Are men really brain damaged at birth?

Dani danielle at zzz.arcticmail.com
Fri Jun 29 17:22:23 EST 2001

in article QbN_6.1003$Jp5.13499 at news1.oke.nextra.no,
    Brian wrote:
> How come ?
> The male population is more intelligent gauss-wise than the female
> population.

What does "guass-wise" mean?

Additionally, what does "more intelligent" mean in this context? Better at
visuo-spatial skills? If so, then I'd reply that that does seem to be the
case. But perhaps is not the case for other skills... ;-)

"...males perform better than females on some spatial tasks. This is true of
humans, rats, and almost everything in between. [Steve] Gaulin maintains
that this cognitive fact is borne out by Darwinian pressures in sexual
selection dynamics; that is, evolutionary forces differentiate the behavior
of males and females of the same species. Sexual selection pressures usually
are not factors, but when they are, it is because the male or the female can
enhance reproductive success by behaving differently from the other ... What
prima facie looks like a difference in a cognitive skill is actually a skill
borrowed by way of selection pressures to enhance reproductive success."
--Michael S. Gazzaniga, The Mind's Past ; hardback pg 64 - 65

in article Hm5%6.1247$tD1.158505 at news3.oke.nextra.no,
    Brian wrote:

>> I have read a couple of articles that suggest this difference between
>> men and women. In reality, the difference was not between women and
>> men itself, but between individuals exposed to higher and lower
>> levels of testosterone. In their studies, women that had been exposed
>> to higher levels of testosterone during their lifes seemed to develop
>> better spacial skills. Thus, they proposed that men develop better
>> spacial skills because they are evidently exposed to higher levels of
>> testosterone than women are.

> I've read something similar.
> But it is not just testosterone, but also estrogene.

It has been proposed that testosterone is responsible for more efficient
visuo-spatial skills, but it has never been proved. It's only theory,
assumption, supposition. That it hasn't yet been proven 100% true is
something that many neuroscientists seem incapable of comprehending,
probably due to their weak epistemology and "essentialist" bias.

³Is it farfetched to wonder whether parts of girls¹ brains grow or shrink,
while parts of boys¹ expand or shrivel, becasue they were told not to worry
their pretty heads about math, or because they started amassing Legos from
--S. Begley, ³Gray Matters², ³Newsweek² magazine, 3-27-1995
(quotation from Fausto-Sterlng, ³Sexing the Body²)

> I think that the level of these hormones are essential for the developement
> of male and female babies.

Physical development? Yes. Brain development? Probably, but there's still
much to be discovered about that.

> One theory is that the sex is decided pretty much at the beginning and that
> the mothers body respond by raising/lowering the level of the hormones.

The mother does not adjust her endogenous hormone production to suit the

Sex is decided when the doctor looks at the baby's genitals, which therefore
makes it possible for a XY chromosome baby to be a girl if s/he is
intersexed. "Sex" is to some extent a social construct. The process of how
fetal physical sex develops is complex, there's many steps along the way for
something to go "wrong" and create an intersex baby. According to the ISNA
website, 1 in 2000 babies is born intersex.


> Sometimes the mechanism is interrupted and the child will develope a
> 'male' brain in a 'female' body - hence the idea of living in the wrong
> body.

That's called transgenderism or transsexualism. One of the theories of the
cause of transgenderism is that the fetus's brain is not fully washed with
androgens during the "critical period" (in the case of a male-to-female
transperson, or MTF) thereby creating a male with a feminized brain. Or vice
versa for a woman who wants to be a man (female-to-male, or FTM). But we
know *much* more about how this process works in rodents and monkeys than in




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