Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dangerous Knowledge

From NBC Bay Area:
Redwood Heights Elementary School, in Oakland, is in the hot-seat after the school decided to educate students about gender diversity.

On Monday and Tuesday, students of every grade were taught what the school called age-appropriate lessons about gender differences. Some lessons included all-girl geckos, a transgender clownfish, and boy snakes who act "girly" reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"That's a lot of variation in nature," Gender Spectrum trainer, Joel Baum, told the students. "Evolution comes up with some pretty funny ways for animals to reproduce."

Principal Sara Stone said the lesson on gender differences was part of a larger effort to control bullying in the school, something parents supported last year.

However, after the lessons began, several parents felt discussion in the classroom was too much.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative organization, said teaching children that there may be more than two genders, "does not represent the values of the majority of families in Oakland,"
Facts that contradict established Ideology must be hidden. Knowledge must be suppressed. It's vital that bullying be allowed to continue. Enforced Ignorance is a neccessity.

Children must not be allowed to know that some fish change sex. They certainly mustn't be allowed to learn that some humans do too.

From the comments:

John Juhasz · Top Commenter
your whole rant makes about as much sense as the Christmas light sets that say "for indoor or outdoor use only", y'know, warning us against that "third" option.

you want to define ALL of society, and force an agenda down the throats of 100% of students, over a very specific condition that is only present in far less than `1% of the total population.

If clownfish are such a stellar example of how humans should behave, do you advocate children mimicking the clownfish and staying underwater for long periods of time ? No ? Then maybe you have the wrong perspective.
My Reply:
John Juhasz - it's not about "behaviour", it's about biology. I'm not advocating that everyone should "behave" like clownfish any more than I'm advocating that everyone should "choose" to be born with white skin.

I happen to fit in the gender binary quite neatly. Female, knew I was as a child. But I'm too good a scientist not to recognise that obvious fact that not everyone is like me.

The Pacific Justice Institute wants to suppress facts in order to shore up their cultural beliefs; much as equivalent elements in Saudi Arabia want to suppress the teaching of astronomy, as it contradicts their cultural belief that the sun rotates around a fixed Earth. The Facts get in the way, so children must not be allowed to be exposed to them.


No one is talking about freaks of nature in any event it is natural to have mutations but not normal.

My Reply:
mymonkeydreams - actually, yes we are talking about "freaks of nature" as you call them. Those born with the mutation that causes blue eyes. Or the one that causes red hair. Or the ability to digest milk (after infancy). All those 3 mutations are very, very rare in people who don't have european ancestry, they are not "normal" for most of humanity. All are far rarer mutations in most places than those which cause a natural change of sex.

Which I did, in 2005, due to 3-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase deficiency syndrome.

Yes, we exist, we walk amongst you, far more of us than you imagine. Many thousands in the USA. We've tended not to reveal our history in the past - why should we? - but with the twin growth of more strict ID regulations, and growing ignorance in the Fundamentalist community, that's no longer an option.

As this story shows, many people object to us. Not what we do, they object to our existence, which contradicts their beliefs. Here's a quote: "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."

The Pacific Justice Institute is a perfect example. Our existence violates their religious freedom to believe things that are not true.
Further research on the MC1R gene has shown it to be more common than I'd thought. See Evidence for Variable Selective Pressures at MC1R by Harding et al Am J Hum Genet. 2000 April; 66(4): 1351–1361.
Variation in human skin and hair color is largely explained by the levels and ratio of the two major forms of melanin—eumelanin, which is brown-black, and pheomelanin, which is red-yellow (Quevedo and Holstein 1998). The type of melanin produced is under the control of two genes, identified initially by the mouse mutations extension and non-agouti. These correspond to the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R [MIM 155555]), a G protein–coupled seven-pass transmembrane receptor, expressed on cutaneous melanocytes, and an antagonist ligand, agouti (Robbins et al. 1993; Jordan and Jackson 1998; Ollmann and Barsh 1999). The MC1R gene (chromosome 16q24.3) is the only gene identified, thus far, that explains substantial phenotypic variance in human pigmentation (Rees and Flanagan 1999).
There's remarkably little hard data on the number of redheads in the world - much as there is for those who are Intersexed. The latter certainly outnumber the former though, possibly by an order of magnitude. The number who have genes that can have the potential to cause a "sex change" is probably less. More than the number of redheads who can drink milkshakes with no ill-effects though.

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