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Are there more than 2 sexes?


WillyWehr
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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

Even my own trans friend, who admits to confusion on the issue, wavers between wanting to be male or female. Never halfway.

I suspect that may be a cultural thing. Generally speaking people are seen as male or female so to fit in you would desire to be one or the other. If society actually had more accepted categories then your friend might finally find their happy place in a third category.

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3 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I suspect that may be a cultural thing. Generally speaking people are seen as male or female so to fit in you would desire to be one or the other. If society actually had more accepted categories then your friend might finally find their happy place in a third category.

Possibly. If it removed the compulstion for surgery in some people, it would be a good thing. At least because if you don't have the surgery, you can't regret having it. Pressure to be one or the other does probably influence the decision in some cases.

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9 hours ago, Intoscience said:

My question is what do you use to define - male, female, other? if there is no clear distinction between them? I'm not being pedantic, I'm asking for a definition so that I can understand what the differences are.  

This might be an interesting question to explore, especially in its own thread. Here in this thread, however, it's not terribly relevant, nor does it impact any of the arguments I've made. It's a bit like asking me to explain abiogenesis in an evolution thread. Related, but separate. 

3 hours ago, mistermack said:

Most people who find themselves with a sex-identity problem, as in not identifying with the sex they were designated at birth, don't want to be a third sex.

Thank you for sharing. This too is entirely irrelevant to the actual discussion happening here. 

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Fungi have tens of thousands of sexes - theoretically up to 36,000. 

Humans have an XY chromosomal mating system - meaning there are two sexes.

However, these sexes are not binary, nor fixed in a small but significant number of cases

"This article began by asking how frequently members of the human population deviate from a Platonic ideal of sexual di-morphism. A summary of the frequencies of known causes of sexual ambiguity based on Tables 1–7 appears in Table 8. The grand total is 1.728% of live births."

There are also both biochemical and genetic causes of sex plasticity in humans - i.e. physiological changes that occur post birth that alter sexually dimorphic hormonal and physical traits. E.g. there are a known suite of loss-of-function mutations that can result in male to female sex reversal in humans, and studies of endocrinological plasticity have shown that the "hardwired" neurological difference between males and females are not as well defined or temporally stable as once thought

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11 hours ago, swansont said:

This is triggering my OCD. Can we agree that the proper terminology is to "bear" offspring? Anyone can bare offspring; you do this when you give them a bath.

Bare with me while I check the dictionary...

Yep, you're right...I guess we better get dressed...

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20 hours ago, swansont said:

This is triggering my OCD. Can we agree that the proper terminology is to "bear" offspring? Anyone can bare offspring; you do this when you give them a bath.

My apologies, this is one of a few words I always mix up, sometimes along with "were and where". I also regularly get letters in the incorrect order in words. If it wasn't for spell check my sentences would read rather amusing or irritating, depending on your OCD.  

14 hours ago, iNow said:

This might be an interesting question to explore, especially in its own thread. Here in this thread, however, it's not terribly relevant, nor does it impact any of the arguments I've made. It's a bit like asking me to explain abiogenesis in an evolution thread. Related, but separate. 

I'll drop it then.

Edited by Intoscience
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After reading the whole Library of Alexandria here in this thread, this is what i think right now:

Btw: If i got something completely wrong, feel free to correct me :).

 

The first thing i have to say is that i will concentrate on humans in the following.

One thing i realized pretty fast is that the definitions, which were and are used, are not the same for all of us and furthermore are often blurry, which leads to different answers.

 

So if you were to ask me, how to define "sex" now i would go by the function someone has in sexual reproduction, which i would categorize into a binary system, but why? I wouldnt group people in terms of their chromosomes in categories (if you go by that there would be certainly more), but in terms of their function in sexual reproduction, so there are different karyotypes in the same group. One group fulfills the male part and the other fulfills the female part in reproduction. So what if you cant fullfill a part in reproduction? The answer is simple you dont have a sex. At first, it sounds disrespectfull and strange but here is why: I would use the term sex only to describe which is your part in the reproduction. Nothing more, but also nothing less. It is just a word to describe something, as there are millions of words to describe all different things that exist and if it wasnt the term sex that is discribing what i was writing about, there would be simply another word to describe it. I elaborate on this further with an example (it may not be perfect but it does the job :D). There a all sorts of bottles, some are larger, some have a smaller opening, some are green and so on, but they are all categorized into the same group by the word bottle, just by the simple reason that they all have the same function. The same with the male and female sex. If you have no sex then you wouldnt be a bottle but as the bottle, you would be a container (In terms that the bottle got one function more, for example a lid or something) just as a non-sex person is still human just has no sex, same as there are people with cancer and no cancer (simply put).

