Why the recent rash of anti-trans laws are based on junk science

Originally published at: Why the recent rash of anti-trans laws are based on junk science | Boing Boing


Isn’t it obvious? Because it can’t be based on non junk science! There. no more handwringing needed to excuse people that are wrong.


A perfect description of Fascism is when the Fascists target one subset of society to vilify/blame and demean/shame. We got a big Nazi problem in the USA.


“based on” seems a little strong. I’m sure they’re all based on hatred, ignorance and opportunism (depending on the flavor of asshole). The Junk Science is just an added-on gish shield to get people spun up trying to reason with them and allow a certain subset of followers to feel clever.


It’s not like they have anything else to work with besides bigotry.

This is another reminder that trans people are the leading edge of target groups for America’s fascists. We must fight this now and in every small detail lest we end up like Niemoller.


Yes, this is well put. Conservatism is ideology, which means starting with the conclusion, then building whatever house of cards they can underneath that. Junk science, manufactured fears, cherry picking statistics, and other similar things are all cards in that house.


And a whole bunch of people come to convince themselves that this cooked up evidence (especially the bits that “look like” science) are the real reason for their opinions. Because they’re in denial about their own prejudices. Which makes a careful debunking of this stuff particularly important.

I highly recommend John Cook’s debunking handbook. It was written for debunking climate denial, but the lessons apply more generally: https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/DebunkingHandbook2020.pdf


Right, they already have the conclusion, they will look for any sliver of half way believable BS to lend credence to it.


For sure. This is a cognitive trap we are all subject to. Everyone believes they are rational and form opinions from evidence, but in fact we almost never do. We form opinions, then through confirmation bias and retconning of our own memories, we fit evidence to the belief. It would be nice to say only the right does this, but the truth is we all do it to a large extent. True rational skeptical thinking is a high energy state that takes constant effort to maintain.


The problem is that lots of people don’t know it’s junk science, they see a gender binary as “natural” because this is not something we talk about on a regular basis in the culture (from an actual science based POV), and they are not trans or non-binary, nor do they know someone who is, so they don’t understand the more complicated science behind gender from the perspective of actual science or from the perspective of the trans community…

I would love if we could just shrug off the weaponization of science, but we’ve been dealing with this since the 19th century. We KNOW where eugenics led, and countering this kind of misinformation matters and needs to be treated as the emergency that it is.


These folks won’t hesitate to use “she/her” to refer to a boat or a car but then insist gendered pronouns must be strictly linked to some arbitrary notion of biology.

Where is a sailboat’s uterus, I ask you? Does a spaceship ovulate?


I don’t disagree with this, except in the cases where actual science is not actually in play, therefore not weaponized as such. Weaponized ignorance maybe?


Sure, I agree that it’s not, but that’s in part down to people misunderstanding what science is. People will hear a story about a science study, and then assume that it’s science fact, rather than one study in many that will maybe one day lead to something being settled science. They don’t understand what a theory is, for example - thinking it means “still not proven”. But science as a concept is out there in a half-formed way in the American public, because we don’t have great science education (it’s really all about pushing science in a way that’s useful for industry, not for developing a scientific worldview, or a good understanding of science). And people with phds, sometimes even from prestigious places and people who are in a scientific field, use their name and prestige to purposefully put out ideas that they claim are scientific (in this case, people who twist studies on gender to fit their binary narrative - or maybe the climate scientists who are paid by the oil lobby to undermine climate change legislation - or people like Jordan Peterson, who use science as a political weapon by claiming ideas he has are scientifically founded when they are not).

So, I’d argue that it’s still weaponized science - even if it’s a twisted form of it.


Because it sounds better than “derp derp, lets beat on trans people”


We have a word for this, fact- pseudoscience. When people in the “skeptical” or rationalist movement talk about it, this is the word used. It includes misappropriation of the language of science (using sciencey sounding words to gain credibility) and misrepresentation of the process of science (eg. hanging a conclusion on one p-hacked study instead of on consensus of science in that area). It’s a good word, although much like “skeptical” itself, its meaning has been badly diluted of late.


I’m aware. Once again, my POINT is that we do not have a population that understands that distinction. Most of us here, do, but most of us are probably more highly educated and/or credentialed, or we lucky enough to get a good K-12 education or we educated ourselves (or some combination).

That’s what I’m saying. :woman_shrugging: Actual scientists particpate in this too, for whatever reasons (money, notoriety, they believe it).




Matt Smith Wish GIF by Doctor Who


The usual suspects:

With help from the Koch Bro, who (a) wants their voting bloc, (b) is himself a racist, misogynist, LGBTQ-phobe, christo-fascist.


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