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Tags biology , categories , gametes , lexicography , pedantry , taxonomy

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Old 8th February 2024, 01:43 AM   #281
Steersman
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The debate about trans rights in public policy would be very different if it were about giving newly hatched clownfish access to women's restrooms.
Kinda think you're missing the point, intentionally or not, although there seems to be a great many people in the same boat. As I've pointed out several times, philosopher of science Paul Griffiths quite reasonably argues that "The biological definition of sex wasn’t designed to ensure fair sporting competition, or to settle disputes about access to healthcare":

https://aeon.co/essays/the-existence...uman-diversity

Given those biological definitions, it is simply irrelevant to the question of "access to women's restrooms" whether all of the "vagina-havers" qualify as (biological) females or not. The only issue is whether those using those facilities are, in fact, "vagina-havers". Similarly with women's sports, though the criterion there is basically XX-karyotypes: "no XY need apply".

However, the waters are muddied by endless, and by endlessly and pointlessly enervating squabbles over the definitions for the sexes. For instance, I see someone linked to an oldish post by Jerry Coyne on his Why Evolution Is True blog about an article by one "Ash Zemenick" on "Sex and gender are binaries? Sorry, that's a scientific falsehood":

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/...-not-binaries/

However, neither Coyne nor Zemenick nor a whole raft of other so-called biologists seem to have a flaming clue that any number of reputable biological journals, encyclopedias, and dictionaries STIPULATE that to have a sex is to have functional gonads of either of two types, those with neither being, ipso facto, sexless:

https://academic.oup.com/molehr/arti...2/1161/1062990 (see the Glossary)
https://link.springer.com/referencew...16999-6_3063-1
https://web.archive.org/web/20181020...inition/female
https://web.archive.org/web/20190608...efinition/male
https://twitter.com/pwkilleen/status...79009407037441 (Oxford Dictionary of Biology)

Zemenick, somewhat reasonably, argues that the "gametic definitions" for the sexes means that:

Quote:
As you can see, some people, for these reasons, don’t produce or have gametes at all. Therefore, there are three states: no gametes, eggs or sperm. It’s a triplet, a trifecta. Gametic sex is not binary.

Yes, there are "three states", but only two of those qualify as sexes, the "no gametes" qualifying as "sexless" -- hardly a sex. Like saying "religion-less" is a religion. So he "concludes", erroneously, that that means that sex is not a binary. But there's diddly-squat in the biological definitions that justifies concluding that everyone has to have a sex. Which Griffiths emphasizes in that article of his right out of the chute:

Quote:
Yes, there are just two biological sexes. No, this doesn’t mean every living thing is either one or the other.

But Coyne, rather cluelessly, insists on his own rather idiosyncratic definitions for the sexes -- probably because he balks at "sexless" -- that are flatly contradicted by the standard biological definitions:

Quote:
The definition above involves having a developmental system evolved to produce eggs and sperm, not whether it actually does so.

Absolutely diddly-squat in any of those biological definitions about "having a developmental system evolved to produce eggs and sperm." Someone might ask him to put his money where his mouth is and cite some credible sources saying that. Gawd knows I've tried on his blog and been banned for my troubles -- classy fellow ...

So you and Coyne and Zemenick and all their ilk can all die mad that reputable biologists have so stipulated, but that will not -- in any way, shape, or form -- change those definitions. They ARE what reputable biologists use as a common frame of reference; it is how they are able to compare many different anisogamous species.

You can use other definitions for the sexes, but then they ain't biology and you're engaging in science denial. Hardly better than Zemenick and the rest of the transactivists and their useful/useless idiots.

If y'all are really serious about resolving the transgender "contretemps" then it seems the only way off the horns of a serious social dilemma is to endorse those biological definitions and then use other criteria for adjudicating access to sports and toilets.
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Old 8th February 2024, 01:51 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Utter poppycock!
🙄

You might actually try reading those definitions I've posted. This one for example:


Quote:
Female gametes are larger than male gametes. This is not an empirical observation, but a definition: in a system with two markedly different gamete sizes, we define females to be the sex that produces the larger gametes and vice-versa for males (Parker et al. 1972), ....
https://link.springer.com/referencew...16999-6_3063-1

The others say pretty much the same thing -- "produces gametes", i.e., functional gonads are the necessary and sufficient conditions for sex category membership. Non-functional ones, or ones that have been removed are insufficient.

You might also try reading that Wiley Online Library article I just posted which says the same thing:

Quote:
Another reason for the wide-spread misconception about the biological sex is the notion that it is a condition, while in reality it may be a life-history stage.[33] For instance, a mammalian embryo with heterozygous sex chromosomes (XY-setup) is not reproductively competent, as it does not produce gametes of any size. Thus, strictly speaking it does not have any biological sex, YET. [my emphasis].
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Old 8th February 2024, 01:56 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
🙄

You might actually try reading those definitions I've posted. This one for example:




https://link.springer.com/referencew...16999-6_3063-1

The others say pretty much the same thing -- "produces gametes", i.e., functional gonads are the necessary and sufficient conditions for sex category membership. Non-functional ones, or ones that have been removed are insufficient.

You might also try reading that Wiley Online Library article I just posted which says the same thing:
These “arguments” were nonsense when you posted them some time ago. They remain nonsense.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:00 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Sex -- the biological type -- is most certainly NOT "defined on the type of reproductive system an individual has".

You too may wish to take a gander at a recent Wiley Online Library article -- by a couple of well regarded biologists by the look of it, and also linked to on the Sex Matters website -- which has endorsed the "active gamete production" as THE criterion to qualify all members of all anisogamous species, including the human one, as members of the sex categories:

Quote:
Wiley: "A widespread misconception among philosophers, biomedical scientists and gender theorists – and now also among some authors and editors of influential science journals – is that the definition of the biological sex is based on chromosomes, genes, hormones, vulvas, or penises, etc. .... Another reason for the wide-spread misconception about the biological sex is the notion that it is a condition, while in reality it may be a life-history stage.[33] For instance, a mammalian embryo with heterozygous sex chromosomes (XY-setup) is not reproductively competent, as it does not produce gametes of any size. Thus, strictly speaking it does not have any biological sex, YET. [my emphasis]."
You should include the following two sentences for full context:

Quote:
However, with a reasonably high probability we can predict this embryo to be on a developmental trajectory that will lead to becoming a reproductively competent (sperm producing) male. Hence, as an operational “definition” it may be justified to call it a “male embryo.”
A definition that excludes children, infertile adults, and others not currently able to have children from being members of a "sex" is not a useful definition for human social arrangements.

We are not required to adopt this definition.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:07 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Utter poppycock!

Here, we are talking about a specific branch of mammalia - HUMANS... NOT clownfish. NOT alligators.
You don't seem to have a flaming clue about the principles undergirding biology. The definitions HAVE to work for ALL anisogamous species -- no exceptions.

Emily's Cat made a categorical statement about the sexes which is flatly untrue, so much arrant nonsense and quite antiscientific claptrap:

Quote:
Sex is defined on the type or reproductive system that an individual has, not whether or not that system successfully produces gametes

Another paper by Paul Griffiths which quotes evolutionary biologist, and transwoman, Joan Roughgarden:

Quote:
But no general definition of sexes can rely on these features [chromosomes, hormones, sex organs] because, as Roughgarden puts it, "the criteria for classifying an organism as male or female have to work with worms to whales, with red seaweed to redwood trees.”

https://philarchive.org/rec/GRIWAB-2
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:12 AM   #286
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Quote:
We are not required to adopt this definition.
Then you're not using the biological definitions. Then you're science deniers, and are in the same boat as Zemenick and his ilk, and all of the various transactivists and their useful/useless idiots.

You can't very well claim the high ground by ostensibly wrapping yourselves in the mantle of science while repudiating those definitions.

Your call ...
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:15 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
These “arguments” were nonsense when you posted them some time ago. They remain nonsense.
In your entirely unevidenced opinion ...

Quote:
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/d...oynihan_182347

Do all those definitions I linked to say "produces gametes" or not?
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:21 AM   #288
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Or say men in men's sports and toilets, women in women's sports and toilets.
So difficult.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:26 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Then you're not using the biological definitions. Then you're science deniers, and are in the same boat as Zemenick and his ilk, and all of the various transactivists and their useful/useless idiots.

You can't very well claim the high ground by ostensibly wrapping yourselves in the mantle of science while repudiating those definitions.

Your call ...
Again, the article you linked to states:
Quote:
Hence, as an operational “definition” it may be justified to call it a “male embryo.”
You left that part out. Are you suggesting that any person not currently capable of producing gametes is neither male nor female?
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:40 AM   #290
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Sex in mammals is determined in the nanosecond of conception.
Eta
Maybe God assigns sex in her/his knowing way at that moment.
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Last edited by Samson; 8th February 2024 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:11 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
These “arguments” were nonsense when you posted them some time ago. They remain nonsense.
I agree... they are just cherry-picked apologetics for TRA ideology
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:21 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You don't seem to have a flaming clue about the principles undergirding biology. The definitions HAVE to work for ALL anisogamous species -- no exceptions.
No they don't. The definition of male and female in humans applies to humans. It may apply to other species (alsmost certains to all mammals) but it does not necessarioty have to applie to all non-mamallian species.


