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Are there more than 2 sexes?


WillyWehr
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26 minutes ago, iNow said:

Fair point, and here are 2 others:

 

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

 

Some of the OP is rather loosely worded, but seems to imply that this is about humans, though I agree Willy has not specifically limited this to humans.

If a wider inclusion of lifeforms is allowed then the answer must be yes simply because we observe

1) Asexual reproduction

2) Male

3) Female

In no particular order.

 

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8 hours ago, koti said:

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

Paul, these are not ideological/political threads.. To simple minds there are only males or females.. So suppose you are talking to someone who has both male and female organs, and they are fully functional and person can be either father and mother at the same time. What gender does this person have? In your oversimplified worldview, you cannot decide what gender this person has.. Him or her? She or he? (brain freeze)

If you want to discuss it from a political point-of-view:

The Polish (your country) national identification number (PESEL) (assigned by the government at birth) encodes a person's gender (the last digit is a checksum; if the penultimate digit is odd the person is male, if even, the person is female). Determined at birth (so by just looking at the body of infant; wondering what they do with intersex person? Toss coin?). When someone has a gender reassignment operation, they must also have their ID changed and the all the data associated with it (bank accounts updated, documents, etc., etc.).

Some countries have begun to recognize this problem and have begun to move away from making it static and fixed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_identification_number

"In 2017, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance approved changes to the numbering system. After the changes, the number will no longer indicate gender, and the first check digit will be 'released' to become part of the individual number."

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2 hours ago, studiot said:

place

 

At last a truly scientific observation. +1

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

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

Cheers. Would it be fair to say that the distribution could be as though the variations fall on a continuum? If the continuum was expressed as a line graphically and we plotted all the points, each equating to a person,  one can predict the status anywhere, and inbetween, on the line, even if it's not filled with a sample? Just because we don't have an infinite number of samples doesn't necessarily mean that the variation is not continuous. Is that logical? A rainbow looks discrete from a distance but it isn't when you look closer.

E2A some more clarity and precision

Edited by StringJunky
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20 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Cheers. Would it be fair to say that the distribution could be as though the variations fall on a continuum? If the continuum was expressed as a line graphically and we plotted all the points, each equating to a person,  one can predict the status anywhere, and inbetween, on the line, even if it's not filled with a sample? Just because we don't have an infinite number of samples doesn't necessarily mean that the variation is not continuous. Is that logical? A rainbow looks discrete from a distance but it isn't when you look closer.

E2A some more clarity and precision

Yes you could.

The word 'spectrum' comes with some ambiguity, the word continuum does not.

Consider the electromagnetic spectrum

This is continuous in frequency and therefore forms a continuum.

But take the spectrum of some atom.

This consists of a series of discrete lines, omitting frequencies between those lines.

Definitely not continuous.

But you could say that the sodium spectrum falls on the electromagnetic continuum.

 

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1 minute ago, studiot said:

Yes you could.

The word 'spectrum' comes with some ambiguity, the word continuum does not.

Consider the electromagnetic spectrum

This is continuous in frequency and therefore forms a continuum.

But take the spectrum of some atom.

This consists of a series of discrete lines, omitting frequencies between those lines.

Definitely not continuous.

But you could say that the sodium spectrum falls on the electromagnetic continuum.

 

I wasn't aware of the difference there. Cheers.

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26 minutes ago, Sensei said:

Paul, these are not ideological/political threads.. To simple minds there are only males or females.. So suppose you are talking to someone who has both male and female organs, and they are fully functional and person can be either father and mother at the same time. What gender does this person have? In your oversimplified worldview, you cannot decide what gender this person has.. Him or her? She or he? (brain freeze)

 

Intersex people who are born with several sex characteristics for example a set of genitals of both sexes suffer from a defect and are not evidence for homosapiens having more than 2 sexes as a species. Gender which you mention is yet a different subject which you mixed in, this thread doesn't deal with gender.

The only brainfreeze I get is when I have to yet again read your presumptous tone towards me, simple minds tend to do that.

 

Quote

The Polish (your country) national identification number (PESEL) (assigned by the government at birth) encodes a person's gender (the last digit is a checksum; if the penultimate digit is odd the person is male, if even, the person is female). Determined at birth (so by just looking at the body of infant; wondering what they do with intersex person? Toss coin?). When someone has a gender reassignment operation, they must also have their ID changed and the all the data associated with it (bank accounts updated, documents, etc., etc.).

Thank you for enlightening me what my country is and explaining through the "PESEL" example. It is as much impertinent as it is weird, are you stalking me again?

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10 minutes ago, iNow said:

Why not?

Okay, were getting somewhere - because vast number of individuals in the species are born with strictly male or strictly female traits (the number of births with ambiguous genitals is in the range of 0.02% to 0.05%) 
Following wikipedia, the term "
disorders of sex development" (DSD) has been used since 2006 and a shift in language considered controversial since its introduction. The fact that intersex people (or any other minorities) suffer from stigmatization sucks and I'm all for protecting those people but not through grotesque ideological stances like insisting that people born with intersex birth defects are a different sex.

