Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

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Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by tomokun » Thu Jan 4, 18:09 2018

So, occasionally I get really into the weeds on a topic, and today was no different. I came across a video of Ben Shapiro Shapiroing Transgender issues... and I just had to rip it apart.

This is one of those rare moments where I'm fairly confident that I'm "with" the forum on my position. It's my first draft of the article, and I'd love it if you guys would help me enhance it, provide more citations, and generally make it more accurate, etc.

In particular, I really dislike Shapiro. The dude's a "master debater", but he's dishonest as shit. His fanboys are insufferable, and I'm pretty convinced that any piece which thoroughly debunks his sneaky arguments qualifies as good karma points.

Anyhoo here's the article. Trigger Warning, it has a video with Ben Shapiro Shapiroing and I quote him a lot. https://taooftomo.com/debunking-ben-sha ... 9b090116e1

Any and all criticisms are welcome, especially if they come with citations that I can add to the piece. Fair warning... it's.. very long. But to be fair, there's no way to concisely debunk that ahole.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by Pikachu » Sat Jan 6, 10:35 2018

Sam Harris is a master debater. Ben Shapiro is a meme.

Shapirowned!!

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by Aum » Sun Jan 7, 1:11 2018

He uses a lot of the classic techniques, like strawmen, bait and switch, slippery slope, and changing the goalposts. Like comparing a trans person to someone who's 20 claiming they're 60, or a white person saying they're black. As if any of that really happens. He just says it with such conviction that it's believable, and I don't think a lot of his fans really factcheck his statements.

That's the problem with debate skills. You can turn any point into a winner no matter how superfluous. You don't have to be accurate you just have to adequately disarm your opponent until they stop challenging you, which makes you *seem* correct. He went to law school so what do you expect.

In a court of law his rubbish would never stand up to scrutiny. Though I have to say when he gets his nose out of social politics and talks more about the economy, domestic and foreign policy, I agree with him a lot.
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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by melsbells » Sun Jan 7, 3:49 2018

Who is your audience for this piece? It isn't fresh in my mind, so I would have to go back for more specifics. There were a few typos, but what I remember still is writing "Chapel" instead of "Chapelle" and that example also seems like a strange (read: not actually a) contrast. Is there a reason you left out XXX from you list of gene variants? Shapiro uses "transgenderism" as a slur, it's a bit off putting to me when you repeat it as though it's not one.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by tomokun » Mon Jan 8, 10:16 2018

melsbells wrote:
Sun Jan 7, 3:49 2018
Who is your audience for this piece? It isn't fresh in my mind, so I would have to go back for more specifics. There were a few typos, but what I remember still is writing "Chapel" instead of "Chapelle" and that example also seems like a strange (read: not actually a) contrast. Is there a reason you left out XXX from you list of gene variants? Shapiro uses "transgenderism" as a slur, it's a bit off putting to me when you repeat it as though it's not one.
No specific audience, I just wrote it so that I could have a reference for Shapiro's nonsense on transgender issues, same as I had with his nonsense on BLM.

Typos: *nods* Yeah, it's literally my first draft, so typos will get fixed over time. I'll fix the Chapelle reference, thanks, lol. I just saw the special, so it was on my mind, that's pretty much the only reason it was in there.

I left out XXX because it wasn't listed in the source I copied it from. I should probably put that whole section in "quotes" since that's technically what that was. I referenced the source, but I guess its unclear. I'll look up XXX and add it to the list though - does that make it 7 karyotypes then?

I wasn't aware that "transgenderism" is a slur actually. When he said it, I didn't think anything of it - I'd love it if you could unpack this for me (or give me a link which does) just so that I can understand it more fully.
Aum wrote:
Sun Jan 7, 1:11 2018
He uses a lot of the classic techniques, like strawmen, bait and switch, slippery slope, and changing the goalposts. Like comparing a trans person to someone who's 20 claiming they're 60, or a white person saying they're black. As if any of that really happens. He just says it with such conviction that it's believable, and I don't think a lot of his fans really factcheck his statements.

That's the problem with debate skills. You can turn any point into a winner no matter how superfluous. You don't have to be accurate you just have to adequately disarm your opponent until they stop challenging you, which makes you *seem* correct. He went to law school so what do you expect.

In a court of law his rubbish would never stand up to scrutiny. Though I have to say when he gets his nose out of social politics and talks more about the economy, domestic and foreign policy, I agree with him a lot.
Completely agree. Didn't know he went to law school, but that makes sense. I suppose I could make "Logical Fallacy" Bingo cards for Ben Shapiro. :p
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Sat Jan 6, 10:35 2018
Sam Harris is a master debater. Ben Shapiro is a meme.

Shapirowned!!
LMAO, love it, and totally agree.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by geldofc » Thu Jan 11, 16:02 2018

he looks and sounds like a complete douchebag. and idk why his boring masculine identity hinges on how completely different men and women are and that's about as far as i would like to read or react to his opinions.
:gf: :devil: :syringe:

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by Patterby » Thu Feb 1, 14:56 2018

Personally, I find Mr. Shapiro very calm and convincing. He usually is able to remain much more collected than those opposing him. BUT. I kinda stand opposed to him. He's masterful. But it's been a while since I've watched his stuff. Doesn't he believe that at the end of the day, sexuality and gender doesn't matter? Like he's not aversly opposed. I feel similarly. I don't swear about people addressing me as I feel, but that's partly because what I consider myself still isn't a norm. But when other people ask for a specific pronouns, I try to oblige (I do forget but my friends forgive :P). Currently, only 6-7 friemds know my sexuality and gender and only 4 know my pronouns. And only 3 really use them correctly. It's all ok.
"I was busy being two awesome things at once" ♀♂

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by DevilsAdvocate123 » Thu Feb 1, 23:53 2018

Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I feel that this is a great opportunity to enter the community here.

I love talking about social issues with a very objective-based mindset. As a result, I find character assassinations and "punching below the belt" to be useless when debating. I mean if you're stranded on an island discussing the best course of action, I think it would be nonsense to politically throw mud at somebody rather than focus on the objective of getting food and water. So I don't see a reason why talking about issues in an objective manner should be different. When two people disagree, I have a passion for constantly digging the arguments of both sides deep into the ground to understand where exactly the disagreement stems from.

That said, I really want to have a deeper understanding of how we should go about the topics discussed in the video of Ben Shapiro. You've broken down Ben Shapiro's words, and I think it's beneficial for our objective here to break down your responses to Ben Shapiro as well, and hopefully keep the conversation going.

I'm going to put Ben's quotes in red, yours in blue, and mine in red as well. Bear with me as I try to pick out the argument that you are making, and bear with me as I defend Ben.

1)
“No, gender is not disconnected from sex.”

"Until he’s spent a life-time studying sex, gender, and the differences between biological and social differences between sexes, he’s not qualified to dictate what a word means."

Ben actually addresses this criticism in this same appearance, where he says that the "argument from authority" is not a valid way to debunk somebody's point of view. In his defense, the facts, reasoning, logic, and validity of the argument is what the argument should be judged on, not the identity or the credentials of the speaker.


2)
“No, it is not in the mind. You are not a man if you think you are a man…the idea that sex or gender is malleable is not true.”

Experts in the field have found that children develop a gender identity around 3 years old. This is also true for transgender children, and children that are transitioned as young as 3 years old generally are happy, well-adjusted, and do not transition again later on in life. This is a marked contrast to children whose parents are not supportive of their gender identity. It also highlights the fact that our sense of whether we are a “boy” or a “girl” comes from within, either as a product of our own consciousness, or an expression of our genetics. We are still unclear as to why this might be the case, but the amount of evidence that supports this as a true reading of reality is… formidable.


Where Ben is coming from is this: if there were a brain scan that definitively said whether or not a person had this condition, then the brain scan is what would deem somebody of having the condition. This makes sense. If a person says that their leg is broken, that doesn't automatically mean that their leg is broken. There are definitive means of determining this. To further defend Ben, if it were found that this were a condition, then the person would still either be a man with the condition, or a woman with the condition.



3)
“And I am not denying your humanity if you are a transgender person. I am saying that you are not the sex to which you claim to be.”

"Here again, Ben Shapiro trusses up a nice straw-man. Transgender people aren’t claiming to be a different sex. Sex and gender are different things. Ben might believe that this is not the case..."

