Dawkham? Hamkins? What shall we call this unholy team-up?


It’s a portent of the end times. Ken Ham has found common cause with Richard Dawkins.

Of course their common cause is built entirely on Dawkins’ regressive, fallacious views on sex and gender. They can be wrong together, how sweet.

What happened is that a) Dawkins is old, white, and British, and there’s currently an epidemic of TERFishness sweeping through that population, and b) he read a book by hack named Debra Soh and thinks it’s definitive, and c) has been regularly endorsing bad takes in genetics, which is a bit embarrassing. So now he’s jumped on the “chromosomes are destiny” bandwagon.

If you’ve never heard of Debra Soh, it’s because she’s a darling of the right, and you don’t get out enough (good for you). I first heard of her through the posturing clowns of Mythicist Milwaukee, and then…well, read her own bio.

Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Globe and Mail, Scientific American, New York Magazine, Men’s Health, CBC News, Real Clear Politics, and many other publications. Prior to writing The End of Gender, she was a weekly columnist and resident sex scientist for Playboy.com.

As a journalist, Dr. Soh writes about the science of human sexuality, politics, and censorship in academia. She was profiled in the New York Times as one of “The Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web,” and in Penthouse Magazine as the December 2018 cover story and “Penthouse Crush.” In 2021, Dr. Soh delivered an invited address and Q&A about The End of Gender at the Oxford Union.

She recently appeared on The Megyn Kelly Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the Joe Rogan Experience twice, Dose of Dr. Drew, The Femsplainers, The Ben Shapiro Show, Fox News Primetime with Mark Steyn and Katie Pavlich, The Greg Gutfeld Show, and Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast.

You’d know all about her if you were tuned in to Fox News, Joe Rogan, and Ben Shapiro, as I would assume, Dawkins must be. As for her book, I haven’t read it, nor do I intend to, so I sought out the most favorable review of it I could find. It’s by Barbara Kay. You Canadians might know of her; she’s a fanatical conservative anti-communist xenophobe and anti-semite. So you can trust her summary of the book, right?

According to Soh, then…

Fact: There are only two biological sexes, and they are not “assigned” at birth. Male and female gametes (eggs, sperm) determine our sex, and sex is binary, “not a spectrum.” Fact: Gender, too, “both with regard to identity and expression,” is biology-based and therefore binary. “It is not a social construct, nor is it divided from anatomy or sexual orientation.”

Classic feminists gave us the concept of “social construction.” Feminists believe gendered differences in interests, presentation and behaviours are due to patriarchy and learned behaviour. Science tells us otherwise, Soh says. Male and female brains are demonstrably different. Now, Soh says, feminist chickens are coming home to roost, because—this is a trenchant insight—“If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.”

None of that is true. That trenchant insight doesn’t even make any sense. This is what impressed Richard Dawkins? It’s the same thing that impressed Ken Ham!

If you read that and think, like I did, that “Gosh, that claim that the Bible endorses a chromosomally-based determination of sex sure sounds stupid,” then you ought to feel the same way when you read that Richard Dawkins thinks that sex is a binary determined by XX/XY chromosomes.

I am going to be so entertained when the two of them go on tour together.

Comments

  1. says

    Too many evil Canadians are mentioned in this post.
    Also, everyone knows that Dan Savage is awful on trans issues, right?

  2. cartomancer says

    Fortunately, here in what passes for the real world, I had to teach a class on the basics of gender, identity and sexuality for the Year 9 (13-14 year old) girls at the school where I work. I expected maybe a little pushback when I introduced ideas of gender being socially constructed, biology being more complicated than xx/xy and the binarism in our culture making it difficult to see beyond these oversimplifications. But I got none. Literally none. They were all entirely fine with it. And this is a Catholic girls’ school in wealthy Surrey.

    I hope I don’t turn into a reactionary arsehole when I get old…

  3. says

    Students here don’t have any difficulty grasping that sex is more complicated than a binary switch, either. They’re working on a take-home exam right now, where one of the questions is about exactly that: I’ve got them researching Caster Semenya on PubMed and OMIM, and no one bats an eye at the discovery that there are all kinds of potential variations from the binary.

    We’ll see if anyone is freaked out when I grade them next week, but I think the fact that I emphasized that they have to get their information from legitimate scientific sources, not the National Post or the Daily Mail, will help.

  4. says

    Classic feminists gave us the concept of “social construction.”

