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Religious institutions are generally quite slow to accept concepts that weren't around, understood, or part of their society at the times of their founding. Many of them have elements fighting modernization and reform (thankfully most of the time it's only yelling or stern looks rather than barbaric violence in much of the world), but a lot of them also have pushes from within to retain modern relevance, adapt to modern society, or simply to admit they carry cultural baggage developed over hundreds or thousands of years that's at odds with their own founder.
Those of us with religious beliefs are trying as much as we can to push for greater tolerance/acceptance and reform against older social mores that continue to haunt us. It will be a longer struggle for some of us in some religions or sects within said religions than others, but we're working on it [I'm Russian Orthodox, so allow me to sigh and lament that it's going to be slow going at the moment].
The above made me smile.
A number of studies have been done in the past several years, both in human infants and in non-human primates. Depending on their exposure to either a primary caregiver being female or male, they show a decidedly preferential focus on new female or new male faces. They identify an ability to differentiate as early as 3-4 months (there may be studies that look at earlier ages, but 3-4 months is the earliest age pool that I found with a cursory look).
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878929313000571 Is one of those studies, with more referenced within the text.
They appear to have controlled for hair length to not be a factor (much older studies may have not, but I'm not familiar with them, and that doesn't appear to play a roll at all in the data in the above paper).
Gendering people we meet isn't a social thing, or a Western thing, or an oppression thing, it's a mammalian thing, or really more just any species with a gender binary*. We add social gloss on top of biology, but biology is there regardless of what words we use or customs we develop. Evolution biases us to see a strict binary, but thankfully as a species we can adjust to seeing beyond just two options even if those two options are a vast majority. Let's also not shame the act of gendering when its hard coded into our brains to do just that (studies have looked at infants differentiating male and female faces well before social influence has any role at all).
*(and even some species with only one gender, because those parthenogenesis reproducing all female lizards frequently mate with males of other species to introduce genetic diversity)
Todd Stewart wrote:
I've worked in preclinical drug development and metabolic testing for a decade, so I have a good idea of industry standards for testing new drugs. I'll have more to say tonight about the nuance here for testing parameters, race, gender, etc to give an overview of where the science is right now.
During the preclinical period you can do extensive metabolic profiling of target compounds in order to identify the specific enzymes in the liver responsible for their metabolism (grouped into Phase I and Phase II enzymes). Many enzymes are rather evolutionarily conserved so the species doesn't matter as much for some at this point, so using rats or mice can be considerably cheaper to use in order to rule out certain drugs before spending millions to start human trials.
You're just looking for broad results at this point, so often the standard historically speaking has been one of a number of highly inbred Norwegian Brown rats (specifically Sprague-Dawley, Wistar, or Long Evans, among others). Male rats have typically been exclusively used at this stage given that you're just looking for very broad results. If you're looking for more specific things, you can use different lines or female animals for a particular study for a specific compound.
For instance if you find that a drug is specifically metabolized by the Cytochrome P4503A4 enzyme in the liver, you can already plan for it complicating the intake of other drugs with similar profiles (such as the statin class of drugs).
Also, I'm referring to only in-vitro testing here, not in-vivo. You typically isolate and plate hepatocytes within a collagen matrix for drug compound investigation (or freeze for later use).
Monkey and dog are also commonly used at this stage because they're relatively cheap by comparison to human cells. You can get human cells from liver tissue discarded after surgery or whole livers donated for research due to factors that rule them out for live transplantation. Human hepatocytes are the gold standard here, both cultured in suspension or plated. Since they come from individual people with their own metabolic profile, this is all mapped out prior to being used in research so we know of any non-standard polymorphisms showing up in their liver enzymes that would impact metabolism, transport, etc.
In my experience, we sold roughly equal numbers of male and female hepatocytes to drug companies doing their own in-house testing. They aren't under any constraints for risking teratogenic activity in unknowingly pregnant female test subjects at this point, so they can get lots of data for a broad population, and they do, and they pay through the nose for it because it prevents more expense and safety issues later.
Race is also a genuine factor in drug dosage. The idea of race of course is on somewhat arbitrary lines admittedly, but you do find specific CYP polymorphisms that map along ethnic origins. As an example, CYP2D6 is an enzyme involved in the metabolism of around a quarter of all drugs on the market today, and a number of polymorphisms in 2D6 cause very low metabolism of those drugs. About 8% or so of patients of European heritage have low 2D6 activity, the African-American population shows a much higher prevalence of this, while patients of Asian heritage don't commonly show this. There are lots of situations like this that really impact how drugs are prescribed and dosed for people on a population scale.
Of course the ideal situation is to do personalized dosage of a drug for every individual by determining the genes and expression levels of each person's phase I and II enzymes. We aren't quite there yet, but that's the goal and it's within reach.
This is current practice in the industry. We're no longer in the dark ages of assuming that male and female biology is absolutely exactly the same. We now increasingly see fewer drug companies thinking that they can save money and not test on one gender or the other. There's a lot going on and we need to gather as much data as we can to insure patient health as a primary objective, tailoring studies to the drug and population (or individual) in question.
That was long winded, but hopefully gives an idea of how we go about drug testing at the earliest stages now.
While the male/female dichotomy is a useful generalization that works for the general population somewhere in the high 90s percentages, those of us that fall outside of that strict binary do so absolutely with biological reasons.
Whatever your brain's internal sense of gender identity influences you to self-identify as (be it male, female, or otherwise) it's important that your decision there is respected.
Most people don't understand biology past the simple XX versus XY dichotomy they learn in highschool, when it's massively more subtle than that (be it by chimeric mosaicism, non-binary masculnization or feminization of the brain, androgen insensitivity, a myriad of other factors). Education here is key, because a lot of people simply aren't aware of the amazing complexity at play.
The thing I've never liked about the argument around the science of human sexuality is that it presumes human sexuality requires some kind of special justification.
Speaking as a scientist myself, I don't feel that I or anyone else needs any sort of special justification for our gender/sexuality.
The science of the biological underpinnings of human behavior, gender, and sexuality are just absolutely fascinating, complex, and just really really really cool. *insert happy stars in my eyes*
Belyaev and Trut did some fantastic genetics work on domestication and neotony. Belyaev was also seriously opposed to lysenkoism, which was a genuine risk to his career and life in the Stalinist era.
"But science is wrong!" is a common cry from some sectors.
The same clique of thought of social influence is everything that allowed for Lysenko to flourish. It must gall them to find that empirical data shows for biological influence or outright determination in higher behavior across the animal kingdom. When an ideology runs up against falsifying evidence it dies, but in the meantime it draws out the most stubborn, ignorant defenders be it this, anti-vaxers, segregationists, misogynists, etc.
That article's grasp of the current scientific consensus is laughable. Study after study supports it being innate and fixed at or prior to birth.
Evidence Supporting the Biological Nature of Gender Identity Very good review paper covering a wide range of examples supporting the current theory that internal gender identity is a fixed, biological trait, not subject to social factors.
The methods used here are outside my field, but here's my best shot. The math used to calculate the images for the DMRI (diffusion MRI) is beyond me.
The paper's authors used a very specific type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging - basically a giant electromagnet) that allows for imaging/measuring of neuronal fine-structural as a result of the diffusion of water molecules. Previous studies have found differences in brain white matter in trans individuals versus cisgender, and this study observed a clear pattern in the mean diffusivity (the physical correlation here would be higher white matter density leading to lower diffusivity). They observed cis females with the highest diffusion rate, cis males with the lowest, and trans individuals in between in virtually all white matter regions mapped.
The diffusivity numbers also matched up with the plasma testosterone levels in their bloodstream (I don't have access to the full paper at home, so I don't know if the trans individuals were on HRT or not, which could make a difference here). The study suggests that the observed brain differences are the result of testosterone exposure levels during prenatal development of the fetal brain and possibly the earliest post-natal stage.
He's also done work for Image before, with Witchblade being where I first came across his work. He's also doing his own comic 'Death Vigil', and apparently he's working on a 'teen witchblade' spinoff comic. I have no idea how he manages to sleep with that workload. :D
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I'm so looking forward to that one-shot special, and then after that I'm just about dancing because of Stjepan Sejic coming on as their new artist.
I suspect it's an amalgamation of lore from 2e/3e and 4e. In 2e and 3.x, Grazzt was explicitly the child of Pale Night. However 4e used an entirely different cosmology and in-game history, and placed Grazzt as the child of Asmodeus IIRC.
The subtext to suggest the pairing is easy to pick up on, and in some nebulous form it has probably been dancing around for a long time.
To be honest it's a fun idea to suggest that Grazzt was born of a chance meeting on the battlefield of the earliest years of the Blood War, when Pale Night encountered Asmodeus prior to his fall from LN to LE, and that his encounter with her may have been the original trigger of his corruption by Evil. And even if that never happened, even if the story was 100% false, I'm sure that the 'loths would happily whisper it just to put seeds of doubt and confusion into Grazzt and Asmodeus's minds.
If there was a tangent point for Obsession/Despair/Hunger/Agony you'd have the Oinodaemon, at least in my headcanon. :D
But by singling out Islam as inherently political, you're doing just that. Or at least defining fanaticism and political aspirations as outliers in Christianity, but the norm in Islam. Which is very hard to justify historically. Even if it might be the case at this point in time. That doesn't mean it's inherent in the nature of either religion.
I'm curious what exactly you mean by this? Christianity began among the politically marginalized and faced Imperial sanction and suppression up until 311CE and was legalized in 313CE. It took centuries before it had political power and became the Roman state religion in 380CE.
Islam on the other hand (assuming here for the moment the historicity of largely 9th century sources discussing 7th century events) began with the spread of faith by violence and then empire building in the vacuum of collapsing Byzantine and Sassanian power in late antiquity. Among the earliest titles for the Caliph was 'commander of the faithful' with no real difference there between religious authority and secular/military power.
That's a very distinct difference between the two religions.
