Wednesday, January 03, 2018

How many transgender kids grow up to stay trans?

Pushing batshit crazy transgender ideology is nothing more or less than child abuse

The National Post recently covered the CBC’s cancellation of a BBC documentary about transgender children (Why CBC cancelled a BBC documentary that activists claimed was ‘transphobic’).  In that coverage, the Post shared claims made by some activists criticizing some scientific studies, but did not apparently fact-check those claims, so I thought I would outline the studies here. 

For reference, in a previous post, I listed the results of every study that ever followed up transgender kids to see how they felt in adulthood (Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?).  There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.

The Post conveyed criticisms alleged about two of those:  “One study of Dutch children, in particular, assumed that subjects had ‘desisted’ purely because they stopped showing up to a gender identity clinic.”  Although unnamed, the claim appears to be referring to Steensma et al. (2013), which followed up on 127 transgender kids.  Of them: 47 said they were still transgender; 56 said they were no longer transgender (46 said so directly, 6 said so via their parents, and 4 more said so despite not participating in other aspects of the study); and 24 did not respond to the invitation to participate in the study or could not be located.  Because all the medical services for transition are free in the Netherlands and because there is only one clinic providing those services, the researchers were able to check that none of the 24 had actually transitioned despite having the opportunity to do so.  Steensma therefore reported that (80/127 =) 63% of the cases desisted. 

The alleged criticism is that one should not assume that the 24 who did not respond or could not be found were desisters.  Regardless of whether one agrees with that, the irrelevance of claim is clearly seen simply by taking it to its own conclusion: When one excludes these 24, one simply finds a desistance rate of (56/103 =) 54% instead of 63%.  That is, although numerically lower, it nonetheless supports the very same conclusion as before. The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.

The other alleged criticism was that a study “cast too wide a net on which children were legitimately displaying gender dysphoria.”  Although also unnamed, this seems to refer to Drummond et al. (2008), which followed up 25 kids assessed in childhood for gender issues: 15 of the 25 received official diagnoses for their gender dysphoria, and 10 were judged to be experiencing the feelings, but to be “subthreshold” for an official diagnosis.  That is, the alleged criticism is that including “subthreshold” cases would water down the results from cases who are formally diagnosed. 

The irrelevance of that claim is again easily seen by looking at it directly: Of the 15 kids who received a diagnosis, two continued to be transgender in adulthood (13/15 = 87% desistance), and of the 10 without a diagnosis, one continued to be transgender (9/10 = 90% desistance).  Drummond thus reported their combination, that (22/25 =) 88% desisted.  That is, both the “too wide” net and the narrow net each support the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older.

I am personally of the opinion that the studies’ authors were correct in their original methods, but the numbers indicate that it simply does not matter.  Even if the criticisms were valid, the studies conclusions would remain the same.

The state of the science is made clear simply by listing the results of the studies on the topic.  Despite coming from a variety of countries and from a variety of labs, using a variety of methods, all spanning four decades, every single study without exception has come to the identical conclusion.  This is not a matter of scientists disagreeing with one another over relative strengths and weaknesses across a set of conflicting reports.  The disagreement is not even some people advocating for one set of studies with other people advocating for different set of studies:  Rather, activists are rejecting the unanimous conclusion of every single study ever conducted on the question in favour of a conclusion supported by not one.

Importantly, these results should not be exaggerated in the other direction either: The correct answer is neither 0% nor 100%.  Although the majority of transgender kids desist, it is not a large majority.  A very substantial proportion do indeed want to transition as they get older, and we need to ensure they receive the support they will need.  Despite loud, confident protestations of extremists, the science shows very clearly and very consistently that we cannot take either outcome for granted.


Drummond, K. D., Bradley, S. J., Badali-Peterson, M., & Zucker, K. J. (2008). A follow-up study of girls with gender identity disorder. Developmental Psychology, 44, 34–45.

Steensma, T. D., McGuire, J. K., Kreukels, B. P. C., Beekman, A. J., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2013). Factors associated with desistence and persistence of childhood gender dysphoria: A quantitative follow-up study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52, 582–590.


Another man sent to prison for rape after very slack work by British police

They are desperate to get convictions to appease feminists

A MAN who was wrongly jailed for rape has spoken out of the years of hell that only ended when his family managed to find deleted Facebook messages that proved his innocence.

Danny Kay, of Derby, UK, spent more than two years behind bars after police relied on an “edited and misleading” conversation between himself and his accuser — with cops now reviewing just how they got it so wrong.

Mr Kay told The Mail On Sunday he had trusted the system would find the truth after he was arrested on suspicion of rape in 2012 but was instead brought to trial and eventually convicted.

The now 26-year-old said: “Even now, with the conviction quashed, I still can’t believe that it took years of pain and stress for this nightmare to end.

“And the terrifying thought is that if the police and justice system could fail me like this, it could happen to anyone.”

It wasn’t until his sister-in-law Sarah Maddison checked his Facebook account and was able to find the full archived conversation — which supported Mr Kay’s version of events — that his appeal could be set in motion.
Danny Kay was released from jail after his sister-in-law Sarah Maddison found archived Facebook messages that cleared him

Danny Kay was released from jail after his sister-in-law Sarah Maddison found archived Facebook messages that cleared himSource:The Sun

It comes after three high-profile rape cases collapsed in the same week, including two where bungling cops did not disclose crucial texts sent by the alleged victims.

Ms Maddison said it had taken her mere minutes to find the archived conversation, despite not being a social media expert, with surprised cops asking her: “How did you know how to find the messages and we didn’t?”

Mr Kay, who had trained as a welder, said: “This isn’t some small matter — this is my life and for the police not to do those basic checks is horrendous.”

During the 2013 trial, the jury had been given the impression that a message from Mr Kay saying “sorry” was over the alleged rape — but the deleted messages instead showed it had been referring to the woman asking why he had been ignoring her.

Other messages proved that Mr Kay had not lied about his age, as had been presented in court.
Derby Crown Court where Danny Kay went to trial in 2013

Derby Crown Court where Danny Kay went to trial in 2013Source:The Sun

Mr Kay had engaged in a fling with his accuser in March 2012, with the accusations brought against him six months later.

Appeal judge Mr Justice Goss said: “We have come to the conclusion that, in a case of one word against another, the full Facebook message exchange provides very cogent evidence both in relation to the truthfulness and reliability of (the woman) ... and the reliability of (Mr Kay’s) account and his truthfulness.”

Derbyshire Police said: “We will be reviewing our investigation to find out whether lessons can be learnt.”

This article was originally published in The Sun and is reproduced here with permission.


Moderate drinking is good for the heart. Why won’t public health admit it?

A new study in the British Medical Journal has found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of heart attack, angina and heart failure when compared to teetotallers. It found that lifelong non-drinkers have a 24 per cent higher mortality rate than moderate drinkers and that the death rate among former drinkers is even higher.

The authors, from Cambridge University and University College London, describe their research as ‘the most comprehensive study to date’ in this crowded field and with some justification. It involved nearly two million people, 62 per cent of whom claimed to drink within the old UK guidelines of 21 units for men and 14 units for women. The reduction in risk for heart disease was both clinically and statistically significant, and this is only the latest in a long line of studies stretching over five decades that have come to the same conclusion.

If moderate drinking was a pharmaceutical with the same weight of evidence behind it, doctors would be prescribing it. If it was a fruit, wellness gurus would be getting rich off it. But you will never hear anyone from the ‘public health’ lobby telling teetotallers to start drinking. You will seldom even hear them acknowledge the fact that teetotallers die younger. More likely, you will see them resorting to long-debunked arguments to cast doubt on the scientific evidence. They will do almost anything to avoid advising people to drink alcohol.

On the face of it, this is remarkable. We live in an age in which weak epidemiological associations are used to justify all manner of interventions in people’s lifestyles and yet here is a strong, proven link between the consumption of a product and substantially lower risks of both heart disease and overall mortality, and yet it is treated as a trivial factoid.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the ‘public health’ lobby fears that non-drinkers will become alcoholics if they are advised to have a glass of wine. Put simply, they don’t trust us. They don’t think we are responsible enough to drink moderately and they would sooner see a few thousand of us die of angina than give us accurate information. Second, a large number of ‘public health’ campaigners think that alcohol is the new smoking and want to co-opt the ‘no safe level’ slogan that has worked so well in the war on tobacco. There is a blueprint and they are going to follow it.

