The modern denial of biology undermines an essential part of the human story.

現代人對生物學的否定破壞了人類故事的一個重要部分。


Jim Gaffigan has this joke about a scientist who mistakes the male seahorse for the female and then stubbornly refuses to admit his mistake after learning that the one he’d called the male is pregnant. It’s a funny bit, but it hinges on a common misunderstanding that sex designations are arbitrary.

吉姆·加菲根有這樣一個笑話:一位科學家將雄性海馬誤認為是雌性海馬,在得知被他稱為雄性的海馬懷孕后,頑固地拒絕承認自己的錯誤。這是一個有趣的笑話,但它是基于一個普遍的誤解,即性別名稱是任意的。

The biological definition of males and females is entirely based on the size of the sex cells, called gametes, that they produce. Males produce the smaller gametes and females produce the larger ones. When scientists discover a new sexually reproducing species, gamete size is how they determine the sexes. In humans, males release between 200 and 500 million tiny sperm in each ejaculation while females have a lifetime supply of around 400, much larger, eggs.

雄性和雌性的生物學定義完全基于它們產生的性細胞(被稱為配子)的大小。雄性產生較小的配子,雌性產生較大的配子。當科學家發現一個新的有性繁殖的物種時,配子的大小是他們確定性別的方法。在人類中,男性在每次射精時都會釋放2億至5億個小精子,而女性一生中大約有400個大得多的卵子。

This initial asymmetry in gamete size may not seem like a big deal, but it leads to a whole cascade of evolutionary effects that result in diverging paths for each sex, which we call sexual sextion. If male and female bothers you, call them little and big, but regardless of what you call them, this foundational cell-sized difference in gamete size has profound effects on both evolution and behavior.

配子大小的這種最初的不對稱可能看起來不是什么大問題,但它導致了一連串的進化效應,導致了每種性別的不同道路,我們稱之為性選擇。如果男性和女性讓你感到困擾,那就叫他們小的和大的,但不管你怎么稱呼他們,配子大小的這種基礎細胞大小的差異對進化和行為都有深刻的影響。

Sexual reproduction that involves the unx of gametes of different sizes is called anisogamy, and it sets the stage for phenotypic differences between males and females. Robert Trivers laid down the basic argument, which he later described in biblical terms (“the scales fell from my eyes”), in one of the most cited papers in biology, when he wrote “What governs the operation of sexual sextion is the relative parental investment of the sexes in their offspring.” This fundamental insight provides the frxwork for understanding the emergence of sex differences across all sexually reproducing species.

涉及不同大小配子結合的性繁殖被稱為異配生殖,它為雄性和雌性之間的表型差異創造了條件。羅伯特·特里弗斯在生物學中被引用最多的一篇論文中提出了基本論點,他后來用《圣經》中的術語描述了這一論點(“我恍然大悟”),他寫道:“支配性選擇運作的是兩性對其后代的相對親子投資。這一基本見解為理解所有有性繁殖的物種的性別差異的出現提供了框架”。

Because male animals can produce millions of sperm cells quickly and cheaply, the main factor limiting male reproductive success is their ability to attract females, whereas the primary limiting factor for females, who, in humans, spend an additional nine months carrying the baby, is access to resources. The most reproductively successful men (e.g., Genghis Khan is likely to have had more than 16 million direct male descendants) can invest little and let the chips fall where they may, while the most successful women are restricted by the length of pregnancy.

由于雄性動物可以快速而廉價地產生數百萬個精子細胞,限制雄性動物生殖成功的主要因素是它們吸引雌性動物的能力,而對雌性動物來說,它們要多花九個月的時間來孕育嬰兒,其主要限制因素是獲得資源。在生殖方面最成功的男性(例如,成吉思汗可能有超過1600萬的直接男性后代)可以投資很少,讓籌碼落在他們可能出現的地方,而最成功的女性則受限于懷孕的時間。

By replacing “female” with “the sex that invests more in its offspring,” however, we can extract Trivers’s general argument, and one of the most falsifiable predictions in all of biology—the sex that invests more in its offspring will be more sextive when choosing a mate, and the sex that invests less will compete over access to mates. Find a single species where the sex that invests less in offspring is choosier, and the entire theory is disproved. The brilliance of this insight is that it explains both the general rule and all of the exceptions. Because of the initial disparity in investment, females will usually be more sextive in choosing mates. Trivers explained something that had puzzled evolutionary biologists ever since Darwin and also explained why the male seahorse, which really does get pregnant, is choosier, and the female seahorse is bigger.

