Are men expendable? After millennia of vigorously hoisting their species to the top of the food chain, is XY now a barrier to additional progress? Has the ball game for “dudes” expired? Will the future be self-reproducing super-women? With males”¦ extinct?
An amusing though somewhat frustrating piece. You suggest biological sex as the cause for the many gender differences you list. The current evidence cannot support such notions. As shown in Cordelia Fine’s book Delusions of Gender, most claims of neurological distinctions between XX and XY folks rest on sloppy research and popular narratives. The social aspect of the gender distinction deserves serious consideration. I rather doubt males rape and murder so much simply because of their chromosomes. That we can blame on masculinity. Transmen have been known to adopt the cult of violence as part of their dudely identity without any hormone treatment.
As you hint at in the conclusion of your article, moving toward a genderless world requires a cultural campaign more than technological change. While your imagined Kaguya society surely would be an improvement over current conditions, the practical difficulties of actually implementing such a program mean it would take smashing the patriarchy to even get started. I suspect we can do better than hypothetical 130-year lifespans for some distant generation. For those who fixate on phenotypical differences, improving body modification and virtual reality should throw gender into a promising state of confusion over the coming decades. I say we aim at full liberation for already living.
Re “<i>Will the future be self-reproducing super-women?/i>”
Make that “self-reproducing genderless super-persons” and I will sign for it.
Posted by CygnusX1 on 02/02 at 01:16 PM
But who would empty the trash and fix the car? No more football nor Die Hard movies? Yikes!
But seriously, you got me thinking.. is there a Kaguya dating agency?
Posted by Josh Kyle on 02/02 at 02:49 PM
Viking raiding parties - not good. Barroom brawls—no longer OK. Not even toy guns in schools. One boy was suspended for making his fingers into al gun and shooting. Hyper masculinity is now isolated into the military and sent to faraway places where it can be kept out of sight. Welcome to the war on virility.
Posted by Rebecca Taggart on 02/02 at 03:45 PM
What a delight to read your hilarious prose! And you even provided a topic of conversation for our anniversary dinner tonight. I’m all for the sexual on-off switch, but what about child-rearing? It isn’t as if being a supermom isn’t already hard enough!
Posted by iPan on 02/02 at 05:14 PM
I think that males developed as a means of further evolution. We are ‘chaos’ in the gene pool.
I believe this is the origination of the ‘sacrificial males’ myths. We are essentially evolutions guinea pigs. The genetic experiments. Men carry the majority of genetic disorders. We are natures petri dish.
You’d think that would generate a lot of sympathy for men, but given our recent domination of the world, I guess we can’t expect too much help.
In the end, though, I believe we will transcend biology in it’s entirety. We are almost ready to leave gender behind completely, and I don’t think post-humans will really be either male or female, as we understand these sorts of things now (gender is a biologically derived condition, therefore transcending biology also entails transcending gender).
Posted by Giovanni Santostasi on 02/02 at 05:17 PM
I think it is great that such polarity exists. Sex was invented very early in the history of evolution and probably for a good reason. Hermaphrodites exists but they are not very common.
Even if I’m a strong advocate for women in science, it is a fact and something that has been researched that women prefer not to be in hard science fields. This time and age there are not real barriers for a woman to be involved in a hard science, in fact I would say they are more than welcome. But their number in those fields are very little. Women are giving great contribution in the biological fields and medical sciences but not in the hard sciences (at least number wise) I’m sure the quality of science of the few women involved is as great as the woman from man.
Same thing for technology in general. This is not sexism but simply reality of how gender effects life choices and preferences.
One could explain this with upbringing or other social factors. I’m not sure at all this is the entire explanation.
Plus a certain warrior spirit may necessary to advance civilization even if we are not fighting real bears anymore. Exploring new frontiers on earth and in space maybe would require such spirit.
The problem is that being a male is dangerous and has counter-effects. Well maybe instead of desiring a uniform, unipolar humankind we should try to address the problems of being a man and fix them giving equal longevity to both sexes.
In a post-human future one could maybe change sexuality at will for different situations or occasions. It would be interesting but the polarity should be maintained because makes things more interesting and fun.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/02 at 05:44 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone
for summerspeaker - I agree, I’d also like to do much better than the 130+ years that Kaguya offers. But perhaps… this can be attained in 28% increments? Should ova-fusion really be rejected because its ONLY 28%? I don’t think so…
for Giulio - I agree. “Genderless” is probably the correct term for Kaguya, because if there’s only one gender, why call people “women”? That term would indicate the presence of no-longer existent males. But “genderless” wouldn’t imply half-male, or ambiguous gender, because Kaguyas are ultra-femme, as CygnusX1 has noted.
for CygnusX! - the “dating agency” - you and me are both interested in these ultra-femmes, but I already got copyright. I wonder what qualities thet’d have other than long lives… hard to tell with a mouse.
for Josh - I’m so sorry. It’s obvious you have a son, and I have only daughters. But… the Kaguyas could be pumped up with androgen, they’d be very “virile” after that. My next article is going to be “Suicidal Masculinity and American Football” so I guess I am being a big Mangina.
for Rebecca - I don’t think male extermination is a diplomatic topic for an anniversary night out. Child-rearing? yeah, it’s hard. But women seem so great at it. I watched a Koko the Gorilla youtube today and even the big she-ape was totally maternal with her pet kitten.
Posted by Fred James on 02/02 at 06:26 PM
The Hankster is at it again. I really identified with this article because I too was benighted with Catholicism and the communion ceremony at that age of the constant boner!
But Hank’s objective look at the whole idea is a bit scary. His facts are well known by now to those who read. But will my grandson be allowed to be one of the super studs Hank yearns to be? He writes “Our alliance should be with progress.” not hopelessly pining away for our present masculine world.
Hank, your article is really good. Thanks.
Aloha Nui Loa,
Posted by iPan on 02/02 at 11:17 PM
You’ll love this TEDTalk:
Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender
Media and advertising companies still use the same old demographics to understand audiences, but they’re becoming increasingly harder to track online, says media researcher Johanna Blakley. As social media outgrows traditional media, and women users outnumber men, Blakley explains what changes are in store for the future of media.
You kind of glossed over the fact that Kaguya was one of only two pups that survived from an initial 457 embryos created from ‘ova-fusion’. Viable Human same-sex reproduction is not in the immediate future.
I’m also skepitical of your vision of a unisex world. Why? Because it’s too radical for bioconservatives and not radical enough for technoprogressives. 130 Years? Please! Any self-respecting Transhumanists wants to live for thousands of years, minimum.Transhumanists desire radical enhancements. Though post-humans may well be genderless, that will likely be their least noticable post-human attribute. There will likely be a sharp division between bioconservatives, who reject anything they associate with Transhumans (which would likely include reprogenetics), and the radical post-humans, who may also reject anything they associate with primitive Humans (like gender). I don’t see much room for a middle ground where unisex Humans would fit.
Finally, I don’t believe it is wise for a species to sacrifice it’s ability to reproduce naturally. Eventually, there will be a massive catastrophe the decimates the population and destroys technological infrastructure. Artificial reproduction will no longer be widely available, if it’s available at all. If the survivors cannot reproduce naturally, then the species is doomed to extinction.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/03 at 08:16 AM
@ summerspeaker. Yes, I am one of those people who believe that biological sex deeply affects behavior, I don’t think the majority of differences are created by society. I say this partly because I was a preschool director for five years and had ample observation time, and also because I have a friend who is a geneticist who agrees with me (he has 3 sons). At the preschool, I watched girls pet guinea pigs and boys chase pigeons, girls played with dolls, boys with trains, girls weave yarn, boys sword-fight with sticks, girls say mean things to each other, boys hit. One boy was intent on memorizing the city transportation system - my geneticist friend thinks this is linked to hunting trails. I don’t think masculinity and femininity are “social inventions” - I think they are biological behaviors governed by hormones, genetics, etc.
