"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Trans Activists’ Campaign Against ‘TERFs’ has Become an Attack on Science

Trans Activists’ Campaign Against ‘TERFs’ has Become an Attack on Science

"Consider, for instance, last year’s saga involving Rebecca Tuvel—who was hounded by trans activists and scholars after applying a theoretical application of transgender ideology to the idea of “trans-racialism.” Scandalously, the article in question was edited post facto so as to remove the name “Bruce Jenner”—in response to the claim that these two words served to “dead-name” the person now known as Caitlyn Jenner (despite the fact that Caitlyn Jenner herself repeatedly refers to “Bruce” in interviews). To cite the historically verifiable fact that someone named Bruce Jenner once existed is now seen as a sort of religious heresy. And like all heresies, it must be ritualistically expunged—not because it is factually wrong, but because it is seen as morally wrong.

In August, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island was criticized for removing a news release about a peer-reviewed study published in PLoS One by one of its academics—Lisa Littman, a physician and researcher at Brown’s School of Public Health. Littman’s article, titled “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports,“ discusses the phenomenon by which social media and peer pressure seem to have fuelled the recently observed trend by which young teenagers (typically girls) suddenly declare themselves transgender. The paper infuriated transgender activists, who claim that the entire notion of rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) is a transphobic invention. Both Brown and PLoS One also were attacked as Brown’s enablers.

While no one could offer any evidence that Littman’s results were wrong, PLoS One issued a statement acknowledging the complaints about the study, and promising “further expert assessment on the study’s content and methodology.” Meanwhile, the dean of the School of Public Health, Bess H. Marcus, claimed that concerns over methodology had incited the university to remove the news article from the university’s web site. She added that members of the university community members had “express[ed] concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.” In other words, Marcus is worried that facts might be used to undermine ideologically hallowed “perspectives”—also known as “opinions.”...

Transgender activism has undermined the efforts of clinicians and researchers who have sought to investigate the issue of gender dysphoria. There is perhaps no other area of human behaviour where ideologically motivated actors have been so successful in creating what are in effect no-go zones for academics, and even for facts themselves...

Heather Brunskell-Evans, a Research Fellow at King’s College London, was asked by medical students to give a talk to her school’s Reproductive and Sexual Health Society on the subject of pornography and the sexualisation of young women. Things changed, however, after she appeared on Radio 4’s “Moral Maze,” where she elaborated on heterodox ideas contained in a book she’d co-edited with Michele Moore, Transgender Children and Young People. Brunskell-Evan’s talk was cancelled. She also sustained a campaign of harassment, and was accused of “promoting prejudice” by members of her own Women’s Equality Party (WEP), for which she served as Spokesperson for the Policy on Violence Against Women and Girls. (After a lengthy investigation, Brunskell-Evans resigned from the party.)

Students are getting the message. Aside from the well-publicised case of Lindsay Shepherd—who was bullied by a supervisor for the crime of suggesting that pronoun usage was a matter of legitimate debate—there is the more recent case of Angelos Sofocleous, a philosophy MA student at the University of Durham who was fired as Assistant Editor from a journal for re-tweeting: “RT if women don’t have penises.” Sofocleous also faced a social media backlash, and eventually resigned as President-elect of the Humanist Students club. Indeed, trans extremists aren’t even trying to hide their witch-hunt tactics anymore. Goldsmiths researcher Natacha Kennedy, working under the name of Mark Hellen, was discovered to have orchestrated a smear campaign targeting female academics in the UK who refuse to conform to transgender ideology. (Kennedy encouraged members on a private Facebook group to draw up a list where “members plotted to accuse non-compliant professors of hate crime to try to have them ousted from their jobs.”)

Lisa Littman knew what to expect, in other words. But she also knew that her critics wouldn’t have a scientific leg to stand on... while critics focused on Littman’s methodology, which focused on testimonials from parents instead of children, such methods are quite commonplace in studies dealing with minors. (It also has been pointed out that nobody in the trans community spoke out in protest when a study using these exact same methods concluded that children thrived after transitioning.)...

While the culture-war skirmish over transgenderism typically is treated as a debate about culture or sociology, it is also a debate about the primacy of science—since many of the shibboleths we are asked to embrace are either scientifically dubious or obviously inaccurate... Girls as young as 13 are being told by US physician Johanna Olson-Kennedy that they “have the capacity to make…reasoned, logical decision[s]” about whether they want their breasts removed—because if they “want breasts later on in [their] life, [they] can go and get them.”. This sort of casual attitude to body mutilation—and re-mutilation—helps explain why many enterprising doctors have become de facto transgender activists, since they get paid on both ends of the transformation.

There was a time when self-organized groups within the medical profession could be counted on to debunk outliers within their field. But the nature of transgender activism is that small groups of committed extremists can ram through their agenda by threatening to denounce their critics as transphobic...

The extraordinarily aggressive nature of today’s trans activism means that women’s spaces are now being invaded by male-bodied individuals across the board—from rape-crisis centres, to gym locker rooms, to prisons. It also is turning many female athletics competitions into a joke, because male-bodied athletes who identify as transgender often can best female competitors...

Even in disciplines far removed from athletics or the white-gowned world of hospitals and clinics, pressure to toe an extremist line on transgender issues is undermining academic and intellectual freedom. The journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (PPR) recently published two articles—one by trans academic Rachel McKinnon (College of Charleston) called “The Epistemology of Propaganda,“ and another by Jason Stanley (Yale), “Replies”—wherein the epithet “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) is casually flung about to attack women who oppose a trans-maximalist agenda. The attack on women contained in these articles was so scathing that a group of philosophers were moved to publish a guest post in the philosophy blog Daily Nous entitled “Derogatory Language in Philosophy Journal Risks Increased Hostility and Diminished Discussion,” pointing out that TERF is “at worst a slur and at best derogatory.” (It has also been pointed out that McKinnon’s paper contained at least one flat-out falsehood—the claim that there is no case on record of a transgender woman sexually assaulting a woman in a female-only space.)

One of the dark ironies informing the trans extremists’ case against their opponents is the insistence that people like me—women—must call themselves cis women. For all their fixation on self-identification and self-selected pronouns, these same activists demand the right to apply made-up terms to others. And if you reject those terms? Well, that’s just taken as more proof that you’re a “TERF.”

The Daily Nous authors note that “under the present conditions, holding any of the following beliefs is more than enough to attract the label ‘TERF’: believing that humans are sexually dimorphic; that it is not evident that ‘self-identification’ is a sufficient basis for determining that someone is a woman; and that we should be able to discuss changes to law and social practice which impact women’s sex-based protections.” They also call out the rather extraordinary fact that ostensible academic journals are now being used by authors to attack their opponents with what are in effect playground insults: “Whether or not it’s a slur, it is undeniable that ‘TERF’ is a term used to harass, shame, dismiss, and denigrate women’s ideas and opinions. The fact that PPR has printed two papers that both deploy, rather than merely discuss, this term is unacceptable. It sets a bad precedent for other journals, and it signals disrespect to members of a group that is already underrepresented in academic philosophy, namely women...

As for McKinnon’s flat out lie that “there’s never been a verified reported instance of a trans women [sic] sexually assaulting a cis woman in such spaces,” the authors provide numerous examples. The existence of such examples shouldn’t surprise anyone since, as the authors themselves note, the crime pattern of males who go on to declare themselves to be transgender females does not change post transition. Indeed, there have been recent analyses of the British prison system showing that approximately two-fifths of transsexual male prisoners are sex offenders. And while the BBC attempted to whitewash this analysis (a scandal unto itself), The Spectator’s James Kirkup took it upon himself to set out the grim facts that the BBC has sought to bury...

A surprising number of self-described philosophers—these are people who purport to have dedicated their lives to truth-seeking—ask why a riposte to the original PPR article was even allowed, with McKinnon being cast as the true victim. One philosopher asked “why [would] Daily Nous…give its large platform to a vividly transphobic article that trades in moral panic and distortions based on hostility, and that includes specific attacks on the scholarship of an untenured person.”

All of this might have been anticipated by Jean-François Lyotard, a French postmodern philosopher who, in his Postmodern Condition (1979), analysed situations of justice in terms of what he called “language games”—which served to reject the claim of any discourse to be grounded in truth. The result of such an outlook is that superstition and blind dogma are elevated to the status of knowledge obtained through science and rationality. Transgender ideologues have adapted their approach to this postmodern age perfectly, since their narrative focuses mostly on “pain,” “hurt feelings” and (as Brown’s public health dean put it) “perspectives.”"
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes