Essence of Twisted Thought

Essence of Twisted Thought

Once again, we are here to talk about Trans
issues. Not a subject I wanted to touch upon for a
while, but reality forced itself. In recent weeks I had the displeasure of getting
acquainted with the work of YouTuber Essence of Thought, and I had to say something. The first thing that drew me in was a spat
that Essence of Thought had with Rationality Rules, around the issue of trans-women in
sports. The dispute was seemingly around science,
but it became apparent to me that it is actually a philosophical dispute, and the philosophical
voice was missing. So in this video, I will add my voice to this
debate. But it did not end there. As the argument escalated, Essence of Thought
revealed her vicious side, bullying another YouTuber in a particularly despicable manner. I’m not going to comment on that drama, but
instead I am going to ask: what can make someone behave in such an unconscionable way? The answer, of course, is ideology, so in
this video, we are going to expose the ideology that is responsible for this modus operandi. Before we get there, however, I am going to
have to lay some philosophy on you, because my previous videos have shown me that a lot
of people are still struggling to understand the logic that allows trans identities to
exist. A lot of people ask: how can someone born
a man become something else? And the problem that they have is distinguishing
between language and reality, signifier and signified. So I’ll try to explain. Reality is made of things, and human beings
create words to signify these things. These words do not exist in nature. They are arbitrary signs. A rock that you find in nature doesn’t have
the word rock stamped on it. We humans created the word rock, and when
we find certain objects in nature, we recognize them as belonging to the category of rock. Similarly, you are not born a man. You are born an organism with certain traits,
and human society recognizes you as belonging to the category of male human organisms, and
assigns the word man to you, to signify your belonging to that category. Now, unless it’s a private name, every word
signifies a category that has several members. There are many objects which are named rock. And no two members are the same, which means
that there is never a clear definition that we can give to the signifier. The definitions that we do give them are general
traits, but if we take a specific rock and examine it, we will see that the definition
of the word rock doesn’t exactly match it. In the past, we tried to solve this by saying
that there are traits that are essential, true to every member of the category. But then we realized that this doesn’t work
either. In my video ‘The Matte Fallacy’, I introduced
the concept of family resemblance. The idea is that there are no essential traits
to a category. There are many traits that are typical to
it, and the more of those traits you have, the more you belong to this category. There are no clear borders. There are members that are clearly part of
the category, and there are those who are questionable. For the latter, it depends mainly on the context. In one context, a certain set of traits will
be seen as the traits that most define the category, while in another context it will
be a different set of traits. So one might be seen as a member of the category
in the first context, but not in the second. In the past, genitalia were seen as the essential
trait that determines one’s sex. There are also other anatomical traits that
are different between the sexes, and it was assumed that they always correlate with the
genitalia. Today we know that it is not that simple. One might have male genitalia, but other anatomical
parts that are typically female. So today, the word male stands for someone
whose anatomy is mostly made of traits that are typically male. There is also a set of behavioral traits that
are typical to each of the sexes. The combination of anatomy and behavior is
what we call gender. If someone looks and acts like a typical human
female, we call her a woman. In the past, there were behavioral traits
that were seen as essentially belonging to each sex, and if one displayed a behavioral
trait that was of the opposite sex, they were seen as suffering from a mental defect. Now we know that human behavior is a lot more
diverse. So now we define those who mostly behave in
a way that is typical of females as feminine. So the relationship between signifier and
signified is a complex one. Nature is diverse, and language is diverse. The simplistic claim that “you are born either
a man or a woman” doesn’t hold. You are born an organism with many traits. Usually, those traits are mostly typical to
one sex, so we can easily determine that you are either male or female. And then, accordingly, we can assign the word
man or woman to define your gender. But it doesn’t always fit neatly to who you
are. Some people are alarmed by this, and argue
that words will lose meaning if we treat them so flexibly. But, guys, this is how language works, and
this is how it always worked. Even when we had an essentialist approach,
the traits that were seen as essential kept shifting. People just weren’t aware of it. Let’s take an example of a case where the
signifier seems essential. Take the word bachelor. It signifies an unmarried man. You would think that a sentence like “this
bachelor is married” is self-contradictory, and could never be true, right? And yet. And yet there are certain contexts in which
I will tell you “Jim has been married for five years, but he is still a bachelor”, and
the sentence will make sense to you. For instance, if Jim is a messy guy. In our culture, we think of bachelors as messy
people, who usually tidy up their act once they get married. So, even though the definition of bachelor
as a messy guy does not appear in any dictionary, the fact that you belong to our culture means
that you will understand what I am saying in this context. Language is flexible in that way, and the
human mind is capable of understanding it in context, and getting the shifting meaning
of words. Note that the word bachelor was not harmed
in the process. You still get what it means, and the legal
status of bachelors did not change because the word has extra baggage. Language works in this way, and it works fine. Unless. Unless someone is trying to use it to manipulate
you, and you are not aware enough to detect it. And this is what certain Trans activists are
doing nowadays. So let’s look into what they are doing. Let’s analyze the language. Those who talk about this issue distinguish
between three different things: biological sex, gender identity and gender expression. Biological sex is the biological traits that
you have. As we said, if the majority of your biological
traits are traits that are typical to females, then we identify your biological sex as female. Gender expression is what we earlier called
behavior. Some say that it is how you express your gender,
but this is not accurate. You do not express your gender. Not usually. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you do express your gender. Here, Star Lord is expressing his gender. He makes his voice deeper, to appear more
manly. But usually, he simply expresses himself. He speaks in his regular voice. We, the human society, are the ones who perceive
it as a man’s voice, and call it masculine. So gender expression isn’t expressing your
gender. It is expressing yourself, and the way you
express yourself falls within the range that is typical to one of the two genders. We should, however, be clear about what we
mean when we say “expressing yourself”. Because your self is partly constructed by
the culture you grew into. The timbre of your voice is dependent on your
biology, but the way in which you speak is something you’ve learned. When you learned to speak, you did so by imitating
other people, so if you were born male, you adopted the speech patterns of other boys. So gender expression is rooted in your biology,
but a big part of it is socially constructed. A transgendered person is someone who feels
alienated to their biological sex, or to the gender expression typical to their sex, or
both. A trans-woman, for instance, is someone was