Furthermore, you could also ask what in case of a true hermaphroditism? You would be simply both cause you could fulfil both functions. So what i am also trying to express it that the sex i try to describe here is nothing that is more an part of you than the description of your hair, it is simply a description of reality. 

On top of that what about people that lose their part in reproduction due to age, accidents, surgery...? They dont have a sex, because they lose those function and so the description doesnt fit anymore and you cant just mess up a word because the whole point of having a word is so that it describe some things and doesnt describe other things. You could make the word account for whatever you want but the problem is that you blur out the word so badly, you cant tell what it means anymore.

You could also define the word slightly different and call all people who once where male/female in sense of their reproduction for ever male/female, but it kinda looks to me that that is the part in which the word gender comes into play and i would just refer to them in a biological way as "once male" or "once female".

What about other aspects of gender differences? These are causally conditioned by your karyotype, which also determines your sex (role in reproduction) and if you got a sex. So you could select differneces by sex but since there are not just 1 karyotype in the male and female group the more accurate version would be by splitting it up in differences of karyotypes. 

 

Quickly reminder all just theorizing in my head. Nothing fix, nothing 100% perfectly planned out thing.

 

One thing i also thought about is sex in terms of history. Why? Because i thought wouldnt it be interesting thing to know how it all started?

I did no research in that area, but the following is what i came up with myself again (dont take it too strictly):

Since humans developed from instinct driven animals to a conscious creature, sexual reproduction was something that just happend instinctively and by time got passed down by language. So people needed some wording to describe the world and the first thing you describe is what you see in some manner. Back then they didnt know about chromosomes, DNA and so on, they were more fixated on the external human. So they saw and knew: Genitalia 1 and Genitalia 2 is needed to reproduce (and maybe they named them). They came up with names for humans who bear certain genitalia and also differentiate in external looks beside genitalia, so they were able to communicate and voilà male and female is born. Back then they didnt thought about things like gender or are there more than 2 sexes?, because they "only" saw the external and some aspects where more important than others, the primary reproductive organ for example was superior, because it carries with some other aspects the most meaning in surviving as a race. So you could also have men breasts if you just got a penis and would still be male. Also worth to consider is the low life expectancy which probably never led to unfertility because of age,  the high death rate of accidents (rare infertility because of accidents) and the fact they didnt know as much about medicine as we know today. Reproducing isnt just something that works everytime, and im certain back then they knew, so they probably thought of people who were infertile since birth not as a new sex or something like that but as people who "had bad luck and had a reproduction failure". To put it simply once categorized a sex, forever this sex. With time more and more knowledge was gathered and more and more questions arised. But the sole reason why i am writing this is to show that i think (that is important), sex was in the beginning never something hyper-personal like gender is today, but started merely as a descriptive tool of mankind.

And to have a word to describe the reproduction function is nothing bad to have.

You can have names for people that have the same karyotype but this is just by definition something else.

And then there is gender in which i wont dive into :D.

 

But i think, this is it. So by this definition the answer is no.

 

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11 minutes ago, WillyWehr said:

One group fulfills the male part and the other fulfills the female part in reproduction. So what if you cant fullfill a part in reproduction? The answer is simple you dont have a sex...

On top of that what about people that lose their part in reproduction due to age, accidents, surgery...? They dont have a sex, because they lose those function and so the description doesnt fit anymore and you cant just mess up a word because the whole point of having a word is so that it describe some things and doesnt describe other things.

I think you are going to find yourself all alone in your particular definition of sex. I'm not sure anyone else besides you would say my three year old granddaughter and my wife are not female.

Not to mention that every birth certificate issued in the entire world, under the category of "sex", will have the entry "Not Applicable".

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4 hours ago, zapatos said:

I think you are going to find yourself all alone in your particular definition of sex. I'm not sure anyone else besides you would say my three year old granddaughter and my wife are not female.

These are the conclusions he got from reading through this thread, can’t really blame him since people with scientific authority built this view in this thread. The fact that this view is crippled, grotesque and stems from strong political bias is equally scary on a science site which by definition is supposed to be independent and non partisan as it is scary because it so easilly gets to people who seek non biased information from scientific sources. And as a cherry on top, it all happened in the Genetics section.

Edited by koti
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This view is not based on politics, but the fact that nature is more complicated than our ability to cover it using a simple system. Both for common as well as scientific usage we can use a range of definitions, which have been explored to death and there is nothing wrong with either a karyotype or reproductive function per se. But since biology is always fuzzy at the edges, there simply won't be something perfect we ca use.

Even if we create a better category, chances are that it won't align well with common usage and may remain an academic exercise.

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9 hours ago, WillyWehr said:

One group fulfills the male part and the other fulfills the female part in reproduction. So what if you cant fullfill a part in reproduction? The answer is simple you dont have a sex

Help me understand your thinking here. 

You have one group called "Male."

You have a second group called "Female."

You acknowledge that some people then don't have a sex when we use your own definition.

So, by default, doesn't this mean there's now a third group inclusive of "Other," or "no sex" to use your verbiage?

I'm not an expert mathematician, but I DO have fingers on both hands... and when I use them like an abacus to find a sum / total of all groups... that leads me to a count of 3 groups, not 2. 

Is it possible you only have 2 total fingers on your hands and that's why you've stopped counting this last group... a group which YOUR OWN definition and which YOUR OWN logic dictates must exist... must exist since YOU YOURSELF claim they fit into neither male nor female?

You say they have no sex. Okay, I'm fine with that, but they still exist and consequently they compose at least a 3rd category. 

Edited by iNow
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5 hours ago, koti said:

These are the conclusions he got from reading through this thread, can’t really blame him since people with scientific authority built this view in this thread. The fact that this view is crippled, grotesque and stems from strong political bias is equally scary on a science site which by definition is supposed to be independent and non partisan as it is scary because it so easilly gets to people who seek non biased information from scientific sources. And as a cherry on top, it all happened in the Genetics section.

Please don't use me as a vehicle for spewing your anger and venom.

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39 minutes ago, iNow said:

Help me understand your thinking here. 

You have one group called "Male."

You have a second group called "Female."

You acknowledge that some people then don't have a sex when we use your own definition.

So, by default, doesn't this mean there's now a third group inclusive of "Other," or "no sex" to use your verbiage?

I'm not an expert mathematician, but I DO have fingers on both hands... and when I use them like an abacus to find a sum / total of all groups... that leads me to a count of 3 groups, not 2. 

Is it possible you only have 2 total fingers on your hands and that's why you've stopped counting this last group... a group which YOUR OWN definition and which YOUR OWN logic dictates must exist... must exist since YOU YOURSELF claim they fit into neither male nor female?

You say they have no sex. Okay, I'm fine with that, but they still exist and consequently they compose at least a 3rd category. 

14 minutes ago, koti said:

 Category, Sex - lets make synonyms of those 2 words and keep on marching the parade. Who cares what words mean. 

I care what the words "reasoned argument" mean, and I see one being employed in iNow's post, but you keep choosing the "throw my arms up in disgust and refuse to engage rationally" approach. Is there a doubt about iNow's argument? I haven't seen anyone disassemble it yet, only wave their hands and claim it's a ridiculous parade, without showing exactly why. I'm willing to listen, but your incredulity isn't as compelling as you might think.

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24 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I care what the words "reasoned argument" mean, and I see one being employed in iNow's post, but you keep choosing the "throw my arms up in disgust and refuse to engage rationally" approach. Is there a doubt about iNow's argument? I haven't seen anyone disassemble it yet, only wave their hands and claim it's a ridiculous parade, without showing exactly why. I'm willing to listen, but your incredulity isn't as compelling as you might think.

