Men = Testosterone Damaged Women!

One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age. That will have been done by one or more men. Most people who are killed by another person are killed by a man. This is true whether the killing is legal or illegal. Very few people in Western society get through their entire lives without being affected either directly or nearly directly by some sort of violent crime of some kind or another, and that crime was almost always committed by a man. Wars are mostly fought by men, and are typically started by them.

Men fight over women, they fight over resources, they fight over nothing, they fight over everything. Men fight. Women fight too, and men occasionally bite dogs.

In non-Western societies, where it is harder to get statistics, there are societies where men are less violent and less dangerous. There are also societies where men are more violent and more dangerous. When we look at patterns across societies, we see a couple of relationships that are not perfect but that are fairly predictive. When a society relies on one or more resources that can be damaged by unfriendly neighbors, competitors, or enemies, men tend to get organized to defend those resources. To facilitate defense fierceness, fighting ability or other culturally shaped and modified traits may become very important. Some societies have words that are used as labels for men who kill other men and are thus of higher status. A few studies seem to indicate a relationship between a man's fierceness, even the number of men he has killed "honorably," and his likelihood of being polygynous and having more children than other men. But again, there are other societies where sharing and caring, rather than fighting and killing, raises one's status.

It has been understood for years that male and female roles, attitudes, social skills, and so on vary greatly across cultures, so that the women of one culture may well be more "fierce" than the men of another culture. But it has also been observed that within a given culture, there is usually a relationship between men and women whereby the violence, nastiness, fierceness, bellicosity, and all that is greater in men than in women. Culture and biology, and I use the word "and" here only so you will see a familiar phrase (really, I mean biosocial factors) shape this relationship between men and women (and I use the terms "men" and "women" as shortcuts for two easily defined points on an uneven spectrum of -inities and -osities). And part of that relationship involves neural development and hormonal effects that interact with each other as well as external factors.

And no, it does not have to be this way. A culture can purposefully decide to have the differences between men and women attenuated, to have less violence and less difference in bellicosity between men and women. Some subcultures within an otherwise fairly bellicose Western society have done that. Over the last month I've been keeping track of how many times I hear (in person) or read in an email or an IM a person say something like "Imma kill that guy" or "I'll kick his/her ass if he/she does this/that," and noting the gender of the person who says it. (These are always meant rhetorically; no one paying attention would consider these statements to be actual threats.) On one occasion the person making the remark was a man. On 15 other occasions by my count the person making the remark was a woman. The object of the remark was male about half the time, female about half the time. In my subculture, it would seem that the women are fierce-ish.

The problem with men, as a group, as a type of organism, as a subset of humans, is that at various points along the way on their journey from the female template on which all humans are built biologically, they have been altered in ways that make them dangerous assholes. Even when we try to reduce the male-female difference as a society, men who do not willingly participate in that often end up being fairly nasty, dangerous beasts; they may be rapists, they may be batterers, they may be some other thing. They break our efforts to have an egalitarian peaceful world. In a way, they are broken. They are damaged, if you will. Some of that damage is facilitated by what you may know of as testosterone (a word that stands in for androgens).

But whatever you do, don't mention this testosterone caused by damage thing because it will upset them.

I did that a while back; I made the remark that men were women damaged by testosterone. That statement was picked up on a video and broadcast across the Internet and people's reaction to it have caused a Minor Sorting. Most of the negative reaction to it was from the usual suspects, people who already hated me because I am an openly feministic male. Or because someone in their clique told them to hate me. Or whatever. Other people were more thoughtful about it and objected to the statement because it is wrong. Well, that's good, because it is in a way wrong, because it is an oversimplification. But it was not meant to be a description of the biological and cultural processes associated with the development of individual personality, culture, and society. I am a little surprised that people thought it was such a statement, because it is so obviously a remark designed to poke certain men in the eye. Some have described this remark as punching up. If you like, it could be interpreted that way, but it was really much much simpler than that. It was poking certain men in the eye. Some people said it was wrong because it was bad pedagogy. Actually, a statement like this can be good pedagogy. But what I was really doing was poking certain men in the eye.

One thing that people who have spent way too many electrons talking about this statement of mine don't understand is the context. This is the third or fourth time I've done panels at the event where this statement was made. For a good number of the audience, this would have been about the 20th time they've bothered to show up in a room where I'm sitting at the table in front. Some of the people in the room were actually students who knew me even better than that. The panel itself (this panel and all the other panels, for the most part) are moments when an ongoing conversation is suddenly organized and directed more than usual and for 60 minutes is carried out a certain way, then the conversation continues at the table after the panel, at other panels, in hall ways, and for several hours each night in a party room. This is the first year that some of the panels at this event were videoed and widely disseminated on the Internet. If I do these panels next year, I'll keep that in mind and make sure I do what I always WANT to do but only actually get around to doing a little: Produce a blog post to go with each panel, BEFORE the panel, then produce an update after the panel that reflects what really went on. That I did not do this for the present set of panels is my fault, but I'll happily excuse myself from doing that because, as I've just explained, the SkepchiCON track really is more of a closed, insular, and small group event and conversations like the one that has been making its round on the Internet have not happened before.

I have found the ongoing conversation about "testosterone damaged brains" to be somewhat less than interesting, full of distraction, very often little more than troll fodder and a huge waste of time. I've been asked to explain, to apologize, to produce copious documentation to back up may amazing claims. There are, however, only two reactions to my comment that I'm interested in. One: You go "Ouch" and put your hand up to your eye because I just poked you there. Two: You go "heh, that was funny." All other reactions are really your problem, not mine. Sorry.

The things I say above about culture, society, males, females, etc. is all pretty well established, nothing new. I put together this list of things to read for anyone who wants to get a basic background in the theory and understand some of the classic works. In addition, see the following:

Children of Six Cultures: A Psycho-Cultural Analysis, in collaboration with Richard Longabaugh

Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food Taming Our Primal Instincts


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One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age.

This is truly and absolutely appalling.
I thought things would be better in Europe, but a quick search shows that I thought wrong.

How depressing.

I wonder to what degree aggression is exacerbated / related to car-use.

You're right, it is funny because it's just plain nonsense. That's like saying Women = Estrogen Damaged Men.

You're a silly man, Greg.

