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On 12/15/2017 at 12:49 PM, MisterSwig said:

You read ITOE and came away believing that Rand denied the existence of universals

She denied metaphysical universals and replaced it with epistemic universals one selects based on metaphysical aspects of particulars. So it has features of nominalism, but it isn't nominalism.

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5 hours ago, 2046 said:

I'm glad we have such great keyboard psychiatrists here to diagnose and prescribe people they've never met and give such solutions when they have no medical evidence or credentials to back up their ex cathedra pronouncements.

I'm more interested in having an actual discussion than entertaining your sarcastic, relentless straw man attacks. But you have ignored all of my prior attempts to engage, so I see no reason to address your latest outburst. Here is a summary of all the unanswered questions I have put to you on this thread.

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IMG_20171217_103518.jpg.ccabfec36169108a7320cb646c2d7723.jpg

Anything?

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That's the thing. I'm not implying anything medical. My point is hey, there are standards for making assertions. In argument, you are free to make claims, but they require argument. 

Discussion has no instrinsic value, and I'm not interested in exchange with sophists. I'm just going to keep relentlessly pointing out whenever someone makes unsubstantiated assertions, mainly with the end that third parties don't confuse instrincisist pronunciations about how drag queens must be violating the law of identity and the trannies want to enslave us all with objectivism.

I am merely invoking the great Hitchens' Razor "that which may be asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence."

Specific medical claims require specific medical research, in accordance with scholarly standards, such as blind testing and peer review. Is cogenital adrenal hyperplasia connected to gender dysphoria?

These  scientists think so: Cf. Berenbaum 1999, Berenbaum and Bailey 2003, Meyer-Bahlburg et al., 2006, Hines 2006, Nickmeyer et al., 2006, Matthews et al., 2009. 

I await your paper on the matter.

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Also, I interject this great Rand quote about what she called "psychologizing," that's is attempting to diagnose and make claims about people's psychology and internal mental states without having any proper training or evidentiary support in the matter. I think this quite appropriate whenever I see intrincisist pronouncements about transgenderism:

Armed with a smattering, not of knowledge, but of undigested slogans, they rush, unsolicited, to diagnose the problems of their friends and acquaintances. Pretentiousness and presumptuousness are the psychologizer’s invariable characteristics: he not merely invades the privacy of his victims’ minds, he claims to understand their minds better than they do, to know more than they do about their own motives. With reckless irresponsibility, which an old-fashioned mystic oracle would hesitate to match, he ascribes to his victims any motivation that suits his purpose, ignoring their denials.

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1 hour ago, 2046 said:

Is cogenital adrenal hyperplasia connected to gender dysphoria?

These  scientists think so: Cf. Berenbaum 1999, Berenbaum and Bailey 2003, Meyer-Bahlburg et al., 2006, Hines 2006, Nickmeyer et al., 2006, Matthews et al., 2009. 

Did you even read those papers?

From Berenbaum and Bailey 2003:

Quote

Systematic evidence from this study confirms other reports in females with CAH to establish that development of male gender identity does not depend solely on prenatal androgen exposure or genital appearance. At the moderate levels to which females with CAH are exposed, early androgen exposure appears to have a modest effect on degree of gender identification, but not enough to produce gender dysphoria in the vast majority of cases. Girls with CAH had more male-typical scores than control girls on the gender identity scale, but only 5 of 43 girls with CAH had scores outside the range of scores of control girls. Importantly, the girls with atypical scores were not those exposed to especially high prenatal androgen inferred from genitalia or other disease characteristics, indicating that genital appearance at birth does not reflect brain masculinization for gender identity and emphasizing the need to identify other causes of atypical gender identity. Results are consistent with other reports from females with CAH: most have female-typical gender identity, but a small number have cross-sex identification, and more than expected live comfortably as males. Those who live or identify as males are not necessarily those with the most severe genital virilization or highest prenatal androgen exposure (4, 20–22). Consistent failure to find associations between gender identity and degree of genital virilization or disease severity suggests that sex assignment in girls with CAH should not be based on genital appearance or inferred prenatal androgen levels (13).

That basically reflects every other study I've read. So I'll assume you have no evidence to support your position, until proven otherwise. I don't have to prove a negative. You have to prove the medical connection that you are asserting. Also, I'm not claiming there is a medical link between slavery and nominalism and "non-binary gender" theory. I'm claiming there is a philosophical link. And I have this entire thread as my evidence and argument.

Edited by MisterSwig

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On 12/15/2017 at 12:49 PM, MisterSwig said:

You read ITOE and came away believing that Rand denied the existence of universals...?

splitprimary quoted this from ITOE:

On 12/14/2017 at 11:55 PM, splitprimary said:

"Let us note . . . the radical difference between Aristotle’s view of concepts and the Objectivist view, particularly in regard to the issue of essential characteristics.

…Aristotle held that definitions refer to metaphysical essences, which exist in concretes as a special element or formative power.

…Aristotle regarded “essence” as metaphysical; Objectivism regards it as epistemological."

- was this quote not clear?

also from ITOE:

Quote

The extreme realist (Platonist) and the moderate realist (Aristotelian) schools of thought regard the referents of concepts as intrinsic, i.e., as “universals” inherent in things (either as archetypes or as metaphysical essences)

and

Quote

...he specifically referred to “manness” in man and “roseness” in roses. I was arguing with him that there is no such thing, and that these names refer merely to an organization of concretes, that this is our way of organizing concretes.

You said "You don't have to be an Objectivist to accept the fact that universals exist," which is true, but the point here is that if you do accept the fact that universals exist, then you aren't an Objectivist.

You are an intrinsicist.

On 12/15/2017 at 12:49 PM, MisterSwig said:

I won't discuss such a basic epistemological issue on a political thread.

Your thread is about nominalism, too... which is a basic metaphysical and epistemological issue.

From the OP:

On 12/8/2017 at 4:47 PM, MisterSwig said:

The nominalists of modern philosophy...claim that the alternative of true or false is not applicable to definitions, only to "factual" propositions. Since words, they claim, represent arbitrary human (social) conventions, and concepts have no objective referents in reality, a definition can be neither true nor false.

The nominalist doesn't deny that there are concrete particulars out there in reality to which concepts refer. That is exactly their position, that "these names refer merely to an organization of concretes, that this is our way of organizing concretes". What they deny is that there are any real universals to which concepts refer - which is exactly what Rand denies. Hence the result: without a real universal as the standard, true or false are not applicable to definitions. At best what you get is that one way of organizing concretes is more useful than another, and hence one definition may be "better" than another in this sense of being "better" pragmatically. This is what Rand claimed essentially, that certain definitions are better than others according to context or unit economy. In these respects she was following the basic nominalist metaphysics which she endorsed. The issue is that every time she referenced natural kinds as the ground for identifying a concept or judging a definition as true or false, she was in fact stealing from a realist metaphysics which she denied.

which is what splitprimary was saying earlier:

On 12/14/2017 at 11:55 PM, splitprimary said:

...this leaves open any grouping as being equally valid if grounded in fact, and contextually pragmatic. rather than the concepts "male" and "female" that we currently have, (if there are no metaphysical essences to adhere to, and it's just a matter of pulling out any commonality of measurement to attach a label to), an argument could absolutely be made that we should have x different concepts, for various segments of a spectrum or constellations of properties. -which is the kind of expansion the non-binary crowd seems mostly to be endorsing. that would be at least a suggestion worthy of consideration under Objectivist epistemology.

If one is a nominalist, i.e. denies the existence of natural kinds, as Objectivism does, then definitions cannot be validated as "true" or rejected as "false", and from there open the floodgates to subjectivism and slavery and everything else you have diagnosed in this thread, I think correctly.

Edited by intrinsicist

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On 12/15/2017 at 6:11 AM, MisterSwig said:

I believe Rand solved the problem of universals, but there is some confusion over her idea of a "mental entity." She rejected the idea that concepts exist as concrete things outside of man's mind. But are they concrete-like things inside man's mind? If so, precisely what does it mean to be a mental-concrete-entity-thing?

But that's not any different than what a nominalist would say. A nominalist might say, sure we have these abstract concepts in our minds. But the issue here is whether they correspond to a real universal which has a true definition, or rather on the contrary that there is nothing universal out in reality for it to correspond to; it's a made up definition which cannot in principle be true or false.

If there is no universal in reality to check a concept or definition against, then they are just stipulating the definitions of words, and the only issue is whether they are using their words consistently or inconsistently, or whether their concepts are pragmatic or unpragmatic; nobody can possibly tell them that they are wrong. Nobody can tell them that their definition is false, that their conceptual classification is not corresponding to the real, natural kind.

After all, their basic metaphysical position is that there are no natural kinds.

