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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Remnant, on Jenner

It's a little embarrassing, but Remnant, Gardner, and a few others sometimes write comments on this blog which are far better than the posts they're commenting on. In any case, Remnant has put a lot more thought into the whole Bruce Jenner situation and what it means for society than I have. Here are his thoughts: 

I’ve been meaning to comment on the Bruce Jenner thing, but any thoughts I formulate in my head seem to me so obvious as to not bear mentioning. Then I realized that this is really the point of this Orwellian farce: the SJWs, media and entertainment industries that are foisting this upon us are relying on that reluctance to point out the obvious in order to shift the public consciousness on the issue. If the media can acclimate society to repressing their natural reactions to things, they can continue to lead society in unnatural directions. So stating the obvious is our duty. An analogy will explain why it feels so strange to have to do so in this case. Suppose my daughter bursts into the room, starts hopping around and saying “ribbit”, and then turns to me and says “Daddy, I’m a frog!!” If I then turn to the house guests who happen to be present and earnestly explain to them that my daughter is in fact a human being and that she is just pretending to be a frog as she finds it amusing etc etc etc., I expect that my guests would consider me, not my daughter, the weird one. And this analogy may not go far enough, because Jenner has so little to do with any of us. It’s more like if I walked by a playground, see a little girl pretending to be a frog, and then walked over to a bunch of total strangers in the vicinity and explained to them that the girl is really a human being etc etc. That’s the meshuggah world we live in right now! Those who state the obvious appear crazy!

With that prelude, let me point out the following:

1. The moment Jenner was conceived, the very first Jennerian (!) cell contained … drum roll please … one X and one Y chromosome. Each cell into which it then subdivided, and each of the approximately TEN TRILLION cells currently comprising his body today, continue to contain one X and one Y chromosome. There is, thus, no biological evidence or support for the concept that he is a woman. We are asked to accept that he is a woman based merely on his bare assertion and on nothing else. Why is this assertion privileged by the public over all biological and physiological evidence to the contrary? If the DNA evidence doesn’t matter, can we also claim to be a race we are not? How about asserting that one does not have a disease dictated purely by DNA or cellular mutations (e.g. sickle-cell anemia)? If assertions are all we need muster to change reality, why do we need a criminal justice system? When a perp asserts he is innocent, is that not sufficient? Why are newspapers so skeptical and conservative in referring to perps as “alleged perpetrators” or “suspects”? If physical evidence can be overridden by a mere assertion, why are they not “innocent men” and “falsely accused men”. (Remember, according to these people, Jenner has NEVER been a man; likewise, doesn’t the perp’s assertion change history retroactively too? Why not?)

2. The only different between the Jenner of two days ago and today is that he has changed his name. That, plus the above-mentioned bare assertion. I don’t want to hear about his surgeries – shaving his Adam’s apple, facial adjustments, etc. – those are known as “cosmetic” surgeries. Cosmetic, as in appearance. If I take my mashed potatoes and shape them into the form of a banana, will the world accept that it has become a banana? Notice that when a woman has “breast augmentation surgery”, they are known in common parlance as “fake boobs”. Got that? Fake boobs, not real boobs. If Jenner takes the further step of cutting off his balls (which I highly doubt he will), he will then become what is known as a “eunuch”. They have existed in various cultures for thousands of years, and they are not women. I repeat: women are not simply male eunuchs. Is this a controversial statement? And it he then further undergoes surgery to rejigger the shape of his genitals and have doctors poke a new hole in his pelvis area, he will then be …. repeat after me … a “mutilated eunuch”. Not a woman, a mutilated eunuch. Still clear? Do we all understand that a mutilated eunuch and a woman are not the same thing? Am I presenting controversial ideas? To me it’s all as obvious as the weather.

3. Jenner likes to wear earrings, apply lipstick and rouge and to paint his toenails. He also likes to wear women’s clothing. This phenomenon is known as “cross-dressing” or “transvestitism”. Sorry to do this people, but I’m going to ask: Do we all understand that a cross-dressing man is not the same thing as a woman? (And for those who aren’t good at extrapolating, I’ll even draw the preceding two points together: A eunuch who cross dresses is also not the same thing as a woman.)

Again, it is almost embarrassing to have to point all of this out.

