[Fwd: Re: ignore this, it's about women and sexism ...]]]]

kelley oudies at flash.net
Tue Nov 30 13:05:54 PST 1999

> It's true that "science" is now the language in which people express
>their sexist views. (Compare the social acceptability of 'evolutionary
>psychological" explanations of women's subordination in marriage with
>the theological account given by the Southern Baptists.) But "science"
>is also the language in which people -- Natalie Angier, Barbara E,
>me,you for example -- express their anti-sexist views.
>What has lowered the stock of the evolutionary psychologists hasn't been
>non-scientists putting forth a general theory that "science is socially
>constructed" or "serves the status quo." As you point out, those ideas
>have been around for a very long time. What has made a difference is
>feminist scientists and anthropologists refuting sexist science with
>better science, and the popularization of their work by people like
>Natalie A and Barbara E.

yes, and here is where i could demand that we are different. and have you play my foil. but that would be unfair. instead, i'm going to assume that you will agree that political practice and activism was *necessarily* a part of coming to a politicized consciousness about science--engendered by a critique of science and a willingness to keep science in the service of coming to know things for *all of us* [(c) charles brown]. in that sense, the critique remains and where angela's comments, not to mention yoshie's many many comments become relevant: science does not, by itself, contain within it the logic of a progressive unfolding toward an inevitable truth just waiting to be scooped up like a football as we run toward the finish line! which is to say, greater objectivity advanced via a fetishization of method and the claims that if we'd just do it [science] right then we'd know the truth are inadequate to many of the goals that we share. this just can't be the case since theory is always underdetermined. science is science *for us* and not something that ought to be left to unfold on the assumption that we ought to leave it be to develop unscathed by criticism.

finally, charles will recall our long ago discussion of the phrase, "the truth of the pudding is in the eating." we were have a bit of fun with it, but the play was revealing. my response then was that there are many things we could actually make with that pudding recipe. so making it successfully is one thing and surely dependent on all kinds of conditions [quality of ingredients, environment, humidity, temperature], but the way in which we *choose* [politically] to eat/use that pudding matters [that is the political v ideological distinction that yoshie keeps harping on and for good reasons i think]. we can make a pudding and serve it in fancy parfait dishes for a spiffy party for our colleagues. we can put it in a pieshell and top it with meringue and serve it with t-day dinner with family. we can bring same pie to the food kitchen. we can slather it with whip cream and fling it at clinton or bill gates, preferably lots of pies in that case.

to connect with the ehrenreich article: so much of that evidence underdetermines the theory that it becomes a political choice which evidence we decide to take up and run with. that matters. so, focusing on biological categories v hormonal categories v. gentic categories do make a difference. focusing on them wouldn't mean, as rakesh points out, that there won't be differences or that we won't parse out into two different beings with different capacities. not at all. take for example, something made very clear by ehrenreich's article: in the hands of another writer, one with different politics, highly speculative conclusions about testosterone and aggression *are* made despite the underdetermination of the supposedly plainly obvious facts. we focus now on what we can see, on biological categories, because well it's there and we believe those things matter for deciding our gender identities. but i think as margaret tried to point out, there's a significant population of people who fit neither category. i don't think 4% is insignficant for otherwise you'd be saying that lesbians are insignficant. [not to mention that margaret points out that our not knowing about these anamolous biological sexes is an artefact of technology and the number keeps growing with the use of these tools]

i hope that fleshes things out about politics v. ideology.



Pulp Culture +~+~+~+~+ pulping theory-research-praxis http://www.flash.net/~oudies/pulp_culture.htm pulp-admin at infothecary.org

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