Start by watching this video.
It’s a good example of how this debate typically happens.
This ^^^ is bad communications.
It's two people who could actually agree, if they had a set of rules for communications.
*They are both actually correct.
The stem of the "y" chromosome that determines gender is one of the most fluid chromosomes in the genome. It can be different lengths and contain different information. Add to that fact hormores, and environmental effects (like nutrician and reproductive needs) and gender becomes very variable. For a simple example, consider “effeminate men”, and “very butch women”. Both are very close to the line of the other. "Alpha men" and "Girly girls" are at the other ends of the spectrum. Those characteristics have biological and environmental factors that create those results.
Dutee Chand is an olympic level indian runner. She lives as a woman, and has all the parts of a woman. When she was tested for gender for the games, it returned a "male" result. Turns out, it depends on what test you give "her", in regard to her gender. She is just one example of people who defy the binary definitions on a scientific level. There are many more.
There are two genders. Depending on the test you use, you can always break people into either male or female for humans.
That is not true of all species. Some are actually both. But for humans, we will always fall out on one side or the other, depending on test used.
This is both scientific fact, and easy for a society to administer.
This subject is like the day.
There is day and there is night. Those are the two basic components of a day. However, there is also dusk, dawn, twilight, high noon, midnight, and infinite other categories you can use to more correctly describe and identify the qualities of light in a day.
Both are true.
- Infinite descriptions are unworkable in a society.
- Two descriptions are more workable, but are also more erroneous.
You just have to pick where we operate to make the most sense of a complicated topic.
It's just not as simple as we would all like it to be…but it’s better.
Where she goes wrong
She begins to add inflammatory talking points to her otherwise scientifically correct argument. Calling the man “fascist” or “stupid” only weakens her point. The man recognizes this tactic, and exploits it immediately. This hardens his position, because now you have dehumanized him, and challenged him personally.
Attacking the person with phrases, insults and talking points you have heard from others, that have no tangible connection to the present situation is almost always a good way to shut down communications, and show you are light on facts.
What she should have done
She should have doubled down on facts and examples. Science does confirm her opinions. As with my example of Dutee Chand, a reference to someone who blurs the line might have helped. A reference to a metaphor like my “light example” might have helped too. Illustrate the common ground of the two arguments.
Where he goes wrong
He insists on binary thinking. He has a doctine he is trying to prove, and he believes absolutes are the only path to truth or logical thinking. In fact, that is almost the opposite of real truth. Real truth is always a moving target, defined by our three dimensions, and time. None of which are static factors.
What he should have done
Instead of asking for a number, he could have worked on the common ground as well. Perhaps ask,
“Are there examples in human reproduction where something other than a male and female can procreate?
This is a scientific question, that would be hard for this woman to answer, but it is based in science, and not a dogma. From that beginning, he might have checked off that box as a “win” for his side, but then been open to hearing about some of her more nuanced, and scientifically supported ideas.
Both people need to be more open
Both needs to be less concerned about “winning” their side of the argument and more concerned about the possiblility that they are not open to real factors that matter in the debate.
They need to understand that things are only “true” for moments in time.
>Tomorrow, a genetic man might have a baby. Then what? Now all his “binary facts” are moot.
<Tomorrow, the binary foundation of society might go away. If it does, the human race actually goes extinct. Like it or not, it does perform a biological function that is proven by all of history, in all species.
Without gender, present social systems become unworkable, and no people are better for her “win”. Anyone can identify as anything, and that is actually less scientifically accurate than the man’s binary argument.
Debate using a checklist method
Break topics into it’s component parts, and then check off the boxes that each side more logically and scientifically supports.
Some preliminary groundwork “rules” for the debate might include:
Why is this subject important? - If it’s determined to not be important, don’t waste your time.
Are we debating the actual problem, or are we debating symptoms of a problem? - In this case, is “gender” really the issue, or is the real issue benefits and privlidges that are derived by having one gender or another…or none at all? If that is really the topic of interest, maybe the time is better spent arguing those points. Or maybe incorporate those topics into the larger topic.
Are we talking in philosophical or practical terms? - sometimes I can more effectively address this situation by using “long term” and “short term” as the categories. That is to say, sometimes I can argue that something should be a certain way, based in philosophical terms and truths. At the same time, I can recognize that the human brain is not there yet developmentally, and therefore I might have to take incremental steps to get to the proper philosophical “truth”.
Philosophical truths become the Long term solutions of the future.
Practical steps become the short term solutions and truths of the day.
I find that people do well with holding both of these concepts, but without defining timetable, they reject one as “true” and one as “false” and reject any further discussion at that point.
Make an actual score sheet
Mark each category and note the points each side makes in each category. At the end, total up your check marks and notes, and see if you can determine which position is leading the discussion.
Finally - Be open to your side needing more work.
Maybe you need more facts. Maybe you didn’t do your best presentation of the facts you knew.
Maybe…dare I say…the other side had legit arguments?