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Tags biology , gametes , lexicography , pedantry

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Old 19th September 2022, 02:25 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
As it turns out, though, I stipulated a significantly narrower topic of discussion quite clearly in the OP.
So what? You still SAID "strict biological definitions". None of them - neither Hilton's or Lehtonen's - say anything about being exclusive to mammals. It's the conflict between those two which is the source of the confusion.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You are not measuring anything on the x-axis, you're just throwing categories on there in any order. Have another look at the wiki page for discrete spectrumWP and notice that the x-axes have quantity labels such as "wavelength (nm)" or what-have-you.
What self-serving horse feathers. Being charitable. And civil.

It is totally irrelevant how you order them - it could be any one of several orderings. Regardless of which one you choose, you still get a spectrum.

You might try looking at my earlier table of Sally's polythetic family - each combination of properties can be enumerated which provides an ordering:


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Old 19th September 2022, 02:36 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post


Don't think either of you are playing with a full deck there - surprise, surprise ... - as I clearly qualified that question with my own answer:
Turns out that while karyotypes can certainly erase all doubt in certain ambiguous edge cases, the secondary and tertiary structural indicators are almost always more than sufficient to segregate according to the structural definitions.
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Old 19th September 2022, 02:38 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
So what?
So...please stay on topic instead of trying to derail the thread. Also, feel free to make a thread about how to define male and female in clownfish.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
It is totally irrelevant how you order them
Again, please have a look at the wiki on what makes something a discrete spectrumWP.

"A physical quantity is said to have a discrete spectrum if it takes only distinct values, with gaps between one value and the next."

Those values are quantities which may be graphed on the x-axis, such as nanometers.

It is possible that the people who say "sex is a spectrum" mean "spectrum" in a much less quantitative way, such as the so-called "political spectrum." I'd say we'd've more luck barking up that tree than proceeding by analogy to mathematics or the physical sciences.
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Old 19th September 2022, 02:55 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
So...please stay on topic instead of trying to derail the thread. Also, feel free to make a thread about how to define male and female in clownfish.
What a joke. No true Scotsmen in spades. You made this thread in response to "debate" in other ones over which "strict biological definition" should qualify as trump. Bit disingenuous - at best - to restrict the "debate" to the one you prefer, that panders to your preconceptions.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Again, please have a look at the wiki on what makes something a discrete spectrumWP.

"A physical quantity is said to have a discrete spectrum if it takes only distinct values, with gaps between one value and the next."

Those values are quantities which may be graphed on the x-axis, such as nanometers.

It is possible that the people who say "sex is a spectrum" mean "spectrum" in a much less quantitative way, such as the so-called "political spectrum." I'd say we'd've more luck barking up that tree than proceeding by analogy to mathematics or the physical sciences.
So what? What makes you think Wikipedia qualifies as gospel truth?

Many other uses that clearly endorse broader applications:

Quote:
c. An actual or notional arrangement of the component parts of any phenomenon according to frequency, energy, mass, or the like.

d. figurative. The entire range or extent of something, arranged by degree, quality, etc.

1948 P. R. Halmos Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces ii. 79 The set on n proper values of A, with multiplicities properly counted, is the spectrum of A.
https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/18610...ij1Lw&d=186105

The set of Sally's family is clearly a "set on n proper values", however one orders them.
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Old 19th September 2022, 03:25 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
The set of Sally's family is clearly a "set on n proper values", however one orders them.
Values are ordinal scalar quantities in the example you gave from Paul Halmos, whereas you aren't quantifying anything in the Sally's family example or (AFAICT) in the sex as a spectrum example.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Bit disingenuous - at best - to restrict the "debate" to the one you prefer, that panders to your preconceptions.
The previous two threads were about Homo sapiens in particular, so I'd say I'm being quite generous to broaden the scope to all mammals.
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Old 19th September 2022, 04:01 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Values are ordinal scalar quantities in the example you gave from Paul Halmos ...


Christ in a side car. So what if the Halmos case used numeric values? The term "proper values" can apply to a broad range of values:

Quote:
proper (adjective): adapted or appropriate to the purpose or circumstances; fit; suitable:
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/proper
https://ludwig.guru/s/proper+values

Besides which, there were three cases quoted from the dictionary which are just as applicable to spectra. [ETA]

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
... whereas you aren't quantifying anything in the Sally's family example or (AFAICT) in the sex as a spectrum example.
Don't think you're paying attention. Or you have your thumbs - to the elbows - on the scales.

If you'd actually bother to read what I've said about Sally's family then you would see that I assigned a binary value to each member based on the presence or absence of 4 different properties.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
The previous two threads were about Homo sapiens in particular, so I'd say I'm being quite generous to broaden the scope to all mammals.
Unbloody believable. More self-serving horse feathers.

The issue was the controversy over two alternative "strict biological definitions" - though rather moot in the case of Hilton's. Both of which can clearly be applied, in all probability, to literally millions of anisogamic species. That you pat yourself on the back for "broadening the scope to all mammals" is only a bit of disingenuous virtue signaling to hide your refusal to address the fact that Hilton's "definitions" conflict rather badly with the "strict biological definitions" of Parker and Lehtonen and the Oxford Dictionary of Biology.

