Can You Define Biological Sex?

Reading time: 3 minutes (602 words)

I just read the following interesting and well thought out article.

In the article, sK seems to touch on the important of acknowledging the existence of biological sex. I’m new to this argument, but it immediately rings of bickering back and forth on various topic between people who generally identify as liberal and people who iden
tify as conservative.

Those narratives seem to follow a false dichotomy. For example, someone asks the presidential candidate, “Do you believe in science?”. And my mind explodes. 🤯 The entire question doesn’t make sense, but now someone feels compelled to answer or not answer. So the next candidate is asked the same question, to which he proudly proclaims, “Yes. I believe in science.” There was a trick here, and everyone fell for it.

The first point is that science isn’t something to be believed in. Science is a framework. It’s a set of tools that we use to understand the world and to make predictions. It’s never perfect, but it’s the best we have so far and it’s brought astonishing technological and medical progress to our species. Science is something one can understand or not understand.

We may choose to not believe the integrity or experience of a particular scientist or even group of scientists. We may think they have not used an adequate sample size or variance, or that reasonable methods were not employed to perform a sufficiently controlled and unbiased experiment. We may believe that they deliberately chose to ignore or falsify results. And all of that is wonderful because it is still science! That’s the beauty of it. Other scientists have to be able to reproduce the results before we have confidence in those results. Belief is no longer important. The hypothesis will eventually either be proven or not.

There are a few times in which sK mentions that the argument about the existence of biological sex is an apparent binary and the root of the disagreement stems from each “side” holding a different understanding of the term.

Perhaps there is the possibility for a different approach. Rather trying to come to a consensus on an existing phrase, or even trying to come up with a new term that can easily be made into a sound byte for modern media. Could we instead just get a bit more rigorous and explicit with what we’re talking about? It might mean that there are fewer people in the discussion, but is there value in being “right” or “wrong” in the eyes of people who are unwilling or unable to participate in the discussion deeply anyway?

As I mentioned, I am unfamiliar with the existing argument, but it sounds like biology is important to the discussion. Here’s my first attempt to steer things in a direction that can lead to discussion rather than argument. What if we say that “If we would like to ahave a meaningful and productive discussion around unmodified human biological expression of sexual organs and “secondary sex characteristics”, we have to acknowledge that we have centuries of stories and mountains of modern genetic and pyhsical evidence that show a significant amount of ambiguity that will prevent us from simplifying the notion to one that involves a biological binary.

I personally find it interesting to see the results of a recent study (from 2020) that show a strong likelihood that gender dysphoria is tied to genetic variation.

I agree with sK that we should probably not address the word gender for now due to the possibility of it being referred to as a social construct, and therefore ephemeral and easily contradictable.

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Last updated on Apr 09, 2021 13:26 PST
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