William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

I Have What You Would Call A Theoretical Basis: Gender As A Construct

There are no winners in this story.

So this Norwegian comedian (at least, I think he is) has created a series of videos called Hjernevask (Brainwashing) in which he sets out and asks whether, for instance, sexual differences are innate or created by society, as in the video below. (The videos, it must be admitted, are boring and certainly not comprehensive inquiries into their subject matter; plus the host is bit of pest and interviews or picks on the same academics across multiple episodes.)

Now this is a question so silly only an academic can ask it because until recently it has always been obvious to everybody in all places and in all times that men and women are different. They think differently than one another, they act differently, they certainly operate differently. Not always. Of course not always. Not in every facet of behavior. Of course not in every behavior. But in many ways that count the two sexes are foreigners. Yes, a person’s environment plays a role, but a constrained one. We are not blank slates. Vive la différence! says anybody whose head is screwed on tightly.

Anyway, one of the current follies embraced by a sizable chunk of academia is that “gender is a construct.” This is the claim that boys act like boys not because they are boys but because society has taught them to act like boys. If the myriad subtle and pervasive societal prejudices which turn boys into boys were not in place, boys might act like girls, and girls like boys. There would be no telling the difference between one or the other, except in the showers. But even here, there’d be no telling the innies from the outies—at least, nobody would in good taste publicly recognize these anomalies.

Do we need to point out the central tenet of gender-as-construct is faulty? After all, how do we know boys act like boys? I mean, how do we know these young people are acting like boys unless we know that this is how boys and not girls act? It is because we have characterized and classified the behaviors of mini-humans with outies in every culture and time and said, “This is how boys act” and then forced boys to act according to this catalog? But then how do we know to “construct” the behavior of an outie except by noting he is an outie? It’s easy to get lost in this tangle.

Academic feminists admit there are observed differences between the sexes but claim these are not true differences. They say it is largely men who enforce the observed differences. So is this enforcement a true difference? I mean, are men better at being gender bullies? If so, then there are true differences. Or is it that women are just as good at being gender bullies but that men out-bullied them? Wait…

The whole thing is ridiculous. So exasperating is it that a second group of scientists, doubting their commonsense, were forced into proving what everybody already knew what was true, that biological differences between the sexes exist. The video quotes some of this research, and if you have some free time you can listen. Evolution says this-and-so; testosterone is responsible in such-and-such a way; measurements of day-old newborns reveal “gender” differences; that sort of thing.

The videographer put this hard evidence to two gender-as-construct academics and asked them the key question (I’m paraphrasing) “What scientific evidence do you have that gender differences are not biological?”

The female academic said (at 34:28)—and here my spit take was as dramatic as John Boehner’s when they asked him for a statement in support of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson—“I have what you would call a theoretical basis. There is no room for biology in there for me.” The male academic (sporting a becoming single earring) after denying the scientific evidence existed said, “My hypothesis is that there are [no biological differences].”

And there you have it. Theory trumps reality. The desire that something be true is turned into a theory, and the theory is all that survives, a pseudo-scientific mask for the desire. The theory is immune to corruption, it is too beautiful to abandon.

“Equality” is a destructive force.

Don’t believe it? How many boys are on drugs for being too boy-like? One in four, five? How many boys punished by idiotic “educators” who can’t tell weapons from fingers? It’s all too depressing.

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Thanks to André van Delft (@AndreVanDelft) for alerting us to this video.

15 Comments

  1. Years ago, I was a nanny. The child was male, and his parents did not allow him any exposure to “male” behaviours such as playing soldier, etc. After ONE trip to his older brother’s house, the two-year-old spent a week running about using his index finger as a “gun”, “shooting” things in the house. A female toddler may have done the same thing, yes. However, this whole incident was very depressing for his parents, who were confronted with the reality that some behaviours are very quickly learned.

    Actually, in science today, there is a definate trend to “the theory/model” is the reality. Admittedly, it makes things so much easier if you control the findings and can write up the whole paper before beginning the experiment. The one downside, now seen by climate scientists, is that humans seem to have this canny ability to run headlong into reality at some point, in spite of the best efforts of the scientists and modelers. It might be genetic! 🙂

  2. I found this interesting: http://www.childresearch.net/projects/special/2012_01.html especially the bits abut misdiagnosis of ADHD.

  3. Instead of complaining about the idiocy out there it’s about time to start protesting against it (e.g. start employing Alinsky’s Rules).

    Or make fun of it.

    Laughter hits where it hurts most — and humorous ridicule (derisive emotion — and the underlying pathology is emotion, not logic) directed at the idiocy of the Left (opportunistically targeting key individuals as well) is very effective.

    Logical counter-arguments are generally wasted effort, and can even be counter-productive as they can serve to reinforce wrong-headed perspectives.

  4. This video provides the facts about psychotropic drugs and the huge profits they create for the pharmaceutical industry. These drugs are not safe and have not been on the market long enough to provide sufficient long term studies regarding their effects. These drugs do cause addiction, however most “doctors” would call this dependence because you do not have to take an increasing dose over time. They are completely fine with you being addicted to the same amount of any given drug on a daily basis. Over half of the people that commit suicide in the United States are prescribed to psychotropic drugs. (Ex: Paxil (Paroxetine), Zoloft (Sertraline), Prozac, Wellbutrin (Bupropion), Effexor, Seroquil, Ultram (Tramadol), etc.)

    http://thecarolinacowboy.blogspot.com/2013/02/psychiatry-true-killer-of-children.html

  5. What percentage of these theorists actually have children? Every parent I know who has 2 or more children is surprised at how different his children’s personalities are “straight out of the womb.”

