No, There Isn’t Any Common Ground on Choice

In 2005, the then-county executive of New York's Nassau County, Thomas Suozzi, gave a speech at Adelphi University in which he expressed the hope to find "common ground" on reproductive choice:"As a Democrat, I do not often find it easy to talk with other Democrats about our need to affirm our commitment to the respect for life and how we need to emphasize our party's firm belief in the worth of every human being," he said. "As a Catholic, I do not often find it easy to talk with other … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Strawman Has a Point

StrawMan2

Atlas Shrugged, part I, chapter XHank and Dagny's search for the inventor of the motor has hit a dead end, so they go their separate ways and return to their day jobs. The political climate is growing increasingly socialist and hostile to businessmen, but Hank does his best to get back into a normal routine of running his steel mills during the day and hiding from his family at night:It was late when he came home and hurried soundlessly up the stairs to his bedroom. He hated himself … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: January 25

Coffee

• Is conservative Christianity itself bad for marriage? The research says yes. Michelle Goldberg lays out the facts:Ironically, the very practices meant to shore up marital security in conservative communities end up sabotaging it. By promoting abstinence until marriage, these communities encourage people to marry young. Poor sex education and limited access to contraception for teenagers lead to unintended pregnancies and shotgun weddings. Gender-role traditionalism leads to … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Madonna-Whore Complex

WomanInProfile

Atlas Shrugged, part I, chapter IXAs the next chapter begins, we fade in on Dagny waking up in bed with Hank, the two of them still in Ellis Wyatt's house:She looked at the glowing bands on the skin of her arm, spaced like bracelets from her wrist to her shoulder. They were strips of sunlight from the Venetian blinds on the window of an unfamiliar room. She saw a bruise above her elbow, with dark beads that had been blood. [p.237]Say what? This is one of those double-take … [Read more...]

Ingersoll Sunday: On Divorce

RobertIngersoll

In 1889, a literary magazine called the North American Review solicited essays on the question of whether divorce was ever morally justifiable. Although all the other answers were from clergy (who, for no apparent reason, are always deemed to be the experts on these kinds of questions), they also printed a response by the great American freethinker Robert Green Ingersoll.As in many other things, Ingersoll's progressive, humanistic views were decades ahead of his time. He argued that … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Ubermensch

Nietzsche

Atlas Shrugged, part I, chapter VAlthough the most vivid (and creepiest) scenes depicting Ayn Rand's views on love and sex are still to come, this chapter offers a preview, as we find out in flashback that Dagny and Francisco became lovers during their college days. The first hint of this comes on a summer day when they're walking along the Palisades. Here's how Francisco initiates their relationship:He said brusquely, "Let's see if we can see New York," and jerked her by the arm to … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dusk

I just finished reading Sex at Dusk, independent scholar Lynn Saxon's reply to Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha's book Sex at Dawn, which I reviewed last month. This book fills in the biggest gap in my original review, so I wanted to say some more about it.When I originally read Dawn, I thought that Ryan and Jetha's strongest argument was the existence of the South American tribal societies that believe in partible paternity, the idea that a child can have more than one biological father. … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dawn, Part II

(See part 1 here.)Primitive WarfareAs part of the sex-as-social-glue hypothesis, SaD asserts that pre-state societies were universally peaceful. The book argues that in a hunter-gatherer society with no possessions and no fixed resource base, rival groups would have nothing to fight about [p.183].But this claim flies in the face of the evidence. As I wrote about in my review of The Better Angels of Our Nature, it's inevitable that evolution would produce creatures with the capacity … [Read more...]

Book Review: Sex at Dawn

ForbiddenFruit

Summary: An interesting but sloppy argument that would have been much improved by more careful use of evolutionary reasoning.Sex at Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, is a bestselling science book that sets out to present a radically new model of human prehistory. The authors' thesis is that, prior to the invention of agriculture, the human species lived in small, roaming hunter-gatherer bands that had no notion of personal property or privacy. In these tribal societies, they say, … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking: Teenagers and Sex

ForbiddenFruit

Two of my new colleagues at Patheos, Libby Anne and Dan Fincke, have recently launched Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project, a collaborative discussion in the spirit of the old blog carnivals. This week's conversational prompt is, "What would you tell teenagers about sex?"Now, I'm not encouraging teenagers to have sex, because (1) no one should be pushed to have sex before they, themselves, have decided that they're physically and emotionally ready; and (2) it doesn't really matter … [Read more...]


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