Friday, July 25, 2003


And no alternative viewpoints allowed:

It was late in the day. Just as I was preparing to go home, a single woman who was a staff member at our college walked into my office. A part-time editor for a major Christian publishing house, she had a "technical" question regarding a book manuscript that had been assigned to her.

Apparently, the hapless minister's wife who had submitted this piece had asserted that innate differences between the sexes existed and should be respected if marital harmony were to be obtained. A feminist professor in our psychology department had assured this editor that "no evidence whatsoever" existed for this claim of biological differentiation. Sexual differences, universal as they are, are all caused by culture and socialization and thus are malleable and subject to redefinition. So she claimed. Based on this, the editor had quietly removed the offensive section from the manuscript. Now, she'd had second thoughts and was seeking another opinion.

I presented to her what I thought was an impressive set of documentation to the contrary, including anthropological evidences for the universality of many sex role differences, diagrams of male/female brain differences, and photographs comparing male and female nerve cells. While alternative arguments existed, I pointed out, there was extensive and reputable evidence in favor of what the minister's wife had written. In fact, historically, it was the psychologist's view that was novel, and it was difficult to sustain logically and empirically as well. The editor might personally disagree with this viewpoint, but to dismiss it uninspected and even censor it as if it really were pseudo-scientific and poorly documented would be unfair and unwarranted.

The editor listened intently and asked appropriate questions. Then, she startled me with her decision -- the debated passages would remain deleted!

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