Writing Glitch 1061

Today’s glitch:

*sigh* Why do I even bother? Idjits gonna idjit… Nevertheless, I’ll say something because I can’t not say something.

Yes, when referring to basic biology/genetics, women do have two X chromosomes for the twenty-third pair, and men have one X and one Y. That, however, is where anything factual in this example ends.

According to that anthropologist whom I consult every time I need someone to explain Stupid Shit Some Humans Believe and Why They Believe It, this is yet another example of some idjit trying to use “science” to “prove” that their silly little gender bias is based on “for-real science facts.”

In reality, the only way “women see more shades of red than men” comes from actual color blindness being more common in men, so yes, technically there are more women, percentage-wise, who can see all the reds, all the time. (I have an aunt who’s colorblind, though; women can be colorblind, too.) Color blindness is not inherent in being genetically male, however. As for men supposedly not seeing more than light red and dark red… That couldn’t possibly be due to socialization/culture rather than genetics, could it? Oh, no. It must be a Real Fact, Y’all, that men can’t see different shades of red because they don’t have a matching set of chromosomes for that last pair. *rolls eyes*

Fact: Not having handy, fashion-industry-declared names for all versions of a color does not mean not being able to see the differences. (Also, only reds mixed with black are shades of red; if red is mixed with white, it’s a tint, and if it’s greyed out somehow, it’s a tone. This has been your unasked-for art jargon lesson… Wow, you’d almost think I’d spent some time teaching this stuff, too.)

Also… Humans aren’t dogs; we don’t get more of a trait by having more repetitions of the genes for that trait in our DNA. Even if it were true (spoiler: it isn’t!) that the ability to see red at all is carried on the X, that wouldn’t mean men (those biologically male: XY instead of XX) would be unable to see as many reds as women see, because that’s not how it works.

Anyway, I guess you want to know about the bad grammar and punctuation used to write the bad “science facts”… If you must write such nonsense (maybe you’re a journalist, for example, and it’s your responsibility as such to report accurately what someone says even when you know they’re full of shit), this is how it should look:

“Women can see more shades of red than men can. The gene that allows humans to see the color red is on the X chromosome, of which men have only one. Because women have two, they can see crimson, maroon, cardinal, ruby, and scarlet, but men see only light red and dark red.”

(There will be a follow-up post for the ‘who sees what colors, and why’ part of this.)


About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
This entry was posted in Writing Glitches and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Writing Glitch 1061

  1. M. Oniker says:

    I’ll bet all of those male painters over the centuries had a heck of a time dabbing on the crimsons and vermilions when they couldn’t actually tell them apart! Who knew…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Most people have only a sketchy understanding of genetics (probably only a vague memory of learning about Gregor Mendel and the peas). The NIH offers reliable information here:

    We won’t go where the roughly 2-4% of Neanderthal genes (which almost everyone who is not of pure sub-Saharan African ancestry carry) can take us when those genes are expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

Don't hold back -- tell me what you really think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.