Open thread for episode 23.20: Tracie & John


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  1. Kag says

    Hey! My first time commenting here. I just write to share one little thing. Here where I live, in Poland, a documentary was released yesterday. A documentary about catholic child abuse in polish churches. It’s made available for free on youtube, and even though I have nothing to do with that movie, I just wanted to share it with you all, and remind you that we’re all in this fight together 😉
    Movie is in Polish, but there are english subtitles:

  2. Wiggle Puppy says

    Mike from California is the same person who called in on episode 20.12 to talk about near-death experiences and episode 23.06 about atheism being a “lie.” Nice to see that his confusion has not abated.

  3. John David Balla says

    That there is one huge debate waging within the ACA community over what is reasonable, fair, and appropriate, and no one would bring it up as a practical, “let’s practice what we preach” matter, was a major disappointment to me. It made me feel like these shows are really extracurricular activities done for entertainment purposes primarily. (I don’t believe that’s true but with today’s performance, and the huge cloud hanging over the ACA, that argument could be made).

    Am I being unrealistic to expect a show that emphasizes rational discourse, debate, and reasonableness (among other things), to duck the biggest issue plaguing the ACA in recent times? We had one of its very best thinkers hosting after all. Am I off the mark in noticing this egregious disconnect between the ACA Board and ACA hosts?

    I thought it was “the reasons” for being an atheist that really mattered. Making matters worse, people were complaining about live chat postings being removed similar to the Facebook shenanigans that started when the ACA made its now infamous announcement early this weekend. So I guess it’s not just the relative silence on the air today, but the way in which many voices were and continue to be suppressed that I find contrary to what I thought was a democratic organization. Think about it. Isn’t this the kind of shit Trump would do?

    And sorry folks. Jamie’s attempt at crisis control was simply too little too late. Acknowledge the 500 lbs. guerrilla in the room and treat it accordingly. We’re going to get through this better and faster with more transparency, not less.

    John

  4. paxoll says

    David, the purpose of the TAE is to explain to the world what atheists are about, why we call ourselves atheists. How is the issue with RR relevant to that? Yes, I expected some kind of announcement so the chat and blog and facebook wouldn’t be inundated by this issue, but they didn’t. It doesn’t change the fact that it is STILL irrelevant to the show, and capitulating to the immature people who are unable to acknowledge this may be practical, but it is not necessarily the best decision. Did Don who is fighting cancer and wants to face that as an atheist care about if RR comments on trans athletes reasonable or unreasonable? Does Saad in Pakistan who is trying to reason through these apologetics who might be killed or jailed if he de-converts care if RR was treated over harshly by the ACA? RR has had over a month to deal with the backlash of his video and hasn’t clarified his position, is it really too much to ask to be civil with the ACA, email them a respectful letter, and wait?

  5. Murat says

    @John David Balla
    Guerrilla or gorilla? (Works either way, just wondered if it was some kind of auto-correct or creative wordplay)
    @paxoll
    I agree in general, but I don’t think that the situations with the callers were as severely divorced from that hot discussion as you argue them to be. There is some relevance.

  6. John David Balla says

    @Murat Busted again by autocorrect!
    @paxol. Your points are, of course, valid, but I am not looking at this as a binary proposition; more of a spectrum, and part of that spectrum, which matters greatly in the big picture, is whether the ACA actually believes its own precepts or whether a large portion of its members have one set of books for theists and another one for everything else. Talk about giving a gift to theists!. Maybe I’m the odd one out here but I don’t think so. Then again, both propositions could be true, that some really try to live by these principles whereas, for others, it depends on the situation. A big learning moment for me, that’s for sure.

  7. says

    I understand that the hosts cannot always respond to every dumb statement that comes out of a caller’s mouth. However, when Alex from Austin asserted (at about 14:00) that “socialism’s killed like a billion people or whatnot,” I would have loved to see Tracie and John call him out.

  8. buddyward says

    With regards to the call from Matthew from Nashville. I am glad that Tracie cut to the chase and asked the caller what evolution have anything to do with the existence of a god. This avoided the long winded discussion on what is wrong or right with evolution.

  9. uglygeek says

    About the call of Saad from Pakistan – I found it funny that, when talking about the origin of the universe, Tracie suggested Saad to read Hawkins. A few years ago she would have also mentioned “A Universe from Nothing” of Lawrence Krauss. Apparently Krauss must have become “He Who Must Not Be Named”, like Voldemort, for reasons totally unrelated to science.

  10. uglygeek says

    I find Tracie vision on “Free Will” really too simplistic. She thinks that the illusion of having agency is what matters, but the fact that we, in each moment of our life, never have really any choice in deciding to do something different from what we do, to take a decision different from the decision we take, is important.

  11. paxoll says

    @ugly

    She thinks that the illusion of having agency is what matters

    Think you need to rewatch the show because that is absolutely not what she thinks matters. What matters is if outside forces coerce us into actions we don’t want to do. Yes, our wants are coerced by determinants in our minds and past experiences, but being forced to eat cake because you enjoy it is a lot different then an outside actor forcing you to marry someone you find repulsive.

  12. uglygeek says

    What is all this pandemonium about RR? I don’t have the all context, but if the problem is that Woodford has said that it’s unfair that transgender females are competing in female-only sports, well, I think this is a perfectly reasonable opinion hold by many people, inside and outside the sport world, and especially by many female athletes. Is it an opinion that somebody could disagree with? By all means. But it is an opinion that someone can hold without being disqualified from civil discourse.

    But on a scale from 0 to 100 how woke is, actually, the ACA? One googolplex?
    I am an atheist, but I find this extremism really… well, extreme.

    Also, you should consider that Woodford is from the UK, and the excesses of Identity Politics that Haidt describes in “The Coddling of the American Mind” have not reached Europe yet, not so much anyway. There is a different sensibility there.

    Then maybe Woodford said something worse, I don’t know…

  13. uglygeek says

    @11 Paxroll – How what I wrote is different from what Tracie said?
    She said that what matters is that nobody is forcing her to do something, so everything she does (like drinking some water) is done on her “free will”, and does not matter if she could not actually do anything different, so what matters is her agency regardless whether she can change it or not. So what matters is this illusory agency.

  14. paxoll says

    @Uglygeek
    Maybe you are correct, I don’t think that is what she means. If she wants to clarify it she is on the blog more than anyone else. To me it sounded identical to the compatiblist philosophical view, where she simply doesn’t care as long as it is not an outside agency.

  15. uglygeek says

    @13 Habeas Humor
    This is… beyond belief, for me. I am speechless. That somebody like RR could be ostracized for just agreeing with the decision of sport authorities (like IAAF) of limiting the access of transgender females to official competitions is almost more unbelievable than disgusting.

    Transgender female athletes have often a clear unfair advantage over female athletes, it is true today where transgender MMA fighters are physically destroying their opponents, as it was true in the ’70s when Renée Richards, a mediocre tennis player as a man, could play pro tennis at a high level in the WTA.
    The truth is that many of those who push this controversy don’t even like or care about sports, for them it’s all about identity politics.

    In any case, this has nothing to do with religion or atheism, and it should be a legitimate opinion to hold, so there was no reason in the world for ACA to dissociate so forcefully. ACA does not have to agree with all the personal opinions of his guests anyway, especially if those opinions are not related to atheism.

  16. buddyward says

    @uglygeek

    Transgender female athletes have often a clear unfair advantage over female athletes

    I am hoping that you have objective scientific data that would support this assertion.

  17. says

    @uglygeek: The fairness of athletic competitions is a complicated subject, and it is a good thing that there are conversations and debates about it. It goes wrong, however, if people make statements founded on bigotry and/or ignorance. In the case of RR, he made some statements that were ignorant (by his own admission, apparently), and these statements offended many trans people.

    The ACA has publicly denounced RR’s statements, because they do not want to be associated with trans-phobes. They might feel a bit of guilt by association due to having RR on the show so recently. Even if they don’t feel that way, their supporters might. Therefore it is totally appropriate for the ACA to speak out publicly about the situation.

  18. buddyward says

    @uglygeek #18
    Yes, I do. So far none of them have offered any objective scientific data for your claims.

  19. uglygeek says

    @20 buddyward

    I don’t believe you actually follow (not practice) sports. But it doesn’t matter.

    What would count, for you, as objective scientific data to prove that transgender female athletes have an unfair competitive advantage?
    How can you deny the fact that a person that that has gone through puberty as a boy has certain advantages that women will not ever get? Do we know that men have, on average, more muscle mass and more strength than women, and they are on average taller and faster. Many of these factors are not changed lowering testosterone levels.

    It is true that in recent years it was even considered bigoted just to say that “men on average are taller than women” but it is true nevertheless.

    But in any case, I am just a man, so my opinion doesn’t matter. We should listen to the opinions of female athletes (not female social justice warriors) and see what they think about having to compete with transgenders.Their general opinion on this matter is very clear.

  20. uglygeek says

    @19 Habeas Humor

    As you say the fairness of athletic competitions is a complicated subject, so different positions are legitimate.

    If RR has made some statements that were ignorant by his own admission, I guess he must have recanted them. If these statements offended trans people, the fact that he admitted he was being ignorant should be understood as an apology. So, where is the problem?

  21. says

    @uglygeek It is still all shaking out. Maybe everyone will reconcile their differences and end up being friends again. Maybe they won’t. Either way, it was right and appropriate for the ACA and others to speak out.

  22. says

    @uglygeek Also, not every position is legitimate. If someone is just talking out of their ass without evidence, or if someone is citing to junk science or other bad sources, then their claims are not legitimate.

  23. buddyward says

    @uglygeek #20

    I don’t believe you actually follow (not practice) sports. But it doesn’t matter.

    Ok so, you ask a question, I give you an answer and without any basis you dismiss my response as if I am lying to you. Are we going to have an honest conversation here or are you just going to make stupid baseless remarks?

    What would count, for you, as objective scientific data to prove that transgender female athletes have an unfair competitive advantage?

    A peer reviewed scientific study would be awesome. Something that is actually based on the scientific method as opposed to mere intuition.

    How can you deny the fact that a person that that has gone through puberty as a boy has certain advantages that women will not ever get? Do we know that men have, on average, more muscle mass and more strength than women, and they are on average taller and faster. Many of these factors are not changed lowering testosterone levels.

    Who said I am denying anything? I am asking that you provide evidence for your claim. By far I have not seen any evidence to prove one way or another. Please show me the study that supports your claim.

    It is true that in recent years it was even considered bigoted just to say that “men on average are taller than women” but it is true nevertheless.

    It is not bigotry if it is true and can be demonstrated to be true.

    But in any case, I am just a man, so my opinion doesn’t matter. We should listen to the opinions of female athletes (not female social justice warriors) and see what they think about having to compete with transgenders.Their general opinion on this matter is very clear.

    Playing the victim card??? Your opinion, along with anyone else (female or otherwise), including mine, if cannot be demonstrated to be true should not be accepted as such. An opinion is either true or not true, you as a man does not make your opinion any more true than that of any other sex or gender.

  24. Ian Butler says

    I’m just starting to watch now. I agree with John David Balla that it was disappointing that they didn’t address the elephant in the room, the right time to do so would have been at the beginning before taking callers. Perhaps Tracie will explain her reasoning here.

  25. uglygeek says

    @24 Habeas Humor

    Everybody tends to not legitimate positions he/she does not agree with. This is even more true today, in this era or radical ideological oppositions, that in the past.

    I think that in this specific case I think it’s up to the transgender athletes to prove scientifically that their condition does not give an unfair advantage over female athletes, not the contrary. We should look at the issue from the point of view of a female athlete not from the point of view of identity-politics fundamentalists who want to make a point and often don’t even care about pro sports.

  26. says

    @uglygeek You are missing the point. This is about RR making transphobic statements, as per the video link I posted above. If you don’t think those statements were bad, then you should ask a trans person if they agree with you.

  27. Ian Butler says

    Habeas humor,
    on Matt’s Facebook page, several trans commenters said RR’s comments were fine.

  28. uglygeek says

    @28 Habeas Humor
    Could you summarize these transphobic statements? I don’t have the time to go through a 1h long video…

  29. says

    @Ian Butler: The following is a public Facebook post by Callie Wright of Queersplaining:

    So there’s been this thing about the ACA and the YouTuber Rationality Rules. I’ve watched the videos and read the ACA’s statement, and I feel it super necessary to say a few things.

    CN for transphobic nonsense…

    The YouTuber Rationality Rules, on March 29th posted a 15 minute long video arguing, at its core, that “transgender women shouldn’t compete against biological women” in sports. Its a 15 minute parade of all the bad arguments made when people have no idea what they’re talking about surrounding trans folks. It’s wildly, wildly transphobic, and just plain wrong on several accounts. It repeatedly makes transphobic distinctions between “trans women and women” and “trans women and biological women.” That alone is enough to demonstrate that the person making the video has not the first fucking clue what they’re talking about surrounding trans issues, especially for someone who later claims to actually be a champion of the community. He also plays a clip of Joe Rogan talking about “women getting beaten up by men.” and another clip where he literally says “SHE’S A GUY” in reference to a trans woman. Its fucking DISGUSTING.

    This same YouTuber was a guest on The Atheist Experience recently. There, understandably was a backlash, prompting the ACA to release a statement that apologized for having him on.

    The RR guy has since made a post saying that his views have changed, he’s made mistakes, and is currently working on a video to correct some of the mistakes he made and explain how his position has changed.

    He recently released a video condemning the ACA for throwing him under the bus. It was full of very predictable cries of “I’m an LGBT ally!” “I’ve championed LGBT causes!” “I believe in equality for trans women!”

    Here’s the thing. The original video was posted on March 29th of THIS YEAR. Not 10 years ago when the information might’ve been less easily available. If you call yourself a trans ally, there is NO excuse, literally none, for making a video, in 2019, that has so much bad information, bad argument, and actually harmful anti-trans rhetoric in it. You plain and simply don’t get off the hook by coming back a few months later and saying you made some mistakes, then flashing your ally credentials. That’s not how this shit works.

    I’m 100% in favor of people recognizing their mistakes, learning and growing. But frankly, I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening here. First of all, the first video has 228,296 views as of the time I’m writing this. That’s a fuck load of damage ALREADY done. You don’t get off the hook for that by saying sorry. You just don’t. Part of growing from your mistakes and learning is recognizing what harm you may have done in the past and making an acknowledgement of that. And I’m honestly not sure this is a fact RR even understands, which is part of the problem with people like him even acting like they have a place in this conversation to begin with.

    The most charitably I can read this, is that this is yet another instance of a white cishet dude treating trans issues like they exist in a vaccuum of intellectualism where there are no real world consequences for espousing anti-trans rhetoric. Because the original video, whether it was intended to or not, most definitely spreads very harmful anti-trans rhetoric.

    So when he realizes he’s wrong, the only thing necessary in his mind is to make another video saying “oh hey, I made some mistakes and my views have changed.” This is a cool thing, to be sure, but to call people “hypersensitive” for getting worked up over it (he actually does that in his latest video) demonstrates at BEST that he has absolutely no understanding of the harm these kinds of views bring to people, and more broadly, a shocking level of ignorance about a community he felt so comfortable expressing opinions about just a few months ago.

    Here’s an idea. Maybe just shut the fuck up next time? My community and my life are not an intellectual exercise. If you claim to be an ally and you have questions, there are millions of blog articles, podcasts, videos, and people willing to share their ACTUAL expertise on the subject, as opposed to just another dude on YouTube with ignorance and opinions to share despite it who apparently just HAD to make a video. The information is out there, and its not even a little bit difficult to find.

    If you consider yourself a trans ally, maybe ask around to some trans folks? The tone and wording of this video suggests pretty strongly to me that the dude made literally no effort to talk to anyone with actual expertise in the subject, and the inclusion of Joe Rogan yelling “SHE’S A GUY” about a trans woman tells me that your ally credentials are a lot fucking more flimsy than you think they are.

    Next time you want to talk about trans people, maybe just fucking don’t. I promise the internet will get along just fine without your hot take about us.

  30. says

    @uglygeek The 1 hour video has a complete transcript linked in the show notes. Alternatively, you can read one person’s reaction above.

  31. uglygeek says

    @31 Habeas Humor

    This transcript does not really do much to clarify. Besides the expression “white cishet dude” which really speak volumes … 😐 And the usual rhetoric of modern “Callout Culture” that states that nothing can ever be forgiven for any reason and in no case.

    What would be these transphobic statements in the end? Just saying that “trans women” and “biological women” are different? Is that transphobic? Are you kidding me?

  32. says

    @uglygeek A 1997 article that says steroids have been used to cheat in sports – WHAT??? NO!!! IT CAN’T BE!!!!!! 🙀🙀🙀🙀🙀🙀

  33. uglygeek says

    @35 Habeas Humor
    Androgenic steroids. Because becoming more physically like a man obviously gives a competitive advantage to female athletes. Maybe you are too young to remember how certain track and field athletes from DDR looked like in the ’70s and ’80s. Some of them even changed sex at some point in their lives.

    But I see that the discussion is degenerating into a kind of ideological dispute, and this is really not the right place, we are totally out of topic.

    The last point I would like to raise is this: if we look at this RR controversy from a certain distance, I think here there is also a misunderstanding caused by a cultural divide between Europe and the United States. We are very good at acknowledging that a caller from Pakistan may have a different culture and be offended or not offended by different things, but this is in a small way also true for Europeans. Even though the UK today is culturally much closer to the U.S. than countries like France or Italy, it is still not identical, identity politics is much stronger in the U.S.
    A sentence like “trans women” and “biological women” are different when competing in sports may sound totally transphobic to you, but from the point of view of RR it was probably almost a tautology. You can be a staunch liberal not at all bigoted and still sincerely believe that having a person who has been a man for twenty years compete with female athletes is not fair.
    And this is another case of the left that eats itself. As LBJ said, “The difference between Liberals and cannibals is that cannibals eat only their enemies.”

    We should look at this with more generosity. What is lacking today in public discourse is, above all, generosity.

  34. oy vey says

    The hopelessly ignorant and poorly argued statements of these chatty, nutty believers is depressing. Its unimagineable that the feckless Dems are losing the country to this bunch of witless arrogant reactionaries.

  35. says

    @Ian Butler

    “not everyone was offended so therefore nothing offensive was said” is not a good argument. No marginalized group is a monolith and conclusions about what is bigoted need to be based on something other than simply finding a few people who hold one opinion or the other. Otherwise, all we would have to do is point to a few Black Trump voters to prove Trump isn’t racist.

    Prejudice is defined as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” Whether or not the marginalized group holds the same belief is actually irrelevant to whether it is a prejudiced idea.

  36. says

    @uglygeek

    “a person who has been a man for twenty years”

    You mean was assigned male. Even making this statement suggests you need to step back and learn more about what it means to be transgender before you wade in. You CAN be unintentionally bigoted.

  37. says

    @uglygeek You’re not doing RR any service by suggesting he is incapable of communicating with Americans. Transphobia is transphobia, but he at least was able to see it in himself and admit he was being a bigot. You might want to study that.

  38. Murat says

    @HH

    In the case of RR, he made some statements that were ignorant (by his own admission, apparently), and these statements offended many trans people.

    Which particular statements are those you are referring to?

  39. paxoll says

    @Habeas Humor
    The argument RR put forward is 100% legitimate, even if his tone and words indicate a severe ignorance on the topic. From his apology to past videos supporting the trans community the label of transphobic is extreme, he was insensitive, glib, arrogant, and reckless. I think this is a significant distinction. I also think the response by the ACA was reckless and reactionary. RR has said he is going to apologize and correct himself in a video. The ACA hasn’t. At this point we have 2 wrongs and no right.

  40. Murat says

    @MS

    Because if I’m competing against someone, my subjective observation also matters.

    Cool, so if Serena Williams is playing against someone and they claim she is a man and should be DQ’d, they should be taken seriously?

    If 50 professional female players have played against Serena Williams, if 40 of them have a notable experience of playing also against males, hence, can judge well what it is that differs when playing against a man as opposed to playing against a woman, and if 20 of these female athletes confess that the level and kind of effort they went through against SW were much more in line with their games against men than against women, then, in the light of fairness, yes, it is quite normal to investigate this as a particular situation.
    My opinion is that such a collection of personal, direct observations should count as evidence even though they technically should not suffice for any executive decision without further / different kinds of indications.
    Especially if these 20 female athletes do not have a history of being bad losers, of making weird statements against their opponents after bitter losses.
    I do not know of the specific details regarding SW and what people said about her.
    But I hold this opinion because I believe the opponent’s perspective has to count.

  41. lldrax says

    Not related to this episode, but I need some help. I recently had a discussion with a Christian (we’ll call C) and he brought up an argument I had not heard before. We were discussing whether or not God is evil for creating hell. I pointed out that God created sin, and that he created people knowing they would face eternal torture. His argument is that God did not create sin, because sin is evil and God would not be able to create something that is not within his nature. He claims that God merely gave us free will, and we created sin by making the choice to do so. My response was that if I am hungry, go to the fridge and discover I have only and apple and an orange. With God knowing my future, he would know I take the apple. I then asked of I would still be able to take the orange instead. Even after repeating the orange question a few times, C did not answer the question, and just doubled down on his argument.
    What I need help with is did I have a good response? Was there a better way?

  42. says

    One important aspect about this R/R fiasco we seem to have overlooked . . . the image it is presenting to our enemy. Let’s get back in battle with them and stop this bickering. Theists must be quite overjoyed with laughter and many Told You So’s. (I’ve already seen some comments.) We’ve made some great progress, let’s not flush it away.
    Let’s iron this out quickly and restore our status as logical thinkers. We are the future and the leaders for humanity . . . let’s act that way again.

  43. whisperit says

    Surely questions of gender, sexuality, identity and social participation are not the sort that can be settled by ‘objective’ science? Appeals for more papers on testosterone levels and athletic performance or whatever seem besides the point. These are fundamentally questions of social norms, attitudes and constructs.
    So for me, a central problem with RR’s original video was that he seems to have been captured by the notion that each one of us can develop our thought on these questions precisely as if they were susceptible to solution by an ‘objective’,’scientific’ or ‘rational’ individual mind that is somehow able to hold itself apart from its social context. RR ended up with an egregious conclusion because the society he lives in is significantly transphobic and – as his video all too wince-inducingly demonstrated – he decided that he could consider the minds of Piers Morgan and Joe Rogan as ‘objective’ sources of evidence. Indeed, he seems to have thought them more worthy of consideration than people who had direct experience of transphobia and about whom he had decided to make a video. In short, it was a case of garbage in = garbage out. Hopefully, he will rethink his approach from scratch in the coming days/weeks.

    Meanwhile, ACA has not reacted well. By simply attaching a ‘transphobic’ label to RR without putting forward an argument it has laid itself open to the charge of thought-policing. The ‘alt-right’ is loving all this.

  44. speedofsound says

    Oh oh! Is that was this thread is going to be about? Is it okay to discuss it here? Will posts be deleted?

