“We British are used to following women commanders in war” - Boudica of the Iceni
VIA Pharyngula Loretta Kemsey has just published an excellent example of utter horseshit that tries to call evolution sexist, because Charles Darwin was a sexist in the 19th century. Pretty much like most people of his era.
This is straight up ad-hominem and doesn’t actually demonstrate anything, particularly in the face of further supporting evidence for evolution that has corrected his error.
In other words to adopt this stance is to ignore the fact that there has been one heck of a lot of work on evolution since Darwin’s day, and we have largely retained the bits he was right about and gotten rid of the bits where he was wrong.
And while there are modern sexists who think biology excuses them, maths and engineering are fields where you have one heck of a lot of sexists, yet we do not deny that 2+2=4.
Now lets talk about the history of sexism for a minute.
The quote up top there is a famous one from Boudica of the Iceni in her war with the Romans – you know one of the biggest cultural influences in the West given their propensity to conquer everything in sight. The Romans of the era were not noted for their love of female independence.
This would be just under 2000 years before Darwin was born.
Christianity also pre-dates Darwin and was the dominant cultural frame of his era. The Anglican Church recently very nearly split on whether women could be priests. This is in an era where sexism is an anathema. Now go back to an era where a woman being allowed to speak in church was considered controversial.
In Gen_3:16, “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. By this the apostle would signify, that the reason why women are not to speak in the church, or to preach and teach publicly, or be concerned in the ministerial function, is, because this is an act of power, and authority; of rule and government, and so contrary to that subjection which God in his law requires of women unto men. The extraordinary instances of Deborah, Huldah, and Anna, must not be drawn into a rule or example in such cases
Catherine Bushnell, the founder of feminist theology was only born in 1856, Charles Darwin was born in 1809. If we are going to blame anything for the sexism of Victorian England, it is going to have to be prevailing attitudes that essentially descended from Roman and Christian sources.
Are we going to argue that because so much of law is based on Roman concepts, and because of Christianity’s role in establishing centralised authority in Europe during the middle ages that we should all be anarchists?
* On a personal aside, this will be my last blog post as I am going over to a column format.
Interesting article Bruce… think you’ve just inspired an article on local sexism and its roots in South African culture – religion is likely not the only link between attitudes toward women and their treatment.
Sorry that I used this entrance. But I did not found a mail adress. So let start with my letter.
Dear Mr Gorton,
To promote skepticism/critical thinking I wrote some questions for the Christian believer. Mefiante from South African Skeptics made a good translation. She is now working at the last part. The most sophisticated questions. Are you able to put the link to these questions at your blog.
Thank you very much,
Piet – Rotterdam – Netherlands.
The original questions
The first one who did this, was Jonathan. This is a good example.