Episode 43

On Mental Health, Youth Gender Dysphoria, And Our Own (Arguable) Fallibility

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December 21st, 2020

1 hr 1 min 54 secs

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About this Episode

In a true sign that anything is possible in this crazy universe of ours, the hosts note that there were some errors in the previous episode and explain exactly what they were (to see them explained in written form, check out that episode's show notes). Then they discuss some mental-health-talk from Jesse that rubbed one reader the wrong way and continue on to the show's main event: a major court decision on youth gender dysphoria in England and an incredibly shoddy article in Foreign Policy about it.

(Corrections: In the course of correcting last week's episode, we managed to introduce not one but two new errors, and uploaded a new version of this episode in which an increasingly untethered-to-sanity Jesse breaks in twice to explain them. First, Timnit Gebru's PhD is not in computer science, but rather in electrical engineering. This was just plain sloppiness on someone's part, possibly Jéssé's. Second, Gebru started at Google in 2018, not 2019. In this case, our excuse is that both The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review wrote that she was hired "last year." This is false, and thank you to the Google employee who reached out to correct us and pointed us to a 2018 tweet in which Gebru talks about her early days at Google. Wired has this right [see below].)

Show notes/Links:

Last episode's show notes: https://barpodcast.fireside.fm/42

Bell v Tavistock, the ruling at issue: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Bell-v-Tavistock-Judgment.pdf

A High Court Decision in Britain Puts Trans People Everywhere at Risk: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/12/15/uk-transphobia-transgender-court-ruling-puberty-blockers/

Jesse's newsletter posts on key aspects of this controversy:

A Response To Foreign Policy's Deeply Misleading Article, "A High Court Decision in Britain Puts Trans People Everywhere at Risk": https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/a-response-to-foreign-policys-deeply

No, desistance hasn't been debunked, and no, there's no evidence it's all that rare:

Part: 1 https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/how-science-vs-made-two-gender-dysphoria

Part 2: https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/how-science-vs-accidentally-invented

NYT wrong on Gebru's start date: https://web.archive.org/web/20201209213645/https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/technology/timnit-gebru-google-pichai.html

CJR wrong on Gebru's start date: https://web.archive.org/web/20201211222743/https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/google-researcher.php

Wired right on Gebru's start date: https://www.wired.com/story/prominent-ai-ethics-researcher-says-google-fired-her/

Tweet proving it: https://web.archive.org/web/20181030095756if_/https://twitter.com/timnitGebru