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Darwinism and feminism – strange bedfellows

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Michael Flannery, a Darwin (and especially co-theorist Wallace) expert notes,

I’ve just finished Kimberly Hamlin’s From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America. If I had to write a one-sentence summary of this book I’d have say: This book utilizes Darwin’s sexual selection theory as espoused in his Descent of Man to show how a minority of radical Gilded Age feminists used this to “liberate” women from the “patriarchal” Genesis “mythology” of female “subservience” as given in the Adam and Eve story, a thesis in which half-truth, distortion, conflation, and confusion are all enlisted to construct a Darwinian/feminist apologetic–strange bedfellows indeed!

Some of us always believed that women were superior but spent their lives humouring men as a result.

28 Replies to “Darwinism and feminism – strange bedfellows

  1. 1
    johnp says:

    Feminism was foretold thousands of years ago…

    Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    Many “Flaming Feminists” don’t have kids. And abortion defeats the purpose of Evolution. Darwin would not be impressed.

  3. 3
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Johnp, I believe that the bible also says that you should kill a woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night. Nothing about the husband.

    And it was only a few years ago (I am old) when we no longer required a wife to vow to “obey” her new husband; a mandate dictated by the bible.

    So, please, tell me how the bible is not patriarchal.

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Feminism has always been a evil attack upon the rights of males. Its not been a attempt to allow humans to get anything despite identity.
    women were meant to help their husbands goals on earth,. Therefore its not right that women try to achieve but as a social contract we can allow it.
    There are no womens rights but only people rights and then citizen rights. The men never had to give women rights we didn’t mean them to have. Its a fraud.
    Anyways.
    Did they bring up that Darwin insisted women were biologically intellectually inferior to men and only proper breeding possibly could change this ??
    I’m not saying it of coarse but Darwin said this and probably many more.

  5. 5
    Jon Garvey says:

    Acartia_bogart

    For those too busy to dip into Deuteronomy and check, it’s worth noting that this verse in in a section primarily about the evidential basis of charges of sexual misconduct, in a society (indeed, a whole ANE culture) in which adultery undermined most aspects of life – family, economics, inheritance, community relationships etc. Stable marriage was the basis of all these – it was not just a sexual arrangement.

    There are seven verses in which a man who makes a false charge that his wife was not a virgin on their wedding night is fined a huge amount and refused his right to divorce her for life (ie making him financially responsible for her forever) – because such slander of a virtuous girl was reprehensible. One down for men.

    Conversely, as you say, if the charge was true she was to be stoned – 2 verses: promiscuity in her father’s house was reprehensible. The failure to make the same rule for men has some obvious evidential problems – what evidence for male virginity would your law propose? One down for women, but a law can’t re-invent the human body.

    But in the next verse, an adulterous couple caught in adultery are both to be stoned. One each for men and women.

    In the next, the first situation is repeated with a different evidence base – not this time a husband’s accusation, but the discovery of a relationship between a man and a betrothed virgin: he’s stoned for violating another man’s wife, she for not calling out (ie her complicity is not assumed, but based on evidence). Again equal measure.

    If this happens without witnesses (ie an accusation of rape – still the bane of evidence today) he gets stoned, and she doesn’t – she is assumed to be in the right because no one can tell if she resisted – and if she was engaged, she likely would. Another blow against male freedom.

    One more scenario – same situation, unbetrothed girl. A bad evidential situation again, but the difference is the possibilities for redress: no other family has been put at risk as it would if she were betrothed. One can never be 100% sure whether she was complicit at the time – is one going to kill a man on that basis? Surely better to force him (not her!) to marry the person whose prospects of marriage he has damaged, again making him financially responsible for her for life, without the get-out of divorce. That’s actually one in the eye for the rapist – the girl gets a meal ticket for life, if not an ideal husband. I’d say the man comes off worse.

    I’d say that’s 5:3 against the male of the species, unless you really want to judge a marriage-based culture by the standards of the porn-soaked West, in which Rihanna or Miley Cyrus are seen as icons of female power because … their boyfriends get probation for assaulting them (if it’s not hidden away in an elevator)? The male population are able to appreciate them for their musical talent, not as mere objects? They have sexual power over the emotions of weak men? All worthy moral virtues, no doubt, but there might be room for dissent over their good to society as a whole.

  6. 6
    humbled says:

    Great summary Jon.

    Acartia_bogart, get your backside into sunday-school or a good Bible study group before making claims on a subject you clearly know nothing about. You always get one….

  7. 7
    Barb says:

    Acartia,

    So, please, tell me how the bible is not patriarchal.

    All right.

    Some feminists may cite religious texts to (seemingly) legitimize the domination of women. You brought up the Bible, so let’s examine whether or not God purposed for women to be scorned and abused by men, and what the Bible actually says about women.

