The American Humanist Association's Withdrawal of a 25-Year-Old Award to Richard Dawkins

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The withdrawal was apparently over this Tweet:

Robby Soave's analysis today strikes me as quite sound, as is that from two other AHA award winners (at least for now), Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker:

[A]n association of "freethinkers" has deemed certain thoughts unthinkable, nor that it is enforcing dogmas and catechisms by excommunicating a heretic.

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  1. They determined he wasn’t a humanist I guess. Maybe Dawkins doesn’t even identify as one. No biggie.

  2. I never thought about it before, but I suppose I can’t be a “humanist”, because I’m a Christian. So I guess I don’t have a dog in this fight. Still, if some prominent Christian said something comparable to what Dawkins said, I wouldn’t support his/her excommunication. After all, he said “Discuss”. I don’t deny that SOME Christians, in this or earlier ages, would have wanted to excommunicate (or worse!) someone who said such things, but religious folks have an excuse for being dogmatic (you could look up the word). We don’t claim to be “free thinkers”.

    1. I don’t think putting ‘discuss’ after something necessarily makes it non-offensive. Some people might disagree with me but that’s because they are retards. Discuss.

      1. So discussion of the ethics and issues of identifying as a race or gender to which some people did not originally belong is taboo?

        1. I’m guessing there were two things that offended people in what he said: 1. saying that trans people are literally not what they identify as (or more technically, saying a bit snarkily ‘you would be vilified for saying that’ and 2. comparing a white person passing as black to a male identifying as a woman and vice versa.

          To many trans people, discussions of whether they are or are not what they identify as is analogous to something like how a Jew would see a discussion of whether ‘Jewish blood’ is really infected with radical communism, it’s inherently offensive and/or no good can be seen as coming from the discussion.

          1. “a discussion of whether ‘Jewish blood’”

            Or what if the AHA revokes an award to someone Jewish because they have Jewish blood? There are all sorts of fascinating hypotheticals!

            1. Yeah, I kind of get that wrapping your head around the trans part of the analogy would be challenging for folks like yourself which is actually why the latter part of it was put in…

              1. What if they revoked Albert Einstein’s award? (Assuming they gave him one)?

                1. Analogies, how do they work?

                  1. By expecting the reader to assume treating someone as the sex he was born with is like anti-Semitic discrimination? All without evidence asked or given?

                    1. In your scenario, the ready has already assumed “the sex he was born with” without any way to know if this assumption is accurate. Further, the concept of “the sex he was born with” is vague given the many combinations of sex indicators that a person could have, some of which might be seen as “contradictory” to those who believe sex is strictly binary.

                    2. Referring to someone born with a dick as “he” is just a step on the slippery slope which leads to the Holocaust.

                      /sarc

          2. Of course, Dawkins can’t manage to accept that analogy because, as a biologist with integrity, he has the twin disadvantages of 1) actually knowing and understanding that the human species does not have races but does have sexes, and 2) not being able pretend that he doesn’t believe the truth.

            Fortunately, neo-Lysenkoists like yourself can only take away his awards, not send him to the gulag for his “unethical” devotion to truth the way the original Lysenkoists did.

              1. As has been pointed out many times on here, slippery slope arguments, especially based on one’s take on the opposition, aren’t.

                1. You’re denying that they can’t yet send him to a gulag?

                2. THE MECHANISMS OF THE SLIPPERY SLOPE (By Eugene Volokh)

                  “But as behavioral economists, norms theorists, and others have pointed out, that is not the world we live in, even if it is sometimes a useful first-order approximation. The real world is more complex, and this complexity makes possible slippery slopes and their close relative, path dependence. We can’t just dismiss slippery slope arguments as illogical or paranoid, though we can’t uncritically accept them, either.

                  There was a time when Lysenkoists couldn’t send you to the gulag, and there was a time when the Humanist society wouldn’t punish you for suggesting a discussion. It’s always appropriate to worry about how far a trend will go, when it’s going in a nasty direction.

                  1. And the next paragraph:
                    “The slippery slope is in some ways a helpful metaphor, but as with
                    many metaphors, it starts by enriching our vision and ends by clouding it. We need to go beyond the metaphor and examine the specific mechanisms that cause the phenomenon that the metaphor describes – mechanisms that connect to the nature of our political institutions, our judicial process, and possibly even human reasoning.”

                    That’s your error – you cite to slippery slope without mechanism – you base your supposition on ipse dixit ‘this is what the left does.’ That’s not an argument, it’s just partisan signaling.

                    1. There’s a difference between deliberately mean talk, and discussion of things one or another group doesn’t want, for political reasons.

                      If you are against mean talk, fine. If you want to define mean as a discussion of it, to shut down that discussion, to hell with you.

                    2. We have gone, in a generation, from the left defending freedom of speech, to the left doxing and deplatforming people, working to get them fired from their jobs, denied banking services, you name it, for daring to say things the left doesn’t like.

