A considered piece. Hang on in there against the social media trolls. You are doing an incredibly good job.

Expand full comment

Flat earth, make it "gender"

Expand full comment

This piece fails to explain WHY the counter factual belief is stated. Rob Henderson argues that holding obviously false beliefs is a status symbol. https://nypost.com/2019/08/17/luxury-beliefs-are-the-latest-status-symbol-for-rich-americans/

Expand full comment

Excellent essay – remember reading bits and pieces of it a year and a half ago; have it bookmarked for ammunition as situations call for it. 🙂 But welcome to Substack – subscribed.

Though I was curious about, and somewhat surprised by this statement:

“I’ve been working on a legal document and was discussing with a colleague about my efforts to find a citation for the statement: ‘there are two sexes, male and female’.”

Maybe you’ve never run across the 1972 paper by biologist Geoff Parker (FRS) who coined, or maybe promulgated the stipulative definitions that now seem to constitute the standard biological definitions for the sexes?


Paywalled, but he and Jussi Lehtonen published a paper in 2014 that further solidified those definitions; see their Glossary for example:

"Female: Biologically, the female sex is defined as the adult phenotype that produces [present tense indefinite] the larger gametes in anisogamous systems.

Male: Biologically, the male sex is defined as the adult phenotype that produces [present tense indefinite] the smaller gametes in anisogamous systems."


And those definitions seem to be part and parcel of the standard definitions for the sexes in most credible dictionaries such as Lexico and OED – hardly chopped liver – and encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, “male” for example:

“male (adjective): Of or denoting the sex that produces gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring.”


What is rather surprising is that I see absolutely nothing in any of those definitions about any of the “past-present-or-future functionality” that you – and Heather Heying and Colin Wright - seem to think should qualify as trump:


Seems to me that those definitions – of Parker, Lehtonen, Lexico, OED, and many others – qualify as “intensional definitions”; they specify the necessary and sufficient conditions for sex category membership: no gametes, no sex:


Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment