As more states consider age restrictions on sex-trait modifications, defending the binary nature of sex in court will become increasingly vital.
If I'm feeling charitable, I can forgive the gender activists for their excesses -- they are young and confused, after all.
However, I cannot forgive scientists, physicians, academic journals, and professional organizations for throwing science under the bus in favor of a trendy ideology.
It's simply inexcusable and real scientists should know better.
As Feynman said "The first principle of science is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool."
“Hexsel stated that the law “interferes with Texas families’ private decisions and strips Texas parents . . . of the right to seek, direct, and provide medical care for their children.”
Hmmm, isn’t that what all the trans activists and school districts are also doing when they try to remove parents from any participation in the process? Talk about having it both ways.
Science is often becoming indistinguishable from religion. Medical scientists and physicians in particular have started relying on dogma much like medieval theologians relied on church teaching. The gender delusion is just an example, along with the veneration of saints (like Fauci), and the unquestioning acceptance of church teaching (Covid came from nature, mRNA vaccines are safe). Scientists even attend their own theological seminaries(universities) where they are immersed in propaganda and are taught to condemn scientific heretics. The defenders of "gender affirming care" were naturally puzzled when you introduced actual science in this controversy.
I am glad you are in the fray, Colin! Thank you for all of your efforts
“Traveling to Austin and appearing before a judge to explain these basic facts was a surreal experience. To my knowledge, this was the first time a biologist has been called to testify in court to defend the material existence of males and females as natural and distinct biological categories.”
It certainly must have been most bizarre to find yourself on the stand testifying to the immutable reality of the sexes, what has been universally known since the dawn of human consciousness.
I've only recently become alert to how "argument from complexity" operates not only in gender ideology and, as you note, intelligent design, but in other issues in which a simpler truth is inconvenient to advancing a desired dogma. It's the loose converse of Occam's Razor, i.e. "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem," or "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" (credit to Wikapedia for translation) in arriving at reliable explanations. Conversely, "argument from complexity" brings to mind the old razzle-dazzle from "Chicago," Richard Gere tap dancing to legal legerdemain. I now see needlessly complicated arguments as red-flag indicators that I'm dealing with obstructions to truth, rather than truth itself. Thanks for this explication, Colin.
It seems to me the most powerful argument against gender affirming hormonal and surgical treatment of children is (1) the absence of any evidence that it benefits them and (2) the clear evidence that it has harmful, irreversible effects.
Arguing about the definition of sex and whether it is binary is less important than this. It is also fragile because what matters is the legal definition, and that can be changed.
Supreme Court Justice Katanji Brown Jackson doesn’t know what a woman is, yet she was appointed for being a woman of color. Hope you can teach her and help turn the tide in our kangaroo courts!
Why is it that evolution and intelligent design are always discussed as mutually exclusive? It is not this or that. These two ideas can co-exist.
It's interesting that we live in a time where those who believe in the written word are more in touch with reality when it comes to sex than those who believe in this gender as a spectrum nonsense.
I believe, as a general rule, that individuals or parents of minors or guardians of incapacitated individuals should be able to make their own medical decisions. However, doctors must follow laws and regulations in practicing medicine. What has happened with so-called "transgender care" is that, in the medical community, many (but by no means all!) doctors and medical associations such as the AAP are not complying with laws and regulations that require them to adhere to scientific principles in treating patients, including the "First Do No Harm" credo, to which all doctors agree when being licensed. While families remain free to choose the medical path for their children (with the glaring exception of many parents whose children are chemically and/or surgically poisoned and/or mutilated over the parents' objections!), what must be regulated are the doctors who are violating the law. If a parent wanted a doctor to shoot their child with a gun to make the child feel better, and the doctor was willing to do this despite the fact that he/she knew (or should have known) that there was no scientific basis for such a treatment, and the doctor was stopped by a statute or regulation from shooting the child, would we say the parent was being deprived of their right to treat their own child as they wish? It's not a perfect analogy, but the point is valid. We have to regulate medicine to prevent doctors from running amok with treatments that have absolutely no scientific basis and for which the harms are clear. This does not interfere with parental rights.