                      You’re free to think this will stop on a dime, and get not one bit worse. I suggest to you that you have no reasonable basis for being confident it will.

                    3. This is nothing, Brett. Even if your partisan characterization were true (it’s not – much of your generalizations are based on a single anecdote) You have nothing.

                      Hating the left and is not predictive.

                  2. There’s a difference between deliberately mean talk, and discussion of things one or another group doesn’t want, for political reasons.

                    ? Brett is making predictions.

          3. To many trans people, discussions of whether they are or are not what they identify as is analogous to something like how a Jew would see a discussion of whether ‘Jewish blood’ is really infected with radical communism, it’s inherently offensive and/or no good can be seen as coming from the discussion.

            Part of the problem here is figuring out what the applicable analogy is. (Indeed, that’s what Dawkins was asking about.)

            For instance, since you mention Judaism, there are unresolvable debates about what constitutes “real” Jewish identity. Some people would say something like “anyone who has a matrilineal Jewish ancestor”. Others might say “only someone who participated in specific ceremonies with an Orthodox rabbi”. Others might say something in between.

            But to my knowledge, nobody says that “anyone who engages in debate as to the contours of the category of ‘Jewish'” is a Nazi in league with those who would deny Jews humanity and put them in ovens”.

            And you can argue that’s the proper analogy to the position of the more vocal trans activists. It isn’t simply that trans women are women- I accept that, and I think a lot of people do. It’s that there can be no discussion about even the notion of a definition of womanhood or manhood, or what the criteria are, or whether there’s a notion of biological sex that differs from gender identity. Any attempt to even clarify those definitions is “denying trans people humanity”. And that’s just not true and also makes the trans activists look pretty bad when they say it. Because they end up labeling a ton of people who are basically supportive of the trans rights project (e.g., Jesse Singal) as no different than people who do violence against trans people or want to wipe them off the face of the arth.

            1. “It isn’t simply that trans women are women- I accept that, and I think a lot of people do.”

              Do you accept it in all circumstances? Most people accept it only until it starts to matter.

              1. I accept it in all circumstances. However, in narrow cases, the differences between trans and cis women can still justify some differences in treatment.

          4. In both cases, an objective MD would determine the person was something other than what the individual identified as.

      2. Can you point out where he used the word retard or simple name calling in his tweet?

        1. He didn’t (and I didn’t say he did), but you don’t have to have an epithet in a comment for it to be offensive.

          1. In this case, offensive isn’t a property of the comment, it’s a property of a subset of the people reading it.

            He wanted to demonstrate that some people, (Who pretended to be rational.) were just going around looking for excuses to be offended, and go on a rampage.

            You and others obliged him.

            1. To be clear, what offends you about his comment is that you lack any rational basis for rejecting what it suggests. You’re offended by having light cast upon your own irrationality.

          2. Sarcastically using the term “retard”, to prove a point in a discussion, I assume you would not want yourself cancelled for that?

      3. “I don’t think putting ‘discuss’ after something necessarily makes it non-offensive. Some people might disagree with me but that’s because they are retards. Discuss.”

        You can’t really be this stupid. Seriously.

      4. I think everybody should just grow thicker skin. Stupid and looking for a reason to be offended is no way to go through life.

        Setting that aside, everything Dawkins said was literally true, not an expression of opinion. Unlike your comment.

  3. I think many people are under the mistaken assumption that the AHA is a freethinker debating club when in fact it quite prominently bills itself as an ethical organization and that a freethinker must be a person who can’t find any discussion offensive.

    1. Anybody is free to find any discussion offensive that they want. This really isn’t that difficult.

    2. Taking away the award is childish dogmatism.

      1. Sure – in general awards-giving organizations are up their own asses.

        And yet…the strum and drung around this kinda proves their egoism correct. Not really, of course, since it’s not the award anyone cares about, but rather an example that fits in their narrative.

        And thus are mountains made out of molehills, and everybody on all side wins who loves outrage.

    3. Technically, I suppose a freethinker is free to find a discussion offensive, so long as they don’t think that licenses them to shut it down.

      1. This will go on for a while. ‘member the good old days when people got cancelled for being gay?

        I can’t blame the blowback wrath after centuries, indeed all history.

        1. I don’t cut anybody slack after centuries, indeed all history. Unless they can demonstrate they lived through it.

    1. Completely agree. This entire episode is amusing. Let them continue their ideological autophagy.

    2. Isn’t this the foundation George Constanza made up??

  4. I don’t believe I’ve ever cared what the humanists or Dawkins believes. If he got banned from book publishing or a Silicon Valley tech platform I could work up a tiny amount of principled outrage à la Martin Niemöller.

  5. Woke eating their own as a way to out virtue / one up intolerance in the name of tolerance and freedom of thought. The worst part is the lack of self awareness to recognize their intolerance is what they claim to denounce. So Woke they’re blind to hypocrisy.

  6. The battle is so vicious because the stakes are so small.

    1. I’ve seen the guy in an interview—why did the American Humorist Association even give the guy an award in the first place…was it supposed to be ironical??

  7. You don’t get to identify me. I identify as rich. I expect you to send me money to align my outward reality with my inward reality.

  8. I don’t see how Bostock’s reading of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t cover transracial identity. It seems to me that people who imagine they can get away with harassing and disparaging members of the transracial community are going to be in for a very rude awaking and a flurry of punitive damages.

    Recently an article was published in the Atlantic of the crudest sort of early 20th Century anti-trans bigotry, characterizing trans people as committing fraud and psychologically disturbed, and presenting these hateful stereotypes as fact. It is inconceivable that a publication like the Atlantic would associate itself with such hate.

  9. I suppose someone will have to explain to me how there is a standard for “free thought and debate” that is objective, fixed, and itself so far beyond debate that we needn’t even acknowledge its existence when criticizing others for not abiding by it.

    There are ways to be critical/reflective about transgenderism. For example: “I do not really understand people who identify as trans; could someone please help me to understand this phenomenon?” Another example: “What does it mean to embrace transgenderism, when we also believe that gender is itself ‘conventional,’ ‘contingent,’ and ‘performative.’ Why wouldn’t a transman be considered simply a non-gender-conforming woman, for example? What is the meaningful difference between the two? What does it mean to ‘identify’ with a convention whose contours and rules are by hypothesis not fixed, even inherently problematic?”

    Perhaps not the best way to launch a critical discussion of transgenderism is to say, “Hey, so you know how this Rachel Dolezal is widely considered a fraud? Why don’t we think the same way about every single trans person?” If that gets you kicked out of some “humanist” organization no one has heard of, well… sorry not sorry?

    1. It was more like, “Why don’t we think the same way about Dolezal and trans people? Assuming we should, which way should we think of both of them?”

      His comment didn’t demand that you think of trans people as frauds, it was equally open to ceasing to think of Dolezal as a fraud.

      1. Did you see how you had to rephrase what was said to be less dickish?

        That’s kinda SimonP’s point.

        1. Dickish is in the eye of the beholder.

          He made three factual statements, and didn’t even use perjorative terms in making them. Do you dispute any of them?

          “In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black.”?

          “Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men.”?

          “You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.”?

          Then he invited a discussion. Then he got vilified for inviting the discussion.

          1. I don’t have a lot of time to go around about cancel culture right now, so lets say I do agree for the sake of argument; SimonP is making a tone argument, that I cosign.

            And you tacitly do as well, as this is the second time you’ve had to edit the original statement to defend it.

            1. Wait, you’re counting just putting quotes around his actual sentences, and asking which of them you disputed, as “editing”?

              1. Breaking it up and making it into questions is certainly editing, yeah.

                1. That is so stupid I’m in awe.

                  1. You beat your wife.

                    You beat your wife?

                    Totally the same thing.

                    1. You beat your wife.

                      “You beat your wife.”

                      Yeah, totally the same thing.

        2. Isn’t funny how the fact that SimonP had rephrased Dawkins argument in order to make his point did not bother you a bit, but your knickers got all knotted up when Brett did it?

        3. “Did you see how you had to rephrase what was said to be less dickish?”

          No, I didn’t. I thought Dawkins’ original comments and Brett’s paraphrase was equally non-dickish. Perhaps you can explain why you found Brett’s comments less objectionable than Dawkins?

          Because the way you’ve set things up, the simple claim that Dawkins comments were not dickish is a sufficient rebuttal to your comments.

        4. “Did you see how you had to rephrase what was said to be less dickish?

          That’s kinda SimonP’s point.”

          Did you see how SimonP had to rephrase what was said to be more dickish? Seems like you’re having some selective outrage over rephrasing, Sarcastro.

      2. Brett, seeing as how you believe trans people are simply “insane,” I don’t take this comment very seriously. You’re a duplicitous moron.

    2. “What does it mean to embrace transgenderism, when we also believe that gender is itself ‘conventional,’ ‘contingent,’ and ‘performative.’ Why wouldn’t a transman be considered simply a non-gender-conforming woman, for example? What is the meaningful difference between the two? What does it mean to ‘identify’ with a convention whose contours and rules are by hypothesis not fixed, even inherently problematic?”

      This is actually a very good discussion that needs to be had. In a world where we still label “pink is for girls” and “blue is for boys,” and “girls play with Barbies” and “boys play with GI Joes,” how can we possibly reach transgenderism as a logical conclusion while we still have such ridiculous and arbitrary definitions of what it means to be a gender? Sorry, but if your little boy (biologically) plays with Barbies and likes pink, that doesn’t mean he is really a girl. It just means pink and Barbies (or blue and GI Joes) are not actually innate traits that define gender. And, in a world in which homosexuality is normalized, even sexual attraction to the same biological sex doesn’t achieve transgenderism.

      There just doesn’t seem to be any biological, social, psychological, or even sexual, justification for hormone therapy and surgery (for people who are not even old enough to decide to get a tattoo or piercing without parental consent…feel free to become a lizard transman after you’re 18, with your own money)

      1. The key point, as I take it, is the dysphoria.

        “Trans” isn’t defined by what you dress as, what you do, who you’re attracted to. It’s defined, apparently, by what you think you ARE.

        Specifically, that you think you’re something you aren’t. A dysphoria, IOW. No different in principle from anorexia.

        1. Actually, even the dysphoria issue is up for grabs. I don’t want to get into the debate between the “truscum” and the “tucutes”, but suffice to say, it’s something….

          And on this:

          This is actually a very good discussion that needs to be had. In a world where we still label “pink is for girls” and “blue is for boys,” and “girls play with Barbies” and “boys play with GI Joes,” how can we possibly reach transgenderism as a logical conclusion while we still have such ridiculous and arbitrary definitions of what it means to be a gender? Sorry, but if your little boy (biologically) plays with Barbies and likes pink, that doesn’t mean he is really a girl. It just means pink and Barbies (or blue and GI Joes) are not actually innate traits that define gender.

          The thing here is that there’s both (a) a rights claim and (b) a set of ideological beliefs. And the rhetorical slide is to pretend that objections to (b) are necessarily the same as objections to (a).

          The rights claim is simple. People who present in a gender different than their assigned sex at birth are human beings, they are entitled to equal treatment, they shouldn’t face arbitrary discrimination because of who they are (or because they happen to suffer from gender dysphoria, which is a medical condition that is irrelevant to most/all human vocations), and trans people are historically oppressed, subjected to violence and discrimination, etc. Same sort of narrative we have seen from numerous other historically oppressed groups. The case for civil rights is incredibly strong.

          But there are also ideological claims. And as you point out, there are huge contradictions in the ideological claims. Is being trans about transitioning from one end of the gender binary to the other, or is it about being nonbinary. If it’s nonbinary, then, as you point out, how come so many trans people define their gender identity in terms of binary gender stereotypes? Is there no such thing as biological sex? Are you born into your gender identity? If so, how come people have to go through costly and emotionally painful transitions? Etc.

          None of this stuff matters one bit to the rights claim. As I said, trans people are historically oppressed, and we shouldn’t discriminate against them. But for whatever reason, these ideological issues matter a ton to the activists, and they have never really resolved any of the contradictions or presented a coherent theory of how gender works. (There are such theories, but they come from scientists the trans activist community doesn’t like very much.)

          1. The thing is, there are multiple rights claims, and some of them are mutually incompatible.

            There are rights claims where you claim the right to do something yourself, and there are rights claims where you demand something of somebody else. Rights claim where somebody with a Y chromosome demands the right to wear a skirt, have his balls and penis cut off, and call himself a “her”. And rights claims where he then goes on to demand the right that others call him “her”, doctors cooperate in the cutting off, and to participate in women’s sports.

            The former is no skin off my nose. The latter? You can’t say the same about such rights claims, because they infringe the rights of others.

            And calling it “discrimination” doesn’t make that go away.

            1. Misgendering trans people is discriminatory, Brett. In the same way that using (not mentioning) the n-word to describe a Black person is. It’s a slur.

              You have the right to be a jerk, of course. But it doesn’t VIOLATE your rights that when you misgender a trans person, you get labeled a bigot. Because it is bigoted.

              1. “Misgendering trans people is discriminatory, Brett.”

                It’s hard to find a clearer example of question begging.

                1. If you treat a cisgender person differently than a transgender person by only misgendering the latter, that seems like discrimination on its face to me.

                  1. Still question-begging.

                    If I treat a trans-racial person and an non-transracial person exactly the same except I use the wrong race to refer to the transracial person, is it discrimination?

                    1. Yeah, just like if you treat all races the same but keep calling black people something they don’t want to be called.

                    2. Are you arguing, as Brett did below, the question being begged is whether a person’s gender is their self-proclaimed gender identity or their biological sex? If so, then I agree the statement, “Misgendering trans people is discriminatory, Brett” begs that question.

                      I reject the claim that gender equates to sex.

                  2. I treat them both the same, by correctly gendering both.

                    Regardless of the fact that one of them wants me to lie.

                    1. I mean, this argument also holds for people who think they correctly believe black people are inferior.

                      Your internal compass is not the be-all and end-all of moral authority.

              2. Dilan, correctly gendering people is just acknowledging objective reality.

                That guys are girls is just the “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?” the left has settled on, to break down resistance to lies.

