Guest post: Wanna be a brain in a vat?

Sep 11th, 2022 4:33 pm | By

Guest post by James Garnett.

More and more these days I keep seeing pop technologists ranting on about AI and “transhumanism”, which is to say, moving beyond biology and injecting our consciousness into machines. There is so much wrong with this even from a merely technical standpoint that I don’t even know where to start.

So much of our consciousness and the way we understand and interpret the world is tied up with our physical bodies and the inseparable link between them and our minds (yes, I said “inseparable”) as to make talking about one without integrating the other almost nonsensical. It betrays the blindered standpoint of persons without disability or dysfunction; people who can mostly ignore the presence of their bodies because nothing impinges upon their awareness to force them to observe.

One person I spoke to recently said that this is exactly what the “Singularity” will mean (downloading one’s consciousness into a computer): freedom from awareness or worries about biology and the body. I submit that this is wholly and completely wrong and mistaken: being unaware of a body that is functioning perfectly is completely different from being cut off from that same body, or from living insensate, or living with a body that doesn’t do what our instinct tells us that it should. It doesn’t take much malfunction to make us very, very aware that we live within it, and that its proper function is absolutely fundamental to our ability (should we enjoy it) of being unaware of its daily operation.

Even the very formation of our thinking and the thoughts within are formed, molded, and ultimately limited by the fact that we have binocular vision facing forwards, or that we stand upright, or that we have two hands instead of eight tentacles, or that we have basic biological firmware mechanisms built in to our very brains that prevent us from doing such things as walking off a cliff, and so on et cetera.

Anyway. Just random blitherings on a lazy sunday afternoon.

California’s rice fields

Sep 11th, 2022 11:39 am | By

Global warming–>more frequent droughts–>crop failures–>famines.

California rice fields:

Normally, by September, the drive north from Sacramento on Interstate 5 showcases vast stretches of flooded rice fields on both sides, farms bustling with tractors and workers preparing for fall harvest.

Not this year, said Kurt Richter, a third-generation rice farmer in Colusa, the rice capital of California where the local economy relies heavily on agriculture. “It is now just a wasteland,” he said.

As drought endures for a third year with record-breaking temperatures and diminishing water supplies, more than half of California’s rice fields are estimated to be left barren without harvest — about 300,000 out of the 550,000 or so in reported acres, provisional data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows. This year, rice is estimated to account for just 2% of total planted acres across the state.

That’s a lot of missing rice.

Espino, the Butte-based farm advisor, said the options are limited for rice farmers in the Sacramento River Valley, and continued drought would likely result in only those with the economic capacity to withstand the financial swings brought forth by the drought remaining.

But it’s hard to predict what exactly will happen this winter — if there will be plentiful rain to nourish these lands once more. “Nobody really knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “The only thing we can do is keep positive and hope for rain.”

Cross all those fingers.

Their grief?!

Sep 11th, 2022 10:52 am | By

There’s an awful lot of flapdoodle around over the public’s supposed “grief” – and not for the first time.

Ours what? Our “grief”? Come on.

The queen said so herself – the fictional one at least.

Make that GENDER discrimination

Sep 11th, 2022 9:27 am | By

Erin Friday on the move to change Title IX at the expense of women and girls:

While U.S. citizens, and particularly women and parents, should be celebrating the golden jubilee of Title IX, marking 50 years of protection against sex discrimination, they are instead feverishly trying to stop the Biden administration from implementing sweeping changes to the 1972 federal civil rights law. The proposed regulations undermine the initial premise of Title IX, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. These regulations will chill speech and enshrine gender identity as a reality…

When reality, oddly enough, is the very thing it isn’t.

Imagine changing federal laws to enshrine other fantasies. Affirmative action for white people who identify as black! Protections for people who were born here to people who were born here but identify as immigrants! Federal scholarships for Wasps who identify as first nations! Stipends for billionaires who identify as penniless!