The new BMJ study is too strong to dismiss with the usual excuses about ‘sick quitters’ and so the strategy today has turned to presenting exercise and healthy eating as superior substitutes for moderate drinking. The subliminal message is that drinking probably isn’t much good for the heart and you should take up jogging instead.

For example, here’s how James Nicholls of Alcohol Research UK responded to the study:

‘There are better ways to strengthen the heart such as exercise and good diet. All things being equal — and given the increased risk of suffering other health conditions linked to any amount of alcohol consumption — if you drink within the existing guidelines it is unlikely that alcohol will either lengthen or shorten your life.’

And here’s how Rosanna O’Connor of Public Health England reacted:

‘Those who don’t drink should not consider taking up drinking to improve their heart health, but are better off stopping smoking, getting regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.’

Healthy eating and physical activity are to be encouraged, but this line of argument is a false dichotomy. You should not be told to choose exercise or moderate drinking. They are complementary. The evidence shows that even if you exercise regularly, eat healthily and don’t smoke, moderate alcohol consumption offers additional benefits that teetotal health fanatics do not enjoy. This study from 2006, for example, concluded that: ‘Even in men already at low risk on the basis of body mass index, physical activity, smoking, and diet, moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk for MI.’ MI is myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack.

It could be argued that people who like alcohol do not drink for the health benefits. Likewise, people who hate the taste of alcohol are unlikely to start drinking even if it means they are more likely to have a heart attack. So what does it matter if ‘public health’ authorities downplay the benefits of drinking while exaggerating the risks?

It matters because we are being treated like children who cannot handle nuanced information. It is deeply patronising to assume that we will drink ourselves to death if Public Health England gives us permission to have a couple of bottles of wine every week. It is an insult to our intelligence for the scolds of ‘public health’ to speak to us as if the only message we can comprehend is ‘abstinence good, drinking bad’.

The benefits of drinking matter because the neo-temperance lobby thinks they matter. Drinkers do not need moderate alcohol consumption to be good for their health to justify their lifestyles, but the anti-drinkers desperately need to debunk the health benefits to justify their crusade.

These are people who see a world of black and white in which activities are healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, banned or compulsory. It is a world of zero-tolerance and ‘no safe levels’ — a world in which the most important thing is to ‘send a clear message’. When Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, declared last year that there is ‘no safe level’ of alcohol and derided the benefits of moderate drinking as ‘an old wives’ tale’ she was dragging us into this cartoon parallel universe.

These are the slogans of a campaigner, not a scientist. The real world is more complex. In the real world, there are trade-offs to be made and the dose makes the poison. Science reflects the real world. Everything else is manipulation.


Kwakkers law professor pontificates on economics

Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality by James Kwak (Pantheon Books, 2017; 237 pages)

There is a nasty genre of writing: books and articles that seek to build the case for socialism and interventionist government policies by smearing those of us who oppose them. That approach appeals greatly to Progressives who think that they are virtuous and their enemies must therefore be driven by base motives.

Such a book is Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality, by University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak. He is extremely bothered by the fact that free-market arguments often succeed in derailing the kinds of socialistic policies he believes we need to combat inequality. And they succeed with what Kwak deems “simplistic” concepts.

Many years ago, I taught introductory college economics courses. Perhaps today one of my former students, if asked whether or not he supports increasing the minimum wage would reply, “No, because what I learned about economics makes me think that doing so will lead to more unemployment among workers with low-skill levels.”

That sensible response, according to Kwak, would exemplify the harmful phenomenon he calls “economism.” When people make decisions on what he deems complex policy questions on the basis of their having absorbed some of the “simple” concepts from Econ 101, that’s a bad thing. In his view, the United States is being held back from addressing the crucial issue of rising inequality because economism has indoctrinated so much of the population. If, for example, that former student opposes the minimum wage because he remembers that price increases mean decreases in demand, that shows the malign force of “economism” at work.

The “elegant model” of supply and demand, Kwak writes, “requires that all suppliers offer the same product — there are no differences in features, quality or anything else — and each competitor is so small that its behavior has no effect on overall supply.” Because the model of a perfectly competitive market is unrealistic, Kwak argues, it follows that the basic teachings derived from it are not reliable policy guides. We really can’t be sure about the impact of a mandated wage increase, for instance, and it’s therefore wrong to instruct impressionable students that there are any necessary implications from it or other interventionist policies. This artificial model, however, does not describe free-market economics and plays no role in comprehending human action.

Down with economics!

In short, learning the basic principles taught in Econ 101 is an instance of the old adage that a little learning is a dangerous thing. If it weren’t for the simplistic notions implanted in people’s minds about those principles, we would have adopted a host of regulatory and tax policies to relieve suffering and make America a more equal nation.

If that seems like an attack on economic theory, that’s exactly what Kwak is doing. He derides writers such as Henry Hazlitt for arguing that the world obeys economic laws. Theory, Kwak maintains, has been overthrown by data. We can discover the impact of different policies only by looking at studies after implementing them, and if any study finds an apparently beneficial result, that’s adequate justification for it. Naturally, he points to outlier academic studies finding little or no harm from minimum-wage increases and little or no benefit from tax cuts to make his case that the world is too complicated for mere theory.

Where does economism have its roots? They’re found in the ideas of economists who have argued that free markets lead to the most efficient use of resources to satisfy the desires of consumers and, equally important, that coercive interference with markets will have predictable and generally harmful consequences. Kwak displays a superficial familiarity with those economists. Throughout the book, he mentions Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and others. All of them opposed the sorts of interventionist policies that he thinks are now necessary to restore fairness: trade restrictions, minimum-wage laws, strong labor unions, high taxes on the wealthy, and so on.

But Kwak never ventures a direct assault against their ideas. Rather, his contention is that their theoretical notions, while not necessarily wrong, have been pulled out of their books and impressed into the service of rich Americans who were unhappy that the New Deal had slightly reduced their share of national wealth, and wanted some means of fighting back. If, for example, Charles Koch cites Milton Friedman on the benefits of deregulation in an op-ed, that’s bad old economism at work — using simple, merely theoretical ideas to tear down our regulatory apparatus so his companies can gain.

In Kwak’s version of history, America had settled into a comfortable and relatively fair equilibrium under the enlightened policies of Franklin Roosevelt, which sensible Republicans continued under Dwight Eisenhower. But then a few people on the far Right decided that the New Deal’s big administrative state was an obstacle to their wealth maximization, so they created a movement to counter it, a movement centered around the anti-interventionist arguments of Smith, Mises, et al. Thus was economism born. It takes “simplistic” economic concepts and repackages them into op-eds and videos and radio commentaries designed to get Americans to believe that free markets are always good and government interference with them is always bad.

In making his argument, Kwak is relentlessly uncharitable toward his opponents. They’re depicted as mean-spirited people, all about money for themselves, never about principled economic and philosophical arguments against government coercion. William Graham Sumner is tarred with the false claim that he was indifferent to the poor, who just “deserved it.” Leonard Read, founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, was just a business executive looking for ways to put business back on top, not a man with a deep philosophic commitment to liberty. Americans who oppose the minimum wage merely want to keep down labor costs for business and those who argue for tax cuts do so only because their deep pockets could hold a few more dollars.

Kwak can’t even resist a dig at two Nobel laureates who provide ammunition for the practitioners of economism. Writing about Hayek and Friedman, he says, “Both were well versed in the complexities of various markets, even if their political sensibilities constantly colored their economic assessments.” I don’t think I have ever before seen the intellectual sincerity of Hayek or Friedman called into question, but Kwak feels the need to suggest that they were part of the right-wing cabal against the Golden Age of Progressivism.

To make his attack on the purveyors of “economism” as people who are all about greed and couldn’t care less about the poor hold up, Kwak has to ignore some inconvenient facts. Who opposes harmful labor-market restrictions such as occupational licensing that drive up prices for the poor, while at the same time preventing many from finding good work? They are almost always people who are imbued with “economism.” Who opposes crony capitalism that lines the pockets of the politically connected rich and who opposes the government schooling monopoly that so harms the chances for success of children from poor families? Again, those of us who have absorbed the basics of Econ 101. But Kwak is so adamant to portray economism as a wholly malign force that he can’t admit that it works for the poor and against the (unjustly) rich.

While Kwak claims that he isn’t trying to say who is right and who is wrong in policy debates and only wants deeper and more-enlightened debate, that’s hard to take seriously. He never indicts any of the equally simple arguments that come from Progressives. For every instance of economism — let’s say a Wall Street Journal editorial saying that raising the minimum wage will cause increased unemployment —it’s easy to find one of simple egalitarianism — say a New York Times op-ed declaring that raising taxes on the “1 percent” is a matter of basic fairness. Only the former appears to bother our author; simplistic appeals that help advance the policies he likes occasion no complaint from him.

Whatever impact the book has will be to encourage true-believing Progressives to say “Well, that’s just economism for you” any time they encounter an argument that’s premised on supply and demand, incentives, efficiency, or other concepts of basic economics. Instead of promoting deeper debate, the book encourages leftists to believe that free-market arguments are just a mask for greed.


Besides the book’s tactic of impugning the motives of those who argue for free markets and noninterventionist government, Kwak’s work is open to two obvious objections.

First, is it true that basic supply-and-demand analysis is so drummed into American students that they reflexively oppose government interventionism? Demonstrating that would seem to be crucial to Kwak’s case, but he never even bothers to try. Only a small percentage of Americans ever take an economics course (they are required at very few colleges) and as Daniel Klein has shown, many economics professors are not free-market enthusiasts. Among the minority of students who do take an Econ 101 course, many are taught in a way that gives more attention to alleged market failures and the need for intervention than to the adverse consequences of tampering with prices. In the rest of the college curriculum, students are far more likely to be imbued with egalitarian and statist ideas than to hear anything that reinforces supply-and-demand theory from Econ 101. If “economism” affects American thinking, its impact is far, far smaller than Kwak would have us believe.

The second obvious problem is that despite the supposedly gigantic barrier of economism, the United States has kept right on increasing the power of the state to interfere in markets. Economism did not prevent the Affordable Care Act from passing; it didn’t keep Congress from raising the minimum wage in 2007 or keep Seattle from raising it to $13 per hour last year; it didn’t prevent ethanol subsidies or steel tariffs; it didn’t keep states from enacting laws against price gouging. Nor has the government repealed any of the laws that people infected with economism have long railed against. The Davis-Bacon Act? Still on the books. The Department of Education? Ronald Reagan promised to abolish it, but it’s still here.

In short, Kwak vastly overstates the power of economism to dictate policy. He declares that it prevents Americans from even considering a single-payer national health policy, but many politicians and policy advocates have put forth that idea. It has been widely debated. Most Americans seem to have concluded that single-payer would be a big mistake. That isn’t because economism is so dominant; it’s because the case for a federal health-care monopoly is so poor.

What this book boils down to is the author’s complaint that the world of policy debate doesn’t operate to his satisfaction. “With economism,” he writes, “there are only implicit assumptions and asserted conclusions. When commentators and politicians say that a higher minimum wage will increase unemployment … they often do not realize that they are making contested claims about how the economy should be organized and how its output should be distributed.”

So what? Writers who rely on economism are just as apt to know they’re making “contested claims” as Progressive writers are to know that they’re doing the same thing when they advocate interventionist, redistributionist policies. People on any side who seek to shape public opinion couldn’t possibly include and respond to every objection that has been lodged against the positions they advocate. The realm of policy debate is (thankfully) still an even field of battle and Kwak’s lament that economism gives greedy right-wingers an unfair advantage is risible.

In the end, what does Kwak want? He wants his philosophical allies to develop “a new, compelling narrative about how the world works.” And what would that entail? To break the grip of economism, Kwak wants to fight the idea that “the overriding objective should be to have more and more stuff.” He praises Amartya Sen for saying that we should care about “the richness of human life” and not just “the richness of the economy.”

Fine. Let Kwak and anyone else make that case any way they can —even if those advocates don’t bother to acknowledge when they’re making “contested claims” and ignore the counterarguments about the trade-offs their preferences would require. They need not be fair and can make their arguments with simplistic notions. When they advocate coercion (as they almost inevitably will) we libertarians will oppose them as we think best.

In fact, writers have been trying to sell people around the world on a “less is more” philosophy for thousands of years. They haven’t gotten very far. Perhaps Kwak’s next book will argue that Americans should change to a sharing ethic, since we already have enough stuff. That would be a far greater challenge than writing a misguided hit piece like Economism.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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