by Denyse O'Leary
In Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred Kinsey helped touch off the sexual revolution, but The Kinsey Institute refused Ben Wiker's request to quote from the book. So he had to rewrite the chapter to "footnote everything very exactly, so that you, the reader, may skirt the Kinsey Institute's blackout."
Why a blackout? Well, Wiker says,
Even without the full light of day shining on Kinsey's private darkness, we should have known better. His Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (or, for short, the Kinsey Report ) is a scientific sham that could have been exposed on its first release. In fact, many of its obvious defects were pointed out at the time. But the truth is that, as with Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa, too many people were eager to hear the sexual sermon preached by Kinsey, and the pseudo-scientific trappings simply helped to ease their consciences. (p. 197)Curiously, Kinsey's views had a relationship to Darwinism:
... Kinsey was a passionate Darwinist, earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University in entomology and becoming a world-class expert on the gall wasp. Kinsey saw infinite and continual variation in nature as an essential evolutionary fact, not just of gall wasps, but even more important, of human beings and their endless sexual variations. There were no boundaries in nature: one species blended into another just as seamlessly as one human sexual proclivity shaded into another, all without a trace of sharp boundary.It must have been very good news to some people that traditional ideas about what we ought to do are pie in the sky.
[ ... ]
Reaching beyond Darwin to Machiavelli, we see on a deeper level a kind of Machiavellian assertion that the world should be defined by what most people actually do, rather than by some kind of pie-in-the-sky notion of what they should do. (pp 198-199)
Next: The fifth book that didn't help? Betty Friedan's the Feminine Mystique (1963)
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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