"When he says he is this or that, then he is this or that" ...

On 12/8/2017 at 4:47 PM, MisterSwig said:

Nominalism is a philosophy of slavery. A nominalist wants to be a master, a ruler of humans. And so he places himself above normal humans, both mentally and physically. Mentally he is a "non-binary" word-maker, whose speech must not be questioned. And physically he is a "non-binary" entity, whose very identity must not be questioned. When he says he is this or that, then he is this or that. And if he orders you to call him she or they, then your duty is to call him she or they. For he is the master, and you are the slave. He is a member of the "non-binary" royal family. And you are part of the lowly, unenlightened "binary" or "cisgender" class.

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

Did you even read those papers?

From Berenbaum and Bailey 2003:

That basically reflects every other study I've read. So I'll assume you have no evidence to support your position, until proven otherwise. I don't have to prove a negative. You have to prove the medical connection that you are asserting. Also, I'm not claiming there is a medical link between slavery and nominalism and "non-binary gender" theory. I'm claiming there is a philosophical link. And I have this entire thread as my evidence and argument.

Berenbaum and Bailey study conclude that gender identity seems to differ, albeit modestly, from control females. Very well. They found gender identity scores were intermediate compared with tomboys and sister controls, although this was not related to degree of genital virilisation. Some with milder cases lived successful lives as males and some with severe cases live as females. Meyer-Bahlburg found that those with the severest forms of CAH had significantly greater cross gender desire than controls. So did Hines and Matthews et al. Again, all very well. I'm not seeing the part where they all are delusional and need to just stop being nominalists and need heavy doses of anti-psychotics, and philosophically want to enslave us all. But carry on with all your assertions.

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3 hours ago, intrinsicist said:
On 12/15/2017 at 9:49 AM, MisterSwig said:

I won't discuss such a basic epistemological issue on a political thread.

Your thread is about nominalism, too... which is a basic metaphysical and epistemological issue.

I've begun my response on this new thread. I think we disagree about universals themselves, which is a deeper issue than nominalism. Besides, this thread's focus is nominalism's effect in the moral-political realm, not a debate over fundamental metaphysical-epistemological issues. 

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On 12/16/2017 at 12:29 PM, Eiuol said:

psychiatrists have verified that dysphoria is real, and is rooted in some phenomenon relating one's sex to one's "feeling" of being.

...There may well be biological explanations ... The root of the feeling seems to be biological. Sorta like phantom limb syndrome. It isn't cured by psychotherapy"

i did not attempt to deny that these people are genuinely experiencing a "bad feeling", my point was that that doesn't tell us anything further with certainty. (i didn't even contest the identification that it is was somehow "related to one's sex", that much would be true for both cases below.)

i grant at least the possibility that there is some kind of rare medical condition that results in precisely this. but even if that were proven, the transgender assertion: “i am a [male/female] trapped in a [woman’s/man’s] body” would remain an extraordinary claim. just because some people were that way, would not mean that everyone complaining of dysphoria was. in any particular case, it would be difficult to determine on a psychological basis whether that’s what you were looking at, as opposed to what Don Athos is describing: a nurture-based dysphoria, that could potentially be alleviated by psychotherapy. it seems important to be able to differentiate the two.

eventually there should be a way to verify if the biological condition was present, and i would think it would be very troubling for a psychologist to find that someone they had diagnosed that way and recommended SRS for, as it turned out didn’t have it and had actually been struggling with internalized societal or parental expectations instead, and that was their motivation for assuming a different outward presentation. the post-op suicide rates that CartsBeforeHorses brings up could even be explained by these misdiagnoses, while leaving a subset (who have something like Klinefelter syndrome or XX male syndrome or whatever it is), who surgical or hormonal treatments do help. if your unacknowledged deep motivation was to appease other people or seek approval, as Objectivists we wouldn't expect the transition to make you happier or give you self-esteem, not any more than Peter Keating achieved it with his architectural successes. if that's not caught early enough you're really finding out the hard way! i imagine that would be devastating- to put all your hopes in a procedure and go to such drastic measures, only to have it not work, to continue feeling as uncomfortable with yourself as ever. it would be the job of a good psychologist who cared about their patient to explore all this as thoroughly as possible to help them root that out and avoid such outcomes, not to just be affirming and enthusiastic. (the same would go for friends).

Edited by splitprimary

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Indeed, some folk could just be making it all up for attention or what have you. But Rand's comments reguarding psychologizing are appropriate here. You are not privy to someone's context, situation, history, medical information, nor are you an expert in this medical subject or its treatment. There is no way to know in any given case whether this is the fact or not. If someone says "I feel trapped. I don't know what to do. This is not a choice." we have nothing to do but take this at face value and let professionals who are experts in the field diagnose and treat them. There is nothing that we as objectivist are armed with special knowledge to say otherwise, and pontificating on what treatment or beliefs they all must have is the height of pretentiousness.

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3 hours ago, splitprimary said:

i grant at least the possibility that there is some kind of rare medical condition that results in precisely this. but even if that were proven, the transgender assertion: “i am a [male/female] trapped in a [woman’s/man’s] body” would remain an extraordinary claim.

I think it's extraordinary only insofar as we identify "male" with "penis-having," and so forth; if we understand "male" in the more expansive sense ("truck-playing," etc.) -- the one where we construct all sorts of roles and expectations, tell people who may (in reason) run for the presidency and so forth -- then I think that it becomes a bit more mundane/understandable. I read it largely as "I am a person who enjoys playing with trucks, and I can see myself as President," and so on, despite the bits I have which lead you to tell me I ought not be/do any of those things. The penis-having bit may eventually seem to pale in comparison as against all of that stuff we throw into the gender box, and for those who set all of their store by penis-having, well, there's surgery for that.

3 hours ago, splitprimary said:

just because some people were that way, would not mean that everyone complaining of dysphoria was. in any particular case, it would be difficult to determine on a psychological basis whether that’s what you were looking at, as opposed to what Don Athos is describing: a nurture-based dysphoria, that could potentially be alleviated by psychotherapy. it seems important to be able to differentiate the two.

When you say "could potentially be alleviated by psychotherapy," and especially since this is offered in response to my comments (if indirectly), I'd like to offer a word or two of caution.

There are two senses of "could," imo. This might be inadvisable of me for any number of reasons, but I'll submit that there is the "analytic could" and the "synthetic could." The "analytic could" embraces anything which is not a logical impossibility; the "synthetic could" speaks to those things that we may expect, in reason and in context.

Could we live among the stars? I don't see why not. It isn't a logical impossibility, so far as I am aware. But could we -- you and I -- live among the stars, in our lifetime, given the current state of technology (and rate of technological advancement)? I wouldn't put money on it.

Could the sort of dysphoria I'd described potentially be alleviated by psychotherapy? Perhaps it could... one day. (I do not claim to know that it could, in fact; I do not understand the mind sufficiently to say, and as the brain has a nature, the mind may not be capable of all things, as naturally constituted.) But based on my impression of gender dysphoria and associated, if I were afflicted with it today, I would not expect psychotherapy to "cure" me of it, not with a lifetime of therapy and medication, even if I decided that such a "cure" was the best option. Which leads me to my second caveat:

Subjecting oneself to psychotherapy, for instance, takes time and energy and expense. Even if gender dysphoria is considered to be a disorder (which is an important element of the conversation, and potentially underexplored, imo*), I would want to know if, in a given individual's context, pursuing the "cure" afforded by whatever psychotherapy would be more valuable than learning to live with it, or pursuing some alternative form of "treatment," such as SRS.

And SRS seems drastic and weighty, and I agree that it is, especially given the present state of the science (though again, I don't know whether it is more or less drastic than a lifetime of psychotherapy and the potential for suffering therein). But if we are allowing for "analytic" coulds, perhaps we could imagine a future where it is not such a drastic or irreversible change; and then I wonder what would become of our notions of gender or gender identity, and what we would recommend to someone suffering from such dysphoria.

Imagine that, thanks to technological advancements, one's gender (in terms of phenotype, I suppose, at the very least) was as changeable as hair color: that someone could appear to all the world as man one day, woman the next, man the following. Would we tell a man who "feels" like a being a woman (for a day, or forever) not to pursue his inclination?

__________________________

* It seems obvious to say that gender dysphoria is a disorder, especially given the great distress it can cause, and perhaps that is reason enough. But I do wonder sometimes about such things -- if society were more accepting, would it cause such great distress in the first place?

Given the sort of technological advancement I've imagined, and the melting of social mores I might expect in the face of it, I don't know that we would continue to take "gender" so seriously as to consider it a disorder one way or another, to see oneself as male, female or other. I don't know that the experience of "dysphoria" itself would last, or be anything more substantial than the hunger pang that sends us out to the drive-thru to buy a cheeseburger.

3 hours ago, splitprimary said:

eventually there should be a way to verify if the biological condition was present, and i would think it would be very troubling for a psychologist to find that someone they had diagnosed that way and recommended SRS for, as it turned out didn’t have it and had actually been struggling with internalized societal or parental expectations instead, and that was their motivation for assuming a different outward presentation. the post-op suicide rates that CartsBeforeHorses brings up could even be explained by these misdiagnoses, while leaving a subset (who have something like Klinefelter syndrome or XX male syndrome or whatever it is), who surgical or hormonal treatments do help.

I'd like to be sensitive to 2046's point about not laying claim to things that we have no expertise in (and I have no expertise in... well, anything, really), but yes -- I think that post-op suicide rates probably have something to do with some people expecting surgery to produce internal outcomes which don't subsequently manifest; the problems lay deeper than that, in those cases.

Though we should note, also, that modern society is hardly welcoming to such folk; being a political and social football, having one's sanity and morality subject to constant referendum, by seemingly everyone, can hardly be expected to help one through whatever other problems might exist (and may well cause problems of their own). This is to say that, even if 100% of SRS decisions were made correctly, we still might expect higher suicide rates from such a community, and possibly much higher.

It would be for the best, perhaps, if everyone's self-esteem were hermetically sealed, and if we did not care a wit about the opinions of others, and could see through all of the false ideas about "what a person ought to be" at all times, and so forth, and just walk blithely forward, singing our own songs. That sounds lovely. Let's encourage that. But let's also recognize that the vast majority of humanity (and I include myself here) has not entirely worked out yet how to remain unaffected by the judgements of others.

Could psychotherapy cure us all of that disorder one day? Perhaps it could...

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22 hours ago, 2046 said:

I'm glad we have such great keyboard psychiatrists here to diagnose and prescribe people they've never met and give such solutions when they have no medical evidence or credentials to back up their ex cathedra pronouncements.

The post that you're quoting said the words "if" and "might," not "is" and "does." Such words on behalf of MisterSwig seem to indicate that he wasn't trying to diagnose anything, merely suggesting a possibility rather than making a diagnosis or prescription.

Also, you don't need to be a doctor to know that anti-psychotic medication is prescribed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar, and other mental disorders.

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11 hours ago, 2046 said:

Berenbaum and Bailey study conclude that gender identity seems to differ, albeit modestly, from control females. Very well. They found gender identity scores were intermediate compared with tomboys and sister controls, although this was not related to degree of genital virilisation.

That study, then, suggests no link between gender dysphoria and CAH. You suggested there is a link. See figure 1.

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4 hours ago, DonAthos said:

The penis-having bit may eventually seem to pale in comparison as against all of that stuff we throw into the gender box, and for those who set all of their store by penis-having, well, there's surgery for that.

Do you define penis as a surgically extended urethra? And what of the other male sex organs, external and internal? Saying a man has a penis and a woman has a vagina is merely linguistic shorthand for a more thorough, scientific knowledge of the physical and biological differences. SRS is a fraud. At minimum, the "new" set of "sex organs" should be able to produce viable sperm or eggs.

Edited by MisterSwig

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26 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Do you define penis as a surgically extended urethra?

No.

I will also say that how I "define penis" has not ever been something I care about, to give any thought to it; I still don't. Though I am biologically male and also identify as male, this has never been a fact of any real importance to me. It just is. If some woman had a surgically extended urethra so as to approximate a penis, I wouldn't begrudge it to her, any more than people who get surgery to enhance their bosoms or reshape their noses. (Do we "define" breasts as lumps of silicone or saline? Not as such, I don't imagine.)

If she identified herself as a man (on the basis of this or other characteristics she relates to being male), it would not particularly offend me, and if she asked me to refer to her as a "he" (or if social etiquette made this the norm, as I believe is currently the case) I would accommodate it without compunction.

None of the reality of the situation changes. The "law of identity" has not somehow been violated (if the law of identity could be violated, then it wouldn't be the law of identity). What "he" is, is a person who was born female who has undergone surgery in an effort to either "become a man," or so that his outward appearance may better reflect his vision of himself.

