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Evolutionary biologist: two sexes exist

Gender ideology has overcomplicated a straightforward concept, according to Colin Wright

A biologist defended a cornerstone scientific concept in the Wall Street Journal: only two sexes exist, male and female; and they are different.

“When biologists claim that sex is binary, we mean something straightforward: There are only two sexes,” according to scholar Colin Wright (pictured).

This is true throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. An organism’s sex is defined by the type of gamete (sperm or ova) it has the function of producing. Males have the function of producing sperm, or small gametes; females, ova, or large ones. Because there is no third gamete type, there are only two sexes. Sex is binary.

Wright earned a doctorate in evolutionary biology and ecology from UC Santa Barbara in 2018, according to his personal website.

“After graduate school I was a Research Fellow at Penn State, during which time I became increasingly frustrated with how gender ideology was influencing public discourse and perpetuating harmful pseudoscience regarding the nature of biological sex,” Wright wrote. “I began writing publicly about these issues in late 2018.”

Wright is author of popular blog Reality’s Last Stand, where he writes about gender ideology and the science of sex. He also recently became a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

In the piece, Wright advances a view common in biology and in the broader culture until fairly recently. “Biological sex is defined as a binary variable in every sexually reproducing plant and animal species,” German biology professors Wolfgang Goymann, Henrik Brumm, and Peter Kappeler wrote in the open-source December 2022 issue of BioEssays.

“With a few exceptions, all sexually reproducing organisms generate exactly two types of gametes that are distinguished by their difference in size: females, by definition, produce large gametes (eggs) and males, by definition, produce small and usually motile gametes (sperm),”  the authors wrote. “This distinct dichotomy…refers to a fundamental principle in biology.”

Carole Hooven, a human evolutionary biologist at Harvard, condemned on Fox News in 2021 medical professors’ trend toward refusing to use terms such as “male” and “female.” For those remarks, the director of her Harvard Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging task force accused her of transphobia and harming undergraduates.”

Writing in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Wright accused gender ideology of overcomplicating sex.

“Gender ideology seeks to portray sex as so incomprehensibly complex and multivariable that our traditional practice of classifying people as simply either male or female is grossly outdated and should be abandoned for a revolutionary concept of ‘gender identity,'” he wrote. “This entails that males wouldn’t be barred from female sports, women’s prisons or any other space previously segregated according to our supposedly antiquated notions of ‘biological sex,’ so long as they ‘identify’ as female.”

However, “ideologues are wrong to insist that the biology of sex is so complex as to defy all categorization,” Wright concluded. “The biology of sex isn’t quite as simple as common sense, but common sense will get you a long way in understanding it.”

MORE: Leftist academics can’t define ‘woman.’ Conservatives can fill the gap. 

IMAGE: Manhattan Institute

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