People keep overloading the concepts of sex and gender with irrelevancies


Trump made a major policy announcement via Twitter (of course!).

Well, gosh. I guess Laci Green has some really high-level support. Does it feel good to have President Trump at your back?

It’s been irritating me for while now when people flatly declare that there are only two genders, or talk about “biological” males, as if there is some scientific justification for dividing the depth of complex behavior in the world into only two categories. There is a legitimate context for modifying “male” and “female” with the prefix “biological”: it’s when we care about what kind of gametes they produce. That’s the only time it makes sense, and it’s certainly important in a genetic and evolutionary context.

But then, what do you do with sterile males and females? Do they no longer have a “biological” sex? In insect groups with caste specializations, nominally female members of the species are effectively neutered, and they acquire specific roles as workers or soldiers. Do we just ignore the complexities of their genetics and morphologies?

Some organisms have more than two sexes: Tetrahymena has seven mating types. The properties of meiosis entail a fusion of only two at a time, so at that level, there is a real kind of binary, but clearly as a population there are other properties that distinguish more than two types. Do we just ignore those?

Trump and Green do something even more devious. Humans have two interfertile mating types, but that only refers to the kind of gametes they produce, not the equipment they use to make babies. After all, if a human female cannot bear children, but can produce eggs, we can now use a surrogate to host the embryo for her, but it doesn’t mean she’s no true female. As it turns out, throughout their maturation, humans develop gender signifiers, both cultural and biological, that have nothing at all to do with reproduction.

It’s weird. Little kids who will not be able to reproduce for a decade or two are assigned a reproductive role — that’s what “biological sex” implies — and given a whole bunch of standards that have nothing to do with making babies to which they must adhere or face serious social ostracism. A fondness for pink is not at all relevant to making babies, yet it’s foisted off on children from a ridiculously early age.

You don’t even have to acquire any lust for a different sex other than your own. Sexual behavior is primarily used for social and personal desires that are completely independent of reproduction. In the best of all possible circumstances (which I agree, don’t always occur), human reproduction is a conscious decision, made with due deliberation. Gay people have babies all the time. Transgender people have babies, too. And straight-up heterosexual couples who could make babies together often decide not to have any children (my god, what is that man doing with his useless penis?).

So why decide that ability to fight in the modern military is defined by whether you wear a dress, make sperm, or take estrogen pills? It’s all bullshit, all the way through.

Yes, I know, Trump framed it as a financial concern, that this is just too costly for a military that will drop $3 million on a single cruise missile. But we know how much transgender health care will cost the military.

To determine the budgetary implications of gender transition-related treatment for Military Health System (MHS) health care costs, we again used data from the private health insurance system on the cost of extending coverage for this care to the transgender personnel population. We estimate that AC MHS health care costs will increase by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.

In other words, the savings Trump wants to obtain by cutting this service is in the ballpark of what one of his weekend golf trips costs us.

Meanwhile…

According to the Military Times, data from the Defense Health Agency indicate the U.S. Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra and $84.24 million total on drugs for erectile dysfunction in 2014.

If sporting an erection is a prerequisite for combat, it seems to me that we ought to be encouraging those virile transgender individuals who can accomplish that, while discharging (dishonorably, obviously), all those weak men who need pills to get it up. We’d save a lot of money!

Comments

  1. Siobhan says

    America could extend healthcare to every trans citizen they have and it would cost less than an F-35.

    The difference between an F-35 and a neovagina, of course, is that a neovagina is still functional while wet.

  2. doubter says

    How will this work in practice? The tweets imply that the ban applies to current members of the military who are openly trans. Will they all be discharged on bullshit medical grounds?

  3. blf says

    Hair furor can count up to three — Me, me, ME! — so it’s a bit surprising he’s fixated on two.

  4. Gordon Davisson says

    John McCain of all people has already pointed out that Trump is an irresponsible idiot:

    The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.

    The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.

    The Department of Defense is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals who are not currently serving in uniform and wish to join the military. I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.

    The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.

  5. busterggi says

    Not meaning to change the subject but looking at what else was in those tweets – just who is the military looking for victory against as we aren’t at war with anyone?

  6. kevinalexander says

    I love how he calls them ‘my generals’ like they don’t work for the US. I wonder if any of ‘his generals’ will remind him that they didn’t swear ay oath to him.

  7. Adam James says

    PZ, I know you’re obligated to shun her, because she broke the tribal taboo and conversed with the enemy, but that sideswipe at Laci Green was particularly unfair. Some of her actual thoughts on this, via Twitter:

    let’s get real: there is no logic or reason in banning an entire group of people from the military solely bc of gender. 🙄 thoughts incoming— Laci Green (@gogreen18) July 26, 2017

    most obviously: trans people have always served, bravely and honorably. claiming they were unfit bc of gender is disrespectful and false.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) July 26, 2017

    we shld talk about transitioning as basic care, we shld talk about gender dysphoria, but an outright ban shuts that convo down at the gate.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) July 26, 2017

    TL;DR i see no logically consistent or reasonable ways this ban is not an attack on people because of their gender. counter points welcome.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) July 26, 2017

  8. Hj Hornbeck says

    Adam James @9;

    PZ, I know you’re obligated to shun her, because she broke the tribal taboo and conversed with the enemy, but that sideswipe at Laci Green was particularly unfair.

    It’s not uncommon for someone who vigorously opposes the rights of a minority to claim the opposite. TERFs will declare complete sympathy to the struggles of trans* people, yet continue to deny gender identity and thus contribute to those struggles. Notice that Green repeatedly says she’s opposed to discrimination on the basis of “gender.” Not “gender identity,” the actual reason for the ban. She’s engaging a clever rhetorical trick to make her look sympathetic when she may not actually be.

  9. doubtthat says

    @9 Adam Jones

    You’re just seeing the obvious, tedious little two-step all of these folks try (Thunderfoot, Rubin, Sargon of Ak…):

    Every now and then you have to make a feeble little gesture at something resembling decency so you can play the “Look, people on the left and right hate me, I must be juuuuuust right” game.

    Her tweets are idiotic. She’s misrepresenting studies, quote mining, thoughtlessly accepting alt-right framing, cuddling up to awful people, ignoring the legions of people trying to reason with her….

    I don’t know if it’s the sweet, sweet Gamergate/alt-right dollars that come your way on Patreon and YouTube or if she really buys into it, but it will just get worse and worse until she makes a sincere video that starts, “Hey guys, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I know it’s going to make some people mad, but we have to talk about tough issues, so I’m going to come right out and say it: What is the deal with the Blacks?”

    Maybe she will see the light, her being someone of Jewish heritage now cuddling up to a dozen people with videos about “Cultural Marxism” and “International Jewery,” but I doubt it.

  10. doubtthat says

    Another way to put it:

    Do you sincerely think that we just haven’t heard enough from Paul Elam? Cause Laci Green wants to interview him to start a “discussion.”

  11. Siobhan says

    @doubtthat

    Cause Laci Green wants to interview him to start a “discussion.”

    Are you telling me you don’t see the merits of re-opening a debate on whether women are the property of their husbands? By gosh, you must be a fascist! We musn’t be uncivil, now.

  12. doubtthat says

    I’m a stubborn dogmatist. It’s epistemic closure. I refuse to see any nuance in issues surrounding sexual assault. I don’t see the value in debating the precise amount of physical violence justifiable in a domestic setting, ignorantly holding to my answer of “none.”

    I’m pretty close minded.

  13. Hj Hornbeck says

    Adam James, watch what happens when someone tries to correct Green on the “gender”/”gender identity” divide.

    Peacock Pete: Trans is not a gender.
    Green: can you elaborate?
    Peacock Pete: Come on Laci. You know what i mean, man/woman and on the odd occaision both but thats it. U can identify as whatevz but ur still m/f.
    Green: i don’t! das why i asked 😂 trans ppl are men or women, though their sex may be diff than you or i. how does that mean trans isn’t gender?

    Two years ago, Green was quite knowledgable on gender identity. Now she acts confused by something as basic as “trans is not a gender” when challenged, even though she is still capable of using the term correctly. Can you not see why we’re deeply suspicious of her?

  14. Adam James says

    I’m a stubborn dogmatist. It’s epistemic closure. I refuse to see any nuance in issues surrounding sexual assault. I don’t see the value in debating the precise amount of physical violence justifiable in a domestic setting, ignorantly holding to my answer of “none.”

    I’m pretty close minded.

    Gotcha. But surely you can see the value in opening a dialogue, perhaps on an issue you don’t feel quite so strongly about, in the interest of achieving a better outcome.

    Laci Green’s “both sides are wrong” tactic is pretty tiring, I get that. But her intention is right there in the subtext. The opposition won’t listen unless they feel their concerns are being heard. We’ve tried calling them deplorable, we’ve declared their views to be so vile and heinous as to merit no consideration. That doesn’t make things better. Telling our opponents that we won’t hear what they have to say, telling them they’re terrible human beings for thinking the way they do, will only make them adopt more extreme versions of their beliefs. Hardening our opposition this way makes it more difficult to get what we want.

    Look what happens when Laci tells alt right types she wants to hear their perspective. They reach out in return, they try to reciprocate, they find common ground. To be sure, this is anecdotal, from following her Twitter and watching her YouTube comments. But what we’re doing now isn’t working. The chasm is so wide and deep we can now only shout at each other across it. I get that not everyone can stomach opening a dialogue with those whose views seem so cruel and inhuman. But don’t castigate Laci for trying a build a bridge.

    Notice that Green repeatedly says she’s opposed to discrimination on the basis of “gender.” Not “gender identity,” the actual reason for the ban. She’s engaging a clever rhetorical trick to make her look sympathetic when she may not actually be.

    But surely you wouldn’t be quite so uncharitable in your interpretation had someone else, someone not under suspicion of fraternizing with the enemy, mixed up the two terms?

  15. doubtthat says

    Laci Green’s “both sides are wrong” tactic is pretty tiring, I get that. But her intention is right there in the subtext. The opposition won’t listen unless they feel their concerns are being heard. We’ve tried calling them deplorable, we’ve declared their views to be so vile and heinous as to merit no consideration. That doesn’t make things better. Telling our opponents that we won’t hear what they have to say, telling them they’re terrible human beings for thinking the way they do, will only make them adopt more extreme versions of their beliefs. Hardening our opposition this way makes it more difficult to get what we want.

    1) You’re assuming she’s trying to change their minds. I see zero evidence of this. I see her adopting their views. Do you have an example of her convincing one of those folks to become less regressive? This is not a bridge. This is her moving over to their side.

    2) All these tactics have been tried. Just look at how everyone at FtB tried to handle Thunderfoot when he melted down. They reached out to him to ask for clarifications. Talked to him privately. Criticized him respectfully. None of it mattered. He just continued down the dark road that lead him to 210948572345 videos complaining about Anita Sarkeesian.

    3) These people are not new. It’s not because we’re unaware of what Elam and others think that we despise them. It’s because we are well aware of who he is, what he does, and what he believes. Giving him a platform to put on his Sunday clothes, cry crocodile tears about male suicide rates and unfair divorce settlements, and pretend to be sane for 30min is a waste of time. It’s just dishonest nonsense.

    Look what happens when Laci tells alt right types she wants to hear their perspective. They reach out in return, they try to reciprocate, they find common ground.,/blockquote>

    What common ground have they found? They only place I’ve seen them arrive at agreement is where she adopted their factually and morally deviant views.

    And, of course, finding “common ground” is meaningless. I like sports. I bet someone in the KKK likes sports. Still that problem of them being racist. Are the alt-right assholes going to abandon their malicious views? If the answer is no, then I could care less what we agree on.

  16. Hj Hornbeck says

    Adam James @17:

    But surely you wouldn’t be quite so uncharitable in your interpretation had someone else, someone not under suspicion of fraternizing with the enemy, mixed up the two terms?

    If a climate scientist hung out with climate change denialists, you’d treat them skeptically. If they confused climate and weather, I doubt you’d be charitable to them. If they then turned around and demonstrated they knew the difference between climate and weather hours later, you’d be quite alarmed.

    This is the feminist version of that.

  17. Adam James says

    [tl:dr I’ll take a dose of my own medicine, and not further stoke the beehive here. My aim was to promote mutual understanding, and seeing some folks already on the defensive is probably a cue to back off]

    Ultimately, I don’t know if defending Laci is the hill I want to die on. A few transgender people have taken issue with things she’s said, and as much as I think it would be absurd to conclude that’s she’s a closet TERF or anti-trans (the evidence to the contrary is pretty strong), I don’t want to just blanket dismiss their concerns either. Cuz I know that happens and it sucks when it feels like you’re not being heard.

    However, there will come a day when I may have to offer myself as a sacrifice to the ravenous Pharyngula horde. Just, ya know, maybe not today 😅

  18. kupo says

    Adam, this is not new. Laci has been saying TERFy things for years. People have been calling her out on it for years. It only became a thing recently because she started doing it overtly instead of in the form of microagressions.

  19. unclefrogy says

    adam james,
    would you like the gilded cross or would a plain wooden one be OK?
    uncle frogy

  20. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    But her intention is right there in the subtext. The opposition won’t listen unless they feel their concerns are being heard.

    The opposition won’t listen, period. Reaching out to them just provokes attacks of opportunity.

    Hadn’t you noticed?

  21. A. Noyd says

    Adam James (#21)

    My aim was to promote mutual understanding

    And just what qualifies you to even try that?

  22. Holms says

    #9 Adam James
    Simply by refusing to join the Shunnening, you are now shunworthy donchaknow.

    #11 HJ
    Notice that Green repeatedly says she’s opposed to discrimination on the basis of “gender.” Not “gender identity,” the actual reason for the ban. She’s engaging a clever rhetorical trick to make her look sympathetic when she may not actually be.

    Weasel word highlighted – a clever rhetorical trick to make your claim appear more certain than it really is. You demonstrate this in #16, where you note that she has a history of knowing the proper use of the term, she still knows the proper use of the term in the present, but the tweet shows she is not 100% consistent in its use. Holy shit, how Trumpian of her!!212

  23. doubtthat says

    What do you think I’m missing about the alt-right? What is it that I don’t understand?

    Again, you are assuming that there is a division due to misunderstanding. This is not true. I am familiar with all of these folks, and it’s pretty clear I’m far more versed in their nonsense than the folks here defending them. I know what Paul Elam has said and done. I remember all the genuine efforts to help Thunderfoot dig himself out of the hole he made.

    Transgender-directed bullshit is not new. Laci Green has said nothing fresh or interesting or challenging. It’s the same bullshit repackaged over and over. How many times do I have to watch her butcher an academic paper in pursuit of alt-right nonsense before it’s safe to say she’s full of shit? 5? 10? 15?

    https://twitter.com/mikerugnetta/status/887374691249401856

    I don’t need to hear more about 9-11 conspiracy theories. That’s over. I don’t need to hear Sam Harris try to redeem Charles Murray and his racist nonsense that was dealt with decades ago.

    Why are you demanding that people dig up these zombie issues? Maybe it’s all new and fresh to you, but if you were at all legitimately curious about these issues, you would see the debates going back decades.

    What’s the brilliant idea that I’m missing? Just more people saying flagrantly incorrect things?

  24. says

    HJHornbeck @16,
    I’m quite sure that Peacock Pete there is taking the transphobic view that people are the genders they’re assigned as. A look at his twitter feed corroborates.

    Also I’m really not on board with your blanket statements that gender is not gender identity. I mean, I get what you mean but also, gender is what you identify as so yeah.

  25. says

    While it is alarming and wrong that Trump stripped rights from citizens (over Twitter no less, I’m deeply confused why there are trans troops at all. It seems suicidally reckless and more to point morally abhorrent to be that complicit in American imperialism.

  26. says

    Oh, if only people would only comment on topics they actually know something about. That applies to Laci Green, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and many more of us merely humans who often tend to get a bit out of hand once we have endless communication power due to the internet. That doesn’t invalidate the more competent views of any of those famous (or not-so-famous) people, but nobody can be considered all-knowing just because they can spread their views widely these days.

  27. anonymouslurker says

    When a self-proclaimed evolutionary biologist is telling you how it is perfectly normal and healthy to be trans, you know the world has completely lost its sanity.

    Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters.

    So PZ, can you please answer the following questions:

    1. What is the selection coefficient associated with the phenotype of being trans and having transitioned in your teens (SRS and HRT and everything), i.e. not the Bruce Jenner kind of coming out as “trans” in your 60s after you’ve fathered a bunch of kids and even then not chopping off the relevant bits, but the kind of “acceptance” of transgenderism from an early age that trans activists are pushing for

    2. What the selection coefficients associated with conditions such as, for example, various pediatric cancers, are

    3. What the selection coefficient associated with being born with Patau syndrome is.

    4. If your answers to 1 and 3 are very similar, would you then please explain to us why we should not consider people born with Patau syndrome to be perfectly healthy and normal? After all, from an evolutionary perspective they are equivalent to transgender individuals, aren’t they?

    Finally, I fail to see why transgender people would be so upset about not being allowed in the military or why people deeply ideologically committed to “liberalism/progressivism/etc.” would have a problem with it. What do people in the military do — they either get killed themselves or they kill other people (and in the case of the US military “other people” means innocent people of mostly brown complexion in far away corners of the world). Either way, not being part of that enterprise should be seen as a good thing according to the ideology you subscribe to, right?

  28. rietpluim says

    I’m deeply confused why there are trans troops at all
    For the same reason that there are cis troops, of course. Silly question.

    Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters.
    Says someone who thinks to know better than an actual evolutionary biologist.
    How many fallacies can one squeeze into a single sentence?

  29. KG says

    When a self-proclaimed evolutionary biologist is telling you how it is perfectly normal and healthy to be trans, you know the world has completely lost its sanity.