If we want to settle the question of whether he is now, or ever was, "truly" a man (to whatever extent we think answering this question matters to anyone... which is another question, in itself), then we have some more work to do, in defining what specifically makes a man, a man. If it is a sperm-producing penis, or whatever, in my opinion it's just a question of science catching up -- which I expect that, one day, it will. In the meantime, I'm satisfied that those who do all that they can, to the extent that the current science allows, have done all that they can, to express themselves, to be or become the person they want to be. I find the change morally neutral, as such (I see nothing superior about being male or female); I endorse the fact of taking action to make one's own life better, according to one's best judgement; and though I have deep reservations about the idea of "identifying as male" or female, according to gender roles, and etc., I have equal reservations for all of the "cis-gendered" folk who entertain their own ideas of what "being a man" or a woman means, including Ayn Rand.

26 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

And what of the other male sex organs, external and internal? Saying a man has a penis and a woman has a vagina is merely linguistic shorthand for a more thorough, scientific knowledge of the physical and biological differences. SRS is a fraud. At minimum, the "new" set of "sex organs" should be able to produce viable sperm.

If the people who undergo the surgery don't expect the production of viable sperm, then I don't see why I should require it to, or hold it as "fraudulent" if it does not. I'm repeating the essence of something I've said a while ago, here, but I don't expect that most people looking to transition from woman to man care about things like the production of viable sperm. (Which is not to say that they would not avail themselves of it, if the science allowed for it; I imagine they just might.)

I don't think it matters to them. Not centrally, at least. I know it doesn't matter to me, at all. Does it matter to the people who are typically hostile to things like SRS? I don't know, but I suspect not; when the science does catch up in this regard, the goalposts will have been moved, accordingly, and "the production of viable sperm" will no longer be sufficient. If this is the case*, then perhaps chasing the approval of such people isn't worthwhile.

__________________________

* And I'm not saying this is necessarily the case for you, MisterSwig -- maybe you have an authentic threshold that can be crossed, given sufficiently advanced technology -- but if so, I don't expect that's typical. I think these battlelines are mostly drawn on emotional ground, on both sides.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

If some woman had a surgically extended urethra so as to approximate a penis, I wouldn't begrudge it to her, any more than people who get surgery to enhance their bosoms or reshape their noses.

I read your whole post and appreciate your thorough reply. If we could, I'd like to explore the above snippet in particular, and leave aside the specific question of defining sex organs, since that subject doesn't interest you. Do you consider SRS a type of body modification surgery? Because that is actually my position, and the reason why I call it a fraud. The name alone, Sex Reassignment Surgery, suggests a change in sex type, not merely body appearance and/or personality.

I think it's correct to compare SRS to other body modification surgeries, such as breast augmentation (or reduction) and nose jobs, which happen to also be involved in some "gender transitioning" processes. An honest description of SRS, in my view, is an extreme form of genital modification.

And, yes, I do have an "authentic threshold" which must be met before I accept that science has turned a man into a woman, or vice versa. I also have a standard which must be met before I accept that science has turned a robot into a man, or a man into a supernatural god. But none of that means I believe those transformations are possible. Though I believe that man into woman is the least impossible of the three.

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24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I read your whole post and appreciate your thorough reply.

I appreciate your saying so.

24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Do you consider SRS a type of body modification surgery?

Yes, that sounds right to me.

24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Because that is actually my position, and the reason why I call it a fraud. The name alone, Sex Reassignment Surgery, suggests a change in sex type, not merely body appearance and/or personality.

I think it's correct to compare SRS to other body modification surgeries, such as breast augmentation (or reduction) and nose jobs, which happen to also be involved in some "gender transitioning" processes. An honest description of SRS, in my view, is an extreme form of genital modification.

I agree with the description of "an extreme form of genital modification," and that it is equivalent to breast augmentation, etc. Whether this is sufficient to describe it (truthfully) as "sex reassignment," again, depends upon what we judge male and female to be. You've related "being male" to sperm production, and whether or not that's the whole of your actual threshold, again: I imagine that some day the science will advance to the point that, yes, the technology will allow for that. (And then prepare yourself to argue with the people who say that sperm production is not sufficient to be male -- even if they had established that, previously, as their own threshold.)

Facsimilies of penises or vaginas will improve, too, much in the manner of breast augmentation (which will also improve). At what point do we call it all "authentic"? At what point is a "fake breast" no longer "fake," but simply a breast? I don't know. There are people who are today satisfied by such things, even given the crude state of our technology, and I may count myself among them, because in my experience, for most intents and purposes, a breast is a breast is a breast. (I don't expect I would react likewise to an artificial vagina; but I also don't know that my gut reactions ought to be the plumb line for such things.)