    What? No. Feminists have used theoretical insights of social construction and have applied them to gender and sex, but they/we did not “give us” social construction as a concept.

    “If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.”

    Complete non-sequitur. Granting for the purpose of the argument that gender is learned, it does not follow that masculinity is better than femininity. Nor does it follow that “better” is the same for each and every person. One might fight a given person’s personality or occupational interest better. Nor does it even entail that what is considered feminine this week will still be considered feminine next year.

    But, and here’s the killer, even if gender learning did logically entail all those things, women would not be at a disadvantage in a world where women were free learn masculinity without punishment. Who knows, given how heavily women have been punished for engaging in masculine behaviours, maybe we should divine that this is out of a primal, instinctive fear that women, on average, will actually be better at learning and performing masculinity than men are.

    What a crock full of shit.

  5. F.O. says

    “I read the Bible. If even half of it is true, God exists.”

    It’s just sad to think that he used to sell himself as a rationalist.

  6. says

    Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Globe and Mail, Scientific American, New York Magazine, Men’s Health, CBC News, Real Clear Politics, and many other publications. Prior to writing The End of Gender, she was a weekly columnist and resident sex scientist for Playboy.com.

    …She was profiled in the New York Times as one of “The Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web,” and in Penthouse Magazine as the December 2018 cover story and “Penthouse Crush.” In 2021, Dr. Soh delivered an invited address and Q&A about The End of Gender at the Oxford Union.

    She recently appeared on The Megyn Kelly Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the Joe Rogan Experience twice, Dose of Dr. Drew, The Femsplainers, The Ben Shapiro Show, Fox News Primetime with Mark Steyn and Katie Pavlich, The Greg Gutfeld Show, and Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast.

    So she’s been canceled, clearly. Her voice has been silenced!

  7. kome says

    It bugs the crap out of me that these idiots completely erase from the conversation XO, XXY, XXX, XXYY, XYYY, etc. Yes, they are rarer than XX and XY, but if you add up all these people you’re talking about 20,000,000 people across the planet (some rough estimation: atypical sex chromosome combinations occur in about 1:400 people, there are approximately 8 billion people on the planet). That’s about the population of Florida that’s just being treated as if they don’t exist at all.

    I know from a post you shared a few weeks ago that even when allies turn this conversation into one about the science it further serves to dehumanize trans people, and I’m trying to be mindful of that, but I do think it is worth reminding people that the transphobes are ALSO dehumanizing another entire subset of the population by trying to pretend science is as simple as they are. I don’t think those individuals’ existence deserves to be sidelined either in the transphobes crusade against trans people.

  8. christoph says

    @ PZ, # 1: Are you sure you’re not confusing Dan Savage with Mike Savage? Dan Savage writes the “Savage Love” column, which is very LGBTQ and kink friendly. Mike Savage, on the other hand, is a loudmouthed narrow minded bigot-his real last name is Wiener.”

  9. says

    Dawkins: “If even half is true of what she says…we need to support the fight-back.”

    Reading this formulation, you know you’re in the presence of stupid. Obviously, the former Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science should be aware that it’s important to discern what’s true from what isn’t; and that if someone published a book that was half tendentious lies you should question whether they’re trustworthy or reliable or their work should provide the basis for action. (The placement of “is true” in the sentence is odd to me as well, but maybe it’s a British thing…)

  10. brucegee1962 says

    @5 F.O.

    “I read the Bible. If even half of it is true, God exists.”

    It’s just sad to think that he used to sell himself as a rationalist.

    I don’t see in the OP where this quote came from.
    Regardless, it’s pretty brilliant. I assume that whoever wrote it is also convinced of the existence of Zeus by reading Homer, Vishnu from reading the Bhagavad Gita, etc. etc.

  11. Tethys says

    If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.

    I’m gob smacked to see so many preconceived and patently false notions about gender crammed into one statement.

    Of course gendered social roles and behaviors are learned. The fact that they change over time in human societies is compelling evidence that they are social constructs.

    It is telling that the author assumes masculinity is the gold standard of human behavior. Feminism is all about smashing that particular pigeonhole labeled male superiority aka patriarchy. It does not follow that removing artificial binary gender pigeonholes = feminine behavior aberrant.

    Gold being highly valuable is also a human social construct, as are monetary standards. We do fine without the gold standard, and feminists aren’t causing these gender bigots to screech the false binary gender bullshit.
    “There are only two lights!!”

