of Zimbardo and other psychologists as the basis of my own writing, with their studies applied to JWs.

    And then we come to this frank admission of defeat (AKA moving the goalpost):

    And again, I give very little fucks if there’s an identifial biological or neurological basis. That’s what it means to respect the right to self determination, and that is precisely what you seemingly do not yet understand. It mostly does not matter if there’s a biological basis, or if they’re just making it up knowingly and willfully. Does not matter.

    And thar she blows, folks.

    An admission that truth and reality doesn’t matter to EL in the least, since he claims self-determinism as his highest value, which apparently includes the right to lie to others with impunity, even saying this:

    Again, it has something to do with basic human decency, being nice, being inclusive, going to reasonable lengths to make others feel welcomed and included, etc., and it doesn’t matter if they’re making it up or if they’re born that way, etc.

    This is where differing values come into play, since I believe as rationalists ,we have a duty to call a spade a spade, relying on evidence to best choose how to lead our lives.

    So why go through the pretense of respecting evidence, when you actually value feelings over rationality?

    Are you SURE you’re not a theist?

    Quoting Adamah:

    From here, it looks like you have a very-low threshold for your definition of the word, ‘prove’, since it’s more like they both want the exclusive right to be able to declare others as wrong, and no one dare question their royal edict or its off with the heads!

    That’s just bald-faced authoritarianism, in my book.

    EL responded:

    Goddamnit. Why do I even bother. Remind me to not engage with Adamah either.

    Why do you even bother posting here, if you’re ultimately going to claim self-determinism as your highest value? You’re going to do what you will, believe what you will believe, despite what anyone says to the contrary.

    Ahhhh, self-determinism, the lazy person’s way of rationalizing away whatever they want to believe just Bcuz they wantz 2 believe it, M’Kay?

    Remind me of the futility of engaging with EL and MS, since they’re only going to pull the oldest ‘moving the goal-post’ trick in the book by claiming self-determination as their driving principle, thus flip-flopping positions with the mental agility of a young Russian gymnist when they cannot argue worth a damn based on the rationalist approach.

    They typically do this after they’ve wasted everyone’s time by falsely portraying themselves as being committed to the principles of rationalism (although to be consistent with their stance, they DO flaunt the board’s rule prohibiting engaging in personal attacks).

    Sigh….

  174. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Your analogy fails, since ‘tastes good’ is a matter of subjective opinion, hence open to differing interpretations, even open to differing opinions from the same restaurant critic eating the same exact meal at a later time!

    This is where differing values come into play, since I believe as rationalists ,we have a duty to call a spade a spade, relying on evidence to best choose how to lead our lives.

    Again, AFAIK, trans people are not arguing about their anatomy, or their chromosomes, or their assigned sex at birth. They are simply expressing that they want to live life according to another gender role. To trans people, gender != sex. Yet, in half of your post, you projected your definition of “gender := sex” onto trans people as part of your arguments that they’re delusional. Your behavior is not reasonable.

    Specifically, you say trans people believe:

    1) they were born of the wrong gender;

    That’s ambiguous. I’d rephrase it as: “They want to live their life according to another gender role, and many (but not all) wish that they had the corresponding bodily anatomy that is normally expected of that gender role.” A desire cannot be delusional. A regret about the chances of their birth cannot be delusional.

    One last try.
    Quoting me:

    And again, I give very little fucks if there’s an identifial biological or neurological basis. That’s what it means to respect the right to self determination, and that is precisely what you seemingly do not yet understand. It mostly does not matter if there’s a biological basis, or if they’re just making it up knowingly and willfully. Does not matter.

    Are not most of our preferences a composition of varying degress of biologically innate, learned, made up, etc.? My preference for video games – that’s not boilogically innate, right? There’s no neurological basis either, right? I honestly fail to see how a discusison of biological, genetics, neurology, etc., is relevant to respecting and accepting my video game lifestyle. I have expressed a desire to play video games. I am not hurting others. In general, you should accept my lifestyle that involves a lot of video game playing. For the purpose of this argument, I fail to see a substantive difference between my video-game lifestyle, and the desired lifestyle of a trans person.

    So why doesn’t your respect for the principle of self-determination apply to EVERYONE else too, including those who’d openly disagree with you?

