Maine Professor demonized for teaching that there are only two human sexes penalized

October 5, 2022 • 11:30 am

The other day I recounted the story of Christy Hammer, a professor of education at the University of Southern Maine, whose students walked out when Hammer accurately said that humans had two biological sexes. And I quoted from the Bangor Daily News:

Nearly two dozen graduate students at the University of Southern Maine are demanding their education professor be replaced after the professor allegedly said only two biological sexes exist.

The students said professor Christy Hammer’s remarks were inaccurate and transphobic.

After all but one student walked out of Hammer’s class on Sept. 14 in protest, they demanded a facilitated restorative justice meeting between the 22 students and their professor.

They got it, but, according to students, Hammer maintained her position saying non-binary biological sex designations are merely variations on male and female. Now they want Hammer gone.

Biologists believe there is a larger spectrum to sex than just the male-female binary.

That last sentence is totally inaccurate, of course, though there’s a spectrum of “genders”—chosen sex roles. But in humans roughly 99.98 people conform to the male/female biological sex dichotomy, which makes it as close to a binary as you can come. It also made Hammer a transphobe, according to her students.

But one student, Jennifer Gingrich, supported Hammer and started a petition supporting her. Jennifer tendered the remarks below as a comment on the earlier post, but I offer it as a followup to this ludicrous kerfuffle to allow you to sign the petition, if you wish, but mostly to show that the University did indeed punish Hammer for her “transphobia,” though they didn’t fire her.

Here’s Jennifer’s comment:

Thank you for addressing this, Dr. Coyne. I live in Portland, Maine, where the professor is under attack by her students and I have a petition asking the university to support her. I hope you don’t mind, but the petition quotes you (I put it up before you wrote this piece, so it quotes something you wrote a while back).

You can also click here to go to the petition; it’s near the 1,500-signature mark. If you agree with it, you might consider signing it (I have):

Jennifer added this:

Unfortunately, USM announced today that although they are not firing [Hammer[, they have created an identical class with a different instructor that students can attend instead, effectively leaving Dr. Hammer in an empty classroom (the one student who didn’t initially walk out has been pressured into apologizing for it).

The Bangor Daily News verifies Jennifer’s report: Hammer’s punishment is to teach a class which will surely have no students, while all the others flock to the identical class, apparently taught by someone who thinks that biological sex is a spectrum. If you go to Hammer’s class you’ll be seen as transphobic.

University of Southern Maine officials announced Monday that they would not replace a professor who allegedly told her class there were only two biological sexes.

The alleged incident upset much of professor Christy Hammer’s graduate-level education class, instigating a mass walk out and triggering a facilitated restorative justice meeting last month where many students demanded Hammer be replaced.

Instead, USM will make an alternative, identical class available.

“We have developed an alternative plan for this class and will be opening a new section of this course for those students who would like to move,” university spokesperson Gina Marie Guadagnino said. “The original section taught by professor Hammer will continue for any student who wishes to remain in that class.”

University officials didn’t specify how many students will be moving to the new section, nor did they comment on Hammer’s alleged statements. Hammer did not respond to phone and email messages.

Biologists believe there is a larger spectrum to sex than just the male-female binary.

Check out the link about what “biologists believe.” It is, of course, a screed in Scientific American, which regularly bends scientific truth to fit their faux-progressive ideology.

The article continues:

Student Elizabeth Leibiger, who instigated the walkout, is planning to take the alternative class.

“I think that the next step USM needs to take is being clear what accountability will look like for Christy Hammer,” Leibiger said.

. . .During the session at Bailey Hall on the Gorham campus, a free-for-all discussion erupted over both social gender and biological sex identifications, with one student and Hammer saying they believed only male and female biological sexes exist.

The rest of the class maintained both biological sexes and social genders are on a spectrum.

The heated discussion spilled over into the next scheduled class on Sept. 14.

A majority of the class then drafted a letter to the Department of Education and Human Development asking for a restorative justice meeting with Hammer.

The meeting took place Wednesday, and the sole student who had disagreed reportedly apologized to classmates. But Hammer maintained her position on the binary nature of sex.

Leibiger hopes the incident will be instructive for the class of future teachers.

“It’s our job as educators to grow and change, address our biases, and above all else, protect every one of our students,” Leibiger said.

Restorative justice my tuchas! What is to be restored—the bogus notion that biological sex in humans is a spectrum, a purely ideological position that is ludicrously wrong?

Well, at least they didn’t fire Hammer. But even doing this to her—leaving her with a student-less class—is punitive and humiliating. That’s why I signed the petition, though of course petitions usually accomplish little.

But if even 15% of our subscribers signed it, that would put the number near 10,000, and that is surely newsworthy.

The University of Southern Maine is hopeless, and someone needs to tell them that they shouldn’t punish teachers for simply uttering an undeniable truth about nature.

78 thoughts on “Maine Professor demonized for teaching that there are only two human sexes penalized

  1. Bravo for arguing scientifically.

    Perhaps a quote to bring some levity – I couldn’t find the one I wanted but this one is OK for this :

    “If you want to assert a truth, first make sure it’s not just an opinion that you desperately want to be true.”

    – Neil deGrasse Tyson


    …. now for my own language syllogism nitpick :

    Bicsupid – two cusps
    Bilateral – two lengths
    Binary – two numbers of any sort
    Bisex – two sexes

    1. Awesome Tyson quote! I’ve used Hume’s adage we can’t deduce an “is” from an “ought” to understand the persistence of racism in the US and MLK, Jr. “judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” Many desperately want to believe his statement is true, but even if it “ought” to be the case, we can’t confuse that ideal with what “is”.

      1. Christy, I completely agree with you. You did nothing wrong and BRAVO for you! There may and certainly are different social genders, which is fine, but biologically, only 2.

  2. Thanks for the coverage! The petition was started by a local person who isn’t a student. Just found out that only six dropped by section, so 15 are staying with me this afternoon, even though several said they were pressured and “guilt-tripped” to maintain “solidarity” with those still offended and to leave my section. (One older student was bewildered after bullied to move – “who are ‘safe spaces’ for?”) Ironically I’ve published on the integration of “science studies” in the General Education curriculum, taught gender as “beyond the binary” and sex differences as complicated, have a long history of specific LGTBQ youth advocacy, and a lifetime of diversity and equity work, but many admirers are assuming I’m conservative and thank me for fighting against Satan. I did just file a case with FIRE. Christy Hammer

    1. I am so sorry this is happening! In my classes I also talk about there being two sexes in our species (maybe safest to say “biological sexes”). This comes up in intro biology, and later in my evolution class. So far any language that I put in that hedges on those claims has only met with some bewilderment or amusement. So far. So it’s not the same everywhere. But these are science majors in the classes.

    2. Keep hanging tough, Professor. I’d say you’re on the side of the angels, but I no more believe in angels than I do in Satan.

    3. Great to hear that the majority of your students are sticking with you- that is terrific news! Good to hear you have filed a case with FIRE. I looked at your publications and awards and admire your anti-prejudice bonafides.

    4. Thanks for letting us know, Prof. Hammer. I of course signed the petition and I wrote you a personal e-mail — it might appear under my wife’s name. I hope you have hundreds of supportive e-mails and so I don’t expect you to answer any of them personally.

      How flabbergasted you must have been to have a student objecting to your observation that there are two and only two sexes!

      Good luck with FIRE. I mean that sincerely not dismissively or snarkily. I am pleased to be able to support them. You will win in the end.

    5. I don’t understand the connection between transphobia and recognising that there are two sexes. Surely the definition of being “trans” is that your gender identity doesn’t match your sex?

      1. My understanding is that this is not a trans issue. Based on the original article, the student identified as non-binary, which is entirely separate. To put it bluntly, people who are trans are hopping the gender fence. People who are non-binary don’t recognize the existence of the fence – at least not for themselves. Of course, 99.9% of humans who identify as non-binary-gender are not biologically of non-binary-sex. Unfortunately, the student asked about biological sex, and the professor responded, when the course had nothing to do with biology.

