Posts tagged ‘Human’

Evolutionary Psychology: Science, or Merely a Male Chauvinist Justification of Sexism?

The Gilded Cage

Image via Wikipedia

Men who comment here sometimes, and men from the manosphere, frequently espouse views of evolutionary psychology in order to refute feminism. As “evidence” they mention sex stereotypes and attribute them merely to animal behavior and the human species’ wish to propagate our genes to the next generation.

The problem with this, of course, is two-fold. First of all, people are not merely animals. We have the ability to reason which differentiates us from many other species. Secondly, how does evolutionary psychology explain anomalies in our culture and how does it explain the phenomenon of feminism. Does it?

Evolutionary psychology says that women are valued only for their ability to reproduce and carry on a man’s genes, that women are only interested in sex in order to produce babies and are choosier in picking partners because it’s in their best interests to do so. Evolutionary psychology says that men are solely interested in young, hot women and that women are reduced to their “sexual market value.”

It doesn’t take into account those men who mate with older women. It especially discounts all the media cases lately of young men featured in the media who are “hot for teacher,” even when sometimes these much older teachers are not especially physically attractive in a conventional sense. It doesn’t take into account that most women don’t lose their desire for sex after they reach menopause.  How does evolutionary psychology explain these behaviors?

Men do generally prefer younger women, but what explains the differentiations from this? How do we account for the couples where the woman makes more money or has more money than the man? What is the evolutionary psychologist’s explanation for how this propagates the species? If evolutionary psychology can explain the relationship between the sexes, then how does feminism help to propagate the species? I’d be interested in hearing some theories.

But someone smarter than I am has written an article that refutes evolutionary psychology’s claims better than I can. Check out the article here:

February 9, 2011 at 12:30 am 4 comments

The Fruit, The Fall & The Plan

A screenshot from To Beep or Not to Beep.

Image via Wikipedia

Some of my readers seemed to get a little upset that I would say that birth defects or being born gay or transgender might just be a part of God’s plan. They mentioned the fall, when Eve and then Adam ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One said that as he understood it God wasn’t in charge of the earth now.

Well, I think God’s always been in charge of the universe, not just the Earth. If not, then who is in charge? Us? That’s a laugh. Satan? That’s even funnier. God’s in charge right now. God was in charge back then. He may choose not to interfere on a daily basis or not to interfere unless we ask Him in, but make no mistake that God’s ALWAYS in charge. He can step in any old time that He likes.

I also stand by my statement that what we often perceive as people’s imperfections are a part of God’s grand design, a design so big and complicated that you can only see it from God’s perspective. Think of corn mazes and crop circles. You don’t know what you’re looking at until you see it from the air.

I don’t mean that what a lot of us would think of as diseases and defects are personally visited upon particular people as a punishment. That makes no sense. A little baby has done nothing to deserve fetal alcohol syndrome, as an example. I only mean that God purposely designed a world in which these things could occur.

Let me ask you something: do you really believe that God is so small that the mere eating of a piece of fruit totally thwarted his original master plan for the universe? That’s it. Us all-powerful humans learn the difference between good and evil, and all hell breaks loose. It’s back to the drawing board for God, like Wile E. Coyote.

No, the world is the same world that was created on day seven. The fall didn’t thwart God’s plan. But there had to be consequences for Adam and Eve’s actions. The consequences were banishment from paradise amongst other things.

What was Adam & Eve’s sin? Well, for one thing it was thinking that eating a piece of fruit would make them as knowledgeable as God. It was that arrogance and hubris. And for another thing? It was believing the serpent, taking the serpent’s word over God’s and assuming that God lies. It was failing to communicate with God and failing to trust God.

Why would God purposely create a world from the very beginning that included the possibility for error? Well, I’m not God, so I can’t know for sure. But I believe that there are three reasons. The first is so that we would learn to love one another in perfect love. We would learn that other human beings sometimes require help and care. We would learn compassion that way. When we show love for our fellow human beings that pleases God.

The second reason is that if God created a world that was all paradise all the time, then it wouldn’t really be paradise anymore. In order to recognize that you’ve got it good there has to be a corresponding opposite state of bad. Otherwise, good is just the status quo. There’s nothing good about it. It’s just what you’re entitled to as a child of God. Ho hum. Just another day in paradise.

Adam: Do you think God will walk through the garden again tonight?

Eve: Who cares? There’s no reason to talk with Him. We have everything we need.

Serpent: Psssssssssssssssssssssssst!

And the final reason that I believe that God created a perfect world of imperfection: so that we would learn to love God and to rely on God. The whole reason that the human race was created in the first place was to be in relationship with God. If we have free will and everything goes hunky dorey for us all the time, then there’s not much reason to be in communication with God. To thank him, some of you might say. But how do you recognize the need for gratitude when everything is just perfect all the time? That’s just the way it is. Why would I want to thank anyone?

If God didn’t want to be in communion with us he would have chosen, instead, to make us pretty dolls that he could just sort of move about the world, in much the same way that a little girl plays with Barbie’s dream house. Greek mythology often refers to humans in much the same way, as the playthings of the gods. I don’t think we’re playthings. I think we were meant to be companions. God didn’t create us just because he was bored. He created us because he was lonely.

I’m not so full of myself that I think these ideas are original to me. I’m sure that if I had gone to seminary that I could give you the name of at least one famous theologian who thinks the same way I do on the subject and can probably discourse on it much more intelligently than I can. What I’m doing is articulating my theology in a way that works for me. Hopefully, it works for you, too.

You can disagree. God made as many viewpoints in the world as there are people. The important thing is that we do think about God and speak with God and spend time with God and live our lives according to what we can best divine to be His will. But it would be a mistake to ever think that we can comprehend God’s plan for the universe, no matter how much time we spend reading the Bible…or how much fruit we eat.

January 14, 2011 at 1:22 am 8 comments

The Mercy Date

Cover of "Knute Rockne All American"

Cover of Knute Rockne All American

Work Boyfriend 1.0 and I were having a phone conversation the other day where he brought up again, as he does every few months or so, the question of whether or not I should date. The answer to this question is always no. Sometimes I think the answer should be yes, but then I am wrong. The answer is no.

The last time someone talked me into accepting a date, the outcome was predictably tragic. I met this guy in a bar called Canary Hut or Canary Roost. I don’t know. Canary Something. I was out with Katina. This is obviously when I was still drinking, but I wasn’t drunk at the time. It was December of 2008, and I hadn’t been on a date in five years, if you count my relationship with The Rat Bastard as dating.

Wisely, after The Rat Bastard, I had made the conscious decision not to ever accept another date again. I am simply not meant to date. It works out for other humans, but it never works out for me. What is the definition of insanity? Repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome.

The outcome of me dating is always disappointment. Sometimes it’s mild disappointment, and at other times it’s profound disappointment but what all these experiences have in common is disappointment. I was an English major, and I began to sense a theme. At some point, I decided that I didn’t want to be insane anymore.

So, this guy at the Canary Something was supposedly instantly attracted to me. Why I couldn’t say. I had not taken any special care with my appearance, and I was at least one hundred pounds overweight at the time. Now the way he approaches me is original, because he doesn’t.

He sends his sister and her husband over to ask for him, like he’s in junior high and wants to ask me to go with him. The sister and her husband launch an all out campaign to convince me that I want to go out with her brother. They point him out at the bar. He waves.

He’s nothing special, but he’s also not repulsive. Supposedly, he is painfully shy. This isn’t surprising to me. Shy guys love me. I swear to God if there is a shy guy within a twenty-mile radius of me, he will eventually gravitate towards me even if he isn’t actually interested in me in that way. I attract them like magnets. The kind of guys who major in obscure and cerebral things that require them to interact with things or numbers and not humans – IT guys and math majors and engineers and architects – they love me for some inexplicable reason.

Now I finally meet this guy after his entire family has talked him up to me. And that’s no exaggeration. This is the family that parties together. Mom, stepdad, brother, sister, brother-in-law. He’s awkward, and, yep, shy. He also strikes me as not particularly bright. As in, he has the IQ of a root vegetable. Actually, that might be an insult to some of the more intelligent root vegetables, like the rutabaga and the jicama, for instance.

His whole family made a big point out of telling me how brilliant he is. Oh, he’s so smart! It doesn’t seem like it at first, but just wait until you get to know him. Hmmph. I am not so convinced. Mr. Brilliant is several years younger than me, in his late twenties, hasn’t started let alone finished college, and is currently working two or three delivery jobs.

But he’s nice enough. He seems to like me. My girlfriend is encouraging me to do this. I should go out. It’s healthy. I should make an effort. What could it hurt? Free dinner, yada, yada. And I recognize the logic in this argument. How am I going to find someone if I don’t go out? Do I want to spend the rest of my life alone? If nothing else, then it will be good practice.

I cave in to peer pressure. So, we exchange phone numbers, and I agree to give it the old college try. Win one for the Gipper, or whatever that saying is from that old Ronald Reagan movie.

Monday morning I describe the entire scenario to Work Boyfriend 1.0.

“So, you’re saying that you’re going out with this guy on a mercy date?”

“Well, if you’re going to put it that way, um, yeah, I guess.”

“Oh, my God. Don’t do us any favors.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? I thought you said that I should date.”

“You should. Someone you really like.”

“But no one I really like has asked me out. They aren’t exactly lining up outside my door. These are my choices: stay home or go out on the mercy date.”

A couple nights go by. Mr. Brilliant calls me. He hasn’t gotten any smarter. It’s late, and I’m already in for the night, and he wants me to meet him somewhere right now. Now I’m not a strict adherent to The Rules, but I’m not running like a puppy dog because this guy has called. I don’t play games. I tell him that I’d like to make plans in advance. I don’t tell him why this is, but the reason has to do with the fact that I’d like to think that a guy actually went to the effort and trouble of planning something in advance. I’d like to think that he cared enough to do that for me.

He says he’d like to meet me somewhere for dinner the next night. Tomorrow night. No place yet. No plans. But I figure this is a compromise because I at least have advance warning. I can make an effort and try to look nice, maybe wear some of that Chanel perfume that I never have a reason to wear. Tomorrow night. He’ll call. Cool.

So, tomorrow night comes. I make an effort and shower and dress nice and get ready to fly out the door to wherever it is that he’s decided that we’re going to meet. But the phone doesn’t ring. Strangely, the phone doesn’t ring all evening.

The phone does ring the next day, after he’s stood me up. It rings several times while I’m at work, and once I actually hang up on him without saying a word. Work Boyfriend 1.0 is appalled.

“You aren’t even going to give this guy a chance?”

“You didn’t even want me to go out with him in the first place, and he stood me up.”

“You should at least listen to what he has to say.”

“Unless he’s in a hospital, I really don’t want to hear anything he has to say. And nope, not even then. They have phones in hospitals. You want to know why I don’t date? This. This right here is why I don’t date. It’s a perfect example.”

First, I’m wrong for having a no dating policy. It’s so isolated and closed off, and I’ll never meet someone that way. Then someone asks me out, and I agree to give him a shot, and I’m a horrible person for agreeing to go on the mercy date. Then he stands me up, and I’m a horrible person for not giving him a second chance. At what point is he the horrible person in this scenario? After he takes me out to an old deserted road and rapes me and leaves me for dead? Or will I still be the horrible person even then?

Mr. Brilliant calls again that night. His excuse is that he had to work. He works three jobs, after all, and one of the jobs asked him to work some overtime.

I tell him that I can appreciate that he has to work three jobs, and that if you have to work you have to work. I still would have appreciated a courtesy call.

His phone was dead or something. He’s sorry. Do I want to go out right now and meet him and his friends for a drink? No, I do not. I tell him he had his chance, and he blew it, and I don’t want to talk to him again. For someone who was supposedly so enamored of me, he doesn’t seem very broken hearted about it.

And THAT is why I don’t date. I suppose my standards are too high. Once, just once I’d like for the guy that I like to ask me out and not have to settle for letting the guy I’m not so crazy about try to convince me otherwise. But I give in on that. Every time. Because if I don’t, then I’ll be alone. Then I compromise on the fact that I’d like to be courted. Then I compromise on the fact that I’d like to be treated with common courtesy and decency. And before I know it, I’m in another relationship with another Rat Bastard all because I’m scared of (Gulp!) being alone.

I won’t do it. I’m tired of doing it. And I’d rather be alone, thank you. If that makes me bitter or “judgemental”, then I guess I’m okay with that.

September 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm 2 comments

My Own Private God

adam and eve - I build this garden for us

Image by oddsock via Flickr

About a week and a half ago I went to a Cocaine Anonymous meeting at Club 101 with Lubbock’s lawyer friend Chris. The meeting was a Big Book Meeting, which means that some portion of the Big Book is read aloud, and then participants comment on it. The Monday night meeting at Club 101 is a big one, and they time participants to limit their comments to five minutes or less, and still someone was able to say something for me that was profound. Or, more probably, someone was finally able to get a message through my thick skull.

She said that the God that she had troubles with, and, boy, did she ever have troubles with him, that that God didn’t have to be her higher power and that she could make up her own God in which to place her faith. Well, I don’t know so much how I feel about making up your own God, ‘cause that sounds like idolatry, but what I did take from that comment is that she said that she made an inventory of the qualities of the God that she believes in. Her higher power has a definable character. I suppose some more orthodox folks would say that’s what the Bible is for, but I think this is great. Write down a definition and a description of the God that you believe in.

My God is neither male nor female; or maybe God is both, but God, though I may use the pronoun he, is not a man. God is God. He created men and women in His image.

My God is love. He is kind. He doesn’t approve of wars made in His name. He doesn’t punish pagan cultures by sending them hurricanes. He doesn’t send earthquakes because women expose cleavage. He doesn’t send newborn infants to hell because they haven’t yet been baptized.

My God doesn’t have a political party. He is neither Republican nor Democrat. He doesn’t belong anymore exclusively to Communists or Socialists or Libertarians than he does to members of the Tea Party. God has no political affiliation, even though Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would like you to think otherwise.

My God is absolutely involved in the smallest details of my life, to the extent that I let him in. God loves and cares personally and equally for all of his creation. “From a Distance,” was a big hit for Bette Midler, but it doesn’t describe my God. My God loves us Up Close & Personal.

My God thinks sex is great. He approves of it. It was His idea in the first place. He gives sex a big thumbs up. The thing he doesn’t approve of is when it’s used improperly, but when it’s used to convey affection and to indulge in pleasant recreation with someone for whom we have affinity and treat with respect, God thinks that’s a beautiful thing. The ideal circumstance for that to occur in would be in a marriage, but God doesn’t condemn a single person having sex. He condemns adultery.

My God gave us the gift of an earthly body to take care of us and for us to care for until we can join God in the afterlife. He wants us to take the best care of it that we possibly can. Drugs, whether legal or illegal, are not inherently evil. Alcohol and tobacco are not the handiwork of the devil. Drugs, of all kinds, from aspirin to caffeine and food to methadone, are only evil when we abuse them to achieve a mind-altered state. If you can’t use a drug in some kind of moderate and sane way, then it is best to abstain from that drug altogether. Of course, you can’t do that with food, but you can decide to give up the Ding Dongs and the McDonald’s at least.

My God gave us dominion over the land and the animals of this earth. Dominion does not equal the indiscriminate exploitation of our natural resources. It implies good stewardship.

My God thinks that it is important that we be kind to one another. Act in love always, and you will be doing what Jesus would do.

My God inspired men to write a book that could serve as a guide to know Him better. The Bible is the inspired word of God. It is infallible, but not every word is meant to be taken literally. Whether or not there was an actual Adam and Eve or if there was a Tower of Babel or a Noah’s Ark, it doesn’t diminish the truth of the story for me in the least.

My God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to good people. People and circumstances and sometimes bad choices cause bad things to happen to good people. God is good and just. We have to trust in God’s plan and have the wisdom to understand that is beyond our comprehension.

My God knows that there is evil in this world. There is a devil in each one of us. Human beings are sinful. We are filled with the capacity for equal parts of light and dark. It is how we choose to live our lives that will ultimately determine the fruit we bear that will show proof of our love for God. My God thinks the excuse, “The devil made me do it,” is lame.

My God is infinitely forgiving of the sincerely contrite. He will forgive well beyond a human being’s tolerance for forgiveness. But my God can see into the hearts of men and knows when that man’s heart is truly sorry and when it is not. My God forgives those who are truly sorry.

September 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm 3 comments

I Hate the Word Empowerment

As a feminist, I hate, hate, hate the word empowerment. It’s a buzz word now and has been for at least a decade. Ironically, it’s only used once in the entire book, Half the Sky. Maybe it’s because, like me, Sheryl WuDunn is sick of the word.

Empowerment is defined as (from to give power or authority to; to enable or permit. See how the word is not actually “empowering” at all? It’s condescending. The word is usually used in conjunction with conversations about civil rights, racism, and women’s rights issues. The implication being that “the man” (for want of a better term, forgive me) is giving us our basic right to equality as a gift or magnanimous gesture, rather than our taking and owning what is rightfully ours.

I think I hate the word empowerment for the same reason that some blacks felt the movie The Blind Side was ultimately racist and patronizing. I liked The Blind Side, by the way. I thought it was an excellent movie about a true love story between a poor young man and the family who loved him. If you take out the race factor, it would still be a good movie. But would the movie still have been made?

African Americans do have the right to be a little touchy about how often white families adopt black babies. It brings up a lot of issues, like why don’t you see movies about black couples adopting white babies? If black children are raised by white parents do they lose their culture? And why aren’t there enough black families to adopt and raise all the black babies?

Well, here I’m going to stop and say something politically incorrect. Ultimately, I’m not really interested in exploring the answers to those questions in any depth. Any time a human being helps a fellow human being to realize his potential, that’s a good thing. I don’t care if you’re black, blue, green, or purple. Love is good. Give it freely. Take it where you can get it. One day, hopefully, in a distant future that I probably won’t live to see, we will stop questioning the motivations of Mr. Drummond’s adoption of Willis and Arnold and move on to the world Rev. King described.

August 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm 1 comment

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