In HUMANS (with an astronomically small number of exceptions)

Females have a reproductive system with the biological attributes to produce a small number of large gametes.

Males have a reproductive system with the biological attributes to produce a large number of small gametes.



This is an irrefutable, unarguable fact, provable by simple observation.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:27 AM   #293
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The very idea that any definition in biology needs to apply to every species is ridiculous on its face. Organisms aren't electrons. There are broad generalities that apply to a large class of things, largely because of common descent, partly because of convergent evolution, partly because of the constraints of evolving in the same physical world with the same physics, but there are also many exceptions to those general principles all through the tree of life. Biology is hard.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:41 AM   #294
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Changing rooms etc were segregated by sex to reduce the risk that women would be sexually assaulted when at their most vulnerable. Are prebubescent girls and menopausal women vulnerable to sexual assault? Sadly, yes they are. So the hairs Steersman is splitting are utterly irrelevant.

Likewise all anyone needs to do to decide which is the appropriate sports league for them to enter is to remind themselves why most sports leagues were segregated by sex in the first place..
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Old 8th February 2024, 04:00 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
The very idea that any definition in biology needs to apply to every species is ridiculous on its face. Organisms aren't electrons. There are broad generalities that apply to a large class of things, largely because of common descent, partly because of convergent evolution, partly because of the constraints of evolving in the same physical world with the same physics, but there are also many exceptions to those general principles all through the tree of life. Biology is hard.
I think I follow you. Only electrons in common language are monolithic, not so atoms or protons or neutrons.
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Old 8th February 2024, 05:37 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
I think I follow you. Only electrons in common language are monolithic, not so atoms or protons or neutrons.
My point was that every electron is identical to every other electron, but every butterfly is not identical to every other butterfly. The distinction I'm drawing isn't between electrons and protons, but between electrons and humans (or living things in general). "Endless forms most beautiful..." and all that.
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Old 8th February 2024, 06:21 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
🙄

You might actually try reading those definitions I've posted. This one for example:

https://link.springer.com/referencew...16999-6_3063-1

The others say pretty much the same thing -- "produces gametes", i.e., functional gonads are the necessary and sufficient conditions for sex category membership. Non-functional ones, or ones that have been removed are insufficient.

You might also try reading that Wiley Online Library article I just posted which says the same thing:

Ah, this again.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
"Please use my preferred definition instead of the established one. It would solve many serious problems."

"What problems would it solve?"

"Mainly, the problem that no one is using my preferred definition."
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Old 8th February 2024, 06:56 AM   #298
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Can we please encourage Steersman to take this sidebar to the thread established for it?
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Old 8th February 2024, 09:39 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
A definition that excludes children, infertile adults, and others not currently able to have children from being members of a "sex" is not a useful definition for human social arrangements.

We are not required to adopt this definition.
Then how would you define these terms?
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Old 8th February 2024, 09:47 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Then how would you define these terms?
His post already gave you the definition: being on the developmental pathway. Whether you complete that path or not, whether you've passed the gamete production stage or not, isn't determinative of sex. You're still on one path or the other, even as a child, even past fertility.

And don't bring "intersex" conditions (more properly called disorders of sexual development, or DSD) into this. Not only are the vast majority of those cases still definitively male or female under that definition, but almost no trans people have DSD. This entire debate has nothing to do with DSD's.
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Old 8th February 2024, 10:05 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
His post already gave you the definition: being on the developmental pathway. Whether you complete that path or not, whether you've passed the gamete production stage or not, isn't determinative of sex. You're still on one path or the other, even as a child, even past fertility.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but from my reading of Puppycow's post I got the impression that the definition being presented by Steersman is inadequate.
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Old 8th February 2024, 10:12 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Perhaps I'm missing something, but from my reading of Puppycow's post I got the impression that the definition being presented by Steersman is inadequate.
The definition provided by Steersman is doctrinaire and frankly irrelevant to the topic of this thread. We here all understand the distinction between male and female, as it applies to trans rights in public policy. Even those of us who pretend not to, and put on a show of being confused for ideological reasons.

Steersman seems to be unusual in having both gotten the wrong end of the stick, and to be arguing in good faith about it. Fortunately, there's a whole thread for the expounding of such arguments as Steersman is making.
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Old 8th February 2024, 10:30 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
Perhaps I'm missing something, but from my reading of Puppycow's post I got the impression that the definition being presented by Steersman is inadequate.
It is. But Puppycow's response also pointed to how to expand the definition so that it's not inadequate. Namely, it's not simply the production of one or the other gamete, but the developmental pathway towards that production.
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Old 8th February 2024, 01:23 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
From zygote, to embryo, to fetus, to the onset of puberty, none of us are or were "reproductively competent" -- we are not or were not yet male or female; we are or were sexless. If that's the case then it's simply incoherent, and quite unscientific, to insist that we are all either male or female right from conception to death.
What's the difference between a sexually immature male human and a sexually immature female human? Is there any way at all to tell, or do you think it's totally just a random guess?
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Old 8th February 2024, 01:30 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
What "reproductive system" does a newly hatched clownfish have?
Male.

Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. They're male until the local female in a school dies. At that point, the largest male's reproductive tract changes to that of a female, and they become the local female.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:19 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Male.

Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. They're male until the local female in a school dies. At that point, the largest male's reproductive tract changes to that of a female, and they become the local female.
Okay, so I think we know what the third in the Finding Nemo movie saga will be about.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:19 PM   #307
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
A definition that excludes children, infertile adults, and others not currently able to have children from being members of a "sex" is not a useful definition for human social arrangements.
It's not useful for any field that touches on reproductive biology, including evolutionary biology and animal husbandry. Freemartins aren't sexless, they're sterile female cows. Geldings aren't sexless, they're neutered male horses.

I find it a bit humorous that "Steersman" seems to lack an understanding of what makes a steer a steer, and the kinds of decisions that a cattle rancher makes with respect to what portion of male calves to keep intact for breeding purposes (and what characteristics are being selected for) versus those that will be sterilized and ultimately sold for meat.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:21 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You don't seem to have a flaming clue about the principles undergirding biology. The definitions HAVE to work for ALL anisogamous species -- no exceptions.

Emily's Cat made a categorical statement about the sexes which is flatly untrue, so much arrant nonsense and quite antiscientific claptrap:




Another paper by Paul Griffiths which quotes evolutionary biologist, and transwoman, Joan Roughgarden:https://philarchive.org/rec/GRIWAB-2
Joan Roughgarden is wrong. The definition of sex has to work for all gonochoric species - those that reproduce sexually using two differently sized gametes. And it does.
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:22 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Are you suggesting that any person not currently capable of producing gametes is neither male nor female?
I'm probably about a year or two away from being completely sexless!

I wonder if my boobs are going to drop off and my vulva will atrophy until I have a doll-like nothingness down there? That would seem to be a heretofore undocumented element of menopause for which I'm a bit unprepared...
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Old 8th February 2024, 02:25 PM   #310
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
No they don't. The definition of male and female in humans applies to humans. It may apply to other species (alsmost certains to all mammals) but it does not necessarioty have to applie to all non-mamallian species.


In HUMANS (with an astronomically small number of exceptions)

Females have a reproductive system with the biological attributes to produce a small number of large gametes.

Males have a reproductive system with the biological attributes to produce a large number of small gametes.



This is an irrefutable, unarguable fact, provable by simple observation.
The definition I've put forth (as has our resident ACTUAL expert, Louden Wilde) actually DOES work for all anisogamous species. That's why it's the definition of sex - it holds for ALL sexually reproducing species.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:23 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
The definition I've put forth (as has our resident ACTUAL expert, Louden Wilde) actually DOES work for all anisogamous species. That's why it's the definition of sex - it holds for ALL sexually reproducing species.
Horse feathers. Newly hatched clownfish and alligator eggs, before incubation, don't have ANY reproductive system at all. Nor do human embryos for that matter.

You might actually try reading that Wiley Online article:

Quote:
Wiley: "A widespread misconception among philosophers, biomedical scientists and gender theorists – and now also among some authors and editors of influential science journals – is that the definition of the biological sex is based on chromosomes, genes, hormones, vulvas, or penises, etc. .... Another reason for the wide-spread misconception about the biological sex is the notion that it is a condition, while in reality it may be a life-history stage.[33] For instance, a mammalian embryo with heterozygous sex chromosomes (XY-setup) is not reproductively competent, as it does not produce gametes of any size. Thus, strictly speaking it does not have any biological sex, YET. [my emphasis]."
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/...202200173?af=R


Not "reproductively competent", ergo sexless.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:31 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Can you please explain what this has to do with the thread topic? If you can’t (and you can’t) take it to the other thread.
Emily made an untenable assertion -- an outright howler, in fact -- about the definitions for the sexes. And I think that gives me the right, if not imposes an obligation, to correct the errors of her ways ....

The whole problem with the transgender issue -- much of it in any case -- is that pretty much every last man, woman, and otherkin has entirely different and quite antithetical definitions for both "sex" and "gender". The lack of a definition for the former compounds the problem with gender -- in fact leads to the problem with gender since gender is defined relative to sex: feminine and masculine in particular.

The only coherent and scientifically justified definition for the sexes are the biological ones. Which Emily in particular is trying to bastardize and corrupt.

There's the reason and justification for my challenge.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:40 PM   #313
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
You don't seem to have a flaming clue about the principles undergirding biology. The definitions HAVE to work for ALL anisogamous species -- no exceptions.
No they don't.
Yeah, they do. As a clue -- since you seem kind of short of them -- you might try reading this article:

Quote:
Folk taxonomies are generated from social knowledge and are used in everyday speech. They are distinguished from scientific taxonomies that claim to be disembedded from social relations and thus more objective and universal. Folk taxonomies exist to allow popular identification of classes of objects, and apply to all subsections of human activity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_taxonomy

Science's claim to fame and fortune is that it aims for universality. All that you -- and Emily -- are peddling is no more than folk-biology. If not Kindergarten Cop definitions: "boys have penises and girls have vaginas".
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:41 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
The whole problem with the transgender issue -- much of it in any case -- is that pretty much every last man, woman, and otherkin has entirely different and quite antithetical definitions for both "sex" and "gender".
It's the opposite, really. Pretty much every last man, woman, etc. has largely the same definitions for both sex and gender. That's why the debate about trans rights in public policy coalesces so definitively around one of two poles of thought. Lia Thomas is very clear about where he thinks the binary divide is, and he's very clear about which of the two sides he'd like to be on. And everybody else understands exactly what he's talking about.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:45 PM   #315
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Knock it off with the fringe reset, Steersman. We've been over the subject countless times already, you have added nothing new that we haven't heard before. The peculiarities of sex in non-human species aren't relevant to sex in humans. And disorders of sexual development aren't relevant to the trans debate, because almost no trans people have DSD's. DSDs aren't the problem here. The definition of sex isn't the problem here. All you're doing is raising a distraction to avoid the actual relevant facts. You aren't the first person to play this game.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:48 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
What's the difference between a sexually immature male human and a sexually immature female human? Is there any way at all to tell, or do you think it's totally just a random guess?
Apart from the fact that "sexually immature female human" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, there is a strong correlation between "vagina-haver" and "female", and between "penis-haver" and "male".

For example, pretty much all human females are vagina-havers, but not all vagina-havers are female -- CAIS people for one thing, prepubescent XXers for another.

You seem not to have a solid grasp of statistical correlation:

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

You might also find my "primer" on the topic of statistics to be of some value:

https://humanuseofhumanbeings.substa...and-statistics
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:52 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's the opposite, really. Pretty much every last man, woman, etc. has largely the same definitions for both sex and gender. ...
Just the folk-biology definitions for the former. Bit risible to throw stones at transactivists for bastardizing the biological definitions when you're peddling folk-biology -- all while wrapping yourselves in the mantle of biology and science.
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Old 8th February 2024, 03:54 PM   #318
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Quote:
The definition of sex isn't the problem here.
Yeah, it is. Much of the "arguments" from transactivists are based on denying the biological definitions for the sexes. Which is what you're also doing.

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Old 8th February 2024, 03:56 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by Steersman View Post
Apart from the fact that "sexually immature female human" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, there is a strong correlation between "vagina-haver" and "female", and between "penis-haver" and "male".

For example, pretty much all human females are vagina-havers, but not all vagina-havers are female -- CAIS people for one thing,
Quote:
prepubescent XXers for another.
You seem not to have a solid grasp of statistical correlation:

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

You might also find my "primer" on the topic of statistics to be of some value:

https://humanuseofhumanbeings.substa...and-statistics
You keep on saying this. It is wrong. The fact that a handful of biologists hold this view is irrelevant. There are scientists who are anti-vaxxers, believe in homeopathy, faith healing and pretty much every crackpot idea in the world.

The overwhelming number of biologists do not hold the view that prepubescent children are sexless.
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Old 8th February 2024, 04:01 PM   #320
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The definition provided by Steersman is doctrinaire and frankly irrelevant to the topic of this thread. We here all understand the distinction between male and female ....
You "all here" haven't a flaming clue about the "distinction between male and female". You insist on peddling the folk-biology definitions which are flatly contradicted by standard biological definitions promulgated in many reputable biological journals, encyclopedias and dictionaries.

And that "ignorance" is part and parcel of the whole issue and problem of transgenderism.
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