Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Bryant (
5 Sep 1996 15:58:51 -0600

In article <50na4j$>, Susan <> wrote:
> (Bryant) wrote:
>versus normalcy. Suggesting that it has its uses implies that that it
>might be seen as normal, not as pathological. For many people, this now
>means that is more difficult to condemn.

Agreed. But what to do about it? Teach our young people critical
thinking, or stop lines of potentially productive but potentially
offensive or abusable research?

>While you might find
>Fausto-Sterling's idea of it being a criminal defense silly (I also read
>your other post!), I don't find it so far-fetched, at least

I found the assault on the persons named (claiming they would defend a
rapist thusly) more offensive than silly. (Nit.)

> As a culture, we still largely believe that biological
>stuff is difficult to control, and going against it is almost unhealthy.

Ignorance must be fought. Evolutionary psychology may have a lot in
common with Christians' ways of viewing our urges, in this regard: sinful
and to be resisted.

> Look at homosexuality. If it turns out that there is a biological
>component to it, that will make it much more acceptable for some people,
>who would otherwise condemn it if it seen as a "lifestyle choice."
>"Well, they had no choice." Do you really find it far-fetched to think
>that at least some people will buy the same argument about rape?

Unlike homosexuality, rapists pose a threat to the community (a serial
rapist has been attacking women in my neighborhood in the student ghetto
for over a month, now, so the issue's on my mind). Threats to the
community, and people who seriously harm others, cannot be forgiven or
let to roam free based on their "urges."

>>Objectivity is a leap for all of us. Personal pain and ideology or
>>religion exasperate the situation, absolutely. That doesn't mean it's
>>wrong to try, though. If nobody tries to understand these things, we
>>sure as hell aren't going to learn how to *stop* them from happening.
>Agreed. I just maintain that there are ways to deal with these things
>that might cause less personal pain, and that while I don't think it is
>the responsibility of every researcher to consider all the possible uses
>their research may be put to, I also think it is naive to pretend that
>these implications don't matter to the pursuit of "pure science", which
>some researchers do.

Fair enough. I agree. If anybody starts citing my paper on postpartum
depression as a legal defense against charges of infanticide, I'll be the
first to offer to testify against such intreptation. Seriously.

A lot of the studies we're writing up have implications for our
understanding of socially relevant issues (child abuse, violence between
men, differences in individual intelligence, etc.), and I'll be damned if
I'll stand by and let my research effort be co-opted by zealots of any
political stripe.

Also, I tend to assume considerably less about folks' understanding of
the naturalistic fallacy when writing for public, as opposed to
scientific, audiences.