Life is not lived in black and white
Someone by the name of Lawrence Newman left a comment under the Freethinker article about the tragic suicide of transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn, above:
As a logical atheist, it amazes me how other atheists can sit here and act so outraged that these parents are saying they had a son. He WAS a male. This is a biological fact. A male saying he is a female doesn’t make it so. Feelings do not override biological facts.
There was a little more, wherein the author complains about the “religion” of liberalism, but the quoted paragraph is the main thrust.
I don’t, particularly, wish to pick on Lawrence Newman, but I’ve seen distressingly far too many comments saying much the same thing, by allegedly reason-led, logic-led, evidence-led atheists and self-described freethinkers. He merely provides a handy example.
All your life, you’ve been happily sorting black and white blocks into two neat piles according to colour. Then one day someone points out to you that some blocks exist which are various shades of grey. That some blocks have different colours on different faces. That yet more blocks which appear black or white are merely disguised by a thin and superficial coat of paint.
Now, if you’re wedded to a binary dogma of black-and-white, you could continue to place your blocks into two nice, easy-to-understand piles, based on a best-fit schema, itself based on superficial characteristics. You could, in the face of all the evidence that gender dysphoria is a real thing, insist on categorising people by the shape of the genitalia they were born with.
That would be, I suggest, the dogmatic method. The religious method.
As “logical atheists”, as freethinkers, who claim to reject thinking based on tradition and dogma, who claim to base our ideas on evidence, surely we should admit that, regardless of what tradition says, or a holy book, there is no way to sort our blocks into two neat piles.
To quote the linked NHS page:
Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It is not a mental illness.
Lesbians are not women who merely think they are romantically and sexually attracted to women. They are so attracted. Homosexual men are attracted to men. Bisexuals are attracted to all. Most atheists seem to have no trouble with the L, the G and the B. Why, then, should it be so hard to also accept the T?
Lawrence Newman is right about one thing. Feelings do not override biological facts. And those feelings include his own wish to easily pigeon-hole people.
The fact is that we do not live in a black and white world. We don’t even live in a greyscale world. Far from this being an argument based on some liberal quasi-religion, the empirical evidence informs us that we live in a beautiful, dazzling and utterly enchanting rainbow world.
Only a dogmatist would insist on denying that many-hued beauty, in favour of a regimented, easily categorised, but above all false and harmful monochrome.