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Old 19th September 2022, 04:32 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
So what if the Halmos case used numeric values?
So, as I said, you're barking up the wrong tree if you are trying to analogize sex (either definition) to discrete spectra in mathematics or physics. Those fields use ordinal values when they are talking about spectra, but you are just assigning numbers arbitrarily to both sex (male/female/neither) and Sally's family.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Besides which, there were three cases quoted from the dictionary which are just as applicable to spectra.
Which one works best?

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
If you'd actually bother to read what I've said about Sally's family then you would see that I assigned a binary value to each member based on the presence or absence of 4 different properties.
Anyone can put values on anything, but that doesn't make it a spectrum in the sense that scientists generally use the term.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Code:
Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV

631, 514, 284, 585, 170
Behold, a spectrum!

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
The issue was the controversy over two alternative "strict biological definitions" - though rather moot in the case of Hilton's.
In threads about applying those definitions to human beings, yes.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Both of which can clearly be applied, in all probability, to literally millions of anisogamic species.
You are welcome to make a new thread for each of them.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
...disingenuous virtue signaling to hide your refusal to address the fact that Hilton's "definitions" conflict rather badly with the "strict biological definitions" of Parker and Lehtonen and the Oxford Dictionary of Biology.
I've asked this before but it's worth asking once again. What is a good practical example of a situation where we are trying to sort males from females and Parker's (supposed) approach yields significantly better results than Hilton's?
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Old 19th September 2022, 08:20 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
So, as I said, you're barking up the wrong tree if you are trying to analogize sex (either definition) to discrete spectra in mathematics or physics. Those fields use ordinal values when they are talking about spectra, but you are just assigning numbers arbitrarily to both sex (male/female/neither) and Sally's family.
It's immaterial how the numbers are assigned. All that's required is some way of ordering them all such that Z > Y > X > ... > A. If there are three or more then one has a spectrum.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Anyone can put values on anything, but that doesn't make it a spectrum in the sense that scientists generally use the term.

Allow me to demonstrate:

<nsip>

Behold, a spectrum!
Bravo!

But now maybe you can explain what qualifies them all to be members of the same category, what properties they have in common. Sally's family is a polythetic category because they share different subsets of 3 drawn from a set of 4 properties. And Hilton's definition is likewise a polythetic category because the members are characterized by different states of a reproductive ability.

Your example looks to be an arbitrary collection of objects. You can still put them in a spectrum of sorts, but it's not of much use. And that's the issue.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
In threads about applying those definitions to human beings, yes.
And you've followed suit in this one by starting off with "strict biological definitions".

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You are welcome to make a new thread for each of them.
One for all them will probably be sufficient. And I'll probably do so if you don't want to honestly address my criticisms of your OP. You boldly assert - absent evidence - that Hilton and Company are "essentially correct about what makes a mammal either female or male". And then object when I point out - with solid evidence - that they aren't.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I've asked this before but it's worth asking once again. What is a good practical example of a situation where we are trying to sort males from females and Parker's (supposed) approach yields significantly better results than Hilton's?
Think I've already answered that, several times I expect:

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by d4m10n:
Can you come up with a situation (not involving sperm donation) where that 1/3 inference is problematic?
LoL. Apart from all the cases where the ability to actually produce sperm is an essential element - see the above re sequential hermaphrodites - there are no cases where producing them is an essential element, where "that 1/3 inference is problematic" ...
You explicitly exclude the cases where actual functionality is important, and then ask me for evidence in the other ones where it's not present or not an issue. Don't see how that qualifies as anything other than intellectually dishonest.

But to elaborate a bit, I gather that with clownfish there is only one breeding pair, the rest being either sexless (Lehtonen), or all male and female (Hilton). I'm sure no pro from Dover on the mathematics, but if, for example, one was modeling the population to determine the growth rate then the first assumption is likely to give much more accurate results than the second one.

I see that the article on sequential hermaphrodites has been modified to differentiate between functional and non-functional males and females, but that's a kludge at best:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php...ldid=890717544

Quote:
Both protogynous and protandrous hermaphroditism allow the organism to switch between functional male and functional female.
So they should say that each newly hatched clownfish is a non-functional male and a non-functional female, that some will change into a functional male and a non-functional female, and that some will subsequently change into a non-functional male and a functional female.

What a joke, and a pile of unscientific claptrap. All to avoid saying "sexless" ...
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Old 20th September 2022, 05:01 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
It's immaterial how the numbers are assigned.
Not in physics and mathematics, and probably not even in political science. Click on the "physical quantity" link from the top of the page here and you'll see that the value has to come from something real and observable in nature.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
All that's required is some way of ordering them all such that Z > Y > X > ... > A.
All that is required, according to whom?

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
If there are three or more then one has a spectrum.
Three or more, according to whom?

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
But now maybe you can explain what qualifies them all to be members of the same category, what properties they have in common.
Example items from a cognistat exam, as recalled by a famous septuagenarian.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
And Hilton's definition is likewise a polythetic category because the members are characterized by different states of a reproductive ability.
Parker's definition is likewise characterized by different states of a reproductive ability. Either (1) small gametes, (2) large gametes, or (3) no gametes.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Your example looks to be an arbitrary collection of objects. You can still put them in a spectrum of sorts, but it's not of much use.
If literally any collection of objects is a spectrum, the term ceases to carry much (useful) meaning.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You boldly assert - absent evidence - that Hilton and Company are "essentially correct about what makes a mammal either female or male". And then object when I point out - with solid evidence - that they aren't.
Your misinterpretation of Google, OED, and Wikipedia is nothing like solid evidence. All of those sources freely use male and female to describe individuals who have yet to attain reproductive maturity, or who have lived beyond it, and that means they are operating on the Hilton's definition rather than yours.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You explicitly exclude the cases where actual functionality is important
No, I explicitly admit that actual functionality is important in the special case where we are trying to sex (verb) mammals for the sake of breeding. That is the one case in which your definition might be more useful than Hilton's, but even then we are usually making inferences from structure to function.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
But to elaborate a bit, I gather that with clownfish there is only one breeding pair, the rest being either sexless (Lehtonen), or all male and female (Hilton).
Take it to the clownfish thread.
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Old 20th September 2022, 12:59 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Not in physics and mathematics, and probably not even in political science.
We're not talking about physics or mathematics. We're talking about enumerating properties that determine polythetic category membership. See Needham for details:

https://ia802701.us.archive.org/2/it...edham-Polythet

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Click on the "physical quantity" link from the top of the page here and you'll see that the value has to come from something real and observable in nature.
And the properties that determine membership in Sally's polythetic family and in Hilton's sex categories are, in fact, "real and observable in nature". That you refuse to consider that suggests some degree of intellectual dishonesty. Being charitable. And civil ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
All that is required, according to whom?


Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Three or more, according to whom?
Google/OD:

Quote:
spectrum (noun): used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points.
"the left or the right of the political spectrum"
If you have two end points and one or more in between them then, ipso facto, you have three or more. Q.E.D.

And Cambridge says:

Quote:
scale (noun): a set of numbers, amounts, etc., used to measure or compare the level of something:
Ordering is implicit in a scale - that is whom it is according to ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Parker's definition is likewise characterized by different states of a reproductive ability. Either (1) small gametes, (2) large gametes, or (3) no gametes.
So what? Then that only means that reproductive ability is not a binary: male, female, & sexless:



But that is not for each sex; Lehtonen's definitions makes each sex a monothetic category - a single necessary and sufficient condition for category membership, i.e., functional gonads of either of two types.

Methinks it's rather intellectually dishonest to ignore that difference. Being charitable. And civil.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
If literally any collection of objects is a spectrum, the term ceases to carry much (useful) meaning.
What horse feathers. Being charitable ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Your misinterpretation of Google, OED, and Wikipedia is nothing like solid evidence. All of those sources freely use male and female to describe individuals who have yet to attain reproductive maturity, or who have lived beyond it, and that means they are operating on the Hilton's definition rather than yours.
So what? See the Wikipedia article on stipulative definitions.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
No, I explicitly admit that actual functionality is important in the special case where we are trying to sex (verb) mammals for the sake of breeding. That is the one case in which your definition might be more useful than Hilton's, but even then we are usually making inferences from structure to function.
Bravo. So you accept that your "essentially correct" is false?

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Take it to the clownfish thread.
No true Scotsmen ...

You simply refuse to face the facts that the structuralist definition conflicts rather badly and pervasively with the functional one, and refuse to address the problematic consequences. Skeptics? Ha!
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:10 PM   #131
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Quote:
spectrum (noun): used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points.
Scale implies intermediate values, does it not?
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:11 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Susheel View Post
I don't know if this had been addressed earlier but per OP, he has limit the scope for a useful answer. The strict biological definition of male/female is already well established.
Which "strict biological definition"? "well established" - where?

My point and argument is that there are two more or less "strict" sets of definitions on the table, and that the issue is which one of them should qualify as trump. We can't very well have both of them in play since they conflict rather profoundly and pervasively; for example, see the principle of explosion:

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

But the first, rather unscientific set are those described in the OP: "past, present, or future (reproductive) functionality:

https://twitter.com/FondOfBeetles/st...63359589527554

A set of definitions that basically makes each sex into a polythetic category and spectra.

The second and rather more scientific definitions are those of Parker (FRS) and Lehtonen by which to have a sex is to have functional gonads of either of two types, from which it necessarily follows that those with neither are, ipso facto, sexless. See the Glossary in this article in the Journal of Molecular Human Reproduction:



https://academic.oup.com/molehr/arti...2/1161/1062990

Their definitions make each sex into monothetic categories which each have single necessary and sufficient conditions for category membership; see this essay for some discussion on those differences:

https://ia802701.us.archive.org/2/it...nsequences.pdf

The difference between night and day, between black and white.

Originally Posted by Susheel View Post
However, the question is whether one should adhere to those characteristics when it concerns man/woman. One differentiation is purely biological the other more socially constructed and psychological in nature. Is it necessary for there to be a one to one binary correspondence one in traditionally acceptable pairing?
The problem is that both "man" and "woman" are defined as both sexes - "adult human male", and "adult human female" - and as genders - anyone who looks like a typical adult human male or a typical adult human female.

Pointless to be using the terms without qualifying them: e.g., "man (sex)", "woman (gender)".

Originally Posted by Susheel View Post
Again, even in the biological realm, the male/female is not a binary category, with variations in between. So should these be accepted or rejected because it makes some people feel icky.
That depends very much on the definitions one starts out from. Which is the crux of the debate - there is no intrinsic meaning to "male" and "female"; Moses didn't bring the first dictionary down from Mt. Sinai on tablets A through Z. We have to decide what we mean by the terms before we can hope to resolve any contentious social issues that depend on membership in those categories, however defined.
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:15 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
We're not talking about physics or mathematics.
As I recall, you brought up discrete spectra, and those are the fields where that phrase is used. You even quoted from a mathematics text on point.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
We're talking about enumerating properties that determine polythetic category membership.
I don't find this new rabbithole clearly relevant to the question of whether sex is a spectrum or not, and I don't remember anyone arguing that sex has to be either polythetic or monothetic.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Lehtonen's definitions makes each sex a monothetic category - a single necessary and sufficient condition for category membership, i.e., functional gonads of either of two types.
Okay, but you end up with three slices in your pie chart either way.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
See the Wikipedia article on stipulative definitions.
You have clearly stipulated your definitions, but I've yet to see anyone else adopt your system of calling prepubescent and postmenopausal individuals sexless. Good luck with that, though.
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:19 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Scale implies intermediate values, does it not?
So?

The values assigned to Sally and to her brother are intermediate between those of Sally's daughter and her nephew:



Sally's daughter (1110) > Sally (1101) > Sally's brother (1011) > Sally's nephew (0111).

A scale and a spectrum: Q.E.D.
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:41 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
As I recall, you brought up discrete spectra, and those are the fields where that phrase is used. You even quoted from a mathematics text on point.
So what? It was an analogy. Arguing that all one needs for a discrete spectrum is a set of discrete entities and some way of ordering them.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I don't find this new rabbithole clearly relevant to the question of whether sex is a spectrum or not, and I don't remember anyone arguing that sex has to be either polythetic or monothetic.
I said so more or less right out to the chute:

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...59&postcount=7

And many comments - too many to list - since then, even in this thread.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Okay, but you end up with three slices in your pie chart either way.
So what? Given three discrete entities (A, B, C) we can create 6 different "spectra":

A-B-C; A-C-B; B-A-C; B-C-A; C-B-A; C-A-B

Which one makes more sense or is more useful will probably be context dependent. If there's a way of ordering them then, ipso facto, we have a spectrum.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You have clearly stipulated your definitions, but I've yet to see anyone else adopt your system of calling prepubescent and postmenopausal individuals sexless. Good luck with that, though.
Both theprestige and Wikipedia's article on sequential hermaphrodites have clearly endorsed functional and non-functional sections of "male" and "female" - making them at least binaries. Will you prefer defining, for examples, a prepubescent "boy" as a "non-functional male", and a "menopausee" as a "non-functional female"?

Those are the logical consequences of our premises, of the axioms of our discourse, of our foundational and stipulative definitions:

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Old 20th September 2022, 02:50 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
I said so more or less right out to the chute
You confused polythetic with spectral, right out of the chute. I've no idea why, since you don't show your steps, but I suspect it is b/c you don't mean the same thing I do by the key terms.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Given three discrete entities (A, B, C) we can create 6 different "spectra":

A-B-C; A-C-B; B-A-C; B-C-A; C-B-A; C-A-B
Nope. Every example of spectrum we've seen upthread involves natural rather than arbitrary ordering, and the idea that data are ordered by measured values is built into the definition of both a discrete spectrum and a continuous spectrum in the fields where those distinctions are made. The need for natural ordinality has already been explained to you elsewhere, by someone actually trained in mathematics.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
If there's a way of ordering them then, ipso facto, we have a spectrum.
Neither the wiki nor OED support this approach.
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Old 20th September 2022, 03:22 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You confused polythetic with spectral, right out of the chute. I've no idea why, since you don't show your steps, but I suspect it is b/c you don't mean the same thing I do by the key terms.
I've shown them dozens of times. You're either not paying attention or you simply refuse to look at what I've put on the table. Here it is again, a passage from Needham's article:

Quote:
Needham: “If the n [the number (of category members)] is very large, it would be possible to arrange the members of K along a line in such a way that each individual resembles his nearest neighbors very closely and his furthest neighbors less closely.”
https://ia802701.us.archive.org/2/it...nsequences.pdf

And my tables of Sally's family isn't something I've pulled out of my nether regions; they're based on Regenmortel's article on the same topic:

https://www.researchgate.net/publica..._virus_species

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Nope. Every example of spectrum we've seen upthread involves natural rather than arbitrary ordering, and the idea that data are ordered by measured values is built into the definition of both a discrete spectrum and a continuous spectrum in the fields where those distinctions are made.
So what? I'm clearly NOT talking about areas where those ideas are typically used; I'm talking about other areas where solid professionals have extended them to other applications.

You're grabbing at straws, refusing to extend fundamental principles into uncommon areas because the conclusions don't comport with your dogma: "sex is immutable!"; "every one, of every anisogamic species is either male or female!"; "Polly want a cracker!"