Now, what is so wrong about what has been going on is not really Jenner himself. I agree with John, that Jenner is essentially a pitiable or simply grotesque figure. Harmless eccentrics have always existed and should largely be humored or left alone. But we are not being asked merely to humor him, and WE are not being left alone: he is being forced down our throats as something we must endorse and celebrate. He is being used as a propaganda piece to brainwash us and our children into accepting that something bizarre and marginal is normal and wonderful. The issue is the institutions – media, journalistic, entertainment, academic and even governmental – that want us to accept these lies, and that promote these lies themselves. The same journalists whose very vocation is founded upon questioning and skepticism are acting as mouthpieces and bullhorns for outright untruths. Liberals who pride themselves on being part of the “reality-based community” and “pro-science”, and who mock conservatives as being the opposite, are denying biological realities and taking the fantasies and delusions of disturbed individuals as having some kind of sacred and inviolable authority. And the SJWs enforce this with totalitarian viciousness: people have had to shut down their own Twitter accounts for posting innocuous statements like “He’ll always be Bruce to me.” This is the nadir of a twisted and decadent age.


Remnant said...

Thanks, John!! Trust me, you are a better blogger. You are an inspiring blogger, literally; you inspire good comments.

John Craig said...

Remnant --
Thank YOU. (Among other things, you saved me the trouble of having to write another post today myself.) BTW, I responded to your third comment on that thread.

And, actually, I often read your comments and think, this darn guy is not only better informed than me, he's smarter than me too.

Anonymous said...


I agree with everything that you said in your comment. In our country/world, we're going downhill. Never in a million years, will I enjoy looking at a man dressing like, looking like, and acting like a woman. It's unnatural.

- birdie

Shaun F said...

That is so well written. Thanks.

Remnant said...

Thank you, birdie.

John, I saw your other comment and will respond to that post.

Baloo said...

Remnant, you have been quibcagged

Anonymous said...

Hey John, it's Gethin here. I've been reading everything you've written about Jenner with interest and I hope you'll publish my reply to Remnant's post because this took me a while to research and write:

As someone who is in the Nature camp of the 'Nature vs Nurture' debate, I felt compelled to respond to Remnant's piece on Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I felt his piece was based on pre-conceived ideas rather than research. (The one bit I did agree with is that it is senseless to say that Jenner has "never" been a man: if Jenner wasn't male, what makes Jenner transsexual now?)

1. I'll start with Remnant's frog analogy: In the process of embryonic and foetal development, do humans and frogs undergo a process of differentiation between human and frog, remaining human (or frog) unless specifically triggered to develop as a frog (or human)? Does the human/frog brain also differentiate between human and frog, sometimes incompletely? Have there been identified (and surprisingly common) cases of “inter-species” conditions similar to intersex conditions, where people or frog have been observed to have partial features of both humans and frogs, or have human DNA with a frog-appearing body, or frog DNA with a human-appearing body? If any of this actually happened, Remnant's analogy would be sound.

2. Dr Harry Benjamin hypothesised in the 1950s that transsexualism is probably caused by an influx of oestrogen during gestation, permanently feminising their brains, with modern science confirming this:

The brains of transsexuals react to certain smells in a 'female' way:

In contrast to Dr Benjamin, early SJWs like Dr John Money theorised that all gender-related behaviour was learned and there weren't any neural differences between males and females. We now know that, not only are there innate behavioural differences established before individuals are born, but these differences can be manipulated via hormone injections. It would be unethical to do this to a human foetus, but it has been tried with animals:

"In animal models such as the development of birdsong in finches, exposing chicks to androgens or aromatisable estrogens during critical windows of development permanently masculinises the female brain so that later exposure of the female to androgens will result in the development of birdsong. In females not so exposed to androgens, the administration of androgen as an adult cannot induce birdsong...A similar situation occurs in rodents where the application of androgens to XX animals can masculinise elements of reproductive behaviour in later life...These hormonal manipulations can only alter behaviour during certain temporal windows in development. Outside these critical periods hormonal exposure has no effect on future behavioural patterns"

(Barrett: 2007: 158)

Anonymous said...

3. You don't know whether Jenner is XY or not. No one knows what their karyotypes are until they're tested. A recent study showed that mosaicism is far more common than previously imagined.

Furthermore, scientists have found numerous chromosomal differences in transsexuals:

Androgen receptor genes in transsexuals are much longer than those of normal men:

58% of female-born transsexuals have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:

Another study shows female-born transsexuals to have a significant difference in their sex steroid gene compared to female controls:

4. It used to be understood that "a man" was someone with a flat chest and a penis and "a woman" someone with breasts and a vagina. Now that transsexuals have arrived on the scene, the goalposts have been shifted and "a man" is someone with XY chromosomes and "a woman" XX. So where do XX individuals born with functioning testicles and penises fit into this - are they women? And what about XY individuals born with vaginas who naturally develop breasts as teenagers - should we class them men?

Scientists have now found a way of changing the genetic sex of mice. A single gene has been identified - FOXL2 - which keeps females female. Switch this gene off, and ovaries morph into testes and begin pumping out testosterone. Is a mouse with testes female if it was born with ovaries? If so, how does that fit in with the "genetic sex" standards you're setting? Would we have to move the goalposts again if such technology became available for humans?

5. I am NOT arguing that Jenner is a full woman here. I accept that transsexuals are not women in the same way as, say, Queen Elizabeth II is a woman. But what I am arguing is that transsexualism is not fantasy-based as Remnant claims. Remnant's view that transsexualism "denies biological reality" reminds me of the 1960s view that autism, homosexuality and schizophrenia were all down to "poor parenting" or similar environmental factors and that people with such behaviour could be 'cured' with enough psychotherapy. We now know that autistics don't react to the hormone oxytocin properly, that schizophrenics have faulty dopamine receptors and that homosexuals have a difference in their hypothalamuses in comparison to heterosexuals. This is why no amount of psychotherapy has managed to cure any of the three groups.

Homosexuals, if left alone, can lead completely normal lives - leading to the RCPsych view that homosexuality is in no way a disease. Autistics have shown promising results in experiments with oxytocin therapy, and schizophrenics have a better prognosis with antipsychotic medication. Psychotherapy for any of them is snake oil, seeing as human behaviour is BIOLOGICAL, NOT ENVIRONMENTAL. Transsexuals are the same: psychotherapy has never worked on them and 98% of them carry on living as women until death after they have surgery.

6. You don't have to teach your children that this is normal, any more that you have to teach your kids that autism is normal, because it isn't. SJWs and the left-wing media wants us to accepts all sorts of things, including the idea that Islam is a tolerant, peaceful religion. Hardly anyone accepts that about Islam, but most people still treat Muslims politely. From Jan Morris to Lynn Conway to Joan Roughgarden, transsexuals have demonstrated that they can be productive members of society. Let's just have an "each to his own" attitude to them, seeing as they can no more help the way the pre-natal hormones altered their brains than autistics can help their genetic differences.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I'll respond at more length later, but are you asking me to put your response up as a separate post, or just here, as a comment?

I've always had the highest regard for you and for your comments, in fact you were one of the ones I was thinking of when I said the comments are sometimes better than the posts. But I have to say, at first glance, your #1 doesn't make sense to me. Remnant was making a point about stating the obvious and you're talking about something else entirely.

Remnant said...


Thanks very much for your thoughtful and data-driven comment. I must admit that when writing what became that post, I was aware, and it was nagging at me, that my post was very qualitative and not backed by data. One might say it was nothing other than "bare assertion"!! But I'm just a commentator on a Blogger blog, and wasn't presenting a peer-reviewed piece of writing...

That said, I am not unaware of the research that has been done into the real phenomenon of intersexuality, although you are certainly more knowledgeable about that area than I am. I don't doubt that physiological intersexuality exists and that -- at the margins -- the possibilities are more complex and nuanced than a clear binary distinction of "man" or "woman", "XY" or "XX". Even if that is the case, from a bigger picture perspective I don't think it really changes what I was trying to express, for a few reasons.