By John Banks (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

John, no it isn't given the asymmetric developmental pattern; in the absence of any additional information (mainly in the form of hormones or hormone-like molecules) a human being will grow up mostly female. If the person is a typical XX individual there will probably be ovaries and stuff. If the person is a typical XY individual there will be testes instead of ovaries, but they will be located approximately where the ovaries would be. To make a male you have to....well, to continue with the theme...BREAK A FEMALE!!!

Amoeba: I don't know of any comparative work that I would believe statistically, but I know from direct observation that rape is very very rare in some cultures not counting spousal rape which I can't say much about, while in other sub-cultures we know that rape is so common that it is the most typical way of having sex.

Regarding cars, I don't know. What do you think the link/connection is?

Whenever I see arguments like this I'm reminded of the newsreel shots, during the run up to the Balkan war, of Serbian mothers stoning trucks of Croat and Albanian refugees. This was at a point where Serbian traffic cops were shooting cars, but nobody had yet started shooting people.

To be sure, Serbian men turned out to be pretty violent too (as you acknowledge), but it's not clear to me how one can discount the possibility that those Serbian men were raised to be violent by their Serbian mothers.

(I'd better add that in a civil war, these things happen on all sides, it just so happened that these news crews were in the part of Bosnia claimed by Serbs.)

By Ian Kemmish (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

I'm reminded too of the newsreels of Russian Women in WWII crying about how they were raped by all the russian soldiers.

Then, later, when the Russians were pushing back the Gernmans, Russian Women crying about how they were raped by all the german soldiers.

(though the latter was likely true far more generally than the former)

Hi Greg!

Thank you so much for writing a follow-up response on this issue.

I would like to make sure that I have a reasonably accurate understanding of your position so that I do not misrepresent what you are saying.

When you talked about "the male brain is a female brain damaged by testosterone" did you meant that:

(1) testosterone alters the male brain during different stages of development


(2) the part about "damage" was about how androgens (and other biosocial factors) help influence men to be more statistically likely to become "fairly nasty, dangerous beasts" and that they are damaged in the sense that "they break our efforts to have an egalitarian peaceful world".


Thanks in advance.

By Emil Karlsson (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

If you want to assume that there is a clear cut distinction between the two (which is a reasonable but inexact model) than I pick door number 2.

It is true, though, that we are stuck in a species where males being assholes is "normal" if we assume that the majority of cultures doing something is "normal" (which we kind of have to). Inevitable != normal, of course. So there is that complexity.

But yes, "broken" is meant to refer to the parts of the human ethogram which are more common in males than females that we in gentile progressive modern society eschew and are generally considered the sorts of things Wrangham labels "Demonic" in his book (see link above).

Thanks for clarifying your position. I know understand what you meant and have no major objections. I will add another note about this to the blog post I wrote where you commented a while ago.

By Emil Karlsson (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

The female colleague who taught our sex education course referred to females as the "stock model", and males as "hotrods", i.e. modified females.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Damn, I should have said that, no one would have gotten mad at me!

"One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."

That's a fabricated statistic. It's sexist rubbish, as is everything else in this article.

None of this is based on science - it's just hate propaganda against half the human race.

What is this doing on SCIENCEblogs?

By Evil Pundit (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Interesting insights, thank you.

Ooop, how did an MRA get on this comment thread? Sorry, not allowed. I'll let that comment stand but that's the last one, thanks.

It is quite funny how MRA's claim that the "statistics are wrong" without actually make a real attempt to refute them at all.

"from the female template on which all humans are built biologically"

I think you failed high school biology, and I sincerely hope that you have no male children to infect with your sexism.

By Harriet Maple (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

I always wonder why people like Greg Land only note when the male drive, across all cultures, is the cause of most violence in the world while omitting that same drive is what created the large majority majority of human advancement.

Your rebuttal would likely be "Women haven't had a chance yet.", but then I would that not be the same rebuttal for the imbalance of violence?

Ha! Quite a way to get people frothing, yes.

When this comes up in my world -- and I'm the kind of person who actually does tend to have it come up more than one might think -- I tend toward trying to get people to just understand that humans are developmentally default female unless morphed away from that path, before trying to get into much else. Because just that alone is a lot for a lot of people to even begin to wrap their heads around without trying to pull some "now you're being sexist!" BS.

A nice illustration of the way we've been taught to think is also that most people try to identify the sex of young cats by searching for their balls -- in young and fluffy cats, it's not so easy sometimes, especially with a squirmy animal with sharp things attached to its feet. Actually, it's a much, much swifter thing to search for their vaginas, right there, usually pretty easy to spot when they raise their tails. But we have female = absence of maleness so deeply ingrained that it usually doesn't even dawn on people to do that.

Meme: I'm not sure who Greg Land is. Not sure what the "male drive" is either. I am pretty sure that there is not a "drive" that causes violence that also invents, say, pick-up trucks. Well, maybe.

spit: There is a another way to sort out your kittens, IIRC. You pick them up by the ruff of the neck and their tails either go between their legs or not. That supposedly correlates to male, one to female. Anybody know if that's true?

Greg, how would it be less accurate to say that male and female development is the same up to a certain point at which point they differentiate based on the presence of XX or XY chromosomes?

Also not agreeing with Evil Pundit at all, but do you have a citation for the statistic he mentioned? I've heard it elsewhere and wanted to read up on it and would like to know what resource an article author used when citing it.

For stats on male violence, check Demonic Males (citation given)

Developmentally, mammals generally* develop during early stages to have reproductive features that are undifferentiated and parallel. Gonads will normally form ovaries unless they are altered by the presence of a hormone produced by fetal testes. There is a gene found only in typical males that produces a hormone-like substance that negatively affects the development of female primary sexual characteristics. Other hormones in XY individuals promote the development of male primary sexual characteristics.

An XY individual without the usual mix of products but a functioning gene for testes determination will have the undifferentiated gonads convert to testes but otherwise, all of the primary and secondary sexual characters will be female (not counting the brain).

Putting it a slightly different way, the default developmental trajectory is female, and in order to get a male, you have to have a set of genes that function that produce products and receptors that kill off certain female parts and promote certain male parts' development, to get a male. Interestingly, the primary sexual bits for female development do not exist in adult males (usually) but the primary male bits exist (but are very very small) in females.

So what you are saying isn't exactly inaccurate, but it is not as accurate as saying that the default developmental trajectory in the absence of masculinizing products is female. This is how we can get a person who seems totally female but has internal testes, but we don't get a person who seems totally male but has internal ovaries. (Having said that, there are ways to get pretty much anything but that may require things like chimerism or other very rare things.)

Censorship, the first resort of the propagandist.

If a man is a "testosterone-damaged woman", then by the same token, a human is a "genetically damaged chimpanzee".

Of course you can't defend your position with facts or logic - so you resort to deleting criticism. Protip: That ain't science, either.

By Evil Pundit (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Evil, I will be deleting most of your comments, yes.

However, I like this comment because it demonstrates out a falsehood and makes an interesting point at the same time. The comparison you make is wrong because it turns out that ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny in more ways than Gould meant when he said that!

Yet is it metaphorically reasonable, if you assume chimpanzees evolved into humans (you may have gotten that right by accident, sort of) and that some population of chimps changed under selectio because whatever they had going did not do and they got lucky. But it is a pretty poor metaphor.

It may be more accurate to say that everything that is not a bacterium is a second rate bacterium.

Mostly, though, you have to shut up now.

Wow, now hes screaming censorship, yet he has nothing scientific to bring to the discussion. Sad.

"Evil, I will be deleting most of your comments, yes. "

That's censorship.

And there's no point in attempting rational debate with a bigot who promises to censor dissenting views.

That need to censor is in itself indicative of someone who doesn't believe their own propositions can stand up to scrutiny.

I won't waste any more of my time here. There's a whole big Internet that mental midgets cannot control, and that's where the serious talk will take place.

By Evil Pundit (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Evil, you are not providing a dissenting view, you are providing crap. And, this is not censorship. This is me taking care of my comment section like a responsible blogger. Glad to know you're going quietly. I appreciate that.

I don't think it really matters much which gender is the "default" - they still end up developing differently so that they are physically different when mature. Is there any "damage", or just difference?

"One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."

This was a feminist myth which was found to be made up of whole cloth several years ago, and further reinforced by a magazine article which defined rape very very loosely.

Careful, this guy is just pandering to his dominatrix mistress. She let him out tonight to disparage whats left of his broken manhood.

Paul, in the post I discuss why the word "damage" is used and what it means here.

Soilwork, don't speak of pjay that way.

Pjay, seriously, can you even read? " raped or seriously assaulted sexually " is not "everything is rape" and otherwise your comment is a bald faced lie.

BTW, for every obnoxious butt-hurt MRAist comment I'm letting through (do demonstrate their point of view) there is a half dozen I'm not. Well, that's been the case so far, I may just start repressing them completely starting now.

If you're only letting select few MRA comments through, then how do we know they haven't refuted your claims or.provided sources to challenge your stance.

By Pcarvious (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Pcarvious, this is not about testing my stance or refuting my evidence from an MRA perspective. I have no interest in that and the regular readers of this blog pretty much share that. The purpose of this post, and of this blog, is not to engage in that particular "conversation." I don't allow free run here by MRAs, by people selling bigfoot bodies in freezers, by AGW denialists, and a lot of other groups.

Also, it is not like I don't see the comments. There is no "MRA" filter that is applied to comments before I see them. If someone provides anything of interest regardless of their perspective I'll let it through.

I use the term "testosterone poisoning" myself. It can take decades to get over that kind of damage and that is if you have insight into yourself. Otherwise, you're a bit screwed as are those around you.

Wildly OT now but it is late and my brain moved into manic phase...

My pet hypothesis is that extroverts are damaged introverts. They're the ones that start the wars, draft young people, go into politics to expand their control over people, come up with those idiotic trust games you play at "optional" company retreats, and assume that you are the damaged one if you don't like hanging around crowds of noisy people all giving off peculiar smells and yelling above the loud music, which they also seem to think is a perfectly reasonable thing to have when you want to spend an evening yelling into people's ears, and accelerating hearing loss by a decade or three.

Furthermore, they don't see anything wrong with their inability to be alone for any length of time, their aversion to any place where there isn't instant loud stimulation available (avoid the woods and mountains unless they get to travel in gregarious noisy smelly packs--can smell those groups 2 km away over open water), and being nearly incapable of sitting quietly.*

Best thing about this hypothesis is that I don't need to look things up as it is obvious I'm right; or if pushed for evidence i can just tell you to read a book I haven't actually read myself, but I figure it'll support my idea (Quiet: the power of introverts, or see Cain's TED talk). See, I canz do szienze. ;-)))

*a few years back i worked on top of a remote mountain on an unihabited coastal island with one other person. Only way on and off was by helicopter, and if weather permitted we'd be up all night monitoring bird migration on radar, and sleeping much of the day. Except for 10 days we had rain so couldn't work and we just had to sit around.

After a day and a half of this he went squirrelly. He spent his days digging drainage ditches in the moss all across the side of the mountain. The ditches didn't go anywhere in particular--he just started digging and couldn't stop. When eating meals under our tarp, he fidgeted and twitched. He was the most unpeaceful person to be around. When I returned the following year the ditches were evident from quite a height, looking like something from Chariots of the Gods?. I spent my time hiking daily to a place where he was not and then spending the day there in peace and beautiful solitude. It was a most refreshing and regenerating experience in what was a difficult time of my life.

Yep, extroverts = damaged goods (probably a genetic component there that makes them more susceptible to testosterone poisoning although we need an explanation for female extroverts). Ah, how about mimic androgens in the water supply? What journal should we submit to? Science or Nature? You can be joint author if you're not a damaged introvert. :-P

By Daniel J. Andrews (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Cool story, bro.

Men are indeed women, testosterone leads to cellular changes that makes one born a man. Natural women's gender development does not need additional hormones, and applying testosterone above the normal levels will masculinize a woman. The androgen insensitivity syndrome is a disease where a XY (male) individual has a cellular insensitivity to testosterone preventing their development as male.

Testosterone induces physiological changes in human brain that modify the behavior; although I believe that the upbringing is more important than testosterone, also high levels of prenatal testosterone have been linked to autism and high IQ.

-A medical student.

By soni mayorga (not verified) on 03 Aug 2012 #permalink

Males = Testosterone enhanced Females

True that sis!

BTW: Since male has to cross street to overtake female according to your reasoning, do black people in loose fitting clothes have to cross the street to overtake whities? Just asking.

By Sascha Vongehr (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Greg, this is a heavy laden topic. (Pun intended)

I've seen the violence of women, surely you've seen a "Cat fight" or at least've heard of them. (Oh, and I'll call you "Surely" any time I want to!)


I've heard late-night domestic violence happening through the wall of an apartment and seen the weaker of the lesbian couple sitting black eyed and crying on the curb that morning.

Women throughout history have stood behind their man, have manipulated their man and encouraged them to kick the ass of the husband of their female rival. Does anyone know what Assad's wife is doing right now? Could SHE be the driving force behind this killing in Syria? Just asking because I don't have anyway of knowing with certainty.

Leaving the angry hands of a woman from 11 feet away, I've ducked to avoid getting hit in the head with a heavy hardwood pizza rolling pin. Don't piss off a female chef in a place with very sharp knives and assundry "weapons."
She just couldn't handle the heat in the kitchen.

Women can fly off the handle just as easily as men can.

Now, some women are intensely attracted to "bad boys" and are thrilled to be near their dangerous dominance and power for a perceive status and sexual thrill.

I could go on and on like your article does Greg, but let me "Be a Man" by getting to my point abruptly:

Women, . . . being humans too, are not any less crafty in their "pay back's a bitch" mentality, and women are, though a bit less inclined, testosterone notwithstanding, as violent as men are.

By Darrell Barker (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Wow, they are out in force!

Re: the kitten thing, I don't know if the tail thing is true -- I don't think I've experienced it that way, usually they all seem to tuck their tails, but I haven't really been paying attention to that. It's a side note, anyway, just one of many tiny things that always strike me in a "wow, we really aren't used to not thinking of male as default" kind of a way. There are males and there are those other weird things that don't have penises (usually.)

As for statistics on rape and sexual assault, there are actually quite a few studies on it -- and they align pretty well overall, so deciding that it's "made up" is kinda weird without actually going on a hunt for the research. Not in a cherrypicked way, in an open way that looks at the breadth of the findings.

Indisputable is that the FBI stats for forcible rape -- so only the law-enforcement reported cases, and only the clearest cut rapes (not sexual assault) -- hover between ~75,000 and ~90,000 per year, and that's an awful friggin' lot of rapes in itself, nevermind that all research on it tells us that tons of rape goes unreported. I'm never quite sure why people feel some huge need to say "it's not that bad! Those dastardly feminists are just being dramatic!" I mean, even the law enforcement stats are pretty awful, and nobody who spends much time on this stuff really thinks they tell the whole story or even come close.

People chafe at the word "damaged" in this, I guess. And it's true that it gives a value judgment. I think a value judgment applied to the levels of violence involved is pretty appropriate, to be honest.

Personally I do ascribe vastly more of that to social modes than to testosterone or developmental differences -- _masculinity_ as a concept has some pretty aggressive shit involved in an awful lot of cultures. But whether that comes out of cultures interpreting biological maleness or whether it's culturally inherited from way back somewhere is an open question to me. These things, as you often point out, are never really either/or. I will say that, a few popular representations aside, my experiences with many FTM transgender folks taking testosterone have not led to any clear cut observation of testosterone as a particularly defining factor here (of course it's not testosterone at the same developmental points, to be clear, and my anecdotes also aren't data, so it ain't that solid -- but it's not unnoteworthy to me, either.)

Which is all to say I largely agree and do see that you're also including social and biosocial factors here as hugely important. As with many biological factors, I think that how your difference is treated conceptually often effects your behavior quite vastly more than the difference itself probably would on its own. But there really aren't answers.

As for the MRA crowd, they're damaged by something vastly weirder than testosterone. In another culture, our coming DSM 5 could be considering including "Threatened Manhood Syndrome."

I agree that enculturation is key. But, neurons and hormones are involved with the proximate mechanisms. I'm not especially fond of the term "biosocial" (though I used it) but having biology and culture in one word underscores the fact that they are rarely distinct entities.

No one needs go past the first sentence to see this belongs in the onion.

"One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."

How boring that we have to listen to this over and over. Since when did science become womens studies? They also propogate the myth of 1 in 4 women raped in college. Go to any college site and you can find out the number of sexual assaults, it's usually around zero, sometimes one. By sheer powers of math if one woman is sexually assaulted in a college of 3000 women. If we locked the doors and didn't let any women out or new women in it would take 750 years to sexually assault 1 in 4.

If you're going to write an article, I suggest not making the very first sentence so easily proven to be fraudulent.

By Whydotheylie? (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

As a live, functioning transsexual woman, I have made some observations (anecdotal and utterly subjective) from the outside of either sex.
Men (most men) have lost women's (most women's) ability to be caring and nurturing, and so are not grounded in compassion. Men can be trained to (re)develop this capability, but it does indeed require some training. This is made more difficult by the gender privilege that men possess in our culture, making it hard for them to see what the world looks like to the less privileged -- that the ability to care easily is one of the things testosterone damages.

I must say I think that "hot-rod" analogy works well for me.

Maybe I've spent too much time being deafened while drinking coffee at outdoor cafes while the local hoons rev up their totally-unsuited-to-suburban-streets pride and joy right next to me. But the idea that the initial "modification" by hormones (or a souped up engine, oversized wheels and $$$$$s worth of chrome and other useless adornments) can lead to exaggerated and unnecessarily blatant displays of difference looks as though it could be a useful teaching or discussion point.

Totally agreed on all fronts. It's a complex set of loops, and it's way easier to find questions than answers, except for some (necessarily handwaving) statements like "everything it is effects all of what it is."

And IMO understanding that our evolution -- our entire trajectory as genetic beings -- has built us to be social sponges is sort of key to getting why separating the two is, well, weird, no matter what language is used to try to describe the interconnectedness of all of it.

I think my problem with the hotrod analogy is that we place different values on hotrods, too. To most of the dudes I grew up with, that wouldn't be taken as "stuff happened somewhere in development, without which I would be female," it would be taken more as "I'm super way more awesome, I got extra cool stuff added on that makes me faster and cooler!"

But all language is loaded, I suppose. :P

Whydotheylie?: Reading the first sentence then thinking you understand what was said is not recommended, especially when you misread it.

For example, you are arguing about rape statistics in college, but rape statistics in college were not mentioned in this blog post.

If you are going to critique blog post on the basis of your analysis of the first sentence, I suggest actually reading the first sentence!

1991 book by Stephenson titled Men are not Cost-effective. Can't speak to the accuracy of the stats and it is one of those books that would have been better if 50% shorter, but definitely "provocative" when considering the upside and downside of testosterone.

I recently read Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden's Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World, which focuses on shared proclivities among chimpanzees and human for young males to band together and attack "outsiders".

Though evo-psych has generally earned a bad name, this particular aspect seems to have real substance to it. Or maybe it's just that I'm biased in favor of the two main solutions the authors propose: more empowerment of women and girls at all levels of society, and a massive expansion of contraception availability around the world.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 04 Aug 2012 #permalink

Demonic males does a good job of applying behavioral biology without being evo pych.

Jesus Christ these rationalizations are shallow.

Do the world the favor and quit your career, Greg. Then never speak again. Seriously, please. The world would be a much better place.

@Greg Laden
"For example, you are arguing about rape statistics in college, but rape statistics in college were not mentioned in this blog post.

If you are going to critique blog post on the basis of your analysis of the first sentence, I suggest actually reading the first sentence!"

Than I will. The CDC which gave us the new official number of 1 in 5, not "one in three or four," is equally faulty. The phone call survey which determined this number asked the question, "Has anyone had sex with you while you were drunk, high, unconcious or incapacitated."

This was an all in one question. Only 20% of the 'X" number of people called answered the survey. 100% of the people answering the survey said yes to that all inclusive question. Since eveyone of us has probably has sex while being drunk or high the answer is yes.

This how the CDC reached the conclusion of 1 in 5 people being sexually assaulted. The broader the question the greater the inclusion of sexual assaults.

If I ask how many people had sex while drunk, high or with a minor. The answer might be 90%. If a minor had sex with a minor the answer is still, "yes." If both people were drunk or high it's still, "yes." Since it's my survey and I say drunk and high sex is rape and there's minors involved as well. I can now report that 90% of minors are raped while drunk or high.

You , sir, are a parrot. You regurgitate the same old false statistics. Anyone with any critical thinking researches how any number comes about. Your little study is simply more of the same.

By Whydotheylie? (not verified) on 05 Aug 2012 #permalink

@Greg Laden
You said, "One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."

I'm correcting your mistake. The official CDC numbers say one in five. I'm showing how you lazily parroted a false number without researching how that false number became a fact. Please try to keep up. When promoting an ideology that has no basis in fact, expect to be ridiculed.

Your very first sentence was a fabrication. Surely you can't believe a thinking person would take what you regurgitate as factual.

By Whydotheylie? (not verified) on 05 Aug 2012 #permalink

I am aware of the statistics.

1) Are you suggesting that 1 in 5 is not an alarming number?

Do you know any women? I doubt it. But if you do, do you know, maybe ten of them, including your mother, any siblings, friends, etc.? If you know 10 women, and 1 in five women have been or will be raped, then you know 2 rape victims. And you don't seem to think this is important. What kind of person does that make you?

2) Go back and read all the words in the sentence. And please, don't report back unless you grow some comprehension. Then, when you do report back it will be with an apology. (Not to me. To the women you are disrespecting.)

@Greg Laden
1) Are you suggesting that 1 in 5 is not an alarming number?

Are you intentionally feigning ignorance? I'll go over it one more time. The one in five statistic was arrived by the CDC by asking this question. "Has anyone had sex with you while you were drunk, doing drugs, passed out or incapacitated." This is an all in one question.

By using this definition to establish a number for rapes, anyone drunk or high who willingly has sex has been raped. Do you comprehend?

Now if I throw out the drunk or high part of the question and just say, "has anyone had sex with you while passed out or incapacitated." That number of one in five drops astronomically.

If you polled everyone whose commented here and asked if they ever had sex while drunk or high, you would get a near 100% rape rate. That is why I say you parroted a number without researching how that number was acquired when you said, "One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."

This was your very first sentence. This sentence was either an intentional fabrication, or you failed to research how that number was acquired.

By Whydotheylie? (not verified) on 05 Aug 2012 #permalink

That question does not equal what I said in my post. Read the damn sentence.

That was your last freebie. From now on, you address the question and you apologize. Everyone else is looking on going "WTF"?

It's up to females - If we failed to impress them with aggression to others then we might try something else to stand out in the crowd, such as driving like a maniac and living to tell the tale. /half truth

This article unfairly conflates dysfunctional men with masculinity and cloaks it in science rhetoric.

According to the 2006 health and human services child maltreatment report mothers commit 70% of all parental child abuse (even when you include sexual). Mothers also commit 70% of all parental child slayings.

Does that mean women are damaged people? No. Because these were dysfunctional women. They certainly do not represent all women any more than the tiny fraction of one percent of men who do harm represent the men who support their loved ones by self-sacrificing or do heroic things day in and day out (99% of volunteer firefighters are men).

For all the talk of science this article is heavy on subjective views, not facts.

Also, when discussing crimes I think looking at arrest records is going to lead to skewed results since according to most research I have seen, there is a male disadvantage in sentencing nearly as bad as the black disadvantage in sentencing. So, to take arrest / conviction records (which are biased to against men) as proof of male nefariousness isn't conclusive since there is bias against men in the justice system.

There is also no way to control for the social. The *largest* indicator of whether or not a teen male or young adult male will get into trouble with the law is whether or not a loving fit father was in the household. This indicator is larger than race or income.

What you are measuring is justice system bias against males, and family courts bias against fathers both harming young men, not the nefariousness of men.

Additionally, men are the vast majority of those who put themselves at risk to provide materially for their family (men are 95% of on-the-job deaths) and risk their lives for total strangers (men are 99% of volunteer firefighters).

This article is simply cherry-picking to make men seem a net negative. It's highly subjective.

Greg, I've been a fan and reader for years and honestly this is way beneath you. It reads like creationist baraminology and "Just So" stories.

Since no bony fish has ever dropped an atomic bomb, shall we say that tetrapods are poisoned towards violent behavior thanks to extra limbs? Or that the peafowl is "naturally" small and brown and mousy, with the male's display plumage being a defect - which, what, ought to be removed somehow to restore the species to its "natural" condition of being small and brown and mousy? Maybe there are people out there who really hate big blue feathers and find them offensive - well, since the big blue feathers came after something else, developmentally, are they now inferior?

And for all your complaints about MRAs, you're actually alarmingly close to the self-proclaimed "race realists" who declare certain subsets of humanity to be the "norm" based upon the time period when they departed Africa. I'm sure there are plenty of people on the Internet who would love to talk with you about certain groups' rate of violent behavior and correlate it with the time period of their emergence of Africa - the point being to cast those who came out before them as a "norm," from which the latter migrants are a likewise biochemically poisoned offshoot.

Check yourself. Really carefully. Check yourself.

Honestly, the fact that you piss off MRA types probably shouldn't be taken as proof of your thesis here. Stating any sort of factual statistics about rape will piss them off, and they're reacting to that rather than to the biological parts of your argument, which is where there are some flaws. For starters, I'm not sure that XY androgen insentivie individuals are a good example of inherent female-ness, since they're intersex rather than being biologically female, but that's a minor quibble.

The larger problem is the value implications by using the word "damaged". The male phenotype is altered from the female phenotype due to fhe SRY genes and androgen hormones, yes. It is even probably correct to state that testosterone creates changes in the brain that may make one more prone to violence, especially in a violent environment.

If you were to say that males are more prone to becoming developmentally "damaged" than females, you might be technically correct (and in fact there are gender differences in the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders), but applying the term broadly implies that all males are inevitably and inherently damaged by testosterone when the evidence does not seem to support this, and further you would have to explain away the fact that there are women who have abnormally high testosterone levels without being "damaged".

Then there's the problem that your argument sounds dangerously close to being a justification for rapists: that they're not vicious violent sociopathic assholes, but just people who have been damaged by their hormones. I ca understand explaining some criminal acts as a result of psychiatric conditions that are often a product of genetics and environment, and in those situations an jndividual with schizophrenia for example may not be culpable for his or her actions. However, your argument sounds dangerously close to equating maleness as a similar condition. I'm not sure that this is a very good idea at all. Describing rape as a result of males who were otherwise normal but damaged by testosterone is...honestly it's demeaning to rape victims and demeaning to men who aren't rapists simultaneously, which I did not really think was possible.

And finally, your argument fails because it identifies a particular condition that is more prevalent in men (violence) as evidence that their gender is damaged. Does the converse hold true as well? Autoimmune diseases are far more common in women than men, the odds vary with the disease, anywhere from 2-1 for MS to 10-1 for Hashimoto's, but the discrepancy is well-documented. Further, the observation that pregnancy often results in temporary remission of autoimmune diseases underscores the link between gender and immune function. So by this standard, are women "broken"? Is there something about prolactin or estrogen that causes womens' bodies to "break" and destroy themselves? And even if there were, woukd using such terminology be justified in any academic context?

This is the problem with trying to twist biology to make a political or sociological point: you wj d up oversimplifying thjngs to the point that any actual scientific or educational conceots become lost. Worse, you risk perpetuating various gender stereotypes, including in this case the particularly nasty "men can't help themselves" trope. It doesn't make you sound like a feminist, it makes you sound like a creationist or AGW denialist who distorts, dismisses, or oversimplifies scientific evidence as a means of making a political point.

There is a certain amount of steering off track here. I wrote this post to make clear my use of the word damage. I wrote this post to do so because my use of the word damage had been misconstrued and misunderstood and misused. After writing this post many people then understood what I was doing, but now in the last few comments we see the same problem happening again. Hyperion, most of your comment is damaged by your willful misunderstanding of the obvious.

I will not be spending any effort to re-correct, because I've already done that.

Hyperion, I am not using AS to demonstrate inherent femaleness.

"Then there’s the problem that your argument sounds dangerously close to being a justification for rapists:"

Don't fall over, man; if you reach that far it is fairly likely.

Hyperion, weren't you banned from this blog for bad behavior like a gazillion years ago?

Interesting Idea but I suppose it's wrong. Evolution is the basis for the developement of genders. The most plausible explanations are that provided by evolution. There is no reason to even speculate a bizrre idea like this. It's scientifically true that famale is the biological basis for male developement. However, this is not a reason to establish that man is a spoiled woman. The fact that men are more aggressive have strong basis and as you said is not new.
I think that we should not seperate between culture and biology, in my opinion they are both "biology" for culture depends on the biology and genes of human, that is both culture and environment are the outcom of human biology and genes.

By Nihaya Khateb (not verified) on 07 Aug 2012 #permalink

"One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age."
Is it 1 in 3? 1 in 4? 1 in 5? Do you have a source or cite or site? You don't feel that accurate stats on a science blog are important? Certainly Rape is serious and common assault. But your riposte, that it doesn't really matter what the numbers are, is as you are aware, valid in no field of Science. Rape is a serious problem and an assault, but assault itself is horrifying problem. Due to the very nature of rape, it should be acknowledged, that hard numbers and reliable statistics are problematic in rape. Instead of putting people down, and making unexaminable claims, you might have further considered male - male, female-male, and female-female rape as another issue but one t6hat doesn'y necessarily substantiate your thesis.

By Leeada Johnson (not verified) on 20 Aug 2012 #permalink

The truth is that you have no idea whatsoever what a world with only women (without "people who're damaged by testosterone") would look like, if it would somehow be a better world (let's say more egalitarian as you claim) or if women would just roughly take over the role that the men have now or if it would be simply different etc. You can try to guess but it will be just guesses on your part. This is why men being insulted by your baseless assumptions are absolutely right to be insulted and to express their feelings towards your misandrism.

It would be nice to see what your reaction would be to someone who would say that "Women = testosterone-lacking damaged men" because their lack of testosterone makes them lacking the drive or something like that, which would mean that the world would be a lot more advanced now if tthere was noone who was lacking testosterone around. That's not even remotely true though, not more true than your idiotic thesis.

If someone wants to find excuses to be sexist and provocatively insulting he can easily do it. Please stop doing that.

By Eudaimonia (not verified) on 21 Aug 2012 #permalink

You know, I am actually scratching my head here.

If men were supposed to be women, the how would our species continue? We would need sperm, which men possess. If men were to be women, that means there would be no sperm. So how would the species continue? It would mean that women would need a form of reproducing themselves without men, which means a change in their biology, which then implies that since women were not capable of reproducing without men and biology needed to change, that what "women" are is also not what humans are supposed to be.

I also have to mention this part about how testosterone gets in the way of the mind. If that is the case, why is it that even when women have rights, men still take the leader board for most intellectual areas?

I think this is just feminists make believe.

By SpikedYum (not verified) on 06 Feb 2013 #permalink

Society needs men to advance scientifically, competition promotes scientific advancement, and machines inevitably fail, strong muscles and a rough demeanor are what keep production rolling along.

If the world was all female, we wouldn't be talking on the internet right now.

I know, because women had nothing to do with inventing computers or the internet.

You have offered no evidence that testosterone or the Y chromosome is the culprit.

Is it not possible that a "defective" x chromosome is the culprit?

The x chromosome is linked to FAR more genetic disorders than the Y.

The MAOA gene on the x has been heavily linked to serial killers for example.

If you are talking about men who fall well above the normal range for testosterone that wouldn't prove your point either, there is obviously a healthy range like there is for other hormones. Too much water will kill you, that doesn't make it a fair statement to say people who drink water are damaging themselves.

In fact low testosterone has been linked to aggressive behavior in both men and women in some studies.

Men appear more likely to do x therefor testosterone is the culprit is a correlation/causation fallacy.

The word appear there is key. I could break down the data showing how most abusers were abused themselves, how boys are more likely to be victims of violence than girls and how this contributes to the disparity, how men are negatively profiled by the justice system at every single level and how women are more likely to report violence against them etc but I doubt you would listen.

The fact remains that the vast majority of men never rape or kill.

Even if there was a link it is also correlated to winning Nobel prizes as well. T certainly causes differences, some good, some bad.

If I was to say the male brain is a female brain which has been improved by testosterone (which I have an equal claim to make) people would instantly recognize that as a gender supremacist statement and I'd receive a far bigger backlash than you received.

By Yesiamjames (not verified) on 03 Aug 2013 #permalink

We are not talking about genetic disorders.

The warrior gene is an interesting case. I'm not sure what I think about it yet. But, if there was a woman with the warrior gene on one X chromosome half of the chromosomes holding that gene would be turned off, while in a man, none of those chromosomes would be turned off in a man. Also, if the "trait" was recessive it would be expressed far, far more often in men. That would explain certain things.

In certain societies, or under certain conditions in any given society the vast majority of men kill and/or rape. You can read a bit about that here:

You still haven't demonstrated that testosterone at normal levels is causally related to rape.

Yes military rape is a problem however this doesn't reflect on men as a whole and in most cases military people as a whole. People who join the military are self selected and are more likely to enjoy violence or have been through trauma than the average man.

Again most abusers were abused themselves and boys experience far more crime overall than girls and get molested at a similar rate.

Sexual violence in lesbian relationships is higher than any other group. Of course we never hear about that because it can't be blamed on men and it seems today that feminism cares more about this than actually helping women.

Women are better taught to recognize sexual abuse so perhaps this explains why lesbians appear to suffer more sexual violence in surveys but that doesn't help your case either.

Or how about the fact that over 90% of sexual abuse in juvenile detention centers is by female staff despite them making up only 44% of staff? The BJS has found this for 3 years running.

What about the CDC's 2010's findings that men are forced to penetrate at the same rate that women are raped with 80% of these men reporting only a female perpetrator?

Rape isn't a gendered issue and to treat it as such will only increase the rates for men and women.

By Yesiamjames (not verified) on 03 Aug 2013 #permalink

I didn't say testosterone at normal levels (or any level) is causally related to rape, so I'm not going to spend any time demonstrating that.

Rape is linked to being male (the vast majority of rape is done by males) and testosterone is very much involved in making males, and in day to day male operation.

But, the key question here is this: Is variation in rape as a behavior caused by variation in Testosterone? That is highly unlikely.

Females are much, much more susceptible to sexual assault than males and most of that sexual assault comes from males.

Yesiamjames, I would like to welcome you to one of the places on the World Wide Web where whinging cherry picking MRA symps such as yourself are not only not welcome, but also, despised. And by "welcome" I mean ... note how unwelcome you are here.

And you call this a science blog? xD

You make real scientists look bad with your retarded man-hating ramblings.

"Greg Laden is a biological anthropologist and science communicator. His research has covered North American prehistoric and historic archaeology and African archaeology and human ecology. "

Ah, but I see. You're not even a scientist. Explains a lot.

I read through some of it, but sorry to say, I couldn't read through it all, it just seems like the same BS from your last one I read.
I read a bit of your comment aswell. So men are damaged women rather than different?
To say men are "damaged" women is to imply that something damaged would be better "fixed", or it is not meant to be in that state.
So, I wonder. Let's say we were all "unbroken"...How does one reproduce? Women can't reproduce by themselves, so that would mean the end of our species. If a species cannot reproduce, what does that tell you? That they are the "broken" version of the actual species.
So if men are "broken", if you use a bit of rationality, it could translate in to say women are also broken.

You are trying to imply that because men have more testosterone, then somehow they are less valuable than women, be it in intelligence, or so on, as if to say changes from another group in to a different group, makes you less than the original group (going by your reasoning). If this was the case, then would that mean we are less than apes due to evolving from them?
If I am not mistaken, isn't there a disability that is due to someone having an "extra" X chromosome. It makes the child more likely to have disabilities and be "slow".
So by that, you can't give the impression that "more" chromosome equals "better". If an extra X chromosome makes you more likely to be disabled, could it not then be thought that maybe the reason why men don't have "two" X chromosomes isn't because they lack "needed" parts of our biology, but rather got rid of the less beneficial parts?

Men are not the only ones to rape, which shows that "testosterone" is not what determines rapists. How do we know that if women were as strong, they wouldn't rape? For example the man that was raped by seven, I believe, of his wives which resulted in his death. They had the power to do so, and so they done so. Same goes for when those crazy drive by females would pick up male hitchhikers and rape them at gun point.

Reading your comment in response to "Yesiamjames" is actually sickening. He states valid points, and you don't even acknowledge them, which makes me wonder if my response has any point to them, as you may well just do the same.

"I have found the ongoing conversation about “testosterone damaged brains” to be somewhat less than interesting, full of distraction, very often little more than troll fodder and a huge waste of time. I’ve been asked to explain, to apologize, to produce copious documentation to back up may amazing claims. There are, however, only two reactions to my comment that I’m interested in. One: You go “Ouch” and put your hand up to your eye because I just poked you there. Two: You go “heh, that was funny.” All other reactions are really your problem, not mine. Sorry. "

How can anyone take you seriously, then? Are you trying to have a dictator type of mentality here where you say something, pass it off as fact, then when someone questions you and asks for proof, they are to be discarded?

............Is that the only way you are able to maintain this point of view, by not acknowledging questions?

