THURSDAY, 30 AUGUST 2012

Biologists, who needs them?

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The New York Times can be relied upon to showcase the latest brain explosion of America’s intelligentsia and, of course, the professorial elite do come up with some good ideas. At other times, the opinions published are so weird that it seems the entire editorial department has fallen asleep and aliens have taken over.

This example is from the “weird” department. It starts with the catchy heading “Men, Who Needs Them?” which echoes a new theme in the liberal world of gender. Atlantic magazine writer Hanna Rosin has a book out next month called The End of Men. But whereas Rosin comes at it from a sociological point of view, Greg Hampikian, a professor of biology and criminal justice, instructs us in the biological reasons for the redundancy of the male sex.

At least, you’d think he would be able to instruct us, but, good heavens, the man doesn’t seem to know the first thing about the biology of reproduction. And I emphasise the first thing. In his haste to describe how scientists have made men totally superfluous to the species, the professor has each of us starting life as “an egg”. Wesley Smith makes short work of debunking that particular piece of nonsense on his blog, Secondhand Smoke.

However, on the basis that an egg is already a new human individual Hampikian belittles the male contribution as “some very odd tiny cells” that “your father” shed when he “spent a few minutes close by” (that’s close by you, “the egg”). All he gave you was “an infinitesimally small packet of DNA”. Then everything else came from the mother.

It’s true that, biologically speaking the father’s contribution is tiny compared with the mother’s but it is extremely high in value, so to speak, and absolutely essential. No sperm, and an egg’s value drops to zero.

But, and this is Hampikian’s “point”, there is no need for real live men to have anything to do with the meeting of sperm and egg. All you need is a donor and a turkey baster.

Ah, you say, but there’s still a need for men to produce sperm and donate it.

No, says the professor, human cloning is “just around the corner” and there’s “enough frozen sperm in the world to already populate many generations”. Indeed, he maintains that geneticist Craig Venter has recently (though unwittingly) shown that the male gamete can be “manufactured” -- although the egg cell cannot.

And so, if men are “irreplaceable” it is not as husbands and fathers but possibly because, as a female colleague of Hampikian jokes, because “They’re entertaining.”

Well, Hampikian may regard all that as entertaining but to me it shows how, with their clever-dick scenarios, the intellectual elite encourage the breakdown of respect between the sexes and thus of marriage and family life. As Wesley Smith says, it’s no wonder boys are having problems these days.


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | men, reproductive technology

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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@ mercatornet.com


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