    PZ does not use the phrase “normal and healthy”, probably because it’s utterly fucking useless in this context except as a phrase bigots like you use to justify their bigotry.

    Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters. – anonymouslurker@31

    Wel it’s sad that you have such an empty life, but that doesn’t really excuse your stupidity. Evolutionary biology is descriptive, not prescriptive, fuckwits like you notwithstanding.

  30. rietpluim says

    This cis person apologizes beforehand for a naive question, but I was wondering wether being trans is part of gender identity. I guess the answer is “it’s different for every person” but I’d like to hear from the trans persons on this blog how it is for them.

  31. call me mark says

    a self-proclaimed evolutionary biologist

    Is our anonymous lurker calling into question PZ’s credentials? Nice attempt at poisoning the well…

  32. anonymouslurker says

    When you put ideology first and science second, you lose the right to call yourself a proper scientist, that is correct.

  33. jefrir says

    Mike Smith

    While it is alarming and wrong that Trump stripped rights from citizens (over Twitter no less, I’m deeply confused why there are trans troops at all. It seems suicidally reckless and more to point morally abhorrent to be that complicit in American imperialism.

    It can be incredibly hard to find work as a trans person. The army offers pay, healthcare, housing and education, in a world where trans people are massively more likely to be homeless.
    It also draws heavily from other vulnerable groups, such as the poor, the less well educated, and ethnic minorities. Much of its recruiting deliberately targets these groups.

    anonymouslurker

    Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters.

    You must lead an incredibly boring life.

  34. dusk says

    How many genders are there then? I’d always thought of it as male, female and intersex, and that ‘mentally’ people are on a spectrum, similar to sexuality. Didn’t think it was controversial to say biologically male or female, seems I’ve a lot to learn…are trans people not born biologically male or female (whether fertile or infertile, I fail to see the relevance of that), but mentally feel like the other?

  35. rietpluim says

    When you put ideology first and science second, you lose the right to call yourself a proper scientist
    True. That is why we prefer not to force people into a false dichotomy here.
    Gender is a spectrum, that is an observed fact. Otherwise we would not have this discussion in the first place.

  36. rietpluim says

    Isn’t it funny how the ideologically driven always accuse us of pushing an ideology? We are not the ones forcing people to live the life we think fit!
    What on earth is ideological about accepting people the way they are?

  37. says

    @Dusk

    Almost the exact argument that Laci Green uses, in her second, somewhat more coherent, video on the subject. Problem with it is – biologically its not that cut and dry. A lot of people want it to be, a lot of people, including I think Green, don’t comprehend why it isn’t, and way too many don’t want to understand why its not that simplistic. If not for some of the other things said about her activities I could forgive such an error. But, like PZ has said in the past, even which gametes are produced doesn’t make for some simple definition of “gender”, biological or otherwise. I mean, it would be “very” simple, if the meaning applied was **only** to that one specific thing, but there is a billion other things that are used to label someone, once you know what the physiological traits they have are – and there lies the problem. How many of those actually fit, and how many are just cultural baggage, or, just as bad, merely statistically slightly more common, but not universal? And, also, how do you determine that, within the contexts of the culture(s) that promote them (at least the much harder ones, the easy ones are already challenged, on a daily basis, even by people that don’t know they are challenging them)?

  38. call me mark says

    When you put ideology first and science second, you lose the right to call yourself a proper scientist
    I was asking about PZ, not yourself.

  39. says

    Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters.

    Wow.

    So how many children do you have?

    Do you feel that your life is wasted when you’re not fucking?

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was asking about PZ, not yourself.

    No, you were projecting your ignorance and idiotology upon those who disagree with you. Your actions are transparent. You have an agenda.

  41. call me mark says

    Nerd you’ve quoted my bit there. I’m accusing anonymouslurker of poisoning the well, not trying to join in on their side.

  42. Hj Hornbeck says

    Holms @26:

    Weasel word highlighted – a clever rhetorical trick to make your claim appear more certain than it really is.

    Well, is she sympathetic to trans* people? I’m getting mixed messages here. In the past, she’s interviewed trans* people and seemed quite supportive, but she also has a track record of cissexism and appears to be promoting transphobic talking points. She might fall into the “sympathetic TERF” camp or the “deaf ally” camp. “May” is a good word to capture this ambiguity.

  43. Hj Hornbeck says

    Siggy @28:

    Also I’m really not on board with your blanket statements that gender is not gender identity. I mean, I get what you mean but also, gender is what you identify as so yeah.

    I’ve since elaborated on the argument I presented here, which might clear up why conflating “gender” and “gender identity” is problematic.Give it a boo and tell me if you’re still not on board.

  44. Hj Hornbeck says

    rietpluim @34:

    This cis person apologizes beforehand for a naive question, but I was wondering wether being trans is part of gender identity. I guess the answer is “it’s different for every person” but I’d like to hear from the trans persons on this blog how it is for them.

    I’m not trans*, but I think I can handle this one. “Gender identity” is defined as your internal view of your own sex or gender. If this view matches the sex you were assigned at birth, you’re “cis;” otherwise, you’re “transgender” or “transsexual.” Get rid of or disavow the concept of gender identity, and it is impossible to be trans*.

    So short answer yes, but that was a bit like asking if 3 is a number.

  45. doubtthat says

    What do people in the military do — they either get killed themselves or they kill other people (and in the case of the US military “other people” means innocent people of mostly brown complexion in far away corners of the world). Either way, not being part of that enterprise should be seen as a good thing according to the ideology you subscribe to, right?

    See, this is what I mean. Why do I need to hear this out and try to find common ground? Sadly, Trump made his Twitter announcement on the 67th anniversary of Truman racially integrating the military. Same arguments used then: disruption, same sad attempt at using anti-war positions to justify segregation.

    Hey, remember when the role of women was expanded in the military? I wonder if we heard your argument then?

    It’s such a pathetic attempt at justifying bigotry. Whether for or against the military, itself; whether for or against specific uses of the military; if there is a military, it should be open to all capable of serving (and “capable” is a word that has many different meanings – the skill set to be on Seal Team 6 is different than the skill set necessary to pilot drones which is different than the skill set necessary to be a JAG attorney which is different than the skill set necessary to be a surgeon…).

    The military is one of the few (unfortunately) avenues to leadership and political relevance for people born without wealth. Closing that door to minorities, women, and LGBT folks is another way of barring them from advancement in society.

    Also, having a strong military does not require using it to bomb weddings in Pakistan.

  46. doubtthat says

    @17 Adam James

    Wanted to circle back on this because I think this explains the difference between the alt-right (and regressive politics, in general) and why “common ground” is a canard:

    Look what happens when Laci tells alt right types she wants to hear their perspective. They reach out in return, they try to reciprocate, they find common ground.

    The people love-bombing Laci Green have nothing to lose. They have no real ideology; there is nothing they’re working for. It’s a collection of anger, trolling, harassment for the lols, and just general contrarianism and reactionary bullshittery. Being nice to Laci Green doesn’t alienate their fan base, especially when she’s flagrantly espousing their nonsense word for word.

    On the left, with progressives, there is a consequence to trying to expand the tent. Because we are working for things like equality, accommodating people arguing against equality necessarily alienates other members of the coalition. A choice has to be made.

    For example, look at all the hand-wringing about appealing to “working class white” voters. That’s all fine and dandy, I think progressives make a stronger argument for creating a society just to those folks, but the reason they’re Trump supporters – as study after study has shown – is racial resentment – Mexicans, Muslims, “black criminals…”

    So, if you want Democrats and progressives to reach out to those people beyond pointing out how economic policies and health care would benefit them, you are going to alienate the black and Mexican and LGBT voters who are not only the base of the coalition but whose claims and goals are more important that pissing and moaning about immigrants.

    Same with Laci. “Reaching out” to someone espousing, at best, ignorant views about Trans people is harmful to Trans people. The alt-right believes in nothing beyond generally being assholes, and it’s the ultimate troll to red pill a (fairly) high profile feminist, so there’s calculation to make. They don’t have to worry about harming the members of their coalition because there is no coalition, there’s nothing they’re trying to accomplish, and its just another bit of venom they can hurl at whoever they’ve decided to harass that day.

  47. Siobhan says

    @rietplum 34

    This cis person apologizes beforehand for a naive question, but I was wondering wether being trans is part of gender identity. I guess the answer is “it’s different for every person” but I’d like to hear from the trans persons on this blog how it is for them.

    In all my trans feminist writing, “trans” is an adjective which implies certain specifics to the noun its attached to. My subjective experience of my body is sometimes understood by others to be female, my social role is typically though not always that of a woman, and that experience is modified by my being short, white, trans, queer, able-bodied, etc. But trans is no different than any other adjective which may modify a noun.

    So trans isn’t my gender in and of itself, it just implies certain conditions about my gender.

  48. Siobhan says

    @doubtthat

    They don’t have to worry about harming the members of their coalition because there is no coalition, there’s nothing they’re trying to accomplish, and its just another bit of venom they can hurl at whoever they’ve decided to harass that day.