1. At the margins. This is important for several reasons. The phenomenon is at the margins in that there will be very very few true cases of the type of physiological intersexuality you raised. It is the exception, not the rule, and its prevalence and significance should not be overstated. It is also "at the margins" in the sense that, if this exists, it is a pitiable and unenviable condition that should be treated with sympathy and humanity, but not normalized. It is a defect or handicap of sorts. If people are born with cleft lips, or albinism or twelve toes or autism or a mental illness, we sympathize and try to manage it, we don't scream from the rooftops how it is really a wonderful thing to be. The science of all of this should definitely be worked out and should obviously color our views of this. But even then: is this science and analysis relevant to the entire world? A phenomenon that affects some infinitesimal percentage of the human population is mainly of concern to the affected people, their families and -- at some level -- organizations that may need to deal with them. Do we overturn laws and customs of society for an extremely marginal phenomenon? To go back to my polling point, why do average American’s now vastly overestimate a marginal and rare phenomenon? Which leads to my next point.

(end part 1)

Anonymous said...

(cont' from part 1)

2. The Jenner promotion going on right now is agenda driven, not science driven. Although it took me a long time to get to the main point in my post, the gravamen of my argument was not whether Jenner is or is not truly intersexual (although I obviously did take a strong position on that question); I was criticizing the media and other agenda-driven molders of social opinion for their unquestioning and overzealous imposition of a certain interpretation of this event on us. They mean to do it not out of their love or understanding of science, but because this is one more propaganda campaign supporting ongoing social transformation of the US into a “social justice” and “cultural Marxist” defined society. While normally what is going on would be a private matter, the fact that Jenner is making it public means the journalists should be researching and questioning it: “Have you had your reaction to smells tested? Have you had your chromosomal composition tested? Have you had your androgen receptors tested? Were you born with any physical indicia of transsexualism or intersexualism?” If there are objective measures that show promise of shedding light on things, shouldn’t those be used to the extent possible. Currently, journalism style guides, including for places such as Wikipedia, appear to require nothing more than the person’s self-identification. Maybe they should consider revising those standards to say that unless tests X, Y and Z have been taken by an individual and make available to us, we will continue to refer to him by his original gender, for example. But it should be clear from the triumphalism and enthusiasm being displayed in all of this (as well as by the viciousness of the SJW enforcers) that this not by any means their concern: They have an agenda and they want to drive. For me, while I will accept that the science may be more complex than most of us realize, it is and will remain an issue of marginal concern, and I don’t want my children indoctrinated in something of this sort.

So while I am generally extremely libertarian about people’s choices and situations that they may be placed in by birth or against their will, in this instance the battle that is being placed before us is not about libertarian choice, it is about totalitarian enforcement. So I don’t think we should be taking a “to each his own” attitude about this. I fully agree with you that we should treat people kindly and politely. But this is not just about how we treat Jenner (I won’t have to deal with him at all); it is about how the media and SJWs are trying to be thought police and Big Brothers with regard to any issue they want control over. To that extent, I think that disinterested, data-driven and objective science advocates such as yourself will end up being used as “useful idiots” by the other side. (And to be clear, I am not at all calling you an idiot. Your comment actually humbled me with the amount of research and analysis you did, as well as the grace and poise with which you delivered it. My post was just an opinion piece, and we know what people say about those.)

Remnant said...

John, I read him to mean just post the comment here. His point was that you moderate, and he didn't want you to deep six it.

John Craig said...

Remnant --
Okay, I'm waiting to hear back from Gethin. If he wants me to put it up as a post I will, and I'll "transfer" (copy and paste) your comments to that post, too. I rarely deep six comments, unless they're spam or have nothing to do with the post.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Remnant has said everything I might have said, and has said it better, so I'm not going to respond at length. But thank you for all the work you did in writing that, and, as you can see above, I'd be happy to put it up s a post if you'd like me to.

And there's nothing you've said that I can argue with, although as i said before, I think in your #1's you were talking about different things.

Remnant said...

Baloo, I only just noticed your link. Thank you!! I'm a big fan of your work!

John Craig said...

Remnant --
I don't think he'll see your message unless you write it on his site. (Just click on his link.)

Mark Caplan said...

"Doc, my brother-in-law is crazy. He says he's a chicken."

"Why don't you have him committed?"

"I would, but I need the eggs."

(Submitted on the diminishing hope there is still one person alive who hasn't already heard that joke.)

John Craig said...

Mark --
It IS an old joke, but it's actually appropriate here, given what we've been talking about.

Runner Katy said...

