Thursday, February 22, 2007

Book: The Feminist Gospel (part 5)

[continued from the previous posts here, here, here, here and here]

Feminism teaches the complete equality of men and women in all areas. To prop up their view, they have even tried to use scientific findings to do so. Initially, they relied on (highly subjective) anthropological research as found in two books by Magaret Mead, Sex and Temperament (1935)[1] and Male and Female (1949)[2] which stated that differences between male and female were learned and conditioned by culture rather than set by nature, which has since then been refuted[3] (p. 31). Since then, feminists have moved on and an influential feminist, Elizabeth Gould Davis, have even tried to promote female superiority, naming women the first sex4. Davis seeks to prove this scientifically through 1) embryology, 2) the genotype of males and females in terms of the sex chromosomes X and Y (p. 101-103).

[WARNING! Technical and probably somewhat mature material below!]

The first argument for female superiority is found through embroyology, or rather Davis' interpretation of embryological data. Acording to Davis,

... all mammalian embryos, male and female, were anatomically female during the early stages of fetal life. In humans, the differentiation of the male organ from the female was accomplished by the action of a fetal hormone, androgen. ... Females structures developed autonomously without the necessity of hormonal intervention. In other words, Davis argues that the state of "femaleness" was normative, but the male genitalia only developed upon the addition of hormones. (p. 101)

However, is that really the case? NO! Fetuses do not start off as female and then undergo "sex reversal" to become male; humans are NOT zebrafish[5]! Just because the sexual organs have not developed and thus appear on the surface to be female does not mean that the fetus is female. In fact, for humans (and mammals in general), the fetus starts off with two ducts, Müllerian and Wolfian, that would form the female and male reproductive tracts respectively. During the early stages of development, the fetus have both of these ducts. If one really wanted to assign a gender to the fetus, the fetus would be bisexual, not female! Only later would the unneeded ducts atrophied (the Müllerian duct in the male and the Wolfian duct in the female) so that each gender would have only one and reproductive tract and system based on his/her genotype. With this, Davis' first point is rendered false.

With regards to Davis' second point, Davis states that the Y chromosome is a deformed and broken mutation of the female X chromosome, and from there prove that women were the first sex. Of course, such reasoning depends on the truth or falseness of the pseudo-scientific theory of Evolution, and would thus die along with the theory. However, even granting the truth of evolution, can Davis' theory hold true? Let us look at Davis' theory:

... the male Y chromosome that produces males is a deformed and broken X chromosome — the female chromoome. ... It seems very logical that this small and twisted Y chromosome is a genetic error — an accident of nature, and that genetically there was only one sex — the female[6].

... the Y chromosome was linked with many genetic disorders such as color-blindness and hemophilia. The male, who was sole possesor of the Y chromosome, was reported by Davis to be much more susceptible to genetic disorders. ... the extra X chromosome in females accounted not only for the greater freedom of girls from birth defects and congenital diseases, "but also for the superior physiological makeup and the superior intelligence of women over men" (p. 102).

A couple of problems arise if one was to accept Davis' wild conjecture. Now, if all were female then, I would like to know how reproduction occured then. Did these "superior" women then reproduce asexually? Or were they hemoprodites? But then, hemophrodites would need to have both the male and female reproductive organs to reproduce, so these hypothetical people can no longer be called female, can they? Ditto for the asexuals too! (And just to rub it in, I can't seem to think of any remotely plausible mechanism for the evolution of dioecy[7], nevermind evolution of males from females.) Feminism seem to blind its proponents to basic thinking, it seems.

With regards to the so-called superiority of women in their having two X chromosomes over 1 X chromosome in males, is that really good? Having assumed evolution, let us now supposed that to be fact and see whether the female is indeed superior according to evolution. Since the "goal" of evolution is supposed to improve on the gene pool of the species by eliminating the weak (survival of the fittest), males with defective X chromosome containing disease-causing genes would thus exhibit their defective genotype and would thus (hopefully) be eliminated. Females, on the other hand, by giving rise to the highly probable scenario whereby one of their X chromosome contains a healthy, properly functional gene while the other X chromosome contains the defective gene, will lead to the fact that such females would be phenotypically healthy (assuming the healthy gene is dominant) while carrying a defective genome. These carriers would then be in a position to pass on their defective genes to the next generation, as they are not subjected to any negative selection due to non-expression of the defective X chromosomal gene. Since such is the case, shouldn't females be termed instead the bane of the species, by preventing natural selection from removing the defective genes from the population? Davis' superiority of women position thus actually work against her, unless she disgard the theory of evolution, which she can't since her entire theory is built on that foundation.

Also, I would want to challenge Davis and her followers to prove the statement that women have "superior physiological makeup and intelligence over men". (It wasn't so long ago that the reverse was held by some to be true.) Anyway, upon what basis can such statements be proven? With regards to "superior physiological makeup", last I knew, the strongest people in the world were men, women are in general less muscular than men, and although women are less susceptible to genetifc disorders than men, I know at least of quite a few women who are more susceptible to normal diseases than most men. Of course, no doubt this could be due to the differences in lifestyle between men and women, but the point that I was trying to put across is that Davis' point is not proven. The various indicators given by Davis (capacity for reproduction, greater resistance to disease, increased longevity, excellent metabolic efficiency), even if true, are not the only indicators of physiological makeup. Furthermore, for indicators like resistance to diseases, have expriments been done to prove such a case, and are the samples used unbiased? Are the experiments, if they are done, done is such a way such that factors such as stress level etc. are taken into account? I very much doubt so. With regards to "superior intelligence", this is even more doubtful. Definitely, not all women are smarter than all men. Collectively, women have also not been shown to be superior in intellect compared to men, as a cursory look at the intelligent people throughout history shows. If one objects that that is because of oppression of women throughout most of civilized history, then one truly wonders why is it that in the so-called "liberated" countries in the Western world, moral decadence is promoted by the "enlightened" women in the form of abortion, homosexuality, alternative lifestyles, etc. Some intelligence indeed (Rom. 1:22-23)!

I would not go into Davis' ridiculous hypothesis of how males came into being and subjugated the "superior" females, which is just plain ridiculous and distasteful , reducing women to nothing more than animals that are "incapable of controlling their sex drives" (p. 103). Readers who are interested may go and read it for themselves. Something I have noticed about these "liberated and enlightened" feminists is that they seem to be obsessed with sex. Some liberation indeed (Rom. 1:24-28)!

I would finish off this section by looking at sex determination at the genetic level, which should demolish all the nonsense of genetic pre-eminance of the female sex.

Davis made the assertion that the human genitalia will normally developed into the female reproductive organ in the fetus unless there is the presence of the male androgen hormones which is produced by the male fetus. This on the surface seems to show that femaleness is the default norm while maleness is not. However, those who make such a conclusion are basically showing their ignorance, as if sex determination was such an easy process in any fetus.

For most people who read and/or study a bit on sex determination, especially in mammales, they would have come across the term TDF (Testis Determining Factor), which is a gene locus located on the Y chromosome, upon which the gene SRY is found[8]. This particular gene is found to be the sex-determining gene, as its presence normally indicates maleness while its absence indicates femaleness. Thus, normal females, who don't have the Y chromosome, have the female phenotype, while normal males who have the Y chromosome have the male phenotype. The reason why I use the term normal is because abnormality do occus. Abnormal recombination between X and Y chromosome could result in transfer of the TDF gene locus, causing that XX individual to become a male (sex-reversal)[9].

If this is all we know of sex determination, then perhaps the feminists do have a point. However, this is not all. Another gene SOX9 (SRY-related HMG box gene 9) has been found, and this gene is NOT found on the X or Y chromosome. In fact, the human SOX9 is found on the autosome chromosome 17 of the human genome[10]. It has also been found that SOX9, like SRY, is both necessary and sufficient for testes formation, since SOX9 conditional knockouts in other mammals have reproductive organs akin to ovaries[11] while overexpressed SOX9 individuals develop as males[12]. In fact, due to this, it has been hypostasized that SRY somehow interacts with SOX9 as both of them are necessary and sufficient conditions for female-to-male sex reversals, although no one knows the exact interaction between the two gene products yet[13].

Moving on to other genes, we found an interesting gene called RSPO1, coding for a rather new protein R-spondin 1 found in 2004[14]. A rather large, consanguineous Italian family was found to have 4 XX sex-reversed brothers who were SRY-negative. It was found that these abnormal brothers have a mutation in their RSPO1 gene which codes for R-spondin 1 creating a non-functional R-spondin 1 protein, and this caused the sex change, independent of the SRY/SOX9 pair[15]. Of all the information found so far, nothing is more devastaing to feminism than this; that the production of a non-functional protein causes a female-to-male sex reversal! Therefore, the production of that functional protein is essential for femaleness! Furthermore, this gene is found on the human autosomal chromosome 1, and thus is not sex-linked.

Based on all these information, especially the last one, a case can be put forward that males are the first sex, and it is only because of a later evolution of functional R-spondin 1 in the species that females later evolve. Of course, this theory is nonsense, but such is the stupidity that feminist reasoning takes us. Also, the fact that two important sex determination genes (SOX9 and RSPO1) are not found on the sex chromosomes shows the utter nonsense of feminists who think as though maleness and femaleness comes only through the sex chromosomes, or worse still, that XX individuals are the first sex and that these XX individuals are necessarily female.

With all this said and done, it can be seen that science does not even remotely support the wild conjectures of the radical feminists of female superiority. Nor can it be used to support any egalitarian position either. Fact of the matter is, science has nothing to say about what is essentially a sociological and religious issue. In fact, I would even say that science can not prove anything with respect to absolute truth[16]. What I have just done is to beat the feminists at their own game, notwithstanding the fact that the game itself is illegitimate for the issue at hand, just to show the poverty of the Feminist position.

We will now carry on looking at the effects of Feminism, especially in Christian circles.


[1] Magaret Mead (1949), Male and Female (New York: William Morrow and Company). As cited in Kassian, The Feminist Gospel.

[2] Magaret Mead (1935), Sex and Temperament (New York: William Morrow and Company). As cited in Kassian, The Feminist Gospel.

[3] Derek Freeman (1983), Magaret and Samoa (Cambridge: Harvard University Press). As cited in Kassian, The Feminist Gospel.

[4] Elizabeth Gould Davis (1972), The First Sex (Baltimore, Penguin Books). As cited in Kassian, The Feminist Gospel.

[5] von Hofsten J & Olssen PE. (2005). Zebrafish sex determination and differentiation: involvement of FTZ-F1 genes, Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol 3: 63

[6] Davis (1972), The First Sex, p. 63

[7] Dioecy comes from the field of plant sexuality. It basically means the existence of two seperate sexes. It is often used in plants due to the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems in them. With regards to other species, it is normally used only in the field of sex evolution.

[8] Most of the stuff presented here come from compiled lecture notes from a module I have taken in my university entitled Animal Reproduction and Development. To give proper credit when due, I would try to find journal articles which do in fact provide the information that I present.

[9] Wilhelm D., Palmer S. & Koopman P. (2007). Sex Determination and Gonadal Development in Mammals, Physiol. Rev. 87: 1-28; doi:10.1152/physrev.00009.2006

[10] NCBI database's ( search results for SOX9 under 'gene' category

[11] Barrionuevo F, Bagheri-Fam S, Klattig J, Kist R, Taketo MM, Englert C, Scherer G. (2006). Homozygous inactivation of Sox9 causes complete XY sex reversal in mice. Biol Reprod 74: 195–201.

[12] Vidal V, Chaboissier M, de Rooij D, Schedl A. (2001). Sox9 induces testis development in XX transgenic mice. Nat Genet 28: 216–217.

[13] Wilhelm & Koopman (2007)

[14] Kamata T, Katsube K, Michikawa M, Yamada M, Takada S, Mizusawa H.(2004). R-spondin, a novel gene with thrombospondin type 1 domain, was expressed in the dorsal neural tube and affected in Wnts mutants, Biochim Biophys Acta. 1676(1): 51-62

[15] Parma, Pietro et. al. (2006). R-spondin 1 is essential in sex determination, skin differentiation and malignancy, Nature Genetics 38: 1304 - 1309 .

[16] Gordon H. Clark (1964), The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God, 3rd Ed. (1996) John W. Robbins (The Trinity Foundation)

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