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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Another reason the Creation is so damn important

I was reading an essay on how different religions mistreat women by Annie Laurie Gaylor while in the bathtub, where I do my thinking, and I came to a throwaway part where she noted that the story of Adam's rib is a neat trick the Bible pulls to deny something that seems self-evident--that women, not men, are the source of life. (Of course, it takes two to tango, but hey, women do most of the work bringing babies into the world.) That woman comes from man is a huge crutch that patriarchal religions have leaned on forever, and still do to this day, to justify women's inferiority. Sort of like Bill Cosby's joke about threatening his kids by reminding them that he made them.

That women are nothing more than overgrown male ribs that belong to men as much as your ribs belong to you, is something feverently believed to this day by a lot of Christians. I remember in high school a young woman insisting to me that men actually have one less rib than women. I poo-poohed her assertion but she kept making it, and as we had no anatomy textbook on hand, I made a male friend bend forward so we could count his ribs and then I did the same, proving that yes, men and women have the same number of ribs. The girl was crushed, but facts is facts. It was a lunchtime version of the Scopes trial. (Small town kids are very, very bored is the other moral of this story.)

That little story there is a small-time demonstration of how science is putting the screws to religion and thereby also putting the screws to religious justifications for male dominance. (Among other things. I certainly don't think that desire to keep women down is the only motivation for teaching the Creation to kids in school.) If we all evolved from animals then there's no way to justify women's inferiority, despite the noble efforts of a few evolutionary psychologists coughing up theories that women love nothing better than tending the hearth while their man goes out to fuck other women, a theory that is easy to disprove with little effort by laymen. (A loud guffaw will do.)

As I've said before, I agree with a lot of wingnut conclusions, I just don't agree with their value judgements. For instance, we both agree that rock music often endorses sexual freedom, rebellion, and open-mindedness, but I just happen to think that's a good thing. And I agree whole-heartedly with them that if humans accept that we evolved from animals and we are just another animal, then that will cause certain beliefs to fall by the wayside. One of those beliefs is that god made women as the handmaids to men.

If humans are just another species of animal, then I am no more a servant to my man than Katy is a servant to Max. (They have a relationship, by the way, we should all aspire to. Affectionate, playful, egalitarian, and unconditional. Max doesn't care that Katy's fat, and Katy doesn't care that Max is rambunctious.) If there's no bullshit story about how man actually birthed woman that we all have to profess we believe in, then we are free to open our eyes and see that it takes men and women both to make men and women, and oh yeah, women do the actual birthing. Most importantly, without a god decreeing from on high that men shall dominate women, there is no outside force that determines what our values should be, that those values come from human society and therefore can be changed to better serve all the people in it.

40 Comments:

Blogger Phila said...

Good article! The thing about the ribs was a very interesting connection to make. Maybe I should spend more time in the bathtub!

12/11/2004

 
Blogger Kameron Hurley said...

Funny you brought this up. I'm reading, _Mutants: on genetric variety and the human body_, and apparently, when a biology prof. goes into a college class and asks if men have more ribs than women, usually a full 50% of the class will assert that yes, indeed, men have more ribs than women.

Amazing.

12/11/2004

 
Blogger The Awnry Young Texan said...

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12/11/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is stupid.

That women are nothing more than overgrown male ribs that belong to men as much as your ribs belong to you, is something feverently believed to this day by a lot of Christians.Ah yes, nothing like hard numbers to back up your argument. Wait, where is the proof that "a lot of Christians" believe this? Oh right, you had this one time in high school when some idiot got proved wrong. Yeah... Okay.

This is really dumb. And not because you are a woman. Just because it's dumb. It would be dumb if you were a man too. But that doesn't really matter. Cause it's still dumb.

12/12/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

What's your point, Anon? What kind of blasphemous Jesus-hater are you? Clearly men have one less rib than women or GOD IS NOT REAL. Jesus hates you now. You dared say that my story is not important--you turned your back on this poor girl who was just putting forth received wisdom and had her faith questioned in the face of facts. Her faith should have been more important than mere facts. She should have denied then and there that our counts were accurate.

You're going straight to hell. If men and women have the same number of ribs, then we are all just apes and there's nothing more to it.

By the way, she didn't pull that out of her ass. I speak somewhat often about being raised amongst the Bible-thumpers. The belief that men have one less rib than women is a common one and not even close to the craziest of the beliefs I got to hear espoused.

12/12/2004

 
Blogger lawrence krubner said...

The Great Commoner spent his life fighting for the rights of the working man and the downtrodden, and he was nominated by the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate to lead the charge against the concentration of wealth happening in the country. An economic radical, he ran on a platform of loose money and full employment for all. His slogan was "Mankind should not be crucified on a cross of gold", his point being that the gold standard was strangling American farmers to death.

Despite all that, he is mostly remembered for his role at the Scopes trial, sparring with Clarence Darrow, trying to prove that evolution is a hoax.

Lately I've been wondering if I'd vote for Bryan if he was around today. A charismatic talker who inspired millions to fight against corporate power, and who made such a fight seem like a Christian crusade, a man who rallied the South for the war against the power of Wall Street, and a man who favored the Bible over Science.

I think I'd vote for him. Anything to end the truly damned concentration of wealth happening in the country today. It's possible that in America we don't get progressive eras, except when they are cast in Christian terms (the early civil rights leaders were all religious: Martin Luther King, CORE, the Quakers who organized the first Freedom Rides).

But clearly such a man would not be as good on women's rights as we might hope. I'm wondering if we will ever see another era when feminism and economic radicalism are seen to have anything in common? After all, you can argue that the women who benefit the most from feminism are the well-off women.

12/17/2004

 
Anonymous chris b said...

If you read the New Testament, The Bible clearly shows that Men are not to place themselves above women as tyrants. The idea of evolution proving that us men are better than women is a stupid idea create by men with inferiority complexes. Biblical, a woman compliments or completes a man. He is to serve her by praising, protecting & providing for her, not because she is helpless,but because he wants to. This in turn creates a situation where she can grow & be strong to do whatever God has called her to do, be it a mom (the most challenging & greatest job of all), or any other occupation, along with providing for her man's needs....not as a slave or inferior partner, but as an equal. Go ahead & bring up where is says "mean are to be the head of the household" this is not a position of superiority, but of serving. Leaders are supposed to serve, like Jesus did. unfortunately, there are VERY fre leader that actually serve. most only serve themselves & those that can benefit them.
I am a evangelical Christian that gets real tired of the religious crazies that take everything to the extreme, making life miserable for themselves & others. Jesus came with sword, yes, but He also came to show that He wants us to have an abundately joyful life. Not a life of self pity, critizing, & finger pointing.
Creation is important, not for the reason stated in the above blog, but for other reasons...all too much info for this little blog. I would be more than happy to dicuss on my blog or email directly @ thomas@ptcnh.net
Peace
cb in NH

6/16/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope this isn't too late to be noticed but...

Can anyone tell me which is the only bone that will grow back completely if removed...?

Go on get your anatomy book for this one, it's the rib of course and as such Adam's rib would have also grown back undoubtedly.

If you think evolution encourages equality you are quite wrong my dear as every animal with a defined sex under us each has their own roles.

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