Junk science in service of trans ideology is an assault on truth.
One of the ways in which our society has gotten to its current predicament is a combined corruption of and overreliance on science. Contrary to those who treat it as a source of existential truth, science is merely a process for answering questions. My preferred formulation is that it’s a way of coming to agreement on what world we live in. Thus, when there is political or ideological incentive to support an a priori capital-T Truth, somebody who (fairly or not) has gained credibility as a “scientist” can go through the motions of a “scientific process” and make claims about the nature of reality.
Note carefully that the funding sources of science are not pure. Wealthy people fund studies, and so do politicians with massive amounts of public money. If anybody in this mix has incentive to stand for what can simply be proven by the most-objective measure possible, he or she is likely to be anomalous to a greater or lesser extent. Those of us who are interested in the truth must therefore dig into the whys, wherefores, and hows of the studies that are presented to us. This is especially true when we’re making decisions about, say, the justification for mutilating children.
Notice, for instance, the complete lack of information about how researchers found, as the ABC News headline puts it, “Gender-affirming care for trans youth improves mental health: Study.” First ask yourself: Would the “study” have told us if that care did the opposite? Would ABC News have reported it?
To fill this obvious gap, I found the study, and if you’re looking for a summary of its problems, Devorah Goldman has already done that work reasonably well. Conspicuously, the “experiment” included no control group, which is a crucial part of the process that makes science a powerful means of answering complicated questions. If you don’t know what happened in the absence of a treatment, you can’t possibly know whether the treatment represents a benefit or a harm. This deficit is glaringly important, given this rather significant result, which ABC News journalists Kiara Alfonseca and Nicole Wetsman apparently deemed insignificant:
The most common adverse event was suicidal ideation (in 11 participants [3.5%]); death by suicide occurred in 2 participants.
This study is junk science serving a predetermined conclusion, and we can be sure if it were purporting to support a politically disfavored conclusion adverse events would be in the headline, not disregarded. On its basis, we’re asked to support policies that harm children and destabilize our civilization.
The question truly in need of deep study is why the safeguards built into our society aren’t protecting us from this assault on truth.
Featured image from Shutterstock.