born a biological male, and was socialized to express as a boy. But then felt alienated to this way of expression,
and felt she wants to express herself in a feminine way. Or she felt alienated to her male biology,
and realized she wants to have a female body. Or both. And, if society allows them to, they transition. This is easy to understand. But what about the third part? What is gender identity? Well, the claim is that there is something
beyond biological sex and gender expression. That every one of us also has a gender identity. if true, this would mean that you can be comfortable
with your male body, and with expressing yourself in a masculine way, but you still feel alienated
to the word man, because your gender identity is that of a woman. Trans activists want us to regard gender identity
as something innate, and accept the gender identity that one claims for themselves. I tried to be open to the idea of gender identity,
but after thinking about it, I can’t accept it. How can you be alienated to a signifier? The only way that this can happen is if you
are alienated to the thing that it signifies, which in this case means biological sex and
gender expression. The word “Man” is not innate to your nature. It is not something that you are born with. It is merely a signifier that we use to denote
a human organism with male anatomy and masculine behavior. It is not a thing that exists anywhere outside
of our language. So the idea that there is such a thing as
gender identity, which is detached from biological sex or gender expression, is something that
I have to reject. I’ve read accounts of transgendered people
about the moment they’ve realized that they are alienated to their assigned gender. It usually happens at a very early age, and
there are several versions. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable in their
body. Sometimes it is about the way they want to
express themselves, for instance, a three year old boy who wants to wear girls’ dresses. And sometimes it’s more vague, a six-years-old
boy who realizes that he wants to be a girl. I guess this is where the idea of gender identity
comes from, but, again, the only way this makes sense is if they are alienated to anatomy
or expression. They may not feel alienated to something particular,
like wearing boys’ clothes, but to the combination of several things, but those things can only
be anatomy or expression. You can’t simply feel alienated to the word
“boy”, with no underlying reason. I read that recent scientific findings suggest
that there is an area in the brain that is different in transgendered people. It seems that this area is part of what gives
us our sense of self. If this part of the brain is typically female,
but resides in a male body, it will result in a sense of alienation, because it is designed
to correspond to a female body. Maybe even to female behavior. So you can say that this is gender identity,
but again, it can only be understood in terms of anatomy and behavior. This part in your brain doesn’t say I am woman,
it says I want to look and behave like a woman. Also, if this is true, it means that our whole
idea of gender and sex is going to radically change. If future findings show that this is indeed
what determines how you perceive yourself, then we will start defining one’s biological
sex based on that part of the brain. And this means that there will be no more
transgendered people. For the moment, however, the default we use
to determine one’s gender is still genitalia. For instance, look at this person. If you don’t know who this is, you probably
think that this is a dude. But no, this is Caster Semenya, two times
Olympic gold medalist in the 800 meter run. She will tell you that she is a woman, and
you might be skeptical at first, but when I’ll tell you that she was born with a vagina,
I’m guessing that all of you will accept that she is indeed a woman. In today’s perception, if you have the right
genitalia, you don’t need any more traits to affirm your gender. If you do not have a vagina, yet you feel
that you are a woman, it’s trickier to get us to accept it. Then you will need most of your other traits
to be female and feminine. Since I reject gender identity, I also reject
the notion that a trans-woman becomes a woman at the moment that she declares herself to
be so. You must make my senses perceive you as a
woman, before I’ll think of you as a woman. In trans lingo, you have to “pass” as a woman. Until then, if I believe that you are sincere,
I will think of you as a woman in the making. Essence of Thought is a trans-woman, who calls
herself Ethel. She doesn’t pass. Not even close. So why am I referring to her as a woman? Because I want to support transgendered people
in their transition, give them all the psychological help that they need. But I cannot trick my mind into perceiving
her as a woman. Which means that, as much as I might try,
I will not able to treat her as a woman. So, transgendered people, if you want us to
treat you as the gender that you feel that you are, you must make the effort to pass. I’m dwelling on this point because I think
that a lot of people don’t get how important it is that we affirm transgendered people. When you feel that you are something, it is
torture when the world doesn’t recognize you for what you are. You should think about that when you casually
mis-gender someone. Recently, I made a video titled ‘Are Tans-women
women?’, and I felt that a lot of people missed the point. In the video, I used the family resemblance
concept to argue that usually, a trans-woman is a woman like any other woman. Her being trans is just an attribute, like
being blonde. But in certain contexts, specifically, when
her biology is relevant to the discussion, she is not woman but a different category,
a trans-woman. Why are these distinctions important? Because I believe that if a trans-woman passes,
our natural inclination is to perceive and treat her as a woman. If you don’t perceive them as women, it’s
because you resist it, on ideological grounds. And the main reason people resist it is that
they are afraid of the implications it might have. So my aim was to show that we can affirm transgendered
people in their identity, without ignoring the problems this might cause in some areas,
and without losing our ability to make distinctions where they are necessary. And, on the other hand, to show transgendered
people that if we treat them as different is some areas, it does not mean that overall
we deny that they are the gender that they feel they are. Think of it this way. Say you are an American, and you know someone
who wasn’t born in the US, but immigrated to it when they were young, and now they see
themselves, and act, as any homegrown American. They are an American citizen, but, according
to US law, they cannot run for President. Now, it is totally possible for you to regard
them as your fellow American, and still agree that when it comes to presidency, they should
be singled out. And if you are that immigrant, you should
understand that the fact that you can’t run for President doesn’t make you any less of
an American. The same logic applies to trans-women: they
are women, except for certain areas. An even more complex question is: are they
female? If they went through operations that changed
their anatomy, and are undergoing hormonal treatment that makes their body function like
a female body, it is hard to say that their biology is still male. Then again, this is achieved by artificial
means, so one might ask if we can really call it their biology. I’d say that it depends on context: sometimes
I’ll call it male biology, sometimes female biology, and most of the times I’d call it
a trans-woman’s biology. Now, one of those areas in which biology is
relevant is sports. The biology of trans-women is relevant to
the question whether or not they should be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events. And so we get to the recent drama. It all started back in March, when Stephen
Woodford, a.k.a Rationality Rules, made a video, since deleted, about the problems of
allowing trans-women to participate in women’s sports. Essence of Thought then made a response video,
pointing out mistakes that Stephen made on the science, and accusing him of pandering
to trans-haters. Rationality Rules eventually made a video
in which he acknowledged his mistakes, updated his views and apologized, but rejected the
accusations. This was a better video, but he still made
the same kind of mistakes, and Essence of Thought escalated her rhetoric, and kept on
escalating from there. Before we talk about the ideological side
of this row, let’s talk a bit about the science. The scientific debate, I have to say, was
interesting, and I learned quite a bit. For those of you who think that it makes no
sense to allow trans-women to participate, and that it is done only for ideological reasons,
I suggest you watch Essence of Thought’s refutations. Yes, there is an ideological component, but
there is also a serious scientific debate underlying it. It is agreed that most advantages that male
biology gives you disappear once you undergo the hormonal treatment of the transition. And even with those traits that don’t disappear,
it is debatable whether they still give you an advantage. They can actually be a disadvantage. For instance, having a big male body, but
the muscles of a female, might make it hard for you to carry your body. So the issue isn’t as cut and dry as you think. So Woodford’s initial stance, which did not
acknowledge the strength of the scientific argument in favor of allowing participation,
was erroneous. He was also wrong to say this: Now, as we shall see, I am going to agree
with Stephen that there is a threat here that we should consider. But I will point out that it is not that immediate. So this alarmist rhetoric should not be employed,
especially when we are dealing with a group that suffers from hate crimes. Alarmism is exactly the thing that causes
people to pick up pitchforks, or even guns. Let’s refrain from it. Then, I believe that there was another blunder that Stephen made, which no one pointed out. So Stephen makes it about fairness. And Ethel responds: When you make it about fairness, it is, as Ethel says, a value judgment. And she has a point that it is better to err
in favor of inclusion, then in favor of exclusion. But what everyone in this clip failed to mention
is a very simple fact: women’s sports is, by nature, exclusionary. Women’s sports were created to allow human
females to compete in sports, and it can only be made possible by excluding all males from
participating. However, since we all agree that human biology
is diverse, it means that there is no clear border that determines where female ends and
male begins. There are some rare cases of people who are
right around the border, and it isn’t clear which category they belong to. And this means that we have no choice but
to draw an arbitrary line, and determine that only those who are within this border are
eligible to compete. This is not about inclusivity and exclusivity
based on identity. This is about eligibility based on biology. Remember Caster Semenya? Well, after many complaints, it was decided
that her biology does not fall within the borders of a female athlete. The IAAF decreed that she can compete, but
only if she takes hormonal treatment to reduce her testosterone levels. It’s cruel towards her, but that’s the nature
of the profession that she picked. There must be some border, and you must fit
into it. So Woodford’s blunder was to define it as
unfairness. Unfair is what happens when someone who is
eligible to compete uses means that others don’t, and gets an advantage. Here we are not talking about that, but about
meeting the threshold of eligibility. This distinction becomes crucial when they
start to discuss where the burden of proof lies. When you make it about fairness, the burden
of proof does indeed lie with those claiming that it is unfair. If you are going to exclude certain individuals,
crushing their dreams in the process, you have to prove that they are getting an unfair
advantage. But when we talk about eligibility, the burden
of proof is with those who believe trans-women should be included. They have to prove that the hormonal treatment
does indeed bring them within the eligible range. Now, when it comes to determining whether
HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy, sufficiently removes all the advantages that males have
over females, and brings them within the female range, the issue is complex. As we said earlier, traits that are not changed,
such as size, can actually become a disadvantage when you change other traits. But let’s simplify it, to discuss the principle. Let’s look at this graph, which Stephen brought
up. The bottom one shows the range of muscle mass
in cis-women, and the top one shows it for trans-women after they undergo HRT. Let’s say that we are talking about a sport
where this is the only determining factor. I would say that the individuals that are
in this range should be excluded from women’s sports, at least until they reduce their muscle
mass to within the female range. But the rest should be able to compete. Note that this means that I am not excluding
trans-women, just those that are outside the biological range. If we are satisfied that we know all the factors
that give males the advantage, and that we know how to remove these advantages, inclusion
of trans-women in women’s sports should be fine. However, there is another issue to consider
here. If I understand it correctly, it is possible
for trans-women athletes to devise their HRT to reduce their muscle mass just enough to
be in the top part of the range. This means that if we take a hundred cis-women
and a hundred trans-women, there will be very few cis-women who are close to the top, while
most of the trans-women will be there, thus effectively swamping the field and ruining
women’s sports. Of course, in reality there are very few transgendered
people, so this doesn’t happen. Trans-women were allowed to compete in women’s
Olympic events since 2003, and had no effect on them. Lately, however, there has been a change. Yeah, this is where the concern comes from. These new rules basically make it possible
for male athletes, who are just not good enough to be at the top of their field, to go through
one year of HRT, bring themselves to the top level of women’s sports, and swamp it. I guess this is why Rationality Rules warned
against imminent destruction. But I don’t think that there’s cause for such
alarm, because it is hard for me to see many men subjecting themselves to HRT. Woodford points out, correctly, that athletes
are willing to go through health risking treatment if it helps them win. But Essence of Thought is also correct when
she says that HRT is more than just about health. If you are a man, imagine what it would be
like to suddenly have woman’s muscles. The psychological implications are something
that very few men will want to experience. Also, when athletes risk their health, they
do it for fame, and the riches that come with fame. But a man cheating his way into women’s sports
will not get fame and riches – rather notoriety and scorn. So the threat isn’t that immediate. Then again, if transgenderism continues to
gain popularity in our culture, I can see how we can have such cases in the future. So it is definitely a problem that we should
be discussing. There is also this problem, which essence
of thought herself presents: Oh, but there will be. If the current rules are left standing, it’s
hard to see how this will not happen. And these nations will not be hunting for
trans-athletes, as you suggest. They will simply take cis-men athletes and
give them HRT. Ethel misses the point. The reason why many people are alarmed now
isn’t because they suddenly awoke to the problem of trans-women in sports. It’s because they believe that, in the zeal
to be inclusive and allow trans-athletes to compete, the rules have been changed to the
point where they can be exploited by cis-men. First of all, if you think that the debate around women’s bathrooms is over, you are
deluded. But there is a difference here. In that debate, our concern is the odd pervert. Also, there are no guards on public bathrooms,
so you can claim that predators will do their thing regardless of the law. But here, we are talking about the danger
that women’s sports will be swamped by men. Until recently, there was a guard to prevent
it, but now this guard has been removed. It is a concern that needs to be seriously
discussed. But Essence of Thought is incapable of having
this discussion, because of her prejudice. She can’t except that it is about biology,
and insists that it is about identity. And this leads her down the unfortunate path
which we shall now begin to explore. Your proposal is rejected. Women’s sports were never open to all cis-women. This is about biology, not identity. As proven by the case of Caster Semenya. Essence of Thought is aware of the Caster
Semenya case, which pretty much defeats her argument. So how does she deal with it? Like this: So, because the IAAF is not on her side, Ethel turns to the UN. Now the UN, for a lot of people, symbolizes
total corruption, but that’s not entirely fair. There are parts of the UN that do a decent
enough job. Only parts of it are highly corrupt, and of
these parts, the worst of the worst is the fucking Human Rights Council. Known primarily for its raging Antisemitism,
this body is dominated by countries that are the worst human rights offenders in the world,
which are using it to cover for their crimes. This is not a body that should be given legitimacy
by taking what it says seriously. However, this doesn’t mean that it is necessarily
wrong on everything. So let’s see what the concern is about. The statement doesn’t explain why they think
these rights are being violated, so we are going to have to guess. This would make sense only if women’s sports weren’t exclusionary, or if it excluded Semenya
on a basis other than biology. But if you say that it is discriminatory to
exclude someone on the basis of biology from women’s sports, then you are going to have
to allow men to participate as well. sexual and reproductive health
These two are about health. I guess because the demand that she undergo
hormonal treatment might be harmful to her health. But no one is forcing her to do it. She was found ineligible to participate, but
given an avenue to do so by undergoing treatment. It’s her choice if she wants to risk her health,
or to give up on athletics. This is not a human rights violation. The right to work states that “everyone has
the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and
to protection against unemployment.” Well, no one is preventing Semenya from finding
work. She just can’t work at this particular job,
because she is biologically unfit. This is a regular thing. I’ve known people who wanted to be pilots,
only to be told in the exams that they are disqualified because their eyesight isn’t
twenty-twenty, or some other medical reason. It can be soul crushing, but nobody said life
is a rose garden. Anyway, her right to work is not being violated. Awwr, was her biology being discussed in public, because she chose a line of work in which
it is relevant? Tough. It has to be said that to this day, we still
don’t know the details of Semenya’s anatomy. They did a pretty good job of keeping it private. But we can deduce that she is intersex, so
I guess that’s why the right of privacy is being invoked here. But if these are your standards for right
of privacy, then it is being violated whenever the media runs a story about someone. In other words, there is no violation here. This again is probably about the hormonal treatment. Again, no one is forcing her to do it. And this too refers to the treatment, which
is merely an option. In short, the UNHRC once again showed itself
for the clown-car that it is, and compiled this bullshit list of alleged violations,
none of which hold under scrutiny. They just did what they always do, make meaningless
statements to pretend that they are doing something about human rights, while avoiding
discussion of real issues. In reality, nobody’s human rights are violated
by the IAAF rules. All that is happening is that some people
are denied work in a certain field because they don’t have the biological requirements
to work in it. But Ethel treats the UNHRC as an authority
on human rights, and from then on she repeatedly uses their list of alleged violations. She seems to think that we all agree that
Semenya’s human rights are being violated here, and it is only our transphobia that
prevents us from seeing that we should think the same about trans-women athletes. She, and other trans-activists, seem to be
claiming that the IAAF only started to make these rules once the issue of trans-women
in sports came up. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, Ethel, but sex verification for women athletes is
something that has been mandatory, by IAAF rules, since the 1950s. Those of us who are concerned about trans-women
in sports have the same issue with women like Semenya, and for the same reasons. You don’t have a gotcha. But Essence of Thought is convinced that she
proved that several human rights are being violated here… Sorry, numerous human rights. And because of that, she doesn’t believe it
is a valid discussion about the borders of eligibility to compete, but sees it as an
illegitimate attempt to remove the human rights of trans people. And as her rhetoric escalated with every video,
she started to accuse Rationality Rules that this was the true motive behind his videos. And this is the cause of her moral failings. Had she stuck to the science, she would have
won the debate. When I watched this debate, I realized that
I was suffering from transphobia on this issue. I was ignorant of the strength of the scientific
argument to allow trans participation, and thought it was ideologically driven. This changed my view, but I still don’t see
it as a settled case, and still have concerns, as I listed earlier. So I want this debate to continue. This is how you defeat transphobia: you discuss
the issue, find rational answers, and thus drive away the irrational fears surrounding
it. But Ethel, instead of using this process to
educate people, is trying to shut it down. She claims that we are discussing the removal
of human rights, and therefore it is an illegitimate discussion. From there, it is a short step to this statement. So now she accuses Rationality Rules of calling for violence against transgendered people. Which, in her mind, gives her the right to
respond with violence. Not just against Stephen Woodford, but against
anyone who doesn’t denounce him, because they are all enablers of violence against
the Trans community. And so began her bullying campaign. What can lead someone on such a downward spiral? Well, part of it is a very human emotional
response to what you see as an attack on your people. She saw what she perceived as an unfair attack,
she saw that many in the skeptic community refused to condemn it, and she felt stomped
on and betrayed. When you are overcome with such emotions,
irrationality rules. So if this was all there was to it, I’d be
sympathetic towards her. However, it doesn’t end there. There is also an ideological component here,
and this is what drove her to such extremes. And this ideology is what I am here going
to explicate, and harshly condemn. In her first video, Ethel was mainly just
arguing on the basis of human rights. But as the debate went on, her true views
were starting to emerge. Woodford’s real crime, for her, wasn’t that
he screwed up the science. It was rather this: Did you get that? Woodford is evil for promoting the idea that
trans-women are biologically male, because it is actually your gender that defines your
biology. In a breathtaking reversal, the signifier
becomes more real than the reality it signifies, to the point where this reality has to bend
itself to suit it. How do you achieve this logic? So, long time viewers of this channel: what
did we just witness? That’s right, this is the Matte Fallacy in
action. Ethel is pretending that sex can be real only
if we define it in an essentialist manner, where we have a clear definition of male and
female. And since we can’t, it means that biological
sex isn’t a real thing, and must therefore be a social construct that is thrust upon
us. And if it is a social construct, then it is
just language, a signifier, on the same level as gender. So now we just have to choose which language
is better… Well, the first one, but only because it is
a shorter way to say what the second one says. Does it, though? Does it tell you their medical needs? The medical needs of a trans-woman are those
of a biological male who is under treatment that makes her more female. But if you deny biological sex, then the signifier
‘trans-woman’ doesn’t signify that. It doesn’t signify anything about someone’s
biological condition, including their medical needs. If you think it through, you will realize
that it becomes an empty and meaningless sign. Ethel, by the way, denies that she is a biological
sex denier. What she means by that is that she does believe
that we have biological traits. She just rejects the categorization into male
and female, because of the diversity of sex. But, as we said in the beginning of this video,
every category in our language is imposing a single signifier on a diverse group of things. If you reject the categories of male and female
on this basis, then you will have to basically reject every other category as well, and then
all the words in our language will become meaningless, rendering us unable to communicate. Your position, Ethel, is what we mean when
we talk about biological sex denialism. This is what I meant earlier when I said language
is being manipulated. And this is not coming from YouTubers like
Essence of Thought. This is coming from the academy. Take, for instance, Rachel McKinnon, a trans-woman
and the women’s cycling world champion. McKinnon is also a Doctor of philosophy, someone
who should know better, and I suspect does know better. But she is manipulating language to support
her case. This is the Matte Fallacy again, disguised
in philosophical talk. And Ethel sees her as an authority. She does, however, disagree with her on one
point. So, if before it seemed that she was saying
that both sex and gender are constructs, here we go a step further. Biological sex is a construct, gender expression
is a construct, but gender identity is real. Why? Because it is part of the mind, part of your
personal experience, which Ethel, like a regular SJW, believes that is something that cannot
be denied. But again I must ask: where does your experience
of gender identity come from? It can come only from one place: from the
identification that you feel with the body and behavior of one of sexes. So if you say that biological sex and gender
expression are both constructs, gender identity must be a construct as well. Once again, Essence of Thought fails on thought. In essence. All of this begs the question: why is it so
important for Ethel to show that gender is real while biological sex is not? And I believe that we should ask this question,
because answering it will give us the key to explain her behavior. But to answer it, we will have to go deeper. In my video titled ‘The Ideology of Social
Justice’, I analyzed the ideology of the social justice movement, and defined it as a Frankenstein’s
monster. I pointed out that it has no internal consistency,
but instead steals parts of other ideologies, and puts them together to create a bundle
of self-contradictions, an unholy philosophical mess. If you want a more complete understanding
of what I am about to talk about, I suggest you watch it. Here, I am just going to discuss one part
of it. What we are going to discuss is Marxism, which
is one of the graves that the social justice movement is robbing. In particular, we are talking about Marx’s
perception of history. Marx believes that history can be treated
as a science, and we can predict the future based on this science. In his perception, history is made of a succession
of stages, each stage dominated by a certain economical system, and every new stage is
more efficient than the previous one in the amount of goods that it can produce. So there is constant progress, and the end
of history will come when we have an economic system that will create enough goods to make
everyone content, and will distribute this wealth in a just way between all humans. The progress happens like this: with every
economic system, there is also a corresponding ideological structure that goes along with
it. This ideological structure divides humans
into classes, with some classes dominating the others. Because there isn’t enough wealth for everyone,
the dominant classes are exploiting the lower classes, making them work to produce wealth
for them. This carries on until the means of production
improve to a stage when they can produce enough wealth to form a better system. For instance, in the second half of the 18th
century, the feudal system had reached the point where it created technology that allowed
for the industrial revolution to take place. Once this happened, it became possible to
replace the feudal system with something better. Moreover, the dominant ideological structure
also creates the ideology that will replace it. For instance, one of the oppressed classes
in the feudal period was the bourgeoisie, those who would create their own products
and then trade them with others. In the eyes of the dominant culture, the bourgeoisie
were seen as selfish and greedy people, as the thing that a refined society should condemn. The bourgeoisie, in the meantime, started
to think of themselves as individualists, and understood the value of trading with each
other as equals. Once the industrial revolution came, they
became so rich and powerful that they could take over, and then these values became the
basis of the capitalist system, and of liberal democracy. So the ruling ideology, the thesis, is the
thing that creates the antithesis, which is to be found in the values of one of the oppressed
classes. Then, at the point where the means of production
are good enough, this oppressed class creates a synthesis between its values and the new
means on production, to create the new system, and take over. So now, observed Marx in the middle of the
19th century, we are in the capitalist stage, in which the bourgeoisie are in charge. And capitalism, he predicted, is so powerful
that it will overtake the world, and destroy any other culture. Which means that we will eventually be left
with only two classes: the dominant bourgeoisie, and the oppressed working-class, who are working
for them. Furthermore, the fact that it is erasing all
cultures, making all people similar to each other, means that the working-class is developing
a communal way of thinking, an antithesis to the individualism of the bourgeoisie. When capitalism reaches a point where its
means of production are enough to make everyone content, the working-class will revolt, and
will bring about the communist stage, in which we all think in a communal way, and share
this wealth. And this will be the end of history. Note that this means that while in previous
stages, the values of the oppressed class represented progress, the values of the working-class
in the capitalist stage represent more than that. They represent truth, the truth that will
liberate all of us. And for many Marxists, this means that they
have the right to use all means necessary, since they are the ones who hold the truth
that will set us free. But then, in the beginning of the 20th century,
Marxists realized that their predictions did not come true. Capitalism has reached the stage where it
creates enough wealth for everyone, and yet, the working-class does not revolt. Their explanation was that the dominant ideology
is creating ideas that fool the working-class into thinking that it is happy and content. Thus, the working people have a false consciousness,
which prevents them from developing those truthful values, like communality, which Marx
said that they were supposed to develop. So the Marxist mission became a mission to
awaken the masses from their false consciousness, and show them the communist truth. And it is this idea that has been appropriated
by the social justice movement. But they took it while discarding the framework. They accept that there is a structure of one
dominant and one oppressed class; that the oppressed class holds the truth that will
set us all free; and that we all have a false consciousness that prevents us from seeing
it, and dooms us all to misery. But they reject the idea of progress, of previous