24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

And, yes, I do have an "authentic threshold" which must be met before I accept that science has turned a man into a woman, or vice versa.

That's fine. This may be me "psychologizing," but I don't expect that most who pursue SRS care whether they're crossing your threshold (or mine; and I frankly don't know what my own threshold might be). :) I don't think they're looking to meet some definition of "manhood," for instance, where manhood has to do with "sperm production"; rather, like I've been trying to say, I think that they identify themselves more with how society (especially) sees men, and they want their visual appearance to reflect this inner identification. Part of it, I'm sure, has to do with how they're treated; if they constantly get dolls and would prefer trucks, they see appearance modification as a means to that end. In that, they may not even be wrong.

24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I also have a standard which must be met before I accept that science has turned a robot into a man, or a man into a supernatural god. But none of that means I believe those transformations are possible. Though I believe that man into woman is the least impossible of the three.

I don't anticipate "man into supernatural god," because unlike robots, men, and women, I don't believe that the "supernatural" exists or can exist. (Could a man be powerful, however, to the degree of being virtually indistinguishable from many conceptions of deity? Yes -- I think that's possible, in some far future.)

Robot into man is much trickier, and what a difficult conversation that always proves to be -- determining the threshold between an authentic consciousness, versus some program that only gives the appearance of consciousness. (I don't personally think the Turing test is adequate; there's an interesting work called The Most Human Human that pokes at some of these issues, and of course, Godel Escher Bach.) The factual emergence of consciousness, however, in that we exist and are conscious, leads me to believe that this is in no sense "impossible."

And man into woman, unless we stipulate that a woman is only "that which is born a woman" (for whatever should motivate such an idea) should surely be possible, given sufficient technology and interest.

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33 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

You've related "being male" to sperm production, and whether or not that's the whole of your actual threshold, again: I imagine that some day the science will advance to the point that, yes, the technology will allow for that. (And then prepare yourself to argue with the people who say that sperm production is not sufficient to be male -- even if they had established that, previously, as their own threshold.)

If someone transforms a natural female human into a producer of viable human sperm, I don't see how I could deny the transition to a man-made human male. That would be quite the medical miracle. I could see religious types opposing on some absurd mystical ground, such as the belief that God makes your soul male or female, and only God can change the "gender" of your soul.

46 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

At what point do we call it all "authentic"? At what point is a "fake breast" no longer "fake," but simply a breast? I don't know.

I prefer natural versus artificial, or metaphysical versus man-made. "Fake breasts" is an imprecise slang term. It's not really the breast which is "fake." It's what's inside the breast to make it a certain size or shape. A saline implant, for example, is not a mammary gland.

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15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

If someone transforms a natural female human into a producer of viable human sperm, I don't see how I could deny the transition to a man-made human male.

More power to you. (Seriously.)

I only add here (with apologies for the repetition, but I repeat this sentiment only because I think it's important) that I don't think the goal of SRS, or whatever other form of "transition," is to satisfy the requirements of those who would define male as a "producer of viable human sperm." I don't think that speaks to what they're trying to accomplish, or to what they find important (with allowance, of course, for individuality).

15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

That would be quite the medical miracle.

Agreed. But medicine is quite wonderful, already, and I expect it to improve. Perhaps it will one day outstrip even my capacity to imagine its advances.

15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I could see religious types opposing on some absurd mystical ground, such as the belief that God makes your soul male or female, and only God can change the "gender" of your soul.

Yes, absolutely. But even those without a belief in God can make some... interesting arguments along these lines. I remember when I first debated these sorts of issues on this forum (which has provoked me to many of the positions I have subsequently taken), and someone argued that even if a woman could transition fully to a man in every ordinarily observable physical fashion, she would still be a woman on the inside... and he could still tell it (accounting to personality traits or mental habits that women have, by nature).

I was, and remain... unconvinced.

15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

"Fake breasts" is an imprecise slang term. It's not really the breast which is "fake." It's what's inside the breast to make it a certain size or shape. A saline implant, for example, is not a mammary gland.

But again, being or not being a mammary gland is not necessarily the point. The woman (already possessed of mammary glands) who decides to get implants is doing so, perhaps, for the sake of presenting herself in a particular way, drawing certain kinds of reactions, and etc. And she might not be wrong to imagine that she will be treated differently, etc., with (for instance) C cups as opposed to A.

Yet there are people who will react in strikingly different ways, knowing that a breast is "fake" versus "natural." Leave alone the potential for difference in "feel," or the potential for breast cancer, or the other observable -- and possibly meaningful -- differences; I just mean that knowledge of the origin, in and of itself, seems to matter to certain people. It's as though there's some conception of "breast essence," beyond its role as a gland, beyond its ability to nurse young, yet seemingly related to "size or shape," that is somehow affronted when it is saline providing the desired shape and not fat.

I have known at least one Objectivist to describe it as "deception," and immoral. But what exactly is the nature of that deception, I'd like to know? I suspect that this has parallels and ties to the wider conversation about gender. I find it fascinating.

15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I prefer natural versus artificial, or metaphysical versus man-made.

I have no reason to criticize your preference, as such, though personally I don't know why I should prefer "metaphysical" to "man-made" in these sorts of respects. And isn't there an argument to be made that the "artificial" is yet more laudatory, in that it represents a will making itself manifest (or something like that); refusing to simply rest with the given, or what you're born with, but deciding instead to master the world and make things the way you want to be, for your own satisfaction?

That's not really an argument I would make, myself, either -- "natural" versus "artificial" isn't really important to me, I don't think -- but I could imagine people making it.

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44 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

I have no reason to criticize your preference, as such, though personally I don't know why I should prefer "metaphysical" to "man-made" in these sorts of respects.

I guess that was confusing. I meant that I prefer those terms over fake versus real to describe the difference. I wasn't expressing a preference for either type of breast.

I might have some reply to your comment about SRS's goal, but I'm out of time right now.

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23 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I only add here (with apologies for the repetition, but I repeat this sentiment only because I think it's important) that I don't think the goal of SRS, or whatever other form of "transition," is to satisfy the requirements of those who would define male as a "producer of viable human sperm." I don't think that speaks to what they're trying to accomplish, or to what they find important (with allowance, of course, for individuality).

If SRS is a body modification surgery, then the goal is to modify the body. If it is a sex change surgery, then the goal is to change the sex. In most cases, I think body modification is being pitched as sex change. This surgeon's site has a top Google page ranking. It describes the surgery as a "complex transformation from female to male." This is the sort of language I see coming from doctors all the time. It's not very honest or scientific in my view. If asked directly, I wonder how many could prove that the surgery actually transforms a female into a male.

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On 12/18/2017 at 3:24 PM, MisterSwig said:

I guess that was confusing. I meant that I prefer those terms over fake versus real to describe the difference. I wasn't expressing a preference for either type of breast.

Ah, noted. Sorry for misunderstanding. However, it remains that there are people who have just such a preference -- and my comments may be taken in their direction. :)

2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If SRS is a body modification surgery, then the goal is to modify the body. If it is a sex change surgery, then the goal is to change the sex. In most cases, I think body modification is being pitched as sex change.

Right.

So, in the first place, it absolutely is body modification. Is it also "sex change"? Not if we consider maleness to be related to the production of viable sperm, say -- at least, not until science makes that a real possibility. Still I'm proceeding under the assumption that some amount of "body modification" (or some particular body modification) can add up to a sex change, and then it remains for us to decide on a threshold. I've nothing against your stated threshold, as such, and if you're making the point that it cannot be a factual "sex change" (female to male) without body modification allowing for the production of sperm, then I'm fine with that, so far as it goes.

My objection only remains that I don't think the issues you're discussing typically matter to the people involved in these decisions (or the majority of them, at least). I don't know whether they consider sperm production essential to being male, or that what they hope to accomplish through their surgery is related to satisfying your definition. Rather, they are appealing to some much wider view of male or female, which incorporates gender roles and so forth. So for their purposes, it may be "sex change enough."

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Article:  Why Trans Activists Will Destroy Homosexual Rights

My summary:  By attacking the possibility of defining sexual terms objectively they make it impossible to define homosexuality or think about it clearly.  That would be step backward in social progress.  For the sake of "T", "L" "G" and "B" would be erased (as well as "H" the heteros, but who cares about them).

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19 hours ago, Grames said:

That would be step backward in social progress.

The real step backwards is that people don't understand or don't care about the true meaning of rights, they care more about their feelings, which is the real reason gay became OK so quickly. It's a positive that the trend continues away from thinking of gays as a societal blight, but it doesn't really have to do with rights, the progress or regression of.

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