I’ve served radical feminism the divorce papers.

**TW: Radfems in the comment section**

Until fairly recently, I didn’t know shit about trans issues. I’m trying to play catch-up, but… yeah. So anyway, this is mostly a post about my complete and utter disappointment with the concept of radical feminism. Because when I started getting into social justice at first, the concept appealed: patriarchy really is at the root of the oppression of women, and thus the goal should be uprooting it, not simply carving out a space for women who pay a sufficient tribute to fundamental patriarchal principles.

But you know what? that “not just for women who pay a sufficient tribute to fundamental patriarchal principles” goes for all women, so conforming to patriarchal gender-essentialism absolutely counts too. So does including women whose oppressions happen along more than just the gender-axis, because denying that classism, racism, ableism, heterosexism, cissexism, etc. are things that aren’t the patriarchy is bullshit. counterproductive bullshit.

Anyway, at first I didn’t even know that this denial, and this conformity to gender essentialism was a thing that radical feminists did, because the 2-3 that I know aren’t saying nasty shit about trans women, and aren’t denying that they are women. And I figured the extremists at AROOO were some sort of exception, possibly specific to separatist/political lesbianism (yeah, I know). So, in parallel to “Not my Nigel”, I was suffering from “not my radfem”. It wasn’t until I discovered Womanist Musings that I started learning about the history and current reality of entirely too much of what counts as radical feminism, best exemplified by the exclusion of trans women from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Since then, I’ve made it a point to search out more trans activist voices (Natalie Reed first among them, since she’s also a skeptic and feminist), and as a result have stumbled upon the deeply fucked up shit that radfems do and say to and about trans women; like this shit, or, on a wider scale this shit, where they actually fucking wrote a letter to the UN Commission on Women saying that protections for trans people are dangerous because they undermine protections for women. and then of course is the fact that the history of feminism is littered with cis feminists who’ve advocated violence against trans women, and who are considered heroes in radfem cycles.

so yeah.

I’m done defending radfems and radical feminism. the decent radfems can do the defending and the cleanup themselves; I’m gonna be over here, being an intersectional feminist, trying to be an ally to trans women, instead.

118 comments on “I’ve served radical feminism the divorce papers.

  1. The Meerkat says:

    We always appreciate new allies, particularly those willing to stand up for us. Thank you very much. <3

  2. Walton says:

    Mostly, when I’ve come across radical feminism in academic circles, it’s been in the context of their positions on sex work and pornography, to which they tend to be deeply opposed. As I understand it, the hardline anti-prostitution stance taken by the Mackinnon/Dworkin school of thought can sometimes backfire. For example, the US has a policy of only giving federal international HIV/AIDS prevention funding to groups which sign a pledge supporting abolition of prostitution, a policy which some radical feminist activists supported. In some cases, this means that groups doing important public health work with sex workers in the developing world have been denied US funds. See this article by Aziza Ahmed, for instance: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlg/vol341/225-258.pdf

    And, as you point out in your post, some radical feminists engage in horrifically offensive transphobic rhetoric. Particularly Janice Raymond, who devoted a whole book to attacking and insulting trans people; not to mention Lierre Keith, Julie Bindel, Germaine Greer… it’s incredibly depressing how a movement that is supposed to be standing up against oppression can end up actually reinforcing oppression.

  3. David Marjanović says:

    It’s been some time since I learned that much in a single paragraph. I didn’t even know Radical Feminism® was a technical term with an apparently precise definition, you know, like Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints®…

    it’s incredibly depressing how a movement that is supposed to be standing up against oppression can end up actually reinforcing oppression.

    Depressing, but not surprising. With just a little dose of Dunning/Kruger, we’re all capable of being the dogs and pigs on Animal Farm and finding someone who is less equal than us.

  4. Almulhida says:

    The term radfem has been synonymous with transphobia in my mind for so long that this is a little strange to me to read. But thank you as well.

  5. My eyes are open. Thanks.

  6. […] are glimmers of hope! Jadehawk, a cis woman, feminist, skeptic, and occasional commenter here, has served radical feminism the divorce papers, deciding to place herself firmly on the side of us trans-feminist folks. Hooray for […]

  7. bugbrennan says:

    (we were never married)

  8. giliell says:

    on a wider scale this shit, where they actually fucking wrote a letter to the UN Commission on Women saying that protections for trans people are dangerous because they undermine protections for women.

    It’s the same fucking crap like the “gay lifestyle”. Why on earth should anybody put up with that whole lorry-load of shit if it was a fucking choice.
    If being gay were a choice, nobody in their right mind would do it.
    Why would you want to be mocked, bullied, discriminated against, prosecuted and possibly killed because of a choice?
    And if that holds true for being gay, it must hold true for being trans about 100 times.

  9. Jadehawk says:

    (we were never married)

    oh, so I guess it was a Catholic-style divorce, AKA an annulment. :-p

  10. crowepps says:

    Thank you — never was a radfem, but still getting educated on trans people and this helped.

  11. bugbrennan says:

    Gender is a sham. Gender identity is a regressive concept. There are no “ways of being” that go along with biological sex. Trans is fashion. Lighten up, it’s just fashion.

    That said, there are trans people who require medical intervention to transition – I support legislation that protects trans people from discrimination using a non-stereotyping definition of gender identity. Query why you don’t? http://www.scribd.com/embeds/83995209/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-1h7qq1t31z5fhiv7921h

  12. bugbrennan says:

    (marriage is a regressive concept too)

  13. bugbrennan says:

    PS – get in touch with your inner dyke http://lesbianseparatist.tumblr.com/

  14. bugbrennan says:

    LOL at “they actually wrote a letter.” OH THE HUMANITY!

  15. P. Dykes says:

    Since you’re new to this, I’d suggest not writing on things you know nothing about ;).

  16. giliell says:

    So, the new diversion is man-woman, male-female, where a transsexual woman may be a woman but not a female.
    I call bullshit.
    If they could bring up a shred of evidence that such a thing as a pro-surgery trans woman actually ever raped a “female woman” in a public toilet, or that a rapist had ever disguised himself as a transwoman and assaulted other women, they might have a tad of a point.
    But they can’t and it’s sickening that for their perceived irrational threat they’re willing to throw other women under the bus because they don’t fit their own definition of “female”.

  17. hall-of-rage says:

    So the radfem blogger (Nine Deuce) who first got me thinking about feminism, is hardly a trans ally, but said some things about not hating on trans women recently, and then said more while dealing with a *ton* of backlash, and was like “ok I’m done talking about this”. :-/ I’ve also run across radtransfem who has some really good articles. Otherwise, I’ve never found a single radical feminist online who wasn’t seriously transphobic. Cheers.

  18. bugbrennan says:

    “So, the new diversion is man-woman, male-female, where a transsexual woman may be a woman but not a female.
    I call bullshit.”

    I SMELL BULLSHIT. Seriously, that’s why its transsexualism. Sex change.

    “If they could bring up a shred of evidence that such a thing as a pro-surgery trans woman actually ever raped a “female woman” in a public toilet, or that a rapist had ever disguised himself as a transwoman and assaulted other women, they might have a tad of a point.
    But they can’t and it’s sickening that for their perceived irrational threat they’re willing to throw other women under the bus because they don’t fit their own definition of “female”.”

    No, I care about sex stereotyping. Why are you such a woman-hating person that you don’t?

  19. bugbrennan says:

    I am happy to be transphobic because being “trans supportive” means fucking over females. This I – and many trans people – won’t do. Change the definition of Gender Identity and stop fucking over females.

  20. Alex says:

    Gender is a sham. Gender identity is a regressive concept.

    Buggy’s got a point actually. By insisting that gender is not determined by sex, Trans merely retrenches gender essentialism at a deeper level. It is assumed that there is a female or male essence, or combinations thereof, lurking beneath the deceptive veil of flesh. “A female in a male body” – yes, but a female what? Whence this essence? Surely this elusive psychic structure can’t be something immaterial, as that would entail dualism. You’ll be talking about male/female souls next! So it must ultimately have a physical basis, perhaps the possession or lack of a certain neural or chromosomal structure. But then you’re right back at “biology=destiny”, no different in principle from the possession or lack of a willy or womb. How regressive can you get?

  21. bugbrennan says:

    Alex – ask your mommy where babies come from. Reality is reality. Regressive is this made up shit you are pushing.

  22. Alex says:

    I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean, Bugs.

    For instant comprehensibility, just add coherence.

    Try again.

  23. Alex says:

    (And enough with the tiresome Herbert Kornfeld impersonations – “shit you are pushing” indeed!)

  24. David Marjanović says:

    “A female in a male body” – yes, but a female what?

    Brain.

    Microchimerism has been suggested as a reason, but, well, who knows. Anyway, the brain has a sexual identity, which usually lines up with the one of the chromosomes and that of the genitals, but any of the three can and sometimes do drop out of this agreement.

    But then you’re right back at “biology=destiny”, no different in principle from the possession or lack of a willy or womb.

    Principle? What principle?

    The transsexual woman who told me that microchimerism was a possible explanation grew up knowing she was actually female, for no discernible reason and obviously without any external input that anyone has been able to imagine. It was horrible for her that her body became less and less compatible with that over the years.

  25. David Marjanović says:

    Oh, Jadehawk, I just saw your twitter feed sidebar thingy. A downfaulted basin should be a syncline.

  26. David Marjanović says:

    Oops. The Bonneville Basin is a part of the Great Basin, and that’s a pull-apart basin. So, what Carlie said – the Graben part of Horst and Graben.

    http://www.scienceclarified.com/landforms/Basins-to-Dunes/Basin.html

  27. Jadehawk says:

    There are no “ways of being” that go along with biological sex.

    you will not win anyone here over by demonstrating just how illiterate you are in science. It’s not even fucking controversial anymore that sex is mapped in the brain in exactly the same way the rest of the body is. This has fuck all to do with that you call “gender” btw.

    non-stereotyping definition of gender identity

    lol. what the fuck do you know about non-stereotypical definition of gender identity, considering you don’t even know what it is?

    Query why you don’t?

    from that link:
    “advocates who frame gender identity as more important than sex”
    “A theory of Gender Identity that values gendered appearance, expression, and behavior more than biological sex”
    lol. see, this is why I can’t take you serious anymore. this lovely little strawman doesn’t leave much room for the femme, gay, trans man, for example; or for androgynes and a- and bigendered people. Neither is it at all capable of distinguishing between the state of current laws surrounding transition and “a theory of Gender Identity”

    (marriage is a regressive concept too)

    NOOOO REALLLY?!
    did they excise your humor gland, or what.

    ince you’re new to this, I’d suggest not writing on things you know nothing about ;).

    oh, I’m not new to radical feminism. That’s why I’m leaving you in the dust, having outgrown that stage in my life. If you want to complain about someone not knowing what they’re talking about, talk to your buddy upthread who doesn’t know about body mapping.

    ALSO TRY A PRIMARY SOURCE IT IS NOT HARD

    just because your readers aren’t capable of following more than one link deep, doesn’t mean mine can’t.

    Seriously, that’s why its transsexualism. Sex change.

    no; fitting the body to the existing brain-mapping to relieve dysphoria, is not changing the sex, since both sexes are already present in the person: the mapping in the brain is for one sex, the body displays another.

    No, I care about sex stereotyping.

    that may well be, but your ignorance on the difference between currently existing (sexist, of course) laws about transition and what trans* actually means is impairing your ability to actually do shit about it, making you side with the kyriarchy.; and of course, you’re not are of the extent of your ignorance because of the Dunning-Kuger effect, which makes you just dangerously ignorant.

    I am happy to be transphobic because being “trans supportive” means fucking over females.

    contradiction, since trans women are female.

    Change the definition of Gender Identity and stop fucking over females.

    from what to what? you don’t even know what gender identity is, so how can you demand the definition to be changed?

    Buggy’s got a point actually.

    oh look. the racist pro-natalist troll from the other thread is agreeing with you. lol.

    So it must ultimately have a physical basis,

    it does; seriously, go back to trolling about how foreigners are ruining your precious precious culture. You’re completely out of your depth here.

  28. Jadehawk says:

    Brain.

    don’t confuse them with such non-specifics, David. they haven’t seem to have figured out yet that the brain is not one thing, but a whole bunch of different things that have grown one on top of the other. you say “brain”, and they are likely to accuse you of saying this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UBOROA1rJ84/TUrUI-5Et8I/AAAAAAAAARg/APxK_j9ny-c/s1600/male-female-brain2.jpg

  29. Jadehawk says:

    get in touch with your inner dyke

    I don’t have one. sexual orientation doesn’t work like that.

  30. Forbidden Snowflake says:

    Jadehawk, are there any resources regarding body mapping in the brain and its relation to sex that you would recommend in particular?

  31. Jadehawk says:

    I have a number of useful links on that topic here

  32. Forbidden Snowflake says:

    Great, thanks! #gonnabeejumacated

  33. […] my last post actually attracted two radical feminists, one of which provided me this deeply flawed 2-page document which demonstrates a lot of the flaws in radfem understanding and treatment of trans issues. So I […]

  34. David Marjanović says:

    don’t confuse them with such non-specifics, David.

    You’re right. I couldn’t be more specific because I don’t know the details, or even whether they are known (well, probably most of them aren’t).

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UBOROA1rJ84/TUrUI-5Et8I/AAAAAAAAARg/APxK_j9ny-c/s1600/male-female-brain2.jpg

    *snort* Hey! I, like, totally have loads and loads of chocolate neurotransmitters! I must be… sorry. Couldn’t resist.

    *off to munch choco flakes plagiate, having had 2 huge brownies for dessert*

  35. giliell says:

    No, I care about sex stereotyping. Why are you such a woman-hating person that you don’t?

    Yeah, I really hate myself, sorry
    *hangs head in shame*
    Where the fuck do you get that I don’t care about gender stereotyping?
    Could you define that first, please?
    Please define the words: woman, female, sex, gender.
    Are, in your opinion, transwomen women, female or neither?
    Am I self-hating for having boobs and long hair?
    Or would short hair mean I hate myself because I want to be a man?

  36. Gabbeh says:

    I must be a totally confused mess. I’m a femme with short hair…

    Help me radfems, how should I hate myself?!

  37. Alex says:

    DM:

    the brain has a sexual identity, which usually lines up with the one of the chromosomes and that of the genitals, but any of the three can and sometimes do drop out of this agreement.

    That’s clear enough, admirably clear in fact.

    The transsexual woman … grew up knowing she was actually female, for no discernible reason and obviously without any external input that anyone has been able to imagine. It was horrible for her that her body became less and less compatible with that over the years.

    It’s interesting that you privilege the brain (or parts of the brain) over the genitals here. You would be horrified if such a person were subjected to brain surgery to conform his mental state to his genitals (if such a thing were possible), yet you presumably have no problem with surgery on the genitals to make them conform to the mental state. (JH: “fitting the body to the existing brain-mapping to relieve dysphoria, is not changing the sex, since both sexes are already present in the person: the mapping in the brain is for one sex, the body displays another“.) Both genitals and brain are both physical structures (meat) so why should one take precedence?

    The only answer I can think of is that the brain is the source of our sense of self-identity as autonomous agents and this sense, however illusory it may be, matters to us. OK, but then I ask: In what does this sense of being a female a male body (or vice versa) consist? What makes these feelings “female” (or “male”)? The structure of the brain might determine them, but what characterises them? There must be some differentiating content otherwise “male” and “female” become purely arbitrary labels applied to particular brain structures of no further consequence. To say “we call that brain structure ‘female’ that normally accompanies the functional genital structure called ‘female'” is all well and good – but if the typically corresponding female genital structure is lacking in an individual, how does that individual know s/he is “really” a female? S/he can only know that (and desire to live his/her life accordingly) if there is subjective yet definable mental content that corresponds to the objective structure of the brain. What might that be? The desire of a child born with a penis to wear “girls’ clothes” or play with “girls’ toys”? Whatever it is, you can see how the concept of the sexed brain is inseparable from some kind of gender essentialism. “Male and female he created them.”

    JH:

    I’m leaving you in the dust, having outgrown that stage in my life.

    Onwards and upwards …

  38. Forbidden Snowflake says:

    You would be horrified if such a person were subjected to brain surgery to conform his mental state to his genitals (if such a thing were possible), yet you presumably have no problem with surgery on the genitals to make them conform to the mental state.

    Unless you’re attempting some dishonest word-game in which you equivocate forced reassignment with voluntary, why would you assume that she would be horrified at the possibility of this hypothetical brain-sex-reassignment?

    The structure of the brain might determine them, but what characterises them?

    A strong sense of belonging to a category and of what one’s body is supposed to be like, perhaps? I’m not trans* so I can’t really say, but here‘s an illuminating article about your question precisely.
    But no, you can’t get from “gender identity is an actual thing” to “gender comes with a set of obligatory character traits”.

  39. Jadehawk says:

    otherwise “male” and “female” become purely arbitrary labels applied to particular brain structures of no further consequence.

    and this would be bad because…

  40. Jadehawk says:

    Whatever it is, you can see how the concept of the sexed brain is inseparable from some kind of gender essentialism

    gender essentialism is about gender expression, not gender identity. accepting the existence of an emergent property of the brain that gets interpreted as “female” says fuck-all about how such a self-property would be expressed. That is cultural

  41. Jadehawk says:

    It’s interesting that you privilege the brain (or parts of the brain) over the genitals here.

    do I need to explain proxemics again?

  42. David Marjanović says:

    the one of the chromosomes

    Maybe I should increase the confusion and begin* to explain the complexities that hide behind that. CAIS has been mentioned. Apart from this, if you have a Y chromosome but lack the sry gene on it (“sex-determining region on the Y chromosome”), or if you lack the next gene in the signal cascade (it’s on chromosome 6), you won’t be phenotypically male either.

    And then I should mention that all of this sounds as if female development is the default (for vertebrates) and male development only happens if it’s specially switched on. That used to be textbook wisdom, but recently a paper I haven’t read** showed that it’s quite a bit more complicated than that – which explains why so many women grow a moustache after menopause: estrogen production drops, androgen production keeps going at its background level.

    It’s not exactly intelligent design :-)

    * That’s all I can do. I’m really not an expert on that stuff.
    ** Pretty far from my main topic of interest.

    It’s interesting that you privilege the brain (or parts of the brain) over the genitals here. You would be horrified if such a person were subjected to brain surgery to conform his mental state to his genitals (if such a thing were possible),

    I have no idea if I’d be horrified.

    Provided, of course, informed consent were given!

    yet you presumably have no problem with surgery on the genitals to make them conform to the mental state.

    I really don’t think “mental state” is the right term here. It’s not something you can change like an opinion.

    The only answer I can think of is that the brain is the source of our sense of self-identity as autonomous agents and this sense, however illusory it may be, matters to us.

    Yeah.

    OK, but then I ask: In what does this sense of being a female a male body (or vice versa) consist? What makes these feelings “female” (or “male”)? The structure of the brain might determine them, but what characterises them?

    If the article Forbidden Snowflake has linked to doesn’t help (but I’m sure it will), all I can say is “ask transsexuals”. I’ve never been interested enough to ask, so I can’t tell anything beyond that article. :-|

    What I can tell is that I’m not getting gender dysphoria from having bought 1.6 kg of household chocolate today. :-þ

    Oh, and, what the article doesn’t explicitly mention is that some people have “none” as their gender identity. They’re by no means necessarily intersex (see below!) or asexual ( = having “none” as their sexual orientation).

    What might that be? The desire of a child born with a penis to wear “girls’ clothes” or play with “girls’ toys”? Whatever it is, you can see how the concept of the sexed brain is inseparable from some kind of gender essentialism.

    Only to limited imaginations!

    “Male and female he created them.”

    Heh. Thank you for confirming who I think you are. Even if we completely leave brains out of the equation, that quote glosses over this in blissful ignorance.

    and this would be bad because…

    …it would upset Alex’s imagination of what the world is like.

    do I need to explain proxemics again?

    Yes, please, because I don’t understand how this relates to the topic.

  43. David Marjanović says:

    I have no idea if I’d be horrified.

    …which means… I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be, but the situation is just so hypothetical that I retreat to “making predictions is difficult, especially about the future”. For example, when I imagine being in a social situation, I generally completely fail to model my social anxiety/stuff, even though that’s not something I got yesterday.

  44. Jadehawk says:

    Yes, please, because I don’t understand how this relates to the topic.

    simply extend the model further in than 6 inches-touch, to the body itself: being within 6 inches is less intimate than touching, touching is less intimate than penetration (and not just the sexual kind) of the body, and the “mind” (and therefore the thingy that creates it) is the most intimate. The degree to which people are unwilling to have these different zones invaded by others, the degree of possessiveness and anxiety about them they experience, etc. always gets more intense the closer in you get, even when the details are individually and culturally different. So of course most people would rather alter their body than their brain; in exactly the same way people are more willing to alter, for example, their home than their body.

  45. David Marjanović says:

    Oh, that makes sense, thanks.

    Alex, I recommend reading all 89 or so comments on the thread Forbidden Snowflake mentioned, and this thread as well.

  46. Alex says:

    …it would upset Alex’s imagination of what the world is like.

    Crikey!

  47. Alex says:

    FS & DM :

    OK I admit it. When I discovered the posts you linked to were by “a magical young woman” who spends her time “thinking things about stuff and writing stuff about the things”, who “established Queereka, the first ever skepticism blog devoted specifically to LGBTQ issues”, whose interests include “linguistics, feminism, gender theory, queer theory, human rights issues, poetry, neuroscience, biology, Doctor Who, Dr. Strange and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, I was about ready to throw in the towel. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Dr Who, mind.)

    But no, I forced myself to read the posts and my prejudices were confounded. I found them clear, sincere, impassioned and thought-provoking. Their refreshing lack of rancour also compelled respect.

    So:-

    i) Sex is primarily determined by brain structure;

    ii) The individual has a preconceptual awareness of his or her sex, a kind of primordial contentless self-identification;

    iii) This pre-rational sense precedes conscious awareness of the outward bodily differences that typically distinguish the sexes;

    iv) A person becomes aware that s/he is trans when s/he perceives that this innate awareness does not ‘match up’ with his/her outward bodily structure;

    v) This innate preconceptual awareness naturally seeks outward expression;

    vi) There is no essential connection between the sex-identity and the forms of sex-expression adopted, whether in manner or dress; any normative conventions are culturally determined;

    vii) If a young trans person adopts socially conventional modes of expression, this is merely because s/he has been exposed to them from birth.

    Have I got it?

  48. Jadehawk says:

    yes, that’s pretty much it.

  49. skeptifem says:

    This is bullshit. This is like finding some detestable piece of shit article about how its feminist to wear high heels and make up and serving the divorce papers to feminism in general based on that.
    You know who else called herself a radical feminist for awhile? A blogger who made “age play” porn of herself. Here is how it was addressed by other radical feminists:

    http://www.feminisms.org/3130/radical-feminism-just-making-it-up-as-we-go-along/

    As if *being* a radical feminist isn’t anything but getting dumped on all the damn time, by everyone, including the vast majority of other feminists. Thanks for adding to the pile, but I’m not a fucking gender essentialist and I am not anti-trans either. Neither are most of the radical feminists I know. I’ve addressed the problem of transphobia in my community, and so have many other radical feminist bloggers, I go and argue with people on their own blogs about how it is wrong to be a feminist and say anti-trans things, but I guess it isn’t enough for you compared with one blog that says something different. There are pages of arguments on IBTP about this, to show how the anti-trans people are not the majority of our community. What else could I be doing? Kicking people off their own blogs? Calling myself something else sure as shit wouldn’t fix the problem, it would just make me feel less responsible for it.

    It would be disingenuous to pretend that my feminism is something other than radical, it is a challenge to male oppression, especially the gender essentialism of the patriarchy. That doesn’t fit any other type of feminism that I am aware of.

  50. Jadehawk says:

    This is bullshit. This is like finding some detestable piece of shit article about how its feminist to wear high heels and make up and serving the divorce papers to feminism in general based on that.

    I direct you to the radfems who showed up here admitting gleefully to transphobia.
    Again, I’m quite aware that the concept is not non-rescuable, and that there are radfems who aren’t transphobic assholes. I’m just not interested in rescuing it and I’ll leave that up to you and the other non-transphobic radfems.
    And secondly, I’d like to point out that plenty of women of color have left feminism for womanism, to let us white feminists clean up our racist shit. There’s nothing inherently wrong in this.

    Thanks for adding to the pile, but I’m not a fucking gender essentialist and I am not anti-trans either. Neither are most of the radical feminists I know.

    good for you and I hope that it’s radfems like you who will become the leading voices of radical feminism someday.

    I guess it isn’t enough for you compared with one blog that says something different.

    strawmanning me isn’t going to help your argument. linking to one blog or another as a demonstration of what is going on is hardly the entirety of my sample size.

    It would be disingenuous to pretend that my feminism is something other than radical, it is a challenge to male oppression, especially the gender essentialism of the patriarchy. That doesn’t fit any other type of feminism that I am aware of.

    as noted at least twice in this essay, I am aware of both non-transphobic radical feminists and of the fact that it’s a VERY useful concept, per-se. I just can’t be bothered defending the movement as it is anymore.

  51. David Marjanović says:

    Their refreshing lack of rancour also compelled respect.

    *snortle* If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention. :-)

    Have I got it?

    As far as I can tell, yes.

  52. David Marjanović says:

    BTW, I’d like to take this apart.

    OK I admit it. When I discovered the posts you linked to were by “a magical young woman”

    Sounds like woo, I admit. Was that what you thought? I haven’t asked, but it’s not difficult to come up with other explanations for “magical”. For instance, “special” is now down the euphemism treadmill. I don’t know, but it may well be that trans* children tend to come up with explanations for why they’re so different from the other people they know that include magic. That would be analogous to the fact that it’s commonplace for children far enough down the autism spectrum (probably farther than I) to become convinced they’re not from this planet.

    who spends her time “thinking things about stuff and writing stuff about the things”,

    That just means she’s not going to restrict herself to a topic but will treat everything she finds interesting, to the extent she’s interested. In other words, a personal blog. :-|

    who “established Queereka, the first ever skepticism blog devoted specifically to LGBTQ issues”,

    Yeah, the name is dreadful. So what? Not everyone is a poet laureate.

    whose interests include “linguistics, feminism, gender theory, queer theory, human rights issues, poetry, neuroscience, biology, Doctor Who, Dr. Strange and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, I was about ready to throw in the towel. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Dr Who, mind.)

    What, can’t you imagine such a broad range of interest? Do “gender theory” and “queer theory” sound too much like woo? (I’ve never bothered to really find out what they are.) Or is My Little Pony just too repulsive? :-)

    [fixed your blockquote fail — JH]

  53. […] social movement ended because their methods/goals became mutually incompatible. Recently, blogger Jadehawk, divorced herself as an ally to the rad fem movement. She clearly lays out her reasons in her post. […]

  54. Alex says:

    FS:

    why would you assume that she would be horrified at the possibility of this hypothetical brain-sex-reassignment?

    Duh, proxemics.

    JH:

    gender essentialism is about gender expression, not gender identity. accepting the existence of an emergent property of the brain that gets interpreted as “female” says fuck-all about how such a self-property would be expressed. That is cultural

    But if this distinct identity is rooted in the very structure of the brain, why is it so implausible that it would tend to express itself in certain distinct forms of thought and behaviour? And if that is so, one would naturally expect it to be in turn socially expressed through cultural norms which, therefore, may not be quite as arbitrary as you would wish.

    DM:

    If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

    I refuse to believe a fan of MLP could harbour rancour.

    BTW, I’d like to take this apart. …

    Don’t take it too seriously. It’s just that “LGBTQ”, “queer theory”, “human rights issues” etc have roughly the same effect on radtrads as “family values” or pro-choice” have on those of a liberal persuasion.

  55. Forbidden Snowflake says:

    Duh, proxemics.

    Proxemics explain why people are likely to prefer SRS to your hypothetical pill against gender dysphoria, not why Jadehawk is supposed to be “horrified” at some hypothetical other person hypothetically choosing the pill.
    Also, let it be known that I consider this discussion of Jadehawk’s hypothetical reaction to another person’s hypothetical choice to take a hypothetical gender-dysphoria-curing pill more useless than a porcelain hammer.

    But if this distinct identity is rooted in the very structure of the brain, why is it so implausible that it would tend to express itself in certain distinct forms of thought and behaviour?

    It’s not “implausible”, it’s “largely disproven”.

  56. Jadehawk says:

    implausible that it would tend to express itself in certain distinct forms of thought and behaviour?

    not so much “implausible” as against available evidence, since most things considered “masculine” have at some other point in time/in another culture been considered “feminine”, and no masculine behavior and preference exists that isn’t also exhibited by women, and vice versa

  57. David Marjanović says:

    is supposed to be “horrified”

    You need to know that Alex likes it when people are consistent in their philosophies. …Which is great, except he wants people to be consistent along one of the few lines he has managed to imagine so far, not knowing there are many more.

    But if this distinct identity is rooted in the very structure of the brain, why is it so implausible that it would tend to express itself in certain distinct forms of thought and behaviour? And if that is so, one would naturally expect it to be in turn socially expressed through cultural norms which, therefore, may not be quite as arbitrary as you would wish.

    I don’t mean to pile on… just… it’s not a priori implausible at all; it’s just that, a posteriori, all of the proposed differences that have been studied so far have failed to hold up. I repeat: so far. It’s entirely possible someone will find one or ten tomorrow, and if so, it’s entirely possible that such a difference or ten will show a statistically significant correlation to cultural gender stereotypes around the world. It just hasn’t happened yet, as far as I’m aware.

    Given this track record, I expect that it’s likely that any such difference will be something few people have ever consciously noticed and few if any cultures take for granted. “Statistically significant” doesn’t mean “obvious” by a wide margin. But, again, you’re welcome to put some evidence to the contrary on the table.

    Short version: we’re scientists, not philosophers.

  58. Cynical says:

    All I can say is glad you came to the right decision JadeHawk. I can’t support a group who thinks it’s alright to champion themselves at the expense of another either, all they did was play into the hands of a patriarchy they say they do not want. How is fracturing minorities a winning strategy? Even if you ignore science, why can’t they at least have basic political strategy?

  59. David Marjanović says:

    Blog post about this paper about people whose gender identity switches back and forth involuntarily (some of those people can predict when it will happen, some can’t).

    Warnings:
    – The paper is in Medical Hypotheses, a journal famous for having published crap. Remains to be seen if this paper raises the reputation of the journal or the journal destroys that of the paper.
    – One of the interviewed people says: “If I’m in male mode and I see someone crying, I’ll think more along the lines of ‘Man up… while if I’m in girl mode I’ll think more long the lines of ‘Oh sweety!’” Well, I’m always in male mode, and I don’t think I’ve ever thought anything comparable to “man up” or “grow up” when seeing someone cry. It’s evidently possible to make testosterone and oxytocin at the same time. :-)

    The rest looks solid to me, however.

    (…Interesting that I have access to Medical Hypotheses at a museum of natural history. Elsevier must be selling it in a bundle.)

  60. David Marjanović says:

    From the full text:

    Alternation of gender states might easily be explained away by the socially constructed nature of gender and the fact that transsexual and androgynous individuals might be more comfortable exploring both masculine and feminine-associated components of their personalities. However, reports that the switches in gender typically feel involuntary piqued our interest in a possible neurological explanation for this condition. We found that many bigender individuals even report switching at inopportune moments when they would much prefer to remain in their current gender consistent with their dress and presentation. Furthermore, bigender individuals often feel that their voice, emotional response, style of thinking, social interactions, and even sense of anatomy change spontaneously and that their identification of feeling “male” or “female” tracks these involuntary changes.

  61. Just Another Woman says:

    Thank you Jadehawk.

  62. Steersman says:

    Testing, testing, testing.

  63. Steersman says:

    Interesting post. And I generally agree with you and commend you for your position. While I remain just a little skeptical about the claims of trans-people in general as I at least tend to the view that genitalia or chromosomes should be the deciding factor, I have also read enough to realize that there can be a great many other factors that contribute to “feeling” like a different gender. In which case the actions of many “TERFs” look to be rather much beyond the pale, although it might be of some value to attempt to understand “where they are coming from”.

    However, considering your post, I wonder whether you might now consider that Ophelia Benson’s “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” was an “ill-advised” argument at best if not actually an untenable position.

  64. David Marjanović says:

    the view that genitalia or chromosomes should be the deciding factor

    The deciding factor for what, for sex (biological) or gender (social)?

  65. David Marjanović says:

    Oh, also, keep in mind that genitalia and chromosomes don’t always match up with each other! The cascade from the sry gene* to male genitalia is long, branched, and convoluted, so there are lots of different things that can go “wrong” on the way, and the old view that the female body is the default (for placentals and marsupials) has turned out to be an oversimplification, too.

    * That name is short for “sex-determining region on the Y chromosome”. Other than this, the Y chromosome contains a few genes related to sperm development and stuff, and the rest is junk.

  66. Steersman says:

    David Marjanović said:

    the view that genitalia or chromosomes should be the deciding factor

    The deciding factor for what, for sex (biological) or gender (social)?

    Seems to be a bit of a loaded question or a can of worms since, for one thing, several dictionaries (1) describe “gender” as either “sex” or as “the societal or behavioral aspects of sexual identity”. And, probably more importantly, it seems to be an open question on the extent to which “gender” as “social or behavioral aspects of sexual identity” is influenced or determined by genetic factors, by “nature”. While I will readily agree than many aspects of sexual identity are culturally determined and change with the fashion of the times – pink or blue clothes for children for example – I would say it is a serious stretch to insist that all of the behaviours and attributes normally associated with gender have absolutely no basis in, or influence from, genetic factors.

    And as cases in point I would refer you first to the comment by Giliell above:

    If being gay were a choice, nobody in their right mind would do it.
    Why would you want to be mocked, bullied, discriminated against, prosecuted and possibly killed because of a choice?

    So, is homosexuality a consequence of sex in the sense of X and Y chromosomes? Or is it culturally determined? And if the latter then have they all been brainwashed, perchance by the Patriarchy, abrogating their freedom of choice? Or is it more likely that it has a very strong component due to genetics? I would go with door four.

    And then there’s this article (2) from the journal Hormones and Behaviour, by two women I might add – apparently both gender-traitors, which provided:

    … evidence that male and female rhesus monkeys … of all ages and ranks show preferences for wheeled and plush toys that resemble the preferences shown by human children in many studies of toy choice. This cross-species demonstration of male–female differences in toy choice strongly supports and extends prior work with humans … and vervet monkeys … showing that sexually dimorphic toy preferences reflect basic neurobiological differences between males and females and are not caused solely by socialization, as has been suggested by cognitive-social theories of gender role behavior.

    And finally, something from Pinker’s The Blank Slate:

    There can be little doubt that some individuals are constitutionally more prone to violence than others. Take men, for starters: across cultures, men kill men twenty to fourty times more often than women kill women. [pg 315]

    Which I elsewhere, in referring also to the 10 to 1 ratio between men and women in prison, had summarized as “[incarceration for violence and anti-social behaviour], it’s more of a guy thing”. Which Giliell had responded to with (3):

    … when I’d think that somebody who goes around telling that “criminal behaviour is more of a guy thing is biological” has a far worse concept of men than any feminist ever came up with.

    Which I think is predicated on a serious misunderstanding of statistics, although a fairly common one, that infers that the attributes of some segment of a population must necessarily apply to the entire population. That would be like arguing that because men outnumber women at the height of six feet by a factor of two thousand to one (4) – “[six foot height], it’s more of a guy thing” – that must mean that all men are six feet in height. While it seems quite clear men are the more violent sex – probably the consequence of testosterone damage, but in any case due to some significant genetic factors – that hardly justifies concluding that all men are more violent than all women, or that all men have the same propensity to violence. No doubt there is a spectrum of varying influences from both genetics and culture that attenuate or temper that tendency.

    But I think the evidence is quite clear that there are a great many differences in behaviour between the sexes, between the genders, that have been at least strongly influenced if not determined by our individual genetic inheritances.

    —-
    1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gender”;
    2) “_http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755553/”;
    3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/11/worth-getting-right/#comment-198872”;
    4) “_http://www.pasadena.edu/files/syllabi/txcave_18360.pdf”;

  67. David Marjanović says:

    So, is [sexual orientation in general] a consequence of sex in the sense of X and Y chromosomes? Or is it culturally determined? And if the latter then have they all been brainwashed, perchance by the Patriarchy, abrogating their freedom of choice? Or is it more likely that it has a very strong component due to genetics? I would go with door four.

    Er, yes, so would I. What does that have to do with the question of what should be considered “the deciding factor” for classifying people by sex and/or gender?

    gender-traitors

    Troll.

    The paper itself is a review paper that relies pretty heavily on the study by Alexander & Hines (2002), which is just one big clusterfuck, a failure of peer review. Unfortunately I don’t have time to dig up all the details, but googling for vervet monkey study or suchlike should bring up plenty of results.

    BTW, what is it with your bizarre habit of providing URLs with quotation marks around them and an underscore in front of them? If you just posted them naked, WordPress would recognize them as URLs and automatically turn them into links; if you used the <a> tag, as I just did above, you wouldn’t need endnotes at all.

  68. Steersman says:

    David Marjanović said:

    Er, yes, so would I. What does that have to do with the question of what should be considered “the deciding factor” for classifying people by sex and/or gender?

    While I’ll admit to being a little vague in addressing your question (1), my statement was that I tended to the view that “genitalia or chromosomes should be the deciding factor” – which I should have clarified then or subsequently with “for classifying by sex”.

    However, my actual response was intended to address what I think is a seriously false dichotomy in your question – i.e., … deciding factor for what, for sex (biological) or gender (social)? – in suggesting that any given attribute has to be, exclusively, either biological or social. Now if you want to define “gender” as those attributes of behaviour which have absolutely no component influenced or determined by genetics then of course gender is entirely social and can’t at all be influenced or determined by “genitalia or chromosomes”. However, my impression is that a great many of our behaviours that are construed to be parts of our “gender identity” seem to be very strongly influenced by our genetic inheritances, cases in point being our different propensities for violence; our choices of toys; our tendencies to “rough-and-tumble” play, to “no-strings sex”, to “prostitution and visual pornography”; and our abilities to mentally “manipulate three-dimensional objects”, to read “facial expressions and body language”, and to memorize “verbal material”. (2)

    And it seems to me that that “all or none”, “black or white”, view on gender – maybe on sex too – causes no end of problems, all of which are predicated on a very poor, not to say dogmatic or pigheaded, understanding of the processes involved. While there is maybe some justification for that as the processes are, as you’ve indicated, incredibly intricate and complicated, I don’t think that absolves people for refusing to consider the evidence, or for peddling highly questionable or outright erroneous arguments. For instance, consider this comment by Greg Laden in a Scientific American article on the null hypothesis by Stephanie Zvan (3):

    The null hypothesis is, indeed, that human behavioral and cognitive function develops (and varies) ex-utero … in a culture …. There is no reason to believe that the outcome (human variation in these things we test and measure sometimes obsessively) is somehow determined by our underlying genome.

    Apart from the fact that we also measure things which are obviously entirely “determined by our underlying genome”, he seems – and many others seem – also to be rather reluctant to consider that significant parts of our “human behavioural and cognitive function” is if not determined then strongly influenced by “our underlying genome”. Many seem bound and determined to insist that “behavioural and cognitive function” is an either-or scenario – either entirely determined, or not at all determined – and refuse or are unable to comprehend that it can be influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, by our our own unique individual genomes. Humans are not lock-step automatons like Sphex wasps (4), but neither are we blank slates.

    gender-traitors

    Troll.

    Troll-ish. It wasn’t the central point in my comment, only a bit of a needle in passing.

    The paper itself is a review paper that relies pretty heavily on the study by Alexander & Hines (2002), which is just one big clusterfuck, a failure of peer review.

    It’s a “clusterfuck” if it doesn’t support your position, but brilliant scholarship if it does? But I did search on “vervet monkey study”, and in a brief scan through the 3700 hits I didn’t see anything that supported the “clusterfuck” characterization.

    However, in any case, that doesn’t apparently detract from the other studies referenced and described in that NCBI article, nor from the other cases I described [Pinker, incarceration rates] that support the contention that behaviour can be strongly influenced by our genetic inheritances – behaviours that show some variation by sex.

    BTW, what is it with your bizarre habit of providing URLs with quotation marks around them and an underscore in front of them?

    I find that many blogs have a limit of 2 or 3 links before the comment automatically goes into moderation – and sometimes even 1 depending on the nature of it. As I find that a bit of a pain it seems easier to hide them with the quotes and an underscore. And it also groups the links for easier access and checking, particularly within my source files which I retain should I wish to copy-paste parts of them into another comment.

    But I wonder why you find it so difficult copy the link into a new browser page.


    1) “_http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/ive-served-radical-feminism-the-divorce-papers/#comment-3421”;
    2) “_http://www.pasadena.edu/files/syllabi/txcave_18360.pdf”;
    3) “_http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/05/25/the-politics-of-the-null-hypothesis/”;
    4) “_http://books.google.ca/books?id=XMK3f7XZ6JUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Architecture+of+the+Mind&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9FnwUdf6OuiYigLDvoDADw&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Sphex&f=false”;

  69. Jadehawk says:

    I at least tend to the view that genitalia or chromosomes should be the deciding factor

    why? that’s a weird priority, and it will run you into really weird places really quickly given XX/XY chimeras, various forms of intersex, CAIS, etc.

    However, considering your post, I wonder whether you might now consider that Ophelia Benson’s “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” was an “ill-advised” argument at best if not actually an untenable position.

    context please. preferrably with links. BTW, there shouldn’t be a limit on links on this blog at the moment, so stop butchering them, it’s annoying.

    since, for one thing, several dictionaries (1) describe “gender” as either “sex” or as “the societal or behavioral aspects of sexual identity”

    and some dictionaries also think pagan = nonbeliever. argument from dictionary gets you into the weeds really quickly; they’re only good if you want to make a point about etymology (prescriptive dictionaries) or common use (descriptive dictionaries).

    Gender and sex are not synonyms. Traditionally, gender was a word for what’s in your head, and sex was the word for what’s between your legs. Reality has turned that traditional separation on its head once again of course, since as it turns out human sex is more complex and includes some of what’s in your head (studies on trans brains show that they map for bodies with particular sexual characteristics even when those aren’t there; hence phantom penises or the converse, the impression that a bit that’s physically part of your body is actually a foreign object), and it also turns out that not only is human sex not really binary, it’s not even one spectrum, since pretty much every sexual characteristic develops separately and can be separately influenced to go one way or the other.
    More sensibly, it makes sense to think of gender as a social construct encompassing gender roles, expression, identity, and sex; and sex as a phenotype, determined not by one sexual marker but by a combination of them (and I see no reason why we shouldn’t give the brain’s self-perception a priority position, rather than the external dangly bits or chromosomal markers).

    And, probably more importantly, it seems to be an open question on the extent to which “gender” as “social or behavioral aspects of sexual identity” is influenced or determined by genetic factors, by “nature”.

    that’s a false dichotomy, btw. it’s not just genes vs. culture. human sex is hormonally determined, which means it’s subject to genes AND environmental (incl. cultural) influences; and gender goes even further beyond that.

    I would say it is a serious stretch to insist that all of the behaviours and attributes normally associated with gender have absolutely no basis in, or influence from, genetic factors.

    define “normally associated with gender”, and explain why virtually all of them have at some point in time have been reversed. The point is not that some gendered things don’t coincide with e.g. things created or strengthened by either androgens or oestrogens; the point is that gender roles are entirely made up and not actually bound to any biological coinciding factors (because, as noted, at some point in the past the things were culture and biology might coincide now were non-coinciding at some point in the past.

    So, is homosexuality a consequence of sex in the sense of X and Y chromosomes? Or is it culturally determined?

    false dichotomy again.

    ?And if the latter then have they all been brainwashed, perchance by the Patriarchy, abrogating their freedom of choice?

    this is nonsense. enculturation is universal, and free choice exists only within that. there’s no such thing as a dichotomy between free will and being “brainwashed” by your culture (largely because countracausal free will doesn’t exist, and because selective “brainwashing” is a strawman of the arguments about the effects of enculturations)

    And then there’s this article (2) from the journal Hormones and Behaviour, by two women I might add – apparently both gender-traitors, which provided:

    adorable how you know these studies, but not the extensive criticism of their atrocious methodology. Especially the vervet study is infamous for being extraordinarily shoddy.

    And finally, something from Pinker’s The Blank Slate:

    I have no hope for Pinker or any other EP’er ever understanding that it’s just not a dichotomy, and that behaviors affected by hormones are still as much genetically caused as environmentally, given how hormone release in humans works. In the case of violence, it’s a small difference exacerbated by enculturation into violence, which in turn exacerbates the physiological differences. Change the culture, and you change the violence-differential massively. There’s no point in insisting on biological determinism insisting that we must always enculturate in ways that exacerbate the differences.

    While it seems quite clear men are the more violent sex – probably the consequence of testosterone damage, but in any case due to some significant genetic factors

    testosterone? yes. genetic? that you’re going to have to show some evidence for. Are CAIS women more violent than XX-women?

    But I think the evidence is quite clear that there are a great many differences in behaviour between the sexes, between the genders, that have been at least strongly influenced if not determined by our individual genetic inheritances.

    conflating sex and gender actually ruins your argument for you. So does the pointless insistence on genetics, when genetics don’t have much to do with human sex (again, see XX/XY chimeras and CAIS women). Hormones create different sexual characteristics, but gender is not just the behavioral result of a particular sexual phenotype.

    And it seems to me that that “all or none”, “black or white”, view on gender – maybe on sex too – causes no end of problems, all of which are predicated on a very poor, not to say dogmatic or pigheaded, understanding of the processes involved.

    which is why probably the only people who actually use it dichotomously are TERFs, people who want to argue against all gender/sex-related arguments on the basis of easily refuted dichotomies, and what I’d call hobby-progressives: people with a shallow, 20-years-behind-the-times understanding of social issues.

    It’s a “clusterfuck” if it doesn’t support your position, but brilliant scholarship if it does?

    dude. they gendered a pot. in a study of animals with no concept of cooking. everyone with 2 braincells to rub together would be able to figure out that a “pot” is a pot only as a social construct, otherwise it’s a cylinder with one open side, and completely ungendered. hell, every kid who’s ever played knight-in-armor knows how easy it is to reverse the gendering of a “pot” by putting it on your head and calling it a helmet.
    These studies are shittastic because of shittastic methodology, but don’t let that stop you from bullshitting.

    And for the love of everything sane, stop acting as if human sexual characteristics were genetically determined. They’re not. They’re hormonally determined. That’s why hormone therapy works, that’s why CAIS women are women, that’s why intersex people exist, that’s why XX/XY chimeras aren’t bilateral or mosaic gynandromorphs like it happens in species with genetic sex-determination.

  70. Jadehawk says:

    also, why are you commenting on old posts of mine.

  71. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    [Sorry for the “wall of text” here, but you did ask a lot of good questions.]

    why? that’s a weird priority, and it will run you into really weird places really quickly given XX/XY chimeras, various forms of intersex, CAIS, etc.

    I did say tend and I subsequently emphasized that for a reason. Unless we want to start building public toilets in 17 different versions for each of the different genders – and more if we want to go hog-wild and declare each individual genome a different sex – we are obliged to pare them down into manageable classes.

    … Ophelia Benson’s “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” …

    context please. preferrably with links. BTW, there shouldn’t be a limit on links on this blog ….

    Ask and it shall be given. But, “shouldn’t be”? You might want to check as my impression is that WordPress has a great many defaults depending on the theme.

    More sensibly, it makes sense to think of gender as a social construct encompassing gender roles, expression, identity, and sex; and sex as a phenotype, determined not by one sexual marker but by a combination of them …

    So which is it? “social construct” or genetically determined because sex is an entirely genetically determined attribute? Seems to me that you can’t say it is entirely a social construct if, as per your argument, it includes something that is not a social construct but is part of nature, of our genome. All you can say, I think, is that it is partly a social construction and partly a genetic construction.

    that’s a false dichotomy, btw. it’s not just genes vs. culture.

    Yes, I agree. As I subsequently argued.

    … define “normally associated with gender”, and explain why virtually all of them have at some point in time have been reversed.

    I probably should have said “normally associated with sex” since, as you suggest, gender is a rather fluid concept, a moving target. Why I think “sex” is somewhat of an arbitrary or utilitarian concept, but a necessary one: the facts of the matter are that the world population is probably close to 50.2% X-Y and 49.6% X-X with some 0.2 to 1.9% (depending on whose criteria you use) being intersex so it makes sense to provide handles to the first two classes, i.e., “male” and “female”.

    So, is homosexuality a consequence of sex in the sense of X and Y chromosomes? Or is it culturally determined?

    false dichotomy again.

    Yes, I quite agree. But I might suggest you try reading all the way to the end of my paragraphs before responding to them because I subsequently said “Or is it more likely that it has a very strong component due to genetics? I would go with [that choice].”

    this is nonsense. enculturation is universal, and free choice exists only within that. there’s no such thing as a dichotomy between free will and being “brainwashed” by your culture …

    It was a bit of a jest, a bit of a dig, something to emphasize my subsequent point that homosexuality seems to have a not insignificant basis in some genetic factors. But not quite sure what you mean by no “dichotomy between free will and being brainwashed”. Not quite sure who you think said that if you don’t think you have a self that can be influenced negatively by factors – for example the Patriarchy – other than those that you deem most beneficial for your self.

