Not seeing the wood for the trees (G2020)
Updated: Aug 8, 2021
I recently linked a video by Dr Debra Soh, who to be fair is quite the learned person and seems know a fair bit about the biological factors of the human condition. you can find it here Of course having seen that video lead me to others, and as per usual the comments section of the videos on youtube.
It's here where it gets interesting for me, because of course one knows that in such circumstances there will inevitably be people who categorically oppose the view that trans gender is a real and genuine phenomena outside of the sphere of mental illness. So why do I bother? well firstly because I believe that every person deserves access to information. some people may believe that "trans gender" isn't valid because they haven't heard arguments to the contrary. Secondly because if someone who is experiencing gender dysphoria happens across Dr Soh's video's then they may see more helpful links and comments posted by yours truly that may just help them on their own path. And lastly, because the response of the people that inhabit the you tube comment section on such videos is an enlightening experience. I recently dropped in a good dozen or so links, culminating in the current position of the world health organisation that GD and Trans gender as a phenomenon in humans is not evidence of mental illness. And guess what? Completely ignored. Not one person engaged with that situation on a level other than to suggest that (as Dr Soh does) trans gender identities and the view of gender as "a social construct" distinct from sex is "denying the science" (btw the concept of gender as a social construct refers to the social interaction between humans - much the same as it would if one was studying another large primate for example - and it's first cause lays in the biological factors, something Dr Soh is at pains to distance herself from as it is the first step in realising her epistemological dishonesty) I did get called a THOT, bitch and narcissist which was amusing, but on musing these things, it makes me quite sad. Some people, no matter how well evidenced an opposing opinion may be, and no matter how well presented, will simply disagree. The people posting in the thread aren't interested in "the argument". They just pick those parts of is that back up their existing belief system. Or to put it another way - this an example of confirmation bias...
"Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning" Inductive reasoning is the method by which people move from conclusion via observed facts towards a wider conclusion. A deductive conclusion - for example might be "apples grow on trees", whereas an interpretive conclusion might be that someone who had only ever seen apple trees might believe "all trees grow apples" They would have to experience or see evidence of another type of tree, and then accept that evidence to change their inductive viewpoint. Crucially, If one observes even a single incidence of a tree that is not an apple tree, then the inductive argument MUST fail. and so, when applying this principle to trans gender experiences and the physiological mechanisms that under pin them, holding onto a view that small numbers of people expressing "pathological" physiology is not evidence enough is akin to suggesting that "they're not a tree, they just look like one" and assuming the category of "pathological" to be something other than merely descriptive. Indeed if one takes Dr Soh's definitional stance on sex (genital anatomy) as the driver, then physically intersex people would be neither male or female, categorically speaking. Despite her own correct ascertain that they have characteristics of both. And if we only categorise people based on physicality, then why the exclusive use of genitals to do so?
Because to categorise them via other means, genetics, hormonal chemistry, brain physiology, gonads etc. would allow the link between physicality and socially constructed gender identity to become evident.
A true binary system is one where two mutually exclusive categories exist. The presence of a third category of intersex, howsoever rare mean the inductive reasoning towards a binary model MUST fail.
The expertise that Dr Soh has is undeniable. It is her interpretations of meaning that are at issue and those who choose to look the other way with fingers in their ears when the failure of her inductive reasoning is pointed out merely compound her own error. It's a real shame, since failures of this sort really do rob the scientific and philosophical community of a collaborative approach and isolate otherwise brilliant minds. But then again arguing over causality and what something "is" will never inform us what we "ought" to do about it thats on us. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/think-gender-comes-down-to-x-and-y-chromosomes-think-again/article24811543/ ;-) Sarah@stubbornlyoptimistic.me