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Google makes its living by hoovering up all the bright people it can find and then encouraging them to get on with being bright. It’s not therefore all that much of a surprise to find that we’ve one of those few sensible arguments about trans rights coming from a Googler. However, do note that a decent argument isn’t necessarily a correct one. Which leads to our being able to say two things about this one:

People once believed the sun circled the Earth. It was a perfectly sensible model by which they understood the universe. The important word here is “model”. At the time, almost everyone thought that this was accurate. As with our contemporary idea of gender, the model closely matched the observation of physical “reality”.

The philosophers and theologians of the middle ages believed that the sun went around the Earth and that to suggest otherwise was heretical, ungodly and just really, really stupid. Imagine scholars of that age writing on the internet about new theories that the Earth went around the sun – these opinions would read a lot like most of the comments we get today about gender. Basically: “This is just ignoring common sense”; “What is the world coming to?” and “Let’s burn these queer freaks.”

Which they did.

A tad of rhetorical hyperbole is entirely permissible in such arguments. Although I would note that one of the major societies which really does “burn” those queer freaks positively encourages people to go trans instead. That’s why some rather large portion of Iran’s womens’ football team is made up of transwomen. The governmental (note, not in that country, societal) point being that it’s better to have the surgery than commit the sin of homosexuality.

But the argument itself? It’s an entirely reasonable one. Everyone once didn’t believe in heliocentrism, now they do, there was an interregnum of competing ideas with accusations of heresy and all thrown around. Binary gender, physical gender, was once believed by all, now maybe it isn’t.

Which is where the correct part of the argument is. We are indeed in one of those interregnums and we’ve not got a wide societal agreement about what the correct answer is. Which is the very problem we’ve got, we don’t agree.

The obvious solution, as it always is, is classical liberalism. You’re a consenting adult causing no harm to third parties? Get on with it then. And?

Classical liberalism also being today’s most unfashionable answer to anything presumably because of its success.

Which leads to our second thing. Heliocentrism is observably correct. Is this also so of the varied claims about trans and gender? If they are then obviously, as with other provably correct theories like continental drift then we’ll end up with a societal agreement on what actually is the correct answer. If those claims aren’t equally provable then what?

Which is I think where we are and where we’re going to be. The very nugget at the heart of the claim is true. Sex, that biological reality, isn’t 100% binary. It’s close enough for daily life definitions but not still that 100%. Gender, the social construct, might well be subject to less of the 100%. I also don’t think that society in general is ever going to agree that a bloke with tackle is a woman simply because they say so this morning.

No doubt that makes me a hater, ah well.

The reason I don’t think we’re going to get that societal agreement is, well, perhaps a tad odd. It’s because the definition of “woman” (and this runs the other way around as well, to man and so on) is a useful one. It describes something that we want to be able to describe. Doesn’t matter how much anyone who doesn’t accord with that societal definition of woman insists that’s what they are, we’re going to keep on making the distinction. Even if we accept the entire set of trans claims, women’s brains perhaps, women in everything but the physical details of gonads at birth, we’re still going to be usefully making that linguistic distinction. Thus we’re never going to end up with that societal agreement.

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Edward Lud
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Edward Lud

And …. they’re off!

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

You get rights*. You don’t get special rights for being in a minority. Especially if that infringes others’ rights.

* Which is not to accept the ridiculous list of rights claimed nowadays. The proper list ought to be way less.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Quite. Despite heliocentrism being the accepted paradigm, we still say “the sun rises in the east”, not “we’ve revolved towards the sun”

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Sorry. For NiV’s benefit, local stellar object.

Tom
Member
Tom

I think, instead of the heliocentric argument, that the most apposite analogy is between Newtonian and Einsteinian physics.

Newtonian physics is good enough that they can send probes hurtling around the solar system like a game of bar billiards, but you need Einsteinian physics in a few, a vanishing few circumstances. So it is with binary and non-binary biology.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Not sure if probes in the system is a concept we with to visit, in this context, Tom.

So Much For Subtlety
Guest
So Much For Subtlety

The problem is that we are all being very liberal to the Trans. We are saying to the obviously mentally ill that they should be free to do their thing and we will endorse that. Which they are happy to accept. But then they turn around and say we are not free to do our thing in return. And in fact what we are doing is Literally Hitler. And we should be put in jail if we do not agree to have sex with any Trans person who might be up for it. A liberal society has to decide what… Read more »

NiV
Guest
NiV

“The very nugget at the heart of the claim is true. Sex, that biological reality, isn’t 100% binary. It’s close enough for daily life definitions but not still that 100%. Gender, the social construct, might well be subject to less of the 100%.” Gender roles are the social construct. Gender is about how your brain is wired. The brain is biological reality, too. “I also don’t think that society in general is ever going to agree that a bloke with tackle is a woman simply because they say so this morning.” Agreed. The medical and legal criteria for recognition as… Read more »

jgh
Member
jgh

To quote the PowerPuff Girls: Equal Treatment not Special Treatment.

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

NiV, most hairdressers cut ACROSS the hair not along it, so the length is irrelevant. Any problem is easily dealt with by not going to places where you don’t like the pricing.

Mr Ecks
Member
Mr Ecks

The only trans issue of any import is the destruction of marxist subjectivist evil.

YOU DO NOT BECOME A WOMAN BY DECLARING YOU ARE ONE.

End of story.