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
The need for natural ordinality has already been explained to you elsewhere, by someone actually trained in mathematics.
LoL. "Johnny, as it has been explained to you dozens of times, 'the whole substance of bread [has been changed] into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine [has been changed] into the substance of the Blood of Christ' ..."

I haven't seen this much motivated "reasoning" since challenging the Trinity with Christian fundamentalists.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Neither the wiki nor OED support this approach.
Christ in a sidecar. The principles are the issue; that there isn't a Wiki or an OED item illustrating them in the same sense I, Regenmortel, and Needham are using them proves absolutely diddly-squat.
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Old 20th September 2022, 03:43 PM   #138
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Quote:
“If the n [the number (of category members)] is very large, it would be possible to arrange the members of K along a line in such a way that each individual resembles his nearest neighbors very closely and his furthest neighbors less closely.”
Why are you bringing this up when you know n=3 and they don't resemble each other overmuch?

ETA: I've skimmed through the Needham paper and have yet to find a purported relationship between polythetic classes and (discrete or continuous) spectra. Perhaps you had another paper in mind?

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Old 20th September 2022, 03:52 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
I've shown them dozens of times. You're either not paying attention or you simply refuse to look at what I've put on the table. Here it is again, a passage from Needham's article:
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:21 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
I threw in an "or" there, just for you ...
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:23 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
I've shown them dozens of times. You're either not paying attention or you simply refuse to look at what I've put on the table. ...
Steersman, it's you that isn't "paying attention". The world of science and the world of everyday communication don't use your obscure, convoluted system of definitions.

They both manage just fine, with no confusion at all. It's your proposed definitions that not only fail to shed light on the subject but actually cloud the issue. Worse than worthless - positively negative.
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:32 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Why are you bringing this up when you know n=3 and they don't resemble each other overmuch?
Haven't got the foggiest idea what you're referring to ... show your work ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
ETA: I've skimmed through the Needham paper and have yet to find a purported relationship between polythetic classes and (discrete or continuous) spectra. Perhaps you had another paper in mind?
Don't think you're paying attention. OR you have your thumbs - to the elbows - on the scales.

75 references to polythetic categories, though Needham uses "polytypic" in the same sense. But you might try thinking about this passage I found on just a quick skim:

Quote:
A class is ordinarily defined by reference to a set of properties which are both necessary and sufficient (by stipulation) for membership in the class. It is possible, however, to define a group K in terms of a set G of properties f; f,, . . . ,f, in a different manner.

Suppose we have an aggregation of individuals (we shall not as yet call them a class) such that:
  1. ) Each one possesses a large (but unspecified) number of the properties in G.
  2. ) Each f in G is possessed by large numbers of these individuals and
  3. ) No f in G is possessed by every individual in the aggregate.

By the terms of (3), no f is necessary for membership in this aggregate; and nothing has been said to warrant or rule out the possibility that some f in G is sufficient for membership in the aggregate.
Bit murky but I think it speaks rather clearly to numbering and ordering the sets of properties that determine category membership.
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:34 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Steersman, it's you that isn't "paying attention". The world of science and the world of everyday communication don't use your obscure, convoluted system of definitions.

They both manage just fine, with no confusion at all. It's your proposed definitions that not only fail to shed light on the subject but actually cloud the issue. Worse than worthless - positively negative.
What a pile of horse feathers. You might try reading those articles by Needham & Regenmortel.
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:57 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Haven't got the foggiest idea what you're referring to ... show your work...
Scroll back to your pie chart and count the categories.



Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
75 references to polythetic categories, though Needham uses "polytypic" in the same sense.
Does Needham explain what—if anything—this has to do with spectra?

You seem to think that it really matters whether our defintion of sex results in either a polythetic category or a (discrete?) spectrum. Maybe you're right, but I've yet to see the argument as to why we should care, or why it's considered more virtuous to be either monothetic or non-spectral.

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Old 20th September 2022, 06:20 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Scroll back to your pie chart and count the categories.
There were several other cases of 3. Including Hilton's.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Does Needham explain what—if anything—this has to do with spectra?
Think I've explained it with this quotation several times:

Quote:
“If the n [the number (of category members)] is very large, it would be possible to arrange the members of K along a line in such a way that each individual resembles his nearest neighbors very closely and his furthest neighbors less closely.”
Note the "resembles" ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You seem to think that it really matters whether our definition of sex results in either a polythetic category or a (discrete?) spectrum. Maybe you're right, but I've yet to see the argument as to why we should care, or why it's considered more virtuous to be either monothetic or non-spectral.
Good question, kind of the $64,000 one. Though the controversy is between polythetic and spectral, on the one hand, and monothetic and non-spectral on the other.

But as I've said - more or less right out of the chute ... - that Hilton's summation of the ad-hoc, folk-biology "definition" turns out to be a polythetic category - a spectrum of three - is not, in itself, all that fatal. But it is ironic, if not hypocritical of them to then be throwing stones at Nature, SA, & Ainsworth for peddling definitions for the sexes that are more explicit spectrums.

But more to your point, Needham at least goes into some depth on why and where each type might be preferable:

Quote:
A consequence of a polytypic definition of classes is that 'there will always be the possibility of borderline cases. . . . Indeed, it is an essential aspect of polytypic classes'
The greater the number of criteria, the more difficult it tends to be to determine if any entity qualifies for membership or not - current disputes over CAIS people being cases in point.

