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Let’s get controversial: Transgender women in sports

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman, earns spot on Olympic team. (Reuters)

Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman, has just earned a spot on New Zealand’s Olympic weightlifting team. And doing so, in a sport focused on strength, she illustrates perfectly my concern about transgender women being allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s fair to women (cisgender women if you insist, although I hate the term). Men have an inherent advantage over women in that they are generally taller, heavier, and stronger. Heavier bone structure, greater muscle mass and aerobic capacity, less body fat, etc. These things are genetic, present at birth, and developed during adolescence. They are not significantly changed with hormone treatment or surgery.

These genetic differences are why, historically, we have separated men and women in many sports.

I try to be open-minded about societal changes, but to date this particular issue, for me, defies reason, logic, and science. Transgender women have an unfair advantage in women’s sports and should not be allowed to participate.

12 Comments »

  1. johnthecook….there is absolutely nothing wrong with transgender men or women competing in a sport with their “new gender identity” as we turn into a society lacking in Morals and or Scruples. Get ready as America continues Her slide into complete Moral Bankruptcy as the term “Mother” is replaced with “birthing people” and “Birthing Person” by the Department Of Health and Human Services and the Biden Budget Proposal.

    • I agree there’s nothing wrong with transgender men or women competing in sports as long as being transgender doesn’t give them an unfair advantage. They cannot change the genes they were born with. Maybe someday, but not yet. I’ll leave the morality of gender transition to someone else; I’m only looking at the science.

      • By the way, your mention of mothers and the Biden budget proposal puzzled me so I looked it up. Good grief! They are really getting into the weeds, aren’t they? Sounds pretty ridiculous.

    • I’ve since read that some states have outlawed the participation and others are considering such laws, while the federal government insists such laws are discriminatory. ‘Tis a sticky wicket to be sure.

  2. This question is just the tip of the iceberg, wait until science makes it possible to be self fertilising. Then there is the whole AI question. Do you want a mind infinitely superior to Einstein with the whole stored knowledge of the internet at you disposal? Or do you want a genetically engineered and bionically enhanced body? Why not both? Welcome to our future.

    • I suppose a woman could inseminate herself if there were sperm available from somewhere, but I don’t think humans will ever become hermaphrodites. Sex is too much fun. AI has lots of potential for both good and evil (if humans screw up the programming). But an AI mind that could store all human knowledge would be useful, as long as it remained at our disposal and not vice versa. Genetic engineering and bionic enhancements are already realities on some levels. To date both show great promise — as long as they remain in the hands of ethical individuals. But that’s true of most scientific and technological advances; they can be used for both good and evil.

      • I remember before Covid-19 Google allowed two AI systems to communicate to each other in English to see how things developed. It wasn’t long before they constructed a language only they could read, at which point they were turned off. But not before one has searched the internet for ways to get around what the scientists were doing. That made them pause for thought. When asked about AI, Elon Musk voiced fears for humanity. He said if Ai was let loose there would be no stopping it from doing what it wanted. By the time we gathered committees to tackle the problem it would be too late.
        The AI mind wouldn’t need to store all human knowledge it would just need access to the internet.
        The human genome has been cracked so it is known what sequences do. Let AI work on different combinations and hey presto new life form, with rights. All the worlds top militaries are in a race to develop ‘super soldiers’ for wars of the future, on earth and in space.
        For the same reason IVF will be the reproductive mechanism of the future. Every embryo checked for sequences associated with diseases and tweaked to the attributes in fashion at the time.
        I think mind enhancements will become the norm, in the future, because no-one will want to be left behind. Like having the latest, fastest phone with more memory. People will want the latest enhancements to keep up. Then your mind will use the latest incarnation of Alexa. It is only a short journey from there to having your thoughts altered to fit in with the masses.
        I can remember when my parents had their first black and white television and the first transistor radio. Life has altered alot since then but I think the pace of change is accelerating as I am getting older even if I don’t want to keep up with some of those changes.

        • The trouble with AI is that it’s no better or worse than its programming — which is written by human beings. Initially, at least. And not all of them have good intentions. Not to mention humans being fallible. We’re already cloning animals and trying to adjust human genetics to stop certain diseases. As long as there are selfish, evil, unethical, or ignorant humans, those things will have the potential for misuse. Offhand I’d guess most “advances” developed by humans have had the potential of being either good or evil, depending on who has access. We’ll continue to change and advance; it’s human nature. It also seems we’re regressing in some ways. But that may just be an old woman’s perception. I don’t know if the pace of change is accelerating or I’m just slowing. Probably both.

          • The biggest change I have seen in AI over the last ten years, perhaps, is the move towards self learning. It starts with the basics and then learns on its own. Basically like a child does. The difference being that the process speeds up when a processor chip goes faster. Also it remembers everything forever so it builds on experience very quickly. I remember reading about the worlds best ‘Go’ player being beaten five times in a row. The significance being that the system had only been given the rules a short time before and it could already beat the best. Unfortunately they can programme themselves to a large degree. It is quicker and cheaper. I watched a documentary on tv a while ago about AI. It demonstrated how a six man crew filmed a basketball game. Then it showed how an AI controlled system could do it on its own, using basic editing rules to produce a watchable programme. It raised the possibility that lots of jobs could be done by AI alone leaving us to fight over a dwindling number of other jobs, emptying rubbish bins perhaps? Ha ha.

  3. Elon Musk is already launching a business, Neurolink, putting chips in peoples heads. No more Autism, Alzheimers or any other brain disorder, so the narrative goes. Also wi-fi for your brain. Welcome to mass mind control via 5G or 6G, etc. The model ‘T’ and the ZX 81 are all here now but the Tesla and Deep Mind are coming into view. Will we even recognise our world in 30 years and how will we deal with it?

    • Musk has a lot of grandiose ideas that are sometimes less than practical. However, if he finds a way to cure or work around certain brain disorders, it would be a tremendous gift to humanity. I doubt anyone will be required to get a brain implant if they don’t want it. Teslas are a boon to those wishing to reduce air pollution, but we’ve already seen what can happen if people believe they are literally “self-driving.” Great safety features that should and are being widely incorporated, but you won’t find me letting any vehicle drive for me. And I certainly don’t want to share the road with any self-driving trucks. I don’t expect to live long enough to see our roads crowded with self-driving vehicles, but I imagine it will happen eventually. As for DeepMind, the jury is still out. I would love to see what’s happening 30 years from now, or more. Technology is amazing. Think about it: I was born before air conditioning, jetliners, tv dinners, microwaves, television, computers, cordless phones. I expect great things in the future. Sure, there will be missteps and evil people, just as there have been throughout history. But I’ve seen too many great innovations to expect otherwise in the future.

Now that I've had my say ...

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