Tom Gilson

Girl Brain, Boy Body: One More Transgender Inconsistency

brain model

Jazz Jennings, subject of the children’s book I am Jazz, says he has “a girl brain but a boy body.” It’s a typical statement for a transgender person It’s also false. Very clearly false, and I hope uncontroversially so.  The brain is very much a part of the body, and if Jazz was born with a boy body, then Jazz was born with a boy brain. Every boy body with its xy chromosomes has a boy brain with xy chromosomes.

Science has found some clear differences between male and female brain structures, but has not found that trans persons have the other sex’s brain structure. Jazz’s brain grew up just as male as his genitalia. Whether it still is in every way or not, doesn’t matter. Hormones might change a brain to some extent, but Jazz says he’s had a “girl brain” since long before he started taking any treatments.

So what’s going on here? Let’s take a best-case look at it, from Jazz’s perspective. I’ll leave aside for now the other explanation, which is that Jazz has a very sadly confused boy brain in a boy body. Let’s offer him (for now) the greatest benefit of the doubt. (Except for this: it’s a matter of policy for me to use pronouns that match a person’s physical sex.)

Jazz very definitely doesn’t have a girl brain, but perhaps he has a girl mind. That is, it could be that Jazz’s personality, thinking, learning, desires, and volitions are all “girl,” in spite of his having a boy brain. If so, then Jazz has a girl mind and a boy brain. How then do these two aspects of Jazz relate to each other?

It’s almost as if Jazz s implying his brain isn’t part of his body. And there you begin to see where the matter might take us.

Background: Theories of Mind and Brain

Theories on mind and brain differ. Theists typically hold that the mind and the brain are distinct in some way, so that a person’s identity, decisions, actions, and consciousness are free of the brain’s control to at least some extent. They’re not fully determined by the brain’s electrochemical interactions, in fact, the brain can be affected by the mind acting as its own agent.

This distinction between mind and brain is called dualism, of which there are two main varieties (hylemorphic and substance). The difference between the two need not concern us for now; the main thing is that for theists, there’s no issue involved in regarding the mind as at least somewhat independent of the brain. The mind is actually somewhat in charge of the brain. It works both ways; each influences the other.

Non-theists are typically averse to that thinking. Again, there are differences of opinion here, but for materialistic atheists, there can be no such mind/brain independence. The mind cannot have its own distinct agency, its own reality independent of the brain.

Some philosophers an atheistic/materialist take it that the mind — thoughts, feelings, actions, identity, consciousness, everything — is absolutely determined by brain activity. Some take that as far as concluding that consciousness and free will are illusions foisted upon the self by the brain. That theory has its own problems: upon whom is the foisting foisted, for one thing?

Nevertheless it seems that the lesser conclusion — that the mind, in every aspect, is absolutely determined by the brain — is entailed by atheistic materialism. For materialism is monistic, in contrast to theism’s dualism. It holds that nothing exists but nature, and nature is nothing other than matter and energy interacting according to natural law. All events are fully determined by previous conditions (matter-energy states) and by the absolute reign of unbreakable, uninterruptible natural law. That leaves no room for any non-determined “mind” to wiggle its way into the system to do anything on its own. It’s entirely subservient to the brain.

Now, there are multiple versions of the mind-brain relationship offered by materialist atheists, but they all hold that either that the mind is  the brain (and vice versa) or that the mind is absolutely the product of the brain; it has no agency of its own; it’s entirely the slave of the brain.

Questions for Atheists On Jazz’s “Girl Brain”

Meanwhile, however, atheists typically stand 1oo percent behind statement’s like Jazz’s — that she (it’s Jazz’s statement this time, so I’ll state it Jazz’s way) has a girl brain in a boy body, or maybe a girl mind in a boy body.

And that leads to three questions for materialist atheists:

  1. Do you believe someone like Jazz could actually have a girl brain in a boy body?
  2. Since that seems scientifically impossible, as already noted, do you believe it’s possible for someone like Jazz to have a girl mind in a boy body?
  3. How does a boy brain produce a girl mind?

Image Credit(s): Robina Weermeijer/Unsplash.

3 thoughts on “Girl Brain, Boy Body: One More Transgender Inconsistency

  1. “Science has found some clear differences between male and female brain structures, but has not found that trans persons have the other sex’s brain structure.” Science has also found no evidence of a “god” … you believe the “science” that you want to believe, at the expense of those who don’t conform to your belief of design. You refuse to believe the extreme harm that you (and your kind) cause when you make black and white observations of a technicolor world.

  2. Actually, there’s evidence of God everywhere in nature. But one must be careful to apply the methods of science where they actually fit. Science answers some questions but not all. Science can answer whether there are differences in male and female brain structures. The question of God is also a question of history and philosophy. It’s a technicolor world, after all.

    I closed this article with a series of questions you didn’t address. Would you like to?

  3. Bob, can you provide any scientific evidence that Tom (and his kind) caused extreme harm to anyone by means of his observations?

Comments are closed.

Subscribe

Subscribe here to receive updates and a free Too Good To Be False preview chapter!

"Engaging… exhilarating.… This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year!" — Lee Strobel

"Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true!" — Josh McDowell

More...

Building Understanding, Building Faith

Tom Gilson, Senior Editor, The Stream.

More here.

Blog Honors



Recent Comments

  • Tom Gilson July 9, 2020 at 7:24 am on Jesus Won’t Let Us Use Him for Our PoliticsYou’re not trying to be rude? Really? If you want to rewind, then begin by reading what I wrote, not by asking me to rewrite it. I've already answered that question. Repeatedly. You're honestly not paying attention. I haven't answered with numbers like you want me to, but I have
  • Shane Fletcher July 9, 2020 at 2:26 am on Jesus Won’t Let Us Use Him for Our PoliticsI'm not trying to be rude, or poke you with a stick. I'm honestly asking for clarification. I'll attempt to rewind. You: "If you know of any in recent history, though, you’re welcome to list them. I’ll be wondering whether it’s a long enough list to conclude it’s a widespread,
  • Tom Gilson July 8, 2020 at 8:01 am on Jesus Won’t Let Us Use Him for Our PoliticsDoes that mean my wondering is meaningless? Good grief, no. Wondering is wondering. How much background info does it require to wonder? Why on earth would you even ask such a question? And even if it were a halfway sensible kind of question, why would you ask without offering the

Discussion Policy

By commenting here you agree to abide by this site's discussion policy. Comments support Markdown language for your convenience. Each new commenter's first comment goes into moderation temporarily before appearing on the site. Comments close automatically after 120 days.

Copyright, Permissions, Marketing

Some books reviewed on this blog are attached to my account with Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, and I receive a small percentage of revenue from those sales.

All content copyright © Thomas Gilson as of date of posting except as attributed to other sources. Permissions information here.

Privacy Policy

%d bloggers like this: