Ian Pitchford on transsexualism

Ian Pitchford is an evolutionary psychologist who was was one of the very earliest members on the Human Biodiversity Institute mailing list by Steve Sailer.

Dr. Pitchford is an archivist like myself, collecting and disseminating materials about and related to evolutionary psychology.

I first came across his name on 27 Apr 2003 when he referenced the Bailey book on a Yahoo group about evolutionary psychology.

Dr. Pitchford wrote to me on 5 November 2003:

Dear Andrea,

With reference to your web page

http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/human-biodiversity.html

please note that I am not connected with Steve Salier or his "Human Biodiversity Institute" and that I have not written about or expressed any public opinion at all about transsexualism. I did belong to Sailer's list for a while, but left after he continually blocked my postings, presumably because he didn't approve of the content.

Best wishes
Ian Pitchford

ianDOTpitchfordATscientistDOTcom
http://human-nature.com

Dr. Ian Pitchford
Editor, The Human Nature Review

My response:

Thank you for your letter. I have included it on the page dedicated to your involvement in this matter.

I would also be interested in your comments regarding the accuracy of this page in regards to evolutionary psychology:

http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/evolutionary-psychology.html

Lest you think I am anti-science or anti-intellectual, my problem with Bailey is not his ideas as he asserts, but his gross abuse of a position of authority for personal gain. The greatest fear of every academic is to be exposed as a fraud, which is what I intend to do with him. He is a sloppy researcher who isn't up to the task at hand. He can't even do a twin study right.

I believe you and I serve similar roles: my interest is in documenting the death throes of gender variance as a disorder within the psych trade groups. I have found your collection of EP-related articles on the EP groups to be helpful in understanding where you guys are coming from.

Your name was in fact the very first I found in my research of Bailey, and you introduced me to the concept of EP.

Once Bailey and Blanchard etc. go the way of Rekers and those throwbacks, we will be able to move forward with a respectful dialogue regarding these sensitive topics. I look forward to discussing these matters once the Jerry Springer of academia is out of the picture.

Take care,
Andrea

On 6 November 2004, we had this exchange:

Dear Andrea,

I appreciate your prompt reply.

Perhaps I should also have mentioned that I do not know Bailey and have not read his book. I don't know whether his views are based on ideas from evolutionary psychology.

You've probably noticed that the list of Sailer's discussion groups members, to which you refer on the web site, is dated 7/20/99. At least two of those listed as members have died since, and I have no idea whether the others are actually members. As I remember I belonged briefly to the list in 1999, but found it fairly uninspiring. It's a mistake to imply that the people listed share common views. In fact a number of people were asked to join because they hold views diametrically opposite to those of Steve Sailer. The include myself, Steve Pinker, Marek Kohn, Jonathan Marks, Paul Krugman and a number of others. I remember that Kwame Anthony Appiah was also a member at the same time as me.

As a life-long socialist, feminist, egalitarian and author of a web site containing a wealth of material on socialism, anarchism, Marxism, and perspectives on the social and ideological foundations of knowledge I have no sympathy for eugenics or any form of elitism.
With regard to your page on evolutionary psychology and Michael Bailey I would have to read his book before I could express an opinion. I will certainly do this as soon as I have time. I don't believe that transsexualism poses any problem for evolutionary psychology simply because it is so rare. With regard to the idea that there are two types of transsexuals, extremely gay men and straight men with a fetish - an idea I have not encountered before - my first impression is that it is remarkably silly.

I will endeavour to send you a report on Bailey's book from my viewpoint in evolutionary developmental psychopathology.

Best wishes
Ian Pitchford
ian.pitchford@scientist.com
http://human-nature.com/

My response:

I thank you for your prompt response as well.

The online clearinghouses are rapid-response sites designed to deal with a crisis. I'm just putting evidence and information up as fast as I can (I still have about 250 emails on the topic to address). I feel this Bailey matter is easily the most troubling development affecting transsexuals in my adult life.

As I mentioned before, I had not encountered EP prior to finding your reference to Bailey. Accuracy is of the utmost importance to me, and I am working hard to sort out the details from the enormous amounts of data being sent in by my contributors and research assistants. As this is terra incognita, and it's not my career, this has been a daunting undertaking.

It is remarkable that every positive review of Bailey in a major publication can be traced directly to a member of the Sailer mailing list. I believe they are coordinating their efforts in service of a larger plan, which appears most certainly to come in conflict with many of my own theories.

For instance, I believe that what they consider innate binary sex differences are in fact social constructs, and that I am living proof that one can live in either the "male" role or in the "female" role if so inclined. The source of my own inclination to do so remains to be seen. I consider myself an agnostic in the science debate and a crusader in the realm of Bailey's defamation.

Thanks for your help in understanding more about the HBDG list history and dynamics. I do hope we can continue our discussion. I am a very big fan of William James, Chomsky, Lacan, Debord, etc. I have already learned a great deal from you, and I can imagine some interesting ways in which our experiences and outlooks may dovetail.

Take care,
Andrea

From a reader:

Here's the signature from a "pitch" for his international group from 1994:

*********************************
The InterPsych Board of Directors
*********************************
Ian Pitchford Neuroscience Student,
Department of Biomedical Science,
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Founder and co-ordinator of InterPsych

------------------------------------

then a little later:

--------------------------------------
Joining InterPsych
InterPsych (I.Pitchford@sheffield.ac.uk)
Wed, 15 Mar 1995 00:04:55 gmt1bst
======================================================================
InterPsych: The Internet Mental Health Organization
======================================================================
sexual-variants-and-disorders*
=============================
Biological and cultural origins and development of sexual
orientation, gender identity, and related sex differences.
Etiology and treatment of paraphilias. Rape and sexual abuse.
Normative studies of sexual behaviour.

FORUM COORDINATOR:
Michael Bailey, Ph.D. <JM-BAILEY@nwu.edu>, assistant professor of
psychology, Northwestern University, specializing in research on
the etiology and development of sexual orientation.
-------------------------------------------------------

In November 2003, I pointed out several of Bailey's statements to Dr. Pitchford, such as:

"evolutionarily, homosexuality is a big mistake."

http://www.donnarose.com/JMBInterview.html

Now this really is propaganda on Bailey's part because he's conflating the orientation or behavioural outcome and the cause. Most evolutionary models of homosexuality are not, in fact, based on group selection or kin selection as Bailey claims, but on the idea of heterozygote advantage, that is on the idea that having a single copy of the gene is advantageous. As one prominent researcher wrote recently "the balanced superior heterozygotic fitness account is by far the dominant genetic explanation of homosexuality". Bailey must know this. There is also a model based on the idea that the gene benefits the homozygous mother rather than her heterozygous offspring. The important point is that in these models the *gene* has been positively selected for because of its beneficial influence. It makes no sense to refer to evolutionary mistakes in this context, and it's more than interesting that Bailey doesn't even see fit to mention the existence of what is undoubtedly the "dominant genetic explanation".

With regard to your request that I be hypervigilant with regard to the intersection of science and ideology I'm glad to let you know that my co-editor Professor Young, is one of the most distinguishedpeople in the field and we maintain a comprehensive archive on the subject, see for example

http://human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/index.html
http://human-nature.com/science-as-culture/contents.html