Sex and Chance: Strange Bedfellows?
History was sex, French was sex, art was sex, the Bible... everything was sex except biology which was obviously sex but not really sex, not the one that was secret and ecstatic and wicked and a sacrament and all the things it was supposed to be but couldn't be at one and the same time-- I got that in the boiler room and it turned out to be biology after all. (Stoppard, 218)
I'll admit it. I'm fascinated by sex. After all, it is the reason that we are all here, isn't it? And not just thanks to our parents: for years and years and years, sex has been the motor driving the evolutionary process. I don't think people give sex enough credit for its role ...view middle of the document...
As Stoppard puts it: "Einstein- relativity and sex. Chippendale- sex and furniture. Galileo- 'Did the earth move?'" (Stoppard, 90).
In this sense, everything we do is linked inextricably to sex. (Upon writing this previous sentence, I realized that I have picked a topic which is quite beyond the scope of this paper, and would require many many years of research. However, I hope to make a few concise points before the implications of this opening hit and I have to scramble around to tie things up.)
Take for example birth control. Birth control can be considered an isolating mechanism because "copulation [is] attempted but no transfer of sperm takes place." (Mayr, 171). Mayr says, "The isolating mechanisms of species are devices to protect the integrity of well-balanced , harmonious genotypes." (Mayr, 170). How does birth control protect the "integrity" of the human genotype? I would argue that since birth control has become a self-imposed isolating mechanism, it actually does little towards protecting against anything besides unwanted pregnancies. Every instant of conception remains equally fraught with that wonderful element of "chance" which Mayr explains to us. If there are fewer chances for conception, that does not mean that there will be any less "chance" involved in any individual exchange.
However, human response to birth control remains mixed at best. I know a family with several children who have remarked, "We'll have as many as god gives us." Birth control is less acceptable to those who view sex as solely a means for reproduction. Birth control interferes with the natural course of events: they might call it god, but Mayr would just as easily name it chance. These people have their story about birth control. However, I also know a number of women who are quite pleased...