Sunday, July 16, 2017

Biology Denialism

Writing for that alt-right organ The Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente asks — Why are some gender activists denying science? An excerpt:
    The doctrine of non-binaryism holds that biological sex has nothing to do with gender, that gender exists along a continuum, and that the differences between the sexes are socially constructed. Babies are born as blank slates, and the extent to which they identify as male or female depends on their environment. Evolution plays an insignificant, if any, role in sex differences, and even the obvious differences in reproductive function are incidental to people’s self-identity. (Confusingly, transgender activists often argue that their gender identity is hard-wired, and that children who identify as the other sex were “born that way.”)

    It seems ridiculous to have to argue this, but the science is settled. The two biological sexes (and there are only two) are broadly (though by no means perfectly) coterminous with gender. This holds for nearly every species in the animal kingdom, even us, and for all societies on Earth. Close to 100 per cent of the human race is born with a set of either male or female chromosomes. A small number of people are born with chromosomal and/or reproductive abnormalities, and these people are commonly identified as “intersex.”

    Many sex differences are biological, and they matter. Sexual differentiation is driven by sexual reproduction, which is the basic mechanism of animal evolution. It’s the way that animals get together and pool their DNA. Anyone who claims that sex differentiation is a socially constructed myth, or doesn’t matter, must have flunked Biology 101. As current research shows, even our brains are different.

    None of this is to argue that we should force people to conform to gender stereotypes, or punish them if they don’t. If people want to identify as transgender, fine. If they want to raise their kids in a gender-neutral way, fine. If they want to self-identify as polygender, demigirl, or transmisogyny constrained – well, whatever. (Let’s just please, please leave the kids alone. The research says that most kids with gender issues resolve them by puberty.)

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