Thursday, May 9, 2019

JayCee Cooper And Media Stenography, Deadspin Edition

More trash from Deadspin. Jesse Singal:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Univariate Fallacy, Caster Semenya, and Testosterone

Colin Wright continues his excellent string of explainers, this time on the Univariate Fallacy:

He goes on to talk about several different pieces deploying this fallacy — which he later describes as
One of his examples is a New York Times editorial claiming that "The Myth of Testosterone" is what fuels Caster Semenya's run (and the athletic superiority of men over women more generally):
Testosterone’s “authorized” biography, with its pat story about how it fuels male-typical athletic performance, is a powerful distraction from the hormone itself, occluding its fascinating, diverse and contingent actions within the body. Testosterone doesn’t drive a single path to athletic performance, nor even a small set of processes that can be linearly traced from more testosterone to more ability.

The idea that testosterone is the miracle molecule of athleticism, and, accordingly, that people with higher levels would obviously perform better, combines several beliefs: that “athleticism” is a kind of master trait that describes similar characteristics in different athletes, that “athletic performance” across different sports generally requires the same core skills or capacities, and that testosterone has a potent effect on all of them.

But that’s simply not true. The problem with trying to flatten athleticism into a single dimension is illustrated especially well by a 2004 study published in The Journal of Sports Sciences. The study analyzed testosterone and different types of strength among men who were elite amateur weight lifters and cyclists or physically fit non-athletes. Weight lifters had higher testosterone than cyclists and showed more explosive strength. But the cyclists, who had lower testosterone than both other groups, scored much higher than the others on “maximal workload,” an endurance type of strength. Across the three groups, there was no relationship between testosterone and explosive strength, and a negative relationship between testosterone and maximal workload. Though small, that study isn’t an outlier: Similar complex patterns of mixed, positive and negative relationships with testosterone are found throughout the literature, involving a wide range of sports.
In other words, the authors lard their argument with a straw man that ignores the main point — testosterone drives male puberty, which increases muscle mass, bone density and size, and a host of other side effects beneficial to athletic achievement. They also conveniently omit the fact that Caster Semenya is genetically male, despite being phenotypically female:

1) Caster Semenya Has XY Chromosomes

It’s absolutely mind-boggling that virtually every major outlet in the world reporting the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling yesterday has failed to mention one of the most important facts of the entire case. Caster Semenya has XY chromosomes. It was generally accepted by people following the case closely that Semenya was XY, but now it’s been confirmed as fact since the CAS press release specifically says, “The DSD covered by the Regulations are limited to athletes with ’46 XY DSD’ – i.e. conditions where the affected individual has XY chromosomes.” If she wasn’t XY, the IAAF’s regulations wouldn’t apply to her and she’d have no reason to challenge them.

(In case you forgot what you learned in junior high biology, typically females have XX chromosomes while males are XY).

How the Associated Press, Reuters, NY Times, NPR, Washington Post, and BBC could all leave this CRUCIAL fact out of their reporting is beyond me. Not a single one of them mentioned it at all. It should have been in the lead paragraph of every story so people like my mother, who sent me a confused email after she saw an article on Semenya, can really understand what this is all about. Instead, the closest we get to the truth was that some of the articles talked about how Semenya has intersex “traits” or “characteristics.” Let’s be real, if you are an XY woman, you are the very definition of what virtually everyone would think of as intersex.
The woke academy has taken over science discussion.

Warren Buffett Refuses The Diversity Kool-Ade

Warren Buffett is not one of my favorite people, mainly because of his love of higher taxes. Nonetheless, this is refreshing (emboldening mine):
“We are not going to tie up resources doing things just because it is the standard procedure in corporate America,” Mr. Buffett said.

Mr. Munger added: “When it comes to so-called best corporate practices, I think the people that talk about them don’t really know what the best practices are. They determine that on what will sell, not what will work.” He added: “I like our way of doing things better than theirs and I hope to God we never follow their best practices.”

In its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Berkshire explicitly states that it does not consider diversity when hiring board members: “Berkshire does not have a policy regarding the consideration of diversity in identifying nominees for director. In identifying director nominees, the Governance Committee does not seek diversity, however defined. Instead, as previously discussed, the Governance Committee looks for individuals who have very high integrity, business-savvy, an owner-oriented attitude and a deep genuine interest in the company.”
Mr. Buffett made a persuasive argument that the obsession among corporate governance experts with appointing so-called independent directors to company boards was one of the great hoaxes perpetrated on public investors.

The independent directors in many cases are the least independent,” Mr. Buffett said. He explained that many independent directors need the money that comes with being a director, usually an annual fee of about $250,000. “They aren’t going to upset the apple cart,” he said, explaining that these independent directors get put on the compensation committee because they can be controlled.

“How in the world is that independent?” Mr. Buffett exclaimed. “You don’t get invited to be on your boards if you belch too often at the dinner table.”
This obvious point needs to be made again and again, apparently: Silicon Valley, which is rife with this kind of garbage thinking, is also increasingly a political and corporate echo chamber.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Case Of JayCee Cooper And The Media's Trans Activist Stenography

It is hard, truly hard, to think of a dumber piece about athletic sanctioning bodies permitting M2F transsexuals to compete against biological women, yet here is NBC parroting the trans activist party line. "It’s not fair to genetically eliminate an entire group of people," said JayCee Cooper, whom Powerlifting USA banned from female competition. @SwipeRight put together an excellent thread response on Twitter, the key parts of which are these two tweets:

Transgender activists thus employ ignorance at the heart of their arguments, disguising the lack of actual data on M2F transgender athletic performance as a justification for permitting such individuals to compete with women. The poor quality of the data is a feature, not a bug, as made very clear by Dr. Antonia Lee in Medium, who chides the IOC for using politically-motivated, low-power studies that aren't even well-constructed.
 I’ve written about the methodological flaws in the work of IOC consensus meeting participant, Joanna Harper before (5). Let me be as clear as possible: if you decide to do an observational study, you need to follow the appropriate, recognised and demanding observational study guidelines (6). Failing to do so means that, “any claim coming from an observational study is likely to be wrong” (7). I have nothing against Harper personally; my point is that she is neither an epidemiologist nor a sports scientist and simply doesn’t seem to know how to carry out meaningful health or sports science research.
But you would learn none of this from reading the NBC News story, which frames the whole matter as one of "inclusion", with opponents unfairly "dehumanizing" M2F transsexuals. Despite the spin, USA Powerlifting's position paper is clear — and fair, to biological women:
Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence naturally occurring androgens as the level necessary for male development, significant advantages are had, including but not limited to increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue.  These advantages are not eliminated by reduction of serum androgens such as testosterone yielding a potential advantage in strength sports such as powerlifting.
The IOC (and the International Powerlifting Federation) have not endorsed M2F powerlifters, surprisingly, and the current rules permit individual sports the option at their discretion to include transsexual women. Hopefully, other sports will expand exclusions in the name of fairness to biological women.