Children generally can tell the difference between boys and girls by age three — then, apparently, some grow up, get a Ph.D., and are confused about it by age 30. A good example is a letter signed by 1,642 “scientists” opposing a Trump administration proposal to define “sex” under Title IX as what it is: a binary quality.
The letter’s authors stumble right off the bat, opening with a complaint about, as they put it, “the current administration’s proposal to legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth, based on genitalia, and with plans to clarify disputes using ‘genetic testing.’”
The problem? There doesn’t appear to be any Trump administration proposal to define “gender.” At issue is “sex,” the term used in the Title IX legislation, and this matters. For even if you accept the application of “gender” to people, it is not synonymous with “sex.”
As I pointed out last month:
Even psychologists advocating for “transgenderism” will typically define the two words thus: “In general terms, ‘sex’ refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences,” explains Medical News Today. ‘‘‘Gender’ is more difficult to define, but it can refer to the role of a male or female in society, known as a gender role, or an individual’s concept of themselves, or gender identity.”
In a nutshell, “sex” is a biological phenomenon; “gender” is a social or psychological one.
That the letter’s authors would misunderstand, or misrepresent, the Trump administration proposal speaks volumes about their lack of scholarship, of honestly, or both. As I explained last month in-depth, Title IX bans “sex discrimination” in educational programs receiving federal funds. Its crafters wrote nothing about “gender,” a term that was used mainly in reference to word categories when the legislation became law in 1972. And forget the “transgender” agenda — the term itself didn’t even exist back then.
So the letter’s signatories don’t appear to understand law. But is their grasp of the science in question here any better?
Appeals to authority are common; “1,600 scientists say” impresses many. But in the United States there are approximately 21.1 million people with a bachelor’s or higher degree in science or engineering, 2.4 million boasting life-sciences degrees, and one million with Ph.D.s in such fields. So even if we use the last figure, 1,642 scientists would constitute less than 0.16 percent of the total.
Yet not all the letter’s signatories hold Ph.D.s, as many are students. Some also aren’t exactly what most people think of as “scientists,” and others certainly are not. For example:
• Erika Abad, assistant professor of interdisciplinary, gender, and ethnic studies, UNLV. (She bills herself as an essayist, poet, and, fittingly, a fiction writer.)
• Susan Woolley, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational studies and LGBTQ studies, interim director of women’s studies program of educational studies, gender and sexuality studies, Colgate University.
• Elizabeth Pride, student in public health, University of Pennsylvania.
• Tamar Kreps, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, University of Hawaii.
• Eric Gudz (pronouns: they/them), commissioner, City of Davis in transportation; Institute of Transportation Studies.
• Christopher Weber, Ph.D., associate professor of political science ..., University of Arizona.
Professor Weber’s inclusion is most fitting, as “transgenderism” is a political movement, not a scientific one.
In fairness, the signatories do also include a large number of biologists. Yet this simply means they’re our time’s Lysenkoists.
This references Trofim Lysenko, a Soviet biologist who rejected the concept of genes and peddled the pseudoscientific notion that acquired characteristics could be inherited. “Lysenkoism” became the official theory of the USSR for almost 45 years — until 1964.
Now, Lysenkoists falsely claimed that rye can transform into wheat and wheat into barley, just as their contemporary American equivalents claim that boys can transform into girls and girls into boys. But, wait, doesn’t the “transgender” agenda have “science” behind it?
No, and even the letter’s signatories acknowledge this — tacitly. They write that “scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity,” which is another way of saying there’s no proof of such a biological basis. They write that “it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy,” which means they’re just theorizing. Moreover, Buzzfeed reports that Mollie Manier, an assistant biology professor at George Washington University and a letter coauthor, said, “The science on gender is very much still in development, but more importantly, the lived experiences of transgender and intersex people should not be co-opted by a genetic test.”
Translation: We cannot make a definitive scientific pronouncement — but we’ll make a definitive political one.
And politics is all “transgender”-agenda proponents have. To illustrate the point, imagine I go to a psychiatrist and tell him that, for long as I can remember, I’ve known I was a girl deep down. He may diagnose me with “gender dysphoria” (GD), validate my desire to live as a woman, prescribe female hormones and, eventually, even recommend “gender-reassignment surgery. But as he pursues this biological fix, what proof will he have that my GD is actually a biological phenomenon?
Zilch. There is no genetic or blood-chemistry test, no brain scan — no medical test of any kind — to prove that my GD is anything but a psychological phenomenon, a delusion. Instead, the doctor will make the diagnosis based on my feelings; that is, strong and persistent feelings of “cross-gender identification” lasting more than six months. On this basis he will choose to alter not my mind, but my body.
It’s no different than a cardiologist, upon hearing you have strong and persistent feelings that you have heart disease and without confirming the condition medically, cutting open your chest and performing a bypass. It’s an invalid, unscientific diagnostic process.
Of course, the unscientific letter-signing scientists are in the minority, but so were the Lysenkoists. Yet good scientists opposing the latter were fired, imprisoned, and sometimes executed by the Soviet state. If today’s leftist Democrats ever regain executive political power, our Lysenkoists will also have friends and enablers in government’s high places.
Image: Anne-Marie Miller via iStock / Getty Images Plus