    1. Have women been cursed by God?

    Women aren’t cursed. Reading Revelation 12:9, we’re told that “the original serpent” (the devil) has been cursed (see also Genesis 3:14). However, in Genesis 3:16, we read that Adam would “dominate” his wife, but this does not indicate God’s approval of the subjugation of woman by man. God here is simply foretelling the consequences of sin on Adam and Eve. Thus, any abuse of women is a direct outcome of the sinful nature of humanity, and not God’s will.

    2. Did God create woman inferior to man?

    Short answer: No. Long answer: “God proceed to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) So, from the very beginning, humans (both male and female) were created with the ability to reflect God’s qualities. They had their own unique physical and emotional characteristics, but they both received the same commission and had the same rights before God (see Genesis 1:28-31).

    Eve is said to be a “complement” of Adam at Genesis 2:18. The word “complement” should not be taken as meaning that Eve is inferior to Adam. The Hebrew word azer can also be rendered counterpart or help corresponding to man. A good analogy is that of a surgeon and an anesthesiologist during surgery. One cannot manage without the other. Man and woman were created to cooperate, not compete, with each other.

    3. Is God concerned about women?

    Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Look at some of the provisions of the law covenant given to Israel. Author Laure Aynard, writing in The Bible in the Feminine Gender (La Bible au feminine) states, “For the most part, when the Law covenant speaks of the woman, it is to defend her.”

    The Law required respect to be shown to both mothers and fathers (Exodus 20:12) as well as due consideration for pregnant women (Exodus 21:22). Women were given a great measure of freedom under the law: they could obtain property and begin cultivating it (Proverbs 31:11, 16-19). They were also free to develop and maintain personal relationships with God. They were given access to education by means of public readings of the law (Deut. 31:12); they may also have performed in mixed choirs as part of worship at the temple. Mothers were also instrumental in teaching their children various skills.

  8. 8
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Jon, I am afraid that you should look at your math. Even if I accept your account, women are still being stoned more often than the men for consensual sex. All for the sake of protecting honour.

    “The failure to make the same rule for men has some obvious evidential problems – what evidence for male virginity would your law propose?” Are you serious? You are aware that the absence of an intact hymen is not evidence of sex. Or that the presence of an intact hymen is not evidence that sex has not occurred.

    “If this happens without witnesses (ie an accusation of rape – still the bane of evidence today) he gets stoned, and she doesn’t – she is assumed to be in the right because no one can tell if she resisted – and if she was engaged, she likely would. Another blow against male freedom.” Again, are you serious? If a woman is raped and was not engaged, she is not stoned. But if she is engaged, she is? And you are OK with this?

    @Robert: “women were meant to help their husbands goals on earth.” What does your wife think about this?

  9. 9

    Both chauvinists and feminists confuse submission as meaning inferiority. That shouldn’t work for a Trinitarian, who believes in co-equal persons in the Trinity and submission within the Godhead.

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    According to Genesis, God often created things out of other things rather than simply ex nihilo, starting with the baser creations to the higher ones.

    So what was the last thing that God created in the seven days of Genesis?

    -Q

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Some feminists may cite religious texts to (seemingly) legitimize the domination of women.</blockquote

    Some religions do that as well.

  12. 12
    HD says:

    >Again, are you serious? If a woman is raped and was not engaged, she is not stoned. But if she is engaged, she is? And you are OK with this?

    Wow. There is a little confusion here. A women is NEVER stoned if she is RAPED. If she IS engaged and has CONSENSUAL sex with someone else, than BOTH are stoned….this is simply going back to adultery. A woman being engaged means she is one step down from being actually married, and therefore off limits.

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    HD,

    Thank you. This is a typical slander perpetrated against the Bible.

    -Q

  14. 14
    melvinvines says:

    What’s happened to the Michael Flannery link to this book review? The article no longer seems to exist.

  15. 15
    Acartia_bogart says:

    HD and Querius, it was Jon that said this, not me. Please read his post and tell me that I misinterpreted him. I never read about this in the bible do I was questioning Jon’s words. They clearly state that if a woman is raped, she is not stoned, unless she was engaged at the time of the rape.

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    Acartia_bogart,

    No, what Torah teaches is that if a woman is raped, the rapist gets the death penalty. Other laws apply if it’s consensual.

    Incidentally, according to the statistics published by RAINN, 97% of rapists in the U.S. never spend a single day in jail.

    -Q

  17. 17
    StephenA says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Are you referring to this?

    If this happens without witnesses (ie an accusation of rape – still the bane of evidence today) he gets stoned, and she doesn’t – she is assumed to be in the right because no one can tell if she resisted – and if she was engaged, she likely would.

    You clearly are determined to read what was written in the worst possible light if you think that he is saying that the woman was to be stoned if she was engaged at the time of the rape.
    The ‘she likely would’ at the end there is not referring to the likelyhood of her being stoned, but the likelyhood of her having resisted her rapist.

  18. 18
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @StephenA: “The ‘she likely would’ at the end there is not referring to the likelyhood of her being stoned, but the likelyhood of her having resisted her rapist.”

    Fair enough. I admit that it could also be interpreted as you describe. But, again, is he serious? An non-engaged woman is going to resist a rape less than an engaged woman?

  19. 19
    Querius says:

    Acartia_bogart,

    Torah compares rape to murder. The problem is determining whether sex is consensual or whether it is rape when there are no witnesses. See Querius@16.

    Do you think Torah would be more fair if a man could be put to death simply on allegations of rape?

    A male friend of mine taught at a continuation middle school in an inner city. He told me that in his situation, the girls in his class were far more dangerous than the guys, and they were well aware of their power. He could easily lose his job, go to jail, and possibly become a registered sex offender for the rest of his life on the allegations of a girl in his class, especially if other girls were willing to go along with the story.

    Essentially, he was guilty until proven innocent, he always made sure someone else was with him, and he never dared cross the girls.

    He was very dedicated, but I’m amazed that he continued working at a job with that level of personal risk!

    -Q

  20. 20
    StephenA says:

    Acartia_Bogart:

    I think it was less meant as ‘An non-engaged woman is going to resist a rape less than an engaged woman’ and more as “A non-engaged woman is more likely to consentually indulge in adultery’.

  21. 21
    HD says:

    >An non-engaged woman is going to resist a rape less than an engaged woman?

    No. Where is this taken from?

    >Torah compares rape to murder.

    Querius, if that was true, a rapist would be stoned as a murderer is. Clearly, he is not.

  22. 22
    HD says:

    Acartia_Bogart:

    >They clearly state that if a woman is raped, she is not stoned, unless she was engaged at the time of the rape.

    Nope. She is never stoned if she is raped. Rape MEANS non consensual. If it WAS consensual, than it isn’t rape….it’s adultery which means both are stoned.

  23. 23
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @StephenA: I think it was less meant as ‘An non-engaged woman is going to resist a rape less than an engaged woman’ and more as “A non-engaged woman is more likely to consentually indulge in adultery’.

    Instruction: take other foot. Firmly place it in mouth.

  24. 24
    Querius says:

    Here is one passage describing the punishment for rape and its comparison to murder.

    Please note that Torah provides *examples* (I call them moral “fence posts”), but doesn’t cover every possible permutation of human relationships and crime. For example nothing is said regarding the rape of married women, widows, mothers, sisters, foreign women; women raping men, women raping women, etc. etc. etc. It’s not implied that these people are “fair game.”

    The treatment of evidence also comes to bear. Normally, a person cannot be convicted of anything, especially when involving the loss of life unless there are two or three witnesses. In the case of rape, screaming is considered sufficient evidence, but in the field a woman’s screams are likely not to be heard, so the evidentiary requirements are lowered for a woman who is engaged—the rapist would know that there’s a good chance of his victim turning out to be engaged and he is dead meat!

    But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. “But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.

    Deuteronomy 22:25-27 (NASB)

    As you criticize Torah for its moral law and requirements for evidence, I find it more than ironic that you’ve not expressed any outrage over the lack of consequences of rape under U.S. law (and also in most parts of the world). Again, 97% of rapists in the U.S. don’t serve even a single day in prison. But you find fault with Torah.

    -Q

  25. 25
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Querius, I am critical of any system who would treat an engaged rape victim different than a non-engaged rape victim. Why would the impending marital status make any difference? Except in a patriarchal society that treats women as chattel, or second class citizens.

    But I would like to know where your 97% number comes from. Are you saying that 97% of convicted rapists do not spend time in jail? Or that 97% of people charged with rape aren’t convicted? Although I believe that most rapists get off without punishment, I also wouldn’t want to live in a system where everyone accused of rape (or any crime) is presumed guilty until they can prove their innocence.

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    bogart,

    Had you bothered to try to understand what I wrote, you would know that the part of Torah to which you object has to do with the treatment of evidence.

    But I would like to know where your 97% number comes from.

    Had you read my post in 16, you would know where that figure came from. You could have looked it up, but you didn’t. Right?

    So, your objection to Torah falls flat in the face of your demonstrated lack of concern about the currently egregious treatment of rape victims and lack of punishment of the (often repeat) perpetrators.

    Instead, you impose your values on a small agrarian society surrounded by warring empires and violent marauders, where 3,000 years ago there were no cell phones with which you could call the non-existent police, a patriarchal institution if there ever was one.

    -Q

  27. 27
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Sorry Querius. I apologize for not understanding where:

    Incidentally, according to the statistics published by RAINN, 97% of rapists in the U.S. never spend a single day in jail.

    Came from. A link might have helped. Who the hell is RAINN?

  28. 28
    Querius says:

    Your apology is accepted and I should have provided the link:
    https://www.rainn.org/

    See:
    https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

    -Q

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