Twatting on Timmy
Guest

I wish I could believe that my future is safer by breaking ties with our neighbours Or that I will travel as freely when my passport is less acceptable I wish I could believe my human rights will be as protected under the governments we elect that are dedicated to their erosion Or that tax cooperation will continue when we are dedicated to tax competition I wish I could believe that putting barriers to trade in the path of British exports will make people in this country better off Or encourage innovation in anything but financial services I wish I… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

Or you could remember before we joined, when none of that crap was a problem.

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

I travelled all over the western bits of Europe without even having a stiff blue passport. I had a British Visitor’s passport, a foldout flimsy thing with a picture that cost a few bob.

BlokeInTejas
Member
BlokeInTejas

… that you could pick up at the local Post Office on demand. Yes, indeedy.

BniC
Member
BniC

From a medical test results and drugs prescription perspective the reality of your sex/gender is much more important than what you think it is that particular day, so at some level the correct distinction is going to have to be there or people will end up dead or seriously ill

JerryC
Member
JerryC

How society treat weirdos and freaks is a serious issue that warrants some thoughtful consideration. Burning weirdos and freaks at the stake is bad way to handle it, I think we all agree. But awarding them absolute moral authority and indulging their wildest delusions seems wrong as well.

Surely there’s some sensible middle ground.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

Fanatics tend not to recognise middle ground.

NiV
Guest
NiV

“How society treat weirdos and freaks is a serious issue that warrants some thoughtful consideration.” Yes. Every cultural group has its own social norms, and anyone who doesn’t follow them they consider to be “weirdos and freaks”. The pre-1960s culture certainly regarded gays and TGs as “weirdos and freaks”. Conversely, the SJW culture now considers 1950s-style racists, sexists, and transphobes to be “weirdos and freaks” and wants them burnt at the stake. Every culture decides what to do with it’s weirdos and freaks on the assumption that they’re always going to be in control of the definition, and society is… Read more »

The Meissen Bison
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The Meissen Bison

NiV: The pre-1960s culture certainly regarded gays and TGs as “weirdos and freaks”

NiV, old cock¹, pre 1960s culture was blisfully untrammelled by considerations of transgenderism and homosexuality was a crime punishable under the law.

_____
¹/ …or possibly not

NiV
Guest
NiV

In the immortal words of Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan…

When he-she came back to this country
They made her a popular celebrity
All the public sentiment
She got movie contracts and plenty engagements
People came out of curiosity
To see this amazing freak of the century
But behind that lipstick, rouge and paint
I still wonder, is she is, or is she ain’t?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s2hW2PUVtU

That was about events in 1951, yes? 🙂

Steve
Member
Steve

“Burning weirdos and freaks at the stake is bad way to handle it, I think we all agree” Eh. I dunno. How is pumping 9 year olds full of toxic hormones and then cutting their wing wangs off any less mad than roasting a few troublesome loonies on the village green? I feel sure a Benthamite argument could be made for community bonfires. Sure, I’m joking, but what if there’s no sensible middle ground? What if it’s not practically possible to peacefully coexist with progressive polymorphic perversity? The slippery slope is, after all, sadly real, which is why supporting the… Read more »

NiV
Guest
NiV

“I feel sure a Benthamite argument could be made for community bonfires.” You want JS Mill, I think. The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the… Read more »

Bloke on M4
Member
Bloke on M4

I think 2 things:- 1) the agitator crowd has moved on from gays to look for a new problem. They need stuff to complain about. In reality, almost no-one cares about trans. They might snigger at them, but almost no-one in the west wants them executed or tortured or anything else. We might even view them as having mental problems, but we don’t want to punish them for that. 2) the only things people are really worried about are things like shared access to children or vulnerable women. I don’t know if anyone even cares about actual cock-lopped-off trans people,… Read more »

Hector Drummond
Member

“Google makes its living by hoovering up all the bright people it can find and then encouraging them to get on with being bright.” This person doesn’t strike me as being very bright. ‘In the past what seemed to be common sense was wrong, so our idea of common sense is also wrong’ is a bad argument, and one that is demolished in first-year Philosophy classes. ‘Maybe our idea of common sense is wrong’ is all right, but then that doesn’t support anything much. Any belief may be wrong. So what? The question is, is it wrong? Or is it… Read more »

NiV
Guest
NiV

“‘In the past what seemed to be common sense was wrong, so our idea of common sense is also wrong’ is a bad argument, and one that is demolished in first-year Philosophy classes.” True, but that’s not the argument she’s making. Strawmen arguments are demolished in first year philosophy classes, too. 🙂 (Although I’d note in passing that the odds are greatly in favour of it, on symmetry grounds. *Every* previous generation’s “common sense” turned out to be wrong, and every one of them was also convinced they were the one that had finally ascended to the peak of Truth… Read more »

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

NiV. Evidence is something offered for our inspection. To assess it. To pass our judgement on it. We’re not obliged to accept it proves a hypothesis.

NiV
Guest
NiV

Of course not. You can accept or not accept for any reason whatsoever. Tradition, Your own personal “common sense”. Because your holy book told you it was so. And others can judge your reasons as they choose. But from a science/debate point of view, your obligation is not to be persuaded by the evidence, but to put the best argument or counter-evidence you can up against it. Is the argument valid? Is the counter-argument valid? Is neither valid, each exposing holes in the other? Quite often, the conclusion will be “we still don’t know”. But the scientific approach does require… Read more »