    I think this is what the “dialogue” crowd is missing. They haven’t figured out that the cluster of nasty we call the alt-right is nihilism. There’s nothing to learn. They have their conclusion and they’re desperately backfilling to support it.

  49. Bob Arens says

    To the people commenting that transfolk shouldn’t be in the military because of its imperialist agenda, etc., I’d like to just say two things. One, equality means equality of self-determination. A trans person shouldn’t be prevented from doing what anyone else can do simply because of who they are, full stop. We show up for those who can’t self-determine and follow their lead not because we agree with their ideals, but *because they can’t self-determine*.

    Two, filling the military with the dispossessed, the downtrodden, those who are victims of systemic oppression guarantees that those people will be represented in a military that might one day be called on to repress people just like them. They should be in enlisted and leadership ranks so that if one day the need arises for a People’s Army of the United States, it doesn’t have to appear out of thin air. No, the morals aren’t perfect, but look at the history of successful leftist revolutions – they almost always have the military at their backs.

  50. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    anonymouslurker,
    Thank you so much for your valiant attempt to invalidate my marriage–a marriage between a cis-male and a cis-female, both fertile (when we married, at least), who chose not to reproduce. If it’s all the same to you, though, I think I will stay married to my wife of 25 years (next Feb.).

    Meanwhile, you might want to crack a text book on genetics. My genes survive in my nieces and nephews, whose happiness and survival I have facilitated in my role as their uncle. Now run along and let the grown ups talk.

  51. doubtthat says

    @54 Siobhan

    So sad that we’re going to miss all of their well-considered, nuanced views about the Holocaust.

  52. says

    Funny thing is, the guy is a postdoct in a reputable genetics lab. Clearly a case of when you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like nail.

    Would be nice if we were training people with more breadth in biology.

  53. Alt-X says

    anonymouslurker – why does it matter what another adult does with their Peepee? Don’t you have better things to spend your day thinking about than strangers private parts? You’re very strange.

  54. KG says

    Do you feel that your [anonymouslurker’s] life is wasted when you’re not fucking? – PZM@43

    Surely anonymouslurker wouldn’t waste his time fucking without first checking that his partnersperm receptacle was currently fertile!

  55. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Anonymous lurker is only here to prove the relevance of my recent post on dogmatists’ inability to empathize (if atheist) and inability to think situations through from the perspective of another person (whether atheist or theist).

    While I thank you for the support, Anonymouslurker, we have to collect our data in a methodologically rigorous way for it to have scientific validity. I’m afraid all you can ever be is a supportive anecdote. Nice try though. Keep up the failures, though, and maybe one day you, too, will be invited to be part of a research cohort investigating the inability of certain people to engage in socially relevant critical thinking.

  56. A Masked Avenger says

    Bob Arens #55 beat me to it.

    Excluding people from the military based on any criteria like race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc., is flat-out wrong.

    It’s a completely unrelated issue that the military is engaged in many immoral endeavors today, and I for one would be pleased to see it reduced by 90-99%, and redeployed as a purely defensive force against actual attacks on our borders.

    In the meantime it’s NOT OK to say, “Hey, if you exclude black people, at least the military is that much smaller!” Which is the argument that anonymouslurker attempted to make in #31.

  57. Jeremy Shaffer says

    At 17:

    Look what happens when Laci tells alt right types she wants to hear their perspective. They reach out in return, they try to reciprocate, they find common ground.

    On the topic of reaching out and finding common ground: all groups involved might like to have a fun time at parties and it sounds like a nice thing to make sure everyone does have fun at your socials, but if you go out of your way to accommodate the group whose only idea of a fun time at parties is shitting all over the rug and flinging it around, it won’t be long until the rug-shitters are the only ones who show up for your shindigs. This will likely happen even faster when you chide and eventually alienate anyone who expresses concern or a criticism against the rug-shitters

  58. rietpluim says

    Siobhan Thanks. If I understand you correctly, you don’t identify as a trans woman, but as, well, as Siobhan, and “trans” and “woman” are only meaningful in the right context. But I’ll have to let it sink in more deeply.

  59. Saad says

    Waiting for the reaching outers/dialoguers/going highers to define the common ground between alt right and social justice/feminism/racial equality/etc.

  60. doubtthat says

    Haha.

    Saad already took one of the 4 things we could have picked. It was inevitable.

  61. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Food, oxygen, language, and tea?

  62. says

    Yes, the military is evil, especially the US military. To serve in the military is to actively support evil. You should not do that.
    That still doesn’t mean that we should accept discrimination against trans people just because it’s the military we’Re talking about.
    This isn’t about the military. It is about testing the waters for more oppression and discrimination. If you’re silent on this because it’s the military and really people shouldn’t serve there, congratulations, you’re complicit in paving the way for more discrimination.

  63. anonymouslurker says

    What on earth is ideological about accepting people the way they are?

    Who said anything about not accepting people the way they are?

    The problem I have with trans activism is that it tries to distort objective biological reality to fit its preconceived ideology. What is “normal and healthy” is what has been selected for by evolution. The trans phenotype is as maladaptive as it gets, and not only is it maladaptive, it’s maladaptiveness is almost completely invariant with respect to environmental conditions (this is not sickle cell anemia kind of thing that we’re talking about here). Therefore it is insane to call it a perfectly healthy expression of normal variation. It isn’t.

    We don’t consider people with fertility problems to be perfectly normal and healthy, there is a huge industry dedicated to dealing with their issue for a reason. And such people generally don’t commit suicide in massive numbers.

    But do we shun such people from society and discriminate against them? Of course not.

    I included kids with pediatric cancers for a reason — we don’t shun them out of society, we do everything we can to help them. Note the word “help” and spend some time thinking about it.

    We do so because we recognize they have a problem.

    The application of trans-logic to the case of cancer patients would be to say that there is nothing wrong with them and we should accept them as they are.

    This whole issue is a perfect example of how ideology again trumps sound reasoning — the moment one dares to point out that being trans is not perfectly healthy and normal he is immediately accused of being a bigot, transphobe, etc. even though it does not at all follow. Not discriminating against trans people is not at all the same thing as conforming to the denial of objective reality that some of them are trying to impose on the rest of society.

    Would be nice if we were training people with more breadth in biology.

    And it would be nice if we were training people properly, period. In case that needs reminding, proper scientific training is incompatible with blindly following the agenda of Democrats/Republicans/various -isms/ and other ideologies and tribal allegiances.

  64. anonymouslurker says

    anonymouslurker – why does it matter what another adult does with their Peepee?

    With respect to many things, it doesn’t indeed

    The problem is the imposition of denial of objective reality on the rest of society.

    That, BTW, is the very thing atheism (back in the days when people actually cared about it) was fighting against, in case it needs reminding…

  65. Siobhan says

    @anonymouslurker

    The problem I have with trans activism is that it tries to distort objective biological reality to fit its preconceived ideology.

    “Screaming at reality for not conforming to the diagrams and categories you learned when you were ten is not *pro-science*…okay?”
    https://twitter.com/MAMelby/statuses/884215750277443584

    Converse: Expanding vocabulary to capture oversights of previous models is objective.

    And yet you think you’re qualified to lecture “proper scientific training.” Have you even opened a fucking paper on gender variance?

  66. Siobhan says

    @anonymouslurker

    Oh, and this:

    being trans is not perfectly healthy and normal

    is a value statement, and therefore not objective.

  67. doubtthat says

    What is “normal and healthy” is what has been selected for by evolution.

    And yet it exists after billions of years of evolution.

  68. Siobhan says

    I skimmed that line.

    He’s a geneticist who hasn’t figured out that evolution selects against, not for?

  69. consciousness razor says

    What is “normal and healthy” is what has been selected for by evolution.

    You should speak with this Mr. Jesus H. Evolution and ask Him to select something else.

  70. doubtthat says

    The application of trans-logic to the case of cancer patients would be to say that there is nothing wrong with them and we should accept them as they are.

    This is some really perverse thinking.

    First, it’s just sloppy language – “accept them as they are” when applied to trans people is a statement about allowing them to self-determine their identity. You use it here to refer to a disease ravaging a body that will result in pain and death. This is a very poor, meaningless analogy.

    Second, I get that you’re trying to imply that somehow a higher suicide rate among trans people is analogous to cancer, which is, again, really fucking stupid. Suicide is a very complicated psychological process, but it’s pretty clear that scorn and humiliation – like comparing non-binary biology to cancer – affects those rates. This is pressure from society. As awful as they are, bullies don’t give people cancer.

    I mean, you’re wrong on the science, which has been shown; you’re falling for an infantile philosophical trap of thinking something observed in nature necessarily determines morality in human behavior; and you’re the one accusing others of being blinded by ideology. It’s bizarre.

    Why does the ability to reproduce or not have any meaning in a world with surrogates and in vitro fertilization and a million ways to reproduce? Why are we bound by the practices of organisms from eons ago?

  71. anonymouslurker says

    is a value statement, and therefore not objective.

    Selection coefficients seem quite objective to me.

  72. anonymouslurker says

    And yet it exists after billions of years of evolution.

    Selection isn’t the only evolutionary force, neither is it all powerful

  73. anonymouslurker says

    Second, I get that you’re trying to imply that somehow a higher suicide rate among trans people is analogous to cancer, which is, again, really fucking stupid.

    Actually I didn’t imply that, you are the one putting these words in my mouth.

    Why does the ability to reproduce or not have any meaning in a world with surrogates and in vitro fertilization and a million ways to reproduce?

    Has it ever occurred to you that the conditions you are living in right now may not be representative of the future of humanity?

  74. Siobhan says

    @anonymouslurker

    Selection coefficients seem quite objective to me.

    I like how you ignored every person who has responded to you.

    Eat glass.

  75. anonymouslurker says

    Have you even opened a fucking paper on gender variance?

    Would that be in a gender studies journal or in a real scientific one?

    I like how you ignored every person who has responded to you.

    Most of the substantial points I raised weren’t answered either. And I am posting in between more important things, so I may have missed something.

  76. rietpluim says

    anonymouslurker Tell me, how do your selection coefficients benefit from responding in this thread?

    “Normal” and “healthy” are value statements. That selection coefficients should be standard by which we define “normal” and “healthy” is a value statement. Your appeal to objectivity is a bad excuse for prejudice.

    You may be surprised to hear that people with infertility are perfectly normal and healthy, as long as they do not wish to have children. Only then they have a problem, and that is the reason they receive treatments, not because it is “abnormal”.

  77. consciousness razor says

    I included kids with pediatric cancers for a reason — we don’t shun them out of society, we do everything we can to help them. Note the word “help” and spend some time thinking about it.

    We do so because we recognize they have a problem.

    The application of trans-logic to the case of cancer patients would be to say that there is nothing wrong with them and we should accept them as they are.

    These aren’t children with cancer. You think they have a problem. If people have no problem identifying as trans (or gay, etc.), then the only problem here is the one you pulled out of your own ass. Your fake concern about the fake problems they don’t have is the exact opposite of convincing, and you’ve suggested nothing whatsoever that would “help” them in any way, if they needed your help, which they don’t. Physician, heal thyself.

  78. rietpluim says

    Geez, your very first sentences here were value statements. Like it or not, life is all about successful reproduction and nothing else really matters. Are you a priest or something? How the fuck do you think you know what life is about? Could you also please enlighten us about what reproduction is about?

    Stupid objectivists. Always confusing their opinions for facts.

  79. doubtthat says

    @83 anonymouslurker

    Selection isn’t the only evolutionary force, neither is it all powerful

    Tell your face. You’re the one who thinks that the result of the evolutionary process is sufficient to determine “health” and “normal.”

    @84

    Actually I didn’t imply that, you are the one putting these words in my mouth.

    Haha, sad effort.

    You very explicitly argue that allowing trans folks to be, whatever that means, is akin to allowing a child with cancer to go untreated. The only bit of evidence you offer that being trans is at all unhealthy is the suicide rate. So, either that’s your analogy or you were just spouting incoherent nonsense.

    I assumed you were trying to make sense. My fault.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the conditions you are living in right now may not be representative of the future of humanity?

    Jesus, man, what the fuck are you talking about? I’m supposed to base morality and ethics on some potential dystopian future? What can that possibly mean?

    So, first, pathetic that you continue to ignore the trivial reasoning error underlying all of your horseshit: the naturalistic fallacy.

    And also, yes, you have to base your morality on conditions as they are.

  80. doubtthat says

    Most of the substantial points I raised weren’t answered either. And I am posting in between more important things, so I may have missed something.

    Which “substantial” points do you think have been missed?

  81. says

    Selection coefficients seem quite objective to me.

    O RLY?

    Unfortunately, “fitness” is notoriously difficult to define and measure (see Endler 1986; De Jong 1994; McGraw & Caswell 1996; Orr 2009). Therefore, most studies measure components of fitness (e.g., survival to sexual maturity, survival following an environmental change, number of mates, or number of offspring produced) as a surrogate for total fitness.

    Just the fact that fitness is contingent on a specific environment complicates it immensely; fitness is a poor predictive measure, and in the best of cases has to be measured after the fact.

    The problem I have with trans activism is that it tries to distort objective biological reality to fit its preconceived ideology. What is “normal and healthy” is what has been selected for by evolution. The trans phenotype is as maladaptive as it gets, and not only is it maladaptive, it’s maladaptiveness is almost completely invariant with respect to environmental conditions (this is not sickle cell anemia kind of thing that we’re talking about here). Therefore it is insane to call it a perfectly healthy expression of normal variation. It isn’t.

    You have not demonstrated that a “trans phenotype” is maladaptive at all. You seem to have a very narrow definition of fitness that only applies to isolated individuals rather than populations, and that doesn’t regard other factors in child rearing to be significant. With your weird perspective, the optimal human behavior would be to start popping out kids at menarche and not stop until you were dead of exhaustion. This whole business of familial and community investment in children is “maladaptive” in your views.

    Again, how many children do you have? Do you realize that wasting your life in training for science reduces fecundity, and is therefore maladaptive?

  82. consciousness razor says

    I’ve done nothing in my life that really matters. I was under the horribly mistaken, reality denying impression that in fact I can decide what really matters to me. I’m straight and don’t have any children. I will atone for my sins, by squirting some fluid into an appropriate receptacle ASAP, as science commands.

    But please, teacher — I want to better understand what this science tells us. I am unfit and unhealthy and abnormal? What is my problem and what can help me? Perhaps my neurons aren’t firing in the approved ways, making me an abomination unto science — but this is only a guess. Point me to respectable scientific journals that discuss this grave problem in greater detail.

    It is at least comforting to know that countless dead healthy people throughout history are doing splendidly, as they’ve been amply provided for with all that evolution has to offer. One day, I truly hope to join them in the final battle.

  83. says

    @anonymouslurker
    What’s to respond to? You asserted maladaptiveness, you asserted that sex was everything and if you have any biological knowledge you know there are things like species that include non-breeding members into their social structures. You might want to go let the bees know they are doing it wrong.

    Even then just because something was one way for our species in the past does not mean it has to be the same now. Your paranoid alarmism is disgusting.

    And you used the term insane as a replacement for an objective description of what is bothering you about something you see a problem with. You are acting like a wildly gesticulating immature ignoramus desperate to make the scary thing go away.

    Tell me O expert on human natural selection, is my Tourette’s Syndrome maladaptive? I can see how early and intense expression of social dominance instinct might be pretty useful, not to mention the ability to be an asshole how and when a want from the lifetime of self control. Is my 1% of the population some kind of priblem?

    Humans are not one thing and you show nothing but ignorance with respect to what the different kinds of humans might even hypothetically look like. Fear soaked wretch…

  84. Siobhan says

    @anonymouslurker

    Peggy Cohen-Kettenis. Diane Ehrensaft. Norman Spack. Annelou de Vries. Julia Serano. Jaimie Veale. I could go digging through my archive to find more but that’s what I remember off the top of my head. Hell, as problematic as Kenneth Zucker’s work is, even he has a few valid points in his actual research. You seem to be assuming that gender variance has only been analyzed through feminist discourse. While it has, it’s also been examined in sexology, endocrinology, genetics (you should know), psychology, and psychiatry. The harder research exists, if you could be bothered to pull your head out of your ass long enough to google it.

    But by all means, Dr. Dipshit, PhD in naturalistic fallacy, please lecture the professional science communicator. What would we do without your opinion?

    (sleep peacefully, is my guess)

  85. Ranzoid says

    Folks, I think that Anonymouslurker is a troll. Try to counter any BS and Anon will just create more. Ignore him.

  86. says

    @Ranzoid
    You make no sense.

    We should just let such things go unchallenged? Let them continue to add to the social forces creating the problem? You can avoid such confrontations if you need to but don’t pretend that “creating more” is anything but that person’s segment of society trying to reinforce dominance.

  87. anonymouslurker says

    Just the fact that fitness is contingent on a specific environment complicates it immensely; fitness is a poor predictive measure, and in the best of cases has to be measured after the fact.

    1. That something is hard to quantify does not mean it is not objectively acting out there in the real world. As a classic example, just because the Navier Stokes equations are intractable it by no means follows that there aren’t rigid objective laws of physics governing fluid mechanics.

    2.. But that is actually irrelevant in this case because here fitness can be directly estimated from first principles in a couple lines. Also, the effect on kin is if anything negative.

    You have not demonstrated that a “trans phenotype” is maladaptive at all

    .

    OK, once again, how many kids are you going to have if you never went through normal puberty and got your relevant bits chopped off in your teens? How is that not maladaptive?

    You seem to have a very narrow definition of fitness that only applies to isolated individuals rather than populations, and that doesn’t regard other factors in child rearing to be significant.

    As I said above, with all the drama associated with trans individuals, it is hard to see how their effect on their immediate kin could be so highly beneficial that it offsets the hit on their own fitness.

    Group-selection arguments have a poor reputation, for good reasons, but even if we were to go down that route, the facts are not on your side — because we can ask ourselves what exactly the reason why hostility towards intersex phenomena is so widespread among human societies is, and all the people who immediately scream “because of bigotry!” will accomplish by doing so is to demonstrate how their ideological biases are interfering with their reasoning abilities.

    With your weird perspective, the optimal human behavior would be to start popping out kids at menarche and not stop until you were dead of exhaustion. This whole business of familial and community investment in children is “maladaptive” in your views. Again, how many children do you have? Do you realize that wasting your life in training for science reduces fecundity, and is therefore maladaptive?

    Yes, I am well aware what effects scientific training has.

    But here we get to a different but fundamentally very much related issue, which is overpopulation and what we do about it.

    I am thinking in the long run — and in the long run unless we drastically reduce the scale of the human enterprise we’re going extinct with 100% certainty, because there will not be another technological civilization after this one (due to irreversible resource depletion and somewhat reversible, but only on a very long time scale, environmental degradation).

    Do you seriously believe SJWism is compatible with the kind of measures that are needed to reduce global population in the needed time frame? It’s laughable to even think about it, if anything it is just as bad on that issue as the religious fundamentalists.

    There is no solution to those problems that does not involve a cold sober understanding of our biological nature, and how it is driving our individual and collective behavior.

    The fundamental denial of our biological nature that has become integral to feminism, trans-activism and other -isms completely precludes that from ever happening.

  88. says

    Does anyone see a connection to our biological nature from anonymous terror squeaker? I don’t. I see perfectly good references to non-reproducing individuals within species that they ran in terror from.

    I see assertions about negative fitness without any connection to reality.

    The most amusing one so far is the paranoia about population with the simultaneous need to pressure people into accepting an assertion that to be human is to be a breeder. I rather think their paranoia (via more assertions) about isms stems from the necessary criticism they receive.

    There’s no way I’m not feeding trolls, they are practice and confronting them is consistent with my instincts. It allows the creation and perfection of arguments that still exist independent of those who feel the need to do the human equivalent of dogs pushing on fences. This is part of what it is to be human even if it is not such for every human.

  89. says

    Yes, I am well aware what effects scientific training has.

    I will take that as an admission that anonymouslurker has failed to reproduce, and is by his own criteria an evolutionary failure.

    I will assume, however, that he considers scientific training, despite its maladaptive effects on his fitness, has long-term benefits to society, and therefore he has conceded that his earlier definition is inadequate and incomplete, and that human beings can make useful contributions outside of becoming breeders.

  90. doubtthat says

    Group-selection arguments have a poor reputation, for good reasons, but even if we were to go down that route, the facts are not on your side — because we can ask ourselves what exactly the reason why hostility towards intersex phenomena is so widespread among human societies is, and all the people who immediately scream “because of bigotry!” will accomplish by doing so is to demonstrate how their ideological biases are interfering with their reasoning abilities.

    This is an amazing amount of bullshit. Please, substantiate the point you’re hinting at but are too cowardly to assert. What is the reason for hostility towards “intersex phenomena”?

    But, of course, these sorts of reproductive “just so” stories, in addition to being reductive and wrong, can cut both ways:

    Were I, say, a primitive chieftain. I would want plenty of people around to provide labor who also would not compete with me to reproduce. You’d think intersex, non-reproductive folks would be pretty useful to have around. So, no, I don’t see some magical evolutionary explanation for hate aimed at trans people.

    What is this absurd effort to reduce the human experience into some endless effort to reproduce? As PZ has pointed out, you don’t live that way, no one does. It’s so sad.

  91. Rowan vet-tech says

    Wow. Per nonny, bees and ants must be seriously maladaptive because the vast majority of the members of their colonies are sterile and apparently don’t… help… the colony… as they are…

    Well shit.

  92. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @anonymouslurker, #84:

    Has it ever occurred to you that the conditions you are living in right now may not be representative of the future of humanity?

    EXACTLY.

    You FtBullies and your insistence that fitness be measured against an organism’s contemporary environment (in which the organism actually lives) are completely misrepresenting what “evolutionary fitness” actually means. It doesn’t mean adaptation to a population’s current environment! It means adaptation to an environment in which the population doesn’t live, and which may never come to exist or may only come to exist in millions of years, but serves the rhetorical purposes of someone trying very, very hard to intellectually stimulate himself to a gamete-spewing state.

    CHECKMATE, REALITY-ISTS!

  93. anonymouslurker says

    Wow. Per nonny, bees and ants must be seriously maladaptive because the vast majority of the members of their colonies are sterile and apparently don’t… help… the colony… as they are…

    We found the person (although he/she/whatever us hardly alone here) who does not understand inclusive fitness.

  94. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @anonymouslurker, #98:

    fitness can be directly estimated from first principles in a couple lines. Also, the effect on kin is if anything negative.

    You have not demonstrated that a “trans phenotype” is maladaptive at all

    .
    OK, once again, how many kids are you going to have if you never went through normal puberty and got your relevant bits chopped off in your teens? How is that not maladaptive?

    and the contrary view from, um, @anonymouslurker, #98:

    I am thinking in the long run — and in the long run unless we drastically reduce the scale of the human enterprise we’re going extinct with 100% certainty, because there will not be another technological civilization after this one (due to irreversible resource depletion and somewhat reversible, but only on a very long time scale, environmental degradation).
    Do you seriously believe SJWism is compatible with the kind of measures that are needed to reduce global population in the needed time frame? It’s laughable to even think about it, if anything it is just as bad on that issue as the religious fundamentalists.
    There is no solution to those problems that does not involve a cold sober understanding of our biological nature, and how it is driving our individual and collective behavior.
    The fundamental denial of our biological nature that has become integral to feminism, trans-activism and other -isms completely precludes that from ever happening.

    Uh, so, feminism and SJWism are entirely incompatible with “the kind of measures that are needed to reduce global population” because that would involve not breeding, while feminist and SJWism advocate accepting others’ choices not to breed as acceptable and not treating people as deficient and/or unnatural if they choose not to breed. Obviously, this normalization of not breeding is entirely incompatible with actually not breeding which can only be accomplished by treating people as wrong and unnatural if they choose not to breed, but that’s an anti-feminist, anti-SJW position.

    Moreover, as a direct result of the support feminism and SJWism provide to people who choose not to breed we have created the current trend towards supporting the self-determination of trans* people in taking actions that, as a side effect, prevent the easiest forms of breeding and almost any conceivable unintended pregnancy. The drop in fertility we can expect from this maladaptive feminism/SJWism will thus lead directly to overpopulation which leads directly to underpopulation because under feminism/SJWism there will be too many people who buy into this “transgender” nonsense who do not reproduce.

    Obviously failing to produce children is maladaptive, because if only you reproduced more you would inevitably cause overpopulation and thus extinction of your entire species. This means that the benefits for kin selection entirely fail to compensate for the lack of reproduction of trans people, because if too many people are trans, then we won’t have overpopulation, and eliminating the possibility of overpopulation is the only way our species, including the kin of trans people, will survive.

    These are your arguments, correct? That individuals who don’t breed are maladapted, but we need more individuals to not breed because currently breeding is maladaptive because overpopulation because extinction? Okay then. Let me just add one more thing from another source.

    That source is, well, it turns out it’s anonymouslurker, #98. Who woulda thunk that after all the time you spent carefully crafting the arguments presented above you would still be able to add this:

    Yes, I am well aware what effects scientific training has.

    um… I’m not so sure you do.

  95. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    that should have been “I’m not so sure you are.”

    carry on.

  96. blf says

    The scientific training appears to lack critical reasoning, with an example being most or all of a.l.’s comments. Critical reasoning is a notable and important part of science and mathematical education, with numerous examples being provided by the replies.

  97. rietpluim says

    I see a lot similarities with religious’ moral absolutism.

    The guy is so scared not to have absolute, objective standards, he just takes one because it sounds objective, whether it is applicable or not.

    And then he thinks he’s the one being rational for using an objective standard.

  98. says

    We found the person (although he/she/whatever us hardly alone here) who does not understand inclusive fitness.

    By the way, the “whatever” comment is awfully close to the kind of objectifying disrespect that can get you banned here.

    I think Rowan vet-tech was sarcastically pointing out that that person is…you. And Crip Dyke has effectively pointed out the contradictions in your position. You’re kinda getting your ass kicked by “whatevers”.

  99. doubtthat says

    I don’t know about you guys, but anon convinced me. I am boning like mad in preparation for possible alien invasion.

    My only real question is whether the traits I look for in an alien-attack resistance partner should be the same if we assume the robots are going to take over.

  100. cartomancer says

    When the Romans translated the cult of the Magna Mater (Cybele) from Phrygia to Rome, as a part of their attempts to woo divine support against Carthage in the late 3rd century BC, they were aghast at the order of cross-dressing self-castrated priests – the Galli – who came with her. Clearly a symptom of perfidious oriental depravity, this. Scornful and unpleasant snipes at the Galli abound in Roman literature – they really were very challenging to straightforward, old-fashioned Roman conceptions of masculinity. Laws were passed preventing Roman citizens from joining the order – which was also uncomfortably foreign in its trappings. Cicero, Ovid, Augustine – all regarded the Galli with disgust. Particularly Augustine, whose sexual hang-ups have become a bottomless fount of European bigotry.