Theres no point, rational discourse isn’t possible where an allmighty bandwagon is present. If we weren’t able to agree for dozens of pages in this thread that „Category” is not synonymous to „Sex” (essentially for the last 15 pages this is what this thread is) then whats the point, I have 2 choices - turn to sarcasm like I’m doing it in my previous post and take the bandwagon downvotes or withdraw from converstation completely.
Don’t worry, the latter is growing on me. 

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34 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Is there a doubt about iNow's argument? I haven't seen anyone disassemble it yet, only wave their hands and claim it's a ridiculous parade, without showing exactly why. I'm willing to listen, but your incredulity isn't as compelling as you might think.

1 minute ago, koti said:

Theres no point, rational discourse isn’t possible where an allmighty bandwagon is present. <...> whats the point

Incredulity and lack of rational counter argument it is, then.

You're not being persecuted by a bandwagon, Koti. You're being called out for lacking a quality counter argument and insisting your view is the only correct one without good reason behind it. The point is you have failed to make a decent argument to an audience willing to listen to it. That's on you, buddy. 

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7 minutes ago, iNow said:

…to an audience willing to listen to it. That's on you, buddy. 

Keep telling that to yourself along with the notion that the words „sex” and „category” are the same thing. 

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8 minutes ago, koti said:

Theres no point, rational discourse isn’t possible where an allmighty bandwagon is present.

Does "allmighty bandwagon" suggest the arguments are merely popular but have no merit or reason? It's frustrating to think you view the opposing arguments as intractable when they're trying to point out the unwavering futility of requiring that only two sexes be acknowledged. 

It's especially frustrating because you've expressed concern about authoritarian stances in your own country, and it's hard to separate this concern from the ones you've expressed about the possibility of there being more than two sexes. 

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2 minutes ago, koti said:

Keep telling that to yourself along with the notion that the words „sex” and „category” are the same thing. 

Will you please elaborate a bit on this and explain what you see as the most important ways they differ (in context of this discussion)?

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2 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Does "allmighty bandwagon" suggest the arguments are merely popular but have no merit or reason? It's frustrating to think you view the opposing arguments as intractable when they're trying to point out the unwavering futility of requiring that only two sexes be acknowledged. 

It's especially frustrating because you've expressed concern about authoritarian stances in your own country, and it's hard to separate this concern from the ones you've expressed about the possibility of there being more than two sexes. 

On 11/30/2021 at 7:48 PM, Arete said:

Humans have an XY chromosomal mating system - meaning there are two sexes.

 

33 minutes ago, iNow said:

Will you please elaborate a bit on this and explain what you see as the most important ways they differ (in context of this discussion)?

Category
Sex

Glad I could help. 

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Poland is not a place where I would want to be gay or other. The atmosphere is probably like Ireland was until the RC church lost majority favour with its hypocritical teachings and abuses by its priests. It's probably quite difficult to be open about ones views that contradict the official line. This was in today's Reuters:

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/depression-rising-among-lgbt-people-conservative-ruled-poland-survey-finds-2021-12-08/

Quote

Gay rights have become a deeply divisive issue in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland. Religious conservatives condemn what they say is an "ideology" bent on destroying the traditional family while more liberal Poles demand tolerance and equal treatment of what they regard as an oppressed minority.

Some 44% of LGBT people reported experiencing serious symptoms of depression in 2019-2020, up from 28% in 2017, according to the study by the University of Warsaw's Centre for Research on Prejudice commissioned by the Campaign Against Homophobia group, which was published on Tuesday.

LGBT respondents said their families had become less tolerant of them during the period surveyed, with 61% of mothers and 54% of fathers accepting LGBT children in 2020, down from 68% and 59% respectively in 2017.

The report was based on an online survey between December 2020 and February 2021 in which 22,883 people took part.

Asked about the findings, cabinet minister Michal Wojcik told Reuters LGBT and heterosexual people were equal under Poland's constitution, but the government was taking steps to stop "LGBT ideology" being imposed on schools.

 

Edited by StringJunky
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