An Amusing Trans Problem – Tabula Rasa Or Genetic Determination?


A comment from a case in Canada which throws open an interesting little discussion about trans, intelligence, humans in general really. The proximate point here is that Vancouver Rape Relief insists on delivering certain of its services only to women who were born women. Their argument is that at certain times of crisis even the deep voices of the male can trigger memories and thus problems. As a result they’ve lost their city funding to those who insist that such services must be open to those who are trans.

Well, OK. That’s all a political argument and much good may it do them all. There is though this much more interesting ultimate argument here, what is it that makes us us?

The centre maintains that there is an essential experience that comes from being born in the body of a woman that shapes some of its core services, but said it would see to the safety of anyone who calls its crisis line.

That is the argument that it is our environment that makes us. This is in general good lefty stuff too. That idea of the tabula rasa, that the newborn is shaped not by inheritance nor genes, but by society as it grows. This is obviously true of some things too. Which language you learn is entirely societally determined. Other things not so much – your eye colour.

That lefty insistence claims, for example, that intelligence is not genetically determined – true – and also not genetically influenced – not true. All the science we have insists that the majority of childhood intelligence is genetically influenced once we get past the nutritional point of being well fed and that the vast majority of adult intelligence is genetic. Not education, obviously, but intelligence.

But then we’ve got that obviously lefty grouping shouting about trans rights. As with earlier about gay such. Who insist that sexuality is entirely determined by birth, that environment has nothing to do with it. This is not true as any study of single sex environments and behavior changes when they become mixed will show. Sure, that some are determinedly gay or straight or trans or hetero is true, but then so are some fools and some clever.

That is, we seem to have different arguments dependent upon what is convenient at the time for the discussion at hand. Humans are entirely the product of their genes? Or their environment? The actual answer being, of course, that it depends. Language is one, eye colour the other. But intelligence and sexuality and gender? All observation tells us that these are mixed. Yet we’ve largely the same people insisting upon one in one case, the other t’other. And let’s be honest about it, such inconsistency in logic is one of those things we use to identify those trying to put one over on us.