Err, yes, this is what Baron Cohen’s been saying all along

A study led by Daphna Joel at Tel Aviv university has shown that there’s really not much in the way of difference between male brains and female brains. There are features that are more prevalent in the brains of women and features that are more prevalent in the brains of men. But human brains tend to have a highly individual mix of such characteristics.

Interestingly, while hardly anyone has anything like the full set of mostly male features or the full set of mostly female features, by no means everyone with a significant collection of “female end” features is female, and vice versa. What’s more, many of these characteristics aren’t fixed. Environment and experience also play their part in shaping the brain, increasing its individuality.

No one has ever said that sex determines brain type. Only that the distribution is uneven.

20 thoughts on “Err, yes, this is what Baron Cohen’s been saying all along”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    What a confused pile of steaming politically correct horse sh!t.

    The findings of this research will not surprise feminists, who have long argued that gender is a complex socially conditioned performance that seeks to create inherent-seeming differences in the characters of men and women, where none exist.

    Where none exist. This research has just proved that it does. So it won’t come as a surprise to feminists but it will be something they will try to suppress.

    I suppose Isis’s obsession with “othering” can be seen as a consequence of its members feeling that, as Muslims, they are “othered” themselves. It’s how they justify their cruelty to themselves anyway, and how they recruit.

    ISIS is not othered. They are the dominant majority in countries like Iraq and/or Syria (depending on what definition of dominant you want to use). They must have some other justification. What justification would Islamic State have to inflict 7th century punishments on people? It is a puzzle innit?

    But there are times when I feel very hopeful, and choose to see human anger and violence as a rearguard action against a growing understanding that our strength lies in our diversity, and that our diversity can only be accommodated if everyone gets to have their say and be heard, and everybody gets to use their own unique brain as well as they can use it.

    Diversity is not strength for the people of California. Rather it is mass murder. Ask the girls of Rotherham how that diversity is working out for them. Everyone does get to have their say. Except for the nice people who threw the nice Muslim couple a baby shower before being shot.

    A powerful woman can damage a vulnerable woman as casually as a chauvinistic man can.

    It’s true that intersectional feminism can be as self-righteous as any other intellectual framework, and as gleeful about hunting out and berating “the other”.

    Or perhaps even more.

    Perhaps fully acknowledging and understanding how people are is the first giant step towards changing it.

    Perhaps but acknowledging how people are would mean giving up feminism. Based, as it is, on ignorance, hatred
    and a denial of the real world.

    What all humans have in common is that we know only what it’s like to be ourselves.

    I doubt that actually.

  2. The findings of this research will not surprise feminists, who have long argued that gender is a complex socially conditioned performance that seeks to create inherent-seeming differences in the characters of men and women, where none exist.

    That’s the Trans argument out the window then. Aren’t those lot telling us it is possible for somebody with a woman’s brain to be trapped in a man’s body and need an operation to fix it? No wonder the feminists and the trannies hate each other.

  3. @ Tim Newman.

    Ah , but “Feminists” generally confuse ….well… a lot of things…
    In my experience, most of them have a sub-par, if not atrocious grounding in actual Science, and generally aren’t able to distinguish between the mechanics of physical gender determination ( which is pretty complex in and of itself, even with a proper grounding in Science), the ethological evolution and existence of gender-based behavior patterns ( which have a damned good reason for being there, lest we die out as a species within 2 generations.. we’d kill the little parasites… ) , and the sociological constructs around “proper” gender-based behaviour/roles.

    Then again, SJW-ing is based on ignoring all the facts unless they fit your preconceived notion(s), so there’s really no cure for them.

  4. SMFS: “Perhaps but acknowledging how people are would mean giving up feminism. Based, as it is, on ignorance, hatred
    and a denial of the real world.”

    Let’s not forget the marxistic shite that is the real raison d’etre of feminism.

  5. “That’s the Trans argument out the window then. Aren’t those lot telling us it is possible for somebody with a woman’s brain to be trapped in a man’s body and need an operation to fix it?”

    That’s a simplification. The argument is that bits of the brain and body can be ‘male’ or ‘female’ independently. They don’t all automatically appear together. So it’s possible for the brain to have majority female characteristics while the bit between the legs has majority male characteristics. Or vice versa.

    There are some brain structures that define what sex you’re attracted to, there are a different set of structures defining what sex you see yourself as, and there are probably a whole heap of brain structures giving characteristics that are statistically sex-linked but don’t have anything obvious to do with sexual identity.

    Homosexual men, for example, obviously have the female bit for sexual attraction (and fashion sense), but the male bits for promiscuity, and in most cases gender identity. Gay men definitely still see themselves as men. Transgender people are different. There are obviously multiple components to it. Sex isn’t binary.

    So no, this is exactly the trans argument.

