Tuesday, May 24

Nonsense about pseudoscience

  • Kamilla Aslaksen

    Høgskolen i Innlandet

  • Anne Kalvig

    University of Stavanger

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

Five managers for gender research centers respond on 11 January to our post in Aftenposten on 10 December. The post fronted one legal action we have sent to Store norske leksikon about articles about gender. We document that the knowledge base for the articles is weak and partly non-existent. The center managers do not seem to have read the complaint.

The submitters claim that our criticism of SNL is “reductionist”. We await arguments for the “reductionist” in research documentation, critical use of sources and the analysis of materiality and language as different variables.

The leaders repeat, without documentation, that “transgender people are particularly exposed to unreasonable allegations and skewed research”. They write, of course, that “Gender is a research topic in several disciplines of science, which in their own way contribute important knowledge”. Precisely for this reason, people from different disciplines contributed to our complaint. In contrast to centers for gender research, these subjects are not funded on the assumption that “gender” is a detached entity.

Gender researchers write that “everyone links identity to gender”. But SNL claims that “gender identity” exists regardless of gender, that everyone can have a “female gender identity”, including men. However, there is no research evidence for the existence of any “soul gender” detached from the body sex.

The only concrete center leaders point to is the WHO. The relationship between the WHO, civil society and press groups is complicated. The WHO manual also discusses non-evidence-based, Chinese traditional medicine. One must go to the sources, something our complaint does.

New concepts in lexicons must be anchored in a solid research consensus. Otherwise, we end up with pseudoscience and open up to propaganda. If researchers believe that women have a penis, this must be documented. The same goes for the claim that those who regret «Gender-confirming treatment» is “stable a little below one percent” and that they do not get damaged sexual and reproductive function. Updated research shows far higher percentages for regrets. Pioneers in transhealth warn of serious side effects from their own treatment.

SNL must continue to delete pseudoscience and use updated, solid and peer-reviewed research.


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