stages, of the whole dialectic process which was the philosophical ground on which this
whole idea was built. To illustrate, let’s focus on one part of
the social justice movement, namely feminism, because I believe that this is where this
appropriation first occurred. I’ve made a distinction between liberal feminists,
those who do believe in progress, and creationist feminists. The creationist feminists believe that sometime
in ancient history, society created a structure called the Patriarchy, which made men the
dominant class and women the oppressed class. This Patriarchy also creates a false consciousness
in us, which makes us think that this is the natural state of things. Since then, the Patriarchy has remained essentially
the same. It’s the same structure, and any change was
only on the surface. But women hold the values that will set us
free, so if we all adopt the feminist worldview, we will bring down the Patriarchy and live
in a utopian state. Now, the first question I have to creationist
feminists is: if we are all ruled by false consciousness, how do you know that feminism
is true? Also, how do you know that women are the oppressed
class? Maybe men are suffering more, and you can’t
see it because of your false consciousness? The Marxist actually has a reasonable answer
if you pose them the same question. The Marxist will say that since they can see
the entire historical process that led us here, they can transcend the ideology which
the current structure imposes on us, and see the truth. Also, since history shows that the class that
performed the revolution then became the dominant one, and that the new oppressed class was
created from the ideology that it imposed, we can tell that the bourgeoisie, the class
that brought about the capitalist revolution, are now in control, while the working-class,
which was formed out of the capitalist system, is the oppressed class. But the creationist feminists cannot give
this answer. The Patriarchy structure is just something
that they appropriated from Marxism, with no philosophical basis to support it. Since they can’t claim that the Patriarchy
created women, they say that it created the gender roles. The differences between the genders, when
it comes to gender expression, are not rooted in nature, they are something that the Patriarchy
forces on us. They are the false consciousness which we
must overcome. But underneath the genders, biological sex
is real, and the females are the class that holds the truth that can liberate us. Female traits like emotionality and empathy
are the basis for a just society. These traits are oppressed by the Patriarchy,
but if we set them free, and let them guide all of us, including the men, then we will
bring down the Patriarchy, and have a truly just society. This idea of the Patriarchy was adopted by
other groups, but they appropriated it to their own means. The Trans version of it says that gender is
real, while biological sex is constructed by the Patriarchy. Because of our false belief in biological
sex, we believe that females are weaker than males, and because of this belief, we actually
raise our women to be weaker. This results in inequality, rape culture,
and all that bad stuff. But if we all learn to live according to our
gender, we will be liberated of biological sex, and then we will all be equal and happy. And this is why it is so important to Essence
of Thought to assert the realness of gender and the falsehood of sex. Like I said, Stephen Woodford’s real sin wasn’t
that he screwed up the science. It’s that he treated biological sex as a real
thing. This is the thing that Ethel cannot forgive,
because in her mind, this is the thing that prevents social justice. And because it prevents social justice, it
is the thing that is responsible for violence against the trans community. For her, anyone who believes in biological
sex has blood on his hands. I’ve coined the term ‘neo-not-cis’ to define
people like Essence of Thought, transgendered people who hold this ideology that I have
just explicated. Like the creationist feminists, like radical
Marxists, the neo-not-cis are driven by the idea that they hold the truth that will set
us all free, and this gives them the right to use any means necessary to do it. And this is why Ethel believes that she has
the right to bully other people, and to behave in the way that we witnessed. Meanwhile, her true views about sports were
also revealed. In one video, she said that she believes that
any trans-woman should be allowed to compete, no matter what stage in the transition she
is. So basically, anyone who self-identifies as
a woman can compete, even without HRT. In another video, she said that eventually
we should do away with gender separation in sports. This is based in her belief that the physical
differences between the sexes are a construct that will eventually disappear, and this is
her true goal in this debate. But don’t worry that the neo-not-cis will
ever become strong enough to threaten the Olympics. Because while they are busy trying to destroy
it, they are losing that other form of Olympics, the oppression Olympics. You may have noticed that the worldview of
the creationist feminists and that of the neo-not-cis are diametrically opposed to one
another. While the former sees biological sex as real,
and gender as a social construct, the latter sees gender as real, and biological sex as
the social construct. One of them must be wrong, and not just wrong:
if they are wrong, it means that their deepest truth, the truth that they believed will liberate
us all, was nothing but a lie. And not just a lie, but the lie that is at
the basis of the Patriarchy, meaning that they were the ones most guilty of upholding
the Patriarchy. So a lot is riding on this question. Now, how do we decide which is the truth and
which is the lie? Why, by observing which is more oppressed,
of course, because the more oppressed is the one that represents the truth. And so we get the oppression Olympics, in
which every group is tearing the others apart, trying to prove that they are the most opressed. And, in the process, tearing apart the social
justice movement. In the Oppression Olympics, everyone’s a loser. The fight between the creationist feminists
and the neo-not-cis is just one of the many inner fights that the social justice movement
is embroiled in, the result of its many inner contradictions. And in the process, they are losing power
and friends. One of the results of Ethel’s actions was
that the Atheist Community of Austin, which was a welcoming home for transgendered people,
was torn apart by inner fighting, and those who were on Ethel’s side were forced to leave. The ACA will survive, and will probably do
better now that they got rid of the SJWs. But the Trans community lost. To avoid this from happening again, we need
to learn to differentiate between regular transgendered people, and neo-not-cis. The former is a marginalized group that could
use friendship and help. The latter are an enemy to liberal society, and to any society. As you can see, Stephen, you are wrong if
you think you can appease the neo-not-cis. But your real mistake was using the word “ally”
in the first place. We are not at war, and transgendered people
don’t need allies. They just need us to treat them as fellow
humans, affirm their gender, and defend their rights. Who is at war? The neo-not-cis. And when the word “ally” is used by neo-not-cis,
or by social justice warriors of other groups, it means someone who isn’t part of the group,
and therefore does not get to think or speak for themselves. The only thing that an ally is allowed to
do is accept their truth, accept that you are their oppressor. Defining yourself as an ally will basically
make you a slave, and at the first moment that you disobey, and try to think for yourself,
you will be viciously dogpiled by people like Essence of Thought. And then you end up crying and cutting yourself. So, not an ally to trans-people, just a fellow
human who will stand up for their rights like we should all be doing for any fellow human. And it is important that we continue to do
so, and not allow the odious acts of SJWs do discourage us. And, most importantly, keep talking.

40 Replies to “Essence of Twisted Thought”

  1. I would like to see you do a video explaining fascism, like you did with postmodernism and cultural marxism. Because literally nobody on the internet actually knows what it means, while calling everything fascist.

  2. Well, I think she'd get a lot further if she just gave up the affectation in her voice. It is extremely off-putting. I don't care what sex or gender he or she is. Call me shallow, I really don't care.
    Just sayin'.

  3. p.s. I don't know if you know of, or have mentioned Noel Plum's work on this subject. But, as another commentor who has a similar capacity for rational thought and discourse on a subject, I think you will find his arguments on this subject compelling.

  4. Caster Semenya is a biological male cis woman. Whilst Caster has never revealed what condition she has, the legal discussions and IAAF regulations have been around the DSD (difference in sexual development) 5-alpha reductase deficiency, which only effects biological males. This implies her genitalia is ambiguous enough that her sex assignment at birth was inaccurate.

  5. We have proved the fairness claims though. Every fucking time a trans athlete is allowed to compete they demolish the existing women's records.

    How much more proof do you think is required? Are you saying that these trans athlete's are not only trans but also the most exceptional female athlete's to ever exist so far? They should play the lottery because that kind of statistical coincidence is bordering on miraculous.

  6. 47:55 oh. my. god. This is the last place I expected to hear "begs the question" used in this way ^^ Please use "raise the question" instead, I really don't want the phrase "begging the question" to fade into oblivion. They mean very different things

  7. The correct pronouns for essence of thought are they and them…

    there are two people running the channel now Udita Chakrabarti (She) Peter/Ethel Thurston (They/She/He) and as far as I know they work together on videos and replies.

    The channel has become more polar (regressive?) since Peter/ Ethel moved to India with Udita. I think they have been more able to live in their echo chamber… so you are responding more to the current channel (they) than to Peter’s old channel (she, they, he)

    Peter is non-binary

  8. transwomen , this is just the experimental butchery of a new technology , body modification will become more and more interesting as time passes , gender/sexuality is just an obvious first target , I would expect their importance to dissappear in the near future . At the moment it is a variety of barnyard experimentation , change cow to bull , now back again , only a beginning . Transpeople are simply not important and destined to be less important .

  9. Sorry, in human biology sex is defined via the presence or absence of a Y chromosome. This genotype you can't change. The phenotype (primary and secondary sexual characteristics) however may not even correspond to the genotype. Take a male with non functioning testosterone receptors and you'll see a typical female phenotype, yet they have a ton of testosterone coursing through their veins.
    Also gender reassignment surgery doesn't alter genotype. Which is to say, if you are for example a bleeder (genetic flaw on the X chromosome) you'll still be afterwards. Phenotype changed, but the underlying biology stays mostly the same. In other words, we lack a layer of distinction here.

  10. I literally just went over semiotic theory in lecture today. And now I hear Zarathustra literally bring up the diagram we used in class.
    I have never felt prouder to get a liberal arts education.

  11. New video! Love all your content – keep it up! Since wathcing your videos I've gotten really interested in philosophy so thanks a lot!

  12. I feel like your the only person on the ideashere that has presented a logical, consistent take on the ?are trans women real women" question (because of your concrete understanding of the nature of categories). Its really helped me articulate my disagreements when i argue with both the far left and the far right.

  13. 25:30 I really don't understand what you are suggesting here.
    If we take height as an example (as we have more data than muscle mass). Male puberty grants you about am extrra 5 inches of height. Whether you are 5'6" or 6'6", if you are male and have gone through puberty you are 4-6 inches taller than you otherwise would have been.
    When you say about that advantage being ok as long as it is within the female range (which is very much NOT the principle we ever apply to performance enhancement elsewhere) the female range for height goes up to close to 7 feet. Albeit this is very rare, but it is still the case. So where do you draw the line? Draw the line at 6' 2" say and it is still true that a trans woman would be much much more likely to achieve that height than a biological female. In a sport where height is critical that seems to be manifestly unfair.
    The cruel reality is that, in such situations, whatever height you are is, in part, accrued by a means that the category specifically is intended to make ineligible. Male pubertal advantage is no different to taking steroids or EPO when it comes to that category and so just as we don't only find those things unfair if they take us "out the range", surely the principle must be the same here: no residual overall advantage.

  14. Intersectionalism is like dialectic materialism except all oppression has always been and it can only be destroyed all at once by submitting to a dictatorship of the most intersectionally oppressed.

  15. Brilliant and thoughtful video. I am wondering why you did not bring up Wittgenstein's language game concept. It provides a nice distinction between those playing a traditional gender game that is somewhat excepting of anomalies. And a gender inclusive language game that allows radical creation of new genders. These people are not just disagreeing on the meaning of words they are playing different games.

  16. Excellent video. I am trans, and I tried to reach out to Ethel, and Ethel didn't want to have any of it. Blocked me and deleted my comments. And worse than that, Ethel kept telling their followers to ignore me because I am "Woodford's token trans person". Ethel is a fanatic, and a bigot who cannot accept different views, even from people with the so-called trans community. They have lost the plot, completely.

  17. if we can have weight classes in sports.
    So too for muscle and other relevant factors.

    Or maybe we should assign gender after the winners are in and make sure we have a roughly 50/50 split of competitors that way.

  18. 13:00 nope, I immediately recognized her as a woman. And if I'm being honest I think more people would agree with me than disagree.
    14:00 Again, I immediately recognized Ethel as a woman. Although I figured there would be a chance that I was wrong, because I know men who look roughly equally feminine, but it's mostly young men or older teenagers. Likewise I know women who look roughly equally masculine. Basically my point is some people aren't so easy to categorize based on looks alone, and she's a good example.

    So I disagree with your conclusion that transgenders "must make the effort to pass" according to your personal criteria (the part in bold is the key part). Why?, because my criteria are different from yours, and their criteria are different from ours, and someone elses criteria are different from all of us, etc. etc.
    My conclusion is a different one. Should they make an effort to pass? Yes, if they so desire. But if they don't, then they shouldn't expect other people to address them as that what they're not being perceived as because of their own low effort. That's the important point in my opinion. I could say the same thing about a biological woman who naturally looks more like a man and doesn't try to pass as a woman – I see no problem with her not trying, but then she has no right to complain about me not accepting her self-determined gender identity.

  19. 25:00 I disagree. You're selecting a range of individuals to add to the competition that vastly outperform the existing average, thus shifting the average to the top and therefore disadvantaging the entire existing field. This I would argue has in principle the same effect as also including the few outliers at the top.

    Male and female athletes were separated because the difference in the mean performance meant that female athletes would be getting completely destroyed otherwise. This is why they were separated, and this must therefore still be the reason to exclude trans athletes going forward.

    You may not like it, but fairness is indeed the argument. It's the basis for the argument of biological separation, otherwise we wouldn't have separated the athletes at all. We do the same thing with the weight class in boxing.

  20. I find it curious that EssenceOfThought is so masterful at affecting the voice of a 1930s BBC radio announcer but fails utterly at presenting as a women. No wonder people are confused.

  21. Thank you, ZS. You really gave this a nuanced and philosophically (as well as scientifically) sound take. You also destroyed EoT’s position and today’s “trans activist” ideology in general. Subbed.

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