Author Topic: Sex as binary or spectrum  (Read 1509 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2017, 04:20:48 PM »
Skeptiqueer, this was in relation to sexual identity not sexuality (as in attraction).  The conflation isn't really your fault since there's been quite a bit of FUD regarding whether we're talking about biological sex, gender, etc...  The topic here is sex.  Biological sex.

EDIT -

I'm not trying to dismiss your long and well formed post.  It's just that the vast majority of its points seem based on a presumption that something other than biological sex is being discussed here.

Well now I know you didn't read it before dismissing it. There's one paragraph that talks about the video not actually addressing what Nyte was talking about, and one graph that touches on the issue of sexuality while exploring the notion of a spectrum. The rest of it does not, and nobody who read past the second paragraph or in fact to the end of it would come away with the notion that I was under the impression that the video was about sexuality.

Quote
Around 6:40 or so the presenter claims...

There you start talking about something completely separate from biological sex.  I read your post, I waited until I could fully digest it and respond before doing so.  So much of it deals with things other than biological sex that I wanted to reaffirm what was being discussed, especially since I am (somewhat ironically) being accused of conflating gender and biological sex by JS (though such lies really shouldn't be surprising to anyone).
(click to show/hide)

Offline Johnny Slick

  • "Goddammit, Slick."
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 11990
  • Fake Ass Skeptic
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2017, 04:23:36 PM »
I didn't accuse you of that. I accused you of trying to trap other people into discussing gender as a spectrum, because that's all people have been really been discussing here, not sex. I don't think that you're doing this because you're "confused"; as noted, I think that you did this because you wanted to gotcha some libs and now you're just crying because nobody bit and now SQ is addressing why you're *still* wrong.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Online SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5302
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2017, 04:31:54 PM »
Skeptiqueer, this was in relation to sexual identity not sexuality (as in attraction).  The conflation isn't really your fault since there's been quite a bit of FUD regarding whether we're talking about biological sex, gender, etc...  The topic here is sex.  Biological sex.

EDIT -

I'm not trying to dismiss your long and well formed post.  It's just that the vast majority of its points seem based on a presumption that something other than biological sex is being discussed here.

Well now I know you didn't read it before dismissing it. There's one paragraph that talks about the video not actually addressing what Nyte was talking about, and one graph that touches on the issue of sexuality while exploring the notion of a spectrum. The rest of it does not, and nobody who read past the second paragraph or in fact to the end of it would come away with the notion that I was under the impression that the video was about sexuality.

Quote
Around 6:40 or so the presenter claims...

There you start talking about something completely separate from biological sex.  I read your post, I waited until I could fully digest it and respond before doing so.  So much of it deals with things other than biological sex that I wanted to reaffirm what was being discussed, especially since I am (somewhat ironically) being accused of conflating gender and biological sex by JS (though such lies really shouldn't be surprising to anyone).
No, I didn't. At 6:40 the presenter starts talking about physical characteristics associated with biological sex, and I responded exactly to what was said. In the next paragraph, we continue talking about how to classify biological sex.

You cannot have, in good faith, watched that entire video, read (not just skimmed) my entire post, and come away with the impression that I'm not talking about biological sex when I'm directly responding to the text of the video complete with quotes and time stamps.
HIISSSSSSSS

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2017, 04:38:33 PM »
Skeptiqueer, this was in relation to sexual identity not sexuality (as in attraction).  The conflation isn't really your fault since there's been quite a bit of FUD regarding whether we're talking about biological sex, gender, etc...  The topic here is sex.  Biological sex.

EDIT -

I'm not trying to dismiss your long and well formed post.  It's just that the vast majority of its points seem based on a presumption that something other than biological sex is being discussed here.

Well now I know you didn't read it before dismissing it. There's one paragraph that talks about the video not actually addressing what Nyte was talking about, and one graph that touches on the issue of sexuality while exploring the notion of a spectrum. The rest of it does not, and nobody who read past the second paragraph or in fact to the end of it would come away with the notion that I was under the impression that the video was about sexuality.

Quote
Around 6:40 or so the presenter claims...

