A future without gender

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Fen, May 6, 2003.

  1. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    9,879
    Fen wrote:
    "Work has even been done on artificial wombs. The body won't need any of that anymore."

    Well its about time! Thank god no more stretch marks, morning sickness, swelling ankles, huffing and puffing just to bring some demon spawn into the world!

    No I have never had any children I prefer to watch the hell some of my female friends go through. Will they have a community center where we can leave the newborn for the next 18 years so we wouldn't have to bother raising them either?

    YEEESSS!! Free at last!

    But please leave the sex organs alone...life is a drag enough already without taking the mojo away!
     
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  3. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    I’m really confused. There seems to have been a mistake between gender and sex. It’s a pretty standard idea that ‘female’ and ‘male’ are (reproductive) biological categories, while the genders ((feminine, masculine) or (straight, gay, bi, queer)) are social ones.

    I would suggest that genders as a category is much like baking bread, each loaf is different. So, in reply to Sargentlard sleeping with someone with the same (similar) gender as yourself may be fun even if your not gay. There are plenty of women who like feminine men.

    In reply to dsdsds, gender only came to creation in the 1960’s, before which society explained the division between men and women as different gender roles (i.e. the John/Joan case). The need to categories people and animals was formed during the 18th century, and if one looks at the works of Aristotle and Galen there are clear indications that men and women have not always existed as two sexs, never mind genders (i.e. one sex model where the male body was seen as standard and the female body was inferior with its reproductive organs inverted because the body was colder). And all this boils down to the statement by Abdiel, ‘I am of the opinion that having two separate genders is the correct way of life, the only way for our life.’ People think that there is a natural and correct way of life, god given or nature made.

    Most humans have grown up in the male=man, female=women society, and its resulting social conventions. The human essence is seen as being genetic, that the current genetic research is showing that there is little genetic difference between the human male and human female is causing some rethinking of why we think of them as being ‘natural categories’.

    Increasingly the exceptions to the two gender/ two sex model of society are coming out of their closet and demanding recognition for being human to (Australia issued the first intersex passport this year).

    So I’d suggest people to read a book by Anne Fausto-sterling called Sexing the Body. It’s a good intro to some of these points.

    Just out of curiosity how long do people think a penis should be on a new born baby boy, and a clitoris should be on a new born baby girl?
     
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  5. streety Registered Member

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    Couple of points:

    1) By getting rid of male and female you don't need to start reproducing asexually. Assuming we are going down the route of in vitro fertilisation and artificial wombs it should still be possible for gametes to be produced in the lab. Perhaps not at the moment but I doubt we are that far away.

    2) If you do want to start reproducing asexually then you'll want to really control disease, completely. Much of the driving force behind sexual reproduction versus asexual is to mix up the disease fighting genes. It's the only real advantage we have over bacteria and viruses which grow and so mutate much faster.
     
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  7. edgar Registered Senior Member

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    well listen buddy,,,,normal reproduction works so its okay why screw our selves up
     
  8. Mystech Adult Supervision Required Registered Senior Member

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    Don't be such a dick, I think he's bringing up an interesting topic. And who cares if having a gender is natural? Getting cancer is natural, cocaine is natural, what the hell is so good about nature? Why succumb to mediocrity when there is a better way?
     
  9. Mystech Adult Supervision Required Registered Senior Member

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    Haha, I dobut very much that eugenics will catch on again. The Germans tried that a few decades ago and we had a big war, as far as I know it's still out of vogue.
     
  10. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    374
    hmmm. . . but gender is socially constructed, not ‘natural’ in anyway.

    As for asexual reproduction; I guess it might be wise to take the example of bananas in that they are cloned and are likely to be wiped out be disease in the next coming decades –unless someone goes back to the tropical forests for the small nutty fruit relatives and clones more.

    ‘Natural’ sexual reproduction may also have a social value in that it creates a bond between mother and child. It’s conceivable that one would feel different about a child one picks up from the shop. (one group that would shed light on this is parents that have a premature baby and who is weeks old by the time they hold it) But this would not rule out reproducing asexually, the ‘clone’ could be implanted and carried to term (a type of IVF). And one could even create more equality between father and mother if the child was carried by both, maybe a kind of portable womb.

    We have integrated technology to such an extent that people don’t realise their cyborgs, glasses, shoes, mobile phones, cars. Under such a light maybe it’s conceivable that we will clone asexually, and then why be species-ist? Why not take genes from other animals for variation?

    The only thing to stop ourselves from being scarred of the unnatural, is that by creating tools like asexual reproduction we’re changing the social goal posts, creating a new society. Its unlikely to turn out like we thought, and our future offspring will only have us to blame.
     
