Recently on X, atheist Richard Dawkins called out the “once-great” Scientific American for denying that “sex is a true binary.” His tweet (or X, or whatever it is to be called now) was in response to a 2019 article entitled “Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia.” The author, a male who insists on the pronouns “she/they,” claimed that “the popular belief that your sex arises only from your chromosomal makeup is wrong. The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change.” 

The writer cited examples of chromosomal abnormalities, intersex disorders, and the apparent similarities between the brains of trans individuals to those of the opposite sex to prove that sex, like gender, is actually on a “spectrum.”  

[T]he science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real. … The trans experience provides essential insights into the science of sex and scientifically demonstrates that uncommon and atypical phenomena are vital for a successful living system. … Transgender humans represent the complexity and diversity that are fundamental features of life, evolution, and nature itself. That is a fact. 

The idea that someone can, in fact, be “born into the wrong body” has been a central claim of those who advocate for transgender theory from the beginning. This, of course, assumes that the “right body” is not one that is physically healthy, but one that matches someone’s “gender” identity. Further, if there is a conflict between one’s body and one’s sense of self, it is the body that is the problem, and it should be changed through hormonal or surgical interventions. 

The distinction between the inside and the outside, so to speak, is vital to the transgender claim that even fully anatomical males should be able to compete in women’s sports and enter women’s locker rooms. After all, they say, it’s what’s inside that makes someone a “woman.” However, this distinction is blurred by gender activists who, like this author, refer to biological sex as being “assigned at birth” and, increasingly, as being non-binary like gender supposedly is. In other words, the subjectivity about gender is becoming a subjectivity about sex. 

This implies that doctors in delivery rooms who report “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl” are imposing an identity on children. However, if bodily sex is subjectively “assigned,” how can someone be “born in the wrong body?” Why undergo invasive and irreversible “therapies” to change a body to look like other bodies that have merely been “assigned” the opposite sex?  For that matter, how could there even be such a thing as an “opposite” sex in this way of thinking?  

In his scathing post, New Atheist and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins called out this confusion about sex.  

This ridiculous article (shame on the once-great Scientific American) ignorantly misunderstands the nature of the sex binary. … Sex is not defined by chromosomes, nor by anatomy, nor by psychology or sociology, nor by personal inclination, nor by “assignment at birth”, but by gamete size. It happens to be embryologically DETERMINED by chromosomes in mammals. … But it is universally DEFINED by the binary distinction between sperms and eggs. You may argue about “gender” if you wish (biologists have better things to do) but sex is a true binary, one of rather few in biology. 

In a subsequent post responding to those who asked about intersex people, Dawkins pointed out that a disorder in biology does not disprove normal biological facts. He wrote that babies born without legs do not “negate the statement that Homo sapiens is a bipedal species.”  

This distinction between how bodies are supposed to work and how they break down is straight out of Christian books on the subject. Yet here it is from one of the infamous “horsemen” of New Atheism and fierce opponent of Christianity. Dawkins is known for calling belief in God a “delusion.” But watching this exchange, one wonders how he feels about actual delusions being unleashed on a society that has largely rejected God.  

Of course, Dawkins is right. Male and female are real and binary, a nonnegotiable truth discernible by science, taught in the Bible and written in creation. Denying the reality and relevance of sexed bodies as trans activists do is profoundly anti-scientific. It is notable that even a scientist famous for denying the God who made us male and female can see this.  

To access a library of videos that counter misaligned ideas about identity, sex, marriage, and male and female, subscribe to the Identity Project. This is the most comprehensive library of on-demand resources available on these issues, all from a Judeo-Christian worldview. For a special February discount go to this month and enter BREAKPOINT at checkout. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Shane Morris. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Natasaadzic
Publish Date: February 22, 2024

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.