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Science vs. The LGBTQ Community
If you thought Matt Walsh was bad, what about the people who want to use his arguments for your benefit?
Do you remember household cold fusion devices that promised clean, unlimited power virtually for free?
What about education targeted to our objectively-defined abilities that would unlock our potential as human beings? (WARNING: unlocking your potential as a human being is limited to white males.) No, you probably don’t, because both were based on shoddy science that preyed on ignorance, laziness, fear, and prejudice, and were — rightly — recognized and rejected quickly.
Today, we in the LGBTQ community face a similar problem — anti-LGBTQ rhetoric demands that sex, sexuality, and gender follow solely from genetics and its associated biochemical processes. The logical result is to validate the cisgender / heterosexual experience as “normal” with no conclusive evidence. Many of us in the LGBTQ community accept this premise, which leaves us scrambling to justify our existence with even more shoddy science.
In my last article, I discussed the human brain and its study to dispel the foundation of genetics in the origin of identity. In this article, I won’t explain the faulty science behind two major contributions to scientific literature. Rather, I intend to explore the result of poor data acquisition, flawed analytical techniques, and statistical shoehorning of data to support wishful thinking as science.
Room-temperature cold fusion
In 1989, the world was just beginning to understand the concept of Peak Oil — that the Earth possesses a finite reserve of petroleum deposits that will one day run out. Sherry Rowland was still several years away from receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on catalytic decomposition of ozone — the hole in the ozone layer at the South Pole. The belief that “science will save us” ran strong, and the journal articles published by Martin Fleischmann  and Stanley Pons  appeared as proof positive that Man Will Always Conquer Nature. The articles detailed an electrochemical method of producing tritium from deuterium and protons in water: room-temperature cold fusion, a seemingly endless supply of energy. The problem? Nobody checked the data and its analysis.
In 1991, I began electrochemistry research for a professor who had been on a team to debunk Fleischmann and Pons; I got to hear the story first-hand. Despite shaky evidence of the process’s efficacy, the universities at which research was performed pressured the authors to publish. Attempts to replicate the experiments failed dismally. The experimental method, data acquisition, and analytical methods were found highly flawed. Both Fleischmann and Pons became overnight goats as rapidly as they had become overnight celebrities. Electrochemists were reviled — how could scientists lie to the world? That said, experiments are still carried out to this day in the hope that almost 1000 studies that failed to replicate the results were wrong.
The bell curve
In 1994, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray published a book that claimed intelligence was the domain of the few. Those people outside the “cognitive elite” are doomed to low income, teenage pregnancy, a life of crime, and are likely to be a waste of money dedicated to social welfare programs. The most outrageous statement claims cognitive ability — the ability to reason, to feel emotions, and to interact with the world in a meaningful manner — is substantially heritable, or based in genetics.
Genetics, of course, is the foundation of racial identity. It came as no surprise that most of Herrnstein’s and Murray’s “cognitive elite” are white. It came as more of a surprise that the authors claimed intelligence could not be raised appreciably, and it makes financial and anthropological sense to leave the masses behind if humanity is to survive. If this sounds like Nazi Germany, you’re not far off. The book is lauded by White Supremacist groups. The book is rejected by almost every academic who reviewed it, noting “sloppy reasoning” and “mathematical errors.”
Is science to blame?
The common behavior in the two examples above is to pander to an opinion that absolves readers from having to think or to question their beliefs. Who doesn’t want cheap, clean energy? Who doesn’t want to be a member of an elite group? The two publications sold. They made their authors famous — at least for a short while. But most importantly, the two publications put the stamp of science on the face of foolishness.
Both publications are founded on the premise that science cannot be wrong and that science is capable of explaining everything. If a pleasing conclusion can be drawn from weak data that most people won’t understand, publish it. The unspoken rule is not to question what the people in white lab coats say. Make no mistake, this rule is not well-intentioned. Its purpose is to cash in on people’s unwillingness to think for themselves and their fear of the unknown.
As a scientist, my job is to acquire data and ensure it is valid, that it matches the question I ask, that it appears reasonable in reality, and that my analytical techniques are solid. To fall short in any of those pursuits is irresponsible. But to fall short is not the fault of science. It is the fault of the scientists…and of the audience who listens.
To return to the introduction, anti-LBGTQ rhetoric uses science — genetics and biochemistry — as the foundation of a scientific farce. Its premise is that cisgender/heterosexual humans are built properly, and we in the LGBTQ community are anomalies that must be explained away. Since our genetics are identical to everybody else in the species, and genetics is the basis for identity, we must simply choose erroneously, in delusion. The cisgender/heterosexual experience is held up as the standard by which other experiences are judged.
But no conclusive evidence to support this statement exists. Genetics is not the foundation of identity, as decades of failed research to link the two indicates. There is not a master race, a master gender, a master intelligence. When we in the LGBTQ community argue against the rhetoric — all the while accepting its premise implicitly — we confirm that we are the anomalies. We give up our souls and science is not coming to save us.
I am not a freak
We must reject the idea that the common and frequent is identical with the normal. We must reject the idea that science has an answer to every question today. Could the answer be found? Possibly. But are you willing to wait until conclusive data is found before we receive the treatment due to every human? I am not.
I am not a freak.
Say it with me, brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community: I am not a freak! I don’t want to be special. I don’t need to justify myself in somebody else’s flawed terms. I am normal. You are normal. Together, we are humans.
All I ask for are normal laws — those that apply to humans. I need nothing further, as I am a human. Humans require laws that protect them from discrimination — in marriage, in adoption, in the simple act of going to the bathroom. These seem to work for those cisgender and heterosexual people. Can’t they work for me?
We are not freaks. I refuse to accept a premise that is based in poor science, with the purpose of pandering to a sexual and gender elite. Science has proved nothing here. Science will continue to prove nothing for a long time, based on the review of psychology and brain research over the past 70 years.
It could be that scientists are simply ignorant. And it could be that scientists are simply wrong. In the absence of data, we must reject conclusions that are distinctly anti-scientific. The anti-LBGTQ rhetoric qualifies.