I believe the root disagreement here is that Ben believes that gender and sex are the same thing, which you've outlined. I don't think we need to discuss this further, as it would be opening the door to a separate debate.


4)
“If you’re going to dictate to me that men are women and women are men, then my answer is no.”

Ben is denying the scientific reality that gender and sex are different, and that both are more complicated than what we all learn in 3rd grade science class. There are “2 sexes” for the same reason that we were taught that Columbus “discovered” America. That’s the level of argumentation that Shapiro is providing here.

In Ben's defense, we say that human beings have 10 toes. There are certainly rare cases where people are born with 11 toes, but we say that human beings are a species that has 10 toes. Hence, "humans have 10 toes". The same thing applies to sex/gender, whether you try to point out the 4 abnormal chromosome pairs or the many genders that people claim to be.


5)
“I’m saying that Boy Scouts have a standard. You must be a biological boy to be a Boy Scout. [It’s written down] In the name, Boy Scouts.”

I don’t actually disagree with this. Private clubs exist for races, political groups, special interest groups, and gender identities. You can have Boy Scouts… and you can have Trans Children Scouts. There’s room for many private clubs.

It appears to me that you are on the same page as Ben when it comes to the private club can have standards.


6)
“For all of human history, boy meant boy and girl meant girl.”



Mukhannathun- transgender people that were accepted in ancient Arabic society… to an extent.

Two-Spirit- this was a sort of blanket term for gay and hermaphroditic Native Americans. First tribes recognized these individuals and even conferred a special status to them.

I think that’s sufficient to debunk Ben’s assertion, but I’ll also go one step further. For all of human history, we have never been able to colonize other planets. Does this mean that we should not? Does this mean we cannot? Should history be our guide, or simply a reference to guide the changes that will inevitably come?


Ben would actually turn your words against you here. Should history be a guide? He would simply come back at you and ask, so what if the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans believed that sex and gender are different? There have been many groups throughout history that have been wrong. Should we use the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans as guide?



7)
If I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose? If I redefine our terms… no it’s a … yes that’s right. Men and women are a completely different thing. This is true. Have you ever met a man or a woman? They are completely different.”


Here Ben plays on the fact that because there are traits that sexes tend to cluster around, that sex is the CAUSE for these differences. However, the variation within groups is so wide, that making assumptions about someone based on either gender or sex is a bad idea.

Although there are cases where men show traits most associated with women, and there are cases where women show traits most associated with men, it would be naive to make the argument that men and women, in general, are not different. By asking, "Have you ever met a man or a woman", he is referencing the reality that we live in.


8)
“Why aren’t you 60? [person in their 20’s struggles to respond]Why can’t you identify as 60? What is the problem with you identifying as 60? [“Age is not the same as gender.”] You’re right, age is significantly less important than gender. You can’t magically change your gender. You can’t magically change your sex. You can’t magically change your age.”


These things are not comparable, because there is nothing about them which makes them comparable. It’s like comparing weight and IQ. Can you change your weight?

In Ben's defense, it's not like comparing weight and IQ. Weight and IQ differ in the sense that IQ is an immutable trait, and weight is a mutable trait. Age and sex are both immutable traits, in the sense that there's nothing you could have done to change those traits about yourself at the current moment. This is what his comparison stems from. (You could have changed weight depending on life style, whereas with age, there's nothing you could have done to impact the age you are right now).


9)
“Just because you can do things legally doesn’t mean they are correct biologically. You could do lots of things in the past that were incorrect biologically and correct legally. For a long period of time in the United States sterilization of the mentally ill took place; that didn’t make it ok. Skinner versus Oklahoma, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision.”

Here, the implication is obvious, just because transgender people are allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery, doesn’t mean that this should be legally acceptable, and it doesn’t mean that the treatment is in their best interest.

I believe you have the implication wrong, which is why I didn't include the rest of your response that follows. The implication is this:
just because the law says something is legal, that doesn't mean that it is correct". If the law said it was legal for a person to put "blue eyes" as their eye color attribute on their driver's license, that doesn't mean the person actually has blue eyes. *The comparison is valid as eye-color and sex are immutable traits.



10)
“The idea of the transgender movement as a civil rights movement is that all of their problems would just go away if I would pretend that they were the sex to which they claim membership. That’s nonsense.”

If you want to know the goals of transgender activists… just look at their websites.

They are asking for things like:

Housing antidiscrimination protections
Equal treatment by government agencies
Public Accomodation Antidiscrimination Protections (like being allowed to use their bathrooms, being able to order a cheeseburger, etc.)
Protections against physical and verbal assault in schools
Full access to appropriate Health Care services (as folks like Ben still label it a “choice” or a “delusion”.
Recognition of their Appropriate Gender on their legal identification documents (imagine the difficulties of living 100% of the time as a woman and getting pulled over with your license stating that you are a man, and having to explain that to cops, employers, etc.)
Open Military Service


I understand you believe it to be a straw-man, but what he's saying is valid, in the sense that many of these people are going through a lot mentally, which is something that would still be present if people pretended the person was a different sex/gender. Of course better treatment of these people would make the quality of their lives better, but many of these people would still be going through hardships internally.


11)
The Transgender Suicide rate is 40%. It’s 40%. According to the Anderson School of UCLA, it makes no difference, it’s a study that came out last year, it makes no difference… virtually no difference, statistically speaking, as to whether people recognize you as a transgender person or not. Which suggests that there is a very high comorbidity between transgenderism, whatever that mental state may be, and suicidality. That has nothing to do with how society treats you.”

So yes, there is comorbidity between transgenderism and suicidality, and the folks that put this paper together suggest it has MUCH to do with how they are treated by society.

So basically, the more upfront people are about being transgender, or the more obvious it is that they are transgender, the more likely they are to be suicidal. Which makes sense, since one of the factors for suicidality is how they are treated by society.

Given the complexities of the human experience, or emotions, and the role that stress plays on our mental health, from an academic perspective you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide.


In Ben's defense, the entire 40% should not be attributed to bullying. You outlined this by saying "you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide". The problem is that the suicide rate is 40%. The objective is to lower this obviously. However, if we were to remove bullying completely, how much of that 40% would be removed? We should be weary of the possibility that some of these people could be suffering from mental illness, and it's wise to treat them as individuals. We should prevent a world where a person like this is concerned that they might have depression, and the doctor simply says that they are bullied rather than take the time to actually determine if the person has depression or a mental illness.



12)
“I think the idea that you are going to sacrifice the entire society’s proper definition of sex because you think that, in legal terms, there is someone with an eggshell skull, meaning that someone who has a preexisting condition that makes them more susceptible to criticism, that that is not a way to run a society. You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth.”

And the truth is that these academic terms allow for gender fluidity, and as a group transgender individuals are entitled to equal protections under the law. Gender reassignment surgery works as a form of treatment, and refusing to refer to a transgender person by their gender identity makes you a science denying asshole intent on dictating academic language according to his own uninformed and thus arbitrary standards.

You both agree with this "You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth". However, the root disagreement you have is whether sex is different than gender. Discussing this further would be a new debate.


13)
“Plus there’s no evidence whatsoever that the suicide rate would go down in the transgender community in any marked way if people just started pretending that men were women and women were men. We’re trying that experiment now, we’ll find out if it works. So far there’s no evidence.”

We DO need more studies, but given what we know of the suicide rates of individuals who transition at 3 years of age versus those that transition at 30 years of age, that alone is evidence enough to demonstrate that how they are perceived and treated by society at large is a huge factor regarding their likelihood of committing suicide.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that Ben Shapiro is more interested in pushing his agenda than discovering the truth.



In Ben's defense, he is a conservative and his approach to creating policy is that it should be made after careful consideration.
You both agree that there needs to be more studies, but I believe the difference here is that Ben needs more before he can for sure advocate for a certain policy. It would be easy for him to say, "If the suicide rate goes down 3 years after people transition, that still has nothing to do with society pretending that men are women and women are men. It very could be because the person got what they wanted and feel more comfortable in that body." Ben is a libertarian -he doesn't care what you do. But this is a separate matter than pretending somebody is a boy or a girl./color]



I tried to get the main crux of what you were saying. If you want to respond and change a blue portion to a brief summary of the point that debunks what he said, go for it! Simply delete the red portion that follows and I'll happily readdress it. Or if you want to put your entire response, do that as well. I just used the main portions of your piece in an effort to conserve space. Otherwise, if you want you can simply continue the flow of debate. Or not even respond at all haha. Who knows.

Cheers.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by Patterby » Fri Feb 2, 8:50 2018

I like this person, lol. That was very well put together, and I can appreciate the effort.
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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by Pikachu » Fri Feb 2, 11:50 2018

The trans "suicide rate" isn't 40%. The rate at which trans people report having had at least one suicide attempt is that high. That's a big difference.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by DevilsAdvocate123 » Fri Feb 2, 15:26 2018

Pikachu wrote:
Fri Feb 2, 11:50 2018
The trans "suicide rate" isn't 40%. The rate at which trans people report having had at least one suicide attempt is that high. That's a big difference.

You're absolutely correct here. I was addressing the suicide-attempt rate.

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by tomokun » Sat Feb 3, 0:28 2018

DevilsAdvocate123 wrote:
Thu Feb 1, 23:53 2018
Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I feel that this is a great opportunity to enter the community here.

I love talking about social issues with a very objective-based mindset. As a result, I find character assassinations and "punching below the belt" to be useless when debating. I mean if you're stranded on an island discussing the best course of action, I think it would be nonsense to politically throw mud at somebody rather than focus on the objective of getting food and water. So I don't see a reason why talking about issues in an objective manner should be different. When two people disagree, I have a passion for constantly digging the arguments of both sides deep into the ground to understand where exactly the disagreement stems from.

That said, I really want to have a deeper understanding of how we should go about the topics discussed in the video of Ben Shapiro. You've broken down Ben Shapiro's words, and I think it's beneficial for our objective here to break down your responses to Ben Shapiro as well, and hopefully keep the conversation going.

I'm going to put Ben's quotes in red, yours in blue, and mine in red as well. Bear with me as I try to pick out the argument that you are making, and bear with me as I defend Ben.

1)
“No, gender is not disconnected from sex.”

"Until he’s spent a life-time studying sex, gender, and the differences between biological and social differences between sexes, he’s not qualified to dictate what a word means."

Ben actually addresses this criticism in this same appearance, where he says that the "argument from authority" is not a valid way to debunk somebody's point of view. In his defense, the facts, reasoning, logic, and validity of the argument is what the argument should be judged on, not the identity or the credentials of the speaker.

While it is true that the only thing that matters is the quality of the argument, my point is that Ben's basis for his argument is his own common sense, as well as misrepresentations of studies that demonstrate the opposite of what he claims. While all that matters is how he supports his arguments, he cannot use his own personal feelings and opinions as a form of support. Which means that when he asserts the meaning of these words incorrectly, he's asserting himself as a competitive authority.

And in that sense, there is every reason to point out that there is no reason to believe that his opinion on what a term means should be taken more seriously than what an expert who DEFINED those terms says they mean, and how the entire discipline itself uses those words. On the one hand,
we have Ben Shapiro providing a less specific definition that conveniently supports his narrative, and on the other you have career academics providing more nuanced definitions that are necessary for the work they do.

If you want to equivocate the two, that's a choice you could make, but there doesn't seem to be good reason to make it.


2)
“No, it is not in the mind. You are not a man if you think you are a man…the idea that sex or gender is malleable is not true.”

Experts in the field have found that children develop a gender identity around 3 years old. This is also true for transgender children, and children that are transitioned as young as 3 years old generally are happy, well-adjusted, and do not transition again later on in life. This is a marked contrast to children whose parents are not supportive of their gender identity. It also highlights the fact that our sense of whether we are a “boy” or a “girl” comes from within, either as a product of our own consciousness, or an expression of our genetics. We are still unclear as to why this might be the case, but the amount of evidence that supports this as a true reading of reality is… formidable.


Where Ben is coming from is this: if there were a brain scan that definitively said whether or not a person had this condition, then the brain scan is what would deem somebody of having the condition. This makes sense. If a person says that their leg is broken, that doesn't automatically mean that their leg is broken. There are definitive means of determining this. To further defend Ben, if it were found that this were a condition, then the person would still either be a man with the condition, or a woman with the condition.


First, Ben consistently conflates sex and gender - at no point does he ever stop playing this language game, while claiming that transgender people are the ones changing definitions. This is his primary tactic, and it is blatantly dishonest. An honest person who disagreed with the consensus definition would still present the terms as they are used, and would simply falsify the distinction itself. This is not what he does. He banishes the distinction from the narrative in an effort to mask the nuance necessary to understand a complex issue.

Secondly, yes, there are ways of determining that people have gender dysphoria. It's in the DSM. Brain scans corroborate that it's not a "condition",
that their brains match the general pattern of the gender they identify with. While Ben keeps pushing the assertion that sex and gender are limited to the narrow view that he holds, there are countless examples which contradict that view. That is what I have done by listing these examples, I have pointed out facts which contradict his assertions.

First off, no one is saying that sex or gender are malleable.
They are simply pointing out that there is more than one sex, and that gender is in part socially constructed, and part biologically driven by our brain.
Determining sex is simply not as easy as looking at someone's private parts, because even children whom have yet to be sexualized demonstrate a sense of gender identity.

I find your choice of quote an odd one. I believe the most relevant quote in response to his is this:
"And so, in the space of sex, where there are people that are neither “male” nor “female”, what of our “gender roles”? If our genetics does not define every human being as either a man or a woman… what criteria do we use for gender?

It is not reproduction, because simply having an XX chromosome does not protect you from infertility. So being a “woman” is about MORE than reproductive roles, as some woman are simply born infertile, and old woman do not suddenly become men when they hit menopause.

It is not our genitals, because circumstances such as Klinefelter’s syndrome and hermaphroditism muddy those waters far too much. These are what are commonly described as “phenotypic expressions” — the result of our genes. And as we mentioned, there’s a few more than just 2 options that result in a combination of genitals that defy binary categorization.

That leaves us with our brains — but study after study demonstrates that while men and women tend to have “brain patterns” that cluster into groups, those groups are not in fact, binary."


3)
“And I am not denying your humanity if you are a transgender person. I am saying that you are not the sex to which you claim to be.”

"Here again, Ben Shapiro trusses up a nice straw-man. Transgender people aren’t claiming to be a different sex. Sex and gender are different things. Ben might believe that this is not the case..."

I believe the root disagreement here is that Ben believes that gender and sex are the same thing, which you've outlined. I don't think we need to discuss this further, as it would be opening the door to a separate debate.

It is a bit more than that. Shapiro is claiming that the meaning of sex and gender is being improperly changed. He's claiming that there is some tyranny of language being perpetuated by those without the authority to do so. His entire premise is hypocritical, because he never once mentions the history of these terms and how they have been used by the folks who have been studying these topics for years. That's is much more than a "disagreement". That is a rejection of reality on his part.

4)
“If you’re going to dictate to me that men are women and women are men, then my answer is no.”

Ben is denying the scientific reality that gender and sex are different, and that both are more complicated than what we all learn in 3rd grade science class. There are “2 sexes” for the same reason that we were taught that Columbus “discovered” America. That’s the level of argumentation that Shapiro is providing here.

In Ben's defense, we say that human beings have 10 toes. There are certainly rare cases where people are born with 11 toes, but we say that human beings are a species that has 10 toes. Hence, "humans have 10 toes". The same thing applies to sex/gender, whether you try to point out the 4 abnormal chromosome pairs or the many genders that people claim to be.

Transgender people make up roughly .4% of the US population.

Polydactyl people make up roughly .07%.

People named Sasha make up roughly .0000051% of the US.

So there are more transgender people than there are people named Sasha and with an extra toe combined (if I did my math right). Transgender people make up 1.4 Million Americans... that seems like a big enough number that they are worth mentioning. The idea that the population is "too small" to include is not a scientific one. It's an effort to avoid the nuance and the facts. Your "defense" pushes the same point, that there is a benefit in acting as things aren't as they are. That generalizations which gloss over or outright dismiss the facts are preferable to specifics, and in service to that we ought to refuse to accept this new take on a part of human biology and sexuality that has existed for much of human history.

That's convenient for his argument, but I unless you are claiming that less nuance is better for understanding reality, I'm not sure why this view argument should be compelling.


5)
“I’m saying that Boy Scouts have a standard. You must be a biological boy to be a Boy Scout. [It’s written down] In the name, Boy Scouts.”

I don’t actually disagree with this. Private clubs exist for races, political groups, special interest groups, and gender identities. You can have Boy Scouts… and you can have Trans Children Scouts. There’s room for many private clubs.

It appears to me that you are on the same page as Ben when it comes to the private club can have standards.

Yup, private clubs aren't private if they need to be open to the public.

6)
“For all of human history, boy meant boy and girl meant girl.”



Mukhannathun- transgender people that were accepted in ancient Arabic society… to an extent.

Two-Spirit- this was a sort of blanket term for gay and hermaphroditic Native Americans. First tribes recognized these individuals and even conferred a special status to them.

I think that’s sufficient to debunk Ben’s assertion, but I’ll also go one step further. For all of human history, we have never been able to colonize other planets. Does this mean that we should not? Does this mean we cannot? Should history be our guide, or simply a reference to guide the changes that will inevitably come?


Ben would actually turn your words against you here. Should history be a guide? He would simply come back at you and ask, so what if the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans believed that sex and gender are different? There have been many groups throughout history that have been wrong. Should we use the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans as guide?

Ben is the one advocating that history be our guide - that's his argument. I just pointed out that his premise is false, ALL of history certainly does not support the idea that Male and Female are immutable, omnipresent concepts. The examples I provided directly falsify that claim.
However, to answer the question, given that there are no reports that Native American transgender people had high suicidality, then it would be foolish of us not to acknowledge that perhaps what they were doing different, was better.


7)
If I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose? If I redefine our terms… no it’s a … yes that’s right. Men and women are a completely different thing. This is true. Have you ever met a man or a woman? They are completely different.”


Here Ben plays on the fact that because there are traits that sexes tend to cluster around, that sex is the CAUSE for these differences. However, the variation within groups is so wide, that making assumptions about someone based on either gender or sex is a bad idea.

Although there are cases where men show traits most associated with women, and there are cases where women show traits most associated with men, it would be naive to make the argument that men and women, in general, are not different. By asking, "Have you ever met a man or a woman", he is referencing the reality that we live in.

Fortunately I never make that argument. The argument I make is that there is so MUCH variation, that assumptions based on gender are statistically unsound. Of course, in general, Men and Women are different. Sexual dimporphism says as much. However, there are MANY traits that are "gendered", and these traits are present within BOTH genders.

That is why I said,
"Most men like sports.

I don’t.

Men, stereo-typically, are bad at expressing their emotions.

Not for me. In fact, I’m “better” at this than many women I know.

Men are generally bigger and stronger than women.

And yet, I would never be so foolish as to pick a fight with a women’s MMA champion. Or run a marathon against a female Olympic athlete."


Ben is simply grand-standing while sneaking the assertion that sex is entirely about genitals. It's rhetorical sleight of hand that simply does an end-run around his need to PROVE that assertion. Meanwhile scientists have been steadily pumping out study after study which directly contradict his premise.




8)
“Why aren’t you 60? [person in their 20’s struggles to respond]Why can’t you identify as 60? What is the problem with you identifying as 60? [“Age is not the same as gender.”] You’re right, age is significantly less important than gender. You can’t magically change your gender. You can’t magically change your sex. You can’t magically change your age.”


These things are not comparable, because there is nothing about them which makes them comparable. It’s like comparing weight and IQ. Can you change your weight?

In Ben's defense, it's not like comparing weight and IQ. Weight and IQ differ in the sense that IQ is an immutable trait, and weight is a mutable trait. Age and sex are both immutable traits, in the sense that there's nothing you could have done to change those traits about yourself at the current moment. This is what his comparison stems from. (You could have changed weight depending on life style, whereas with age, there's nothing you could have done to impact the age you are right now).

Yes, you can find almost any reason to falsify an analogy if you don't understand how analogies work. Analogies are conceptual, they are to provide an example, and thus are inherently imperfect. There is no such thing as a perfect analogy. If it was perfect, it wouldn't be an analogy.
The reason you use analogies is to illustrate a concept by providing something analagous, but not identical.

So, first of all. Age and sex are not immutable. They change. There are literally frogs whose sex changes in response to the population density of the opposite sex. Ben's analogy was intending to drive home his point, but the problem is that age and gender are not analagous. Age is a measure of your time alive. Sex is your biological role in the reproduction cycle. Gender is the sex you identify with. 1 of these things is not like the other, hence my analogy of IQ and Weight. These things are very different. You wouldn't compare them because they are completely different from each other. And Ben is.


9)
“Just because you can do things legally doesn’t mean they are correct biologically. You could do lots of things in the past that were incorrect biologically and correct legally. For a long period of time in the United States sterilization of the mentally ill took place; that didn’t make it ok. Skinner versus Oklahoma, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision.”

Here, the implication is obvious, just because transgender people are allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery, doesn’t mean that this should be legally acceptable, and it doesn’t mean that the treatment is in their best interest.

I believe you have the implication wrong, which is why I didn't include the rest of your response that follows. The implication is this:
just because the law says something is legal, that doesn't mean that it is correct". If the law said it was legal for a person to put "blue eyes" as their eye color attribute on their driver's license, that doesn't mean the person actually has blue eyes. *The comparison is valid as eye-color and sex are immutable traits.



Great point! Yes, I misphrased the implication. It IS that because something is legally correct doesn't that it is biologically true.

Of course, the rest of his point STILL implies that treatments for Transgender people are akin to sterilizing the mentally ill. And it's still a ridiculous point to make since Skinner versus Oklahoma was more about a shitty law than treatment of schizophrenics. It was just a hot mess of a point to bring up all around.


10)
“The idea of the transgender movement as a civil rights movement is that all of their problems would just go away if I would pretend that they were the sex to which they claim membership. That’s nonsense.”

If you want to know the goals of transgender activists… just look at their websites.

They are asking for things like:

Housing antidiscrimination protections
Equal treatment by government agencies
Public Accomodation Antidiscrimination Protections (like being allowed to use their bathrooms, being able to order a cheeseburger, etc.)
Protections against physical and verbal assault in schools
Full access to appropriate Health Care services (as folks like Ben still label it a “choice” or a “delusion”.
Recognition of their Appropriate Gender on their legal identification documents (imagine the difficulties of living 100% of the time as a woman and getting pulled over with your license stating that you are a man, and having to explain that to cops, employers, etc.)
Open Military Service


I understand you believe it to be a straw-man, but what he's saying is valid, in the sense that many of these people are going through a lot mentally, which is something that would still be present if people pretended the person was a different sex/gender. Of course better treatment of these people would make the quality of their lives better, but many of these people would still be going through hardships internally.

It's a straw-man because he makes a ridiculous claim about what transgender activists want in order to knock it down. And yet, when you look at what they ACTUALLY want, it is completely different from what he has stated. Yes, if they get what they want, they will still have issues, but the point is that THESE issues are morally unfair because many of them are violations of their rights as individuals or equal protection under the law.

11)
The Transgender Suicide rate is 40%. It’s 40%. According to the Anderson School of UCLA, it makes no difference, it’s a study that came out last year, it makes no difference… virtually no difference, statistically speaking, as to whether people recognize you as a transgender person or not. Which suggests that there is a very high comorbidity between transgenderism, whatever that mental state may be, and suicidality. That has nothing to do with how society treats you.”

So yes, there is comorbidity between transgenderism and suicidality, and the folks that put this paper together suggest it has MUCH to do with how they are treated by society.

So basically, the more upfront people are about being transgender, or the more obvious it is that they are transgender, the more likely they are to be suicidal. Which makes sense, since one of the factors for suicidality is how they are treated by society.

Given the complexities of the human experience, or emotions, and the role that stress plays on our mental health, from an academic perspective you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide.


In Ben's defense, the entire 40% should not be attributed to bullying. You outlined this by saying "you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide". The problem is that the suicide rate is 40%. The objective is to lower this obviously. However, if we were to remove bullying completely, how much of that 40% would be removed? We should be weary of the possibility that some of these people could be suffering from mental illness, and it's wise to treat them as individuals. We should prevent a world where a person like this is concerned that they might have depression, and the doctor simply says that they are bullied rather than take the time to actually determine if the person has depression or a mental illness.

Sure, I'll grant you that the entire 40% should not be attributed to bullying. But trans activists never claimed that, so why would Ben bring it up except to erect another soldier in his army of straw men? It is Ben making these ridiculous claims, small wonder they are so easily falsified.

12)
“I think the idea that you are going to sacrifice the entire society’s proper definition of sex because you think that, in legal terms, there is someone with an eggshell skull, meaning that someone who has a preexisting condition that makes them more susceptible to criticism, that that is not a way to run a society. You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth.”

And the truth is that these academic terms allow for gender fluidity, and as a group transgender individuals are entitled to equal protections under the law. Gender reassignment surgery works as a form of treatment, and refusing to refer to a transgender person by their gender identity makes you a science denying asshole intent on dictating academic language according to his own uninformed and thus arbitrary standards.

You both agree with this "You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth". However, the root disagreement you have is whether sex is different than gender. Discussing this further would be a new debate.
I disagree. Its foundational. His premise is self-defeating, because he is redefining terms in order to claim they are being redefined. If you want this to stick, find an academic source that supports his definitions.
13)
“Plus there’s no evidence whatsoever that the suicide rate would go down in the transgender community in any marked way if people just started pretending that men were women and women were men. We’re trying that experiment now, we’ll find out if it works. So far there’s no evidence.”

We DO need more studies, but given what we know of the suicide rates of individuals who transition at 3 years of age versus those that transition at 30 years of age, that alone is evidence enough to demonstrate that how they are perceived and treated by society at large is a huge factor regarding their likelihood of committing suicide.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that Ben Shapiro is more interested in pushing his agenda than discovering the truth.



In Ben's defense, he is a conservative and his approach to creating policy is that it should be made after careful consideration.
You both agree that there needs to be more studies, but I believe the difference here is that Ben needs more before he can for sure advocate for a certain policy. It would be easy for him to say, "If the suicide rate goes down 3 years after people transition, that still has nothing to do with society pretending that men are women and women are men. It very could be because the person got what they wanted and feel more comfortable in that body." Ben is a libertarian -he doesn't care what you do. But this is a separate matter than pretending somebody is a boy or a girl./color]

Yes, but throughout the entire article I provide countless examples of why there is no reason for uncertainty regarding the solutions being put forth. In fact, in that same section I point out,

The idea that 36% more transgender people are committing suicide because of how they are treated by society is false, not citeable, and not backed by science.
Oh boy, is this a whopper. Especially since he cited it himself. Again, for those who just skim long articles like this one, the paper Ben Shapiro cites can be found here, and it concludes that, “Based on prior research and the findings of this report, we find that mental health factors and experiences of harassment, discrimination, violence and rejection may interact to produce a marked vulnerability to suicidal behavior in transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.”

I could list more, and will upon request, but I feel like the work has already been done to demonstrably prove that in fact it is citeable, backed by science, and likely true.


There is sufficient evidence. Claiming there isn't is how he pushes his agenda. My main point is that he's not serving the truth with his position, he's serving his political position and personal opinions - many of which are not backed up by science. And he does so by hypocritically claiming that others are doing what he is guilty of.



I tried to get the main crux of what you were saying. If you want to respond and change a blue portion to a brief summary of the point that debunks what he said, go for it! Simply delete the red portion that follows and I'll happily readdress it. Or if you want to put your entire response, do that as well. I just used the main portions of your piece in an effort to conserve space. Otherwise, if you want you can simply continue the flow of debate. Or not even respond at all haha. Who knows.

Cheers.


So, I did my best to dash off a few responses. Lots of what you bring up has been taken out of context, but I think I covered the broad strokes. Essentially it's this, Ben has no idea what he is talking about. He claims he does, but simply checking the sources he provides demonstrates that he's more interested in proving that he can quote a study than actually understanding the study he's quoting... because he knows that citing a source makes you seem like you did your homework, and most people are too lazy to double check you so he can get away with some pretty obvious mendacity.

DevilsAdvocate123

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Re: Debunking Ben Shapiro Transgender claims

Post by DevilsAdvocate123 » Wed Feb 7, 22:04 2018

DevilsAdvocate123 wrote:
Thu Feb 1, 23:53 2018
Hi, I'm new to the forums, and I feel that this is a great opportunity to enter the community here.

I love talking about social issues with a very objective-based mindset. As a result, I find character assassinations and "punching below the belt" to be useless when debating. I mean if you're stranded on an island discussing the best course of action, I think it would be nonsense to politically throw mud at somebody rather than focus on the objective of getting food and water. So I don't see a reason why talking about issues in an objective manner should be different. When two people disagree, I have a passion for constantly digging the arguments of both sides deep into the ground to understand where exactly the disagreement stems from.

That said, I really want to have a deeper understanding of how we should go about the topics discussed in the video of Ben Shapiro. You've broken down Ben Shapiro's words, and I think it's beneficial for our objective here to break down your responses to Ben Shapiro as well, and hopefully keep the conversation going.

I'm going to put Ben's quotes in red, yours in blue, and mine in red as well. Bear with me as I try to pick out the argument that you are making, and bear with me as I defend Ben.

1)
“No, gender is not disconnected from sex.”

"Until he’s spent a life-time studying sex, gender, and the differences between biological and social differences between sexes, he’s not qualified to dictate what a word means."

Ben actually addresses this criticism in this same appearance, where he says that the "argument from authority" is not a valid way to debunk somebody's point of view. In his defense, the facts, reasoning, logic, and validity of the argument is what the argument should be judged on, not the identity or the credentials of the speaker.

While it is true that the only thing that matters is the quality of the argument, my point is that Ben's basis for his argument is his own common sense, as well as misrepresentations of studies that demonstrate the opposite of what he claims. While all that matters is how he supports his arguments, he cannot use his own personal feelings and opinions as a form of support. Which means that when he asserts the meaning of these words incorrectly, he's asserting himself as a competitive authority.

And in that sense, there is every reason to point out that there is no reason to believe that his opinion on what a term means should be taken more seriously than what an expert who DEFINED those terms says they mean, and how the entire discipline itself uses those words. On the one hand,
we have Ben Shapiro providing a less specific definition that conveniently supports his narrative, and on the other you have career academics providing more nuanced definitions that are necessary for the work they do.

If you want to equivocate the two, that's a choice you could make, but there doesn't seem to be good reason to make it.



Whether or not Ben is asserting himself as a competitive authority, he's still not citing the actual authority itself when he says "No, gender is not disconnected from sex." In fact, he's not citing anything, nor is he dictating anything. This is Ben confidently stating his stance on the matter, before he dives into what backs it. You agree that at first, when it comes to authority, there's no reason to believe Ben's opinion of the definition more than Dr. John Money 's opinion of the definition. And with that being said, there's no reason to believe Dr. John Money 's opinion of the definition more than Ben's. That's until we actually dive into what's backing the two opinions. We should stay away from playing the game where we think something is valid or invalid based off of who says it, and we should play the game where we think something is valid or invalid based off of the logic, facts, reasoning, and science. And I think you agree with this concept. We must wait to dive into the arguments from both sides, before dismissing or trying to debunk a side solely based off of the credentials or identity of the speaker.





2)
“No, it is not in the mind. You are not a man if you think you are a man…the idea that sex or gender is malleable is not true.”

Experts in the field have found that children develop a gender identity around 3 years old. This is also true for transgender children, and children that are transitioned as young as 3 years old generally are happy, well-adjusted, and do not transition again later on in life. This is a marked contrast to children whose parents are not supportive of their gender identity. It also highlights the fact that our sense of whether we are a “boy” or a “girl” comes from within, either as a product of our own consciousness, or an expression of our genetics. We are still unclear as to why this might be the case, but the amount of evidence that supports this as a true reading of reality is… formidable.


Where Ben is coming from is this: if there were a brain scan that definitively said whether or not a person had this condition, then the brain scan is what would deem somebody of having the condition. This makes sense. If a person says that their leg is broken, that doesn't automatically mean that their leg is broken. There are definitive means of determining this. To further defend Ben, if it were found that this were a condition, then the person would still either be a man with the condition, or a woman with the condition.


First, Ben consistently conflates sex and gender - at no point does he ever stop playing this language game, while claiming that transgender people are the ones changing definitions. This is his primary tactic, and it is blatantly dishonest. An honest person who disagreed with the consensus definition would still present the terms as they are used, and would simply falsify the distinction itself. This is not what he does. He banishes the distinction from the narrative in an effort to mask the nuance necessary to understand a complex issue.

Secondly, yes, there are ways of determining that people have gender dysphoria. It's in the DSM. Brain scans corroborate that it's not a "condition",
that their brains match the general pattern of the gender they identify with. While Ben keeps pushing the assertion that sex and gender are limited to the narrow view that he holds, there are countless examples which contradict that view. That is what I have done by listing these examples, I have pointed out facts which contradict his assertions.

First off, no one is saying that sex or gender are malleable.
They are simply pointing out that there is more than one sex, and that gender is in part socially constructed, and part biologically driven by our brain.
Determining sex is simply not as easy as looking at someone's private parts, because even children whom have yet to be sexualized demonstrate a sense of gender identity.

I find your choice of quote an odd one. I believe the most relevant quote in response to his is this:
"And so, in the space of sex, where there are people that are neither “male” nor “female”, what of our “gender roles”? If our genetics does not define every human being as either a man or a woman… what criteria do we use for gender?

It is not reproduction, because simply having an XX chromosome does not protect you from infertility. So being a “woman” is about MORE than reproductive roles, as some woman are simply born infertile, and old woman do not suddenly become men when they hit menopause.

It is not our genitals, because circumstances such as Klinefelter’s syndrome and hermaphroditism muddy those waters far too much. These are what are commonly described as “phenotypic expressions” — the result of our genes. And as we mentioned, there’s a few more than just 2 options that result in a combination of genitals that defy binary categorization.

That leaves us with our brains — but study after study demonstrates that while men and women tend to have “brain patterns” that cluster into groups, those groups are not in fact, binary."


The conflation of gender and sex has nothing to do with Ben's statement here. You could agree that sex and gender are the same,
or you could believe that they are different. It's a separate discussion. You could also argue for or against the number of sexes and genders, but it has nothing to do with debunking his statement here. With his statement, Ben is simply stating that this logic is poor: "If one thinks they are something, then that's what they actually are." That's terrible logic to have. All that he's suggesting is that we should use definitive means for determining such a thing, rather than just going by what people say. You cannot debunk Ben's statement here.

In regards to sex, Ben typically argues that chromosomes are what determines sex -not the presence of private parts. This makes sense. If a female were to have surgery and have male genitalia, this would still be a female due to her sex chromosomes. Because Ben believes that gender and sex are not disconnected, his argument would be the same for gender.

But since the "gender vs sex" debate is a different discussion, I will go down this hypothetical and still address the brain scans that you brought up as a potential means of determining gender. Although there are clusters of people with similar brain patterns, the fact that gay men can cluster with women shows that this particular brain scan is not a definitive means for suggesting that one's gender does or does not align with their sex.




3)
“And I am not denying your humanity if you are a transgender person. I am saying that you are not the sex to which you claim to be.”

"Here again, Ben Shapiro trusses up a nice straw-man. Transgender people aren’t claiming to be a different sex. Sex and gender are different things. Ben might believe that this is not the case..."

I believe the root disagreement here is that Ben believes that gender and sex are the same thing, which you've outlined. I don't think we need to discuss this further, as it would be opening the door to a separate debate.

It is a bit more than that. Shapiro is claiming that the meaning of sex and gender is being improperly changed. He's claiming that there is some tyranny of language being perpetuated by those without the authority to do so. His entire premise is hypocritical, because he never once mentions the history of these terms and how they have been used by the folks who have been studying these topics for years. That's is much more than a "disagreement". That is a rejection of reality on his part.

It does boil down to that primitive disagreement. The are two scenarios we have here: Either sex and gender are disconnected, or they are not disconnected.

If sex and gender are not disconnected, then Ben would absolutely be correct in that the meaning of sex and gender are being improperly changed today. In a world where sex and gender are not disconnected, it simply wouldn't make sense for a guy to act like a girl, and then have society call this person a girl. It would be incorrect to call the guy a "girl", due to the fact that this person's chromosomes would determine that he's a male.

Since Ben believes that gender and sex are not disconnected, that is why he makes arguments in this scenario. If sex and gender are in fact disconnected, then that leads us down a different path of discussion.





4)
“If you’re going to dictate to me that men are women and women are men, then my answer is no.”

Ben is denying the scientific reality that gender and sex are different, and that both are more complicated than what we all learn in 3rd grade science class. There are “2 sexes” for the same reason that we were taught that Columbus “discovered” America. That’s the level of argumentation that Shapiro is providing here.

In Ben's defense, we say that human beings have 10 toes. There are certainly rare cases where people are born with 11 toes, but we say that human beings are a species that has 10 toes. Hence, "humans have 10 toes". The same thing applies to sex/gender, whether you try to point out the 4 abnormal chromosome pairs or the many genders that people claim to be.

Transgender people make up roughly .4% of the US population.

Polydactyl people make up roughly .07%.

People named Sasha make up roughly .0000051% of the US.

So there are more transgender people than there are people named Sasha and with an extra toe combined (if I did my math right). Transgender people make up 1.4 Million Americans... that seems like a big enough number that they are worth mentioning. The idea that the population is "too small" to include is not a scientific one. It's an effort to avoid the nuance and the facts. Your "defense" pushes the same point, that there is a benefit in acting as things aren't as they are. That generalizations which gloss over or outright dismiss the facts are preferable to specifics, and in service to that we ought to refuse to accept this new take on a part of human biology and sexuality that has existed for much of human history.

That's convenient for his argument, but I unless you are claiming that less nuance is better for understanding reality, I'm not sure why this view argument should be compelling.


Nobody is claiming that something is not worth mentioning ever. It would be dangerous if we lived in a world where we didn't educate our doctors on rare cases. However, it also wouldn't make sense if we lived in a world where we didn't acknowledge the fact that certain cases are abnormal, where something didn't develop correctly. We live in a world where it's incorrect to suggest that humans are a species that has 10 or 11 fingers, as we are aware that an 11-fingered person did not develop correctly. When we describe the human species, we describe the features as they are supposed to be developed. We do the same thing when we say "dogs are a species with 4 legs", "humans are a species with 2 eyebrows", etc. Humans are a species of males and females. We do not need to add "(given that everything develops correctly)" as a side note when we make these statements. That's simply how humans communicate these ideas.

We didn't have to go down that tangent, but I did address it just in case.

But it actually doesn't have to do with the overarching point that Ben is making here. Ben's point is a different discussion. Ben's simply suggesting that you cannot dictate to him that an actual woman is a man, or that an actual man is a woman. This is the same thing as Ben stating, you cannot dictate to him that somebody whose sex chromosomes are XX is a man, and somebody whose sex chromosomes are XY is a woman. That's where he's coming from.





5)
“I’m saying that Boy Scouts have a standard. You must be a biological boy to be a Boy Scout. [It’s written down] In the name, Boy Scouts.”

I don’t actually disagree with this. Private clubs exist for races, political groups, special interest groups, and gender identities. You can have Boy Scouts… and you can have Trans Children Scouts. There’s room for many private clubs.

It appears to me that you are on the same page as Ben when it comes to the private club can have standards.

Yup, private clubs aren't private if they need to be open to the public.

Sweet! Everybody is in agreement. I'm just going to put this as resolved/not necessary to discuss further.




6)
“For all of human history, boy meant boy and girl meant girl.”



Mukhannathun- transgender people that were accepted in ancient Arabic society… to an extent.

Two-Spirit- this was a sort of blanket term for gay and hermaphroditic Native Americans. First tribes recognized these individuals and even conferred a special status to them.

I think that’s sufficient to debunk Ben’s assertion, but I’ll also go one step further. For all of human history, we have never been able to colonize other planets. Does this mean that we should not? Does this mean we cannot? Should history be our guide, or simply a reference to guide the changes that will inevitably come?


Ben would actually turn your words against you here. Should history be a guide? He would simply come back at you and ask, so what if the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans believed that sex and gender are different? There have been many groups throughout history that have been wrong. Should we use the Mukhannathun or the Native Americans as guide?

Ben is the one advocating that history be our guide - that's his argument. I just pointed out that his premise is false, ALL of history certainly does not support the idea that Male and Female are immutable, omnipresent concepts. The examples I provided directly falsify that claim.
However, to answer the question, given that there are no reports that Native American transgender people had high suicidality, then it would be foolish of us not to acknowledge that perhaps what they were doing different, was better.




