Fundraising, stories, and a new video

It’s true, we’re still digging out from under our legal debt and begging for donations. Check out our Fundraising page! There’s new stuff there!

Also, very importantly, Kris Wager is matching donations, up to a thousand dollars total. This is the perfect time to kick in a little bit to our our paypal account.

My contribution this time is a video about a science paper — a case study of an XY woman who gave birth to a child.

You can read the original paper right here, or a transcript of my remarks below the fold.

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It’s all old neckless white guys with buzzcuts harassing kids, in my mind

Ken the Hen is exactly right: LEAVE THEM ALONE.

I remember genital inspections — only we called that junior high PE class. I hated it. Being an insecure and introverted adolescent and being told to strip and take a public shower was bad enough, but it was made worse by the swaggering asshole, Mr Earl, who ‘taught’ PE and would stroll through the locker room making comments about everyone’s bodies. He was definitely in the category of “really mean people”, and was probably also a white supremacist — he certainly raved on and on about the Vietnam War — and I’m sure he’d be a TERF, since, although there were very few openly trans folk in my community then, he was dazzlingly homophobic.

OK, maybe that’s my conspiracy theory. The worst people in the world are brutal PE coaches from the 1970s, and now they’re all running the country and sitting in the Missouri legislature passing hate crimes as laws.

They crossed the streams!

Sorry in advance, everyone, I got sucked into a dark hole and I’ve got to purge myself onto you. Somehow, I stumbled onto this unsavory character, Edward Dutton, who calls himself the “Jolly Heretic” — he’s not very jolly, and he seems to have embraced good ol’ mainstream 19th century pseudoscientific racism, so he’s not very heretical, either. Here’s a brief bio:

Edward Dutton is a prolific vlogger and author whose books have been published by Arktos Media, a Budapest-based white nationalist publishing house, and Richard Spencer’s Washington Summit Publishers. Dutton is listed as part of the “Editorial Circle” for Spencer’s online publication Radix Journal. He also sits on the advisory board of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudo-academic journal that traffics in scientific racism.

Unsurprisingly Dutton was denounced as a “white supremacist” in an op-ed for The Gaudie, the student newspaper of Dutton’s alma mater Aberdeen University, over his racist rants and associations with antisemites and white nationalists. Indeed, Dutton has made appearances on multiple white nationalist shows where he’s claimed white people have higher IQs than nonwhites and fretted over declining white birthrates.

In a jovial discussion of racial differences during a Dec. 2020 livestream with Richard Spencer, Dutton claimed that “white-Black” marriages are the “least likely.” He explained that “Black females are penalized because they are not particularly feminine looking,” but that “it’s Asian women that of course everyone wants” because they “have these child-like features” which are a “sign of good genes.”

Of course he’s on YouTube. He has over 50,000 subscribers.

He calls himself “Professor” Dutton, which was hard to believe — what legitimate university would hire someone this disreputable? Apparently, though, he actually is an adjunct professor of the Anthropology of Religion and Finnish Culture at Oulu University in Finland, and is also a professor of evolutionary psychology at Asbiro University in Łódź, Poland. How he got these appointments is a mystery, but I’ll just guess that there are racists lurking in all the odd corners of academia, and he got these presumably nominal appointments through friends in very low places.

What also got my interest is that this screamingly vile racist pig not only has a successful YouTube channel, and some peculiar academic appointments, but has also cultivated associations with transphobes. It’s so amazingly repellent that I couldn’t look away. Would you believe Ray Blanchard appeared on Dutton’s channel? I’d never heard of Dutton before, but Blanchard…there’s a guy beloved by transphobes, and also possessing genuine credentials as a professor at the University of Toronto. Why would he agree to appear with a known white supremacist and all-around repugnant racist? What’s the connection?

During the Feb. 25, 2021 livestream Blanchard promoted his claim that trans women — whom he repeatedly referred to as “biological males” — can be divided into two basic categories.

The first category, Blanchard said, consists of trans women who “could be thought of as just extremely effeminate homosexual males who went the extra step to conclude that they actually are women, and that they want to be living as women.” He further described them as “drag queens who take their work seriously.”

The second category, according to Blanchard, is made up of people who begin as “fetishistic crossdressers” who, at a young age, engage in “masturbatory activities around women’s clothes,” a practice which “gradually gives rise to a more generalized sense of being … women.”

Blanchard coined the term “autogynephilia” to describe this latter category, though it is not widely accepted as a reason for why trans women experience gender dysphoria or choose to transition.

So that’s why Blanchard was willing to hang out with a flaming racist: it was an opportunity to peddle his bogus, discredited ‘theory’ of autogynephilia to a a gullible, biased host who’d happily let him babble, and would nod in agreement. I’d say “ugh”, but I guess it’s good that slime attracts slime and make each other even more disgusting.

Also bizarre was this little interlude:

Later in the livestream Blanchard defended asking transgender people invasive questions about their genitals.

“As far as them being touchy about people asking questions about their genitals, all I can say is there are many shibboleths around that transsexuals impose because they have a fragile story that they want maintained,” Blanchard said. “And if people ask too many pointed questions it becomes threatening.”

Blanchard told Dutton that he had seen “many, many times the outrage you’re describing when people wonder what genitals a transsexual has,” and that “their rant is always ‘How dare you wonder what my genitals are.’”

He added, “In reality, 99.99% of normal, straight normies who meet a transsexual are wondering ‘Gee, what’s between their legs?’ That’s what’s going on in the head of most people. But transsexuals don’t want this question raised, and so they act as if it’s some gross breach of etiquette that only you and your stupidity were ignorant of.”

I, a straight normie, must be in the elite 0.01% because no, that’s not going on in my head. I also don’t ponder the genitals of cis people I meet. I particularly don’t quiz anyone, cis or trans, about the appearance of their genitals, and would consider it a gross breach of etiquette if you were to start asking about mine. That’s not mere prudishness: my interactions with almost every other person on the planet simply don’t involve genitals, so it’s an irrelevant concern, and obsessing over them is an alarming social signal. So why is Ray Blanchard focusing on them?

Is it because he’s a perverse creep?

He also can’t be all that bright. He apparently didn’t even consider the optics of so blatantly merging his transphobic cause with far-right racism. I do wonder if all the JK Rowling fans out there are at all perturbed by this association, or if they’re just all going to coalesce into a whirlwind of indiscriminate hate?

Marinated in wokeness!

In my previous post on the now-cancelled Coyne (the catapult is probably on the way to his office even now), I neglected to mention the other ludicrous part of his comment defending Ronald Fisher, and since transphobia has been brought up in the comments, is particularly appropriate.

Of course the spread of wokeness means that balanced assessments like this one are rare; usually just the idea that someone espoused eugenics is enough to get them canceled and their honors removed. It saddens me, having already known about Fisher and his views, that what I considered my “own” professional society—the Society for the Study of Evolution—and a society of which I was President, is now marinated in wokeness, cancelling Fisher, hiring “diversity” experts to police the annual meeting at great cost, and making the ludicrous assertion—especially ludicrous for an evolution society—that sex in humans is not binary (read my post on this at the link).

See, Jerry Coyne knows better than most of the members of the Society for the Study of Evolution…and in fact, more than almost all the other national and international biological societies. I’d be impressed if he wasn’t insisting on something that is flatly wrong. The simplest and most obvious refutation — has he never heard of intersex individuals? (He has, but his argument is that sex is strongly bimodal, a fact that doesn’t refute anything in the statement below, and suggests that he doesn’t understand the difference between uncommon and nonexistent.) The differentiation of sex is complex with multiple opportunities for variation.

If you were curious, here’s the ludicrous assertion by the SSE:

We, the Council of the Society for the Study of Evolution, strongly oppose attempts by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to claim that there is a biological basis to defining gender as a strictly binary trait (male/female) determined by genitalia at birth. Variation in biological sex and in gendered expression has been well documented in many species, including humans, through hundreds of scientific articles. Such variation is observed at both the genetic level and at the individual level (including hormone levels, secondary sexual characteristics, as well as genital morphology). Moreover, models predict that variation should exist within the categories that HHS proposes as “male” and “female”, indicating that sex should be more accurately viewed as a continuum.* Indeed, experiments in other organisms have confirmed that variation in traits associated with sex is more extensive than for many other traits. Beyond the false claim that science backs up a simple binary definition of sex or gender, the lived experience of people clearly demonstrates that the genitalia one is born with do not define one’s identity. Diversity is a hallmark of biological species, including humans. As a Society, we welcome this diversity and commit to serving and protecting members regardless of their biological sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

I can’t disagree with any of that.