@iPan - thanks! I will watch that!
@Armand - you’re right, Kaguya is one of only 2 pups who survived out of an initial 457 embryos. But that was in 2004. Four years later, 13 “Kaguyas” survived. An enormous increase, 7.5 times more! When I do the math, if this 7.5 times increase continues every four years, well, all 457 of the pups will survive by 2016, if not sooner.
I have already responded to a previous poster’s comment that a 28% increase is “not good enough.” Of course it isn’t, even though it is by far the largest gain I’ve ever seen posted for any longevity “lifestyle” change. You can eat healthy food, take supplements and exercise 2 hours a day like Jack Lalanne did, and still die at 96, like he just did—gaining perhaps a 21% increase. If he was a “Kaguya” who did that he’d still be alive, until he was 123.5 years old. I propose that extreme life extension could well be gained via numerous changes in lifestyle and biology—rather than the “one big fix” you seem to be looking for.
Posted by Edward on 02/03 at 08:29 PM
13/2 = 6.5
I don’t think that it’s reasonable to expect a constant increase of 6.5 every four years. Scientific advancement isn’t mechanistic; it doesn’t behave like a predictable linear function. If it did, we’d have a comprehensive Theory of Everything by now.
I agree with your point that masculinity and femininity are biological, having also worked with small children for years. It also appears to me that gender identity is a product of the engendered brain, not the genitalia, or even the chromosomes. In fact, neuroscience has all but confirmed that this is the case.
I, for one, fail to see the benefits of a mono-gender world, though I am open to convincing. Aside from the obviation of gender discrimination (which is becoming less and less of a problem in developed countries all the time) what are the perks? Simplifying the public restroom system? Once human enhancement is widespread, or uploading becomes available, why would biological gender matter at all? It’s like eye, hair or skin color; a minor variation between individuals. A mono-gender world seems less likely to me than a mono skin-tone world. Any thoughts?
Also, I agree with Armands statement regarding abandoning natural reproduction all together. New technology is always accompanied by new dangers, and having no fail-safes seems like a dangerous way to proceed into the future.
Which brings me to another question: if not for sexual reproduction, would humans reproduce at replacement levels? I doubt this. People generally don’t reproduce because of rational decisions; they do so because it feels good, and quite by accident, really. Without “accidental” conceptions, would asexual biological humans spiral towards extinction due to a “rationality overdose”? Of course, this isn’t an issue for “uploaded” humans, but it certainly concerns those who choose to live as asexual organic entities.
Gender identity is determined in the brain, not the cell nucleus. Hormones have more of an effect on the brain than chromosomes. Calling the work of many dedicated neuroscientists “sloppy research” is pretty harsh, and baseless.
Perhaps the transmen you speak of did not “adopt” these behaviors but behave in such a manner because of their masculinized brains? This is of course ignoring the fact that many of them take androgens which have a far greater effect on females than they do on males. Surely you cannot ignore the effects of hormones on human behavior.
Posted by Edward on 02/03 at 08:51 PM
Also, let’s not forget that being old and decrepit sucks. A few extra decades of senility and using a bedpan is not something to look forward to. If the Kaguya method does not result in added years of youth and vigor, there is little apparent purpose in pursuing it. At best, rejuvenating biotechnology would nullify any advantages conferred by ova-fusion. At worst, we’ll be building quite a few more senior homes to accommodate these elderly ladies.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/03 at 09:53 PM
@Edward - I apologize for my division error, but still, jumping from 2 to 13 in 4 years is impressive… My essay isn’t meant to be predictive, I just want to introduce the notion that perhaps humanity going XX with ova-fusion to get 28% longevity increase and (perhaps) other societal benefits would be… worth it? You are welcome to disagree but I think it is an interesting option worth contemplating.
Regarding decrepit senility and bed-pans etc., your dismay is commonly heard, but my understanding is that the length of healthy years would be vastly increased, so it wouldn’t be an additional 28% of bedpan years.
Now for some more math, you indicate concern that humans wouldn’t reproduce sufficiently if we eliminated “accidental” pregnancy, but - rather obviously - “under-populating” the world isn’t really a concern in the future, especially if everyone lives much much longer. Personally, I think the fear of reproduction is a huge turn-off in sex, it would be nice to not have to worry about that anymore.
You indicated that you are “open to being convinced” about the benefits of a mono-gender world, so I will think about that a while and write more later.
Posted by Summerspeaker on 02/03 at 10:19 PM
All y’all biological determinists should at least check out Cordelia Fine’s book Delusions of Gender. Ey criticizes neuroscience from within and in a rigorous fashion you’ll appreciate. Observations from within a society where people get sorted into the predefined categories of boys and girls literally before birth hardly prove anything. As you would expect, my personal experience convinces me the gender distinction comes overwhelmingly as an active social construction. I witness its maintenance on a daily if not hourly basis.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/03 at 11:33 PM
@summerspeaker—thanks for the advice, I will check out that book. Why don’t you write an essay on Delusions of Gender for IEET? I have read that in Sweden the preschools give dolls to little boys and trains to the little girls in an attempt to counteract gender sterotyping—I will dig up that info and let you know. My inclination is to be a “biological determinist” but I could be much better informed on the topic.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/03 at 11:40 PM
@summerspeaker, here’s an article on a Swedish couple who are raising their child without revealing its gender to anyone, so that the child can avoid be stereotyped and programmed.
The Swedes are apparently big believers in the notion that gender is a “social construct.” My wife agrees with them. I don’t, not yet, but I will look into it.
Posted by Edward on 02/03 at 11:49 PM
I am familiar with the Tithonius argument. I didn’t see youthful longevity mentioned anywhere in the article, so I brought it up. Can you cite any mention of health in old age in the article?
The concept is certainly worth contemplating, though it’s hardly new to me. I have long thought of gender separatism as a possibility, however unlikely.
Underpopulation isn’t a problem now. Many perils, anthropogenic and otherwise, await humanity in the in the future, and in lieu of cataclysm, underpopulation could still very well become a problem if people reproduce far below replacement level, even if they live beyond 130. It’s not a matter to be taken lightly.
I’ll have a looksie when/if I get a chance. Hopefully it’s backed by legitimate science and not a bunch of hand-waving rhetoric. That’s all too common nowadays. I’ll try to have an open mind, though I must admit I’m pretty convinced otherwise.
You will at least concede that hormones affect human behavior, won’t you?
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 12:35 AM
This is sort of off topic, but being the philosopher that I am, I simply must ask.
“I just want to introduce the notion that perhaps humanity going…”.
Am I the only one who sees a problem with this notion?
I cannot understand how anyone expects humanity, as a whole, to go in any one particular direction. It has never happened in history. This is as hopeless as, say, having the whole of humanity adhering to one political ideology. Regardless of the benefits, the probability of all of humanity uniformly committing to any cause whatsoever is close to zero. The smaller the portion, the higher the odds. This should be obvious.
You are not the first author I’ve seen commit this apparent fallacy, but it bugs the heck out of me, so I feel compelled to mention it. I understand that the article is not meant to be predictive, yet I cannot overlook this apparent fatal flaw in reasoning that blights this and many other contemplated “possible” futures. Perhaps I am mistaken?
This is assuming, of course, that all forms of human enhancement are totally voluntary.