                And the left has long claimed that any refusal to comply with its demands was dickish. Why do you think anybody is listening anymore?

                1. Brett, there’s nothing correct about calling a trans woman a man or a he or by their deadname. When you use gender in language, it isn’t making scientific claims about biology or sex.

                2. Brett,

                  Do you object to people asking you to call them Bob instead of Robert? Or Dick instead of Richard? Or Tiny instead of Eric? Is it really any different than using someone’s preferred nickname? (It does irritate me that people who look like their preferred pronoun have to always announce themselves “My name is Jim, and my pronouns are he/him.” Well, you look like Jim and not Pam, so was that really necessary?)

                  I could care less what someone wants to be called, as long as they don’t think that I should get in trouble for not knowing ahead of time, or for being terrible with names/faces and making an honest mistake.

          2. The thing here is that there’s both (a) a rights claim and (b) a set of ideological beliefs. And the rhetorical slide is to pretend that objections to (b) are necessarily the same as objections to (a).

            The rights claim is simple. People who present in a gender different than their assigned sex at birth are human beings, they are entitled to equal treatment, they shouldn’t face arbitrary discrimination because of who they are (or because they happen to suffer from gender dysphoria, which is a medical condition that is irrelevant to most/all human vocations), and trans people are historically oppressed, subjected to violence and discrimination, etc. Same sort of narrative we have seen from numerous other historically oppressed groups. The case for civil rights is incredibly strong.

            Agreed. Human rights are rights for all humans. “Normal” or not (normal meaning just whatever cultural norms exist in a given time/place).

            But there are also ideological claims. And as you point out, there are huge contradictions in the ideological claims. Is being trans about transitioning from one end of the gender binary to the other, or is it about being nonbinary. If it’s nonbinary, then, as you point out, how come so many trans people define their gender identity in terms of binary gender stereotypes? Is there no such thing as biological sex? Are you born into your gender identity? If so, how come people have to go through costly and emotionally painful transitions? Etc.

            None of this stuff matters one bit to the rights claim. As I said, trans people are historically oppressed, and we shouldn’t discriminate against them. But for whatever reason, these ideological issues matter a ton to the activists, and they have never really resolved any of the contradictions or presented a coherent theory of how gender works. (There are such theories, but they come from scientists the trans activist community doesn’t like very much.)

            This is what I take Dawkins to be talking about. Unfortunately, there’s a whole outrage industry that benefits from definitions being meaningless even as identity becomes “the truth.”

          3. “People who present in a gender different than their assigned sex at birth…”

            I’m not sure why people are so into this sex assigned a birth thing.

            If a doctor holds up a baby girl and says, “It’s a boy!” that doesn’t make her trans, and probably has vey little effect on her life.

            Sex is not assigned, it’s observed, beginning at about the second trimester and continuing throughout the person’s life.

            1. They’re trying to pretend that the identification of a baby’s sex at or shortly before birth is just an arbitrary decision on the part of the doctor, and has nothing to do with actual biological evidence.

              1. No, that’s not what anyone says.

                1. Sarcastro, literally LOTS of trans authors and activists, and their allies, argue that.

  10. Has anyone considered Dawkins isn’t challenging trans gender identity, but instead challenging the refusal to recognize trans racial identity? The statement doesn’t seem to commit to either side, just find the two socially current stances to be incompatible.

    1. Sure, basically he was contrasting two attitudes that were common in humanist circles, and pointing out that they weren’t really compatible with each other. And that a rational person should probably give up one or the other.

      He got shown the door because the people holding both of them intend to go on holding both of them, and didn’t mean to rationally examine either.

      1. He got shown the door because left wing spaces try to be allies to the trans activist community, whereas Rachel Dolezal has no allies.

        And look, being a good ally to oppressed groups is fine. I just wonder why anyone thinks canceling Richard Dawkins is necessary to be a good ally.

        1. If the trans were genuinely an oppressed group, there wouldn’t be so many people eager to call themselves “trans”.

          1. Actually, that’s not true, for reasons that I would expect a conservative like you to understand.

        2. As a white person, my understanding of Dolezal’s predicament is likely flawed but the gist of it, from my understanding, is that she engaged in what was effectively blackface and, as a white woman, was appropriating Black culture. She always had the opportunity to stop passing as Black and return to white culture whenever that suited her, something Black people generally cannot do. She was charged with welfare fraud which led to her outing. The entire thing was deeply offensive and generally considered a scandal.

          Dawkins bringing this up in discussion opposite transgendered Americans like he is Mike Meyers in the “Coffee Talk” skit on SNL– including the “discuss” punchline–sets the comment up to be pointed rather than an honest invitation to discussion. That it was on Twitter, which isn’t known as a forum for honest discussion in its own right, just underscored the smell of bad faith.

          “You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.”

          And this is just B.S. Transgendered persons understand the complexities around “what they identify as.” They understand the difference between sex and gender and they understand how their identity creates tension between these two concepts. Dawkins parrots the transphobic argument that anti-trans people are the real victims when they just “tell the truth” when it comes to a person’s gender. Blurring the line between sex and gender through the term “literally” did him no favors.

          1. That pretty much sums up my initial take. However in the spirit of being generous to Dawkins, the statement “[y]ou will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as” could be construed as supporting people who are vilified for saying a transgender woman’s gender is female but her sex isn’t.

            1. A fair analysis. But unless one truly knows the sex of a trans woman, one shouldn’t bring it up. If they do, vilification is warranted, IMO. I mean, we learn at an early age to avoid the topic of a woman’s age but somehow publicly musing over the arrangement of her genitalia and chromosomes is okay?

              We know that sex isn’t perfectly binary. We know that doctors perform surgery on infants to make them conform to a binary norm. Those kids don’t always grow up identifying the way their doctor modified their genitals to match. None of us can tell if a person’s chromosomes match their external sexual characteristics just by looking at them. So if a woman’s gender is female, how do we really know what her sex is and if we cannot really know without invasive medical testing, is our best response to revert to an ignorant cultural fallacy or do we give them the benefit of the doubt?

              Which brings me back to supporting people who are vilified for saying a transgender woman’s gender is female but her sex isn’t. That would mean supporting someone for making an assumption likely to cause offense and then acting on that assumption anyway. I’m not sure that is being terribly generous to Dawkins outside of “I support your right to say offensive things because I support free speech.”

              1. Again being generous to Dawkins, he might be defending someone who says Caitlyn Jenner’s sex is male (no assumption needed).

                That being said, I still think your analysis is somewhere between plausibly and likely correct: 1) his racial analogy is inapt and offensive and 2) he is blurring the lines between gender and sex to make anti-trans people into the victims.

              2. Human sex is not defined by the arrangement of genitalia but by chromosomes.

              3. We know that sex isn’t perfectly binary. We know that doctors perform surgery on infants to make them conform to a binary norm. Those kids don’t always grow up identifying the way their doctor modified their genitals to match. None of us can tell if a person’s chromosomes match their external sexual characteristics just by looking at them.

                There are very good reasons for recognizing trans people’s civil rights AND not misgendering them, but this is a hogwash argument that gets a lot of deserved pushed back from scientists.

                Sex isn’t a human concept. It’s a concept shared by all sorts of organisms that engage in sexual reproduction. There’s 2 forms of gametes. That’s where sex comes in- your body is capable of producing one or the other. Then there are all these other characteristics in humans that nearly always correlate with gamete production- hence, the term “secondary” sex characteristics.

                In other words, sex is a binary. It’s male and female. Yes, there are intersex people, but intersex people still exist within the framework of binary sex. They still are capable of producing one gamete or the other. Much of the time, the intersex condition just creates some mismatch between the secondary sex characteristics and the biological sex (and, as you point out, sometimes between the assigned sex at birth and the biological sex).

                And, by the way, this sex binary is seen in all sorts of other species. The only difference is, of all those species, we are the only ones we know of who have brains that are complex enough to overthink things and create gender identities that correlate with the social perception of gender, and to suffer gender dysphoria. It’s just ridiculous to declare this basic biological concept (“sex”) seen in numerous organisms as indeterminate simply because of a tiny percentage of people with intersex conditions and some folks with gender dysphoria.

                So there’s a sex binary. That doesn’t invalidate gender, transitioning, or anything else. But this is a classic example of part of the problem- there are activists in the trans community who would be happier if, for various reasons, their sex were to match their gender and it doesn’t. Which I have great empathy for. But that’s not a reason to point to a few intersex people and say “see, this thing that we observe consistently in hundreds of thousands of species doesn’t actually exist!”

    2. Race is a social construct that has no link to any underlying biological reality. Gender is a social construct that is strongly linked to the underlying biological reality of sex.

      So, granting the argument that anyone who doesn’t support a person’s right to choose their own gender in defiance of both social convention and biology is a bigot, what sort of super-bigot vilifies someone for choosing their own race in defiance of only social convention?

      Well, the super-bigots have just rushed to self-identify, haven’t they?

      1. “Race is a social construct that has no link to any underlying biological reality.”

        You’ll need to expand on this. Certainly there’s a link to the “biological reality” of DNA shared by parents and how that DNA was impacted by historic isolation of various communities such that certain traits are shared among members of or descended from a given community. That doesn’t align with “no link to any.” While the value of distinguishing one race from another in modern society is nil (and I’d say negative), that doesn’t mean there isn’t a link to some historic survival response or something like it. You cannot just wave all that away just to make an argument that anti-trans thought has some grounding in reality.

        Black and brown Americans certainly experience a link between the “biological reality” of the color of their skin and the way they’re treated by cops.

        1. Fine, I’ll condescend to give you a lesson in Population Genetics 010: Really Remedial Reality

          There was no period of historic isolation of communities in human such as the one you postulate; none ever created a genetically-distinguishable human subgroup. The genetic variance in the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa exceeds the genetic variance of the set of all non-African peoples. Any random Aboriginal Australian has a higher proportion of shared genes with any random Icelander (dating back to the small population of anatomically-modern humans who originally left Africa to populate the rest of the world) than any average Nigerian has with any average Kenyan.

  11. If the argument is that the AHA shouldn’t oughta have canceled Dawkins, well, they didn’t now did they? They Streisanded him, as evidenced by this blog that ignored his tweet of two weeks ago until the AHA reacted to it.

  12. We have concluded transgender people exist because of the large number of people who suffer from gender dysphoria. How many people suffer from race dysphoria? Thus, I wasn’t persuaded by the analogy.

    1. Gender dysphoria is a condition where people feel they are a different sex than what they are.

      Rather than affirming a falsehood, perhaps the response to this should be to examine why they feel this way? That is, to examine what they think it means to be a man/woman. Inevitably, the man or woman who feels they are not a man or woman must feel that way due to cultural expectations and stereotypes.

      If one is inclined to argue with my definition of gender dysphoria by staking out the modern definition of gender as something distinct from sex, and claiming that gender dysphoria is NOT when someone feels they are a different sex than what they are, but is when someone feels more drawn to or identifies more with the gender (i.e. the cultural norms) associated with the opposite sex, then their position becomes a non-sequitur.

      1. I believe clinical experience shows most people with gender dysphoria do not respond to treatment aimed at making them feel comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth (which almost always matches their biological sex).

        1. Neither do they particularly respond to treatment aimed at making their bodies conform to their dysphoria, unfortunately. Sometimes it sucks to have a disorder for which there is no actual cure.

          1. From what I understand, you are wrong.

            1. “Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery (CAG-00446N)”

              “All-cause mortality was higher for patients who underwent gender reassignment surgery (n=27 [8.3%]) than in controls (hazard ratio 2.8 [CI 1.8-4.3]) even after adjustment for covariants (prior psychiatric morbidity and immigration status). Divergence in the survival curves began at 10 years. Survival rates at 20 year follow-up (as derived from figure 1) were: female control 97%, male controls 94%, female-to-male patients 88%, and male-to-female patients 82%. The major contributor to this mortality difference was completed suicide (n=10 [3.1%]; adjusted hazard ratio 19.1 [CI 5.8-62.9]). Mortality due to cardiovascular disease was modestly higher for reassigned patients (n=9 [2.8%]) than in controls (hazard ratio 2.5 [CI 1.2-5.3]).

              Suicide attempts were more common in patients who underwent gender reassignment surgery (n= 29 [9.0%] than in controls (adjusted hazard ratio 4.9 [CI 2.9–8.5]). Male-to-female patients were at higher adjusted risk for attempted suicide than either control whereas female-to-male patients were at higher adjusted risk compared to only male controls and maintained the female pattern of higher attempted suicide risk. Hospitalizations for psychiatric conditions (not related to gender dysphoria) were more common in reassigned persons n= 64 [20.0%] than in controls (hazard ratio 2.8 [CI 2.0–3.9]) even after adjusting for prior psychiatric morbidity. Hospitalization for substance abuse was not greater than either type of control.”

              Basically, they start out happy, then by a decade out they’re worse off.

              1. Well, they’ve had a decade more of dealing with assholes. That kind of stress gets to people.

              2. That’s one study from over 30 in cited in the memo. The memo didn’t reach a conclusion, one way or the other, for a subset of people (Medicare recipients) while noting many professional organizations generally reached the opposite conclusion from that one study. Finally, sex reassignment surgery isn’t the only treatment that respects the person’s gender identity.

                1. Yeah, that’s the one that followed them for a long time, instead of a few years.

        2. “I believe clinical experience shows most people with gender dysphoria do not respond to treatment aimed at making them feel comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth (which almost always matches their biological sex).”

          If gender dysphoria is defined as distress due to to fact that one’s gender identity differs from one’s birth-assigned sex, I would imagine the manifestation of this dysphoria is significantly different based on whether or not one’s sex assigned a birth does indeed math their biological sex.

          I would imagine that this distinction would call into question the very concept of “sex assigned at birth”

    2. Since when was the number of people a relevant fact for a matter of logic? If ‘x’ is a social construct, and people should be allow to identify as any ‘x’ they want, that should apply no matter what ‘x’ is. The number of people who choose to identify as a particular ‘x’ in contrary to social convention isn’t relevant to that conclusion at all.

      Also, I’d bet a lot of transgender people lacked a word for what they were before a movement started coalescing on the fringe of the LGB movement. We see a “lot” (its not actually that many, really) of “T” now because there’s awareness that it’s a thing. Transracial identity is probably more common than we think, because people didn’t have a word for it before Doleazal (and after Doleazal, no one would think of admitting to it, so they’re in the closet now).

      1. I thought the reason we accept people’s gender identity is it is a treatment for an illness (gender dysphoria), not because we blindly accept whatever people want to identify as.

        1. No. Not all trans people have gender dysphoria.

  13. The trans ideology is fundamentally an anti-human ideology. It seeks to deny humanity itself, attacking language as necessary to do so. It is in a philosophical camp with transhumanism, which will take one step further in denying the definition of human. Trans people themselves are just people deserving of compassion, suffering from dysphoria and worse, and badly misled.

  14. Trans rights are mostly just not being super into middle school biology ‘there are only two sexes!!!’ and realizing the gender is in the brain, the brain is a complicated place, and just not sweating what someone else is thinking and doing.

    Making an effort to call people whatever pronoun want to be called is basic courtesy, no different from not performatively calling someone who goes by ‘Rich’ ‘Dick.’ If corporations are finding it profitable to performatively disassociate from public assholes, that’s not really censorship, it’s standard social behavior.

    Living and letting live is very much the libertarian position, and no amount of foot stomping about how what you learned back in the day is the inviolate truth will change that.

    1. “Living and letting live is very much the libertarian position”

      I thought Bostock was the true libertarian position.

      1. Only if you mean the French pastry.

        1. Seriously, does “living and letting live” mean that a business owner can have a dress code with the business’s traditional, “outdated” definitions of male and female?

          Obviously not, “live and let-live” is a one-way ratchet which means “the right to agree with my obviously-correct position.”

    2. Dawkins had his free speech. The AHA had their free speech. Why aren’t all the free speech activists on the Conspiracy applauding the wisdom of all this free speech?

      At the end of the day, that’s all that happened here…and it happened on Twitter fer crying out loud.

      1. I don’t think you actually understand the libertarian approach to free speech. Supporting the right to free speech does not mean or imply approval of the speech. Thus, Free speech activists will fight for the AHA’s right to say and do stupid, self-harming shit like this, while at the same time say it is stupid, self-harming shit , as far removed from ‘wisdom’ as possible.

      2. And the AHA used their free speech to establish they have no rel principles

        Which we’re happy to use our free speech to point out

        What part of that don’t you understand? The part where “having principles” is supposed to be good?

    3. Trans rights are mostly just not being super into middle school biology ‘there are only two sexes!!!’

      Well, yes. But trans activists often take this much farther and rather than just not being into it (no big deal), want to label as transphobic the belief that there are in fact two sexes.

      Again, there’s a slipperiness to the argumentation on this subject. It’s not a consistent line of “respect our gender identity, we are an oppressed group, our transitions are legitimate”. It’s calling people who literally have no issues with trans people and don’t want to discriminate against them “transphobic” anyway because they disagree with questionable ideological claims about sex and gender.

      1. It’s calling people who literally have no issues with trans people and don’t want to discriminate against them “transphobic” anyway because they disagree with questionable ideological claims about sex and gender.

        No issues other than yelling about how there are two sexes and they’re wrong…it’s a legit beef.

        1. No, it isn’t a legit beef. They go after Jesse Singal. Jesse Singal is not “yelling about how there are two sexes and they’re wrong”.

          Even someone like JK Rowling- who I have problems with- wasn’t simply “yelling about how there are two sexes and they’re wrong”.

          And in any event, since when is saying something that’s correct scientifically the definition of bigotry? It’s not the same as misgendering, or denying people opportunities, or threatening violence (all forms of transphobia).

          Indeed, if you accept that as the definition of bigotry, basically you’ve allowed this group of people to rule actual science out of the discourse entirely. That would be an awful precedent.

    4. “Making an effort to call people whatever pronoun want to be called is basic courtesy…”

      A woman sharing a prison cell with someone who she identifies as a man is a little more than basic courtesy, as is inviting someone upstairs who is not the sex that you prefer.

      And why doesn’t Racheal Dolzale get the basic courtesy of having people call her the race that she prefers?

      1. These things are vastly more easily navigable than the whole ‘I think this group of people mentally ill, and don’t care who tells me otherwise.’ No one is demanding you be into transgenders sexually.
        And your prison concern sounds like it’d apply just as well for homosexuality, but that’s been dealt with.

        Equating race with gender is a bullshit analogy (as has been pointed out above), and everyone who makes that argument knows it. So consider why you need to argue in bad faith to try and prove your point.

  15. Interesting

    Every single comment I posted here got removed

    Apparently point out that “atheism is a religion” is really offensive to the moderators at “Reason”

  16. American Humanist Association should give the prize to Justin Trottier, as he is the only humanist that I current respect.

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