It’s widely believed that Social Darwinism was a temporary evil that died out with racial eugenics after the Holocaust woke the world up. But there is one Social Darwinist whose ideas have managed not only to survive that setback, but to conquer the world. I refer, of course, to Alfred Kinsey, who would have rejoiced to see America’s official redefinition of marriage this week, as a fitting culmination of his life and work.
Perhaps Kinsey isn’t often thought of as an Evolutionist (though he too was a eugenicist), but in fact he researched the phylogeny of gall-wasps and wrote a textbook on evolution before he deviated, as it were, into sexology. The theoretical foundations of his teaching on sexuality were, according to his biographer, more truly Darwinian than others who saw sex purely in terms of reproductive adaptation (and homosexuality as a facilitator of kin selection, for example). In contrast, he saw human sexuality as different from the animals in being only secondarily to do with reproduction. His case was bolstered, I guess, by co-opting bonobos as our closest relatives because of their sexual behaviour, rather than chimps because of everything else. This explains, for example, his relaxed attitude to abortion:
I should like to disclaim the implication that biology puts a purposive interpretation upon the function of sex….In consequence, if one wants to define the function of an embryo, the function of reproduction, one must identify the definition as philosophic…I finish as a biologist by denying that biology would justify the use of the term “biologic function” for every embryo that happens to get implanted in a uterus.”
The comparison with bonobos, like much evolutionary tale-mongering, requires some intellectual agility. Bonobos’ interesting sexual habits occur throughout the species and serve, it is said, vital social functions. But the human sexual behaviours Kinsey sought to justify as “normal” and “healthy” were those that have been proscribed across most societies as socially destructive, and that were mainly illegal in his own. This reality had to be explained as anti-evolutionary to account the aberrations as adaptive. But it was persuasive because the appetite for such a view of sexual appetites pre-existed Kinsey’s “scientific” justification. As C S Lewis wrote:
When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, “Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat all our other impulses.” I was simple-minded enough to believe they meant what they said. I have since discovered that they meant exactly the opposite. They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled. Absolute obedience to your instinct for self-preservation is what we call cowardice; to your acquisitive impulse, avarice. Even sleep must be resisted if you’re a sentry. But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is “four bare legs in a bed.”
It’s been known for many years now that Kinsey made his case by the simple expedient of skewing and falsifying his data, in general terms claiming that 95% of American males engaged in illegal deviant activities. Specifically he extravagantly exaggerated pretty well every measure of abnormal behaviour in order to define them as “normal” by their fictitious prevalence, and to account them “healthy” by dint of their normality, given that society was seen to be working well enough. There’s a lot of stuff out there on this; most notorious is his reporting of exclusive homosexual orientation at 10%, a figure that has continued to frame the debate in society to this day. It’s actually closer to 1% in the best-controlled studies, even now it is legally
Similarly well-known, and influential, is his “continuum” of seven stages (0-6) from exclusive homosexuality through to exclusive heterosexuality, a continuum I was taught as fact both at Cambridge and at Westminster Medical School. This would, of course, make stages 1-5 correspond to varying degrees of bisexuality. But in fact, nearly every good study shows bisexuality to be twice as uncommon as homosexuality, except amongst more evolved, boundary-pushing celebrities, apparently. 5/7 of the continuum occurs in just 0.5% of the population – a suspicious statistic.
But equally false, and arguably more pernicious, figures pepper his work, such as that adulterous affairs usually strengthen marriages (most studies have shown the reverse, if it wasn’t already obvious), that few rape victims suffer real harm and, most reprehensible of all, that children as young as 3 months can, and often do, enjoy multiple orgasms.
Regarding the last, critics (who presumed to question the scientific authority of the consensus of sexologists!) began asking, after several decades during which Kinsey’s work was used uncritically to decide court cases and form legislation and social policy, just how the sexual responses of small children had been measured. It was discovered (with some difficulty) that the information came from one or more serial paedophiles, whom Kinsey had not only interviewed without reporting their abuse, but had urged to do further “research” in their chosen field. When it is understood that Kinsey interpreted fainting, screaming or striking the “partner” as evidence of infantile pleasure, the depravity of his involvement becomes truly shocking. But this particular work led to the widespread assumption, still peddled today whenever “healthy sexual activity” is taught to schoolchildren, that children are actively sexual from birth.
Kinsey’s myths are now so deepseated that, even decades after their fraudulence was exposed, they are still the prevailing wisdom. For example, when in a pastoral role I was called to help deal with an individual who was found to be abusing a male child, his self-defence was not simply calculatingly manipulative (as we’re led to believe so often), but founded on a thorough acceptance of the influential science of Kinsey. He reminded us that 10% of our church members were secretly homosexuals, he warned us that our own time would come (since we were, statistically, likely to be in the 95% of males with illegal proclivities), and he assured us that the victim would certainly not be harmed by the experience. Pure Kinsey.
