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I'm going to a talk by Alice Roberts tomorrow, what should I ask her?

(170 Posts)
Destinysdaughter Wed 11-Sep-19 18:59:16

She's speaking at the British Science Festival tomorrow at Warwick University, I got myself a ticket only because there's been some controversy about things she's written/shared on Twitter. If there is an opportunity to ask her some questions after her talk ( which is about the perfect body, ironically), what do you think I should ask her? TBH I feel like standing up and asking her if I'm a woman, just to see what she says...

Angryresister Wed 11-Sep-19 19:07:54

What is a woman?

AnotherLass Wed 11-Sep-19 19:13:24

If the words "male" and "female" have no meaning, how can any of us ever know what sex we are?

MockersthefeMANist Wed 11-Sep-19 19:16:01

In what way does human reproduction differ from other placental mammals?

AnotherLass Wed 11-Sep-19 19:16:25

(Alice seems to think that "biological essentialism" means believing that words have meanings)

Beamur Wed 11-Sep-19 19:17:21

Why not see what she covers in her talk first and ask a question relevant to something she actually says?

XXcstatic Wed 11-Sep-19 19:19:20

Whether any mammal has ever changed sex.

redchocolatebutton Wed 11-Sep-19 19:19:31

ask about the biological difference between male and female skeletons?

XXcstatic Wed 11-Sep-19 19:20:06

...and what the fuck she's smoking grin

BarbaraStrozzi Wed 11-Sep-19 19:21:49

What the third gamete is?

TheCuriousMonkey Wed 11-Sep-19 19:22:10

As an anatomist, if you found a human skeleton would you be able to identify it's sex?

If the skeleton had belonged to a transwoman would that skeleton look like a male skeleton or a female skeleton?

If the owner of the skeleton had, when alive, preferred skirts, make up and long hair would this change the characteristics of the skeleton?

BarbaraStrozzi Wed 11-Sep-19 19:32:44

On a more serious note - if we can either conceptualise DSDs (differences of sexual development) as either abnormal (in the statistical sense of differing significantly from the norm) situations arising at random within a sexually dimorphic species or (as she seems to favour) evidence that biological sex is a continuum or "spectrum", ask her what her evidence is for choosing the second interpretation.

And, if she insists on this conceptualisation, ask what evolutionary role DSDs play and how (given that they generally leave the person with that condition infertile) they could possibly be selected for in evolutionary terms.

Also press her on what she counts as DSDs. Chromosomal abnormalities? (Turners, Kleinfelds)? Endocrine disorders leaving genotypically female or male people with abnormally developed sex organs (internal tested, no uterus, etc)? Or minor cosmetic birth defects like hypospadias (I have a young relative with this - I find the idea that one day some woke idiot is going to tell him he's not "properly male" incredibly offensive)? Any hormone imbalance whatsoever? (I've even seen some particularly batshit TRAs suggest that PCOS is a form of intersex condition).

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 11-Sep-19 19:33:41

Ask her opinion on the gender neutral penguin.

Branleuse Wed 11-Sep-19 19:43:09

Maybe just stick to the topic she is talking about ffs. Shes brilliant and if the topic she is speaking about is not related to feminism or her opinions on different subjects, then its shitty to try and put her on the spot to defend other views.
God, id hate to be a professional in a seperate field, and then have people harrassing me about my opinions on other things in public.
I dont agree with her beliefs on the trans debate, but I have loved hearing her talking about history and her book on the Celts was brilliant

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Wed 11-Sep-19 19:43:58

Exactly when was the moment when your brain fell out of your backside?

GCAcademic Wed 11-Sep-19 19:48:18

God, id hate to be a professional in a seperate field, and then have people harrassing me about my opinions on other things in public.

Perhaps she shouldn’t use her professional platform to sprout nonsense and to denounce and smear other women then?

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Wed 11-Sep-19 19:49:23

That’s what I was going to say. Live by the sword and all that...

Ohdeargodwot Wed 11-Sep-19 19:51:15

Ask her what the fuck she's playing at; this IS her professional field!? Absolutely ridiculous!

Destinysdaughter Wed 11-Sep-19 19:51:20

Wow some great replies here, thanks. No I'm not going to 'harass' her, but as a scientist who is talking about the body, ( and we all know there are 2 types, male and female), I think it's important that she knows the bloody difference! I don't know what her talk will involve but I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask her about stuff she's said publicly.

Destinysdaughter Wed 11-Sep-19 19:55:03

This is the talk she is part of

britishsciencefestival.org/event/perfect-bodies/

Branleuse Wed 11-Sep-19 20:05:38

So if there was a GC woman that was doing a talk, then fair game for TRAs to harrass them?

If its not a talk about trans issues, then I just think its shitty.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 11-Sep-19 20:07:29

Is asking questions harrassment?

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Wed 11-Sep-19 20:08:13

And they do. Even if the talk isn’t about gender. Don’t you read the news? Women get no-platformed. Venues and organisers get threats. Attendees and speakers are harassed.

HumberElla Wed 11-Sep-19 20:12:22

*then its shitty to try and put her on the spot to defend other views.
God, id hate to be a professional in a seperate field, and then have people harrassing me about my opinions on other things in public*

I have a public role as a professional in my field. I sure as hell would be held to account for my ‘opinions’ if I used my public platforms to air them and rightly so. She is a highly educated woman and an expert in her field. She should absolutely be held to account for her very public position on a controversial subject and defend her enthusiastic put-downs of those who have a different view.

Campervan69 Wed 11-Sep-19 20:15:47

If she's talking unscientific nonsense then she needs to be held to account imo

She's told Martina Navratilova she thinks sports is a very special case where tw might not be fully women hmm

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