By SpikedYum (not verified) on 09 Aug 2013 #permalink…
this 8 Aug 2013 dated event: In a developing country like India, four girls raped one girl (their classmate) for many days inside girls hostel. So, how your sick theory admits to these events? Had these girls done this to boy, you would have brushed it with some of your misandrist crap.
But these events girls raping girl, tell me without that dangling/testoterone - how these events occur in such numbers.

Given you views I assume you have either had a bilateral orchidectomy or are taking cyproterone acetate. If not the prooof of you convictions would be in your doing so , let me know how you get on. best wishes Greg

By Greg Canning (not verified) on 09 Aug 2013 #permalink

I have to ask why the standards on a place called 'ScienceBlogs" Is so abysmally low as to allow what appears to be a man with capabilities slightly higher than an idiot but lower than a moron to host a blog?

Mr. Laden, I'd love for you to provide your source for, "One in three or four women in the United States will have been raped or seriously assaulted sexually by the time they reach a few decades in age. That will have been done by one or more men.", so that you can easily be shown for the lying boot-licking, self-flagellating, toady that you are.

Yes, that may appear to be an ad hominem but, I view it more as an apt description and suspect it to be par for the course on what must be the FTB equivalent of the science community.

By Jason Walling (not verified) on 09 Mar 2014 #permalink

What a damn joke this is.

By Cătălin Florin Marin (not verified) on 08 Jul 2014 #permalink

Thanks. I was having a bad day and this article cheered me up. Gave me a good laugh. I showed to my depression filled buddies and now they know joy again. Thanks again. Lol. Gotta love white knights..

By very nice (not verified) on 08 Dec 2014 #permalink

John Banks said: "Women = Estrogen Damaged Men."

No, it's not. Men start out female in the womb. Scientifically, biologically we are all female at the beginning of life. It is the Y chromosome that causes changes into a male. So saying that estrogen damaged men-- doesn't and couldn't exist because you'd have to have been a male before the estrogen came into play. Since men have XY and women XX, X is the dominant feature so it was never "non existent" in the embryo Your comparison is a scientific failure.

Going back to the MRA issue.....what do you have against MRA's? Recent reports by RAINN show that the rates are around 1 in every 6, but I'll ignore that for now, and assume the rates fluctuate depending on the times (as they probably do). But anyways....according to the CDC, more than 40% of the victims of domestic violence are male, and that goes off of reported incidents. I think it's fair to say that more men don't report domestic violence against them because society tells them to "man up" and "deal with it," and some male victims of rape have actually been told that they can't be raped, which I think is absolutely appalling. But long story short, I think that part (and I mean PART) of the problem with sexism and the sociological view of gender equality is neither side (as in Feminists and MRA's) wants to get along with each other. I think that we all need to adknowledge that there is a problem on both sides that clearly needs to be dealt with, and that this can go both ways. Both genders are discriminated against in different ways, and I think very few people want to acknowledge that.

By Brother C (not verified) on 26 Mar 2017 #permalink

It's partly conflation and partly a world concept problem.

MRAs have misogynists like feminists have misandrists. Both sides have mostly people neither, but both sides can point to the fringe and point out they're "one of them". Both know inside their own group this isn't true, but there's no real knowledge of both parties. Their worldviews do not overlap.

And worldview includes the idea that feminism is "equality for everybody", but this is neither in the definition of the word, nor borne out by their actions. When mens' rights are being discussed (a classic example was about male suicide rates), it was banned by a huge massive protest you can find on youtube easily with people (male and female) shouting that anyone attending was a miscogynist. After all, feminism was "equality for everyone", so only a woman hater would talk about men's issues or rights, right?

Yet, because STILL it was the dogma of the group identity that feminism was equality for everyone (and ignoring the, for feminism, quite reasonable unspoken coda "but lets sort out giving women the rights they've still not got first, eh?"), they KNEW MRAs were only a cover story for the raging anti-women bigots. After all, they see lots of those bigots talk about mens' rights, so proof, yes.

And, of course, those feminists giggling and planning the death of all men in the near future when procreation did not require insemination were not feminists but either trolls or just joshing.

When you self-identify as good with your ideology rather than yourself (and know with the caveat that you're most likely to fool yourself when it comes to self-image), whether religion or secular ideology, you will start making demons out of anyone not agreeing.

MRAs want to talk about inequality men face. Feminists think this is a smokescreen

a) they already want equality!
b) men are already "in charge". What do they need rights for?

And, where it is reasonable for feminism to want to drag attention to womens' rights and mens' rights to be dealt with is either unrelated or distracts lawmaking, modern feminism wants to be for both so that only their platform is in place.

Like heretics, the orthodoxy does not condone a different view of what's wanted. And one sect encourages their view as right and valid by making their sole avenue the moral choice and alternatives the immoral one. It's just easier to deal with black and white binary issues. Intersectional rights aren't really worth confusing yourself on. Simplex, not multiplex thinking.

"Scientifically, biologically we are all female at the beginning of life."

Although biologically women become male at the end of their child bearing years. Facial hair, et al. Why else HRT?

This is the problem of using science to support an unscientific ideological stance.

Genetic disorders are more prevalent the older the father is, because genetic damage happens when the sperm are copied, and this is more and more prevalent as the male ages since the sperm are copied anew. Eggs are not copied, and only direct damage results in change.

"Hah! So all the genetic problems are YOUR fault!"

Yeah, though when women are past their child bearing age, they "should" be abandoned. You don't keep the cornflakes packet once it's empty, do you.

The problem here being "both sides" I have parodied above are treating people like their biological facts, not like fellow humans.

You can use biology to make policy decisions when social mores are conflicted or inappliccable (cf abortion. Two humans at risk here, even if you take pro life, so how to choose? Well would the new life be independent and viable is a biological and medical call that can decide because we can't weigh up two innocent lives and find one less worthy without social problems), but you should not use that to replace the fact that they are still humans being talked about.

Thanks for this Greg. I stole a quote for a post. Summed up nicely.

By Daniel Conn (not verified) on 27 Mar 2017 #permalink

I prefer to think of men as supercharged women. If the entire human race had been women, we'd still be living in caves IMO.

"I prefer to think of men as supercharged women. If the entire human race had been women, we’d still be living in caves IMO."

You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not, however, entitled to express an opinion such as this and assume people will not think you are an ass.

Also, I've lived in caves, and I think you haven't. You may be underestimating the quality of cave life.