然而,通過將“女性”替換為“對其后代投資更多的性別”,我們可以提取出特里弗斯的一般性論點,以及所有生物學中最可被證實的預測之一——對其后代投資更多的性別在選擇配偶時將更具選擇性,而投資較少的性別將為獲得配偶進行競爭。如果找到一個對后代投資較少的性別更有選擇性的單一物種,整個理論就會被推翻。這一見解的精妙之處在于,它既解釋了一般性的規則,也解釋了所有的例外情況。由于最初的投資差異,雌性在選擇配偶時通常會更加挑剔。特里弗斯解釋了自達爾文以來一直困惑進化生物學家的東西,同時也解釋了為什么真正孕育后代的雄性海馬比較挑剔,而雌性海馬的體型則比較大。

The assertion that male and female is an arbitrary classification is false on every level. Not only does it confuse primary sexual characteristics (i.e., the reproductive organs) which are unambiguously male or female at birth 99.8 percent of the time with secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., more hair on the faces of men or larger breasts in women), it ignores the very definition of biological sex. Although much has been made of the fact that sex differences in body size, ornamental features, hormonal profiles, behavior, and lots of other traits vary widely across species, that these differences are minimal or non-existent in some species, or that a small percentage of individuals, due to disorders of development, possess an anomalous mix of female and male traits, none of it undermines or challenges this basic distinction. Sex is binary. There is no third sex.

男性和女性是一種任意的分類,這種說法在每個層面上都是錯誤的。它不僅混淆了初級性特征(即生殖器官),這些特征在出生時99.8%的情況下都是明確的男性或女性,而二級性特征(如男性臉上的毛發更多或女性的乳房更大)則忽略了生物性別的定義本身。盡管人們對以下事實做了很多解釋:身體大小、裝飾性特征、荷爾蒙狀況、行為和許多其他特征的性別差異在不同的物種中差異很大,這些差異在某些物種中很小或不存在,或者一小部分個體由于發育紊亂而擁有女性和男性特征的異?;旌?,但這些都沒有破壞或挑戰這一基本區別。性別是二元的。不存在第三性。

In the 50 years since Trivers’s epiphany, we seem to have done everything we can to forget it. John Money in 1955 was the first to introduce a distinction between biological sex and gender roles. Prior to Money, gender was almost exclusively used to refer to grammatical categories (e.g., masculine and feminine in Spanish). But the major change came in the 1960’s when feminists first adopted it to distinguish social and cultural differences (gender) from biological differences (sex). By 1988 gender outnumbered sex in all social science journals and in the following decade the sex vs gender usage ratio in scientific journals had gone from 10 to 1 to less than 2 to 1. The last twenty years have rapidly accelerated this trend, and today this distinction is rarely observed.

在特里弗斯頓悟之后的50年里,我們似乎已經盡了一切努力來忘記它。1955年,約翰·曼尼是第一個提出生物性別和性別角色之間區別的人。在曼尼之前,性別幾乎只被用來指代語法范疇的含義(例如,西班牙語中的男性和女性)。但主要的變化發生在20世紀60年代,女權主義者首次采用它來區分社會和文化差異(性別)與生物學差異(性)。到1988年,在所有的社會科學期刊中,性別的提及數量都超過了性,在接下來的十年中,科學期刊中的性與性別的使用比例已經從10比1變成了不到2比1。在過去的二十年里,這一趨勢變得更加劇烈,今天這種區分已經很少被觀察到了。
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This major change is part of a larger movement to deny the effects of biology in humans altogether and the dominant view in the social sciences has now become that human sex differences are almost entirely socially constructed. In this interpretation, all differences in outcomes between men and women are the result of bigotry, and all we need to do to eliminate them is change children’s beliefs by encouraging gender neutral play.

這一重大變化是完全否認生物學對人類影響的更大運動的一部分,社會科學中的主流觀點現在已經變成了人類的性別差異幾乎完全是由社會構建的。在這種解釋中,所有男女之間的結果差異都是盲從的結果,而我們需要做的就是通過鼓勵性別中立的游戲來改變兒童的觀念,從而消除這些差異。

Despite these assertions, human sex differences are among the most robust and replicable findings in the social sciences. The strongest effects are in physical abilities, such as throwing distance or speed, spatial relations tasks, and some social behaviors, like assertiveness, where men have the advantage. Women, meanwhile, tend to have an edge in being more extraverted, trusting, and nurturing. The largest sex differences, however, involve mate choice and are in behaviors that emerge out of Trivers’ theory of parental investment, with women giving more weight to traits that signal a potential partners ability to acquire resources (e.g., socioeconomic status and ambition), while men give more weight to traits that signal fertility (e.g., youth and attractiveness).

盡管有這些斷言,人類的性差異仍然是社會科學中最有力和最可復制的發現之一。最強烈的影響是在身體能力方面,如投擲距離或速度,空間關系任務,以及一些社會行為,如自信,男性在這些方面都有優勢。同時,女性往往在更加外向、信任和培育性的方面具有優勢。然而,最大的性別差異涉及到了配偶的選擇,并且是在特里弗斯的親本投資理論中出現的行為,女性更重視標志著潛在伴侶獲得資源能力的特征(如社會經濟地位和野心),而男性更重視標志著生育能力的特征(如年輕和吸引力)。
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The evidence that sex differences in behavior have a biological origin is overwhelming. There are three main methods that scientists use to determine whether or not a trait is rooted in biology. The first hallmark of a trait that is likely to have evolved by natural sextion, is that the same pattern is seen across cultures. This is because it is unlikely that a characteristic, like husbands being older than their wives, is culturally determined if the same pattern is seen in every country on earth. The second indication that a trait has biological origins is if it is seen in young children who have been less exposed to culture (e.g.,baby boys are more aggressive than baby girls). Third, a similar pattern (e.g., males are more aggressive) seen in closely related species, such as other apes or mammals, also suggests an evolutionary history. Many human sex differences, such as more aggression in males or choosier females, hit the trifecta.

證明行為上的性差異有著生物學淵源的證據非常多??茖W家們用三種主要方法來確定一種性狀是否植根于生物學。一個可能通過自然選擇而進化的特征的第一個標志是:在不同的文化中可以看到相同的模式。這是因為如果一個特征,如丈夫比妻子年長,在地球上的每個國家都有相同的模式,那么這個特征就不可能是由文化決定的。第二個標志是,如果一個特征在較少接觸文化的幼兒身上看到,那么這個特征就有生物學的淵源(例如,男嬰比女嬰更具攻擊性)。第三,在密切相關的物種(如其他猿類或哺乳動物)中看到的類似的模式(如雄性更具攻擊性),也表明存在著進化的歷史。許多人類的性別差異,如雄性更具攻擊性或雌性更挑剔,都符合三要素的要求。

If these differences are so common, why has the opposite message—that these differences are either non-existent or the result of social construction—been so vehemently proclaimed? The reasons are almost entirely political. The idea that any consequential differences between men and women have no foundation in biology is appealing because it creates the illusion of control. If sex differences are hardwired into human nature, they are more difficult to change. In other words, if biology underpins sex differences, we might have to learn to accept them. But if gender role “theories” are correct, all we need to do to eliminate them is give kids gender neutral toys.

如果這些差異如此普遍,為什么相反的信息——即這些差異要么不存在,要么是社會建構的結果——會被如此強烈地予以宣揚?其原因幾乎完全是政治性的。認為男女之間的任何重要差異都沒有生物學基礎的想法很吸引人,因為它創造了一種控制的幻覺。如果性差異是人類本性中的硬傷,那么它們就更難改變。換句話說,如果生物學支撐著性差異,我們可能不得不學習接受它們。但如果性別角色“理論”是正確的,我們需要做的就是給孩子們提供中性玩具來消除它們。

Acknowledging the role of biology also opens the door to the unwelcome possibility that unequal outcomes for men and women should not just be expected, they might even be desirable. Consider the so-called gender equality paradoxwhereby sex differences in occupations are higher in countries with greater opportunities for women. Countries with the highest gender equality, like Finland, have the lowest proportion of women who graduate college with degrees in stereotypically masculine STEM fields, while the least gender equal countries like Saudi Arabia, have the highest. Similarly, the female to male sex ratio in stereotypically female occupations, like nursing, are 40 to 1 in Scandinavia but only 2 to 1 in countries like Afghanistan. This is an inconvenient finding for gender role theorists because it suggests that women and men have different preferences which they act out given greater choice, and it is only a “paradox” if you assume that sex is a social construct.

承認生物學的作用也為不受歡迎的可能性打開了大門,即男女不平等的結果不僅是可以預期的,它們甚至可能是可取的??紤]一下所謂的性別平等悖論,即在婦女機會較多的國家,職業的性別差異較大。性別平等程度最高的國家,如芬蘭,在大學畢業時獲得充滿刻板印象的理工科領域學位的女性比例最低,而性別平等程度最低的國家,如沙特阿拉伯,則最高。同樣,在斯堪的納維亞半島,像護理這樣的充滿刻板印象的女性職業中,女性和男性的性別比例是40比1,但在像阿富汗這樣的國家,只有2比1。這對性別角色理論家來說是一個令人不快的發現,因為它表明女性和男性有不同的偏好,如果有更多的選擇,他們就會表現出來,而如果你假設性別是一種社會結構,這才是一個“悖論”。

It is understandable, however, that some might fear that any concession to nature or evolved differences between men and women will be used to perpetuate discrimination. But is the fear of abuse so great that lying about biological sex differences is the only alternative? The rhetorical contortions required to assert that gender and sex are nothing more than chosen identities requires increasingly incoherent arguments and inscrutable jargon. This not only subverts confidence in science; it also leads to extreme exaggerations designed to silence those who don’t agree. The lengths to which previously trusted institutions like the American Medical Association now go to deny the impact that hormones have on development are extraordinary. These efforts are also likely to backfire when gender neutral terms handed down by elites, like “Latinx,” are opposed by 98 percent of those they are supposed to protect.

然而,可以理解的是,有些人可能擔心任何對自然或男女之間進化差異的讓步會被用來延續歧視。但是,對虐待的恐懼是如此之大,以至于對生物學上的性差異撒謊是唯一的選擇嗎?要斷言性別和性只不過是選擇的身份,所需的修辭扭曲需要越來越多的不連貫的論據和難以捉摸的行話。這不僅顛覆了人們對科學的信心,還導致了旨在讓那些不同意的人閉嘴的極端的夸大其詞。像美國醫學會這樣以前受人信任的機構現在不遺余力地否認荷爾蒙對發育的影響,這種做法很不尋常。當精英們傳下來的中性術語,如“拉丁裔”,被98%本應該保護它的人反對時,這些努力也可能適得其反。
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The heart of the problem lies in conflating equal opportunity with being equal, and in our utter failure to respect and value our differences. For two billion years, sexual sextion, governed by an initial disparity in the size of the sex cells, has driven a cascade of biological differences between males and females, whileat the same time ruthlessly enforcing another type of equality between the sexes. The fact that it takes one male and one female to reproduce guarantees equal average reproduction of the sexes, while the fact that mothers and fathers will each contribute a nearly equal amount of DNA to both their sons and daughters ensures equal genetic representation in the next generation.

