In 2016 a panel of brain researchers convened at a scientific conference carrying the title, “The Promise and Peril of Research on Sex Differences”. In a discussion held on stage by five researchers, three highlighted only similarities between the sexes, until two female scientists from the audience intervened to explain that avoidance of differences is anti-scientific, but more gravely – neglects medical needs unique to women. The objection didn’t help. One panelist called the study of differences “a waste of time,” thereby ignoring a fact pointed out by another investigator responding to a Newsweek journalist – specific treatments such as for Alzheimer’s disease, affect women and men differently, so studying differences is crucial for discovering relevant therapies. Why were the scientists on stage so reluctant to acknowledge sex differences? A comment made by a researcher at the end of that day revealed the answer: his colleagues, he explained, are so afraid of being accused of sexism that they refuse to acknowledge or study any sex differences.
If deletion of publications is relatively rare, it is only because scholars do not dare to hypothesize
This fear among both male and female scientists is well-founded. One example of the atmosphere causing it was observed in 2019, when a scientific paper that was about to be published after being accepted by two established journals, was disqualified and not published because of a protest by a feminist organization arguing that “the paper might be damaging to the aspirations of impressionable young women.” According to one report, some of the authors received threats that if they do not withdraw their names from the publication they will be fired. Some elements also demanded that the governmental agency that funded the study will refuse to be mentioned in print as the funder (as obligatory for publicly-funded research). The agency complied. To understand what the article was about and why it was censored, I have to go back to my psychology degree. Two decades ago in my first year as a psychology student, we learned about the history of the concept of intelligence and of formulas for calculating it, and on the PowerPoint presentation appeared data showing that the average intelligence in men and women is the same. During break hour, in the smoking corner, one female student argued authoritatively: “This is nonsense. Women are smarter.” Someone asked why, and she replied, “There are more really dumb men than really dumb women.” I understood her point. But on the same semester we also learned about the terms distribution, mean, and variance, so I noted, “It doesn’t mean that the average intelligence of women is higher, just that the variance in men is larger.” She asked what I meant by that, so I told her about the cats and the dogs. Cats come more or less in the same size, but dogs can vary in size considerably – from tiny Chihuahuas to formidable Caucasian shepherds. In some qualities, this difference may occur between women and men – women being more similar, men differing more, that is, having higher variability. “The average intelligence in men and women,” I told that student as we were heading back, “would remain equal even if there are more really stupid men, if there are also more men with exceptionally high intelligence.” I saw that she was torn between the intuitiveness of the explanation and the desire (or habit) to believe that women are smarter, but the lecture had started and we couldn’t continue. The idea described here was articulated by researchers more formally and given a name – the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, or GMVH. The study mentioned above provided evidence in support of the GMVH, in general, and regarding intelligence. This was the reason it was censored.
Censorship was also used in the case of Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University in the US, who in 2018 published in an esteemed journal called PLOS ONE her study which demonstrated that much of the trans phenomenon is social, with evidence that the probability that youth would define themselves as trans is hundreds to thousands percent higher if they are in a class with trans-sexual teens compared to the probability in the youth population, and with findings showing that most of the children and teens who announced themselves as trans became more popular as a result. She was attacked. An article in the Guardian called the publication “a poisonous lie” and another outlet called it “bad science.” Eventually her article was removed from the journal, for what was defined as “re-evaluation”. Although it has been republished, and without substantial changes, it is necessary to emphasize that the only way in science to criticize information collected with valid methodology, is by investigating the topic and publishing another research, and not by removing publications, which is censorship. On the day of the re-publication the university canceled a press release on the article, in a decision that drew criticism from the former dean of the Harvard Medical School. Because of pressure on an organization that employed Littman as a consultant, she was summoned for questioning and fired.
The aggressive censorship that evolved within feminism, eventually and predictably turned against feminists as well
These are severe cases of censorship of science by disqualifying articles that were accepted for publication, meaning they have successfully passed a scrutinizing examination of rigor and methodological validity. If deletion of publications is relatively rare, it is only because scholars do not dare to hypothesize in the first place anything which they know would be regarded by the censor as violating the beliefs of what the book Lovism termed “The Gender Church”. They do not dare conduct studies, many of which are vital for human health and policy making, of fear of being silenced and fired, and potentially losing their entire life’s work, as described below. This concrete fear was expressed in a letter published in the media by 50 researchers as early as 2018 where they wrote, “Members of our group have experienced campus protests, calls for dismissal in the press, harassment, foiled plots to bring about dismissal, no-platforming, and attempts to censor academic research and publications.” How did science and medicine get to this state?