    … (largely because countracausal free will doesn’t exist …

    Do tell. You have some “knock-down-drag-em-out” type of proof that that is the case? Seems to me that that is still somewhat of an open question, and that making rather dogmatic assertions on the question – one way or the other – looks more like articles of faith than the deliberations of critical thinkers and skeptics. But my view is that the phenomenon of emergence strongly suggests consciousness qualifies as that, and that it thereby confers some degree of what is commonly called “free will”. But that is only a conjecture, one of my “working hypotheses”. Hence my interest in emergence.

    I have no hope for Pinker or any other EP’er ever understanding that it’s just not a dichotomy, and that behaviors affected by hormones are still as much genetically caused as environmentally, given how hormone release in humans works.

    Yes, I will quite readily agree with you that behaviours are affected by hormones. And that they are, in turn, affected by our genome and our environment. However, my impression is that Pinker and EP in general argue that that genome is very much a result of various selection pressures along our rather lengthy evolutionary time-line. Selection pressures which have had some differential effects on the sexes, hence the different genes, alleles (I guess), hormones and their levels.

    In the case of violence, it’s a small difference exacerbated by enculturation into violence …

    Seems to be a moot point – small differences active over long periods of time can have rather profound and far-reaching consequences. But when, as mentioned, there is a 10:1 ratio between men and women in prison, one might suggest that the genetic difference is a rather non-trivial one.

    … conflating sex and gender actually ruins your argument for you.

    Didn’t you just do that with your “gender as a social construct encompassing … and sex”? Rather difficult not to do that which is why I’ve generally been arguing in all of my posts here that gender has a substantial genetic component to it. Those most averse to that perspective of EP seem to be the ones most reluctant to accept or even consider that argument. Which makes you somewhat of an anomaly.

    testosterone? yes. genetic? that you’re going to have to show some evidence for. Are CAIS women more violent than XX-women

    The only thing I have handy is a NYTimes article by Andrew Sullivan who was taking testosterone shots because of his HIV:

    Men and women differ biologically mainly because men produce 10 to 20 times as much testosterone as most women do, and this chemical, no one seriously disputes, profoundly affects physique, behavior, mood and self-understanding. To be sure, because human beings are also deeply socialized, the impact of this difference is refracted through the prism of our own history and culture.

    Seems to have some rather far-reaching effects. But an important point is that there is a very wide range in the levels of testosterone in men across the entire population. Which translates into at least very wide ranging influences from the hormone. Which seem to correlate with numbers of men and women in prison.

    dude. they gendered a pot.

    Really? Well if that is the case then that is indeed “shittastic methodology”. Although I might point out that that study is not readily available – I think I saw it is behind a pay-wall at $31.50. You might want to consider that not everyone has ready access to such: check your privilege.

    And for the love of everything sane, stop acting as if human sexual characteristics were genetically determined. They’re not. They’re hormonally determined.

    And, pray tell, where do you think the hormones come from? They magically appear on the expression of desire? You buy them at the local pharmacy? Seems to me that they’re all built in the various cells in the body under control of the genome and the individual genes within it. I count some 60-odd in this list, but several of them seem to be classes, each of which contains several members. But, for instance, this hormone – cholecystokinin – is built by this gene on the third chromosome.

    As mentioned, it is certainly true that many “human sexual characteristics are … hormonally determined” or influenced. But as with the desire for, say, food, we can use our sense of volition and self – wherever those come from – to override those desires or temper them, at least in some cases. However, the “machinery” to build those hormones in the first place is very much a consequence of, probably, several billion years of evolution as the gene mentioned above seems to have about that much time in its pedigree.

    also, why are you commenting on old posts of mine.

    Actually I had been looking on your site for what I had thought was a conversation we had had some time go. While it turned out to have been something that Giliell had said, I did find this post of yours and thought your “divorce” was worth commenting on.

  72. Jadehawk says:

    Unless we want to start building public toilets in 17 different versions for each of the different genders

    or we could sensibly stop gendering toilets altogether.

    we are obliged to pare them down into manageable classes

    why? at least, why, for most of the stuff people do? for almost everything in human societies there’s no good reason to classify humans into a hard binary like that. it tends to in fact harm everyone who in any degree falls outside of it, which is virtually everyone to some degree.

    So which is it? “social construct” or genetically determined because sex is an entirely genetically determined attribute?

    lolwut. no it isn’t. only a very tiny aspect of sex is genetically determined, and even that is easily disrupted. like I said, human sex is hormonally determined, and human gender incorporates that and creates a social construct around that. It works the same way race does. skin-color is a biological thing, but race is entirely a social construct.

    Seems to me that you can’t say it is entirely a social construct if, as per your argument, it includes something that is not a social construct but is part of nature, of our genome.

    nonsense. race is also a complete social construct, even though skin-color differences exist. it’s not the superficial differences that humans use to draw the arbitrary lines that make the construct. That’s why non-white people can “become” white even without ever changing the shade of their skin.

    Yes, I agree. As I subsequently argued.

    wut? that’s all you’ve talked about, as if genes and culture are the sum total of it, and nurture couldn’t influence nature.

    I probably should have said “normally associated with sex” since, as you suggest, gender is a rather fluid concept, a moving target.

    so is sex. the only part that’s genetically determined is whether you end up with testes or ovaries. the rest is hormones. Meaning human sex is made up of many traits which can be affected by androgens and oestrogens in completely independent ways, to completely independent degrees (with the exception of situations like CAIS, that is)

    the facts of the matter are that the world population is probably close to 50.2% X-Y and 49.6% X-X with some 0.2 to 1.9% (depending on whose criteria you use) being intersex so it makes sense to provide handles to the first two classes, i.e., “male” and “female”.

    you have no idea what you’re talking about. XX/XY chimeras are not the same as intersex people. Most people who display both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics are not XX/XY chimeras.
    Aside from that, claiming that it’s genes that make sexual determination is mostly lying to oneself about how sex is usually determined. It’s never about the genotype, it’s about the phenotype. Doctors don’t assign sex based on genetics, and they don’t perform genital mutilation on intersex infants based on their DNA either.
    And once you admit that sex is about phenotype, you are going to have to justify why you’re giving preference to one aspect as the sole determinant of sex over others.

    But I might suggest you try reading all the way to the end of my paragraphs before responding to them because I subsequently said “Or is it more likely that it has a very strong component due to genetics? I would go with [that choice].”

    dude, that’s the nonsensical part. it’s not just culture and genes. is that ever going to get thru?

    something to emphasize my subsequent point that homosexuality seems to have a not insignificant basis in some genetic factors

    [citation needed]. once again you’re falling back on that annoying dichotomy of culture vs. genes. there’s more to human development than that.

    Not quite sure who you think said that if you don’t think you have a self that can be influenced negatively by factors – for example the Patriarchy – other than those that you deem most beneficial for your self.

    I have no idea what this atrocity of a sentence is even supposed to mean, or how it relates to what I said.

    Do tell. You have some “knock-down-drag-em-out” type of proof that that is the case?

    I hope your next suggestion isn’t going to be to prove that god doesn’t exist. Look, there’s no mechanism for contracausal free will. Either the will is random or it is caused. There’s no mechanism by which the human mind can be its own first cause. That’s pure dualism.

    But my view is that the phenomenon of emergence strongly suggests consciousness qualifies as that

    yes, consciousness is an emergent phenomenon. But it isn’t it’s own first cause. It’s either caused or it’s random (or a combination thereof), but it is not self-caused.

    Yes, I will quite readily agree with you that behaviours are affected by hormones.

    “affected by” is… interesting.

    However, my impression is that Pinker and EP in general argue that that genome is very much a result of various selection pressures along our rather lengthy evolutionary time-line.

    of course it is. my point is that they argue that these genes then create human behavior directly, which is BS. Androgens and oestrogens are what, at the base, is responsible for certain sex-linked behavioral attributes. Change the hormonal cocktail, you change the expression of the traits; and the hormonal soup humans swim in is highly variable, even without the strong influence culture has on it’s patterns.

    Seems to be a moot point – small differences active over long periods of time can have rather profound and far-reaching consequences.

    and given human plasticity, they can be altered, which is what culture has been doing to humans for a long time. That’s the point. Small “natural” differences can be both exacerbated and minimized by cultural influence.

    But when, as mentioned, there is a 10:1 ratio between men and women in prison, one might suggest that the genetic difference is a rather non-trivial one.

    no, that doesn’t follow in the slightest. especially with incarceration rates, which have epic fucktonnes of cultural layers on top of them and can’t even be used to compare rates of actual violent behavior.

    Didn’t you just do that with your “gender as a social construct encompassing … and sex”? Rather difficult not to do that which is why I’ve generally been arguing in all of my posts here that gender has a substantial genetic component to it.

    uh, no. again:
    gender is a social construct of which a very small part is tied to the sexual phenotype. the sexual phenotype in turn is largely hormonally determined, which in the ideal case corresponds to a large degree with the genotype. even if this was a simple matter of concentric circles (it isn’t), genetics would be a fucking tiny part of the whole.

    Those most averse to that perspective of EP seem to be the ones most reluctant to accept or even consider that argument. Which makes you somewhat of an anomaly.

    lol. no, it doesn’t. my perspective on this is entirely typical. the blank slate exists only in the mind of TERFs and those who like to argue against strawmen

    The only thing I have handy is a NYTimes article by Andrew Sullivan who was taking testosterone shots because of his HIV:

    so nothing then. it’s the hormones, not the genes (and by the way, while testosterone is more present in more aggressive individuals, it doesn’t appear that testosterone directly causes more aggression in humans; it seems to influence status-seeking instead. which can be pro-social as well as anti-social, depending on how status is culturally conceived in your society.)

    I think I saw it is behind a pay-wall at $31.50. You might want to consider that not everyone has ready access to such: check your privilege.

    yeah, it’s a habit you get into when almost everyone you know has academic access.

    And, pray tell, where do you think the hormones come from?

    from anywhere you like. Yes, some people buy their hormones at the pharmacy that’s the point. you can do that and change your sexual characteristics of a person. doesn’t work like that in animals where sex is actually genetically determined.
    Aside from that: sex determination is done, genetically speaking, the moment testes have formed. After that, it’s all hormones and the receptivity to them. You break the genetic sequence that leads to the creation of testes and you get an XY woman with Swyer Syndrome. You get the SRY genes on the X genes for some reason, you get an XX man.

    I’m basically trying to get the difference between hormonally determined sex and directly genetically determined sex to you, because all this talk of genetics is irrelevant in a species that can alter different aspects of its sex phenotype by changing its dosage of hormones at different stages of development. in genetically determined sex, it’s an all-or-nothing binary situation. In hormonally determined sex, it’s a spectrum, and one spectrum for each part of the sexual phenotype; AND they are environmentally alterable, unlike with direct genetic determination (gene manipulation aside, that is)

    However, the “machinery” to build those hormones in the first place is very much a consequence of, probably, several billion years of evolution as the gene mentioned above seems to have about that much time in its pedigree.

    yes but that’s not what I’m talking about. The proximal cause of human sex is hormones. This is important, because that’s an acquired characteristic whenever environment affects either the production or the sensitivity to a hormone. And some of these environmental causes are cultural ones, exacerbating (or nullifying) the differences. It means culture doesn’t just affect gender, it can and does affect sex.
    It also means in humans, sex is not a single discrete binary variable, but a fuckload of continuous ones. That is what I’m referring to. there are important differences that are the result of sex directly caused by genes vs. sex caused by hormones. Seriously, go google “gynandromorph”, images of bilaterally gynandromorphic animals are fascinating (and note that no such thing exists in humans)

    I did find this post of yours and thought your “divorce” was worth commenting on.

    should you ever have that urge again, refrain. You’re not actually welcome here even if you’re not permanently banned.

  73. Jadehawk says:

    Ask and it shall be given.

    that doesn’t give me any context about what the conversation is about. Somehow I don’t think they’re talking about TERFs.

  74. Jadehawk says:

    this has gotten ridiculously convoluted, so I’m gonna collect my points a bit.

    1)”Gender” is a socially constructed entity; it is entirely socially constructed, even though it gets attached to, and even influences the definition of, human sex. Gender in Western culture is still defined as a binary with two opposing and mutually exclusive types, which get superimposed on sex, which then gets subsumed into this binary, opposing construct.

    2)”Sex” is trickier. As a commonly understood idea, it’s highly influenced by the gender construct, and therefore also often understood as a binary with two types that are mutually exclusive and discrete (the XX vs. XY definition is especially popular here). As an actual biological aspect of humans, it tends to describe several things:
    a)At some point in the past, biologists decided to categorize all sexually reproducing organisms by a human-analog and used the socially influenced understanding of it to label everything that produces small gametes as “male” and everything that produces large ones as “female”. In this highly specialized jargon, genitals don’t matter at all, hormones don’t matter at all, and neither does the phenotype; but again, that labeling is jargon, and it was created when the idea was that a person with one “male” aspect would only have male aspects, and no female ones.
    b)In out society’s mainstream, sex is not determined by gametes or genes, but by a few selected, highly visible phenotypical features, with penis vs. vagina probably at the top of the list of determinants, and often to the exclusion of others (bearded ladies are still considered female, and dudes with boobs are still considered dudes; and that despite the fact that these are considered secondary sexual characteristics)
    c)If we actually look at human biology, “male” is related to androgens and “female” is related to oestrogens and includes a wide range of sexual characteristics which are not a discrete binary of mutually exclusive wholes but a grab-bag of features with continuous, overlapping distributions and rather loose connections to each other. Imposing a binary with well-defined boundaries on that mess works realistically as well as insisting that “species” is a single category with well-defined boundaries. Biology is annoyingly messy in reality.
    Given that reality, I think we should seriously consider why, of that grab-bag of traits affected by sex-hormones, we pick penis/vagina as overriding determinants, instead of what’s called “gender identity” and what’s likely the brains map/mirror of its body. Neither are particularly visible, but the latter seems much less harmful as an overriding determinant; the only argument for the former is tradition, and that’s a worthless one.

    3)The point about human sex being hormonally determined was about the way sex develops in a human. You take a critter that has genetic sex determination, and if it ends up a chimera of differently sexed gametes, then the body of the critter will express sex as coded in each cell; so you get two-colored lobsters, butterflies with non-symmetrical wing designs, etc. and each side (if we’re talking about bilateral gynandromorphs) will be fully male or fully female. You don’t ever see that in humans. The closest you can get to that is “true hermaphroditism” where both ovarian and testicular tissues are present in a person; the rest of the body doesn’t express such clear-cut divisions though; instead, human intersexuality happens when someone manages to either have a phenotype completely at odds with the genotype, or falls in the middle of some of these distributions (this is where the atrociously named “ambiguous genitalia” belong), or ends up with some features skewing significantly “male” and some features skewing significantly “female”. XX/XY chimeras don’t necessarily end up being noticeably intersexed unless the chimerism affects the gonads.
    I keep on insisting that this is an important difference because there are consequences to human sex developing via hormonal influence rather than directly from genetic expression within a cell:
    a)the aforementioned grab-bag of many continuous distributions is a result of hormon-based sex-development
    b)unlike genes, hormones are highly susceptible to environmental influence, including cultural influence, which means the binary of “nature vs nurture” breaks down as nurture shapes nature

    4)The importance of gender as a social construct that both influences understanding of the biological category and actually influences hormone-levels (as well as the actual form the hormonally affected behavior will take) that create and (re-)shape the phenotype means that cultural influence is almost entirely un-disentangleable from the rest. And it means that it’s nonsense to talk about how men (or women) are, or even tend to be, unless you’re limiting yourself in scope to a very specific sociocultural context. Because even without genetic engineering, even the aspects affected and created by hormonal influence can be changed into something completely else given a completely different sociocultural context.

  75. David Marjanović says:

    Troll-ish. It wasn’t the central point in my comment, only a bit of a needle in passing.

    Uh…

    *giggle*

    Word to the wise: don’t do that. :-)

    It’s a “clusterfuck” if it doesn’t support your position, but brilliant scholarship if it does?

    Troll. :-)

    I find that many blogs have a limit of 2 or 3 links before the comment automatically goes into moderation –

    …so you don’t even bother trying? Wow. Just… wow.

    But I wonder why you find it so difficult copy the link into a new browser page.

    Having to scroll up and down within a comment again and again is very annoying. That’s why I mentioned endnotes so prominently.

    and some dictionaries also think pagan = nonbeliever.

    Look up “dinosaur” in any dictionary or encyclopedia other than Wikipedia, and weep.

