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Larson&Ruse Chapter 7--Sex and Gender

Posted By Randall D. Isaac, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Here Ruse takes the lead but with several sections by Larson in recounting the historical perspectives on sex and gender, particularly regarding the relationship between the scientific and religious understandings.


Much of the human condition is portrayed in the first two chapters of Genesis. “First, humans come in two different kinds, male and female, and this is a fundamental distinction or difference…Second, the Bible is quite unambiguous about females’ and males’ relative statuses. Females and males are humans, and they are distinguished from the rest of creation in both being equally made in the image of God…Third, it is difficult to escape entirely the impression that some are more equal than others. The second version of the story has God creating Adam first and then almost as an afterthought creating Eve to keep Adam company.” (p. 186-187)


“In short, Judaism and Christianity are far more complex on the nature and status of women than one might suspect from a quick simplistic reading.” (p. 189)


Islam and Eastern religions also have a complex view on cultural issues such as gender relationships.


“Historically…the sciences serve to reinforce religion more than to challenge it.”(p. 193)


“…Darwin takes his Christian thinking, reads it into biology, and then happily reads it out again as confirmation of what he believed all along.” (p. 203)


“Does religion demand male and female? It’s hard to say, because it’s never really a question that comes up---“He created male and female.” Does biology demand male and female? Certainly not, because most organisms do not have sex. They are asexual and reproduce by budding or division and the like. Whatever the cause, it does seem that sex is a powerful tool of evolutionary change, however, and it is hard to imagine higher organisms having gathered together all of the genes that they need without sex.” (p. 203)


“…in the science and religion context, gender differences and sexual orientation raise overlapping issues and concerns. Both science and religion came to these topics with traditions in place, preferences set, and already formulated, culturally laden answers to intensely personal questions. New empirical findings emerged, once-established facts were reinterpreted or discounted, technologies and politics evolved, and new cultural norms and social practices emerged.” (p. 211)

Tags:  evolution  Larson  On Faith and Science  Ruse 

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