    I am reminded of Roman attitudes towards the Galli by some of the bigotry on this thread. We must stop this – it’ll ruin our civilization! We have to treat them with minimal courtesy, but we don’t want it spreading! We can’t let these funny foreign attitudes corrupt our society!

    Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose…

  101. says

    My sarcasm was apparently lost in text. I’ll be more blunt. While yes we should stand up for the principle the state, in any facet, should not discriminate against group it’s fucking stupid at this point in time to be trans (or for that matter LGB) in the military. All you are doing is setting yourself up for is to be an active participate in the night of long knives pt. 2. LGBT troops should get the hell out of there.

    Further, I have very limited sympathy for trans troops (actually all troop) given that you know they are complicit in the murder of millions.

  102. Siobhan says

    @Mike Smith

    Further, I have very limited sympathy for trans troops (actually all troop) given that you know they are complicit in the murder of millions.

    Or: How to Blame the Cogs for the Watch and Not the Watchmaker.

  103. rietpluim says

    it’s fucking stupid at this point in time to be trans (or for that matter LGB) in the military. All you are doing is setting yourself up for is to be an active participate in the night of long knives

    You do realize that this counts for cishet troops as well, don’t you?
    Why make a different point for trans or LGB people?

  104. Siobhan says

    Trans people make up 1.2% of the military. I actually agree that the actions of the US military are atrocious and unconscionable. However, discharging 1.2% of their troops is not going to stop them from drone-bombing weddings. Literally all this has done is revoke the last lifeline a lot of trans Americans had to get their education and healthcare. I’m glad people are recognising America’s imperial foreign policy, but it will go on without LGBTQ+ troops.

    You really want to kneecap military recruitment? You’re better off abolishing the conditions that engender economic desperation. Start offering socialized healthcare and education. Koolaid drinking patriots are actually a minority in the military. It’s mostly folks who are desperate and broke. Look at who they advertise to:

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/peacetraveler22/49370105/647383/647383_600.jpg
    http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/33100000/-Army-Strong-us-army-33140258-200-200.jpg
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cq-ZVIZJaI8/hqdefault.jpg
    https://www.army.mil/e2/c/images/2012/03/27/240705/size0.jpg

    All I’m saying is, be a little more ambitious, mate. Set your sights for the people issuing the orders and starting the wars. You’ll need the armed queers when you sharpen the guillotines.

  105. doubtthat says

    Look, our military adventures are almost uniformly horrible.

    But the military is a much bigger entity than drone bombing and other stupid shit. You deny military access to trans people you are denying them:

    -One of the few reliable ways to pay for higher education
    -One of the best routes to a career for someone without wealth in their background
    -One of the best routes to a job with full benefits

    And, as others have pointed out above, a more diverse military today means a more diverse leadership group in the next decade or two, which may lead to a more humane military. Notice that the current military leadership is doing everything they can to undermine Trump on this. That would not have been true even 10 years ago.

  106. Owlmirror says

    @PZ:

    With your weird perspective, the optimal human behavior would be to start popping out kids at menarche and not stop until you were dead of exhaustion.

    Or in other words: Why are there K-selectors at all, if r-selection is so awesomesauce?

    @anonymouslurker:

    Do you seriously believe SJWism is compatible with the kind of measures that are needed to reduce global population in the needed time frame?

    Wait. Did you not just literally say that reproduction, and by implication, continuous population growth, is the sole point of biology?

    You cannot have it both ways: Either a small fraction of the population not reproducing for whatever reason is good because it reduces population, or that small fraction of the population not reproducing is terrible because reproduction is the telos of the organism.

  107. says

    @Siobhan
    I didn’t realize the US was utilizing a draft at the moment.

    @rietpluim
    You obviously didn’t understand my historical allusion if you think cishet people have to be as worried about a night of long knives as LGBT+ folks.

    As for the rest, it boils down to a devil’s bargain in which a vulnerable person trades their moral integrity and becomes complicit in the murder of millions for a moderately comfortable material life. As understandable as that is it’s still a devil’s bargain. And I judge harshly those who take it. Prima facie all members of the military are bad, morally debased, and fundamentally broken people until demonstrated otherwise.

    Also, for reasons that should be fucking obvious you don’t want your military trying to undermine a civilian head of state. That way leads to military rule. So as much as I oppose any policy that targets trans folks for discriminatory behavior and as obnoxious as releasing the policy on Twitter is, the Military brass’ current legalism to avoid implementing the policy is actually deeply worrying.

  108. Siobhan says

    @Mike Smith

    As for the rest, it boils down to a devil’s bargain in which a vulnerable person trades their moral integrity and becomes complicit in the murder of millions for a moderately comfortable material life. As understandable as that is it’s still a devil’s bargain. And I judge harshly those who take it.

    If I have been forced by circumstances to choose between my death and committing murder, and you ignore the circumstances that forced me into that choice to begin with, then your judgement is pretty fucking half-assed.

  109. Siobhan says

    Like seriously Mike, you sound like one of those “tough on crime” types who completely ignore the fact that their policies are a massive reason people resort to crime. Trump didn’t threaten to discharge trans troops because he’s against imperialism. Do you get that?

  110. anonymouslurker says

    By the way, the “whatever” comment is awfully close to the kind of objectifying disrespect that can get you banned here.

    Was I supposed to list all the 50+ additional possibilities? If I had just listed “he”, I would be accused of sexism. If I had just listed “he/she” (which is what I would normally do because there is nothing else but “he” and “she”), I would be accused of ignoring trans people. So this was the most respectful thing I could possibly say, without spending and hour tracking down all the crazy new pronouns various lunatics have come up with.

    But it seems to be heads I lose, tails you win kind of rules here.

    For the record, your shady practices and intellectual dishonesty are widely known by everyone, I never expected to last here very long. And nobody has kicked my ass here, if anyone thinks this has happened, that speaks volumes about themselves.

  111. Vivec says

    “No see, the fact that you pointed out my blatantly contradictory statements means YOU’RE the dumb ones. Checkmate, ESSJAYDUBYERS”

  112. cartomancer says

    #122

    Have you never encountered the use of “they” as a non-gendered third-person pronoun in English? Or thought about re-writing the sentence so as not to use a pronoun at all? People have been able to avoid gendering others in English since there was English.

    Or were you too busy reproducing and/or not reproducing as you should and/or shouldn’t be according to the morally definitive code of the naturalistic fallacy?

  113. says

    A question for the people I see appealing to human evolution. Are we in a period of constrained selection, or a period of relaxed selection?

    I gave some followup questions about the transition from scattered small groups to cities. That sort of environmental shift is bound to have developmental effects.

    I’m deadly serious. I’ve read some of the relevant literature and I’m sure I would be able to appreciate any citations you may have.

  114. says

    Was I supposed to list all the 50+ additional possibilities? If I had just listed “he”, I would be accused of sexism. If I had just listed “he/she” (which is what I would normally do because there is nothing else but “he” and “she”), I would be accused of ignoring trans people. So this was the most respectful thing I could possibly say, without spending and hour tracking down all the crazy new pronouns various lunatics have come up with.

    No. “They” is simple, inoffensive, and shorter than the alternative you chose. Since Rowan is using a gender neutral name, you would not be accused of sexism for using a male pronoun, but you might get corrected if you guessed wrong. You also would not be accused of ignoring trans people, because they also use “he”, “she”, and “they”. It seems you were more interested in snidely placing yourself on a cross rather than substantively answering any of the criticisms of your benighted position.

    And since you are so consistently evasive and think people here are “lunatics”, BYE.

  115. Owlmirror says

    @anonymouslurker

    But it seems to be heads I lose, tails you win kind of rules here.

    You mean like the way you argue that reproduction is both the highest good and the greatest evil at the same time, depending on where you want to aim your bigotry?

    And nobody has kicked my ass here

    I wait, with interest, for you to address the contradictions and fallacies that have been pointed out in your arguments, and will consider your failure to acknowledge them, let alone reconcile them, to be a concession on your part that you have been soundly defeated.

  116. doubtthat says

    @122 anonymouslurker

    Was I supposed to list all the 50+ additional possibilities?

    Step One: Highlight person’s handle to whom you are replying.
    Step Two: hit “ctrl+C”
    Step Three: Move cursor to appropriate location in response.
    Step Four: hit “ctrl+V”

    If you have a Mac, I can run down that process for you, too.

  117. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    For those people who are still of the mind that anonymouslurker might have scored a point or two, including those from whom questions of linguistic respect are still difficult to navigate, permit me First, I remind us all of the “whatever” comment to which PZ refers is from #105, where anonymouslurker wrote of Rowan:

    We found the person (although he/she/whatever us hardly alone here) who does not understand inclusive fitness.

    Now I’ll respond to the now-banned dumpster of wrong that is comment #122:

    By the way, the “whatever” comment is awfully close to the kind of objectifying disrespect that can get you banned here.

    Was I supposed to list all the 50+ additional possibilities?

    It appears that, in addition to failing to think of the possibility of using Rowan’s name, as reasonably suggested by doubtthat in #128, anonymouslurker has utterly failed to understand the distinction between “whatever” and “whoever”.

    This is the person who seeks to convince us that we are missing the obvious. Well, I suppose we could be criticized by someone even less appropriate. Anonymouslurker at least has extensive lay experience with the phenomenon.

  118. blf says

    Retuning to the OP, Data sketch: trans people 2.3 times more likely to serve in the US military:

    Trump’s plan [sic] creates a new challenge for a group that is already stigmatized — and is more likely than the general population to serve, research shows
    […]
    In 2015, the National Center for Transgender Equality published the findings of a survey that reflected the experiences of 27,715 transgender people in the 50 US states. Their findings show that, compared with the general population, transgender people in America are:

    ● 2.3 times more likely to serve in the military
    ● Three times more likely to have experienced a sexual assault
    ● Three times more likely to live in a household with an annual income less than $10k
    ● 4.8 times more likely to experience police harassment
    ● 8.7 times more likely to have attempted suicide at some point in their lives
    […]

    The (short) article also has a graphic based on something I have no recollection of encountering before, the Transgender Pride Flag, designed by Monica Helms in c.1998. “The flag is designed in such a way that the flag can’t be flown upside-down, with the message that there is no wrong way to be gendered.”

  119. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The first time I met a trans* veteran my own age was 1992. She’d signed up for a 4 year hitch, but was booted after 14 months on the basis of being transsexual. In her case, though, the system was calling being trans* a mental disability, not a “distracting social issue”. This allowed her to convince her VA system doctors to advocate for her surgery after her honorable discharge on the basis of disability unrelated to service. They later made it harder to get that care in part by making it more likely to be discharged other-than-honorably.

  120. says

    @Siobhan

    There is not a single service member today who was faced the choice condition of death or military service. There are numerous other (bad) options for folks including survival crime. My sympathy lies with the trans person who is in jail because they had to engage in survival sex. (to draw a stereotypical example). It most certainly doesn’t lie with any one who joined the military so they could go to college.

    Apart from that, yes it is more moral to starve to death than serve at Trump’s beck and call.

    I’m well aware Trump’s decision on this policy is at best red meat for his base, at worse his own desire to hurt trans folks. Trump isn’t against imperialism and I doubt he even understand the various foreign policy doctrines one can hold. I have at least twice stated that I oppose the policy on its merits as well as the general principle that the state should not discriminate among groups of persons for irrelevant characteristics. I’ll be plainer if I’m asked about it I’ll say I don’t support it. If I’m ever in a position to vote for/against I’ll vote against. I’m just not interested in burning political capital/effort protecting trans troops by allowing them to stay in the military. If the 11,000 or so trans troops (or any troops really) want help to get out of the situation and denounce the military that’s something I’m very interested in helping.

    You see I don’t “support the troops” and while I don’t wish them any ill will I’m forced by the current circumstances to be extremely cautious and very reluctant to trust any and all members of the military. They are a danger until proven otherwise.

  121. logicalcat says

    So we had a troll who came in here pretending to know it all (incorrectly), project, refuse to answer criticism, contradict himself quite easily, should be smart enough to know better and yet does not, and then finally resort to bigotry as he is backed in a corner of his own incompetence at a rational discourse while simultaneously setting himself up to be a comment section martyr. All thats missing is for some other user to come along, and accuse PZM of censorship while ironically having the words “logic” or skeptic” in their username.

    So um…yea. Free thought blogs? More like free from thought blogs…yea. Way to censor valid criticism PZ Mayers.

  122. KG says

    Do you seriously believe SJWism is compatible with the kind of measures that are needed to reduce global population in the needed time frame? It’s laughable to even think about it, if anything it is just as bad on that issue as the religious fundamentalists.

    There is no solution to those problems that does not involve a cold sober understanding of our biological nature, and how it is driving our individual and collective behavior. – anonymouslurker@98

    The fundamental denial of our biological nature that has become integral to feminism, trans-activism and other -isms completely precludes that from ever happening.

    I could be wrong, and anonymouslurker isn’t here to clarify, but does anyone else get the feeling he was hinting at something other than reducing birth rates here – i.e., genocide? After all, a highly effective way to reduce birthrates is to improve the education and status of women and girls – which also happens to be a central goal of feminism and “SJWism” – so it’s puzzling that anonymouslurker should oppose them if he’s worried about overpopulation. If we assume anonymouslurker is pro-genocide, however, it resolves the contradictions in his position: whites should breed as fast as possible and suppress any deviation from traditional gender roles, while everyone else should be exterminated to avoid overpopulation.

  123. Siobhan says

    @Mike Smith

    If the 11,000 or so trans troops (or any troops really) want help to get out of the situation and denounce the military that’s something I’m very interested in helping.

    Are your righteous dollars gonna be in their medical fundraisers? “Sympathy” don’t pay the bills.

  124. says

    @Siobhan

    I have donated to various trans medical drives for friends.

    Regardless of that, I’ll repeat my main point in a slightly different form. It’s more moral to suffer the pains of not transitioning than serve at Trump’s beck and call.
    I haven’t traded the blood of Middle Eastern children for my material well being expect the same from everyone else.

    Stand for something.

  125. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Mike Smith,

    And what have you sacrificed for your superior moral stance?

  126. Siobhan says

    @What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym

    He’s got an easy excuse to bash teh trans, I doubt you’ll persuade him at this point.

  127. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Siobhan,

    The notion that “you should suffer for my morality” sounds very, I dunno, Christian.

  128. consciousness razor says

    Mike Smith:

    I’m just not interested in burning political capital/effort protecting trans troops by allowing them to stay in the military.

    But you’re going to do so anyway, when you say you support it, would vote against it, etc.? Or not?

    Let’s suppose you don’t “burn capital,” by allowing them to stay as if that were something you could legitimately disallow, whatever you think this burning of capital entails that you’re unwilling to do. In that case, the case we’re actually dealing with now, you still have a US military, which happens to have non-trans people in it. You’re against anybody joining the military, for the reason that it’s being used imperialistically, and this stance that you’re taking (if it can be called a stance … whining might be a better word) does nothing whatsoever to address that.

    So, you seem to be saying that you’re “just not interested,” which is to say don’t give a shit, about trans people and their rights. I’ve got mine, fuck you. You’re somewhat more genuinely interested in things like opposing our violent military conquests, and what you propose is to do things which have precisely zero effect on that. It’s awfully puzzling how you could think this might be a stable and coherent position to be in.

    Oh, but we’re not done yet. In the other thread, violence may be needed, because peaceful and democratic means are off the table. (It’s those other people over there who can’t be reasoned with, you see.) Taken together, figuring out what kind of principled stance this is supposed to be is … difficult to say the least. If either of them were remotely reasonable, which they’re not, I still don’t get how both could be entertained. For somebody who acts like they’ve got their priorities straight, you sure are going to have a lot of trouble putting that shit together in a way that makes any fucking sense.

    If you get that you’re full of shit and are just flailing ineffectually at scary-looking stuff, then you might consider being a bit less bombastic about it all. Maybe instead you could just express how you feel, however mixed up or ambivalent or incoherent that may be, instead of pretending like you’ve got any of this shit sorted out into proposals/claims/etc. that anybody else ought to take seriously.

  129. Owlmirror says

    KG@134:

    I could be wrong, and anonymouslurker isn’t here to clarify, but does anyone else get the feeling he was hinting at something other than reducing birth rates here – i.e., genocide?

    I would not be in the least surprised.

    My own line @#127 about bigotry was meant to hint that I suspected that while on the one hand anonymouslurker started out with bigotry against trans*, the sudden shift to complaining about the implicit evils of overpopulation was meant by him to have the implication of “overpopulation of the wrong people”.

    After all, a highly effective way to reduce birthrates is to improve the education and status of women and girls

    I suspect that anonymouslurker would argue that Western civilization is reducing the wrong population.

    Feminazism leads to white genocide!
    /sarcasm

  130. consciousness razor says

    I could be wrong, and anonymouslurker isn’t here to clarify, but does anyone else get the feeling he was hinting at something other than reducing birth rates here – i.e., genocide?

    I would not be in the least surprised.

    That’s how I read it too. Otherwise, the crap about an incompatibility with “SJWism” comes out of nowhere and means nothing. And it certainly doesn’t sound like a stretch, given all of the other shit that fucker was spewing.

  131. says

    @KG, Owlmirror, consciousness razor
    Interesting. Since there is an incompatibility between holding up being a breeder as a standard by which to measure maladaptiveness on one hand and decrying overpopulation on the other, this certainly looks like bigot motivated reasoning. Race supremacists tend to both emphasize some concept of “physical purity” and a need to identify (and deal with) the “impure”. Genocide is a rational fit for an implied solution for the “problem”.

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