Dawkham? Hamkins? What shall we call this unholy team-up?

It’s a portent of the end times. Ken Ham has found common cause with Richard Dawkins.

Of course their common cause is built entirely on Dawkins’ regressive, fallacious views on sex and gender. They can be wrong together, how sweet.

What happened is that a) Dawkins is old, white, and British, and there’s currently an epidemic of TERFishness sweeping through that population, and b) he read a book by hack named Debra Soh and thinks it’s definitive, and c) has been regularly endorsing bad takes in genetics, which is a bit embarrassing. So now he’s jumped on the “chromosomes are destiny” bandwagon.

If you’ve never heard of Debra Soh, it’s because she’s a darling of the right, and you don’t get out enough (good for you). I first heard of her through the posturing clowns of Mythicist Milwaukee, and then…well, read her own bio.

Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Globe and Mail, Scientific American, New York Magazine, Men’s Health, CBC News, Real Clear Politics, and many other publications. Prior to writing The End of Gender, she was a weekly columnist and resident sex scientist for Playboy.com.

As a journalist, Dr. Soh writes about the science of human sexuality, politics, and censorship in academia. She was profiled in the New York Times as one of “The Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web,” and in Penthouse Magazine as the December 2018 cover story and “Penthouse Crush.” In 2021, Dr. Soh delivered an invited address and Q&A about The End of Gender at the Oxford Union.

She recently appeared on The Megyn Kelly Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the Joe Rogan Experience twice, Dose of Dr. Drew, The Femsplainers, The Ben Shapiro Show, Fox News Primetime with Mark Steyn and Katie Pavlich, The Greg Gutfeld Show, and Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast.

You’d know all about her if you were tuned in to Fox News, Joe Rogan, and Ben Shapiro, as I would assume, Dawkins must be. As for her book, I haven’t read it, nor do I intend to, so I sought out the most favorable review of it I could find. It’s by Barbara Kay. You Canadians might know of her; she’s a fanatical conservative anti-communist xenophobe and anti-semite. So you can trust her summary of the book, right?

According to Soh, then…

Fact: There are only two biological sexes, and they are not “assigned” at birth. Male and female gametes (eggs, sperm) determine our sex, and sex is binary, “not a spectrum.” Fact: Gender, too, “both with regard to identity and expression,” is biology-based and therefore binary. “It is not a social construct, nor is it divided from anatomy or sexual orientation.”

Classic feminists gave us the concept of “social construction.” Feminists believe gendered differences in interests, presentation and behaviours are due to patriarchy and learned behaviour. Science tells us otherwise, Soh says. Male and female brains are demonstrably different. Now, Soh says, feminist chickens are coming home to roost, because—this is a trenchant insight—“If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.”

None of that is true. That trenchant insight doesn’t even make any sense. This is what impressed Richard Dawkins? It’s the same thing that impressed Ken Ham!

If you read that and think, like I did, that “Gosh, that claim that the Bible endorses a chromosomally-based determination of sex sure sounds stupid,” then you ought to feel the same way when you read that Richard Dawkins thinks that sex is a binary determined by XX/XY chromosomes.

I am going to be so entertained when the two of them go on tour together.

When the worst of bad takes comes from a former friend…

It stings when someone you once considered a friend, who you respected as a thoughtful, philosophical feminist, goes off the deep end into TERFdom and starts making shallow, irrational arguments. You might be able to figure out who it is — she used to have a blog here. Now she likes to sneer at trans people. It’s very disheartening.

She’s responding to the recent article about Elliot Page. That’s a good article; her response, not so much. Even the first sentence is a sneer.

So, in the article, Page mentions being emotional about talking about his transition. Clearly, this is wrong.

No, because men don’t cry, especially not before the interviewer has even said anything besides “Hello.”

