On this week’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show: Sunday Special,” the Daily Wire editor-in-chief talked to Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about his new book, “Letters From An Astrophysicist.” During the interview, they also briefly discussed the problem of transgender athletes participating in sports. Video and partial transcript below:
SHAPIRO: Moving on from climate change, which is an area — as I said — where some people on the Right are not particularly interested, to areas where it seems like the Left is militating against the advent of science. One of those areas, is the area of transgenderism, where the argument —
TYSON: Curiously, I have no transgender letters [in my book, “Letters From An Astrophysicist”].
SHAPIRO: It’s true, nothing in the book. We’ve strayed now far from the topic of your book. But since I have you here and you’re a science person, I’m going to ask you to science for me a little bit.
But when it comes to transgenderism, the argument that is typically made by gender theorists is that gender is entirely separate from sex. You’ve seen the argument made that it makes no difference, on average, if men are stronger than women are — that if we were to allow transgender women to compete with non-transgender women, then this would somehow not disadvantage biological women. This seems to me absolutely a-scientific, that if we’re actually gonna have a discussion about gender and sex, that [discussion] should be based in data, which suggests that mammals are in fact binary in terms of their sex, unless you have intersex birth defects typically, or genetic defects.
TYSON: I’m happy to opine on this. This only matters because today we segregate nearly all sports by gender. Otherwise, why do we even give a [expletive] what someone identifies with? We live in a free country, and with consenting adults and people’s free expression of who and what they are —
SHAPIRO: Now, on an adult level I agree with you. But I think it does matter what we teach children.
TYSON: That’s what I’m saying. So there’s the matrix of what you are biologically, how you express yourself, who you choose as a sexual partner. If we actually live in a free country as we tell ourselves, people’s freedom to behave in any of those ways should not concern you at all. Nor are they requiring that you behave that way. Okay, this is for their own freedoms because we live in a free country.
Now, what is unresolved here is, what do you do with sports? It’s unresolved, and I’ve followed that closely, and I don’t see any, I don’t see any meaningful solutions to come down off of that. We know that hormones manifest differently in different people, and — that’s the whole thing with steroids, steroids are hormones — we rallied against steroids in professional sports because it gives you an undue advantage. So, I try to think of what the future of sports would be in the world of a gender spectrum, and it may be, you don’t specify whether it’s a male or female sport. You just take measurements of what your hormonal balances are, and so you compete based on your hormones. It’s a thought I had, I don’t know where it’s going to land.
SHAPIRO: The WNBA won’t be in business for very long if that’s the case.
TYSON: It would just be, you’d have to find some way to compete people against each other, if you still care that sports is an interesting activity.
SHAPIRO: I guess the area where it does come up in a non-sports area —
TYSON: Yea, tell me, because I don’t know.
SHAPIRO: So, you talk in your book about the education of children and teaching children about science. Right now, children are being taught about the quote unquote “gender spectrum,” which is not scientifically based. That is a theory-based idea.
TYSON: No, wait, wait, wait, hold on. People express themselves on a spectrum, so you learn that.
SHAPIRO: That’s a social point, not a scientific point. Meaning, we express ourselves based in different languages. Is that something we teach in a science class, or is that something that you teach when you’re teaching a language?
TYSON: So, whether the fact that people want to express themselves on a spectrum, on a gender spectrum, whether that fact is something you want to put in a sociology class or in a science class, maybe that remains to be determined. But it is a real fact about real society.
SHAPIRO: Well of course, nobody’s denying that people [do] identify how they want to identify. So, the question is, What is the relationship of that to biology? The argument is made that trans women are women, for example, and what that seems to mean is that trans women are identical to women. Now, if people want to say trans women are not biological women, obviously that is the case. But people don’t seem to want to say that, although that is obviously scientifically true. Trans women are not biological women. Biological women are biological women.