Wednesday assorted links


#2: not everyone is a fan.

A more recent rebuttal to Chesire:

Thanks for the links, I started reading Cheshire's article with great excitement -- and then gradually increasing skepticism. Not knowing much linguistics I couldn't analyze what seemed troubling, except that the article that Tyler linked to assumed all of its statements were correct and failed to show how the author derived or deduced those answers. Or acknowledged alternative interpretations or answers.

The two rebuttals clarify why we should be skeptical -- or even dismissive? -- of Cheshire's work.

Or is it all satire? At the end, Cheshire talks about the manuscript being written for/by sexually frustrated women in the citadel, causing me to wonder if this is an academic version of an article from the Onion. A Shallot perhaps?

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#2: The dude claims he solved it in two weeks. I'm skeptical.

His solution has been circulating for a few years now. I don't know really anybody who takes it seriously. For one, a "proto-Romance" language makes no sense for the 16th century, which is basically the early-modern period of those languages. His translated sentences are also gibberish, and only sensical if he reaches across multiple languages to find something he can use a cognate, and even then there's no grammatical structure.

"For one, a "proto-Romance" language makes no sense for the 16th century..."

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it's parallel to the Creationist line "If we evolved from monkeys why do monkeys still exist?" The existence of later languages doesn't preclude the contemporary existence of earlier languages. Latin, the fountainhead of all Romance languages, proves this quite nicely--as late as the 1800s it was expected that educated people would know Latin, that books would be written in Latin, etc., despite the existence of French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, and all the other Romance languages.

In essence, this argument is trying to prove a negative (that Proto-Romance languages did not exist at the time this manuscript was crafted), by a chain of reasoning that can't do so.

(Please note that I'm not saying anything about the viability of the Cheshire theory here; I'm merely criticizing one chain of reasoning arguing against it.)

Re: The existence of later languages doesn't preclude the contemporary existence of earlier languages.

Actually, no, because while languages change at different rates, they do change over time. Latin? It's added vocabulary over the centuries (even today someone at the Vatican has to figure out how to render new scientific and technological terms in Latin) and it even changes phonology too, resulting in localized dialect-- this Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur Tudor expected to speak Latin to each other (since she didn't know English yet and he had no Spanish) only to discover that they could not understand each other.
Only a dead language does not change.

"Actually, no, because while languages change at different rates, they do change over time."

It depends. Many do, but in some cases the rate of change is low enough that speakers would be comprehensible to each other over hundreds of years.

Also note that the authors didn't say the language didn't change. They said that it was a Proto-Romantic language. That's a different thing all together--it means that the language was more primitive (in the cladisitc sense) than Latin. Still a lot of room to change there, and still fall within the Proto-Romance family of languages.

Further, "Actually no" followed by mere assertion is acceptable in casual conversation, but fails to rise to the level of valid criticism of a scientific hypothesis. You can say you're skeptical because of it, but to use this as a real argument against the conclusions of this paper you have to prove that no Proto-Romance language was in use at that time. This argument is trying to prove a negative, which isn't, contrary to popular belief, impossible, but is extremely difficult.

Minor quibble: "Romance language" refers to Latin and its daughters ("Romance" < "Rome") There is a larger clade called "Italic" which includes Latin and several other ancient
languages back before Rome came to dominate Italy.
Major quibble: spoken languages do change quickly enough over time as to be unintelligible. It's the written forms that can become set in stone. Examples are numerous. The most extreme is with Chinese where there is one common written form for all 8 Sinitic languages (descended from Middle Chinese) while the spoken forms are no longer intelligible.

No one, least of all me, is arguing that languages don't often change through time. The question is, do languages NECESSARILY change through time? The assumption thus far has been "Yes", but no one has presented any support for this. Showing that languages can change isn't sufficient; exceptions are possible.

Either we can approach this question scientifically or not. If you're willing to hold onto an unquestioned assumption of this magnitude, you don't want to approach it scientifically. Such an error would be obvious in physics, chemistry, or any other hard science; that this is history doesn't change this error into a valid practice.

I picked a random page to try his translation scheme. Translating the top of f68r3 yields "omeonaaus omeeonar tor eeeos omeo omeea oemeena opeeeona neeena naaus". This guy is trying to tell me that that's a language between Latin and Spanish? Yeah, ok.

#3 Yes. If they have a Y chromosome they're male, and have a natural capability (not ability) to have 25% or more muscular strength and endurance. This crap is getting really old...

#5 Aren't they kind of already? If Lori Loughner's youtube 'bimbette' is trying to buy her way into USC, I think that speaks volumes on the 'fashion' and not the substance of higher-ed.

#3 You do understand that the problem is the effort for total equality. How can you say women should serve in combat and yet insist women can't compete in sports with men? And when women compete with men and fail then it must somehow be covered up or alternatively interpreted. Because "equality or something". Common sense and logic be damned because a handful of feminist want what they want.

I don't think athletic competition and military service are comparable. They used to be, for sure. It was long the case that military service required feats of strength and endurance that would give most men an advantage over most women. But military service today is highly technological. It's more machine warfare than hand-to-hand combat. Athletic competition, on the other hand, still depends on feats of strength and endurance. Technological advances in training and health care do not overcome the advantages of strength, speed and size in athletics in the way the do (to some extent) in military service.

Male infantry would slaughter female infantry today, no?

The ability to carry 100 lbs of gear over rough terrain swiftly and without injury remains as important now as it was in Caesar's time.

I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.

2: "Sexual segregation." Two thumbs up for whoever came up with that one!

Sounds very oppressive. Just from hearing it, you automatically envision a white man segregating everyone sexually, don't you? Maybe with an AR-15?

Should make lefties feel a lot better about destroying womens' athletics.

The flaw in this article is the assumption that the classifications "male" and "female" absolutely must be 100% exclusive and unambiguous to be useful.

The saying that comes to mind is, "hard cases make bad law." A classification system that is mutually exclusive/unambiguous to six-nines or more would seem to be useful, even though it is less than perfect. Apparently the authors think it better that there be few if any women competing at the top level in most sports than that a very few people with ambiguous sex might be wronged.

Although there's no reason why "men's sports" couldn't be re-categorized as "open competitions" in which anyone may enter.

We can list the new genders by stance: sit, squat, kneel, or stand. The plumbers are making buck right now with the new fixtures.

Uh, what does "sex" have to do with a manuscript? Or perhaps you confuse the number 2 with the number 3.

#1 Tariffs

so government interventions into markets prompt market participants to seek methods that reduce the impact of such interventions.
Tariffs are sales taxes. Negative market interventions.

Sales taxes are usually paid by the seller (specific price elasticity dependent) and the higher transaction prices reduce sales volume.

If one wishes to reduce commerce, productivity, economic efficiency, and general standard of living -- impose taxes -- the bigger the better to that end.

#2: This immediately smelled fishy to me, given the author's use of "Proto-Romance" seemingly 1000 years out of date. The link in the first comment absolutely tears this "solution" and author apart, you should be embarrassed to have posted it.

#3 "Historically, we have tended to think that this is true of the classification of human beings into the classes of being female and male. We were wrong. And today it is common knowledge that we were wrong. However, the sports authorities have turned a blind eye to this knowledge."

Well if they say it's common knowledge, than it must be common knowledge! You have to commend their open mindedness to other established world views, bravo on the post TC.

The author cites gender identity as equal to sex chromosomes and genitalia in determining gender. The problem with this with respect to sports is that people lie.

#3: One important thing to take into account is that chromosomes start to matter in puberty. At 8 years old, there's no quantifiable swim performance between girls and boys. Between 11-12 the differences start to appear and at ~13 years old, boy are significantly stronger than girls.

Once puberty is reached, a new category may be created for individuals that have other chromosomes combinations beyond XX, XY. the incidence rate of 46,XY chromosome condition is 1 in 20K births.

The UN estimates 130 million babies are born per year, roughly 6,500 babies around the world each year with the condition. Is the athlete pool large enough to create a new category? Does anyone wants to do this?

If they can get a TV contract or start their own network like the Yankees or the Big Ten, then it's game on!

"chromosomes start to "matter" in puberty." LMFAO! Wrong. Badly wrong. They "matter" starting when they are transcribed. (hint: does the phrase "in utero" mean anything to you?). Anyway, WHO growth charts show that boys are about a half a cm longer at birth and slightly more at age two. Their weight at birth is about 150 grams more and at age two 1kg more. I could go on and on. An undisputed fact is that male mortality is higher for infants. To focus on what ever you meant by "quantifiable swim performance", and ignore the vast differences between the sexes, starting at conception, is a clear error, to my way of thinking.

