Sep 10, 2020 • 1HR 24M

The Same Drugs: Dr James Cantor — when politics trump science

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Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy and guests embrace authenticity, and have real, honest discussions about culture, politics, relationships, internet wars, the media social justice, cancel culture, and more. Conversations outside the algorithm.
Episode details

After publishing a blog post titled, "When a TERF is not a TERF" in July, leading Canadian sex researcher Dr. James Cantor got into a heated exchange on the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) listserv. The post rather tepidly challenged the "always affirm" approach to kids who claim to be trans, suggesting there are valid questions to ask around the age at which a child may transition, and also pointed out that some of women's concerns about male access to women's spaces and sport might not qualify them as "transphobic." Because of this, he was accused of "violence," "harassment," and "hatred."

James was removed from the listserv as a result, leading him to quit the SSSS entirely, publishing a letter of resignation on August 10, saying:

"In the  present culture war between science and popular appeal, the SSSS Board  of Directors selected the latter. This is not the first time the SSSS  Board abused their authority to silence science opposing their personal  political views, and no valid organization can be in the name of science  in name only.  I am grateful to the other sexuality scientists who have  resigned in sympathy, both publicly and privately."

James does not take a position on gender identity at all, but nonetheless was pilloried for even suggesting questions about the practices connected to transgenderism might be worth asking. While there is much James and I may disagree on, the push to politicize science is troubling, and the silencing of debate and critical thought around these issues is troubling.

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