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[flagged] Dutch man, 69, brings lawsuit to lower his age 20 years (bbc.com)
31 points by onuralp 41 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments



> "You can change your name. You can change your gender. Why not your age?"

Solid logic


I can't tell if you're serious. Name and gender are labels we put on ourselves. Gender can be a bit of a gradient.

Age, on the other hand, is the number of times you've circled the sun since you were born.


What if a more useful definition of age isn't your solar revolution count, but (mitochondrial function, concentration of tau in your prefrontal cortex, degree of autoimmune attack on your joints, reaction time, etc.)?

Then age starts to look as definitional and mutable as names or gender. Why not petition to change it?

Anecdotes: I know someone age 53 whom I would not trust to add two numbers and get the right answer. OTOH, my wife's uncle, who died two years ago at 91, was somebody I consulted regularly until his death about MacOS issues and what DSLR I should use to photograph microwave plasmas. He was an MD. Go figure.

I think definition of age deserves more discussion.


Yeah no, clearly some abbrupt break happens after precisely the 18th or 21st revolution around the sun /s.


I agree that it's important to think about that. That does not change the definition of the word age.

What you're saying is we should have a different metric to measure ability / health, which isn't called age.


It's not for us to decide. If he feels younger then he should have the right to identify as younger. Scientifically there are certain biochemical changes that happen in the brain as we age and there is strong scientific evidence that some people maintain young brain chemistry even into old age. Just because he was born 70 years ago doesn't mean he's a 70 year old.


It does, in fact mean that unless you reject the legal and cultural definition and measure of time. If that’s the case, the I suppose I’m 6’5” with 24” biceps. I can’t help that I wasn’t able to grow that tall or gain that much volume.


Progess means updating legal and cultural definitions. What do you think happened with gender and marriage?


Excellent point. I too fetishize “progress”, which is why at my most recent birthday I progressed from 25 to 900.

That isn’t to say I was born in or even alive in the year 1118 AD. But I’m 900 just the same because I feel like it.


Time is relative though. (admittedly for these purposes it makes little difference, but I presume the question of age should be assumed to be from your reference frame, how many revolutions of the sun (Sol) around Earth have you been alive for.


Of course, it's from society's reference, not your own, that you know when you were born, and how many revolutions have happened since then.

And observing revolutions feels like an abstraction to most people, kind of like "seeing" chromosomes. Most people see effects of revolutions (seasons).


Sure, time is relative. It’s also how we calculate standard measures (the distance light travels over some interval). So if time is relative, so is length.


Correct. That gives me another idea of something I would like changed... for my dating prospects...


Isn’t gender defined by X and Y chromosones? It seems as well defined (or fluid) as age.


Not _quite_, although it's a fairly pedantic technical distinction.

As I understand it, an organism that reproduces sexually (rather than asexually) has a sex dependent on the gamete it produces. There _might_ be some insects with more than two sexes[1], but generally a dioecious (two-sexed) species will be anisogamous, meaning one sex is responsible for bringing a load of smaller, simpler gametes (sperm, pollen) to the party whilst the other brings a single, larger one (egg, ova). Put them together and babies happen.

The mechanism that determines the organism's sex varies by species. Homo sapiens are a species that have an XY sex-differentiation system. As a sexually dimorhic species (our two sexes look different), one's chromosomes also cause one to express distinct secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., male facial hair, female breasts). Man boobs and bearded women exist, however, so these characteristics are not a 100% accurate indication of one's sex.

Also, as another reply stated, the meaning of ‘gender’ may or may not == that of ‘sex’.

Gender referred only to a linguistic concept or was a synonym for sex until the '60s-'70s, when radical feminists and sexologists like John Money[2] proposed that gender be used to refer to the expectations, roles and responsibilities that a culture assigns based on sex (i.e., women should raise kids, men are more aggressive). Personally, I feel a term like ‘tertiary’ or ‘socio-sexual characteristics’ would have been a better, less confusing choice, but unfortunately I wasn't around in the '60s to tell them.

Outside of social sciences, the words generally remain synonymous. Within social sciences the '60s-'70s-era distinction is retained and gender is studied almost exclusively (as you might expect of a sociological concept rather than a biological one).

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016953470...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money


How many people are there in the world for whom you could say, with reasonable confidence, that you know what gender they are? (This is not a trick question.)

How many of their chromosomes have you seen?


Can say the same thing about age, no?


I was gonna say, I have a far _far_ harder time determining my associates age than I do their gender. But that's no surprise, seeing as how only 4.5% of adults in America identify as LGBT; in other words, the vast majority of the people you come into contact with are straight, and generally conform to the stereotypes we've come to expect.


That would be biological sex, not necessarily gender.


”Age, on the other hand, is the number of times you've circled the sun since you were born.”

For now, that’s a reasonable approximation, but it already fails due to relativistic effects in the ISS, where astronauts age about 0.01 second a year less than when they would stay at sea level and at sea level speed, and it will definitely fail due if we ever leave earth, say by colonizing Mars, where a year is 687 earth days.


There's a reasonable chance that someone who's 49 but has drunk, smoked and done nothing to stay fit or keep mind active is "older" than a 69 year old who's tried hard to look after themselves.

Thanks to increasingly anachronistic mandated retirement ages it's quite possible the fitter one is excluded from the workplace.

Age seems like it's a bit of a gradient too.


There was that story about a male some 49 odd years old, who wanted to be a 12 year old girl or what.

Hard to change the fact having fathered children.


Flagged? This is the legal/social equivalent of "falsehoods programmers believe about time."[0]

Most people don't realize time is relative and actually hard to pin down with logical precision in every case. Once you start to question the rules and references, there are lots of quirks.

I do think his argument about Tinder is more interesting than you might think. Why should he have to lie about his age on this public accommodation? He doesn't have to lie about his sex or race, even though some people choose intimate relationships on those factors. Why not put the onus on those who wish to "discriminate" against his age to out themselves as people who care about age?

[0] https://infiniteundo.com/post/25326999628/falsehoods-program...


I was originally against transgenderism having legal authority because of its effects on other methods of identification (like age). I suppose with that battle finished, this is the inevitable successor.

Well, I'm not going to be on the losing side this time. Here's to hoping for an age-fluid world in 5 years!


"Sir, you're too old for military service."

"That's ageism, and it's illegal! Also, did you just assume my gender identity?? Now watch my walker, and hand me that M14."


I'd go the other way, I want to identify as a 70 year old and get my social security cheques.

Maybe this is how we implement basic income.


Ah... Emile Ratelband. Since "Tsjakkaa!" isn't so much on the television any more he craving for attention. He has been doing other tricks to get some attention in the past and this is also one of these tricks. I don't think anyone in my country takes this guy serious anymore.


> A local court in the city of Arnhem, south-east of Amsterdam, is expected to rule on the case within four weeks.

That seems inefficient and slow. Someone I knew growing up wanted to drive sooner. They asked their father to get them a new birth certificate. A few phone calls later, a "gift" to the right person at the records office and voila, he turned a year older. It was both scary and amazing that legally his age changed overnight.


What country was this?


I think "legally" is not a word that we should use here.


in the US seems like a lot of age-based laws, even the Constitution, would have to change to allow this. I.E. you have to be 35 to run for president, voice cracking "no problem I identify as that!"


Hah, I don't know if someone that senile could actually pass for 49. "Age is a choice!" like if he wanted to be born in 1230, we'd all just have to go along and agree that it is true and makes sense with our concept of time. No, it doesn't work like that.

Maybe he should've taken the time to convince the people drafting his birth certificate to put a different year on it back when they were writing it... if he can't do that, then he shouldn't have the power to change his age.

Of course, he can certainly lie about his age on tinder. Don't know why he needs a lawsuit to do that.




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