His video was met with swift criticism, and the ACA soon released the following statement about him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX_vOpX6mt4ACA wrote:Stephen Woodford (Rationality Rules) made ignorant and transphobic videos and statements on his social media platform in the weeks leading up to his appearances on ACA shows...We acknowledge that the ACA did a poor job of showing our support by allowing Mr. Woodford to make appearances on our shows without either addressing his controversial views on the air, or asking him to refrain from appearances until he released a clarifying statement on his channel.
My own thoughts thoughts are a bit mixed. For a Rationality Rules video, there’s a conspicuous lack of peer-reviewed research or empirical evidence countering the above proposition. Rather, he provided a handful of cherry-picked anecdotes and an assortment of random video clips from talk shows and interviews. A few studies investing the physical differences between biological men and women (bone density, hemoglobin, metabolic rates, etc.) were vaguely mentioned, but the studies were effectively useless as none compared athletic performance of trans athletes with the athletic performance of biological women. He also failed to consider the biology of trans people who have undertaken hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I'm not sure what prompted him to make the video, but he didn't do a good job defending his position.
While RR’s video was poorly researched and lacking in some areas, there isn’t much evidence that supports the proposition either. Until 2015, there had been no published date on performances of transgender athletes. The most recent, comprehensive longitudinal study on 8 transgender athletes revealed that they run distance races at approximately the same level for their respective gender, both before and after gender transition. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1e6a/b ... f4878a.pdf However, the data is only valid for distance running. In sports where other variables (like height or strength) are more conspicuous precursors for success, trans women may have an advantage since they are on average taller and stronger than biological women. The most reasonable stance seems to be that trans women have a clear advantage over cis women in some sports, but are able to compete with biological women in other sports.
Here is the most comprehensive look at the available research on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwFZBG_ts4k
The bottom line:
1. Scientific consensus seems to be that testosterone is primarily responsible for the difference in athletic results between the sexes. The appropriate eligibility criterion for some female athletic events should be a testosterone level less than 5 nano moles per liter. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6391653/
2. Trans women who have undertaken testosterone suppression will suffer as a result of their reduced testosterone levels in both strength and speed. One year after testosterone suppression, hemoglobin levels in trans women fell to a level that is statistically significant to biological women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15476439
3. Trans women and cis women appear have similar endurance capabilities. This suggests that distance running is a suitable sport for which trans and cis women to compete.
4. Trans women are on average taller and stronger than cis women, so more research on needed on whether than can fairly compete in sports like shot put and high jump etc.
5. MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED (with much bigger cohorts). Contrary to what Rationality Rules insinuates, the science is not at all well established on this. It’s also important to note that more research is needed on whether the sizable reduction in strength and speed (as a result of HRT) can be properly mitigated by some of the biological advantages of trans women.
I don’t think the mistakes that RR made were particularly egregious or harmful (or in bad faith). It’s clear that he didn’t take the time to conduct adequate research on the topic (his instance that he could go on about the “science” despite the science being incomplete). Overall, I think the ACA’s denouncement of him and his platform was shameful, and I’m glad they’ve since retracted it. RR has since demonetized the video and plans to unlist when he has made the proper corrections.
What are your thoughts?Rationality Rules wrote: Hey all. I want to make very clear that I made a few major mistakes within this video, and that due to this I've demonetized it and have added to the title "Please Note That This Video Contains Errors". I'll be publishing a new video relatively soon in which I correct these mistakes and express my altered views. To be clear, I haven’t done a complete u-turn, but my views have indeed changed in very important ways.