  11. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    As for eugenics, the UK, US, and Scandinavia were amongst its supports until the 70’s. There is much academic discussion to whether the social eugenics program has not just transformed into genetic choice, in that it has responsibly onto the individual. With prenatal genetic testing there is a stigma in choosing to carry a genetically abnormal foetus to term.
     
  12. spookz Banned Banned

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    6,390
    weebee

    Under such a light maybe it’s conceivable that we will clone asexually, and then why be species-ist? Why not take genes from other animals for variation?

    i love it. excellent imagination i must say

    I guess it might be wise to take the example of bananas in that they are cloned and are likely to be wiped out be disease in the next coming decades

    what precautions can we take to ensure that humans will not face the same?
    is genetic diversity a problem with asexual reproduction? can diversity be artificially created (tweaking the gene)

    *pardon me if the questions do not make sense. i am a total novice

    Just out of curiosity how long do people think a penis should be on a new born baby boy, and a clitoris should be on a new born baby girl?

    this has to be a trick question! explain please

    i am aware of the difference b/w gender/sex. however i still think it is interchangeble to a certain degree. not of course in the strict scientific sense of the words but rather in general usage.
     
  13. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    374
    Spookz; Well what will hopefully save the banana is that the cloners have a natural source to begin again from. It is possible to imagine having a database of genetic samples which are used in such a way every two or three generations –a kind of mixing of sexual and asexual reproduction. . . I’m sure someone else here could give a better answer, I gave up science after my first degree –was way too hard

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    As for the trick question, there are many cases where babies are born where they can’t tell if it’s a girl or boy. The clitoris/penis is too small or too large to be a normal boy or girl. But what’s normal? For a while the idea was that to grow up to be a normal man the boy had to have a penis which would be long enough to penetrate. Equally it was thought unsightly for the baby girl to have a clitoris that protruded and so it was surgically shortened. At the time little was known about the genetic variations which lead to these conditions and gender and sex was thought of as malleable (until the age of 18 months). There was a case of an 8 month old boy who had an accident when he was circumcised. The doctors felt that he would be better of as a girl, than a boy without a penis and so surgically reassigned him. But later he became male again, and now lives with his wife. . . http://www.transhistory.org/history/TH_John_Money.html

    There seems to be a unique US thing with using gender for sex. I’ve read quite a few articles which report gender differences in the title, and then are talking about sex (male/female). It happens mostly with things like IQ, psychology (mental illness), cancers. I guess it comes down to the idea that I am a female who lives as a woman and that gives me certain traits. Now these traits could be ether down to me being a female or a woman, or both. –this of course relies on the assumption that women and men live very different lives in this world.
    There is also some interesting research which shows that cells are sexed….

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  14. streety Registered Member

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    Yeah just like the banana, if we start reproducing asexually we wil be weakening our resistance to disease.

    If you think about it sexual reproduction isn't a great method by which to evolve. Its very expensive in terms of energy. You need two individual to produce just one offspring at a time. An asexual species would be able to produce two offspring in the same period of time and would eventually overwhelm the sexual species by sheer numbers. Hence sexual reproduction must have an evolutionary advantage of its own.

    Sexual reproduction is by its nature a random process, you take as many steps backward as you take forwards in each generation.

    But this must have an advantage. Perhaps the reason is purely disease resistance. We all have a set of genes that are important in fighting disease and these have many alleles. Bacteria and viruses can go through millions of generations during the course of a human life span and so mutate a lot. They can adapt to our unique combination of alleles. Sexuall reproduction completely scrambles this mix meaning the bacteria etc are back at square one.

    In short, sexual reproduction plays a key role in disease resistance, if you want to get rid of sexual reproduction you had better get rid of disease first.
     
  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, I don't know where to start?

    ok ok so asexual is not good at all does everyone agree with that?

    What about Hermaphrodites? Hermaphrodites though are rarely stable natural and usually decay down to duel sexed in higher life forms. Even so lets see what would life be like if we were all hermaphrodites: There would be no more sex jokes and no sexual preferences, We would look like women but have a penis instead of a clitoris, it would be pretty hard to self inseminate but it could happen and I can only imagine how great sex would be!

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  16. Canute Registered Senior Member

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    It probably doesn't matter what we what or don't want. We respond to our environment much like rats. Stress and overcrowding leads to lower sperm counts, increased homosexuality, the erosion of male/female behavioural differences and probably in the longer term the erosion of male/female physical differences.

