Monday, September 21, 2015
More proof that male/female behavior is genetically based, with hormonal mediation
A natural experiment from the Dominican Republic
We came across Johnny when we were filming for a new BBC2 series, “Countdown to Life”, which looks at the consequences of normal, and abnormal, developments in the womb.
Johnny is known as a “Guevedoce”, which literally means, “penis at twelve”. And the reason he’s called that is because, like 1 in 90 of the boys in the area, he first started to grow a penis when he was going through puberty.
Guevedoces are also sometimes called “machihembras” meaning “first a woman, then a man”. When they’re born they look like girls with no testes and what appears to be a vagina. It is only when they near puberty that the penis grows and testicles descend.
Johnny, who is now in his 20s, was once known as Felicita. He was brought up as a girl and remembers going to school in a little red dress. When he was young he would happily play with other little girls, but after the age of seven he started to change
“I did not feel good, I no longer liked to wear a skirt, and I was no longer drawn to play with girls. All I wanted to do is play with toy guns and boys”
When he turned obviously male he was teased at school because”, as he put it, “it is hard to imagine a girl that is now is a boy”.
One of the first people to study this unusual condition was Dr Julianne Imperato, a Cornell endocrinologist. She travelled to this remote part of the Dominican Republic in the 1970s because of strange rumours about girls turning into boys
She eventually unraveled the mystery of what is going on and by doing so helped make a surprising medical breakthrough.
At conception we all inherit a set of genes from our parents that will, in time instruct our bodies to make us male or female. But for the first few weeks of our lives human embryos are neither. Instead we have a protrusion called a tubercle. If you’re genetically male the Y chromosome instructs the gonads to become testicles.
They also send testosterone to the tubercle, where it is converted into a potent hormone called dihydro-testosterone This transforms the tubercle into a penis. If you’re female and don’t make dihydro-testosterone then your tubercle becomes a clitoris.
When Dr Imperato investigated the Guavadoces she discovered the reason they don’t have male genitalia at birth is because they are deficient in an enzyme called 5-α-reductase, which normally converts testosterone into dihydro-testosterone. So they appear female when they are born, but around puberty, when they get another surge of testosterone, they sprout muscles, testes and a penis.
Apart from being slightly undersized everything works and the Guavadoces normally live out their lives as men, albeit with wispy beards and small prostates.
By a quirk of chance Dr Imperato’s research was picked up by the American pharmaceutical giant, Merck. They used her discovery to create a drug called finasteride, which blocks the action of 5-α-reductase. IT is now widely used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate and male pattern baldness. For which, I’m sure, many men are truly grateful
Since he’s become male Johnny has had a number of short term girlfriends, but he is still looking for the love of his life. “I’d like to get married and have children, a partner who will stand by me through good and bad”, he sighs wistfully.
UK: Muslim politician says top Labour party people are antisemitic
New Labour Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were last night sensationally accused of risking inciting terrorist and anti-Semitic attacks in London.
The claim was made by the Labour candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in a devastating assault on Corbyn and the man he has made Shadow Chancellor.
Khan, who is Muslim, suggested that Corbyn's refusal to sing the National Anthem showed he was unfit to be Prime Minister.
And he denounced the Labour leadership duo's links to terror groups. He said McDonnell's claim that IRA killers should be 'honoured' could encourage terrorism in London, and Corbyn's support for Arab extremist groups could inspire anti-Semitic attacks.
Khan's comments were echoed by fellow Labour MP Chuka Umunna, whose Streatham constituency includes Brixton, hit by riots in the 1980s.
Umunna said Corbyn's leadership could leave Labour out of power for years and trigger a repeat of the 'Tory injustice' of the Thatcher era which had 'boiled over' in the Brixton riots. Asked if he meant it could spark violent unrest, Umunna said: 'I wouldn't dismiss it.'
Khan said anyone aspiring to be Prime Minister should sing the Anthem. He said he sang it regularly and spoke with pride of kissing the Queen's hand when he was made a Privy Counsellor in a ceremony the Labour leader is threatening to boycott. His comments are all the more pointed given his Pakistani roots.
Khan said: 'My family has always been proud of being British. My cousins in Pakistan say, 'You are one of the Queen's advisers'.'
Asked if he could stomach McDonnell's comment about 'honouring' IRA terrorists, Khan said: 'No. You cannot condone terrorism. You are giving credibility to a view that is perverse and that is wrong.'
It was 'particularly dangerous' in London, which had been the target of IRA and militant Islamist outrages. Khan also backed claims that Corbyn's links with Palestinian terror groups could fuel anti-Semitism in the UK.
Asked to comment on Corbyn's Hamas and Hezbollah connections, he said Labour had to ditch its 'anti-Jewish' image, which was not acceptable' in Britain.
Khan said there was a direct link between Middle East tension and anti-Semitic attacks in London, saying synagogues and Jewish schools in London needed 24-hour guards as a result.
Khan also disowned Corbyn's and McDonnell's policies including a 'ridiculous' 60p top tax rate, scrapping nuclear weapons, leaving Nato and nationalising banks, and said he would not take orders from Corbyn if he became mayor. 'I will be my own man,' he vowed.
Huckabee: Why Does U.S. Make Religious Accommodations to Muslim Detainees But Not Christian Clerks?
During the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday night, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) asked why the United States is willing to make religious accommodations to Muslims detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison and not to Christian county clerks who do not want to sign same-sex marriage licenses.
Huckabee made the observation after CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him about Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis, who was put in jail for not executing same-sex marriage licenses.
“You've called what happened to Kim Davis, that clerk, ‘an example of the criminalization of Christianity,’” said Tapper. “There are several people on the stage who disagree with you.”
“I am here to fight for somebody who is a county clerk elected under the Kentucky constitution that 75 percent of the people of that state had voted for that said that marriage was between a man and a woman,” said Huckabee.
“The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage,” he said. “It's a decision that the other justices in dissent said they didn't have and there wasn't a constitutional shred of capacity for them to do it.
“I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics,” said Huckabee. “The courts cannot legislate. That's what Roberts said. But heck, it's what we learned in civics.
“The courts can't make a law. They can interpret one. They can review one. They can't implement it. They can't force it,” he said. “If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was judicial tyranny,” Huckabee said.
“We made accommodation to the Fort Hood shooter to let him grow a beard,” said Huckabee. “We made accommodations to the detainees at Gitmo. I've been to Gitmo, and I've seen the accommodations that we made to the Muslim detainees who killed Americans.
“You're telling me that you cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky?” said Huckabee. “What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at Gitmo.”
Study Finds Happiest Parents Have Four or More Kids
Parents of large families were found to have the most life satisfaction, according to a study by Australia’s Edith Cowan University. Dr. Bronwyn Harman, of the psychology and social science school at the university, spent five years studying what types of families are most content.
“[The parents] usually say they always wanted a large family, it was planned that way, and it was a lifestyle they’d chosen,” Harman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
During her five-year study, Harman interviewed hundreds of parents from different family makeups. Her findings are based on resilience, social support, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.
Her research points out that parental happiness relates to how much effort has been put into growing the family.
“What is important for kids are things like consistency, boundaries and [to] know that they are loved, no matter what,” Harman tells ABC Australia.
Prior to the study, Harman thought parents with more children would be less happy.
Though larger families may have more chaos and expenses than a smaller family, Harman’s research shows that these issues are balanced by the amount of joy received from having more children.
Her findings show that children who grow up in large families learn independence at a young age and always have someone to play with.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.