Comment Of The Day: “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

In this Comment of the Day, the first of two this morning, Extradimensional Cephalopod provides useful perspective on the logical and ethical flaws inherent in the trans athletes fiasco, as well as the weak arguments presented by advocates of biological males competing in girls’ and women’s sports. [That’s transgender female powerlifter Janae Kroc above, before (when she was Matthew Kroczaleski, and after. He/she calls himself/herself “gender fluid,” so when feeling feminine, Janae competes against women. She does…well.]

Here is EC’s COTD, on the post, “On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?”

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The nature of most sports is a form of the liability of conflict: uncertain motivational obstacles. People want to be uncertain about the outcome of a sporting event, such that much of what decides the outcome is the motivation, the character, and the efforts of the competitors. That’s why weight classes in wrestling and boxing exist. If one competitor is larger and more physically powerful than the others, and that makes a predictable difference, that moves the event into the realm of scarcity: known physical obstacles, and out of the realm of sports.

If we want to spend the money to decouple gender and ability in sports, well and good. As long as they’re tied together, though, ability must be the priority for arranging match-ups, or else it stops being sport. (Testosterone treatments are a separate factor that would probably need to have its own class, because they’re artificial treatments that cause muscle growth.)

Due to budgetary constraints, only a subset of the most physically capable (cisgender) students are usually able to compete in academic sports, which rules out most students. (Sometimes there are also the equivalent of the Paralympics, to allow people with physical impairments to compete in sports with other athletes of similar physical ability.) Everyone who doesn’t make the team does other things, and sometimes they do amateur sports. People aren’t entitled to be on the school team, though. Continue reading

On Transgender Competitors Being Permitted In Women’s Sports: Is It Possible To Be More Ethically And Logically Muddled Than This?

I doubt it. I doubt if anything can be more ethically and logically muddled than the article —actually two articles—about another biological male crushing female competitors in a women’s sports competition. Right at the start, the USA Today piece sets a new absurd bar for “It isn’t what it is” rhetoric. The article begins, “The sentiment is universal: Everyone agrees that Andraya Yearwood should be allowed to compete in her chosen races as a girl.”

Wait: the same article in its headline says that Yearwood’s eligibility is a matter of “controversy.” If there is controversy, then obviously the sentiment isn’t “universal.” Normally, a statement that self-evidently contradictory would make me stop reading because the writer is an idiot, but I read this junk so you won’t have to.

The next sentence is just as bad:

After all, she identifies as a girl, trains alongside fellow females and plans to eventually undergo hormone therapy to complete a transition from her male birth gender to female.

“After all’? None of that is convincing proof that a biological male should be competing against women. Then Cam Smith—that’s the name of the idiot, whom USA Today entrusts with High School sports stories—gets the Triple Crown, or a hat trick, or whatever you call three brain-melting statements in a row: Continue reading

May The Fourth Ethics Warm-Up: The Derby, Booing Mitt, And Other Pastimes…

Besides the terrible pun, May the 4th has great ethical significance in U.S. history. The children of the Sixties have the date seared into their memories as the 1970 tipping point in the Vietnam war protests. Twenty-eight young and badly trained National Guardsmen fired their weapons at a group of anti-war demonstrators on the Kent State University campus. Four students were killed, eight were wounded, and one was permanently paralyzed. The tragedy didn’t make the war any more or less wrong, but it massively shifted sympathies to students, protesters, and the one-time punchline of the previous few years, hippies. Future U.S. activists learned the lesson of Kent State well: if you can goad the opposition into violence, it is a victory for the cause, just and reasonable or not. This makes no sense, of course, other than being the ideal use of the cognitive dissonance scale

But Kent State doesn’t came close to the impact of the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago, Illinois on this date in 1886. A bomb was thrown at a squad of police attempting to break up a peaceful labor rally that was getting rowdy. The police responded to the bomb by wildly shooting into the crowd, killing more than a dozen people and injuring hundreds. The episode had wide-reaching effects in labor, law and politics, galvanizing the union movement, leading to great political courage by some politicians (like Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld, who pardoned three arrested activists who hadn’t been executed or died in 1893) and craven expediency by others.

The episode was also the major catalyst in bring a small-time lawyer named Clarence Darrow to Chicago, and inspiring him to be a labor lawyer.

1. More on Brandon Mitchell, the Chauvin juror who couldn’t keep his mouth shut. The photo of Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at a protest in Washington D.C. last August…

…has some legal experts…and me…wondering if the chances of the Chauvin verdict being overturned just got a whole lot better. “I’d never been to D.C.,” Mitchell humina-huminaed about his reasons for attending the event. “The opportunity to go to D.C., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”

Part of what, exactly, sir?

Brandon also says he doesn’t recall wearing such a shirt. That’s not encouraging regarding his honesty, is it?

Meanwhile, in the story about the latest development in the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, the AP writes,

A photo, posted on social media, shows Brandon Mitchell, who is Black, attending the Aug. 28 event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington. Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who have been shot by police addressed the crowd.

Others who have been shot by the police? Floyd was shot too? I did not know that!

Continue reading

One More Time: It Is Unethical For The News Media To Present Idiots As Commentators

In the case at hand, the appellation “idiot” is neither unfair nor ad hominem. For some mysterious reason, CBS News anchor Lana Zak decided to feature former U.S. professional soccer player Lori Lindsey as an authority on the issues involved in transgender participation in female sports. Lindsey rapidly demonstrated that she lacked the knowledge, analytical skills and rhetorical ability for the role, as she defaulted to woke buzz-words that had nothing to do with the topic. Asked about various bills being considered around the country that would ban transitioning biological males from competing against girls and women, Lindsay babbled,

“These bills do uphold white supremacy under the guise of protecting women’s sport when we actually know that women’s sport, protection of it, would be to have more funding and to have more women in leadership positions and equal pay. But the reality, though, is that these youth just want to participate with their friends and play sports like everyone else.”

What? How is “white supremacy” involved in trying to keep trans competitors out of women’s sports?

Not able to resist endorsing this gibberish, Zak asked, “I want to circle back to something you said earlier about these bills are trying to perpetuate supremacy. I imagine that there are parents at home who have genetically, or who have daughters who were assigned a female gender at birth, and that are concerned that their child is not going to get a fair shake in competing against other people, against a trans girl and they’re not thinking this is a supremacists position. How do you appeal to that parent that feels it is just about the sports to see that there’s actually a greater debate that is a proxy for?”

Feel that pressure building in your skull yet? The reason such parents don’t feel that it is a “supremacists position” is that the issue has nothing to do with race, other than the fact that race is the default argument for every progressive position when it runs out of legitimate arguments.

Answering like the 10-year-old she reasons like, Lindsay’s reply was this:

Continue reading

From Idaho, Common Sense Measures Regarding Transgender Competitors In Women’s Sports

Naturally, the common sense measures are being condemned as bigoted and unethical.

Idaho is now Ground Zero in the controversy over the ethical and equitable treatment of transgender individuals. In addition to the newly passed and signed Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bans biologically male transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports events,  Idaho Governor Brad Little (a Republican, of course) signed a bill making it more difficult to change the sex designation on a birth certificate.

Ethics Alarms has discussed the transgender/women’s sports controversy in many posts. It’s admittedly a difficult ethics conflict that has played out in many strange ways across the country, including a female high school wrestler transitioning to male being forced to compete against females, and many instances of formerly male athletes competing as women crushing their double-X opposition while giving us photographs like this:

Female athletes who have protested the unfairness of this development, like Martina Navratalova, have been attacked as bigots, while some feminists have predicted that allowing trans athletes to continue to take advantage of their passing through puberty as males will destroy women’s sports, negating the salutary effects of Title IX, the law that made gender discrimination in sports illegal.  Idaho state Rep. Barbara Ehardt , who played basketball at Idaho State University and later coached Division I women’s teams, led the way in pushing the legislation through to law. “If I had had to compete against biological boys and men, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to play,” she told reporters. “Honestly, I know firsthand that we simply can’t compete against the inherent physiological and scientifically proven advantages that boys and men possess. We simply can’t do it, regardless of any hormone usage.”

Intersex competitors, like Caster Semenya, pose a different ethical problem. Continue reading

Catch-Up Ethics Warm-Up, 10/22/2019: Updates, Word Policing, And The World Series

Late start to the day…

…in part as a hangover from the lively Smithsonian Associates presentation on cross examination with my sister last night. The event was completely sold out, a first among my five Smithsonian programs, and it was an intense two hours, followed by lively questioning from some participants who stayed for nearly an hour to grill us.

1. Good ethics news follow-up: Marlon Anderson, the black security guard who was fired from Madison’s West High School last week for protesting being called “nigger” by  a student, thus triggering an unreasonable, brain-dead and indefensible “no-tolerance”  policy, is being reinstated.

Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore  rescinded the termination less than a week after Anderson was fired. The dismissal triggering intense criticism here and elsewhere, including a student walk-out.  One nice thing about incompetent bureaucracies is that their lazy, thoughtless, unethical actions seldom are accompanied by any real logic or conviction, so they will usually back down, following the path of least resistance.

Still, as Ethics Alarms has asked dozens of times, how can responsible parents trust educators whose judgment is so wretched?

I also want to note that most publications reporting on the story emulated the Wisconsin State Journal, which wrote, “A black security guard who was fired from Madison’s West High School last week for repeating a racial slur a student had hurled at him, in an attempt to correct the student, will get his job back.”

Gee, which racial slur? Isn’t the particular slur an essential part of this story? Was it “negro”? “Uncle Tom”? When is it ever competent journalism to withhold relevant information from readers? Is the theory that the mere word will upset some readers more than the tales of carnage the same publications include daily without censorship? Do we read stories that report, “Someone did something really terrible to 26 people in a church using a weapon of some kind”?

In this case, withholding the crucial word at issue supports the “logic” behind the no-tolerance policy that led to the whole fiasco.

2. In more news of progressive word-policing:  Massachusetts state Rep. Daniel HuntGuess what party he belongs to. Come on, guess!  Hey, you have a 50-50 chance of being right!—-has submitted a bill to the legislature that would criminalize use of the word “bitch.” There will be a hearing today on Beacon Hill. Of course the bill is unconstitutional, but why should we expect elected representatives to be able to figure that out?

Meanwhile, the Boston Herald, supposedly the city’s conservative paper (meaning it’s not as left-biased as the Boston Globe) didn’t dare publish the word, writing instead, “the B-word — the term for a female dog that is commonly used to slander women.”

Someone should  tell the Herald that calling a woman a “bitch,” no matter how unjustified, cannot possibly constitute slander. Continue reading

Saturday Night Ethics Fever, 9/21/2019: Crazy Stuff

1. A simple, factual, ethical rebuttal to Beto O’Rourke, who panders to the anti-gun Democratic base by saying that he’ll confiscate the weapons he thinks we don’t “need.” Lauren Boebert, who with her husband owns local restaurant Shooters Grill, where she and a lot of the staff  open carry a loaded firearm,  confronted  O’Rourke at a town hall in Aurora Colorado. “I was one of the gun-owning Americans who heard you speak regarding your ‘Hell yes, I’m going to take your AR-15s and AK-47s.’ Well, I’m here to say, ‘Hell no, you’re not!”

She was, of course, correct, just as Beto was grandstanding to the ignorant and fearful, in deliberate defiance of the Constitution.

To his credit, Beto tried to control the rabid anti-Second Amendment fanatics in his crowd  who tried to shout Boebert down, as she continued,  “We all have these stories. We all have the experiences. I was living in Aurora during Columbine. I had just recently moved when the Aurora shootings happened. Yet I have very close ties here. Yet all of those people were there defenseless.”

“They had no way to defend themselves against a crazed shooter, so I want to know how you intend to legislate the hearts of men and leave American citizens like myself, American mothers,” Boebert said. above the  abuse from the crowd. “I have four children. I’m 5 foot zero, one hundred pounds, and cannot really defend myself with a fist.”

Then she told a heckler near her that  she didn’t have her AR-15 with her, but  was carrying her Glock. “Well, you shouldn’t have that,” the man said.

Wrong again. It’s not his call, nor his business, whether she has a pistol or not.

2. From the wasteful and pointless protests files: “Hundreds of thousands” of 20-somethings and kids took part in a global protest against “inaction on climate change.” What do they know about climate change? Only what they have been told by agenda- driven activists, teachers and politicians, almost all of them without genuine scientific comprehension of the complexities, vagaries and uncertainty of the topic themselves. Are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t really know what they are talking about more persuasive than, say, one? Should they be?

No. Leading these innocents to believe otherwise is a cruel joke. Margot Guillen of Harvest Collegiate High School, told Yahoo News she was there to send a message, saying, “By protesting peacefully, it shows how committed our generation is to making a change and showing that we know what’s happening and we need to stop it.” They don’t know what’s happening, though, and they don’t know how to stop “it,” in part because they don’t know what “it” is, when “it” will occur, what the extent of “it” will be, and even whether “it,” whatever “it” is, will occur at all.

Good protest.

Typical. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/17/2019: The Deluded, The Narrative, “The Squad,” The Hedgehog, And Other Things…

PERK UP! There’s ethics to think about!

(I’m talking to myself here…I’m sure you’re fine)

1. Today’s ridiculous note on the heartbreak of  Self-Awareness Deficit. Republican Mark Sanford, the defeated  former U.S. congressman from South Carolina who is best known for having to resign as governor after going AWOL to visit his South American mistress, said yesterday that  he is considering mounting a primary challenge to President Donald Trump. (Psssst! Mark! The RNC has already said that there would be no debates, and the primaries are a mere formality.) Sanford says he will decide in the next month or so whether to oppose Trump for the 2020 presidential nomination.

The basis on which to run against Trump is character and ethics. Of the entire universe of legitimate potential challengers, an ex-governor who escaped impeachment by resigning after making a spectacle of himself has to be near the bottom, if not lying on it.

Somebody tell him.

2. Update: The Red Sox and the late Ken Poulsen’s son are still resisting common decency, I’m sorry to report. I wrote about the on-field presentation to Brett Poulsen last week, when he was awarded the 1967 World Series ring that his father had inexplicably never received despite being part of the that magical Red Sox season. Then we learned that the Sox infielder’s daughter Kendra had never been contacted by the team or her brother, so she and her children, Ken’s grandchildren had been left out of the ceremony. I’ve tried to alert the team and have passed the story along to a baseball writer friend, so far to no avail. Last night, NESN, the Red Sox-owned cable network, interviewed Brett in the stands during the Sox-Blue Jays game. Once again, the false impression was left that he is the only offspring of Ken Poulsen.

I’m sorry Kendra. This is wrong. I’ll keep trying. Continue reading