Episode 125 - Sex and Love in the Twenty-First Century:
 An Evolutionary Perspective

April 16, 2012

On February 20, 2009, the Center for Inquiry – Transnational in Amherst, New York, presented a lecture by philosopher Lee Nisbet. Its title: “Sex and Love in the Twenty-first Century: An Evolutionary Perspective.”

In the modernist world of today and tomorrow, sex and love are increasingly desperate to find one another. On Professor Nisbet’s view, Darwin explains why.

Lee Nisbet is professor of humanities at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. He is a past recipient of the prestigious John Dewey Senior Research Fellowship and the author of two anthologies dealing with gun violence and gun control issues and numerous articles in both scholarly and mass circulation publications. He is currently working on a volume dealing with the sex-gender-difference debate in the United States.

 

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Episode 125 - Sex and Love in the Twenty-First Century:
 An Evolutionary Perspective

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/audio/centerstage/centerstage-0125.mp3

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Did anyone else have a really negative reaction to this episode? I thought it was thoroughly presented from a sexist, male dominated point of view and failed to present “An Evolutionary View”. The presentation seemed to:

Assume that studies of women over the past 50 years could possibly represent people but especially women “in their natural, default state” regarding love and sex, which is, of course, absurd. Women are cultured and indoctrinated, especially in religious families, to have very unhealthy perspectives about themselves, their bodies, sex, love, marriage and what they are capable of in a modern world.
Assume that “the way we are” as represented by these studies IS representative of our “default nature” sexually.
Assume that there IS such a thing as a “default nature”
  - as if we as a species don’t just represent one of the many ways that sex and social structure can evolve
  - as if within our species there is only one “right” or “default” way (monogamy, heterosexual, men want sex and women accommodate)
Imply that we evolved FROM ancient/bad to modern/better.
  - as though we didn’t evolve from a common ancestor that gave us the misogynistic gorillas, the male dominated socially monogamous chimpanzees and humans and the egalitarian, sexually polyamorous bonobos.
  - as if evolution has not evolved traits over millions of years just to double back and throw them away again (i.e. the many times eyes have evolved and then devolved into unused appendages)
Assume that, even if we had a “default nature” and could know what it was without the pollution and influences of how we are cultured, that we are going to stay that way (as if evolution is not continuing to change who and how we are).
Ignore the evidence of some very very different male/female roles in other human cultures and the effects that has on their sexuality given that there are examples of human cultures that are both more and less sexist, misogynistic, egalitarian, sexually promiscuous, polyamorous, homosexual, etc etc)

I was shocked that the audience seemed to not only accept but to reinforce the ingrained sexism and misogyny in our culture with their questions and responses.

Posted on Apr 24, 2012 at 7:31pm by Bill Goodwin Comment #1