  45. Claywise says

    Re 8. @ buddyward: “… what evolution (has) anything to do with the existence of a god.”

    This argument, wielded often by AXP hosts, is true as far as it goes.

    But fundamentalist-type Christians clearly fear that evolution *does* somehow diminish their religion, and they are right to be afraid.

    In the Christian mythos, Adam and Eve — specifically — are the source of “original sin,” which is the cause of not just the “stain of sin” on every person born since “the fall,” but according to many Christians, also the cause of disease, earthquakes, carnivores and so on. This is, of course, God’s get-out-of-jail-free card.

    But if there is no Adam and Eve, no Eden, no Fall, then there is literally no need for the redemption of humanity through God’s blood sacrifice of his purported son, Jesus. The whole thing falls apart.

    I realize many Christians — including Catholics; I was raised Catholic — claim to accept evolution and still believe the whole Jesus-as-redeemer trope, but that’s really an incoherent position.

    So I would argue that, while evolution does not and cannot disprove the existence of a god, it is an irreparable crack in the foundation of the Abrahamic faiths, and thus worthy of discussion in that regard, at least.

  46. Murat says

    @Claywise
    You’re missing out on those who accept the mythos BUT only as “allegory”.

  47. Guest says

    @whisperit
    Hi,
    The camebridge dictionary defines Transphobia as “a fear or dislike of transgender people”.
    Do you agree with this definition?
    If so, what did RR say in his video that was transphobic?
    When did he express fear or dislike of trans people?

  48. ian butler says

    Habeas Humor,

    I am aware that some trans people are offended by RR’s video, which is why we are having this conversation. My point is that those people, including Callie Wright, don’t speak for the entire trans community. At least half a dozen trans people have stated that they have no problem with RR’s video, and several have stated their concern that this kind of overreaction (which Callie’s screed exemplifies) harms their cause more than it helps. Don’t their opinions count as well?

    Just like the pink pussy hat fiasco a while back, it appeared that most trans commenters had no problem with people wearing them at the women’s march, and were embarrassed that it was even a thing. But apparently if even one trans person is offended by something some people think that is enough to ban it, regardless of the opinion of the trans community as a whole.

    I am not myself a trans person, but as an atheist I do know what it is like to be in a group that is marginalized by society, and am very careful not to stake out a position or employ tactics that needlessly marginalizes us further. My opinion is that the ACA’s actions did just that to both the atheist and trans communities, and it appears that a sizable percentage of the trans community agrees.

  49. jabbly says

    @Habeas Humour #37

    You may also think you’re doing a disservice to Americans who can’t communicate with someone who is British.

  50. uglygeek says

    @37 Habeas Humor
    Actually I am suggesting that it’s you who are incapable of communicating with Europeans. 🙂

  51. t90bb says

    21. ugly geek…..

    you do understand that when you start out by telling another on the board that you don’t believe “they even follow sports” that you have discredited yourself. Can you kindly present the evidence you have that led you to state that you do not believe buddyward follows sports?? Or are you talking out your ass?? They obviously don’t follow sports because they don’t agree with you??

  52. uglygeek says

    @50 t90bb
    It was just a personal opinion I should have kept to myself, as I said it really didn’t matter in this discussion anyway.

  53. buddyward says

    @Claywise #44

    So I would argue that, while evolution does not and cannot disprove the existence of a god, it is an irreparable crack in the foundation of the Abrahamic faiths, and thus worthy of discussion in that regard, at least.

    Yes, I know. But when theists call the show, wanting to talk about evolution, I often see the host engaging in the debate about the finer points of evolution. The theists never seem to want to talk about why debunking evolution is important to them. It seems to me that by poking holes in the theory they think that they win by default.

    So yes, asking theists what does evolution (has) anything to do with the existence of god is a discussion worth having. Why debunking evolution is important to them is also worth having but they do not seem to want to talk about that.

    When Tracie asked the caller “If evolution can be believed to be true and untrue by theist who believes that god exist, does it matter?” and the caller said, “Well that is a good question that I have not thought about.” indicates to me that the caller, like most, is there only to try debunking evolution.

    Perhaps if the hosts of the show continue with this line of questioning whenever someone calls about evolution it will save us time from hearing the arguments that have been hashed and rehashed every time this type of call is accepted.

  54. uglygeek says

    @53 t90bb
    don’t we always say that a person cannot decide what he believes or doesn’t believe? I should have kept my personal feeling to myself because as I said it was not relevant anyway in the discussion.

  55. PETER CUSHNIE says

    Personally, I could not care less about trans people in sports. Let the sports figures hash it out among themselves. The far greater issue is the shabby treatment of RR by the ACA. Who in fuck made them the arbiters of what RR or anyone else can publish on their web content? It’s not as though RR declared himself a white supremacist, for christ sake. He expressed views on a subject having nothing to do with atheism in the first place. I emailed the ACA president and warned him against slipping into dogmatism and the fact that atheism is only about non-belief in a god or gods and does not require a set position on anything else, trans people or what have you. Hell, an atheist can also be a republican. What happened to no tenets, no philosophy, no dogma? No, the ACA owes RR an apology and RR should not be pressured into revising his position unless he genuinely wants to, or will future guests have to pass an opinion test set by the ACA leadership? This really sucks.

  56. buddyward says

    @Peter #55

    Personally, I could not care less about trans people in sports. Let the sports figures hash it out among themselves. The far greater issue is the shabby treatment of RR by the ACA. Who in fuck made them the arbiters of what RR or anyone else can publish on their web content?

    The ACA is not telling RR what he can or cannot publish on his channel. They are distancing themselves from him. As a result it presents an appearance that the ACA is validating the accusation that RR is a transphobe to which many here disagrees.

    Until the ACA addresses this head on, I believe that the silent treatment we are getting would only result in diminishing the confidence and trust that we have for the ACA.

  57. John David Balla says

    @41 John Straub
    >>One important aspect about this R/R fiasco we seem to have overlooked . . . the image it is presenting to our enemy. 
    @42 whisperit
    >>Meanwhile, ACA has not reacted well. By simply attaching a ‘transphobic’ label to RR without putting forward an argument it has laid itself open to the charge of thought-policing. The ‘alt-right’ is loving all this.

    I’m glad you’ve noticed. The situation is even worse. The ACA is demonstrating to its membership, its followers, and it’s adversaries, that a well-reasoned argument is good for defeating theists but apparently not appropriate to apply to internal politics, i.e., one gigantic special pleading fallacy. As such, theists may not be able to prove god, but they’ve been handed the next best thing on a silver platter: hypocrisy.

    @55 PETER CUSHINE
    >> It’s not as though RR declared himself a white supremacist, for christ sake. He expressed views on a subject having nothing to do with atheism in the first place. I emailed the ACA president and warned him against slipping into dogmatism and the fact that atheism is only about non-belief in a god or gods and does not require a set position on anything else, trans people or what have you.

    A slight disagreement here in that the ACA does seem to have a philosophical underpinning to its atheism, namely skepticism/scientific method. And that’s the problem. It’s being thrown under the bus for all the see. So perhaps you’re right that we should shed the skepticism/scientific method elements from the tenet so that thought-policing can take place with impunity. At least that way the ACA would not be hypocritical. Skepticism/scientific method, hell, objective morality could all become optional tenets for the individual to consider. Come to think of it, are we not speculating on all of this? Where is the ACA’s position statement, code of ethics, or similar that substantiates, in writing, that their position on RR aligns with their stated goals and objectives? Or is the board free-lancing? BTW. I too emailed the president requesting these documents this past Saturday. Haven’t heard back yet.

  58. buddyward says

    @uglygeek #54

    don’t we always say that a person cannot decide what he believes or doesn’t believe?

    Every belief is based on some reason. It could be good reasons or bad reasons. Continuing to believe in something for bad reasons, specially if those reasons are determined to be bad makes one irrational.

    I should have kept my personal feeling to myself because as I said it was not relevant anyway in the discussion.

    Speaking of things relevant to the discussion, have you gathered up any objective scientific data that supports your claim?

  59. whisperit says

    @52
    JDB
    Thanks for that. As you might have seen, I’m of the opinion that RR’s original video was transphobic, but I have a real problem when *people* get labelled as “-phobes” when they have a history of approaching issues from a progressive standpoint, and a willingness to change. RR seems to me to have posted one howling mess of a video, and he appears to be reviewing it. As for ACA, as you imply, surely openness and transparency is a central principle of progressive movements?.

  60. t90bb says

    RR is extremely well liked by many especially his fan base which only adds more emotion to this. My initial reaction to his video was that I saw it without issue, but I have come to learn that his claims and evidence were not as well based as I thought. That said, as I said initially, I think the knee jerk anger of the trans community put pressure on the ACA to act. The ACA acted in a “shoot first ask questions later” manner.

    I see no evidence that RR acted out of any bigotry or fear regarding the trans community. He, like I, was simply wrong.

    To complicate this the trans community has worked hard to get society to be more accepting (as they should be)…and they see such a piece RR produced as a potential significant set back in their efforts. Some of the emotion and anger that has come from the trans community is probably being displaced on RR. They have done themselves no favors here in my opinion. They appear to have bullied (intentionally or unintentionally) many. Some of the trans folk have really acted poorly on many social media platforms, but that is not unexpected as they are human after all and got their heckles up.

    As such the actual video, the emotional response of the trans community, and the knee jerk of the ACA are all teachable moments. Everyone involved could have dome better in my opinion. The ACA will issue a statement softening their position shortly I assume. RR will revise his video acknowledging mistakes. The trans community and supporters (I am one) should tune down the anger and stop pretending to have access to RRs brain.

    I was obviously ignorant about some of the actual issues and evidence regarding trans athletes. This has given me the opportunity to learn and grow just like the parties involved.

    The drama here will settle and we will all move on with trying to make humanity better for the benefit of all. Have patience folks.

    I do want to publicly state my support for the trans community. I will support you because you are a beautiful part of the fabric of humanity. I understand the fight has been long and hard. Almost all of us are on your side. Please have patience with some of us as we gain greater insight into the reality of your impact in the sports realm. Fairness (or as close as we can come) to all is important.

    We will all learn and grow from this…

  61. PETER CUSHNIE says

    buddy ward @56

    “The ACA is not telling RR what he can or cannot publish on his channel.”

    Okay, you can publish what you want, but if you want to be a member of our in-group, well…

  62. buddyward says

    @Murat #40

    If 50 professional female players have played against Serena Williams, if 40 of them have a notable experience of playing also against males, hence, can judge well what it is that differs when playing against a man as opposed to playing against a woman, and if 20 of these female athletes confess that the level and kind of effort they went through against SW were much more in line with their games against men than against women, then, in the light of fairness, yes, it is quite normal to investigate this as a particular situation.

    If an objective testing have been done prior to the match, what information does your personal subjective observation have that would possibly over turn the objective testing? Do we stop the competition and continue investigating just because someone is suspicious?

    What if instead of having 20 athletes being suspicious only 1 have doubts. Does the subjective observation of that 1 person count? Should action be taken despite prior objective testing based on 1 person’s personal subjective observation?

    My opinion is that such a collection of personal, direct observations should count as evidence even though they technically should not suffice for any executive decision without further / different kinds of indications.
    Especially if these 20 female athletes do not have a history of being bad losers, of making weird statements against their opponents after bitter losses.

    What you are describing here is no longer a personal subjective observation but rather a consensus. This is not evidence but rather probable cause. Which would therefore lead back to reviewing the objective testing used. Just because there is probable cause or reason to suspect does not mean the suspicion is correct.

  63. buddyward says

    @Peter #61

    Okay, you can publish what you want, but if you want to be a member of our in-group, well…

    I am an atheist whether or not I am a member of the ACA, the same goes for RR. I highly doubt that RR cares whether or not he is a member of the “in-group”. RR have made a name for himself without the support of the ACA albeit he was very much influenced by TAE. This is more about the false accusation being labelled upon RR and how the ACA seems to be validating that accusation.

  64. Murat says

    What if instead of having 20 athletes being suspicious only 1 have doubts. Does the subjective observation of that 1 person count?

    No

    Should action be taken despite prior objective testing based on 1 person’s personal subjective observation?

    No

    What you are describing here is no longer a personal subjective observation but rather a consensus. This is not evidence but rather probable cause.

    👍

    Just because there is probable cause or reason to suspect does not mean the suspicion is correct.

    True.

  65. PETER CUSHNIE says

    And just who is it who decides how far out the atheist tent will be spread? People call into the AE tv show and are routinely told that atheism is a position on a single item– non-belief in a god or gods– but that atheists range wherever they want on other issues. We’re supposed to proud of this. You don’t have to be a feminist to be an atheist. You don’t have to like gay people or– oh, the horror– trans people. Used to be said that organizing atheists is like trying to herd cats, but now some people are trying not only to herd the cats, but to brand them, also. I’m not transphobic or homophobic or Islamophobic. I just take people as I find them. I will treat you with respect until you give me reason not to and I don’t need some inner circle to tell me how to go about it.

  66. someoneontheinternet says

    This may be lost on many people but sport is divided by sex (first), then some have further divisions such as weight (all combat sports and weightlifting), and by age (namely under-18s for non-sanctioned events, open category (16+) for olympic track and field, 35+ with 5 year ranges for track and field, golf has seniors tours, etc.), and uniquely outside of these is the special olympics which still follows some of these above separations.

    I know of no other metric for which sport is separated; not muscle mass, height, lung capacity, heart size, bone density, sexual orientation, which country you are from, whether you like bananas, etc.

    As such, the first thing we do to ensure as broad of participation as possible, and thus the most open of categories, is to separate sport by sex (which is how one is born biologically). As sex is the most clear advantage to whether you will be the fastest person alive (male), or the fastest biological woman alive (obviously female). This separation does not bar anyone from competing in the male category, as it is Open to all without restriction (obviously PEDs, etc. are restricted for all athletes in all categories). However, to have any female representation in the highest level of competitive sport, a separate category exists.

    People with natural advantages are welcomed in both categories, and that is in fact what makes sport interesting. To see these people compete with all of their natural advantages on display. Also, all of their gained ability through training and dedication. However, there is this sexual dimorphic separation for a reason, no matter how hard a biological woman trains, or how much time and dedication, how much grit and determination she shows she will not beat an equally dedicated male.

    This natural advantage cannot be overcome completely for people whom do not adhere to traditional gender norms; currently there is no amount of drugs to take, medical surgery to undergo, and the honest belief of ones own gender to overcome this natural advantage, which is precisely why sport has been separated in the first place.

    Thus, the argument is not about whether someone is a “woman,” but if they are female. It is a biological one, not a social one, not an opinion, not even a fairness one. As stated above, people welcome those who have a natural advantage so long as it falls within the very few strictly separated categories already determined. Anyone who is born XY and wishes to compete can, and are fully welcome to compete in the Open category, and anyone who is XX is free to do so as well, whether or not anyone has transitioned to the opposite gender.

  67. PETER CUSHNIE says

    I was listening to A Seth Andrews video podcast and one of the accompanying chat comments suggested separate sporting events just for trans people. Such a thing should never be mandatory, but I have to wonder how trans folks would receive the idea.

  68. Claywise says

    Re 66. @someoneontheinternet

    I am largely in agreement with your post. What puzzles me is that, with rare exceptions, those promoting XY athletes competing with XX athletes would never in a million years suggest that we abolish sex-segregation in sports. Likewise, there is no question, no argument whatsoever, that testosterone confers athletic advantage for most contests of endurance, strength, physicality and so on, and that exposure to testosterone during formative years can, and does leave its mark on the physiology on the person in question.

    That said, regarding your comment, “… no matter how hard a biological woman trains, or how much time and dedication, how much grit and determination she shows she will not beat an equally dedicated male,” I have to disagree.

    In the end, this is about individuals and individual capacity, and I doubt very much that, say, the world’s top female marathoners could not outpace many, many men who simply do not have the build or aerobic capacity to compete at that level, no matter how hard they train.

    In addition, while this advantage has faded in recent years with the increased visibility of the sport, not so long ago it was not at all surprising to see women in their 40s and 50s winning major ultra-running (beyond marathon distance) races. I’m not familiar with any studies that looked at this, but something about these women made them, to be frank, tougher than their male competitors.

    Still, as has been noted, the overall advantage of males against females is also not in question when 15,000 XY (genetically male) runners can post a better time in the 400 meters, for example, than the world-record-holding XX athlete (genetically female). (Yes, I know there are variations beyond XY and XX, but the presence of the Y does, according to all the evidence, seem to matter).

  69. Claywise says

    Re 67. @Peter Cushnie

    We don’t know, of course, but in a trans athletic category, I’d bet that male-to-female trans people would kick the asses of even the best female-to-male athletes.

    I’d also like to add that the suffix “phobic” is really clumsy and not very useful at all. It’s often wielded as a brickbat by people whose intention seems to be to silence dissent from views they find unacceptable. It also just isn’t descriptive: Phobia connotes fear, and it’s not at all clear to me that all people who are extremely anti-Muslim, anti-gay or anti-trans people actually *fear* the people they hate.

    Rather than Islamophobia and trans-phobia and homophobia, I think “anti” describes the position of those who are truly prejudiced against these and other groups.

  70. Murat says

    @someoneontheinternet
    Very thorough summarization of your take, well written overall.
    I have one objection, though: This, after all, is about fairness. Because, based o a personal gender history, some people are being given the option to compete effectively in not one but both of the categories, whereas cis women (pracitacally) can’t.
    Here’s a hypothetical:
    Normally, sex and gender are very exclusive for people. Most heterosexual men would prefer losing an arm to losing their dick, etc. However, not every single person fits the norm. There may be people who are addicted to fame and success to the point that they allow nothing to get in between themselves and a gold medal. If such a male concluded that, with his given features, there was no chance he could ever get a gold medal competing as an athlete, but that there was a pretty solid chance if he sacrificed certain things and underwent some medical treatement.
    Well, then theoretically, this person can choose to do so. Attention: I’m not talking about the inclusion process of a genuine trans woman here. This hypothetical is about a dedicated person who wants to be included among gold medalists, and is taking the more reasonable path for this. An exception, yes.
    The question is, if that is a bug or a glitch or something to that effect, something to be “fixed” for today’s categorization, or, should we just say “Well, if one goes all this way for a gold medal… Then one deserves it!”

  71. Murat says

    @Peter Cushine
    I had brought up that same idea in last week’s thread, supported by the existence of Paralympics as a category for people with a different set of physical/metabolical advantages/disadvantages.
    “Inclusion” can come in many different ways. In time, every team may be required to have a place for one paralymic athlete, hence, not changing the overall advantages against opponents. Till then, the current categorization works fine.
    If you won’t merge every single thing into one other, then you can create several new categories.

  72. someoneontheinternet says

    @Claywise

    I shall address each paragraph with my thoughts if that is alright with you.

    1) Agreed, for example I truly wish to see the NHL and/or NHLPA help fund a WNHL (Womens NHL) somehow. The female hockey players are great, truly, and should be given support. This is especially true in Canada where young females are encouraged to play, and play often in boys leagues at early/early teenage years. These athletes should have some starting support to grow their game, audience, and thus revenue to hopefully support themselves more in the future (which means using existing facilities, being even an associate team to an NHL team, etc.).

    However, I am not deluded in thinking that these women could compete with men. Routinely the best women’s hockey teams in Canada/USA get trounced by the 15 year old rep boys teams in practice games.

    2/3) I am not going to nitpick, but I don’t think we actually disagree. Natural ability and crazy one-offs in terms of talent and such are great and expected given the law of large numbers. However, if we had a single, open category there would be no biological women in elite sport ever; short of selective breeding or genetic engineering.

    4) I would be keen to see this, because looking up ultramarathon comparisons is stark. Women’s times and distances are not even close. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarathon

    5) A separate category for trans/DSD/intersex individuals would be fine; sadly it would be quickly ignored and fade away due to utter lack of competition, and being dominated solely by trans women. Moreover, everyone would know why this category would exist and likely tune out due to knowing that these individuals cannot compete in the open category, but should actually be there to compete.

  73. someoneontheinternet says

    I apologize Murat, I did not see your comments before posting mine.

    Thank you for this reply, it shall be interesting continuing this discussion.

    Your scenario is unlikely to occur, and but just because something is unlikely does not mean it will not. It is one way of looking at this argument and having people likely agree with you. I don’t disagree myself, but I like to give the most charitable reckoning of people’s motives. I would think most people whom are trans would not be so for something as trivial (though money, etc. etc. etc. can play a role) as winning a sporting event. They are trans, they believe it, live it, and sacrifice for it; and all the more power to them. That being said, you are correct, that in fairness to the female sex, allowing these individuals, regardless of their intentions, or lack thereof (ie. no malicious intent to dominate women’s sport) puts women’s sport in jeopardy.

    Another line could be that altering your testosterone for any reason is disqualifying. This sounds harsh, and likely is, but a trans man who artificially (I don’t know how to bold a word) increases their testosterone should not compete with biological females, for obvious reasons. However, I am making the point that they could be barred from competing with biological males as well due to they could potentially take so much testosterone that they are well above male normative range and claim it is for their transition (again, this is so unlikely to happen it is absurd). However, as one cannot precisely know another’s objective completely, this is a scenario similar to the one you described yourself.
    And thus I come to my conclusion, “artificially” increasing or decreasing testosterone is something which should not be allowed due to there being no certainty that it hasn’t given a positive, or not removed a positive, effect on your body. This may exclude such XY individuals whom have a wasting disease and take steroids to keep muscle growth, it may exclude people who are or have transitioned, etc. It may include intersex people if they wish to compete as women.

    Another way I could look at it is this; if one stopped taking the artificial medication for testosterone, would their levels remain as they are, or go up/down accordingly? If a trans woman no longer has testes, her levels likely would never increase much beyond the lower levels they are, but then we get into puberty and development as an XY individual.

  74. jabbly says

    I just wondering when Clare Wuellner is going to produce evidence that RR admitted he was transphobic, as she claimed, or has that comment already been deleted.

  75. PETER CUSHNIE says

    Clawise @ 69:

    “I’d also like to add that the suffix “phobic” is really clumsy and not very useful at all. It’s often wielded as a brickbat by people whose intention seems to be to silence dissent from views they find unacceptable. It also just isn’t descriptive: Phobia connotes fear, and it’s not at all clear to me that all people who are extremely anti-Muslim, anti-gay or anti-trans people actually *fear* the people they hate.”

    I’m in complete agreement that the word “phobia” has been overworked to include any negative criticism. “Anti” is a better choice. In some cases, the fear of a particular group is not unreasonable, as “phobia” suggests. I’m going out on a limb here and liable to get myself branded, but a fear of Islam, all things considered, is not entirely unreasonable. If I say that I fear Russian intervention in our electoral system, I don’t think I’m being a Russian-o-phobe. Well, now I’ve done it.

  76. John Garcia says

    Along Don’s line…

    My wife has a serious injury which we hope to address with surgery soon. Our son, who is very religious, was in town recently and we had him over for dinner. Before we ate he asked if he could pray for his mom. She said “Sure” although she is not religious, nor am I. Part of the prayer was asking God to help the doctors and to give God the glory when she is healed. It was uncomfortable but short, so I let it go.

    Would you have done the same, i.e. let it go? Who or why not?

  77. John David Balla says

    @75 PETER CUSHINE. We all benefit when our language is more precise and less ambiguous. You touched upon an important distinction which is relevant to so many topics. This is the kind of discussion I value. Learning stuff. Finding better ways to communicate.

    But when we’re sucked into the emotional, paleo-mammalian midbrain, the area that does not apply logic, we should not be surprised by the result. That said, it may be why those who support the current ACA position seem unaffected when the logical fallacies being committed are pointed out. Two totally different paradigms seem to be what’s at odds here.

  78. John David Balla says

    I @76 John Garcia. Yes, I would have done the same. I would also point out that it was good of him to ask. All sides being respectful. We do not have to look very far to find less civil discourse.

  79. Claywise says

    Re 72. @ someone

    Re “However, if we had a single, open category there would be no biological women in elite sport ever; short of selective breeding or genetic engineering” — I agree.

    Re ultrarunning, I have not checked the times, as it seems you did. But I can say (because I was involved in the sport for a time) that it was not at all unusual 15-20 years ago for “older” women athletes to win races. This has changed considerably in recent years, as the sport has become much more professionalized, and I don’t doubt that when all the usual factors are applied (as in your hockey example above), it’s unlikely that even the best XX athletes can truly compete with the top echelons of XY athletes.

    What’s disturbing to me is that, even among many self-proclaimed skeptics and rationalists, there is a strangely counter-factual insistence that there really isn’t much, or even any, difference between the sexes. (Yes, I know gender and sex are not the same, but they are related.) This is patently absurd, and if the arguments of the people supporting XY athletes competing with XX athletes are taken to their logical conclusion, then we really should not have sex-segregated competition. That won’t happen, but if it did, that would be the end of women’s competitiveness in virtually all sports (with exceptions for such things as archery, equestrian events and so on — but in any athletic contest heavily depending on size, strength and speed).

    It is a perfectly legitimate skeptical position — and *not* “trans-phobic” — to raise questions about this complex issue. RR may have gotten some information wrong, and made some questionable choices in his video, but it’s abundantly obvious to anyone who is not blinded by trans-dogma that he is no “trans-phobe.” It is not “trans-phobic” to say “trans-women are trans-women” and to believe that there is still some fundamental difference between people born XX and those born XY.

    None of that implies that anyone, anywhere should treat any trans person with anything other than the utmost respect toward their choices and preferences, or that trans people should be in any way discriminated against or harmed in any way — ever. They are equal citizens, in my mind.

    But do not insist that I accept the demonstrably unproven dogma that “trans-men are men” and “trans-women are women.” Those are assertions, and arguments can be made in their favor (and against), but they are not established facts by any stretch of the imagination, and tarring and feathering anyone who cannot in good conscience go there is the worst kind of authoritarian witch-hunt bullshit.

    Some Buddhist communities promote an ethic of “assuming good intentions,” i.e not leaping to the least charitable assumptions and labels we can place upon someone with whom we are in conflict. We could sure use a lot more of that around here (meaning, the USA….).

  80. Alkis05 says

    @Claywise
    I don’t believe that the problem that fundamentalists have with evolution is necessarily about the original sin. Muslims and Jews don’t believe in sin been hereditary and that doesn’t stop them from having problems with evolution (for those who do).
    It has much more to do with “creationism”, if anything. Specially with the idea that animals kind of are our cousins.
    Jesus linage is seams impressive when you go back to david, abraham and adam. But when you continue a llittle further and go to some kind of insect or vermin, well, that can’t seat well with some christians.

  81. t90bb says

    76…John Garcia…

    hmmm….your not religious but do you believe in God?? One that responds to the petitions of man??

    I guess there was no real harm done. I might have been tempted to ask your son why God needs a reminder and how he thinks hes powerful enough to make God take action. I may also have been tempted to tell him..sure he can pray if its going to make HIM feel better. Also where was god when she had the accident?? Was he on another bender?

    I really hope the surgery goes well for your wife….would you mind if I rubbed my magic rabbits foot for her??

    I prolly would have done the same honestly

  82. someoneontheinternet says

    @claywise

    Shoot…got logged out and lost my post…

    It seems women archery there is a single record that a woman holds which is better than a mans, and pistol shooting (if 60/40 shots are equalized) would be super close. Also some ultra distance swimmers (English Channel) and some specific ultra marathons are also held by women (though not sanctioned events I think?). These are great; but alas, if this was all we could celebrate, then women in sport would truly be for the 0.1% of women who can hold these records compared to other women.

    I also try to attribute the best possible motivations to people when in a discussion, mainly as a debating strategy (or what people now call steelmanning an argument). if you can give your opponent the best possible interpretation, and then make a case against it, the argument is much stronger. I also, try to ensure that when someone says something, I take it as they believe it; truly. I may find it ridiculous, but I must assume they are arguing from that position intentionally; and unless they say they are trying to play the devil’s advocate or add qualifiers onto their argument saying that they don’t truly believe it (ie they may be trying to steelman it) then I take it at face value. I don’t try to read into someone’s words more than what they state, if they wish to say more, then do so. As that is how a conversation works, single phrases do not encompass a person’s full thoughts on a subject, and as such, is why twitter is garbage for communication on any serious topic.

  83. Claywise says

    Re 81. @someone

    Steelmanning is an excellent and ethical approach. And trying not to “mind-read,” presuming that the person is telling the truth about themselves and what they believe, is a good starting point (until demonstrated otherwise).

    Surely atheists can understand this — who among us hasn’t been told by an ardent theist that we “really” believe in god, we just don’t know it?

    So when activists fling a label at someone — you’re transphobic! — when the person claims to be otherwise is really not very sporting (if you will).

    One completely anecdotal observation of mine: I thru-hiked the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2016. A great experience. At the beginning, eyeballing the population of fellow hikers, I guessed it was about 75% men and 25% women (a figure borne out by some surveys). By the end, at the summit of Katahdin in Maine, it seemed to me that the balance had shaken out to around 50/50. More to the point, I finished my hike southbound (a “flip-flop”) so I got to hike back through most of the great people I’d met further south on the trail. Many, many women were marching along, steely-eyed, toward Katahdin, as did many men; but among the women I sensed a serious sense of purpose and an essential toughness that, frankly, outweighed the dumb (I can say so because it applies to me on my hike) testosterone/competition-driven choices of guys (like me) who wore our bodies down and dragged our asses to the finish. It’s sexist, I suppose, to say so, but I came away thinking that women in some ways are better thru-hikers than men; they seemed, the women I met, to know their bodies better, to know when they should take a “zero” (aka rest) day, and not to overdo it in the “easy” states (none is truly easy) in some unstated competition with the other dudes on the trail. I came away admiring the steadfast strength and mental toughness displayed by so many of the women I met along the trail. Anecdote, to be sure, but I don’t think I’m wholly wrong.

  84. buddyward says

    @someoneontheinternet #66

    This natural advantage cannot be overcome completely for people whom do not adhere to traditional gender norms;

    Please cite your source and\or provide scientific studies that supports this claim.

    I noticed that you qualified your statement with the word “completely” which is makes it ambiguous as what degree the advantage would be. As I have mentioned before, I agree that there may still be more work that needs to be done. However, a generalized statement like you said above is something I (nor anyone else for that matter) cannot accept without sufficient evidence.

    For example, here is an article about what scientists found while doing research on the performance of transgender athletes. It is also stated in this article that there is indeed more work that needs to be done but the objective data coming from the NCAA suggests that there are no significant advantage.

    If you are interested in Joanna Harper’s published work you can find it here.

  85. paxoll says

    @Clay

    But do not insist that I accept the demonstrably unproven dogma that “trans-men are men” and “trans-women are women.” Those are assertions, and arguments can be made in their favor (and against), but they are not established facts by any stretch of the imagination, and tarring and feathering anyone who cannot in good conscience go there is the worst kind of authoritarian witch-hunt bullshit.

    Claywise, I addressed this quite succinctly to you last week. Either you didn’t see it or are ignoring it. Refresh your memory and then please retract this ignorant statement.

  86. someoneontheinternet says

    @buddyward

    The subsequent conversation I have had has shown that there is a tiny fraction of sport where women can be considered equal to men. That alone is the strongest evidence of all sport over the past 100 years whereby men outperform women given that the sport that is being competed is the same for both (running is simple, things like discus is difficult as women throw a discus that is half the weight). I mean, the whole endeavor of sport proves out the point, you can wish you can fly, but alas without a technological advantage one cannot. Women wishing they can compete with men in sport is simply not true in the absolute vast amount of cases, and as such we have created a category whereby we can support, and celebrate women in sport.

    Yes, Joanna Harper is a trans runner (bias), who did a study on 8 people (not enough), and says herself that transitioning and taking HRT lowers her natural advantage (notice lower, not negate, and also notice the key point, natural advantage). Thus, unless it is conclusively proven that trans women do not retain any advantage at all, height, skeletal structure, muscle fiber makeup, heart size, lung capacity, etc. from going through puberty as a male, then the right move is to not allow them to compete with women who have literally no chance to ever have those natural advantages.

    That is fairness, the trans women are free to compete in the open category to their heart’s content.

    Trans women are not biological women; they are biological men who identify as a woman (or trans woman). Thus why the label is there in the first place. I would not, and have never (as I have worked with a trans woman) address a trans woman or man with the prefix of trans, I addressed him/her as I would a man/woman. However, seeing as she was 6’3″, around 200 lbs (not in an obese way), and obviously went through male puberty (and I know this for a fact, she told me as much), there is still some advantages of having done that regardless of HRT being taken afterwards.

  87. says

    @paxoll. Let’s be real. How much can you talk about just atheism? All kinds of ancillary topics are discussed on the show. Discussing the RR situation is relevant to atheists.
    It touches on atheist organizations and dogmatic doctrines.
    It speaks to how not all atheists are skeptical and rational. Some atheists have views that they cannot rationally justify and demean those for asking them to rationally demonstrate their beliefs. Also, censoring critics and shutting down forums for debate.

    The ACA has taken action that is not only very similar to the very theists they’ve criticized, but those that are antithetical to their stated missions and policies.

  88. Claywise says

    Re 84. @paxoll

    I respectfully decline to retract what I consider to be a perfectly reasonable statement. These issues are not “settled,” except in the minds of some activists.

    What matters to me, in the end, is that people are treated humanely at all times, and fairly. And I, along with many other reasonable people, including many trans people and many women, believe there are very legitimate questions about the fairness of XY athletes competing against XX athletes. It’s complicated, and I’m open to persuasion, but nothing I’ve been presented with to date, here or elsewhere, has moved my needle much. It simply is not a settled question, as many activists would have us believe.

    And again, I’ll pose this hypothetical: If there is truly no advantage to an XY chromosomal status, along with its accompanying (and varied, depending on the individual) hormonal and physiological traits, competing with XX athletes, then everyone arguing in favor of XY athletes competing with XX athletes should be advocating for the elimination of sex- and gender-segregated sports.

    It’s disappointing to me to hear Jenn say, “Transwomen are women” with adamancy, as if she is saying, “The theory of gravity has been demonstrated as true.” It is simply not the case. There is debate among decent people who bear no ill will toward trans people, and to insist otherwise goes against the grain of what it means to be a skeptical thinker.

    Feel free to fling invective and portray me as whatever evil thing you like; I’m covered with it already, but it washes off quite easily. This is a debate that has become heavily freighted with people’s hopes and desires and political stances, but as a skeptic, I’m not convinced. And I am not alone. And I wish only the best for trans people.

  89. says

    @paxoll you must demonstrate “trans men are men” and “trans women are women”. A man is an adult human male. A trans man is someone who was born female and has made cosmetic, hormonal, and surgical changes to their bodies to make their bodies to relieve their dysphoria.

    But if they were men, there’d be no need to transition because they would be male.

    The terms “man” and “woman” aren’t identities, they are biological designations of adult humans of both sexes.

    If trans women are women, then Rachel Dolezal is a black woman because she identifies as one, right?

  90. paxoll says

    No Stephen, I don’t. It is a a fucken definition. It is easily recognized throughout all of recorded history, most easily seen in the 500 year old term Tomboy.

    https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender

    “Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.”
     
    Also easily recognized in todays culture with common sayings such as, “Act like a man”, “feminine wiles”, behaving “girly”, or telling children to act like a “big boy” or “big girl”. These all have to do with behaviors, and not sex organs or chromosomes.
     
    This is established definitions historically, scientifically, and colloquially. It is beyond belief that this needs to be pointed out on this forum. You want to debate gender, go to a blog that is about gender not a blog on the Atheist Experience, I’m sure you will get a great reception over on Pharyngula. You want to talk about ACA, go to the facebook page that is set up for this topic.

  91. paxoll says

    @claywise,
    Refusing to acknowledge established science is a sure way for people here to ignore you. If you want to talk about the the rational position to take on trans atheletes then I suggest you start by not demonstrating your ignorance on the topic by conflating sex and gender. Biological woman is like saying biological religion. A social construct is not biological.

  92. Rick Meyer says

    The entire RR issue was a great opportunity for the ACA to show nuanced reasoning and “practicing what they preach”. However, I am glad to see a lot of that nuanced reasoning here in a mostly respectful and civil discourse.

  93. someoneontheinternet says

    @paxoll

    I do not need to do anything, and telling people to leave because you don’t like the conversation is quite humorous. You can leave at any time, or not address the conversation yourself.

    Established science says humans are a sexually dimorphic species; I don’t care what gender you are; sex matters when it comes to reproduction, biology, advantages via that biology.

    Sport is separated by sex, not gender. It is you who conflates it because you only separate gender and sex when it suits your own goals. I have kept it separate the whole time.

  94. Salalamander says

    Just popping in to say that I am supremely disappointed in the way RR was treated by the ACA and I can no longer support the organization.

    You can be wrong/mistaken about something without being transphobic or bigoted. There’s a right and a wrong way to go about addressing stuff like this and literally lying about someone’s position and publicly slandering them is without a doubt the wrong way. Shame on you, ACA.

  95. buddyward says

    @someoneontheinternet #85

    The subsequent conversation I have had has shown that there is a tiny fraction of sport where women can be considered equal to men. That alone is the strongest evidence of all sport over the past 100 years whereby men outperform women given that the sport that is being competed is the same for both (running is simple, things like discus is difficult as women throw a discus that is half the weight). I mean, the whole endeavor of sport proves out the point, you can wish you can fly, but alas without a technological advantage one cannot. Women wishing they can compete with men in sport is simply not true in the absolute vast amount of cases, and as such we have created a category whereby we can support, and celebrate women in sport.

    Let me see if I get this straight. I provided an example of a scientific study conducted over 7 years to support my position and you think that a stronger evidence for your position is a subsequent conversation that you had? A conversation to which you provide no objective data, no possible way to corroborate your claims, no way of knowing what the actual conversation is about. Do you seriously think that is the strongest evidence that supports your claim?

    Yes, Joanna Harper is a trans runner (bias),

    How did you determine that Joanna Harper is biased? Is it purely from the fact that Joana is a trans-woman? Are trans-women incapable of being objective? What is your basis to make this type of accusation?

    who did a study on 8 people (not enough),

    Not enough??? How many trans-gender women participated in your study that provided the appropriate data for you to make your conclusion? Can you show us the paper you published based on that study?

    and says herself that transitioning and taking HRT lowers her natural advantage (notice lower, not negate, and also notice the key point, natural advantage). Thus, unless it is conclusively proven that trans women do not retain any advantage at all, height, skeletal structure, muscle fiber makeup, heart size, lung capacity, etc. from going through puberty as a male, then the right move is to not allow them to compete with women who have literally no chance to ever have those natural advantages.

    Are you kidding me? If a 6’2″ 220lbs man decided to transition into a woman, how much should his skeletal structure shrink in order for her to be considered fair to participate in sports? What about a 5’2″ 135lb man? What amount of shrinkage is acceptable? Under what standards are you basing these measurements? Is this a topic in one of those conversations that you had?

    If you think that Joanna Harper is biased, how about another study, conducted 7K miles away in New Zealand that corroborates the very same study that Joanna did.

  96. someoneontheinternet says

    @buddyworld

    Yes, I read the study that you linked by Joanna Harper et. al. look at the conclusion of the study.

    “It should be noted that this conclusion only applies to distance running and the author makes
    no claims as to the equality of performances, pre and post gender transition, in any other sport.
    As such, the study cannot, unequivocally, state that it is fair to allow to transgender women to
    compete against 46,XX women in all sports, although the study does make a powerful statement
    in favor of such a position.”

    And that is from where I argue. There is not enough evidence to say that transgender athletes should be allowed to compete because their transition, even with HRT, has not fully diminished their benefits from developing through puberty as a male.

    The study also was based on self-reporting by the athletes, which is a weak metric, as it can be cherry picked by the participants (though I assume that they did not intentionally try to fudge the numbers to make the study look good); however, it is still something which must be taken into consideration. This study applies solely to distance running, testosterone (which is the primary focus of the study) plays a much smaller role in distance running as muscle mass is actually detrimental to it. She admits herself that runners training habits affected the study, essentially disqualifying 3 of them:

    “Collectively, the eight runners were much slower in the female gender; slow enough, in fact, that their age graded performances were almost identical to their male AGs. Two of the runners had higher average AGs in male gender than in female gender, while one runner had higher female AGs than male ones. The changes in the age grades of these runners mirrored changes in their training habits.”

    She is using age grading, as it is not really possible to determine otherwise how these athletes would compare over time, but it is not a perfect metric when trying to compare transition before and after; as age is by definition a variable that can be attempted to be accounted for, but not fully.

    8 participants is not enough, even she admits it, and any person worth a salt in doing a study on humans knows it as well. She should also look at trans men, as a form of a control group; that may be an even better study in the first place. Then again, there are exactly zero trans men who anyone considers a top athlete, so that would make it pretty difficult to manage with the constraints she herself said would be best to make the study better.

    I would say that the journal that it was published in has an impact factor of 1.093; which is abysmally low. It is not a biological journal, and isn’t cited by biology related people. It is a social science journal that is way down in the rankings.

    a 5’2″ 135lbs. male who transitions to female doesn’t get any more special consideration in my books than does the 6’2″ 220 lbs. male. Both are male, both have advantages because of it; and both will not have those advantages completely removed by transition. It really doesn’t matter what measurement you want to take, no biological woman has the opportunity to receive said advantages, and as such, that is what disqualifies transitioned women from competing with biological women.

    The second study you just linked I have also read before because EoT poor video used it. The journal is slightly better, with an impact factor of around 7 average (lifetime) and 3.42 in 2017 for when the article was published. Still low in terms of how good of a journal it is; but really let us dig into the study.

    Ahh, it is a sociological study primarily focused on the impact of inclusion into sport for trans identified people. It references the same prime authors as Joanna (notice a trend here, the same authors in 2004 from the Netherlands…). The only part that references actual biology and athletics is as follows.

    The study, and I quote: “The authors measured transgender people’s muscle mass (via magnetic resonance imaging) and hormone levels (via urine and blood analyses) before and 1 year after cross-sex hormone treatment. They found that 1 year after transgender male individuals had been administered cross-sex hormone treatment, testosterone levels significantly increased and these levels were within a cisgender male range. They also found that 1 year after cross-sex hormone treatment, transgender male individuals’ muscle mass had increased and was within the same range as transgender female individuals (assigned male at birth) who had not been prescribed cross-sex hormone treatment. In relation to transgender female individuals, Gooren and Bunck found testosterone levels had significantly reduced to castration levels after 1 year of cross-sex hormone treatment. Muscle mass had also reduced after 1 year of cross-sex hormone treatment. However, muscle mass remained significantly greater than in transgender male individuals (assigned female at birth) who had not been prescribed cross-sex hormone treatment.”

    So, they found that trans women’s muscle mass was higher than biological women; even though the testosterone was down at about equal levels. So not all advantages had been eliminated. The very next paragraph follows:

    “Therefore, Gooren and Bunck concluded that transgender male individuals are likely to be able to compete without an athletic advantage 1-year post-cross-sex hormone treatment. To a certain extent this also applies to transgender female individuals; however, there still remains a level of uncertainty owing to a large muscle mass 1-year post-cross-sex hormones. While this study was the first to explore, experimentally, whether transgender people can compete fairly, the sample size was relatively small (n = 36). Additionally, they did not explore the role of testosterone blockers and did not directly measure the effect cross-sex hormones had on athletic performance (e.g. running time). Many, but not all, transgender female individuals are prescribed testosterone blockers to help them to reach cisgender female testosterone levels, when administration of oestrogen alone is not enough to reduce testosterone levels. This is particularly important if the person aims to undergo gender-confirming surgery, as 6 months of testosterone suppression is a requirement for such procedures. However, if a transgender woman does not wish to undergo surgery or does not wish to have their testosterone blocked to cisgender female levels (e.g. as they wish to use their penis), their testosterone levels will be above cisgender female levels. Differentiating not only between those taking cross-sex hormones and not taking cross-sex hormones, but also transgender female individuals taking testosterone blockers, may be necessary when discussing an athletic advantage.”

    I think that largely speaks for itself.

  97. Church says

    @Habeas Humor your post was very long but the only thing anyone can get out of it is, with all do respect, “i am offended.” And to that I would only point you to our Atheist heroes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78OevDyH7-Y . The post only repeats over and over that a person who is is part of the trans community feels this way and anyone who doesnt agree is wrong and oh science backs me. If you can not find the fallacies in this argument you presented the irony would be epic. If you want to counter RR’s ideas about trans people then that will stand or fall on its own. I encourage you to re read your posts. take out trans and substitute christian then re-read it. I hope that will help. This is not a statement on who is right. I hold my own opinions on the matter, Only that ACA did not act rationally with there post based on the principles they stood for on free thought and that people who claim to be offended by RR need to back up from there emotion and engage with the community with rational arguments as to why RR might be wrong.

  98. jeuandavid says

    For Dave (UK).
    A good place to find out about non-religious values is Humanists UK (ttps://humanism.org.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAjwq-TmBRBdEiwAaO1enxX6lg8_Qm44wSZPZChW_Oe_LOfxjisPPJXldS74OXD6iaVO67E8RRoC0ZMQAvD_BwE). As a whole, atheism is more common and accepted in the UK, so think there are more individuals without attachment to groups. I would be happy to talk with Dave if he wanted to talk. I’m in North Wales, just 1.5 hrs drive to Manchester!

  99. buddyward says

    @someoneontheinternet

    Impressive summary of the studies that I pointed out. To which the conclusion of the study still remained that there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage. This is contrary to what you are claiming that

    This natural advantage cannot be overcome completely for people whom do not adhere to traditional gender norms;

    I am willing to accept that there maybe some sports (weight lifting perhaps??) that transgender women may have an advantage but that has yet to be determined and currently there are no scientific consensus as to what those sports might be or how the sport can be regulated such that the advantage is nullified. But perhaps I am wrong and you can point me to a specific study for a specific sport where transgender females do have a significant advantage.

