An evolutionary biologist shut down the editor of a prominent science magazine on Wednesday for trying to use birds to push far-left gender ideology.
Laura Helmuth, editor in chief of the prestigious Scientific American, cited the white-throated sparrow, a small bird found in North America, as evidence that biological sex is not a binary.
“White-throated sparrows have four chromosomally distinct sexes that pair up in fascinating ways,” she wrote on Twitter.
“P.S. Nature is amazing,” she added. “P.P.S. Sex is not binary.”
The obvious problem with Helmuth’s argument is that she constructed a non sequitur. Even if it is true that white-throated sparrows have four sex chromosomes, it does not discount the observable truth in nature that biological sex is, generally, binary, and that biological sex in humans is binary in the same way that humans are bipedal, though rarely some humans are born with one leg.
Aside from the fallacious argument, evolutionary biologist Dr. Colin Wright explained that Helmuth is just plain wrong.
In fact, Wright debunked this argument just two months ago. Interacting with other interlocutors who have advanced it, he explained:
The example they give of a species “with more than two sexes” is the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). This species has two color morphs, males and females with either white or tan stripes. The more aggressive white stripe morph has a large inversion on chromosome 2, and the species mates disassortatively by color morph, meaning that white stripe morphs tend to mate with tan striped morphs. This chromosome inversion coupled with the disassortative mating by morph has led to a situation where chromosome 2 “behaves like” another sex chromosome.
But having more than two sex chromosomes is not the same as having more than two sexes. While this species may be an interesting case study for how sex chromosomes have evolved, it certainly isn’t an example of a species with “four sexes,” which would require four distinct gamete types.
Not only that, but Wright exposed how the very source to which Helmuth linked also does not say what she claimed. That article, after explaining the genetic peculiarities of the bird, declares, “It’s almost as if the White-throated Sparrow has four sexes.”
Wright mocked, “‘Almost as if’ means that it’s not even ‘as if,’ meaning that they in fact do not have four sexes, but rather just two.”
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