Thursday, October 11, 2012

Margaret Farley's Just Love: New Knowledge about Human Biology and Sexual Ethics, News Flash for Todd Akin

Margaret Farley, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (NY: Continuum, 2006):

Threaded through the massive economic, political, and social shifts in twentieth- and twenty-first-century culture has been access to new knowledge and practical possibilities that have specifically influenced sexual choice and behavior.  . . .  There is, for example, the quite astonishing (relative to past ignorances and distortions) increase in scientific knowledge about sexual response as such and about the human reproductive process.  While the ovum was discovered as early (or as late, depending on one's point of view) as 1828, little was known until the next century about the physiologically active contribution of the female partner in the reproductive process.  In prior centuries it was possible to sustain an image of male "seed" and female "ground" for reproduction, which in turn supported a view of the male as essentially active and the female as passive in reproduction and in sexual relations overall (pp. 3-4).

Can someone please get Rep. Todd Akin on the phone?

As Farley is masterfully noting here, our conclusions about sexual morality depend radically on what we know (and are willing to learn) about human biology and human reproduction.  And what we've learned as a human community in these areas in just a short period of time has revolutionized--or should revolutionize--our medieval notions of sexual morality, based in pre-scientific understandings of the human body and how it functions.

Should revolutionize our medieval notions, if we are willing to listen and to learn, and to step out of the Middle Ages.

And so can someone please get Rep. Todd Akin on the phone?  Margaret Farley has news for him.

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