    Not having enough evidence to include a certain group of people in all sports does not make the position of excluding them win by default. You will still need to provide that evidence which brings me to the original point. Where in that wall of text that you so carefully typed showed evidence that transwomen have such significant advantage that they should not be allowed to compete? I agree that the testosterone blockers, hormone therapy, etc. does not reduce muscle mass or skeletal structures but despite that fact, the studies still showed no athletic advantage at least for some type of sports.

    You have been so eager to point out how there appears to be a pattern in the studies which I guess you are suggesting as a conspiracy and that the sample sizes are too small. That the system used to collect the data is based on self report despite the fact that the study stated that many of the reports have been verified. So how about we put all of that aside and address your claim and the evidence that supports it. Let us see the objective scientific studies that justifies transwomen should not be included in women’s sports. I am actually more interested in the actual performances of these transwomen as compared to ciswomen in actual competition as that would be a good measure as to whether or not transwomen does have an advantage. I could really care less about skeletal structures and muscle mass as those does not necessarily guarantee dominace.

    There are two sports organizations that I know of that allows transgenders to participate, the Olympics and the NCAA. I cannot seem to find any information at all that suggests trangenders are dominating in these organizations. Do you have any information on either these two organizations or others where transgenders are dominating?

  100. someoneontheinternet says

    Women’s sport is restrictive to ensure it exists. There must be good, strong, clear evidence to expand the category. That is how that category exists, and continues to do so, and we celebrate women athletes. I wish them all the best, and enjoy watching them compete.

    I said no such thing, both studies pointed to a single study in 2004 in the Netherlands which said that there is advantages which cannot be said to not be influential for trans women athletes. So any further study would have to prove this premise incorrect. They both failed to do so.

    There are no studies that trans athletes should not compete, as we are on an atheist board, proving a negative isn’t usually required. The premise is that we should allow new people into a restricted activity. There should be proof that this makes sense, and so far, there is nothing; at best it is still an open question asking for more study.

    Irrelevant if they dominate, they are competing and beating some women who are now not doing as well because of it. They do not need to be the best in order to disadvantage those already in the category.

  101. whisperit says

    Looking at the preponderance of posts today, I see I am in a minority. But here goes.

    My position is that according people equal rights and respect trumps maintainingrting spo traditions.
    My understanding is that the vast majority of trans- people feel themselves to be truly the gender they identify as; not some special category or third gender. They experience fierce levels of discrimination and hostility as a result. I am happy to respect their sense of themselves, just as I am happy to acknowledge the identity of people with XY chromosomes who feel themselves to be men and people with XX chromosomes who feel themselves to be women. It follows that “Trans-” people should be treated equally to other men or women in employment, in education, in toilet facilities (yes, I’m from the UK!) – and in sport.

    As has been pointed out, most sport is not segregated according to the relative strength, hand-eye coordination, testosterone level at puberty, muscle mass or whatever of the participants. Only gender is consistently used as a segregator. So we get a choice. We can choose to deny the sense of self that trans- people have, and enforce further discrimination upon them. The message being something like, “Yes, we know you’ve been bullied, hated, had to survive severe mental health challenges and physical hardships and repeatedly had your sense of yourself denied. We are sad about that, but we aren’t going to let you enter competitive sports because it’s not fair on *real* women, y’know?”. Alternatively, we could accept that “Trans” – women are women and let them live a woman’s life. The consequence being that, if some “Trans-” women compete in womens’ sports, it will mean that every competition will be won by – guess what? – women.

    None of this means I’m denying that it’s possible that some women will have an advantage because they have experienced high levels of testosterone throough puberty. Nor do I want to abolish the distinction between biological sex and social gender in all contexts,

    There may be a few adverse consequences: for instance, a few, strange, men may try to pass themselves off as women in order to win sports prizes (but they, of course, are men, not “trans-” women). It may throw up problems with doping tests. But I’d far rather have our ideas about sports competitions challenged than perpetuate a society that is determined to find ways of stignatising and discriminating against a minority, with all the tragic consequences that we see today.

    As I mentioned earlier, I nevertheless maintain that ACA’s handling of the RR situation has been poor.

  102. ianbraisby says

    First ever post so please be gentle!
    Wanted to write something addressed to the caller Dave from the UK, if he or someone who can pass information on to him drops by here.
    Firstly, I always enjoy UK callers (and guest hosts) on ACA shows. While we don’t face the same challenges here as you guys do in the US as regards religion/state separation, church interference in education and the like, obviously we face the same issues dealing with leaving religion, making sense of the world from a secular perspective and finding community.
    So specifically for Dave, I wish you all the very best on your journey of discovery. Wanted to suggest Humanists UK (I’m not affiliated to the organisation, just found them helpful) as a source of information and resources. I especially recommend a free online course they offer on the FutureLearn site, which has some great sections on non-religious morality and addressing questions of identity and purpose from a secular viewpoint. I recently completed the course and think from what you were talking to Tracie and John about that you’d definitely find it useful. Good luck.

  103. ianbraisby says

    Did anyone else pick up something a bit strange that Saad said during his call? He said “as a Muslim I’m supposed to believe what it says in the Koran”. Maybe he misspoke, but the phrasing jarred with me. Surely that statement is the wrong way around? Is it not true that a person should examine the holy book(s) of a religion then decide whether or not they want to believe in and follow said religion based on what it says? Not to be “supposed” to believe the book because you are an adherent of the religion. Unless we’re talking about being a member of a religion for cultural reasons based on location, family background etc. rather than any kind of judgement regarding its teachings.

  104. Murat says

    @paxoll

    Also easily recognized in todays culture with common sayings such as, “Act like a man”, “feminine wiles”, behaving “girly”, or telling children to act like a “big boy” or “big girl”. These all have to do with behaviors, and not sex organs or chromosomes.

    I’m not too sure if behaviors have absolutely nothing to do with sex organs or chromosomes. Does that not slightly contradict with the notion that a soul is not needed for people to act the way they do, that chemistry is sufficient, or at least quite dominant in determining what we do?
    Yes, also a negative can be proven at times, depending on contradictions within the argument itself, but, can we claim today that there is NO unavoidable effect of a chromosome in one’s life, if one has gone through changes and treatments?

  105. whisperit says

    The notion of organising society around physiology that seems to be dominating this discussion is deeply troubling to me.

    Sixty years ago, Black people were prevented from full participation in society. In many countries, schools were segregated, bars were segregated, sports were segregated – in practice, if not in law. Black people were generally acknowledged to be human beings, but not quite ‘full’ human beings, not like “us”. Through struggle, they won the right to equal participation and in the sports arena, one consequence is that top level sprint events are now dominated by Black people. It’s quite likely this is in part because some ethnic groups have physiological or genetic characteristics that facilitate the development of fast twitch muscle and heart function. Is this unfair on those ethnicities which do not have such a biological advantage? Has sport been “destroyed” by this “expansion of the category”? Should we revert to segregation so that White sprinters have a chance of winning again?

    Or is it just possible that we can encourage and celebrate each other’s struggles and achievements as if we were one people?

  106. Murat says

    @whisperit
    That’s a very good take in the sense that it addresses the issue on a broader sense, putting the burden not only on trans issues.
    However, I have a couple of things to note:
    *

    Black people were generally acknowledged to be human beings, but not quite ‘full’ human beings, not like “us”. Through struggle, they won the right to equal participation and in the sports arena, one consequence is that top level sprint events are now dominated by Black people.

    I see the relevance. But the crucial difference is that, in the case with trans women, they, at one point, already had the chance to compete equally, but for personal and understandable reasons, they themselves said “we are not like you guys” to their competition at that time, and took the burden of an extra challenge. And, as was noted by others elswhere, they do hold the chance to compete against cis men, no rejection there, they just do not prefer to, most likely as part of an effort to make the point that they are women in all walks of life.
    *

    It’s quite likely this is in part because some ethnic groups have physiological or genetic characteristics that facilitate the development of fast twitch muscle and heart function. Is this unfair on those ethnicities which do not have such a biological advantage? Has sport been “destroyed” by this “expansion of the category”? Should we revert to segregation so that White sprinters have a chance of winning again?

    What directly popped up in my mind as I read this was a cover of Marvel’s Deathlok.
    Recently I saw this BBC documentary on bodyhackers, which addressed the possible future variations of society in many aspects. So, these people who call themselves bodyhackers do things that are at least one step ahead of piercing; they place tehcnological instruments under their skins, try to modify their natural / biological capabilities by use of up-to-date tech, etc.
    RoboCop can still be a fantasy, but not as distant from today’s reality as it was from that of the 80s, mostly thanks to Boston Dynamics. On some level, it seems people can take matters in their own hands and go ahead with the kind of modification that nature took its time for in the case of those little differences that presented us racism as a social problem.
    Let’s say someone developed the technology of some kind of organic springs that could be placed at the bottom of the feet, something that could provide notable advantage to the modified person when playing basketball.
    In the light of your argument, this should be welcome. After all, every individual has different tools, and to require that they just have to come naturally does not make much sense. So, the bone structures of trans women may fall in the same category with those spring implants for the feet. And anyone who was dedicated enough to take the extra mile should not be stopped.
    At first thought, this resonates with the kind of competition standards seen in The Running Man or Hunger Games, or that famous boxing match between Mohammad Ali and Superman, but well, I personally would be fine with the idea of less restrictions and welcoming of bio-tech into the sports arena.
    Just one thing, though:
    If so, I believe this should be announced.
    I mean, if the consesus is going to be on “embracing everyone under as few categories as possible, inclusion before fairness, progress before regulations”, then, this notion should not be narrowed down to any particular group’s agenda or interest. Let bodyhackers try things, register their modifications as legit, too, and not miss the forest for the trees.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42989077

  107. whisperit says

    @Murat
    Thanks for those thoughts.
    As far as the body modification stuff goes, I agree we are on the verge of a situation where significant body modifications will become not only possible, but widespread and often undetectable (I’m thinking pariticularly of biological technologies like gene modifiers). In some sports we are practically there already. The Tour de France is an obvious example, one where the knowledge of widespread, but undetectable, doping does detract from my enjoyment of the event as a spectator. However, it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of cycling as a participant because I am physiologically excluded from all elite sport in any case ( as, I suspect, are most of the people commenting on it here!) There are bigger issues involved – the wholesale professionalism of sport has, in my opinion, devastated most sport for me, in terms of the spirit in which it is played, the links between teams and community and so on.
    These are all trends which are entirely unrelated to the issue of ‘trans-‘ athletes. To scapegoat them as somehow responsible for degrading sport, or to single them out for special exclusionary measures, is utterly regressive.
    The suggestion or implication that trans- athletes should “announce” their modification not only scapegoats them, but fails to recognise the reality of life as a ‘trans-‘ person. First, it would mean requiiring them to make a public announcement that their identity as a normal woman (or man) is wrong. Second, it would expose them to further discrimination outside the sporting arena. In other words, it would be both cruel and endangering. Your point about trans- athletes having “had their chance to compete equally” is impractical and insenstive for similar reasons. To participate alongside others of the gender they have rejected would also require them to publicly renounce their identity as a woman (or man); and to acknowledge that all the bullies, the people who had derided, beaten, and mocked them as ‘freaks’ and ‘not a real woman (or man)’ were, actually, right. To describe them as having a ‘choice’ about this is to fail to acknowledge the realities of power, prejudice and violence.
    Finally, I reject your framing of acceptance of ‘trans-‘ athletes as putting “inclusion before fairness”. For me, the acceptance of people as the gender they identify themselves is the essence of fairness and decency.

  108. Mike mcbiles says

    Few above seem to recognize the fact that Jamie did make a short statement prior to the AXP stating essentially that there had been a public relations kerfuffle and that discussions between the interested parties were being pursued and an amicable resolution was expected. Pretty noncommittal but given the gravity and dire consequences to all involved, and that includes us garden variety atheists, if this isn’t done rationally and carefully, and with adequate time and input from non board members of the ACA and the obvious parties involved, we are all screwed. For the record, I have also emailed Jamie my displeasure at the monumental ineptness displayed in the board condemnation, and the implications for a organization that prides itself on freethought. If you watched the episode of Talk Heathen just before, Eric made a point that successful dialog is achieved by charitable listening, which is where it is assumed, unless clearly demonstrated in the discussion, that the opposite party is acting without deceit, dishonesty, or malice. I don’t think the board did this, and while RR clearly made some sloppy factual errors and and overreaching statements, I don’t think he was guilty of the transphobic charge against him. I am willing to wait for his clarification video (which unless he is a complete dolt, will be prevetted by some of the influential members of the ACA), and a face saving response by the ACA before I loose my shit. Also please note that ACA Board elections are scheduled for May 18th, 2019 (a coincidence?), so those who quit the ACA over this will miss their chance to be a part of the solution.
    Oh, and to be on topic, I thought John and Tracy once again handled the callers well, and my congratulations. Charitable listening in evidence, and when 2 callers were dishonest, were dealt with appropriately. Especially liked Tracy’s “fuck you”, a response reserved only for the most egregious of douchbags.

  109. Murat says

    @whisperit
    There is one solid miscommunication there:
    What I said I’d like announced was not individuals’ modifications – I was talking about related boards, commitees etc. “announcing” the new, underlined point of reference for such decisions, which could be something among the lines of “embracing everyone under as few categories as possible, inclusion before fairness, progress before regulations”.
    Once we know that this exactly is the framework in which such issues were going to be handled, then, there would be much less confusion.

  110. Murat says

    @whisperit

    Finally, I reject your framing of acceptance of ‘trans-‘ athletes as putting “inclusion before fairness”. For me, the acceptance of people as the gender they identify themselves is the essence of fairness and decency.

    Okay, that’s a touchy one there:
    What you are saying is true with regards to social life and gender equality. Acknowledging a trans woman as a woman is fair and decent on that level. But one could -ideed, some have– argued that this particular kind of fairness may at times be unfair for cis female competitors of trans women. It is understandable that, given the essence of sports, fairness of a game can be seen as a mere subset of social fairness on the broader sense, resulting in the acceptance that, competitive fairness can be twisted or forsaken for a greater cause.
    Which, I meant to say, I’d find understandable and acceptable, but would like to hear it declared by the related authorities among those lines. Otherwise, it might be hard to explain to a cis woman a particular situation she could find unfair on the basis of a competition.

  111. whisperit says

    @Murat
    [sorry, new to this, so don’t know how to quote]
    Thanks for the correction of my misunderstanding re announcements etc, That seems fair enough..
    Likewise, yes, there is a delicate bit of tightrope-walking to be done in some regards. I guess my main concern is to avoid any implication that trans- athletes are themselves the problem. As i argued earlier, I can’t really see why in principle, the process of including trans- athletes would be any different to that of inclusion of Black athletes in the past..

  112. Paul Money says

    @ whisperit
    “I can’t really see why in principle, the process of including trans- athletes would be any different to that of inclusion of Black athletes in the past.”
    Really?
    Any sport where strength is a factor is hugely biased in favour of men. If a man transitions into a woman, as I believe he has every right to do, he will retain a great deal, perhaps all, of that strength.
    Should he then be allowed to compete on a level playing field with people who have always been classified as women? Look at 100 metre sprinting. A typical qualifying time to compete in an Olympics for a male would be around 10.19 secs. That would qualify him for selection for some national teams, but would not give him any chance of progressing through the early rounds, never mind being a medal winner. If he transitions to be classified as a woman, that time would not only win the gold medal, but it would shatter the women’s world record by 0.3 secs, a record itself set some 30 years ago, shortly before mandatory out of competition testing was introduced. No modern day woman can approach it.
    If you’ve always been a guy and you want to be a gal, go for it, I wish you everything I would wish for myself in those circumstances, but if you want to play sports where strength is a clear advantage, you shouldn’t, in my opinion, expect to be allowed to compete on a level playing field.
    Does that make me trans phobic? Really?

  113. nude0007 says

    alex seems to have made up his own idea of what god is, and what atheism is also, ignoring ALL facts. lol
    atheists should just kill themselves? why? we can and do value our lives, miserable or not.
    Everyone needs spirituality? no. they are TOLD they need spirituality and usually dont even know what it is. most people cant even define it.
    Religion is harmful. it misleads people from the truth by filling them full of lies that tell them to ignore or reject facts and truth.
    wtf about capitalism? Atheism is not automatically supportive of capitalism. he seems to conflate the two.
    In short, he seems to have a lot of presuppositions and didnt really seem to want to discuss them, just assert them.
    I wish Tracie has gotten into WHY he believes what he believes.

  114. billkw says

    67 PC and others
    The RAW Powerlifting Federation intends to do just that, open a trans category.

  115. buddyward says

    @someoneontheinternet #98

    Women’s sport is restrictive to ensure it exists. There must be good, strong, clear evidence to expand the category. That is how that category exists, and continues to do so, and we celebrate women athletes. I wish them all the best, and enjoy watching them compete.

    Wrong, categories exists to determine common and shared characteristics. The NCAA and the IOC have determined that there are enough commonality between trans women and ciswomen that it is reasonable to include them.

    I said no such thing, both studies pointed to a single study in 2004 in the Netherlands which said that there is advantages which cannot be said to not be influential for trans women athletes. So any further study would have to prove this premise incorrect. They both failed to do so.

    Both studies have made clear conclusions which you are choosing to ignore. You are focusing on the stated exceptions which the researchers admits needs further investigation but you are interpreting it as an admission that contradicts the conclusion.

    There are no studies that trans athletes should not compete, as we are on an atheist board, proving a negative isn’t usually required.

    Proving what you claim is required, whether that be a negative or a positive. If you make a negative claim that you cannot prove then your claim is not justified.

    The premise is that we should allow new people into a restricted activity. There should be proof that this makes sense, and so far, there is nothing; at best it is still an open question asking for more study.

    This is nothing short of a bigoted statement. You are essentially saying that people or a group of people should be excluded for no reason at all until such a time that you find one. This line of reasoning is the same reasoning people used to exclude others based on race or gender. People should have the freedom to do things until there is good reason to restrict them.

    Irrelevant if they dominate, they are competing and beating some women who are now not doing as well because of it. They do not need to be the best in order to disadvantage those already in the category.

    It is very much relevant if you are going to argue that it the inclusion of transgender women poses an unfair advantage. If the performance of transgender women are inline with those of ciswomen then all the other factors that you are pointing out (muscle mass, skeletal sizes, testosterone levels, etc.) is irrelevant. You are focusing on the physical (visual) aspects of the transgender women and ignoring what actually matters and that is their performance.

  116. Murat says

    It is very much relevant if you are going to argue that it the inclusion of transgender women poses an unfair advantage. If the performance of transgender women are inline with those of ciswomen then all the other factors that you are pointing out (muscle mass, skeletal sizes, testosterone levels, etc.) is irrelevant. You are focusing on the physical (visual) aspects of the transgender women and ignoring what actually matters and that is their performance.

    Their performance as opposed to the performance of cis women only, or, also their current performance as opposed to their previous performance under another category?

  117. whisperit says

    @Paul Money
    Hi. not sure where the “does that make me transphobic? Really?” question comes from, as I’ve accused no-one on this board of being transphobic.
    Perhaps the key to our different takes on this question is that you consider trans- women have, “always been a guy and want to be a gal”? As I understand it, most trans-people would assert they have always been one gender.; they aren’t guy-gal hybrids. .I’m happy to support that assertion and to me, the duty to support and include marginalised and persecuted groups is well worth the inconvenience of having to rethink some aspects of the way we organise society – including recreation..
    On the ‘unfair advantage’ point, it’s known that some Black sprinters appear to have physiological advantages based on their genetics (perhaps the D allele of the angiotensin gene, the ACTN3 gene, I even seem to recall Robert Trivers suggesting that inherited knee asymetry is key!). Whether coincidentally or not, since the 60s, sprint champions are now overwhelmingly Black. But no-one suggests they pose a danger of “destroying White athletics”, that there should be segregated games, or that sprinting is no longer “a fair competition”. Can you point out how your example of the claimed biological advantages of trans-athletes in strength differs from the biological advantages black Jamaicans have in speed?
    Cheers

  118. stphnmartin says

    @ habeas #19

    “In the case of RR, he made some statements that were ignorant (by his own admission, apparently), and these statements offended many trans people.”

    “Those who are determined to be ‘offended’ will discover a provocation somewhere. We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt.”
    ― Christopher Hitchens

  119. Murat says

    @whisperit

    But no-one suggests they pose a danger of “destroying White athletics”, that there should be segregated games, or that sprinting is no longer “a fair competition”.

    No one?
    This assertion needs fact-checking.
    Far as I know, many people (not necessarily racists) talk about this, not in the sense that they ask for segregated games or something, but in the sense that it is not really a fair competition. Bill Burr has some great bits related to that exact reaction that you say no one gives.

  120. buddyward says

    @Murat #111

    Their performance as opposed to the performance of cis women only, or, also their current performance as opposed to their previous performance under another category?

    Their current performance as a transgender woman.

  121. whisperit says

    @ Murat – you’re quite right to pull me up on that sweeping generalisation. I guess I meant, “no-one I can be arsed to listen to”.There are some areas I am doomed to remain ignorant of, forever.

  122. Murat says

    @buddyward
    When you say “what matters is their performance”, I tend to understand that as a “measure”. Meaning, by definition, that there has to be a point of reference to evaluate that. In that sense, I wondered if you were taking into consideration only the comparisons of performances between cis and trans women, or, also the drop of performance (due to medication, operation, treatment etc) in the person who is now a trans woman.
    Like, if the performance ratios on average between men and women categories is 10 / 7 for a certain sport, then, that would mean that a 30% loss in performance (vaguley) with who is now the trans woman would justify perfectly women’s league as the current category they are racing in.
    The other evaluation seems less related to me as every woman (cis or trans) will already have their own, very particular performance histories.
    Are we at least on the same page, or am I totally missing what you mean when you say “performance”?

  123. Paul Money says

    @ whisperit
    Black athletes were in the distant past excluded from some sports on the grounds of their blackness, not on the grounds of their perceived advantages. There was in any case no transition involved that might make it a reasonable comparison.
    Segregated games would be an absurdity, because there could be no objective way to decide what race somebody belonged to, as race is almost entirely a social construct. Games divided into categories for men and women on the other hand, are based on their sex, which is a matter of biology, determined by their genes and anatomy. Men have huge advantages over women in any sport where strength is a factor, which would render open competition absurd, hence a category for women. It might be thought fair and reasonable that men who have transitioned should compete in women’s sports, but I don’t know on what grounds. It would be nice for the trans men of course, but not so nice for the women.
    I know you didn’t accuse me of being trans phobic, but I bet somebody will!
    This is of course not the most important question that will have to be addressed as the numbers of transgender people increases in the future, but perhaps its very visibility gives it a disproportionate importance.

  124. buddyward says

    @Murat #117

    Yes, it is a measure. A comparison between trans and cis women. The measure need not be based on the drop in performance where we are required to quantify by how much that drop ought to be. Individual drop in performance may not accurately represent a fair measure. The measure can be based on the population. For example, if in the Olympics, the population of transgender women is represented as 1% in the women’s division and are getting gold medals on all events then I would agree that there is cause for concern and revisiting the requirements would therefore be needed. If for example, the number of transgender women getting gold is close to the percentage of their population then I may consider that being inline with the performance of the ciswomen.

    The measurements can also be based on percentile. For example, if the top 80 percentile in a specific event are composed mainly trans women, then there needs to a cause for concern. If the top is evenly mixed between cis and trans women then I would view that as fair.

    I am not an expert on how population performances are measured so do not think that these are what ought to be used. There may be other ways to measure and these example are ones that are just off the top of my head.

  125. zifyduha says

    Someday I’ll have to come to the ACA Library and have that long free will discussion that Tracie suggested others would be fascinated by. 😀 This comment is really more aimed at what Matt said a couple weeks ago. (Though I suppose he’ll never see it here. *shrug*)

    There was a piece of reasoning that Matt accepted on the show that I suspect he’d not accept on closer thought: that either the universe is deterministic or random, and in neither case is there room for libertarian free will. But “deterministic” and “random” are not exact opposites, and so are not the full range of options.

    First, let’s take “deterministic” to mean that, given a state of the world*, there’s exactly one possible next state. (*At some level of description. Let’s allow that there can be non-deterministic quantum effects, for example, that at a high enough level cancel out and become near-certainly deterministic.)

    The opposite of that is “not deterministic”: given a state of the world, there are more than one possible next state, or less than one possible next state, or the possible next states are not accurately described by numbers. “Random” is even more specific: it means there’s more than one possible next state and we lack control over which one happens. So it seems to me that libertarian free will means there’s more than one possible next state and we have control over which one happens.

    So I think Matt, in consideration of that, would say that he doesn’t know whether libertarian free will exists or not, but that until there’s evidence for it, belief should be withheld.

  126. whisperit says

    @Paul Money
    Thanks. Yes, you make a valid point about the different historical grounds for the exclusion of Black people. But of course, that wasn’t the case everywhere – in apartheid South Africa, for instance, people were segregated according to what were thought by the authorities to be biological categories. They were indeed an absurdity, and I wouldn’t contend that in general, the biological differences between XX and XY people are equally absurd – clearly they have great significance in some contexts. But in the context of sports participation and social welfare, they are much less significant. I suggest it’s far better to grant complete equality of status to all who identify as female – or all who identify as male – and help everyone get their heads round the idea that gender is a social construct than the alternative – which is to permanently exclude an already marginalised and vilified group within our society. We are all big girls and boys, so to pout and say, “‘Snot fair – she used to have a penis” is a pretty pathetic way to carry on. Especially when the next bit is “And she’s never going to be allowed to play with us”.

    I’m fanatical about rugby. I would have loved to play it professionally, but some of my peers had genetic advantages over me (mainly, they were fucking MASSIVE). So I decided to do something else for a living instead, and played rugby as an amateur – and it was still great..

  127. stphnmartin says

    @whisperit #120

    “We are all big girls and boys, so to pout and say, “‘Snot fair – she used to have a penis” is a pretty pathetic way to carry on. Especially when the next bit is “And she’s never going to be allowed to play with us”.”

    Who is saying this?

  128. Murat says

    @buddyward
    With all due respect, I think our takes on how best to evaluate this particular situation are exact opposites.
    With the method you mention, a higher percentage (among their own percentages to the society) on the side of trans women would be a “legit cause for suspicion”. In the same vein of thinking and with a shoutout to @whisperit’s previous analogy about black athletes, the domination of certain groups could easily be declared to have “unfair” effect on all others.
    Besides, how could we determine that it was their physical / metabolical conditions that caused trans women to perform better? This assertion could easily be countered by claiming that they are more motivated as a result of the discriminations they face, hence they trained better, formed more solid a sisterhood etc.
    See, if we follow that train of thought, then, “fairness in sports” would make sense if and only if no particular identity or gender group obviously dominated any sport. But that’s not the case, and that should not even be expected.
    If the question here is what category would be most fair (for both them and their opponents), and if the options are limited with the current two, then, the percentage of drop in performance after treatment / medication seems like the more reasonable data to me. My perception of statistics and math says so.
    But again, if the claim is that a certain amount of unfairness is inevitable, but that the overall outcome on a social basis and gender equality would outweigh that, yes, ok, if the drop of performance was not really as big as the difference of performance between men and women in related sports, the explanation itself would be fair and clear for people like RR to change their perspective on the whole thing.

  129. mdavid says

    I have a simple suggestion on the trans athletes issue which hopefully no reasonable person would argue with.

    Have trans and cis athletes compete each other as they do now. At the same time set up as many studies as are possible, with a minimum of 2000 participants in each. Then look at the data and see if trans have a statistically noticeable advantage or disadvantage over their cis counterparts. If they do, then new policies should be crafted to ensure that there is an equal playing field.

    Until then, neither side should be prevented from participating.

    And now please, let’s get back to talking about the other claims raised on the show.

  130. whisperit says

    @stphnmartin
    Oops – I’m blushing with mortification. It was meant as a lighthearted remark. Apologies if it seemed I was directing it at anyone here.

  131. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @whisperit #106:

    new to this, so don’t know how to quote

    <blockquote>text goes here</blockquote>
     
    Besides blockquote tags, there are: b for bold, i for italic, and strike for strikethrough.
     
    And <a href=”url goes here“>some label</a> for a link. You can have at most 3 links in a comment (including bare pasted urls, which will also be clickable), or it gets held up in moderation automatically.
     
    If you ever need more, <code>url goes here</code> will appear as unclickable text, which won’t count against that limit. Folks will need to copy-paste the url to follow it.
     
    Leaving an empty line will create a small gap between paragraphs. To add larger whitespace, &nbsp; (that’s a semicolon) will invisibly occupy a line. Or use a period, which is unobtrusive.
     
    The preview button is, of course, highly recommended for catching typos with these.

  132. buddyward says

    @Murat #122

    The hypothetical you presented seems reasonable enough but is it inline with reality? I would agree that if an unreasonably high percentage of trans women performs above those of ciswomen that it would be a “legit cause for concern”. Does that mean we outright ban trans women? No, we go back and revise what we have in terms of determining what is fair. What I find about your hypothetical is that even though it sounds reasonable, the reality seems to contradict it. Both the NCAA and the IOC allows transgender women to compete and it does not seem to show a high percentage of trans women significantly dominating.

    The analogy with black athlete seems to be appropriate to the extent that people are talking about it and discussing the situation which I think is the right thing to do and which I hope what would happen should the hypothetical you presented comes into fruition. I do not know if there is a massive outcry for segregating black athletes from whites. I am hopeful that people are looking at every possible angle to not let this happen.

    As I have said before, I am not an expert in measuring performances, so it might be that the method you are proposing is a better one but I too can find faults in it just like you have on mine. For example, to what extent should a person’s performance drop in order to be acceptable? There would have to be a set standard but what would it be? Should it be the average? If so, why? Ciswomen are not required to be average. Should it be at the upper limits? Again, why? That would mean that trans women would have an advantage. What happens if at the time of competition the person performs higher than what is measured? What would this mean for the transgender population? How do we avoid the situation where a person might purposely decrease their performance while testing and then go all out during competition?

    I think that at the core, you and I might be on the same page with regards to allowing transgender women to compete. We might just be in disagreement with the methods in determining what is fair and that is OK. The more people talk about this the better. What I do not think should happen is to exclude people for no reasons or bad reasons.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I will share my opinion here because I want to know if anyone thinks that I got anything wrong.

    If women competed with men in most sports, the professional athletes would be almost entirely men and this would be because of pure biological differences that have nothing to do with cultural biases, upbringing, etc. If true, then having women’s sports seems entirely reasonable to me, just like having the paralympics. If false, then it seems to be a case of “separate but equal” which should be done away with eventually, and any justification to its existence would be temporary ala “affirmative action”, e.g. lasting only so long as the underlying cultural biases exist in the culture. I believe that almost all of the top 0.001% of the male population are better sports athletes than in most sports compared to any woman, and this is biological and genetic and unavoidable without some sort of atypical body alteration i.e. hormone treatments.

    Concerning trans-women competing in women only sports. If it’s true that trans-women don’t have innate genetic / biological advantages over cis-women, then trans-women should be able to compete in women-only sports. If false, then I see a minor problem, and I don’t know what the solution should be offhand, and this is definitely the part where I feel like it’s time to “shut up and listen” for a bit. It has been argued that many professional women-only sports have allowed trans-women to compete, and very few of them have reached the top, thus strongly suggesting that trans-women don’t enjoy special advantages – presumably because of their extended hormone treatments. This suggests to me that trans-women in women-only sports may ought to be required to have certain hormone levels and/or undergo certain (standard) hormone treatment regimes, but again, this is the part where I feel like I should “shut up and listen” more to the women involved because it’s a problem that affects them and not me as a cis-man.

    Did I get anything wrong here?

  134. t90bb says

    I find the trans debate incredibly boring…

    has anyone ever had a complete mystical experience???

  135. t90bb says

    and is it possible to really know anything with 100 percent certainty?? if not then you cant know anything, so you know nothing….hmmmmmmmmm

  136. Paul Money says

    You appear to confuse gender and sex.
    Should women’s rugby be open to anybody who identifies as a woman? Really?

  137. t90bb says

    130…paul….it might help if you indicate who you are addressing for the benefit of those like me that cant read minds.

  138. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’d half assume that Paul was talking to me, but given that I preemptively answered his question, I am unsure. I suspect Paul meant to direct that to me, but that just shows that he didn’t properly read what I already wrote.

  139. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @t90bb #128 and #129
    It’s very suspicious that Kafei and oreotroll avoided spamming this thread. My speculation is it’s probably because they saw this one was already an unproductive shitshow and figured they didn’t need to pile on. Don’t be shocked to see our favorite blog killers appear next week (or whenever this RR shit blows over) to continue their efforts.

  140. John David Balla says

    #128 @t90bb
    >>I find the trans debate incredibly boring…has anyone ever had a complete mystical experience???

    I haven’t laughed that hard in weeks. Thank you! Please don’t waken the sleeping K-man.

  141. t90bb says

    if a trans woman thinks she KNOWS she is having a complete mystical experience can she run the 440 fairly against a CISwoman??? Or is this just faith??

  142. jigglefresh says

    t90bb… ugh. You are a glutton for silly punishment, aren’t you? Kindly, gfy! 🙂

  143. DanDare says

    I’m an atheist and have been all my life.
    I understand genetics, biology, evolutionary processes and natural selection. I write software and have written genetic algorithms to solve problems.
    What does evolution have to do with a fundamentalist christian belief? It may have something to do with their idea that all life was created by a deity in the recent past in their present form. This contention feeds into beliefs about the importance of human beings in the great chain of being, and even racist views supported by the biblical concept of seperate races each with their own creation. The stronger zealots know these ideas are utterly destroyed by theories about the natural origin of life and its natural development over time.

  144. DanDare says

    Further, the concept of “original sin” is obviously false if there was no Adam and Eve, never mind that the idea of “sin” being transmitted to children is absurd in the extreme. This also applies in varying degrees to Islam and Judaism.
    Many of the creationists that call the show don’t seem to have thought that deeply about it but instead have been told that “evolution is satans work” and go from there, or even more vaguely that evolution is wrong because it denies god altogether somehow.
    Asking the caller why they care helps find out where they are with all that.

  145. DanDare says

    Regarding RR (I’m a Patron) and ACA (I’m a fan)
    The ACA noted that RR’s video about trans-people in sport is..uh…pretty poor. They used the term ‘transphobic” which is a mistake I think. However they did not ‘condemn’ RR so much as suggest they should have challenged his points as part of the show, or refrained from having him on until he clarified.
    Like others I would like to see RR’s clarification. As a rationalist and skeptic I would expect more consideration from RR on such a topic, backed up by evidence, rather than “every body knows” talking points.

  146. whisperit says

    I’ve said more than enough on the topic of RR, the ACA and participation in sport, so just wanted to thank others for helping me clarify my own thoughts. As I mentioned, it’s the first discussion I’ve joined on here. Frankly, I dived into it mainly out of relief that I didn’t have to sit by and spectate as yet another thread descended into the K and O bait and switch show.
    Cheers

  147. whisperit says

    Oops, sorry, missed @Paul Money #130, which I feel I should respond to out of courtesy, as I’m pretty sure the question was directed at me. Yes, I would really be fine with anyone identifying as a woman entering women’s rugby. First, the numbers of “trans”-women wanting to play rugby is vanishingly small, and that is hardly likely to change much. Secondly, they are women. So they get to play women’s rugby – not men’s rigby (cos they are no men) and not “other” rugby, because they are not “other”. Finally, it’s just a game. I do think in general, this is one of those changes like gay marriage, the desegregation of schools, the lowering of voting age, that people will look back on in years to come and say, “What on earth was the fuss about?”.

  148. Paul Money says

    @ whisperit

    So you become a woman by identifying as one? ·Well, it’s a point of view I suppose!

  149. jabbly says

    To bring up the show, yeh strange I know, Mike from wherever reminded me of another thing I just don’t get. How can someone so easily dismiss other religious claims while at the same time believing their own religious claims. You could almost here it in the tone of their voice that it’s ridiculous to compare Zeus with the Christian god.

    Oh and good to see Saad again who seems to have the great ability to agree that what he said wasn’t correct without changing his mind.

  150. jabbly says

    @t90bb #129

    Is it possibly to know with 100% certainty that you can’t know anything with 100% certainty?

  151. speedofsound says

    @t90bb (#128)

    Don’t you dare!

    btw. What is a ‘sports’? I don’t get it.

  152. Brian Johnson says

    I’m a patreon of The Atheist Experience and also am a fan of RR. I’m sorry to be another person to not discuss much from meat of this episode. But here are my thoughts on this matter.

    First off, I don’t always agree with RR. But I do agree overall with the message of his response video, in which he called for both sides to avoid angry slandering on this topic.

    The simple fact of the matter is that being critical of any group on a specific topics is not proof of having a phobia or hatred of that group overall. No one needs to support trans women competing in women’s sports in order to support the trans community.

    This is why calling someone ___phobic due to the person seemingly not being tolerant in the same manner, is not an effective way to have a productive conversation.

    In spite of the necessity of demonstrating goodwill for most people to change their mind, we see mud-slinging a lot nowadays. And sometimes it can seem difficult to not join in the flinging.

    Slander has alone always been an effective way to getting initial attention. Plus slander can con a fraction of impulsive people into changing their minds. Even if it’s for a bad reason. (Although I’d say more often it just intensifies the arrogance and resolve of the people already in general agreement)

    But in this case I don’t think it has gotten to the point where slander is the best option for addressing RR, who is by-and-large an ally. If RR isn’t an overall ally, why invite him to cohost the shows? He wasn’t invited for a debate or an interview. He was invited to co-host some atheist shows where he would be playing an atheist.

    The goal should be to have productive conversations if there is a disagreement over the details of one matter among allies. That way everyone can feel comfortable enough to actually analyze the question and determine who is right and who is wrong on the various points.

    If the board was upset that RR was not questioned on his acceptance of trans people while making his appearances in Austin, that’s understandable. But I’d say it was foolish for them to make their particular online post where they call him transphobic. Even if it was written in order to express their own annoyance with how the ACA handled an opportunity to possibly ask him some questions on that topic.

    I think Jaime’s comment at the start of the episode were overall OK. I know that getting boards to agree on positions and act quickly is not their strong suit. So I’m willing to be patient before considering an end of my patronage. I’d recommend other patrons being patient too before changing their pledges.

    But I don’t think it was wise for Jaime to say that the ACA is still tolerant of trans people. Of course they should still be allies. But If he feels the need to point out that the ACA still believes they are allies to the trans community, he should say that RR also still asserts that he is an ally of the trans community too. Which is true. RR also seems to have the support and agreement of many within the trans and queer community on his position related to trans female athletes.

    I doubt the ACA would appreciate seemingly similar treatment.

    I doubt the ACA would be ok if RR slandered some hosts of the ACA by calling them dangerous Islamophobes on a blog because of one or two exchanges where the ACA hosts didn’t show full support of Islam. Even if RR tried to address disagreement on the topic and wasn’t able to get a conversation going. That wouldn’t be an acceptable excuse for a slanderous blog post.

    Obviously I’m not saying that being trans and muslim is analogous. However, I feel the adage of phobia for discrediting criticism of certain possibly contentious characteristics of the groups, is analogous.

    ACA please find a way of being friendly with RR again. His response video certainly showed an interest in remaining friends with the ACA. A genuine apology doesn’t cost a dime. It only costs a bit of pride.

    I don’t alway agree with RR.

  153. Lamont Cranston says

    jabbly says in #146

    To bring up the show, yeh strange I know, Mike from wherever reminded me of another thing I just don’t get. How can someone so easily dismiss other religious claims while at the same time believing their own religious claims. You could almost here it in the tone of their voice that it’s ridiculous to compare Zeus with the Christian god.

    It is said from time to time that there is actually very little difference between a Christian and an atheist in one respect. We just believe in one less god than they do. Of course this can be said of any monotheistic religion. With the polytheistic religions I guess we just believe in a FEW less gods than they to. 🙂

    I do find it humorous that they all will dismiss any other god claims using the same reasons we do, yet are simultaneously incapable of seeing how that same reasoning applies to their pet god as well.

    Anthony Magnabosco from time to time points this out with people as he describes how someone with a different religious belief uses exactly the same examples for why their god is THE God and asks how can we tell whose claim is actually true.

    It is kind of mind boggling.

    Lamont Cranston

  154. Marcelo says

    It’s been said in the past why believers care that much about evolution.

    * With evolution, it’s more obvious that the story of Adam and Eve is false.
    * Without Adam and Eve, no original sin.
    * Without original sin, no need for Jesus.

    I’d say many believers would be upset about that…

  155. buddyward says

    @DanDare #140

    Yes, I agree. Debunking evolution would only yield to evolution being untrue and will not prove that god exists. However, if evolution is indeed true at the very least it debunks the notion that god created everything as they stand today. I believe this is why the show gets calls regarding evolution. Short circuiting the conversation to why it matters to them, I believe is a good approach as it avoids the whole exercise of attacking and defending evolution and getting to the actual purpose behind the call.

  156. jabbly says

    @buddy #152

    Can’t say I really agree as god could have created everything as they stand today using evolution. I agree that it removes a literal interpretation of the Bible but when has it ever mattered which bit is supposed to be taken literally.

    The other part I find interesting is what seems like the flip side, that is there being belief of the connection between evolution and there not being a god. How many people don’t believe in god because they believe in evolution?

  157. indianajones says

    I have stayed out of the trans fight because I am not one, have never even met one. To my knowledge. And so I think my best bet is to STFU.

    Having said that, I wanted to say ty to whisperit and buddyward (most prominently, sorry if I left you out!). You are fighting the good fight as far as I can tell. If nothing else gosh golly did you smoke out a few shit lords! Always valuable.

  158. jabbly says

    One thing I would say is positive about the whole RR/ACA is that hopefully it’s shaken some people up into the realisation that saying one is an atheist doesn’t actually say much about what else they think. Here in the UK, at least, saying you don’t believe in god is no more part of your identity that saying you don’t believe in the Lochness monster.

  159. buddyward says

    @jabbly #153

    Can’t say I really agree as god could have created everything as they stand today using evolution. I agree that it removes a literal interpretation of the Bible but when has it ever mattered which bit is supposed to be taken literally.

    Didn’t it say in Genesis that god created everything in 6 days which includes all living things meaning no evolution took place? Isn’t this what Christians believe? I am only arguing against what Christians believe, if I am mistaken, I would like to be corrected.

    The other part I find interesting is what seems like the flip side, that is there being belief of the connection between evolution and there not being a god. How many people don’t believe in god because they believe in evolution?

    You will have to excuse me here as I do not fully understand what you are saying. I am stating that it does not matter whether or not evolution is true, whichever case it maybe, neither proves god exists.

  160. jabbly says

    @buddyward #156

    My understanding is that there are multitudes of Christians who are quite happy to believe that evolution and their god are not mutual-exclusive. God’s hand guided it and all that.

    For the second part, I agree with you and should have made my post clearer. There seems to be this belief that you don’t believe in god because of evolution therefore if I disprove god then you will believe in god.

  161. buddyward says

    @jabbly #158

    My understanding is that there are multitudes of Christians who are quite happy to believe that evolution and their god are not mutual-exclusive. God’s hand guided it and all that.

    Yes, that is correct but I do not think those are the ones who are calling the show wanting to talk about evolution. Every time I see a call on evolution it always seems that the caller wants to debunk it. Perhaps I should have been more specific and made a reference to the caller from the show instead of just saying “Christians”, I apologize.

  162. Lamont Cranston says

    indianajones says in #154

    I have stayed out of the trans fight because I am not one, have never even met one. To my knowledge.

    I liked the “To my knowledge,” part of that. I think you might be surprised. I know I was.

    For what it is worth, a transgender guy can often be virtually undetectable. It is often much harder for transgender women.

    Since I have been more often in the presence of trans-guys, I have seen and met a lot of them. Some, I guarantee, that in any normal encounter with them you would never suspect. Two guys in particular. One is a former body builder who would put almost any guy around here to shame. I was actually astonished to find out he was transgender. Another guy was older and transitioned back in the stone age of the 70’s. This guy looks like George Carlin’s brother. Seriously. He has the voice, characteristics and humor to match. Most of these guys I can’t even imagine them as ever having been women.

    Even with my own son, it’s now hard to imagine him any different from the way he is right now. He also has no issue with being mis-gendered in public.

    On the other hand with regard to some of the trans-women I know, it is pretty hard to appear unmistakably female when being 6′ 2″ and 240 pounds with a deep voice. I fully respect them as they are. However, I know it must be exceedingly difficult for them to now feel they are being who they are inside while knowing almost everyone else is not seeing them that way with the result of being mis-gendered or literally insulted in public.

    Now certainly there are trans-women who you would never suspect either, but it is definitely less frequent. As a result I think they have a lot harder situation.

    For what it’s worth.

    Lamont Cranston

  163. Murat says

    @Lamont
    I enjoyed your post thoroughly because it reflects very particular angles that haven’t been covered in the thread.
    These come very educational and eye-opening as they are the assesments of first-person observations.
    However, I also believe that we all drifted away from the essence of the RR/ACA kerfuffle.
    The way I see it, the actual framework of the whole thing has little to do with trans issues and a lot to do with free speech, ostracization and defamation. I lean more towards RR’s side for the moment, not because of the content he published, but because of the uncalled reaction he received.

  164. John David Balla says

    @161 Murat
    @ 160 Lamont Cranston

    Like others have mentioned, I’m not all that interested in transgender vis-a-vis sports, but I like the way that conversation proceeded and witnessed a lot of sound reasoning, consideration, and mature debate. I also appreciate different perspectives that are not easily relegated into someone’s current position, but rather, makes you stop and reassess. That’s worth a lot to me.

    And as for Mr. Cranston, I’m glad you’re here.

  165. Ian Butler says

    I want to say I have read every post in this thread and am impressed with the level of discourse. I don’t agree with everything said but everyone has made their points respectfully. This is why I come here and I am pleased to see rational skepticism applied to a topic that needs more of that.

    As for this week’s show, I’m not sure how Tracie ascertained that the caller was a troll. Yes he did make a transphobic comment at the end (although I couldn’t make out what he said), but that doesn’t rule out him being a Christian bigot.

  166. Lamont Cranston says

    Murat says in #161

    However, I also believe that we all drifted away from the essence of the RR/ACA kerfuffle.

    I was not attempting to in any way address the RR/ACA issue.

    I lean more towards RR’s side for the moment, not because of the content he published, but because of the uncalled reaction he received.

    OK, here goes… I tend to agree for a very simple reason.

    On multiple occasions I have seen Matt and I believe Tracie and perhaps other hosts make the specific point that even though they are appearing and hosting on AXP, they are NOT representing the ACA in what they say, but rather that they are only speaking for themselves.

    So, with regard to the ACA a decision has to be made and then you stick with it (decisions have consequences). Either the hosts are speaking for the ACA or they are not. If they are not, then it is not really appropriate for the ACA to trash someone who is speaking for themselves (in this case not even on AXP itself). If they want to distance themselves, either don’t have a host on, or put up a disclaimer as some shows do that says, “The views and opinions expressed on this program are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Atheist Community of Austin,” and leave it at that.

    To throw the transphobic label at someone who has factually supported the LGBTQ… community on multiple occasions is the kind of “thought stopping” rhetoric that is commonly engaged in by religious people that are attempting to manipulate or coerce people into agreeing with their thinking. It is a very poor thing to do. What was stated is fundamentally different from expressing that the ACA is not in agreement with some of the information presented in a specific video (no there were not multiple videos). One addresses facts while the other is an attack on the motivation of the person or anyone who might have similar thoughts on the subject.

    As I said previously, just being an atheist and even a skeptic does not mean people are immune to falling into the use of religious thought stopping tactics (that includes me). I just wish a little more thought had been given to the whole situation before the knee jerk reactions had taken place.

    For the record I have no ill will toward the ACA or RR with regard to what has transpired. I just wish people had spent a little more time rubbing two neurons together before acting.

    I will not say anything further on this subject.

    Lamont Cranston

  167. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Can’t say I really agree as god could have created everything as they stand today using evolution. I agree that it removes a literal interpretation of the Bible but when has it ever mattered which bit is supposed to be taken literally.

    The other part I find interesting is what seems like the flip side, that is there being belief of the connection between evolution and there not being a god. How many people don’t believe in god because they believe in evolution?

    A religion is not merely what is written in their holy books, even for the so-called sola scriptura Protestants. They have a lot of additional baggage. Under an anthropological definition, each religion contains all of that baggage, and I’m going to use a standard anthropological definition and avoid the silly “No True Scotsman” arguments. For some religious persons, their religious views are definitely incompatible with evolution. For others, they seem to manage alright combining their religion and evolution.

    I believe that a big reason that religion arose originally and why it’s still around today is that people are innately uncomfortable not knowing things, and for many people, there’s a great allure to believe in something, anything, even for bad reasons, compared to admitting that they don’t know. For every scientific step forward, our collective ignorance shrinks, and the “need” to replace our ignorance with gods shrinks correspondingly.

    I’d also argue that a proper knowledge of biology, neuroscience, evolution, and epistemology makes it very, very hard to believe in immaterial souls, and for many, the “need” to believe in an afterlife is a major driving reason for religion, and the belief about an afterlife often depends on a belief in immaterial souls, which in turn supports typical religious beliefs in other areas.

    So, offhand, I think that these are two ways that educating someone regarding evolution tends to make people less religious.

    Also, for the typical sort of creator god, the creation stories are flatly incompatible with what we know about the age of the Earth, geology, cosmology, and (human) evolution. So, evidence for evolution is also evidence against these particular kinds of god hypotheses.

  168. jabbly says

    @Ian Butler #178

    I can’t speak for TH but in the UK the meaning of troll has changed to include just saying hateful things that you actually believe.

  169. indianajones says

    So, talking of trans athletes, SingTFU when I know nothing about it, seeking out trans voices instead, and exposing shitty shitlords who shitlord a lot, I plug The Scathing Atheist. Fast forward to 24:30, although the whole lot is worth listening to, for the relevant interview with a trans athlete.

    https://audioboom.com/posts/7262546-sim-s-city-edition

  170. Paul Money says

    @ 182
    Of course the opinions of a trans athlete, or indeed any trans person, are worth listening to, but are they the only opinions that are worth listening to? If it is desirable that trans people should have a place in society where they feel happy and accepted and not in any way disadvantaged, aren’t the opinions of the rest of society important?

  171. Lamont Cranston says

    Paul Money says

    Of course the opinions of a trans athlete, or indeed any trans person, are worth listening to, but are they the only opinions that are worth listening to? If it is desirable that trans people should have a place in society where they feel happy and accepted and not in any way disadvantaged, aren’t the opinions of the rest of society important?

    I have often been in the position of having someone ask, “How much is this worth?” My answer to them usually amounts to, “I think it is worth about X, but ultimately it is really worth exactly what someone is willing to pay you for it.” The same is true of opinions.

    Too often these days we are unwilling to listen to opposing opinions because we get “offended.” Instead we surround ourselves with people who agree with us to the point of coming to believe everyone must really think the same as us. Then when we hear something that we find offensive we start throwing around “thought stopping” phrases or demanding that the person who says such things must be silenced or marginalized in some way. In truth that is a dangerous situation and one that has led to some terrible situations and out right atrocities.

    Every month I routinely put myself in a position of being among people who absolutely do not share my viewpoint, or opinions on a lot of issues. No I am not a masochist, I am just trying to maintain a balance in my view of things. Some of these people I will engage on topics and some I will not depending upon my perception of their ability to discuss things honestly and respectfully without being triggered into knee jerk name calling self defense mode.

    Just over a month ago I actually got into an extensive discussion about the transgender issue in person with someone in one of these situations. I knew this was a person who is a solid thinker who would not get offended if someone disagreed with him but also would not just fold his cards and walk away either. It was a productive discussion. He presented facts that led him to reach certain opinions. I could see how he got to where he was. Then I used his facts viewed from a different angle and showed him how I got to my differing opinion. It gave us both something to think about. My mind was not changed but now I understand better how someone can have that other opinion and it does not make them phobic, stupid or ignorant.

    In the audio discussion presented above, a point was made that having hormone therapy for a period of time reduces the muscle mass and bone density to be equivalent to a cis-gendered female. I don’t doubt that the presenter found such a study. I, not trying to cherry pick, ran into a different study published in the British Journal of Medicine that said that was not the case. However, it did establish that one year was about the time needed to cause the reductions that do happen and that at three years there is no significant further reduction. The study also went on to clarify that at that time there were no studies to equate mass and density changes to actual performance. As I said earlier the science is still not really settled, but in the mean time all we can do is try something.

    I believe almost everyone is worth listening to, but then you have to judge the quality of what they have to say and decide if you are willing to pay the price they want for that opinion (as I said before, things are always just worth the price you are willing to pay for them).

    Lamont Cranston

  172. bodbod says

    Great piece Lamont. Eminently sensible. Pretty horrified by the behavior of some people on this topic with the name calling and demonizing of people who don’t share their view. Obviously this is a very messy subject and far from clear cut. Another gray area as far as I can see is that at the moment ‘sport’ is being used as a blanket term even though going through male puberty may have absolutely no bearing on one event but might effect another. Take the high jump for example. People who go through male puberty are on average taller than those who don’t so on average will be more suited to the event. All the treatment in the world won’t shrink a person down in size. This is just a fact and to listen to people deny this kind of thing just fries my brain. This says nothing however as to whether it’s fair for that person to compete, there may be perfectly reasonable reasons why they should. That’s an entirely different argument but some people won’t listen to any of it and that makes things tricky.

    Personally I don’t think anyone should be stopped from participation until we actually know what’s going.

    Also a bit disappointed in the Scathing Atheist’s bit on the subject. Clearly rattled together as their take on the subject and as uninformed as the video that started it all. Referring to Michael Phelps’ advantage of being ‘double jointed’ even though that’s not even a thing.

  173. Murat says

    @Lamont
    👍

    Too often these days we are unwilling to listen to opposing opinions because we get “offended.” Instead we surround ourselves with people who agree with us to the point of coming to believe everyone must really think the same as us. Then when we hear something that we find offensive we start throwing around “thought stopping” phrases or demanding that the person who says such things must be silenced or marginalized in some way. In truth that is a dangerous situation and one that has led to some terrible situations and out right atrocities.

    That’s exactly why Trump got elected.

  174. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @bodbod #185:

    Michael Phelps’ advantage of being ‘double jointed’ even though that’s not even a thing.

     
    Book: Michael Phelps – No Limits

    I am double-jointed in my knees, my ankles, and my elbows.

    Page 67

    The flexibility in my ankles means I can whip my feet through the water as if they were fins.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Hypermobility

    also known as double-jointedness, describes joints that stretch farther than normal. For example, some hypermobile people can bend their thumbs backwards to their wrists, bend their knee joints backwards, put their leg behind the head or perform other contortionist “tricks”. It can affect one or more joints throughout the body.
     
    Hypermobile joints are common and occur in about 10 to 25% of the population. It is usually not associated with any symptoms but a minority of people develop other conditions caused by their unstable joints; in such cases, it is known as hypermobility syndrome.

  175. Chan Kobun, the Ghost Who Waddles says

    Shut the fuck up, transphobes and capers for transphobes.

  176. Lamont Cranston says

    bodbod says in #185

    Also a bit disappointed in the Scathing Atheist’s bit on the subject. Clearly rattled together as their take on the subject and as uninformed as the video that started it all. Referring to Michael Phelps’ advantage of being ‘double jointed’ even though that’s not even a thing.

    Yes, I also found the segment to be disappointing on a couple of points.

    First, if you are really trying to change someone’s mind on a subject it is never a good idea to characterizing them as ignorant, dumb, country hicks. This just stops discourse rather than promoting it.

    Second, the Michael Phelps stuff was a bit of a red herring. The traits presented are not uncommon among the top swimmers (hyper-mobility connective tissue disorder, low lactic acid production). If the point being made was that not all athletes are created equal, that’s a given. Not everyone is a 6′ 10″ NBA player either. The actual issue being questioned is whether or not someone who is genetically one sex has an unfair advantage when participating in a sport as the opposite sex even while taking medication to try to minimize potential disparities. I don’t think they have an unfair advantage, but I definitely see why it would be questioned, and the science isn’t really as settled as it was presented.

    Lamont Cranston

  177. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Honey Tone #190:
     
    Article: Merriam-Webster – Words We’re Watching: ‘Cape’

    the word typically means “to defend or show support for.” It evokes the image of someone donning a cape to come to the aid of one being unfairly criticized or attacked, but often people are accused of caping for someone unworthy of such valor.

  178. John David Balla says

    Regarding the Recent ACA Board Clarification on Facebook

    One big FU to everyone who does not agree with the ACA’s thought police. Why do I say that? Here’s why.
    1) Not even a THANK YOU for all the people who wrote the ACA or participated on Facebook to express their views. This is what I mean by the ACA giving us all one big FU. But it gets better.
    2) No apology for suppression of speech by turning off comments, and replies numerous times. This callous unconcern shows everyone that the ACA has become an intolerant organization that will suppress community voices without giving it a second thought. Wow. This is not what I signed up for.
    3) No apology to Mr. Woodford for strongly implying, at the very least, that he is transphobic.
    4) No attempt to explain the ACA’s thought process or respond to the accusation that it engaged in a special pleading fallacy, although that would be consistent with intolerance and speech suppression. (Points for consistency.)

    The ACA has become an intolerant and undemocratic organization which is in such a frenzied emotional state that it can’t even see that it has become what it says it opposes.

    End of part 1

  179. John David Balla says

    >>We acknowledge that Stephen (Rationality Rules) released a video which contained hyperbolic rhetoric and presented insufficiently researched information regarding the participation of Trans Women in sport. We also acknowledge that his presence on our productions to discuss issues unrelated to this topic, (prior to the release of his impending video clarifying the positions he himself has indicated were incorrect and in need of amendment), contributed to the sense of anxiety that is felt especially by those who are directly affected and gave the perception of a lack of sensitivity on our part. For that we sincerely and ardently apologize to our members, viewers, and stakeholders who felt as if they were not taken into consideration in this regard.

    A couple of problems. First, the ACA is rehashing, and again recharacterizing/twisting RR’s words which is not the way to move forward. Secondly, that RR’s mere appearance at the ACA apparently caused certain individuals to feel anxious or uncomfortable is yet another rehash. If the point is to move forward, this rehashing does nothing other than perhaps demonstrate to the “offended ones” that the ACA is going to the mat for them on emotional grounds, not rational ones.

    >>We subsequently released a statement which was poorly worded in order to make it abundantly clear that we unilaterally support the LGBTQIA+ community. We will not waiver on this position and as such we encourage those who have expressed the motivation and willingness to reconsider and amend their views to do so.

    By unilateral, the ACA makes it unequivocal that it is no democracy regardless of its stated cause, mission or mandate. And for whatever reason, the ACA felt compelled to make this crystal clear. Either that or they don’t know what unilateral means.

    >>We do not wish to unintentionally vilify those who, through productive rational discourse, have potentially come to a change of position.

    Incoherent. I have no idea what this means although I don’t think it’s possible to “wish to unintentionally villify…” The rest of it sounds like they mean to say that they don’t want to get in the way of people who may be in the process of coming around to seeing things their way?

    >> This is contrary to the values we wish to instantiate.

    What values are you speaking to? Any host on AXP or TH would ask the same question.

    >>We wish instead to pave the road that leads to that change. We apologize to Stephen for our perceived condemnation as we should have instead awaited your full response and assisted in a mutually beneficial outcome for all involved.

    But you still are refusing to apologize to him for calling him, (or strongly implying that he is) a transphobe. Also, there’s a disclaimer at the end of the AXP which already covers your concerns which, ironicially, RR brought to your attention in his response video.

    >>Our goals are to voraciously defend the path to truth and inclusivity. This has not and will not change.

    Who wrote this? What’s so troubling is that the AXP hosts are essentially experts at logic and rational argument so, as such, we are oriented to that standard and quite naturally expect that standard to percolate throughout the organization. But this statement is essentially an appeal to emotion that smuggles in the notion of truth at the last second as if no one would notice.

  180. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @John David Balla #192:

    No attempt to […] respond to the accusation that it engaged in a special pleading fallacy

     
    Comment: Axp FB Discussion Group – John David Balla

    Clare Wuellner I’ve been holding onto this response for over a day because 1) My previous attempt to respond was removed; and, 2) the ACA moderation policy seems to change by the minute. Here is my original message.
     
    You are arguing that certain minorities are entitled to special rights rather than equal rights. I recall an AXP episode where you and Matt were hosting. You called out a pro-lifer for attempting to assign “special rights” to a fetus. Well done, btw. So I know you understand what special pleading is and how it’s used.
     
    Here’s a few reasons why assigning special rights to, in this case, the trans community, is untenable:
    1. It’s unreasonable. You surrender your critical thinking skills for a group whose claims are presumed correct and justified merely because they are making them. This is not the trans community’s fault. It is the fault of those who feel justified to be too eager to give away their right to decide for themselves. In the end, no group or person should have that much power. Democracy cannot work under such conditions.
    2. It’s unworkable. What do you do when different people from this minority have different views on the exact same topic? Do you accept the greater accusation, as a perverted homage to Hume’s “lesser miracle” argument?
    3. You would unwittingly grant license for the minority to seek vengeance or simply punish others they do not like by giving them the power to condemn people by simply saying they feel wronged. And yes, Clare. By your definition, that’s what you would be doing.
    4. You would be committing a special pleading fallacy (obviously) as well as an appeal to emotion. |
     
    I’m sorry, Clare. Hosts like Matt and Tracie have taught us too well. Nonetheless, I do understand that your heart is in the right place. I don’t think anyone doubts that about you or the ACA as a whole.
     
    I also understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a loud and persistent voice demanding action, and one in which we are sympathetic to and supportive of. I think it’s fair to say that that message missed the mark. Stuff happens. We make mistakes.
     
    Having said all of that, I do believe, if everyone can take a deep breath and back away from this for a few days, the dust will settle and clarity on how to best mend fences will prevail. At least, I certainly hope so. However, closing down comments arbitrarily will only exacerbate the problem.
     
    Long live the ACA and its allegiance to logic, reason and objective morality!
    NOTE: If this post gets removed I do have it saved on my end…this time.

     
    Comment: Axp FB Discussion Group – John Iacoletti

    “Special rights” is a dog-whistle. Equal treatment is not “special rights”.

  181. paxoll says

    Womens sports and all other sport divisions (weight classes, professional/amateur, age groups) ALL exist to exclude the majority and include a minority in order to artificially create as fair of a competition as possible. There is nothing equal about biology, there is no such thing as a fair competition. Womens sports is not a gendered division, it was created as a physiological difference in sex and should be recognized as a female division. No one would even pretend that a transwoman athlete NOT on hormone treatment would have an unfair advantage over a female in “womans” sport. It is not enough to say simply, well they are not all breaking records or coming in first. Fairness is not based on beating EVERYone, it is based on beating ANYone due to an unfair advantage. So yes, allowing a male into a female division of sports is special rights, and it is necessary to prove convincingly that hormone treatment eliminates all advantage that was why the sport division was created in the first place.

  182. tony sales says

    people make mistakes. organisations make mistakes. But we should all exercise forgiveness here because this is a part of life.
    both sides have acknowledged what could have been done better and this is a triumph not only for RR but also for the ACA.
    Its clear that jamie and stephen have had a difficult time and i hope that we as a community can express that to them and also support them because the work that the ACA and RR do still needs to be done in a world that is unkind and lacking rationality. Thank you jamie for speaking today on non sequitur show and i think most atheists can empathize with both sides and move on. We still love you.

  183. Murat says

    @paxoll
    You are “sane” about this.
    However, some people seem to expect insanely irrational explanations as to why and how trans women should compete along with cis women.
    Things like claiming the Y chromosome is a nothing, that it just disappears upon one’s gender, that the mere discussion and explanation of all the “how”s and “why”s are enough to claim bigotry over something they have unilaterally declared taboo.

  184. says

    paxoll says @ May 16, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Womens sports and all other sport divisions (weight classes, professional/amateur, age groups) ALL exist to exclude the majority and include a minority in order to artificially create as fair of a competition as possible. There is nothing equal about biology, there is no such thing as a fair competition. Womens sports is not a gendered division, it was created as a physiological difference in sex and should be recognized as a female division. No one would even pretend that a transwoman athlete NOT on hormone treatment would have an unfair advantage over a female in “womans” sport. It is not enough to say simply, well they are not all breaking records or coming in first. Fairness is not based on beating EVERYone, it is based on beating ANYone due to an unfair advantage. So yes, allowing a male into a female division of sports is special rights, and it is necessary to prove convincingly that hormone treatment eliminates all advantage that was why the sport division was created in the first place.

    If particular physiological characteristics are the metric that determine fair exclusion, then being trans- or cis- is only relevant if the variation of those characteristics among trans-women (not on therapy) does not overlap with the variation among cis-women. Can that be demonstrated as true? Regardless, wouldn’t classing athletes directly based on relevant physiological traits be more straight-forward and fair?

  185. bodbod says

    I think we’ve drifted from the main point of this thread. Michael Phelps’ ankles are rubbery but double jointed isn’t a thing.

  186. paxoll says

    @D
    You have it backwards. In sports you have an exclusion and then determine if there is reason to fairly include. If you create an age category do you allow everyone in until you demonstrate they can be fairly excluded? No. Also overlap of skill is not relevant, You could put any average male athlete into a female competition and they would likely fall within the variation of all female athletes, that doesn’t make it fair. You would have to demonstrate that an entire population of males overlap the same distribution of females, which we know is not true because that is why we created the protected category in the first place.
     
    Yes, classing athletes based on relevant physiological traits be more fair, it would also be ridiculously difficult because no one trait makes up all the variation. Each sport has a list of physiological and psychological traits that make an individual athlete good in it, and the idea of fairness in sports is to limit those traits that have a large enough impact to swamp out all the other traits. Pro/amateur sports are divided because money, time, and coaching can negate all those sports physical traits. Age is most important for adolescent sports because it effects all the physical traits, it doesn’t mean a 14 year old is better than all 10 year olds. This is why this argument that trans athletes are not the absolute best in all their sports therefore they should be able to compete with females is a fallacious argument.

  187. Chan Kobun, the Ghost Who Waddles says

    Anyone who’s oh-so-very-concerned about free ACA’s “thought police”: LEAVE. Nobody’s stopping you from going away and finding some atheist community that will accept you.

  188. says

    @ paxoll

    You have it backwards. In sports you have an exclusion and then determine if there is reason to fairly include. If you create an age category do you allow everyone in until you demonstrate they can be fairly excluded? No. Also overlap of skill is not relevant, You could put any average male athlete into a female competition and they would likely fall within the variation of all female athletes, that doesn’t make it fair. You would have to demonstrate that an entire population of males overlap the same distribution of females, which we know is not true because that is why we created the protected category in the first place.

    Can you support any of those claims? I see no reason one must work in the order you claim, or by what rubric you are judging fairness to come to the conclusions you are. Are you for some reason working under the premise that because sex based competitive classes have already been establish, they must be kept? What I previously wrote directly follows from what you previously wrote that I quoted. In your second paragraph you even acknowledge “Yes, classing athletes based on relevant physiological traits be more fair” and contradict your previous paragraph. That it would be more difficult does not negate that it would be more fair, and your finishing line conclusion does not logically follow.

  189. Paul Money says

    @ 200
    Chan Kobun brilliantly satirises the ultimate fascist view of free speech! Jolly well done sir.

  190. Murat says

    @Chab Kohun

    Anyone who’s oh-so-very-concerned about free ACA’s “thought police”: LEAVE. Nobody’s stopping you from going away and finding some atheist community that will accept you.

    Wow! And the sensibility is still about “inclusion”, right?

  191. Honey Tone says

    Chan @ 200: Love it or leave it, eh? How Merle Haggard of you.

    Dick Nixon would have welcomed your support.

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Can you support any of those claims?