  6. I really don’t get this research. Presumably people have been studying various structures in human brains for ages and they’ve identified some of these structures as having a ‘male’ pattern or a ‘female’ pattern.

    Now this lot have come along and said that the ‘male’ patterns are quite prevalent in females and the ‘female’ patterns are quite prevalent in males.

    They seem to have interpreted these findings as showing that there’s no difference between males and females and it’s all cultural. So there.

    Whereas others might interpret the results as showing that the original research was crap and that we might need to look eleswhere for the differences between males and females.

  7. Dapha Joel isn’t a proper scientist, she’s a trick-cyclist and professional feminist:

    Prof. Joel has expanded her work to research questions related to brain, sex and gender, including the complex interplay between sex and environment in the development of psychopathology. In addition, ongoing studies focus on the perception of gender identity and on sexual practices.

    Any time you see an academic with “gender” or “sexuality” in their research interests, you know you’re dealing with a shameless liar and ideologue.

    Anyway, we’ve known for hundreds of years that male and female skulls are different, so of course there’s going to be differences in what they contain.

    Though feminist theory insists that even the (non-genital) physical differences between men and women are socially constructed.

    Because feminism isn’t compatible with logic, facts or reality. It’s a lesbian witch cult.

  8. “Now this lot have come along and said that the ‘male’ patterns are quite prevalent in females and the ‘female’ patterns are quite prevalent in males.”

    Yup. Say there’s a particular feature that occurs in 90% of females and 5% of males. Wouldn’t you call that a “female” brain structure? And yet, there are 5% of men who have got it, which some might describe as “quite prevalent”.

    So for example if all sex-linked features occurred in 90% of one sex and 10% in the other, and there were 20 sex-linked features, the probability of having all 20 corresponding to your ‘official’ sex would be 0.9 ^ 20 = 12%. The probability of at least 19/20 would be 39%, of at least 18/20 would be 68%, of at least 17/20 would be 87%, 16/20 gives 96%, and 15/20 gives 99%. Not many people would have all of them, but most people would have most of them. There would be very few in the middle.

    That’s a simplified picture, though. Some characteristics will be more than 90% prevalent, others less. The overall effect is the same. Most people have most characteristics of one sex but not all, and for any given characteristic, there are quite a lot of the other sex who will have it. Statistics, eh?

  9. “So where does this leave the feminist argument that everything is just a social construct? In the bin.”

    Agreed. Some things are social construct, other things are biology. Telling the difference requires experimental evidence.

  10. Which is the cart and which the horse in this argument?

    Is there some Platonic spectrum along which individuals can be measured for male / female? Or even a 97% academic consensus?

  11. “Homosexual men, for example, obviously have the female bit for sexual attraction …”
    Can’t say that’s obvious at all. In people, as opposed to other animals, the reproductive urge is pretty well disconnected from sexual desire. We f**k coz it’s fun. Same way as our urge to satiate hunger is usually subservient to food preferences.
    So there’s no reason believe homosexuality is any more genetically linked than vegetarianism.

  12. “In people, as opposed to other animals, the reproductive urge is pretty well disconnected from sexual desire.”

    Obviously. Gay men don’t reproduce through their activities. That doesn’t mean sexual desire is not genetic.

    This seems like just a repetition of the nonsense feminist theory that sex is all socially constructed.

    Evolution is a clumsy and imprecise designer – build in sexual desire, and in most species most of the time that will lead to higher overall reproductive success. Sex as an activity wouldn’t exist without genetic inheritance, that’s it’s purpose – of course it’s genetic.

    That doesn’t at all imply that features built for one purpose can’t be used or abused for different purposes.

    “So there’s no reason believe homosexuality is any more genetically linked than vegetarianism.”

    Vegetarianism is caused mainly by the misapplication of the empathy instinct; extending it to non-humans. Empathy is most definitely biologically determined, designed to allow humans to live closely together in densely-packed social communities.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    NiV – “The argument is that bits of the brain and body can be ‘male’ or ‘female’ independently. They don’t all automatically appear together.”

    Of course the likelihood of this being true is virtually zero, but let’s pass over that. Nature is stingy. It does not usually do complex things if simple things work. So a whole range of behaviours being triggered by one hormone is vastly more likely that lots of little independent bits working independently.

    “So it’s possible for the brain to have majority female characteristics while the bit between the legs has majority male characteristics. Or vice versa.”

    Just not observed in the real world.

    “Homosexual men, for example, obviously have the female bit for sexual attraction (and fashion sense), but the male bits for promiscuity, and in most cases gender identity. Gay men definitely still see themselves as men.”

    What is obvious about that? Gay men display male sexual traits, especially that bit about promiscuity. Do they display female ones? Well they are attracted to men but are they attracted to men who earn a lot of money? Young, healthy, buffed would be the rule I think. So pretty much what heterosexual men like, just applied to other men.

    “Transgender people are different. There are obviously multiple components to it. Sex isn’t binary.”

    There is that lovely word obviously again. They are different. That is true. So are people with paranoid delusions.

  14. It sounds as though the idea that a tendency toward homosexuality might have a genetic component is inherently nonsensical. But it is actually possible, for the same reason that male animals have nipples* – they’re necessary in females and there’s little selective pressure to eliminate them in males.

    So the argument (very roughly) runs that it might be the case that a hypothetical ‘homosexual gene’ in men gives rise to evolutionary benefits (improved nurturing, for instance) in women, and the gene could therefore be selected for in the population as a whole.

    * The late, lamented Stephen Jay Gould wrote an excellent essay on the subject, published in Bully for Brontosaurus. Its title was Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples because he also argues the same case for the female clitoris.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Chris Miller – “So the argument (very roughly) runs that it might be the case that a hypothetical ‘homosexual gene’ in men gives rise to evolutionary benefits (improved nurturing, for instance) in women, and the gene could therefore be selected for in the population as a whole.”

    Actually this usually runs as kin-selection – Gay men can help women around the camp site and so more children survive. As if Gay men would be likely to help. The worst thing a woman can do is acquire a Gay best friend.

    But the problem is no one has found a Gay gene. They have looked.

    “The late, lamented Stephen Jay Gould wrote an excellent essay on the subject, published in Bully for Brontosaurus. Its title was Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples because he also argues the same case for the female clitoris.”

    Not much lamented around my parts. A nasty piece of work given to faking his results and a frankly Stalinist approach to greater minds who did not agree with his politics. But he could write. However anyone who thinks there is no point to the clitoris has not been getting a lot of blowjobs lately.

  16. ” It does not usually do complex things if simple things work. So a whole range of behaviours being triggered by one hormone is vastly more likely that lots of little independent bits working independently.”

    Which one? Testosterone? 5α-Dihydroxytestosterone? Androstanedione? Androsterone? Epiandrosterone? Androstanediol? Estrone? Estradiol? Estriol? 27-hydroxycholesterol, dehydroepiandrosterone?

    And you got your biochemistry degree where, exactly?

    “Just not observed in the real world.”

    Maybe not in your private little universe. 🙂

    “A nasty piece of work given to faking his results and a frankly Stalinist approach to greater minds who did not agree with his politics.”

    Hm. Not uncommon, that.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    NiV – “Which one? Testosterone?”

    That is really quite an impressive attempt to dazzle with bullsh!t but it does not actually address the question does it?

    “Maybe not in your private little universe. :-)”

    Or anyone else’s. The only reason homosexuality got removed from the DSM was physical violence and intimidation. Not because the “science” advanced. Not because the psychiatric profession changes its mind.

    “Hm. Not uncommon, that.”

    Indeed. No need to glorify it though. SJG was not a hero. E. O. Wilson is.

  18. “That is really quite an impressive attempt to dazzle with bullsh!t but it does not actually address the question does it?”

    What question? The question of whether you’ve got the first clue on what you’re talking about? I thought it answered that one quite nicely!

    For your information, there are at least two primary androgens with different effects – one acts in the womb to create the initial differences in children, the other at puberty. They each initiate a cascade of other hormones and signalling effects, that cause multiple tissues all over the body to respond in complicated ways. The mechanism can go wrong at multiple points, with individual links in the cascade failing to pass the message on, or individual body parts failing to respond properly to the signals. Some bits respond and others don’t. There are lots of different sex hormones active in the mechanism, each with subtly different effects.

    Your ‘theory’ that there is only one simple mechanism, which can only be either all or nothing, is simply not true. And anyone with even the most casual acquaintance with human variability can see it.

    Everyone else in science has known this is how it works for years, now. The latest paper Tim was referring to was just another confirmation. Your prejudices went out of fashion in about 1979. And you can make up crap about how it’s “Just not observed in the real world” if you like – but other people can see it happening. I can only assume that they’re being careful not to let you observe it, knowing what sort of person you are and how unpleasantly you’ll react.

    I particularly liked the bit about they way you dismissed the evidence of what other people were seeing contrary to your theory as “paranoid delusion”. That’s a particularly neat way of disposing of any contrary evidence about anything! I wonder why nobody else uses that one…?

  19. no one has found a Gay gene

    Unsurprising. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a genetic component predisposing towards homosexuality. There’s no ‘height gene’ either, but that doesn’t mean that genetics plays no part in determining height.

    There’s a lot of evidence for genetics playing a role in homosexuality, there’s reasonable disagreement about how large that role is. Little research is continuing into the subject because it’s not seen as PC – similar to research into the heritability of intelligence.

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