I think context starts to matter before puberty.

#3: "Here a lot of research is needed and should be funded." - Well, fetch me my fainting couch - I did not see that coming at all.

Scott Sumner wrote: "In the late 1990s and early 2000s, tens of millions of Chinese workers were laid off from state-owned enterprises being privatized.  No American politician would dare impose such pain on US citizens."

Considering that China's unemployment rate went from 3% to 4% during that period I don't think there was much pain at all as the laid off workers could quickly find new jobs at likely higher wages.

Sumner concluded: "In fact, both sides will very likely end up losing."

This has been a pretty small skirmish and will likely remain so, so no losers at a country level. 

You liberals and your derangement syndrome. This is a very big deal. China will be hurt. They will pay. Trump is fighting for America. #maga2020

Good for you, hun!

Don’t patronize me! My cuckoldry knows no bounds!

#3 (the first).
" We may look at sex chromosomes, at external sex organs, or at perceived identity."
This is a variant of the Univariate Fallacy. An XXY who, for example, never had testosterone levels statistically above that of the average female and had the body shape of a female could easily be categorized as female for the purposes of sports irregardless of how she 'identifies'. 99.98% of the population is easily separated into male or female by looking at simple combinations of biological and anatomical observations (true intersex is .017 percent or so).

Privilege without self-assurance, it seems.

Well I am a huge Cuck!

#3b is breathtakingly bad. There are genuine, difficult tradeoffs in this case, and this does a disservice to them. Specifically, it invents the idea of a "real female," conflates the racing category of "female" with that invented idea, and then uses that to argue that the CAS has determined Semenya isn't female.

"The CAS decision relates to “XY females with disorders of sexual development.” XY denotes the male sex chromosomes. This reverts back to the old biological categories. Behind this ruling is the view that Semenya is really a man competing in the women’s category."
"The implication is that XX females are real women, while those with XY chromosomes are not."

The CAS ruling is not a determination that Semenya is not a "real female" no matter how many times one insists it is. It's a ruling that, given the unambiguous evidence on the impact of testosterone on performance (btw, if you want to see how disingenuous most of the pro-Semenya cases are, look at how they skate around this simple fact), Semenya must get her testosterone down to 5nmol/L -- a level that *no standard-development XX female on earth reaches* -- before competing.

The funny thing with this case is that normally progressives' head-in-the-sand blank-slatism -- speaking as a progressive liberal -- at least serves as a net status transfer to some historically disenfranchised group. Trying to make life better for women in tech is a noble goal, even if it's abundantly clear that, in a gender-equal society, many women simply prefer more people-centered jobs.

But actual women in sports are the biggest opponents of this. Progressives selling out the idea of women's sports (which has been a massively popular and successful push over the past 50 years) to serve the .07% of the population that have these sorts of intersex disorders is outright insanity.

The left - so-called "progressives" - is insane.

Historically, the left has consisted of social outcasts and malcontents who feel cheated by societal norms, so they desire to destroy those norms by destroying the societies that codify those norms in culture.

They are tedious people for the rest of us.

Sometimes the leftists are right. Abe Lincoln destroyed the social norm of slavery and caused a genocide in America because it was morally wrong. Abe was honest but he was definitely a social justice warrior and sometimes you have to be a little bit like Pol Pot when things change too slow.

This is news to me. Which Indians did Abraham Lincoln genocide?

Is he talking about this:

Is he talking about this?

Abe was a hired hand for the railroads. He said himself that he had no interest in bringing slavery to an end. In American culture deviations from the norm are fought with legislation, not the implementation of peer group pressure. If enough people are offended by your behavior and morality they'll pass a law making you a felon. Chicken fights were once more common than they are now. People that didn't go to chicken fights felt that the practice was wrong and immoral. They were able to prohibit it. Of course these same people eat chicken.

Progressives have convinced themselves that transgender rights requires complete denial that physiological/biological sex ever has any meaning. So, they are willing to deny girls and women athletic opportunities just to avoid conceding that intersex, and even biological males that identify as female, are different from biological females in any way (except, perhaps, in the intersectional discrimination that they encounter).

Of course, this ideological denialism is totally unnecessary to secure transgender rights: the right to dress as one pleases, the right to undergo medical procedures, and the right to education, employment, and housing free from discrimination. Protecting rights is not enough for progressives. They need to control everyone else's minds: how everyone thinks about gender and sex.

How can I get any sleep when my wife and her black boyfriend keep going at it all night long??!

Reading the snippets of Dworkin for enlightenment on the condition of women is like reading some alt right nut on the condition of white people. There are ample situations available to confirm your biases. There are awful men, there are black criminals. The mistake, a serious mistake, is generalizing based on external characteristics then using your rhetorical skills to get your narrow minded prejudice reflected in public policy.

Mistake is the wrong word. It is using the heady power of words to perpetrate evil.

As long as everyone knows the rule and people can find out without too much cost, you can make a rule. So you could have the open group and then the XX chromosome group. I am OK with just having an open group but you could work it. I wanted to be an NBA player but despite being XY I was not good enough, it's not really that much worse for the Caster Semenya's of the world, they just are not good enough for the open group.

This discussion always reminds me of the following which show the knowledge of this stuff goes way back:
Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way...

>So you could have the open group and then the XX chromosome's not really that much worse for the Caster Semenya's of the world, they just are not good enough for the open group.

Which demotes the XX division as something akin to the current senior or junior divisions (or maybe even the 'special' division). That's a far cry from from the near-parity status that womens' sports currently enjoy.

Which demotes the XX division as something akin to the current senior or junior divisions (or maybe even the 'special' division). That's a far cry from from the near-parity status that womens' sports currently enjoy.

True women need to admit that they as a group are just not very good at sports.


Stop that!

And stop peeking in my window or I am going to cut the trellis down with you in it!

- EdR

Right. The so-called men's division is actually open. Women are eligible to compete against men if they want to. Michelle Wie and Anika Sorenstam, for example, have played in men's PGA Tour events.

We have a separate women's division so that XX people will be able to participate in meaningful competition, meaningful in the sense of actually having a non-negligible chance to win. Allowing physically superior intersex or biological males who identify as female defeats that purpose. It's like allowing a non-handicapped person that identifies as handicapped to compete in the Special Olympics.

It's not a complicated issue unless one is pre-determined to deny that biological sex ever has any meaning in any context.

Ultimate frisbee does this. Most tournaments and leagues have an "open" division (anyone can play, in practice this means mostly men) and a "womens" division.

And further divisions for youth, "masters" (over a certain age), "grandmasters", college, high school, middle school, etc. And also a co-ed division (called mixed because most of the teams in it are clubs that are not affiliated with schools or educational institutions).

There are very few women who can compete with the best men at the highest level so the best teams in the open division are almost always all male.

But a low level open team, especially a new open team at the college or high school or middle school level might include women/girls. Usually because of two reasons: the open team being new usually means there's no women's team at all at the school, so any woman/girl there has no choice but to play on the school's open team. And the open team, again being new, doesn't have enough men on the roster to field a team so the women are needed, and welcome, to play.

The women are usually slower and can't jump as high as most of the men can -- but this is a new, not very good team in the first place so it's not as if they're dragging the team down.

Transgender and intersex individuals do present a challenge for the women's division: who should be permitted and who should be excluded? As with international track and field, the sport's central authority had to make a decision to create a dividing line somewhere. I forget the details, something like identifying as a woman for at least a year.

Who, besides intersexuals, will join the open group?

The point of competitive sport is that it makes a lot of people happy. People are happier competing against their own gender because it's a more level playing field, which makes it more enjoyable.

When a man (whatever they say) competes with women it makes all of the women unhappy. If you put on the scale the collective unhappiness of all women versus the happiness these freaks get from competing in rigged contests, it becomes pretty clear it's bad for society.

And no, it's not that women resent being outcompeting. They would be fine being outcompeted by real women.

This is clown world tier stuff, if you support it we can only hope you get what you deserve come the revolution.

Well, most XXs who compete at top level sports probably are happy competing with other XXs.

Most XXs probably are not happy at competing at top level sports and probably would resent being somehow made to compete against the current champs, who are much better than them.

3. "The theory of science teaches us that a fruitful classification must serve an important purpose. In addition to this, the classes used should be mutually exclusive and exhaustive. Every classified individual should belong to one class only and everyone should belong to some class."

Maybe those premises are the problem? Perhaps Aristotle's view that nature works "always OR for the most part" is a better standard. Why should the existence of a percentage point or two of fuzzy cases undermine the classification of individuals into male and female altogether?

As for rare individuals like Semenya, why not let just her pick where she competes? If she likes easy victories more, she can continue to dominate women for her career. If she wants a challenge, we should allow her to compete against men.

Why not just say if change the "women's" competitions to the "XX" competition and the other/men's is open to all. Restrict doping as we do now, which should take care of XXs who get reassignment surgery/hormone treatments.

Sounds good – another comment claims something like this is already the case in some organizations.

The effects of testosterone in running (and I'm uncertain if this is equally true of sprint, middle, and long-distances) rapidly evaporate (weeks/months) after cessation. This allows for determination of cheat and the "rule" they established. This is probably NOT true with all sports. I doubt there is a general, (near) universal solution to this fairness issue. I suspect that if it there wasn't money involved, then she would have been allowed to continue to compete and win. How many historical athletes had abnormal hormones, I wonder...Time to start digging up remains...

#2 Yet, according to Newbold, it is about Andromeda.

"3. "The theory of science teaches us that a fruitful classification must serve an important purpose. In addition to this, the classes used should be mutually exclusive and exhaustive. Every classified individual should belong to one class only and everyone should belong to some class."

Maybe those premises are the problem?"

Yes, I have often wondered about that. Do people who claim the existence of intersex invalidates a binary male/female classification also drive around at night without headlights, because they hold that the existence of twilight makes the distinction between day and night meaningless?

3: There should be two classes of competition when it makes sense (no real need for things like race car drivers). Those classes should be Open and Female. Anyone can compete in Open. There is plenty of grey area between men and women so some line will have to be drawn for the Female competition class. Regardless of where the line is drawn, there will be winners and losers.

If the line is drawn such that Semenya ends up excluded from Female competition, but can still compete in the Open class, I don't think she has suffered an injustice. I am male, yet my genetic endowment doesn't allow me to compete with elite runners of any sex or gender and nobody would claim that was unjust. Semenya is endowed with genes that don't quite allow her to compete against elite runners in the Female class under the current rules of the game.

Semenya doesn't want to compete in the "Open" category because in that category she isn't a world class competitor. Her personal best would leave her a HEALTHY last place in every single heat of the 2016 Men's 800m.

Yep. No matter where the line is drawn, some people will be excluded. My point is that this is not an injustice, it is unavoidable. The whole point behind competition classes is to exclude people.

3. That's a pretty silly piece. Among other things, note that fruitful classifications (e.g., species) often have some fuzziness and are not unambiguous. Also that the desire to make up rules of purported general applicability which yield a just result in every case is futile; there are always ambiguous instances which must be dealt with case by case. Rearranging the entire structure of sport to deal with a handful of biologically abnormal individuals is not only a vast expenditure of effort that could be better used elsewhere (third world poverty, say), it won't prevent the need for future ad hoc decisions.

A classification system in sports does not need to be mutually exclusive like in boxing for weight categories. It can be concentric for example with special categories that have thresholds that need to be fulfilled. A woman athelete should be able to compete in both main and women categories if she desires. The thresholds should be discretionary. So to be honest the actual system is already the best you can have.

The two articles at #3 are (a) both by professors of philosophy and (b) both spectacularly idiotic.

What fraction of philosophy professors are total loons, like these guys?
Maybe the world would be better off if all university departments of philosophy were disbanded.

Philosophy of Sports might be a nice easy course to help college athletes keep their GPA above water

In the 800 meter run, there have been 6903 men's results timed at under 1:46.00. The fastest woman's time is 1:53.28. There probably is another 20,000+ men's results in the 7 seconds in between. What's the point of mixing the competition? If enough top echelon male runner's declare themselves female, will that mean the woman's time is now equal to the men's, or would it still be a male record?

What about mixed double in tennis? With four genders I get 24 possibilities. The US Open would announce the various mixed set.
What are the names:

Squats and Kneels, Squats and Sits, Kneels and Stand, and so on. But if we keep adding genders then the US Open will take all year!

