Seeking help:Answering the linkage between Darwinism and gender ideology this Saturday

This Saturday I will be hearing a talk by Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute in which he will claim Darwinism is responsible for the “gender ideology” that has resulted in schools teaching kids about transgenderism and in kids transitioning.

Online he says “they are coming after your kids” and uses the language of “defeating” gender ideology.

I believe in the biblical language of two genders and evolution.

These conferences are really singing to the choir in my experience, which means in this case culture-war minded apologetics types.

Here I heard this language at an apologetics conference

“There is a cosmic battle between good and evil”

Taking Ephesians 6 a certain way

So with the Discovery Institute this means hooking Darwinism to Hitler, Stalin, transgender issues etc.

Now this is an entangled mess and I want to ask about how he connects Darwin to children transitioning gender.

Any thoughts about how to approach Richards’ argument?

Thank you


If you take a look at his profile on the DI website, you find he has also written about the US government’s response to the pandemic (e.g. “Biden’s National Mask Mandate is Absurd and Despotic”).

This is just a guess, but perhaps he makes the following connection (I am writing as if I am him):

  1. “Darwinistic evolution is false, but everyone regards it as “objective” science.”

  2. “The government’s reaction to the pandemic is wrong, but they present it as “science”.”

  3. “The transgender and non-binary movement is wrong, but they use “scientific” arguments.”

If this is really how he thinks, the common theme seems to be that he sees people weaponizing science to promote their views.

I myself think that 1. is clearly science. But 3. has more to do with postmodern ideology. 2. gets a bit messy. How do you adequately react to a crisis without infringing on constitutional rights? But that has nothing to do with the question you raised.


I believe there is a battle of good and evil is a metaphorical sense. I think it can go beyond the individuals and become a collective almost cosmic like force. Much like when there is an event full of hatred and eventually one person just seems possessed by it and because the spear of the event doing something wicked. It’s as if hatred pososses them. But I think the same can be said for love.

Like most things in science gender seems to be spectrum biologically and it’s reflected socially in our culture. Such as men tend to build muscle easier and generally are stronger and faster on average and so men seem more prone to going to the gym to lift heavy weights and get chiseled and women seem less prone to it. But women can in fact get stronger and bigger and faster than the average man. Plenty of gym girls out lift men. So we see biology being reflected socially. But if socially, despite this fact, women started making up the bulk of heavy lifters and men started to want to be really skinny and so on, women would be the stronger faster group. Especially if since childhood they were engaged in sports and a fighting culture.

When discussing transgender issues with someone and I’m not very knowledgeable I start off with some basic facts like first what’s typical. What’s typical in our species is women are XX and men are XY and women have a basic anatomy and so do men. But we also know some women have XXY and even XXXY and that some of these women can get pregnant and give birth. We also have men who are XXY that can get women pregnant. So it’s a spectrum there. We also know that brain chemistry and hormones in men and women typically flow one way, but we sometimes see the opposite being true. We also know that just. Cause typically men and women have a certain kind of anatomy that’s not always the case. We have intersex people. So if we have a blurring genetically and anatomically then we could expect to see it culturally and socially and we do. We see guys who act more like girls and we see girls that act more like guys. We trends that use to be manly becoming trends we now would think is girly and we see some trends that are natural for both.

Science simply is science. We do our best to interpret it and see it.


You might consider the difference between correlation and causation as you listen to the talk

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Two points worth making here.

First, a couple of counterexamples: Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. You should read/hear what they have to say about some of the things that fly under the banner of modern gender ideology. They are absolutely scathing about it. And they are basically Darwin’s modern-day bulldogs.

Secondly, even if you could pin modern day gender ideology (or anything else, for that matter) on “Darwinism,” it wouldn’t falsify the theory of evolution. Scientific theories aren’t falsified by the fact that people use them to do or advocate bad things. That would be like saying that quantum mechanics must be false because Kim Jong-Un is using it to build nuclear weapons, or that gravity must be false because people fall off ladders and end up in wheelchairs.


One also needs to be careful to nail down definitions in any such conversations. What does “Darwinism” mean? It is not a term that modern biologists use, but seems to be a word that YECs use to conjure up something fearful. Maybe this means “Natural Selection”?