Feminism has been attacking scientific thinking for at least four decades now, arguing that rational thinking is part of patriarchal oppression, that objectivity is men’s subjectivity, that science is the objectification of nature, and that the way physical laws and phenomena are described in science is not a product of a human endeavor to get as close as possible to a description of how nature behaves, but only a projection of masculine thinking – depicted as “phallic“, “domineering“, “forceful“. Within the internal feminist discourse, hostility to science comes from the fact that feminism does not acknowledge the existence of two sexes, and believes that all that exists is a socially-generated illusion of two sexes, created according to this narrative by cultural definitions that form molds, dubbed in feminism “genders”. In the feminist perception the two sexes are something that would not have existed if not for humans “spreading” a concept of two sexes. But science and medicine have been elaborating for millennia our understanding of the human body including of the two sexes. Thus in the eyes of feminism, the universal acknowledgment that there are indeed two sexes, is science’s fault – science is what has been “spreading” the “illusion”. One must keep in mind that within feminist discourse, the two sexes are not an innocent “illusion”, but one that was purposely “devised” for oppression of women. Therefore science, from a feminist perspective, is one of the principal culprits responsible for whatever feminists would regard as oppression. The feminist hostility is thus not toward the way science is conducted (whether it is done by men or women, are its conclusions one way or another) – but toward its very existence. Beneath a mountain of arguments, science for feminism is something that must be shattered for equality to materialize (that is, feminism’s attitude toward science is very similar to that of religions).
The aggressive censorship that evolved within feminism, eventually and predictably turned against feminists as well, as they became the target of censorship by the followers of this new church. Like Professor Camille Paglia, a feminist researcher who is well-known within the feminist world and who previously published a feminist critique, but also a critique of feminism that was considered highly provocative, arguing that sex differences are biological and that feminists’ expectations of the relations between the sexes are unrealistic. Already in the 1990s, members of feminist academic committees have condemned her first book, but in May 2019 there was an escalation in the feminist aggression when it was reported that a student protest on the University of Philadelphia campus where Paglia teaches, was trying to force the institution to take away her professor position which she held for the past three decades. In addition to signing a petition, protestors staged a demonstration outside Paglia’s lecture, eventually activating the emergency alarm which necessitated the evacuation of the building. The protestors quoted an interview in which Paglia said that she finds it ridiculous that female students who regret having sex at a student party half a year or a year later, would complain about it to university authorities. A journalist who tried to get responses from faculty members has reported that they are afraid to openly defend Paglia, and were asking to remain anonymous, and that even in their email correspondence they express concerns that the institution would eavesdrop on their emails, finally noting that such an atmosphere is unprecedented in academia.
Of course, as we have seen, this is not unprecedented at all, but an academic routine, and the only precedent is in that the intimidation that feminism has placed the entire research world under (Paglia was never part of this policing, and perhaps this is why she was among the first to be targeted), is now directed toward feminism itself. And so in November 2019 the Oxford Brooks University barred at the last minute a feminist artist named Rachel Ara from giving a lecture in the fine art research unit following a letter from an LGBT organization and student complaints, and in January 2020 it was reported that the University of East Anglia canceled a feminist seminar by a philosophy professor from Sussex University named Kathleen Stock, focused on “philosophical issues surrounding diversity and inclusion,” because of “security and health and safety issues” following threats (the intention was probably to hijack or stop the conference forcefully). That same month Oxford University provided two bodyguards to Selina Todd, a modern history professor and a feminist researcher, after she was informed of an intention to harm her and due to a sense of threat from students and researchers who oppose her views on protected spaces for women. The guards arrived at the lecture halls before the students and remained there during the lectures. Two months later, in March 2020, the organizers of the Oxford International Women’s Festival canceled Todd’s planned participation following pressure from women who announced an intention to disrupt the event, and after one feminist lecturer boycotted the festival following Todd’s invitation.
But even these harsh events are overshadowed by the case of Prof. Kenneth Zucker, former director of the Gender Identity Services clinic for youth at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), in Canada, which more than anything else resembles secret trials conducted in the Soviet Union against doctors, writers and intellectuals considered anti-revolutionaries. Zucker is one of the founders of the field of clinical treatment of trans children and youth, which includes the medical aspects of the transition. A professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who has published 211 scientific papers and co-authored 72 books, he was the person who headed the DSM team that defined the term gender dysphoria, the psychological definition for trans (Dysphoria literally meaning, “unhappiness”). During three decades of treating trans children and adolescent, Zucker has developed an approach of accompanying boys and girls until adolescence and not transitioning their sex earlier, to allow sexual identity to crystallize without interfering with their preference, after which they were assisted with the transition.
The second decade of the 2000s saw a shift in the status of gender studies departments, from being in discourse with science, to constituting a managerial body in a position of control over science
However, genderist groups have made the clinic and Zucker a target. For several years the clinic has been labeled as performing “conversion therapy,” a term describing a forceful coercion to change sexual tendencies. On one of the days of December, 2015, Zucker was summoned to the office of the medical center director as soon as he arrived at the clinic. When entering the director’s office, she gave him a report and said he could read it in her presence, and that the document will be published within hours on the center’s website. When he began reading, he came across accusation after accusation. The harshest one was alleging that Zucker mocked a trans boy who was asked to remove his shirt for examination. The director left and a human resources personnel entered. She would arrange the dismissal documents.