        We should not have gender roles. Outside of the hardcore religious conservatives, it only seems like it is the militant trans community that wants to reinforce gender roles – with themselves on the other side of the fence. Militant non-binaries say the fence shouldn’t exist for anyone, but I haven’t heard any claims that they really exist … yet. I wouldn’t disagree. I use gendered pronouns, but recognize that they are a historical linguistic artifact.

        If the Equal Rights Amendment (“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.“) had been accepted when it was first proposed (in 1923!!!) this would all be a non-issue by now. If we, as a society, had culturally accepted the non-binaries first, I think trans, gay, and women’s rights would not have been an issue.

        1. “binary”

          bicuspid : two cusps
          bivalve : two valves
          binary : two numbers, being composed of numerals or digits, such as zero (0) and one (1) – and only those numerals.
          bisex : two sexes

          I harp on this why? Because of this :

          George Orwell
          Politics and the English Language

          1. It will be amusing to see how these students grow up (if they ever do) and try to reproduce using their own system of multiple, spectral sexes. Something tells me they will have to make arrangements that actually conform to a binary, whether they like it or not!

          2. @ThyroidPlanet

            Fair enough. The term they should be embracing is “neuter”; Latin “neutrum” translates to “neither”. e.g. neither male nor female, neither pro-Axis nor pro-Allies. Unfortunately, most haven’t embraced ‘neuter’ and ‘it’, just as vegetarians haven’t embraced the term ‘herbivore’. Silly humans want special terms that only applies to humans. Rassinfrassin’ anthropo-exceptionalism.

            There is a whole semantic space occupied by terms that have been shuffled to replace perfectly serviceable words – and the concepts behind them displace more etymologically sound definitions. Look at “unisex”. Unfortunately, we’re forced to work around that semantic space. I cannot use the term ‘bisexual’ to refer to someone who has two sexes, because the term is already in use to refer to someone who is attracted to members of two sexes. The Great Realignment of Words to bring them more in line with logical meanings rather than generation-old ones would probably have Orwell spinning in his grave.

            1. Well, there’s this :


              “In biology, gonochorism is a sexual system where there are only two sexes and each individual organism is either male or female.[1]”

              Perhaps this is a language analog to the naturalistic fallacy, wherein one attempts to derive Truths from words used for technical or scientific purposes – and no surprise, it doesn’t work. But that doesn’t mean we give up precision. So I’d argue “bisexual” means “bisex”, means male or female gametes.


              But that ^^^ is right on the money!

      2. Logic is not the strong point of the trans-rights activists. However, TRAs believe that one can actually change sex. It’s not so much the fact that there are two sexes but that one can’t change sex in any meaningful sense which is the point, which they call transphobic because if one can’t change sex then the whole concept of trans doesn’t make sense. “Transphobic” is a misnomer; an atheist doesn’t believe in God, but that isn’t called “theophobia”, it’s called “atheism”. Similarly, sensible people recognize that one cannot change sex and thus the whole idea of transsexualism in that sense is wrong. But it is not transphobic any more than atheists are religiophobic: they don’t fear it, they just deny its existence. But of course they do not fear or deny the existence of people who say they are trans any more than atheists fear or deny the existence of religious people.

        Yes, one can have a mismatch of sex and gender if one believes in pre-1950s gender ideals. Thus, while the TRAs claim that gender-crtiical people are aligned with right-wing and/or religious people because of the shared belief that one cannot change sex, TRAs are aligned with right-wing and or religious people in the belief in gender ideals, but TRAs believe that they apply to whatever sex one chooses to be (yes, they think that that is possible) while the others believe they apply to what one sex one really is. Right-wing/religious: gender must follow sex; progressive/liberal/hippie: gender ideals are something we don’t need; people can do what they want; TRAs: sex must follow gender.

        In an effortt (which, surprisingly, has been successful) to get support from otherwise sensible people, there is a deliberate conflation of sex and gender. Of course there is a spectrum of gender in terms of behaviour and so on and progressives don’t support the conservative gender ideals. Then there is the claim that sex, as well as gender, is a spectrum, and intersex people (who have nothing to do with any of this and usually want to be recognized as being intersex, whereas trans people want to be fully recognized as one sex, just not the correct one) are brought in to underscore that. Yes, it is a contradiction to say that sex is a spectrum but to believe that one can transition from one to the other and after such a transition one IS the otehr sex, even if that transition is only via self-ID. Again, logic is not their strong point.

        1. Another contradiction: sex is binary, but misgendering is a crime. Another contradiction: at least some people believe both that self-ID is sufficient to transition to the other sex but also support hormones and surgery in an attempt to superficially (obvious to eveyone but themselves, who think that they really have completely transitioned) look like the other sex, which is essentially the same concept (though usually for a different reason) as blackface. I don’t see any real distinction between drag queens and blackface, though,

          Also interesting that while sex is essentially binary, race isn’t. There are interracial people and there really is a continuum (which is not to deny that, when populations were more isolated, there were clearly distinct races in humans just like in other animals). Yes even most woke people think that trans-racialism is absurd, while supporting the idea that one can actually change one’s sex. (And, yes, they believe that one can change one’s sex; it’s not about gender to them.)

        2. > “Transphobic” is a misnomer; an atheist doesn’t believe in God, but that isn’t called “theophobia”, it’s called “atheism”

          Yes and no. Before people hopped on the bandwagon that every disapproval, dislike, or hatred represented a psychological fear, a phobia, people used the prefix ‘mis-‘ to characterize a dislike. So no, the term ‘theophobia’ does not exist, BUT theists will occasionally call us atheists ‘misotheists‘, c.f. ‘misogynist’. ‘Mis-‘ and ‘Trans-‘, however, both being prefixes don’t combine to yield a word.

          “Atheism”, btw,, is “Godless” (‘a-‘ = no, without). There’s no way to meaningfully apply ‘no’ or ‘without’ to ‘trans-‘, unless it simply means ‘cis-‘. Being an atheist does not necessarily mean I disapprove of someone else’s religiosity.

          1. Any proper God-fearing victim of religion is, by definition, a theophobe.

            As for the victims, it is a question if, at some level, they are all in fear of each other.

      3. That’s the Old School definition of “transgender,” which had to change to partly to include the non-binary, and partly to reflect the fact that trans ppl consider themselves men or women in every relevant sense. That means that sex is a wild-free-for-all which is difficult to determine, and/or that trans ppl are the sex they know themselves to be.

        Jerry’s reasonable definition of gender as “chosen sex roles” isn’t sufficient. It sounds like something acquired and smacks of sexism. It won’t get them in single-sex spaces. It’s therefore now popular to insist that transwomen are female and transmen are male. This is true regardless of whether they transition with hormones or surgery because Gender Identity is supposed to have formed in the womb, and thus is really sex identity. It’s not “assigned at birth;” it’s known by the person who has it.

        At least one major dictionary now includes transwomen in the definition of “female.”

    6. The stand you have taken should not require courage or a great deal of personal integrity. But it does, and you have passed with flying colors on both measures. The holier-than-thou attitude, the sneering and disdain that spews from your opponents is all they have. Their position is indefensible and intellectually vacuous, but apart from mud-slinging, they can offer nothing else. What they have done is pathetic, vindictive, and cruel, and I have immense respect for you and your willingness to stand for the causes of common sense, reality, and being true to oneself and one’s principles.

      I have signed the petition, and I would like to wish you all the very best, Prof Hammer.

  3. > Christy Hammer, a professor of education […]
    > the professor allegedly said only two biological sexes exist.

    From the Bangor Daily News: “I asked [Hammer] how many sexes there were,” student Elizabeth Leibiger, who intends to become an English teacher, reports. “She said, ‘Two.’ I felt under personal attack.”

    I’m trying to find the precise title/syllabus of the course that Christy Hammer is teaching. It is entirely possible that the student’s question – and her response – had nothing to do with the syllabus at all. When I started teaching, I had to learn early on not to engage in any side discussions that took the focus away from the lesson, or that students could use to derail and manipulate a class.

    We all know here that there are no gods. I hope, though, that in the middle of a biology lecture, if a student asks a professor whether there are any gods, the professor will respond that the truth of the matter is totally irrelevant to the subject at hand. I wish Hammer had shown the same prudent professionalism. (Again, assuming that the question is irrelevant to the course being taught. I’ll keep looking for the course syllabus and will retract this if I’m wrong.)

    1. I have found the lines between academic disciplines to have blurred as the administrators request DEI and anti-racism infused into all subjects regardless of the instructors expertise.

    2. I was a science teacher for 20 years, now retired. I believe Hammer did the right thing to answer a direct question with a honest answer. If we as teachers are afraid to offend students by answer a direct question, the woke has won
      I always answered direct questions honestly, whether it was about the existence of god (I am an atheist), whether I favor cannabis legalization or not ( I do), whether I believe there’s two biological sexes( I do and I am a biologist) and the like.

      However, I always stated that this is my opinion and I also encouraged my pupils to disagree with me if they do. I never penalize students that disagree with me and I have neven been demonized for straight talk about sensitive matter.

      So I disagree about what you call prudent professionalism and I am pretty sure the majority of teachers here in Norway agree with me. However, I often joked about that I would most likely be fired if I was working as a teacher in the US.

  4. Okay, John (McWhorter) this is a religion, the WOKE are arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Angels may well have an infinite spectrum of sexes, but since they don’t actually reproduce…

  5. I just signed, and was pleased to see Christy Hammer’s comment above. I hope many more WEIT readers sign it too.

  6. Just signed.

    It is diagnostic that controversy of this sort over elementary facts occurs in an Education course. The student who instigated the walkout offered this comment: “It’s our job as educators to grow and change, address our biases, and above all else, protect every one of our students.” Before long, we can expect Schools of Ed to provide special classes in which the instructor never suggests that the world is round, to avoid offending the feelings of students who prefer that the world be flat; offending them would be flatophobia.

    1. I am actually shocked that it has come this far in the USA and Canada. I just retired as a science teacher in high school in Norway and in my last year I had a pupil, biologically female, but “felt like” a male and wanted to be addressed with the pronoun “He”. Myself, and the other teachers accepted, out of courtesy, to do that. However, when I taught in class, I was always crystal clear that there were two biological sexes, but that gender identity was a spectrum. Not once did anyone of my students or the person who identified as trans made any objection about the matter. In fact, I found the trans student in my class to be a highly intelligent and reasonable person and we had a lot of good discussion about trans issues. I made it quite clear that I was critical of the most extreme trans agenda, but I felt that I still could maintain a good relationship with the trans pupil. Maybe I was mistaken and was indeed seen as transphobe, but still, nobody did protest my teaching of the fact that biologically sex is strictly binary in more than 99.9% of cases
      In fact, with the 180 degree turn about “affirmative care” here in Europe, I hope and believe that we don’t come to see such extremes as seen in the USA and Canada. More and more people and also academics are protesting the extreme trans agenda and as far I know, no teachers has been fired or demonized as of yet

  7. I am not sure I even understand the students. Why are they so willing to tie self worth to biological sex or gender identity anyway? Are not one’s thoughts and deeds more important that one’s bits and bobs? I thought we had mostly moved beyond the idea that one’s sex, sexual identity, or sexual activities had nothing to do with one’s morality, so long as it involves consenting adult humans? It is neither good nor bad to be male, or female, gay, or straight or bi, masculine or feminine, trans or not, or any combination thereof. I guess I’m just not progressive enough to know why I should be offended.

    1. You’re an old-school progressive, Christopher. (Old school prog: “My daughter wants toy trucks, I’ll get her toy trucks. Girls can do anything they want.” Today’s prog: “My daughter wants toy trucks. She must be a boy. Get her to the medical transition team before it’s too late!”)

      1. That would be funny if it weren’t pretty accurate. Debra Soh has written about the subtle homophobia that may be influencing decisions to transition children. Katie Herzog has also said that as a lesbian who was a tomboy there is no question she would be advised to transition these days even though she has never felt like a man at all.

      2. More like “my daughter might be a boy. I will teach her about trans identities and how you might know you’re one thing on the inside but others think you’re not. Then I’ll ask her, letting her know it’s fine if she is. We can read lots of positive books on being your True Self. If she’s not sure, she can take her time to think about it. No pressure. Girls are usually absolutely sure they’re girls, though. Remember we read that.”

