Biological Sex Exists on a Spectrum, Says Nature Magazine

Examining the claim that gives fresh meaning to the term “junk Science”

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Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
Isaac Asimov

In a 2015 article published in Nature.com, entitled, Sex Redefined, freelance writer Claire Ainsworth delves into the discoveries of various genetic and reproductive anomalies in addition to intersex conditions to argue that “the idea of two sexes is simplistic,” and that we should embrace the notion that sex exists on “a wider spectrum.”

But is it?

And should we?

The following will attempt to answer both questions.

What is a Spectrum?

It might be helpful to start our consideration of this claim by looking at exactly what a spectrum is and why we describe things as existing along one.

We can consider the audio spectrum. We know that human beings can hear sound waves created by vibrations that range from about 20Hz (vibrations per second) up to 20,000Hz. This range of possibilities is what allows us to enjoy music, or to recognize instantly the sound of a familiar voice which, like all human voices, is comprised of a one-of-a-kind harmonic blueprint consisting of overtones arranged in a unique sequence.

We also have the visible light spectrum, consisting of a wide range of electromagnetic frequencies that allow us to see in color.

Can sex be viewed in the same way?

It seems forced, or clumsy to answer in the affirmative. Sex categories do not exist because biologists have a needless compulsion to pigeonhole people into binary classifications. On the contrary, just as light and sound allow our brains a visual and auditory experience of the world around us, sex is attached to a function, and that function is reproduction.

But whereas sound has a wide range of possibilities, each of which serving the function of sound differently, yet equally; the reproductive process only involves two prerequisites: a sperm and an egg.

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The pedantic ramblings of a hopeless contrarian, grasping for sanity in a world gone mad