When humanists go bad


This guy, Angelos Sofocleous, was elected to head the humanist group at Durham University. He has resigned. He has to blame someone.

In light of recent events, I have taken the difficult decision to resign from the position of President-Elect of Humanist Students.

These events involved a retweet of mine saying ‘RT if women don’t have penises’, and certain other criticisms of the transgender movement, as well as suggestions to improve the movement’s actions. Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’ by individuals who cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage in a civilized conversation on issues they disagree on.

Would you believe he’s a philosophy and psychology student? I’m kind of curious about those “certain other criticisms” and about how he defines “woman”, because he seems to treat it as a simple distinction based on the presence or absence of a penis. It seems rather superficial and narrowly phenomenological for someone in either of those disciplines, but on the other hand, I also don’t want to play into his hands and debate the subject with him, because he also says this, along with hiding behind “freedom of speech!”:

Even if one makes statements which are wrong beyond doubt (e.g. ‘Homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to marry’, ‘Nazis did nothing bad’, ‘Slavery is moral’, ‘Women are inferior to men’), one needs to have a conversation with that individual and explain why they are (obviously) wrong. Engaging in a debate does not mean that you give equal status to your opponent.

This is where the fetishizing of free speech and debate goes bad. I get to deny your basic humanity and your right to exist, and you now need to convince me otherwise. I get to freely make assertions that don’t challenge my privileged status but do potentially do great harm to you, and I have no responsibility or obligation to others — others who may even consider those statements “wrong beyond doubt” — to make defensible statements, and the onus is entirely on you to address them, and if you don’t, you are an intolerant tribalist. Why do you get so angry when I merely want to deny your civil rights, or enslave you, or kill you? That’s not very logical.

Don’t you realize that Sofocleous is the victim here?

I hope we belonged in an environment in which we were able to speak up without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced.

I think there are a lot of people who would like to be able to simply exist without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced. Can we give them priority before your right to define them away?

Comments

  1. jambonpomplemouse says

    “Would you believe he’s a philosophy and psychology student?”
    Yes. In my experience, for every psych student who genuinely wants to understand and help people, there are two who just want to learn parlour tricks for controlling people. And philosophy is so overfilled with apathetic misanthropists who think the definition of logic is “pure, unbridled selfishness and cruelty” that I’m genuinely shocked to find ones that aren’t openly contemplating whether or not genocide is really such a big deal.
    There’s a bit of a trend on social media where users who put “Humanist” in their bio almost never even know that humanism is a thing. Most of them just think it’s a pithy way to say “anti-feminist”. It’s honestly not surprising to encounter actual humanists who think their humanist badge is a magic ward that makes all of their actions morally correct, though.

  2. =8)-DX says

    That was explicitly transphobic. You’d have no reason to say that unless you were aware of TERF/FART* discourse and agreed with it.
    =8)-DX

    *FART = Feminism-Appropriating Reactionary Transphobe

  3. rcs619 says

    I still don’t understand why people get so fixated on transgender folk. They’re such a tiny minority of the overall population that you’re unlikely to even meet one. If you do meet one you might not even know it, and if you do know it who cares? Odds are they’re just regular people trying to make it day to day like anyone else.

    We’re talking about 1% of the population or less here (the only numbers I could find put it at 0.6%). Even homosexuals only make up 4 or 5% of the population by most estimates. These are (relatively) tiny groups of people. People need to let them live their lives and get on with their own. Talk about punching down.

    @jambonpomplemouse,
    Yeah… I mean, I love humans. I think we’re amazing, if flawed, and humanism always seemed pretty great. I always avoided calling myself a humanist though, because it also sounded like something a bunch of assholes would latch onto and twist the meaning of.

  4. John Morales says

    From the OP:

    I have taken the difficult decision to resign from the position of President-Elect of Humanist Students.
    […]
    Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’ by individuals who cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage in a civilized conversation on issues they disagree on.

    The irony is strong, in this one.

    (To make it even more explicit: if he truly took the decision, it was he who could not tolerate being called (sic) ‘transphobic’)

    Don’t you realize that Sofocleous is the victim here?

    No, unless he truly didn’t choose the outcome, contrary to his claim. In which case he’s a liar as well as a victim.

    [I know… I’m too literal, ofttimes]

  5. Dunc says

    <a href=”https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/saying-something-incredibly-fking-stupid-now-starting-a-debate-20180919177444>Saying something incredibly f**king stupid now ‘starting a debate’:

    MAKING an unbelievably stupid statement just to be annoying is ‘starting a much-needed debate’, idiots have asserted.

    People claiming anything from ‘feminism is cancer’ to ‘hot dogs are a sandwich’ have described the resulting, inevitable argument as an important discussion that it was necessary to have.

  6. gmcard says

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”, what do you suppose the result would look like? And since gender is a social construct, what do you think that means regarding the definition of “woman”?

    Women don’t have penises. That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist. If we’re at a point where a human can’t exist unless her or his self-image is utterly and constantly affirmed by everyone else in the world, we’re all pretty fucked. Which might indeed be the case–society does seem to be elevating narcissism as the most desirable trait.

  7. jackal says

    These events involved a retweet of mine saying ‘RT if women don’t have penises’, and certain other criticisms of the transgender movement, as well as suggestions to improve the movement’s actions. Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’ by individuals who cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage in a civilized conversation on issues they disagree on.

    He isn’t simply criticizing ideas, he’s attacking trans people’s identities and by extension their rights to exist. Here’s an idea: Sofocleous likes to perform oral sex acts on swine. If Sofocleous disagrees with that idea, then needs to “engage in a civilized conversation” with me, using evidence and reason to show that it is false. If he refuses to do so, then that’s just proof that he isn’t dedicated to free speech and the marketplace of ideas.

  8. says

    We’re going to decide people’s rights and statuses by a poll? Have you ever heard the phrase, “tyranny of the majority”?

    Some women do have penises. Many don’t. Some men don’t have penises. Many do.

    We could ask about other anatomical features that are being ignored. Most women have ovaries. If they lose them, do they stop being women?

    Most women don’t have penises. But if you’re born with a vagina, and then have a penis surgically constructed for you, shouldn’t you then become a man? How do you pick which organ is the all-defining specifier for gender or sex?

    People always fixate on the one parameter of a multi-dimensional problem that fits their prior biases. Have you noticed that?

  9. Jeremy Shaffer says

    gmcard at 7-

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”, what do you suppose the result would look like?

    I suppose the result would be an argument from popularity.

    Women don’t have penises.

    Except for the ones who do.

    That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist.

    A fierce attack? No; not particularly fierce. Craven, maybe, especially if you’re in a position of an organization that is supposed to care about humanity. Since “women don’t have penises” is a statement similar to “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” in terms of insightfulness to the matter at hand it’s also an indicator that the person making it is coming from a place of bad faith and they don’t really want debate, they don’t want their mind changed. They just want to spout out “ownage”.

    As for not silencing anyone? Have you looked at homicide rates against trans women lately? And it does deny people the right to exist for who they are, which ultimately defines them away as a person as a large part of what makes a person is how they identify themselves.

    If we’re at a point where a human can’t exist unless her or his self-image is utterly and constantly affirmed by everyone else in the world, we’re all pretty fucked.

    I obviously can’t speak for any trans person, but I’m fairly certain most aren’t so much as looking for affirmation of their gender- constant or otherwise- as much as they’re looking for the end of having their gender endlessly contested at every level of society. Particularly if that’s achieved by means other than them never talking about it or staying in the closet so shitty people never have to know they’ve been in contact with them.

    Which might indeed be the case–society does seem to be elevating narcissism as the most desirable trait.

    Sure, but I think a clearer sign of that is people presenting claims like “women don’t have penises” as reasonable openings to rational debates while expecting to be received as mature and equitable, much in the same way some people just 15 years ago expected the same from lines like “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve“.

  10. says

    And since gender is a social construct, what do you think that means regarding the definition of “woman”?

    That there are several different definitions floating around. Some of them are incredibly simplified, to the point of outright denying reality. “Social construct” doesn’t equate to “majority rules”, in case you’re confused.

    <

    blockquote>Women don’t have penises

    <

    blockquote>Some of them do. Turns out reality doesn’t always conform to the neat, little boxes we’ve made.

  11. raven says

    He just comes across as a strange, creepy weird guy.
    He doesn’t need to be leading a humanist group or even being in one.

    He is JAQing off, Just Asking Questions.
    (Eye roll, that is what trolls do.)
    It’s a big world falling apart right now, and there are myriads of subjects more important and interesting than trans people.

    Would you believe he’s a philosophy and psychology student?

    This guy shouldn’t be allowed near normal people much less patients.
    He reminds me of Jordan Peterson with a quarter of his IQ.

  12. raven says

    Angelos Sofocleous the troll:

    That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist.

    He is Just Asking Questions, don’t you know?
    This is just passive-aggressive trolling.
    Nothing we haven’t seen a few zillion times here and there.
    Not only is this guy a troll but he is a rather stupid one. And also boring.
    Angelos really needs to switch his major and go to troll school.

  13. raven says

    I hope we belonged in an environment in which we were able to speak up without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced.

    Playing the persecution card now?
    We’ve only seen that one a zillion times.
    You can tell this guy isn’t very bright and really immature.

    Trolls like Angelos are persecuted like racists, bigots, haters, criminals, serial killers, misogynists, and Jordan Peterson are. There is a a lot of overlap between all these and they are considered dangerous, harmful, and malevolent people for good reasons.

  14. garnetstar says

    The guy can speak up all he wants. He can engage in debate with anyone, and explain why they’re wrong, on any issue.

    That doesn’t entitle him to be the head, or a part, of any group. If the group’s consensus is that they don’t like what he says, they are also free to say so, and to ask him to leave if that is their decision.

    Free speech is not ENTITLEMENT. That seems to be many of these free-speechers’ problem: they are not only free-spoken, they are entitled. That’s something that “millenials” are accused of a lot, but some members of older generations certainly have that age group beat in it.

  15. leerudolph says

    They’re such a tiny minority of the overall population that you’re unlikely to even meet one. […] We’re talking about 1% of the population or less here (the only numbers I could find put it at 0.6%). Even homosexuals only make up 4 or 5% of the population by most estimates.

    Without disputing the larger points in your comment which the material I’m quoting is intended to support, I don’t think that the last two sentences lend any support at all to the first one; and in fact I think they show that the first one is wrong. Assuming that the “you” who’s “unlikely to even meet one” is drawn at random from a uniform distribution of (let’s say, adult) residents of the United States, and that to merely “meet” someone need not require a formal introduction or even knowing that person’s name (so that I can be said to have ‘met’ the clerks at the pharmacy where I regularly fill my prescriptions, the waitstaff at places where I eat regularly, the mail carrier who spends time every day distributing mail to 50 or 60 boxes in the lobby of my building, etc., in addition to cases that are much further from the edge—other residents of my building, staff of the building, staff at medical offices I regularly visit), I’d be willing to bet that such a “you” has with high probability ‘met’ several hundred people in the last decade (and more if “you” is either in/at college or working either a non-backroom service job or one of many professions from dentist/dental assistant to trial lawyer/paralegal). Taking your 0.6% figure for transsexual persons and your 4% figure for homosexual persons, again assuming for convenience that they are uniformly distributed, it seems rather “likely” than “unlikely” that “you” will have ‘met’ several. (Here, by “likely” I mean I’d be very wiling to bet. Part of my willingness is based on my own experiences “meet”ing people in just the past 3 years. Subjective probabilities FTW; all hail Bruno de Finetti!)

  16. call me mark says

    What is the obsession with penises (penes?) How does Sofocleous know whether or not any particular individual he meets has one? Does he forcibly pull down people’s pants for a quick look before he decides what category to box them in?

  17. petesh says

    In addition to the other righteous criticisms of this idiot, I personally chuckled at his concept of “wrong without doubt” since he picked a number of opinions that I personally do consider wrong but that have been considered right by many people in the past and present. I look forward to the day when he considers (of course without doubt) his own previous opinions to be wrong; the resulting vortex might serve as a much needed whack upside the head. Or is he really suggesting that morality (and for that matter law) has reached its undeniable apex precisely at the point that coincides with his own prejudices?

  18. says

    A glance at the comments, or any news story about the incident, shows that people did indeed tell Sofocleous why he was wrong, many times and at length. He just didn’t like the counterarguments, therefore they didn’t happen. What a tool.

  19. says

    Sofocleous almost gets it when he says

    there is a certain risk taken when one is involved in an organization driven by a particular ideology, and that is not being able to divert from the official stance of the organization.

    Dude, it doesn’t matter whether anyone engaged in “rational” discussion with you or not, your views reflect poorly on the humanist student group.

    Even if one makes statements which are wrong beyond doubt (e.g. ‘Homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to marry’, ‘Nazis did nothing bad’, ‘Slavery is moral’, ‘Women are inferior to men’), one needs to have a conversation with that individual and explain why they are (obviously) wrong.

    I don’t think I would be able to have a “rational” discussion why slavery is immoral, and it’s not clear why I would want to, when there are so many other more worthwhile arguments that we could be having instead. And if a humanist leader said that, the solution would be to oust them, not to argue with them.

  20. deepak shetty says

    @gmcard

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”,

    Well I suppose , you could also poll people on “Why are women inferior to men?” answer- because they don’t have penises you seem to be the type who would find that reasoning very compelling.

  21. brucegee1962 says

    I bet if you took a poll in 1965 on how many people agree with the statement “Men fall in love with women, and women fall in love with men” (or substitute a cruder term for “fall in love with”), the vast majority would have agreed. Homosexuals simply weren’t on peoples’ radar. Now they are.

    People got their consciousness raised, and the same thing is happening now with trans people.

  22. Grace says

    Sofocleous:

    I hope we belonged in an environment in which we were able to speak up without the fear of being fiercely attacked and silenced.

    And I hoped that when I said, “I am a woman” it wouldn’t be the end of my career.

    I’d say, “Welcome to my world”, except that he hasn’t lost anything compared to what I did, and other trans people have, and will again. He has not been silenced, certainly, and I’m skeptical that he has any life experience with actually fierce attacks.

    Grace

  23. aziraphale says

    So, is the implication that if a person with a penis self-identifies as a woman, they must be allowed without question to:
    Participate in sports as a woman?
    Enter a women’s refuge?
    Travel in women-only railway carriages ( intended as a safe space from possible rape)?
    I see some problems here.

  24. cartomancer says

    Well, his name does mean “Sophocles’ messenger”, and the messenger speeches in Sophocles’ plays tend to report the most horrific, outrageous and obscene happenings. He’s just playing to type. It’s nominative determinism at its strongest.

  25. says

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”, what do you suppose the result would look like?

    If you polled people on the question “Can women have babies?”, what do you think the result would look like?
    Should two gay men be allowed to adopt a baby girl?
    Is global warming actually happening?
    Are religious people more moral than atheists?
    So, what does that have to do with the price of butter?
    And yes, of course that statement IS transphobic since it denies “woman” to all trans women who don’t have bottom surgery (do they magically become women the moment the penis is turned surgically into a vagina?).
    As a woman, by whatever definition you take, I’m sick and tired of dudes trying to define “woman”.
    I’m of course also tired of female transphobes.

  26. Saad says

    gmcard, #7

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”, what do you suppose the result would look like? And since gender is a social construct, what do you think that means regarding the definition of “woman”?

    Women don’t have penises. That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist.

    What do you think his motive was for doing such a poll?

  27. Saad says

    Actually, “RT if women don’t have penises” is worse than doing a poll. It’s just bullying plain and simple. It’s amplifying transphobia and at best asking a dishonest question to get the answer you want from oblivious people who think they’re saying something harmless.

  28. Onamission5 says

    We’re deciding the validity of vulnerable, marginalized groups’ identities by hypothetical popular poll now? Ok. Let’s take a hypothetical poll of my family.

    Sorry, gmcard, I hypothetically asked all my kids and my spouse, and you’re outnumbered 6-1. Women can have penises. You lose.

    But we don’t do that, right? We don’t decide to validate or invalidate marginalized human beings in a popularity contest. Because the thing is, when you lose, you lose nothing except an argument, because you’re not already deeply vulnerable to the effects of public opinion, you experience few consequences for making such ignorant, bigoted statements. When my eldest kid’s former partner lost that argument with his family a couple years ago, he lost his life. Are other people’s lives worth sacrificing for your belief that gender has to match genitals, and if so, how on earth does that mesh with humanism?

    If you’re a cis gendered person, you receive both tacit and overt messages affirming your gender identity on pretty much a daily basis. You’re represented as the norm– you’re affirmed in your identity– everywhere you go, in virtually everything you see, from educational texts to entertainment to casual conversation. The only reason you notice affirmation of trans identity (in your case, as something which bothers you) is because it’s not ubiquitous by any stretch of the imagination. The opposite is true, in fact, denigration and denial of trans identity is what’s ubiquitous, and that puts the lives of real human beings at risk from anything from suicide to medical neglect and abuse to hate crimes.

    So thanks for adding to that chorus. Thanks for using your few short words to side with the man who vandalized my kid’s tires last week and the family of her former partner who drove their son to suicide. I hope that someday you come to see trans people as human beings with intrinsic rights, because when you do you’ll also see there’s no middle ground here, there’s only affirming other people’s right to live their gender as they see it, and there’s contributing to the incessant hostility they receive for doing so, and maybe instead of treating this issue as if it’s just a bunch of childish snowflakes who think they’re special, you’ll be able to see that it’s really about misunderstood, misrepresented, oft maligned human beings trying like hell not to die at the hands of a society which has decided, more often than not, that their right to define themselves and receive basic respect can be invalidated by poll.

  29. says

    Women don’t have penises. That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist. If we’re at a point where a human can’t exist unless her or his self-image is utterly and constantly affirmed by everyone else in the world, we’re all pretty fucked. Which might indeed be the case–society does seem to be elevating narcissism as the most desirable trait.

    I see what you did there. You made a declarative statement and then explained to the people who think otherwise how they are wrong and how they feel about that statement is wrong. You then made the common transphobic argument about self-image and how wrong it is to expect others to treat trans people with respect. You finished this pithy paragraph by comparing trans people to narcissists.

  30. Kreator says

    aziraphale @#26:

    So, is the implication that if a person with a penis self-identifies as a woman, they must be allowed without question to:
    Participate in sports as a woman?

    Oh, I dunno, just ask Caster Semenya; see how easy she had it without a penis.

  31. Saad says

    gmcard, #7

    If we’re at a point where a human can’t exist unless her or his self-image is utterly and constantly affirmed by everyone else in the world, we’re all pretty fucked.

    Strange. Cis people have been objecting to being misgendered (accidental or deliberate) since 938 B.C. and the sky hasn’t fallen yet.

  32. Onamission5 says

    @Saad, #35: And anyway, what are complaints like gmcard’s but the cry of cis people desperate for affirmation that they’re the one who’s really most special because they feel threatened by the idea of equality? “Pshaw, everyone knows my gender identity is the only valid one, and besides, needing affirmation of one’s gender identity is so narcissistic!” Oh, is it now. Do tell.

  33. Saad says

    Onamission5,

    Yeah, it’s mind-boggling.

    “What’s the world coming to if people start expecting their gender identity to be respected by everyone?!?!” – person whose gender identity has been respected by everyone since the day they were born

  34. mnb0 says

    I like this quote:

    “I hope we belonged in an environment in which …..”
    Sofo the Appeaser conveniently forgets that those who make “statements which are wrong beyond doubt” do so exactly to ruin such environments for the victims of those statements. Hence he expertly makes clear what’s wrong with “radically search for the middle ground”.
    The environment Sofo hopes for only is possible if the vast majority of participants share several values. Yes, I’ve known right wing people who do. There are even a few Republicans.
    Unfortunately in our days we have to deal with too many people who reject such values. Yes, I’ve known some left wing people who do. It’s just that right wing hate mongers are far more successfull – check some parliaments in the western democracies. Sofo the Appeaser’s hope won’t make them disappear – it will encourage them. Appeasement always does.