  6. Doug M on 30 December 2013 at 1:46 pm said:
    What percentage of these theorists actually have children? Every parent I know who has 2 or more children is surprised at how different his children’s personalities are “straight out of the womb.”

    The Doug M has it right.

    I was raised in the 60s and 70s to believe, or at least to tacitly accept until proved otherwise, much gender behaviour as being the beastly result of social conditioning. My friends and I were perplexed when our own children showed gender-based preferences as soon as they could push tinker toy trucks around or hug dolls. My own two boys demonstrated life-long personal characteristics at 5 weeks of age, I swore: aggressiveness, demanding or passive, lack-of-interest were obvious. Ask any parent and you’ll hear the same. Personal styles come hard-wired, even if circumstance develops or diminishes.

    At 6-years of age my son recognized that a fellow classmate was “not a boy. He’s a girl.” There was no question, he just observed the behaviour, including scratching instead of punching. As a child he didn’t see the problem with reconciling biology with behaviour. It takes a lot of schooling to make the disconnect into a problem.

  7. The whole series is great insofar as it shows how the progressive mind functions (and fails to). It is unimaginable that such a series could appear on American TV. Kudos to the Norgies for allowing such unprogressive questions to be asked. So open-minded their brains are falling out I guess.

    Anyway one of the funniest things about this series is that several times, Harald Eia gets presses the progressive Norwegian psychologists on the weaker (i.e., non-existent) parts of their position, and their avenue of final defense, their final avoidance of crime-thought, is: It’s not an interesting question. E.g., whether intelligence is inhereted or gender is biological.

    “Uninterested,” said Official Science to science.

  8. Briggs

    December 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    YOS,

    Great! Fantastic post, as always. Everybody should go over and read.

    Rexx,

    Ditto!

  9. What even you do not mention is that we live in the age in which a particular (Progressive) ideology is attempting to base itself on science but as any ideology it runs witch-hunts against any evidence against itself, be it science or not. Hence attempts to, through infiltration into scientific peer channels control and shape science to their ideological vision. “Gender as a construct” is part of the same effort as the most shameful scientific event of all ages (CERN 2011 ban on interpretation of data as interpretation could collide with accepted Progressive ideology) or recent Belgian “scientific” law that allows doctors to kill a child (without parental consent) if they deem they can’t cure the child or American Medical community decision earlier this year to label pedophilia as a “sexual orientation” … Attempts to use science as a screen for underlying ideological thought, which is in no way always (or any time) correct.
    As for debunking this particular line of thought on gender: is animal gender also “a construct” or we are “more than animal” as any other? Proper scientific answer would be NO. And proper purely scientific answer to a human gender identity is that you are scientifically what your chromosomes say (you have a Y chromosome – you should be legally for all purposes male, now and forever). If your mind runs contrary to your chromosomes – that must be understood in a same way as if your genetic material sez’ that you are a human and you think of yourself as a chicken – answer is NOT to support you as a chicken or to do feathers and beak transplant,…

  10. dusanmal: Actually, the APA backed down on the pedophilia thing. Guess you can only vote out popular sexual preferences. Canadian medical professionals are calling it an inborn sexual orientation, at least some of them are.

    Question: If gender is not biological, then why is sexual orientation biological?

  11. Last Saturday there was this great interview at WSJ with Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues. The cultural critic on why ignoring the biological differences between men and women risks undermining Western civilization.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303997604579240022857012920

    It is not just gender pseudoscience that attacks our civilization. A week ago I reacted the following on Bill Gates’ blog:

    There are more scientists than ever but the positive fruits are relatively small, and the negative fruits are harming our societies. Something is rotten. There is a lot of pseudoscience around. Here is a video clip with Richard Feynman speaking about social science and what it is to really know something: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaO69CF5mbY%22.

    There are a lot of scientists working in areas such as criminology, sociology, social psychology, political science, women’s studies, gender studies and ethnic studies. These fields have produced only very little real knowledge. They parasite on the hard sciences in two ways: they get a free ride on the well deserved popularity of the hard sciences, and their funding is only possible by the fruits of the hard sciences. Many social scientists are in fact utopian social engineers, with a harmful agenda to transform Western societies according to their left liberal ideologies. Social engineers have in fact also taken over climate science. This way a big deal of what goes by the name of science is a perversion, a tool for political activism.
    http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Books/Personal/The-Bet?WT.mc_id=12_18_2013_TheBet_tw#comment-1173611298

  12. Briggs

    December 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    André van Delft,

    Feynman terrific as always!

  13. Girls & Boys: The Limits of Non-Sexist Child-RearingSara Bonnett Stein (1983).

    http://www.amazon.com/Girls-boys-limits-nonsexist-childrearing/dp/0684179881

    Drummed out of The Sisterhood by Trademark Feminists for having the audacity to print research data that mirrored commonsense reality.

    Very solid book.

    André, beat me to posting the Paglia interview link.

    JJB

  14. My theory is that not only are men and women actually, really, truly different, you could make a case that rather than being different sexes, they are actually two different species existing symbiotically.

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