Many people also confuse definitions of “sex” versus “gender” in lay conversations. Biologists say there are only two biological sexes because organisms only ever produce eggs (the large gamete) or sperm (the smaller gamete). Even those rare people with different numbers of X or Y chromosomes only ever produce eggs or sperm (or are infertile). I suppose natural selection would act against infertility.

But “gender” is a mental and social construct–how an individual perceives themselves. I’m not really seeing a connection with this and “Darwinism”…but maybe with trends in social and postmodern thought as @ivar suggested?


Though even that isn’t absolute!

I’m sorry…what isn’t absolute? Are you referring to the fact that there is also forms of asexual reproduction :slight_smile:

No, I’m referring to the fact that even among mammals, including humans, individuals are born with both sets of organs that are fully functional. As I recall it happens among those with two extra chromosomes, XX and XY, where for whatever reason neither one dominates – which isn’t at all common even among XX XY individuals; they usually have one set dominates, for example a man who wanted to undergo sex change surgery and the doctor discovered that he had a female reproductive system that lacked an exit but after hormone treatments and surgery functioned properly.

Well, there are still only 2 biological sexes even given such aberrant chromosome possibilities, they may just be expressed in the same individual (although I haven’t read of such a human case–do you have the citation?). If such a case exists, it would align with many molluscs which are hermaphrodites (an individual produces both eggs and sperm) but biologists still refer to this as conforming to types of gametes: eggs and sperm are produced to form the next generation.

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I only learned of it because my older brother actually had the more common version (I’m going on memory with all this, most of it from thirty to fifty years ago), just one testicle and an off-center ovary with just one fallopian tube. Externally that’s generally the case even if both sets of organs are functional so that the individual produces both ova and sperm. If I remember the literature right, these days this is generally caught at birth; in the case of one set of organs dominating a bit of surgery and shots of hormones are used to correct the problem. Having both sets fully functional requires an extra XX and an extra XY which is extremely rare and doesn’t always result in both sets of organs being functional; usually only the male set is functional although sometimes there will be two urinary tracts. Sometimes the nonfunctional ovary will wither and be absorbed by the body, sometimes leaving the outer membrane in place but empty; this can be triggered by injections of testosterone early enough that the individual will never know of the issue. The condition can also result in miscarriage, or if the child is born there may be brain issues – my brother was fortunate in that, but on the other hand was sterile.

I got the impression that the full condition has only been recorded twice since colonial days in the UK plus the U.S., which makes it pretty darned rare.


It’s not a secret that the Discovery Institute is essentially a political think tank. That they are devoting their efforts to right-wing culture warring is par for the course.


I want to react to some of the things you addressed. But if I have misunderstood you, please say so.

Yes, that’s why we have separate male and female competitions in sports. It is not as if female athletes train less than male athletes. Leonard Sax wrote a book on how male and female brains differ, and how parents and teachers can use this info (“Why Gender Matters”).

Nonetheless, these differences are not essential to establish a proper definition of male and female. See below.

We only know about chromosomes for a very short time. Our ancestors didn’t need those to decide whether someone is male or female. Like Trent Horn, I prefer a teleological definition. Women are naturally ordered towards gestation. (That doesn’t mean they are always capable of it, which may be caused by any reason.) Men are naturally ordered towards impregnation (idem). That’s why we use the terms father and mother.

Regarding intersex, I want to mention three things. This also relates to @St.Roymond 's very personal story. So I realise this is a sensitive issue for many people. I hope my remarks exhibit a graceful tone.

“For one, “intersex” does not mean “neither male nor female.” There are more than 16 different conditions classified as intersex, or more accurately “disorders of sex development” or “differences of sex development” (DSD’s). These disorders/differences refer to atypical features in one’s sex-chromosomes, reproductive organs, or anatomical sex (or two of the three, or all three). …
Almost everyone with these conditions typically experience no ambiguity in their biological sex.”

Sex, Gender, and Transgender Experiences: Part 6—What about Intersex? | The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender

There is a clear difference between intersex and transgender. The biological sex of intersex people can not always be established (with our current knowledge). But transgender ideology says that the social construction of sex (which they sometimes call gender) can be different from your (established) biological sex.