  35. Zmidponk says

    These events involved a retweet of mine saying ‘RT if women don’t have penises’, and certain other criticisms of the transgender movement, as well as suggestions to improve the movement’s actions. Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’

    Considering this statement flat-out denies there is such a thing as a transgender woman, I’m actually stunned that anyone could think it isn’t transphobic.

    gmcard #7:

    If you polled people on the question “do women have penises?”, what do you suppose the result would look like?

    If it was a large, random sample from society in general, I would say that there would be a large number of people who would say ‘no’ – but not all. Which actually follows reality, as a large number of women do not have penises – but some do.

    And since gender is a social construct, what do you think that means regarding the definition of “woman”?

    Absolutely nothing. Read up on what is meant by gender being a social construct. The point you were trying to make here is not just wrong, but laughably wrong.

    Women don’t have penises. That’s not a fierce attack, nor is it silencing anyone, nor does it define anyone away as a person or deny them their right to simply exist.

    Transgender women, unless and until they decide to go for full sexual reassignment therapy, are women with penises, and not all do, by far (I do believe that only 25-30% actually get their genitals surgically altered). Your statement flat-out denies they exist. They cannot speak if they don’t exist, so that statement also tries to silence them, and, although I am not transgender, I would regard a flat-out denial that I even exist as a fairly fierce attack on me.

    If we’re at a point where a human can’t exist unless her or his self-image is utterly and constantly affirmed by everyone else in the world, we’re all pretty fucked. Which might indeed be the case–society does seem to be elevating narcissism as the most desirable trait.

    Simply acknowledging that a group of people actually exist is not enabling or engaging in any kind of narcissism by that group, by even the remotest stretch of the imagination.

  36. Holms says

    I’m kind of curious about […] how he defines “woman”, because he seems to treat it as a simple distinction based on the presence or absence of a penis.

    That seems easy to infer. “Adult female human” seems likely, with the penis being used as proxy for maleness due to it being one of the more obvious markers.

  37. says

    Aziraphale @26…

    So, is the implication that if a person with a penis self-identifies as a woman, they must be allowed without question to:
    Participate in sports as a woman?
    Enter a women’s refuge?
    Travel in women-only railway carriages ( intended as a safe space from possible rape)?
    I see some problems here.

    … considers that the DEFINITION of ‘trans woman’ is ‘predatory man’. That’s the only way to arrive at this, especially the totally not bigoted assumption that trans women in a railway carriage means a loss in safety from rape.

  38. says

    That seems easy to infer. “Adult female human” seems likely, with the penis being used as proxy for maleness due to it being one of the more obvious markers

    Now, since “adult” and “human” don’t get us any further in the current discussion, all that is left to define “wonen” is “not male because of lack of penis”.
    Freud is calling, he wants his reactionary views back.
    Or in other words, feminist philosophers are yawning about last centuries nonsense.
    But what do I know about being a woman, I mean.

  39. CJO says

    (Aziraphale)… considers that the DEFINITION of ‘trans woman’ is ‘predatory man’.

    The issue I have is with the trivialization of “self-identifies as a woman”. All these transphobic talking points seem to imagine that this self-identification can be a matter of (predatory) convenience, that some subset, at least, of trans women are flatly lying, and that they do not, in fact, so self identify but will take advantage of any breach in the social bulwark of biological (genital) determinism to pretend to be women in order to prey on women. That is, that expression of transgender identity is at root a form of pretense.

    So, Aziraphale, tell us, do you think this is a common practice? What percentage of trans women would you guess are predatory men in disguise? If it were shown to be a fact that this never happens but is instead a scaremongering fabrication of bigots, would that give you pause?

  40. nomdeplume says

    Odd that demands for “freedom of speech” and diatribes against “political correctness” are always made by the powerful in society against those less powerful.

  41. chrislawson says

    Aziraphale is obviously deeply, deeply worried by the surge in sexual assaults committed by trans women against cis women in safe spaces. There must be evidence for this, right? Surely Aziraphale’s concern for women’s safety couldn’t possibly be a mask for transphobic hate speech?

  42. chrislawson says

    Even if one makes statements which are wrong beyond doubt (e.g. ‘Homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to marry’, ‘Nazis did nothing bad’, ‘Slavery is moral’, ‘Women are inferior to men’), one needs to have a conversation with that individual and explain why they are (obviously) wrong.

    If only someone had debated Hitler, he would have dropped his anti-Jewish agenda! If only Lincoln had sat down with the Southern states and debated the problem with slavery, there would never have been a civil war!

    Ah, what a piece of crap. He’s seriously arguing that if he, president of a humanist organisation, were to vociferously defend Nazism, then the correct response of members would be to debate him.

  43. Grace says

    Zmidponk:

    Transgender women, unless and until they decide to go for full sexual reassignment therapy…

    …and also presuming they can pay, or medical coverage without an exclusion for transgender care, and presuming there’s no medical contraindication for such surgery, and presuming they can take time off from work for post-surgical care.

    Some cis people think that there’s fairy dust which suddenly makes all necessary medical interventions happen. A lot of us would like to get our hands on that stuff.

    Grace

  44. DanDare says

    “Women don’t have penises ” smug smile. Simple statement of fact. No one could argue.
    Except it’s not a statement of fact. The definition of woman is a multi valued category with fuzzy boundaries, including penises.
    So why make the statement? To set a marker for a position of arguing for rigid gender definitions. An attack on one of the core values of humanism and one that is in bad faith.
    Can such a person be accepted as president of a humanist group? No.

  45. gmacs says

    Completely not surprised that he’s a psych student. Cognitive science in general is full of shit people pushing shit ideas with no evidence. And they get PhDs for it.

    How long till this guy’s pushing a bullshit life-hack on the Joe Rogan Experience?

    The argument ad baculum. Again.

    RT if humans don’t have bacula.

  46. John Morales says

    Mores change and most of us adapt, but some people are more ossified.

    In local (well, Australian) news:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-20/childhood-demand-for-biological-sex-change-surges-to-record/10240480

    I mean, it’s weird that some think like the featured specimen.
    Makes other people happy, maybe even saves their lives, and it doesn’t affect them personally¹.
    Obviously, it’s a real thing in any pragmatic sense.

    So… Why protest? What’s the prob, other than an affront to their personal view of things?

    (And if that’s what it is, just admit it, FFS!)

    ¹ To be fair, this being Oz, medical costs are subsidised.

    (“Taxpayers foot the $5,000-a-year bill for each patient”, is one of the bullet-points in the article. That noted, I’d rather tax money were spent on medical costs than on some junket for a polly)

  47. Holms says

    #44
    Proxy: a thing that is used as to represent another thing, or a collection of other things. A stand-in.

  48. says

    A stand-in.

    So
    Penis = stand in for man
    Woman = not man because no penis.
    Oh, but I remember, I cannot have a valid opinion on anything expressed in English because of my origin*.

    *We all know that dirty furreiners are fucking illiterate, regardless of whether they have, say, a degree in English or something.

  49. Zmidponk says

    Grace #56:

    …and also presuming they can pay, or medical coverage without an exclusion for transgender care, and presuming there’s no medical contraindication for such surgery, and presuming they can take time off from work for post-surgical care.

    Some cis people think that there’s fairy dust which suddenly makes all necessary medical interventions happen. A lot of us would like to get our hands on that stuff.

    That is something I did overlook. Thanks for the correction.

  50. Holms says

    Not once did I call you a dirty foreigner, not once did I say you could not have a valid opinion on matters expressed in english. Your conduct suggests you’re getting pissy, and I think deliberately misinterpreting my comments.

  51. says

    …Said the German to an Australian about an item of Australian politics. Noice. And possibly also: …Said the non-native english speaker to native english speakers on a matter of english. (Ignore this one if I am wrong about your native language.)

    Yeah, totally not dismissing my opinion because of my origin or supposed lack of language skills.
    Remind me again, what’s your highest qualification in English?
    And since we’re at it, what’s your qualification in defining “woman”?

  52. says

    abbeycadabra @42
    I once wrote a long thing about how “But if we accept trans women, then predatory cis men can just enter women’s spaces and prey on the women there!” is extremely unrealistic. I’ll paste it down here:

    So, let me get this straight: there’s this cis man who wants to prey on women (so, it’s safe to assume that he’s a pretty big misogynist). In order to do so, he plans to disguise himself as a trans woman; since we already said that he’s not a trans woman, but wants to disguise himself as one for the sole purpose of preying on women, it’s pretty safe to assume that this guy is very transphobic, in addition to being very misogynist.
    So, his plan is to disguise himself as a (1) trans (2) woman – two things he hates, because we already know that he’s very misogynistic AND transphobic – in order to infiltrate women’s spaces.
    Now, if he were to just change from one day to another without any explanation whatsoever, he’ll need some serious explanations for that. So, in order to actually have a reasonable chance to infiltrate himself into women’s spaces, he’ll have to pretend to be a trans woman for a long time – possibly for years – to build up a reputation as a trans woman. We already know that he’s very misogynistic and transphobic, so he’s gonna hate every single minute of it.
    Not only that, but people tend to be really fucking suspicious of trans women unless they conform to extremely stereotypical feminine cliches (there’s many, many stories of trans women telling their doctor something as innocent as “I like trousers”, and said doctor deciding “Nope, I have serious doubts that you’re a trans woman. You want that hormone treatment and legal sex change on your certificates? Spend the next two years convincing me that you actually like frilly skirts”). So, this misogynist guy – who, being a misogynist, almost certainly hates doing “feminine” stuff – will have to force himself to give up all “masculine” mannerism and embrace only “feminine” ones. For years. And he’ll hate every second of it.
    Not only THAT, but there’s also the matter of his friends. See, a very misogynist and transphobic guy will have friends who are also very misogynist and transphobic. How will this guy’s friend react to him suddenly becoming a trans woman (he sure as hell can’t tell them he’s just pretending to be a trans woman, otherwise the whole ruse fails)? Answer: pretty badly. Possibly violently so.
    Now, let’s pretend that, despite ALL of the above, this guy actually manages to pass for a trans woman and infiltrate a space-for-women, for the sole purpose of preying on the women’s there.
    What happens when a woman harasses other women in a space-for-women? She’ll eventually get kicked out of those spaces. Maybe other similar spaces will be warned that that woman is an harasser, and deny her entry. What would happen when this-cis-guy-disguised-as-a-trans-woman harasses a woman in a space-for-women? The exact same thing.
    Now, granted, men who’re very misogynist and transphobic tend to also be colossal imbeciles, so it’s probable that some of those men can decide “Yes, to harass women, I’m gonna disguise myself as a trans woman and infiltrate women-only spaces. Then I’ll be free to prey on women all I want! it’s a perfect plan!</>”. However, I’m pretty sure they’ll quickly change their mind, once they discover that their “perfect” plan has all the giant flaws I’ve just described.

  53. Holms says

    #64 Giliell
    1. Regarding my “not once did I say you could not have a valid opinion on matters expressed in english”:
    Oh shit, is dismissiveness a bad thing? Alright, but then how then do you explain your comment #21 in that thread, which contains

    Get fucked. You’re discussing linguistics (while most not being qualified to do so)…

    A tad dismissive of those lacking an English degree wouldn’t you say? And expressed so respectfully! And then there is your comment #34, which contains

    Gods what a full of yourself idiot you are.
    You’re so full of yourself that you don’t even notice when you’re shooting yourself in the leg in your attempt to talk about several things you have obviously no clue about.

    A slightly more circumspect version of the prior comment, in which the dismissal of those without an English degree is allusive rather than explicit, but the dismissiveness is certainly still noticeable. And since those two comments are your only two in that thread, please note (duly!) that that makes 100% of your commentary there.

    But what truly takes the cake is your comment to which I am replying, #64 in this thread, the very same comment in which you chastise me for being dismissive:

    Remind me again, what’s your highest qualification in English?
    And since we’re at it, what’s your qualification in defining “woman”?

    So. I’ll admit that I was dismissive of you… which is more honest than you have ever been regarding your own dismissiveness. You’ve demonstrated zero interest in abiding by your own admonishment. You are easily one of the most dismissive of any voice that is not in agreement with your own, and definitely the most snide. I merely responded in kind.

    2. Regarding “Not once did I call you a dirty foreigner”:
    I noticed that you did not respond to this point, and so I take that to be a tacit admission that you know very well that your paraphrase of my was inaccurate. The only question remaining is whether you did so accidentally or deliberately. I’ll leave you to mull that one over.

  54. Rob Grigjanis says

    abbeycadabra @67: Well, I don’t have a BA in English, so I could be wrong, but it sure looks to me like this particular squabble was started, and escalated, by Giliell. No helpful advice for her?

  55. says

    Holms
    I keep dismissing your opinion because it is shitty, not because of your origin.
    I never said I was nice, I’m just trying not to be a bigot. I’m still waiting for you to present your qualifications to discuss who belongs into the category of “woman” and why “penis” should be a defining factor.

  56. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @69: You do realize that, in #41, Holms was inferring Sofocleous’ definition of “woman”, not offering his own definition, right?

  57. says

    Interfering Rob @68:

    Long experience has taught me which one is problematic and which one, while often harsh, isn’t. But hey, thanks for mansplaining my reaction to mansplaining!

    And now we’ve entirely quit the topic of the monstrous transmisia displayed by Sofocleous and “Aziraphale”, which has been thrown to the winds to address the much more important topic of Holms’s feelings and another man’s feelings about those feelings.

  58. says

    41, Holms was inferring Sofocleous’ definition of “woman”, not offering his own definition, right?

    You do realize that Holms has a long history of being problematic at best and transphobic at worst, right?
    His “inferring” was offering his own interpretation on the matter in which he reiterated the “penis = man” argument.

  59. Holms says

    #67 abbeycadabra
    It would also be a huge help if Giliell did not criticise me dishonestly, but here we are. I’m not going to passively let stupid statements about me abide. But then, I see from your #71 that some people are simply permitted to do these stupid things because they agree with you. That’s nice.

    #69 Giliell
    You are lying. You stated your reason for being dismissive, and I quoted it: a lack of a degree in English. I even quoted it twice, you dishonest hack.

    Also, I like the way you quietly dropped your insinuation that I called you a ‘dirty foreigner.’ 10/10 backpedal.

    #72 Rob
    These once-useful terms have long since devolved into mere argumentative trinkets. I’m only surprised I wasn’t also accused of gaslighting. Oh and isn’t it nice that abbeycadabra grants herself permission to add herself to a conversation between Giliell and myself, but when you do in opposition to them it you’re interfering? Yet another double standard. “We get to do this because we’re right, dammit!”

  60. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @73: How am I supposed to “realize” this based on this thread? Believe it or not, not everyone reads every comment in every thread.

    But here’s the weird part: you say “problematic at best and transphobic at worst”. I’m guessing the “problematic” means there have been arguments in the past. But then you say you know that Holms subscribes to “penis=man” (“offering his own interpretation”), presumably because he has said so in the past? If so, there is surely no doubt that he is transphobic. So why the “problematic at best and transphobic at worst“?

  61. says

    Oh and isn’t it nice that abbeycadabra grants herself permission to add herself to a conversation between Giliell and myself,

    Dude, this is the internet. It’s a public comments section. If it were a private conversation between you and me we wouldn’t be having it.

    You stated your reason for being dismissive, and I quoted it: a lack of a degree in English. I even quoted it twice, you dishonest hack.

    Dude, your reading comprehension…
    1. I don’t actually know that you don’t have a degree in English, but I readily believe it.
    2. To explain the argument carefully:
    a) a question about English linguistics arises concerning the meaning of a word, its connotations and its meaning in a certain context.
    b) you dismiss my opinion because I am not a native speaker and assert your dominance because you are.
    c) I point out that this is shitty and ask you to state your actual qualifications in English as scientific discipline.
    d) You get very upset.
    Now, you can of course go along and call me names until the stars fall down, but you still won’t convince me that your opinion on a matter of English linguistics is more qualified than mine because of your “birthright”. Your opinion on English linguistics is dismissed because it’s uninformed. Your opinion on feminism and trans people is dismissed because it’s shitty. Of course, again your own writing clearly demonstrates that you haven’t engaged with the relevant literature on the subject, as your arguments are on the “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” level of discourse.
    You can now run along and complain over at Butterflies and Wheels about how horrible I am.

  62. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @79:

    Oh and isn’t it nice that abbeycadabra grants herself permission to add herself to a conversation between Giliell and myself,

    Dude, this is the internet. It’s a public comments section. If it were a private conversation between you and me we wouldn’t be having it.

    Are you seriously hoping that no-one notices what came after the comma in the sentence you partially quoted?

    you still won’t convince me that your opinion on a matter of English linguistics is more qualified than mine because of your “birthright”

    If an Australian with a BA in German condescendingly lectured you on the subtleties of usage in a language you have spoken, read and thought in every day since your infancy, I’m sure that would be perfectly OK with you. Right?

    I didn’t notice anything particularly scholarly about your offerings. Just some vague nonsense about the different meanings of a word being “eternally bound together”. Perhaps you could write a letter to the OED pointing out the inherent racism of the word “unfair”.

  63. Holms says

    Dude, this is the internet. It’s a public comments section. If it were a private conversation between you and me we wouldn’t be having it.

    No shit. This was precisely the point being made regarding abbeycadabra, who dubbed Rob Grigjanis “Interfering Rob” for taking part. If only you had finished reading the sentence before rushing to quote the portion you had read, you would have seen this. For a person with an English degree of some sort, you are quite bad at this ‘reading for comprehension’ thing. Note that the only alternative is that you did read and comprehend it, but decided to be knowingly dishonest in your criticism.

    Regarding your synopsis of the conversation, I see further sloppiness or deliberate dishonesty.

    a) a question about English linguistics arises concerning the meaning of a word, its connotations and its meaning in a certain context.
    b) you dismiss my opinion because I am not a native speaker and assert your dominance because you are.

    Here we have out first inaccuracy / lie. I ventured my opinion before you did, in comment 9. You then, in comment 21, offer a “get fucked” to all that agree with the position I put forth, while dismissing us on the basis of qualifications (“while most not being qualified to do so”).

    c) I point out that this is shitty and ask you to state your actual qualifications in English as scientific discipline.

    A bad confabulation of this thread with that one, or a deliberate lie. In actual fact, your only other comment there was comment 34, and it was pure abuse, along with a dishonest attempt to imply that I tolerated violence against children.

    d) You get very upset.

    Correction: I began replying in kind. If you read ‘upset’ from my comments, it is only the snide dismissiveness of your own thrown back at you.

    Anyway, I can only laugh at you dismissing my view of “Advance Australia Fair”. Let me remind you of some things. You are the one that did not know of, or overlooked a contextually obvious application of the word ‘fair’, which puts you at the same level as the intrepid nine year old that sparked this whole thing. Your rebuttal to the polysemy argument was “get fucked” and an insinuation that everyone that disagrees with you is fine with the treatment of the youngster, totally ignoring that I and others of this position denounced said treatment. You have relied on argument from authority rather than supporting argument.

    You are a person that will insult and lie about others that disagree with you, and yet you are easily angered by any treatment of you that is half as bad as your treatment of others. Rethink your life.

  64. says

    A potentially valuable discussion about transphobia, derailed and crushed by some cis men who would rather complain about women and mansplain semantics.

    If this isn’t a microcosm of the whole discourse, I don’t know what is.