One characteristics of a dark age is the rejection of data in favor of narrative. It is notable that this author sees the danger and damage of the anti-scientific claptrap of the gender movement.
I enjoy the clarity of your writing.
I was once asked, very first question, by a doctor about to treat me for a medical problem, what gender pronouns I preferred. This ideology-driven question translates for me to "Are you by any chance delusional (so I can coddle you if you are)?" I found that offensive and refused to engage, so the doctor kept asking repeatedly. Apparently, it was the policy of the medical practice. This was a week or so after I'd read about a woman who had presented herself as a(n obese) man, and was accepted without question as such by her doctor against any evidence of their own eyes. She then unexpectedly started giving birth after denying/ignoring 9 months of pregnancy and died in childbirth along with the child due to lack of prenatal care. Doctors need to accept biological reality before they can competently help their patients.
Gender ideology is indeed a religion, a modern manifestation of gnostic religion which separates the mind/soul from the body, with the mind being more superior than the body. Historic Christianity, in the other hand, believes that the mind/soul cannot be detached from the body-- the body, both mental, physical, and spiritual is all connected, and the body, both male and female (in the biological sense) is made in the image of God and therefore valuable.
However, I think it’s unfair to lump in believers of Intelligent Design with gender ideologies. Gender theory is a social science and has no bearing in material reality. ID adherents don’t deny reality or science as gender theorists do, they simply believe that the scientific evidence points to a divine, intelligent Creator as the ultimate cause for processes seen in the material reality of our world. Gender theory argues some complexities that be fairly easily explained biologically and it argues some complexities that simply don’t exist biologically, but only as social constructions (for example, they conflate the social constructions of things like boys should like blue and girls should like pink to then mean something about biological reality). (And not to mention that all these ‘complexities’ in gender theory ultimate contradiction each other, leaving the theory on no solid ground logically.)
But the complexities that ID point out DO exist. The gender theorists and evolutionary biologists like you actually disagree on the nature of those complexities, but ID adherents don’t disagree with you about the nature of evolutionary complexities— they only differ on the cause of them.
ID looks at and analyzes the real science of the material world and follows the evidence where it leads them— and sometimes the simplest explanation for complex systems is indeed the idea of Intelligent Design. You may disagree that the evidence leads to their conclusion, but you can’t accuse them of ignoring scientific evidence the way gender theory does.
No doubt you will protest that ID is simply a “god of the gaps” theory, and that given enough time, science will explain everything that ID leaves to supernatural explanation. But (1), saying that the gaps in knowledge that can’t be explained by evolution will simply one day be explained by science isn’t an evidence-based claim. It’s simply a “science-of-the-gaps” approach. (Just because science has filled in many knowledge gaps of the past doesn’t mean that it will continue to fill in all knowledge gaps about our world in the future, that’s only possible if we assume that science can indeed reveal to us all about our world) Which leads to (2) Science presupposes that anything supernatural is out-of-bounds, it presupposes that only the material physical world exists. How do you know that the supernatural doesn’t exist? This presupposition is like limiting a crime scene to the room the victim was found in, even though you have bloody footprints leading out the door. If you presuppose that the murderer didn’t leave the room, that nothing outside of the room entered in and caused action within the room, then you are left explaining certain evidences in a very limiting way. ID follows the scientific evidence where it leads, not presupposing, but simply finding that an intelligent designer seems the simplest and best explanation for the evidence at hand— even if we don’t fully understand how biological processes can be both material reality and caused by a supernatural divine being.
(3)Also the lack of a naturalistic material cause is not the only basis for inferring design. ID theory has positive experience-based knowledge of an alternative cause that explain such effects. And ID is testable.
See this article https://evolutionnews.org/2011/03/a_closer_look_at_one_scientist/, which I’ll summarize below:
ID theory first identifies four ways in which designers act:
* Intelligent agents think with an “end goal” in mind, allowing them to solve complex problems by taking many parts and arranging them in intricate patterns that perform a specific function...
* Intelligent agents can rapidly infuse large amounts of information into systems...
* Intelligent agents re-use functional components that work over and over in different systems (e.g., wheels for cars and airplanes)...
* Intelligent agents typically create functional things (although we may sometimes think something is functionless, not realizing its true function)...
Then, we can make four predictions that can be made from these observations of designers:
* Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
* Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.
* Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.
* Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.
What do we find when we put these ideas to the test?
(1) “Language-based codes can be revealed by seeking to understand the workings of genetics and inheritance. High levels of specified complexity and irreducibly complexity are detected in biological systems through theoretical analysis, computer simulations and calculations (Behe & Snoke, 2004; Dembski 1998b; Axe et al. 2008; Axe, 2010a; Axe, 2010b; Dembski and Marks 2009a; Dembski and Marks 2009b; Ewert et al. 2009; Ewert et al. 2010; Chiu et al. 2002; Durston et al. 2007; Abel and Trevors, 2006; Voie 2006), “reverse engineering” (e.g. knockout experiments) (Minnich and Meyer, 2004; McIntosh 2009a; McIntosh 2009b) or mutational sensitivity tests (Axe, 2000; Axe, 2004; Gauger et al. 2010).”
(2) “The fossil record shows that species often appear abruptly without similar precursors. (Meyer, 2004; Lonnig, 2004; McIntosh 2009b).”
(3) Similar parts are commonly found in widely different organisms. Many genes and functional parts not distributed in a manner predicted by ancestry, and are often found in clearly unrelated organisms. (Davison, 2005; Nelson & Wells, 2003; Lönnig, 2004; Sherman 2007).
(4) There have been numerous discoveries of functionality for “junk-DNA.” Examples include recently discovered surprised functionality in some pseudogenes, microRNAs, introns, LINE and ALU elements. (Sternberg, 2002, Sternberg and Shapiro, 2005; McIntosh, 2009a).”
Lastly, the article mentioned above also highlights how ID theory has contributed to science and knowledge. Far from being a “science-stopper,” ID has furthered scientific inquiry in areas such as microbiology, engineering bacteria and antibiotic resistance research, understanding genetics and the origin of biological systems, etc.
Since ID is testable, some might consider it a science. The only reason it is disqualified from science depends on how you define science— is science using the scientific method, or is it any explanation that presupposes only material processes to be the cause? Perhaps ID isn’t “Science” with a capitol S, but it indeed uses the scientific method, so it’s a hell of a lot closer to evolutionary biology than gender theory. It’s fine if you don’t find the evidence and argument of ID compelling— but at least acknowledge your presupposition and do not make the mistake of lumping in a rigorous field of research that uses the scientific method with a pseudoscience repackaging of Gnosticism that denies reality in the first place.
Rotten of Colin to compare we ID proponents with the gender idiots. Of course there are all sorts of folks who might come under the ID umbrella, and surely some of them are religious, but as to that group, I think we'd find that they'd be the strongest opponents of trans. Ask your average fundamentalist Christian how many genders there are and the answer will be 'two'. As for me, I subscribe to ID because I don't think that random chemical accidents have been demonstrated to be capable of producing information systems. I'm an Old Believer -- science relies on demonstration of hypotheses and the chemical origin of life is not only not demonstrated, it violates every known law of chemistry, physics and information theory. But once we have a demonstration, ID is out the window AFAIAC. Meanwhile, evolution most certainly happens, but does it explain *everything*? I'm not so sure, *as it stands* however there are ideas floating around in the evolutionary world that might change that. I await developments. For now, the intelligent designer postulate remains viable -- we are ourselves intelligent designers and I have no reason to suppose that we are the only ones.
It will be all about the detransitioner malpractice suits, the discrimination suits when those of us believing in biology are fired. I was in a restaurant for a late lunch yesterday, hoping to be the only one there. Nope, big loud woke table yacking it up about how terrible these places are where they won't have the "pride flag" in classrooms. Thank goodness they left before hearing The Heggen Lexicon. Here's my take on the latest malpractice suit, another woman operated on at age 16, during an obviou personal crisis: