all 16 comments

[–]MarkTwainiac 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Posting this for the lurkers/readers, not necessarily for the edification of OP, who I suspect has no interest in edification.

If we were to make a similar argument about other classifications, it would be: Backbone (the feature) = mammal (the category). Except that isn't true. Any number of vertebrates could have backbones, and so the presence of a backbone does not indicate one is a mammal.

You are intentionally confusing categories and making fake muddles where none exist.

No one other than you has ever suggested that "the presence of a backbone" indicates that an animal is a mammal! Mammals are a particular kind of vertebrate with certain features - warm-blooded, fur or hair - that not all vertebrates have.

A main distinguishing feature of mammals is that female mammals typically give birth to live young of the species (as opposed to, say, laying eggs that mature and hatch outside the female body), and female mammals have the potential capacity to make and secrete milk that is capable of nourishing, sustaining and providing immune benefits to newborns/the young.The clue is in the name: mammals comes directly from the Latin words meaning breast - mammalia, mammalis, mamma.

So then it seems "those that produce eggs are women" or "those that produce sperm are men" is incorrect, as one does not need to have/produce eggs to be a woman or have/produce sperm to be a man.

Again, you're intentionally making muddles where none exist, a) by confusing individuals with the categories to which individuals belong; and b) by taking information relevant only to some specific sexually-reproducing species, namely those few and rare ones where sequential hermaphroditism occurs, and pretending that this information is relevant to and descriptive of one particular sexually-reproducing species, namely Homo sapiens aka human beings.

No one other than you has made the the claim that "those that produce eggs are women" or "those that produce sperm are men"!

What has been said, again and again, is that in sexually-reproducing plant and animal species, organisms develop along two clearly different pathways in accordance with the way evolution has arranged these species to perpetuate themselves - and organisms be categorized into two different and binary classes accordingly:

Female denotes the category of organism that if development is normal will have the potential capacity to produce mature eggs at some point in their life cycle; male denotes the category of organism that if development is normal will have the potential capacity to produce sperm at some point in their life cycle.

The words woman and women mean adult human female; man and men mean adult human male - not "those that produce eggs" or "those that produce sperm."

Anyone who can't see the difference between the definitions, classifications and species OP (and posters like the misogynist crank vintologi) keep purposely mixing up is beyond helping. But then clarity and specificity are not the aim of these fellas, right?

[–]Weird_Maybe 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

If sex were bimodal we'd have a lot more people with penises and natural breasts (natural as in not forced through taking hormones or getting implants) or people with a penis and a vagina. I believe by my own observations that sex is purely binary (some exceptions excluded, of course. I don't think you can use outliers to make the rule, because that's not scientific at all), with men and women having very different body shapes as well as well as the genitalia and secondary characteristics. Men are more triangle shaped while women are more of an hourglass shape, men are stronger, bigger, etc and even the structure of the face is different between men and women.

I am by no means a scientist, but anyone call tell the differences. Even dogs and little kids can. The best definition of man and woman should include these differences, but to keep it short: a man is a human with a reproductive system designed to produce sperm and a woman is a human with a reproductive system designed to produce eggs. I believe sex is always binary, even with species that can change sex, since it's still one type meeting the other to reproduce. The same goes for species that can be both sexes, because in that case it's still one type meeting the other, even if the relation changes from OR to AND.

This whole debate about whether a man with XX chromosomes is still a man or a woman who can't get pregnant is still a woman is just unnecessary in my opinion. Sex is a lot more than just your chromosomes or whether you're fertile or not. We have a word for this in Dutch and it translates to "ant fucking". These scientists and TRAs are only focusing on the tiniest little details making them lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember that science is only a way to back up your arguments through methodical research and it doesn't always mean it's true. I think this answers your first question.

Now to answer the second one. Sex is strictly binary. This means no one can be "less male" or "less female". It's not a spectrum and saying one is less male or female means you'd have to have some kind of average. This average can only be defined through secondary characteristics that are inherently based on sexist stereotypes. Sexual dimorphism does not mean sex is a spectrum.

Question 3. You are what you are born as. It's as simple as that. Slapping a BMW logo on your Volkswagen does not make it a BMW either.

[–]questioningtw 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Hermaphrodites are completely non existent and that is actually a very offensive term. Sexi s binary because for he most part sex really isn't that complicated. Sure there are disorders of sexual development ie intersex conditions: but for the most part people are either completely male or female.

[–]MarkTwainiac 4 insightful - 2 fun4 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

Hermaphrodites are completely non existent and that is actually a very offensive term

You're right: there's no such thing as a human hermaphrodite, and when applied to humans it is indeed a very offensive term. However, AFAIK, sequential hermaphroditism occurs, albeit very rarely, in some other species. Such as the clownfish that TRAs are always yammering on about.

[–]questioningtw 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Right...i meant impossible in mammals! I think it can happen with insects as well!

[–]IridescentAnaconda 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

How do you define "sex"?

If it is defined by the distribution of sex characteristics along multiple axes, then, yes, sex is bimodal.

