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Thread: Transgenderism on the Good Doctor

  1. #21
    Thanks Old Man... Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    ... I tend to hold the opinion that both sex and gender are social constructions, ....
    How? Sex is a biological term. You, as a human, are either XX or XY, except in a VERY few extremely rare genetic defects. Society can not construct genetic code by fiat. It is one or the other. Gender is just a convenience term used as it is needed by those who want to separate it from sex. Sometime they use it as an identical for sex while other times they use it for conveniently describing a particular behavior.


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  2. Amen mossrose, Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  3. #22
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    How? Sex is a biological term. You, as a human, are either XX or XY, except in a VERY few extremely rare genetic defects. Society can not construct genetic code by fiat. It is one or the other. Gender is just a convenience term used as it is needed by those who want to separate it from sex. Sometime they use it as an identical for sex while other times they use it for conveniently describing a particular behavior.
    I'll try to summarise, but this is a huge and problematic field for me. Doing justice to it in one post is not something I'm able to Bill the Cat. I can just trace a very broad outline of my problems.

    I grew up in an open family, I'm a crossdresser (well I used to do more seriously now I just occasionally cosplay at conventions), my mother is a feminist and growing up I had many feminist friends and quite a few transgender friends (still have two such friends). So I haven't been taught to have this instinctive revulsion I see from people around there towards transexuals.

    First of all I'd leave out all talks about genetics and chromosomes. They're not strictly necessary to a discussion about what we mean by sex. And in fact the way you use them illustrates some of the problems I have with typical superficial treatments of these things in Christian apologetics these days. A view of biology that reduces the essentialness of sex, to simply what karyotype you possess, is far too reductionistic and mechanistic a view. And in fact, rare exceptions would disprove the idea that XY = Male (whatever is meant by that). You'd have to explain why maleness is 'XY'.

    Cerebrum on this forum flatout said that if a woman was found, who had fully developed primary, and secondary sexual characteristics, had been seen as female all her life, treated as female and grew up as one, and only discovered that she had XY chromosomes on scientific test her class was given, then she'd be male. Regardless of it. Cerebrum would then disagree flatly, if he was consistent, with Nick's analysis of this show. I find that position, quite frankly, ridiculous. And if someone were to accept that position, then whatever else they said about what it means to be male, or female, wouldn't mean anything. Since it would all be circumstantial to whatever karyotype appeared.

    When you're describing what something essentially is then there can't exist exceptions to it. Not even possible ones. No one needs an actual example. A completely fictitious example would suffice. A similar argument is used to argue that water isn't H2O. Because all we have to imagine is a liquid that has all the properties of water, but isn't made of H2O*

    Then that show Nick discussed should have been about what chromosomes they had. Not whether they had a penis or not. If it turned out they had XX chromosomes, then according the 'Chromosomes = Sex' then they'd be a girl.

    The real thing you're talking about, and that's the part I can understand from Nick, is that whether you have a penis or a vagina is the important part. 'Primary Sexual Characteristic = Sex' I find that approach much better. A karyotype, after all, is meant to cause this difference in a developing fetus, but it is not in itself a determiner of sex. We don't know what we have in terms of that, and in history most people didn't, but we can at least tell what we have between our legs.

    This functionalistic definition is easy: A man is a man, if he has a penis that is functioning well and is capable of causing him to make a woman pregnant. A woman is a woman if she has functioning labia, vaginal canal, a womb, and breasts so that she can breastfeed the children she could give birth to. Sex is then seen as a mere function. Man can impregnate, woman can conceive. Anything else we talk about in relating to how we treat sexes is then again just circumstantial. There is no inappropriate clothes either of these genders can wear. What is meant by sex is just reduced to our ability to produce. Whatever we talk about in relation to the masculine, or the feminine would then just be whatever social construction we have made.

    Note the above definition also accept members who have broken functionality. Are impotent, or infertile. A historical accident preventing the function is not the same as not possessing the potential for it, even if it isn't actualised. A blind person still could see, in principle, he just can't if something has occurred that prevents the functioning of his eyes.

    The social constructions vary wildly across cultures, and even across the same culture. The classical example is associating blue with boys, and pink with girls. This was opposite even in Western cultures, going back not too far. In fact for most of Western Europe blue was the colour for girls and in Catholic Churches the Virgin Mother is often associated with this color.

    This also applies to roles in society, in the home, whether women or men have preferred headship. We can talk about Biblical Manhood, of course. But its hard to objectively justify it as anything more than simply the expression of malehood that a certain set of Middle East Bronze Age tribes had, and the re-interpretations of that roles are again, very vast.

    Is silence a masculine trait, is crying for girls? Depends on what culture you ask, and in what time. Are showy dresses for women, or is it more feminine to dress mutely and in subdued colours?

    There are systematic patterns of course. And some variations are more rare than others. But there's almost no limits to them. So when we talk about someone being 'manly', or 'a real man', I honestly don't think we're saying anything that's objectively true outside of our culture. If you say someone is male, then that has to be understood as being said by someone in your time, and in your culture. Beyond that, I don't think it has any meaning.

    If what we mean by something being manly, or womanly, is a social construction - and given the variation I find it hard to trace out any 'essential masculinity' - why isn't man and woman also a social construction? Historically we've based it on reproductive function. A historical reason can be traced for this distinction, a distinction which varies in other cultures that accept third-genders for instance. So it could be viewed differently. But we have to defend that this is the right way to view it. Christianity is not merely content with arguing that everyone should file into two kinds of roles in their lives. Christianity demands that there are two kinds of people, and for those two kinds of people there's a God ordained role.

    Aside from reproductive function there's hardly any difference between men and women in terms of ability, at least intellectually. Not all of it is conditioning as testosterone and estrogen have different effects on the brain, but the differences are often strongly exaggerated.



    * Just to get ahead of actual alarm here, water is of course made of H2O, that one is a material substance of water, but to describe water you need more than give a mere molecular diagram. It is much richer in properties and qualities.
    Last edited by Leonhard; 02-16-2018 at 10:09 PM.

  4. #23
    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    . . . snip . . .

    First of all I'd leave out all talks about genetics and chromosomes. They're not strictly necessary to a discussion about what we mean by sex. And in fact the way you use them illustrates some of the problems I have with typical superficial treatments of these things in Christian apologetics these days. A view of biology that reduces the essentialness of sex, to simply what karyotype you possess, is far too reductionistic and mechanistic a view. And in fact, rare exceptions would disprove the idea that XY = Male (whatever is meant by that). You'd have to explain why maleness is 'XY'.

    Cerebrum on this forum flatout said that if a woman was found, who had fully developed primary, and secondary sexual characteristics, had been seen as female all her life, treated as female and grew up as one, and only discovered that she had XY chromosomes on scientific test her class was given, then she'd be male. Regardless of it. Cerebrum would then disagree flatly, if he was consistent, with Nick's analysis of this show. I find that position, quite frankly, ridiculous. And if someone were to accept that position, then whatever else they said about what it means to be male, or female, wouldn't mean anything. Since it would all be circumstantial to whatever karyotype appeared.
    You are correct that a strict XY vs XX does not cover everything in the discussion. It does cover the overwhelming majority (Bill did mention rare exception) of the cases.

    When you're describing what something essentially is then there can't exist exceptions to it. . . .
    What is your basis for saying this. There are exceptions to almost everything you can describe or define.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  5. #24
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah View Post
    You are correct that a strict XY vs XX does not cover everything in the discussion. It does cover the overwhelming majority (Bill did mention rare exception) of the cases.
    I'd definitely be a simple solution if that was something that made sense. But I can't see it as anything other than a fiat of definition. And I don't understand why that definition is important. If as you say XY and XX chromosome pairs do not determine sex, then they aren't the sex itself. The chromosomes aren't magical. There's no liquid essence of gender in them. Their final cause is to set off a chain reaction of gene expressions in the developing fetus that causes the fetus to eventually manifest a sex. This can be broken by a mutation, or just not fire by an accident. There are XX males out there, with gonads and everything, due to a special mutation to an X chromosome that triggers similar reactions, except they appear androgyne. One in ten thousand. Which means there are fourty thousand individuals like that in the US and seven hundred thousand like that in the world. And that's just on that particular case.

    Here's an illustration of why I don't like the chromosomal definition of sex.

    Its a bit like saying a forest fire is actually a match. The match caused the forest fire, ergo a match is the forest fire? But that's nonsense! A forest fire is a forest emblazed in a raging inferno of combustion. "Male = XY" Isn't a sentence. Its abject nonsense. If I stuff XY chromosomes into a potato, is it then male? Of course not!

    If we took a human and replaced the chromosomes, and changed nothing else. Would they be the opposite sex? I think the answer would be no as well. A woman with breasts, vulva, vagina, womb, who sees and views herself as female, was treated and raised as a female, is not a man for suddenly having a different karyotype.

    That's why we talk about primary and secondary sexual characteristics. The secondary can vary, there are women with minute breasts and men with gynecomastia, the primary characteristics varies a lot less as you say.

    But as Christians we'd like to say "Sex doesn't change by altering primary characteristics, its unalterable", yet what is our actual justification for saying that? Technical limitations? Biblical? Yes, of course. God made Adam and Eve, thereby creating two essential genders. Its a teaching that easy to defend from the Bible. I'm talking about from nature in an objective sense, not as a dogma of faith. If we synthesise the correct genital arrangement in a lab, and replace the genitals of a person with that, and its functional and a person who was previously incapable of conceiving children, now can, or one that could conceive children, can now make someone who is fertile pregnant... then that is a woman, or a man, respectively, if we go by the purely functional definition: Men can impregnate, women can become pregnate.

    But then where is our essentiality of genders to the human person. If you can surgically alter a sex so that one person gets the sexual functioning of the other, then sex is not essential to a person, but just an accident of birth. It could have been different for any of us.

    We'd like to say something much stronger than that, that in sex there's something essential to a person's soul, that isn't altered. But I don't think making the objective case is easy at all.
    Last edited by Leonhard; 02-16-2018 at 11:42 PM.

  6. #25
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    I'd like to point out now and again, that I do hold to the Church's view, but so far I do it as an article of faith. I trust God's opinion more than my own. This stuff is challenging to me. I'd like to make it more than that, but I havn't been able to make it make more sense than this.

  7. #26
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I'll try to summarise, but this is a huge and problematic field for me. Doing justice to it in one post is not something I'm able to Bill the Cat. I can just trace a very broad outline of my problems.

    I grew up in an open family, I'm a crossdresser (well I used to do more seriously now I just occasionally cosplay at conventions), my mother is a feminist and growing up I had many feminist friends and quite a few transgender friends (still have two such friends). So I haven't been taught to have this instinctive revulsion I see from people around there towards transexuals.
    Just so you realize, that last sentence is a bit of well poisoning. Some of the people on this forum (like me) have had trans friends and acquaintances for decades. Heck, I've even been to a few drag shows with friends to support those acquaintances. Just because people have strong views on homosexuality and transgenderism doesn't mean that they hate or are repulsed by those people who self-identify. I know it happens, but to assume that's true of everyone you have an opposing discussion with is uncharitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    Aside from reproductive function there's hardly any difference between men and women in terms of ability, at least intellectually. Not all of it is conditioning as testosterone and estrogen have different effects on the brain, but the differences are often strongly exaggerated.
    This seems like a very bizarre argument. There are vastly different physiological and psychological differences between men and women. For thousands and thousands of years we've evolved physically, psychologically, and socially to see men as hunters, and protectors, and women as gatherers and nurturers, and everything that goes with those roles. To throw that all away in the last few decades and say, "well there's not much difference except what's between the legs" is just really...huh?
    Last edited by Adrift; 02-17-2018 at 12:09 AM.

  8. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  9. #27
    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Once you get married to the opposite sex, you learn just how radically different they are and it's not just the physical differences.

  10. #28
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    Once you get married to the opposite sex, you learn just how radically different they are and it's not just the physical differences.
    I never said that men and women acted the same Nick. That would in fact be the opposite of what I said. There are clear differences between how men and women act, the question is, are they inherent, essential, or conditioned by external factors. As research have shown those differences caused by biology are a lot smaller than you'd think.
    Last edited by Leonhard; 02-17-2018 at 08:18 AM.

  11. #29
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I'll try to summarise, but this is a huge and problematic field for me. Doing justice to it in one post is not something I'm able to Bill the Cat. I can just trace a very broad outline of my problems.

    I grew up in an open family, I'm a crossdresser (well I used to do more seriously now I just occasionally cosplay at conventions), my mother is a feminist and growing up I had many feminist friends and quite a few transgender friends (still have two such friends). So I haven't been taught to have this instinctive revulsion I see from people around there towards transexuals.

    First of all I'd leave out all talks about genetics and chromosomes. They're not strictly necessary to a discussion about what we mean by sex. And in fact the way you use them illustrates some of the problems I have with typical superficial treatments of these things in Christian apologetics these days. A view of biology that reduces the essentialness of sex, to simply what karyotype you possess, is far too reductionistic and mechanistic a view. And in fact, rare exceptions would disprove the idea that XY = Male (whatever is meant by that). You'd have to explain why maleness is 'XY'.

    Cerebrum on this forum flatout said that if a woman was found, who had fully developed primary, and secondary sexual characteristics, had been seen as female all her life, treated as female and grew up as one, and only discovered that she had XY chromosomes on scientific test her class was given, then she'd be male. Regardless of it. Cerebrum would then disagree flatly, if he was consistent, with Nick's analysis of this show. I find that position, quite frankly, ridiculous. And if someone were to accept that position, then whatever else they said about what it means to be male, or female, wouldn't mean anything. Since it would all be circumstantial to whatever karyotype appeared.

    When you're describing what something essentially is then there can't exist exceptions to it. Not even possible ones. No one needs an actual example. A completely fictitious example would suffice. A similar argument is used to argue that water isn't H2O. Because all we have to imagine is a liquid that has all the properties of water, but isn't made of H2O*

    Then that show Nick discussed should have been about what chromosomes they had. Not whether they had a penis or not. If it turned out they had XX chromosomes, then according the 'Chromosomes = Sex' then they'd be a girl.

    The real thing you're talking about, and that's the part I can understand from Nick, is that whether you have a penis or a vagina is the important part. 'Primary Sexual Characteristic = Sex' I find that approach much better. A karyotype, after all, is meant to cause this difference in a developing fetus, but it is not in itself a determiner of sex. We don't know what we have in terms of that, and in history most people didn't, but we can at least tell what we have between our legs.

    This functionalistic definition is easy: A man is a man, if he has a penis that is functioning well and is capable of causing him to make a woman pregnant. A woman is a woman if she has functioning labia, vaginal canal, a womb, and breasts so that she can breastfeed the children she could give birth to. Sex is then seen as a mere function. Man can impregnate, woman can conceive. Anything else we talk about in relating to how we treat sexes is then again just circumstantial. There is no inappropriate clothes either of these genders can wear. What is meant by sex is just reduced to our ability to produce. Whatever we talk about in relation to the masculine, or the feminine would then just be whatever social construction we have made.

    Note the above definition also accept members who have broken functionality. Are impotent, or infertile. A historical accident preventing the function is not the same as not possessing the potential for it, even if it isn't actualised. A blind person still could see, in principle, he just can't if something has occurred that prevents the functioning of his eyes.

    The social constructions vary wildly across cultures, and even across the same culture. The classical example is associating blue with boys, and pink with girls. This was opposite even in Western cultures, going back not too far. In fact for most of Western Europe blue was the colour for girls and in Catholic Churches the Virgin Mother is often associated with this color.

    This also applies to roles in society, in the home, whether women or men have preferred headship. We can talk about Biblical Manhood, of course. But its hard to objectively justify it as anything more than simply the expression of malehood that a certain set of Middle East Bronze Age tribes had, and the re-interpretations of that roles are again, very vast.

    Is silence a masculine trait, is crying for girls? Depends on what culture you ask, and in what time. Are showy dresses for women, or is it more feminine to dress mutely and in subdued colours?

    There are systematic patterns of course. And some variations are more rare than others. But there's almost no limits to them. So when we talk about someone being 'manly', or 'a real man', I honestly don't think we're saying anything that's objectively true outside of our culture. If you say someone is male, then that has to be understood as being said by someone in your time, and in your culture. Beyond that, I don't think it has any meaning.

    If what we mean by something being manly, or womanly, is a social construction - and given the variation I find it hard to trace out any 'essential masculinity' - why isn't man and woman also a social construction? Historically we've based it on reproductive function. A historical reason can be traced for this distinction, a distinction which varies in other cultures that accept third-genders for instance. So it could be viewed differently. But we have to defend that this is the right way to view it. Christianity is not merely content with arguing that everyone should file into two kinds of roles in their lives. Christianity demands that there are two kinds of people, and for those two kinds of people there's a God ordained role.

    Aside from reproductive function there's hardly any difference between men and women in terms of ability, at least intellectually. Not all of it is conditioning as testosterone and estrogen have different effects on the brain, but the differences are often strongly exaggerated.



    * Just to get ahead of actual alarm here, water is of course made of H2O, that one is a material substance of water, but to describe water you need more than give a mere molecular diagram. It is much richer in properties and qualities.
    As I pointed out previously such a "woman" actually has testicles rather than ovaries. They are also in an extreme minority. >90% of cases you don't even need a DNA test. Then we have the "Guevedoces". The article calls them "girls", but clearly they truly never were girls to begin with. Fortunately cases that are like this are in the vast minority with regards to humans.

    It's also rather frustrating to see Thomists reject something as straightforward as this* as "mechanistic", but fully willing to accept modern evolutionary theory because "it's science". Especially given that evolutionary theory was intended as an attempt to reduce all of biology to mere "mechanism". You need to either accept "mechanism" as such, or reject it. Not just cherry pick the versions you like**, and discard those you don't like. If you're going to reject it, then you need to start rejecting the current mainstream science. If you accept it, well, there goes Thomism.

    *This as well as ID.
    **You're the one who brought up consistency, and at least implied I wasn't being consistent. In our past conversation I said as much that the vast majority of cases can be determined by outward appearance with regards to sex. How is admitting that in extremely fringe cases that the chromosomes are to be the determining factor inconsistent with what I've said?

  12. #30
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    Once you get married to the opposite sex, you learn just how radically different they are and it's not just the physical differences.
    Perhaps you should marry someone of the same sex then? The relationship might work out better because they are more similar, and relationships are known to work better the more similar people are (a better understanding of the other person's perspective and thought process helps resolve fights quicker and more effectively).

    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    I'm inclined to read this as sheer projection on your part.
    Based on what?
    Humans have huge variety. There are a few universal truths like "everyone needs to consume water in some form or another to survive", that are summarized in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. But once you get beyond those established basics, there is huge variation in the human experience.

    So any time I see people saying "all humans are <wild claim here>" without polling or studies proving it, I just roll my eyes. Obviously it is not true of all humans. And just as obviously, it must be true of the person saying it, otherwise they would know it to be false and wouldn't say it. They are simply falling into the error of thinking something that is true for them is true for everyone, and underestimating human variety. So when I see people say "Online porn is a temptation for all men" or "Humans are inherently good by nature but cultural experiences can lead to wickedness" or "All men struggle with gay urges" or "The heart of man is desperately wicked" or "All men desire power", it tells me something about the person saying it because they clearly believe it to be true of themselves otherwise they wouldn't say it, but obviously it tells me nothing about humanity as a whole because they haven't done any sort of survey or study to back up their claims.

    The family is a unit that does not require the state for its existence. That's a threat to the state.
    I see that as a relatively nonsensical claim. The "state" is not a sentient entity - it doesn't have desires in and of itself - and among those non-existent desires is not a desire to destroy anything independent of the state. You might as well tell me that unicorns want to destroy the family unit for all the sense your statements make.

    Except numerous people showed up and did indeed back that yes, this is what has happened in Communist countries.
    They gave stupid examples which didn't at all show that.

    I find it amusing Starlight thinks it's funny that he's told he hasn't thought about his position.
    I think we could safely assume that I've thought about the issue an order of magnitude more than you. I view you as a beginner flailing around, and doing it badly.

    What I'm bored of seeing is people get into philosophical word-games with themselves where they start defining terms in particular technical ways and then twisting themselves up in the logic, until they're convinced that by showing up is really down and black is really white, that they've 'proved' something. I've seen it enough that my advice is to simply stick with dictionary definitions and standard meanings of words so you don't go chasing your own tail and twisting yourself into logic pretzels.

    In this case, I suggest you don't try to redefine the word "loving" to a point where the behavior you endorse as "Truly Loving" is the exact opposite of the behavior that everyone else in the world thinks of as loving.

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