Evolutionary psychologists are very butthurt about the new Scientific American

Now I’m even more confused. :confused:

Was the first line a typo, (games gamers)?
And the second type not mentioned is “In denial”, or was that meant to me personally?

(I need more coffee!)
(Or a drink.)

I read the editorial, not the full issue yet, but the issues mentioned in the editorial were nothing new to me, and they don’t represent a spectrum, they represent a tiny percentage in a predominantly binary landscape. Even if new science was to discover a 200% increase in non-dimorphic sexual expression, it still wouldn’t lead to a spectrum. Maybe new science will find up to 10% of individuals don’t neatly fit into a binary classification, but even that would be a stretch to describe as a spectrum, and while I’m sceptical it’d reach those levels I certainly wouldn’t have a problem if it did, again it doesn’t make the tiniest bit of difference when it comes to moral arguments.


It’s funny how people can’t admit that biological sex is a spectrum with clustering. Folks are really invested in the idea that these things are utter immutable despite the rich diversity found even among related species with regards to primary and secondary sexual traits. I guess it’s all due to the fact people still think the last fifty years of social order accounts for the entire history of humans and our ancestor species.


I’m pretty sure it hangs around because we have very little evidence for the existence of other inhabited planets. I would guess that a majority of the people who look at Fermi’s Paradox and conclude that the likeliest solution is some kind of Great Filter are not devout Christians.


Reasonableness like that would never get any clicks.


And for that matter you’re also better off with a spectrum+clustering than a binary when talking about biology vs culture as well - if a person is going to do something because of culture, it’s because culture has made its way from the noumenal into your nerves and juices.

Replacing binaries with spectra is low hanging fruit, but it’s almost always a tasty fruit.


Sorry - I thought you were joking

the first line is me - the second is the article

Maybe some people just like their models simple. I note for example that if I go online to book a flight, I am prompted to select one of two genders when entering personal information. Whether the airlines even need this information is unclear, but at any rate they seem to have suffered no downside from using a hidebound binary model of human gender. Of course in doing so they lose the ability to represent the full complexity of human gender, but ‘our models don’t fully capture all the complexities’ is a recurrent problem and the correct course of action is not always to use the most complex model.


Biology is messy and non-linear, to say nothing of culture’s added influence. Trying to force things like sexual expression into two narrow boxes seems doomed to fail.


Ah, yes, “even if there IS a spectrum, there’s no spectrum,” of course, why can’t anyone else see…?!

Nah. Dismissive frippery is still dismissive frippery.


Small differences can be important, especially when looked at from a 10,00ft view. Understanding those differences is vital to studying how they impact society, ignoring their existence or downplaying their significance doesn’t do anyone any favours. My educated guess is that biological sex differences play a role in behavior and social outcomes in the aggregate (this is important, because it doesn’t follow that you can make pronouncements about random individuals), but their effect is magnified by all kinds of social factors (e.g. early socialisation, individual biases, and wider cultural norms and systemic biases). The only thing we really know for certain is that biology is important, and that social interaction is important, disentangling the two and finding exact rates of influence for each is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Any answers found will help in designing strategies for promoting social justice, denying their existence will not, and whatever the answers may be, it doesn’t change the moral arguments for promoting equality in the slightest.


the only “spectrum” outside of this binary represents ~1%

Or you could have said:

the only “spectrum” outside of this binary represents 70,000,000 people, roughly the population of the UK.


Exactly. And s/he is also grossly misrepresenting the percentages involved, as well, so +shrug+.


Quite possibly, at the margins. One of the reasons that our anti-AIDs efforts revolved around things like encouraging condom usage and educating people about safe sex in general was that it was understood that people can’t just choose to stop being gay. In some alternate universe where people could actually just choose to be straight, it would have been a lot more defensible to close the bathhouses and/or launch some kind of public health campaign against choosing gayness.


Not to mention, possibly due to subtle (or not so subtle, yet denied) degrees of femininity and masculinity within both sexes, data is not exactly being broadly volunteered. Speaking for myself – a guy – I unashamedly cry like a grandmother when encountering sad/emotive moments in books and movies; not a problem for me.


Cool. Good to know that the airlines have not suffered from this choice.


In my experience, small differences all but dissapear when looked at from a 10,000 ft view.

This new research suggests that those differences aren’t vital in much other than our constant interjection of them into how we study society, and the way that we talk about them.

We’ve spent a long time pushing a narrative that doesn’t really apply in practical life. I’m ready for a new approach.


No. It would have been easier, certainly but no more “defensible” than it is now, at least morally. Inherent or chosen (and I fully agree it’s a combination of influences), sex is simply no one’s business but those consenting adults whose uglies are bumping. Period.


It says that, but, oddly, the only evidence of outrage is that same link (which is to another page on the same site). Also, the writer herself apparently disliked the song.

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Why does it matter what the non-binary rate is in order to consider something a spectrum? This article, for instance, says that autism rates are about 1 in 150 8 year olds. Certainly less than 1% and yet it is still considered a spectrum.