        And if the truck-playing daughter later announces she’s a son, it was completely self-generated and spontaneous and something he’s always known but didn’t know it was possible.

        1. May I ask how one can know they are the opposite sex? It seems all you can know or want are the externalities, what you perceive to be the opposite sex, both before and after puberty.

          1. I’ve no idea. It’s supposed to be an inner conviction which, upon questioning, has no attributes or details but the Knowing.

            There used to be a popular “explanation” that tried to draw on our own intuitions. “Imagine that you woke up tomorrow and (if you’re female) you discovered that your entire body — chromosomes, hormones, gonads, gametes — had become male. Now: would you be a man, or a woman?”

            You were supposed to say “I’m still a woman” and then have that a-ha lightbulb moment where you totally get Gender Identity. Instead, I (and apparently other Gender skeptics) would sincerely answer “I’d be a man” and then wonder what the heck was the point. It’s been years since I saw that particular apologetic. The intuition pump must have run dry too often.

  8. I have a suggestion. Why don’t they give an assignment to the students where they have to write an essay arguing why they believe sex is not binary? I mean they are biology graduate students who are claiming their professor is wrong about a topic in biology, they should be able to defend their position. Professor Hammer can even write an essay explaining why she thinks it is. The only rule is the papers will have to rely solely on the biological evidence. After all isn’t college supposed to be an institute for promoting pedagogy?

    1. > I mean they are biology graduate students who are claiming their professor is wrong about a topic in biology

      Except they’re not. The person complaining is a grad student in training to become an English teacher (certification track, so a teacher at a public school). The professor is teaching educational theory. The course title is “Creating a Positive Learning Environment”. None of this has anything to do with biology – and the student should not have asked the professor about biological sex in the first place. It was entirely off-topic.

      1. Thank you, I did mis-read the article. Still I think it would be a productive exercise to try and turn the controversy into an opportunity for education. The students can get practice on the creation of a research paper, and be able to pass that along to the students they teach.

      2. From the Professor’s previous post on this controversy, it sounds like there was a free-for-all discussion about gender identities in the class. In that context, perhaps the question was not off-topic. I had wondered myself why the subject even came up in an education theory class.

  9. I have no problem with gender identify being a spectrum. But biological sex being a spectrum is puzzling. I’m curious those who promote the later idea if they think our mammalian cousins have a similar spectrum of biological sex, and if not, where in evolutionary history did it emerge?

    1. You have made a very important point. One of the most depressing aspects of the “sex is a spectrum” brigade is how one species centric it is. As PCC (and others) has said using phenotypic and karyotypic definitions of sex might work (or might not) in mammals but fails miserably when other sexually reproducing species are looked at. For example: I use the fact that birds, which as far as I know are sexually reproducing 😉 , use the ZW scheme for sex chromosomes. Now here is the catch: in birds it is the male that is homogametic (ZZ) whereas it is the female that is hetero (ZW) and there are no genes in common with the mammalian XY system.

      When I start to point this out on Twitter, the discussion is frequently abruptly terminated!

      1. What concerns me is that in their quest for ideological purity on this issue is that people are alienating others who support their cause but differ in small details.
        I have no idea the overall position of the professor at UofM takes on trans people but the alienation of people like Dawkins and JK Rowlings who have what I would view as small disagreements ut otherwise supports trans rights only shows those on the right how intolerant many on the left are.
        Interesting, I didn’t know that about birds.

  10. I’d like to ask a question of the biological savvy people here. How are the people who oppose binary sex distinctions conceptualizing this idea within biology? I mean unless I am mistaken this is a new development. Scientists didn’t view sex as non-binary 100 years ago, 50 years ago. So are they conceptualizing it as new evidence has come in about sex differences? Is it a Kuhnian paradigm shift that explains the evidence better? In a nutshell I am asking since biology has been around for centuries why is it only recently that so basic a question has what they claim is finally the right answer?

    1. I think this change to the understanding of the biology of sex is best understood from a postmodern perspective about philosophy of science, in which the progression of scientific theories is understood not as coming incrementally closer to an accurate understanding of reality, but as merely reflecting the social trends of their times and places. For a long time I think postmodernists were wrong to claim that science works this way, but as postmodernism has grown in influence, scientists have increasingly come under pressure to make sure their theories conform to the current social environment, with the assumption that this is what scientists always have done (even though that isn’t really true).

      1. I’d say scientists have always tended to conform to the lay people’s or the currently fashionable world view of their times in anything touching humans. In 1770, it was obvious to most scientists (the philosophes were the scientists of the time) that females were less intelligent than males. Since 1945, most scientists (with notorious exceptions who had to get their funding from dubious institutions) would strenuously deny even the possibility that people forcefully imported to the US from Western Africa might be on average less academically gifted for genetic reasons, even though the evidence for or against such an hypothesis didn’t really change, but the social climate did, and so the standards for proof for the hypotheses shifted (the societally current view kind of functioning as a Bayesian prior here). In the 1960s, everything was society’s fault, in the 1990, with neoloberalism reigning supreme, everything came down to the individual again, who might be more or less resilient or didn’t make good choices.

        1. This should really be no surprise to anybody. We scientists ARE human after all. The advantage we have is that what we do -science- has the capacity to correct itself, irrespective of the nonsense humans doing the work are capable of

        2. Your example of genetics and group differences actually is a good example of how science used to not be so easily influenced by social trends. In the 1980s, Snyderman and Rothman conducted a survey of professionals in the field of intelligence testing about their opinions on various intelligence related controversies, including the cause of the difference in average IQ scores between black and white Americans. In that survey, 45% of those surveyed expressed the view that the cause of the gap was due to both genetic and environmental factors.

          From the 1980s until quite recently, most major textbooks about differential psychology took a more or less agnostic view on the cause of group differences. Here is how the issue was summarized by Earl Hunt’s 2011 textbook Human Intelligence, which for many years was the definitive textbook about that topic: “Neither I nor anyone else knows the cause of the differences in indices of intelligence among various racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, there almost certainly is not any single cause, and the causes may vary for different comparisons.”

          Among professional psychologists, it is only quite recently (that is, in the past two years or so) that it’s become completely unacceptable to argue that group differences in average IQ may include a genetic component, even though in the past two years there haven’t been any major new discoveries to rule out that hypothesis. I think this example supports my argument that the subordination of science to social trends is a very recent phenomenon.

  11. This is no different, really, from evangelicals advancing the bogus claim that “since biologists agree that evolution can’t be proven, therefore you should be teaching “creation science”.

    Did I get my numbers transposed?
    Is this the 21st century, or the 12th?

  12. I think it is worth noting a distinction with sex and other foci of identity politics :

    Sex has a lot to do with relationships. Personal, going-out, dating sort of relationships. And .. ahem… so on.

    Not sure what else to say, but perhaps related to the intensity of feelings about it, over mere _words_.

  13. I don’t see the problem with the SA article. It doesn’t seem like a “screed” to me. It is true that not everyone is unambiguously biologically male or female, although most people are. My only quibble was that the author quotes a biologist as using the word “spectrum” in the context of DSDs (which is probably true; mosaicism could probably go from a small number of cells to 50%, I suppose). However, one might think the biologist is saying that sex itself is a spectrum. I thought spectra were supposed to be continuous. No matter how one chooses to define sex (chromosomally, gonadally, hormonally), I don’t see how individuals form a continuous spectrum of sex (as opposed to gender, which is a completely different matter).

  14. Professor, you’ve written to college and university officials in the past. Perhaps you could write to the Dean of Education at USM, or even the President, and explain exactly how correct Prof Hammer was, scientifically.

  15. I signed and left the following comment:

    No amount of dissembling can change the laws of nature. Hiding the facts from students is a poor way to teach science. And, defaming a professor for telling the truth disqualifies the University of Southern Maine from being a real university.

  16. Thank you again, Dr. Coyne, for both signing my my petition and boosting it! I very much appreciate it. Just to clarify, though, I’m not a student of Dr. Hammer’s, just a resident of Portland, Maine where the university is located.

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