There you start talking about something completely separate from biological sex.  I read your post, I waited until I could fully digest it and respond before doing so.  So much of it deals with things other than biological sex that I wanted to reaffirm what was being discussed, especially since I am (somewhat ironically) being accused of conflating gender and biological sex by JS (though such lies really shouldn't be surprising to anyone).
No, I didn't. At 6:40 the presenter starts talking about physical characteristics associated with biological sex, and I responded exactly to what was said. In the next paragraph, we continue talking about how to classify biological sex.

You cannot have, in good faith, watched that entire video, read (not just skimmed) my entire post, and come away with the impression that I'm not talking about biological sex when I'm directly responding to the text of the video complete with quotes and time stamps.

How are societal reactions and comedian's jokes a refutation of biological sexual classification?  Come on, that's clearly a separate issue.  I've stated that your post was well formed, and just wanted to pair down the discussion from those points that aren't really responding to the topic of the video.  You made some good arguments and I want to discuss those with you, I'm just trying to focus on those points by saying, "Okay let's put these aside because they're not really the on point or discussing the same thing as the video."  This is entirely in good faith, and I admit it's a bit of a leap to hope that we could have a real discussion given our history, but I am game if you are.  So please take me at my word.  If it would make it easier, I can select what I think was one of your strongest points and we can delve into that?
(click to show/hide)

Online SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5302
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2017, 05:05:15 PM »
Skeptiqueer, this was in relation to sexual identity not sexuality (as in attraction).  The conflation isn't really your fault since there's been quite a bit of FUD regarding whether we're talking about biological sex, gender, etc...  The topic here is sex.  Biological sex.

EDIT -

I'm not trying to dismiss your long and well formed post.  It's just that the vast majority of its points seem based on a presumption that something other than biological sex is being discussed here.

Well now I know you didn't read it before dismissing it. There's one paragraph that talks about the video not actually addressing what Nyte was talking about, and one graph that touches on the issue of sexuality while exploring the notion of a spectrum. The rest of it does not, and nobody who read past the second paragraph or in fact to the end of it would come away with the notion that I was under the impression that the video was about sexuality.

Quote
Around 6:40 or so the presenter claims...

There you start talking about something completely separate from biological sex.  I read your post, I waited until I could fully digest it and respond before doing so.  So much of it deals with things other than biological sex that I wanted to reaffirm what was being discussed, especially since I am (somewhat ironically) being accused of conflating gender and biological sex by JS (though such lies really shouldn't be surprising to anyone).
No, I didn't. At 6:40 the presenter starts talking about physical characteristics associated with biological sex, and I responded exactly to what was said. In the next paragraph, we continue talking about how to classify biological sex.

You cannot have, in good faith, watched that entire video, read (not just skimmed) my entire post, and come away with the impression that I'm not talking about biological sex when I'm directly responding to the text of the video complete with quotes and time stamps.

How are societal reactions and comedian's jokes a refutation of biological sexual classification?  Come on, that's clearly a separate issue.  I've stated that your post was well formed, and just wanted to pair down the discussion from those points that aren't really responding to the topic of the video.  You made some good arguments and I want to discuss those with you, I'm just trying to focus on those points by saying, "Okay let's put these aside because they're not really the on point or discussing the same thing as the video."  This is entirely in good faith, and I admit it's a bit of a leap to hope that we could have a real discussion given our history, but I am game if you are.  So please take me at my word.  If it would make it easier, I can select what I think was one of your strongest points and we can delve into that?
As I said in the post, the video claims that "we" which is preuamed to be society as large do not consider someone less man for having fewer or less developed sexual characteristics. I responded to that. If you don't think that's on topic, that's a problem with the video. At no point did I stray from the subject matter of the video. I did point out that the video seemed to be conflating sex and gender at the beginning of the post. Now it's possible the video was saying that current classifications don't consider that level of detail in sexual classifications, but since that's just a circular argument based on the status quo (invalidating an alternative based on status quo entirely invaoidates the idea of examining sexual classifications the way an alien species without that status quo would do so) I decided that the video was not going to be that lazy.

If you disagree with something or think I interpreted the video wrong, or you want to discuss a particular point, please do so. So far, all you have done is try to dismiss the entire post.
HIISSSSSSSS

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2017, 05:55:26 PM »
We are disagreeing over how to interpret that segment of the video, so I don't think it's a good aspect to focus on without the creator here to clarify.  Instead let's talk about one of your stronger points (in my opinion), which is the comparison with elements viewed under a spectrometer.  You make the case that just because elements only reflect a limited number of frequencies doesn't mean that the underlying light is only those distinct ranges.  Is that acceptable?
(click to show/hide)

Online SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5302
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2017, 06:12:39 PM »


We are disagreeing over how to interpret that segment of the video, so I don't think it's a good aspect to focus on without the creator here to clarify.  Instead let's talk about one of your stronger points (in my opinion), which is the comparison with elements viewed under a spectrometer.  You make the case that just because elements only reflect a limited number of frequencies doesn't mean that the underlying light is only those distinct ranges.  Is that acceptable?

No, I made the case that scientifically the emission spectra of elements are a spectrum by the nature of being a spectrum, despite not being an equal distribution. The emission spectrum is the light an element produces when it goes from a higher energy level to a lower energy level, not the light an element reflects. My point there is entirely about demonstrating that the definition of "spectrum" as presented in the video is neither the common understanding nor a scientific understanding.

HIISSSSSSSS

Online SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5302
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2017, 06:22:43 PM »
One bit of advice I learned from a statistician was that, whenever you see anything that looks like a Normal distribution or similar, first assume that you are seeing the results of multiple natural distributions and the Central Limit Theorem. In this view, there are few real Normal distributions in nature. Rather there are a lot of Poisson Distributions and Binomial distributions that, when you mix them all together, start to look Normal. Cell mitosis, to my understanding, for instance, looks very Poisson when you try to predict
how many cell divisions will occur in X minutes, unless you have a very large sample.

So in the case of sex, you have lots of primary and secondary sexual characteristics, some genetic, some hormonal, some developmental, each with it's own unique natural distribution, say, 99.99% outcome A and 0.01% outcome B , but they all get mashed together to appear, usually, as XX Normal and XY Normal. But each of us likely has one or more sex-related characteristic that is "Not Normal." I can think of a couple in myself.

So there is a Normal XX height distribution and a Normal XY height distribution, but because there are dozens of non-normal causes all mashed together.

So "spectrum" is a poor word choice here because there are so many sex-related, independent or interdependent, characteristics that make us individually who we are.
I just watched the episode. My notes (below) are messy, but I hope they reflect what was in the episode. Nye introduces the Sexual Abacus, essentially axes of sexuality along which there is a distribution. Sex (biological), gender, attraction, and expression. Each axis has a spread and a few examples are given for each. The correspondent Derek goes to Korea to talk about how K-pop is influencing gender expression. Next, Nye brings a panel to talk briefly about where these identities come from, when they did and didn't exist, and how they differ. Next, Rachel Bloom video, and then we close with the kaleidoscope metaphor and the call to action, specifically not to fall into the trap of oversimplifying and calling it good.

At no point does he make the argument that there must be an equal distribution, he's careful to note that here are a number of factors that influence things like gender expression and identity, and for being essentially the video version of a HuffPo piece he covered it well enough to get someone interested in learning. IMO the SGU could do a 1hr episode on each of the axes of his abacus and still have plenty of room to go, but that's not really what his show is doing.

I'm left with the impression that the video we got used Bill Nye as click bait, quite possibly having not seen the episode at all based on how little they interact with one another.

HIISSSSSSSS

Offline pandamonium

  • Skeptical Beer Inspector
  • Planetary Skeptic
  • *
  • Posts: 24353
  • they/them
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2017, 09:00:36 PM »
My biggest issue whenever the topic of "biological sex" comes up is that the definition for sex being used seems to shift based on the needs of the argument being made.

There are multiple factors that go into determining sexual characteristics, but a casual perusal of this thread makes it seem like everyone is hyperfocusing on sex chromosomes, ignoring other factors that contribute to a person's sex--hormones, for instance.

Sex is often treated as a binary, because it's a handy social shortcut and most people are used to thinking about sex that way, so it's easy to keep thinking about sex as a binary. But, even in a binary framework, what "counts" as one sex or the other is pretty flexible. There's an accepted range of testosterone that's considered "normal" for cis men to have, but the lower end of that range overlaps significantly with the upper range of "normal" T levels in cis women. We don't consider cis women with higher T levels to be "kind of a man"; they're women. And cis men with lower levels of T aren't "kind of a woman", they're men.

There's also a range of height differences, genital appearance, and other various morphological traits in which the range of "normal" for one traditional binary sex overlaps with the other traditional binary sex. Even "binary sex" isn't discrete. And that's not even taking into account people who have sex chromosomes that aren't XX or XY--there are, right now, perfect healthy and normal people walking around with XXY, XXYY, XXXXY, or even XXXX sex chromosomes. And they tend to fit into the sex binary we've constructed for ourselves because, again, there's a lot of wiggle room in what we consider to be "male" or "female".
I am become destroyer of biology.

Offline Drunken Idaho

  • Natural Blonde
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9361
  • Comrade Questions
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2017, 09:40:40 PM »
Sex is often treated as a binary, because it's a handy social shortcut and most people are used to thinking about sex that way, so it's easy to keep thinking about sex as a binary. But, even in a binary framework, what "counts" as one sex or the other is pretty flexible. There's an accepted range of testosterone that's considered "normal" for cis men to have, but the lower end of that range overlaps significantly with the upper range of "normal" T levels in cis women. We don't consider cis women with higher T levels to be "kind of a man"; they're women. And cis men with lower levels of T aren't "kind of a woman", they're men.

Well said, and succinctly to boot (of which I'm always a fan). 
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2017, 11:17:59 PM »
I was with you panda until the second paragraph.  Having extra sex chromosomes is highly problematic.
(click to show/hide)

Offline arthwollipot

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5057
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2017, 12:03:53 AM »
I was with you panda until the second paragraph.  Having extra sex chromosomes is highly problematic.
The six most common biological sexes in humans are:

Quote
X – Roughly 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 5,000 people (Turner’s )
XX – Most common form of female
XXY – Roughly 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 people (Klinefelter)
XY – Most common form of male
XYY – Roughly 1 out of 1,000 people
XXXY – Roughly 1 in 18,000 to 1 in 50,000 births

When you consider that there are 7,000,000,000 alive on the planet, there are almost assuredly tens of millions of people who are not male or female.   Many times, these people are unaware of their true sex.  It’s interesting to note that everyone assumes that they, personally, are XY or XX.  One study in Great Britain showed that 97 out of 100 people who were XYY had no idea.  They thought they were a traditional male and had few signs otherwise.

Even today, we irrationally, and rather stupidly, think of someone as a “man” if they look masculine and as a “woman” if the look feminine.  It’s entirely arbitrary and can lead to some significant misunderstandings of how the world actually works.

This is an interesting article that does a deep dive into the non-binary nature of human chromosomes.

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2017, 08:32:01 AM »
You misunderstand.  I'm not claiming that chromosomal defects do not occur.  I'm claiming that they're defects that often result in serious health issues.  This would be akin to saying that humans don't have two legs because some of them have birth defects or stepped on land mines.
(click to show/hide)

Online The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Frequent Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3935
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2017, 10:59:47 AM »
You misunderstand.  I'm not claiming that chromosomal defects do not occur.  I'm claiming that they're defects that often result in serious health issues.  This would be akin to saying that humans don't have two legs because some of them have birth defects or stepped on land mines.

Not always.  XYY genotype usually has no phenotypic implications.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Andrew Clunn

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 15349
  • Aspiring Super Villain
Re: Sex as binary or spectrum
« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2017, 11:42:19 AM »
You misunderstand.  I'm not claiming that chromosomal defects do not occur.  I'm claiming that they're defects that often result in serious health issues.  This would be akin to saying that humans don't have two legs because some of them have birth defects or stepped on land mines.

Not always.  XYY genotype usually has no phenotypic implications.

Yes, but as they are phenotypically male to an extent that most have no idea that they even have the condition, and con reproduce as a standard XY male would, they would be classified by myself, yourself, themselves, Bill Nye, the video's author from the OP, and pretty much everyone as male.
(click to show/hide)

 

personate-rain