Gender Identity and God

Skepticism as a specific pursuit is the questioning attitude toward opinions or beliefs that are stated as facts. In other words, skeptics do not take people’s opinions and beliefs as fact; they use science and verifiable and reproducible research as their guides for what is “true” and “real.” Science has shown in many ways that the human brain cooks up all kinds of crazy things that are verifiably not true or real. So skeptics are supposed to get it when humans come up with crazy things and try to pass them off as reality.

So given that there is a religious devotion to “gender identity” in pro-trans* political arguments, it is odd that some people who call themselves skeptics are accepting those arguments and promulgating them as truth.

In fact, we have no more evidence for “gender identity” than we do for “god.” How do I know this? Because “gender identity” means as many different things over time and culture as “god” does. And because brain studies have shown both that belief in “gender identity” and belief in the existence of “god” map to specific parts and activities the human brain. Therefore, believing in “gender identity” is pretty much exactly like believing in “god.” And that’s perfectly fine if you want to believe in those things, and many nice people do, but it doesn’t mean that “gender identity” is any more real in a factual way than “god” is. Religious devotion to “gender identity” is no more proof that it actually exists than religious devotion to “god” is proof that he/it/she exists. And just as anyone can define “god” and the experience of “god” any way they want to, so too can anyone define “gender identity” any way they want to.

Here’s an excellent example of this:
“Gender identity is an internal sense of self and what one fundamentally is. It’s the sense of being a man or a woman (or both, or neither, or in-between, or something else). It is divorced from concepts of what a man or woman is or isn’t supposed to be like, and appears to be very much innate and unchanging. It also appears to be related to the neurological “body map” and relationship to one’s body- feelings of either comfort or alienation.”
— someone who is a skeptic of god but who believes in gender identity

That is no different from this:
Religious identity is an internal sense of knowing what God fundamentally is. It’s the sense of knowing God in oneself. It is divorced from concepts of what God is or isn’t supposed to be like, and appears to be very much innate and unchanging. Awareness of God in the body also appears to be related to human neurology (brain studies have shown a relationship between specific brain activity and religious feelings and beliefs); acceptance of this in oneself (or lack thereof) can cause either comfort or alienation.

Let’s be clear. Just because your brain tells you something is true and real, doesn’t mean it is. I learned that from science.

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14 comments

  1. it blows my mind when atheists/skeptics will rail against postmodernism and insist that we acknowledge material reality exists when it comes to shit like “God is Love”and “the bible may not be true, but it is Truth”, and then they turn around and accept the most post-modern of post-modern philosophies “Queer Theory”. HELLO FEMALE IS AN ACTUAL MATERIAL CATEGORY NOT JUST A “TEXT” TO BE DECONSTRUCTED AND DISCARDED (or appropriated)

  2. Let us assume, for the sake of discussion, that this statement is correct and gender identity is of the same nature as religion.

    This will still place people who believe they have gender identity incogruent with their physical sex in the same category as religious people, which is a seriously protected category.

    If, for example, a Sikh can fly in a turban, a transgendered person who is physically (and recognizably) male can fly in a dress, right?

  3. Mikhail, read here.

    And that’s fine with ME if “gender identity” is treated as a religion. As long as “gender identity” is not confused with PHYSICAL SEX, I don’t care if it’s “protected.” It’s a waste of administrative resources, but I don’t give a shit. JUST LEAVE SEX ALONE.

  4. You have a habit of missing or ignoring the point, Mikhail. Here, let me put a finer point on it for you since your obtuseness is at chronic proportions.

    “This will still place people who believe they have gender identity incogruent with their physical sex in the same category as religious people.” Yes it will: As delusional people who believe that their delusions should be pandered to because they believe them so utterly.

    You know, or we could recognize delusions for what they are and refuse to participate in them.

    You’re on the side of believing whatever someone says; I’m on the side of calling a delusion a delusion, be it religious or gender identity.

  5. “… brain studies have shown both that belief in [science] and belief in the existence of “god” map to specific parts and activities the human brain. Therefore, believing in [science] is pretty much exactly like believing in “god.” And that’s perfectly fine if you want to believe in those things, and many nice people do, but it doesn’t mean that [science] is any more real in a factual way than “god” is…. ”

    As a sceptic I have to say your argument is some mighty weak sauce! You could replace “gender identity” for “science”, “the pope” pretty much anything…. We can all play the replace the words game / false analogy you have attempted here. It proves nothing beyond your lack of ability to do basic scepticism.

  6. Thanks for the comment, oolon! Unfortunately you exposed your lack of reasoning skills. Your self-identity as a “sceptic” doesn’t hold up very well when you compare the idea of god — which cannot be proven but must be taken on faith — with science, which by definition must include proof and the process toward creating proof to even be considered science. Oh, and the Pope is a real person.

    Clearly we can’t all successfully manage this reasoning thing, but thanks for playing, oolon, better luck next time!

  7. Haha, needs to be explained slower … You said that concept X maps to areas in the brain and has changed over time. The “God” concept also maps to areas in the brain and has changed over time…. Therefore one is “pretty much exactly like” the other… Utterly fallacious reasoning.

  8. You haven’t “explained” anything, oolon. You’ve just CLAIMED something with nothing to back it up. I say that religious thinking is religious thinking — it’s faith-based and unverifiable whether you’re talking about god (which doesn’t exist in verifiable reality) or gender identity (which also doesn’t exist in verifiable reality). That other non-skeptic who calls themselves a skeptic (hmmm, familiar) claims some science-y sounding stuff to claim something about gender identity existing in the brain. What’s funny about both of you is you think that proves something when in fact it just more closely aligns one type of religious fervor with another.

    The attempt at derails, instead of addressing what this post argues, is also an indication that you got nothin’ for an actual supportable argument, oolon.

  9. You know how else I know that belief in gender identity and belief in god are pretty much exactly alike? Because their proponents have the same level of devotion to the main reason for their beliefs: “because I feel that way.” That kind of emotion-based argumentation should and does set off alarms for real skeptics.

  10. If we’re skeptics, & we rely on science, then why do we seem to be implying that there hasn’t been research that supports transsexuality having a natural cause?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism

    Actually, I just learned today that most studies indicate that there are significantly more females-to-males than males-to-females. So why is the focus of these blogs always on preventing males from entering women’s bathrooms? If encountering 1 male in a bathroom is so dangerous, wouldn’t being surrounded by them be multiplicatively more so?

  11. I’ve always found that the LOUDER someone has to trumpet their beliefs, the more fearful they are that what they’re trumpeting is smoke and mirrors. They may say they are trying to convince us, but they are truly trying to convince themselves. If one believes in something one calls God, what need is there to tell anyone else about it?

  12. Lithp, we are well aware of the crappy science being used to support the idea that females are naturally feminine and males are naturally masculine and transgender people are freaks of nature who require surgery to be “corrected.” That *is* what’s going on, I’m sure you realize. How else could someone be in the “wrong body” when their organs all function normally? Only if you also believe that there is a right and a wrong way to be…and that those right/wrong ways match up exactly with existing sex-based social roles (some people call that cissexism, cough cough). Small sample sizes, low statistical power, researcher bias, and failure to repeat the results are all methodological weaknesses of neuroscience in general. So the claim that “transsexuality has a natural cause” is actually quite weak.

    You clearly do not understand the politics of gender. Are you familiar with upward and downward economic mobility? Apply to gender heirarchy. BIG diff between moving up versus moving down. People raised wealthy who become indigant later in life often have a sense of loss and entitlement to material things. People raised in poverty who beocme wealthy (rags to riches) often retain a sense of insecurity and being unworthy of material luxury; or they retain an IDENTITY as a poor person (see also ‘ghetto fabulous’). To gain and to lose privilege are very different expereinces and they have very different social impacts on those around the socially mobile person. Mo’ money, mo’ problems is not just a Notorious B.I.G. song. Relationships are destroyed. It’s a whole social phenomenon. Just as an example.

    Now let’s look at a binary social-classification structure that is much more rigid that economic class: man/woman social roles. If you do not believe that women are oppressed on the basis of gender roles you can leave my site with your MRA card right now. But if you agree that women are oppressed on the basis of sex-based social roles that disproportionately distribute POWER to men and devalue women, then you can begin to understand why women are OPPOSED to the idea of naturalizing gender “identities.” Further, is male violence biologically hard-wired into males by virtue of their “gender?” Are “women” the natural victims of “men’s” aggression and domination? Either way, until this POWER BALANCE IS RECTIFIED, women do not want men around them while we get half-naked or fully naked in “private” spaces. Nearly 20% of us are victims of rape. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/SV-DataSheet-a.pdf

    Hey, here’s a question for you: if sex doesn’t matter, if sex is mutable and/or interchangable with “gender identity,” do you support the total desgregation of bathrooms? Why or why not?

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