    It’s still my understanding after doing some research, that elite cis-male athletes regularly outperform elite cis-female athletes, and that there is a consistently wide gap between the two. Perhaps it could be explained by upbringing and culture, but I doubt it. I haven’t thoroughly vetted my sources, but here is one example discussing high school age.
    https://law.duke.edu/sports/sex-sport/comparative-athletic-performance/

    So, if we had women compete with men in high school sports under the same rules in the same teams, this would drastically reduce opportunities for women to compete at a high level.

    Agree with me thus far?

    Thus, because of the innate disadvantage that half the population has in almost all competitive sports, it seems fair and reasonable to segregate by sex / gender(?) for competitive sports. In other words, imagine the demoralizing effect that it would have on young cis-girls when they learned that they would never be able to compete successfully at high level competition in sports. I’d like to avoid that, and give hope to young cis-girls that they can do sports if they want (and are lucky and are born with better bodies for sports compared to their cis-female competitors).

    Agree with me thus far?

    So, what do we do with a potential elite athlete cis-male asshat who says that he now identifies as a woman but is basically lying, and specifically doesn’t undergo any sort of medical transition, and asks to compete in the women’s division? This seems to me to be a problem in the abstract. I don’t know if it’s a real problem in the real world, and how much of a problem it would be, but it seems to be a problem.

    Having said that, this is also not my problem, and I’ve been asked by a lot of women to not butt my head into their business when it doesn’t personally affect me, and when they have more experience and first-hand knowledge, and so this is the part where I’m here to listen to other viewpoints. I am not going to lobby for any changes to any sports. I’m just trying to have a discussion to learn.

  193. paxoll says

    Are you for some reason working under the premise that because sex based competitive classes have already been establish, they must be kept?

    Was that ever implied by anything I said? Actually it is completely the opposite, if there are traits that make a good athlete at a particular sport, and if the two sex distributions overlap without significant difference than you have demonstrated a fair inclusion. Nothing I said was contradictory.

  194. starfleetdude says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 205:

    I don’t know if it’s a real problem in the real world, and how much of a problem it would be, but it seems to be a problem.

    It is a problem, according to this report from today’s Washington Post:

    Stripped of women’s records, transgender powerlifter asks, ‘Where do we draw the line?’

    There does seem to be a growing consensus among sporting organizations that it isn’t fair to allow biological males to compete with females.

  195. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As one random anecdotal data point that was highlighted by my source above.

    World record men’s 100m dash: 9.58 seconds.
    World record women’s 100 dash: 10.49 seconds.
    One of the world’s best high school age boys 100m dash: 9.98 seconds.

    A fricking male high schooler can out-sprint every woman in the world of any age, including all Olympic gold medalist women, and he wins not by a little, but by a lot, a whole half second. It seems that this pattern is repeated for most sports – where elite level high school age boys outperform all Olympic medal winner women. I think that trying to explain these facts will be incredibly difficult without appealing to real and innate genetic and biological differences between the sexes as it relates to athletic aptitude among the top performers of each sex.

    Again, my position is that for sports at lower levels of competition, there’s probably substantial overlap, and that’s why I’ve been focusing on the outliers, the top 0.001% (approx) of each population (male vs female). In that specific area, it seems that the difference is still huge, and it also seems that the difference is unlikely to disappear. — Again, I could be wrong, and I welcome anyone who argues that I’m wrong, and I’d be really curious to hear any such viewpoint.

  196. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says @ May 17, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    I’m guessing you’re addressing me since you quoted me.

    The link you provide doesn’t really apply to what I’ve been attempting to discuss, as it focuses on record bests (without denomators/total events) and not variations (and of selected populations that is of questionable relevance). It also struck me as fairly biased and unimaginative (being generous here) in presenting possible policies and stating conclusions. Regardless…

    So, if we had women compete with men in high school sports under the same rules in the same teams, this would drastically reduce opportunities for women to compete at a high level.

    Not necessarily. If sports operated with no competitive classes, definitely. No competitive classes and competitive classes based on sex are not the only possibilities. As I’ve already essentially stated, creating classes based on the relevant physiological traits to a particular contest would be more fair (presuming that is what ones concern is), and would naturally segregate by sex to the extent it is relevant to the physiological traits.

    Thus, because of the innate disadvantage that half the population has in almost all competitive sports, it seems fair and reasonable to segregate by sex / gender(?) for competitive sports. In other words, imagine the demoralizing effect that it would have on young cis-girls when they learned that they would never be able to compete successfully at high level competition in sports. I’d like to avoid that, and give hope to young cis-girls that they can do sports if they want (and are lucky and are born with better bodies for sports compared to their cis-female competitors).

    I’d counter that much more than half the population is innately disadvantaged in competitive sports regardless of sex or gender identity. How demoralizing is it for anyone who wishes to compete when they do not have the physiological advantages of the innately superior athletes? As above, there are ways to include cis-girls and women without excluding trans-girls and women.

  197. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’m guessing you’re addressing me since you quoted me.

    Yes.

    I’d counter that much more than half the population is innately disadvantaged in competitive sports regardless of sex or gender identity. How demoralizing is it for anyone who wishes to compete when they do not have the physiological advantages of the innately superior athletes? As above, there are ways to include cis-girls and women without excluding trans-girls and women.

    Do you make this assertion on the premise that trans-women with standard hormone treatments have the same aptitude for athletics as cis-women? Or do make this assertion while also believing that the elite of trans-women have better aptitude for athletics compared to the elite of cis-women? If the first, then the solution is obvious and simple. If the second, I’m curious what you mean in more detail. Given what you wrote earlier in the same post, it seems that you believe like me that elite male athletes perform much better than elite female athletes, and you believe that elite trans-women do possess better athletics aptitude compared to elite cis-women, and that leads you to believe that something ought to be done to prevent trans-women from dominating all women-only sports. Further, earlier in the same post, you made some vague suggestions for what to do to prevent trans-women from dominating all women-only sports:

    Not necessarily. If sports operated with no competitive classes, definitely. No competitive classes and competitive classes based on sex are not the only possibilities. As I’ve already essentially stated, creating classes based on the relevant physiological traits to a particular contest would be more fair (presuming that is what ones concern is), and would naturally segregate by sex to the extent it is relevant to the physiological traits.

    Do you have anything particular in mind? Or is this more of a hope or aspiration without knowing the particulars?

    Again, I don’t claim to have any answers either. I don’t know what should be done, and even if I did know, I wouldn’t advocate that strongly because of the optics – e.g. a cis-straight male in the cultural context probably shouldn’t be telling women what to do with their sports. I really am here to just learn.

    For certain events, like fighting sports (i.e. boxing, wrestling), weight classes make a lot of sense. Even then, it may be that trans-women of the same weight would enjoy advantages over cis-women of the same weight in fighting sports. I don’t know. Obviously, weight classes would still be miles better than no-weight-classes for fighting sports. That’s why we already have weight classes for fighting sports.

    However, for most events, weight classes don’t seem to be applicable. How else would you segregate it? By hormone levels? By height? Ehh. I don’t believe anyone who says that the difference between men and women is just this one factor, or this one other factor. It seems to be a bit more complicated than that. I doubt that there is a workable scheme. I don’t know.

  198. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #210:

    I don’t believe anyone who says that the difference between men and women is just this one factor, or this one other factor.

    You arrived in the previous thread a while after this review was posted. Here it is again in case you’ve not already seen it. Pull quote here’s just a segue to read in full. It’s only ~10 pages.
     
    Article: Sports Medicine – Sport and Transgender People: A Systematic Review of the Literature Relating to Sport Participation and Competitive Sport Policies (2016, html)
     
    Article: Sports Medicine – Sport and Transgender People: A Systematic Review of the Literature Relating to Sport Participation and Competitive Sport Policies (2016, pdf)
     

    On average, men perform better than women in sport; however, no empirical research has identified the specific reason(s) why. […] Testosterone is only one part of a person’s physiology and there are other important factors (both biological and environmental) that should be considered if fairness (the absence of advantage) is the aim in competitive sport. For instance, having large hands is key for manipulation in some sports (e.g. basketball), but this is not seen as an unfair advantage. Establishing what an athletic advantage is in competitive sport would facilitate inclusion of all athletes (regardless of their gender identity) on the premise of fairness.
    [… … …]
    Within competitive sport, the athletic advantage transgender athletes are perceived to have appears to have been overinterpreted by many sport organisations around the world, which has had a negative effect on the experiences of this population. When the indirect and ambiguous physiological evidence is dissected, it is only transgender female individuals who are perceived to potentially have an advantage as a result of androgenic hormones. Within the literature, it has been questioned as to whether androgenic hormones should be the only marker of athletic advantage or, indeed, if they are even a useful marker of athletic advantage.

  199. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sky Captain
    Sure, thanks, I’ll read it, and I’ll repeat again for your benefit, I don’t know if the elite trans-women on standard hormone therapies have a greater athletic ability compared to elite cis-women.

    Establishing what an athletic advantage is in competitive sport would facilitate inclusion of all athletes (regardless of their gender identity) on the premise of fairness.

    I think a first-attempt answer is easy enough: Sport is to be a competition between persons with their natural human ability. Genetic, bionic, and cybernetic enhancements are disallowed, with some culturally accepted exceptions, i.e. corrective lenses glasses, Cochlear implants. Further, other corrective medicine that “augments” the body which simply aims to bring someone to the norm instead of excelling beyond the norm is allowed, such as bone replacements, and again corrective lenses glasses and Cochlear implants. Furthermore, in the interests of the health of the athletes, certain drugs are banned, i.e. certain steroids.

    For example, Oscar Pistorius is an example of a cybernetic replacement which offhand I feel probably shouldn’t be allowed in normal sports, although it should depend on the amount of competitive advantage it offers, if any, and also the cultural “normalness” of such cybernetics (e.g. compare that cybernetic enhancement to corrective lenses glasses, Cochlear implants, etc.). This is just my bias, and it’s my bias only because his particular augmentation / replacement is very rare compared to someone with corrective lenses glasses, Cochlear implants, bone replacements, etc.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Pistorius

    On that obvious first-try standard, cis-women would basically be excluded from almost all elite-level competition because of their relative lack of physical ability.

    — Tangent: Again, I’d be interested if anyone here would seriously argue that it’s primarily cultural reasons why elite high school age boys regularly out-compete all Olympic gold medalist women in history, but I’m going to believe for the moment that it is not primarily cultural. —

    It is undesirable for women to be absent from sports. It’s undesirable for many reasons. It’s undesirable because it can contribute to enlarging other cultural segregation and discrimination against women, such as by demotivating (young) women from trying to achieve their best, and teaching them that sports is not for women, etc. I think it’s bad particularly because it coincides with pre-existing prejudices and suppression.

    I think women-only sports is a good thing for the same reason that the paralympics is a good thing: the segregated classes are easy to identify, and these classes have historically been on the losing end of cultural biases and discrimination. Furthermore, giving them their own programs and competitions does no harm to the everyone-is-welcome sports competitions aka “male” sports competitions.

    But seriously – many sporting events offer lots of money to the winners, and eventually there is going to be a cis-male elite athlete asshole who will lie and say he’s a woman in order to win that prize money, and presumably we want to prevent that from happening. I think cultural norms, i.e. self restraint, are why we haven’t seen more of that, but that could change.

    The problem then becomes: What was once an easy boundary to identify against cheaters in earlier cultural standards has now become murky. How would one distinguish a sincere elite-athlete trans-woman vs a cynical elite-athlete cis-man who wants to join the women-only competition in order to win money from prizes? Again, it’s not a real problem yet, and it may never be a serious problem, and maybe trans-women who undergo standard conversion hormone treatments don’t have a measurable advantage compared to cis-women, and it’s not my problem anyway because I’m not a woman and so I’d prefer women to be the persons who figure this out, but I’m here because I find it interesting to talk about and because I’d like to learn more about these issues.

  200. says

    @ EL
    My statement doesn’t presume either of those premises.

    it seems that you believe like me that elite male athletes perform much better than elite female athletes

    Yes

    you believe that elite trans-women do possess better athletics aptitude compared to elite cis-women

    this seems to be an “insufficient data” area.

    and that leads you to believe that something ought to be done to prevent trans-women from dominating all women-only sports

    to the extent, if it exists, trans-women have an unfair advantage because they are trans-

    Do you have anything particular in mind? Or is this more of a hope or aspiration without knowing the particulars?

    Some where in between. I’ve been purposefully trying to stay in the abstract because I was trying to discuss the idea of making sports “fair”. The exact particulars would have to be empirically determined for every contest, but some general traits off the cuff from my lay understanding that would be broadly relevant; size, weight, muscle mass, fast/slow twitch ratio, red cell %, lung capacity, stride, foot morphology, hand morphology, numerous metabolic alleles. I don’t pretend it would be simple to make new classes, but I see no reason why would couldn’t be done and be more fair than sex based classes.

  201. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To D
    Sure. Sounds reasonable. I’m still dubious of the practicality of such an expansion of sports participant classes, and I don’t know if that’s exactly what many people mean by “fair” in this context, but I don’t have any better answer.

  202. Chan Kobun, the Ghost Who Waddles says

    Leave, crybabies. You think I’m a fascist for telling you to shut your bigotholes? Leave! Get the fuck out!

    If the ACA calling out your shitty little hatemonger ideas expressed by some incel fuckstain makes you so fucking sad, GET OUT. You aren’t wanted. You aren’t needed. And I wish you only ill. Fuck. You.

    As Tracie put it, this whole thing has “got up your ass” and yet you stay here to stamp your feet and hold your breath and be SO SO MAD AT DA BIG BAD ACA when there’s plenty of backwards shitholes where your ignorant beliefs won’t be questioned. Go there. Who the fuck is stopping you?!

    Of course, none of you will, because you have to have your performative incel tantrums. Spineless fucks.

  203. Chan Kobun, the Ghost Who Waddles says

    @216 Did I address you, you bigot-loving crybaby? No? Then don’t you dare speak until you’re spoken to!

    Ban these whiners or just admit you like to harvest their pageviews. But don’t let them sit here crying all over this site and your YouTube channels because you’re too cowardly to do something besides a half-assed statement! Have some backbone! You keep talking up how fucking positive your atheism is – here’s your chance to cut these deadwood-ass bigots off.

    You want to show you’re serious about fighting the hateful garbage that has infected online atheism, you can start by doing something about all these whiners coming here to cry on behalf of a transphobic shitlord and his stupid views.

  204. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Is this thread no longer moderated?

    Hahahaha, have ANY of the threads really been moderated?

  205. t90bb says

    218…chan…

    lol your too funny…please rant some more………Your the most agitated person on the blog. How very ironic.

    Let it all out…and tell your therapist about it while your at it. And please take your meds.

    I strongly suspect you are a poe…..but I find you hilarious. There have been and likely always will be a string of sickos here. You are the latest in the parade of idiots.

  206. t90bb says

    chan…by the way….inferring that RR or any member of the board is a transphobe or bigot is a claim……you will need to demonstrate that assertion to be taken seriously here. Can you demonstrate your claim with specifics and sound argumentation??? I wont hold my breath as it is unlikely you can walk and chew gum at the same time….lololoolololol

  207. Lamont Cranston says

    Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Hahahaha, have ANY of the threads really been moderated?

    Touché

    The closest I have seen is the occasional post from John I. that amounts to, “You guys play nice now.” Otherwise we seem to be on our own. Thank God (oops) for Killfile 🙂 . It does quite nicely for dealing with the intermittent irritants.

    Lamont Cranston

  208. Ian Butler says

    Chan is an interesting test of the “moderators” here. (In quotes for obvious reasons). The last 2 people to get banned here used similar language, but not as severe, and they gradually worked up to it, whereas Chan came right out of the gate at full insult tantrum level 10. Should the fact Chan is ostensibly taking the pro-trans side be taken into account, and what if they are a poe?

    So many questions, but my top two hypothesis are : 1. Brilliant jiu jitsu to disrupt and expose something or other, and 2. A trans activist off their meds/rocker.

    At this point it’s still kinda entertaining, but could get old real quick. Tracie! John! Take notice please!

  209. Murat says

    @Ian Butler

    Should the fact Chan is ostensibly taking the pro-trans side be taken into account, and what if they are a poe?

    I don’t think it’s correct to name that side of the argument as pro-trans.
    It’s the anti-discussion, pro-STFU, pro-unilateralism side with regards to the free speech, reason and etiquette values involved.
    People who find a worthy topic in the trans / sports agenda are not anti-trans, at least not necessarily.
    We don’t even know if the dictated category is in the long term really pro-trans.

  210. says

    I was at the ACA elections yesterday, and after much open discussion, I no longer understand whether there is any criteria for moderation–so I have to recuse going forward on moderating anything. I’ve been observing some of the other forums for ACA, and can’t see any guidance or lines or moderation happening there, so I have no clue what is/is not acceptable/unacceptable any more. E-mail the board if you have concerns. I can’t help.

    That being said, I genuinely wanted to understand what people mean when they say “biological male/female”–because I couldn’t understand it. This article does a fair job of explaining my difficulty understanding what people are talking about. Specifically the first thing I began wondering was “what if you have a full set of reproductive organs, but they don’t function? Does that make someone less male/female–and by what percent?” Then I thought “if a cisgender woman/transgender man/anyone else goes in for a hysterectomy, did they have some percentage of their female removed? Or are they not female at all anymore?” Basically how much of your “female” can be removed before you’re not a “biological female” anymore at all? Then I wondered about people with nontraditional secondary sex characteristics, which, as this article points out, can even change over time. So, if a cisgender woman/transgender man/anyone else has full facial hair, like a beard, for example, are they now some percentage less “biological female”, not “biological female” at all? What if a “biological female” starts to grow facial hair and lose reproductive capacity as they age (which happened to me, and many others), do they get less “biological female” as they get older? And by what percentage? And who determines this? Or is it simply about how someone’s genitals look, with no relevance for chromosomes or reproductive organs or capacity and other secondary sexual characteristics? Or what if someone has all the reproductive and secondary characteristics of a “biological female”, but not the chromosome configuration to match? Did “biological females/males” exist before we knew about chromosomes? Do we only know our “biological” identity, if we have had ours identified?

    I can’t seem to get a straight answer to how much of the package (no pun intended)–chromosomes, secondary sex characteristics, reproductive organs/capacity, genital appearance, ultimately = “biological male/female”. The folks tossing this term around, I think, need to explain specifically what they’re referring to–which parts are relevant and which are not–for making this determination, because I can’t find a straight answer to what they’re talking about. And folks who do try to answer this seem to be all over the map about how they determine it.

    So, you’re born and a doctor says “it’s a girl” — based on genital configuration. Later they may examine the child and find surprises. How many surprises = “not biological female”? Or they find no surprises, but the little cisgender girl goes into sports and then is disqualified because it’s discovered she has an odd chromosome configuration that doesn’t match their definition of “female”, and she never develops breasts as she gets even older?

    I have made a good faith effort here to see what makes a “biological female” a “biological female”–and like Christians telling me what god demands, nobody seems able to agree, and I’m finding different answers depending on which groups I choose to ask.

    For a while now, I’ve not been comfortable with this label, because I don’t understand it, and it seems simply another way to keep hammering the Trans community, rather than a good faith effort to have a conversation. One of the most useful articles I read on the issue was by an abortion provider who eventually scrubbed her language and simply identifies her patients as “a person with a uterus”–which, to me, seems like the most honest and accurate way to approach it.

    It reminds me a bit of the Joe Biden and the creepy touching situation where some folks claimed “it used to be OK, but now it’s not”. Or the slavery debate where people say “it was just what people did back then, but now we know it’s wrong.” People being inappropriately touched, and people who didn’t want to be slaves, always understood it sucked. And with this, I think we have a lot of people who just want this to be easy, not accurate. And if you point out that traditional views on this have really fallen short of accuracy, which has led to much bigotry, oppression, and outright damage, you get that same push back I see in these other areas. Some folks want it to be easy, so they can be sloppy and feel comfortable inaccurately pigeon holing people, and not believe that their views ripple down into harm against some marginalized communities: “I like it the way it’s always been, damn it! And it’s never harmed anyone before!”

    Except it has, and it still is.

    For reference:

    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/gender-gender-identity?fbclid=IwAR3pKdf9TOTs1eV35XC0XUcdZurDIXq5d_Ew7Xokw–MeT3sMCBC-fJP-IE

    From the above article:

    Some people call the sex we’re assigned at birth “biological sex.” But this term doesn’t fully capture the complex biological, anatomical, and chromosomal variations that can occur. Having only two options (biological male or biological female) might not describe what’s going on inside a person’s body.

    Instead of saying “biological sex,” some people use the phrase “assigned male at birth” or “assigned female at birth.” This acknowledges that someone (often a doctor) is making a decision for someone else. The assignment of a biological sex may or may not align with what’s going on with a person’s body, how they feel, or how they identify.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/sa-visual/visualizing-sex-as-a-spectrum/?redirect=1&fbclid=IwAR3hAmT1gpG5RuG7mfeMM40WbPO5J0HK68eTKanPEiEwFAqaELAkSoBA2Lg

    From the above article:

    Much of the public discourse in this arena centers on gender rather than sex, presumably because gender is understood to be somewhat subjective; it is a social construct that can be complex, fluid, multifaceted. Biological sex, on the other hand, appears to leave less room for debate. You either have two X chromosomes or an X and a Y; ovaries or testes; a vagina or a penis. Regardless of how an individual ends up identifying, they are assigned to one sex or the other at birth based on these binary sets of characteristics.

    But of course, sex is not that simple either.

    The September issue of Scientific American explores the fascinating and evolving science of sex and gender. One of the graphics I had the pleasure of working on breaks down the idea of biological sex as a non-binary attribute, focusing largely on what clinicians refer to as disorders of sex development (DSD), also known as intersex.

    …I hired the researcher Amanda Hobbs to look into these questions, and what she came back with, rather than answers, looked more like a series of new questions. The search for solid data on transgender and intersex populations proved challenging, and was confounded by a variety of factors. For example, surveys often lump transgender in with gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities. And DSDs, in addition to being variously defined by different entities, sometimes go undetected or emerge unexpectedly, either during sexual development or later in life.

  211. ian butler says

    Murat,
    I totally agree with your point, hence the qualifier “ostensibly”, which the dictionary defines as, “apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually.”

  212. John David Balla says

    @228 heicart,
    Based on your brief report from the election, the turmoil and confusion at the ACA continues which deeply saddens me. With respect to moderation, why or how have you determined that recusal is necessary? In other words, why do you feel bound to an incoherent policy? Are all other moderators recusing as well? In case it’s not obvious, I’m searching for signs of leadership.

    What little information we are getting about the disposition of the ACA with respect to policy and procedures is that of a decapitated organization for which those individuals who possess the experience, know-how, and leadership qualities to bring much-needed clarity and purpose, are simply sitting on the sidelines. Is that a fairly accurate depiction?

    Best,
    John

  213. Murat says

    @heicart

    I genuinely wanted to understand what people mean when they say “biological male/female”–because I couldn’t understand it.

    Indeed, people were using that terminology in order to address the issue simply, rather than getting swamped in all that complication.
    Chromosomes. XX vs XY.
    Quite simple that way.
    Because as someone put it perfectly, women’s category was formed not as a segregation for gender, but as one on the basis of sex.

  214. Murat says

    @ian butler
    Oh, I had missed that one, sorry.
    “Ostensibly…” Sounds tailored for the situation, indeed.

  215. PETER CUSHNIE says

    Man, I am sick of all this chatter about trans people, against whom I bear no ill will. It’s just that maybe a separate page is needed just to discuss the vagaries and quirks of human biology.

    I can see it coming. Someone calls into the Atheist Experience looking for information about atheism and is told, “Well, time was when it meant only a non-belief in a god or gods. Period. Times have changed, however, and today’s atheist community requires that you also bear a positive attitude toward and actively support trans people, gay people, Muslims, all people of color, and whatever other group the “powers that be” in said community have declared to be marginalized and persecuted and maybe we’ll eventually get around to white supremacists and neo-nazis because our tent is a big one. What’s that? You say you’re an atheist, but trans people creep you out? Well, it’s obvious. You’re no true atheist.

  216. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says in #228

    I was at the ACA elections yesterday, and after much open discussion, I no longer understand whether there is any criteria for moderation–so I have to recuse going forward on moderating anything. I’ve been observing some of the other forums for ACA, and can’t see any guidance or lines or moderation happening there, so I have no clue what is/is not acceptable/unacceptable any more. E-mail the board if you have concerns. I can’t help.

    This is most unfortunate. As a result I would offer the following which I suspect will not be read or acted upon.

    Developing a set of guidelines for moderators is not impossible, and actually not all that hard once one determines what one desires for a forum. In this case I would assume that what is desired is that:

    This is to be a place where people can have meaningful discussions of topics raised by the shows or as follow-on discussions with callers who wish to elaborate further with regard to their calls to the show.

    With the above in mind one of the first criteria with regard to moderation might be:
    Ad hominem attacks, especially those of a vulgar nature, will not be allowed. Anyone engaging in such attacks will have their posting deleted and will be suspended from posting for the remainder of the week. Anyone found to have repetitively engaged in such attacks on multiple threads even after suspensions will be banned on a permanent basis.

    Everyone may slip up on this front at one time or another, but if we do we deserve to be called to account for it as a result. This is a place to discuss ideas, topics, and concepts, it is not the place to put a stop to discourse in a manner un-befitting those who should be better able to engage in rational conversations.

    Then it might be worthwhile to consider the following:
    Anyone found engaging in activities that appear to be for purposes of hindering discourse on the forum will also face a one week suspension. This includes posting a large volume of postings that amount to “preaching” on a subject without honestly engaging in discussion that includes answering respectful questions posted to them. Repetitive postings which offer no further clarifications on a topic will be considered to be a purposeful wasting of people’s time in an attempt to hinder meaningful discussions. Doing this on multiple threads after suspension will again be grounds for permanent banning from the forum.

    This is just a first crack at what might be desired. I am sure someone around here could improve upon this. I make no claims to having stated any of this in the best way possible, nor is this likely to cover situations others have observed that might be addressed. Also, if no one wants moderation with guidance criteria that’s fine and then you get what we have currently.

    As I have said previously I have engaged in totally un-moderated discussion venues before and have the asbestos underwear to tolerate it. However, under the current conditions I think I would be wary of suggesting that any caller might come here for further discussion of a topic unless they were fully prepared for some of what has been transpiring recently.

    Lamont Cranston

  217. Murat says

    @Peter Cushnie
    It’s the age of trans-atheism. You may believe in a god, but if you identify as an atheist, then…
    *
    (You were great in Star Wars, by the way!)

  218. John David Balla says

    @234 Lamont Cranston
    >>However, under the current conditions I think I would be wary of suggesting that any caller might come here for further discussion of a topic unless they were fully prepared for some of what has been transpiring recently.

    I don’t see how anyone in good conscience could at this point. Killfile can only do so much.

  219. ian butler says

    Lamont, could you perhaps let us know where you get your asbestos undies? I could use a pair.

    But seriously, the hard line the ACA took regarding RR, combined with de facto condoning commenters like 8chan Kobun is truly disheartening and speaks to a dysfunctional organization in crisis and in need of a shake up.

    I hope Tracie and Jen will address these issues today, at the very least I hope they will stop encouraging anyone to go to the blog until some form of moderation policy is worked out.

  220. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #239:

    [George Carlin – Political Correctness Gone Mad, with him reading a quote about Nuremburg trials]

     
    Video: InnuendoStudios – Mainstreaming (11:40)

    Delany’s writing about his experience as a young gay man in the late 50s, early 60s, which is to say nearly a decade before Stonewall
    […]
    while he did eventually describe himself more accurately, he can’t help but muse in the book about the limits of language at the time […] While all the words to describe himself were technically available, they all carried the connotations of the most popular narrative about gay men: that they were isolated, aberrant, and pitiable. […] the dominant narrative of the isolated gay man becomes self reinforcing. The constant threat of police meant gay men stayed hidden from the cops, and consequently, from each other. And the terminology of the era being mostly dictated by straight people made it very hard to talk about queerness without reinforcing that narrative.
     
    Delany argues that among the most revolutionary things the 60s did to culture was the radicalization of language, redefining old terms and popularizing new ones, and giving marginalized groups a budding sense of their numbers. In short, two of the most powerful tools for making any marginalized group less marginalized are language and visibility. […] In short, as a fringe group becomes more visible and their language becomes more commonplace, their presence in society starts to seem… normal. They become demystified. Some people who thought they were strange and threatening will start to warm up to them, though this doesn’t happen across the board. Many who hated them when they were fringe will see their becoming mainstream as a kind of existential occupation of territory. As in, “If this is normal now, what does that make me?” But much of what is considered standard in society today has gone through this process.
     
    Now, straight folks like myself like often think that greater queer visibility and proliferation of queer language is for our benefit. If our queer friends feel safe coming out to us, and we know which words we should and shouldn’t use. It makes it easier for straights and queer folks to be pals. And it is true that no one gets mainstreamed without advocates in the existing mainstream. But let’s not beat around the bush. Language and visibility are tools of consolidating power. […] You get a bunch of formerly isolated gay men connecting with each other and accurately describing their experiences? You’ve got yourself a movement, with or without straight friends. This is why it’s to the benefit of straight society to tell queer men that they are isolated because Isolated queer men are in no position to make demands.
    […]
    mainstreaming is a morally neutral phenomenon. Culture is plastic.

  221. buddyward says

    I am having a difficult time justifying to myself to continue participating in a blog that allows for comments that tries to curtail discussions that may not be about atheism but is very relevant to TAE and the ACA. This blog, even though it is supported by TAE does not limit itself to simply talking about atheism but the use of critical thinking and skepticism. This line of thinking does not limit itself to discussing atheism. If the ACA is not going to be able to agree what is the appropriate conduct in this blog let alone be in contradiction with their other forums, I am not sure that we as contributors can be confident that the purpose of this blog as well as the expected rules will be enforced by the mods. I believe that this will negatively affect the quality of dicusssions here in this blog.

  222. Lamont Cranston says

    buddyward says

    If the ACA is not going to be able to agree what is the appropriate conduct in this blog let alone be in contradiction with their other forums, I am not sure that we as contributors can be confident that the purpose of this blog as well as the expected rules will be enforced by the mods.

    I think, based upon Tracie’s posting, that we can be assured that the moderators will not be enforcing anything because they have been given something between conflicting and no criteria with which to perform the role of moderator. As a result the only thing that can be expected is more of what we have been experiencing for the last few months.

    That’s why I suggested some criteria that might somewhat curb the vulgar ad hominem attacks and the spamming of the forum with someone’s unsupportable pet beliefs for hundreds of postings across multiple threads that render the forum rather useless for any actual discussions.

    Sadly, I just heard Tracie a few minutes ago express her belief that she no longer feels free to express her own opinion with regard to certain things. So strangely enough she seems to be more moderated than this discussion forum. I still think that TAE, and perhaps all of the other shows, needs a disclaimer right up front that explains that, “The views and opinions expressed on this program are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Atheist Community of Austin.”

    Without such a disclaimer, and with the possibility that the exact opposite is true ( the hosts are official spokespersons for the ACA), you have hobbled the hosts with an untenable responsibility to bear during a real time live call in talk show. Heck the board of the ACA has demonstrated they are not a very good spokesperson for themselves even when NOT having to make a statement live in real time.

    Lamont Cranston

  223. paxoll says

    @Heicart
    I don’t see a problem with with sex being described biologically. Talking about removing uteri or beards is a bit of a red herring. Biology is concerned with form and function, not results. A uterus that is malformed and unable to carry a baby is still a uterus, an ovary is an overy regardless if it has been removed. When talking to an anti-trans person I often make the point that they do not go up and grab someones crotch to identify their sex before deciding what gender they are, but is there an reasonable cut off line for what defines sex? I think there is and it kinda has to do with…sex. The obvious problems with chromosomes is that we don’t see genes, we see gene products. There are X0, XX, XXX, XY people we identify as females and that designation of female has practical use. It describes the secondary sex (genitalia) that they have that will determine how they derive sexual pleasure, describes what kind of medical conditions they can have, and what their role can be when it comes to producing offspring. The thing is, nothing about a persons sex is relevant to a stranger unless there is some societal prerogative to know (such as sports, scientists, or doctors), and since it is irrelevant, then the fact that it is mis-identified at any time by any person (including the individual themselves) is equally irrelevant. If sex is a useful category an at the same time irrelevant most times than the real discussion focuses on WHEN is it relevant and what metrics are used for the categories. By acknowledging and hammering out what sex is, we bring about more cultural knowledge and awareness, and we can discuss when it is relevant more easily.
     
    The issues around sex, gender, sexual preference are complex and nuanced, and I think it becomes so much less so when there are firm definitions backed by science to start with. You used the term “biological female” often in your post when no one here has used that term and nearly every disagreement in the forum has revolved around gender, so, I guess I don’t really agree with your post that biologic sex is a problem. I am sorry the ACA leadership is disorganized, but the issue of moderation shouldn’t be insurmountable for a group of adults. Thank you for the time you DO take in reading the blog and participating.

  224. buddyward says

    @Lamont Cranston 242

    I agree with your post describing what should be done but I think the problem is for the ACA\mods to agree on whether or not to moderate. This blog appears to work under the rule of reporting possible infractions and no proactive moderation. However, I do not want this blog to turn into the FB discussion group where the mods became over zealous and started deleting post that speaks negatively of them.

    There are also the nuance on what would be considered trolling, ad hominem, etc. I personally do not agree with the idea of simply not engaging with dishonest people. If that is not acceptable to them in their show then it should also not be acceptable in this blog.

    As for the hosts not being able to freely express their opinion is just sad. The disclaimer that you proposed is a step in the right direction. I am hoping that this does not result in hosts leaving the show because of differences in opinion.

  225. John David Balla says

    @237 ian butler
    >> But seriously, the hard line the ACA took regarding RR, combined with de facto condoning commenters like 8chan Kobun is truly disheartening and speaks to a dysfunctional organization in crisis and in need of a shake up.

    The opportunity presented itself with caller Vivian (I believe). Tracie’s response only added to the confusion in that she acknowledged that she is free to speak her mind on the show, but for whatever reason “didn’t feel” she could. (That’s some serious double-speak for a person who tends to be one of the clearest and artful orators in the public square). She and Jen stating that they support the trans community could not have been more inelegant since I am not aware of a single person participating in this debate who doesn’t. wtf. Statements like that are analogous to saying “I like breathing clean air.”

    >>I hope Tracie and Jen will address these issues today, at the very least I hope they will stop encouraging anyone to go to the blog until some form of moderation policy is worked out.

    That was my hope too. It’s one thing to recuse yourself from blog moderation and another to send a new person to it knowing that the contributors are asking you no to, and for good reason.

    @241 buddyward
    >> If the ACA is not going to be able to agree what is the appropriate conduct in this blog let alone be in contradiction with their other forums, I am not sure that we as contributors can be confident that the purpose of this blog as well as the expected rules will be enforced by the mods.

    Based on recent developments, there’s very good reason not to be confident about what already is a disposition dangling in the wind.

    @242 Lamont Cranston
    >> Sadly, I just heard Tracie a few minutes ago express her belief that she no longer feels free to express her own opinion with regard to certain things. So strangely enough she seems to be more moderated than this discussion forum.

    Thanks for all your attempts to propose moderation guidelines. I too drafted similar guidelines about six months ago, as did others, all of which fell on deaf ears.

    @243 paxol
    >> I am sorry the ACA leadership is disorganized, but the issue of moderation shouldn’t be insurmountable for a group of adults.

    You would think. I find myself caring too much about this community and its health than is good for my own. That was hard to say but I’m glad I said it.

  226. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    If the ACA is not going to be able to agree what is the appropriate conduct in this blog let alone be in contradiction with their other forums, I am not sure that we as contributors can be confident that the purpose of this blog as well as the expected rules will be enforced by the mods.

    For a long while my rule for myself was that if something interested me I’d comment on it or at least follow the conversation, but if something didn’t or just seemed belligerent I’d ignore it. For a while this was easy. Someone wants to go on about veganism? Scroll by. Perennial philosophy? Not today, good sir! A video detailing some social activism unrelated to the topics covered in the show? I’ll pass. Someone thinks they have a secular rationale against access to abortion? Alright kid, what ye got!
    Even with the cases where I did find a subject interesting enough to personally engage, it would admittedly go nowhere. Sometimes like in the case of SamFromUK (I think it was him? It was some Muslim dude from the UK…) I’ll freely own that I gnawed on that bone well beyond when I should have let it go.
    However, in recent months the free wheeling nature of the place which I long regarded as one of its positive points allowed what an old friend of mine used to call Time Bandits to move in, get their hooks into it and seemingly choke out any relevant discussion. Pleas for moderation were met with either toothless warnings or inconsistently applied bans, to the point that exactly what the criteria are for proper behavior are really rather unclear.
    At the end of the day I dunno what to make of all this. AXP and the ACA have been a giant help to me, helping me better frame ideas I’d had as I was shedding the faith and encouraging skepticism and critical thinking. As the ACA has expanded its social footprint and a new generation has come up to take the reigns, I’ve found myself somewhat concerned with the direction of things. Part of me looks at this the same way I’ve been forced to look at Star Trek and Star Wars, that I’ve aged out and these things aren’t “for me” anymore. I’m not sure I can say I really enjoy it anymore, but I continue to watch (a couple of) the shows and follow here partially out of the hope that I can still glean something here and there and partially because I’m interested to see where they go.

  227. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    There is some strange asymmetry between my intention for loading that video and your perception of how it best addressed the topic. I have no disagreement over the quote you provided, but what I had on mind when referreing to Carlin was not at all how bigots used words carelessly around LGBTQ+, but how the word bigotry itself was being used (even against or among liberals) like in that first declaration from the ACA about RR.
    Very deep into the matter, there is some unavoidable double standart, which I believe is best explained by that particular remark among those you quoted:
    Language and visibility are tools of consolidating power.

  228. jabbly says

    @John David Balla

    It may not seem like it at the moment but overall I think this kerfuffle is a positive as it highlights that the label atheist isn’t a worldview. If people want other ‘baggage’ attached to it then they should probably stop using it.

  229. Murat says

    @jabbly
    Positive also because helps keep certain standards in check.
    “Leading the evidence” is a common accusation from the skeptical community to theists of organized religion. However, in this case, I get the feeling a notable portion of the ACA board are doing the very same.
    Yes, there may be evidence FOR validating the inclusion of trans women into sports as it is. But the level of engagement and investment shown on this particular issue brings with the feeling that scientific evindence is being cherrypicked in line with a social agenda. If it weren’t so, this extraordinary denouncement wouldn’t be necessary. They’d just provide platform to further discuss the issue, as they do with everything else.

  230. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Tracie #228
    I’ve emailed both Eric and John in the past offering to moderate this blog for them. I’m still willing to do it but with all of the turmoil in the upper management I doubt that anyone’s going to set aside time to come up with guidelines. If you see this and have someone specific in mind that I should contact please let me know.

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’d offer moderate the blog too. Not sure if AXP or some of the regulars would want that though, lol.

  232. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @EL #251
    I never got a response for either of them so I just assume they were busy but one objection I can see is that they wouldn’t want to outsource moderating to someone who isn’t in the ACA. If there’s any controversy, they’d get stuck with the blame from the actions of a non-member.

  233. says

    @#242 Lamont Cranston

    I think, based upon Tracie’s posting, that we can be assured that the moderators will not be enforcing anything because they have been given something between conflicting and no criteria with which to perform the role of moderator. As a result the only thing that can be expected is more of what we have been experiencing for the last few months.

    What, you mean, theists who have actual arguments? What you’re basically saying is you prefer to speak among the fellow atheist regulars here who are perfectly comfortable discussing and making arguments against the more naïve conceptions of God often parodied with such phrases as “sky wizard,” “invisible sky daddy,” and the “flying spaghetti monster” in lieu of addressing the more sophisticated understandings of the divine à la Spinoza. When it comes to the most profound conceptions of God, they simply are overlooked among the atheists in these threads. “No, don’t talk about that! Go away! I don’t want to address the more sophisticated notions of the divine, I’m content attacking simple straw man versions of God.” That’s the impression I get from the thread nowadays, anyway. No one is willing to have an actual discussion about religion or God, they’re more content making petty criticism about it. They’re more content in the thought of assuming God is literally some kind of “sky wizard,” and take comfort that this is the basis of their atheism. It’s rather ridiculous, if you really think about it.

    That’s why I suggested some criteria that might somewhat curb the vulgar ad hominem attacks

    If that were enforced, you’d see people like t90bb, Monocle Smile, buddyward, EnlightenmentLiberal, etc. disappear. All these people have resorted to vulgar ad hominem attacks. You’d pretty much kill off all the denizens of the thread. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    and the spamming of the forum with someone’s unsupportable pet beliefs for hundreds of postings across multiple threads that render the forum rather useless for any actual discussions.

    I know you’re not referring to me, because I don’t have any “pet beliefs.” I’ve explained over and over in hundreds of posts across multiple threads that Perennialism is not a belief, but rather a perspective on the major religions that is supported by modern science. The science is something to actually discuss, unless you’d rather talk about transphobia and pedophilia, then by all means. Have at it.

    @AtheistNotAgnostic @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Oh, c’mon! Just admit you guys wanna be MODs so you can have the pleasure of banning me. That way you can go back to bickering about simple straw man versions of God, so that you don’t have to address the more profound conceptions of the divine. If you want to understand the jungle, you can’t be content just to sail back and forth near the shore. You’ve got to get into it, no matter how strange and frightening it might seem, but if you guys are content to drift along the shore, then go ahead, but that’s a good way to avoid any real argument.

  234. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Kafei, go away already. I don’t want to understand anything more about what you’re talking about. Call me close-minded. I don’t care. You have convinced me to not look into Perennial Philosophy at all. You have accomplished the opposite of your goal. Not only have you failed to convince me that it’s true, but your behavior has led me to believe that it’s manifestly false and nonsense. Now go away.

  235. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Kafei, go away already.

    You want to talk about behavior. What kind of grown man resorts to such childish comments as “go away already”? This is not the first time you’ve typed some nonsense like this.

    I don’t want to understand anything more about what you’re talking about. Call me close-minded. I don’t care.

    You’re already admitting you’re close-minded to these topics. I don’t have to call you close-minded.

    You have convinced me to not look into Perennial Philosophy at all. You have accomplished the opposite of your goal. Not only have you failed to convince me that it’s true, but your behavior has led me to believe that it’s manifestly false and nonsense. Now go away.

    Well, I don’t really have any “goal” here. All I’ve done is share the insight that the scientific research has shed light upon regarding the world’s major religions. If you want to continue to criticize religion without informing yourself and availing yourself to what our modern science has established, then that’s your silly game. Don’t blame me for your refusal to address what has been concretely established by decades of scientific research. You pointing at “my behavior” as per the reason you refuse to address the science is simply a cop-out, it isn’t any insult towards me. Do you realize how ridiculous your behavior is? “Go away! I don’t want to talk about science or a more sophisticated understanding of God! I’m quite content being close-minded and bashing the “invisible sky wizard.” That’s literally the impression you give off, and you want to point to “my behavior”? You’ve got to be joking, especially when you say childish things like, “Go away!” You really think that’s going to make me stop posting here altogether, just ’cause you type “go away”? Perhaps if more people were like you and admitted to being close-minded, and that they’re really not interested in addressing these topics, then I’d see there’s really no point. However, you’ve made it clear that you’re, indeed, close-minded and not willing to address the more salient topics relative to what’s actually been established by our modern science, science that is not false nor nonsensical in any sense of the word, and that is definitely not about this “sky genie” that atheists seem to think justifies their atheism by rejecting that childish conception of God. “Go away“?! XD Gtfo here already, man. That shit’s too funny.

  236. buddyward says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #254

    Don’t let Jimmy wrap you into one of his useless arguments. He is starving for attention right now since his pet belief have been irrelevant for that past two weeks.

  237. buddyward says

    I should say that Jimmy’s pet belief have always been irrelevant it is just that no one have been paying attention to him.

  238. says

    @buddyward

    Don’t let Jimmy wrap you into one of his useless arguments. He is starving for attention right now since his pet belief have been irrelevant for that past two weeks.

    I don’t have any “useless arguments.” I argue from the standpoint of what has been established by science, and EL admitted he’s not interested in the science.

    I should say that Jimmy’s pet belief have always been irrelevant it is just that no one have been paying attention to him.

    I’m not here for “attention.” I don’t have any “pet beliefs.” My participation here has always been to sincerely engage in the topics relative to religion and God, and even atheism. And yes, to advocate the science that is largely ignored by the majority of atheists anywhere, not just here on the threads for TAE. If anyone here wants me to go away, it’s not rather because the science is irrelevant, to the contrary, it’s perfectly relevant. It’s simply that the majority of atheists here, if not all, are not willing to address the more sophisticated arguments for God, they’re quite content attacking simple straw mans of God. That’s what’s really going on here. Whenever the most profound concepts in philosophy rear their ugly head in any one of these threads, the atheists here get frightened and tell that scary monster to “go away.” It’s ridiculous, and I just felt like pointing out that ridiculousness.

  239. Paul Money says

    I think many of us would like to engage in a discussion of profound concepts in philosophy, but not with you!

  240. says

    @Paul Money I don’t think anyone here is willing to discuss the most profound concepts in philosophy from the looks of it whether I’m here or not. Most of the atheists here seem to want to justify their atheism by bashing the “sky wizard” conception of God which, imho, is the biggest straw man in all of history.

    @Murat I’ve actually been posting here for a while. So, it’s not as though I recently found out about the blog. I’ve known about it for a while. I don’t know why this content is so triggering for some people, but despite all of that, I consider this progress. Some denizens of these threads went from completely doubting this science to recognizing how far the science has come.

    @everyone Did anyone manage to catch AronRa on Non Sequitur this past week? Ya boy made it on.

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