Fortunately horse racing is not, uh, saddled with these contrived controversies. Fillies often may compete against the boys if their owners and trainers want to give it a try. Female jockeys compete in the same races as men. And female trainers compete against men as well -- not a test of physical strength but certainly a test of know-how and business savvy.

There are races for fillies (e.g., the Oaks) and there are open races (e.g., the Derby), the same as many of the commenters have proposed for humans. To my knowledge, sex classification of horses is determined entirely by genitalia, though I suppose one could do genetic tests.

If you happen to be at the paddock before the race you could always try asking what your horse identifies as

A large portion of the male horses in racing are geldings, their testes have been removed. Yet they are not allowed to compete in races that are listed for fillies and mares. They must race against entire males.

#3: I'm curious: What if we used some other, arbitrary division? Say, divide college athletes into roughly equal groups above and below the median GPA. Or folks born west of the Mississippi vs east of it. Folks with even number vs. odd number jerseys. Some arbitrary division that divides the group into roughly equal halves. Do we see similar results? To be more precise: Is the disparity between male and female athletic prowess within the range expected for disparity between arbitrarily chosen groups?

If yes, than we can assume that the male/female dichotomy in athletics is an arbitrary artifact of the past.

If no--if there's significantly greater disparity between males and females than is expected in arbitrarily chosen divisions--than there's something worth talking about.

Until such a study is performed, there's no point in continuing this discussion. We're not even sure if the phenomenon is real or not. And it should be easy enough, particularly with the proliferation of college athletes.

That no one has conducted such a study is the most clear indication that they aren't taking this issue seriously. This is a fairly basic research protocol; I'd expect an undergraduate to be able to figure out it's necessary, and would require it of a graduate student. There's no justification for failing to do it, other than incompetence or a desire to hide something.

#4..."But the transition from the one-penny thought experiment to a monopsony-centric view of the labor market merits scrutiny. A model’s importance stems from the power of its broad predictive and explanatory content, not from an illusory to-the-penny precision. Whether a competitive or monopsony-centric model is more useful depends on key details of both the labor market and the policy changes one is attempting to understand."

I've always believed that a minimum wage does have a negative effect on employment, but, in certain circumstances, it can be done with little or no negative results, or negative results outweighed by other factors. That's why you'll never have proof about the consequences of a minimum wage. It will vary. The current instances of a minimum wage might turn out to be beneficial overall. In other words, you can try a minimum wage, and, if it does have unacceptable negative effects, you'll see it. At that point, you can deal with in a number of ways. Sadly, since I'm saying that it varies, it cannot be used as a tool for ideologues of any persuasion, which is what some people desperately want.

"Today professional sport is the only place where sex discrimination is openly and shamelessly practised. Wouldn’t it be nice if one could get rid of it also in this, its very last stronghold?"


3. We're getting really good at determining the inner functioning of athletes, aren't we? I suggest we take advantage of this and return to the true meaning of sports by hooking athletes up to machines that measure how much fun they are having. We set a low minimum physical standard to compete and the winner is whoever enjoyed participating in the the event the most.

In that case I suggest a game of co-ed softball with a keg between the dugouts. You economics types can divvy up into teams of warring theories

An excellent plan. I predict the most fun will be had in the dugouts.

For my money, co-ed volleyball would work better.

#3. Human females have ovaries and go through menstruation. If these two conditions are not met, they might be something but they're not females. Believing that you are a female doesn't make you a female, like this person.

Can you send us a video of you explaining that to your mother?

The LBGTQ lobby is going to kill women's sports. The women's sports that do best are the ones that don't compete on men's terms - gymnastics, figure skating, etc., where it's not about strength. It we were to combine all sports into one unisex sports league, women will be the losers. There are a lot of male athletes in golf, soccer, countless other sports that would make more money, and take away from female athletes if we did this. The LPGA players would definitely loose. Those US Women's soccer team players struggle against the US boys 15 and 16 year old team. Whey don't traditionally defined females who identify as male seem to ever want to joint sports teams the way the the opposite occurs?

The US women's olympic hockey team would be trashed by an average boy's high school team.

Imagine if Lebron James turned into a transgender woman and competed in the WNBA....

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