Also, w
hen you will go through andropause you will not suddenly become a Karen, you will be the same old iNow, would you agree?

Edited by koti
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4 minutes ago, koti said:

vast number of individuals in the species are born with strictly male or strictly female traits (the number of births with ambiguous genitals is in the range of 0.02% to 0.05%) 

Right. Which means there are more than two, regardless of how common those other two are. You’re not making much sense 

5 minutes ago, koti said:

when you will go through andropause you will not suddenly become a Karen, you will be the same old iNow, would you agree?

This is not related to any argument I or others are making so appears to be either a blatant strawman or at least an irrelevant red herring 

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3 minutes ago, iNow said:

Right. Which means there are more than two, regardless of how common those other two are. You’re not making much sense 

So when a brand new car leaves the factory with a defective ECU it becomes a scooter. Got it. 

Edited by koti
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Why do you believe the best choice is to ignore those others possibilities? What about them should be dismissed when attempting to answer the question “are there more than 2 sexes?” 

We’re not talking about turning Volvos into Vespa’s. We’re talking about genetic sexes that fit into neither one of the male/ female buckets. You’re trying to force evidence into your preconceived conclusion. You’re ignoring the evidence that shows where you’ve made an error in your thinking.

For someone who for so many years has argued the topic of evolution with creationists right along side me, it’s unthinkable to me that you’re relying so heavily on their tactics to protect your untenable stance on the topic of sex classification. 

Edited by iNow
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1 hour ago, koti said:

The fact that intersex people (or any other minorities) suffer from stigmatization sucks and I'm all for protecting those people but not through grotesque ideological stances like insisting that people born with intersex birth defects are a different sex.

Is it yet another day with too much whisky for you? You have PESEL, where digits 0,2,4,6,8 means woman, and 1,3,5,7,9 means man. You have intersex infant newly born.. Which number will be assigned? Based on whether infant has cunt or whether has penis (if infant has both!).. ?

Is it politics? (I see only politicians playing this subject from time to time, but it's biology. These people born this way)

Is it ideology for you?

Somebody really have such problems. Either doctor who has no option "unknown sex"/"unknown gender"/"intersex"/"undefined", parents, and child and then adult human in later age.. Parent has only checkbox "girl"/"boy" on the form, what they should click and why, if both answers are true?

 

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19 minutes ago, iNow said:

Why do you believe the best choice is to ignore those others possibilities? What about them should be dismissed when attempting to answer the question “are there more than 2 sexes?” 

We’re not talking about turning Volvos into Vespa’s. We’re talking about genetic sexes that fit into neither one of the male/ female buckets. You’re trying to force evidence into your preconceived conclusion. You’re ignoring the evidence that shows where you’ve made an error in your thinking.

For someone who for so many years has argued the topic of evolution with creationists right along side me, it’s unthinkable to me that you’re relying so heavily on their tactics to protect your untenable stance on the topic of sex classification. 

I think it might be due to some personality traits, I guess I'm trying to find objective truth in things and I'm looking at this subject from a broader perspective. I have a hunch that we would be tending to agree on more things if the context and medium would be different. I can't agree on your creationist analogy though, I just don't see where stuff overlaps in this analogy. 

 

Just now, Sensei said:

Is it yet another day with too much whisky for you? You have PESEL, where digits 0,2,4,6,8 means woman, and 1,3,5,7,9 means man. You have intersex infant newly born.. Which number will be assigned? Based on whether infant has cunt or whether has penis (if infant has both!).. ?

Is it politics? (I see only politicians playing this subject from time to time, but it's biology. These people born this way)

Is it ideology for you?

Somebody really have such problems. Either doctor who has no option "unknown sex"/"unknown gender"/"intersex"/"undefined", parents, and child and then adult human in later age.. Parent has only checkbox "girl"/"boy" on the form, what they should click and why, if both answers are true?

 

Please stop quoting me and posting to me, thank you.

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12 minutes ago, koti said:

I'm trying to find objective truth in things and I'm looking at this subject from a broader perspective

What is it specifically about your broader perspective and desire for objectivity that leads you to subjectivity dismiss with the wave of a hand all those counter examples which demonstrate your preconceived conclusion to be flawed?

You’ve acknowledged the existence of humans who fit into neither the male nor the female bucket, yet you continue to insist that the male and female buckets are the only possibilities. That’s illogical. 

Edited by iNow
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23 minutes ago, iNow said:

What is it specifically about your broader perspective and desire for objectivity that leads you to subjectivity dismiss with the wave of a hand all those counter examples which demonstrate your preconceived conclusion to be flawed?

You’ve acknowledged the existence of humans who fit into neither the male nor the female bucket, yet you continue to insist that the male and female buckets are the only possibilities. That’s illogical. 

I suspect it's the semantics, how you perceive and define what sex is and how many there are based on this perception. I call it a birth defect, you call it an additional sex. 

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Even if we argue based on semantics, you have two categories and you also have multiple populations that fit into neither of those two. Ergo, from a semantic point of view, there are clearly MORE than two categories… there must be since you have multiple populations that don’t fit into either of them. 

