My Rant on Pseudo-Science

April 23, 2008 at 7:15 pm (Current Events, science)

Alright, so I have admittedly ignored my blog for too long, but I have some good excuses.  I graduated with my PhD, moved across the country, moved in with my fiance (finally) and bought a house.  In the last month.  Wew.  So it was going to take a big kick in the pants to get me to write again, but I just saw the motivation I needed:

Apparently diet can now determine the gender of a child.  And thank god SOME people are being skeptical!  I guess I can throw out everything I learned during my PhD training in cancer research, my B.S. degree in Genetics as well as my high school and junior high biology.  Apparently the father’s contribution of either an X chromosome (for girls) or a Y chromosome (for boys) can be trumped by the mother consuming more calories rich in things like potassium and vitamin C.

Say it with me people:  this is BULLSHIT SCIENCE.  And I’m using the word “science” extremely loosely here.  There is NO WAY that once a woman has conceived and is carrying a developing fetus, that anything she does determines the sex.  Her actions may well determine characteristics of the child, even sexual orientation as some studies suggest, but the GENDER of the child is fully determined by whether it was conceived with a sperm containing and X or a Y sex chromosome.  Plain and Simple, and we have known this for decades.  So number one, why was the “research” even done in the first place and number two, why would ANYONE believe even a word of it?

Try this on for size:  maybe women who are carrying a male child are driven to consume more calories for some reason.  And I even have a semi-plausible explanation – female reproductive organs are the “default” system when babies are developing, so perhaps the influx of hormones (which are lipid based) and the energy expended to produce male organs is more calorically costly.  That took me all of 3 seconds to think up.  You’d think these “researchers” could have come up with a more plausible explanation.  It is also very plausible that women carrying male fetuses crave foods rich in certain minerals and vitamins.

So lets review:  there are ALWAYS multiple ways to correlate two seemingly related events.  For example, studies have shown that kids that play violent video games tend to be more violent and unlawful in real life.  Well, perhaps its not the video games turning them into hulligans, rather, children that have a predisposition towards violence seek out violent video games.  I certainly wouldn’t ever choose to play a violent video game.  So back to this hackneyed bullshit study.  Instead of throwing away decades of knowledge that tell us that the sex chromosome in the sperm determines a fetus’s gender, perhaps we can come up with a different correlation that doesn’t spit in the face of all known genetics and developmental biology.

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