On Sept. 12, 2022, the Department of Education will close public comments to its Notice of Proposal Rulemaking, a 700-page document rife with inconsistencies and double-speak. Essentially, the executive branch will promulgate new law expanding discrimination protections based on sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Notably, none of these terms are defined, resulting in incomprehensible regulations that guarantee a barrage of lawsuits from both sides of the aisle. Few students, from preschool to graduate school, will be immune to the deleterious effects of these regulations should they be enacted.

But on the plus side, there will be more and more and more precious gender angels everywhere.

Always intertwined

Sep 11th, 2022 9:03 am | By

Call to action.

The trans and lesbian communities have always been intertwined??? Meaning lesbians have always been intertwined with men who claim to be lesbians? I don’t think so. I really really don’t think so. Why would they be?

Also, there’s no such thing as a “trans lesbian.” Men can’t be lesbians. Men aren’t lesbians. Lesbians are under no obligation to “validate” or embrace or protect or prioritize or defend or scrub the toilets of men who call themselves lesbians.

Also the brandished axes are duly noted. Of course the pretense is that they represent the labrys, which has been a lesbian symbol for decades, but the (at least) double meaning is obvious. “Shut up and comply, bitches, or we’ll chop you up with these here axes.”

Respectability gone

Sep 11th, 2022 6:43 am | By

I remember when Republicans and the right wing were all about law n order. Seems like a century ago now.

Donald Trump’s non-stop drive to paint the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago to recover classified documents as a political witch hunt is drawing rebukes from ex-justice department and FBI officials who warn such attacks can spur violence and pose a real threat to the physical safety of law enforcement.

But the concerns have not deterred Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and other Trump allies from making inflammatory remarks echoing the former US president.

The unrelenting attacks by Trump and loyalists such as McCarthy, senator Lindsey Graham, Steve Bannon and false conspiracy theorist Alex Jones against law enforcement have continued despite strong evidence that Trump kept hundreds of classified documents illegally.

Evidence shmevidence. The point is that Trump is Our Guy.

“I have been dealing with law enforcement and the criminal justice system for close to 40 years. I have never seen the type or virulence of attacks being made every day against the FBI, DoJ lawyers, and judges,” former justice department inspector general Michael Bromwich told the Guardian. “It’s a chorus led by Trump but that includes elected officials at every level. It is dangerous and unacceptable.”

Bromwich added: “It’s one thing for professional rabble rousers, liars, and nihilists – such as Bannon and Jones – to attack law enforcement and DoJ in the way that they have since the search; it’s quite another for so-called respectable political figures such as McCarthy and Graham to do so. Their recent actions and words reflect that theirs is a politics detached from facts and principle.”

They’re not really respectable political figures any more. They hold respectable offices, but they themselves are just common or garden self-dealing bullies like Trump.

The audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories

Sep 11th, 2022 6:05 am | By

Judge throws out ludicrous lawsuit:

A federal judge in Florida dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, saying there was no basis for the former president to claim that Clinton and her allies harmed him with an orchestrated plan to spread false information that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

What means this word “basis”? If Trump thinks it, it’s true; that’s how the world works.

Trump “is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum,” Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote in a scathing 65-page ruling released Friday. The judge also wrote about “the audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories and the manner in which they clearly contravene binding case law.”

Other than that, decent effort.

The judge explains Trump in one paragraph:

“What the Amended Complaint lacks in substance and legal support it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances,” Middlebrooks wrote.

That is Trump. He lacks substance in every department; he knows nothing about anything; all he has is endless bluster and sadism. A talkative bully=Donald Trump.

Middlebrooks pointedly took a shot at what he said was the lawsuit’s sweeping attempt to criminalize criticism of Trump, writing: “Neither politically opposing Plaintiff, disliking Plaintiff, nor engaging in political speech about Plaintiff that casts him in a negative light is illegal.”

And if anyone in the world is deserving of a great deal of speech that casts him in a negative light, it’s Plaintiff.

Middlebrooks also highlights the difference between being in conflict with Trump and causing him harm: “Opposing Plaintiff’s presidential campaign does not amount to a realized pecuniary loss. Statements to law enforcement or comments made in a political campaign are not intended to induce others not to deal with Plaintiff or his business, or to cause direct or immediate financial loss.”

In other words, in less technical language: no, bozo, of course you can’t sue someone for running against you in a political campaign, that’s not how any of this works.

Truth in packaging

Sep 10th, 2022 5:20 pm | By

How to pretend women are included even when they’re not:

Bros review – Billy Eichner’s all-LGBTQ+ romantic comedy is a winner

What the Guardian goes on to describe, though, is a movie about gay men. Which is fine, but don’t pretend it’s also about lesbians.

Billy Eichner’s slick Judd Apatow-produced gay comedy Bros carries with it the specific sort of baggage that only a “first” is forced to carry. As the first theatrically released studio gay rom-com, the first studio film co-written by and starring an openly gay man and the first studio film with a majority LGBTQ+ cast, it’s a light movie made heavy with expectation – will it be gay enough or good enough or accessible enough or profitable enough – an unfair yet unavoidable heap of crosses to bear.

The fact that it’s called Bros kind of hints that lesbians don’t get a whole lot of screen time.

The review as a whole makes it pretty clear that it’s about a gay couple, and that there are some “LGBTQ+” parts for the crowd scenes. Again, that’s fine, but don’t pretend it’s about lesbians.

Wounded narcissist

Sep 10th, 2022 4:58 pm | By

One of the two toxic traits, so of course I had to decide what the other was before reading on.

A former lawyer who served in the White House during Donald Trump’s administration, said the ex-president is a “deeply wounded narcissist”, claiming that’s one of the two toxic traits that dictate his actions and decision making.

Well of course the other one is obvious, it’s just that there are a lot of ways to name it. Complete lack of conscience is one way; complete lack of any kind of regard or concern for other people is another. Brutality is another; piggy selfish bullying mean rude aggression is another. It’s why I’ll never understand his popularity. I can grasp admiring someone who can be cruel on occasion, but when it’s someone who is relentlessly shamelessly brazenly horrible at all times, I just can’t get my head around it.

Anyway yes that was it. One he’s a narcissist, two he’s a shit.

Ty Cobb, who stepped down in 2018 because of Trump’s disapproval of his “conciliatory” approach, also said Trump is “incapable of acting other than in his perceived self-interest or for revenge”.

Or a third motivation: sheer pleasure in bullying and injuring people. He loves doing it. He feeds on it, like a hummingbird sucking down the nectar.

During the CBS interview, Cobb also said the current justice department investigation about Trump allegedly stealing highly classified documents from the White House is aimed to cover a wider ground including his involvement in January 6 riots and schemes to undermine the 2020 elections.

Oh good. Go for it, justice people.

“I think the Department of Justice intends to prosecute him no matter what,” he said.

The search warrant is “very, very comprehensive in terms of the types of documents that the government could take”, Cobb added.

Good. Git him.

Psst drop the “mothers”

Sep 10th, 2022 11:05 am | By

Stonewall to Oxford: don’t refer to mothers as “she” if you want to score well.

Stonewall told Oxford University to stop referring to mothers as “she” in order to win a higher place on its controversial employer scheme, new documents have revealed.

The university had tried to keep its correspondence with the lobby group secret. However, it was ordered to release the documents after the information commissioner ruled that participation in the Workplace Equality Index allowed Stonewall to “exercise a significant degree of influence” over the policies of public organisations.

And in doing so, telling them to erase women from the language.

Oxford University was ranked 93rd in the 2019 Workplace Equality Index. A year later, it climbed to 76th place.

Big jump!

The documents show that in its 2020 feedback, Stonewall took issue with Oxford referring to mothers as “she” in its maternity policies, despite its advice to make the language gender neutral.

“There is good work on your policies, and it’s good to see clear commitments to trans staff,” the Stonewall assessor wrote. “The majority of your family policies are gender neutral which is good, but you use ‘she’ in the maternity policy and I recommend reviewing the glossary to expand the definition of ‘mother’ to ensure it is fully inclusive.”

What glossary would that be? The one that says men can be mothers?

Men can’t be mothers though. That’s one of the most basic things humans know – it’s female people who are mothers, female people exclusively.

In its 2019 feedback, Stonewall said: “Some great work here and clear thought-out responses to the questions. Please keep in mind that any examples in your training should cover sexual orientation and gender identity, there is a lot here which are examples of homophobia but not biphobia and/or transphobia.”

Probably because they’re not real.

Stonewall said: “We are absolutely not trying to eliminate the word ‘mother’. Every parent should be supported by their employers, and our advice simply highlights the importance of inclusive language in ensuring that HR policies, such as family and parental leave policies, are inclusive of all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer staff.”

Blah blah blah every parent, but it’s women who face particular hardships and demands that stem from motherhood. And how exactly can maternal leave be “inclusive” of queer people? When nobody knows what “queer” even means?

Sewage and flood waters

Sep 10th, 2022 8:35 am | By

More from Pakistan:

Between 5% and 10% of the city’s population of 350,000 are still stuck in their flooded homes. Those who can, travel around by boat. Others swim in the flood waters with a stick to get about. Sewage and flood waters have mixed to a dirty green. Interviews with local people painted a picture of a disaster on a scale that the government and NGOs were unable to cope with.

Dadu and neighbouring Qambar Shahdadkot are the worst-affected districts in the Sindh province, itself the worst-hit province. Flood water inundates roads for miles, making many towns inaccessible. Displaced people live in tents and makeshift homes on roadsides.

Manzoor Ali, also from Nurang Chandio, said villagers had built the tents and makeshift houses on their own. “We are running out of food,” he said. “We eat once a day. My daughter, who is just two years old, has a recurrent high fever and there are no medical facilities here.”

Holding her son close to her, Ghulam e Kubra said: “There is nothing for us. Children are falling sick and we are helpless. We don’t have clean drinking water, food and medicine. We don’t know what to do with our lives.”

Here the cruise ships are getting ready for another afternoon departure.

A monstrous super-flood

Sep 10th, 2022 8:21 am | By

Fatima Bhutto tells us about the disaster in Pakistan:

This summer, erratic monsoon rains battered the country from north to south – Sindh, the southernmost province, received 464% more rain over the last few weeks than the 30-year average for the period.

At the same time, Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at a rate never seen before. These two consequences of the climate crisis have combined to create a monstrous super-flood that has ravaged the country.

Ninety per cent of crops in Sindh have been damaged; Faisal Edhi, who runs Pakistan’s largest social welfare organisation, the Edhi Foundation, has warned that those who don’t die from the floods risk death by starvation.

A famine is coming; the only question is how soon? Economic losses are estimated to be in excess of $30bn, 50 million people have been internally displaced, there is the threat of a malaria epidemic as floodwater lies stagnant – satellite images have shown the shocking formation of a 100km-wide inland lake in Sindh due to overflowing from the Indus River – and there is no doubt that a generation will be cast backwards as already meagre education and health services are violently disrupted. More than 400 children have died and with winter coming and millions left without shelter, many more will.

It’s like Katrina times a very large number.

The imbalance

Sep 10th, 2022 5:41 am | By

Prospect gives us a typically smug “what’s all this fuss about trans rights?” piece by a typically smug dude who isn’t affected by the issue the way women are, and who is so smug he doesn’t notice or care that he isn’t affected by the issue the way women are.

You may have noticed, whether or not you are interested in transgender issues, a fascination with them in the press that borders on the obsessional. 

Ur hur hur, fascination, obsessional, ur hur hur, Y R people so interested?

It’s no skin off his ass so why is it skin off anyone else’s ass?

You may have got the impression, because much of the writing asserts or implies this, that trans people are a threat to women, want to abolish lesbianism, send disgusting messages and make ridiculous demands, and that dangerous ideologues are rushing young girls into operating theatres if they show an interest in things traditionally considered male. 

Aren’t people silly??? Zero trans people of either sex pose any threat at all to any women anywhere, as everyone knows. Lia Thomas? No threat to women at all in any way! Rapists in women’s prisons? No threat!! Men taking women’s prizes, jobs, scholarships? No threat!! A cosmetic surgeon who rejoices at yeeting the teets? Not a threat!!

The imbalance is not confined to the conservative press. Take one BBC article, which concerned trans women allegedly pressuring lesbians who are cisgender—identifying with the gender they were assigned at birth—into having sex with them. It uncritically quoted a transphobic individual and cited partisan and valueless research. It’s still there, though with the headline changed and the more questionable material removed. One trans woman who doesn’t want to be identified—I’ll call her Clare—says that “you wouldn’t see stuff like this about any other group. It is the acceptable face of bigotry.” 

Stuff like what? We don’t know. All we have is “It uncritically quoted a transphobic individual and cited partisan and valueless research,” which is 1. vague and 2. entirely according to the clueless and biased Rowan Moore.

In contentious debates where there are two or more positions to be taken, the media often take the one least favourable to what most trans people feel are their rights.

Ok, bub, then spell them out. Spell out the rights. Is it a right for men to take women’s prizes and places on teams because they claim to identify as women? If you think that’s a right, kindly go on to explain why you think so and how you explain away women’s rights in that situation.

Supposed victims of cancel culture are given the opportunity to lament, loudly and often, that they have been silenced. Meanwhile, in the storm of words about their identities and their futures, the voices of transgender people are hard to find.

The hell they are. The voices of “transgender people” are loud and everywhere.

Frightening realities

Sep 10th, 2022 4:57 am | By

China’s heatwave:

[T]he heat wave that baked China for weeks was startling in its scale, duration and intensity. Through July and August, it shattered temperature recordsdried up riverswithered cropssparked wildfires and caused deaths from heatstroke. It may have been the most severe heat wave ever recorded.

And it laid bare frightening realities about how humanity is expected to adapt.

With temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit, electricity usage soared as hundreds of millions of Chinese switched on air-conditioners. But where was that power supposed to come from? Severe drought had dried up the rivers on which the country depends for much of its clean hydroelectricity, crippling output.

This forced China, which pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other nation, to double down on carbon-belching coal to make up the power shortfall. The heat wave had created a vicious cycle that, if replicated across the globe during future extreme weather events, will deeply complicate efforts to combat some of the worst effects of climate change.

“Complicate” looks like a euphemism there. Burning more coal doesn’t so much “complicate” efforts to fight climate change as it renders them useless.

We drove through normally verdant farmland toward Sichuan’s provincial capital, Chengdu, passing miles of withered cornfields and bumper-to-bumper traffic that flowed in the opposite direction toward the mountains. With hydropower output crippled, the authorities had imposed power-saving blackouts that closed businesses and rendered air-conditioners useless. People were fleeing to higher, cooler ground.

Chengdu wasn’t the only place. At least 262 weather stations nationwide tied or set heat records, and rivers that are important arteries for shipping and transportation became unnavigable. Water levels in the Yangtze, the world’s third-longest river, hit record lows, dropping as much as 20 feet below recent averages.

The Chinese government has now warned that the autumn harvest is at risk, prompting fears that increased demands for food imports could exacerbate a global food crisis. And ominously, the power crunch caused by the heat wave has given rise to calls for China to slow down its transition from coal to renewable energy in order to keep the economy running.

Not good.

Special guest

Sep 9th, 2022 3:43 pm | By

How did I miss this?? Republicans cheering Viktor Orban:

All you need to know about the state of the Republican Party today is what happened at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Thursday [last month]. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been destroying his country’s democracy, received a standing ovation less than two weeks after he gave a speech in Romania in which he endorsed the white supremacist “replacement theory” and denounced a “mixed-race world.”

Texas Monthly has more:

Last month, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán traveled to Romania to deliver a fiery speech denouncing the “mixing” of European and non-European peoples. “We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race . . . and we do not want to become a mixed race,” Orbán told his audience. Countries that accepted race-mixing, he said, were “no longer nations; they are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples.” The next day, one of Orbán’s longest-serving advisers resigned, calling the address a “pure Nazi speech” that was “worthy of Goebbels.” 

On Thursday, in Dallas, Orbán received a standing ovation at the semiannual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), America’s most important right-wing political event. He spent much of his speech defending his vision of a “zero-migration” country defined by ethnic homogeneity and Judeo-Christian values. “The globalists can all go to hell,” he declared to an audience of several thousand activists. “I have come to Texas.” 

Yeah boy there’s nothing more valuable than “ethnic homogeneity.” It’s like…I dunno…cookies. You got your chocolate chip cookies and your ginger cookies and you don’t want to go mixing them because they wouldn’t taste good. Humans are exactly like that. Mixing is yuck.

He had come to the right place. Speaking at CPAC on the same day as Orbán, Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick echoed the Hungarian leader’s Christian nationalist rhetoric. “The framers did not write the Constitution,” Patrick asserted, “God wrote the Constitution. We are a Christian nation.”

I’m pretty sure he’s wrong on the facts there. I’m pretty sure we know exactly what guys wrote the Constitution, and that they were particular 18th century guys as opposed to being “God.” Also by the way there is no such person as “God” and there are no books or documents or shopping lists written by “God,” because of the whole no such person thing.

Viktor Orban. Honestly.

The amount that’s already occurred

Sep 9th, 2022 9:50 am | By

More on this we’re definitely going to pass a lot of tipping points story today:

The drought- and flood-stricken summer of 2022 has shown the impact of 1.1° Celsius of global warming — the amount that’s already occurred since pre-industrial times. Now a major scientific reassessment finds that several critical planetary systems are at risk of breaking beyond repair even if nations restrain warming to 1.5°C, the lower threshold stipulated by the Paris Agreement. 

At that level of warming, coral reefs may die off, ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic may melt and permafrost may abruptly thaw, according to a new paper in the journal Science

Which will cause a whole lot more critical planetary systems to break beyond repair.

At about 1.5°C some tipping points may be reached, including for the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, accelerated thawing of boreal permafrost, and die-off of tropical coral reefs. But the authors “cannot rule out” that ice-sheet tipping points have already been passed and that some other tipping elements have minimum thresholds in range of 1.1°C to 1.5°C of warming. 

“Our assessment provides strong scientific evidence for urgent action to mitigate climate change,” the scientists write in a summary. “We show that even the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C and preferably 1.5°C is not safe as 1.5°C and above risks crossing multiple tipping points [CTPs]. Crossing these CTPs can generate positive feedbacks that increase the likelihood of crossing other CTPs.”

Meanwhile we do nothing. We can’t. We didn’t evolve to do the kind of thing that needs to be done.

Culture warrior

Sep 9th, 2022 8:14 am | By

Dirt dirt and more dirt. Ginni Thomas is in it up to her neck.

Ginni Thomas, the self-styled “culture warrior” and extreme rightwing activist, has links to more than half of the anti-abortion groups and individuals who lobbied her husband Clarence Thomas and his fellow US supreme court justices ahead of their historic decision to eradicate a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

A new analysis of the written legal arguments, or “amicus briefs”, used to lobby the justices as they deliberated over abortion underlines the extent to which Clarence Thomas’s wife was intertwined with this vast pressure campaign.

On the one hand, we’ve got the left zealously campaigning to destroy women’s rights via “trans rights,” and on the other hand we’ve got the right doing it via “rights of the unborn.”

“The Thomases are normalizing the prospect of too close an association between the supreme court and those who litigate before it,” said Melissa Murray, a law professor at New York University and co-host of the Strict Scrutiny podcast. “This isn’t the first time that Mrs Thomas has had dealings with those who come before the court and seek her husband’s vote.”

Dirty pool.


Sep 9th, 2022 4:23 am | By

The tipping points aren’t in the future.

The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study.

Or not to the brink but over it.

It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

These include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge sea level rise, the collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic, disrupting rain upon which billions of people depend for food, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.

But we will continue to do nothing about it.

Mermaids and the fox killer

Sep 9th, 2022 3:27 am | By

On the calendar today:

A judge will consider an appeal by the trans rights charity Mermaids on Friday against the Charity Commission’s decision to award charitable status to the new gay rights organisation LGB Alliance. It is understood to be the first time one charity has attempted to strip legal status from another.

The highly unusual hearing will focus attention on increasingly fractious debates over sex and gender identity, and the legal definitions of same-sex attraction and sexual orientation.

I for one hope it will also focus attention on what people mean when they talk about “rights” without ever defining them. What does it mean to call Mermaids “the trans rights charity” as Amelia Gentleman does in the first paragraph? What are “trans rights”? We’re never told. Journalists mention them but never define them.

Mermaids, which supports transgender, nonbinary and gender diverse children and their families, launched an appeal last year against the Charity Commission’s grant of charitable status to the LGB Alliance. It argued that the group was set up primarily to lobby the government to restrict the legal rights afforded to transgender people.

What are trans children? What are nonbinary children? What are gender diverse children? What are we talking about? What are the legal rights afforded to transgender people that the LGB Alliance is supposed to be lobbying to restrict? How are we supposed to be able to understand and have an informed opinion on this subject when it is so drastically and absurdly undefined?

Perhaps we get a little bit of definition in this bit:

The legal discussion will set the LGB Alliance’s position that there are only two sexes and that gender is a social construct against Mermaids’ position that transgender people’s gender identity should be affirmed.

A little bit, because what does “transgender people’s gender identity should be affirmed” mean?

The problem is, as always, that the underlying ideology is absurd, which may be why it never gets spelled out in reporting. What are “transgender people”? People who have a socially encouraged delusion that they’re not the sex they are. What is “gender identity”? The delusion that one is not the sex one is. What does it mean to “affirm gender identity”? To encourage people in a delusion.

I wonder if it will spread to other categories. Perhaps people will start to say they identify as cars, apples, rabbits, planets, and there will be new vocabularies for all these new delusions, and new claims of “rights” and “affirmation” for all of them.

Mermaids’ legal papers also claim that LGB Alliance has campaigned to stop Mermaids from advising schools and other government bodies on transgender rights.

But what are “transgender rights”? Are they genuine rights? How do we know? Do they conflict with existing rights? How do we know? How can we figure all this out when the core ideology is protected from having to explain itself?

In its preliminary submissions, LGB Alliance sets out its position that same-sex attraction should be defined by biological sex (male or female) not by gender identity, at a time when many mainstream charities have shifted to a different definition of same sex-attraction, based on attraction to someone’s gender or gender identity, rather than someone’s biological sex. It says it was founded in part to disrupt a narrative that critics of Stonewall were homophobic.

What an incoherent idea that is – “many mainstream charities have shifted to a different definition of same sex-attraction, based on attraction to someone’s gender or gender identity, rather than someone’s biological sex.” So in other words gender or gender identity is the opposite of someone’s sex? So many mainstream charities are defining same-sex attraction as not same-sex attraction?

The idea is, I suppose, that most people’s “gender identity” matches their sex, so gender ideology isn’t really throwing lesbian and gay rights out the window, it’s just driving a big truck through them. Somehow I don’t find that very reassuring.

Senate candidate tells voters to fuck off

Sep 8th, 2022 3:41 pm | By

Dems tie themselves The left ties itself to the mast as the bow of the ship points down.

Actually there are a lot of reasons to say anything else. About 4 billion or so.

Why would a woman be a person who identifies as an adult female? That’s not a general rule, after all. A pilot is a person who identifies as a pilot. No, and you’d better hope the one flying the plane you’re on isn’t the Identifies-as kind. An elephant is a mammal who identifies as an elephant. No, that’s not right; they identify as Cary Grant. A man is a person who identifies as an adult male. No, that can’t be right, because if it were, women couldn’t be kept out of so many institutions and jobs.