Ray Vallese wrote:
1) Well now I'm quite glad that I kept the truth of that relationship ambiguous when I wrote up the Marauder in Dragon magazine a few years ago. :)
2) Garak was a great character on DS9. As for A'in, that's largely how I always played him as well, much to my players curiosity and eventual lament. Such a fun character to use.
In 'Faces of Sigil':
1) Did you intend for Kylie the Tout to actually be the Marauder's daughter as implied or just to have the Marauder's protection of her from Autochon be something just to mess with the Bellringer's head?
2) A'kin is indeed just a really friendly shopkeep I assume? ;)
It's called 'The Great Beyond: A Guide to the Multiverse', it just hasn't been updated from the original 3.5 publication to the Pathfinder ruleset formally. But the fluff still describes all of the planes in overview, with later books like the BotD series going into specifics on their area of focus. :)
Also, it should be noted that until very recently, the law required anyone who juridically transitioned should be sterilized (even if there where no medical issues with them getting kids) and any saved eggs/sperm be destroyed
That's an absolute abomination. What was the medical or ethical rationale used to even vaguely attempt to rationalize that? That's horrific. :(
Tarinia Faynrik wrote:
While Lissa and Crystal both gave some pretty comprehensive answers to your question, I'll chip in what I can.
Each of our experiences is going to be unique on some level. The best way that I can relate from my perspective is that it's on some level like phantom limb syndrome in that it feels like portions of my body are missing and things that shouldn't be there are. Looking in a mirror is often jarring and I try to avoid it if at all possible, even if by most standards -and most importantly my spouse's standards- I'd be considered an attractive male.
It's a combination of that gnawing physical perception of things being -off- and then the social perceptions and reactions from other people that likewise register as being wrong. For me at least I very much could care less about other people's perceptions of me, clothing, etc versus just having a body that didn't feel like a costume with a broken zipper so it can't be removed.
Let them know that you want such a book and it might happen. :)
Paizo also knows the extent to which I'd go to contribute to such a book, including no longer bugging the hell out of them at GenCon for that, and buying them all pizza, among others. :D
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
The way I see the transgender experience is that such people have a gender that requires a different physical expression than the intelligible gender sphere our western thought wants to place them in at birth. This way gender is still something core about a person that we should allow them to express, but it does not depend on genders being essentially different. It would also explain why not all transgender individuals require genital surgery or even hormones.
It's becoming increasingly clear from the scientific literature that internal gender identity is neurologically hard coded into brain structure during early fetal development, but due to certain events (likely included an interplay of genes and maternal hormone exposure) specific regions of the brain are masculinized/feminized on a sliding scale, allowing for a very diverse degree of potential internal gender identities, some of which may lead a person to desire to ultimately transition and some of which do not, with a ton of variation thereof.
We're still figuring out everything that's going on, but it's fascinating. It also arguably IMO makes non-emperical theories of gender somewhat irrelevant.
And in Not-Good-News, Republican Congressmen ask Labor Dept. to withdraw the LGBT Protections the Dept. recently set forth.
They're asking for a 60 day public comment period during which the labor dept ruling would not be in effect. I strongly suspect that the two members of Congress behind this may be surprised at how much flak they're going to get from a good chunk of their own party over this. It's rapidly becoming an issue of civil rights that's supporting by people across the political spectrum. This is a good thing. Those railing against equality for LGBT folks are an old and dying breed on both the Left and Right.
James Jacobs wrote:
The feat wasn't written with a weight limit in place, which I'd leave more to DM adjudication than not, as it's less about weight than it is about fine control which the tail lacks in comparison to a full hand. Hold, pick up, and stow objects but not wield weapons, shields, use spell components, etc (though in my home campaign I could personally be persuaded to allow the tail to perform somatic components of spells).
I'm not specifically familiar with this having been accomplished already, but it's conceptually feasible to insert human bone marrow into immunocompromised pigs of some variety and then harvest the resulting blood with appropriate filtration. It seems an engineering problem than anything else.
The problem I would raise on a safety level would be the presence of porcine endogenous retrovirus, which makes any level of xenotransplantation involving porcine origin cells problematic, even if in the case of harvesting RBCs that lack a nucleus.
But beyond that, I suspect that most of the outrage over you know, helping people, was from the 'It isn't natural' anti-biotech fringe minority of the extreme left. Similar outrage from that camp in recent years over human/animal chimeras in research and creating human embryos using genetic material from a third person to cure various diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction in the potential child's two primary parents. Sigh. But I'm going on a rant. I'll stop.
I hope that you enjoy it :)
It was intentionally written with as many hooks as possible that don't rely on any particular set of rules to be useful. The monsters that it does have in the back have since all been updated to Pathfinder rules (in Bestiary 2). And if it helps, it was very much inspired by what came before in terms of the planes from AD&D/Planescape, though obviously it's a different IP. Much respect and appreciation for that though.
Ideally IMO an expanded planar source book (hardcover even?) written formally in the Pathfinder rule-set would be great. Would be great to see at some point, but I have no insight into if that's on the horizon or not.