  12. says

    Yep, nothing about gender is learned, it’s all inherent, and genetic, and stuff. Women wear frilly clothing, and men don’t, because of their female nature. Not because at some point cultural movers and shakers decided men shouldn’t wear frilly clothing. Or short pants and tights. Or that women in culture Y should start wearing the clothing that women in culture X wear.

  13. raven says

    Feminists believe gendered differences in interests, presentation and behaviours are due to patriarchy and learned behaviour. Male and female brains are demonstrably different. Now, Soh says, feminist chickens are coming home to roost, because—

    Almost every sentence is wildly wrong.
    It is just glaringly, obviously wrong.
    Other commenters have already covered it.
    She isn’t just anti-trans. She is anti-Feminist.

    “Feminists believe gendered differences in interests, presentation and behaviours are due to patriarchy and learned behaviour.” This is true.
    Gendered differences in interests, presentation, and behaviors have changed by a huge amount in my own life time. These cultural differences change rapidly in real time.

    “Science tells us otherwise, Soh says.” This is wrong. She is flat out lying here.
    Science says the opposite of what she claims.

    “this is a trenchant insight—“If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.”This isn’t a trenchant insight. It’s lies and gibberish.
    Gender behavior and expectations vary wildly in time and space and change rapidly in real time. Who says masculinity is the gold standard anyway. We can’t even define it since it is culture, place, and time specific.

  14. says

    Now I want to see the Usual Suspects who have fully gone TERF reconcile all the bullshit Soh and by extension Dawkins say with their own position. It must be embarrassing to have such allies.

  15. bcw bcw says

    Dan Savage has a history of snap judgements that he is very slow to unlearn. He has a similar bad history with bisexuality where initially he denied the existence of actually bisexual people because he generalized his own use of “I’m bisexual” as a stepping stone to accepting that he was gay to all people who say they are bisexual. After years of controversy he did learn. His job is to express opinions and answer questions on touchy subjects for which he receives a lot of flak but he needs to do his research on Singal.

  16. raven says

    Deborah Soh is walking proof that she is just wrong.

    “Feminists believe gendered differences in interests, presentation and behaviours are due to patriarchy and learned behaviour.”…
    “Science tells us otherwise, Soh says.”

    I just looked her bio up.
    She has a Ph.D. and a career.
    She is in her 30’s, not married, no children.
    She has a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

    When I was growing up in the 1950’s this wouldn’t have been considered either possible or desirable for a female. You were expected to graduate from high school. Then get married and get pregnant (often enough in reverse order).

  17. Tethys says

    preposterous! Everyone knows that you can’t have a PhD and a black belt!

    It’s a one or the other binary, none of this supposed spectrum of interests is real.

    Having other interests would completely devalue the PhD.

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    My DuckDuckGo search came back with “No results found for ‘I read the Bible. If even half of it is true, God exists.’.”

    Where did y’all see that? Who (allegedly) said it?

  19. says

    Dawkins (in a tweet in the OP):

    If even half is true of what [Soh] says about the intimidation of scientists in her field of sexology, we need to support the fight back.

    F.O., #5 of this thread:

    “I read the Bible. If even half of it is true, God exists.”

    It’s an implicit criticism of Dawkins by imagining him saying something similar about the Bible to what he said about Soh’s book.

  20. kome says

    As a side note, I’m curious how much Dawkins would be on this particular bandwagon if he hadn’t experienced a stroke a few years ago. I’m not saying the brain damage he suffers from is causing him to be a hatemonger – we saw evidence of milder but comparable nonsense pre-stroke – but I wonder if he’s just far less capable now of inhibiting his worst impulses and his reputation has allowed his worst impulses to be taken seriously as coming from an Important Man of Science.

  21. shallit says

    Why do you call Barbara Kay an anti-semite? I mean, she’s really not a nice person, and doesn’t seem to care much about factors evidence, but I see no evidence for that particular claim.

  22. PaulBC says

    Grr… Sorry I know someone with Swyer syndrome and have also done a lot of reading, since it was indeed a surprise to me at the time that someone with an XY chromosome can be phenotypically female. This is not even an issue of transgender or wokeness. Anyone who says XY=male is just uninformed. In Dawkins’s case it is incomprehensible, because he surely understands the development process and role of SRY gene in early development. Is he senile or is he lying?

    Literally every, every time I hear XX, XY chromosome blah blah blah I start fuming and just want to tell people how wrong they are. The Y chromosome is mostly just an analogous to switch, not a recipe for being male, and what it actually does is only statistically determined by the development process, not guaranteed.

  23. naturalistguy says

    Professor Myers, a question. What’s the percentage of people who are intersex where the phenotypic sex is not consistent with the genotype?

  24. specialffrog says

    @shallit: She writes for a publication edited by Proud Boys mouthpiece Andy Ngo. So she is at least anti-semitism adjacent.

  25. raven says

    @shallit: She writes for a publication edited by Proud Boys mouthpiece Andy Ngo. So she is at least anti-semitism adjacent.

    That also makes her a terrorist or terrorism supporter.

    The Pathetic Boys have been designated a terrorist group in Canada.
    And more than a few are now in prison in the USA.
    They were prominent in the US Capitol building attack.

  26. raven says

    Canada Formally Declares Proud Boys a Terrorist Group – The …www.nytimes.com › World › Canada

    Feb 4, 2021 — The designation could see bank accounts linked to the group frozen and assets seized, … Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right, all-male organization that lauded … There have also been some high-profile cases of American …

    The Pathetic Boys are also explicitly misogynistic.
    They don’t want any Proud Girl terrorists anywhere near them.
    Because girls are icky.

  27. PaulBC says

    If gender is thought to be learned, masculinity will remain the gold standard and femininity will be reduced to aberrations of it.

    What nonsense. There are so many assumptions wrapped up in this that need to be changed (and not only the dubiousness of “gold standard” as a metaphor).

    There’s a “glass ceiling” in part because men with traditionally male characteristics are perceived (again traditionally) to be better “leaders” (though mainly it’s because they know how to work the Old Boys network).

    That perception needs to be questioned along with everything else. There is no evidence that men are on average any better than women at most roles of significance. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that men are more likely to be effective football linebackers than women, owing on average to physical strength and size. However, that is a pretty niche career. Most important jobs are not particularly better suited to men than women.

    FWIW, I personally think women and men have subtly and intrinsically different outlooks on many things and a lot of this is innate, not learned. However, for most purposes the variation in aptitude for specific jobs is not sex-specific. Most of that really is socially determined. I’m a little divided on whether the motivation to study different fields has intrinsic components. Open up opportunities, and time will tell.

    There are a lot of traditionally “female” traits that I wish I possessed, such as more attention to detail, organizational skills, a kind of pragmatism about social relationships, an ability to “read the room” and figure out the body language of those around you. That said, I’m comfortable in my own skin. The best team is not formed by optimizing one trait but by combining complementary traits.

    I do try to be careful to distinguish “traditionally perceived as” from “actual.” But my point is that even assuming my intuitive belief about what makes men and women different has some objective validity, I see no reason to consider “masculine” traits superior.

  28. Rich Woods says

    @SC #9:

    (The placement of “is true” in the sentence is odd to me as well, but maybe it’s a British thing…)

    It’s not. At best, Dawkins has just mismangled his worms.

  29. klatu says

    Like every other time this shit comes up, the question of implementation seems rather urgent.

    How would you ascertain anyone’s chromosomes anyway? At a glance, I mean? Without the genetics actually becoming a practical concern?

    You can’t. So unless these fucker are advocating for obligatory (eu)genetic testing of every human being all the fucking time, how can they ever be sure they’re actually confronted with (gasp: or are themselves) a true™ man or woman? (Hint: They can’t.)

    …Must be terrifying for them. *Yawn*

    Meanwhile, I’ll be listening to some Sophie. RIP.

  30. says

    Something to look up on the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism :

    She birthed two children…

    Report of Fertility in a Woman with a Predominantly 46,XY Karyotype in a Family with Multiple Disorders of Sexual Development.

  31. says

    Professor Myers, a question. What’s the percentage of people who are intersex where the phenotypic sex is not consistent with the genotype?

    I don’t know offhand. It’s low. Why? What number are you looking for? If it’s less than 100 people in the whole wide world, would that make it OK to deny them rights and respect?

  32. naturalistguy says

    Professor Myers, since you said earlier:

    Students here don’t have any difficulty grasping that sex is more complicated than a binary switch, either. They’re working on a take-home exam right now, where one of the questions is about exactly that: I’ve got them researching Caster Semenya on PubMed and OMIM, and no one bats an eye at the discovery that there are all kinds of potential variations from the binary.

    I thought you would know what the percentage of intersex people would be, given you’re tasking your students to do research that’s directly related to the question. Can you give me a number?