問題的核心在于將平等機會與平等結果混為一談,也在于我們完全沒有尊重和重視我們的差異。20億年來,由最初的性細胞大小差異所支配的性選擇,推動了男性和女性之間一連串的生物差異,同時無情地在兩性之間實施另一種平等。需要一男一女來繁殖的事實保證了兩性的平均繁殖量相等,而母親和父親將各自為他們的兒子和女兒貢獻幾乎相等的DNA這一事實保證了下一代的平等遺傳表征。

Although this may not be the kind of equality some want, we need to move beyond simplistic ideas of hierarchy, naively confusing different with better and worse, or confusing dominance with power. In the logic of evolution, there are many paths to power and neither sex is superior. Better simply means more copies, and dominance only matters if it leads to more offspring.

雖然這可能不是某些人想要的平等,但我們需要超越簡單的等級觀念,天真地將不同與更好和更壞混為一談,或將支配地位與權力混為一談。在進化的邏輯中,有許多通向權力的途徑,沒有哪種性別是高人一等的。更好只是意味著更多的復制,而統治地位只有在繁衍更多的后代時才顯得重要。

The assertion that children are born unisex and are molded into gender roles by their parents delegitimizes other scientific claims. If you can’t be honest about something every parent knows, what else might you be lying about? It leads to inane propositions, like the assertion that transgender men can give birth by a pro-choice doctor testifying to Congress, and endangers the most vulnerable parts of our population.

孩子們生來就是單性的,他們被父母塑造成性別角色,這種說法使其他科學主張失去了合法性。如果你對每個父母都知道的事情都不誠實,那你還有什么可能在撒謊?這導致了一些無稽之談,比如一位支持選擇權的醫生在國會作證時斷言變性人可以生育,并危及到我們人口中最脆弱的部分。
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When people are shamed into silence about obvious male advantages in sports, or children are taught that sex is grounded in identity rather than biology, masculine girls and feminine boys may become confused about their sex or sexual orientation, and harmful stereotypes take over where none existed. Boys are told that if they like dolls, they are really girls, while girls who display interests in sports or math are told they are boys, born in the wrong body. This restrictive thinking shames people for feeling misaligned with their birth sex and pushes them to change their bodies to reflect this new identity. How is this progress?The rapid rise in the number of young girls with gender dysphoria is a warning sign of how dangerously disoriented our culture has become. Feminine boys, who might have ended up being homosexual, are encouraged to start down the road towards irreversible medical interventions, hormone blockers and infertility.

當人們對男性在體育運動中的明顯優勢感到羞愧而保持沉默時,或者兒童被教導說性的基礎是身份而不是生物學,男性化的女孩和女性化的男孩可能會對他們的性別或性取向感到困惑,有害的定型觀念取代了原來沒有的東西。男孩被告知,如果他們喜歡洋娃娃,他們就是真正的女孩,而那些對體育或數學感興趣的女孩則被告知他們是男孩,只是生在了錯誤的身體里。這種限制性思維使人們因感到與自己的出生性別不一致而感到羞恥,并促使他們改變自己的身體以反映這種新的身份。這是怎樣的進步?患有性別障礙的年輕女孩的數量迅速增加,這是一個警告信號,表明我們的文化已經極其危險地迷失了方向。女性化的男孩,最終可能成為同性戀者,被鼓勵開始走向不可逆的醫療干預、注射激素阻斷劑和不育的道路。
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The push for a sexless society is a stupendously arrogant and utopian vision. It cuts humans off from our biological history and promotes the delusion that we are not animals. Sex is neither simply a matter of socialization, nor is it just a matter of choice. Making these assertions—failing to understand the profound role that an initial asymmetry in gamete size plays in sexual sextion—is like trying to referee a game in which you’ve never bothered to read the rules, and it is an ignorance that we can’t afford.

對無性社會的推動是一個令人目瞪口呆的傲慢和烏托邦式的愿景。它將人類與我們的生物歷史割裂開來,并助長了我們不是動物的錯覺。性既不是簡單的社會化問題,也不只是一個選擇問題。做出這些斷言——不理解配子大小的初始不對稱性在性選擇中所發揮的深刻作用——就像試圖在一個你從未費心閱讀過規則的游戲中擔任裁判,而這是我們無法承受的無知。