Robin Phillips Eats His Words as Sex-Gender Distinction Collapses
CNN reports that biological sex is now under dispute. From Jennifer Bilek’s report in The American Conservative:
"CNN stated last week that human sexual dimorphism, , . You really need to take a moment to let that settle on you....
In case you think the bold-faced lie promoted by CNN, that biological sex is in dispute, was an error, it’s important to review how tightly controlled these media messages are. Warner Media reports that, 'stories at CNN are thoroughly reviewed by producers and editors, and those involving particularly sensitive topics are further reviewed by a team of senior editors, standards and practices executives, and attorneys before broadcast or publishing. In all cases, we hold our journalists to the highest standards of ethics, accuracy and integrity. Responsible and ethical journalism means that the CNN editorial staff maintains full editorial decision making for any segments or programs that are sponsored by our advertisers. Our journalists also report and scrutinize our advertisers, other business partners and our parent company as they would for any other company.'
That is an awful lot of oversight. It gives one pause as to how this lie about biological reality slipped through…
When our global media conglomerates promote the lie that human sex is disputed, it is past time to worry and way past time to act. They have our children, and the last frontier of the natural world, in their maw."
Many conservatives will not appreciate how revolutionary these developments are because they haven’t always understood that the sex-gender distinction has not been under serious dispute until now. In all the recent conflict over bathroom rights and transgender issues, both sides have held two things in common:
- gender and sex are not the same thing;
- when it comes to biological sex, there are only two: male and female.
The issues under dispute have been whether laws, language, and societal norms should stick to the facts of biological sex or try to gerrymander themselves around the open-ended and constantly changing ideas of gender.
The distinction between sex and gender has been institutionalized in so many aspects of modern life that we routinely take for granted, regardless of where we stand politically. One example of this is electronic health records (EHR) forms. When a doctor fills out an EHR for a patient, there is a field for gender identity, for sexual orientation, and for sex. Gender refers to how people think of themselves (what they identify as); sexual orientation refers to who a person wants to sleep with; and sex refers to what a person is biologically. There are some problems in how we conceptualize these categories, but the idea that there is such a thing as biological sex is widely accepted. Significantly, EHR offer only two options for doctor’s to put in the sex field: male or female.
I thought things would stay this way for a long time. In an article for this column last February, I predicted that even Cancel Culture would not attempt to completely erase the sex-gender distinction, but instead would simply ignore it. Here is what I wrote:
"Many at the fringes of the transgender movement are using pseudoscience to agitate for the complete elimination of biological sex. Yet these ideas are not yet mainstream. Most progressive thinkers—including liberal newspapers and Wikipedia—routinely differentiate between a person’s biological sex and their chosen gender.
In the near future it is unlikely that biological sex will be collapsed into the now vacuous concept of gender. This is because the concept of binary sex differentiation is relevant in many fields, including zoology, medicine, anatomy and physiology, genetics, nutrition, and forensic investigations. What is more likely is that Cancel Culture will simply ignore biological sex as if it does not exist."
In a Salvo article last February, Robin Phillips predicted that Cancel Culture would not attempt to completely erase the...Posted by Salvo on Monday, April 19, 2021
Of course, not everyone takes their cue from CNN. It is not as if millions of people suddenly disbelieve there are boys and girls. Change happens gradually over time. However, one of the main drivers of change are formative institutions like CNN. In his book To Change the World, sociologist James Davison Hunter showed that throughout history elite institutions have served to drive and reflect changing cultural patterns. This is one of the reasons it is important for conservatives to follow outlets like CNN and the New York Times, for although these outlets are out of touch with most ordinary people, they do provide advance warning of where mainstream culture is headed and what will likely start being taught in the schools.
One of the ways elite institutions drive change is by giving new ideas respectability, and helping new concepts become cemented into our plausibility structures. In the present case, by deconstructing biological sex, elite institutions are helping to pave the way for laws that would remove protections for young children who could be castrated by parents and doctors with a transgender agenda. As crazy as that sounds, it is not far off once the idea of sexual dimorphism has been deconstructed.
Having failed to see this coming with CNN, I will try to redeem myself with another set of predictions.
What is happening now with biological sex will likely follow the same trajectory that occurred with gender dysphoria, which is the condition of experiencing a sense of mismatch between one’s biological sex and gender identity. The diagnosis label for this condition is gender identity disorder (GID) and is associated with high rates of depression, suicide, anxiety, and eating disorders. When the DSM-5 was released in 2013, GID was dropped as a diagnostic label in order to reflect more politically correct ideas about transgender individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) only dropped GID in 2019.
Currently the WHO still teaches the sex-gender distinction. The UK's Office for National Statistics reports that “The World Health Organisation regional office for Europe describes sex as characteristics that are biologically defined, whereas gender is based on socially constructed features.” Apparently, the WHO did not get the memo from CNN that this is now disputed. But they soon will. Over the next five years we will likely see both the WHO and mainstream media outlets gradually replace “sex” with the phrase “assigned sex,” in an attempt subtly to emphasize that biological sex is socially constructed. This will likely be followed, over the next five to ten years, by an all-out campaign to drop the idea of sex completely, and to collapse it into the now vacuous concept of gender. This will be accompanied by a flood of pseudo-science financed by Big Business, with McCarthy-era tactics being used to jerry-rig the peer-review process.
As these developments occur, I predict there will be a concerted pushback from professionals working in the field of criminology, who will want to retain the concept of biological sex within the context of forensic investigations and DNA analysis of crime scenes. This will be met by leftists who will attempt to diagnose all who believe in biological sex as mentally ill, and perhaps even institutionalize them as a result.
At that point, most ordinary Americans will have had enough and rise up to demand a return to reality.
Whether events play out in this way or not, we can be sure of one thing: in the near future, CNN will continue to try to deconstruct biological sex. And those of us at Salvo will continue to fight back.Robin Phillips
has a Master’s in Historical Theology from King’s College London and a Master’s in Library Science through the University of Oklahoma. He is the blog and media managing editor for the Fellowship of St. James and a regular contributor to Touchstone and Salvo. In addition to working as a ghost-writer for celebrities, his work has featured in a variety of publications, including the Colson Center, World Magazine, Sky News, and the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Phillips is the author of Gratitude in Life's Trenches: How to Experience the Good Life Even When Everything Is Going Wrong (Ancient Faith, 2020), and Rediscovering the Goodness of Creation: A Manuel for Recovering Gnostics (Ancient Faith, forthcoming 2023). He is a contributor to Pain, Suffering and Resilience: Orthodox Christian Perspectives (Sebastian Press, 2018), and Finding the Golden Key: Essays Towards a Recovery of the Sacramental Imagination (Eighth Day Press, forthcoming 2023). He operates a blog at www.robinmarkphillips.com.• Get SALVO blog posts in your inbox! Copyright © 2023 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/post/cnn-disputes-biological-reality