The Boy-Girl Difference in Swimming Records

 

Earlier this week, @barfly wrote a post reporting on the rules adopted by the international governing authority in swimming, FINA, on so-called transgender athletes.  Specifically, the rules addressed the issue of biologically male swimmers who wished to engage in so-called transition, and then compete as females.

Barfly’s post includes the specific text of the rule, the essence of which is to prohibit anyone from competing in swimming as a woman if he has “experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.”  There is also a requirement for demonstrating the continued maintenance of a low testosterone level.

I did some digging into the differences between boys and girls in swimming performance.  Specifically, I looked at the male and female national age group records in swimming, for five age categories: 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18.  Depending on the age group, there are between 12 and 18 events with official national records.  I have a particular interest in swimming, as I was a competitive swimmer as a kid, through high school.

For this analysis, I looked at records in short course yards (i.e. swimming in a 25-yard pool), rather than long course meters, principally due to my recollection and impression that American kids usually compete in short course yards.  This is true in most summer swimming, high school swimming, and even NCAA swimming.

My methodology was to compare the national record for males and females, for each event.  The time differential varied widely, because events ranged from the 50-yard sprints to the 1,650-yard distance freestyle.  I normalized the difference for each event by converting it to the difference per 100 yards.

Remember that this is not a comparison of typical American boys and girls in swimming.  It is a comparison of the very best boy, and the very best girl, that we’ve had in each event.  There are a total of 72 event records for boys, and another 72 for girls, for these five age groups.

Of those 72 events, the female record is faster than the male record in two (2).  By age category, it breaks down as follows:

  • 10 and under: The male record is faster in 10 of 12 events
  • 11-12:  The male record is faster in all 18 events
  • 13-14, 15-16, 17-18:  The male record is faster in all 14 events

My calculations allowed me to quantify the average difference in the male and female records, normalized to the difference per 100 yards of the event.  Here are the results:

  • 10 and under: The male records averaged 0.57 seconds faster per 100 yards
  • 11-12:  The male records averaged 3.01 seconds faster per 100 yards
  • 13-14:  The male records averaged 4.53 seconds faster per 10o yards
  • 15-16:  The male records averaged 4.45 seconds faster per 100 yards
  • 17-18:  The male records averaged 4.71 seconds faster per 100 yards

This indicates that, at least in swimming, there is only a small male advantage, if any, prior to age 11.  By age 12, most of the male-female difference has appeared, averaging about 3 seconds per 100 yards.  By age 14, and thereafter, the male-female difference is about 4.5 seconds per 100 yards.

I did this analysis for my own information, but thought that some of you might find it interesting.

If anything, it suggests that the FINA rule doesn’t go quite far enough by establishing a cutoff for male athletes engaging in so-called “transition,” as the FINA rule provides a safe harbor permitting such athletes to compete as females provided that they “transitioned” by age 12 (or later, depending on the timing of a particular athlete’s “Tanner Stage 2”).  As you can see from my analysis, about two-thirds of the eventual male-female differential in the performance of top swimmers emerges by the age of 12.

Published in Sports
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 39 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    The difference is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain. Look at track and field for another example. The various boy’s state high school champion in , say, the 100 meter dash routinely beats the world record for women in the same event. It generally not even close, never mind beating the girl’s HS champs’ times.

    It boggles the mind that this is even a question for some people.

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Thank you, Jerry. Much appreciated.

    • #2
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    The difference is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain. Look at track and field for another example. The various boy’s state high school champion in , say, the 100 meter dash routinely beats the world record for women in the same event. It generally not even close, never mind beating the girl’s HS champs’ times.

    It boggles the mind that this is even a question for some people.

    I know.

    I remember a podcast in which Bret Weinstein — a former biology professor — reported a discussion in his class about sexual dimorphism in humans.  Specifically, he was explaining that men are generally taller than women.

    If I recall his report correctly, most of the class objected.

    He had them all stand and line up, tallest to shortest.  There was very little overlap.  The male height distribution was notably taller.

    There are two possible explanations:

    • Students had been so propagandized into the doctrine that men and women are not different that they disregarded what they had been observing with their eyes, pretty much every day, for pretty much their entire lives.
    • Students knew the truth full well, and knew that there were bound to be a few feminists in the room, so they were willing to accept the lie.

    I do think that the latter is more likely.

    We can dismiss them as cowards, but their fears are justified.  The problem, in my view, is the ideology of feminism and its instantiation into anti-discrimination law.  This means that the feminists can destroy you, even when it’s obvious that they’re wrong.

    • #3
  4. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    The difference is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain. Look at track and field for another example. The various boy’s state high school champion in , say, the 100 meter dash routinely beats the world record for women in the same event. It generally not even close, never mind beating the girl’s HS champs’ times.

    It boggles the mind that this is even a question for some people.

    I know.

    I remember a podcast in which Bret Weinstein — a former biology professor — reported a discussion in his class about sexual dimorphism in humans. Specifically, he was explaining that men are generally taller than women.

    If I recall his report correctly, most of the class objected.

    He had them all stand and line up, tallest to shortest. There was very little overlap. The male height distribution was notably taller.

    There are two possible explanations:

    • Students had been so propagandized into the doctrine that men and women are not different that they disregarded what they had been observing with their eyes, pretty much every day, for pretty much their entire lives.
    • Students knew the truth full well, and knew that there were bound to be a few feminists in the room, so they were willing to accept the lie.

    I do think that the latter is more likely.

    We can dismiss them as cowards, but their fears are justified. The problem, in my view, is the ideology of feminism and its instantiation into anti-discrimination law. This means that the feminists can destroy you, even when it’s obvious that they’re wrong.

    Regardless of how they ‘identify’ 1,000 years from now some archaeologist is going to take one look at their bones and proclaim ‘male’ or ‘female’ as the science dictates.

    • #4
  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    First, you have way too much time on your hands.

    Second, yes, there are physical differences that cannot be overcome by a few months worth of hormones.

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    First, you have way too much time on your hands.

    Second, yes, there are physical differences that cannot be overcome by a few months worth of hormones.

    I’m pretty good with Excel, so this didn’t take too long.  I do have a tendency to carry out my own research on this type of issue.

    • #6
  7. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    First, you have way too much time on your hands.

    Second, yes, there are physical differences that cannot be overcome by a few months worth of hormones.

    I’m pretty good with Excel, so this didn’t take too long. I do have a tendency to carry out my own research on this type of issue.

    In my opinion, this — equipping normal, non-number-geek people with the information and arguments they need to respond competently to the woke left — is critical to winning the culture war. It’s exactly what we have to do. So keep it up.

    • #7
  8. Arthur Beare Member
    Arthur Beare
    @ArthurBeare

    Until very recently (say the past 4-7 years) most “transitions” were male-to-female.  I don’t think ANY of those people engaged in competitive sports. 

    Today, the vast majority of “transitions” are F-to-M.  Again few if any of these engage in competitive male sports (where the majority of ex-females would be at a physical disadvantage that virtually no amount of competitive spirit could overcome). 

    I realize we only hear about most M-to Fs because they are competing with women, but I can’t help but suspect that many (most) of these transitions are motivated more by the desire to be a winner at any cost rather than a desire to be a woman.

    The upshot is that I think the FINA rule is adequate insofar as the desire to be a winner is not likely to develop into a consuming obsession that is willing to pay the very high cost (multiple surgeries and sterility) of “transition” until well into puberty.

    • #8
  9. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert
    • 10 and under: The male records averaged 0.57 seconds faster per 100 yards (male 10, female 2)
    • 11-12:  The male records averaged 3.01 seconds faster per 100 yards (male 32, female 0 for 11-18)
    • 13-14:  The male records averaged 4.53 seconds faster per 10o yards
    • 15-16:  The male records averaged 4.45 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 17-18:  The male records averaged 4.71 seconds faster per 100 yards

     

    Jerry, thank you for this.  Taking your analysis a little farther, we see that the male advantage begins BEFORE the completion of puberty (which is not a discrete event but has five stages occurring on average between ages 8 and 13 for girls and 9 and 14 for boys), implying either that:

    a, only modest testosterone exposure is needed to create a male-female athletic dichotomy

    or

    b, that prenatal testosterone exposure from the fetal testes creates an athletic advantage which is present even before birth.

    Either way, male and female athletic performance will differ.

    Furthermore, your data nicely show a direct relation between duration of T exposure and athleticism, to wit:

    • 10 and under (1 year of exposure): The male records averaged 0.6 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 11-12 (3 years of exposure):  The male records averaged 3.0 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 13-16 (6 years of exposure):  The male records averaged 4.5 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 17-18 (8 years of exposure):  The male records averaged 4.7 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • Using Y = mX + b, the equation of a line, where m is the slope and b is a constant, this gives Y = (0.6)X + 0.5 or (difference in seconds) = 0.6 (age in years minus 9) + 0.5.  I don’t have the tools at hand this moment to do a p value calculation, but I wager it approaches significance (and would certainly be significant were n larger)

    Thanks for the data!

    • #9
  10. She Member
    She
    @She

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: For this analysis, I looked at records in short course yards (i.e. swimming in a 25-yard pool), rather than long course meters, principally due to my recollection and impression that American kids usually compete in short course yards.  This is true in most summer swimming, high school swimming, and even NCAA swimming.

    I wonder how much of the sex differential in these meets is due to the “turns,” and how much of it is due to difference in actual swimming speed at specific ages.  While the best test of comparative swimming speed, and the best marker of swimming endurance, would surely be a straight shot in a 100 meter, or 400 meter, or 800 meter pool, that’s not terribly feasible.  So we have these short (25 yard) bursts of swimming activity, broken up by turns (which double as a mini-break), and strong leg thrusts and body morphology getting the swimmer partway through the next lap.  I wonder how much further men and boys are able to propel themselves in the turns compared to the women, and how much less actual swimming they accrue as a result.

    NB: I’m not arguing with the premise here.  This is the sort of post the author is good at.  I’m just wondering how much of the difference is attributable to the actual stroking, versus the turning.

    • #10
  11. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I trust that you have read “Irreversible Damage.”

    • #11
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I trust that you have read “Irreversible Damage.”

    I haven’t read it, but I have listened to several of Shrier’s podcasts on the issue, so I think that I understand the point.

    I find her position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults.  This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    If this is true, then isn’t it cruel to withhold such treatment from “trans” children?  Because puberty will cause irreversible changes in their bodies, which cannot be “corrected” in adulthood.  The only issue would be the practical problem of identifying which children — if any — are “genuinely trans,” a problem that already exists in adulthood.

    Of course, I find the entire practice of “transition” to be morally wrong and abhorrent.  I think that “abomination” is the proper Biblical translation.

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    She (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: For this analysis, I looked at records in short course yards (i.e. swimming in a 25-yard pool), rather than long course meters, principally due to my recollection and impression that American kids usually compete in short course yards. This is true in most summer swimming, high school swimming, and even NCAA swimming.

    I wonder how much of the sex differential in these meets is due to the “turns,” and how much of it is due to difference in actual swimming speed at specific ages. While the best test of comparative swimming speed, and the best marker of swimming endurance, would surely be a straight shot in a 100 meter, or 400 meter, or 800 meter pool, that’s not terribly feasible. So we have these short (25 yard) bursts of swimming activity, broken up by turns (which double as a mini-break), and strong leg thrusts and body morphology getting the swimmer partway through the next lap. I wonder how much further men and boys are able to propel themselves in the turns compared to the women, and how much less actual swimming they accrue as a result.

    NB: I’m not arguing with the premise here. This is the sort of post the author is good at. I’m just wondering how much of the difference is attributable to the actual stroking, versus the turning.

    Good question.  I think that the males are faster on both the turns and in the active swimming, though I lack the data to do an empirical evaluation.  My opinion about the turns is based on observation.

    There also appears to be a male advantage in the start, whether diving off the blocks or doing a backstroke start.

    Here’s a demonstration video, with Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel racing each other in the 200 free (short course yards).  These are arguably the two greatest freestyle swimmers of all time, though Dressel specializes in shorter events (50 and 100) and Ledecky specializes in longer events (400 and up).  At her peak, though, Ledecky won Olympic gold in the 200 free (long course meters).  Dressel is the reigning Olympic champ in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly.  He’s really the best freestyle sprinter that there’s ever been, though he hasn’t yet caught Cesar Cielo’s world records from back in 2009 when swimmers were allowed to wear those “magic suits.”

    Anyway, here’s the race.  You can see Dressel’s advantage in all portions of the race.  I think that Dressel is in lane 4, and Ledecky in in lane 5 (above/beyond him in this video):

    This is not to knock Katie Ledecky.  She is fantastic.  She just can’t take on the guys.

    • #13
  14. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    • 10 and under: The male records averaged 0.57 seconds faster per 100 yards (male 10, female 2)
    • 11-12: The male records averaged 3.01 seconds faster per 100 yards (male 32, female 0 for 11-18)
    • 13-14: The male records averaged 4.53 seconds faster per 10o yards
    • 15-16: The male records averaged 4.45 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 17-18: The male records averaged 4.71 seconds faster per 100 yards

     

    Jerry, thank you for this. Taking your analysis a little farther, we see that the male advantage begins BEFORE the completion of puberty (which is not a discrete event but has five stages occurring on average between ages 8 and 13 for girls and 9 and 14 for boys), implying either that:

    a, only modest testosterone exposure is needed to create a male-female athletic dichotomy

    or

    b, that prenatal testosterone exposure from the fetal testes creates an athletic advantage which is present even before birth.

    Either way, male and female athletic performance will differ.

    Furthermore, your data nicely show a direct relation between duration of T exposure and athleticism, to wit:

    • 10 and under (1 year of exposure): The male records averaged 0.6 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 11-12 (3 years of exposure): The male records averaged 3.0 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 13-16 (6 years of exposure): The male records averaged 4.5 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • 17-18 (8 years of exposure): The male records averaged 4.7 seconds faster per 100 yards
    • Using Y = mX + b, the equation of a line, where m is the slope and b is a constant, this gives Y = (0.6)X + 0.5 or (difference in seconds) = 0.6 (age in years minus 9) + 0.5. I don’t have the tools at hand this moment to do a p value calculation, but I wager it approaches significance (and would certainly be significant were n larger)

    Thanks for the data!

    I do have the data to try such an analysis, but I don’t think that it’s linear with exposure.  I just did the analysis using dummy variables for age group — specifically, I used the 10 and unders as the base group, then added dummy variables for over 10, over 12, over 14, and over 16.  So the formula is:

    Y=m1X1 + m2X2 + m3X3 + m4X4 + b

    where:

    Y is the male-female record difference per 100 yards

    X1 is the dummy variable “over 10” (i.e. this picks up all of the records for the 11-12s and up)

    X2 is the dummy variable “over 12”

    X3 is the dummy variable “over 14”

    X4 is the dummy variable “over 16”

    The intercept is 0.57 seconds per 100 yards, and is not quite statistically significant (p=0.1254).

    The advantage gained at age 12 is 2.44 seconds, highly statistically significant (p<0.0001).

    The advantage gained at age 14 is another 1.52 secs, statistically significant (p=0.0013)

    The advantages gained at age 16 and 18 are not statistically significant, and are small.  Negative 0.18 gained at age 16 (a slight female advantage), p=0.8594.  Positive 0.54 gained at age 18 (male advantage), p=0.5921.

    To summarize:

    • The male advantage at age 10 is about 0.5 seconds per 100 yards, not statistically significant
    • Males gain an advantage of about 2.5 seconds per 100 yards at age 12, highly statistically significant
    • Males gain a further advantage of about 1.5 seconds per 100 yards at age 14, highly statistically significant
    • There is no further statistically significant gain for males after age 14
    • #14
  15. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    From evolutionarily theory, we would expect male hips to be optimized for running; while female hips would be a compromise:  optimized for running and bearing children.

    Narrow-hipped women who died in childbirth did not leave their genes to future generations.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find her position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults.  This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    It makes sense.  If adults are that psychologically damaged that becoming the opposite sex through hormones and surgery is the only treatment after intense therapy, then so be it.  I believe the reason there are so many trans suicides is because the requirement to undergo therapy has been curtailed or eliminated.  I have read Shrier’s book, and when a young girl says she is a boy, the entire school and medical systems put them on a freight train of “gender-affirming care and treatment,” in most cases without parental knowledge.

    • #16
  17. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I don’t pay much attention to swimming but I am track and field fan. Comparing high school boys records to elite women’s world record’s, the high school boys are better (and that is just US boys)

    100 meters – boys record 10.0, women’s 10.49 (wind aided)

    mile – boys 3:53:46, women 4:12:33

    shot put – boys 81-3 1/2 (12lb shot), women 74-3(8lb shot)

    I could go on, but why bother. A somewhat decent boy is going to be better than most women. Biology matters.

     

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Stad (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find her position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults. This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    It makes sense. If adults are that psychologically damaged that becoming the opposite sex through hormones and surgery is the only treatment after intense therapy, then so be it. I believe the reason there are so many trans suicides is because the requirement to undergo therapy has been curtailed or eliminated. I have read Shrier’s book, and when a young girl says she is a boy, the entire school and medical systems put them on a freight train of “gender-affirming care and treatment,” in most cases without parental knowledge.

    Stad, I have a couple of thoughts about this.

    First of all, I doubt that many people are receiving “intense therapy,” and I doubt that this has been done for quite some time.  I am skeptical of the effectiveness of such therapy.  If anyone has data on this, I’d like to see it, but I’m not going to go looking myself.  The psychological profession has been so ideologically corrupted for about 50 years now that they deny that there are effective treatments for homosexuality, when the literature from the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated quite effective treatments.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, I think that your proposal here is necessarily self-defeating.  A “genuinely trans” person wants to “transition.”  If you hold out the prospect of eventually allowing this, I suspect that this will necessarily undermine the possible effectiveness of any therapy.  The patient will know that he or she must simply endure the therapy for long enough to get the desired outcome.

    Third, I very much doubt that so-called transitioning actually helps much.  I haven’t seen detailed statistics on this.  I have read that it does not change the suicide rate, but I don’t know if this claim is accurate.

    Finally, I think that sometimes we are faced with problems that we simply cannot solve, and that the cost of attempting the solution ends up being worse than doing nothing.  To me, this seems to be the case with the trans phenomenon.

    • #18
  19. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find [Shrier’s] position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults.  This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    Shrier’s focus is on the damage done to otherwise normal young people by the social contagion of the modern trans movement, and in particular by the rapid onset gender dysphoria suddenly plaguing our confused young women. One can be a civil libertarian regarding adult choices, and even open to the possibility that, for at least some adults, those choices might occasionally bring them relief, while still condemning allowing children to make similar choices. I don’t think that’s an inconsistent position to take; it could even be correct.

    • #19
  20. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    The very idea of allowing boys (transitioning to a girl only in their rotted minds) to compete in “women’s” sports makes a mockery of the concept of women’s sports. Why did women’s sports begin in the first place? All together girls! – so that women too could enjoy the freedom and opportunity to compete against themselves rather than be forced to endure the struggle, heartache and oppression of competing against boys in those same sports. Title IX Billie Jean King, and all! You’re flushing it down the toilet.

     

    • #20
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Columbo (View Comment):

    The very idea of allowing boys (transitioning to a girl only in their rotted minds) to compete in “women’s” sports makes a mockery of the concept of women’s sports. Why did women’s sports begin in the first place? All together girls! – so that women too could enjoy the freedom and opportunity to compete against themselves rather than be forced to endure the struggle, heartache and oppression of competing against boys in those same sports. Title IX Billie Jean King, and all! You’re flushing it down the toilet.

     

    Well, now you reveal the blatant hypocrisy of the feminists, though I’m not sure if that was your point.  You can’t discriminate on the basis of sex, they say, but we can’t compete, so you have to discriminate on the basis of sex in our favor.

    I don’t have an objection to women’s sports.  I like some of them, though my interest is limited, because they’re just not as good as the guys.

    • #21
  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find [Shrier’s] position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults. This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    Shrier’s focus is on the damage done to otherwise normal young people by the social contagion of the modern trans movement, and in particular by the rapid onset gender dysphoria suddenly plaguing our confused young women. One can be a civil libertarian regarding adult choices, and even open to the possibility that, for at least some adults, those choices might occasionally bring them relief, while still condemning allowing children to make similar choices. I don’t think that’s an inconsistent position to take; it could even be correct.

    I understand.  I think that you’re wrong.  I think that it is the very acceptance of this bizarre trans thing in adulthood that is leading to an explosion of the problem among the children.  I do think that this is an empirical fact.

    Let’s see if we agree on the facts.  There has been an explosion of trans disorder among teenagers, right?  This coincided with the widespread teaching of acceptance of trans, right?

    I think that you’ll agree with those facts.  Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it is evidence of causation, and I think that I’ve presented a plausible causal argument.  Impressionable children may be led astray by acceptance of deviant behavior among adults.

    To evaluate this rationally, I think that you should present evidence that the correlation that I have identified is not causal.  If not, what is the cause of the explosion in trans identification?

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find [Shrier’s] position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults. This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    Shrier’s focus is on the damage done to otherwise normal young people by the social contagion of the modern trans movement, and in particular by the rapid onset gender dysphoria suddenly plaguing our confused young women. One can be a civil libertarian regarding adult choices, and even open to the possibility that, for at least some adults, those choices might occasionally bring them relief, while still condemning allowing children to make similar choices. I don’t think that’s an inconsistent position to take; it could even be correct.

    I understand. I think that you’re wrong. I think that it is the very acceptance of this bizarre trans thing in adulthood that is leading to an explosion of the problem among the children. I do think that this is an empirical fact.

    Let’s see if we agree on the facts. There has been an explosion of trans disorder among teenagers, right? This coincided with the widespread teaching of acceptance of trans, right?

    I think that you’ll agree with those facts. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it is evidence of causation, and I think that I’ve presented a plausible causal argument. Impressionable children may be led astray by acceptance of deviant behavior among adults.

    To evaluate this rationally, I think that you should present evidence that the correlation that I have identified is not causal. If not, what is the cause of the explosion in trans identification?

    Jerry, suppose — only for the sake of discussion — that it is causal. So what?

    There are many activities I am willing to condone among adults that increase the likelihood that children will also attempt to participate in those activities. Smoking, extramarital sex, drinking alcohol: adults do all those things, and I suspect the social acceptance of those things among adults probably correlates with experimentation among children.

    While that’s an argument against allowing adults to smoke, drink, and have extramarital sex, I don’t find it a sufficiently compelling argument to prohibit any of those activities — among adults.

    I’d make the same statement about tolerating sex change procedures, while adding that there might actually be some positive outcomes among a few adults from those procedures.

    • #23
  24. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Running, swimming and other individual sports are one thing. My particular interest- through my daughters- is in a specific  physical contact sport.  I have seen one of my daughter’s top class team destroyed by a mediocre men’s team, the latter holding back to avoid injury to the women. That trans advocates would compromise the safety of biological women in pursuit of ideology tells me all I need to know. 

    • #24
  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    I find [Shrier’s] position to be inconsistent, by the way, because she believes that so-called “transition” should be permitted in adults. This is a concession that surgical and chemical mutilation is a proper treatment for whatever the “trans” phenomenon might be.

    Shrier’s focus is on the damage done to otherwise normal young people by the social contagion of the modern trans movement, and in particular by the rapid onset gender dysphoria suddenly plaguing our confused young women. One can be a civil libertarian regarding adult choices, and even open to the possibility that, for at least some adults, those choices might occasionally bring them relief, while still condemning allowing children to make similar choices. I don’t think that’s an inconsistent position to take; it could even be correct.

    I understand. I think that you’re wrong. I think that it is the very acceptance of this bizarre trans thing in adulthood that is leading to an explosion of the problem among the children. I do think that this is an empirical fact.

    Let’s see if we agree on the facts. There has been an explosion of trans disorder among teenagers, right? This coincided with the widespread teaching of acceptance of trans, right?

    I think that you’ll agree with those facts. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it is evidence of causation, and I think that I’ve presented a plausible causal argument. Impressionable children may be led astray by acceptance of deviant behavior among adults.

    To evaluate this rationally, I think that you should present evidence that the correlation that I have identified is not causal. If not, what is the cause of the explosion in trans identification?

    Jerry, suppose — only for the sake of discussion — that it is causal. So what?

    There are many activities I am willing to condone among adults that increase the likelihood that children will also attempt to participate in those activities. Smoking, extramarital sex, drinking alcohol: adults do all those things, and I suspect the social acceptance of those things among adults probably correlates with experimentation among children.

    While that’s an argument against allowing adults to smoke, drink, and have extramarital sex, I don’t find it a sufficiently compelling argument to prohibit any of those activities — among adults.

    I’d make the same statement about tolerating sex change procedures, while adding that there might actually be some positive outcomes among a few adults from those procedures.

    Yes, that’s the libertarian view.  I can put it harshly.  Libertarians prioritize the “right” of adults to behave badly over protecting children from the bad example set by such behavior.  It usually seems to amount to contributing to the delinquency of minors, who then become misbehaving adults.

    It does seem to me that this is the path that has been followed with a great number of vices.  Deviancy is defined down, and successive generations become worse and worse.

    Your formulation, I think, does suggest the uselessness of rational argument on the point.  You don’t find protection of children “a sufficiently compelling argument.”  Well, I do.  How do we resolve that disagreement?  Where do we go from here?

    Judging by the accelerating slouch towards Gomorrah that I’ve seen over my lifetime, the answer is probably “to Hell.”

    • #25
  26. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    Yes, that’s the libertarian view.  I can put it harshly.  Libertarians prioritize the “right” of adults to behave badly over protecting children from the bad example set by such behavior.

    It’s also a pretty traditional American conservative view: adults and children live by different legal rules, and we expect parents to be in charge of much of their children’s behavior. “For the children” has long been a justifying cry of the big-government types: any restriction on adult behavior can be justified if you can spin it as good for kids.

    There may be good reasons to prohibit adults from being transvestites or having so-called “sex-change” surgery, just as there may be good reasons to ban smoking or alcohol for adults– certainly, both of those do more harm to Americans than the surgeons inflict. But I don’t consider “for the children” to be one of them. Similarly, I don’t find it compelling when Illinois politicians call for a ban on gun sales in Indiana because the unparented children of Chicago won’t stop shooting each other. That’s a failure of parenting and policing in Chicago, not a justification for disarming the good people of Fort Wayne.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    You don’t find protection of children “a sufficiently compelling argument.”

    Not for everything, no.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    Well, I do.

    Do you? In every instance in which “for the children” is

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    How do we resolve that disagreement?

    Let’s be clear: the disagreement is, specifically, over whether or not adults should be free to have certain elective surgeries, to take certain hormone supplements, and to prance around in women’s clothing. I’m happy to have all of those on the table for open debate. I think that’s how we move forward.

    Where I suspect you and I agree is on whether or not you or I should be compelled to pretend that we believe in the trans nonsense, and on whether or not it should be taught to children.
    invoked, do you consider it a compelling argument?

     

    • #26
  27. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    Yes, that’s the libertarian view. I can put it harshly. Libertarians prioritize the “right” of adults to behave badly over protecting children from the bad example set by such behavior.

    It’s also a pretty traditional American conservative view: adults and children live by different legal rules, and we expect parents to be in charge of much of their children’s behavior. “For the children” has long been a justifying cry of the big-government types: any restriction on adult behavior can be justified if you can spin it as good for kids.

    There may be good reasons to prohibit adults from being transvestites or having so-called “sex-change” surgery, just as there may be good reasons to ban smoking or alcohol for adults– certainly, both of those do more harm to Americans than the surgeons inflict. But I don’t consider “for the children” to be one of them. Similarly, I don’t find it compelling when Illinois politicians call for a ban on gun sales in Indiana because the unparented children of Chicago won’t stop shooting each other. That’s a failure of parenting and policing in Chicago, not a justification for disarming the good people of Fort Wayne.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    You don’t find protection of children “a sufficiently compelling argument.”

    Not for everything, no.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    Well, I do.

    Do you? In every instance in which “for the children” is invoked, do you consider it a compelling argument?

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    How do we resolve that disagreement?

    Let’s be clear: the disagreement is, specifically, over whether or not adults should be free to have certain elective surgeries, to take certain hormone supplements, and to prance around in women’s clothing. I’m happy to have all of those on the table for open debate. I think that’s how we move forward.

    Where I suspect you and I agree is on whether or not you or I should be compelled to pretend that we believe in the trans nonsense, and on whether or not it should be taught to children.

    [Note: I moved your final phrase “invoked, do you consider it a compelling argument” up in your comment, to the place that I think it was intended to be.]

    This is instructive, Hank, I think.  It went from not considering an argument compelling in a particular case, to rejecting the “for the children” argument in all cases.  At least, this is how it appears to me.

    To answer your question, no, I do not consider “for the children” to be a compelling argument in every instance in which it is invoked.  I do consider it a compelling argument in some instances.  My interpretation of your comment is that you never consider it to be a compelling argument.  Please elaborate if this impression is incorrect.

    In making my evaluation, I try to consider the benefit of tolerating the adult behavior against the extent of harm to the children.  There is some empirical evidence on this in the trans situation, in which mutilation might possibly offer some relief to a tiny proportion of people with gender identity disorder (historically around 0.01-0.03%, I think), at the cost of approximately quadrupling the proportion of kids identifying as “trans” (0.32% for over 65, 1.43% for 13-17).

    It is strange that you invoke a “big government” argument, when I am advocating a return to the rules and laws of sexual probity that prevailed in this country long before the era of “big government.”  Not all government is bad.  It depends on what the government is doing.

    It is also strange, to me, that you are making this argument.  I don’t know for sure, but if I were to guess, I would say that you are a very good model of probity, propriety, and virtue in your personal life.  You seem like the sort of guy that I’d love to have as a neighbor, setting a good example to my sons.  Yet you seem to defend the right of deviants to engage in their bizarre behavior, apparently with no regard for the effect that this will have on our youth.

    I probably need to put together a full post on a critique of the doctrine of tolerance.  I’m increasingly coming to believe that it is a dreadful idea, and the source of most of our problems.

    • #27
  28. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry, out of respect for both of us, let’s clarify the “for the children” thing.

    You wrote:

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    You don’t find protection of children “a sufficiently compelling argument.”

    As I said, I don’t find it sufficiently compelling, in this case. I don’t find it sufficiently compelling in many cases where the control of adults who are not interacting with children is the goal.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    You don’t find protection of children “a sufficiently compelling argument.”

    HR: Not for everything, no.

    I had hoped that that “not for everything” would communicate that I didn’t reject the argument in every instance, but didn’t find it universally compelling. I object to allowing sex with children, for example, “for the children.” But I don’t object, “for the children,” to allowing men to put on dresses.

    I suspect that you and I will both advocate policies with a goal of protecting children when the danger to children is obvious and immediate, and when those policies are reasonable ways of providing that protection. I hope that neither of us will attempt to justify policies based on protecting the children when the policies themselves impose undue burdens on others and have little likelihood of actually protecting children. 

    I think we might disagree about whether tolerating homosexuality, transvestitism, etc., among consenting adults represents and obvious and immediate threat to children that can best be dealt with by attempting to prohibit adults from engaging in such behavior.

    • #28
  29. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio&hellip; (View Comment):
    It is also strange, to me, that you are making this argument.  I don’t know for sure, but if I were to guess, I would say that you are a very good model of probity, propriety, and virtue in your personal life.  You seem like the sort of guy that I’d love to have as a neighbor, setting a good example to my sons.  Yet you seem to defend the right of deviants to engage in their bizarre behavior, apparently with no regard for the effect that this will have on our youth.

    Thank you.

    In fact, I don’t see anything inconsistent with tolerating behavior of which I don’t approve when those engaged in it are adults making their own choices and not having a direct and significant impact on others.  Sometimes we’re dealing with edge cases that are hard to resolve, but we still have to try to resolve them.

    So I’m in favor of local standards for decency, and would allow a community (town, county, state) to ban, for example, public nudity or explicit advertising. I’ve never smoked pot or gotten drunk, but I’m in favor of people being allowed to drink if they want to, and I’m okay with communities establishing their own laws regarding marijuana use — even though I think it’s usually (though not always) a bad idea to use marijuana.

    I find transvestites distasteful, an insulting caricature of women and offensively unmanly, but I figure I don’t have a right to not be offended by others and so I won’t call for their prohibition. If some community were to do so, I’d be tempted to leave it to the community to make up its own rules: I don’t think the Constitution protects an inherent right of a man to dress like a woman; I do think communities should have to make a pretty strong case when they start regulating people’s attire and social presentation, particularly as they’re delving into free expression territory.

    I respectfully disagree with you about the inherent wrongness of homosexuality. I consider it abnormal, in a simple biological and statistical sense, but not immoral or dangerous to the social fabric.

    I think social media is very destructive, and would tolerate laws banning children from social media. There are a lot of things I would prohibit for children but feel compelled to allow for adults.

    I appreciate your distaste for what passes for “tolerance” today. I also have problems with it, though mine have more to do with the conflation of “tolerance” and “approval,” as I wrote about here:

    More Tolerance, Please

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank, as I think that I’m pointing out before, I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic about the usefulness of what we conceptualize as “rational debate” about various policy positions.  To me, these arguments increasingly look like rationalizations, not true rational arguments.

    As an example, in your comment above, you note that you would allow a local community to prohibit public nudity or explicit advertising.  Why do you think that this is permissible?

    I presume that your justification would be that such nudity or explicit images would give offense, or that children should be protected from such sights, or perhaps both.  Correct me if I’m wrong about this.

    But earlier in this thread, you’ve rejected the “for the children” argument, and in your latest comment, you also stated that: “I figure I don’t have a right to not be offended by others.”  These principles seem to undermine the rationale(s) that I presume you have for allowing a prohibition on public nudity.

    It seems to me that, on these issues and others, we’re in the position of balancing different virtues, if we’re trying to make rational arguments.  On the one hand, promoting community standards of decency and morality is a good thing.  On the other hand, such enforcement can seem too draconian in some instances, so we also value liberty and tolerance to some degree.

    I recall a podcast by Douglas Murray some time ago, discussing his book The Strange Death of Europe, in which he gave an example that I found helpful, in part, and obtuse, in part.  Regarding the refugees entering Europe, he argued that there was a conflict of virtues — mercy for the refugees in the desire to help them escape from a terrible situation, in conflict with justice for the native Europeans who would be disadvantaged by mass immigration in a number of ways.  Murray pointed out that Aristotle recognized such conflicts of virtues.

    He then said something like: “we know how to do this,” meaning that we know how to resolve a conflict of virtues.  And I thought, “no, we don’t.”  What is the decision rule?  How do you balance such virtues or values?  I don’t see any self-evidently correct way to do it.  It seems to come down to a “gut decision” for each individual.

    So it seems to me that this type of moral reasoning, if reasoning it is, allows us to structure a rhetorical argument in an attempt to persuade.  But it also seems to me that the ultimate decision is not rational, but based on . . . something.  Instinct, socialization, current social pressures, analogies to similar situations (and there are usually competing analogies), personal disposition.  In the end, it doesn’t look like moral reasoning to me.  It looks like rationalization.

    On the final point that you make, about the distinction between tolerance and acceptance, I am pessimistic about the chances of maintaining that distinction.  It does seem to be proving impossible in practice, in recent years.  Following the link to your prior post, you “offer this simple definition: tolerance means that you would allow something even if you had the practical authority to prevent it.”

    I’m not sure if you are making a distinction between legal authority and social pressure in this definition.  For example, does a boss who could — absent anti-discrimination laws — decide to fire a homosexual or trans employee have the sort of “practical authority” that you have in mind?  This would not be a case of legal enforcement of a moral judgment, as by a fine or imprisonment.  It would merely be a refusal to associate with the homosexual or trans individual, which we could consider an exercise in “freedom of association.”

    Yet I notice that, on both sides of the political spectrum, people don’t like it when they (or people with whom they agree) are on the receiving end of such refusal to associate.  If, for example, an employer fires a person for being “homophobic” or “transphobic” or otherwise insufficiently Woke, this is criticized as “cancel culture.”  Yet any informal enforcement of social norms is going to amount to “cancellation,” to some extent.

    I have the sense that we’ve been approaching a “house divided” point in our culture.  It is a bit of an oversimplification, of course, but broadly speaking, we seem to have two moral and social camps in our nation.  One is traditionalist, like me and (I think) you, generally living according to traditionally Christian norms of prudence, temperance, and sexual restraint.  The other is, at the extreme, a bacchanalia of public and private lewdness, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, widespread bastardy, shouting one’s abortion, and . . . well, those tattoos and piercings that so bother me.

    Lincoln said:

    A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.

    I’m not sure that our society can endure, permanently half Christian traditionalist and half Woke.

    I note that in this speech, which Lincoln gave in 1858, he turned out to be wrong in his expectation that the Union would not be dissolved.  That was precisely what happened, within three years.  That is the outcome that I strongly wish to avoid.

    I realize that you, and others, may not see our current situation as presenting such a stark set of alternatives.  I do, and hope to persuade you.  Because, at present, I do not think that our situation is quite as dire as that faced by Lincoln.  I think that the true Wokeists remain a small minority, and that a large majority of Americans are repelled by their vision of society.  Moreover, there is less of a geographical divide between Woke and traditional America than there was between the slave and free states.

    The factor preventing a practical defeat of Wokeism, in my judgment, is precisely the traditionalists who disapprove of Wokeism in their personal lives, but believe that we should be tolerant of this difference.

    I think that we should have nipped this thing in the bud many, many years ago.  Wokeism is no longer a bud, but I don’t think that it’s yet a mighty oak.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.