Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Transgender Myth Revisited

I find it amusing that advocates of the transgender position claim to have scientific evidence that there is some sort of hormonal imbalance that occurs in the brain of a baby during the third trimester of a pregnancy. This is supposed to result in the mental changes where a boy thinks he is a girl and vice versa. However, this is mere speculation at best and to date there is absolutely no scientific research that establishes any genetic or hormonal link to the transgender disorder, much less any correlation to the disorder.

Finding "analogies" in nature to support human behavior like homosexuality is stretching it and I have yet to see even one animal in nature tell us that it thinks it is the opposite sex. Again, the lengths some folks will go to justify their aberrant behavioral choices is beyond ridiculous. If there is nothing morally wrong with such behavior, why don't they just say the truth: they WANT to do the things they do. Why do they need some sort of pseudo-scientific explanation to justify their socially unacceptable behaviors?

I might also mention that so-called "hermaphrodites" or "intersexed" children have real, observable physical and biological abnormalities. That is simply not the case with "transgendered" individuals who have no biological, genetic, or hormonal evidence for the source of their confusion. What we have instead is anecdotal or "testimonial" evidence. Sorry, but for most empirical scientists that does not constitute "scientific" or "empirical" evidence showing what the root cause of the condition is. Moreover, Evangelical organizations have called the bluff and asked for conclusive research to support the extraordinary claims of those involved in the transsexual medical industry:

Are transsexuals born that way?

Over 99.98% of the individuals are, obvious at birth, either male or female sex (Sax, 2002) if defined by physical characteristics (the presence of a vagina or a penis). In a very small number, sex may be unclear due to ambiguous genitalia as a result of medication conditions, e.g. adrenal virilization syndrome (in which girls are born with a masculinized clitoris) or hermaphroditism .

Different explanations on transsexuality have been offered, with the debate centering on nature vs. nurture.' Recently, Dr Mohd Ismail Mohd Tambi, a consultant clinical andrologist, disclosed to the media that one of the reasons for transsexuality was biological (The Star, 2005-11-28). Yet studies on biological causes remain inconclusive, for differences in brain structure could have been caused by hormonal medications. In other words, the strength of studies on brain structure is still very limited. Research has also not been able to confirm the suggestion of differences in hormone levels nor demonstrate genetic cause. There is still a general lack of good replicated research. The debate continues.

According to a report by the Evangelical Alliance Policy Commission (EAPC) in Britain , the body of evidence for transsexuals having psychological causes is greater and more long-standing compared to evidence for biological causes. "Published academic literature that indicates transsexual people as children have experienced much greater psychological harm than non-transsexuals remains largely undisputed."

Some examples of psychological factors are: parental rejection, absence of father during childhood, having emotionally-distant father, peer pressure, perfectionism, media images, self-rejection and poor self-esteem which may be reinforced by hostile reception from society.

In some cases, transsexual behavior ceased when a concurrent psychiatric condition was treated with medication (e.g. a 1997 case report: Four year remission of transsexualism after comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder improved with self-exposure therapy'). In other words, transsexual can and do change their gender identity and preference.

In sum, the precise etiology (study of causes) of transsexuality is still an open question.

Even if the source of my quote is an Evangelical organization, we still have pro-transsexual psychologists admitting that there is little to no evidence for a genetic source for the condition:

Scientists say they may have found genes that help explain why a tiny percentage of men see themselves as women, cruelly trapped in the wrong body.

The researchers say the findings are very preliminary and should be “interpreted with the utmost caution,” due to the small sample size used in their study...


It is unknown exactly how this change in the ER-beta gene might contribute to transsexualism, the researchers said. The gene may produce different variants of the molecular gateway, which transmit estrogen more or less easily; but it’s unknown whether one of these might be the reason for the effect, or whether the reason is something else.

Moreover, the researchers found that the two other genes that they studied also seem to influence the risk of becoming a transsexual. But neither of these genes on its own predicted that risk, they found. Rather, specific combinations of all three variants seemed to be more common among transsexuals.


Moreover, the best researchers have seem to have done is note genetic abnormalities which "appear" to be common to transsexuals. The article I cite above is from World Science magazine and is not a peer research journal published among scientists. Reading the article carefully we find the two admissions I quoted. It would be "premature" to conclude there is a "genetic" cause for transsexual conditions and the genetic variations mentioned were not always present in transsexuals. "Neither of these genes on its own predicted" the "risk" for transsexual conditions. (ibid.) I might also mention that the researchers conceded that they used a "small sample size" in their study. How small? Three transsexuals? Four?

At any rate, the idea that there is solid research showing the link between transsexualism and genetic or hormonal preconditions is shaky and preliminary at best. I am willing to be corrected by any conclusive research out there. I have noted many "theories" being put forward by researchers but not one of them has been confirmed by independent experiments under controlled laboratory conditions. The bottom line is that the burden of proof lies with those who formulate the theories. Prove it under scientific conditions or else your theory remains just a theory.



Mickey said...

Your position that there is no compelling evidence that there isn't a genetic component to homosexuality and transgender is just plain wrong. The question is your acceptance or denial of the existing evidence or as you refer to them "theories".

Every position in science is "theoretical". You say that you are willing to be corrected by conclusive scientific evidence, but in essence you are unwilling to be corrected by science because everything in medical research is circumstantial to a certain degree. The Crestor and Plavix you or your neighbor takes isn't "conclusively supported", nor is the possibility that a normal dosage of ibuprofen everyday won't cause irreversible liver damage. The larger question in any medical research is how well supported is a theory, can this research be repeated with the same results, and how well were the studies conducted in terms of research type/data collection method/ p values, etc, etc.
What noone really says from your clearly Christian conservative Rightwing position is that the question of whether or not homosexuality/transgenderism has genetic components really has nothing to do with science at all. It's a matter of justifying bigotry. I am a MD/PhD (a medical scientist .... and a genetitist to be more exact) and it has always struck me as odd how only in the case of sexuality do populations of non-science people who for the most part have no idea how to conduct or interpret research try to get involved in determining what is and isn't valid research findings. You don't hear breast cancer communities making a fuss over whether or not BRCA1&2 are actually related to a higher frequency of breast cancer. So why now does the public suddenly fell capable of questioning science? I don't know but I can't help but wonder if it's because people can't even bear to entertain the thought that MAYBE, possibly a lifestyle that makes so many people uncomfortable and hateful may not be some sort of evil misguided choice but maybe, and quite possibly might be as "natural" and inevitable as heterosexuality is so for some people? If you find transgender and homosexuals scary, uncomfortable, sinful, and just plain icky .... then have some integrity and say so. Don't base it on supposed inconclusive research that you know nothing about. To not believe the science for moral or religious regions is one thing, but don't insult us all by acting as if it doesn't exist.

So maybe before you go discounting valid science that I'm sure you haven't really sifted through and analyzed for yourself ..... maybe you should get a PubMed subscription instead of relying on bias organizations for credible reporting of medical studies. Expecting an organization with a agenda to give an accurate report on research findings regardless of the issue is worse than people who get their science from Good Morning America, Yahoo health, or pharmaceutical advertisements.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I know enough about the scientific method to know propaganda when I see it. The fact of the matter is that the article in the so-called "science" magazine was fluff and propaganda. The article only mentions the limitations of the research twice and only briefly. That fact that you're claiming to be a medical doctor is absolutely meaningless since it is merely a fallacious appeal to authority. For all I know you could be one of those quacks who profits from the psychological disorders of the less fortunate.

Furthermore, you're quite correct that I do not trust pharmaceutical commercials on television, especially when a couple of years later we find a recall or a new warning of terrible side effects that were previously unknown or covered up so the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies could profit.

What we see from pharmaceutical companies is junk science justifying their quick profit margin. I think the analogy holds up nicely in the case of doctors/plastic surgeons who perform "elective" surgeries so people can look and feel better about themselves. Talk about a narcissistic society.

I might also mention that those trying to find some sort of justification for immoral behaviors by so-called "objective" science are merely those who are bigoted against those of us who happen to have conservative religious beliefs. Hatred based upon religious preference is still hatred. Perhaps that should be a hate crime as well?

Moreover, the philosophical implications of trying to tie behavior to genetic or biological predispositions is in fact beyond the limits of a strictly empirical scientific method. It is in fact "interpretative."

Science is still unsure about how the "mind" and "consciousness" arise out of the biological organ we call the brain so for the life of me I cannot tell how you're going to say that science can prove that 3 genes in a myriad of combinations causes the psychological phenomenon of transsexuality.

I have read concession after concession that science cannot "yet" prove a genetic or hormonal link to transsexual behavior. There are merely "indicators" or "suggestions" of such links. What the political side of the movement does not and cannot admit is that most of their "talk" is just that...talk.

The burden of proof lies with those making the extreme assertion. If there are genetic and hormonal predispositions to homosexuality, transsexualism, etc., etc., then put up or shut up.

Quite frankly, I'm sick of the empty assertions with no solid research. What we see going on today is merely propaganda meant to sway public opinion. Junk science. Anyone with any knowledge of the scientific method can see that.

Furthermore, as to the "objectivity" of modern science? Thomas Kuhn's, Structure of Scientific Revolutions, has pretty much exposed the scientific community's compromised objectivity. The philosophy of science has legitimately questioned whether "science" is totally objective or if it is in fact influenced by the "authority" of the peer groups within which it functions.

I might add that your claim to be a medical doctor could be totally bogus. This is the internet. Anyone can claim to be anything.

May God have mercy!

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