  65. Holms says

    It was a potential discussion of trans phobia until Giliell derailed it her aggrieved sulking you mean. Although I admit that in post #41, I should have used the word synecdoche instead of proxy, but I don’t think this would have been proof against her bad faith interpretations.

  66. says

    Sure dude. Thanks dude. This was important to some of us. But please, keep explaining why your feelings about what a woman said to you are more important.

  67. Holms says

    Not once did I make that claim, you made it. But even now I believe you are being disingenuous: you are not applying your opprobrium to the person making the snide, derailing arguments; you are directing it against the person responding to them. So, please explain why your points are not being applied all round.

  68. says

    Are we all so devoid of scepticism and full of misogyny that all here cannot bring themselves to accept the objective, material existence of women?

  69. mariamaclachlan says

    Oh for crying out loud, PZ! The word ‘woman’ means adult human female. Women do NOT have penises.

    No, women don’t stop being women if they lose their ovaries any more than you stop being a man because your dick gets lopped off. Your sex is defined according to which of the two reproductive classes you were born into – you KNOW this really but you’ve drunk the ideological kool-aid and are in denial.

    Thankfully, there are still some like Angelos who haven’t.

  70. John Morales says

    mariamaclachlan, are you denying the existence of intersex people as well, or merely denying the reality of transgender people? Or are you one of those people confused by the distinction between sex and gender, even?

    Because if you’re not, your problem is merely one of terminology, and you will find it easier to eventually adapt to reality.

  71. John Morales says

    Also, mariamaclachlan, this aside is not an objection, it’s an observation:

    … you KNOW this really but you’ve drunk the ideological kool-aid and are in denial.

    Ah, I remember when theists used to come here to argue, and this was one of their claims. :)
    Don’t get any these days, nor creationists. Get those like you, though, sometimes.

    (I reckon PZ probably knows a tad more about the biology of sex and the sociology of gender than you do, too)

  72. Porivil Sorrens says

    @90
    Oh man, been a while since we’ve had a couple FARTs (Feminism Appropriating Reactionary Transphobes) showing up here. Weren’t you lot supposed to have jumped ship with Ophelia?

  73. John Morales says

    Porivil, actually, I’m with Ophelia, who I reckon is a True Feminist, if arguably TERFish.

    (I did withdraw from her blog because I was contentious there, and annoying her, but still, it was not because I was banned there. Like this blog, to which I have returned, thanks to PZ’s (hopefully juditious) sufferance, mainly because I’m not insincere)

    Point being, transgender people are a reality. What it means or what it implies is outside my purview, but I do not deny reality.

  74. Porivil Sorrens says

    “True feminist” and “TERFish” are mutually exclusive states.

    She falls in the latter.

    You don’t get to make posts (like she did literally today) where you whine about transgender-integrated sports programs and call yourself anything but a reactionary twat.

  75. says

    People claim to be homeopaths. That does not make homeopathy real. I hope people can see the logical error of thinking gender ideology is sound because some people identify as trans. We can accept such people do identify as such, but we do not have to accept their explanations about their identity.

    Similarly, intersex conditions exist – they are developmental conditions – not an undermining of our understanding of sex and reproduction. Bringing of intersex people is simple flapdoodle like a homeopath bringing up quantum physics.

    So, we have a claim – that women can have penises. Can anyone explain how we might resolve through evidence and reason whether or not this statement is true? Even if that is just in principle. This is what those of a sceptical mindset should be doing surely and not just repeating memes?

    Anyone lie to give that a go?

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy #96, assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. You presented no evidence, ergo I dismiss your assertions. Back up your points with evidence,and if don’t acknowledge trans people (and they are people) exist, you show a form of bigotry.

  77. John Morales says

    Andy,

    People claim to be homeopaths. That does not make homeopathy real.

    And some people claim to be sex-gender essentialists, based on the presence or absence of penes as the determinant. That does not make sex-gender essentialism real.

    So, we have a claim – that women can have penises. Can anyone explain how we might resolve through evidence and reason whether or not this statement is true?

    Why you imagine such a resolution would somehow be worthwhile, much less required, is left unsaid, but, sure… answer is that it depends on what you mean by “evidence and reason”, and also depends on what you mean by womanhood, and furthermore depends on what you mean by “resolve”. But sure, if the presence of an apparent penis (or suggestion one might have once been there) is your determinant for lack of womanhood, then you cannot be disputed.
    (Ah, but you retort, some women don’t present as women! To which I reply, good luck with your quest to examine their genital regions before making such an unneeded and personal determination, you weird pervert you!)

    Me, I can accept someone is a woman without having to examine their genitals or know their life history. Apparently, I lack your hang-up.

  78. Saad says

    Andy Lewis, #96

    People claim to be homeopaths. That does not make homeopathy real. I hope people can see the logical error of thinking gender ideology is sound because some people identify as trans.

    Why are you bigots so bad at analogies? A homeopath makes claims about what taking a certain substance will do to certain diseases. A trans or genderqueer person just says something about their own gender, just like a cis person does.

    Give me one reason why a cis man’s gender is more valid than a trans woman’s. Was the cis man’s gender established through some valid method whereas the trans woman’s wasn’t?

  79. Saad says

    Why do you accept when a huge majority of a community points to a baby and goes, “That’s going to be a man” but deny it when that baby grows up a little and goes, “I’m not a man”?

    Does this mean you accept whatever conventions the majority of a community believes in? I thought you were supposed to be a skeptic.

  80. says

    @Nerd – I am not making a claim. Myers appears to assert that woman have penises. I am asking how that claim might be substantiated. What sort of reasoning and evidence might you use? No answer so far.

    @John Morales Sex is a well understood foundational aspect of biology. We know how creatures reproduce of it. Males in mammals etc have penises which they use to impregnate females. Females do not. The claim here is that for humans this is not true. That requires a substantial justification. Myers offers none.

    @Saad Homeopaths identify very strongly as being homeopaths. It is a deep and unshakable belief. You are under no obligation to respect that belief. Nor am I yours about this thing you all ‘gender’.

    I await for someone serious to address the problem of how you might go about justifying the belief that some women have penises. I suspect at some point you will have to pin down what you mean by ‘woman’.

  81. John Morales says

    Andy Lewis:

    The claim here is that for humans this is not true. That requires a substantial justification.

    No, your claim is that gender and sex must be the same thing, contrary to reality.

    You know what the justification is? The actual existence of actual transgender people.

    But fine, close your eyes, plug your ears, disbelieve their existence. Just don’t expect any more respect for your weird denialist viewpoint than a flat-earther for theirs.

  82. Porivil Sorrens says

    Couching your bigotry behind a sheen of ~just asking questions~ and rational inquiry doesn’t make you look like any less of a tool, my dude.

  83. says

    @John – we are not getting very far with this attempt to show how we might resolve the issue of whether women can have penises.

    You start off by claiming that I think that sex and gender are the same thing. I have made no such statement. But if tbis is your line of attack on the problem then it might be best to carefully define what a ‘sex’ is and what a ‘gender’ is. My dictionary actually does say they are synonyms – but you might like to extend that. In your answer, it would look like it is very important to say how reproduction fits into your definitions and also how cultural stereotypes might play a part – but over to you.

    As for the ‘justification’ being that transgender people exist, I hope you are not being serious as a thinking skeptic. We are not disputing the fact that some people identify as trans – we are perhaps disputing what that means. What interpretations could we have of that? To note that trans status is totally subjective. There is no objective test or criteria that we might apply to cover all cases. There are objective tests thought for whether you are a man or a women and they involve the presence of reproductive anatomy and development in individuals. But this is at dispute, so cannot wait to hear how youy unpick this.

  84. says

    @Porivil – I note your resort to abuse rather than attempt to shed any enlightenment on this fascinating question as to how we might settle this issue and what criteria we would use. This is an important biological breakthrough and this blog will turn from just being a commentary into being at the cutting edge of understanding reproductive biology. Want to have another go?

  85. Porivil Sorrens says

    Nah, not really. Convincing random chuds to stop being bigots is a waste of time, when most decent people don’t need convincing. Making fun of people like you is far more productive.

    That said, I heard Dr. John Ligma at the BOFA Instutute had an interesting paper on the topic. Are you familiar with BOFA?

  86. says

    @Porivill – I take that as an admission that you have no idea how to justify the claim that some women have penises. Are you really going to leave this to some weak appeal to authority to an unspecified paper?

  87. Porivil Sorrens says

    Yeah, I am. I think Dr. Ligma makes some really good points. I’m just surprised you haven’t heard of BOFA, given your pretense of rational inquiry.

  88. says

    This is looking now like you do not want to put your money where your mouth is and actually specifiy the paper you appear to rely oin for your views lest it be subject to critical appraisal. A homeopath’s trick.

  89. John Morales says

    Andy Lewis:

    @John – we are not getting very far with this attempt to show how we might resolve the issue of whether women can have penises.

    Hey, you’re the one with the hang-up.
    I have nothing to resolve, it’s not an “issue” that bugs me.

    As I initially wrote, “Why you imagine such a resolution would somehow be worthwhile, much less required, is left unsaid, but, sure… answer is that it depends on what you mean by “evidence and reason”, and also depends on what you mean by womanhood, and furthermore depends on what you mean by “resolve”. But sure, if the presence of an apparent penis (or suggestion one might have once been there) is your determinant for lack of womanhood, then you cannot be disputed.”

    So yeah, if you define “woman” to mean lacking a penis, then no woman can have a penis.

    You start off by claiming that I think that sex and gender are the same thing. I have made no such statement.

    Um, your ostensible bewilderment is entirely based upon that conceit.

    Here is a portal for you, if you care to educate yourself instead of JAQing off: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transgender-related_topics

  90. Porivil Sorrens says

    Are you serious? My dude, if you haven’t heard of Dr. Ligma and BOFA, you don’t have the necessary understanding to even engage in this conversation. Might as well try to explain quantum physics to a ten year old.

  91. says

    Ah – the ‘do your own research’ gambit. I am familiar with this trick. It hides a persons lack of ability to articulate a clear argument themselves.

    Perhaps this is all too abstract for you all. Let’s try a worked example. Determining if someone is a man or woman has real-life consequences, not least for the protection of vulnerable women in various circumstances.

    Let’s use Jacinta Brooks who identifies as a transwoman but has a penis. Jacinta sometimes also identifies as a boy in order to sexually assault girls. Is Jacinta a man or a woman? Does having a penis matter? Should Jacinta go to a men’s or women’s prison? Please show your working.

  92. Porivil Sorrens says

    I’m just astounded that somebody that passes themselves off as an expert is unaware of how important BOFA is to the field. I’m shocked, really.

  93. says

    What I do not know is what you particularly rely on for your stance. I am finding it difficult to believe that on a rationalist and skeptic site I am having to ask someone to cite the sources they rely ion for their argument. It is almost as if you know deep down you will be ripped to shreds.

  94. Porivil Sorrens says

    It should not be this hard to look up. Dr. Ligma is pretty well known. The fact that you’re willing to speak so authoritatively when you haven’t engaged with BOFA is just laughable.

  95. says

    Well we can give up on you Porivil as having the intellectual integrity of a bag of gravel.

    Anyone else want to try to explain how we might settle the issue as to whether women can have penises?

  96. Porivil Sorrens says

    I doubt that. Most middle schoolers have heard of BOFA. Did elementary school just let out?

  97. alanhenness says

    Andy

    Are you seeing the same patterns of obfuscation, misdirection, evasion and poor critical thinking skills that we see when discussing, say, homeopathy with true believers?

  98. John Morales says

    Andy, funny:

    It is a sad shame to be here on this once great blog which has now descended into groupthink, misogyny and idiocy.

    LOL. Love your pouting!

    Funnier:
    alanhenness@123:

    Andy

    Are you seeing the same patterns of obfuscation, misdirection, evasion and poor critical thinking skills that we see when discussing, say, homeopathy with true believers?

    Andy@96:

    People claim to be homeopaths. That does not make homeopathy real.

    (Obviously, homeopathy is real, just as real as its lack of medical merit. Some people get confused by polysemy, so I understand the confusion here evinced by the term ‘real’)

    Funniest is you don’t see how Porivil plays you.

  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is a sad shame to be here on this once great blog which has now descended into groupthink, misogyny and idiocy.

    Thus speaks the ignorant asshole bigoted troll. Thanks for finally showing your true trollishness. Bye asshole, your shield of pretend skepticism is shattered.

  100. Silentbob says

    @ 104 Andy Lewis

    You start off by claiming that I think that sex and gender are the same thing. I have made no such statement. But if tbis is your line of attack on the problem then it might be best to carefully define what a ‘sex’ is and what a ‘gender’ is. My dictionary actually does say they are synonyms

    Dude. Get a new dictionary. The one you’ve got is musty and mouldy and covered in cobwebs. It’s like having a dictionary that defines “gay” as “brightly colored”, or “husband” as “head of the household”.

    gender

    noun

    1. either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior: the feminine gender.
    2. a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual’s personal awareness or identity.See also third gender.

    [… ]

    Usage note

    Although it is possible to define gender as “sex,” indicating that the term can be used when differentiating male creatures from female ones biologically,= the concept of gender, a word primarily applied to human beings, has additional connotations – more rich and more amorphous – having to do with general behavior, social interactions, and most importantly, one’s fundamental sense of self.

  101. Silentbob says

    @ 94 John Morales

    (I did withdraw from her blog because I was contentious there, and annoying her, but still, it was not because I was banned there. Like this blog, to which I have returned, thanks to PZ’s (hopefully juditious) sufferance, mainly because I’m not insincere)

    I was also contentious and annoying but lacked your circumspection and first got placed in perpetual moderation (for quoting Gloria Steinem) and then apparently banned (silently, sometime in the past couple of years) despite also being sincere (if sarcastic). So I suppose your obsequiousness with respect to anti-trans attitudes paid off.

  102. Silentbob says

    (In case anyone is unaware, the author of @90 runs a notorious anti-trans hate site called “peaktrans.org” to which I shall not link.)

  103. says

    “Funniest is you don’t see how Porivil plays you.”

    As i said to him, adults were talking.

    I see Silentbob adopts a sexist approach that defines women by their behaviour and their roles. So, a man is actually a woman if they dress in pretty clothes, wear make up and don’t do manly things. If that is your path to winning the debate that ‘women can have penises” then the price you are paying is being a sexist shit. Is that the price you want to pay to win?

  104. says

    h thank you John. At last something we can get our teeth into. But unfortunately, this is a deeply confused article.

    It makes the classic mistake of recognising the sexist gendered stereotypes we have over how society feels the two sexes must behave (which your above defintion of woman embraces) and then suggests stupidly that there is something wrong with our ideas about sex rather then the obvious conclusions that there is something wrong with our sexist views of gendered behaviour/roles (which you appear to embrace.) Instead of smashing sexist gender ideas it is trying to squeeze those with different ideas about themselves into gendered boxes. Instead we should be simply recognising that each sex can embrace and adopt a wide range of roles and behaviours without constraint.

    The author gets into a confusing muddle by concluding that a woman should be based on how people perceive a person. How? Based on sexist stereotypes? How should we view a man in a dress? Is a butch lesbian really a man as the common slur goes? What regressive shit. But then leaps to the opposite that somehow it is about gender identity – about how a person sees themselves. So a man who declares themselves to be a woman is really a woman? I think you need to work through my example above of Jacinta Brooks. Is Brooks a man or a woman?

    But of course the article ultimately fails by not actually defining what a woman is – it just leaves you with a confused mass of contradictory nonsense. What is a woman? Until that question can be properly addressed, we do not know if a woman can have a penis. Or are you going to stick with your sexist defintion that a woman is defined by their behaviour and roles?

  105. says

    Perhaps another worked example here to tackle the claim that women are defined by their roles and behaviour.

    Let’s say Kevin is a gay and effeminate man who works as a nurse – a job typically associated with women. Is Kevin a woman?

  106. Rowan vet-tech says

    I love how you’re claiming that we’re sexist and misogynistic for saying that women are able to know that they are women, but you seem to be suggesting that the fact that I’m bleeding out of a vagina is the exact reason I’m a woman as if that’s not reducing me to a single organ.

  107. Rowan vet-tech says

    Trans women are women. I have no issue with the idea that some women have penises. I’m a woman who happens to have a uterus. Whooptiedo. My internal anatomy is not what makes me a woman.

  108. says

    Hi Rowan. I am not ‘reducing women to their vaginas’. That is a daft thing to think. I just believe that woman are female and that is a statement about anatomy and development. it is a necessary condition – not a complete description. It is others here who wish to reduce women by reducing them to specific roles and behaviours. I do not. Be who you want to be.

    But if you claim that your anatomy is not a necessary condition for being a woman, perhaps you can explain what does is that we might understand.

  109. Rowan vet-tech says

    If the only thing making me a woman is the fact that I am having a vagina, yes you are reducing me to that organ. You just can’t admit that because it shows you’re not enlightened or progressive, but a sexist as old as time.
    My sense of being a woman is not tied to my organs. It’s not my behaviour. It’s not how I was raised. I can’t explain why I’m a woman to you anymore than you can try to determine if we experience the color blue the same way.
    Trans women are women, because my organs don’t define me as a woman and neither do theirs. But you want to define me as a vagina and uterus and ovaries. You are sexist.

  110. Rowan vet-tech says

    And how about you try to tell me exactly what being a man is like. Not ‘have a penis’, but what it is like to experience life as a man; the internal, conscious experience of being a man. What it is, aside from penis, that makes a man a man. Explain in a way that I can fully understand what it’s like to be a man.

  111. says

    I am afraid I cannot help you any more if you do not understand the concepts around necessary conditions. An aeroplane is not reduced to its wings by saying fixed wings are a necessary condition.

    I also accept you cannot explain what a woman is. This is pretty close to accepting the erasure of woman as a concept.Can we think of anything more deeply sexist than failing to accept the material and objective existence of women?

    Anyone else not completely stumped as to what a woman is and got better ideas?

  112. says

    And I cannot explain what the ‘internal conscious experience of being a man’ is like. I can only talk about my own experience and not for others. That is why transwomen cannot know what it is like to be a woman. They cannot ‘feel like a woman’ because they have no access to others’ minds. My internal experience does not define me as a man. I simply am a man.

  113. Rowan vet-tech says

    If you can’t talk for others, then you don’t know what it’s like to be a man. You only claim to be a man because you have a penis. You don’t actually know then that you are a man. You simply identify with what’s between your legs. How sad an existence you have.

  114. John Morales says

    Andy,

    At last something we can get our teeth into. But unfortunately, this is a deeply confused article.

    Well, it’s only mainstream media, so what do you expect. Point being, there it is, in your face.
    The Overton window has shifted; what was once unthinkable is now merely edgy, and will soon be taken for granted. But hey, fight the tide with all your might, if you want to.

    I get you, I really do. You adhere to the unstated belief that someone’s gender must immutably remain the gender they are assigned at birth, which is usually based on external genitalia, and further that gender roles are perforce immutable and must remain based on external genitalia, but you don’t believe that those beliefs are as socially-constructed as the concept of gender itself. Immutable facts of nature, they, in your mind, right? Obvious to anyone.

    I do wish you only realised how plaintive you sound, with your obsession about a bit of meat. Me, I’m not fussed; it’s not like people go around with their genitals showing, and I have no particular need nor inclination to mentally wonder whether any woman I meet or read about may or may not have that bit of meat present.

    And I know what you’d retort: “if transgender people were not a thing, I wouldn’t have to mentally wonder if there’s a dick there”.

    Me, I’m an empiricist, not a prescriptivist. I deal with what is, not what I think isn’t.
    Easier this way.

    (Oh, yes… and I love how you unironically wrote “manly things”)

  115. Rowan vet-tech says

    Really. Imagine basing an integral part of your identity around a penis. I mean, sure, you probably like your penis, but to decide a large part of who you are based on something as flimsy as growing your own penis? And then to say that you don’t experience life as a man, but your are a man? You are confused. Is your penis confusing you? Is your penis confused?

  116. Rowan vet-tech says

    Also, what’s your take on someone who is XX but grew their own penis? Or they’re XY with their own, natural vagina? What about XXY? What about XYY? What about XXX? Or just X? How about those people who are XY but are born what appear to be vaginas but then grow a penis when they hit puberty?
    It’s almost as if humanity doesn’t fit into your neat little boxes. Fancy that.

  117. John Morales says

    Oh, what the heck. A teeny-tiny chomp.

    Perhaps another worked example here to tackle the claim that women are defined by their roles and behaviour.

    Let’s say Kevin is a gay and effeminate man who works as a nurse – a job typically associated with women. Is Kevin a woman?

    That’s not a worked example, that’s a cargo-cult version of a Socratic approach, and the only interest it holds is whether, were I to apparently appease you by playing along, you’d employ a Sorites gambit.

    Ah, why not. After all, this could become another Titanoboa. (He wrote, in forlorn hope)

    Sure.
    You realise you’ve asserted that Kevin is a man, right?
    Hence your question is pointless, since its answer is implicit in its formulation.
    Nonetheless, adding the hidden premise that a person cannot both be a man and a woman, it follows that Kevin is not a woman.

    (Not adding that hidden premise means the answer is ‘unknown’ under formal rules)

    OK, your turn.

  118. says

    John Morales – you start with an appeal to popularity. I would hope you could do better than that. You then go off into gobbledegook about ‘assigning gender at birth’. Who are these people tasked with such responsibilities? You then put words in my mouth. I do not think ‘gender is immutable’. I think sex is immutable and that we may adopt various gender presentations and roles as we see fit throughout life according to fashion, erotic needs, role play, acting, or even psychological state of mind. We do not change sex, just a gender presentation – sets of stereotypical cultural artefacts that are coded with sexed (gendered) ideas. You then use these sexed artefacts and coded behaviours to determine if someone is a real woman or not. I call that as blatant sexism.

    I note you have not addressed my questions about Kevin and Jacinta. I suspect you do not as it would expose the inherent irrationality and sexism in your position.

    (I wrote ‘manly things’ to highlight the inherent sexism in your position).

  119. says

    I see you have blustered rather than address my central point about Kevin’s presentation and stereotypical roles. is Kevin a man or a woman in your view?

  120. says

    Rowan. I do not base my ‘identity’ around my penis. I accept the reality of my sexed body. I am a mammal, a human mammal, a human adult, male, mammal – a man. There is nothing I can do about that. That is my physical reality. My identity is a set of social ideas I may have about myself. My nationality, allegiances, world-views. It may also include various beliefs, true or not. Most fo these things are mutable and subject to fashion, new beliefs etc.

    I do not experience my life ‘as a man’ but as me. I cannot speak for other men how they experience their lives. We may have common external experiences, but I have no access to their inner life and experience of those things. That is why when a transwomen says ‘I feel like a woman’ we must be sceptical as how do they have access to some essentialist universal ideal of what a woman feels like? it’s nonsense.

  121. John Morales says

    John Morales – you start with an appeal to popularity.

    So you assert, anyway.

    Your basis for that assertion is left unstated, too.

    I would hope you could do better than that.

    Would you? Well, let me know when you do actually hope that, and I shall attempt to accomodate you.

    You then go off into gobbledegook about ‘assigning gender at birth’. Who are these people tasked with such responsibilities?

    Good catch. Assigning sex is probably more appropriate, these days. Because of the decoupling you don’t believe exists.

    Anyway, the answer is whoever examines the neonate and pronounces its sex.

    (Should I Google that for you?)

    I do not think ‘gender is immutable’.

    OK. But you do think there are two genders only, right?

    You then put words in my mouth.

    How did you like their taste?

    I think sex is immutable and that we may adopt various gender presentations and roles as we see fit throughout life according to fashion, erotic needs, role play, acting, or even psychological state of mind. We do not change sex, just a gender presentation – sets of stereotypical cultural artefacts that are coded with sexed (gendered) ideas.

    Close, you nearly got to gender identity but conked out at gender presentation.

    Also, I notice how you asserted “I do not think ‘gender is immutable’”, and now can only concede that only one aspect of gender (its presentation) can change.

    (Is it immutable, or is it not? You’ve just given two contradictory positions)

    You then use these sexed artefacts and coded behaviours to determine if someone is a real woman or not.

    “You” here meaning not me specifically, right?

    (Also, you earlier frowned upon putting words in people’s mouths)

    In any case, you will be enchanted to know that is not my own position. Of course, I concede that if I see someone who I think looks like a woman and acts like a woman I will presume they are a woman, unless told otherwise. Never have been.
    Works for me, I’ve never had a problem with that approach.

    I call that as blatant sexism.

    Why?

    I note you have not addressed my questions about Kevin and Jacinta. I suspect you do not as it would expose the inherent irrationality and sexism in your position.

    Hey, I did answer another.

    (I have a huge capacity for fisking, but it’s not infinite. Besides, it’s Titanoboa time)

    (I wrote ‘manly things’ to highlight the inherent sexism in your position).

    Sure.

    But I’ve made my own position painfully clear, to anyone who can read.

    Again: I could hardly care less whether transpeople exist in our society. But they do. I merely accept that, and understand its basis. And to the extent that I care, I have sympathy for them.

    If you really think that’s inherently sexist, why do you imagine a notorious den of feminism such as this place isn’t hearkening unto your clarion call? ;)

    I see you have blustered rather than address my central point about Kevin’s presentation and stereotypical roles. is Kevin a man or a woman in your view?

    To what bluster do you refer? I answered your question comprehensively.

    Your new question is not the same question, but I shall also answer it, so that you may proceed. Same answer.

    Kevin is a man, since you stated in the question that Kevin is a man. I can give no other honest answer, no matter how you rephrase the question without altering the premises.

    (I thought you’d like the more formal logical approach. Or would you rather be vague?)

  122. says

    I’ll try to get to substantive points rather than bluster.

    Gender is not assigned. Sex is observed. Nothing else makes any sense.

    “But you do think there are two genders only, right?”

    I do not think humans have genders. They have a sex. Cultural artefacts have genders. Clothes, roles, behaviours etc. People may adopt and/or identify with these gendered cultural artefacts. This is a mutable and cultural act. At best there are three was of classifying artefacts as masculine, feminine or neutral.

    “Blatant sexism”. It is sexist to assign social roles, behaviours, expectations and appearances to sexes as somehow innate, natural or correct. Gender ideology is this sexist idea played out.

    As for Kevin, you have not answered the question: I ask how you see Kevin, not as I see him. In short does Kevin’s gendered behaviour and role define Kevin in a gendered way – specifically that he is feminine and hence a woman. If not then what is it that defines Kevin as a man or a woman?

  123. says

    And I’m yet to see any attempt to say whether you think Jacinta is a man or a woman. This has real-life practical implications that directly affects the safety and wellbeing of women.

  124. John Morales says

    I do not think humans have genders. They have a sex.

    Huh. If only you’d made that claim instead of “You start off by claiming that I think that sex and gender are the same thing. I have made no such statement.”

    But, got it. For you, it is meaningless to speak about gender in relation to people.

    Cultural artefacts have genders. Clothes, roles, behaviours etc.

    Fine, so you accept that, to the extent that the concept of ‘gender’ exists at all (not in humans, obviously) it is a cultural artefact.

    “Blatant sexism”. It is sexist to assign social roles, behaviours, expectations and appearances to sexes as somehow innate, natural or correct.

    It follows that, just because someone happens to have a penis, it would be blatantly sexist to assign that someone the social role, behaviour, expectation or appearance of a man, that being neither innate, natural nor correct.

    (Which describes your position, no?)

    As for Kevin, you have not answered the question: I ask how you see Kevin, not as I see him.

    Again, the only information about your Kevin is what you have told me, and you have told me he is a man. Perforce, I see him as a man, since you have declared him to be a man.

    In short does Kevin’s gendered behaviour and role define Kevin in a gendered way – specifically that he is feminine and hence a woman.

    Well, since humans don’t have genders in your view, it would be pointless for me to say that Kevin’s gender ‘depends’.

    But no, with the information you’ve provided, I cannot make a determination. My inclination, absent further information, is to think that Kevin is an effeminate gay man you wrote he is an effeminate gay man, which by the way is perfectly respectable. But it depends.

    Happy yet, can we move on?

    If not then what is it that defines Kevin as a man or a woman?

    Dunno. I don’t make those determinations. Never had to, either, outside such abstract discussions.

    I do know that you think it’s whether or not he is a penis-bearer.

  125. says

    I am happy to move on if we can agree that Kevin’s appearance, behaviour and societal role has no bearing on determining if Kevin is a man or a woman. Earlier @Silentbob have this defintion of ‘gender’.

    gender
    noun
    1. either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior: the feminine gender.

    But have we reached common ground that talk of humans having a gender, distinct from their sex, is highly suspect and that gendered roles and behaviours do not determine someone’s status as a man or woman?

    Can we close the door on at least this aspect before we move back to the original question as to how we might determine the truth of the assertion that some women have penises?

  126. Rowan vet-tech says

    Andy, you are completely ignoring intersex and androgen insensitive individuals as well as those with chromosomes that do not match their exteriors. You are working with a grade-school level idea of sex and it’s really rather pathetic.
    If you experience life as you, and part of that is experience is being a man, then you experience life as a man… to a degree. And you hit the nail on the head that your experience isn’t necessarily universal. Having a penis is not required to experience the world as a man, unless you think the core part of being a man is being a penis.

    Also, this lovely gem.

    This has real-life practical implications that directly affects the safety and wellbeing of women.

    Please just point blank admit that you think trans women are actually predatory men out to hurt women. You’re dead wrong, but at least then you’d be being honest.

    My safety and wellbeing has been most severely impacted by men who have penises. My safety and wellbeing has not at all been harmed by my fellow women who happen to be penises. I have two such women as good friends. And they are definitely women. Because unlike you, I don’t tie being female directly to gonads. And I’d appreciate if you’d kindly fuck off sideways into the sea with your constant dehuminizing of me to being nothing but a bleeding vagina, kthx.

  127. says

    This is hard work. So many confusions.

    Intersex is being ignored as this is a set of many developmental issues that can occur to the developing male or female organism. No new sex classes are created. Sex does not exist on a spectrum, but you may view these disorders as doing so. Sex is still binary and describes how male and female gametes create new individuals. There are no other type of gametes other than those produced by male or females. And, importantly, trans people are not intersex (anymore than any other arbitrary class).

    “Please just point blank admit that you think trans women are actually predatory men out to hurt women”

    This is first class buffoonery. At no point have I tried to make a generalisation from this evil individual. I have used this example to point out that, as a society, we had better have a good grasp on what men and women are if we are to protect women. That you have not been impacted by men who declare themselves to be women is just statistical. Many women are and your own personal experience is not universal.

    It is not clear how I have dehumanised you. Humans are sexed beings. It is at the heart of what it means to be human. It is dehumanising to suggest that the material reality of being female (or male) with a sexed body is not important.

  128. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    It takes a special kind of stupid to reduce something as complicated as human sexuality and gender identity to a simple dichotomy–and not only that, but to equate the two.

    So, Andy, where do eunuchs fit in? Does a eunuch cease to be male? Or is it the XY chromosome combination?

    What about other creatures who can actually switch sexes. Is a male slug not really male?

    And how does the recognition of trans women negate the existence or experience of cis women?

    Do you similarly reduce all of human intelligence to IQ? All of race to skin color and other externally visible characteristics. Are you as purblind and ignorant on other topics, or is gender identity somehow special to you.

  129. John Morales says

    Andy,

    But have we reached common ground that talk of humans having a gender, distinct from their sex, is highly suspect and that gendered roles and behaviours do not determine someone’s status as a man or woman?

    Nope. You’ve merely asserted you don’t think gender is a concept that is applicable to people.

    You’ve somehow convinced yourself that gendered roles and gendered behaviours applicable to people exist, but deny that people can themselves have a gender.

    Can we close the door on at least this aspect before we move back to the original question as to how we might determine the truth of the assertion that some women have penises?

    Sure, but then we’ll return to all this talk about gender and the distinction between social gender and biological gender and stuff like that, which you find confused and nonsensical.

    It’s called an impasse.

    And I’m yet to see any attempt to say whether you think Jacinta is a man or a woman. This has real-life practical implications that directly affects the safety and wellbeing of women.

    I keep telling you, I don’t particularly care.
    But, for you: Apparently, biologically she is not. Socially, apparently she is. The article you cited used the female pronoun throughout. Never interacted with her, so I dunno whether I would feel uncomfortable accepting she is a woman, gender-wise.

    Sure, in any population there will be predators and pedophiles. This one happens to be a trans woman, and how you imagine that Jacinta’s appearance settles the matter is again indicative of your blinkered perception of social issues.

    Surely you’re not trying to suggest that trans people are sexual predators.

    Also, I get the feeling you’re not so threatened by trans men — but as I noted above, some of those have a penis. So, medically speaking, and applying your own criterion for sex, they are women with penes.

    (Whichever way you, ahem, slice it, there are women with a penis)

  130. says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space – I am going to struggle to think down to your level – I am getting a headache.

    A eunuch is no less a male than my grandad who lost a leg was no less a bipedal ape. Obviously.
    It is transgender ideology that appears to suggest that surgery can change someones sex.

    I am not sure anyone is identifying as a slug here. Neat trick for slugs. Humans cannot do it.

    The assertion that transwomen are woman (TWAW) makes it impossible to provide an objective, material defintion of the word woman. Try it. You will not be able to without looking silly and/or sexist. As such, TWAW erases the concept of woman. Pure misogyny.

    Your last sentence was incoherent gibbersih. Please try again.

  131. Rowan vet-tech says

    Good news, everybody! Andy thinks he knows more about sex than actual scientists who study exactly that! Because sex-as-a-spectrum doesn’t fit Andy’s special neat little simplistic 6th grade world view, it’s clearly wrong!

    Now that you’ve evidenced such immense ignorance, it’s clear that you have nothing worthwhile to say.

  132. says

    We are at an impasse because you use words without a fixed, coherent and shared meaning. You use gender interchangeably to mean sex, sometimes to mean some social labelling.

    We will get no-where until we can agree straightforward definitions of these words:

    sex
    gender
    male
    female
    man
    woman

    Until such time, parsing your sentences is hard word and sometime impossible. But I fear the assertion we are debating that some women have penises depends entirely on not defining these words. All participants so far have tried very hard to avoid this elephant in the room.

  133. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    And again, Andy, is race just a matter of skin color? Is intelligence simply a matter of IQ? I’ll ask these up front since it seems that you cannot read 3 paragraphs without your finger getting tired.

  134. says

    Rowan – I would ask you to cite a reference that describes sexual reproduction as taking place between sexes that exist on a spectrum. Good luck!

  135. says

    Race and IQ are different concepts with their own nuances and meanings. Not relevant here. We are talkiing about sex as an objective, material reality and those who wish to deny that.

  136. John Morales says

    Andy:

    We are at an impasse because you use words without a fixed, coherent and shared meaning. You use gender interchangeably to mean sex, sometimes to mean some social labelling.

    We will get no-where until we can agree straightforward definitions of these words:

    Welcome to the concept of polysemy. Same word can mean different things, depending on context. Also, jargon.

    If you cared to understand the concepts at hand, you would seek to understand the applicable vocabulary, rather than indignantly dismissing it — I quite early on linked to a portal you can enter any time you care to.

    But fine, that you do not apprehend whereof I speak must be because I’m confused, not because you’re ignorant and bullishly close-minded. Perish the thought!

    For example, in your view, this article is confused:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_assignment#Terminology

  137. says

    My original question was to ask how we might go about establishing the truth of whether women can have penises. I’m not too sure we have got too far. Let me try to just sum up a few thoughts on this:

    Myers has attacked Angelos Sofocleous, a young humanist philosopher, for his criticism of the idea that women can have penises. Angelos is a thoughtful man and has written extensively about his thoughts.

    Myers asserts this is nonsense. Myers offers no biology or science. Just asserts.

    Humanists tackle the word through an acceptance of material reality, reason and evidence and reject the superstitious, irrational and to some extend subjective descriptions of existence. Angelos was doing just that.

    There appear to be two approaches to saying what a woman is and whether they can have penises. We can take the humanist way and insist on a material objective view of this, and the only way to do this is to base the idea of men and women on their underlying sex class – male or female. In this view, by definition, women do not have penises.

    The other approach is to base your idea of men and women on subjective and social issues such as roles played, appearances, behaviour etc. This reduces the concept of woman to a set of stereotypes – the ‘feminine’. Humanists would reject this obviously sexist and regressive idea.

    Another approach is to allow individuals to self-declare if they are a man or a woman. Thus, womanhood is reduced to a subjective experience. It has no objective material meaning and the only thing to connect men together or women together is a common self-declaration. Biology is irrelevant. Gender identity is all that matters. This is a spiritual and even superstitious idea where there is some universal and essential idea of what being a woman means that somehow can be accessed by individuals and identified with. Quite what is being identifies with is not expressed – just the essenece of being a woman. Humanist would reject this as superstitious nonsense.

    Angelos was being a good humanist. He was using enlightenment values to understand the nature of reality.

    This is important. Women suffer great injustices around the world. They are oppressed because of their sex. Their access to birth control is limited. Their career choices are curtailed. Their freedoms reduced enormously in some countries. Infanticide, genital mutialtion, rape and assault. Women and girls subject to these obscenities cannot ‘identify’ as a mam to escape this The idea is a western, middle class abomination. You cannot tackle women’s rights, safety, protection, opportunities if you cannit say what a woman is.

    It is a disgrace that so many so-called liberals have fallen into the intellectual black-hole of gender ideology. Unable to define their terms. Unable to question and speak out for fear of being called a ‘bigot’. Unable to stand up to men’s demands to access women’s spaces. Unable to state the plain obvious truth that women doe not have penises.

    Trans people are just that. Self-declared people who adopt stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex. Nothing wrong in principle about that. There are many reasons for doing so that are hidden by the enforced language of gender ideology. SOme may do it from a fashion point of view – like gender benders from the 70’s. Some may be fetishists, like the majority of middle aged men who transition – few have their crown jewels removed. Some may suffer psychological distress for some reason and feel a gender dysphoria. Some may be young girls hating their maturing bodies and sexuality in a world hostile to women. Some many be young gay boys exploring their emerging sexuality and rejecting that in favour of ‘being born it the wrong body’.

    People hurt because of this blanket idiocy and refusal to accept the nonsense of this ideology.

    Shame on you all.

  138. Saad says

    Andy, #168

    Trans people are just that. Self-declared people who adopt stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex.

    Who declares cis people?

    For a skeptic, you are really bad at this thinking stuff.

  139. John Morales says

    There you go, isn’t it a relief to stop with the baited questions and just declare your beliefs?

    Trans people are just that. Self-declared people who adopt stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex.

    Heh. Like Jacinta Brooks, who by this assertion adopts stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex. Since Jacinta superficially looks like a man, it follows that if Jacinta is indeed a trans person (which is your own claim) and looks like a man, then male is the opposite sex to hers. The which entails you think she is a woman.

    :)

  140. Saad says

    Andy, #101

    Homeopaths identify very strongly as being homeopaths. It is a deep and unshakable belief. You are under no obligation to respect that belief.