    (Hint: Dinosauria is defined as “the last common ancestor of Megalosaurus bucklandii, Iguanodon bernissartensis and Hylaeosaurus armatus, plus all its descendants”.)

    if you want to make a point about etymology (prescriptive dictionaries)

    Oh no, not the same. Dictionaries that describe etymology aren’t necessarily prescriptive. Even the OED isn’t. (It’s a historical dictionary to such a degree that it always lists the oldest attested meaning first, even if that usage is wholly extinct.)

    But when, as mentioned, there is a 10:1 ratio between men and women in prison, one might suggest that the genetic difference is a rather non-trivial one.

    You can’t distinguish genetic from hormonal this way…

    Also, I’m sure there’s still some culture hidden in this ratio: young men peer-pressuring each other into reckless or even violent behavior, women being pressured away from both, men being expected to “not take” insults, women being expected to curl up and cry instead…

    Culture has perverse effects on this, too: when a woman does commit a violent crime, her accusers are less likely to be believed! They’re likely to be laughed at, especially if they’re the victims – and male.

    So, is the ratio changing?

    And where does that number come from… is it a worldwide average, or is it only true of the US, or what is it?

    But an important point is that there is a very wide range in the levels of testosterone in men across the entire population.

    In women, too, as the selfsame link shows. Better yet, there’s a pretty broad overlap between men and women.

    dude. they gendered a pot.

    Really? Well if that is the case then that is indeed “shittastic methodology”. Although I might point out that that study is not readily available –

    The review paper you cited mentioned that they gendered a pot (and, apparently, didn’t think there was anything wrong with that – the authors instead went on to wonder why such shapes were gendered). I conclude you’ve cited a paper you haven’t read.

    But as far as paywalls are concerned, find me in Google Scholar, drop me an e-mail, and… Alternatively, if you’re willing to (probably) wait a little bit longer, write to the authors. Scientists have no financial or other interest in people buying their papers, only in people reading them.

    And, pray tell, where do you think the hormones come from?

    Gene regulation is a lot more complicated than you seem to think.

    And that’s before we get to – oh, do you know what CAIS stands for?

    or we could sensibly stop gendering toilets altogether.

    + 1

    something to emphasize my subsequent point that homosexuality seems to have a not insignificant basis in some genetic factors

    [citation needed]. once again you’re falling back on that annoying dichotomy of culture vs. genes. there’s more to human development than that.

    Case in point that strongly suggests hormone levels are (at least) a big component of sexual orientation.

    and by the way, while testosterone is more present in more aggressive individuals, it doesn’t appear that testosterone directly causes more aggression in humans; it seems to influence status-seeking instead.

    Oh. Good to know.

    You break the genetic sequence that leads to the creation of testes and you get an XY woman with Swyer Syndrome.

    Wikipedia lists five different classes of mutations that can do that.

    You get the SRY genes on the X [chromosomes] for some reason, you get an XX man.

    Ordinary translocation, happens all the time. You may have heard that the Y chromosome doesn’t participate in crossing-over – sometimes it does.

    At some point in the past, biologists decided to categorize all sexually reproducing organisms by a human-analog and used the socially influenced understanding of it to label everything that produces small gametes as “male” and everything that produces large ones as “female”.

    That’s still done, but it nonetheless breaks down in cases like yeast, where all haploid cells (calling them “gametes” would be quite misleading) have the same size and shape, so the two sexes are called “a” and “α”; or in various slime molds that have 13 or 23 sexes instead of 2 (each can mate with each).

  76. David Marjanović says:

    (…Hm. I have a comment in moderation right now; it has 3 links. I think I’ve posted comments with more links in the past, but I don’t know.)

  77. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    Ask and it shall be given.

    that doesn’t give me any context about what the conversation is about. Somehow I don’t think they’re talking about TERFs.

    Not quite sure that that has much if any relevance, particularly since all of the necessary context seems to have been provided by the exchange. James MacDonald is apparently referring to the “Pussy Riot” feminists as a “virulent brand of feminism”, and asserting that opposing that brand can’t be construed as misogyny. And Ophelia Benson responds to that with a rather categorical and ex cathedra assertion that any and all connections of “feminism” with “virulent” is, ipso facto, misogyny.

    Now if you think that TERFs qualify as “virulent feminists” – which your serving of “divorce papers” certainly seems to suggest, and which was the ultimate reason for my comment and question – it seems that you either have to accept Ophelia’s “Papal Encyclical”, and thereby accept her judgement that you are guilty of misogyny (tsk, tsk). OR that you have to reject it and that you are then, ideally or morally, obliged to take her to task for that assertion. So, which is it?

  78. Jadehawk says:

    Not quite sure that that has much if any relevance, particularly since all of the necessary context seems to have been provided by the exchange.

    what? no it hasn’t. The exchange didn’t make it clear that dude referred to pussy riot as “virulent feminism”. If that’s so, I agree with Ophelia. Calling it that reveals anti-woman prejudice the same way referring to atheism as militant reveals an anti-atheist bias unless it’s in the context of e.g. the PKK

    also… do you think “being guilty of misogyny” is something that I think never applies to me? LOL. That won’t work as a gotcha, I’m not self-deluded enough to think that I’m free of misogyny given the societies I’ve lived in all my life. Also, the assertions of Ophelia handing out dogma because of a simplistic sentence in a tweet are just funny, and really tells me more about you than about Ophelia. And why exactly would I be “ideally or morally obliged to take her to task for that assertion” even if I believed your silly assertion that she made an absolute statement with no possible exceptions?

  79. Jadehawk says:

    Also, I’m sure there’s still some culture hidden in this ratio: young men peer-pressuring each other into reckless or even violent behavior, women being pressured away from both, men being expected to “not take” insults, women being expected to curl up and cry instead…

    AND on top of that different conviction rates and sentence length for men; that’s one of the few instances where Patriarchy ends up shitting on men more than on women, since women are sentenced often as if they were not quite adults, i.e not quite fully responsible for what they did and consequently experience paternalistic leniency.

    (…Hm. I have a comment in moderation right now; it has 3 links. I think I’ve posted comments with more links in the past, but I don’t know.)

    moderation triggers entirely randomly at times. I have it set to “first comment moderation” plus a number of keywords. After Mabus stopped spamming me I took off the link-limit, but sometimes it still throws very long comments with a lot of links in moderation. Blame it on Pilty, he seems to have “trained” the filter to interpret him and comments that look like his as spam :-p

  80. Jadehawk says:

    Oh. Good to know.

    I’m reading an older Nature paper about that right now.

  81. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    what? no it hasn’t. The exchange didn’t make it clear that dude referred to pussy riot as “virulent feminism”. If that’s so, I agree with Ophelia. Calling it that reveals anti-woman prejudice the same way referring to atheism as militant reveals an anti-atheist bias unless it’s in the context of e.g. the PKK.

    Give me a fucking break. MacDonald responded to Marcotte – who had clearly linked “anti-feminist atheists” and the “Pussy Riot” feminists – by noting and quoting her “anti-feminist” and clearly suggesting that it was only that “brand” – not the entirety – of feminism which justified the phrase “virulent feminism”.

    However, your apparent inference that MacDonald was somehow referring to the entire corpus of feminism – explicitly contradicted by his subsequent “I am connecting it with a brand of feminism that is radical, dogmatic and intellectually dishonest” – is, I think at the heart of what Ally Fogg calls the “online gender wars”. And that is predicated on rather dishonest characterizations of the entire corpus of feminism, or of atheism or of any ideology, based either on some egregious subset of it, OR on some other “motherhood and apple-pie” subset of it. Basically of portraying the entirety in the worst or best possible lights, neither of which are particularly accurate. And which is why I subsequently argued there that the only way off the horns of that dilemma, that I can see in any case, is to focus not on the labels, but on the principles being promoted.

    And in MacDonald’s case the problematic principles that justify “virulent” are “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest” while in yours they seem to be, for example, writing “a letter to the UN Commission saying the protections for trans people are dangerous”. Can’t see that much progress in putting an end to those “wars” can happen unless people are prepared to focus on the specifics. And Benson’s ex cathedra encyclical only serves to whitewash all of feminism which, I think, does no one any good at all.

    And why exactly would I be “ideally or morally obliged to take her to task for that assertion” ….

    Uh, maybe for the same reason that you apparently felt impelled to serve some “divorce papers” on TERFs? Because the principles in each case have some egregious and socially harmful consequences?

  82. Jadehawk says:

    Give me a fucking break. MacDonald responded to Marcotte – who had clearly linked “anti-feminist atheists” and the “Pussy Riot” feminists

    Marcotte said it’s disheartening to see anti-feminists acting out on the day of the pussy-riot verdict. dude appeared to me to respond to the “anti-feminist” part, not the “day of the pussy-riot verdict” part. since I don’t know what the topic of Ophelia’s and Amanda’s conversation was, I didn’t know that dude was referring to as virulent feminism. In fact, I’m still not convinced that he’s talking about pussy-riot, because I’ve never heard anyone call them “dogmatic”. That’s why I said the conversation lacks context. I don’t know what feminism dude is referring to, because the topic of the conversation is not obvious.

    by noting and quoting her “anti-feminist” and clearly suggesting that it was only that “brand”

    yeah but it’s still not clear what “that brand” of feminism actually is. if it’s about pussy-riot, then Ophelia is right: describing that feminism, or feminism in general, as “virulent” shows prejudice the same way describing atheism in general, or the atheism of e.g. Dawkins or Hitchens as “militant” shows prejudice

    However, your apparent inference that MacDonald was somehow referring to the entire corpus of feminism

    lewut. I did no such thing. I have no idea what dude is referring to, and I did at no point claim he was referring to all of feminism.

    And in MacDonald’s case the problematic principles that justify “virulent” are “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest”

    “principles” my ass. those are words, like “virulent”, that get attached to movements people dislike regardless of whether they apply or not.

    And Benson’s ex cathedra encyclical

    your hyperbole is silly and tiresome. it’s a fucking tweet, relevant to a particular conversation and accurate even as a tendency. if I said attaching “militant” to “atheism” showed prejudice it would also be accurate if simplistic, and it wouldn’t make me the pope of atheism any more than Ophelia’s tweet makes her the pope of feminism.

    Because the principles in each case have some egregious and socially harmful consequences?

    what “principles” are you stuffing into a single tweet? what consequences does Ophelia’s tweet have that are anywhere comparable to the consequences of TERFism?! you’re very confused.

  83. Jadehawk says:

    Uh, maybe for the same reason that you apparently felt impelled to serve some “divorce papers” on TERFs?

    Ophelia’s tweet is outing vulnerable people? Ophelia’s tweet dehumanizes people? Ophelia’s tweet attempts to prevent human rights protection to a marginalized group?

    You’re very very confused.

  84. Steersman says:

    David Marjanović said:

    Also, I’m sure there’s still some culture hidden in this ratio

    No doubt. But I wasn’t arguing that there were no cultural influences, only that there were some genetic ones, and that they were non-trivial and not inconsequential.

    And where does that number come from… is it a worldwide average …?

    US. Here, the table in the section lists some 2 million males and 200,000 females for 2009.

    Gene regulation is a lot more complicated than you seem to think.

    No doubt. But a lot more complicated than many others seem to think.

    I conclude you’ve cited a paper you haven’t read.

    Not in its entirety. All I quoted was the conclusion – more or less. But I wonder, do you read all of every paper, along with all of the citations and related discussion papers? One does have to make some effort to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    But as far as paywalls are concerned, find me in Google Scholar, drop me an e-mail, and…

    Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.

  85. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    Ophelia’s tweet is outing vulnerable people? Ophelia’s tweet dehumanizes people? Ophelia’s tweet attempts to prevent human rights protection to a marginalized group?

    Sheesh. I did not say that they were the same or that the had the same specific effects. I said that “the principles in each case have some egregious and socially harmful consequences”. In the case of Benson, I would say that peddling a lie or something that is manifestly untrue qualifies.

  86. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    if I said attaching “militant” to “atheism” showed prejudice it would also be accurate if simplistic ….

    Christ in a sidecar – talk about being confused. You and many others seem to have absolutely no clue about the nature of stereotypes – sometimes they are entirely and completely accurate:

    A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things, but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality.

    It is not prejudice to say that some expression of atheism is militant – i.e., “having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause” – if in that case some atheists, in service of their adherence to those principles, happen to have “a combative character” or are aggressive. It is one thing to say that all of atheism is militant, but quite another to say that some subsegment or expression of it is if the adjective is applicable. The former qualifies as stereotyping (in the pejorative sense), the latter anything but prejudice.

    You might want to go back and read a little more closely what I said earlier about “online gender wars”, and what I thought was a significant contributing factor as I think you badly missed the boat. If you even read to end of the paragraph.

  87. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    Marcotte said it’s disheartening to see anti-feminists acting out on the day of the pussy-riot verdict. dude appeared to me to respond to the “anti-feminist” part, not the “day of the pussy-riot verdict” part.

    I’ll concede that Marcotte didn’t actually and explicitly link anti-feminists and the Pussy Riot group – apart from putting them in the same sentence. Which looks suggestive of either an implicit link or poor English.

    yeah but it’s still not clear what “that brand” of feminism actually is.

    It really is almost entirely secondary what the exact brand was, particularly since MacDonald identified the one he had in mind by a salient attribute, i.e., “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest”. Unless you want to concede that all “brands” of feminism are that way, I think you’re obliged to accept that he wasn’t trying to insist that all “brands” of feminism qualify as that.

    … as “virulent” shows prejudice the same way describing atheism in general, or the atheism of e.g. Dawkins or Hitchens as “militant” shows prejudice

    You really do need to make some effort to differentiate between describing an entire group with a term versus describing some sub-group or individual with the same term. The former qualifies as a categorical statement which tends to be harder to prove and more likely to be wrong, although not always. For instance, “all rapists are morally reprehensible” qualifies as that type of statement, but it is true virtually by definition. But “all atheists are militant” is a rather untenable statement to say the least.

    However, the latter use – i.e., describing an individual or subgroup with a term – can be true or false depending on the facts of the matter. But the statement, the assertion, the judgement can, apparently, only be called prejudiced if the judgement is false and it was reached “beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts”.

    The upshot of which, in this case, is that the atheism of Dawkins or Hitchens might be called militant, based on some of my recollections of their positions and statements, but that some evidence would have to presented before one could conclusively say that.

    “principles” my ass. those are words, like “virulent”, that get attached to movements people dislike regardless of whether they apply or not.

    That might well be the case. However, that is not the point in contention or discussion here, and to throw that out looks like a red herring or a strawman. All MacDonald did was assert that opposing some brand of feminism which was conjectured to be, was hypothesized to be, “particularly virulent” did not qualify as misogyny. He did not explicitly refer to any brand, although the context suggests the Pussy Riot group; he only described one by attribute. Now one can debate whether the attribute applies in any particular case, but the question is, if the attribute applies, whether opposing such groups qualifies as misogyny. Considering that you yourself have opposed one group which one might argue looks rather virulent – i.e., “bitterly hostile or antagonistic; hateful” – one would think Benson’s opinion might be of some relevance to you.

    … any more than Ophelia’s tweet makes her the pope of feminism.

    Seems to me that all of these “online gender wars” are part of the proverbial “battle for the hearts and minds”. And Benson presents herself to be a shaker and mover of public opinion on the related questions – her articles on the Council for Secular Humanism site being cases in point – which tends to make her tweets somewhat more influential. And problematic.

  88. Jadehawk says:

    Sheesh. I did not say that they were the same or that the had the same specific effects. I said that “the principles in each case have some egregious and socially harmful consequences”. In the case of Benson, I would say that peddling a lie or something that is manifestly untrue qualifies.

    i already asked you what principles you imagined into a simple tweet. because I’m not seeing any. All I see is a comment that’s not inaccurate, made in a conversation. No harmful actions done or promoted by Ophelia, which is the reason I oppose TERFs.

    Christ in a sidecar – talk about being confused. You and many others seem to have absolutely no clue about the nature of stereotypes – sometimes they are entirely and completely accurate

    i find it adorable how you think you think you know more about terms describing social phenomena than I do. I am quite aware of the nature of stereotype, and consequently I also know how these two examples of it are prejudicial.

    It is not prejudice to say that some expression of atheism is militant – i.e., “having a combative character; aggressive, especially in the service of a cause” – if in that case some atheists, in service of their adherence to those principles, happen to have “a combative character” or are aggressive.

    throwing it randomly at atheism you dislike on the other hand is, and I see no evidence from the tiny, context-free bit you gave me that shows otherwise. If you are correct that the comment was about pussy riot, I’m even more accurate in calling it mere prejudice, because the labels dude attached to them were about as sensible as calling Obama a marxist.

