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Are there more than 2 sexes?


WillyWehr
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I think it's a virtual certainty that in the future, people will develop an artificial womb, that can carry a fertilised egg all the way to birth. So people will no longer need to go through pregnancy. Probably a long way in the future, but I would guess that it will happen in less than 200 years. 200 years is an awfully long time in medicine. Maybe it could be done in 100 even. 

The Dutch think that they can go part of the way within ten years. Seriously

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-50056405  

So what you tell your kids might be about to change, any time soon. 

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8 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I think it's a virtual certainty that in the future, people will develop an artificial womb, that can carry a fertilised egg all the way to birth.

The god of the gaps argument in reverse, the only certainty is, we're alive today despite the tax... 

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

I would suggest you tell your child, to play on the swings; while the grown-ups have a conversation. 

Seems like an interesting way of having a fruitful conversation with your 5 year old:

- Mommy, will I be having a kid in my tummy when Im older like you had me in your tummy?
- Go play on a swing.

Seems like a rhetoric simmilar to the one used by conservative religious people.

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Implicit in your point is that ability to give birth is what makes a woman. As has already been pointed out repeatedly, your definition leads to absurdities like saying post menopausal women and the infertile are not women.

Your stance also doesn’t answer the thread question about whether it’s accurate to say there are ONLY two sexes. So your trollish point is both wrong AND irrelevant. 

Tell your son whatever you want. Hopefully as he gets older he’ll be able to think critically and answer his own questions and leave any inaccurate ignorance he’s inherited / received from you behind him.  

1 hour ago, koti said:

I have no argument.
So you would suggest I explain to my 5 year that he could have a child in his tummy? 

Tell him probably not, but we don’t yet know what will be possible in the future. Tell him sex is not determined based on ability to gestate offspring, neither in humans nor in other organisms throughout the animal kingdom. 

You know… or you could lie and teach him falsehoods. That’s possible too, I suppose. 

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1 hour ago, koti said:

I have no argument.
So you would suggest I explain to my 5 year that he could have a child in his tummy? 

Depends on how complicated you want to be. I mean, uterus transplantation are a possibility. And of course this would be the ability to bear argument according to which women with infertility issues would be considered male.

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We seem to have established that thereare states between male and female, such as 'mostly male' or 'mostly female'.
And you guys want to give each of those many variations a new gender name ?
Let's hear some of them; I need a good laugh.

And we're not talking about what technology will bring in the future, or has enabled us to do. Who cares if you can surgically attach a human uterus to a pig ? And what gender will it be ?
Europe was once a month away, by boat, from North America. It is now 8 hours away ( used to be 4 by Concorde ). That doesn'y change geography; it is still a different continent.

No one has ever claimed that gender changes on reaching menopause, or on becoming infertile. Just like no one would ever claim humans are not bipedal if they need a cane to walk in old age. Both male and female lose certain abilities as they age; things that they once could do.

Is having an opposing viewpoint to yours, what you consider 'trollish' ?

Edited by MigL
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11 minutes ago, MigL said:

We seem to have established that thereare states between male and female, such as 'mostly male' or 'mostly female'.
And you guys want to give each of those many variations a new gender name ?

The question was about sex, not gender. No, they aren’t the same.

This was acknowledged in the OP

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38 minutes ago, MigL said:

And you guys want to give each of those many variations a new gender name ?

Let's assume you meant "sex" here and I am saying no, not necessarily, only if a certain research question or perspective makes it useful to do so. As you said yourself, there is variation in nature, and if we, as humans decide, we only want to use two categories, it is basically our decision to do so. Nature does not care and continues to happily exist in a continuum. We have many such examples, such as healthy vs sick. Obviously we are in a continuous state between these extremes and generally do not have fixed categories for the states in-between. Yet, clearly they do exist. What you are hung up on is the difference between common usage which indicates what we think of nature and what nature really is. The question whether there are two sexes is really philosophical as it goes into how we perceive reality.

Sometimes we use more gradation (in one of the above examples we clearly use continuous measures for colour, even if made of two pigments, we names for things like darker or lighter grey, we do not try to cram everything using just two categories), sometimes we use less. 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Is having an opposing viewpoint to yours, what you consider 'trollish' ?

No, but suggesting that one must tell their 5-year old son that they can carry a baby in their belly is somehow a helpful answer to the question “are there only 2 sexes” is.  

I don’t mind people having viewpoints different from my own, but I do mind when they resort to little more than childish snark and logical absurdities as their only defense of those viewpoints. 

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1 hour ago, iNow said:
5 hours ago, iNow said:

...As has already been pointed out repeatedly, your definition leads to absurdities like saying post menopausal women and the infertile are not women.

   

This whole premise which was introduced by @swansontat the begining of the thread is as much wrong as it is absurd. I genuinely do not know if you both plus  @CharonY are so far down the rabbit hole of PC that you've lost your screws already or you are just pretending for the sake of something. It doesn't matter as far as I am concerned as unconscious incompetence is as much incompetent as deliberately bullshiting people into a view (anti vaxers come to mind)
No, post menopausal women are not an argumet nor the infertile women are - Women bare children, men don't and thats ok, really it is grotesque that you seem to think its not. You have to be a really special kind of dick to argue that an evolutionarily built in defect or trait of a species is evidence for another evolutionarily built in trait.

1 hour ago, iNow said:
1 hour ago, iNow said:

No, but suggesting that one must tell their 5-year old son that they can carry a baby in their belly is somehow a helpful answer to the question “are there only 2 sexes” is.  

I don’t mind people having viewpoints different from my own, but I do mind when they resort to little more than childish snark and logical absurdities as their only defense of those viewpoints. 

 

You're a DICK iNow. You haven't got reprimended for calling me one a few years back so it's only fair I won't be reprimended for calling you one now. You do go straight into confrontation in most your post regarding me so dick is what you get. 

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15 minutes ago, koti said:

I genuinely do not know if you both plus  @CharonY are so far down the rabbit hole of PC that you've lost your screws already or you are just pretending for the sake of something. It doesn't matter as far as I am concerned as unconscious incompetence is as much incompetent as deliberately bullshiting people

15 minutes ago, koti said:

You have to be a really special kind of dick to

15 minutes ago, koti said:

You're a DICK iNow.

Well, at least you’re consistent in your total inability to offer any coherent support whatsoever for your stance and opposition. 

Your ENTIRE post history on this and related topics is, “Nuh uh!! Also, iNow is a doo doo head.”

Color me unimpressed, but thanks for letting me live rent free in your head all these years. 

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20 minutes ago, koti said:

This whole premise which was introduced by @swansontat the begining of the thread is as much wrong as it is absurd.

What premise is that? I asked for a definition of sex, and asked what makes on male or female.

How is that wrong, or absurd?

AFAICT the only premise I introduced was that definitions are important.

25 minutes ago, koti said:

No, post menopausal women are not an argumet nor the infertile women are - Women bare children, men don't and thats ok, really it is grotesque that you seem to think its not. You have to be a really special kind of dick to argue that an evolutionarily built in defect or trait of a species is evidence for another evolutionarily built in trait.

They’re a rebuttal to the notion that you must be capable of giving birth to be female.

If you can’t follow the discussion, perhaps refrain from posting.

31 minutes ago, koti said:

You're a DICK iNow. You haven't got reprimended for calling me one a few years back

It’s OT, but there’s no way for you to know this.

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1 hour ago, koti said:

far down the rabbit hole of PC that you've lost your screws already or you are just pretending for the sake of something. It doesn't matter as far as I am concerned as

Since when has being scientifically correct become PC? Do you call folks who think that time is relative PC because you think your watch is an accurate and objective representation of time? 

Considering your interest in physics I find it very odd that you have such a hard time to understand that our nomenclature (scientific or not) are just help us to build representations of nature rather than being nature itself (most of theoretical physics relies on some form of simplification when one tries to apply them).  

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17 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Since when has being scientifically correct become PC? Do you call folks who think that time is relative PC because you think your watch is an accurate and objective representation of time? 

Considering your interest in physics I find it very odd that you have such a hard time to understand that our nomenclature (scientific or not) are just help us to build representations of nature rather than being nature itself (most of theoretical physics relies on some form of simplification when one tries to apply them).  

To paraphrase something @MarkusHanke said: A model is a map of the territory, and not the territory itself.

I think this thread highlights the difference between experts and novices: The more you understand nature, the more nuanced one finds it.

Edited by StringJunky
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40 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

To paraphrase something @MarkusHanke said: A model is a map of the territory, and not the territory itself.

I think this thread highlights the difference between experts and novices: The more you understand nature, the more nuanced one finds it.

That was a very nice way of phrasing it (I keep forget to use it). The reverse is also true, just because we do not have mapped something, does not mean that the territory does not exist. I find it sad that otherwise intelligent folks start to throw accusations around once they are encountering especially scientific viewpoints that differ from their personal experiences, rather than at least trying to engage into the reasons why ideas are shifting (and obviously, the mere fact that scientific ideas are amenable to changes is what makes science, science, rather than doctrine).

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

Well, at least you’re consistent in your total inability to offer any coherent support whatsoever for your stance and opposition. 

Your ENTIRE post history on this and related topics is, “Nuh uh!! Also, iNow is a doo doo head.”

Color me unimpressed, but thanks for letting me live rent free in your head all these years. 

It just solidifies my stance towards you when you cherry pick things from my comment while evading the meat. And it's all to make the poster to look like a dick and a moron for future readers while downvoting ad nauseam - thats being a dick. This will work but only in a closed and biased environment - this site. This is what you were supposed to adress:

"No, post menopausal women are not an argumet nor the infertile women are - Women bare children, men don't and thats ok, really it is grotesque that you seem to think its not. You have to be a really special kind of dick to argue that an evolutionarily built in defect or trait of a species is evidence for another evolutionarily built in trait"


 

2 hours ago, swansont said:

What premise is that? I asked for a definition of sex, and asked what makes on male or female.

Yes you did.

On 11/24/2021 at 1:19 PM, swansont said:

So menopause is where a female becomes male? Puberty is the opposite? A hysterectomy or tubal ligation is a sex change?

But you also wrote this which is a really dirty and fallacious swing and the subject.

 

Levels of grotesqueness are hitting the stratosphere here, this kind of debate is something that I came in here 6 years ago to counter against the religious and anti scientific crackpots, besides trying to aquire new to me knowledge which I’m getting none from this.

Edited by koti
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58 minutes ago, koti said:

It just solidifies my stance towards you when you cherry pick things from my comment while evading the meat. And it's all to make the poster to look like a dick and a moron for future readers while downvoting ad nauseam - thats being a dick. This will work but only in a closed and biased environment - this site. This is what you were supposed to adress:

"No, post menopausal women are not an argumet nor the infertile women are - Women bare children, men don't and thats ok, really it is grotesque that you seem to think its not. You have to be a really special kind of dick to argue that an evolutionarily built in defect or trait of a species is evidence for another evolutionarily built in trait"


 

Yes you did.

But you also wrote this which is a really dirty and fallacious swing and the subject.

 

Levels of grotesqueness are hitting the stratosphere here, this kind of debate is something that I came in here 6 years ago to counter against the religious and anti scientific crackpots, besides trying to aquire new to me knowledge which I’m getting none from this.

How about you argue your position then instead of calling everyone else's argument grotesque? If it is so easy it must be trivial for you to present a definition that is universal and covers all cases we find in nature. As for child bearing, if an individual is unable to bear children for whatever reasons, is that male or female? If that is insufficient information, what else is? Saying that it is evolutionary built in trait is akin to the teleological argument, but obviously in nature everything that exists, exists, including infertility. Of course they are generally not positively selected against, but since they continue to appear it means that there are biological mechanisms that result in these cases. It is like saying that homosexuality does not exist in nature as they do not produce offspring. 

Perhaps to help on the way, I still think that the karyotype is probably going to cover more ground than complex traits (such as childbearing). And if one wanted to force a binary categorization one could simply state that everyone with a Y-chromosome in any of the cells is male. That would be a perfect binary qualifier (either a Y chromosome is present or it is absent).

A bit of an issue are for example folks with the Swyer syndrome. They develop female external genitalia, have a functional uterus and fallopian tube, but generally have underdeveloped gonads. Just looking at external features, one would classify them as female, though.

Also there are rare cases of chimerism when an otherwise female appearing individual may have tissue with Y-chromosomes. So while this classification seems to be useful in, say, more than the above mentioned 98% or so of the cases, there are still few exceptions not covered. This alone again indicates that our map in this case is fairly accurate but still fails cover all the nook and crannies.

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2 hours ago, koti said:

No, post menopausal women are not an argumet nor the infertile women are - Women bare children, men don't and thats ok, really it is grotesque that you seem to think its not. You have to be a really special kind of dick

This isn’t terribly hard, Koti. The structure of the discussion is roughly this:

A: We define women by the ability to conceive and gestate and give birth to offspring. 

B: That definition is lacking. If we followed that definition, we’d be forced to say that infertile females aren’t women or that post menopausal females aren’t women. That’s just silly. If we want to do this right, we’ll need more to go on than “ability to procreate.”

… Btw - It’s also irrelevant to answering the actual thread question which asks “are there ONLY 2 sexes.” You’re ignoring that question and offering a weak, unhelpful, and deeply problematic definition of just ONE sex.  

A: OMG you’re so PC and grotesque! I came to this site to get away from this type of thinking and to rebut opinions not rooted in evidence! You’re forcing me to tell my 5 year old son he’ll be a mother some day!!

B: Sigh. Whatever, dude. You’re clearly unable to rebut valid criticisms of your stance and are literally adding nothing to the discussion other than childish outbursts and name calling.

A: Oh yeah, we’ll you’re not just a dick… you’re a special kind of dick, so there!

B: 🙄🥱

2 hours ago, koti said:

besides trying to aquire new to me knowledge which I’m getting none from this.

Since when is anyone forcing you to participate? Is your posting to these threads not voluntary? Wink twice and hold your thumb and forefinger together if we should send immediate help to your location!

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7 hours ago, CharonY said:

How about you argue your position then instead of calling everyone else's argument grotesque? If it is so easy it must be trivial for you to present a definition that is universal and covers all cases we find in nature. As for child bearing, if an individual is unable to bear children for whatever reasons, is that male or female? If that is insufficient information, what else is? Saying that it is evolutionary built in trait is akin to the teleological argument, but obviously in nature everything that exists, exists, including infertility. Of course they are generally not positively selected against, but since they continue to appear it means that there are biological mechanisms that result in these cases. It is like saying that homosexuality does not exist in nature as they do not produce offspring. 

Perhaps to help on the way, I still think that the karyotype is probably going to cover more ground than complex traits (such as childbearing). And if one wanted to force a binary categorization one could simply state that everyone with a Y-chromosome in any of the cells is male. That would be a perfect binary qualifier (either a Y chromosome is present or it is absent).

A bit of an issue are for example folks with the Swyer syndrome. They develop female external genitalia, have a functional uterus and fallopian tube, but generally have underdeveloped gonads. Just looking at external features, one would classify them as female, though.

Also there are rare cases of chimerism when an otherwise female appearing individual may have tissue with Y-chromosomes. So while this classification seems to be useful in, say, more than the above mentioned 98% or so of the cases, there are still few exceptions not covered. This alone again indicates that our map in this case is fairly accurate but still fails cover all the nook and crannies.

This is all well and good but, you are describing the extremes or rarities to argue against the generally accepted. If we consider "all" possibilities then we have a muddy water situation where the terms male & female become useless undefined terms. So technically there appears to be no clear distinction between the 2 yet the terms are still used as though there is. So which is it and what would you consider defines the difference in such a way that is undeniable? 

5 hours ago, iNow said:

A: We define women by the ability to conceive and gestate and give birth to offspring. 

B: That definition is lacking. If we followed that definition, we’d be forced to say that infertile females aren’t women or that post menopausal females aren’t women. That’s just silly. If we want to do this right, we’ll need more to go on than “ability to procreate.”

… Btw - It’s also irrelevant to answering the actual thread question which asks “are there ONLY 2 sexes.” You’re ignoring that question and offering a weak, unhelpful, and deeply problematic definition of just ONE sex.  

Why is it silly? what's wrong with starting with this premise and thrashing out why this is not a useful argument? technically it may not be accurate but if you took a poll in the general public and asked them to describe the differences between a male and female then you would get the obvious "general" physical differences scoring top, child baring being one of them. As scientists the experts on this subject, like CharonY, would then educate us on why this is not strictly the case.

However, none has yet offered a undeniable difference between a male and female that clearly defines the 2. So where do we draw the line? what would you describe as an acceptable difference, or rather when would you use the term male or female to describe the sex of a person? Would you describe yourself as either, none or both?  

Edited by Intoscience
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8 hours ago, CharonY said:

How about you argue your position then instead of calling everyone else's argument grotesque? If it is so easy it must be trivial for you to present a definition that is universal and covers all cases we find in nature. As for child bearing, if an individual is unable to bear children for whatever reasons, is that male or female? If that is insufficient information, what else is? Saying that it is evolutionary built in trait is akin to the teleological argument, but obviously in nature everything that exists, exists, including infertility. Of course they are generally not positively selected against, but since they continue to appear it means that there are biological mechanisms that result in these cases. It is like saying that homosexuality does not exist in nature as they do not produce offspring. 

Perhaps to help on the way, I still think that the karyotype is probably going to cover more ground than complex traits (such as childbearing). And if one wanted to force a binary categorization one could simply state that everyone with a Y-chromosome in any of the cells is male. That would be a perfect binary qualifier (either a Y chromosome is present or it is absent).

A bit of an issue are for example folks with the Swyer syndrome. They develop female external genitalia, have a functional uterus and fallopian tube, but generally have underdeveloped gonads. Just looking at external features, one would classify them as female, though.

Also there are rare cases of chimerism when an otherwise female appearing individual may have tissue with Y-chromosomes. So while this classification seems to be useful in, say, more than the above mentioned 98% or so of the cases, there are still few exceptions not covered. This alone again indicates that our map in this case is fairly accurate but still fails cover all the nook and crannies.

Ok, I'll take a deep breath and I'll try to go as calm as I can about this.

Please lets try to analyze this, according to your line of thinking, the  Swyer syndrome and chimerism are direct/indirect evidence for more than 2 sexes existing in homosapiens, correct? Please elaborate and explain why a certain defect in a species is according to you evidence which allegedly undermines fundamental traits of a species.  
 

6 hours ago, iNow said:

Since when is anyone forcing you to participate? Is your posting to these threads not voluntary? Wink twice and hold your thumb and forefinger together if we should send immediate help to your location!

I'm afraid I will have to agree with you on this one, I'm not very proud of myself for participating in these ideological/political threads 🤷‍♂️

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4 hours ago, koti said:

I'm not very proud of myself for participating in these ideological/political threads

Me too. Some of the posts on this thread are so ludicrous, they appear to be disingenuous bordering on trolling. Or a bit of both. Better left alone. 

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6 hours ago, Intoscience said:

Why is it silly?

Why is it silly to suggest ability to bear children is the best definition of what makes a female?

Why is it silly to point out the situations where this definition is very clearly deficient and unusable?

Why is it silly to highlight that EVEN IF we ignore these elementary and remedial flaws with this definition that it doesn’t address the actual question of the thread?

It’s silly because this is so blindingly obvious that it shouldn’t need to be highlighted and repeated 73x to people as otherwise intelligent as yourselves. 

6 hours ago, Intoscience said:

technically it may not be accurate but if you took a poll in the general public and asked them to describe the differences between a male and female then you would get the obvious "general" physical differences scoring top

Since when do we poll the general population to understand accurate answers to scientific questions? Shall we poll the same gen pop that thinks climate change is a hoax, vaccines cause autism, and that chocolate milk comes from brown cows?

6 hours ago, Intoscience said:

As scientists the experts on this subject, like CharonY, would then educate us on why this is not strictly the case.

Which has happened throughout this thread, but for weird emotional reasons lots of people continue ignoring those accurate corrections and posts designed to educate. 

6 hours ago, Intoscience said:

However, none has yet offered a undeniable difference between a male and female that clearly defines the 2

Perhaps because that’s not the thread topic. Are there more than 2 sexes? Absolutely yes, in both the animal kingdom and also in humans. End program. 
 

5 hours ago, koti said:

Please elaborate and explain why a certain defect in a species is according to you evidence which allegedly undermines fundamental traits of a species.  

You first… why is a perfectly common genetic sequence able to be dismissed with the wave of a hand as a “defect” that isn’t directly related to the central question of the thread? These gene sequences more than adequately demonstrate that there are more than 2 sexes and that the elementary school level definitions being used by your side of this conversation are useless garbage, so why disregard them? 

 

11 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Some of the posts on this thread are so ludicrous, they appear to be disingenuous bordering on trolling. Or a bit of both

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Edited by iNow
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If the  sex and gender categories are continuums, how can one delineate them? It's like saying 'How many temperatures are there in temperature?'. It has occurred to me be, albeit belatedly, that the basic premise of the OP is incorrect.

Edited by StringJunky
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place

11 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

If the  sex and gender categories are continuums, how can one delineate them? It's like saying 'How many temperatures are there in temperature?'. It has occurred to me be, albeit belatedly, that the basic premise of the OP is incorrect.

 

At last a truly scientific observation. +1

However the OP was also defined to be not about gender.

 

On 11/24/2021 at 4:21 AM, WillyWehr said:

Btw: it was definitely about biological sex, not gender.

 

On 11/24/2021 at 4:21 AM, WillyWehr said:

Hey, are there more than 2 sexes? I recently talked to a person who told me that it has been scientifically proven that there are more than 2 sexes biologically and that the biological sex is a spectrum, so I wanted to ask if this is the truth?

 

Perhaps the OP and others have been misled into thinking of a continuum, by the use of the word 'spectrum'.

 

On 11/24/2021 at 4:21 AM, WillyWehr said:

Hey, are there more than 2 sexes? I recently talked to a person who told me that it has been scientifically proven that there are more than 2 sexes biologically and that the biological sex is a spectrum, so I wanted to ask if this is the truth?

There can be no continuum since there have been a finite number of human beings in total throughout history so even if each and every one of them were a different sex, there would not be enough of them to form a continuum.

So there can only be a finite number of sexes.

Many biological (and other) scales are actually discrete, not continuous, but are called a spectrum.

It is also clear from the SCIAM article I posted before that there is continuing ongoing debate amongst experts about definitions of what constitutes 'sex' or whether we should be even using the term scientifically these days.

We are most unlikely to resolve the issue here.

As always in a scientific debate/discussion it is wise to set our the definitions to be used in the discussion, otherwise it simple becomes one of semantics, not od substance.

 

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18 minutes ago, studiot said:

There can be no continuum since there have been a finite number of human beings in total throughout history so even if each and every one of them were a different sex, there would not be enough of them to form a continuum.

So there can only be a finite number of sexes.

Many biological (and other) scales are actually discrete, not continuous, but are called a spectrum.

Fair point, and here are 2 others:

1) Thread asks is there are more than 2. There are, whether or not we correctly describe them as discrete vs continuous  

2) Thread isn’t limited to humans, at least not as currently written in the OP

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