So he can be dismissed…with a gender stereotype? Seriously? I’m a man, brought up in the era of repressed masculine emotions, and I have a hard time expressing my feelings. I don’t think this is a strength at all. I’m glad Page has escaped that trap.

Then the article mentions that more people are transitioning now: “1.8% of Gen Z compared with 0.2% of boomers”. This, apparently, is bad.

Let’s think about this. “Increased social acceptance has led to more young people describing themselves as trans”…which can be seen as tolerance and liberality, or as social contagion that encourages “young people” to make drastic and irreversible changes to their bodies. It can be seen as both.

I just mentioned how I, a boomer, have difficulty expressing my emotions, and that I don’t consider this a good thing. I am caged up in old notions of masculinity. Why would a feminist dislike the idea of a new generation liberating themselves from stereotypes?

And then, this idea that transitioning is a product of “social contagion”…what nonsense. Does she think men just wake up feeling feminine one morning, and on a whim, toddle down to the local clinic to have their penis snipped off, and the clinic cheerfully obliges? Or that, because several of my friends are trans men and women (or gay, or ace, or bi), that I decide to change my sexual identity to conform? You know, the majority of the people I associate with are still cis het — note that 1.8% of the general population is considered a soaring frequency — why aren’t we considering that all the social pressure from friends and family and TV and the internet is forcing everyone to conform to a pure masculine/feminine dichotomy and not be who they want to be?

As for drastic and irreversible changes to bodies…medical transitioning, the irreversible bits, is preceded by months and months of clinical evaluation. I really can’t walk into a clinic and ask to have it snipped off. I couldn’t even get a vasectomy without doctors tut-tutting and insisting that I make sure this is what I want, and refusing to do the procedure. I know women would have even more examples of the medical establishment refusing to carry out surgical sterilization.

So you think people just do this because they saw a post on Instagram or an article in Time magazine? This is nuts.

it’s not just conservatives who see that “increased social acceptance” can be a euphemism for “social contagion” and that the latter is not always beneficent. Given the inherent absurdity of what people mean by “trans,” it’s inevitable that it’s not just conservatives who think the whole idea is futile and destructive. Constantly framing “trans” as the latest expansion of human potential rather than a perverse and anti-reality daydream just throws more wood on the fire.

Again with the sneering belittling. Being trans is not a product of “social contagion”, nor is it inherently absurd. The people who make this change are acutely aware of what reality is, experience huge amounts of pressure to accept a socially determined gender role — even trivial matters like “men don’t cry” are fiercely enforced — and are taking deliberate steps after much thoughtful consideration to be who they want to be. Respect that. Accept people for who they say they are, rather than demanding that they be what you want them to be. Like this:

Nobody is debating anyone’s existence, what we’re disputing is the description. We think you’ve got the description wrong.

My god. Who are you to tell another person how best to describe themselves? Can I also dispute some descriptions?

She goes on to defend JK Rowling, who opposes transgender equality in the name of feminism.

No, not in the name of feminism. She really is a feminist, she’s not faking it. It’s funny how fans of the ideology think changing sex is completely real while feminists who call themselves feminists are fake.

Oh. JK Rowling really is a feminist, because she says she is one. But someone who rejects stereotypes, who goes through the pain and expense and social stigma of transitioning, can’t be who they say they are, because a TERF declares that you aren’t allowed to change sex.

I note that she does not disagree that Rowling opposes transgender equality, which is the real reason she is disliked. I’ll take that as stipulated, then, that JK Rowling is an opponent of equality.

P.S. Changing sex is completely real. People do it all the time. Why do TERFs deny reality?

How do you keep on keeping on?

If only this weren’t a common response.

It is an actual quote from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets, but not here in this country, Mr Morrison told Parliament.

This is a familiar defense of the status quo. You want equality? With ME??!? You should be grateful that we didn’t shoot you. It is the ubiquitous old white man defense of their privilege, which allows them to perpetuate the inequities that exist now, because they can always find someplace else that is much worse. The existence of a sliding scale of misery is used to justify itself — that protesters are shot in Myanmar allows us to smugly pat ourselves on the back when people in our country protest injustice because This is a triumph of democracy when we see these things take place, and not do anything. Then why are they protesting?

It’s the same old story, substituting an old white man from Australia for an old white man from England.

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

We are reduced to comparing the weight of the chains of the oppressed so we can ignore the existence of the chains altogether.

Sometimes you have to shut up and listen

I’ve written a few times about how biology is more complex than people think, that all the people claiming that biology dictates that there are only two genders are liars and fools, and that we should be far more inclusive in our perspective. However, I am not a trans person; I’m a comfortable cis-het white man, ensconced in the most privileged socio-cultural group in the country, and that puts me in an awkward position. It means that by default, when I think about these issues, I lapse into thinking about them from an outsiders perspective, as someone who is safely above it all, and most likely, I’ll think about it as a science problem. The transphobes are abusing science and are citing bad science, and so what I need to do is hammer back with good science.

Riley Black corrects me.

Science isn’t going to win this one. When the argument turns to strangers trying to affirm or deny my identity on the basis of biological particulars, I head for the hills like the dinosaurs in Fantasia running from the T. rex. That’s because trans rights are not a scientific issue. They are a human rights issue. There is certainly a lot we could say—and that I would honestly love to know!—about human sexual variation, the effects of hormone replacement therapy, why hoped-for bodily changes are so emotionally fulfilling, and more. Some of these things might be wonderful topics for biology classes; imagine if every high schooler in America were educated to understand that human sex itself comes with a lot of variation. (Thinking back to my younger, closeted self, that would have helped!) But, in terms of deciding how I, as a trans person, am going to move through the world, all the information about hormones and biology affects three people, at most: my doctor, my partner, and myself. That’s all.

I see and respect the point. It would be easy to fall into the trap of cis boys shouting back and forth about the science, who is wrong, who is right, swapping journal citations and studies, and forget that all the rarefied pomposity is going on above the bodies of real people who are suffering. It’s easy for me to talk about the various tissues and organs of developing embryos and lose sight of the fact that I don’t have a direct stake in the game, and for the people who do, it’s not a game at all. It’s not something that can be settled with science!

All this time spent debating “the science” of where transgender people belong in society only confuses a truth many are struggling to accept. It is a distraction no matter which side of the argument you are on, because you are complicating and putting up for debate something that is very simple. Trans men are men. Trans women are women. Nonbinary people are valid. Trans people have always been here. We are here now. We will continue to be.

I’ll put that front and center in my head from now on. That’s the primary issue in this struggle. The transphobes are trying to abolish the fundamental equality of all people, and set aside a small group for discrimination and oppression, and the danger is that they can use the physical and psychological diversity of human beings as a tool to justify turning those differences into the basis of hatred.

Shermer: Reliably wrong every time

People still pay attention to this conservative fraudster?

Skip it. Irreversible Damage is simply more right-wing hysteria. The premise is that the transeses are transing our kids against their will — the usual moral panic we saw about the gayses recruiting kids with their flamboyant, ever-so-appealing gayness. It’s a garbage book by someone who writes for the Federalist and other such reactionary venues. I’m not going to watch it, but I’m pretty sure Shermer won’t be doing a critical, or dare I say it, skeptical interview.

Watch this instead.

If you don’t want to watch a video, here’s a solid critical review of Shrier’s book. It’s published by Regnery? Yuck. She didn’t interview any of the kids she describes, but rather talked to their parents, who are very upset that their kids were transgender? Jesus.

“Trust the Science,” Marjorie Taylor Greene

What a buffoon. To respond to a colleague who posted support for civil rights for LGBT folk, she had to put up a big loud stupid sign of her own, demonstrating her own ignorance.

She doesn’t have a clue what the science is. Here’s Keith L. Moore, publishing in JAMA in 1968, in an article titled “The Sexual Identity of Athletes”, pointing out that sex is more complicated than a simple binary.

In short, there are 9 (at least) parameters that are diagnostic of sex, and they aren’t always in concordance with one another. For the majority of people, they are in alignment; for some, though, they aren’t, and you can’t deny them their rights.

I despise those people who swaddle themselves in the cloak of science in the name of claims that are explicitly denied by science. Greene is a liar and a fraud.