Although there are rare cases throughout history where certain societies have claimed that gender and sex are different, there has never been a vacancy of humans that believe gender and sex aren't disconnected. There is no vacant time period of this, which means Ben is correct with what he's saying. For all of human history, boy has meant boy and girl has meant girl. The rare societies that didn't believe this existed concurrently. Ben also isn't suggesting that history should be our guide. Ben is simply bringing to the table what certain words have always meant to us as humans.

7)
If I call you a moose, are you suddenly a moose? If I redefine our terms… no it’s a … yes that’s right. Men and women are a completely different thing. This is true. Have you ever met a man or a woman? They are completely different.”


Here Ben plays on the fact that because there are traits that sexes tend to cluster around, that sex is the CAUSE for these differences. However, the variation within groups is so wide, that making assumptions about someone based on either gender or sex is a bad idea.

Although there are cases where men show traits most associated with women, and there are cases where women show traits most associated with men, it would be naive to make the argument that men and women, in general, are not different. By asking, "Have you ever met a man or a woman", he is referencing the reality that we live in.

Fortunately I never make that argument. The argument I make is that there is so MUCH variation, that assumptions based on gender are statistically unsound. Of course, in general, Men and Women are different. Sexual dimporphism says as much. However, there are MANY traits that are "gendered", and these traits are present within BOTH genders.

That is why I said,
"Most men like sports.

I don’t.

Men, stereo-typically, are bad at expressing their emotions.

Not for me. In fact, I’m “better” at this than many women I know.

Men are generally bigger and stronger than women.

And yet, I would never be so foolish as to pick a fight with a women’s MMA champion. Or run a marathon against a female Olympic athlete."


Ben is simply grand-standing while sneaking the assertion that sex is entirely about genitals. It's rhetorical sleight of hand that simply does an end-run around his need to PROVE that assertion. Meanwhile scientists have been steadily pumping out study after study which directly contradict his premise.


Ben's not asserting here that sex is entirely about genitals. He's also not asserting what sex is about here. If he were, he'd simply bring up how we determine sex by our sex chromosomes.

I understand now that you aren't claiming "men and women, in general, are not different". You've clarified your position and suggested that "assumptions based on gender are statistically unsound". Of course assumptions can be wrong and we should be careful. Absolutely, However, when it comes to determining whether a person is a man or a woman, people's assumptions are nearly always correct. It can sound like a hard pill to swallow, but reality shows that people are actually very accurate when it comes to this. We learn how to differentiate men and women better with every person we meet.

I hate to go on a side tangent here, but I feel that it's important and interesting to bring this topic up. We have algorithms in artificial intelligence that learn how to classify things. You simply provide the algorithm a data set to learn from first. Each case in this data set consists of a set of features (hair color, height, IQ etc), and each case also has a classification (male or female). Each case is basically a set of x-values (traits/features), and then one y-value (male/female). The algorithm will learn from this data so well, that it will be able to classify a NEW case as male or female solely by the features (meaning it will know the y-value just by looking at the x-values). Such algorithms will learn that some features (or patterns of features) are useless, whereas other features (or patterns of features) are very useful when determining what sex/gender to classify the person as. This is considered putting more "weight" on certain things when decision making, and artificial neural networks make use of this concept. Our brain's are smarter than artificial intelligence. You see somebody and within a split second you know that this is either a woman or a man, and you are correct close to 100% of the time.

We do the same thing as human beings, and sure, we are rarely thrown off. But in general, our assumptions are almost always accurate in this regard. Ben is simply pointing out that men and women are different. And this is okay by the way. It's okay for men and women to be different, in general.


8)
“Why aren’t you 60? [person in their 20’s struggles to respond]Why can’t you identify as 60? What is the problem with you identifying as 60? [“Age is not the same as gender.”] You’re right, age is significantly less important than gender. You can’t magically change your gender. You can’t magically change your sex. You can’t magically change your age.”


These things are not comparable, because there is nothing about them which makes them comparable. It’s like comparing weight and IQ. Can you change your weight?

In Ben's defense, it's not like comparing weight and IQ. Weight and IQ differ in the sense that IQ is an immutable trait, and weight is a mutable trait. Age and sex are both immutable traits, in the sense that there's nothing you could have done to change those traits about yourself at the current moment. This is what his comparison stems from. (You could have changed weight depending on life style, whereas with age, there's nothing you could have done to impact the age you are right now).

Yes, you can find almost any reason to falsify an analogy if you don't understand how analogies work. Analogies are conceptual, they are to provide an example, and thus are inherently imperfect. There is no such thing as a perfect analogy. If it was perfect, it wouldn't be an analogy.
The reason you use analogies is to illustrate a concept by providing something analagous, but not identical.

So, first of all. Age and sex are not immutable. They change. There are literally frogs whose sex changes in response to the population density of the opposite sex. Ben's analogy was intending to drive home his point, but the problem is that age and gender are not analagous. Age is a measure of your time alive. Sex is your biological role in the reproduction cycle. Gender is the sex you identify with. 1 of these things is not like the other, hence my analogy of IQ and Weight. These things are very different. You wouldn't compare them because they are completely different from each other. And Ben is.


It would be one thing if I dismissed your analogy because of something irrelevant. Right, I mean how crazy would it be if I suggested to you that your analogy is invalid because "IQ" doesn't have the letter 'E' in it, and "age" and "sex" do? That's nuts. Here though, the entire basis of his comparison stems off of the idea that age and sex are immutable. It's absolutely valid for me to dismiss your analogy, as that's literally what his comparison revolves around.

Age and sex are, in fact, immutable. You suggested that there was nothing about age and sex that makes them comparable. The fact that they are both immutable is what makes them comparable. You can't change the year you were born, and you can't change your sex chromosomes. No matter what you have done with your life up until this point, you couldn't have changed the sex and age you are at this current moment. Weight, however, is a mutable trait because your lifestyle could have impacted this. Depending on your past lifestyle, you very well could have been lighter or heavier at this very moment.

(We aren't discussing the sex of frogs.)




9)
“Just because you can do things legally doesn’t mean they are correct biologically. You could do lots of things in the past that were incorrect biologically and correct legally. For a long period of time in the United States sterilization of the mentally ill took place; that didn’t make it ok. Skinner versus Oklahoma, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision.”

Here, the implication is obvious, just because transgender people are allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery, doesn’t mean that this should be legally acceptable, and it doesn’t mean that the treatment is in their best interest.

I believe you have the implication wrong, which is why I didn't include the rest of your response that follows. The implication is this:
just because the law says something is legal, that doesn't mean that it is correct". If the law said it was legal for a person to put "blue eyes" as their eye color attribute on their driver's license, that doesn't mean the person actually has blue eyes. *The comparison is valid as eye-color and sex are immutable traits.



Great point! Yes, I misphrased the implication. It IS that because something is legally correct doesn't that it is biologically true.

Of course, the rest of his point STILL implies that treatments for Transgender people are akin to sterilizing the mentally ill. And it's still a ridiculous point to make since Skinner versus Oklahoma was more about a shitty law than treatment of schizophrenics. It was just a hot mess of a point to bring up all around.


Ben wasn't implying that treatments for transgender people are akin to sterilizing the mentally ill. He simply brought that up as an example of how the law can say something and be absolutely wrong. Ben is simply stating that this logic is poor: "If the law says you can do something legally, then it is correct". Right, I mean that is terrible logic to go by. If the law made murder legal, it still wouldn't be okay. If the law said a brown-eyed person could put "blue-eyed" on their driver's licence, it still wouldn't be correct. You cannot debunk what Ben is saying here.

10)
“The idea of the transgender movement as a civil rights movement is that all of their problems would just go away if I would pretend that they were the sex to which they claim membership. That’s nonsense.”

If you want to know the goals of transgender activists… just look at their websites.

They are asking for things like:

Housing antidiscrimination protections
Equal treatment by government agencies
Public Accomodation Antidiscrimination Protections (like being allowed to use their bathrooms, being able to order a cheeseburger, etc.)
Protections against physical and verbal assault in schools
Full access to appropriate Health Care services (as folks like Ben still label it a “choice” or a “delusion”.
Recognition of their Appropriate Gender on their legal identification documents (imagine the difficulties of living 100% of the time as a woman and getting pulled over with your license stating that you are a man, and having to explain that to cops, employers, etc.)
Open Military Service


I understand you believe it to be a straw-man, but what he's saying is valid, in the sense that many of these people are going through a lot mentally, which is something that would still be present if people pretended the person was a different sex/gender. Of course better treatment of these people would make the quality of their lives better, but many of these people would still be going through hardships internally.

It's a straw-man because he makes a ridiculous claim about what transgender activists want in order to knock it down. And yet, when you look at what they ACTUALLY want, it is completely different from what he has stated. Yes, if they get what they want, they will still have issues, but the point is that THESE issues are morally unfair because many of them are violations of their rights as individuals or equal protection under the law.

Let's say that everybody decided to call everybody what they wanted to be called. These people would still have problems. That's all he's claiming. It appears to me that you are in agreement with Ben's statement.

You claim that he has created a straw-man, however, this does not debunk his statement. I will still address your claim, and point out that a large part of what the transgender movement is advocating for right now is the idea that people should treat people by the gender that they claim to be, even if it doesn't match their sex. Pronouns are an incredibly hot topic of debate right now; you can't deny this. It's incredibly common to see people advocating that transgender men be treated the same as cisgender men, and the same with transgender women being treated the same as women. That's actually the basis for most of the things you've listed. And if all of these things were passed, these people would still be facing internal hardships.


11)
The Transgender Suicide rate is 40%. It’s 40%. According to the Anderson School of UCLA, it makes no difference, it’s a study that came out last year, it makes no difference… virtually no difference, statistically speaking, as to whether people recognize you as a transgender person or not. Which suggests that there is a very high comorbidity between transgenderism, whatever that mental state may be, and suicidality. That has nothing to do with how society treats you.”

So yes, there is comorbidity between transgenderism and suicidality, and the folks that put this paper together suggest it has MUCH to do with how they are treated by society.

So basically, the more upfront people are about being transgender, or the more obvious it is that they are transgender, the more likely they are to be suicidal. Which makes sense, since one of the factors for suicidality is how they are treated by society.

Given the complexities of the human experience, or emotions, and the role that stress plays on our mental health, from an academic perspective you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide.


In Ben's defense, the entire 40% should not be attributed to bullying. You outlined this by saying "you can never actually say that any one thing is the reason that a person commits suicide". The problem is that the suicide rate is 40%. The objective is to lower this obviously. However, if we were to remove bullying completely, how much of that 40% would be removed? We should be weary of the possibility that some of these people could be suffering from mental illness, and it's wise to treat them as individuals. We should prevent a world where a person like this is concerned that they might have depression, and the doctor simply says that they are bullied rather than take the time to actually determine if the person has depression or a mental illness.

Sure, I'll grant you that the entire 40% should not be attributed to bullying. But trans activists never claimed that, so why would Ben bring it up except to erect another soldier in his army of straw men? It is Ben making these ridiculous claims, small wonder they are so easily falsified.

Many people bring up the suicide-attempt rate in an effort to portray how much bullying and intolerance these people are facing. The girl in the video literally asks Ben, "And do you know why the suicide-attempt rate is so high?", and she proceeds to talk about how these people are bullied and facing intolerance. You cannot deny that people are trying to make it out that the high suicide-attempt rate is due to such things while downplaying the idea of mental illness.

12)
“I think the idea that you are going to sacrifice the entire society’s proper definition of sex because you think that, in legal terms, there is someone with an eggshell skull, meaning that someone who has a preexisting condition that makes them more susceptible to criticism, that that is not a way to run a society. You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth.”

And the truth is that these academic terms allow for gender fluidity, and as a group transgender individuals are entitled to equal protections under the law. Gender reassignment surgery works as a form of treatment, and refusing to refer to a transgender person by their gender identity makes you a science denying asshole intent on dictating academic language according to his own uninformed and thus arbitrary standards.

You both agree with this "You can’t sacrifice truth because some people are going to suffer because of the truth". However, the root disagreement you have is whether sex is different than gender. Discussing this further would be a new debate.
I disagree. Its foundational. His premise is self-defeating, because he is redefining terms in order to claim they are being redefined. If you want this to stick, find an academic source that supports his definitions.
Ben isn't redefining terms. Ben's stance has always been clear: find a definitive measure for determining that somebody has such a condition. Until it is found that we can detect such a condition, he cannot believe that the condition is true. He can believe that people think they have such a condition, but he cannot believe in the condition itself until there is irrefutable evidence that it even exists in the first place.

You are in disagreement here, and the disagreement is made due to the fact that you believe gender and sex are disconnected, and Ben does not. To take it even further, this is stemmed from Ben being conservative and not believing things until we have irrefutable evidence.



13)
“Plus there’s no evidence whatsoever that the suicide rate would go down in the transgender community in any marked way if people just started pretending that men were women and women were men. We’re trying that experiment now, we’ll find out if it works. So far there’s no evidence.”

We DO need more studies, but given what we know of the suicide rates of individuals who transition at 3 years of age versus those that transition at 30 years of age, that alone is evidence enough to demonstrate that how they are perceived and treated by society at large is a huge factor regarding their likelihood of committing suicide.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that Ben Shapiro is more interested in pushing his agenda than discovering the truth.



In Ben's defense, he is a conservative and his approach to creating policy is that it should be made after careful consideration.
You both agree that there needs to be more studies, but I believe the difference here is that Ben needs more before he can for sure advocate for a certain policy. It would be easy for him to say, "If the suicide rate goes down 3 years after people transition, that still has nothing to do with society pretending that men are women and women are men. It very could be because the person got what they wanted and feel more comfortable in that body." Ben is a libertarian -he doesn't care what you do. But this is a separate matter than pretending somebody is a boy or a girl./color]

Yes, but throughout the entire article I provide countless examples of why there is no reason for uncertainty regarding the solutions being put forth. In fact, in that same section I point out,

The idea that 36% more transgender people are committing suicide because of how they are treated by society is false, not citeable, and not backed by science.
Oh boy, is this a whopper. Especially since he cited it himself. Again, for those who just skim long articles like this one, the paper Ben Shapiro cites can be found here, and it concludes that, “Based on prior research and the findings of this report, we find that mental health factors and experiences of harassment, discrimination, violence and rejection may interact to produce a marked vulnerability to suicidal behavior in transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.”

I could list more, and will upon request, but I feel like the work has already been done to demonstrably prove that in fact it is citeable, backed by science, and likely true.


There is sufficient evidence. Claiming there isn't is how he pushes his agenda. My main point is that he's not serving the truth with his position, he's serving his political position and personal opinions - many of which are not backed up by science. And he does so by hypocritically claiming that others are doing what he is guilty of.


You listed that article and it's conclusion, but you didn't take into the account that it says "we find that mental health factors and ...". This conclusion literally points to mental health as a possible culprit. To take things further, Ben even mentions in the same appearance that the suicide rate only slightly goes down when transgender people are passable (meaning, they aren't bullied because people believe they are the sex they are trying to be). These leads us to believe that other factors, such as mental illness, could be playing a significantly greater role than bullying.







I tried to get the main crux of what you were saying. If you want to respond and change a blue portion to a brief summary of the point that debunks what he said, go for it! Simply delete the red portion that follows and I'll happily readdress it. Or if you want to put your entire response, do that as well. I just used the main portions of your piece in an effort to conserve space. Otherwise, if you want you can simply continue the flow of debate. Or not even respond at all haha. Who knows.

Cheers.


So, I did my best to dash off a few responses. Lots of what you bring up has been taken out of context, but I think I covered the broad strokes. Essentially it's this, Ben has no idea what he is talking about. He claims he does, but simply checking the sources he provides demonstrates that he's more interested in proving that he can quote a study than actually understanding the study he's quoting... because he knows that citing a source makes you seem like you did your homework, and most people are too lazy to double check you so he can get away with some pretty obvious mendacity.


Thanks for responding to me! I really enjoy this topic of conversation (I promise you I'm a nice guy). I think that playing devil's advocate here will help solidify your piece, as well as help us all come to a better place for how we should go about our objective here.


*For anybody reading, all of the responses are nested in this post, meaning, this is the only post you have to read to see the entire conversation flow.

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