Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Bioethicist" Ryan T. Anderson and other fantasies

Michael Graham
Michael Graham is a radio host, GOP operative and columnist for the Boston Herald. I have no problem with any of that. I do, however, have a problem with the spread of misinformation. According to Mr. Graham:
Massachusetts state Senate vote 38-1 to add a third sex — “X” — to our state’s driver’s licenses and ID cards?
That part of his essay is correct. Graham does not approve. He is entitled to his opinion. He is not entitled to construct facts to support his opinions:
As anyone who’s ever watched a cop show can tell you, DNA identifies your sex. And every time, it comes up either male or female. There is never a third option. Ever.
Despite settled science, Graham is setting up the dismissal of gender as an important construct.  We know Graham's intent because we have seen it all before, ad nauseam. Moreover, if gender does not exist then gender dysphoria does not exist. Indeed, if gender does not prevail over natal sex then, too, there is no such thing as gender dysphoria.

I do not know what Mr. Graham's religious inclinations are but he is expressing the teachings of the Catholic Church. Those faith-based views defy medical science.

Religion is a belief system. It is based on faith. Science, however, is based on evidence. We have mountains of evidence gathered over many decades regarding gender. It is nothing new. Nor is it controversial. At least it should not be. It becomes controversial when it conflicts with faith.

The age of Earth provides a good analog. Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. That is until Young Earth Conservative Christians create a controversy by insisting that, according to their book, Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

Returning to Mr. Graham's opinion piece, the following paragraph is amazing:
This isn’t being judgmental. It’s being biologically accurate. Your life and how you choose to live it, how you dress and identify, etc., that’s entirely your business. Where it becomes everyone else’s is when you insist that the state, aka “your fellow citizens,” must be forced to agree with your notion that there is a third option.
As I said, Mr. Graham is entitled to his opinion but it is intellectually dishonest to claim that his opinion isn't being judgmental. Furthermore, in addition to doing away with gender he is establishing, or trying to establish, the pretext for victimization; the notion that he is being “forced to agree” with others.

It is the same argument that religious people employed to oppose marriage equality and it is a red herring; a disingenuous argument. No one requires Graham, or any one else, to approve of anything. Nothing forces Graham to agree with anything, His is an argument that is offered as fact and it is factually inaccurate. It is also arrogant because he is insisting that his approval or agreement is somehow necessary.

Speaking of factual inaccuracies:
As bioethicist Dr. Ryan T. Anderson puts it: “The challenge for gender activists is to explain why a person’s ‘real’ sex is determined by an inner ‘identity,’ but age and height and race and species are not.”
Anderson is many things but he is not a bioethicist on his best days. Anderson was an undergraduate music major turned philosopher. But most of all, Anderson is a professional Catholic. His mission is to conform reality to the teachings of the Church. A bioethecist, by the way, is usually a scientist or medical professional who considers the ethical consequences of emerging science and medicine.  That is not Anderson.

Anderson's argument about real sex is nonsensical. He is deliberately not using the word gender in spite of the overwhelming consensus of science. It might be acceptable if his erudition included biology, psychiatry or medicine. It does not.

Furthermore, comparing gender to age, height, race and species is absurd and misleading. It is comparable to  saying: If eyes have a color, how come age and height do not? It is just rhetorical gibberish.

The medical and scientific fact is that, when gender and natal sex are incongruent, gender usually prevails. That is not an opinion. It is based on available evidence. Again, were that not the case then no one would suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender exists; some people have incongruent gender and sex; and Earth is 4.5 billion years old. I am happy to read any peer-reviewed research that Mr. Graham can cite that says otherwise.

The remarkable title of Graham's treatise is: “Gender ‘X’ steers clear of common sense.” Common sense?

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