• Dolezal vs. Jenner

    If you’re alive and on the internet, you have probably seen various people comparing Rachel Dolezal (a white activist who spent several years identifying and passing as black) to Caitlyn Jenner (a transwoman formerly famed as the physical embodiment of masculine athleticism in the 1970’s). Here are just a few examples culled from Twitter:

    The role of the scientific skeptic is to ask whether we can approach any of the questions at hand from a scientific perspective, and to help others make more scientifically informed arguments and decisions. This is no less true for hot-topic social issues than for clear-cut debates of interest primarily to our niche community, though the former are generally less straightforward and more fraught.

    Do we have ample scientific evidence for the existence of gender dysphoria? Yes. You can read the relevant wiki for a capsule summary, or go to Google Scholar for countless peer-reviewed articles on point. Debate persists over diagnostic nomenclature and the problem of stigmatization, but there is no longer any significant debate about whether a sizable number of people experience dissonance as a result of their gender identities not being aligned with how their bodies are seen by themselves and others. There is even some progress being made on investigating the probable gestational etiology of gender dysphoria, which may help explain why it occurs in the first place.

    Do we have any scientific evidence for the existence of an analogous condition of racial dysphoria? No. So far as I can tell, no psychologist, psychiatrist, or research scientist has ever seriously suggested this as a diagnosis, and while the absence of evidence is not definitive proof of absence, it is enough to cast this hypothesis into so much doubt as to render it useless in serious arguments about how human society should work.

    Category: Skepticism

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.