    You’re still not seeing how faulty your analogy is. Homeopathy is testable and can be shown to be wrong. Homeopathy makes claims about substances and diseases. Gender identity is how someone regards their own gender. It is personal. You seem to have no issues with the various ways cis people express their gender identity. Why is that?

  141. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy isn’t a skeptic. He’s an ignorant bigoted person with an agenda trolling his betters who know the difference between sex and gender. We’ve had the workshops here on that. Andy is too stupid and stubborn to look them up, as they might learn something.

  142. Porivil Sorrens says

    FARTs really are vile. Always love it when the mask slips off and they devolve into paranoid, incoherent ranting.

  143. says

    Saad – no-one declares cis people. It is a made up nonsensical term from gender ideology. It has no foundation in science or rationality. it is dependent on absurd concepts of innate gender.

  144. says

    Nerd and Porivil – and am happy for others to judge if my summary is a ‘rant’ or ‘vile’ or ‘paranoid’ or ‘incoherent’ or ‘bigotted’.

  145. Porivil Sorrens says

    Thankfully, FARTs are politicaly irrelevant and dying out, so hey, we might get to see a future without their vile screeds.

  146. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy, go to your favorite search engine use this search term:

    Pharyngla gender workshop with Crip Dyke

    Happy reading.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy, JAQing off is trolling. If you want to learn, shut the fuck up and listen.
    You are preaching your ignorance and not listening. Show us you are just listening and not preaching your hate.

  148. John Morales says

    Andy,

    I look forward to constructive criticism of what I have written.

    Well, you wrote to the effect you personally believe Jacinta is a woman posing as a man, so if that’s not what you intended to express, you went about it the wrong way. And since you made a point of mentioning she has a penis, it follows also you think women can indeed have a penis.

    But, alas, your purblind ignorance and lack of acceptance of (social) reality means you would think any constructive criticism as being confused.

    (Or: you do not know what you don’t know, but you think you know enough)

  149. Saad says

    Andy, #174

    Saad – no-one declares cis people. It is a made up nonsensical term from gender ideology. It has no foundation in science or rationality. it is dependent on absurd concepts of innate gender.

    Don’t like 90+ percent of people out there declare themselves to be men or women?

    Make up your mind already. Do you refuse to acknowledge and respect the gender of all the men and women out there (including your own) or not? You’re flip-flopping all over the place.

    Andy, #176

    I look forward to constructive criticism of what I have written. I suspect the name calling and absurd nonsense is all I will get.

    You have been getting constructive criticism. My responses to your homeopathy posts include valid criticism. You’re just ignoring it because you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  150. says

    “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls”

    I spent some 70 comments asking questions and listening to incoherent replies – mostly angry, almost complete nonsense. No one attempted a serious response to address my question about how we would establish the truth of the claim that some women have penises. So, I think after that lot I might set my own position out.

    I do suspect though that you did not read my position statement.

  151. says

    John Morales – when did I say Jacinta was a woman? I wanted to know how you might classify this person and what criteria you would use.

  152. says

    Saad – you make no sense – I suspect because you are unable to give objective defintion to these terms: sex, gender, male, female, man, woman. No wonder you might think people are flopping about if your own conceptions are based on flapdoodle.

  153. says

    no-one declares cis people. It is a made up nonsensical term from gender ideology. It has no foundation in science or rationality.

    So, are you just outright denying that people have identities at all? Are you ruling out human experience as relevant for science, even when the subject is those very human experiences? Because if not, what you’re saying is complete nonsense.

    It is a fact that people feel ways about themselves. It’s a fact that, sometimes, the way a person feels about themselves is not in accord with how society views them and how their own bodies work. The cis-trans distinction is simply there to distinguish between people whose self-perception fits the body they have and those where it does not.

    The bodies are facts. The feelings are facts. Our words reflect those facts. As I see it, a lot of this discussion is really about whether we should stick with antiquated, imprecise, exclusionary definitions of gender or whether we should update our language to reflect the lived experience of our fellow human beings.

  154. says

    Yes – people have identities. But your sex is not part of your identity. And people do not have fixed, innate qualities that you might call ‘gender’. Gender identity is an ill formed concept that cannot stand much scrutiny and is best understood as just an aspect of personality. Cis creates a false equivalence between trans and cis. A cis woman is not in the same set as trans women divided by some aspect of feelings. Trans women are a manifestation of male identity and behaviour.

  155. John Morales says

    Andy:

    John Morales – when did I say Jacinta was a woman?

    You didn’t say it in so many words, but it’s logically ineluctable from your accumulated claims, which can be combined according to the rules of propositional logic. Thus I wrote that you wrote to that effect, rather than that you verbatim made that claim. See, I can be precise.

    I refer you to my #180 for more detail.

    I wanted to know how you might classify this person and what criteria you would use.

    Yeah, but you chose someone whose image looks like that of a stereotypical man as an exemplar of a trans person.

    And later you asserted how trans people present as the opposite sex.

  156. says

    I did not choose Jacinta as an exemplar. Perhaps you do not know what the word means. I picked Jacinta as an example of a difficult problem that gender ideologists would need to confront. Has anyone yet?

  157. John Morales says

    Andy:

    I did not choose Jacinta as an exemplar. Perhaps you do not know what the word means.

    Well, one of us is pestered by pesky polysemy, that’s for sure. But I assure you it’s not a particularly esoteric use of the term. Feel free to delve into your dictionary for other than the primary sense, if you doubt me.

    I picked Jacinta as an example of a difficult problem that gender ideologists would need to confront. Has anyone yet?

    Fine, an example, not an exemplar.

    What exactly is this purported problem which apparently would not exist if trans people did not exist? Ah, never mind. If trans people did not exist, then trans pedophiles would not exist either. If Jacinta were not a transperson, then it would be a man doing the deed, not a woman — but there’s no reason to believe the deed would not have been done in that case.

    (Or do you think that only men can be pedophiles?)

    And, thing is, you can say that about any category of people, so, not a very impressive claim.

    And I note you’ve not disputed my contention that your claims entail that which I claimed they entail.

    (Silence signifies assent, as they say)

  158. says

    “What exactly is this purported problem which apparently would not exist if trans people did not exist?”

    It is not so much a problem of trans people existing – it is trans ideology that is the issue. I have several transwomen twitter followers who fully accept they are male. The problem is the ideology leading to placing dangerous men into women’s prisons.

    As for disputing your contentions – I am not responsible for your misunderstandings as to what I say unless you set out the serious of steps that lead you to your conclusion and I can see I have not been clear. I suspect, like others, you confuse yourself becaue you have not stable understanding of the terms used here. You too cannot give objective defintions to sex, gender, male, female, man, woman. No wonder you get confused.

  159. John Morales says

    Andy, you’re fun!

    It is not so much a problem of trans people existing – it is trans ideology that is the issue.

    Fine. In which case, just empirically accept that they exist but reject the ideology. After all, they’re not so much a problem, by your own admission.

    Very easy, no?

    I have several transwomen twitter followers who fully accept they are male.

    Yay for you!

    The problem is the ideology leading to placing dangerous men into women’s prisons.

    Mmmm… I see what you mean. Women can be vicious.

    So, if it’s such a problem, you possibly have examples at hand to show how this thing you fear has actually occurred. Or is it merely a worry that you have?

    As for disputing your contentions – I am not responsible for your misunderstandings as to what I say unless you set out the serious of steps that lead you to your conclusion and I can see I have not been clear.

    What, yet again?

    Sure. Let me know if you require symbolic notation.

    P1, your own claim: Trans people are just that. Self-declared people who adopt stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex.
    P2, Your own claim: Jacinta is a trans woman (you made a note to claim she has a penis)
    P3, observation via your own link: Jacinta has the stereotypical appearance of a man.
    P4, your own claim: Sex is still binary
    C1, from P1 and P2: Jacinta adopts the stereotypical appearances of the opposite sex
    C2, from C1 and P3: Jacinta’s opposite sex is male
    C3, from C2 and P4: Jacinta’s sex is female

    QED

  160. says

    John

    I accept that trans people exist. I do not accept the ideology that defies material reality. Only some trans people adopt trans ideology. I accept that trans is actually a range of beliefs and motives from AGP to dysphoria to cultural/fashion. I do not accept that any of these motive represent some sort of mismatch between an innate thing labelled ‘gender’ and someones sex. There is no good evidence that this is true. And it is quite an incomprehensible claim.

    Examples: I live in the UK so a few high profile examples.

    Karen White was transitioning when he was accused of raping a woman in 2016. He was remanded into an all female prison. There he sexually assaulted other women.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/06/transgender-person-accused-rape-remanded-female-prison-sexually/

    Transactivist Challenor Jr – a leadership candidate for a political party allowed his father, who sometimes identified as a young girl, access to the party to develop child protection policy and trans policy while on remand for raping and torturing a girl while wearing a nappy.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/31/green-party-launches-inquiry-as-it-suspends-aimee-challenor

    More prison examples here: https://www.peaktrans.org/prison/

    As for your logic: “C2, from C1 and P3: Jacinta’s opposite sex is male”. This is an obvious error. He has a penis. He is male.

  161. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Andy, so you are saying that intelligence and race are somehow more complicated than the absolute confusion that is human sexuality and gender? Really. That what you are going to go with?

  162. says

    You make this error because you refuse to define your terms. Reminder: sex, gender, male, female, man, woman. Everything you say will be gobbledegook unless you tackle this.

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy, we know the definitions of sex, gender, male, female, man, woman. You are the one who is confused, and is trying to confuse us. Don’t worry, your confusion and pretense of being superior won’t confuse us. We’ve seen such bullshit before, and will see it again by others long after you leave.

  164. says

    Nerd of Redhead – if you know, then define these words. I see a lot of attempts not too.

    Please feel free to go ahead. What are your objective defintion of the words: sex, gender, male, female, man, woman.

    A sentence or two for each would be a good start.

    I think you cannot do it.

  165. says

    Thank you chigau. It does look like we could use this as an accepted defintion for male and female: typical development in mammals gives rise to two anatomical classes of individuals – one class produces small mobile gametes, the other large immobile gametes – male and female.

    Anyone see a problem with this?

    We could then move on to defining sex, gender, man and woman.

  166. Rowan vet-tech says

    Okay then, what about people who don’t have functioning gonads? What sex is someone who is XY with complete androgen insensitivity who was assigned female at birth but does not have have a uterus or ovaries, but does have secondary sexual characteristics more typically seen in XX individuals?

    What sex is someone with both ovarian and testicular tissue in their gonads?
    What sex is someone who is XX but was born without a uterus?

    The problem with 100% relying on gametes is that not all individuals produce gametes. And this means there’s at least 3 sexes to include those who make ovum, those who make sperm, and those who make neither. And sex once again becomes a spectrum. Oh dear.

  167. says

    Rowan – my defintion clearly stated there was ‘typical development’ and that it was the ‘class’ that produced eggs or sperm – not any particular individual who may still be in that class. We can define those classes because mammals develop in two very distinct clusters of development. It is a very clear bimodal distribution whereby we are able to define the classes of male and female. There are outliers – as you mention – but these are atypical developmental conditions that occur on one of the pathways.

    In short – your third sex does not exist. We have been over this. There is no third reproductive role. People who have specific developmental conditions do not make new sex classes. Intersex people routinely report how pissed off they are with people not understanding this and using them to justify their fantasies about gender.

  168. Rowan vet-tech says

    Okay, so in your definition there are only women who make ovum (meaning someone who doesn’t make ovum isn’t a woman) and men who make sperm (meaning someone who doesn’t make sperm isn’t a man) and those other people who aren’t men or women and just exist but we don’t count them because it’s inconvenient for the neat binary system you want to argue. I’m not even talking gender at this point. We’re still discussing biology. Intersex people can gender identify as men, women, non-binary or agender entirely. But that’s not biology. Biologically your neat box doesn’t account for my actually-happened-case of a mammal that had ovariotestes and was unable to produce functional gametes of either. This mammals was unable to reproduce. If a mammal is born without the ability to ever produce sperm or ovum, how does it classify in your male = sperm and female = ovum binary?

  169. jazzlet says

    Or you could do as CD suggested and save us all some time by searching on ‘Pharyngla gender workshop with Crip Dyke’. Unless of course you think you are too special to read that …

  170. Rowan vet-tech says

    Charly… sssssshhhh …. don’t let him know that a bimodal distribution… is a spectrum. XD

  171. consciousness razor says

    I have a magic wand to wave: trans people are “outliers” according to Andy Lewis’ usage of the term. abracadabra!
    I have now waved it, and we’re done here. We can dispense with Andy’s bullshitting about what a person’s gender is typically like, because the topic isn’t about typical people.

  172. says

    So Rowan – I am not sure if you are deliberately trying not to understand because your comment 203 is obvious nonsense. But let me give you the benefit of the doubt and walk you through this once again. And to remind you, we have not yet got to defining man and woman, just trying to define male or female. Baby steps in this long process of understanding if women can have penises.

    Development in mammals clusters into two distinct pathways – with a few outliers caused by developmental issues, disease etc. One cluster, or class, is full of lots of individuals who produce sperm, no individuals who produce eggs and some that produce no sperm due to age, disease, development issues, surgery etc. Another cluster, or class, is full of lots of individuals who produce ova, no individuals who produce sperm and a quite a few do not because of maturity, menopause, disease and developmental issues etc.

    We want to give names to each of these classes – the first we call male, the second female. This production of two clusters is universal in mammals and other animal groups. It applies to humans.

    Are you happy we can talk about males and females in this way? I think you are, as instinctively you know this, but you are trying very hard not to know this.

  173. says

    @consciousness razor – I most definitely have not and do not perceive trans people as outliers. If I did, I would say. They fall very happily into the clusters of sexual development I have described in the comment above.

  174. Rowan vet-tech says

    So where in your cluster does the mammal with ovarian AND testicular tissue fall?
    Is someone who is XY but has a vagina, breasts, doesn’t respond to testosterone, and has non functional testes male or female in your definition, especially considering that they look no different from stereotypical XX individuals who happen to have a uterus and functional ovaries?
    You keep modifying your definition. First it was external genitalia. Then it was game production. Now it’s… vague flailing to try to box up a spectrum because sex as a spectrum gives you a sad and doesn’t let you call trans women dangerous, predatory men.

  175. says

    Rowan – as I have made quite clear to you – there are outliers – and you may even argue if you please that a few outliers may form a ‘continuum’ between the two clusters I have described.

    Without going into any particular discussion of any particular rare disorder, are you disputing that these two clusters do not exist? Are you defying that we cannot form two distinct classes of people/organisms based on their developmental organisation? Are you denying that male and female exist as objective, material, biological reality?

  176. consciousness razor says

    They fall very happily into the clusters of sexual development I have described in the comment above.

    The issue in this case is not sexual development. It is about gender identity, whether that’s to be understood from within or without. This includes what you’ve called presentation, roles, cultural or social relations (and their descriptions in natural language), as well as a person’s subjective mental states. Some of these may be appropriately regarded as an aspect of their “personality,” like you said at one point. A person has a personality or identity (on some accounts, those may be synonymous). These things certainly exist, and we can talk about them.

    They’re not adequately understood by asking questions such as this: “do they have a penis?” A rational person, who takes in all of the evidence they encounter, without relying simply upon biases or preconceptions or half-baked definitions of words, will not be satisfied with the answer to a question like that, since so many other significant factors are rather obviously being disregarded by it when people think and talk about gender in the real world. You may wish to carve up the world at the joints, into nice, small, simple, easily-digestible little categories, but observation shows that in this case it is not actually that simple. You’ll get no apologies for that — just fucking deal with it.

    We have to do better than your simplistic scheme, but doing so is what you’ve declared to be “ideology” — I for one will own it, since it’s not necessarily a nefarious word: it’s a system of ideas, like secular humanism for example. No fucking problem with that. It happens not to be your one silly idea. But it’s coherent, it’s relevant to the topic at hand, and it works. Your complaints are just about you being unable or unwilling to grips with that.

  177. mariamaclachlan says

    @John Morales

    “Are you denying the existence of intersex people as well…”

    Huh? What do people with intersex conditions have to do with anything? I do hope you know they are either male and female just like everyone else? I also hope you are not going to try to use them to make some point about trans people because they tend not to like that and have a word for it: ‘interphobic’.

    “…or merely denying the reality of transgender people?”

    The reality of transgender people being what, exactly? That some suffer from gender dysphoria. Nope, I don’t deny that. That many more have a paraphilic fetish? I can assure you I am keenly aware of this fact also. I’m wondering why you’re even posing this question in response to my pointing out that biological truth that women don’t have penises. If you’re going claim some do, then the burden of proof is on you, mate.

    “…or are you one of those people confused by the distinction between sex and gender, even?”

    Not in the slightest bit confused by the distinction but I rather think you are. For the record, sex refers to the process of reproduction and the two reproductive categories, male and female. Definitions of gender vary but the WHO defines it as referring to “the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men”.

    “Because if you’re not, your problem is merely one of terminology, and you will find it easier to eventually adapt to reality.”

    If by “problem of terminology” you mean I object to the language that defines what I am being redefined by entitled males, you are correct. Unfortunately, I have to live in reality – a reality in which men i.e. adult human males, oppress women i.e. adult human females. If you think I’m going to simply roll over and submit to men’s adjudicating what women are and what language we use, think again.

    “Ah, I remember when theists used to come here to argue, and this was one of their claims. :)
    Don’t get any these days, nor creationists. Get those like you, though, sometimes.”

    By those like me, I presume you mean those who are not prepared to suspend their critical faculties in order to validate a particular moral conclusion? Thanks for sharing but actually arguments stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of who makes them. Judging by your efforts so far, it would seem the theists were right. You might want to look up the ‘genetic fallacy’ before saying anything as irrelevant as this again.

  178. leitm says

    ‘From me just a very short comment: bimodal ≠ binary’

    If sex distribution is bimodal why are there only two types of gamete, male and female?

  179. mariamaclachlan says

    @Porivil Sorrens

    “Oh man, been a while since we’ve had a couple FARTs (Feminism Appropriating Reactionary Transphobes) showing up here. Weren’t you lot supposed to have jumped ship with Ophelia?”

    You evidently don’t realise this but feminism is about women’s liberation not male entitlement and you don’t get to appropriate it and decide who is or isn’t a feminist – take it from one who’s been a feminist longer than you’ve been alive. If pointing out a biological reality makes me a ‘reactionary transphobe’ in your little bubble, I’ll take it.

    Cheers.

  180. says

    consciousness razor – do keep up. We are trying to understand the central terms in this debate. We have no got to gender identity (which you will not be able to objectively define) but are still trying toi undrertsand what we mean by male and female. We may then move on to understanding what we mean by sex and gender – and maybe if everyone are good boys and girls get onto what you call gender identity. This may lead us to finding a way to test the claim that some women have penises.

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Andy

    We are trying to understand the central terms in this debate.

    There is no debate as you aren’t listening and considering where you are wrong. You are preaching an idiotology that is not congruent with reality. Do try to keep up, and also acknowledge you aren’t in control of the “debate”. You control nothing, and are just flailing around without effect, except for our laughing at you.

  182. consciousness razor says

    do keep up

    You haven’t gotten very far — perhaps you’ll say you’ve gotten nowhere so far — and you’re the one who has to catch up to me.

  183. Porivil Sorrens says

    @216

    PHBBBBBBBT PHBT PHBBBBT

    Sorry, gonna have to get back to you on this one, champ. I don’t speak FART, so it’s gonna take me a bit to translate it.

  184. Rowan vet-tech says

    If outliers exist it’s not a binary. And a being with gonads with ovarian AND testicular tissue certainly doesn’t fall into either of your simplistic categories.

  185. says

    consciousness razor – the reason we have not got too far is because of the monumental stupidity of those that wish to defend a pseudoscientific concept.

    Read the timeline to see how I have patiently asked for terms to be defined and clarified by people. Asking to understand what reason and evidence we might use here. No one has had the bravery to volunteer anything. I have had to battle through abuse, idiocy and wilful ignorance. Are you part of that?

  186. says

    Rowan _ i have asked you a simple question. Let me ask you again,

    Without going into any particular discussion of any particular rare disorder, are you disputing that these two clusters do not exist? Are you defying that we cannot form two distinct classes of people/organisms based on their developmental organisation? Are you denying that male and female exist as objective, material, biological reality?

  187. leitm says

    ‘If outliers exist it’s not a binary. And a being with gonads with ovarian AND testicular tissue certainly doesn’t fall into either of your simplistic categories.’

    A being with ovarian AND testicular tissue has male gametes and female gametes, therefore they are a hermaphrodite. Such beings are very common in some lower organism clades, albeit not vertebrates. If they have male and female gametes as a result of an aberrant developmental process then they are a pseudohermaphrodite/intersex – depending on which term you prefer. There is no spectrum – you can have male gametes, female gametes, or both, either functional or non-functional, either way in nature there are only two gametes with three discrete combinations, some of which represent abnormalities. This isn’t a spectrum.

  188. says

    Hi @leitm – it is also worth pointing out that Rowan is going to be hard pushed to find an example of any individual that can produce both male and female gametes.

  189. Rowan vet-tech says

    Well, there is the dog that I’m talking about.. and that dog does not fall neatly into male or female. I’ve never denied that there are two large groups. I’m just saying they aren’t the only things that exist.
    You are the one insisting that outliers don’t count, conveniently ignoring information that doesn’t fit your simplistic definition of produces sperm or ovum.
    Biology is complicated. You can’t act like a physicist and do the equivalent of “assuming a spherical cow” with this.

  190. says

    Existence of two main clusters does not preclude existence of other, albeit smaller, clusters. With your own reasoning, there are at least three such clusters for people – those who produce sperm, those who produce ova, and those who produce neither. That makes it non-binary already – a spectrum of three clusters. Fucking hell, there are at least seven viable sex chromosome combinations in humans, with varying degrees of fertility and effect on somatic development.
    Your insistence that there are only male and female and nothing inbetween denies the very reality of people who do not fall into those boxes.
    There are only “male” and “female” gametes in humans, true. But that does not mean that there are only “male” and “female” individuals. Even without going into other characteristics, that are spread along much more continuous spectrum than gamete production.
    I wonder what biological education you have. I am not impressed by your reasoning so far.
    And last from me – words are descriptors, not prescriptors. That we only have two words for gender does not mean there are only two genders. You seem to have that backward too.

  191. consciousness razor says

    the reason we have not got too far is because of the monumental stupidity of those that wish to defend a pseudoscientific concept.

    I contend that you’ll have made some progress when you begin to realize you’re wrong about that.
    Here’s a question, and I want a straight answer from you. Do you believe psychology and sociology are pseudoscientific?
    Also, whatever your take may be on things like history or linguistics or political/moral philosophy (to name a few relevant fields), is there something inherently indefensible about such things, which may or may not fall outside the nebulous realm of what you consider to be science?
    I’m a musician. Suppose I started telling you about music theory or music history. I could do that for a very long time indeed. (Such things are taught at universities these days, believe it or not.) Would you assume it’s “pseudoscience” and consider that a reason to dismiss whatever I was saying? Can I not rationally support the idea that a (024689) set is an inversion of a (013579) set? That you may not understand it, since I did not carry your hand all the way through to the end, is not my concern at all.
    So I want to ask something like this: which specific assumptions must we make ahead of time, according to you, about the kinds of concepts that are defensible and the kinds that are not? You haven’t clearly defined any of this yet, so by your own rules, I’m entitled to demand that you step back and start the conversation there. If you don’t, I will keep whining about it and treat you like a climate-change denialist.

  192. says

    Rowan – it is absurd to claim that I think outliers don’t count. It is me who discussed them. There is absolutely no way you can claim I have ignored intersex people. Their lives just do not support what you wish to be true.

    I also note you are ignoring a set of simple questions put to you twice now.

    A third time:

    Are you denying that male and female exist as objective, material, biological reality?

  193. says

    Charly _ I am getting to that stage in the evening where I am just going to assume your reading comprehension is not that good.

    There are only two reproductive classes – male and female. There are no other classes that you may define that represent a reproductive class. That is, a class of individuals that play a distinct and unique role in the creation of new individuals.

    If I am wrong, name the gamete.

  194. mariamaclachlan says

    @Porivil Sorrens
    “Sorry, gonna have to get back to you on this one, champ. I don’t speak FART, so it’s gonna take me a bit to translate it.”

    Don’t bother. I have better things to do than squabble with juveniles and I doubt I can dumb down enough to match you.

  195. says

    “Do you believe psychology and sociology are pseudoscientific?”:

    They need not be, but they often are.

    But we have not yet got on to psychology and sociology and it is pointless until we can share a common and evidence-based understanding of what male and female organisms are.

    And I am glad you are bringing musical theory into this debate. Please feel free to find an area where this may be in the slightest regard illuminatory.

  196. consciousness razor says

    They need not be, but they often are.

    I didn’t ask how often. If you’re going to be more fine-grained about it, then say which parts of them are pseudoscience. These are your beliefs, so simply say what they are. Preferably, they should be defensible, but I’m not granting you that for free.

    But we have not yet got on to psychology and sociology

    You haven’t. We have. Who died and made you king of “where we have got on to yet”?

    Please feel free to find an area where this may be in the slightest regard illuminatory.

    You dodge my questions, and I whine that you’re a denialist. That’s the deal. You’ve got nothing. You are making our home worse than it should be, and I hold you responsible for your bad choices.

  197. Porivil Sorrens says

    @236
    And as I said, I’m not interested in what you have to say until you read BOFA.

  198. Rowan vet-tech says

    So you’re going to continue assuming a spherical cow. Got it.

    You want to define male as XY, penis, sperm, yes? And female as XX, uterus, ovum, yes? Do those exist? Yes. Are these the most likely to produce viable offspring? Yes.

    But also existing is XY, vagina, non functional testes. And XX, penis, testes but no functional sperm. And XXY and XXX and XYY and X with varying configurations of penis, vagina, uterus, testes, ovaries and varying levels of fertility and secondary characteristics. Also existing is whatever chromosomal arrangement was had by the dog that I got to physically lay hands on that had a uterus, vagina, scrotum with an ovo-teste in it, a bacculum creating a rudimentary penis.

  199. says

    consciousness razor – as a late comer to this, you might scroll back and see how discussion has been hampered by a lack of common understanding of central terms. Until we can share an understanding of what words like sex, gender, male, femalem man and woman mean it looks unlikely we could find out how we can establish if Myers’s assertion that some women have penises might be true.

    If you have another way to constructively get to the point where we can establish this as a fact in a rational and evidence-based way, then please feel free to come forward. Until such time, stop your whining.

  200. says

    Rowan – do male and female people exist?

    Can you name any human being who is not the product of reproduction between a male and female mother and father.

    Or do you think it is about storks and strawberry patches?

  201. consciousness razor says

    If you have another way to constructively get to the point where we can establish this as a fact in a rational and evidence-based way, then please feel free to come forward. Until such time, stop your whining.

    Open a fucking biology textbook. I will not contest whatever it says about human beings. That is a rational and evidence-based source for information about human biology, not fucking blog comments.

    Am I done with that? Yeah, I think I get the picture. Are you? I have no fucking clue. If I’m way fucking ahead of an ignorant denialist like you, who keeps frothing about the definitions of blog commenters for no apparent reason, instead of understanding what we’ve learned empirically about human biology, then it’s not my fucking problem.

    Unless you’ve got some misconceptions that you’d like to share about it, then I don’t think we do disagree about the biology. That means it really is time to move on from that topic, since it is not what is under dispute — it’s not that we are done, because none of it constitutes a challenge to my position. But if, like a garden-variety denialist, crank-magnetism is in full force and you do also have some kind of hang-ups about the claims in biology textbooks, then you should consult with biologists about that. My comments on a blog will not be an appropriate source for you. Do you see how this works, asshole?

  202. alanhenness says

    Andy Lewis said:

    Until we can share an understanding of what words like sex, gender, male, femalem man and woman mean it looks unlikely we could find out how we can establish if Myers’s assertion that some women have penises might be true.

    I think it’s quite telling that Myers, an associate-professor of biology, whose blog this is and who has commented just once out of nearly 250 comments here, has not taken the opportunity to explain what he means by the terms he used in his article. A common language and understanding of basic terms is surely essential to any discussion. Without that understanding, no light is generated, only heat, as can be seen from Andy’s best efforts to get others to explain the basic terms they use.

  203. Porivil Sorrens says

    My favorite flavor of ideological kool-aid is whatever flavor labour drank before they started expelling the FARTs from its ranks.

    Hope it was the blue one, that tastes the best.

  204. says

    Right. Have to go to bed but will be back.

    In the meantime, can I remind everyone here that this is the free thought blogs and not the free of thought blogs?

    Goodnight.

  205. consciousness razor says

    Which biology textbook do you recommend, consciousness razor?

    It’s been years since I was in a college biology course (merely an intro one). Ask biologists for their recommendations, not me. Why the fuck would you ask me?

    Or will a blog by a biologist who hasn’t drunk the ideological kool-aid do instead?

    A blog entry is not a textbook. Are you not fluent in English? No matter. I do not consider them equivalent.

    But I insist that we’re not ready for that yet anyway. To start with, Andy Lewis needs to clearly define science, evidence-based, rationality, and defensibility, along with others like monumental stupidity if necessary. He does not seem to be up-to-speed on these basic concepts and shows he has trouble using them in his evaluations of the claims people make. His ignorance on these matters is rather astounding, and nobody else here can proceed until that changes, because so much depends on the workings of his own little mind.

    I don’t know if I have a favorite flavor of Kool-Aid…. pink lemonade, perhaps? But it shouldn’t be too sugary.

  206. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Andy Lewis: “it is a shame that on these old fashioned blog comments you cannot mute fucking idiots.”

    Given how much you love to hear yourself talk, that would be a tragedy for you.

  207. mariamaclachlan says

    I am indeed fluent in English, consciousness razor and, unlike you and other posters here, I am able to engage in a calm and civil manner without repeatedly resorting to snark or personal insults. As you were the one to suggest opening “a fucking biology textbook”, it didn’t seem unreasonable to ask you which one you recommended, or to recommend instead an article that could just as easily have come from a biology text book and which is clearly relevant to the discussion being had here. Sorry that the suggestion seems to have offended you so much.

    By the way, with the minimum of effort, Andy Lewis has exposed the paucity of the ‘arguments’ (for want of a better word) of you and others here without you even realising it.

  208. Porivil Sorrens says

    All he really demonstrated was his ignorance of the works of the venerable Dr. Ligma and BOFA in general. No one should be able to speak on the topic without a working knowledge of BOFA.

  209. consciousness razor says

    You were preparing to go nighty-night, Andy. Remember? Perhaps tomorrow, it will be your turn to say a single useful thing in this thread.

  210. John Morales says

    Andy @193.

    As for your logic: “C2, from C1 and P3: Jacinta’s opposite sex is male”. This is an obvious error. He has a penis. He is male.

    Heh. There is no error in my logic, and I used your stated premises.

    If you consider the conclusion false, the error must therefore be in the premises; at least one must be false. Care to try to determine which?

    In the meantime, you should accept that you have effectively claimed Jacinta is a woman, on the basis of certain claims you have made, whilst also ostensibly claiming that Jacinta is not a woman, on the basis of (dum, dum, duuum!) penis.

    (When you make contradictory claims, your position is incoherent)

  211. John Morales says

    mariamaclachlan@213: your belated reply is very much appreciated.

    @John Morales

    “Are you denying the existence of intersex people as well… [, or merely denying the reality of transgender people?]”

    Huh? What do people with intersex conditions have to do with anything? I do hope you know they are either male and female just like everyone else?

    If they were male or female in a biological sense, then they wouldn’t be intersex, would they?

    What you hope I know is a wishful misunderstanding you possess, but which I lack.

    I also hope you are not going to try to use them to make some point about trans people because they tend not to like that and have a word for it: ‘interphobic’.

    Your concern for the feelings of trans people is duly noted, but no, it was a simple question to which you have now provided your answer: they do exist, but they are actually either male or female.

    (Takes a good mind to hold mutually contradictory concepts as true, so you already impress me)

    “…or merely denying the reality of transgender people?”

    The reality of transgender people being what, exactly?

    Existence. Trans people exist, so they are not imaginary.

    You know, like trees are real, and politicians are real, and so forth.

    That some suffer from gender dysphoria. Nope, I don’t deny that. That many more have a paraphilic fetish? I can assure you I am keenly aware of this fact also.

    Interesting focus you have, there. So, to you, trans people are characterised by gender dysphoria (which entails that, unlike Andy, you acknowledge gender identity — after all, the concept of gender dysphoria makes no sense unless it refers to gender identity) and paraphilias and fetishism.

    I’m wondering why you’re even posing this question in response to my pointing out that biological truth that women don’t have penises. If you’re going claim some do, then the burden of proof is on you, mate.

    Because womanhood, in a societal context, now includes transwomanhood.

    So yes, you deny the reality of transgender people.

    Must be awkward to so devote yourself to being upset by their existence, and the way it’s becoming normalised. And one day, it will be like gay marriage: unremarkable.

    “…or are you one of those people confused by the distinction between sex and gender, even?”

    Not in the slightest bit confused by the distinction but I rather think you are. For the record, sex refers to the process of reproduction and the two reproductive categories, male and female. Definitions of gender vary but the WHO defines it as referring to “the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men”.

    Excellent. If you’re happy to go with the WHO, then http://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/understanding/gender-definition/en/

    “Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed. While most people are born either male or female, they are taught appropriate norms and behaviours – including how they should interact with others of the same or opposite sex within households, communities and work places. When individuals or groups do not “fit” established gender norms they often face stigma, discriminatory practices or social exclusion – all of which adversely affect health. It is important to be sensitive to different identities that do not necessarily fit into binary male or female sex categories.”

    My emphasis.

    “Because if you’re not, your problem is merely one of terminology, and you will find it easier to eventually adapt to reality.”

    If by “problem of terminology” you mean I object to the language that defines what I am being redefined by entitled males, you are correct. Unfortunately, I have to live in reality – a reality in which men i.e. adult human males, oppress women i.e. adult human females. If you think I’m going to simply roll over and submit to men’s adjudicating what women are and what language we use, think again.

    No, I mean the language that expresses the reality of ever-changing social constructs as society itself changes. And your indignation is misplaced when focused on trans women, since (a) that reality was the same (but worse) since well before trans people got the recognition and support they merit, and (b) if you ignored all the men adjudicating what women are and what language [you] use, you’d be left with a very large number of women doing that adjudicating.

    (I get your code, adjudicating means not repudiating trans people)

    “Ah, I remember when theists used to come here to argue, and this was one of their claims. :)
    Don’t get any these days, nor creationists. Get those like you, though, sometimes.”

    By those like me, I presume you mean those who are not prepared to suspend their critical faculties in order to validate a particular moral conclusion?

    No, you left out to what I was specifically responding; context here is necessary.

    “Women do NOT have penises. […]
    “Your sex is defined according to which of the two reproductive classes you were born into – you KNOW this really but you’ve drunk the ideological kool-aid and are in denial.”

    They used to tell us we were in denial, too (us being those who don’t share their primitive view).

    Why you imagine I must suspend my critical faculties in order to cope with the reality of trans people is unkown to me, but I suspect it may be that that’s what you’d have to do, were you to come to similar acceptance.

    Thanks for sharing but actually arguments stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of who makes them. Judging by your efforts so far, it would seem the theists were right. You might want to look up the ‘genetic fallacy’ before saying anything as irrelevant as this again.

    Why do you think you need arguments in order to accept the reality of trans people?

    (You do know it’s a gender thing, right? And I know you know what gender is, and how it can change — as per the WHO)

  212. John Morales says

    mariamaclachlan:

    I am indeed fluent in English, consciousness razor and, unlike you and other posters here, I am able to engage in a calm and civil manner without repeatedly resorting to snark or personal insults.

    Right. And we shall see, because suggesting other people are not able to engage in a calm and civil manner without repeatedly resorting to snark or personal insults is neither snark nor a personal insult.

    By the way, with the minimum of effort, Andy Lewis has exposed the paucity of the ‘arguments’ (for want of a better word) of you and others here without you even realising it.

    O My, you sure are delusional. Andy exposed many things, but mostly about their ignorance, obtuseness, and ideological obstinacy.

    But sure: A shitload of comments in a short time span is the minimum of effort. You’d better get properly going if you’re gonna essay the minimum of effort, too, you got a long way to go. :)

  213. says

    Why is this topic always about women having penises. Women do not have penises. Women are adult human biological females.
    Let’s talk about men having vaginas. PZ Meyers, write about men having vaginas. And men agreeing with that. I want to hear all men agreeing men have vaginas.

  214. says

    PZ Meyers, transwomen attack women on our being of the actual female sex. What underlies this? Jealousy and envy. Really boring, but that is the core of this discussion. Look up autogynephilia. Most transgenders are transvestites (autogynephilia, narcissism and sexual objectification of women). Lowering women to a fetish by males is utter woman hating.
    Lets lower men to vagina havers.

  215. mariamaclachlan says

    “If they were male or female in a biological sense, then they wouldn’t be intersex, would they?”

    Oh good grief! Of course they are male or female in a biological sense! What other sense is there? “Intersex” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means – it is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that affect the development of the reproductive tract. Some of them affect all or mostly males, some all or mostly females and some both. I suggest you read up on the subject before raising it again.

    “Trans people exist, so they are not imaginary.
    You know, like trees are real, and politicians are real, and so forth.”

    Of course they exist. Women don’t feel threatened by sharing changing rooms with other women and are not being displaced in sports teams and medal tables by nobody. Pointing out that women don’t have penises, which is what provoked your question, does not constitute a denial of anyones existence.

    ” unlike Andy, you acknowledge gender identity — after all, the concept of gender dysphoria makes no sense unless it refers to gender identity”

    Andy has referred to gender identity as “an ill formed concept that cannot stand much scrutiny and is best understood as just an aspect of personality”

    I agree with him. This isn’t to deny that some people are very distressed by the repercussions of their biological sex and imagine they’d be happier if they were the other sex. This, after all is what gender dysphoria refers to.

    “Because womanhood, in a societal context, now includes transwomanhood.”

    Well, no, it doesn’t. Women are adult human females and trans “women” are adult human males. That is the global understanding of the word woman and nobody really believes that male-born trans people are women and vice versa. As I believe I already said, you don’t get to redefine womanhood and expect us just to put up with your doing so.

    “So yes, you deny the reality of transgender people.”

    Huh? You said that by the reality of trans people you meant their existence and I pointed out that obviously they exist. Now you are changing it to mean something else. If we could just keep the goalposts still for a moment – if you mean that trans “women” are women, that isn’t reality for reasons already explained and which you have not rebutted.

    “Must be awkward to so devote yourself to being upset by their existence, and the way it’s becoming normalised.”

    I think you are wilfully misinterpreting my insistence on (1) sticking to biological facts and (2) challenging your right to redefine womanhood. It is not the existence of trans people that upsets, it is the hurt and damage that those who promote transgender ideology are doing to women and children. It is a misogynistic and homophobic ideology that is erasing women’s rights and hurting transsexuals too, as a few of them are brave enough to point out.

    “and can be changed.”

    Yes, of course of norms, roles, behavioral expectations and relationships can be changed. Sex cannot change however, ergo women don’t have penises. What would be even better than change, however, would be the total abolition of the regressive notion of gender and that we allow people to express themselves however they like as long as they don’t pretend to be what they are not – don’t you think?

    “No, I mean the language that expresses the reality of ever-changing social constructs as society itself changes.”

    No you mean the language that defines what I am being redefined by entitled males. Calling men who present as feminine “women” is an act of abuse that denies and erases us a sex class. What you call “the language that expresses the reality of ever-changing social constructs” is being forced on people through intimidation, bullying and even legislation.

    My indignation with male-born transgender people is not misplaced because (a) they are the ones who violently assaulted me (b) they are the ones who’ve been harassing and defaming me for over a year (c) they are the ones who gaslight, abuse, dox, publicly promote and celebrate violence against any woman with the courage to fight back. Enthusiastically helped by allies like you, of course.

    You don’t seem to understand why your comment about theists was fallacious. Never mind.

    Finally, there’s no point banging on about the “reality of trans people” when you can’t even give a clear definition of what you mean by it.

  216. Rowan vet-tech says

    I went to high school with a trans guy. He was a guy with a vagina. My dear trans friends are women, one of whom has a vagina, the other who still has a penis. They are dear, sweet, kind, gentle individuals unlike you FART/Terfs.
    I am not a woman because I am in possession of a vagina. YOU are the ones lowering women and men to naught but their genitals which is disgusting.

  217. John Morales says

    Slade L., it is unfortunate your identity as a woman is so weak you feel attacked by the existence of transwomen.

    How you imagine you are less a woman thereby is opaque.

    autogynephilia

    This threatens your femininity, but you don’t say how.

    (Are you this prudish about other kinks?)

    What underlies this? Jealousy and envy.
    […] Lowering women to a fetish by males is utter woman hating.

    Jealousy and envy aren’t hate, though they certainly can coexist.

    Lets lower men to vagina havers.

    Vagina-havers are lower than men? You sure don’t sound too proud about being a woman.

  218. says

    @Slade L

    Why is this topic always about women having penises. Women do not have penises. Women are adult human biological females.

    Let’s talk about men having vaginas. PZ Meyers, write about men having vaginas. And men agreeing with that. I want to hear all men agreeing men have vaginas.

    Because PZ was responding to Angelos Sofocleous, and Angelos Sofocleous made it about whether or not there exist women with penises. You want to get angry about the fact that the topic was even raised? Get angry at Angelos Sofocleous.

    I think it likely that you will not, however, vent any anger at Angelos Sofocleous because I strongly suspect that you don’t object to the question – you object to anyone answering the question differently than you do.

  219. says

    @mariamaclachlan:

    “Because womanhood, in a societal context, now includes transwomanhood.”

    Well, no, it doesn’t. Women are adult human females and trans “women” are adult human males. That is the global understanding of the word woman and nobody really believes that male-born trans people are women and vice versa.

    No. It isn’t. Try reading up on what experts have been saying on the topic for the last 40 years.

    You are of course free to use a simplistic definition if you like, and in many conversations the definitions overlap sufficiently that your meaning will be clear anyway. However, you’re making an assertion that there is a “global understanding” of the word “woman” and that it conforms to your definition. This is false.

    The only question now is whether you’re spouting a falsehood because you’re ignorant, mendacious, or delusional.

  220. Mark Jacobson says

    Looks like the vermin are skittering around in an old thread, trying to avoid the banhammer while spreading their filth. We even have the stereotypical can’t-spell-“PZ Myers” slimeball in here.

    The only question is if it’s brigading, multi-account trolling, or both.

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

    Vermin, eh? You forgot to say that they are “infesting” the place.

  222. John Morales says

    mariamaclachlan:

    Oh good grief! Of course they are male or female in a biological sense! What other sense is there?

    No, no. It’s not about the biological sense, that’s been granted arguendo. It’s about whether any particular human cannot be said to be either male nor female with sufficient precision by the required criteria.

    “Intersex” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means – it is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that affect the development of the reproductive tract. Some of them affect all or mostly males, some all or mostly females and some both. I suggest you read up on the subject before raising it again.

    Sure.
    “In biological terms, sex may be determined by a number of factors present at birth, including:
    the number and type of sex chromosomes;
    the type of gonads—ovaries or testicles;
    the sex hormones;
    the internal reproductive anatomy (such as the uterus in females); and
    the external genitalia.
    People whose characteristics are not either all typically male or all typically female at birth are intersex.

    Of course they exist.

    So, they’re real, and not imaginary.
    Also, since they do exist as you concede, it cannot be the case that they could not exist.

    (I know you’re of the opinion that they should not exist, but that’s a different thing)

    ” unlike Andy, you acknowledge gender identity — after all, the concept of gender dysphoria makes no sense unless it refers to gender identity”

    Andy has referred to gender identity as “an ill formed concept that cannot stand much scrutiny and is best understood as just an aspect of personality”

    I agree with him. This isn’t to deny that some people are very distressed by the repercussions of their biological sex and imagine they’d be happier if they were the other sex. This, after all is what gender dysphoria refers to.

    Fair enough. To you, gender identity is an ill-formed concept but gender dysphoria is not, though the latter depends on accepting the former.

    “Because womanhood, in a societal context, now includes transwomanhood.”

    Well, no, it doesn’t. Women are adult human females and trans “women” are adult human males. That is the global understanding of the word woman and nobody really believes that male-born trans people are women and vice versa.

    What part of “societal context” confuses you?

    Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_rights_in_Australia

    Australia, specifically South Australia, is my societal context, and the law generally lags behind public sentiment. Their recognition is not just de facto, but also de jure.

    [Because womanhood, in a societal context, now includes transwomanhood.]

    “So yes, you deny the reality of transgender people.”

    Huh? You said that by the reality of trans people you meant their existence and I pointed out that obviously they exist. Now you are changing it to mean something else. If we could just keep the goalposts still for a moment – if you mean that trans “women” are women, that isn’t reality for reasons already explained and which you have not rebutted.

    There is no rebuttal because biological sex is still a thing, just not the whole thing.
    I’m not changing anything, I recognise that biological sex may not match gender identity, and that ‘woman’ may refer to either or both, depending on context.

    I think you are wilfully misinterpreting my insistence on (1) sticking to biological facts and (2) challenging your right to redefine womanhood.

    No, I get you. You’re an essentialist, based on an immutable premise, to the effect that womanhood is a purely biological phenomenon, and you imagine that my acceptance of gender identity as a real thing means I am exercising a right (I didn’t know I had one!) to redefine womanhood.

    (I assure you, none of those definitions originate with me)

    It is not the existence of trans people that upsets, it is the hurt and damage that those who promote transgender ideology are doing to women and children. It is a misogynistic and homophobic ideology that is erasing women’s rights and hurting transsexuals too, as a few of them are brave enough to point out.

    Heh. I put it to you that those, such as you, who promote transphobic ideology are the ones who cause far more hurt and damage.

    And I suspect that the intersection of the sets of trans people and those who advocate transgender ideology is pretty large, but I get you meant their existence per se.

    As for the putative misogyny and homophobia and rights erasures to which you refer, I don’t see any basis for that claim. Surely you don’t think rights are a zero-sum game, such that when some category of people gains them, another must lose an equivalent amount?

    (Your whole schtick reminds me of the one gay marriage opponents made about it damaging traditional marriage)

    Yes, of course of norms, roles, behavioral expectations and relationships can be changed.

    Fine, so the expectation that a man should not use a women’s toilet can be changed. You accept that. You accept, in short, that a man can in every respect other than biological sex perform the norms, roles, behavioral expectations and relationships a woman can, and vice-versa, and that the expectation that they cannot can be also changed.

    (Progress, there; and who knows? Biology is making rapid progress, these days)

    What would be even better than change, however, would be the total abolition of the regressive notion of gender and that we allow people to express themselves however they like as long as they don’t pretend to be what they are not – don’t you think?

    Perhaps. If so, then the current situation is a good step towards that.

    What you call “the language that expresses the reality of ever-changing social constructs” is being forced on people through intimidation, bullying and even legislation.

    You think so? I don’t.

    I notice you don’t dispute that it expresses the reality of ever-changing social constructs, but.

    My indignation with male-born transgender people is not misplaced because (a) they are the ones who violently assaulted me (b) they are the ones who’ve been harassing and defaming me for over a year (c) they are the ones who gaslight, abuse, dox, publicly promote and celebrate violence against any woman with the courage to fight back. Enthusiastically helped by allies like you, of course.

    To start with the last, you should be aware that I don’t consider myself to be an ally to trangender people, any more than I consider myself to be an ally to feminists.
    Please don’t confuse comprehension and critique for advocacy.

    Now.

    Re: “My indignation with male-born transgender people is not misplaced because (a) they are the ones who violently assaulted me”

    I’m sorry to hear that. But, as I noted earlier in response to Andy, you can’t expect any large group of people to be devoid of violent assaulters. It would make sense if you thought the assault was only possible because they were transgender people, not independently of that.

    Re: “(b) they are the ones who’ve been harassing and defaming me for over a year”

    Well, at least you give as good as you get, in that regard. So there’s that.

    Re: “(c) they are the ones who gaslight, abuse, dox, publicly promote and celebrate violence against any woman with the courage to fight back”

    That’s the same as (b), except with respect to others as well as yourself.

    (What you “call the courage to fight back” others would, with good reason, call “transphobia”)

    You don’t seem to understand why your comment about theists was fallacious. Never mind.

    It can’t be fallacious, since it was an expression of a sentiment, not an argument.

    Finally, there’s no point banging on about the “reality of trans people” when you can’t even give a clear definition of what you mean by it.

    I don’t need to give a clear definition; I can just point to one and say “that’s a real transperson”.

    (Did I not make it sufficiently clear, hitherto, that I am an empiricist?)

  223. Porivil Sorrens says

    @262
    Are you like, not aware of the existence of trans men? Like at all?

    That’s even more uninformed than never reading BOFA.

  224. Porivil Sorrens says

    Oh wait shit, mariamaclachlan is that one FART that got dunked on after attacking an activist’s partner and got her camera smashed by said activist back in April, I knew that name was familiar.

    Get fucking rekt, you piece of shit, lmao. Fascists get stitches.

  225. Porivil Sorrens says

    The best part was that said activist walked away with like, a couple hundred euros as a fine, and the Judge had to repeatedly remind Ms. MacLachlan to use female pronouns for said activist.

  226. chigau (違う) says

    sex
    gender
    male
    female
    man
    woman

    Why are “feminine” and “masculine” not on this list?

  227. chigau (違う) says

    HTML lesson

    Doing this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Results in this

    paste copied text here

    <b>bold</b>
    bold

    <i>italic</i>
    italic

  228. Porivil Sorrens says

    Fair enough. The important part is that we’re being brigaded by some fairly prominent FART talking heads, one of whom got destroyed for being a bigot in public.

  229. says

    Well, I don’t know if the person posting here under the ‘nym mariamaclachlan is the Maria Maclachlan of this case, but the Maria Maclachlan of the Daily Mail article was assaulted, and that is wrong. The same Maria Maclachlan was also pictured in this Telegraph article and has awesomely purple hair.

    None of that makes our mariamaclachlan remotely correct in any of the discussions here. mariamaclachlan can define woman so as to exclude the possibility of a woman with a penis if that’s what mariamaclachlan wants, but that definition doesn’t become universal or unproblematic or even evidence-based just because mariamaclachlan says it is.

    I won’t tell you, mariamaclachlan, to get rekt or any such thing, but I will tell you that you’re doing some pretty bad feminism there, and if you want to be taken seriously here you’re going to have to respond to the serious question about what caused you to falsely claim your definition of the word woman is universal.

  230. Porivil Sorrens says

    Nah, not wrong, morally commendable, especially when it was in response to Ms. MacLachlan violently shaking the woman’s partner.

    Fascists deserve to get bashed. It was good when it happened to Spencer, and it was good when it happened to Ms. MacLachlan too.

  231. says

    The important part is that we’re being brigaded by some fairly prominent FART talking heads, one of whom got destroyed for being a bigot in public.

    I agree with the facts of this statement, although I’m much less sanguine about the violence involved in that “destruction”. I get why people see this as self-defense and as reasonably necessary, but I strongly disagree. I don’t think we can all be John Lewis, but I think that responding with violent action in the context of believing oneself threatened (before the threat materializes) only makes unnecessary violence inevitable. Even for those (like me) who support the right to some level of violent self-defense in at least some circumstances should be uncomfortable with that.

    Maybe I’m too naive & wouldn’t be able to stop a new Nazi movement in my own town, but though I don’t think we can all be John Lewis, at least I know that I’m willing to be non-violent in the face of violence like that. So I won’t insist that people are wrong if they don’t make the same choices I might make, but when I advocate restraint I do understand that this may make a march on the Dharasana Salt Works necessary, and I’m willing to join that march as the cost I pay for adopting my preferred policies.

  232. Porivil Sorrens says

    Ah, that’s why we’re getting brigaded by FARTs, Andy here linked to this thread on twitter.

  233. says

    There is little point in doing much else. I addressed this post first of all with what appeared to be a straightforward angle of looking to see if defenders of Myer’s position could suggest what sort of evidence or rationale could be formed to support the notion that women have penises. The resultant idiocy, evasion and complete failure to even begin addressing the question speaks for itself. All are so wrapped up ideology.

    What I will say is how you too cannot see beyond the ideology. The concept if gender identity is a smokescreen to stop speaking about the real underlying experiences and motivations of transgender individuals. Of course it is possible to talk about dysphoria without the concept if gender identity as the actual professionals who research this do. You could start by reading Bailey and Blanchard

    https://4thwavenow.com/2017/12/07/gender-dysphoria-is-not-one-thing/

  234. Rowan vet-tech says

    Just because you think trans people are scary monsters hiding behind bushes to leap out and get you doesn’t make it real. It just makes you a ninny. “Oh no, they’re different from me! SCARY!”
    I fit every last damn definition of ‘woman’ you want, and my trans women friends are sweet, kind, gentle, understanding women. Their underlying experience is one of danger and discrimination. Trans women have one of the highest murder rates, especially trans women of color. You really think a man is going to pretend to be a woman and risk being murdered by other men just so he can prey on women? News flash, idiot, he doesn’t need to do that to prey on women. Men prey on women just fine, without having to pretend to be trans.
    I was stalked by a cisgender male ‘friend’ in college; my trans woman friend helped protect me from him.
    So when it comes down to it, YOU are more a threat to me than any trans woman. So I’ll stick to hanging out with other women and you can go play with the penis you have such an obsession with off on your own. You are a threat to all women.

  235. Porivil Sorrens says

    Yawn, shitty article based on widely criticized studies. Anyone harping about ROGD or AGD in late 2018 is just a bigot that likes to hide behind scientific terminology.

  236. John Morales says

    Andy Lewis:

    I addressed this post first of all with what appeared to be a straightforward angle of looking to see if defenders of Myer’s position could suggest what sort of evidence or rationale could be formed to support the notion that women have penises.

    And you yourself made submissions to the effect that yes, they can.

    (Go figure)

    The resultant idiocy, evasion and complete failure to even begin addressing the question speaks for itself. All are so wrapped up ideology.

    Fine, fine. But enough about you and your ilk.

    What I will say is how you too cannot see beyond the ideology. The concept if gender identity is a smokescreen to stop speaking about the real underlying experiences and motivations of transgender individuals.

    So, now you presume to know the real underlying experiences and motivations of transgender individuals better than they themselves do.

    Interesting.

    Of course it is possible to talk about dysphoria without the concept if gender identity as the actual professionals who research this do. You could start by reading Bailey and Blanchard

    Let’s take a look.

    One problem with the current mainstream narrative regarding gender dysphoria is that it makes no distinctions among apparently very different kinds of persons. For example, Bruce Jenner appeared to be a very masculine man, an Olympic athlete who was married to three different women and had six children with them, before becoming Caitlyn Jenner. In contrast, Jazz Jennings, a natal male, was so feminine that she earned a diagnosis of gender identity disorder at the age of four.

    You seriously think that’s not talking about the concept of gender identity in the context of gender dysphoria?

    (heh)

    PS, I did skim the piece. Here, just for you, what your cited authorities write:
    “At the same time, you should recognize that despite your best efforts, your child may ultimately need to transition to be happy. If your child’s gender dysphoria persists well into adolescence (again, the ages vary by child, but let’s say age 14 or so), s/he is much more likely to transition. At that point, in our opinion, parents should consider supporting transition.”

    So, hardly against the practice, no?

  237. says

    I am sure Blanchard et al are widely criticised – because such researchers pull back the veil on the reality of trans experience and the ideologists cannot bear that. We all look upon the tragic teen girls ashamed of their maturing bodies and sexuality. We see the young effeminate, gay boys, told it is better to be a girl than a gay boy. We look upon adult men abandoning their families to their paraphilia. And the ideologists tell you all to not look at that but to just believe really hard that women can have penises too. And real women do not matter and should be silenced. And you go along with it.

  238. Porivil Sorrens says

    Ah, yeah. Damn those idealogues, pointing out fundamental flaws in my sources methodology. Hate it when that happens.

  239. says

    “You seriously think that’s not talking about the concept of gender identity in the context of gender dysphoria?”
    It is the label of a diagnosis that was given, not a discussion of the nature of whatever gender identity might be. The authors at no point rely on the extra metaphysical baggage of the concepts around gender identity to explain trans experiences. Ockham’s Razor at work here. No need to invent new universes to explain humdrum experiences. If scepticism was still active around these parts, you would be keen to use the razor too.

  240. John Morales says

    Andy,

    I am sure Blanchard et al are widely criticised – because such researchers pull back the veil on the reality of trans experience and the ideologists cannot bear that.

    Well, then, what do you make of their recommendation to parents that “At the same time, you should recognize that despite your best efforts, your child may ultimately need to transition to be happy. […] At that point, in our opinion, parents should consider supporting transition.”?

    The veil pulls back, and it reveals… (dum dum DUUMM) that transition is a way towards happiness for affected individuals, and that those who did the pulling conditionally recommend it.

    If scepticism was still active around these parts, you would be keen to use the razor too.

    Yet another concept you sorta get.

    FYI, the Razor is a heuristic applicable when there is no other way to distinguish between the merits of completing explanations, not an inference rule.

    (Cargo-cult scepticism is not true scepticism, O poseur)

  241. says

    John – transitioning here means letting such children live their lives as if they are the opposite sex and going along with that fiction. Nothing more. If that is the best way and only way of relieving psychological distress through their condition then that is the best route. I think you must have your gender goggles on and can only see things through the distorting lenses of a batshit ideology.

  242. leitm says

    consciousness razor
    2 October 2018 at 4:17 pm

    ‘Open a fucking biology textbook. I will not contest whatever it says about human beings. That is a rational and evidence-based source for information about human biology, not fucking blog comments.’

    Essential Reproduction by Johnson and Everitt – the entire first chapter is dedicated to explaining there are two sexes in humans, male and female, defined by their gametes, and how they arise, as well as a description of what can go wrong in this process resulting in intersex conditions.

    Go to your local library, find the latest edition and read it for yourself.

    This is a very basic highschool/undergrad level text. It should be within your capabilities.

  243. John Morales says

    Andy, you sure are showing me up. I am appropriately embarrassed.

    John – transitioning here means letting such children live their lives as if they are the opposite sex and going along with that fiction. Nothing more.

    Except to such as you, who absolutely refuse to go along with “that fiction”. Got it.

    It most certainly does not mean transitioning from, say, cis man to trans man, right?

    (Perish the thought!)

    If that is the best way and only way of relieving psychological distress through their condition then that is the best route.