Posted by Vx on 02/04 at 06:02 AM
I know some people are less bound to their gender and would change it if offered some opportunity (e. g. increased lifespan) or eliminate at all. However, this is not the case for everyone. What if you are neither tired with your particular gender, nor with gender polarity at all? Or tired with your “unisexuality” and want to increase your distinct features of one gender and reduce those or another (whether inborn or opposite)? I think there’s going to be more diversity anyway, not less. Some would definitely prefer a more risky male life over reducing risk by having periods:)
Re “This is as hopeless as, say, having the whole of humanity adhering to one political ideology. Regardless of the benefits, the probability of all of humanity uniformly committing to any cause whatsoever is close to zero.”
Agreed, this should be evident. And it is also good, imagine how boring a world of identical clones would be.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/04 at 09:43 AM
@ Vx and Edward - I have certainly never had a period so I cannot talk about that. But, if I suddenly had the “magic possibility” of becoming a Kaguya and living 20 years longer, yes! I think I might go with that. I don’t know what most men would say. I am 58 years old, so do I want to die in 20 years as a male or double that but be a Kaguya? The latter, I’m quite sure.
Edward, I appreciate your question but I am not sure what it is. Do I want everyone on Earth forced into being a Kaguya? Hmmm… good question. I do want to point out that with sex-selection technology, the majority of people (in Japan and the USA) are choosing for females. If they are already choosing females, why wouldn’t they choose Kaguyas? Supposedly, 13 of the future’s 15 most promising careers are women-dominated industries. If that is accurate, the choice becomes somewhat of an ethical concern. Should parents choose a long-lived highly-employable Kaguya, or a destined-for-unemployment male who will die young? At the risk of being offensive, I want to point out that most parents nowadays get the fetus terminated if it has Down’s Syndrome. If males seem tremendously disadvantaged compared to a Kaguya, wouldn’t they just fade away, anyway, due to parental decisions? There wouldn’t have to be a government mandate at all.
@Vx - increasing diversity in gender? Quite honestly, when I was younger and not-at-all monogamous, I would have been interested in your proposal. But now it seems rather silly to me. You might have a case though—in a world committed to hedonism, having a wide variety of orifices and erogenous zones and members and orgasms and lots of time to try them all out, might be appealing, to some. I’d probably still prefer to just read challenging books and argue online, though. Maybe there’s some compromise society will reach though, maybe there will be gender diversity in sexbots for us to play with, or detachable organs we can play with. Personally, I think the divisions that occur because people are one gender or another are unavoidable and sad, and that’s much of my inclination for a mono-gendered world.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/04 at 10:10 AM
@ Giulio and Edward - I am going to be picky here, but two points:
1. Kaguyas would not be “identical clones” because they would be neither clones, nor identical. I am also not convinced that diversity in gender creates diversity in philosophical thought. I believe a mono-gendered world could be just as widely-varied politically and philosophically, perhaps even more so, because it often seems to me that “gender politics” is a wearying diversion, when we could be talking about more important issues, like economic and educational egalitarianism.
2. Why does the notion of all of humanity agreeing on something seem boring and hopeless to you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful and interesting if humanity agreed on the values that IEET adheres too? Like democracy, tolerance, peace, rationality, life extension? Historically you say humanity has never agreed on anything, but cannibalism and slavery have been essentially abolished. Female Genital Mutilation will end in our lifetimes. Capital punishment might disappear. Witch-burning should vanish (from India and Africa and other places where it still persists) Really bad religions will hopefully disappear. Okay, you get my point. Everyone agreeing can be eminently desirable.
Posted by jw on 02/04 at 11:15 AM
Hank - another great article. Makes me glad I have 2 daughters too. Sounds like getting rid of us males will solve lots of problems with crime & violence. Perhaps the planet can achieve utopia if you can also find a way to remove the “Republican” gene! Pura vida! - jw
It is good when some persons choose to agree on something.
It is no good when all persons are forced to agree on everything.
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 12:24 PM
I think that I would too be a ‘Kaguya’ too, were there no better alternatives. It sounds a lot better than CR. Though I think we could do much better, I am not necessarily questioning the value of the ova fusion. I am questioning the feasibility of male elimination. Besides, I am fairly confident that males too can be produced by ova fusion, however ‘superfluous’ they may be.
Seventy-five percent of people who take a trip to the fertility clinic in the US and Japan choose girls. This, as you know, is by far a minority of all pregnancies in both countries. Actual birth rates tell a vastly different tale. Most people don’t choose their child’s gender. and if sexual reproduction continues I don’t expect this to change. As I said, reproduction isn’t a rational decision, and even when it ‘is’, its ethics and reasoning are highly questionable.
So this would somewhat skew female to male ratios (which I would no doubt welcome) but would it “eliminate males” as your article suggests? If sexual reproduction continues, eugenics and forced sterilization aside, people will continue producing non-Kaguya’s and males. Let us also not forget the “irrational” and “unethical” people who will actually want a male child (currently around a quarter of clinic-goers). I don’t expect their ilk to simply disappear.
In my view, the world isn’t committed to hedonism. Sexual reproduction evolved for a reason, the alternative is a gradual descent into extinction. A Schopenhauer quote comes to mind.
“If the act of procreation were neither the outcome of a desire nor accompanied by feelings of pleasure, but a matter to be decided on the basis of purely rational considerations, is it likely the human race would still exist? Would each of us not rather have felt so much pity for the coming generation as to prefer to spare it the burden of existence, or at least not wish to take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?”
Misanthropy aside, I am inclined to agree. Humans are essentially animals, doing what animals do. Thus, humanity persists. There’s nothing rational about it. It’s biological programming. I doubt that biological entities are even capable of being wholly rational, but that is a discussion for another time.
Variations within species such as sexual dimorphism throughout the tree of life, to me, is beautiful. I also think a world of widely varying human skin tones is beautiful. But wouldn’t a monotone ‘race’-less world be easier to live in for everyone? A world where humans could not discriminate against one another or divide themselves on the basis of physical appearance? Is this truly desirable, or even feasible? How would you contrast this with a mono-gender world?
Gender division is unavoidable? Outside professional sports (tentatively), the religious realm, and public restrooms, the veil of gender division is thin, almost nonexistent. As you said yourself, the future looks rather bright for females, so I do not understand exactly what you are implying. Please elaborate.
I detest prejudice and discrimination based on inborn physical attributes, but is elimination of said attributes really the key to social harmony? As Giulio said, a world of identical clones would be quite boring. The idea that ‘a mono-____ world is desirable’ seems to be at best a slippery slope of egalitarianism gone awry, terminating in absolute uniformity. Harmonious coexistence, if possible, trumps elimination in all cases, at least from my perspective.
Above all, regardless, of what we find appealing, Hank, we must attend to reality when contemplating the future of humanity.
Wonderful and realistic are two very different things.
Governments agreed to abolish slavery. It is enforced, hopefully unlike future genetic enhancement.
Try telling a victim of human trafficking that no one practices slavery.
Cannibalism is very scarce, but blood libel aside, I assure you it exists.
Democracy is by no means flawless.
Desirable or not, the whole of humanity (i.e. not all world governments, but all humans) willingly cooperating is pure fantasy and fallacy.
Utopia, by its very definition, is inattainable.
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 12:32 PM
Moreover, “Republican gene” is funny, but unilateral politics isn’t.
You commit the same fallacy that the Nazis did.
Harmony isn’t harmony if there is but one note. Forced egalitarianism isn’t egalitarianism at all, and it is even more repugnant if enacted biologically.
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 12:36 PM
Moreover, “Republican gene” is funny, but unilateral politics isn’t.
You commit the same fallacy that the Nazis did.
Harmony isn’t harmony if there is but one note. Forced egalitarianism isn’t egalitarianism at all, and it is even more repugnant if enacted biologically.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/04 at 12:49 PM
@ Giulio - we are very much in agreement on that. I don’t think anyone at IEET is interested in forcing people to agree on everything, and I certainly don’t.
By the way, I am in contact with Dr. Robert Sparrow of Monash University, Australia, who I referenced in my article. He sent me the link to another one of his very interesting articles, this one is titled “Better Than Men? Sex and the Therapy Enhancement Distinction” and it’s published in Project Muse of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, by the Johns Hopkins University Press. The link is:
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/04 at 02:07 PM
@Edward - thanks for your thoughtful comments. I want to mention that Giulio and I agree (on Mike Treder’s global article) that we’d like to see decentralization in world politics, we’d like to see increased numbers of nations, several hundred or thousands of small nations and city-states, not just the present 194. So, you see, I do like diversity when I think it is sensible.
But I don’t think “diversity” in everything is advantageous.
In languages, for example, I don’t think every tongue needs to survive. The world would operate much easier if we could all communicate. I also don’t see the value in numerous religions (well, I am an atheist, so I really don’t see much value in any of them) And I don’t see the value in every culture surviving, especially if it has unhealthy and outdated traditions. I am definitely not a “cultural relativist”—culture, in my opinion, is frequently a barrier to progressions that I’d like to see occur.
So, am I in favor of diversity in gender? It is complicated to answer that, because, what exactly is masculinity? Or femininity? Do many of the so-called gender differences only exist so that we can differentiate between them? Without men, what what Kaguya behavior be like? My answer: I think it would be quite “diverse” - much more diverse than the present, because there would be no pressure, like today, to act either male or female.
So, if I am correct with that, that only leaves a lack of diversity in sexual organs. From 2 to 1. Doesn’t seem like a big reduction to me.
Plus, I thin when you talk about the whole animalistic joy in physical reproduction - well, that’s just seems silly. I have personally done that, like many men, impregnated a woman, watched nine months of pregnancy and a baby come out, and I wept when the baby arrived, like I am supposed, to, but it was probably just relief that it didn’t have tentacles in its forehead. I think, like I said before, that the male/female polarity is not really very interesting, and the “magnetic” parts of it, like men fawning over big boobs, is all quite stupid and maybe we should just move on. I am not in favor of people acting like animals for eternity.
Right now, I am very interested in hormones - how does testosterone affect behavior? how does oxytocin affect behavior? I am not impressed with testosterone. I think it deserves a very harsh critique. If being ‘Male’ requires that we unconditionally revere testosterone, count me out.
All for now, thanks for writing.
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 02:24 PM
Here’s another difficult question to add to my litany.
Is gender science really any better than race science? Perhaps I’m beginning to see things from Summerspeaker’s point of view, or at least I appreciate it a lot more. Gender prejudice is wrong. This discussion has been very enlightening for me.
You would condone male elimination if it “[solves] lots of problems with crime & violence”?
Here’s some food for thought.
Americans with African ancestry make up over 60% of prison inmates. Contrast that to the 13.4% of American prisoners with European ancestry. Also consider that Americans with African ancestry make up less than 13% of the US population.
Eliminating Americans with African ancestry would apparently have a profound effect on crime rates. Would you condone this?
Also, it’s great that you have two daughters, and if I ever chose to reproduce, I’d like a girl too. It’s just too bad they’d be tainted by my sperm. :p
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/04 at 06:01 PM
@ Edward - ha ha you are trying to trap me! Quite Socratic of you!
You are trying to frame me as a horrible eugenicist! Fuggetaboutit!
My questions #1: why do you want to have a girl?
#2 - if you could have a Kaguya, would you?
I of course agree that “gender prejudice is wrong.”
We should be kind to all living human beings, etc etc etc.
You question about eliminating all African-Americans is totally demented - they are imprisoned in high percentages due to their socio-economic status and educational background and disadvantaged childhood, etc etc, not their skin color. You already know that, don’t you?
But—Question #3—when we reproduce ourselves, do we want to bring forth the healthiest, most adaptable people that we can, so that their suffering in this world is alleviated? Forget about “gender” for a while and just answer that question. If you say yes, then your vote is for Kaguya.
Do not torment me by saying you are listening to Summerspeak - don’t go there! - stick with the scientific facts. I suspect that book he recommends is based entirely on some sniffly person’s very lame wishful thinking. Gender is not a “social construct”—gender is the rush and ooze of chemicals to create beasts who want to copulate and reproduce.
Edward, I’m counting on you - devote your life to Kaguya!
Posted by Edward on 02/04 at 09:48 PM
So you like diversity, just not when it comes to people?
People act like animals because they are animals. Sophisticated animals, but animals nonetheless. As long as humans remain animals they will continue to behave as such, for better or worse. I understand that the phrase “acting like an animal” has negative connotations, but right now, we are both acting like animals. So is everyone else on the planet. We are animals. Some are more bestial than others.
Gender is not binary. Gender is a wide spectrum. A 50% decrease is massive.
“Men fawning over big boobs”? That is a curious statement. Some men fawn over women. Some fawn over other men. Some men are not interested in sex at all.
You seemed to have very strong opinions on what masculinity and femininity are. Perhaps I misread you.
Strange. I always thought that gender equality was an important part of enlightenment and thus transhumanist thought, but it seems that misandry is more acceptable. To be frank, I see it as being no better than any other form of prejudice, irregardless of who it is practiced by. Not all men are alike, and to judge them all the same is wrong and reprehensible.
Testosterone is a molecule. Judging it is meaningless. (FYI, women produce testosterone as well, and are more strongly affected by it than males are.) Men, on the other hand, are people. They deserve be judged according to their character, not by their gender. If you feel otherwise, then we disagree on a very profound level.
Our preferences are largely inconsequential. Humans as individuals will choose their own paths, and in all likelihood, many of them will choose paths that do not lead to our desired outcome, however justified or baseless that desire might be.
You don’t seem like the eugenicist type. I am trying to convince you of what I believe is a fault in your logic.
Why a daughter?
I have a niece who is the joy of my life. She is one of the most intelligent and well rounded children I have ever known. A scholar, and a excellent gymnast (she’s 6), she’s been reading since she was a toddler, and recently won her school’s spelling bee.
Whenever I think of her, it fills me with pride. Interestingly, her behavior is somewhat “masculine”, like her mother, my sister, but at other times. Very assertive. Sometimes I envy her parents. So she is partly the reason I want a daughter.
That, and I want to name my child after my mother, who is one of the greatest people I have ever known. She rose from poverty to become a successful entrepreneur, the first in her family to graduate from college, let alone, earn a master’s degree, and an important influence in her community. She inspires me.
So yes I would like a daughter, not that I feel that a son would be inferior. But I don’t think that I could in good conscience bring her into today’s world. It would be so unworthy of her. If I could give my daughter a better life, I would do so at any personal cost. Sure, she’d be a Kaguya. If I had a son, I’d want him to be a Kaguya as well.
Of course the question concerning African Americans was demented. It was rhetorical. An analogy. You can understand the social struggle of African Americans, but you can generalize men as being “bad by nature”? That is no less demented.
Society has a rather weighty effect on human behavior. Perhaps many men are the way they are because of social conditions? I refuse to say men in general, because all men are not the same. The more we discuss the matter, the more I believe Summerspeaker’s view of gender apart from biological sex has merit. I do not wholly agree, but I now think that it is more complex than pure biology.
All thoughts are caused by rushes and oozes of chemicals. Sex between any consenting individuals (of consensual age, of course) is not a bad thing. Neither is reproduction.
I have no qualms with Kaguya. I think the research can potentially do great things for humanity. I am also adamant about freedom and equality, including gender equality. I could never teach young males that they are in any way inferior to females, or vice versa. Thus I would never adhere to any ideology that professes this. It is equivalent to any other form of supremacism. Absolutely disgusting.