“The Bible’s big story is uniquely able to explain why the reality we experience now is sometimes different from how God originally intended things to be. We know that our corporate rebellion against God has led to brokenness and imperfections in God’s originally perfect creation (Genesis 3; Romans 8:20-22), and we know that this brokenness extends also to our physical bodies (Romans 8:23). It should therefore not be a surprise to us when our physical bodies, whether from birth or later in life, exhibit divergences from God’s original plan for human embodiment. All of us experience this to a greater or lesser extent at various points in our lives. …

“With this understanding, we can see how the existence of intersex conditions doesn’t disprove the reality of the gender binary. The gender binary is there as a part of God’s good creation, but it, like all creation, can be marred by the effects of sin.

Male and female societal roles change through time. Yet e.g. a tomboy is still naturally ordered towards gestation. What society expects from men and women can change. But God’s teleological vision for men and women will always remain the same.


Never said anything about intersex other than we know that there are gray areas on the sexual reproduction organs to the point even medical experts are sometimes unsure and that there is also a gray area of chromosomes and if we see these gray areas there and in brain development, hormones and so on, then it stands to reason that there are going to be someone whose sex can also be bit of a gray area as well.

As far as “naturally ordered” thing does not make sense. It’s just weird phrase certain groups are using.

The Bible never says male and female only. It just mentions them. Just like the Bible just mentions birds of the air yet we have penguins and it mentions animals of the land yet we have blurred areas with turtles and frogs and seals.

Using Genesis to develop a basis of science is just silly. Also, there is no reason to think transgender , or intersex, or sexual orientations did not exist prior to “6-10k” years ago. We even see dioecious plants that are either male or female but will sometimes have the opposite sex flowers on its branches. Like a holly may be a female holly with berries, and then have a branch with male flowers that’s not been grafted on.

There is also no reason to think any handicap, mutation or disorder is the byproduct of sin. We don’t typically think blue or green eyes or red hair is the byproduct of sin. Things like Down syndrome shows up in the animal world.


Like @SkovandOfMitaze, I’m unable to assign a clear meaning to ‘naturally ordered’. Statistically, of course, males are ‘naturally ordered’ toward impregnation. In fact, they’re naturally ordered toward impregnating as many females as possible, and they’re ordered toward competing with, dominating, and if necessary killing other males. Simply following our natural inclinations is not always a good plan. So presumably ‘naturally ordered’ doesn’t mean ‘inclined by the body and brain they’ve been given’. Instead, the implication seems to be that God has ordained a single plan for how males and females should behave, has implemented that plan for most males and females but has somehow failed to make the others correctly.

Personally, I’ve never found the claim that a loving and just God causes bad things to happen to babies because he’s mad at some other people for what they’ve done to be an explanation for anything. More to the point, I don’t understand why this explanation always seems to be deployed as a justification for discriminating against those who don’t conform to standard gender roles and orientations and legitimating coercion directed against them. If you believe that little Bobby was born in Topeka with a brain and genitals that don’t match because some other people did bad things, how does it follow that Bobby’s behavior and sense of self should somehow be forced to align with their genitals rather than their brain? If you think that God’s good plan was for humans to walk on two legs but that Bobby was born with cerebral palsy because of our corporate corruption, do you force him to try to get around on his feet even though he can’t, or do you supply him with a wheelchair and work to make society more accessible and welcoming to him, so that he can thrive in spite of the hand he’s been dealt?


Of course some people really suffer from gender dysphoria. That may be a consequence of how their brain chemistry works. The same applies to other disorders. Some people are because of their genetics more prone to have anorexia.

Anorexia is a body dysmorphic disorder. So is gender dysphoria.

How do you define male and female?
I may not have presented mr. Horn’s point as clear as he can:

Analyzing Matt Walsh’s “Transgender Debate” on Dr. Phil | Catholic Answers Podcasts

The Biblical authors were aware of those kinds of animals (e.g. ostriches, Job 39:13; bats, Leviticus 11:19; and flying insects, 11:22).

The purpose of Genesis 1 is to show that God prepares the earth for humans.

No form → form Empty → full
Day and night Sun, moon and stars
Water and sky Sea creatures and birds
Land and plants Animals and humans

The binary of male and female is affirmed by Jesus and the apostles by accepting only heterosexual marriage. But Jesus also said some persons will not marry, for whatever reason. That may also apply to people who’s sex cannot be established by us humans (see below).

I agree (John 9:1-3). I should have mentioned that. But I initially did not do that, because taking sin out of the equation doesn’t really change the argument:

“the reality we experience now is sometimes different from how God originally intended things to be.”

