I keep hearing claims that Democrats and liberals in general represent the “party of science.” Of course, that only seems to come up when you’re talking about climate change. In other fields of science… not so much. Take for example the questions surrounding transgender individuals who very strongly believe that they are the opposite of the obvious gender their DNA dictates (or one of dozens of new gender definitions). There is still zero medical evidence that this is a real phenomenon for those born with standard chromosomal structures, but who are the folks buying into the concept?
Framed against the aforementioned climate change debate, this is probably going to sound like Opposite Day, but according to a new Pew survey, it turns out that Christians are the most likely to reject most of this pseudoscience and adhere to scientifically accepted norms in biology. Meanwhile, atheists (or “nones”) are most likely to buy into it. (Washington Examiner)
Most Christians believe that the sex of anyone is determined at birth, while a similar number of religious “nones,” including atheists, believe a person’s gender identification can come later, according to a remarkable new survey on transgender people.
The poll from Pew Research Center found a huge split between Christians and others on transgender people.
63 percent of Christians “say that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by their sex at birth.”
62 percent of “nones” say “a person’s gender is not necessarily determined by the sex they are assigned at birth.”
The science on this subject is all over the place. This August report from Reuters describes an ongoing project where researchers are trying to test the DNA of thousands of volunteers to see if there’s any sort of genetic marker to identify transgenderism. The closest they come to suggesting there’s some medical science behind all of this is to say, “decades of brain research have provided hints of a biological origin to being transgender, but no irrefutable conclusions.”
That’s putting it generously to say the least. There have been a handful of studies done over the past couple of decades, both of the physical brain structures of subjects and their brain waves. The results, as Reuters notes, have been uniformly inconclusive and the testing not reproducible.
Might they find something in genetic markers pointing in this direction? It’s certainly possible. We’re still in the very early stages of being able to try to fine tune our understanding of genetic coding, but it turns up interesting hints about almost anything if you dig deep enough. But the problem here is that most genetic testing is matched against physical parameters which show up in human beings. You can analyze the DNA of enough people and eventually find the marker that determines if you’ll have blue eyes. The results are verifiable because you can look at the people and see if they have blue eyes.
But what about when the only indicator available is asking someone how they feel about something? As we’ve discussed here before, there’s a vanishingly small percentage of the population who sincerely believe that they are lycanthropes or some other form of were-creature. (Refer to Clinical Lycanthropy.) As with transgenderism among humans, there’s zero medical proof that these people are in any way, shape or form capable of transforming into wolves under a full moon or share any physical traits with canis lupus. But could you find a genetic key they share in common? Maybe.
None of this makes for a scientifically sound debate, however. And yet we’re already busily passing laws and altering public policy around the idea that transgender individuals are some sort of new gender rather than addressing what remains an obvious, underlying medical condition. So is it somehow odd that Christians are more likely to accept the science on this subject? I’m guessing there are other factors involved leading to that particular split, but I’m not a proficient enough mind reader to venture a guess as to what they might be.