    Oh, sorry, you do go along with it. So… you acknowledge that for at least some gender dysphoric people, transition (fiction as you see it to be) is the best path in life.

    I think you must have your gender goggles on and can only see things through the distorting lenses of a batshit ideology.

    Of course you do.

    But it’s nice you concede that parents supporting their children to transition so that they become trans men or trans women is a good thing.

    Hey, you got any more sources? I’m a glutton for punishment.

    (Also, they might lead to even further concessions from you, not that that particular consideration is foremost in my mind)

  244. John Morales says

    [meh, another typo. I do wonder if you can spot it, Andy, since it inverts my contention]

  245. says

    The difference between me and the gender ideologists is that I accept transitioning is a necessary fiction for some people. They do not become women because it is just a role play. They are still males with penises and should be thought of as such. But we may extend courtesies to them and support them in their lives insofar that this does not negatively impact significantly other stakeholders in society – like all of the women.

  246. says

    If you were brave enough to define your terms objectively: sex, gender, male, female, man, woman, you too would be on course to seeing this as a fiction. But defining terms is verboten in the cult.

  247. John Morales says

    leitm, that book is available as a PDF here: https://www.redlagrey.com/files/Essential-Reproduction-6th-2007.pdf, so no need for a visit to the local library.

    I gave it a very superficial skim, but I’m not about to peruse it, so… takeaway from Ch1:

    The reproduction of mammals involves sex. Sex is defined formally in biology as a process whereby a genetically novel individual is formed as a result of the mixing of genes from two or more individuals.

    Also, “Gender identity describes the personal concept of ‘me as a man or a woman’” Ch.2, P22

    and, just for Andy: “The origins of gender
    It will be clear from the foregoing discussion that gender is a concept applicable to humans.” P23

  248. says

    defining terms is verboten in the cult

    Hahahahahahahahaha…

    Yes, this explains why we have definitions of these concepts that are more than 40 years old that differ dramatically from what you’re attempting to portray. Of course it does. You’re so wise. You’re so brave.

    Oh, and speaking of brave:

    If you were brave enough to define your terms objectively

    How, precisely, does one define terms objectively? Sure, once you have a definition it is possible to objectively compare specific examples against the definition to see if the thing compared is included in the definition or not. But how, precisely, does one go through the process of creating a definition for a word objectively? What about the process makes it objective (or not)? Can you define the word “politics” objectively? If not, why not? Once you have those reasons, how can you be certain none of them would apply in any modified way to the process of defining the word “sex”?

    Show your work, please, so that we can all be educated about how human language can be constructed objectively.

  249. John Morales says

    Andy,

    The difference between me and the gender ideologists is that I accept transitioning is a necessary fiction for some people. They do not become women because it is just a role play. They are still males with penises and should be thought of as such.

    I’m quite sure you imagine you are being cogent, and that you have no conscious awareness that some people transition to become men (I adduced an example, above) at this point.

    (Trans men, trans women. Two sets right there)

    But fine, you hold that, even though someone born with a penis may have gone through sex reassignment surgery and may therefore literally lack a penis, they should be thought of as a male with a penis. The actual absence or presence of a penis is an irrelevance to you, though you imagine you disdain ideology; after all, maleness = penis.

    (You really are the chewiest toy!)

  250. consciousness razor says

    leitm:

    This is a very basic highschool/undergrad level text. It should be within your capabilities.

    Did you think I was lying? I meant what I said. People like mariamaclachlan (#245) and Andy Lewis (numerous comments) may prefer other types of sources. Did you confuse me with one of them perhaps?

  251. John Morales says

    Dammit, quietude again.

    Come on Andy, don’t give up now! Beginning to think you’re no Alan Clarke, alas.

    (Fun times!)

    So far, you’ve claimed that Jacinta is a woman with a penis, and that you endorse parents encouraging their children to transition.

    (Need moar!)

  252. John Morales says

    Ah well, thing is, it cannot truly be said that the penis essentialists and transphobes didn’t get a good go, here, towards making their case. Such as it is.

    So, to go back to the beginning, “This guy, Angelos Sofocleous, was elected to head the humanist group at Durham University. He has resigned.”

    “I have taken the difficult decision to resign from the position of President-Elect of Humanist Students.”

    Wherefore it follows that he was in no way forced, unless one does not take him at his word.

    So, taking take him at his word, it was his choice. Optional, and indicative of his tolerance of criticism.

    (Informative, that someone who declaims lack of tolerance towards criticism quits when criticised)

  253. John Morales says

    PS Crip Dyke @66, I wish I had been able to be so apposite.

    (Reminiscent of Sastra’s acumen, that was)

  254. alanhenness says

    Porivil Sorrens said:

    Oh wait shit, mariamaclachlan is that one FART that got dunked on after attacking an activist’s partner and got her camera smashed by said activist back in April, I knew that name was familiar.

    Get fucking rekt, you piece of shit, lmao. Fascists get stitches.

    The best part was that said activist walked away with like, a couple hundred euros as a fine, and the Judge had to repeatedly remind Ms. MacLachlan to use female pronouns for said activist.

    Wow. A true woman hater. And pig-ignorant at that – every word of what you said is wrong. You haven’t a fucking clue what happened to her, have you? Do you just read what trans rights activists say? That would explain a lot.

  255. says

    @Andy Lewis

    Charly _ I am getting to that stage in the evening where I am just going to assume your reading comprehension is not that good.

    That is really rich from you, since you answered this:

    There are only two reproductive classes – male and female. There are no other classes that you may define that represent a reproductive class. That is, a class of individuals that play a distinct and unique role in the creation of new individuals.

    If I am wrong, name the gamete.

    In response to this:

    There are only “male” and “female” gametes in humans, true. But that does not mean that there are only “male” and “female” individuals. Even without going into other characteristics, that are spread along much more continuous spectrum than gamete production.

    So evidently you are dishonest, in addition to being completely unable to understand basic biology. Attempts to try and explain to you that there is more to what defines a person than the type of gamete they produce are evidently futile. So my final words to you – fuck off, shitstain.

  256. John Morales says

    alanhenness, thanks for your participation! Sorry, I’m not Porivil Sorrens, but hey.

    (Welcome to Pharyngula!)

    Wow. A true woman hater.Wow.

    How so? You make no case for that.

    And pig-ignorant at that – every word of what you said is wrong. You haven’t a fucking clue what happened to her, have you?

    She got a court case where assault charges were levied (tsk) and the judge used his authority to compel Maria to use feminine pronouns, to which she duly complied. And she was fined a moderate amount, with some costs included. It is not obvious to me that Porivil is ignorant of that; indeed, that’s who brought up the issue in this thread.

    (or do you dispute that?)

    Do you just read what trans rights activists say? That would explain a lot.

    It would, were it not obviously a false claim, given this thread.

    (Also, how you see anti-trans woman speech as woman hating is obscure to me, unless you actually equate trans women with women. Which I suspect you don’t)

  257. John Morales says

    [And she was fined a moderate amount — ‘she’ here being her assaulter, not Maria. Tsk to myself, there]

  258. alanhenness says

    Good grief. Neither Porivil Sorrens nor John Morales have a clue. Are either of you at all interested in what actually happened? Let’s take it a bit at a time for you:

    Maria was assaulted at Speakers’ Corner by three attackers, at least two of whom appeared to be male. Only one was arrested and later identified one of the others as his partner although he withheld that person’s name from the police. Wolf attacked Maria and his friends joined in the assault, smashing her camera and knocking her to the ground. Wolf was later arrested and charged by the police and was prosecuted by the Crown. He was found guilty of assault by beating and fined appropriately. He now has a criminal record for that assault.

  259. John Morales says

    alanhenness:

    Good grief. Neither Porivil Sorrens nor John Morales have a clue. Are either of you at all interested in what actually happened?

    Well, I personally am not that interested, though I have Googled and seen the Wikipedia entry, as well as various reports, as well as paid attention to Maria’s claims here. But sure, go ahead.

    Let’s take it a bit at a time for you:

    Sure, since you feel that’s needful. Let’s.

    Maria was assaulted at Speakers’ Corner by three attackers, at least two of whom appeared to be male.

    Appearances are important.

    It is important for you to note that at least two of them did not appear to be female.

    (Because, had they appeared to be female, something different. Right?)

    Only one was arrested and later identified one of the others as his partner although he withheld that person’s name from the police.

    “He”? That’s not what other sources say. It’s also not what the judge said.

    Wolf attacked Maria and his friends joined in the assault, smashing her camera and knocking her to the ground.

    Huh. One of the things I read (https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/transgender-activist-tara-wolf-fined-150-for-assaulting-exclusionary-radical-feminist-in-hyde-park-a3813856.html) was that “Ms Maclachlan, who blogs and tweets about gender issues, admitted grabbing hold of Wolf’s girlfriend and kicking her, believing she had snatched her camera and thrown it to the ground, adding that Wolf’s partner – who was never identified – had kicked her first.”

    Also, (cf. Crip Dyke’s link above)
    “Miss MacLachlan said transgender activists then approached her, before a scuffle broke out and she was punched several times.

    She said: ‘A hooded figure suddenly ran at me, ran past me from left to right, knocking the camera from my hand.

    ‘They swatted it. Although it was knocked out of my hand it was caught by the strap so it didn’t hit the ground, which I thought was the intention.’ ”

    Also,
    “Describing the alleged attempt to knock the camera from her hand, she added: ‘I was extremely shocked it had happened.

    ‘It was a split second it happened in, and very, very angry.

    ‘I retrieved my camera and was intent on getting footage of the person who had just tried to knock my camera out of my hand.

    ‘I straightened the camera up and walked towards where the defendant was now hiding behind the other protesters and raised it above their heads to try and get footage of the defendant.'”

    Maybe the camera was determined to be smashed after the fact, but clearly not so smashed that Maria didn’t raise above their heads to try to get footage.

    Wolf was later arrested and charged by the police and was prosecuted by the Crown. He was found guilty of assault by beating and fined appropriately. He now has a criminal record for that assault.

    She, not “he”. As the judge made clear.

    But yes, sometimes, those who are provoked duly react. And, of course, it’s meet to blame the provokee, not the provoker. Never mind that perhaps a bit more circumspection towards being confrontational is safer, no?

    Hey, are you still so sure I have no clue?

  260. John Morales says

    alanhenness:
    So, how do you reconcile the apparently contradictory reports that

    ‘A hooded figure suddenly ran at me, ran past me from left to right, knocking the camera from my hand.

    ‘They swatted it. Although it was knocked out of my hand it was caught by the strap so it didn’t hit the ground, which I thought was the intention.’

    and

    “Ms Maclachlan, who blogs and tweets about gender issues, admitted grabbing hold of Wolf’s girlfriend and kicking her, believing she had snatched her camera and thrown it to the ground

    A link to the Court transcript would be informative, should you care to remedy my purported cluelessness.

    (Also, what do you make of the judge’s injuction to Maria to use the feminine pronoun when referring to Ms Wolfe?)

  261. John Morales says

    BTW, if the Maria of the case is the Maria who bothered to comment here, I would be most interested to read her testimony, should she care to provide that.

    (I have little expectation that my interest shall be met, alas. I know and she knows I would scrutinise it)

  262. alanhenness says

    Oh dear. There is no transcript but you’ve not watched any of the three videos of the assault, have you?

    But here’s a little test for you: given your two quotes in #319, what possible rational explanation might there be that makes both true? It’s not difficult but my expectations are low.

  263. John Morales says

    alanhenness:

    Oh dear. There is no transcript but you’ve not watched any of the three videos of the assault, have you?

    No, I haven’t watched any videos. Care to provide links?

    (Also, no transcript? I find that hard to believe, but I still can’t be bothered to clickety-click)

    But here’s a little test for you: given your two quotes in #319, what possible rational explanation might there be that makes both true?

    Easy. Maria was mistaken when believing the camera was knocked to the ground and smashed, but then she realised it had not so been and thus endeavoured to use it.

    (The which entails that Maria is a woman who can be mistaken, no?)

    It’s not difficult but my expectations are low.

    Have they been met?

    (Also, what do you make of the judge’s injuction to Maria to use the feminine pronoun when referring to Ms Wolfe?)

  264. John Morales says

    But here’s a little test for you

    Is a little test a testicle?

    (Sorry, bored whilst waiting)

  265. alanhenness says

    It was a case at a Magistrates Court: there are no transcripts nor any written ruling.

    But I was right to have low expectations: you’ve failed the test already.

    To save you the bother of trying to find the videos, here they are:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqk73xUoOTE

    But here’s one that might be more suitable for you (it has pictures and commentary): it takes you slowly through one of the videos of the attack and the false narrative some trans activists put out that tried to discredit Maria:

    On Gaslighting and Trans Terrrorism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7g0zjq4oos

  266. John Morales says

    That’s an affray? Weaksauce.

    Before this, I took Maria’s claim that she had been violently assaulted by trans people seriously.

    Now, I just laugh. Thanks for the perspective.

    Also, that last video is cluttered with noise; worst of the lot.

    (I like content, not opinion)

  267. alanhenness says

    She was assaulted. That’s why Wolf was arrested, charged, stood trial, convicted and who now has a criminal record for the assault by beating. Sorry of that’s too flippant for you.

    But thanks for confirming that you think male violence against women is just a bit of a laugh. That seems to be in keeping with the rest of the nonsense you’ve posted here.

  268. John Morales says

    leitm, heh. I’m not trying to make the best comments, just calling it as I see it.

    I do get how the judge had to uphold the letter of the law, but damn! Weak sauce indeed.

    (Hell, my sisters were more violent than that before puberty, with me and with each other!)

  269. John Morales says

    alanhenness:

    She was assaulted.

    Yeah, well, the Bible is stupid babble, but even there it warns about kicking against the pricks.

    (Pricks, as in thorns, not as in penes)

    That’s why Wolf was arrested, charged, stood trial, convicted and who now has a criminal record for the assault by beating. Sorry of that’s too flippant for you.

    Relax! Your sorrow is music to my ears, no need to be sorry about it.

    But thanks for confirming that you think male violence against women is just a bit of a laugh.

    That ain’t violence against women, that’s a clash between two protest groups.

    Violence against women is a serious matter, but this ain’t that.

    That seems to be in keeping with the rest of the nonsense you’ve posted here.

    Yup. Nonsense.

    (Feeling superior, yet? ;) )

    That said, thanks. The other chew-toys ain’t responding to my pokes, anymore.

  270. John Morales says

    alanhenness:

    Your laughter pleases me, too.

    Regarding my position about male violence against women I’m entirely against it.

    And I am amused this how you characterise this encounter as that, given I’ve seen the actual video.

  271. alanhenness says

    I’m really not all that concerned that you believe you are right while the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Judge were all wrong.

  272. John Morales says

    alanhenness, what makes you imagine I believe they were all wrong?

    It was a scuffle at a protest. A minor scuffle, at that. No injuries, even, and it resulted in a fine and costs. And it was to the letter of the law.
    In fact, I wrote so: “I do get how the judge had to uphold the letter of the law”. Add to that the police and theCPS, FWTW.

    What I mean to express is that I find it laughable to consider it as constituting “male violence against women” (interesting use of the plural, there). Might as well claim a celebrity knocking the camera off some paparazza is the same thing.

    So, yeah. Less than impressed by your characterisation.
    Making a mountain out of a molehill, is what you’re attempting. Ain’t working.

    Be aware that you have only yourself to thank for providing me with that perspective, I took Maria at her word, earlier.

    (Violent assault, my arse)

  273. Porivil Sorrens says

    Oh man, thanks for the vids, always glad to see a FART get their comeuppance.

    Well, it was less than what she deserved, but violence against fascists is good, no matter how light.

  274. leitm says

    you guys aren’t doing much to dispel the notion that the trans lobby is misogynistic and violent

  275. Porivil Sorrens says

    That was never one of my goals. I can’t speak for anyone but myself.

    Fascists of any gender get the wall. I am very up front about where I stand on the matter.

  276. alanhenness says

    leitm said:

    you guys aren’t doing much to dispel the notion that the trans lobby is misogynistic and violent

    Indeed. It seems to be a common trait.

  277. KG says

    Also existing is whatever chromosomal arrangement was had by the dog that I got to physically lay hands on that had a uterus, vagina, scrotum with an ovo-teste in it, a bacculum creating a rudimentary penis. – Rowan vet-tech@241

    Never mind its chromosomal arrangment, that dog was obviously attacking women by its very existence! /s

  278. Robert Serrano says

    leitm:
    There’s really no need to dispel what amounts to a baseless assertion. People get into scuffle at protest, big whipty-doo.
    You lot are trying to make it a big deal about “two men assaulting a woman,” but the actual case seems to be more like “woman being an asshole to other women gets into a scuffle with her target for being such an asshole.”

  279. John Morales says

    Also, regarding reality, for those whistling in the wind:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2018-10-04/study-reveals-potential-biological-basis-for-gender-dysphoria/10334512

    Lead author Vincent Harley said the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, was the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, identifying several new genes and genetic variations never before looked at in gender dysphoria.
    […]
    Jenny Graves, a geneticist at La Trobe University, who was not involved in the study, said although this area of research was relatively new, the study was well-controlled and robust.

    “It is early days, but there is a strong feeling that there are going to be genetic factors involved,” Professor Graves said.

    “The reason for that is because people have done twin studies, and identical twins do have a higher incidence of being the same: 30 per cent of identical twins will be transgender if their other twin is a transgender.

    “That means it’s not entirely genetic, but there’s a pretty strong basis of genetics in it.”

  280. A. Noyd says

    Given the penchant anti-trans bigots have for doxxing and harassing trans women, a known TERF activist with a camera would reasonably read as a threat to a lot of trans women. Not that getting physical and batting at the camera was a wise course of action, but it didn’t exactly lack provocation either. It’s like talk of “peaceful ethnic cleansing” or those forced-birthers who go around taking photos of license plates near Planned Parenthood.

    Also, I have all the TERFs muted—which I know how to do because I’m not Andy Lewis. So they can yap away all they want and all I’ll see is select quotes, reasonable people’s replies, and John Morales enjoying himself by practicing rhetorical judo on them. (Which is clearly way too easy for him because none of them seem to be able to follow their ideas through to logical conclusions.)

  281. Silentbob says

    (Wow. This threads still going! I guess transphobes are the new creationists.)

    The study John links @343 is not atypical, but reflects the established consensus of professionals in the field.

  282. says

    Curiously, MariaMacLachlan has posted from the same IP address as AlanHenness. They seem to have a relationship.

    Leitm and Andy Lewis just seem to share a similar pigheaded ignorance and dishonesty.

    All four have been banned.

    Not that I wouldn’t be surprised if they come creeping back under pseudonyms. Nasty bunch of people.

  283. leitm says

    Hi PZ, several commentators on here have been advocating violence against women and specifically belittling MariaMacLachlan for being physically attacked in public and the nature of the attack. Yet you ban her, not them.

    What on earth is wrong with you man?

  284. Porivil Sorrens says

    Laughing my ass off at these fascist morons losing their minds in response to their bans. Nice work PZ!

  285. Matrim says

    Late to the party, but there was something allllllllllllllll the way back at #3 I wanted to address that I hadn’t seen anyone bring up.

    I still don’t understand why people get so fixated on transgender folk.

    There’s a few reasons. First, they’re one of the groups it’s still somewhat socially acceptable to be bigoted towards, so it tends to attract bigots. The bigger reason is that they are being used as a wedge to open up a gap to try and move public opinion on LGBT+ issues as a whole. There’s a reason why many “feminist” and even lesbian transphobic organizations have ties to right-wing evangelicals, because the evangelicals see trans people as their best shot at tearing down the whole thing.

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