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Biological determinism on the march February 20, 2011

Posted by Summerspeaker in Evo psych, Feminism, Transhumanism.
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Hank Pellissier continues eir attempt to synthesize ambitious liberal-minded social reform with controversial evolutionary psychology. Sex essentialism apparently fascinates em. This time ey has seconded David Pearce’s call for women-only leadership on the basis that testosterone makes you freak out and kill people. With other supporting logic, I might enthusiastically support such a motion. Dude-conditioning absolutely encourages violence and sundry nastiness. But this biological determinist mindset stands fundamentally queer and radical feminist thought. I have trouble imagining the revolution I desire emerging from an obsession with chromosomes. To the contrary, I find the worldview worrisome. Hank ominously ends the piece with the suggestion of mandatory DNA disclosure for future politicians. There’s a reason that concept inspires dystopian science fiction. We’re more than our bits.

As the linked study and countless others indicate, essentialist narratives affect human behavior. The idea hormones that make dudes crazy or women have less aptitude for math becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dudes don’t need further excuses to be bellicose assholes. To the extent that readers believe the hype, proposals such as Pearce’s run the sad risk of solidifying the dudely aggression they hope to contain. I offer smashing masculinity and dude supremacy as an alternative approach.

For the biologically inclined, consider TwissB’s thesis on primary sex discrimination. Ey presents pregnancy regulation, prostitution, and pornography as ideal feminist targets because each one directly affects organs unique to women (as commonly defined – not all those who identify as women have those organs and not all those with such organs identify as women). Especially in light of current Republican war on women, this platform has merit. The moves to roll back reproductive freedom frighten me. I wouldn’t mind seeing more noise from the transhumanist community on this issue. Abortion access comes as part of the bodily liberty we so value.

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