Gender becoming less important is what I believe to be truly desirable. Race as well. Seeking to eliminate gender, or race, through technology is a terrible misuse of technology for the very same reasons. I hold the belief that technology is not the best way to enact social change. I hope that one day, race, gender and other in-born differences between humans will be something to be celebrated, not something to despise, or divide, and that we will all united by our shared humanity. It will be difficult, but the result would be a wonderful world full of individuals: females, males, genderless, kaguyas, clones, AI’s, uploads, etc. all coexisting and respecting one another as people. I hoped that was what transhumanism was truly about. Perhaps I hoped for too much.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/05 at 01:25 AM
@Edward - thank you for devoting your time and thought to these questions. Please don’t think that I represent “transhumanism” - and that you do not—this website is a just a forum, a place to discuss ethical matters such as this. I appreciate your point of view, sincerely! And I think you have misinterpreted mine - you seem to be adding notions to my essay that I did not, and would not include.
@Edward re “Strange. I always thought that gender equality was an important part of enlightenment and thus transhumanist thought, but it seems that misandry is more acceptable…”
Exactly. It seems that attacking men, white people and straight people has become politically correct and fashionable in some circles.
But, following common sense, I think discrimination against men is gender discrimination, discrimination against white people is racism, and discrimination against straight people is discrimination based on sexual preferences.
Equality is equality is equality. It means that people are equal and nobody is less equal than others.
Posted by CygnusX1 on 02/05 at 08:40 AM
@ Edward.. Very good, and indeed very Socratic in style!
I don’t believe for an instant that anyone here is proposing or supporting eugenics or gender manipulation as solution to any perceived social or biological problems? And it shows how we can so easily tie ourselves into corners with our own rhetoric and reasoning of problems and solutions into either A or B, XX or XY?
Biology supports sexual identity yet our sociocultural values also supports our reasoning and sexual behaviours. Imagine two men or two women stranded on a desert Isle their needs supported only by each other? Could they come to love each other emotionally and sexually through their own needs for social and sexual intimacy?
Now regarding your last paragraph! Once again highlighting that everyone here really does have the same values and excellent ideals. Yet let me take liberty to ask, how would you propose to inspire and motivate towards these ideals? What would be your methodology for success?
Posted by Summerspeaker on 02/05 at 12:32 PM
We attack straight white dudes because of their current and historical social dominance. It’s the oppressive cultural narratives of straight, white, and dude supremacy that we wish to destroy. There’s obviously nothing inherently wrong with the associated genetic and phenotypical characteristics, nor in engaging in sex acts with whomever you please. I share with intellectuals such as Shulamith Firestone, James Baldwin, John Stoltenberg, and Noel Ignatiev the desire to abolish gender and race as relevant categories.
@Summerspeaker: Then please attack “the current and historical social dominance of straight white dudes” and we can agree. I also share the desire to abolish gender and race as relevant categories.
But attacking “straight white dudes” qua “straight white dudes” is sexist, racist, and intolerant of sexual preferences.
Posted by Edward on 02/05 at 01:20 PM
When I first posted on this forum, I was a biological determinist.
Upon contrasting Summerspeaker’s views with my own, I was forced into a state of cognitive dissonance. After taking Summerspeaker’s advice, and having a glance at Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender, my view has profoundly changed. I urge you all to follow suit. Then, tell me if gender science amounts to anything other than a shaky platform on which to base prejudices.
Yes. Biological determinism amounts to no more than prejudice.
My perspective has shifted 180 degrees. I refuse to assume anything about anyone’s character based on their biology alone. Thus, I reject biological determinism.
Gender science gives rise to works such as Goldberg’s The Inevitability of Patriarchy. In my view, patriarchy is no better than or apartheid, and like any other form of supremacism, it must disappear. I am confident that it will. It lessens all the time. It is my sincere hope that when enhancement becomes available to all, such archaic social constructs will have crumbled away.
I hold the belief that gender-identity is not polar. It is a spectrum. Not all XY persons are very “masculine” and not all XX’s are very “feminine”. Some XY’s are very masculine and some XX’s are very feminine. Some XY’s are very feminine and some XX’s are very masculine. Some people are gender neutral, at or close to the center of the spectrum. Each of these, and everything in between, in my opinion, is completely acceptable.
I don’t think that “masculinity” and “femininity” are themselves the problem; all people embody varying degrees of both. The problem arises in that society tends to oversimplify and thus polarize gender, leaving many stranded within the turbulent void between being a “woman” or a “man”. Perhaps one day we will all see gender as a broad spectrum rather than a binary, and that void will disappear.
I often find myself wishing that the English language contained gender neutral third person pronouns; in internet discussions, I often find myself painstakingly avoiding the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’, as I try to make no assumptions about gender. This will be an issue in a future where people are not bound by binary gender.
In your hypothetical situation, notwithstanding my belief in the fluidity of human sexuality, I believe without a doubt that they could and would. In fact it’d say that it is likely.
My etiology of social ills, much less my methodology for overcoming them, would likely amount to a doctoral thesis. But I will make a few points.
Firstly, I don’t think promoting diversity is actually necessary. We humans are neurologically diverse, and we will all find our own paths to enhancement. There is no one route that all humans will take. This should be evident. We mustn’t expect everyone to follow what we believe to be the best path. We mustn’t sacrifice diversity for the sake of bettering society. That is tantamount to Nazism.
Promoting acceptance, not tolerance, of other people based on their character and not their social group is paramount. I think that we can do better than to tolerate our fellow sapient beings. Tolerance requires prejudice. We must come to accept people as individuals, not tolerate them as groups. This is not to say that social groups are negative. Yet generalizing people according to what social group they belong to is potentially harmful.
Above all, it is clear to me that prejudice is the enemy of social progress. Generalization feeds a potentially vicious cycle, wherein people, especially young people, learn to become what they are expected to be by society at large, for better or worse. Few are fortunate enough to escape the maelstrom. Those that do not are stripped of their individuality. Those that do have a moral obligation to counteract this force.
Social education is the key. Many people live such insular lives that they are unable to understand or empathize with anyone outside of their small world. Society is heterogenous, but it need not be immiscible; it mustn’t. Social education is the surfactant. Reaching outside of our comfort zone into the real world around us is essential to gaining an understanding of one another and dispelling the prejudices and fallacious beliefs we will have inevitably acquired living an insular life. Society is becoming more of a mixture, especially in metropolitan areas. When we achieve a truly global society, I think we will have largely overcome this.
One cannot profess a belief in equality and simultaneously contend that society would be better off without persons of a specific biological nature. Society is better off without illness, and without people of poor character. I think that you know this, and bringing this to light has been the primary aim of my argument. Your article portrays an all female world as one that is superior to a world of heterogeneous genders. You cannot believe this and also believe in gender equality. I mean only to persuade you to reconsider your stance.
Thank you for your correspondence, and for taking the time to write this article. As I said, this discussion has been very enlightening.
It is refreshing to know that you agree. When perusing transhumanist articles, it often seemed so me that the ideals of freedom and equality were lost to many within the realm of transhumanism. Your statement is reassuring, and I regard your opinion more highly than you may know.
Posted by Edward on 02/05 at 01:32 PM
I went ahead and purchased Delusions of Genders. It is an eye opener. I did not expect it to be when you first mentioned it. I thought this book would book be full rubbish, not that gender science was full of rubbish. I thank you for referring me to it.
I never thought we would agree on so many matters.
I also agree with Giulio that attacking anyone on such a basis is wrong, though I’m sure that wasn’t the intention of your statement.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/05 at 03:37 PM
@ “James” and others—I want to talk about “Rules of Argumentation” for a bit.
Yesterday, “James” chose to debate in a way that I find quite distracting. It is a technique that is often used, my wife uses it too, and it drives me crazy. It goes like this: I said “X + Y = Z “, and then James said, well, “A + B = C and C sounds a lot like Z so you believe C.” When I don’t.
To break it down, I said that, “Kaguyas live 28% longer and Men are perhaps less employable in the future so maybe we should think about all becoming Kayugas?” To which James replied, “Most people in jail are African-Americans, and you wanted to eliminate men because Kaguyas are better, so that means you also want to eliminate African-Americans, too, right?” I hope you can see that applying this type of logic to a discussion is irritating and senseless.
When I write about X + Y = Z, that is all I want to talk about it. Telling me that I must also mean A + B = C is silly and sophomoric.
This is my analysis of what it is: “James” and people in general, often seek fundamental positive values, that they can apply to the solving of difficult ethical and political questions. This is Socratic/Platonic. James wants to know what is “good” so he decides that “diversity” is good, and that “elimination” is bad, therefore my Kaguya notion is “bad” because it reduces diversity. Plus, he decides that my notion that “elimination = good” means I might want to off African-Americans.
This happened before when I wrote about Israel. I was besieged with the equation that “theocracies are bad, therefore Israel should not exist.” Once again, trying to solve complex questions with second grade arithmetic.
Plato searched for value, and his thinking is commendable but 2,500 years old. Let’s remember that his “Republic” was so fascistic that Mussolini kept a copy by his bed. I find it amusing that Plato’s name has 80% of the letters of Pol Pots, and they both imagined societies in harshly prejudicial ways. Pol Pot’s logic was, “intellectuals usually oppose me, and they often wear glasses, so I will execute everyone who wears glasses.” This always frightened me, since I am bespectacled.
What I believe - and I think we all do, if we are willing to exercise our minds briefly instead of just seeking the easy answer - is that values are guidelines but there are numerous exceptions. This would be utilitarian. Even Quakers, who espouse pacifism, enlisted in large numbers in World War II. Good Dutch Protestants who would ordinarily never lie, had no trouble telling Nazis that they weren’t hiding Jews.
The problem with seeking and then enslaving yourself to “fundamental values” is that then, you become a narrow-minded fundamentalist idiot. Complex issues aren’t going to be solved by using elementary arithmetic with simple values. I think ethical/social/political issues are more like the English language, full of idioms, with rules-that-are-frequently broken.
Okay, there’s my say on that. Let’s stick to the topic that the articles address, and not leap in and try to solve convoluted issues with cheesy, simple proverbs or imperious cookie-cutter values.
Posted by Summerspeaker on 02/05 at 05:37 PM
Hank, the awkward mention of African Americans and prison does at least question biological determinism. We don’t currently have sufficient information to conclude dudely violence comes entirely or primarily from the Y chromosome.
Posted by Edward on 02/05 at 05:50 PM
Is James a straw man? He certainly sounds like one.
If anything, elimination is the easy answer to a hard social problem.
Kaguya is just fine by me. I think, and hope, that Kaguya will coexist with the rest of non-Kaguya humanity.
Posted by Edward ("James" :p) on 02/05 at 08:40 PM
I have come to the realization that perhaps I owe you an apology.
I sense resent in your words, and I don’t want to end the discussion like this. I allowed my feelings to compromise this discussion. I have long been frustrated by the ideology of certain circles withing transhumanism, and I directed that frustration at you. For that, I am sorry.
I think this discussion was intended to be about whether or not an all female society of Kaguyas would be a change for the better. From current day society, yes I think it would be. I do not feel like a society of Kaguya’s would be optimal, however, because I want to see everyone make it to the future. Heck, a future with no males means a future without me.
Hank, we need not agree on the value of biological diversity in humans. As I said, I don’t believe all humans will ever agree on anything, so perhaps it was hypocritical of me to expect you to agree with me. We needn’t share the same values; that doesn’t mean that we are opponents.
I think I’ve said all that I can say on this matter.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/05 at 09:47 PM
@ Edward—an apology isn’t at all necessary! You have been a great participant in this discussion and I thank you for that! Please stick around and make more comments, if not here, then on other articles—we are happy to have you! We transhumanists welcome you!
Posted by Edward on 02/05 at 10:58 PM
No, I feel that an apology is necessary.
I hijacked this discussion, and in my narrow-mindedness, made an earnest attempt at forcing my arguably Pollyannaish beliefs on you, however unsuccessful it might have been. I attacked a position that you clearly were not interested in defending, and engaged in hypocrisy. For this I must apologize. That is no way for anyone to conduct themself on a forum intended for the open sharing of ideas and opinions, and is in contrast to my beliefs. I am glad to know that you do not resent me for it.
Though I gained much insight through this discussion, I do not believe that the ends justified the means.
I am not sure whether or not I am a transhumanist, or if I wish to be one. At one point, I thought that transhumanism was the school of thought I most identified with, but now I am more unsure than ever. Some things that I hold to be profoundly meaningful may simply be incongruous with transhumanist values, whatever they may be. I am a younger and less experienced person than you are, which accounts for (but does not excuse) my errors in judgment, yet I believe there are some fundamental values and beliefs that I will never relinquish.
Regardless, thank you for the invitation.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/05 at 11:46 PM
@ Edward—what are those “fundamental values and beliefs” that you “will never relinquish”? Tell us! Are they religious? C’mon! Join the transhumanists and Live Forever with Infinite Knowledge. Join us join us join us…. seriously. Let me guess. You are about 19, right? Studying philosophy at a good private school? Maybe parochial? We’ll never tell.
Posted by Edward on 02/06 at 02:04 AM
I have no religious or spiritual beliefs. I would describe myself as a secularist and an agnostic.
I believe in freedom of expression and equality above all else, and I value diversity throughout the tree of life. I am against unjust prejudices and discrimination. I believe in enlightenment thought. Nothing will ever change this.
I am a 24 year old graduate student. Educated in public school, attending a public university. Biochemistry is my field, and though I am a philosopher by nature, I have never studied it outside of Logic 109. To be honest, I had never heard of the Socratic method before you made mention of my unwitting use of it.
I’m not sure if I’m cut out for transhumanism. I once thought I knew what transhumanism was about, but much of what I have learned since then has left me disillusioned. I certainly believe that everyone should have the freedom to seek and obtain whatever enhancements they desire. Beyond that I am unsure.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 02/06 at 08:43 AM
@ Edward - you are a perfect candidate for transhumanism and we welcome you. Everything you believe in - The Enlightenment, freedom, equality, diversity, enhancement - is important to transhumanists. Your biochemistry field of study and philosophical interests are ideal. We welcome your thoughts and criticisms. Stick around! I share your dismay with some (small) aspects of transhumanism, but all-in-all, I am having a great time with this brainy, inquisitive, ambitious, and highly-optimistic crowd, and I know you will too.
As Mike says, not all IEET writers and staff self-identify as transhumanists. But some certainly do.
As one of them, I wish to join Hank in welcoming Edward and inviting him to talk to transhumanists here and elsewhere. Edward, as far as I am concerned, “everyone should have the freedom to seek and obtain whatever enhancements they desire” is _the_ definition of transhumanism, and all the rest follows.
In particular, it follows that all enhancements that people may desire should be researched, developed and deployed without any interference motivated by abstract “ethical”, religious or metaphysical noise.
Posted by dor on 02/07 at 09:44 PM
“In particular, it follows that all enhancements that people may desire should be researched, developed and deployed without any interference motivated by abstract “ethical”, religious or metaphysical noise. “
What does this mean? Is it even possible? Isn’t the absence of an ethical stance also an ethical stance?
When we are looking at deployment, we shouldn’t be considering an “abstract” ethical stance such as “justice” or eventual access of the technology?
I’m pretty new here myself. If this is a “ground rule” I want to be sure I understand it.
Some of the earlier literature (circa late 1990s) talked about reducing standards around human testing. Is that abstract or concrete? If not in the “research devlopment or deployment”, then where and when do ethics apply?
@dor: “justice” or eventual access of the technology are not abstract ethical issues, but practical issues that have an impact on the quality of life and happiness of actual people.
What I mean by abstract ethical issue are things like “Will of God”, “Respect for Nature”, “Objective Good”, “Human Dignity” (as opposed to the well being of actual humans)... and other big words with no real meaning.
Posted by dor on 02/08 at 02:23 PM
Posted by LanceSmith on 03/09 at 07:53 PM
Typical anti-male rhetoric we have come to expect from popular culture. Misandry to the core. Nothing new here - move along.
Posted by postfuturist on 03/09 at 08:30 PM
“Typical anti-male rhetoric we have come to expect from popular culture. Misandry to the core. Nothing new here - move along.”
What are you worried about? men control women, and will for a very long time. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.
Posted by postfuturist on 03/09 at 10:08 PM
“draw the line at trollery and refuse to engage with those who are blatantly disrespectful or simply irrelevant.”
Depends on their ages. If it’s an old misogynist, the waste of time is disproportionate to the edification. However a 24 year old Edward just doesn’t know how women are “more sinned against than sinning.” He can be brought around.
I didn’t realize the full extent of mens’ domination of women until the November 2010 election; now it is apparent the GOP/Tea Party is merely using women such as Palin to act as attractive bait to sell patriarchy under a different jacket.
The old switcheroo.
But IMO the biggest mistake is thinking ‘the’ Patriarchy (it is not a homogenous Old Boys club) is truly opposed to h+. If they can figure a way to make their people live longer, and those they don’t care about live shorter lives, they will be more interested.
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/10 at 03:15 AM
@postfuturist.. I’d be interested to know more about how you experienced the November 2010 election, and what convinced you about “the full extent of mens’ domination of women”. I have my own theories about this (crucial) subject, but I’m really intrigued by your reference to this election. For me it had more to do with backlash against the party in power and fission in the Republican party than gender relations, but I only observed it from a distance (i.e. Europe), and I was following Tim Ferris’s information-free diet at the time.
Posted by postfuturist on 03/10 at 08:44 AM
I confused LanceSmith with Edward and got Burt’s name wrong on another thread—from trying to read and type too fast without thinking fast enough. It is quite surprising Lance should think IEET, which consists mostly of males, would be misandrous.
One of the attractions of h+ is the decisiveness involved: a transhumanist chooses radical lifespan extension and sticks with it. At any rate I chose h+ to make a decision, as being naturally vacillating, it was a way to stop the doubts of abandoning traditional thinking—the comforts of nostalgia—to cease going back & forth between bio-conservatism and bio-progressivism. Not making a decision is making a decision, too… yes, dithering is making decisions!
Posted by postfuturist on 03/10 at 11:31 AM
it had, still has, more to do with Sarah Palin, she appears to be the big news: a strong, attractive (even if her politics are rightwing paranoid) female GOP candidate- the first one ever, IMO. Yet you as a European may see it more clearly with the aid of distance.
If one gets too close to something, the details get fuzzy.
Posted by Kai on 03/11 at 05:26 PM
I think society would be better served by keeping women subservient in the home to serve as nothing but baby factories while men go out to create a space fairing civilization. Women would never do that. Women like to “stay safe” and let the men go out and risk their lives in uncharted territories so the women back at home can enjoy an improved standard of living with the goods the remaining few return home.
Because, you see, women are more selfish than men. They spend more, they consume more, they’re a greater drain of resources. Since men don’t live as long men are greener than women. Women want their diamonds, even if it means some stranger on the other side of the world gets his hands cut off. They need to be validated. A man working his life away so he can afford to buy her expensive jewelry to assuage her vainglorious vanity; she needs that house and kids and that perfect man to dress up like a doll and complain at over trivial idiocy because she gets off from the antagonism. Of all domestic relationships, lesbians are the most violent. Women kill their children at higher rates than fathers. Oh yes, a world nothing but THAT certainly sounds superior.
Does that sounds bad to you? Does it sound vulgar and sexist and low brow?
That’s exactly how you sound when you talk about men like that.
Posted by Kai on 03/11 at 06:30 PM
Hank Pellissier has serious issues. He says:
“Personally, Iâ€™m tired of todayâ€™s gender polarity, the boy-girl chasm, with segregated shopping and play, the dominance-submissive flirting games, the mating and marriage manuals, the seduction rituals, the opening lines, the Mars and Venus dichotomy. Yeah, Iâ€™m sick of it. Iâ€™m ready to try something else.”
Fair enough, I’m sick and tired of that too. But appealing to gendercide as some sort of solution? (The Final Solution I might add?) On a bioethics website of all places! My goodness. I’m kind of at a loss for words. Because, you know, I thought diversity was a good thing. I think diversity is a good thing. This is the exact opposite. I call it intolerance.
Women do many bad things in society. It’s not because a patriarchy made them do it. It’s because women can make choices and many of them make bad choices. So, when looking at this in perspective, there is no big difference that sets men and women apart as members of society. They both have inherent value. Both do great things and both do bad things. So arbitrarily cherry picking good things about women, while ignoring the bad things about men; simultaneously singling out bad things about men and focusing only on good things about women. That is the very definition of intolerance. It’s also called self hate for obvious reasons.
I’m glad Hank brought up feminist separatism. I’m glad he unambiguously stated, expressly and without reservation, that lesbian separatism is about the eradication of men. I’m glad he brought up feminism in general. The very fact that feminism is relevant in this discussion says volumes about the ideology. Indelibly, it’s an ideology of intolerance and hate. It’s an ideology which has pervaded society so vastly that something like this monstrosity of an article appears on an *ethics* website of all places. Dare I say, feminism has driven Hank to self hatred. It has taught him to see only good things about women and reinforce only bad things about men. If one learns to see beyond such a simplified world view and actually see the side of masculinity that is full of integrity, sacrifice and compassion then perhaps one can begin to heal oneself. Perhaps learn to not beat oneself up as being evil for no other reason than being born a male.
Posted by postfuturist on 03/11 at 09:48 PM
Most of us writing and blogging at this site are male; how can you think we are going to do anything to jeopardize our positions? you are imagining self-abnegation where there is none.
Posted by Kai on 03/12 at 12:52 AM
To which James replied, “Most people in jail are African-Americans, and you wanted to eliminate men because Kaguyas are better, so that means you also want to eliminate African-Americans, too, right?” I hope you can see that applying this type of logic to a discussion is irritating and senseless.
So how is the situation with blacks in prison any different? You see a social problem with the way men are. So you see elimination as the solution. Okay then, we’re making judgments on entire demographics of people. Yet those people are still individuals. You just clump them together using statistics, generalizations, stereotypes and sex. Why not make such generalizations about people based upon statistics, generalizations, stereotypes and race? Let’s cull any demographic which has undesirable statistics attached to it.
I can imagine you don’t like that logic. Of course you don’t, it portrays you as a bigot. Well, perhaps the problem isn’t with the logic but with you.
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/12 at 05:06 AM
Methinks Kai doth protest too much. While there’s a grain of truth in some of what he (I suppose it’s a he!!!) says, his interpretation of Hank’s comments is so grossly caricaturial that it must be at some level the result of some kind of neurosis.
