Friday, February 10, 2017

Science And Politics

An interesting article is in the LA Times this morning about the brain, feminists, and trans people. Is our brain different? Are trans women brains more like a women’s brain? Are trans men brains more like a man’s brain? And how does politics affect us?
Op-Ed Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science?
By Debra W. Soh
February 10, 2017

In the world of radical identity politics, two groups with very different philosophies have been ignoring science in the name of advancing equality: gender feminists and transgender activists.

Gender feminists — who are distinct from traditional equity feminists — refuse to acknowledge the role of evolution in shaping the human brain, and instead promote the idea that sex differences are caused by a socialization process that begins at birth. Gender, according to them, is a construct; we are born as blank slates and it is parents and society at large that produce the differences we see between women and men in adulthood.

The idea that our brains are identical sounds lovely, but the scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Many studies, for instance, have documented the masculinizing effects of prenatal testosterone on the developing brain. And a recent study in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports showed that testosterone exposure alters the programming of neural stem cells responsible for brain growth and sex differences.

Gender feminists often point to a single study, published in 2015, which claimed it isn’t possible to tell apart male and female brains. But when a group of researchers reanalyzed the underlying data, they found that brains could be correctly identified as female or male with 69% to 77% accuracy. In another study, published in 2016, researchers used a larger sample in conjunction with higher-resolution neuroimaging and were able to successfully classify a brain by its sex 93% of the time.
Meanwhile according to the author many trans activists…
Unlike gender feminists, transgender activists firmly believe that gender is a biological, rather than social, reality — but of course they don’t believe that it’s necessarily tied to sex at birth. They also believe that gender identity is quite stable early on, warranting a transition not only for transgender adults, but also young children who say they were born in the wrong body.

From a scientific perspective, they’re partially right: Gender identity is fixed, but only in adults; the same can’t be said for children, whose gender identity is flexible and doesn’t become stable until puberty.

Currently available research literature — including four studies published in the last nine years — suggests that 61% to 88% of gender dysphoric children will desist and grow up to be gay adults. (Or, in my case, a straight adult). They won’t continue to identify as the opposite sex in adulthood. In one study of 139 gender dysphoric boys, 122 (88%) of the boys desisted.
WRONG! That study was not with children who met the DSM V diagnostic criteria and it also labeled anyone who dropped out from the study as detransitioning. The studies that she noted did not differentiate between children who just acted more masculine or feminine than their birth sex. And it also discredits her as being biased.

Then she goes on to the TREF rant…
Nevertheless, transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls. It’s not hard to understand why. The idea that some gender dysphoric people may grow up to be comfortable in their birth sex is interpreted as a threat to the community. Acknowledging that reality may seem like a slippery slope to denying the need for gender reassignment surgery even in adults.
Looking at the author information I see,
Debra W. Soh is a sex writer and sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto.
When I saw that a red flag went up. So I googled her and found out she has done many papers with doctors from… are you ready for this? Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) which is better known for where doctor Zucker practiced his brand of conversion therapy and was closed down recently.  She was a student of James Cantor on of the doctors at CAMH.

Enough said.

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