Unscientific American. They no longer have any right to use the term "scientific" if they're pushing this crap.

Downthread someone said "I can't wait for next month's phrenology issue". To which someone else replied "...with an astrology section." Seems about right.

Meanwhile, an actual scientist, who left this wretched planet before it all went to shit, had this to say:

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

Carl Sagan

And to think he passed away in 1996. Imagine if he were here, now. What would he say. I sure hope he wouldn't go "woke", so many supposed skeptics have.

How did the Greeks know who to allow to participate as citizens in political society? How did various even older societies know who to throw into volcanoes as sacrifices?

What sex were the people actually getting pregnant and bearing children for all of human history?

Even a little closer to the 18th century and Europe -- which sex got to act on stage at the Globe in Shakespeare's plays contemporaneously when he was writing them? How was that determined? THAT WAS BEFORE THE 18th CENTURY

How did the idiots who would be asked basic questions on the street by Jay Leno allowed to take over a scientific magazine aimed at a lay audience? Good grief.

They confused "men thought of women as being LIKE inferior men" with "men thought of women as LITERALLY inferior males". Idiots.

Aristotle was probably one of the most famous proponents of the "females are incomplete/inferior males" idea, but even saying that required him to acknowledge that there were females and males at all. The exact same sex categories existed, there was just a value-based hierarchy that accompanied it.

Even if it was true (and I'm not saying that it is, just entertaining the idea) that sex was a spectrum or there were more than 2 sexes, etc. ... something like 99% of the world still falls into the "traditional" male/female categories, including the vast majority of TiPs. It's still more like "binary with exceptions" than "evenly distributed spectrum". Many scientific laws are laws in spite of having exceptions. Should we also say that there are no different species because there can be phenotypic variations within each? Should we just give up on trying to say there are significant differences between anything because you can find a 1 in a million subject that has 'in-between' features? You can have a theory that's not false, strictly speaking, but also just completely fails to usefully model phenomena or advance understanding.

[–] Gyndalf 🧙🔮🦅 11 points

Many of the writers with STEM credentials who had columns in SA jumped ship years ago.

Like most articles they publish these days, this one’s author has no STEM credentials and writes about a mish-mash of different topics.

[–] ProxyMusic 11 points Edited

Before the late 18th century, Western science recognized only one sex—the male—and considered the female body an inferior version of it. The shift historians call the “two-sex model” served mainly to reinforce gender and racial divisions by tying social status to the body. (6/7)

So agriculture and animal breeding were only invented in the late 18th century - around the same time the steam engine was invented? Agriculture and animal "husbandry" are products of, or orginated concurrent with, the Industrial Revolution?

Nobody in Western science noticed the difference between roosters/cocks and hens, lions and lionesses, bulls and cows, stallions and mares until the late 18th century? Western scientists figured out gravity, electricity, magnetism, fire, weather patterns, wind dynamics and navigation before they first twigged to the "the birds and the bees"?

Newton invented calculus before anyone in Western science noticed menstrual cycles in humans, estrus in other mammals, and such phenomena as pregnancy, egg-laying, seeds, pollen and pollination in the plant and animal kingdoms?

Western science only figured out how the vast majority of plants and animals reproduce during the era of George III in England, and George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson across the pond?

The Book of Genesis was written in or after the late 18th century? The New Testament too? The story about Jesus being born to a young woman who'd never had sex known as the Virgin Mary was cooked up in or since the late 18th century?

Hippocrates practiced medicine in/since the late 18th century?

Archaeologists are wrong to say that the figurine found buried in Austria known as the Venus of Willendorf dates to 25,000-30,000 years ago? In fact, the Venus of Willendorf only dates to the late 1700s, when the American and French revolutions were going on?

Here's the SciAm article mentioned in these tweets, along with some commentary from me:

How Medicine's Fixation on the Sex Binary Harms Intersex People

“Normalizing” infants’ and children’s genital appearance to match a sex assigned in early age isn’t medically necessary and can negatively impact quality of life

By Meghan McDonough

In the summer of 1996 a small group of people met in northern California to share their experiences with intersex variations. One participant, Heidi Walcutt, said that doctors surgically reduced her clitoris as a young child “to more closely approximate a normal female appearance.”

This resulted in nerve damage that would blunt sexual sensation later in life, as well as stigma that made Walcutt feel at times like hiding in the closet and at other times intensely angry. Others in the group similarly reported shame, confusion and anger resulting from their medical treatment.

The encounter was archived in a documentary created by the Intersex Society of North America, which was founded just three years earlier by an activist using the name Cheryl Chase, whose experience paralleled that of Walcutt. (Chase’s name is now Bo Laurent.)