  33. says

    @naturalistguy:

    Can you give me a number?

    Why? What is the point of the number? How will you act differently or how will your life be different depending upon the number?

    (I could also mention that your question in #41 is different from your original question. In #41 you seem to be asking what percentage of the general population are intersex, but your original question was “out of the total number of intersex people, what percentage of intersex people display this particular kind of intersexuality.” I think you may be having trouble even asking a coherent question.)

  34. says

    naturalistguy

    The paper I posted lists possible research that probably hadn’t even been thought about previously. If you don’t even think about possibilities because “sex is binary” …

  35. unclefrogy says

    naturalistguy
    am I wrong in thinking that you do not think or beleave that if there are really are any that number would be very very small or even nonexistent .
    Sorry I do not mean to offend but my suspicion comes from the hostility I find to these kinds of subjects generally generate

  36. naturalistguy says

    unclefrogy, I would genuinely like to know what Professor Myers thinks the number of intersex people are, and what his definition of intersex is that the number is based on. Your question doesn’t offend me, so no problem there.

  37. says

    You would “genuinely” like to know? Somehow I doubt that.

    A rough estimate would be 1 in 1000. That’s really rough, though, because it depends on how you define intersex, and many of the variables in sexual development are not readily examined. I’ve seen estimates that range from a tenth of that to ten times the number.

    Now what? Are you going to come to a point at some time?

    I’ve noticed several times that you pop up on threads about transgender issues, always sealioning by addressing me as “professor”, and playing the “just asking questions” game where you dodge any attempt to explain what you’re getting at. I can ban you just as easily for being a weasely intellectual coward as I can for blurting out something offensively stupid, you know.

  38. says

    #43: That paper was astonishing. I’ll have to use it in my class next year (we’re past the whole sex chromosome thing right now, I’ve got too much else to cover).

  39. theworstelephant says

    @klatu That’s a thought I often have when people start babbling about chromosomes; that if that’s the standard we must use, I don’t actually know my own sex, or my siblings’ sexes, or my coworkers’ …

  40. naturalistguy says

    A rough estimate [of intersexed persons] would be 1 in 1000. That’s really rough, though, because it depends on how you define intersex, and many of the variables in sexual development are not readily examined. I’ve seen estimates that range from a tenth of that to ten times the number.

    Seems like there’s an issue then with these various definitions that allow for such a wide range of estimates, and I’ll leave it at that.

  41. chrislawson says

    christoph@8–

    PZ definitely means Dan Savage the sex/relationships advice columnist — whom I used to read semi-regularly but abandoned after several woefully misinformed opinions on trans issues.

  42. PaulBC says

    I’ll have to look at that paper. I got curious about the following question after doing some reading on Swyer syndrome and never really got an answer:

    Normally Swyer syndrome presents with non-functioning ovaries, but completely normal female phenotype in other ways. I was wondering, could there be in some cases functioning ovaries with Y-chromosome oocytes that would might actually combine normally with X-chromosome sperm (but are inviable with Y-chromosome sperm). This would be virtually undetectable unless you had some other reason to karyotype and it would be extremely rare so it’s entirely possible you would never observe it even once. Typical Swyer syndrome is already very rare and may go undetected until puberty or even later.

    But I also thought, if the above is possible, wouldn’t it have been observed in a model animal like a mouse by now?

    Anyway, if PZ says the paper is astonishing, I will definitely look.

  43. PaulBC says

    me@52 To answer my own question, no the specific case I wondered about did not happen here

    Evaluation of the Y chromosome in the daughter and both parents revealed that the daughter inherited her Y chromosome from her father.

    However, it is certainly remarkable that this XY woman went through normal puberty and unassisted pregnancy.

  44. John Morales says

    Seems like there’s an issue then with these various definitions that allow for such a wide range of estimates, and I’ll leave it at that.

    As you note, the issue is a social one, not a biological one; as you acknowledge, they really do exist, and the issue is their proportion of the population for differing definitions.

    cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essentially_contested_concept

    Oh yeah, and “leaving it at that” is a bit cowardly — it’s evident you have no good response to PZ @38 — but saves you from further revealing yourself.

    (Which is amusing, because you are as plain as a pustule on a schnozzle)

  45. says

    Seems like there’s an issue then with these various definitions that allow for such a wide range of estimates, and I’ll leave it at that.

    There isn’t an issue because you still have not identified anything in your life – or anyone’s life – that would be different based upon this number.

    If the number doesn’t have any effect on your life, then almost by definition the fact that different definitions lead to different numbers creates no “issues” at all.

  46. chrislawson says

    naturalistguy@50-

    “Seems like there’s an issue then with these various definitions that allow for such a wide range of estimates, and I’ll leave it at that.”

    Well that’s the point, as robertbaden@44 already noted (quite prophetically, I might add). I get the feeling you’ve convinced yourself that the failures of mapping a binary model onto a spectrum are somehow the fault of the spectrum.

  47. raven says

    Naturalisttroll is just trolling. He could look it up on Google in a few seconds.
    Like I just did.

    Wikipedia Intersex

    The number of births where the baby is intersex has been reported to be as low as 0.018% or as high as roughly 1.7%, depending on which conditions are counted as intersex.[4][5][6] The number of births with ambiguous genitals is in the range of 0.02% to 0.05%.[7] Other intersex conditions involve atypical chromosomes, gonads, or hormones.[4][8] Some intersex persons may be assigned and raised as a girl or boy but then identify with another gender later in life, while most continue to identify with their assigned sex.[9][10]

    Intersex people were previously referred to as “hermaphrodites” or “congenital eunuchs”.[11][12]

    The frequency of intersex humans is cited as .018% to 1.7%. The wide range depends on which of many definitions and criteria one uses.
    Intersexes are a very varied group of people with a lot of different causes.
    One cause is mosaics. The XY mother of two might well be a mosaic of XY and XX.

  48. unclefrogy says

    @50
    No there is not a problem with definitions until there is some actual measurement of the entire human population or a significant sample of the human population an estimate is all you can expect. that is how science works it is not a philosophical nor a legal exercise. It is not determined by belief nor wishes.it is wholly bound by what reality can be objectively demonstrated
    if you are really concerned I suggest that you do the measurement and testing that would determine the answer you seek (no small task)
    uncle frogy

  49. says

    @John Morales:

    Note also that they’ve had longer than that: I immediately asked largely the same question in #29 after naturalistguy’s initial question in #28.

    Note also also that naturalist guy’s original question asked for the proportion of intersex people who meet certain criteria:

    What’s the percentage of people who are intersex where the phenotypic sex is not consistent with the genotype?

    This appears to be asking the percentage of all intersex persons where the relevant intersexual condition arose from an environmental (or potentially epigenetic?) etiology. But given the context where people were speaking of sex chromosome types (X & Y) and the various possible combinations of those chromosome types, it’s also possible that they were trying to ask what percentage of people who are intersex have a phenotypic sex not expected for their karyotype.

    But the follow up is this:

    I thought you would know what the percentage of intersex people would be, given you’re tasking your students to do research that’s directly related to the question. Can you give me a number?

    Here there’s no referent to the comparison group for intersex people, so it appears to be asking for the percentage of the total population that have an intersex condition of any etiology.

    Why is this relevant? Because it appears that naturalistguy’s understanding of human intersexuality is so pathetic that they don’t even know how to ask for the information that they would like to know. All intersex people compared to all people? A subset of intersex people based on etiology? A subset of intersex people based on karyotype? Who the fuck knows!

    It’s hard to take someone seriously when they won’t even put in the time to form a coherent question.

    Of course, it also says something about naturalistguy’s googlefu, but I’ll leave that issue for another day.

  50. raven says

    While we are on the subject of “Look at this case”, here is something else that fell out of 3 seconds worth of Google.

    Published: 10 April 2020
    A case of a parthenogenetic 46,XX/46,XY chimera presenting ambiguous genitalia
    Rie Kawamura, Takema Kato, Shunsuke Miyai, Fumihiko Suzuki, Yuki Naru, Maki Kato, Keiko Tanaka, Miwako Nagasaka, Makiko Tsutsumi, Hidehito Inagaki, Tomoaki Ioroi, Makiko Yoshida, Tomoya Nao, Laura K. Conlin, Kazumoto Iijima, Hiroki Kurahashi & Mariko Taniguchi-Ikeda
    Journal of Human Genetics volume 65, pages705–709(2020)Cite this article

    Abstract
    Sex-chromosome discordant chimerism (XX/XY chimerism) is a rare chromosomal disorder in humans. We report a boy with ambiguous genitalia and hypospadias, showing 46,XY[26]/46,XX[4] in peripheral blood cells. To clarify the mechanism of how this chimerism took place, we carried out whole-genome genotyping using a SNP array and microsatellite analysis. The B-allele frequency of the SNP array showed a mixture of three and five allele combinations, which excluded mosaicism but not chimerism, and suggested the fusion of two embryos or a shared parental haplotype between the two parental cells. All microsatellite markers showed a single maternal allele. From these results, we concluded that this XX/XY chimera is composed of two different paternal alleles and a single duplicated maternal genome. This XX/XY chimera likely arose from a diploid maternal cell that was formed via endoduplication of the maternal genome just before fertilization, being fertilized with both X and Y sperm.

    This intersex XX/XY is both a parthenote (duplicated maternal chromosomes) and a chimera.

  51. says

    The XY mother of two might well be a mosaic of XY and XX.

    That particular mother is definitely a person with chromosomal mosaicism, if the paper reporting her existence is to be believed:

    We report herein a remarkable family in which the mother of a woman with 46,XY complete gonadal dysgenesis was found to have a 46,XY karyotype in peripheral lymphocytes, mosaicism in cultured skin fibroblasts (80% 46,XY and 20% 45,X) and a predominantly 46,XY karyotype in the ovary (93% 46,XY and 6% 45,X).

    Also, one more thing: could you please not use “intersex” as a noun? It is most respectful to use it as an adjective. For example:
    Intersex persons eat ice cream
    Intersex nurses have a median pay close to the median pay for all nurses
    Intersex public transit passengers support a modest fare hike
    Intersex electrical engineers are just as likely to help you with your home stereo system as any other electrical engineer, meaning unless you’re good in bed or a good friend you probably have to pay them for their expertise.

    but not
    Intersexes annoy the heck out of me when they play the accordion.

    Thanks!

  52. John Morales says

    Related, the first of Clarke’s three laws:
    “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

    CD @58, heh.
    I was tempted to note how “its even worse than that!”, but didn’t indulge myself.

  53. raven says

    Intersexes are complicated and variable.
    From the paper.

    A chimera is defined as the fusion product of two different zygotes in a single embryo, whereas a mosaic results from a mitotic error in a single zygote.
    and
    The XX/XY chimera is classified into some subtypes; tetragametic chimeras [2,3,4,5], parthenogenetic chimeras [5,6,7,8,9], androgenetic chimeras [5, 10, 11] and sesquizygotic twinning chimera [12].

    There are many ways to produce intersex XX/XY humans. Mosaics of various sorts are one way.
    Chimeraism is another way. There are at least 4 different kinds of chimeras.

    So how did this happen? Fortunately the short paper has a simple diagram which explains it well.
    The egg (23X) divides the nucleus once more to produce an egg with two nuclei (23X).
    This egg is fertilized by two sperm, one male (23Y) and one female (23X).
    So the zygote is the product of two sperm and one maternal set of chromosomes.
    The two maternal nuclei are now 46XX and 46XY.
    A cell membrane forms yielding a two cell zygote that is half XX and half XY.

    From the paper, this intersex child appears to be healthy and developing well.
    ” His growth milestone at 1 year was normal. The patient’s toy preference was wheeled vehicles and superheroes. ” For whatever that is worth.

  54. bcw bcw says

    You can raise the interesting question whether trans people should be considered intersex because one major sexual organ, their brain, is of a different sex from other organs.

  55. says

    So, Ken Ham claims there are only to possible combinations for sex chromosomes? Then I call on Ken Ham to post the full DNA sequence of his sex chromosomes. Otherwise, how can I be sure he’s really a biological male?

    Moreover, Dawkins should also post the full sequence of his sex chromosomes. Since Dawkins and Ham claim to be the same sex, then I better see that all 200 million+ base pairs match between the two of them. If there is even one base pair that differs between Ham’s sex chromosomes and Dawkins’ sex chromosomes, I will be forced to conclude that the two “men” have different sex chromosomes, and therefore at least one of them is lying about being a biological man.

  56. christoph says

    @ PZ, # 12: Thanks for providing a link to the article. Damn, those were some callous and insensitive comments.

  57. says

    I think the article you posted explains Dawkins pretty well:

    “Everyone knows that the easiest (and laziest) way to make a resurgence in the public eye is to publicly side with transphobia. It’s a rote act at this point: Side with transphobia under the guise of “asking questions” or “opening discussions,” receive backlash, use the backlash to paint yourself as an endangered thinker, then notify your agent to expect calls for podcast guest spots.”

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