Wow, thank you, John for posting this, and Remnant for the point of view. This was refreshing to read, to make me step away from the media propaganda, and to read the Anon comments with scientific backing. As always, an enjoyable read!

Anonymous said...

To John: apologises if my first point didn't make sense. It was a response to the analogy of frogs and humans being comparable to men and women. There isn't a "species selection" process that goes on during gestation, but there is a sex selection process - and it isn't always perfect. Nature does make mistakes.

I'd be honoured if you did publish my original point, but it's entirely your choice. Don't feel pressured to.

1. To Remnant: I'm glad we're able to have a rational debate, even if we don't necessarily agree. I had an argument with an SJW (leading to a tantrum on his part) earlier today, so this is refreshing.

2. One in 200 people are born with an intersex condition and, according to transsexual biology Professor Joan Roughgarden, one in every 2,000 people is a post-operative transsexual. So whilst both intersexuality and transsexualism are rare, they're not *that* rare. Of course I don't think it should be normalised or treated as in any way glamourous - any more than I think Asperger Syndrome should be glamorised (as it has been in films like 'Rain Man'). Transsexuals should be treated discreetly (in a way that actually works - not with snake oil psychotherapy) without a big deal made in the media about them, just as people with bipolar disorder should be. As for laws and customs: laws and customs have never remained static. There are, for example, laws in the UK about how bailiffs must treat pregnant women. This was surely raised in relation to a grievance from the feminists: I doubt the law has always made this provision. Pregnant women are a tiny minority of the population, but that's still not enough of a reason not to make laws that affect just them. The same goes for autistics and many other tiny minorities:

I'm sure I could spend a whole hour digging up examples of how the UK government* has made alterations to the law to meet the needs of immigrants from various countries, or people with extremely rare medical conditions and so on. This brings us on to the concept of "indirect discrimination": is it OK for an employer to ask a devout Catholic to work on a Sunday, or a Muslim to serve alcohol, even though he is asking the same of everyone else? There have been many alterations to the law due to this minority-based concept:

*(I've only visited the U.S. thrice, so apologies if all my examples are UK-based)

Anonymous said...

3. I agree with you on this matter. The sudden promotion of transsexualism in the media strikes me as a odd and somewhat dehumanising to the transsexuals. John's assessment of Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair as being similar to a freak show was spot on. I disagree with you, though, that journalists should be questioning Jenner on her reaction to smells, her androgen receptors, etc - not only because this would be a private medical matter, but also because it would be demeaning. We don't set this standard for anyone else - we don't ask gays to prove that their hypothalamuses are smaller than their straight counterparts, or ask autistics to prove that they have unbalanced excitatory–inhibitory networks before we politely accept their difference. No one asked Stephen Fry to get an MRI scan and publish the results after he came out as having bipolar disorder. For scientists to study the general causes of transsexualism is enough, without (figuratively) putting individual transsexuals under the microscope.

4. The SJWs have always been authoritarian and incapable of rational debate. I was blocked on Facebook earlier today for being "racist" because I criticise Islam. My point about about being critical of all religions went ignored, as did my point of opposing Islam BECAUSE OF its intolerance towards women and sexual minorities. Linking to the Wikipedia page on the Paradox of Tolerance was the final straw: I was immediately blocked. But you shouldn't care about what the barmy SJWs want: like you said, treating everyone kindly is enough. I oppose Islam with every moral fibre in me, but I still respect Muslims IRL and don't say anything against their God/Prophet in front of them. You may not have to deal with Jenner, but what about the transsexuals IRL? The transsexuals you've asked for directions, sat next to on trains, and ordered pizza from have simply never told you that they're transsexual (one in 2,000, remember). It's impossible to be polite to people without having an "each to his own" attitude to them. JS Mill said eccentricity is necessary for a free society so, actually, accepting transsexuals is a libertarian issue. The fact that SJW idiots want us to accept them don't mean we automatically shouldn't. Transsexuals as a group are not harming anyone: they're not the ones dropping bombs or collapsing stock markets or starting forest fires. As long as they lead their own lives in peace, as I know the well-respected Jan Morris does a few miles away from my house, we should ignore them and let them get on with it (this includes not giving them media attention, unless it's for another reason).

- Gethin