== Aff ==
Before I begin, I would like to identify key parts about this
debate. Per the description, Con ought to advocate for the “gender” field;
comprised of the following options: “male”, “female” or “other” using social or
cultural factors to be able to distinguish between these three categories.
Thus, my arguments aim to show that one cannot coherently distinguish between said categories using “social” or “cultural” factors. Hence, nullifying
the coherency of the field as a whole. Moreover, I aim to show that the “sex”
field can absolutely distinguish between “male” and “female”, thus it is
the only coherent option.
A1. Sex is rooted in biology whereas gender is not
1.1 “Sex” is scientifically precise
Per the biological definition for “sex” provided; the distinction
between male and females rely on the genotype of the somatic cells. Simply,
those who possess somatic cells with XX genotypes are female, and those with XY
are male . Thus, the notion of “sex”
is reducible to facts grounded in the physical world. The importance of
this will be shown later.
It could be argued that intersex people can’t coherently align
with either “male” or “female” which could seem problematic for my position.
However, it is a misconception that intersex are neither male nor female; let’s
examine the types of intersex:
i) 46, XX DSD
This is where the person possesses the chromosomes of a woman, but
the external genitalia appears male . Obviously, one with this form of intersex can still be deemed female.
ii) 46, XY DSD
Identical to XX intersex, except one is male .
iii) 46, XX ovotesticular DSD
Here is where more of a compelling argument can be made; as a
person with this form is born with both ovarian and testicular tissue; and can
even have both XX and XY chromosomes . However, per the definition of sexes
provided, the genotype only applies to “somatic cells” which do not
include reproductive cells.
iv) Sex chromosome DSD
This is where a male or a female is born with either an extra or
missing X chromosome. Regardless, one that still has a Y chromosome is denoted
as male .
1.2 “Gender” is scientifically imprecise
Here, I argue that “gender” is irreducible to physical fact.
Gender, relies on “social” and “cultural”
factors when determining whether one is “male”, “female” or “other”. These factors are wholly unquantifiable and
subjective; how could one distinguish themselves as absolutely “male”, “female”
or “other” using subjective factors with it actually having coherent value? To
say that something is “more X”, “less X”, “X but not Y” one needs to *demonstrate
a method with which he/she/other can determine the value of X*.
In science, observations are reducible; for example, if we were to
analyse the temperature of a closed system, we would find that temperature is
actually reducible to the vibration of particles. Thus, temperature supervenes on grounded empirical axioms (law of thermodynamics). B-Properties supervene on A-Properties
; temperature equates to a B-Property supervening on the A-Property
that is particle vibration. B-properties change if and only if A-Properties
are changed; you increase the vibration of the particles (add energy to the
system), the temperature changes (the temperature of the system increases). Indeed,
to talk of the temperature of a system being 0 degrees and not 100 degrees is
coherent as temperature is reducible to a quantifiable measurement grounded in
the physical world.
The issue here is it is impossible for “male”, “female” or “other”
to supervene on “social” or “cultural” factors as *these factors are
not reducible to any fact about the physical world*. Thus, to distinguish whether one is male, or female, or other,
without any scientific (i.e biological) supervenience is absurd. Since sex supervenes on the empirical state of
one’s somatic cells, it successfully supervenes on a grounded, quantifiable
property. Thus, one can coherently make the distinction of “male” or “female” using
the “sex” field.
1.3 Logical Formulation
P1: X supervenes a grounded A-Property
P2: This A-Property is either biological or cultural and social
C1: X does not supervene on cultural and social factors
P4: If C1 then “gender” is incoherent
C2: Gender is incoherent
(let X be the distinction between male and female)
1.3 Premise One
This ought to be true per the resolution; in order to coherently distinguish
one identity from the other, there ought to be an objective measure to quantify
them. Thus, it must supervene on an objective fact that is grounded in the
1.3 Premise two
Per the definitions provided, this is the only possible
1.3 Premise Three
As aforementioned, cultural and social factors do not supervene on
anything empirical, thus “male”, “female”, or “other” cannot be coherently
assigned to anyone.
1.3 Premise Four
If “gender” entails absurdities in providing coherent distinctions
between “male”, “female” and “other” its purpose is unjustified; especially in
light that the “sex” field can.
1.3 C1 & C2
Thus follow logically from the premises.
A2. Other examples are absurd
Since “gender” has no scientific underpinning, I will show that
other examples of subjective notions of objective properties are nonsensical. Take date of birth (DoB) for instance; we all
have an objective date of birth, thus we all have an objective age. Despite the
fact that there are subjective qualities inherently tied with age (e.g maturity)
one cannot “identify” as any other age apart from their actual age. For
example, to equate this to gender, all one would need to do is create a new “subjective
notion” that takes “social and cultural” factors into account and ascribe it a
name, e.g “aje” (I have just made this word up). “Aje” dissimilar
to “age”, takes into account other pseudo-scientific qualities such as subjective
social and cultural factors. For example, one can “identify” as 35 years old,
because their interests and personality closely aligns to 80s culture. A
subjectively mature 12 year old, could have the “aje” of 18 years old, because
they might be as mature as an 18 year old. Clearly, just because I arbitrarily
make up a new word and included inherent social and cultural factors does not
mean it has any meaningful value. For the same reason it would be absurd for me
to affirm the veracity of “aje” over “age”, it is likewise absurd for me to
argue “gender” over “sex”.
A3. Data Consistency
If whether I am “male”, “female” or “other” depended on social and
cultural factors, then who is to say that my gender doesn’t change
consistently? What would stop me from being a male one minute, but a female the
next? This would imply people have the option to often change their gender on
3.1 Inaccurate Demographical Analysis
If this were the case, DART would be unable to create an “accurate”
depiction of their user demographic; as this statistic would be constantly changing.
Moreover, DART would be unable to design their website based on this user demographic,
because the sexual dimorphic distinction would be lost as biological males can
identify as women and vice versa. It would be more lucrative for DART to
provoke the “sex” field as it provides absolute data to analyse. They would
know what demographic they are appealing to; and how to adjust their website
accordingly to appeal to that demographic; whether it be UI design, or even advertising. With the “gender” field such data would
be inconsistent, forever changing and misrepresenting the true user demographic
of the site.
== Rebuttals ==
== Neg ==
C1. DA “Ethos”
Con consistently talks about DA’s ethos but fails to source what
this ethos is . He outlines that to oppose his argument would imply that one is
“anti-DA”, but doesn’t explain specifically why.
C1.1 DA vs Social Media Platforms (SMP)
Con states that:
“DA is not a standard
social media platform but a shrine to debate, free of real life identity,
Whilst I concur DA is dissimilar to that of FB and Twitter and
that it doesn’t badger you for personal data, it is an erroneous conclusion
that one ought to be able to “appear to be whatever they want” on the site. Especially
when one can be “free of real life identity” by just simply leaving
the sex field blank. There is a difference between not providing personal
data, and selecting random data you would choose to be. In this case, Con would
be behooved in advocating the “aje” field over DoB. In fact, why wouldn’t there
be settings where I can identify to be anything I want? Why can I not identify
as a 98 year old Pterodactyl and have debates with 76 year old 1943 Japanese
As such, asking my DoB, my
political ideology, my education and my occupation is “anti-DA” and inherently
contradicts “DA’s ethos”. Why is it that
these objective questions do not breach DA’s ethos but the “sex” field does?
C2. Gender Fluidity
Here, Con shows the fallibility of the gender field; he states:
“most trans people are simply over 55% between 0% one gender and 100% but not really
super near 100%”
What would make someone 100% male/female or… other? Or 50% male/
50% female? If a man likes the colour pink would that make him 2% more female? But
what if he enjoys hunting, does that make him 5% more male? Or how would that
value relate to him liking pink? Or who is to objectively say that those things
are innately masculine or feminine anyway? Or is it just base intuition that
one subjectively feels they are male or female or more female than male etc.? These
are the problems we encounter when we try and quantify non-physical values.
Moreover, he asserts:
“I don’t see what on earth would be a motive on a profile page on
a website that frees you of your real identity to opt for biological sex
instead of the gender you wish to be identified as”
As previously mentioned, then what is the point of having
objective questions on this page at all? If the goal is to free one of their
true identity why can’t I identify as a venus fly trap? Why doesn’t the site
include social and cultural factors for my age, education, native language or
country? It seems to me, Con has unwarrantedly assumed the website to free one
of their true identity and implies that this means that socio-cultural factors
ought to be shoehorned into every question we are asked about our data. It
seems to me, DA asks for your data but doesn’t badger you for it; it’s ethos
isn’t to necessarily free you of your true identity it just provides more anonymity
relative to social media platforms, since it allows you to leave all these
R1 Gender as a result would be more ambiguous than sex
Con states that the gender field allows one to assign with their
biological sex if they want to, but also has the option to choose another
option based on socio-cultural factors. This means no-one knows whether or not
one is biologically male/female or not! It completely makes the biological
factor redundant. In terms of analytics DA would have to guess whether or not one
is truly that sex or because they identify as that sex. Wouldn’t it be a better
alternative to put such in one’s bio; that they’d rather be referred to as
he/she etc. or that they’re on the fence about their gender? And if so why
would this contravene their true biological nature?
R2 Con hasn’t shown the coherency of the field
Since, gender would result in reducing sex to subjectivity, there are
infinite amounts of genders. As such I could identify as Michael Jackson as
that could subjectively be a gender to me. This nullifies the entire biological
portion as it is superseded by subjectivity. This is absurd. It’s like having
the option to identify as your biological age, but simultaneously have the
option to identify as any other age. It’s oxymoronic and I conveyed the juxtaposition
between objectivity and subjectivity in my affirmative case; it is innately paradoxical
to have an option that is simultaneously objective and subjective at the same
time. I commend that Con’s onus extends to the internal consistency of the
field. I assert that if it’s incoherent then it is inapt as a viable parameter
Over to Con.