    There also seems to be a reduction is sexual attraction between the sexes, as evidenced by the increasingly desperate lengths men and women have to go to to attract each other (a contentious point - but it seems true - men used to get excited by the sight of a female ankle!). It is not difficult to see this happening around us. Personally I find the changes frightening and astonishingly rapid. Hell - men even like shopping these days.

    It looks like in the future human reproduction will become a matter for lab technicians just like food production. What with all these problems and our problems with disease etc sex may be becoming an increasingly solitary leisure pursuit.

    Even eugenics is on the increase as we carefully choose our sperm donors.
     
  17. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    374
    I don’t think that an intersex person would agree with the ‘Hermaphrodites though are rarely stable natural and usually decay down to duel sexed in higher life forms.’ I’m not saying this to be politically correct, but I think your simplifying a very important problem –how society deals with those who don’t fit into the duel sex model. Does it throw out the model because it does not fit a lot of people, or does it make those people fit?:bugeye:


    As for Canute’s remarks that we respond much like animals to our environments. I think this is an assumption which much of the research tends to be based on and so its little surprise when it turns out to be true. The measuring of hormones, air pollution ect only began recently, and unlike Antarctic samples we have little to go on when trying to measure hormone levels in the 18th century. So if we can’t use history, can we use control groups? Say a group of human males living in a quite non-stress place as a control, and what’s to say that them having higher counts is not down to the food, temperature, air, or general niceness of their world. I’m not doubting that stress has an effect on sperm counts, but I’d doubting its in league with wearing jeans which heats up the balls. . ..


    The second thing is the increased homosexuality. . .not too sure of that claim in light of ancient Greece and Rome. . . .I would tend to think of it in terms of a city with a high population needing greater social structure which as a side effect has a better established culture, which may protect alternative sexualities, and as in the case of Greece establish them as the highest form. Also there are historical examples of the cultures in Asia (which were not over populated) which valued a boy-man teaching relationship.


    Animal studies of homosexuality are very suspect. The one’s I’ve read tend to use lab animals which have been kept in sex isolation which is a different ‘model’ than the dominant mother theory. Thus if they want sexual relations they can only choose their own sex (and in this case doves have been shown to have lesbian)


    Now for the statement that overcrowding leads to ‘erosion of male/female behavioral differences and probably in the longer term the erosion of male/female physical differences.’ I’m not sure that places like Bangladesh or China support this. Its true that gender roles are effected by population density since employment opportunities are, and education, children games, and jobs affect the male / female physical differences. But I’d go on a limb and say that TV probably has a bigger effect than high populations. The role that TV had in bring gender testing into the Olympics since the general public did not believe that women could look like male athletes, or complete on that level. One could also question to role of the TV and internet in places like the Middle East which has a high division between genders.


    I’m guessing what was meant was that Modern life is responsible for these things. . .Oh and as for the ankle, tere was a time (17-18th century) when those high corseted dresses showed the breasts down to the nipple which was scandalous to the Victorians. Nature does not forbid body parts, culture does. (this of course brings up the idea that humans are the only animals able to change which part depending on their culture)
     
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I was talking about evolutionarily

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  19. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    -sorry

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    but then does that logic hold true for the Hermaphrodite fish? I was under the impression that fish had evolved sexed into two genders, and then some had 'further' evolved the ability to change depending on the sex ratio?
     
  20. Then ManMade Machine Registered Member

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    5
    Asexual production is a question of quantity over quality. Either we loose ourselves in the hives or grow up strong but less. While I’m not for asexual production, enjoying the current way were doing things right now, it has to be realized that man is an organism destined for war and fighting for its survival. I believe that the advancement of technology is soon going to take us far into space, colonizing everywhere would be more of a benefit, thus we have to be more. Insects and viruses are the perfect example, since they will outlive us because of their ability to spread to another area quickly, and who are we kidding, we are viruses.
     
  21. weebee Registered Senior Member

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    ‘it has to be realized that man is an organism destined for war and fighting for its survival. I believe that the advancement of technology is soon going to take us far into space, colonizing everywhere would be more of a benefit, thus we have to be more’

    Very 2001. . . just out of curiosity what type of benefit would colonizing everywhere be?


    Ps http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/1997-07/WFU-EAFF-300797.php
    describes a study which ‘scientifically proves’ an evolutionary advantage for sex
     
  22. edgar Registered Senior Member

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    omg......the way we reproduce is fine right now. We dont need high tech labs...... Were still the same as 3000 years ago. why do we need to change?
     
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    sure it does.

    I totally disagree, we need high tech labs to find a way for us to stop reproducing! for the love of god our population has double in the last 2-3 generations!!!! Maybe we could engineer better birth control, engineer new people that don’t want to have kids, or at the very least a super intelligent deer that hunts people.
     

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