2 Maccabees 7 tells about a mother and her seven sons who were tortured to death (cutting off limbs, scalping, and other disgusting things). But they told their torturers that God would raise up their bodies fully restored.

People that were blind, deaf, or had a withered hand (some from birth) were healed by Jesus. We can infer from this that God’s intention for us is to have fully functioning bodies. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that in the resurrection God will restore intersex people to male or female.

Sometimes doctors can’t establish whether a person with a brain injury is brain dead or not. That doesn’t mean that person is dead and alive at the same time. What we cannot establish due to our limited knowledge, Yahweh can.

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So if genesis 1 does not define taxonomy and that’s not its purpose maybe its purpose is not to define man and women or sexual orientation and so on.

A male is a person who has XY, XXY and maybe XXXY chromosomes that may have typical or abnormal sexual reproduction organs that can has a wide range of sexual orientations or genders.

Female is basically the same but XX, XXY or XXXY.

May be a wider range of genetic differences as well.

How do you define male in a way that it includes all men with no exceptions?

Our church is doing a 10 week seminar on gender issues, and using this text as a springboard:

People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue

By Sprinkle

I’m not doing the course due to travel plans, but my daughter says it is good so far, and stretches people regardless of views.

We tend not to discuss sexuality here, due to it usually leading to conflict, but appreciate the kind way you guys have addressed the subject. Should we reach a good concluding point, will probably close the discussion, though, in keeping with our usual policy.


A great example of “the exception that proves the rule”.

When my grandmother decided that we boys were going to learn to knit – she was known as one of the best in the state – she also taught us some history. We thought she was joking when she told us that originally knitting was something men did and women were not allowed to do; it was something done by an effectively secret guild. When things we knitted didn’t just qualify for going to the state fair but got awards there we delighted in telling all the girls that men invented knitting.


Absolutely; it’s the wrong kind of literature. Come to think of it, so is everything else in the Bible.

And plants where different branches having male or female flowers is normal. What’s really interesting is that there are some where flowers start out undifferentiated and what triggers which sex structures develop is visits by different insects – that one really blew us away in botany class!

That’s kind of like the “The Devil made me do it!” thinking. A good argument could be made that had not our ancestors sinned we might have attained a state where we would be protected from (harmful) mutations, but I can’t think of a decent argument that once there was sin those mutations would be the result of sin; they’re just part of the natural world that hasn’t been “super-Edenized” (to coin a term).

There was a biology professor who started his first lecture in human biology in a new term by noting that “statistically, everyone in this room has one testicle”. I think his point was to not get carried away by statistics.

I don’t think your statement matches what you quoted. I agree with his first sentence, but not on a concept that sin causes bad things directly, rather on the principle that we remain in a state we were meant to surpass. Though in application to the rest of Creation that is really tenuous at best; the reason that Creation groans isn’t due to damage resulting from our sin but from having to put up with us sinful types treating the mandate to have dominion as though it was a license to exploit as we see fit – so the damage to Creation, including other humans, is the result of sin when it comes from someone acting sinfully.

It’s not easy to avoid thinking that some phenomenon that falls into a category we don’t like must be because of some direct result of evil/sin. For a long time I held that defects from the womb must be because we sinned, must be a result of the Fall, but when I look at scripture the only instance I can find where I should be able to expect that human DNA would be protected from mutations is Christ’s glorified body, something we won’t share in until our own resurrection. That leaves me to face the likelihood that mutations resulting in permanent afflictions are not the result of sin except insofar as it was sin that booted us out of Eden – which is itself problematic given the sort of literature the Garden stories are comprised of – and into a natural world that had never been brought into conformity with that idyllic place.

I don’t know how true this is, but I used to get accused of “throwing like a girl” and even “running like a girl” (until I proved I could outrun everyone in my class in both junior high and high school at any distance a half mole or longer), and a teacher at one point told me not to sweat it because some people’s bodies are just enough different that their natural way to throw something differed from others – and that I should tell those accusers that “I throw like Roy, and Roy is unique”, and if they doubted the latter assertion I should ask which of them got nothing but A grades and also was on the varsity team for three different sports (which was pretty unique).

So assuming there is something more “female” about how muscles are arranged and thus how people tend to throw a ball, then gender “mixups” can be fairly minor things.