Intersex is an umbrella term for variations in reproductive or sexual anatomy that may appear in a person’s chromosomes, genitals or internal organs, and it has been estimated to include about 1.7 percent of the population. There are more than 30 medical terms for different combinations of sex traits that fall outside of the typical “male” and “female” paths of development.

In the second episode of Scientific American’s documentary series A Question of Sex, we look at how people with sex variations are challenging longstanding notions of the sex binary in medicine. Video here: https://youtu.be/GFIugrTaSmM

In a survey conducted in 2020 by the Center for American Progress, nine in 10 LGBTQ+ intersex individuals reported some level of poor physical health. Of the majority who reported experiencing discrimination in the year prior, more than four in five said it had affected their financial well-being.

While international human rights groups widely condemn medically unnecessary intersex surgeries on minors, science has been slow to follow.

Genital surgeries on intersex youth first became commonplace in the 1950s, when a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University argued that a baby with genitals that looked neither clearly male nor female should be assigned a sex in early age and that their body should be altered to match. If a penis or a clitoris was deemed too small or large, respectively, it was shaved down.

That Johns Hopkins psychologist was the pedophile sex abuser of children John Money - the very same guy who invented the term "gender identity" in the first place. Along with UCLA sexologist Robert Stoller, MD, Money is one of the architects of gender ideology first who planted the idea in the popular consciousness that everyone has a "gender identity."

There are life-threatening conditions in which genital surgery is required for infants and children. But “normalizing” their genital appearance to match a sex assigned in early age isn’t medically necessary and is still largely up to doctors and parents. Advocates have long argued that the decision should instead be delayed until individuals are old enough to give informed consent.

Yet most of same people who say "sex is a spectrum" and speak out against surgically altering the bodies of DSD kids to "normalize" their outward appearance also strongly advocate in favor of subjecting so-called "trans" children and adolescents to irreversible medical treatments to remove, hide, forestall, blunt and/or destroy their natural physical sex characteristics in order to make the outward appearance of their bodies more closely resemble stereotyped images of the opposite sex. Many of the "sex is a spectrum" crowd who advocate for or "identify as" so-called "intersex" persons are strongly in support of subjecting so-called "trans" minors to radical medical interventions affecting their genitals and other sexed body parts before they are old enough to give informed consent. And many of of them seem take this position even though they know that subjecting "trans" youth to hormonal interventions and surgeries will leave them developmentally stunted; permanently sterilized; unable to breast feed if female; and if their puberty was blocked by GnRH analogs, unable to experience normal libido, sexual attraction, sexual arousal and orgasm - not to mention with a host of serious iatrogenic medical problems such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney dysfunction, recurrent or chronic pain, and diminished bone density leading to osteoporosis, brittle and breaking bones, and spinal fractures.

Sean Saifa Wall is an intersex activist and researcher who was born with an intersex variation called androgen insensitivity syndrome, which occurs when a person who has XY chromosomes is resistant to hormones called androgens.

At age 13, Wall underwent a surgery to remove his internal testes, which at the time were thought to carry a risk of cancer. He told Scientific American that, not long after, he and his mom attended a consultation with the same doctor for another cosmetic procedure that involved shaving down his clitoris and creating a cavity inside of him.

I don't think the body part in Wall's case was a clitoris. A micro-penis is not a clitoris.

“There are so many assumptions made: that I would want a vagina, that I would want to be in a heterosexual relationship, that I would even identify as a woman.”

Arlene Baratz is a physician who had to rethink what she was taught in medical school when she learned that her two daughters were born with intersex variations. [Baratz's kids are both XY with AIS.] She notes that the stigmatizing push to “treat” genital differences doesn’t square with how science thinks about other traits that naturally vary in the population.

Arlene Baratz also is a dyed-in-the-wool sexist who's fully aboard the gender identity bandwagon. She refers to DSDs not as physical conditions caused by genetics that affect anatomy and physiology, but rather as "gender identity conditions." In 2017, she told ABC News:

“Our chromosomes don’t tell us who we are,” Dr. Arlene Baratz, a Pittsburgh breast radiologist with two intersex daughters... “We expect XX is pink and a girl and XY is blue and a boy, but we know from children with gender identity conditions that is not always the case, even when their bodies are perfectly typical.

With this knowledge, Baratz says that doctors today “anticipate how the child will feel as an adult and what they feel inside … gender assignment is aimed at putting gender identity and role in sync with each other as the child grows older.”


“I think we know through science that there is a spectrum of variation for just about everything, including sex traits,” Baratz says. “And people with intersex bodies show us that because their bodies exist on a spectrum of difference. I think the issue is that people want to think about gender as a binary.”

Yes, DSDs do show "that there is a spectrum of variation for just about everything, including sex traits" - but this spectrum of variation occurs within each sex. Persons with male DSDs like Sean Saifa Wall - and Baratz's two adult children and Caster Semenya - all show how varied the physical sex traits of males can be.

DSDs have nothing to do with "gender as a binary" - they are conditions affecting physical sex development which lead to affected persons having some atypical physical sex characteristics for their sex. People with DSDs aren't in between the two sexes, or neither sex, or a combination of the two sexes. They are males and females whose sex anatomy and/or physiology is atypical for their sex.

DSDs don't refute, undermine or disprove the fact that sex in humans and other mammals is binary. People with DSDs came into being the same way we all did - egg+ sperm, implantation in a woman's uterus, gestation in a woman's body for many months, born out of a woman's body. When they grow up, people with DSD don't make a third kind of gamete.

Some people with DSDs are born with ambiguous-looking genitals at birth - or, in the case of some DSDs, with genitals that at first glance resemble the genitals of the opposite sex more closely than their own sex. But just because some babies/persons are hard to categorize as either male or female with 100% certainty right away based solely on the outward appearance of their genitals doesn't mean there aren't two sex categories in the first place. Not being sure whether an item you're mailing through the US Postal Service counts as a letter, a flat or a parcel doesn't mean that those aren't the three categories the USPS has established, and that those categories aren't very clearly defined with stated parameters: https://youtu.be/JZCF4CcCj64

As a result, she [Baratz] explains, most research on surgery focuses on cosmetic outcomes. “They’ll report that they’re able to put something in the vagina that they create,” Baratz says. “And being able to put something in there of a certain size, they say the surgery was a success but then no information about, when that person goes on to want to be a sexual person, how that’s working out for them.”

All this is true. Because the medical doctors and scientists who came up with these surgeries in the first place were all men. Very sexist men who think the primary function and major purpose of a human vagina is to be penetrated, by a penis or other instrument wielded by males.

One of Baratz’s daughters is now a psychiatrist who focuses on the mental health of LGBTQI people. In 2020 the two co-authored a study reflecting the need for more community-based research on the mental health of intersex people.

In July 2020, after years of activism by Wall, Baratz and others, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago became the first in the country to say it would stop performing medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex infants and children.

Hospitals in other cities have since followed suit. And in 2021 New York City passed a bill to educate doctors, parents and guardians of intersex children on the potential harms of genital surgery.

After all, the fixation on a sex binary in science, Wall points out, doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

“I think for people asking the question ‘Is your child a boy or a girl?’ I would really challenge them to just take a moment and ask, ‘Why? Why is it so important?’ Are you just happy to have a baby? Are you just happy to start a family? I think those are quality-of-life questions that often get overlooked or missed in this conversation.”

Why? For starters, because the physical differences between males and females are so significant that for the first 36 months following birth, two entirely different sets of growth charts/parameters have to be used - and are used everywhere on earth - to measure and track the physical health and developmental progress of baby boys and baby girls. The measurements for normal body weight, length, head circumference and rate of weight gain for boys and girls from birth to 36 months not the same!

For another, there are a lot of serious genetic diseases which are X-linked, occurring only in males such as hemophilia, SCID (aka "bubble boy disease") and X-linked muscular dystrophy.

For yet another, there are other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and early childhood diseases that have different trajectories and rates of mortality in babies and children depending on the children's sex.

Another reason is fairness for female competitors and participants in girls' and women's sports. Baratz supports opening up female sports to XY persons with DSDs based on what suits individuals with XY DSDs rather than on what's fair to females.

Yet another reason is the health and wellbeing of children and adults with DSDs. As is the case with kids with all medical conditions, children with DSDs need to be informed of the facts about their own bodies and apprised of the health and other related issues they will face as a consequence. Letting kids with XY DSDs grow up thinking they are female, only to find out in puberty of adolescence or their teens that they are actually XY with a DSD, might seem to be the kind approach when they are little, but it really doesn't do them any favors.

This article was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.


All animal life since the history of ever: male and female

All human life since the history of ever: male and female (with occasional chromosomal abnormalities that still either make males or females who have problems with fertility, etc.)

Humans sometime in the 2010s: We all unanimously developed "gendered souls" which rendered biological sex an outdated concept

Archived for posterity of course, because we cannot let these people live this down in the coming decades.

And yet every baby remains grown in the uterus inside of a woman's body.

What? Sean Saifa Wall has PAIS and a 46,XY karyotype. He's a man and "identifies" as such. How do rare DSDs "challenge longstanding notions of the sex binary"?

They don't, of course, but it sounds vaguely science-y to people who aren't in the know, and people with DSDs are such a truly tiny minority that they get drowned-out by TRAs when they object to being used to legitimize the faith.

I just posted the whole SciAm article. It's full of the usual gibberish. It quotes at length supposed DSD expert - a radiologist with two XY AIS offspring - who says sex isn't binary, and calls DSDs "gender identity conditions."