Nature vs Nurture, Questioning Determinism.

Sophia Siedlberg

Gendys Network
Gendys Conference, 1998

Determinism is by all accounts a description of a process whereby something that has a specific point of origin, in the abstract sense will arrive with a definite certainty to a specific outcome. Mathematically this is not valid in anything that has a complexity that passes a certain threshold.

Maths, that difficult branch of science so neglected by many because of its inaccessibility, says a lot more about life than DNA or single experiences, taken in isolation ever will. In many ways that is sad because here is a part of human thinking that is as important as language. I am basically going to try to describe life through the eyes of a mathematician. Especially about self regulating systems, basically because there you will inevitably find that the roots of self regulation are not always within the sum of the parts of a given system. Rather they are something that has evolved or grown out of the sum total.

I will appear to make rash statements about various scientific practices in the hope, by a considered form of contextualisation that I can illustrate how difficult I find it to accept some of the gross generalisations (usually negative) about gender and sex and how they are used define the individual.. having said that I will be trying to illuminate a number of truths about sex and gender that hopefully will give some insight into the conflict between gender dysphoria and sexual or reproductive pre-determinism.

Recently I read the strange claim that the size of your hands determines your ability to have sex. Somehow this incredible piece of 'meaningful' information has something to do with a fertility gene.

Well as someone who has had scientific training I have to admit I am ever so slightly sceptical about these genes that seem to magically appear on the pages of the popular press.

I can only qualify my scepticism by asking exactly how it has become accepted that everything can be defined by part of a nucleotide sequence that has been magically 'discovered' by the Human Genome Project. (when in fact it has only been assumed that such sequence is there based on a statistical study elsewhere.)

My academic argument about the entire nature versus nurture debate has a lot to do with the lack of science in these sweeping generalisations. Ten years ago, I read that the way you drank your coffee determined your ability to have sex. Apparently the act of drinking had some breastfeeding connotation and if you curved your lips around the rim of a cup in a certain fashion, you were deeply in touch with your body as a sexual entity.

This is the painful reality of the nature versus nurture debate, it is both trivial and pre-deterministic. You only have to read your horoscope to see how much these so called scientific claims sound like trivial forms of superstition. There is also the sexualisation of all these claims that I honestly find deeply disturbing. Where once questionable scientific claims seemed to be applied to race and class, today, this insidious credo seems to be applied to sex. Anatomical sex is today a deeply divisive instrument used by social engineers to dehumanise the individual and with a touch of pseudoscience and pop culture thrown in this debate it has become a cruel joke.

So what of the genuine science? Well there is the science of genetics to consider, the medical side of this is quite interesting when you consider that two forms of therapy have emerged and can in some sense be likened to nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. Fusion is the utopian dream of a clean energy source that genuinely has few risks, fission on the other hand has proven to have benefits but the risks and drawbacks are also well proven. In genetic medicine, germ line therapy is the most familiar and the most risk laden. Simply because it involves making alterations via selective breeding or pre-conceptual manipulation. The greatest hazard, as most know, is the social consequence of it, where people have no control over who and what they are, subjected to vilification or praise on the basis of what manipulated or natural genome they have.

The lesser known, metaphorically similar to nuclear fusion in the public eye, is somatic therapy, which involves intervention taking place in term of manipulating an already living organism. The utopian dream being that it empowers the individual to receive the benefits for themselves without needing to manipulate another individuals life, such as their potentially un-consenting offspring. Like nuclear fusion, somatic therapy does not suffer the same drawbacks but because of it's predecessors reputation, there is considerable hostility toward it.

The other reason why somatic therapy appears to be reviled has more to do with some sadistic component of human nature than to any potential hazards it may present.

Imagine for a moment that in fifty years time you could theoretically pop a pill and take on whatever physical form you wish. This in layman's terms could be exactly what somatic therapy will eventually mean. The problem with such a possibility is that people will despise those who may use it. Why? well perhaps this fatalistic streak in many people would be upset by the idea that someone can alleviate their own distress by determining their own sense of self rather than being bullied into something untenable.

There are drawbacks however with somatic gene therapy. While it will be possible to use it to alter the body, a lot of people are interested in using it to control behaviour. With gender dysphoria this can and will raise some complex ethical issues. The predeterminists would feel happy if an individual were given somatic therapies in order to make them believe they are happy with their primary or post natally assigned sex. Aversion therapy to put it crudely, I can imagine the situation when the pre-determinists would love to chemically twist a gender dysphoric's mind as opposed to liberating them physically. Even though at some point, it will be possible to carry out both procedures with equal ease.

You have to consider the options today because as medicine advances the practices you may or may not advocate will reflect upon a future society. I would hope future generations live in a society where people have the freedom to choose rather than have their choices taken from them by use of the same technology.

This is why this discussion is about pre-determinism. It will prove very difficult to apply current forms of morality to future technologies and knowledge. The gender dysphoric, and how they are treated usually tells more about a society than many other things. It is up to people, who will during their professional careers will encounter some of these advances and will have to ensure that pre-deterministic forms of repression do not enter into medicine. The outcome will, I hate to admit, determine, the kind of society we will ourselves inherit, yet alone future generations.

This collective bullying is basically a form of predeterminism. Back to today it is obvious that we find the science of genetics being used to bolster pre-deterministic ideals, almost exclusively at the expense of the individual. So what then does 'individual' really mean in this context.

Take snowflakes for instance, if you look at a snowflake you will find that it is unique, this isn't some spiritual concept it is merely a simple mathematical fact. My point being that snowflakes show a general form of geometry but they mutate, they evolve as they form and in some sense the patterns that they contain seem to reproduce themselves in a process known as affine transformation. In many ways they have the characteristics of living organisms but are based on a very simple molecule. H2O.

There is no DNA in a snowflake and the underlying structure is derived from a far simpler molecule with far fewer structural permutations in terms of the underlying form. Yet even in a perfect environment no two snowflakes will form in exactly the same way. Why then is it claimed that a structure derived from four more complex molecules, linked together to form an even more complex molecule, interacting with other basic yet complex molecules will always have an identical outcome in terms of the resulting structure.

When the media makes proclamations about women having sensitivity genes and men having criminality genes, because this is what DNA dictates. I have to ask myself the question "Can this ever be validated?" Can someone explain to me exactly how Adenine, (C5H5N5; melting pt. 360-365°C) thymine, (C5H6N2O2; melting pt. 360-365°C) cytosine (C4H5N3O) and guanine (C5H5N5O), linking together to form a nucleotide sequence. Pairing off with Uracil (C4H4N2O2 ), Adenine, Guanine and Cytosine forming messenger RNA and then template RNA linking other groups of different amino acids into a polypeptide chain. The polypeptide chain then wrapping itself around other more complex molecules and trace elements suddenly translates into a criminal pair of testicles on two legs or some pathetic bimbo with no nervous system that is always a sad pathetic victim.

So how does this bode with physiological conditions that are essentially hermaphrodite and also conditions like gender dysphoria. Well the biological interpretations are sadly very telling. Androgen insensitivity syndrome is basically a condition where an individual with a masculinising Y chromosome present does not develop into a boy before birth. This is currently considered to be due to a single gene not being present, resulting in the inability of the fetus to respond to the effects of androgenic hormones. Yet for some inexplicable reason little or nothing appears in the media about this subject. This single gene related effect is not very popular. A lot of coverage has however been given to the research of one Professor Skuse, who claims to have determined the existence of a female sensitivity gene by asking the parents of a few individuals with Turners syndrome a few leading questions in a questionnaire.

While I am not here to question specific research. I have to ask about the blatant disregard of scientific principles, not just on the part of Professor Skuse, but also those who sat in peer review boards assessing his research. While a study that panders to the popular view that gender and sex are strictly predetermined by inflexible genetic mechanisms gets widespread publicity. The studies carried out on a physical condition that confronts this notion are on the whole kept in the background.

Most serious geneticists express dismay at the public perception that they are involved in a branch of science that brought about the Nazi Holocaust, eugenics and various other questionable social policies.

They rightly point out that the policy makers tend to misuse any information they put forward in order to serve some unrelated agenda. The science states that a combination of amino acids along a given nucleotide sequence has an increased probability of a certain outcome but this is by no means certain.

The popularist science and political agenda states that the same combination will always have a specific outcome.

You only have to watch any wildlife documentary to see what I mean. I have seldom if ever heard anything other than gendered anthropomorphism being applied even to simple multicellular organisms.

We always get the dominant male, the submissive females and the less than adequate males suffering all manner of battles with the dominant male.

We never seem to hear of pregnant male seahorses, hermaphrodites such as snails and worms, parthenogenesis or anything that varies from this bi-polar mantra that rings out ad nauseum from the popular media. Why? well the answer to that is simple, pre deterministic fatalism, or even scientific superstition.

Ultimately I find such proclamations seriously lacking in scientific value because they seem to serve a need to sustain paradigms about certainty rather than reality.

Transsexualism and mammalian hermaphroditism seems to challenge that need for certainty. Having said all that the nurture side of the debate paradoxically says more about the fatalistic paradigms than the biological side ever will. Unlike the sociobiologist, the disciples of nurture tend to be outwardly for the idea of free will, but in reality are probably more repressive. Psychoanalysis had been considered to be the backbone of this non biological brainwashing powder. The classic Freudian statement of "Anatomy is destiny" sums it all up.

There seems to be a belief that whatever you experience in a bodily sense, your thinking is somehow made to automatically accept it. This is probably why psychoanalysis tends to say that gender dysphoria is typical of the sex the affected individual does not wish to be. Apparently here wearing a dress is a man's thing, a mummy's boy suffering from a chronic Oedipus complex being the stereotype of the individual. Wearing trousers is an Electra complex, a female problem. Basically, to some psychoanalysis, not accepting yourself is a symptom of being everything you cannot accept. If that is not the more brutal side of fatalism I don't know what is.

To illustrate that point, I have deliberately sat in front of a psychoanalyst and, dressed as a man, with them knowing I have a gender ambiguous history. They automatically defined me as a "disturbed female". I have presented myself as a woman and I am then a disturbed man. Considering that I don't and never did have any emotional ties with my parents, I don't have a parentally instilled genital envy and that I don't as a rule respond to Pavlovian stimuli. Something to my mind seems to be lacking in the nurture side of the debate.

While on the subject of Pavlov, It is interesting to note that the belief that someone can be 'deprogrammed' out of gender dysphoria, by methods not unlike makings dogs salivate to the sound of a bell, or by giving them electric shocks if they don't act in a certain manner somehow exposes the allegedly caring and politically correct truth behind the disciples of nurture.

The really disturbing reality behind the nature versus nurture debate seems to be that it is sexually bipolar. The biological school of thought tends to be masculine in the stereotypical sense while the nurture school is somehow feminine.

You seldom hear feminists talking about biologically rooted forms of behaviour, you seldom hear masculinists talking about nurtured behaviour. Well this is all well and good but medical practices and social policies are drawn from these two corrupt belief systems.

The real question seems to be, "What makes an individual, who they are and what they see themselves to be?" While biology and environmental factors do play a part, I suspect that something else plays an important role. The reason why it seems to be ignored purely rests with the fact that it is the antithesis of pre- determinism.

Nature seems to have a set of rules that dictate that whenever any structure or system reaches a threshold of complexity, from the chaotic pattern a structure seems to emerge that is coherent.

It may seem a bit esoteric, but it is in some senses quite mundane. Take the other bipolar debates, science versus religion for instance. Here we see the creationists claiming that some god by an act of pre-emptive will somehow created everything, because the complexity and structure of life seems to be engineered

Well from the perspective of a component of such a matrix, then the familiarity would give the illusion of a pre-ordained creation. Science on the other hand tries to be more sensible by saying "It all just happened" but fails, to explain how.

The explanation as to how is suddenly very mundane when you consider that all we perceive as order is in reality a form of chaos. We see order because we are part of the chaos, our perspective gives the illusion of order.

Having said that what we perceive as order is significant to us. The basic tenet seems to be that when so many elementary structures reach a threshold of complexity, a pattern emerges that is more than the sum of its components. This is what we can truly define as evolution.

Yes I admit to the crime of being a mathematician who has a leaning towards pure rather than applied mathematics. However in defence of myself I have to point out that the debate, here, about gender is rooted in two totally inadequate schools of thought that are part of this illusion of order. The fact that one side of the debate has a masculine undercurrent and the other a feminine undercurrent illustrates my point.

To the mathematician these emerging patterns, that seem to be more than the sum of their parts do have a name. The rather romantic and perhaps misleading name of 'Strange Attractors' no mathematician trying to create a working model of any dynamic system, be it the shape of a tomato or the internal structure of a complex molecule can do so without understanding the concept of strange attractors

It certainly is not as cold and reductionalist as it may at first seem. Quite the opposite in fact. You remember my less than charitable comparisons between the use of Mendel's inheritance theory and astrology or palmistry. Try to consider the implication in the context of mathematics. You are dealing with causal probabilities when you try to apply the placing of the stars in the sky or the occurrence of dominant and recessive genes in a given genome. Both fail not because they are attempts to see patterns within a given set of variables, but because they are inherently subjective when interpreted.

If someone for instance wants to claim that I should have been born to be an oversexed, criminal male because I happened to be born at a given time, under the sign of Scorpio, or because my father contributed a few genes that in truth only partially masculinised me as a fetus. Then I would have to question their assumptions because I grew up to be something that could not be more different.

The understanding of probability requires an understanding of the nature of probability. Now dominant and recessive genes are causal factors, while the position of the stars are certainly not as easy to define in that context. You can say that the planets and their positions may cause a huge chunk of rock to hit this lecture hall. Determining the probability of such an event, requires a knowledge of all the variables such as the gravitational effects of the planets on an asteroid, the density of the asteroid itself, how it breaks apart in the atmosphere and even the subtle effects the weather may have on its trajectory. You can give that as a probability after working with mathematical elements like strange attractors, butterfly effects and even simple Newtonian elements such as calculus to determine simple trajectories. You cannot however determine whether or not this meteor will hit any specific individual.

You may encounter a tall dark strange attractor and its effects on the path of a meteor, but that is infinitely more probable than a tall dark stranger.

I could not resist mentioning the latest pop science proclamation because it fills me with intense discomfort and it beautifully illustrates the point I am trying to make.

Imagine for a moment that you are female biassed. By this I mean that whatever your anatomical status you are mentally only able to be female. At some point in your life you have been defined as male, say a wrongly assigned hermaphrodite or a male to female transsexual. Now imagine you are fortunate enough to 'pass' off as a woman with relative ease. You may have telling fault but because you were quite young when you undertook the process of physical change, it is not obvious. When categorised as male you were a 'pretty' boy or something like that.

Imagine that the latest pap states that pretty or womanly looking men are more attractive to women, meaning by implication that if you are 'read' by a normal woman as a male who has a gender problem, you are suddenly back in the nightmarish frame of male socialisation. Suddenly you are the archetypal male. What a waste of time, suicide!

Primary male to female transsexuals be warned, the pop scientists want you to be 'New Men' now. I mention this because the casualties are often the people who such remarks can affect. Once upon a time the pop scientists preached that broad hips were a sign of a childbearing female during the process of attraction (sexual not strange by the way). Odd considering that thousands of women had spent fortunes removing the fat in question because the pop scientists had decreed on previous occasions that tall and skinny, with protruding cheekbones were the main and most vital thing DNA should bestow upon a woman.

It isn't just sex though, the pop scientists have for years branded one food as bad and another safe, after years of this the food industry has had a rough deal. The British beef industry is now at the mercy of these proclamations about the transmissibility of various agents that cause prion proteins to replicate, resulting in Spongiform Encephalopathies. While Dr Dealler proclaims that you are dead if you ate a Cornish pastie in 1980, his colleagues try to explain about the realities of probability. You may contract C.J.D. if you ate this pastie but you may not. It is an increased risk not an absolute certainty.

Pop science only deals with certainties, as such when it comes to the most basic aspects of being human, such as sex, sexual identity, what food you eat and how often you sleep. They torment people into taking bizarre steps to avoid disaster, only to contradict themselves forcing people to get very confused about the facts.

Those two words, "Its Official" usually mean that some cynical individual wants to bolster his or her research grants, and is best ignored.

"Its official, pre operative male to female transsexuals are really totally male, having three or four extra Y chromosomes, they find wearing frilly clothes a sexual turn on They should be made to accept themselves, be force fed on a diet of testosterone and Viagra, that is official!" Really means " I am a bigot and I want you to give me loads of money and prestige so I can bypass peer review, go to the broadsheets, pander to their Janice Raymondesque agenda, and be made into some holy guru of sexology."

I suspect very strongly that most of these so called studies, that are usually based on the flawed science of popular statistics, would be laughed at in peer review situations. Quite often, and in the most hushed of academic institutions, these crackpot theories are disproved within a week.

Putting the ethically unsound motives of some aside, the most common and telling thread of evidence against such proclamations, aside from their occasional absurdity, seems to be the need to impose some deterministic thread within that statement. Somehow trying to nurture a paradigm that has a good chance of becoming fashion.

Paradoxically there is one pop scientist, who occasionally makes some sense, Dr. Richard Dawkins has for a number of years put forward this hypothesis that a "Cultural Virus" as he calls it serves to transmit a specific sense of order in a given community. In my mathematical language that would be a self replicating synergy vector. In English this translates as a form of information or a common icon that becomes part of a social agenda, a budding paradigm if you like. Trends in fashion and pop science are good examples of this idea. His rather well worded metaphor describes the pyramid letter effect that resembles the reproductive cycle of a virus, and how it passes information via the nucleotide sequences it carries, as well as the compulsion to copy this sequence. In math speak that is "Brownian period multiplication." meaning that a given element is copied over and over again, in a pyramid letter style manner but it is not necessarily a uniform rate. Instead of two becoming four, then eight. It is two then four then seven an then ten and so on. This information carried by that element serves as the synergy vector.

The proclamations are a very good example of this effect. Janice reads the libellous remarks about MTF transsexuals. The paper she reads has a circulation of three million let's say. She writes a book that reinforces this notion and it disseminates the information to about nine million (So she would like to believe) so the first uniform period comes out at three to the power of two. Her most ardent fan writes their own book that is even more commercial, but only sells 4 million copies. Turning the uniform period of three to the power of n into a Brownian Period.

The problem for people in this reading this who are gender dysphoric would be when the message itself surfs this butterfly effect, meaning that the rate of multiplication is so large that the false proclamation that was originally made becomes paradigm.

As we all understand, that made very little sense to anyone except a mathematician. A pop scientist would simplify that and say that the Guardian will publish an article, it will be taken up as an idea by Janice Raymond and it will be an idea that becomes set in stone. So by pandering to it will ensure research grants.

That is a deterministic untruth, the original translation states that it may become a popular misconception not that it definitely will. Which brings me back to the content of such proclamations, and the media of DNA You see Dr. Dawkins rightly draws the analogy between social trends and viral nucleotide sequences. He incorrectly states, that the 'Selfish gene' will always manifest itself making people behave stereotypically. The reality being that this 'Selfish gene' may bring about stereotypical behaviour, It is impossible to predict in whom and where. Very much in the same way that it would be untrue to state Janice will forever be a best selling writer. She may be, Though I hope not.

I mentioned the Butterfly effect, this is I believe a well known term that means that the conditions for a small event are right for it to flourish, The butterfly analogy being drawn from the idea that small air currents generated by the butterflies wings are amplified over and over again, in some process of rapid period multiplication to become a hurricane.

Determinism is another word for this effect, The eddy will flourish the hurricane will happen. However most people see determinism as something different, That the eddy occurs so it must flourish, well no because the deterministic factors are probably not there.

Likewise people trying to create a deterministic factor are in reality trying to increase the probability of a given event. They are deterministic. When a child is born, the parents perceive the definition of its sex and try to reinforce that status. The chromosomes and the genitals are there, therefore they assume that this will result in an adult of that stated sex. "It must be a boy or it must be a girl" Well no it is just an eddy a few hours after the butterfly flew away, but was a consequence of its presence. It does not mean that the adult will be of that stated sex nor does it mean that these eddies will be a hurricane. The parents then take on the role of determinant, as development is more within their sphere of control. However another eddy from another butterfly of the Striated Teminalis species happened to be flitting around nearby and the eddies altered the first butterflies eddies. Increasing the probability that the result will not be as expected. However much the parents try to play the part of determinism themselves, the anti determinism has also become a factor.

Suddenly the whole concept of nature versus nurture becomes confused. You cannot say that the neurological wiring of the child's nervous system will result in gender reassignment, but if it does it will.

You cannot say that the way the parents react to this and deal with it will result in no gender reassignment in later life. The probability path from the initial event, conception, has been altered.

Take a look at a leaf, you never see the veins arrayed as perfectly symmetrical patterns. What you see is an approximation of a kind of pattern that suggests the original blueprint had that pattern or strange attractor within it. If that pattern had been determined it would be a central vein with exactly three veins coming from each side, and the same again for each smaller vein and so on, Non Brownian period multiplication. It is more often a brownian representation of this pattern, that may even cause the leaf to look like something else. Mutation and change, the engine of evolution!

Imagine if you will that a male plant has a two fold vein distribution, P=2n and a female have three fold distribution. The leaf signifies the plants sex, what gametes it produces, but a threefold leaf on a two fold plant, could this be a mutation, not necessarily a negative one, a change an adaptation. Well that is how life itself works. Single genes and psychological complexes are obviously not the entire picture

In humans the feminised nervous system or the masculinised nervous system are like those leaves, a result of many events that cannot be defined as singularly determining factors. If these leaves show that the adult plant is becoming the opposite sex, or was in fact initially hermaphrodite, If event has occurred and mutation has taken place. No end of psychobabble or wildlife programmes will change that. The plant was obviously not 'destined' to be predestined. Having said that leaves, like external genitals, coffee-drinking habits, the size of the hands, or even thumbprints, are not final proofs. An already occurring event however is.

You could by this argument say that the original sex, in the blueprint, if there is one, must always be the outcome because the plant produces certain gametes. Well try and tell that to fishes, frogs, seahorses, goats, worms, and some of the humans in this attending the lecture, this set of notes explains, because such changes and mutations are a very important part of the grand synergy vector called life. Without change there would be no evolution, just catastrophe thresholds.

Perhaps the determinists are suffering from the effects of an arrogant populist gene or a conformity complex. Either way I suspect that we all may soon have to face the fact that the laws of nature are like individuals, only slightly predictable, never a certainty. The conscious mind, the abstract being called self, is a strange attractor, that emerges from the chaos of both biological and environmental systems.

I have to validate my scepticism towards statistics before concluding this essay, because I have no doubt that it will be questioned by various individuals, especially the sort who hate cats and would shoot a few to demonstrate that statistics work empirically on the grounds that all of the cats would die when shot. or who would claim that an emotionally stressed gender dysphoria sufferer will definitely kill themselves because of the suicide rate of post operatives who are deemed unstable.

Let us take an example from the fission analogy. When a statistical model shows a trend, does it convey the information it is intended to convey or does it convey something else? The reason for this question lies in the way statistics have a nice ability to describe trends in very large sample groups. It however has a not so nice habit of becoming blurred when trying to describe specific sub structures within a given trend. A good example of this effect can be seen when Epidemiologists try to use statistics to locate the transmission vectors of a given micro organism or the cause of a given illness in terms of pollutants. Clusters are a nightmare because they tend to be misleading. A cluster of leukemia cases around a nuclear power station does not often mean that the power station is the cause. Paradoxically no other explanation can be found to explain such a cluster and as a result those who are anti nuclear power would use the cluster to illustrate the dangers of nuclear power, the general public would immediately believe them because it appears to be obvious and no matter how hard the power station's owners try to explain that the clusters are not empirical evidence of radioactive leakages, they would have as much chance of being listened to as an astrologer would trying to convince a peer review board that the world ends at a specific date because of a conjunction between Jupiter in the ascendant of Pisces and Mars.

With statistics you theoretically can prove such tentative claims as easily as being able to prove that a feather falls at a slower rate than a cannon ball. However explanation for a causal event can seldom be derived from statistics alone, hence the valid denial that a cluster of leukemia cases are as a result of bad waste management at a nuclear power station. Control groups help but again they become misleading because while they can prove a differentiated trend, demonstrating that group A could be effected by the suspected factors when group B is not exposed to the effects or alleged effects of the suspected factors.

Drugs trials have been dogged with this problem for years. The basic problem is that of being able to ascertain probability in an empirical sense. It is highly improbable that events described by astrologers are portents of doom, unless of course an astronomer realises that the gravitational effects of both Jupiter and Mars on a comet results in a shift in its orbit that causes it to crash into planet Earth. The evidence is only empirical however when the comet actually impacts on No 42 Acacia Avenue, in Milton Keynes, which is highly improbable. Then again the residents of Acacia avenue would be safer in a Jumbo Jet packed with terrorists according to statistics.

So how can statistics be interpreted in such a way as to ensure that the probabilities they claim to represent can be validated? Well, the clue may lie in the trend itself if it is viewed slightly differently. If you find a cluster of leukemia cases in an area that has no nuclear power station. Then the immediate assumption would be that such clusters are not strictly as a result of exposure to radiation; if you perceive radiation as some un-earthly energy that does weird things in science fiction movies. The point being that the ionisation of genetic material after a particle has collided with it would probably hit the right site to prevent the production of a particular protein that causes the process of controlled apoptosis to occur in bone marrow to cease. What form of particle was involved, A beta particle has a short ionisation tract, if I remember my physics, meaning that in a collision with any matter causes it to release most if not all of its energy, gamma particles, common to power stations, have a longer ionisation tract meaning that they need to have a number of collisions in order to transfer their energy. When looked at it that way a trend describes a probable explanation for a cluster. Does this describe the certainty of a given particle with a given ionisation tract colliding with a given site on a nucleotide sequence giving rise to leukemia. Well does this also describe that a given comet of a given mass and velocity will also hit the hapless residents of Milton Keynes. The events are similar in that they both describe a simple Newtonian event The random targeting and subsequent impact of one object into another lager object and the effect of the energy released. In a purely abstract sense both totally unrelated events have a commonality and are thus themselves subject to the laws of probability that surround such events. probability of say the trajectory of a bullet towards a cats head, being sufficient to hit the right spot in order to kill it depends on the sniper's aim and proximity. The conjunction between the sights and the snipers eye are factors as is the velocity of the bullet or the speed of the cats reaction to the perceived threat. The probability of there being a dead cat, a flattened house in Milton Keynes or an ionised bit of genetic material is only a probability, not an absolute certainty until the event has occurred as initially predicted.

Even simple models using cannonballs in lectures by Dr. Dawkins, do not have an absolute certainty. If they did there would be no evolution. furthermore, when statistical models are described, they often seem to have been biased from the start by their creators. Often the data can be read in many ways, as can the model itself. Ask any employment minister about unemployment statistics and you will never hear the facts. or read them however accurate the model may be.

If you think that by all this I am saying that statisticians love to round say 75% to 100% well there is that when statistics are quoted by the media. What makes statistics difficult for me to deal with is the notion that a stated probability in the most elaborate and well researched model is just that stated, within the given variables of that model and its skeletal framework. Another model may say 73% or even 20% for the same described variable now described as constant, is the science really a superstition? If this is so can pure mathematicians speak up and say so when nature, nurture, chickens, eggs, particles, waves, dead cats, astrologers, astronomers, meteors, and Darwinian fundamentalists are all quoted to prove that a transsexual is not a transsexual but a fool in a fools paradise because some pointless paradigm that can never be proven empirically has decreed so.

Its official, we are all individuals and we are all different, that is the real driving force behind evolution, and even people like Dr. Dawkins or Professor Skuse will have to face this fact when faced with the real maths as opposed to the limited binary concept of two biological sexes, itself being untrue.

Sophia Siedlberg, (1998), Nature vs Nurture, Questioning Determinism, GENDYS '98, The Fifth International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester, England.
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