Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gruntled Center: Is Gay Essentialism a Fad?

Gruntled Center: Is Gay Essentialism a Fad?:
"...In the discussion of sex, it is normal now for liberals to automatically translate that term into "gender." The prevailing liberal theory is that no feature of masculinity or femininity is rooted in the biology of men and women. Everything is a social construction.

Everything, that is, except sexual orientation...."
Beau Weston of the Gruntled Center has a short, yet provocative posting on social construction and how it applies to sexuality and the social institutions that grow around it.

The most vehement criticism leveled against Edward O. Wilson and his book Sociobiology -- The New Synthesis (1975) was that his "rigid determinism" would lead inexorably to the abuses of nazism. I have read his book over the years, and when you look at what he actually says, rather than what he was accused of saying, you find that he strongly suggests that humans have the propensity for behaviour that is at odds with their genetic heritage. In other words we have the ability to make choices.

Ideology, not science, drove the sociobiology debate 30 years ago and is still driving it today -- even as people are now arguing the opposite point of view. When ideology starts driving a debate (e.g. intelligent design vs. evolution), truth is the first casualty -- and that applies to fringes of all sides.

As Gruntled has been pointing out for the whole history of his blog, the center is the battleground as well as the glue that holds us all together.

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2 comments:

Gruntled said...

What is particularly interesting about this turn of the ideological wheel is that the liberal victories of the '70s on gender undermine the liberal agenda on sexual orientation today. This is parallel in the Presbyterian Church in the fight over "local option" on women's ordination then and homosexual ordination now.

Denis Hancock said...

Aren't the ironies of history fun?