Talk:Sterility (physiology)

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Hesperian, I will now address the two points you raised. Please make sure you understand my response before you revert my edit again. Your first point was that it is not after all incoherent to say that "Sterility is the physiological inability to effect sexual reproduction in an organism anatomically equipped to do so." I maintain that this is incoherent and probably not what you mean to say. It implies for example that if a male monkey has healthy sperm and functioning sex organs but is launched on a rocket into deep space, he becomes sterile, since he is unable to effect sexual reproduction though anatomically equipped to do so. It also implies that if a disease were to affect all the female monkeys so that their wombs turned to jelly and ran out their vaginas, the females would not become sterile (because they would no longer be "atonomically equipped to reproduce"), whereas the male monkeys would become sterile (because they would be unable to effect sexual reproduction though still anatomically equipped to do so). But that is absurd. Therefore it is false that sterility is "the physiological inability to effect sexual reproduction in an organism anatomically equipped to do so." Please give that some thought before you revert again.

The other point you raised was that mules are not a species and staminodes are not organisms. Well, you may know better than myself the correct terms to use. I was going to say "kind," but then I thought I should try to preserve as much of your language as possible, out of respect. What is the term that includes both a species and a hybrid of two species? Insert that if you prefer. Regarding staminodes, again, I won't quibble. I was going to change "organism" to "living thing," but again I thought you would appreciate my attempt to keep your entry as intact as possible. I will change "species" to "kind" and "organism" to "living thing." If you come up with a better term, feel free to change it.

Ocanter (talk) 21:49, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Fair point. On the other hand, it is clear that you are not understanding the staminode example, so here's a different one. A man may have one sterile testicle and one fecund one. A testicle is not an organism. A testicle is not a living thing. It is an organ.

The solution may be to rewrite this so as to indicate that sterility is the condition of having lost the physiological ability to reproduce. Here lost is vague and must be interpreted in context: for the mule, the loss is relative to its ancestral line. For an organ, the loss is functional. Hesperian 06:37, 7 May 2011 (UTC)