Many sources have emphasized a similar aspect differentiating between intensional and extensional definitions: the fewer the number of sufficient conditions, any one of which is necessary for category membership, the greater the number of members encompassed by the category definition. Of significant benefit when we're trying to compare "accidental properties" of probably millions of different anisogamic species - possibilities of past or future abilities just muddies the waters.

More or less the principles of taxonomy that Needham goes into some depth on, quoting any number of credible researchers in that field - Mayr, Simpson, & Sokal in particular.

There's a certain economy that follows from having fewer and more precisely defined criteria for category membership. Some significant and crucially important principles in play that Hilton's "definitions" are riding roughshod over - which causes any number of problems and no end of "confusion".
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Old 20th September 2022, 07:08 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Note the "resembles"
Note "very large," though.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Good question, kind of the $64,000 one. Though the controversy is between polythetic and spectral, on the one hand, and monothetic and non-spectral on the other.
I don't believe you've proven that polythetic categories are somehow equivalent to a spectrum. Is the class of mammals monothetic or polythetic, in your view? If the former, what are the necessary and sufficient criteria for inclusion? If the latter, in what sense are mammals a spectrum?

Quote:
But as I've said - more or less right out of the chute ... - that Hilton's summation of the ad-hoc, folk-biology "definition" turns out to be a polythetic category - a spectrum of three - is not, in itself, all that fatal.
Your preferred approach also yields three categories (ref. pie chart) but neither approach can be graphed as a spectrum unless we come up with an ordinal measure which applies to all three categories for our x-axis.

ETA: I'd suggest "lifetime viable gametes produced," but that only works for your defintions, not the OP.

ETA2: I forgot to mention that "current disputes over CAIS people" don't help us differentiate between the two approaches on offer here. CAIS patients typically have structures associated with both sexes, so they cannot be readily sexed into either category using the structural approach. This discussion should probably be in the DSD thread, though.
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Old 20th September 2022, 07:51 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Note "very large," though.
Immaterial. Three is sufficient: A > B > C.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I don't believe you've proven that polythetic categories are somehow equivalent to a spectrum.
Don't think you're looking closely enough. Look again at the binary representations for the members of Sally's family. Compare that to Needham's & Regenmortel's essays.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Is the class of mammals monothetic or polythetic, in your view? If the former, what are the necessary and sufficient criteria for inclusion?
Generally, all species are seen as monothetic categories, the single necessary & sufficient condition being able to interbreed:

Quote:
In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species

Why it is something of a red herring to argue or even suggest that, for an example out of the blue ..., a spider missing a leg no longer qualifies as a spider. Actually having 8 legs is an accidental property, not an essential one, not one of the ones that determines category membership.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Your preferred approach also yields three categories (ref. pie chart) but neither approach can be graphed as a spectrum unless we come up with an ordinal measure which applies to all three categories for our x-axis.
You're barking up the wrong tree, you're still insisting on "an ordinal measure" which Needham's & Regenmortel's essays show to be entirely bogus. Being charitable ...

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
ETA: I'd suggest "lifetime viable gametes produced," but that only works for your definitions, not the OP.
Pray tell, how would you think to determine that? Think you're seriously misinterpreting what I'm saying.

But, again, not my definitions. Those of Lehtonen require only the detection of gametes being produced - right now - as the ONLY necessary and sufficient condition for sex category membership. Not sometime in the distant past, or in the murky or ephemeral future. That is their strong point.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
ETA2: I forgot to mention that "current disputes over CAIS people" don't help us differentiate between the two approaches on offer here. CAIS patients typically have structures associated with both sexes, so they cannot be readily sexed into either category using the structural approach. This discussion should probably be in the DSD thread, though.
You're missing my point - or are refusing to engage with it. By Lehtonen's definitions - the other "strict biological definition" on tap here though Hilton's is bit of a joke for any number of other reasons, CAIS and most intersex are sexless - neither male nor female because they're producing neither gamete. Easy, peasy. Once again, one of its strong points: single, clear, largely unambiguous necessary and sufficient condition for category membership.
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Old 20th September 2022, 07:58 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Immaterial. Three is sufficient: A > B > C.
Bit odd to ignore what your own quote says, but okay, I suppose you might know better than the authority you're quoting.


Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You're barking up the wrong tree, you're still insisting on "an ordinal measure" which Needham's & Regenmortel's essays show to be entirely bogus.
I'm not seeing anything in that paper about what we need to produce a spectrum.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Generally, all species are seen as monothetic categories, the single necessary & sufficient condition being able to interbreed
No one asked about species, but I think you just accidentally proved that kids aren't human.
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Old 20th September 2022, 08:24 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Bit odd to ignore what your own quote says, but okay, I suppose you might know better than the authority you're quoting.
Not ignoring it; I'm cutting to the chase. The "resemble" is transitive relationship that's going to be present whether you have 3 or 3 million sets of conditions for category membership in that spectrum.

Something you should have some familiarity with:

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

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I'm not seeing anything in that paper about what we need to produce a spectrum.
Not quite sure how you can possibly misunderstand that quote of Needham's or my illustrations of Sally's family using one of Regenmortel's. Did you actually read that passage? Look at the graph?

Elucidate the specificities of your perplexities ... To coin a phrase.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
No one asked about species.
Fair enough; I stand corrected.

But the definition for "mammals" specifies:

Quote:
Mammals (from Latin mamma 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia, characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region of the brain), fur or hair, and three middle ear bones.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammal

"characterized" is often taxonomic-speak for "typical". That some human mammal is missing mammary glands does not exclude her from the category.

But, offhand, that looks like a monothetic category with some 5 necessary and sufficient conditions.

ETA:

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
... but I think you just accidentally proved that kids aren't human.
Generally, don't get their "human" membership cards until they hit 30 ... ;-)

Kinda think there are a couple of built-in assumptions, possibly covered by "mating types".

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Old 20th September 2022, 08:42 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Not quite sure how you can possibly misunderstand that quote of Needham's or my illustrations of Sally's family using one of Regenmortel's.
Not sure how you can possibly think we can graph a spectrum without inherently ordinal values to put on the x-axis, nor how you can think that Needham or Regenmortel somehow imply this to be true.

Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
But, offhand, that looks like a monothetic category with some 5 necessary and sufficient conditions.
Clearly the mammary glands are not necessary since we males are also mammals. I'd say the hair/fur is a bit iffy as well, since we won't stop calling cetaceans mammals even if they live their entire lives without hair from birth to death, nor are human patients with various congenital hypotrichoses non-mammalian.
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Old 20th September 2022, 09:00 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Not sure how you can possibly think we can graph a spectrum without inherently ordinal values to put on the x-axis, nor how you can think that Needham or Regenmortel somehow imply this to be true.
You're stuck with your hand in a monkey trap by insisting - absent any evidence at all - that ordinal values are necessary or essential. I, Regenmortel, and Needham have all given clear examples of spectra based on finite sets of properties ordered in some arbitrary manner. Which you refuse to address.

Looking rather intellectually dishonest there mate. Being charitable. And civil ..

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Clearly the mammary glands are not necessary since we males are also mammals.
"In a few mammalian species, male lactation can occur. With humans, male lactation can occur only under specific circumstances. ...."

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

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I'd say the hair/fur is a bit iffy as well, since we won't stop calling cetaceans mammals even if they live their entire lives without hair from birth to death, nor are human patients with various congenital hypertrichoses non-mammalian.
And "hair and fur" is again "typical". So maybe "mammals" is a polythetic category - maybe we could order them in some spectrum? ....
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:50 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Not sure how you can possibly think we can graph a spectrum without inherently ordinal values to put on the x-axis, nor how you can think that Needham or Regenmortel somehow imply this to be true.
Methinks that here's some evidence of others doing precisely that - "spectra without inherently ordinal values":



Quote:
Figure 1. Spectrum of thyroid abnormalities by region. The bar chart showed the difference in incidence of
each sort of thyroid abnormalities between the coast and the inland via Chi-square tests (†: p < 0.05; ‡: p < 0.001).
TPO Ab: Thyroid peroxidase antibodies; Tg Ab: Thyroglobulin antibodies. Thyroid Ab: Thyroid peroxidase
antibodies or thyroglobulin antibodies. green square box: the coast; orange square box: the inland.
https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ectional_study

And:

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...itute_in_India

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Old 21st September 2022, 03:21 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post

But the definition for "mammals" specifies:

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

"characterized" is often taxonomic-speak for "typical". That some human mammal is missing mammary glands does not exclude her from the category.
So, being 'of the class that has mammary glands to suckle their young' entitles us to refer to all people as mammals? Yet being 'of the class that produces spermatazoa' is not sufficient for us to call young boys 'male'?
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Old 21st September 2022, 04:43 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Okay, so you think that when people say "sex is a spectrum" they literally mean "sex has more than two categories which can be plotted in any order" rather than "sex takes on values in between male and female." I don't think that is what they are claiming, but okay. If that really is what they are saying, your pie chart appears to bear them out. Since any pie chart can be converted into a bar chart, you must admit that reproductive classes are indeed a spectrum.

After all this going around about which definition to assign to "spectrum," we're left with the following:

1) Attempting to classify people using Steerman's interpretation of sex yields three categories, which could be plotted as a bar chart with categories in any order and is thus a "spectrum," for some values of the term.

2) Attempting to classify people using Hilton's interpretation of sex yields three categories, which could be plotted as a bar chart with categories in any order and is thus a "spectrum," for some values of the term.

3) One of these approaches is clearly better, because reasons having to do with spectra.

This is not a syllogism, I just like groups of three. Behold, another spectrum!
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Old 21st September 2022, 07:32 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
So, being 'of the class that has mammary glands to suckle their young' entitles us to refer to all people as mammals? Yet being 'of the class that produces spermatazoa' is not sufficient for us to call young boys 'male'?

Yes, you've reached into the very beating heart of the nonsense.
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:40 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
So, being 'of the class that has mammary glands to suckle their young' entitles us to refer to all people as mammals? Yet being 'of the class that produces spermatazoa' is not sufficient for us to call young boys 'male'?
Good question - seriously. Though the answer kind of hinges on the differences between monothetic and polythetic categories, the articles that I've provided on which you seem rather reluctant to give much thought or attention to - wonder why .... "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up"?

