The Guardian, always wrong, about everything

The sex of babies is determined at conception, when exactly half of embryos should be girls and half boys.

The first half of that is wrong by modern claims. Sex is, of course, observed at that stage.

It’s also wrong by the older, truer, standards in the second half. Because there are more conceptions of boys that girls. Can’t recall the number but 10% is calling from dim memory. The equity is 50/50 at puberty and since male embryos are more likely to abort, male children more likely to die, there are more conceptions of males than females.

Sigh, that’s pretty good, being wrong about both modern and real science in the once sentence.

19 thoughts on “The Guardian, always wrong, about everything”

  1. I’ve often thought that serious sci fi should consider a future where females substantially outnumber males and the the blokes are in charge. Large numbers of surplus males is asking for trouble.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    It doesn’t even pass a sniff test. If 50/50 had been true the sex imbalance cause by WW1 and the rest of the various wars we’ve fought would still be observable.

  3. I don’t recall the Guardian being right about anything. If you are on the opposite side to the Guardian, you are on the right side of the argument. As a barometer to check one’s moral compass, it serves a purpose.

  4. Arguable.
    Determined- cause (something) to occur in a particular way or to have a particular nature.

    Late Middle English: from Old French determiner, from Latin determinare ‘limit, fix’, from de- ‘completely’ + terminare ‘terminate’.

    So the sex is being fixed out of the two* possibilities. No observer required.

    *Archaic. Possibilities now accepted to be 157 & rising.

  5. We should have twice as many females as males with the males in charge, like our primitive ancestors. Surplus males are a bad idea.

  6. “I’ve often thought that serious sci fi should consider a future where females substantially outnumber males and the the blokes are in charge.”

    “A ratio of 10:1 Mein Fuh…ah..Mr President, and because the men would be required to perform prodigous service, the women should be of a highly stimulating nature..”

    Alas for the mine-shaft gap, didn’t work out well for long!

  7. If there were twice as many females there would be far more female MP’s / representatives / monarchs than we have now, and I would suggest the number we have now have done more than enough damage to the planet.

  8. As a casual observer in local metropolis, my back of the fag packet reckoning is that girls outnumber boys on a ratio of 3-1. Could be that boys rarely leave their bedroom or conversely are absenting themselves to participate in one or other sporting activity?

  9. Having waded through the actual article, I can see where the Guardianista got things Wrong. The Guardian piece is a rewrite of the Abstract and Introduction. My bet is he fainted and gave up at Methods and only glossed over the Pretty Graphs…

    The PLoS article itself is pretty good, if not exactly light reading, and does exactly as it says on the box: Use large-sample data analysis on two human populations on a number of alledged factors influencing birth ratio and see if anything sticks. ( some do, some don’t. Some match results we already knew.)
    In the discussion they touch upon several hypotheses on how this could actually work, but other than likely disproving some of the more outlying ones** they don’t draw any conclusions other than that the method used can indeed be used as an indicative research tool.

    ** The bit where Stress/Trauma is Heritable is once again debunked. So suck it up, you 3rd Gen. PTSD “sufferers”.

  10. Yeah RLJ. But in the good old days the blokes were used up fighting the dragons and dinosaurs – and each other – so there was never any surplus.

    It’s only in these effete times when even wars aren’t all that common that we have this tiresome oversupply.

  11. But since it’s not 50/50 at conception doesn’t that demonstrate that we don’t live in an equitable or just world and can’t something be done about it?

  12. Surplus males are a bad idea.
    Prisoner’s dilemma. Loads of surplus males are a great advantage if you can arrange for your tribe to have ’em, while the neighbours don’t.

  13. The first half was always wrong. There are (very rare) human chimeras (see which are people whose bodies have been built from more than one embryo.

    @bloke in spain “two* possibilities”

    There have always been more than two possibilities. Genetically, the common cases are XX (female) and XY (male), but other combinations do occur with varying effects. In addition, being male is controlled by the SRY gene (normally on the Y chromosome, obviously). But in a few cases it may not work, or appear on an X chromosome, or have other variations. This may result in people who look male or female, but are not genetically what you would expect.

    It is not yet known what makes a person feel that they are male or female, so we have to rely on what they self-report. I expect we will eventually discover some underlying genetic basis for it, and with it the reason why some people feel that they are not what society thought they were at birth.

  14. Once you don’t win wars by having more cannon foder than the other guy, you don’t need them. They just start revolutions etc. BTW, I wasn’t suggesting the females have the vote. Feminists are merely an artifact of a degenerate liberal government.

  15. Grauniad also wrong: at conception it is a fertilised it is a diploid cell known as a zygote. After further cell division, 4, 8, etc it becomes an embryo at about 4 days.

    Many abortions (God’s work) take place in the zygote stage, and never make it to embryo.

  16. Actually, the effort to raise males and females to the point where they give you grandchildren is 50:50.

    It might not be that more boys die, it might be that they take less looking after.

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