I know it’s not as impressive as the mammoth, but it gives AMAB people an edge in rugby, therefore trans athletes should be banned. So saith Sean Ingle, chief sportswriter for the increasingly transphobic Guardian.
As he repeated many lies about trans women in sport, whether through ignorance or malice, Ingle said,And going back to the start with the science is to have a separate, exclusive, preserved category for natal females with trans women and trans men then going into an open, universal category. And those that support this approach point to the recent science that suggests that even when testosterone is reduced, strength in transgender women only goes down 5%.
Most of that advantage for male puberty is retained. They also point out, and I hear this a lot, that women are not men with lower testosterone. They point out there are thousands of physical differences between males and females, and they aren’t always obvious.
Females tend to have better peripheral vision than males. Males, in contrast, are quite as fast[sic?] at accurately detecting the trajectory of a moving object. That is, how fast it’s moving, in which direction it’s moving, and where it’s going to be 1 second from now.
That’s helpful when you’re trying to chuck a spear at a rabbit. If you’re going back to evolutionary biology times, it’s also helpful when you’re trying to intercept a rugby ball. My general view here is that The Guardian should be at the heart of all this and that we should write about the subject fearlessly.
Ah, even sportswriters have absorbed the biases of evolutionary psychology. Now men, not women, have evolved to be better at throwing spears.
These glib comparisons always make me wonder what was being compared in these studies. All women tend to have better peripheral vision than men? What if you compared men, in general, to women tennis players? Is it still true? Isn’t it quite likely that peripheral vision, and the ability to calculate trajectories, are plastic and responsive to practice?
Also, how large is the variation within men, and within women? Aren’t we really dealing with selected subsets of populations, making blanket claims about the aggregate abilities of diverse populations rather problematic?
The whole premise is flawed. It assumes that men of the paleolithic were specifically and exclusively selected for spear chucking, that women of that time had no use for that talent, and that some epigenetic factor inhibits the genetic spear-chucking complex in women. No evidence for any of that. Then we have to assume that there was no further selection for or against that complex for 100,000 years — men retained a fairly specific ability through many generations of life farming. Then we assume further that whatever epigenetic modifiers allow for enhanced spearchucking in men, they don’t include things like testosterone that might be blocked by inhibitors — these hypothetical male advantages sail through everything that affects trans women unaffected.
But sure, if you’re an evolutionary psychologist sportswriter, you can just propose that whole chain of improbabilities as a given and call it “science” or “biology,” all in the name of transphobia. I call it magical thinking.