But briefly, particularly since your reluctance to look at those sources doesn't justify much in the way of effort, we have to start from some actual definitions; what you've provided is largely only your interpretations.

More particularly, we have to start from the definitions of mammals and males as categories:

Quote:
Mammalia
noun plural

: the highest class of the subphylum Vertebrata comprising humans and all other animals that nourish their young with milk secreted by mammary glands, that have the skin usually more or less covered with hair, a mandible articulating directly with the squamosal, a chain of small ear bones, a brain with four optic lobes, a muscular diaphragm separating the heart and lungs from the abdominal cavity, only a left arch of the aorta, warm blood containing red blood cells without nuclei except in the fetus, and embryos developing both an amnion and an allantois, and that except in the monotremes reproduce viviparously.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/Mammalia

But vertebrata are also species, the only necessary and sufficient condition being, basically, the possession of compatible karyotypes to enable interbreeding; you can be a member of the spider species while still missing a leg. In addition to which, the above definition clearly has several sets of necessary and sufficient conditions since it also includes monotremes (egg-laying). There are a whole bunch of more or less explicit sufficient conditions for category membership. "Mammalia" are intrinsically polythetic categories - family resemblances, like "Sally's family". One can be members of that category while not possessing all of the traits that are typical of the category.

Not so with "male" and "female"; the biological definitions for which explicitly state single necessary and sufficient conditions for category membership, i.e., having functional gonads of either of two types:



They are monothetic categories; try looking at and thinking about the fundamental differences:



You're trying to compare apples and planets, or apples and a heap of sulphur, or trying to suggest or argue that they're identical.

Entirely different kettles of fish, if not species from different genera or families. Refusing to address or face those fundamental differences suggests that you either have your head in the sand or you're not paying attention ...
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:48 PM   #157
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^

Huge smokescreen designed to obscure the issue duly noted. I was tempted to predict this kind of answer.

Now, answer the point please. The one about 'Of the class that ...'. It's a point that has been made many times here and one you've conspicuously squirmed away from.
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:50 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
^

Huge smokescreen designed to obscure the issue duly noted. I was tempted to predict this kind of answer.

Now, answer the point please. The one about 'Of the class that ...'. It's a point that has been made many times here and one you've conspicuously squirmed away from.
Haven't the foggiest idea what you're getting at; doubt you do either ...

Though you might ask yourself whether you can be a member of a political party if you can't pay the membership dues ...
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Old 21st September 2022, 01:12 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Haven't the foggiest idea what you're getting at; doubt you do either ...

Though you might ask yourself whether you can be a member of a political party if you can't pay the membership dues ...
I could never 'pay the membership dues' by suckling young (as I'm male), but I'm still in the 'mammal club'. 'Of the class that ...' is the point you've misinterpreted from the outset.
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Old 21st September 2022, 01:19 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Okay, so you think that when people say "sex is a spectrum" they literally mean "sex has more than two categories which can be plotted in any order" rather than "sex takes on values in between male and female." I don't think that is what they are claiming, but okay. If that really is what they are saying, your pie chart appears to bear them out. Since any pie chart can be converted into a bar chart, you must admit that reproductive classes are indeed a spectrum.
Haven't got the foggiest idea what "people" (which people?) mean when they say "sex is a spectrum" - most of them, like Novella and Shermer, just throw a a bunch of "stuff" at the wall and say, "behold, a spectrum!"

For example see the former's kick at that kitty which uses this graphic to start the ball rolling:



https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the...iological-sex/

I'm surprised that "science-based medicine" doesn't stick in his throat, but it should. In any case, he at least is using "male" and "female" as intermediate points on his "sex spectrum" with the end points drifting off into never-never-land. Idiots - being charitable.

Though I haven't the foggiest idea what're getting when you insist that I "must admit that reproductive classes are indeed a spectrum". Some reason to think you're not paying attention ... since I've clearly said that the spectrum of three reproductive classes consists of 3 and only 3 members: male, female, and sexless:



Of course I admit that "reproduction classes" is a spectrum, but I am most certainly not saying that each sex is a spectrum.

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
After all this going around about which definition to assign to "spectrum," we're left with the following:

1) Attempting to classify people using Steerman's interpretation of sex yields three categories, which could be plotted as a bar chart with categories in any order and is thus a "spectrum," for some values of the term.

2) Attempting to classify people using Hilton's interpretation of sex yields three categories, which could be plotted as a bar chart with categories in any order and is thus a "spectrum," for some values of the term.

3) One of these approaches is clearly better, because reasons having to do with spectra.

This is not a syllogism, I just like groups of three. Behold, another spectrum!
Again, it looks like you're not paying attention or you're intentionally trying to muddy the waters. Reproductive classes constitutes a spectrum of three - male, female, and sexless. But that is not saying that each sex is a spectrum; that is Hilton's argument, not mine.

It's not a case of either 1 or 2, but of 1 and not 2. That is, it's perfectly reasonable and justifiable to say that reproductive classes is a spectrum, but it is not justifiable to say that each sex is a spectrum.

Do pay attention there Double-Oh Seven ...
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