If it is defined by the functional characteristics of cellular machinery including DNA, epigenetics (i.e. machinery that regulates expression), transcription, translation, etc., then it is strictly binary. Except for failures in meiosis (which are rare and problematic for cellular processes) gametes possess exactly one sex chromosome and the union of two gametes will have exactly one of two genotypes (XX or XY). Cellular mechanisms are organized around silencing one copy of X (in the case of XX), and there are also imprinting mechanisms which, though not strictly binary in process, are still oriented around recognition of the parental origin of DNA (i.e. ultimately binary).

Note, however, that even with definitions of sex for which bimodality is an appropriate characterization, the probabilistic support in between the modes is low. In other words, finding members of the population in between the modes is comparatively rare (this is essentially the definition of multimodality). If you're going to define sex as a point in a multivariate space of attributes, I don't think it's fair to use a low dimensional space that entails only a handful of characteristics such as fertility and superficial anatomical characteristics. I think other more subtle factors need to be included - hormonal cycles for all (not just a subset) of relevant hormones, distribution of receptors on cell surfaces that support these cycles, brain anatomy, etc. If you look at all of these dimensions then I think you would find that "transwomen" are still closer to the male peak than the female peak.

[–]NecessaryScene1 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (7 children)

Q1: A lot of this question seems to be more about the definition of "binary", so it's just word games? Some, like Jane Clare Jones, say that sex is NOT a binary because she interprets binary to mean "X or not X". She would say there are exactly two sexes, but having "two" of something does not make a binary.

There are exactly 2 sexes because there are exactly 2 roles in reproduction (for the creatures that it applies to). You need exactly 1 of each gamete to make a new creature. 2 gametes, 1 of each sex = 1 child.

Which of the 2 reproductive roles an individual may play, and how that is determined, varies somewhat more. When we say a creature is "male" we mean it is organised to produce the male gametes. A creature that could produce both would be a hermaphrodite - not something ever observed in humans. If a creature changed from producing one to the other, it would be a sequential hermaphrodite. Again, not something humans do.

So you say "Why don't hermaphrodites show that in other sexually reproducing species sex is not a binary?". That's a question about the word "binary". There are two sexes. An organism of a 2-sexed species can be one, or the other, or both, or neither, in principle. But humans have never been observed to be both, and there is no "unsexed" development path for humans, only infertile humans that failed to go all the way down the male or female development path.

There are certain common DSDs that occur - some are sex-specific, and others present differently in males and females - but they're not a new sex, any more than Downs Syndrome is a sex. A condition that causes infertility is not a sex.

Q2: We're talking about the type of organism they are. A cat isn't less of a cat if you chop its legs off. An elephant isn't less of an elephant if you remove its tusks. A peacock isn't less of a peacock if you remove its feathers. Our technology is almost purely cosmetic - it's mostly surgery with crude use of hormones to stimulate development of secondary sexual characteristics. You're making a male more feminine or a female more masculine. You're doing absolutely nothing to their actual sex. And male/female are sexes. Not sex characteristics.

I remember being young and reading about "sex change surgery" in the 80s, I guess. I was rather flummoxed at the time - it seemed out of line with what I knew about medical technology. Surely we weren't able to do that? If we did, how on earth did it work? I felt rather cheated when I found out what they meant - hormones and cosmetic surgery, no actual sex change. Bunch of liars.

If we were to make a similar argument about other classifications, it would be: Backbone (the feature) = mammal (the category). Any number of vertebrates could have backbones

Eh? backbone (the feature) = vertebrate (the category).

verterbrates with mammary glands (the feature) = mammals (the category).

(The clue is in the name in both cases!)

What you said only didn't work because you mismatched the feature and category.

Males produce sperm, because that's the definition of the word male - the sex with the small mobile gametes.

So then it seems "those that produce eggs are women" or "those that produce sperm are men" is incorrect, as one does not need to have/produce eggs to be a woman or have/produce sperm to be a man.

Ah, the good old "a broken clock isn't a clock" argument. It is possible to be an infertile man, or an infertile woman. We have words like "broken" and "infertile" because we know that something in a category may fail to fully perform its function.

If you deny that, you deny the meaning of the words "broken" or "infertile".

But, given an infertile person, you can readily determine what sex they are, and whether you should try to treat them to make sperm or eggs.

I would hope a transactivist presented with an infertile person wouldn't try to pretend they didn't know whether they should be trying to stimulate sperm production or ovulation.

Really, all this stuff is just sophomoric philosophical flimflam that works equally well with any sort of categories. But the notable thing is that this desperate pseudo-intellectual energy is only applied to sex - specifically females - because male humans desperately want to LARP as women and get into their spaces.

It's almost comical how desperate they are. I'd be embarrassed to come up with this tosh.

[–]NecessaryScene1 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You know, I wonder if you'd get more or less nonsense from trans activists if we WERE clownfish?

If you were a species where individuals actually DID change sex, what would that do to all the trans clownfish who insisted they were the opposite sex despite the fact that they HADN'T changed sex?

Would it actually be easier to point out that they hadn't?

Is it only hard to point out that trans people haven't changed sex because we don't, and hence don't have a comparison?