Researchers question the existence of two sexes and face harsh criticism, “Looks like it’s actually pure ideology”

Charles Roseman and Cara Ocobock study evolutionary genetics and human physiological responses to extreme environments, and in their op-ed, they questioned if there are only two sexes.

Controversial op-ed

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Roseman, a University of Illinois Associate professor, and Ocobock, a biologist, published a controversial op-ed titled “To Understand Sex, We Need to Ask the Right Questions.” The op-ed was published in Scientific American.

Provocative questions

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The authors claim the “answer to the question of how many sexes exist differs depending on the context.” They also asked, “When you are out and about in the human social world, are you checking everyone’s gametes?”

The question of transgender athletes

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“Female and male people need both estrogen and testosterone to function,” the authors said, adding, “We cannot rely on gross average differences between the sexes as evidence for differential athletic success.”

The questions about sex

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“The questions we ask about sex in our research are different from those used in a health context, such as practicing gender-affirming care through erectile dysfunction medication or pubertal hormones,” they added.

Two genders do not cut it

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The authors noted how the “binaries,” meaning two genders,” fail us once we move into questions about how organisms live out their lives.”

The op-ed received criticism

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Paradox Institute founder Zachary Elliott wrote, “Sexes imply anisogamy, a difference in gamete size, and therefore, a difference in the reproductive contribution,” adding, “There has never been a species observed that has more than two sexes. Across different species, the two sexes can exist in separate individuals or in the same individual.”

Some were less helpful

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Christopher Calvin Reid, a radio host, chimed in, “This magazine should not be allowed to call itself Scientific American,” adding that the magazine’s name is “fraudulent and dishonest.”

Ideology, not science

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Author John Hawkins said it was ideology, “I thought by the name that this might have something to do with science, but it looks like it’s actually pure ideology.”

Sex on different levels

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The authors noted sex raises a variety of questions on various levels, including medical, scientific, or humanistic. The question of sexes has been raised before, with Arthur Arnold at the University of California saying, “sex can be defined a number of ways.”

A 2018 article offers more on the subject

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An article by Claire Ainsworth says, “Biologists now think there is a larger spectrum than just binary female and male.” It offers an insight into “intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs).”

Plato said three

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Even ancient philosopher Plato believed there were three sexes, male, female, and hermaphrodite – but the third sex was lost with time. What seems evident to the majority has been the subject of numerous discussions, and the scientists are still debating.

The distinctions between gender and sex

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Gender is a social construction, while sex is a biological identity. It is much easier to understand genders and even easier to use these two very different terms interchangeably.

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Source: Scientific American