    It seems you have an reading comprehension problem (or an honesty problem), so let me just copypaste myself again. Quoting myself:

    In other words, I like being inclusive. In other words, I am tolerant of those who are tolerant, and I am intolerant of those who are intolerance. In other words, I am inclusive of those who are inclusive, and I am exclusive of those who are exclusive. In other words, if someone is living their life in the way that they see fit, and if they’re not harming anyone else (minus informed consenting adults), then at worst you should talk to them if you think that they’re making a mistake, but otherwise you should live and let live.

    PS:

    Certainly you must’ve heard Matt D. repeatedly explain that the God claim is NOT falsifiable, since it’s a supernatural claim; hence its not open to any scientific inquiry for the purposes of falsifiability. You must be trolling, at this point, as it’s hard to believe you’d make that claim with a straight face.

    If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, and its comments, you should know that I vehemently disagree with Matt Dillahunty on this point. Matt Dillahunty is very, very wrong.

    For further reading on this point, I suggest the following academic philosophy paper, which I believe passed peer review.

    How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

  175. Chikoppi says

    @adamah

    I’m pressed for time and was only able to skim your latest, so apologies if I missed a clarification, but this jumped out at me:

    “On the other hand, when a male looks down and sees his penis dangling from his body, THAT’S an example of an “external reality” that most people would consider as ‘incontrovertible proof’ that he is in fact a male.”

    I think that is a very limited standard for understanding gender. If nothing else the transgender movement has illuminated the possibility that there are multiple physiological traits that give rise to gender characteristics. Genitalia is one. However, the brain is surely a dominant driver of identity and relationship to gender expectations.

    For MOST people the gender characteristics resulting from inherent brain function correlate to other, more externally apparent, gender-associated traits. For some, however, this may not true. Should a person be resigned to “act their genitalia” with respect to gender identity when their brain dictates otherwise?

    I do think “gender” is a broad social construct that should no longer be considered merely equated with genitalia. I’m by no means an expert, but the American Psychiatric Association does not classify transgender as a disorder (as of 2012), leading me to believe the prevailing expert opinion is that the experience of transgender individuals is authentic and deserving of reasonable accommodation.

  176. projectp says

    “illuminated the possibility that there are multiple physiological traits that give rise to gender characteristics.”
    “illuminated the possibility that there are multiple physiological traits that give rise to race characteristics.”
    “illuminated the possibility that there are multiple physiological traits that give rise to species characteristics.”

    I do think “gender” is a broad social construct that should no longer be considered merely equated with genitalia.
    I do think “race” is a broad social construct that should no longer be considered merely equated with genetics.
    I do think “species” is a broad social construct that should no longer be considered merely equated with genetics.

  177. Chikoppi says

    @projectp

    Yeah, I’m not really sure what point you were trying to make. “Gender” is a loosely defined term arising from colloquial use that encompasses many things.

    Per Wikipedia: “Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or intersex), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity.”

    So then, what physiological factors produce the gender charactistics of an individual? The shape of the gonads? The brain? Hormonal levels? Is it possible for one or more of these things to not be in agreement? Which takes precedence in defining identity?

    “Race” is absolutely a social construct, which is indistinct and refers to genetic lineage. A person might identify culturally or ethnically with a particular group, but have an atypical genetic lineage.

    “Species” is a specific definition that refers to the viability of mating pairs. You might believe you are of an equine species, but unless you can successfully mate with other horses you’d be incorrect. (Yes, I know the actual definition is a bit more nuanced.)

  178. Conversion Tube says

    @ 88

    “That being said, I cannot see how the magician could do what he did. The idea suggested in the comments of planting suggestions, sorry, that is just not believable.”””

    That’s an argument from ignorance.

    You argument with the hidden premises goes more like this

    P. The idea of suggestion is not believable.
    C. Therefore magic (telepathy) is more likely.

    No sorry, not only is an argument from ignorance, You are concluding a more ridiculous, unfounded, unscientific, completely implausible cause before others seem not believable.

    Or you are a troll.

  179. adamah says

    @Chikoppi said:

    I think that is a very limited standard for understanding gender.

    Yeah it is, but that suggests you missed my point entirely and quote-mined my words, pulling them out of their original context in which they originally appeared.

    Let’s do a quick review of the conversation:

    I’ve gone to great lengths to clarify that my comments are limited only to those trans- individuals who believed they were members of the other gender, but then later regretted transitioning after concluding it was a mistake, the wrong decision for them.

    In scientific lingo, this group is referred to as ‘false positives’: they clearly were misdiagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ when they actually didn’t have the condition; otherwise, they wouldn’t have expressed post- operative regret and wanted to transition back (Walt Heyer is an example of one such individual).

    The point under discussion was whether the belief they held prior to transitioning rose to the level of constituting a ‘delusional belief’, per the DSM-5 definition of the term.

    So the question was, does the pre-transition belief (e.g. that they were born with the sexual organs of the other gender) of these ‘false positives’ rise to meet the definition of a ‘delusional belief’?
    Obviously we’d have to carefully examine the definition of ‘delusion’, as given in DSM-5:

    A false belief based on an incorrect inference about external realitythat is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

    I responded with the following (and I’ve rewritten it for clarity, adding to it to emphasize the comparison to the definition found in DSM-V):

    As far as the ‘false belief’ requirement, if we’re willing to grant them the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination (a value EL places above all else), then we’d be forced to accept their conclusion that it was a mistake to transition.

    Granted, it’s actually their opinion and hence neither verifiable or falsifiable, but EL is forced to accept their judgment in the matter even if they’re lying, since he’s stated it doesn’t matter to him.

    Fine….

    I then said:

    Note the words in bold, “external reality”.

    Remember, the frame of reference in psychology for ‘internal’ is the human mind; ‘external reality’ encompasses not only the outside physical world, but also the human body, itself.
    That should be obvious when considering the existence of psychological diagnoses like ‘body dysmorphic disorder’, where the patient looks in a mirror and sees the bloated face of an obese person looking back at them; but most everyone else sees them as a walking anorexic skeleton….

    So keep that ‘external reality’ requirement in mind, since you failed to consider it in your analogy below:

    EL said:

    For example, if I order a particular meal from a restaurant, and I do not like its taste, then that would be a mistake. While ordering the meal, I might have had the belief that I would enjoy the meal, but that belief was false.
    However, because I did not yet have access to incontrovertible proof to the contrary, the false belief did not rise to the level of a delusion.

    That analogy fails, since ‘tastes good’ is a matter of subjective opinion, and such opinions exist only in the mind (as an ‘inner reality’).

    Rephrased, your statement of a belief is not so much a comment about the pieces of protein and carbohydrates that constitute the meal (which would be the “external reality” that the DSM-V is referring to), but merely an opinion or feeling that arises from eating the food.

    As such, there’s no “external reality” in your analogy, since you’re commenting on the expectation of it satisfying you, and not the meal, itself.

    Perceptions of external reality are open to differing interpretations, and may even vary over time, e.g. the same restaurant critic eating the same meal prepared by the same chef might offer a different opinion at a later time!

    Point being, the sensation of taste is a highly-subjective experience which depends on various factors, including hormonal and physiological needs, e.g. pregnant women are known to crave bizarre-tasting foods that they’d otherwise find distasteful.

    You’d also face insurmountable challenges presenting evidence of “inconvertible proof” that exists when it comes to what foods satisfy, since people’s tastes obviously differ (watch Fear Factor, and you’d see Americans gagging to swallow food items that are considered as rare delicacies in other cultures).

    So we can’t consider your analogy as an example of a “delusional belief”, since per DSM-V, the belief must pertain to an “external reality” AND there’s no ‘incontrovertible proof’ to be had when it comes to matters of subjective opinion.

    On the other hand, when a male looks down and sees his penis dangling from his body, THAT’S an example of an “external reality” that is applicable to DSM-V (since the body is considered outside of the mind).

    As for the “most people” requirement, it’s true that most people are confused of there being any difference between the physical phenotype of external sex organs and gender, and they’d consider a dangling penis as ‘incontrovertible proof’ that the person is in fact a male; hence, a man.
    (Chikoppi, note what follows, since we’re still discussing the DSM-V definition which includes an “appeal to popular opinion” component, a statement of what most people believe.)

    As far as the “almost everyone else believes” requirement for a belief to be considered as delusional, you’d likely not disagree that if we ran a public opinion poll in the form of a multiple-choice test, showing study participants a picture of a male with a penis and then asked them what gender the person was:

    A) man,
    B) woman,
    C) not enough information given.

    The majority would answer ‘A’, when the correct answer is actually ‘C’.

    Hence the danger of ‘appealing to popular public opinion’, since the delusion definition relies on the general public’s understanding the difference between gender and sex, a subject for which most are largely ignorant (and if they weren’t, Stephanie wouldn’t have needed to call up the show and review basic concepts taught in Human Sexuality 101).

    Chikoppi, hopefully that explanation cleared up the issue for you.

    As far as this:

    Chikoppi said:

    I do think “gender” is a broad social construct that should no longer be considered merely equated with genitalia. I’m by no means an expert, but the American Psychiatric Association does not classify transgender as a disorder (as of 2012), leading me to believe the prevailing expert opinion is that the experience of transgender individuals is authentic and deserving of reasonable accommodation.

    Sure, but as I’ve said elsewhere, we lack an objective means to be able to accurately diagnose gender dysphoria, and that leads to misdiagnoses.

    Compare it to a condition like diabetes, where if the pt comes to their physician and says, “I feel like a diabetic”, we can order any number of perform multiple tests (Glucose Tolerance Test, Fasting Blood Glucose, etc) in order to confirm they ARE in fact diabetic, and in need of treatment.

    No such luxuries are available to diagnose and treat gender dysphoria, since at this point if they only say the magic words that they’d need to utter to indicate they were diabetic (“Why, YES, I often experience frequent hunger, thirst and urination!”), our hands would be tied and we’d be forced to hand out scripts for insulin, metformin, etc. like it were candy….

  180. Chikoppi says

    @adamah, you said:

    “Yeah it is, but that suggests you missed my point entirely and quote-mined my words, pulling them out of their original context in which they originally appeared.”

    Yup. I read hastily and mistook the paragraph as an assertion of your position rather than the illustration to an argument. My error!

  181. says

    Today I learned that the term “regressive liberals” or “regressives” means “not a transphobic asshole” in addition to “not an Islamophobic asshole”. Since I’d like to think I fit the definition of this “regressive liberal” label, and because the year seems to be 1984, I must be a “radical conservative” too since I think we need to change governing policies to deal with the ever changing world we live in.

    Also, it is completely not ironic that the people who use “regressive liberals” and “regressives” ceaselessly whine about how the memes and terms the trans movement uses are from an insulated bubble of groupthink and that this is totally unreasonable because it’s not something their own bubble of groupthink has deduced as important.

  182. projectp says

    No Regressives are idiots who can not discern the difference between people and doctrine. So if you criticize the koran (islam) these morons think you are racist. but if you criticize Christianity they love it. These morons are wrong headed on so many levels and their idiotic way of thinking jumps into other areas as well. Particularly feminism.
    In general they do not want freedom of speech that makes them uncomfortable and are so far left that they have become authoritarian fools.

  183. says

    @200 What if you think it’s counter productive and probably harmful for people to point out at every public opportunity that some Muslim people believe some of horrible bits of the koran, and make arguments that torturing “terrorists” (Muslim people that probably believe the horrible bits) is ethical, and make claims that we ought to set policy (immigration, airport screening, law enforcement,etc.) based on a person’s stated or suspected religion? What if I suspect such people doing so of being motivated by irrational fear (innumerate at best, islamophobic at worst)? Does that make me “regressive”?

    I do agree that people that do the above shouldn’t be put in jail for doing so. But, I think they ought to shut the fuck up and I will use free speech toward that goal.

  184. projectp says

    changerofbits, show me where i made arguments that torturing “terrorists” is ethical. Or where i said we should use profiling. I am strongly against those things.

    Why even bring them up? why are you trying to argue with a position i do not have? explain yourself.

  185. Monocle Smile says

    Projectp, that’s all you have been doing to EL and specialfrog, so its rather interesting that you’re whining when the shoe is on the other foot.

  186. projectp says

    furthermore @199 i should have pointed out this bullshit..
    “What if you think it’s counter productive and probably harmful for people to point out at every public opportunity that some Muslim people believe some of horrible bits of the koran”

    let’s rephrase it like this “What if you think it’s counter productive and probably harmful for people to point out at every public opportunity that some Christian people believe some of horrible bits of the Bible

    And no i don’t think it is counter productive to point out the horrible bits of any dogma because those are the parts that need attention most. The mundane and good bits are not in need of criticism.