Months later, a journalist named Jess Single will publish a thorough investigation into the report and the events. He will locate the boy, gather details from him that would seem inconsistent with the possibility that the incident in which he suffered mockery took place at the clinic, guess from the details which clinic it might be and send the boy an unnamed picture of another doctor, from that other clinic. The boy’s words as he sees the picture are quoted by the news reporter: “Oh my God. Sorry. Yeah.” “I feel like this is the guy”. The boy confirmed with certainty that the person he reportedly was mocked by was not Prof. Kenneth Zucker. The report that brought about Zucker’s dismissal, appears to have been written based on those concerns who previously threatened the clinic. The journalist also tried to understand why the clinic staff advised the parents of toddlers to wait before changing their sex. A psychologist who worked with Zucker explained that she and the staff observed in the clinic that by the time they will reach adolescence, over 80% of toddlers and young children would spontaneously abandon the idea to change sex (as can also be seen in the research data), so the approach was to accompany and support them until the stage when the desire was consolidated. She also stressed that one of the reasons for waiting was that they observed that parents of children who are in initial exploration of becoming trans, become activists, operate in various organizations and take the children to demonstrations, which puts pressure on the child to continue with the change even when he or she do not want it. After Zucker was fired the clinic was closed. Today, six years later, the entire feminist world regards the closure of the clinic as a human achievement. Zucker’s senior status meant that his removal was to be perceived as the overthrowing of a monarch. Following the trial conducted in the shadows, feminist women with a clinical degree in psychology around the world are encouraging the sex transition of toddlers as young as three. In one country, a nine-year-old whose sex transition to female began at age three, was interviewed in a special feminist journalistic report published by a daily newspaper, where the approach of the feminist psychologists who accompany the child was presented to the public as the triumph of light over darkness. Only in a marginal note made by one feminist interviewee, was the removal from office and academic exiling of some anonymous villain from Canada mentioned, leaving the impression of a successful capturing of a contemporary Josef Mengele. The transitioned child was later taken to a demonstration, and placed on a stage in front of a crowd of thousands who gathered following the publication to support the victory of progress.
The second decade of the 2000s saw a shift in the status of gender studies departments, from being in discourse with science, to constituting a managerial body in a position of control over science, including medicine and psychology. This change, which placed gender studies and all the groups surrounding it as the highest ruling body governing science – the role that the Catholic Church and the Inquisition had over science in the Dark Ages – was revealed in an article published in late 2018 in the journal Nature, the most important of scientific journals, the crown of science.
It was written as an editorial. The piece focused on the scientific definition of sex, and explained in a style appropriate for a blog that the notion of two genetically distinguishable sexes “has no basis in science.” It articulated, without citing a source, a statement designed to make the ordinary reader understand that 1% of humanity has “differences” that do not allow sex to be determined as male or female, with the sentence being constructed such that the unscientific reader will understand “1%” while those responsible for this text could quickly dispose of their “1%” by pointing to the words “some of which” hidden in the sentence, in case a scientist demands explanations for this error. The figure 1% is incorrect – every biology graduate knows that there are very few and extremely rare disorders occurring during fertilization, which create a chromosomal array of an atypical chromosomal sex (namely XYY syndrome), with other rare disorders being characterized by a completely normal chromosomal sex with reproductive organs that do not express this definitive chromosomal sex due to a dysfunction during the fetal development, and that all of these phenomena are estimated at tens of cases per million and up to 200 cases per million people – far from 1% of the population which would amount to 10,000 per million. The inferences made in the arguments of the editorial repeatedly referred to anecdotal cases or described situations in a biased manner which is easily responded to, but the general public would not know how to do so and the writers relied on that. Going through this editorial would remind the reader of a familiar tone – this is a typical article coming from the Department of Gender Studies. The article was written by the censor.
The convoluted argumentation, the repression of data, the dogmatism of first proclaiming a truism and then considering findings in a biased manner with a primary goal of reaching the predefined conclusion at all cost – thus using science as no more than a propaganda device for predetermined beliefs – these are no longer the methods of a division within academy that has been battering science for decades. When these practices appear in the editorial of the most important scientific publication of our time, it is evident where does the censorship is coming from: those who apply these methods are now a power governing science. The impact of feminism and the groups surrounding it is not marginal. It no longer criticizes science. It controls it, and it does so through the most important positions of leadership, put under threat of violence including ostracism. The control is complete or very close to that – by imposing censorship, by dictating restrictions, and primarily by spreading fear. Identity politics groups who gathered under the feminist umbrella are firmly involved – deleting the sex chapter from science and rewriting it according to feminist groups beliefs, with threats to cancel open discussion about data and using violence to dictate the correct beliefs. It is hard to estimate how many critical studies are not being conducted out of fear of a fate similar to that of Prof. Kenneth Zucker, and the damage of this atmosphere, of terror and deceit, to scientists, to policies that affect lives, and to the human aspiration to achieve a humane society.
Continue reading in Lovism: A Humanist Alternative to Feminism, available on amazon.