Kai, are you sure *you* don’t hate yourself? If not, where *is* all this anger coming from?
Posted by Kai on 03/12 at 09:46 AM
Can you inform me, Peter Whicks, how one can think so low of one’s sex yet have such a high self esteem of oneself?
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/12 at 09:50 AM
By the way in a more general sense I’m inclined to share iPan’s belief that we will eventually (and perhaps quite soon) transcend gender altogether. Ultimately I don’t really believe that the current male-female dichotomy corresponds to humanity’s deepest desires. No doubt the characteristics that we currently regard as male, and those we regard as females (including those caricatured by Kai) will survive, but they will fission and recombine in new ways.
Posted by Kai on 03/12 at 10:40 AM
Perhaps we may transcend. But it may not be for a hundred years or more. So why does half the population need to be marginalized in the process?
Good job actually answering my question by the way.
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/12 at 12:55 PM
@Kai..I think it really depends on how strongly we identify with our gender. Speaking for myself: it’s certainly part of who I am, but it’s really not the most important part. And you don’t have to hate yourself in order to deplore the effects of testosterone on human behaviour. You pretty much just need to have values similar to those of Hank, and which I also share - that is to say long life, joy, peace and prosperity - and have a sound knowledge of science and history.
Posted by Kai on 03/12 at 05:59 PM
Hmm, right. I have a lot of problems with that. If it’s any other demographic: women, jews, blacks, native americans, so on - if they suffer from a shorter life, more health problems, etc. we don’t seek ways to “phase out” that demographic. Instead, we find ways to help. You’ll have to explain to me why men are so different that, instead of finding ways to solve those medical problems we should instead single them out to be “phase them out” (an “enlightened” way of saying gendercide).
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/13 at 05:43 AM
Well, my starting point is the closing sentences of Hank’s post: “Our alliance should not be with an either/or gender. Our alliance should be with progress. Long or immortal life, peace, joy, and prosperity.” Personally I’m pretty utilitarian/consequentialist in my thinking: my motto is, “Whatever works,” as long as the goal corresponds to my values.
One thing that sets men - and in particular white men such as myself - apart from the other demographic groups you mention is that we haven’t suffered any major historical injustice. on the contrary, we’ve kind of been ruling the world. I think Hank’s piece was deliberately provocative (he can confirm!), and my own view of our record is perhaps somewhat less negative, but I think it’s important to recognize the biological routes of our bad behaviour through history, and draw appropriate conclusions for the future. Self-criticism does not equal self-hatred.
Posted by Kai on 03/13 at 12:37 PM
Helping people *now* works. We can help half the population now by doing what I prescribe, instead of helping unborn people from a hypothetical future. So much of what Keith says is a consequence of men living longer is sociological. We can extend mens’ lives by putting more money in to male specific diseases and challenging social pressures that prevents men from adopting healthier habits. “What ever works” huh? I doubt that’s your motto.
Historically men have suffered at the hands of oppression with the rest of the world. There’s a window of a few centuries where a larger percentage of the white populace oppressed others, but it’s a small window out of thousands of years.
As a utilitarian, you of all people should appreciate the historical role of patriarchy. As a consequentialist, you should approve of men creating the civilization that we have, patriarchy and all, in order to make ova-infusion possible.
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/13 at 03:17 PM
Kai, I came to this thread fairly late, and was mainly reacting to what appeared to me to be a gross caricature of what Hank had actually said. Where in his post does Hank appeal to “gendercide”? What he’s talking about, if I’ve understood him correctly, is the application of technology, and there of *human choice and self-determination*, i.e. a refusal to arbitrarily limit progress for fear of “playing God”, to the future of the species.
You say we should help people now rather than “helping unborn people from a hypothetical future”. No quarrel with helping people now (including the measures you suggest), but are we wrong also to envisage possible futures, and decide among them?
Regarding the historical role of the patriarchy, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “appreciate”. Do you mean I should be glad it happened? To what end? Do you mean I should oppose any attempt to supplant it? Surely that depends on whether we think we can do better.
Posted by Hank Pellissier on 03/13 at 06:38 PM
Kai and Peter - my thanks to you both for reviving this thread!
It is true what Peter said, I don’t advocate killing men off, I just posed the question - what will couples do if having a “Kaguya” is an option in their family? You can ask yourself that question - would you like to have a child that would live 28% longer? I noted that if this option was highly used it would lead to the elimination of the male gender. I don’t think that is a “provocative” question, it is just a practical query very related to the fact that parents via in-vitro can do “sex selection” of offspring today.
Kai has pointed out, quite correctly, that perhaps it would be wise to dedicate funds to improving male longevity now, since males are lagging behind females in this category. I don’t know enough details to respond to that, but my guess is that there has consistently been a great deal of money poured into male disease alleviation. The easiest way to find out, I suppose, is to just compare public funding of prostate cancer research to public funding for breast cancer research.
That aside, I want to assure Kai that I don’t hate myself, or want to kill all living males. However, I think it is perhaps not necessary to prolong the “male gender” if we can develop improved new gender types that have advantages in lifespan and other important categories.
I think maleness and “patriarchy” has been crucially important in the development of our species and I am generally proud of male accomplishments, but I don’t particularly see the need to continue the gender if there are healthier alternatives.
thanks again for writing in
Posted by Nicer on 03/13 at 10:52 PM
“And you don’t have to hate yourself in order to deplore the effects of testosterone on human behaviour.”
Unless you hate peacefulness, fairness, or sex, there’s no reason to deplore the affects of testosterone on human behavior.
Just thought I’d correct you. Personally, I deplore ignorance.
Also, just in case you didn’t know, it is entirely possible for a male to be a misandrist. You probably knew that, though.
Posted by Peter Wicks on 03/14 at 12:43 PM
@Nicer..Thanks for the link, which I found genuinely interesting. But it’s just one study.
You say deplore ignorance. I have a somewhat more ambiguous position. I certainly like to be accurate with my pronouncements, so I’m grateful for this information, which seems to call into question my assumption that testosterone, as such, is responsible for violent behaviour. The main point I was making stands however: you don’t have to hate yourself in order to depplare the effects of testosterone on human behaviour. Perhaps you just have to be ignorant.
Yes I did know that it’s possible for a male to be a misandrist, thanks.
Posted by Nicer on 03/15 at 05:10 PM
Peter, that study is one of multiple repeated studies exhibiting the same findings. There are no scientific studies linking testosterone to aggression or violence, or anything deplorable. The scientific community at large regards the testosterone-aggression linkage it as a debunked myth.
If you choose to believe that testosterone has a “deplorable” affects on human behavior despite scientific evidence to the contrary, go ahead. I just think I should warn you, I believe that’s what most people would call ‘fundamentalism’, and it’s generally frowned upon within ‘enlightened’ circles.
Posted by Liz Philipose on 03/15 at 06:14 PM
Your article suggests another angle on the growing awareness of the evolution of humanity beyond the survivalist impulses of previous paradigms, which I appreciate. Instead of coupling for procreative purposes as a survivalist paradigm might demand, coupling is freed and available for co-creative purposes. Women are freed from being in the service of the species, men are freed from fulfilling their masculine roles. Procreation becomes strictly voluntary, creativity is available for many life-enhancing projects, the concept and practice of love expands beyond its heterosexual versions, and heterosexuality becomes a matter of choice that is one amongst many. I see it as potentially progressive, too, where men and women alike get to discover heretofore undiscovered ways of being human, to expand prevailing concepts of love and creativity, and to expand our appreciation for each other as we are freed to experience masculine and feminine social qualities in new configurations.
Posted by Intomorrow on 01/25 at 12:29 AM
This link concerns a surrogate, not parthenogenesis, but it’s quite 21st century: