Friday, October 24, 2014

Lewontin Blog Entry #5

Madison Kraemer
Dr. Adam Johns
English Composition 0200
24 October 2014
Lewontin’s Views on Homosexuality and Reproduction
In the six short chapters of Biology as Ideology, Lewontin describes the relationship between genetics and society. In the chapter, “A Story in Textbooks”, Lewontin writes about his views on the topic of sociobiology and describes it as “the latest and most mystified attempt to convince people that human life is pretty much what is has to be and perhaps even ought to be,” (Lewontin 89). An article called “Fear Ignorance -- Not Sociobiology!”, written by Pat Duffy Hutcheon, stated “ that the sociobiologists claim that homosexual genes are "inferior", and that is why they are programmed not to reproduce,”(Hutcheon). Both Hutcheon and Lewontin agree that sociologist’s view on the capability of  homosexual reproduction is ludicrous and homosexuals can reproduce just as well as heterosexuals.
Hutcheon writes, “sociobiologists have offered a hypothesis about how a homosexual orientation and reproduction might possibly be transmitted in the gene,”. Sociobiologist say homosexuals cannot reproduce due to the fact that they have a genetic defect where their genes have caused them to have the inability to reproduce. This statement is completely false and Lewontin and Hutcheon are against it. Lewontin’s writes that sociobiologists view heterosexuals and homosexuals as separate, class wise. Essentially this separation of classes means that heterosexuals can produce offspring whereas homosexuals cannot. The world is not divided between homosexuality and heterosexuality but “there is a continuum of sexuality from persons who have never engaged in anything but heterosexual behavior, through those who have a somewhat wider range of experiences, through those who are regularly bisexual to those who are totally homosexual,” (102). Just because you are homosexual or have been involved in homosexual experiences, it does not mean that you cannot produce offspring or have a lower success of reproduction.
Following this belief of homosexuals being genetically able to reproduce, I posed a question that if sociobiologists believed homosexuals could not reproduce, how could people who experience different sexual preferences reproduce? Hutcheon’s article stated that it is believed that there is no reproductive rates between people who are 100% heterosexual and those who are confused about their sexual preference. Following this, Lewontin provided an example that best fit this belief; “About half of all males in North America have had at least one homosexual contact.,” (102). This statistic shows that just because you classify yourself as “heterosexual” it does not mean that you have never experienced a homosexual encounter. For this reason, there is not enough evidence to support the claim that only heterosexuals can reproduce because scientists do not know the true sexual preference of all people who claim to be heterosexual.
Lewontin and Hutcheon believe that the reason for these outrageous statements made by sociobiologists is simply because without them, science would not be what it is today. “Science consists not simply of a collection of true facts about the world, but is the body of assertions and theories about the world made by people who are called scientists,” (103). These theories made by the sociobiologist about the capability of homosexuals ability to reproduce just show how things have changed from then to now. Both Lewontin and Hutcheon represent homosexuals as not “inferior” to hetersexuals but just as genetically and equally capable of reproduction.

Works Cited
Duffy Hutcheon, Pat. "Fear Ignorance -- Not Sociobiology!" Fear Ignorance -- Not Sociobiology! N.p., n.d. Web.

Lewontin, R.C. Biology as Ideology. New York: HarperCollins Publishers; 1991. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Your thesis is a little fuzzy here. Presumably you agree with both Lewontin and Duffy, but simple agreement doesn't make for much of a thesis. Are you extending their arguments, challenging their arguments, or applying them in a different context? What makes this *your* argument, in other words.

    I think maybe you were trying to develop further the idea that the attempt to define heterosexuality and homosexuality as polar opposites, when the real world is just endless grey shading in between, is the *real* problem here, and the cause of muddled thinking among sociobiologists. But how do you want to develop that idea? Is this really an argument about how sociobiology misunderstands human sexuality, or maybe about how we all do? Or is it about the danger of setting up easy dichotomies in science?

    There is lots of room to develop this argument in, but it's not happening yet.

    Also, if you revise this you really want to see what sociobiologists have to say for themselves. Obviously we might find that their opponents oversupply or mischaracterize what they have to say.


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