Science and gender

Seeing people who rail against others being transgender, describing that as “unnatural”, I wonder about more than just the fact that combing your hair is unnatural, wearing glasses is unnatural, and having any kind of corrective surgery is unnatural.

I also wonder what those ranters would say about people who have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome but are insensitive to androgens, or are missing the SRY gene on the Y chromosome, or have congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and thus have *female* bodies. That’s right: male chromosomes, female bodies.

What about people who have two X chromosomes but one of those Xs also has an SRY gene, or who have congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and thus have *male* bodies? That’s right: female chromosomes, male bodies.

What about people who have conditions such as 5α-reductase deficiency, who thus have bodies which are female until puberty but then become male bodies?

What about people who are XXY, XXXY, XXXXY, XYY, or X0? What about people whose cells differ from one another, forming a mosaic of XX and XY together in one body, including those who “with more than 90 per cent XY genetic material have given birth”?

What about people who have similar conditions which are never externally, publicly apparent, who are apparently one sex but are really not that and are instead the other, or are neither?

What about the fact that human science is not an absolute knowledge of all that is or can be, and thus we cannot logically rule out the existence of conditions and situations which we cannot even identify yet?

Even if someone went so far down the reductive biological determinism route as to imagine that humans were mere organic machines, with neither free will nor reflexive and conscious thought, one would still have to face the simple fact that the machinery of biology is much, much more complex than a simplistic dichotomy of XX versus XY.

Along similar lines, those who claim that being transgender is a new, Western idea have somehow managed not only to be ignorant of fa’afafinetwo-spirit, katoey, hijra, waria, etc., but also of such ancient figures as Kaineus, Teiresias, Iphis, Hermaphroditos, and the people Philo rails against in Alexandria.

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One million priorities

What does a church do with a million dollars? Set up a shelter for the homeless? Feed the poor? Deliver blankets to the needy? Organise a reading programme for underprivileged children? Most churches don’t know because they don’t have that kind of money.
 
The Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church did, and their Standing Committee decided that the most important recipient was the campaign to deny human rights to a minority group.

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The establishment of religion

30 out of 199 countries have Islam as an established or preferred religion; 41 have Christianity in the same role.
There is, however, a very significant population difference in that the 30 Muslim countries have 984.3 million people, whereas the 41 Christian ones have 655.9 million.

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Evangelical scientists, on climate change

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evangelical-climate-scientist-explains-why-christians-should-care-about-the-environment_us_586eadfee4b099cdb0fc3e5f

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The projected development of world religious trends

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

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How income inequality damages the economy

http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/employment/in-it-together-why-less-inequality-benefits-all/the-impact-of-income-inequality-on-economic-growth_9789264235120-5-en#page1

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Young people’s views of religion

The following is a useful graphic display of the difference between US Christian and non-Christian views of Christianity. Barna have a similar chart relating to what people perceive as “extreme” in religion, and nearly three times as many young Brits believe religion to be a nett source of evil as believe it to be a nett source of good. 

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