    It is one thing to say that all of atheism is militant, but quite another to say that some subsegment or expression of it is if the adjective is applicable.

    and another still to just randomly attach it to versions of atheism. that’s the parallel I’m drawing, and so far I’ve seen no evidence that this isn’t what happened and that this isn’t what Ophelia responded to.

    The former qualifies as stereotyping (in the pejorative sense), the latter anything but prejudice.

    ROTFLMAO. a prejudice is a preconceived (in this case negative) notion about something. there is, in this instance, no difference between stereotype and prejudice UNLESS dude actually referred to TERFs. Unless that’s the case, he’s simply throwing standard negatively-charged words at a feminism he dislikes, which is stereotypical and prejudicial.

    I thought was a significant contributing factor as I think you badly missed the boat

    given that you started the sentence with an error, and that it had fuck-all to do with anything, I ignored everything premised on that sentence. You’re going to have to do better than a single offhand tweet that isn’t incorrect to show me what I assume you want to attribute to Ophelia, namely that she rejects the notion that any feminism can do any wrong. Given her history of arguing against various kinds of feminisms that is hilariously strawmanny, but still: if you want me to accept your premise, you’ll have to do better than show me an out-of-context snippet of a twitter conversation.

    I’ll concede that Marcotte didn’t actually and explicitly link anti-feminists and the Pussy Riot group – apart from putting them in the same sentence. Which looks suggestive of either an implicit link or poor English.

    neither actually; it’s suggestive of her noting a nasty coincidence, namely outbreaks of anti-feminism on a day in which a feminist group will be punished by a government. One possible connection is that the anti-feminism was in regard to pussy-riot, but again: I’ve never seen them referred to as “dogmatic” (because how stupid would you have to be to call a punk band “dogmatic”? that’s almost as good as that one time some troll called post-modernism dogmatic; that’s when I knew the word is just a signifier for “bad” and has lost its actual meaning to its users). So I found it more likely that the connection was something else, but without actually knowing what they’re talking about, I wouldn’t know what.I’ll concede that Marcotte didn’t actually and explicitly link anti-feminists and the Pussy Riot group – apart from putting them in the same sentence. Which looks suggestive of either an implicit link or poor English.

    It really is almost entirely secondary what the exact brand was, particularly since MacDonald identified the one he had in mind by a salient attribute, i.e., “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest”.

    “salient attribute”, my ass. They’re labels.

    Unless you want to concede that all “brands” of feminism are that way,

    no, but I’ve seen them all labeled like that; that’s why I agree with Ophelia that such labels are indicators of prejudice.

    You really do need to make some effort to differentiate between describing an entire group with a term versus describing some sub-group or individual with the same term.

    and you need to make some effort to understand that once almost every sub-group has been labeled like that regardless of truth-value, the difference between those things vanishes and accuracy becomes coincidental.

    But “all atheists are militant” is a rather untenable statement to say the least.

    it’s also utterly irrelevant to this conversation, since statements about “all” anything are and have never been the topic of this discussion. Labeling atheist groups as militant is prejudicial stereotype even when it’s not a categorical statement. Labeling feminism as virulent (and especially as dogmatic) is also prejudicial stereotype; even when it’s not a categorical statement, because it’s been used for virtually every brand of feminism by one dude or another, and because it is done so rarely with any concern to truth-value of such assessments.

    But the statement, the assertion, the judgement can, apparently, only be called prejudiced if the judgement is false

    LOL. no. a prejudice is a summary judgment before or regardless of truth; which means that sometimes it will coincide with truth, but that will be indeed coincidental. Once again: atheists are called militant whether they are or not, and that’s prejudice regardless of existence of militant atheists, but it’s excusable when discussing specifically militant atheists like the PKK. The same goes for feminism, every brand of which has been referred to as virulent or similar, regardless of truth to that statement. Unless I can know what dude was referring to, I can’t say whether Ophelia made a fairly generically accurate statement at a time when an exception to the statement could be made; and if you’re right that he referred to pussy riot, then he’d have called them virulent, dogmatic, etc. despite that not being the case, so her observation would have been correct.

    However, that is not the point in contention or discussion here, and to throw that out looks like a red herring or a strawman.

    you’re the one who called these labels “principles”, which they are not. I see nothing strawmannish in pointing out that you are incorrect about calling these things principles.

    All MacDonald did was assert that opposing some brand of feminism which was conjectured to be, was hypothesized to be, “particularly virulent” did not qualify as misogyny.

    actually you don’t know that, unless you have more of that conversation than you’ve shown me. There’s no reason to assume he was referring to a hypothetical; it’s possible, but it looks to me more like he’s referring to the outburst of anti-feminism Ophelia and Amanda were talking about, and saying that it wasn’t anti-feminism, so possibly not a hypothetical.

    This is exactly what I wanted the context for. You and I clearly interpret this conversation differently, and without context it’s anybody’s guess what’s actually going on.

    And problematic.

    what exactly is “problematic” about it? because your assertion of it being some sort of categorical ban on criticism of feminism or whatever your claim seems to be is just not an accurate description of that; at least not from what I can tell from that little snippet or from Ophelia’s actual behavior.

    As for the point you so weakly tried to make with showing me this random tweet… well, like I said: Ophelia criticizes feminisms she disagrees with; I criticize feminisms I disagree with; sometimes that means we criticize each other. The same is true for all other feminists I know well enough to make this observation about. I don’t therefore recognize this idea of anyone basing their belief about feminism “on some other ‘motherhood and apple-pie’ subset of it”. I’m sure it exists, but with the exception of TERFism, I’ve not run into any such thing. What I have seen however is the insistence that every insipid, inaccurate, and repetitive accusation be taken seriously, and the rejection of that demand proclaimed as “dogmatism” or as refusing to allow feminism to be criticized. So I’m very skeptical of the accuracy of this argument. Very.

  89. Jadehawk says:

    Benson presents herself to be a shaker and mover of public opinion on the related questions – her articles on the Council for Secular Humanism site being cases in point

    huh? what does”presents herself” even mean, in the context of some article she wrote for the website of a humanist organization? Your sentence looks as if she is trying to create or maintain an image as a “shaker and mover of public opinion”, rather than her just doing her job, i.e, being a writer of articles. There’s something really weird going on with that sentence that I don’t get.

  90. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said:

    this has gotten ridiculously convoluted, so I’m gonna collect my points a bit.

    As you suggest, the nature of the beast. But an interesting summary of some very complex issues. Not that I have as good a handle on them as I would like.

    Gender” is a socially constructed entity; it is entirely socially constructed, even though it gets attached to, and even influences the definition of, human sex.

    Still think that that is a decidedly problematic conception, in part because the roles that seem to be most commonly associated with males and females – soldiers and nurses, or hunters and gatherers for examples – may have developed as a consequence of the differences in the hormones that are in turn the consequences of the X-Y sex chromosomes.

    … a wide range of sexual characteristics which are not a discrete binary of mutually exclusive wholes but a grab-bag of features with continuous, overlapping distributions and rather loose connections to each other.

    True. But many of those distributions also seem rather bimodal. Which may have contributed to the segregation of roles by sex.

    Given that reality, I think we should seriously consider why, of that grab-bag of traits affected by sex-hormones, we pick penis/vagina as overriding determinants ….

    Probably because some 99% or more of the population falls into those two “bins”. In trying to analyze systems it seems the best bet is to identify salient features and go from there.

    I keep on insisting that this is an important difference because there are consequences to human sex developing via hormonal influence rather than directly from genetic expression within a cell …

    And which set of sex hormones we start off with is most commonly due to which set of sex chromosomes we’re conceived with. Which is most commonly X-X or X-Y. No doubt the “hormonal influence” is affected by environmental factors but one might reasonably ask to what extent in which situations.

    … which means the binary of “nature vs nurture” breaks down as nurture shapes nature …

    I don’t think Pinker or the EP community argues otherwise, although I could be mistaken as I see no entry for hormones in the index of his The Blank Slate. But he certainly doesn’t see all aspects of human behaviour determined solely by one or the other. However, I find the argument that hormones are the mechanisms by which nurture is coupled with nature to be at least quite intriguing for any number of reasons.

    The importance of gender as a social construct that both influences understanding of the biological category and actually influences hormone-levels … that create and (re-)shape the phenotype means that cultural influence is almost entirely un-disentangleable from the rest.

    Kind of the nature of feedback systems. Analyzing and repairing them, at least in electronic and mechanical systems, typically requires breaking the feedback loops and seeing how they respond. Not at all easy to do with social or biological systems.

    But part of the reason why that might be more difficult than it needs to be is because the term “social construct” is, I think, overly vague.

  91. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said (July 26, 2013 at 12:56 am):

    In the case of Benson, I would say that peddling a lie or something that is manifestly untrue qualifies.

    i already asked you what principles you imagined into a simple tweet. because I’m not seeing any. All I see is a comment that’s not inaccurate …

    You see “a comment that’s not inaccurate”, and I see an assertion that is “manifestly [and egregiously] untrue”. Unless the different interpretations are due to different sex hormones – which is, I suppose, entirely possible – I have to start by assuming that we are each seeing very different connotations of the word “feminism” in Ophelia’s connecting the word “feminism” with the word “virulent” is misogyny”.

    And, to address the argument of your last paragraph since it is relevant to the above, I would say that when you and Ophelia use the word “feminism” you both see the “motherhood and apple-pie subset of it”. Which would naturally trigger no small amount of umbrage that anyone should cast any aspersions – heaven forfend! – on such solid-gold principles that are obviously beyond any reproach. Whereas I, and MacDonald and many others, only see one subset of the grab-bag called “feminism” which happens to promote a set of principles that gives every indication of being “virulent”.

    And I would include Amanda Marcotte in those who seem to look at “feminism” through some very noticeably rose-coloured – not to say pink – glasses, at least as suggested by this recent article and comments by her:

    I realize there are anti-trans, anti-sex feminists out there who call themselves radical feminists, but I, simply put, don’t agree. …. I don’t even really think of them as feminists, because feminism is about breaking down rigid gender ideology.

    Not quite as bad as the 38,000 Christian sects, each of whom thinks that they are the only True Christians ™, but it is starting to look that way. And also very much like the “No true Scotsman” fallacy.

    As long as there is such a wide spectrum of ideologies under the banner of “feminism”, it seems quite reasonable to argue that some are less creditable than others – which both you and Marcotte quite clearly agree with, and that some of them might even be called “virulent”. But it is not at all reasonable to insist that all of them deserve the cachet normally reserved for the “motherhood and apple-pie” versions – whatever they might actually be. But that is certainly what I think you and Benson are trying to do – you with your “not inaccurate” comment, she with her “misogyny” characterization.

    … and you need to make some effort to understand that once almost every sub-group has been labeled like that regardless of truth-value, the difference between those things vanishes and accuracy becomes coincidental.

    And, pray tell, who is doing that? Certainly not everyone; certainly not me, particularly as I’ve been banned from A Voice for Men for defending some brands of feminism; certainly not MacDonald as he quite clearly differentiates between different brands. You need to make some effort to, in effect, not infer, after having seen half-a-dozen white swans, that all swans are white. Which is the problem with induction.

    i find it adorable how you think you think you know more about terms describing social phenomena than I do.

    I guess I’m just a naturally winsome kind of guy. Which is also how I find your tendency to start sentences with lower-case letters.

    If you are correct that the comment was about pussy riot, I’m even more accurate in calling it mere prejudice …

    Ok, I’ll apologize; I was wrong; mea culpa: it seems from the context that MacDonald was not at all referring to Pussy Riot but, apparently, to the feminism of “FtB and Skepchick”:

    @AmandaMarcotte @OpheliaBenson How are you defining “anti-feminist”? Opposing a particularly virulent brand of feminism is not misogyny. [@ 8:58]

    @AmandaMarcotte That isn’t what is being opposed. FtB and Skepchick represent more than just opposition to sexual harassment. [@ 9:12]

    @AmandaMarcotte I can oppose sexual harassment and find their general brand of feminism to be virulent and counter-productive. [@9:13]

    While I might find it a bit of a stretch to justify “virulent” for the feminism of Skepchick and FTB, although PZ’s suggestion that all those who criticized feminism had the name Marc Lepine might do so for his brand at least, that was what MacDonald was apparently asserting. Now you might reasonably question what evidence he had to justify that – which, given the limitations of Twitter, he didn’t provide, although I expect he had something that he thought qualified. But absent that discussion I can’t see that you can credibly argue that he was being prejudiced. Nor can Benson likewise insist that his criticisms qualify, ipso facto, as misogyny – which seems particularly untenable as it would be a bit of stretch to insist that MacDonald’s opposition to one brand of feminism is equivalent to a hatred of all women.

    … a salient attribute, i.e., “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest”.

    “salient attribute”, my ass. They’re labels.

    They’re adjectives. Which have meaning. The applicability of which need to be decided by reviewing the facts. Calling people who disagree with your brand of feminism “Marc Lepine” looks rather “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest” to me.

    it’s also utterly irrelevant to this conversation, since statements about “all” anything are and have never been the topic of this discussion.

    Nothing in Benson’s tweet referred to any specific brand of feminism, or qualified it in any way. Ergo, all of them.

    Labeling feminism as virulent (and especially as dogmatic) is also prejudicial stereotype ….

    Not a “prejudicial stereotype” if evidence is adduced to justify the assertion. Apropos of which, I direct your attention to this review of the book Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies which levels the charge, presumably with some justification, of “anti-science and anti-intellectualism”.

    … but it’s excusable when discussing specifically militant atheists like the PKK.

    And MacDonald was discussing supposedly, in his view, virulent feminists like Skepchick and FTB. The questions in each case are whether there is any evidence to justify the assertions.

    Unless I can know what dude was referring to, I can’t say whether Ophelia made a fairly generically accurate statement at a time when an exception to the statement could be made …

    “Dude” was, apparently, referring to the feminism of Skepchick and FTB. She is, of course, certainly entitled to her opinion, as is everybody else. But I find it a little hard to wrap my head around the accusation that criticizing someone’s brand of feminism – as both you and Marcotte have done recently – qualifies as misogyny. And if that is true in a specific case then I very much doubt that it is going to hold much water “generically”, in the categorical case.

    … you’re the one who called these labels “principles”, which they are not.

    I had said that we should “focus not on the labels [of a brand of feminism], but on the principles [they advance or are based on]”. And MacDonald’s argument was that that brand was based on radicalism, dogmatism, and intellectual dishonesty. I don’t know about the first charge, but the last two seem like they might hold some water.

    … actually you don’t know that, unless you have more of that conversation than you’ve shown me.

    I didn’t know that then but, on a bit of searching, I found it and provided the link and quotes above.

    You and I clearly interpret this conversation differently, and without context it’s anybody’s guess what’s actually going on.

    We agree on that much anyway. While I’ll admit – mea culpa again – to having misinterpreted the context to some extent, MacDonald was clearly referring to some specific brand so it makes the mistake somewhat academic: the question still remains whether it is appropriate or justified to characterize the criticism of some brand of feminism as misogyny.

    What I have seen however is the insistence that every insipid, inaccurate, and repetitive accusation be taken seriously, and the rejection of that demand proclaimed as “dogmatism” or as refusing to allow feminism to be criticized.

    There is maybe some justification for that “exasperation” as I’ve seen far too many MRA-types making categorical rejections of all versions and brands of feminism – a tarring of them all with a single brush. However, I have also seen far too many “feminists” virtually reacting with horror at any criticism of any tenet of any brand of it. Neither position is particularly conducive to progress.

  92. Jadehawk says:

    soldiers and nurses, or hunters and gatherers for examples – may have developed as a consequence of the differences in the hormones that are in turn the consequences of the X-Y sex chromosomes.

    lol. and the devil may have hidden dinosaur bones in the ground to lead us to atheism, but until I see some evidence I’ll treat it as the silly idea that it is. You might wanna look into the history of nursing (hint: the first female nurse was Florence Nightingale)
    EDIT: no, that’s confusing like that, I need to fix it: Nightingale created professional nursing in the West, and she did so while being highly criticized for her idea about female nurses treating soldiers. Her job description during the Crimean War was “Superintendent of the Female Nurses in the Hospitals in the East”, emphasis mine. as a profession, treating the sick in (field-)hospitals has been a dudely job until she came around. Before that,taking care of the sick was a religious thing in which both sexes were involved (especially in Islam, because of their strict gender separation)in care and running hospitals (though given the low status of nuns, I wouldn’t be surprised if emptying bedpans were exclusively a nun’s job; nothing to do with hormones, though), or it was “wet nursing”, which I’ll fully admit is an entirely hormone-based profession. Anyway: http://allnurses.com/men-in-nursing/men-nursing-historical-96326.html

    But many of those distributions also seem rather bimodal.

    not even. most of them are highly overlapping standard distributions with peaks almost in the same place; most of the distribution overlaps for even a single trait; you lot a number of them in the same chart, and it gets even worse, and any hint of bimodalism for the whole concept of sex almost disappears. My point in making this argument however was not that there’s no such pattern, but rather that it’s not one such curve that all traits follow, and therefore different traits as signifier for which sex someone is will have different distributions, and you’ve still not given me a good reason why genitals are a more “salient” trait than what’s called “gender identity”.

    Probably because some 99% or more of the population falls into those two “bins”.

    and the same percentage has the same “bins” for what’s called gender identity. That’s not an argument.

    In trying to analyze systems it seems the best bet is to identify salient features and go from there.

    great. now show evidence that a penis is more salient a feature than the brain mapping for sex

    No doubt the “hormonal influence” is affected by environmental factors but one might reasonably ask to what extent in which situations.

    which gets us back to the pattern of the severely overlapping curves. Fluctuations in hormones affected by environment are extremely common even early in human development. It’s likely they’re at least partly responsible for the different variants in human sexuality, the so-called “masculinization” of female twins with male co-twins, etc. ad nausam. And that’s only the effects of strong hormonal divergence from a mean; weaker ones affect sexed traits as well. My argument is very specifically that with hormonal sex determination, “nature vs nurture” is a false dichotomy because nurture affects nature.

    I don’t think Pinker or the EP community argues otherwise

    they do. you have already argued that, repeatedly drumming on the “genes” bit; genes are not influenced by culture, at least not in the vast majority of cases (exceptions like the distribution of lactose tolerance are extremely rare). You assert a genetic base for a trait, you deny the possibility of cultural effects on that base.

    However, I find the argument that hormones are the mechanisms by which nurture is coupled with nature to be at least quite intriguing for any number of reasons.

    it’s not the sole such argument, but it’s the strongest connection, yes. There are others aspects which mess with the idea that there’s a pure “natural” and a pure “cultural” influence that can be neatly separated and studied independently of each other. The way certain “natural” traits get translated into emotions and ultimately behaviors is a big one as well.

    But part of the reason why that might be more difficult than it needs to be is because the term “social construct” is, I think, overly vague.

    you not understanding a term doesn’t actually make it vague. Nothing stops you from learning about that theoretical framework; not like there isn’t a shitload of writing about social constructionism in both its weak and strong flavors.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Unless the different interpretations are due to different sex hormones

    *rolleyes*

    I would say that when you and Ophelia use the word “feminism” you both see the “motherhood and apple-pie subset of it”.

    [citation needed]

    Which would naturally trigger no small amount of umbrage that anyone should cast any aspersions – heaven forfend! – on such solid-gold principles that are obviously beyond any reproach.

    boring strawman is boring. I neither believe that all feminisms have “solid-gold principles” (there’s something funny about this ascription to someone with a highly consequentialist ethic to start with; I have problems with the entire concept of “principle”, nevermind asserting pure goodness to some set of them) nor do I consider any feminism beyond reproach. And neither does Ophelia.
    But you’re welcome to show some evidence for this assertion of yours, if you think you understand my understanding of and relationship to feminism better than I do.

    Whereas I, and MacDonald and many others, only see one subset of the grab-bag called “feminism” which happens to promote a set of principles that gives every indication of being “virulent”.

    you have not understood a word of what I said regarding that word use. I’m seriously getting sick and tired of your shallow understanding of how language works.

    And I would include Amanda Marcotte in those who seem to look at “feminism” through some very noticeably rose-coloured – not to say pink – glasses, at least as suggested by this recent article and comments by her

    yeah, THAT is actually a valid example of No True Scotsman as a result of wanting to only the good parts of feminism to count as feminism. Except that she basically uses that strawman to express the same sentiment I have expressed here: that what’s called radical feminism is actually insufficiently radical and has become conservative in its preservation of certain patriarchal ideas.
    I’ll have to amend my earlier statement actually, given that Amanda is somewhat notorious for also ignoring criticisms of her feminism from womanists or feminists of color.
    Still, the “gender wars” have nothing actually to do with this internal conflict, and rarely do I see anti-feminists bring up genuine criticism of this kind.

    it seems quite reasonable to argue that some are less creditable than others – which both you and Marcotte quite clearly agree with, and that some of them might even be called “virulent”.

    irrelevant to my argument about connecting these kinds of signifiers to feminism.

    But it is not at all reasonable to insist that all of them deserve the cachet normally reserved for the “motherhood and apple-pie” versions

    good thing then that neither Ophelia nor I, nor even Amanda Marcotte, have argued for that.

    But that is certainly what I think you and Benson are trying to do

    like I said; you’ve not understood a word I’ve said. I should have ended this conversation when you defended the use of “militant” for atheism, and then did it with decidedly non-militant examples to boot. You’ve no concept of how such labeling happens, socially speaking, and I do not have the skill or patience to fix that deficiency in your understanding of human communication.

    And, pray tell, who is doing that? Certainly not everyone

    irrelevant to my argument.

    certainly not MacDonald as he quite clearly differentiates between different brands.

    also irrelevant, and beyond that also an assertion that might not be true unless you know more of that conversation than you’ve shown me; for all you know, he will describe all feminism that isn’t suffragette-level as the “brand” of feminism that’s “virulent”. Happens often enough.

    You need to make some effort to, in effect, not infer, after having seen half-a-dozen white swans, that all swans are white. Which is the problem with induction.

    my argument is not based on induction, and I’m not actually accusing you or any one person of what you quoted, so this statement is also irrelevant.

    Ok, I’ll apologize; I was wrong; mea culpa: it seems from the context that MacDonald was not at all referring to Pussy Riot but, apparently, to the feminism of “FtB and Skepchick”:

    that’s not gonna make me change my mind about my suspicion that he’s just slapping these words on feminisms he dislikes. Just sayin’.

    They’re adjectives. Which have meaning.

    they’re also labels; with connotations. Again: conservatives don’t call Obama a socialist Nazi Muslim because they actually think he is any of those things, but because they’re cultural signifiers for “bad”. Once again, your shallow understanding of communication rears its head.

    The applicability of which need to be decided by reviewing the facts.

    lol. if you really believe that actually happens when such labels are applied, you’re very… naive, to put it politely.

    Calling people who disagree with your brand of feminism “Marc Lepine” looks rather “radical, dogmatic, and intellectually dishonest” to me.

    then you don’t know what these words mean either, and are using them as signifiers for “bad” as well.

    Nothing in Benson’s tweet referred to any specific brand of feminism, or qualified it in any way. Ergo, all of them.

    language does not actually work that way.

    Not a “prejudicial stereotype” if evidence is adduced to justify the assertion.

    incorrect in the context of my argument. Incorrect in general, since even TERFs can drown you with evidence supporting their opinions of trans people. And, it’s not even a realistic description of how such labeling happens.

    presumably with some justification

    “presumably, eh? LOL. I’m familiar with the book, and let’s just say I have no reason to take it seriously any more than I have reason to take “the end of men” seriously. Not because they don’t accidentally stumble on actual problems once or twice, but because their arguments, premises, and interpretations of most situations are unadulterated bullshit.

    And MacDonald was discussing supposedly, in his view, virulent feminists like Skepchick and FTB.

    “virulent” only because he doesn’t like what they do, not because he actually has evidence that they do harm sufficient to warrant that label, the way the PKK warrants the label militant. And this easy use of such labels in specific patterns is part of my argument.

    But I find it a little hard to wrap my head around the accusation that criticizing someone’s brand of feminism – as both you and Marcotte have done recently – qualifies as misogyny.

    that’s not actually what the tweet said, but keep stuffing meanings into it if it makes you happy. just don’t do it here.

    And if that is true in a specific case then I very much doubt that it is going to hold much water “generically”

    irrelevant statement not actually connected to anything in my argument.

    And MacDonald’s argument was that that brand was based on radicalism, dogmatism, and intellectual dishonesty.

    nope. he labels a feminism he dislikes with those terms, apparently without understanding or caring about the actual meaning of any of them. Especially “radical” is misused, both by him and by you, and would actually require a very solid explanation of why something “radical” would have to be rejected out of hand.
    The explanation of that term is in my OP, btw.

    MacDonald was clearly referring to some specific brand so it makes the mistake somewhat academic: the question still remains whether it is appropriate or justified to characterize the criticism of some brand of feminism as misogyny.

    you still haven’t actually shown that this is what Ophelia’s tweet meant. I tried to explain to you how labeling like that works, but I couldn’t get past your oddly limited understanding of how words are used and how they work in communication, and why Ophelia’s statement is an accurate observation rather than a ban on criticism. Teaching you about how human communication works and how language is used is clearly beyond my skill.

    However, I have also seen far too many “feminists” virtually reacting with horror at any criticism of any tenet of any brand of it.

    I’ll be skeptical of the accuracy of your “seeing” of that, given what you’ve “seen” in Ophelia’s tweet.

    Seriously though, go away. You’re tedious, you present no new information or argument, and you’re not even very entertaining or good for practice.

  93. Steersman says:

    Jadehawk said (July 25, 2013 at 4:05 am):

    I hope your next suggestion isn’t going to be to prove that god doesn’t exist. Look, there’s no mechanism for contracausal free will. Either the will is random or it is caused. There’s no mechanism by which the human mind can be its own first cause. That’s pure dualism.

    yes, consciousness is an emergent phenomenon. But it isn’t it’s own first cause. It’s either caused or it’s random (or a combination thereof), but it is not self-caused.

    Spoken like a true dogmatist. That you can’t comprehend how there can’t be such a mechanism is not proof there isn’t one – particularly since the history of the race has been, in part, one of finding mechanisms where many others said there weren’t any – apart from “goddidit”. In addition, your “caused or random” looks like a very questionable false dichotomy as well as suggesting that you know next to fuck-all about emergence, a salient quote on which is this from Lee Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics:

    This proliferation of strings is an example of the familiar but rarely understood phenomenon of emergence, a term that describes the arising of new properties in large and complex systems. …. [A phonon] behaves precisely the way quantum mechanics says a particle should behave. We say that a phonon is an emergent particle. [pgs 131-132]

    The point is that emergent properties become, in effect, their own causes, the scope and extent of which are entirely dependent on the nature of the components comprising them. You might wish to peruse the Wikipedia article on phonons, something that is demonstrated or suggested in this physical model using metronomes.

    “affected by” is… interesting.

    I used the term advisedly, although you might find that hard to believe. If we were little more than automatons and had no control over expressing our urges and desires then “affected” wouldn’t make much sense. Otherwise, as is the case – at least for most of us, it would and does.

    should you ever have that urge again, refrain. You’re not actually welcome here even if you’re not permanently banned.

    Well, I guess thanks are in order for not banning me in any case. However, I generally don’t post just to win friends – although those can be nice – but more generally to influence people. And, as long as I’m not actually banned, if I think I have something to say that is of some value or relevance to the conversation then I will do so whether it is welcome or not.

    As for why I might not be particularly welcome here, although I’m somewhat surprised that you’ve continued to engage with me given that, one might suggest it is analogous to the frosty welcome received by those who question prevailing dogma on other sites.

    Jadehawk said (July 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm):

    great. now show evidence that a penis is more salient a feature than the brain mapping for sex

    “Salient: most noticeable or important”. Unless you happen to have X-ray or MRI eyes, I would say external genitalia are going to be more noticeable – and easier and cheaper to detect – than “brain mapping”. But I guess for those living in ivory towers that is a triviality of no consequence.

    Nothing in Benson’s tweet referred to any specific brand of feminism, or qualified it in any way. Ergo, all of them.

    language does not actually work that way.

    So you say. But since you’re not able to demonstrate or prove that I’ll remain skeptical.

    … virulent” only because he doesn’t like what they do, not because he actually has evidence that they do harm sufficient to warrant that label, the way the PKK warrants the label militant.

    And how do you know that he doesn’t have such evidence? And what makes you the granter of warrants to apply labels? Considering that two meanings of the word “virulent” are “bitterly hostile or antagonistic”, and “intensely irritating, obnoxious, or harsh”, I would say that the word could reasonably be applied to TERFs, for example, along with a few other brands. That you seem so reluctant to even consider the possibility that they could apply in such cases, particularly since there is apparently a large element of subjectivity to the terms, suggests a rather dogmatic frame of mind.

    Seriously though, go away. You’re tedious, you present no new information or argument, and you’re not even very entertaining or good for practice.

    I, on the other hand, found you both entertaining and good for practice, not to mention the source of some interesting, if highly questionable, information and conjectures. Thanks for all that.

  94. Jadehawk says:

    Spoken like a true dogmatist.

    ROTFLMAO. spoken like a theist. I’m quite serious: the reason I i think there’s no free will is the same I think there are no gods:
    there’s no known possible mechanism for something to be self-causing, there’s no evidence that requires the hypothesis of free will, there’s plenty of evidence that suggest it’s unlikely, and the idea that people can have chosen other than they have is untestable. But hey, apparently you think skepticism means never arriving at conclusions.

    That you can’t comprehend how there can’t be such a mechanism is not proof there isn’t one

    I didn’t say I can’t comprehend that there can’t be, I said there isn’t one. also, I am amused that you didn’t catch me making fun of you for demanding I prove a negative. Doesn’t work like that. Not when theists invent a god of the gaps, and not when you invent a free will of the gaps, either.

    in addition, your “caused or random” looks like a very questionable false dichotomy as well as suggesting that you know next to fuck-all about emergence

    I understand emergence just fine, no matter how much you’d like to suggest otherwise. Linking that phonon article over and over again won’t change that. Emergent properties are, as you say, dependent on the nature of what they arise from, and are therefore not self-caused in the way free will would have to be. But hey, if you don’t wanna hear this from someone who so clearly doesn’t know shit about physics and needs to be constantly lectured, here’s a physicist instead: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/free-will-is-an-illusion_b_1562533.html

    And, as long as I’m not actually banned, if I think I have something to say that is of some value or relevance to the conversation then I will do so whether it is welcome or not.

    ok then. you’re banned until I feel like dealing with you again, which won’t be anytime soon. You’re a waste of my time, and SIWOTI Syndrome makes it hard to ignore your droppings, especially when you’re leaving them on my carpet.
    You’re less entertaining than Pilty. At least his neo-medieval fantasies were a novel kind of toxic, like reading dystopian fiction.

    As for why I might not be particularly welcome here, although I’m somewhat surprised that you’ve continued to engage with me given that, one might suggest it is analogous to the frosty welcome received by those who question prevailing dogma on other sites.

    oh yes, the “frosty dogma” of not believing that using racial/homophobic/sexist slurs is ok in order to put the uppity ones in their place. *rolleyes*

    Unless you happen to have X-ray or MRI eyes, I would say external genitalia are going to be more noticeable – and easier and cheaper to detect – than “brain mapping”.

    1)I notice you ignored the “or important” part of that definition; convenient, given that there’s no argument for external genitalia being more important than self-perception caused by brain mapping
    2)you don’t pay for brain mapping, it’s what your brain does for you (should have been “brain mapping of the body” though, for clarity).
    3)How expensive could asking someone about their sex possibly be?

  95. Forbidden Snowflake says:

    Spoken like a true dogmatist. That you can’t comprehend how there can’t be such a mechanism is not proof there isn’t one

    How would a mode of making decisions that isn’t dictated by our preexisting habits, desires, principles, socialization, etc., be functionally different from randomness?
    And “emergent from a large and complex system” certainly isn’t the same as “uncaused”.
    IMO, the only realistic option “caused or random” leaves out is “a combination of both”.

    “Salient: most noticeable or important”. Unless you happen to have X-ray or MRI eyes, I would say external genitalia are going to be more noticeable – and easier and cheaper to detect – than “brain mapping”. But I guess for those living in ivory towers that is a triviality of no consequence.

    You know what’s more noticeable and cheaper to detect than external genitalia? The way a person actually identifies in day-to-day life (I note that this is the only criterion by which you and Jadehawk know each other’s gender). So the argument from data availability actually favors acceptance of people’s claimed gender.

  96. Jadehawk says:

    And “emergent from a large and complex system” certainly isn’t the same as “uncaused”.

    don’t bother. when I tried to explain to him in another conversation how emergent phenomena can have qualities completely different from the system they’ve emerged, he argued against that; and now he’s trying to tell us that emergent phenomena aren’t caused in any way by their underlying systems. You see, emergent phenomena can be ANYTHING, including things that function completely differently from all other stuff in the universe at a fundamental level, but harmful emergent phenomena can’t arise from a system made up of non-harmful things :-p

  97. Jadehawk says:

    For free will to exist, the causal cycle chain needs to be entirely internal, i.e. never be caused by external input but only via chains of internal input. That’s the only way you can get a set up in which people could have chosen differently, in a particular situation than they have chosen, without getting a situation in which behavior is so random that it can’t be said to be willed. If the breaks in causal chains happen somewhere within the internal chain of input, the outcome ends up randomized, i.e. not willed (meaning, the will is not the proximal cause of the choice); if the causal chain from external inputs is not interrupted, then the external inputs are the causes of the choice, not the will.

    That’s against the evidence we have of human behavior, which does respond to external input
    It’s an arrangement that isn’t necessary to explain any patterns of human behavior
    it’s an arrangement that would require a mechanism that’s not possible with current understanding of physics.
    There isn’t (and given the “what if” setup of the concept, there can’t) be any evidence supporting its existence

    Free will is exactly like god in that sense: counter-evidential, unneeded as an explanation for observable phenomena, impossible by current understanding of physics, and without a shred of evidence for its existence.

    I guess that means I’m a dogmatist for saying “there are no gods”, too. lol.

  98. Seems to me that all of these “online gender wars” are part of the proverbial “battle for the hearts and minds”. And Benson presents herself to be a shaker and mover of public opinion on the related questions – her articles on the Council for Secular Humanism site being cases in point – which tends to make her tweets somewhat more influential. And problematic.

    Wtf?

    In the first place, the category is not “articles on the Council for Secular Humanism site” – it’s columns in Free Inquiry. It’s a magazine, for which I’m a columnist. I write columns for the magazine. Some of them – in fact only one that I know of – get published online on the CSH website. In neither case do I impose them; I write them when I am commissioned to write them, by the editors of the magazine. I was invited to be a columnist for the magazine by its editor, Tom Flynn. I don’t just wander over to the CSH website and dump articles there. I couldn’t if I wanted to – it’s not my website.

    In the second place, what does that have to do with “presenting myself to be a shaker and mover of public opinion”? I do no such thing, at least no more than anyone else who writes.

    What bullshit. And what crazed obsession – one tweet, part of a conversation, months and months ago, and he lavishes on it the kind of attention lit crits used to lavish on Finnegan’s Wake. It was one tweet, not a Supreme Court ruling.

  99. David Marjanović says:

    And Ophelia Benson responds to that with a rather categorical and ex cathedra assertion that any and all connections of “feminism” with “virulent” is, ipso facto, misogyny.

    And you linked to “ex cathedra”, and you seem not to have read that Wikipedia article.

    A papal claim is only “ex cathedra” when it’s done under very special conditions and explicitly claimed to be such. Just casually saying “this is so and no different” isn’t “ex cathedra”.

    Ophelia’s “Papal Encyclical”

    A tweet in the middle of a discussion.

    I’m reading an older Nature paper about that right now.

    Jadehawk outreads me in Nature ;-( </status-seeking>

    Benson’s ex cathedra encyclical

    *headshake* X-)

    Also, I’m sure there’s still some culture hidden in this ratio

    No doubt. But I wasn’t arguing that there were no cultural influences, only that there were some genetic ones, and that they were non-trivial and not inconsequential.

    Actually, from just that one number, you can’t argue even that – not even if we conflate “genetic” and “hormonal”.

    But I wonder, do you read all of every paper, along with all of the citations and related discussion papers?

    When I cite a paper (including if it’s a review paper), I read all of it. I only read the papers it cites if I get curious about those; and once I’ve read them, I tend to cite them directly to give credit where credit is due.

    Reading just the abstract, or just the abstract and the conclusions and skimming the rest, works sometimes, but it’s fairly common that this ends up distorting the paper – misunderstanding how it arrived at its conclusions, or what the conclusions really mean and don’t mean.

    huh? what does”presents herself” even mean, in the context of some article she wrote for the website of a humanist organization? Your sentence looks as if she is trying to create or maintain an image as a “shaker and mover of public opinion”, rather than her just doing her job, i.e, being a writer of articles. There’s something really weird going on with that sentence that I don’t get.

    I think Steersman is simply an authoritarian, and therefore thinks every half-way well-known figure must be or pretend to be an authority, have followers, speak in absolutes that will be taken as absolutes by followers, and so on.

    It’s a different mindset.

    and you’ve still not given me a good reason why genitals are a more “salient” trait than what’s called “gender identity”

    Easy: they’re the only candidate trait that’s visible in babies. In a society where gender is seen as immutable and binary, it will therefore be assigned at birth based on the genitals; and when it later turns out that the brain doesn’t fit this, it’ll be treated as a problem instead of making people reconsider.

    The point is that emergent properties become, in effect, their own causes, the scope and extent of which are entirely dependent on the nature of the components comprising them.

    …where “dependent on” means “caused by“.

    As for why I might not be particularly welcome here, although I’m somewhat surprised that you’ve continued to engage with me given that, one might suggest it is analogous to the frosty welcome received by those who question prevailing dogma on other sites.

    You flatter yourself.

    But I guess for those living in ivory towers that is a triviality of no consequence.

    *tries to imagine Jadehawk living in an ivory tower*
    *fails epically*

    :-)

    But hey, apparently you think skepticism means never arriving at conclusions.

    Authoritarianism again: he can’t imagine a conclusion that isn’t proclaimed with metaphysical certainty – ex cathedra.

    oh yes, the “frosty dogma” of not believing that using racial/homophobic/sexist slurs is ok in order to put the uppity ones in their place. *rolleyes*

    Yeah. That was… *Picard & Riker double facepalm*

    when I tried to explain to him in another conversation how emergent phenomena can have qualities completely different from the system they’ve emerged, he argued against that

    *facepalm*
    Hydrogen. Oxygen. Water. FFS.

  100. Jadehawk says:

    Easy: they’re the only candidate trait that’s visible in babies. In a society where gender is seen as immutable and binary, it will therefore be assigned at birth based on the genitals; and when it later turns out that the brain doesn’t fit this, it’ll be treated as a problem instead of making people reconsider.

    ha. you’re right that this is where the argument ended up going. The answer to why you can’t just ask people their sex is in the spam folder* and is basically “because you can’t ask babies”, without justification for the need to assign sex to newborns (or even acknowledgment that doing so has shown itself rather harmful to trans and intersex people).

    Yeah. That was… *Picard & Riker double facepalm*

    It gets better. His reaction to that comment was to accuse me of making that same argument as well, except for disabled people (because I called him an idiot the last time he was on this blog).

    But hey, apparently you think skepticism means never arriving at conclusions.

    Authoritarianism again: he can’t imagine a conclusion that isn’t proclaimed with metaphysical certainty – ex cathedra.

    here’s what’s really funny. He doesn’t even know what I was talking about. His attempted response to Forbidden Snowflake includes a long ramble about ability to make choices in accordance with one’s will, i.e. agency. Poor Steersman, the compatibilists successfully tricked him into believing that agency = free will :-p

    *facepalm*
    Hydrogen. Oxygen. Water. FFS.

    oh, I think he’s fine understanding physical emerging phenomena; it’s the social ones he had a wee bit of trouble with: I was pointing out that a group of people in which the individuals all have non-harmful individual beliefs/motives can still give raise to emergent phenomena that are harmful (in the context of homegeneity/diversity) and therefore calling the emergent property harmful doesn’t translate into calling the beliefs and motives of the individuals harmful. That argument never got through to him ( http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/a-collection-of-reading-comprehension-fails/ )

    – – – – – – –

    *he’s also whining that I’m talking about comments I won’t approve, forgetting/not understanding that he got banned as a discouragement to post things here because he’s triggering my SIWOTI Syndrome. Of course I’m gonna talk about it if it’s wrong, regardless of whether it shows up here of in the spam trap.

  101. Alex says:

    [Fished out of the spam trap, because lol — Jadehawk]

    You’re less entertaining than Pilty.

    Who isn’t?

    At least his neo-medieval fantasies were a novel kind of toxic, like reading dystopian fiction.

    Neoreaction is the wave of the future. Progressive thinkers/2013=progressive rockers/1976. You’re on the wrong side of history and tomorrow belongs to us.

    there’s no known possible mechanism for something to be self-causing

    Don’t the physicists say the laws of physics brought themselves into being according to themselves or something?

  102. David Neale says:

    I’d go further, and argue that the case against free will is stronger than the case against gods. I take the view (like Galen Strawson, and for much the same reasons) that free will is a priori false: it’s simply a logical impossibility that we have free will. It is necessarily, not merely contingently, false.

    I wouldn’t make the same claims about gods. The existence of a god or gods is implausible, and unevidenced, but (at least in the abstract) not necessarily a priori impossible. Theism is contingently rather than necessarily false. (Although it may be that some specific flavours of theism involve logical contradictions.)

  103. Jadehawk says:

    David, keep in mind that Steersman thinks of free will as being roughly what compatibilists say free will is; not actual free will (AKA contracausal or libertarian free will, i.e. what I was talking about in the sentence he took such exception to), but the ability to imagine options and then pick one.

    There’s no talking to naive compatibilists, they’re thoroughly confused about what is free will and what is agency. Now… the compatibilists who are causing this confusion despite knowing better (e.g. Dennett etc.), THOSE need a stern talking to a la Coyne’s presentation on the topic, hehe.

  104. David Marjanović says:

    Neoreaction is the wave of the future.

    “Soccer is the sport of the future and always will be.” I’m told they say that in America.

    The link, BTW, writes about somebody who still hasn’t got over the Westphalian Peace. Yes, that’s 1648 we’re talking about. *giggle*

    Progressive thinkers/2013=progressive rockers/1976.

    The generals always fight the previous war.

    Don’t the physicists say the laws of physics brought themselves into being according to themselves or something?

    …No. I mean, most say nothing at all most of the time – after all, do such concepts as “cause” and “mechanism” even apply outside a system of laws of physics? –, but I’ve never come across one claiming this is anywhere near the most probable option.

  105. Jadehawk says:

    ROTFLMAO. another gem from the spamtrap:
    2613222
    To sum up:
    J.: “free will doesn’t exist”
    S.:”dogmatist!”
    [bunch of back-and-forth based on using a compatibilist vs an incompatibilist definition of free will]
    S.:”free will as you define it doesn’t exist.”

    well, aren’t we all glad to have had that highly productive conversation [/sarc]

    (not that I think the other kind of free will conversation would have been any more productive in this case, either. So far his only argument for why I should use a compatibilist instead of an incompatibilist definition appears to be to throw more ill-fitting “bad”-signifiers at the incompatibilist definition, and then explain the existence/possibility of agency some more. Apparently the incompatibilist definition is “absolutist” (not sure if it’s being accused of being Hegelian, non-relativist, or totalitarian; probably the last, considering who’s talking), a “false dichotomy”, and a “strawman” (of whose argument? who knows).

  106. David Neale says:

    Look up “dinosaur” in any dictionary or encyclopedia other than Wikipedia, and weep.

    (Hint: Dinosauria is defined as “the last common ancestor of Megalosaurus bucklandii, Iguanodon bernissartensis and Hylaeosaurus armatus, plus all its descendants”.)

    Including, I believe, the plump specimen of Columba palumbus who lives in my garden! And all his avian cousins.

    (And excluding many of the Mesozoic animals who featured on the BBC Dinosaurs cassette tape I enjoyed as a child, such as the pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.)

  107. David Neale says:

    (I’m trying to learn more about natural history. It’s so interesting, and something about which I have long been lamentably clueless.)

  108. David Marjanović says:

    :-)

  109. ChasCPeterson says:

    Followed a recent link here and have read the OP and comments with interest. I have a few little peevy SIWOTI reactions and (unusually these days) I feel like sharing:

    First, the reason I came here was to try to figure out the arguments in the whole TERF thing. Jadehawk is pretty good at explaining sociological stuff and actually acknowledges that biology exists and is relevant, and so I want to say thanks to her for providing this.

    The weak link in the views espoused is this verrrry nebulous business of self-perceived ‘gender identification’ treated as a definable phenotypic trait of similar or comparable origin to any other phenotypic trait. I intend to follow up on this business of ‘body mapping’, but I note that its presentation here is ultravague.

    The paper itself is a review paper that relies pretty heavily on the study by Alexander & Hines (2002), which is just one big clusterfuck, a failure of peer review. Unfortunately I don’t have time to dig up all the details

    David,yYou should be ashamed of yourself for so obviously parrotting the received opinions of others. If you can’t even remember why you think its bad, then you have zero business calling it bad.

    Especially the vervet study is infamous for being extraordinarily shoddy.

    Actually, that’s not true. What it’s infamous for is being called shoddy by sociologists who don’t care for what they mistakenly believe is its conclusion.

    dude. they gendered a pot.

    They did nothing of the kind. I will now dismiss your opinion as ignorant.

    I conclude you’ve cited a paper you haven’t read.

    But clearly, even people who claim to have read a paper can be conmpletely wrong about it.

    two-colored lobsters

    Has nothing to do with sex. Lobsters are not sexually dichromatic.

  110. David Marjanović says:

    David,yYou should be ashamed of yourself for so obviously parrotting the received opinions of others. If you can’t even remember why you think its bad, then you have zero business calling it bad.

    Uh, of course I remember – just not in enough detail that I could write a complete fisking from memory, so I excused myself from doing that. Now that you’re apparently interested, I’ll gladly read the paper again and comment in detail; you’ll have to wait for next week, though, because I’m currently not in Berlin and don’t have access.

  111. Russell says:

    “… which means the binary of “nature vs nurture” breaks down as nurture shapes nature …”

    I’m a little late to that discussion but Huh? No, actually genes set up human cells to respond to sex hormones so they produce male or female characteristics (brain and body). Hormones are messengers. The sex chromosomes instruct the human autosomes to orient on a male or female line. If the sex hormones are interfered with during the developmental stage in the womb (such as exposure to chemicals which the body misinterprets as hormones) it’s not ‘nurture shaping nature’, it’s nurture screwing up what nature intended.

    Also, as a side note speaking from personal experience Testosterone does not just influence status seeking- it most definitely directly influences aggression. As someone who was involved in body building and powerlifting and witnessed many a man using synthetic testosterone, yes, including myself, the male hormone is absolutely able to induce (in brain cells set-up for such) moments of anger and rage that is both inappropriate and unfounded. It is humorous to look back now at how many doctors and ‘experts’ once claimed that Dianabol produced nothing more than a placebo effect.

    As far as radical feminism goes, my opinion, based on what I’ve read and seen so far, it’s nothing more than a delusional hate cult.

  112. David Marjanović says:

    As someone who was involved in body building and powerlifting and witnessed many a man using synthetic testosterone, yes, including myself, the male hormone is absolutely able to induce (in brain cells set-up for such) moments of anger and rage that is both inappropriate and unfounded.

    Wouldn’t surprise me, but…

    …could it have been a self-fulfilling prophecy? Did you all expect beforehand that you’d possibly become more aggressive?

  113. Sophie Lambert says:

    Hello Jadehawk.

    I wonder if you could give me the Radfem answer to the question of essentialism? Essentialism is rightly abhored when applied to ciswomen, but embraced when applied to transwomen. I’ve never understood how radfems can believe two contradictory things at the same time.

  114. Jadehawk says:

    As far as I can tell, it amounts to mapping the nurture-nature divide strictly onto mind-body dualism. You see some of that in the old-fashioned definition of sex being your body and therefore 100% bio-essentialized, but gender being your mind, and therefore 100% socially constructed.
    The reality is messier:
    1)”sex” is a category that’s socially constructed from various (and ever-shifting) combinations of physical characteristics, (except in ecology where it’s always about the size of your gametes), so it’s not as simple and biological as some people, including TERFs, want it to be.
    2)brains might have great plasticity that responds to social environments; sex, gender, etc. might be understood interpreted and “performed” based on socially constructed categories; and gender roles might be completely arbitrary categories. Nonetheless, brains themselves are biological organs, i.e. part of your “body”, and some of its structure and function are therefore “inborn” (meaning either genetic or caused by in utero environmental influences).
    So what you get then is that TERFs reify/essentialize their own definition of “sex”, which excludes the brain entirely, and therefore excludes transness from relevance to sex. And at the same time, they fight hard to de-essentialize/de-biologize everything that has to do with the brain as the result of social construction (gender roles), and this includes trying to stuff all of transness into the “just a construct” category.
    This fails because transness can be understood as a type of intersex, with your brain’s “sex” being different from your primary and/or secondary sexual characteristics (tho some trans people also show other aspects of being intersex, and vice versa).

    Did this make sense?

  115. David Marjanović says:

    Did this make sense?

    …To me anyways, so thank you :-]

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