  187. says

    @204 In the context of a society where Christians are a small minority, where xenophobic numskulls were painting all Christians as bad and trying to enact policies/laws targeting all Christians, I think it *would* be counter productive and probably harmful, in the service of the preservation of basic human rights, to use “every public opportunity” to point out that some Christians believe horrible things in the Bible. Given that this small subset of the hypothetical minority Christians that have horrible beliefs have basically no power to harm the society (outside of a few of the radical terrorists who’s only path to “power” is to kill innocents in the hope of getting the xenophobic numskulls who have power to scuttle their own society). So, what are ethical alternatives to fighting against this basically powerless set of Christian people? Easy, integrate them into your society by:

    1. Don’t implicitly demonize all Christians based on the beliefs of a few of them at every public opportunity.
    2. Acknowledge and defend their rights to be Christian.
    3. Get moderate Christian buy in when speaking out against the specific horrible beliefs.
    4. Highlight areas where Christians agree with secular values.

    But, Christians aren’t a minority in our society (I’m assuming you’re from the US or some other “western” Christian country). In fact we atheists are a minority and we KNOW what it’s like to be that minority (we get painted with the Stalin/Mao/PolPot/MRA/Libertarian brush all the time, even though only a few of us are facists/MRAs/Libertarians and a majority of us are not, even though the facist/MRA/Libertarian atheists are a loud few). And the Muslim people, whom we fundamentally disagree with on the God question, are our brothers/sisters in that they share this minority situation. So, I’ll repeat: Joining in with xenophobic numskulls in their anti-Muslim rhetoric is counter productive and harmful. That said, there is a lot of grey are between “arguing against a specific horrible belief that some Muslims believe” and “ALL THEM GODDAMN MOOSLUMS ARE ANIMALS FOR BELIEVING THAT SHIT”. Sure, there are people who think the solution to integrating Muslim people is to embrace the horrible beliefs, and there are Muslims who think that arguing against horrible beliefs is always anti-Muslim, and they both should be laughed at for not getting the point.

  188. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I just recalled someone upthread saying that people need to learn to be comfortable in the body that they’re born with. I think it was Adamah.

    It’s been nagging me for a while. My question is: “Why?”. To the people who would make that kind of argument, would your position change if we had technology that did a perfect job of changing the sex of one body from stereotypically male to female, and vice versa, with no drawbacks, reversal on a whim?

    In particular, it seems like a very wrong-headed notion to expect that people should resign themselves to their station that they were born with. It strikes me as a very classist thing to say. Imagine telling someone born into poverty that they should just be happy with their poverty, and it’s wrong to try to be something else. Or imagine a caste system.

    In other words, this seems to be an attack on the fundamental notion of self determination. Rhetorical: Why should people learn to accept the circumstances of their birth? In an ideal world, no one should be limited by the accidental circumstances of their birth. Ideally, they could be allowed and capable of living their life as they so choose. Forcing, or even counseling, people to remain in the station of their birth runs deeply contrary to the principle of self determination.

    For some, I suspect the answer would change if we had perfect tech to perform perfect, reversible, harm-free sex changes. For those people, I think they are driven by some partially misguided concern for the well-being of the transgendered person. They look at suicide rates, at the negatives of hormone treatments, as the negatives of treatment by society at large, and they are concerned. I share those concerns, especially for young children, but for adults, I must follow The Harm Principle, and I must uphold their right to self determination.

    For other people, it seems that they do want to pigeonhole people according to the accidental circumstances of their birth, a position directly contrary to The Harm Principle aka the right of self determination, and I think that I have nothing but loathing and disdain for that position.

  189. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Forcing, or even counseling, people to remain in the station of their birth runs deeply contrary to the principle of self determination.

    Sorry, necessary clarification: You should always consider talking to someone when you think that they’re making a mistake, and that their decisions will make themself unhappy later in the future. That’s good. However, it’s unconscionable to advocate that as a general principle, people should abide by accidental circumstances of their birth, and to limit themselves thusly.

  190. projectp says

    the following is a great example of the flawed logic you have EL.

    ” Imagine telling someone born into poverty that they should just be happy with their poverty, and it’s wrong to try to be something else. Or imagine a caste system.”

    Poverty is not a biological reality. No one should have to point this out to you.
    Occam’s Razor would suggest that the problem is most likely in the mind not the rest of their entire body!

    Places like this that are just echo chambers are also the problem. I bet the mods only let people who they think fit the mold in. So you just get a bunch of people patting each other on the back. And then they let a few in who are to be the easy prey.

  191. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Poverty is not a biological reality.

    Oh, so you’re totally against all corrective surgery for stuff like cleft lip and cleft palate, and all assistive technology like glasses and hearing aids. Or you’re just making an obvious “appeal to nature” fallacy. Of course, who is the judge of what is properly natural and what is not? Presumably, your position is that corrective surgery for cleft palate is ok because cleft palate is not natural – even though it is – and that corrective surgery for trans-sex is unnatural – for reasons that are completely beyond me.

    Occam’s Razor would suggest that the problem is most likely in the mind not the rest of their entire body!

    No, this is just bigotry, stereotyping, and forcing your will on someone else. You are deciding for someone else how they should live their life. That’s tyranny, plain and simple.

  192. says

    @208

    Places like this that are just echo chambers are also the problem. I bet the mods only let people who they think fit the mold in. So you just get a bunch of people patting each other on the back. And then they let a few in who are to be the easy prey.

    And yet, here you are plastering your echo deadening foam all over our delicately constructed walls, challenging our strict mold of the perfect commentator and blocking arms from patting various backs. Actually, the best ways I’ve seen to get banned is to either completely fail to honestly communicate (I give you a “Meh.” grade on that) or to openly request the mods allow you to fall on your own sword. The only thing you left out from the above is “You might as well ban me now to reinforce my view of the world!” to achieve the latter.

    Maybe try not literally believing your above screed and take our arguments at face value before jumping to some theory that we’re all to march lockstep to the ACA’s (or FtB’s or PZ’s?) drum.

  193. adamah says

    Projectp said:

    Poverty is not a biological reality. No one should have to point this out to you.

    Yeah, projectp, I saw EL’s sentence above and thought the same exact thing. It’s a faulty comparison.

    I gave up attempting to engage with EL after she claimed self-determination as her most-precious value. That’s a big hint that it’s rather useless to reason with such a person, since when push comes to shove, they’re likely to throw logic under the bus and do whatever they want to do in the 1st place, citing ‘self-determination’ as their defense.

    Just replace ‘self’ with ‘God’, and you’ve got the same dynamic that afflicts religious types…

    Oh, on this comment:

    Places like this that are just echo chambers are also the problem. I bet the mods only let people who they think fit the mold in. So you just get a bunch of people patting each other on the back. And then they let a few in who are to be the easy prey.

    I suspect you’re giving WAAAYYY too much credit to the mods, since the board seems largely unregulated (it’s not like the mods are full-time employees, paid to monitor these forums: they do have JOBS and families, AKA a life outside TAE).

    So following Occam’s Razor, never ascribe to evil genius that which can be explained by less-nefarious motives: they’re likely distracted by living their lives.

    And despite my concerns, I’ll respond to EL’s comment, since it’s actually refreshing to see her attempt to engage in an actual conversation of the topic at hand vs simply slinging insults (perhaps she’s decided to turn over a new leaf, possibly after being warned by the very-same mods you mentioned above?).

    EL said:

    I just recalled someone upthread saying that people need to learn to be comfortable in the body that they’re born with. I think it was Adamah.

    It’s been nagging me for a while. My question is: “Why?”.

    To the people who would make that kind of argument, would your position change if we had technology that did a perfect job of changing the sex of one body from stereotypically male to female, and vice versa, with no drawbacks, reversal on a whim?

    Of course, at the present time, we DONT have the capability to change sex at will (much less to change back). I’m more concerned with what actually is currently possible, than in engaging in rampant speculation, but I’ll play along….

    I’ve said my answer in so many words above, but I’ll repeat it, since you may have missed it.

    When it comes right down to it, I’m actually more concerned with the prospects of patients (pts) having too-high expectations for the procedures, and doctors who willing to create them and exploit pts for their own profit.

    We saw the same dynamic with refractive surgery in the early days: some eye doctors were offering RK ( and later, LASIK) as the miracle cure for all ones vision woes, a procedure that promised perfect vision. This created sky-high expectations for the obtained results, and many pts were disappointed.

    eg the presbyopic pt was disappointed to discover they now have to wear reading glasses. And since they were near-sighted before the surgery, they could simply take off their distance glasses to read, but no longer. So they in effect traded wearing distance glasses for needing to wear reading glasses: bottom line is they still needed to wear glasses.

    It seems that the sex change procedures are awfully similar, in that the expectations for the results may be quite disappointing.

    And engaging in pure idle speculation of what may be possible, I wouldn’t have a problem with the ability to change or choose one’s sex if it were reversible and without complications.

    You DO realize that question cuts both ways, right?

    For example, what if there were a magic pill that permanently aligned one’s gender to match the sex organs they were born with, permanently alleviating the nagging feeling of something being wrong with the body they were born with?

    Would you disapprove of such a pill, citing that it’s wrong to tamper with an “accident of nature”?

    As projectp indicated, changing the brain is just as much of a potential solution to the issue as mutilating one’s genitalia is: so why should the brain be more sacrosanct than the sexual organs?

    (I’m unaware of any studies that have examined the efficacy of using CBT to treat gender dysphoria, but I’m sure the GBLT advocates wouldn’t approve.)

    In fact, are you even aware of the great irony, in that you have no problems questioning everyone’s honestly-felt religious feelings, yet you engage in boatloads of special pleading when it comes to defending gender feelings?

    Where’s your respect for everyone’s self-determination when it comes to respecting their honestly-felt religious feelings?

    In particular, it seems like a very wrong-headed notion to expect that people should resign themselves to their station that they were born with. It strikes me as a very classist thing to say. Imagine telling someone born into poverty that they should just be happy with their poverty, and it’s wrong to try to be something else. Or imagine a caste system.

    Even putting the obvious problematic logic issue aside, the reason to learn to become comfortable in one’s own skin is its one of the few options we currently have.

    Life’s too short as it is, and if you don’t learn to become comfortable in your own skin from an early age, then how can you reasonably expect to be comfortable in anyone else’s skin?

    As the old AA saying goes, it’s good to learn to accept that which you cannot (easily) change, and to discern between what is easily-changeable and isn’t.

    Part of that involves being less critical of oneself (easier said than done, I know, but therapy can play a beneficial role).

    I share those concerns, especially for young children, but for adults, I must follow The Harm Principle, and I must uphold their right to self determination.

    I think we fundamentally agree, since as a physician, I believe in the principle of bodily autonomy, i.e. the patient should have the right to make whatever decision they want for their own body, since they’ll have to live with the consequences, whichever way they decide.

    I also believe the doctor has an obligation to provide accurate information as to the odds of obtaining desired results, so the patient can truly give their ‘informed consent’.

    For other people, it seems that they do want to pigeonhole people according to the accidental circumstances of their birth, a position directly contrary to The Harm Principle aka the right of self determination, and I think that I have nothing but loathing and disdain for that position.

    So, the answer is simple: don’t be pigeonholed by others.

    As Eleanor Roosevelt said (paraphrased), “No one can make you feel inferior without you allowing them to.”

    You can spend your life trying to change it so that others don’t hurl stones, or you develop a thicker skin so the stones don’t hurt as much….

    I’m not looking to increase the time and energy I waste on negative emotions like loathing and disdain.

  194. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Not that it matters, but yes, I am normal straight cis white male, and extremely nerdy, with mild anti-social tendencies.

  195. projectp says

    adamah said :”I suspect you’re giving WAAAYYY too much credit to the mods, since the board seems largely unregulated (it’s not like the mods are full-time employees, paid to monitor these forums: they do have JOBS and families, AKA a life outside TAE).”

    I would agree with that except several weeks ago my girlfriend tried to enter the debate here. I think they were threatened by her because she is black and female. She made a few post and they were never approved. She is well spoken and highly educated. Like i said it has been several weeks.

  196. adamah says

    PS here’s some interesting information on the related diagnosis of ‘bodily integrity identity disorder (BIID)’, which some researchers think may be the broader category under which the ‘gender dysphoria’ issue falls:

    Amputee by choice:

    http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/1087/amputees.pdf

    The author (a philosopher) discusses the ethics of amputating limbs at the patients insistence, and concludes in some cases it might be appropriate to amputate an apparently-healthy limb (without offering many details, since there are weak arguments to be made, both for and against, where each case is different).

    And anyone familiar with the popular writings of psychiatrist and author Oliver Sacks is likely familiar with the ‘alien hand syndrome’, where a person disavows any sense of agency of their own hand, for a variety of reasons:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome

    Bottom line is, the brain is incredibly complex, and there are limits to what is known in 2016. But as I said in another thread, “Therefore, gender dysphoria” seems analogous and as irrational as saying “Therefore, God”.

  197. Chikoppi says

    I’m curious. For those of you who think it is unreasonable to accept that some individuals cognitively experience gender in contradiction to their physical anatomy: do you think it is reasonable claim that homosexuals necessarily suffer from a mental disorder? Why or why not?

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I would agree with that except several weeks ago my girlfriend tried to enter the debate here. I think they were threatened by her because she is black and female. She made a few post and they were never approved. She is well spoken and highly educated. Like i said it has been several weeks.

    If you’re still around, and if you’re honest and serious, I would suggest emailing the ACA to see what’s up.

    If you could also reproduce the posts elsewhere and provide a link here, that would allow me to judge. I would welcome that.

    I also strongly suspect that you’re full of shit.

  199. adamah says

    Chikoppi said:

    I’m curious. For those of you who think it is unreasonable to accept that some individuals cognitively experience gender in contradiction to their physical anatomy

    Stop right there, as you’re straw-manning my position.

    I’ve never claimed ‘gender dysphoria’ doesn’t exist (just as I don’t believe ‘bodily identity disorder’ doesn’t exist as a clinical entity: it does.)

    If you had actually read (and/or comprehended) what I repeatedly wrote above, you’d realize my problem with tossing out a diagnosis such as ‘gender dysphoria’ as if it were Halloween candy is the lack of specificity to arrive at such a diagnosis, i.e. we lack an objective means to validate a pt’s feeling, and hence are unable to accurately identify WHICH individuals actually suffer from it (and are not simply “false positives”, as Walt Heyer’s example shows).

    Now, on to your actual question:

    Do you think it is reasonable claim that homosexuals necessarily suffer from a mental disorder? Why or why not?

    Human sexuality is a complex topic, but hopefully you read the article I linked to above (entitled “amputee by choice”, which cited the extreme example of individuals who felt like their limb(s) didn’t belong to them, so requested the foreign limb be amputated).

    Now, since homosexuality/bisexuality doesn’t involve disowning limbs and amputation, being gay/bi doesn’t come anywhere close to qualifying as a delusional belief, much less a mental disorder.

    (But since you asked, in general I’d say some unknown % of gay/bi individuals actually may be more influenced by existing cultural biases, such that they’re not actually gay/bi, but are only experimenting with their sexuality, or learning about themselves and what they prefer. Others may be strongly attracted to the same sex from an earlier age, but again, it’s impossible to tease out the depths of ‘gayness’.)

    The critical distinction is that since gays/bi- are not disowning their genitalia and requesting irreversible cosmetic/elective surgery (which ALWAYS involves some risk, regardless of how benign or risk-free surgeons may portray it to be), I see it as an ‘apples to oranges’ comparison, as the former is a matter of personal choice without the moral/ethical implications for healthcare providers.

    Remember, medical ethics is constantly evolving: e.g. it was only some 60-70 yrs ago that frontal lobotomies were routinely performed as a cure-all for certain mental disorders, but no neurosurgeon today would consider performing such a procedure.

    Today’s analog may in fact turn out to be handing out ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnoses to anyone who asks (required in order to obtain sex reassignment surgery).

    Of course, time will tell, but it’s pushing the boundaries of what is known despite a vacuum of supportive evidence and our inability to validate an individual’s complaint to accurately diagnose the condition.

  200. Chikoppi says

    @adamah

    You said: “Now, since homosexuality/bisexuality doesn’t involve disowning limbs and amputation, being gay/bi doesn’t come anywhere close to qualifying as a delusional belief, much less a mental disorder.”

    I think we can agree that is not a suitable litmus test for assessing what is or is not classified as a mental disorder. For instance, prosopagnosia does not invoke “disowning limbs or amputation,” yet is classified as a disorder.

    Furthermore, not all trans individuals wish to undergo surgery…yet may still ask you to acknowledge their self-recognized gender identity and refer to them by the preferred pronoun (that is, after all, the initial topic of debate).

    The present question is whether you believe homosexuality is a healthy state for some minority of the population or whether it is the result of an aberrant mental condition, which should not be encouraged and should be corrected if a clinical means of doing so were discovered.

    I’m not trying to put words in your mouth. I’m legitimately interested in understanding how you are establishing your standards of assessment and behavior toward individuals with non-normative identity.