Pretending this isn’t so doesn’t magically make the issue disappear, nor does dismissing them as defects. You have (at the very least) a THIRD category of “Other.” 

Edited by iNow
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11 hours ago, Intoscience said:

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? 

I have not caught up with all posts, so apologies if that has been addressed already. Basically that is not what I am arguing. Rather, I am saying that what is generally accepted (even if we use terms in scientific literature) are only an approximation of the true complexity of a system. However these approximations can serve important purposes. It makes a lot sense to define two sexes into which the vast majority of a given species falls into, for a wide range of reasons. What I am saying, however, is that despite its usefulness, it still remains an approximation. As String Junky (via Markus) mentioned, it is a map, a representation of nature's complexity. It is not nature itself. What it also means is that rarities are something that exist in nature. I.e. we cannot ignore them because they do not neatly fall into our neat representation of nature.

To take the map vs territory example. A map might not need all the nook and crannies in a particular area in order to help you find the way. But it does not mean that those finer detail are not part of the landscape. Moreover, not everything that exist in nature has to be operational based on narratives we made up. Especially in biology there are exceptions for virtually every model we have. Evolution by natural selection is a simple narrative, for example, but if we look at individual traits (or history of genes and proteins) then the situation becomes very tricky indeed. So while the theoretical framework is not wrong per se, it is incapable of covering all the diversity we see today (all the nook and crannies). 

Folks often do not seem to understand the complexity of biological systems and how limited our understanding on the most detailed level really is. And at some point, our approximations break from reality. If the question is are there two sexes in humans, I would say yes. But if the question is are there only two, my answer based on my understanding of biology is it is complicated. 

We can play the same thing with species. "Are there different species?" Why, yes of course how else would we talk about e.g. biodiversity or speciation?  "So what is the precise definition of species that covers the biodiversity we see?" Well, we got a couple and each covers a different segment of the natural world, but none really covers all. And then you could ask, if that is the case, are species actually real? Well kind of, but only in a continuum (as measured by overall genetic distance, for example) and we just make artificial delineation based ultimately on the question we are working on.

To summarize the overall argument, we use sexes as categories, just like species, because they are useful and are at least kind of a representation of nature. But either definition does not fully cover the complexity of nature. If we confuse both (maps and territory, again) we run the risk of overriding nature/reality with our assumptions of it, which ultimately is bad science. It has little to no impact for common usage and even in many scientific areas we can ignore these finer distinctions. But if your research is to exactly look at these gaps, of course you cannot ignore those finer points anymore.

 

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16 minutes ago, koti said:

I call it a birth defect, you call it an additional sex. 

I didn't call it anything.

But please enlighten me.

Why do you call it a birth defect ?

Birth has nothing to do with a situation that occurred long before birth.

 

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2 minutes ago, studiot said:

I didn't call it anything.

But please enlighten me.

Why do you call it a birth defect ?

Birth has nothing to do with a situation that occurred long before birth.

 

In the context of intersex people which this is, maybe anomaly would be a more appropriate term.
Also, you do realise that I was quoting iNow not you, right?

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2 hours ago, koti said:

Please stop quoting me and posting to me, thank you.

Please stop pretending to be a spoiled child.. This is a public forum where anybody can ask you tough questions that undermine your weak position you are already sitting on..

Edited by Sensei
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22 minutes ago, koti said:

In the context of intersex people which this is, maybe anomaly would be a more appropriate term.

And even if we switch to using the word “anomaly,” then we STILL have more than two… at the very least we have male, female, and anomalies… and last I checked, 3 is more than 2 (keep me honest on that, studiot… I’m no Leonhard Euler over here)

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11 minutes ago, iNow said:

And even if we switch to using the word “anomaly,” then we STILL have more than two… at the very least we have male, female, and anomalies… and last I checked, 3 is more than 2 (keep me honest on that, studiot… I’m no Leonhard Euler over here)

So youre treating anomalies which the intersex people suffer as additional sexes.

I’m trying to let that idiocy sink into my mind and think of something decent to reply to you but only indecent words and sentences come to mind.

Edited by koti
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There is a small percentage of people born without a brain, Anencephaly.
The argument being currently presented is that if you are born that way,it is not a 'defect'.

Obviously then, there are humans without brains.
Lobsters don't have brains either.
So 'lobster' is a type of human, just a variation on the brain volume spectrum.

Maybe J Peterson was right to compare humans to lobsters.

 

PS
I have many friends here. I'll be back when we start respecting each other's opinions, and actually listening to each other without the accusations.

So long.

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6 minutes ago, MigL said:

There is a small percentage of people born without a brain, Anencephaly.
The argument being currently presented is that if you are born that way,it is not a 'defect'.

No, the argument is that a SMALL percentage is not the same as a ZERO percentage.

Does this allow you to more accurately comprehend my point without leaving in a huff?

7 minutes ago, MigL said:

I'll be back when we start respecting each other's opinions, and actually listening to each other

There’s only one person here saying others are dicks and calling their positions grotesque idiocy. It’s certainly not me.  

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