It should be clear by now that any evolutionary explanation of human sexuality was, shall we say, “deeply influenced” by Kinsey’s own sexual deviancies, and those of his team. He was a sado-masochistic, self-mutilating promiscuous bisexual, and British anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer from early on called the Kinsey Reports “propaganda masquerading as science”. As such, it is not only valueless science (even if some of it happens to be true), but thoroughly antagonistic to the broadest concept of creation. This is true in its religious tone, for Kinsey was a militantly anti-Christian atheist, often said to be in reaction against his Methodist parents but no less biased whatever their supposed faults. But it is also true in its destructive effects on life, which I want to document a little from my own limited experience in an ordinary medical career.
I remember lectures on gender identity in Cambridge Social Psychology in 1973, in which I was taught (and long assumed it true) that gender identity is primarily gained from assigned gender. In retrospect, I find that was state of the art research from a disciple of Kinsey, John Money, who after 1967 claimed great success in redressing the mutilation of a two year old boy from a botched circumcision by castration and re-assignment to the female role, including female hormone therapy. The Wikipedia entry describes the actual tragic outcome, and also the paedophilia of Money revealed by the hapless victim, but I never heard of it till now. Personal testimony isn’t science, you see, so it doesn’t get into the journals. Now how many of my Cambridge sociology peers, do you suppose, went on to roles as clinical social workers or academics deciding the futures of children in the light of what we were falsely taught?
Money went on to co-found the gender clinic at John Hopkins University, which pioneered “gender reassignment surgery” for transexualism, though that hospital later abandoned it in the light of poor results (though only much more recently has long-term follow-up study revealed the twenty-fold increase in suicide after such surgery). Given that “gender dysphoria” was even rarer than bisexuality by at least an order of magnitude (though Paul McHugh, for 40 years Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins, decribes how it has actually mutated and grown as a condition largely as a result of the public legacy of Kinsey and Money) it may be surprising that an ordinary GP like me saw the ill-effects of this management. But I did.
McHugh says that gender-reassignment surgery became a purely private, non-University, affair after John Hopkins and other public units abandoned it. That may be so in the USA, but for reasons unclear to me, it remained the accepted treatment in the British NHS. The mainstream press here, and maybe in the US too, recently blamed Christian parents for the death of their teenage son because they discouraged him from such surgery, so somewhere the message hasn’t got through… or else someone has a vested interest in promoting the alternative. But in my own limited practice I knew one patient whose life was completely ruined after gender reassignment treatment at a London “centre of excellence”, for all their counselling expertise. He sought (impossibly) reversal of his surgery, became hopelessly confused and at least attempted suicide – I’m not sure if he ever succeeded.
Another patient of mine also sought referral for for gender reassignment. The system required that this go via our local psychiatrist, who found himself unable to refer to the same “centre of excellence” because of changed local funding priorities. Now, the patient therefore didn’t suffer harm from surgery. But because of the assumption, from Kinsey/Money style science, that mutilation, hormone therapy, speech therapy and other behavioural training to change the body to match the belief is the correct way to deal with this problem, the psychiatrist never considered the alternative – treating the troubled mind. I knew the patient well enough to have some good idea why his mind was troubled. Even if the psychiatrist had considered psychotherapy, the profession has tied up the theory so well that it would have been considered malpractice. So there was no treatment at all – though the surgery is still happening to others, and somehow is regarded differently from the female genital mutilation we’re trying to stamp out in other people’s cultures.
I could add personal experience of many hundreds of other victims of Kinsey science. His research was instrumental in liberalising abortion (he lied about the prevalence of illegal abortion, and about the involvement of the medical profession, and the legislators here as in the US believed him. in the US they also believed false testimony in the two test cases here and here. Those women I met in my consulting room with inconsolable regrets (like the one who told me she’d thought about her aborted baby every day for twenty years – did that contribute to the onset of her multiple sclerosis, I wonder?) usually wept in secret, because the professions, and the public, united in telling them they’d done the right thing, when they knew they’d done the wrong thing. Funny how they could invariably be wrong about that, whilst transsexuals are inevitably right about being born in “the wrong body”.
We set up a counselling service (against initial opposition from officialdom, until they saw the good results) which is still attracting clients two decades later. But it was closing the stable door after the horse bolted, because abortion is now a third generation normality for those with a “healthy sex life” – and is still increasing, despite every kind of freely-available contraception. Somehow the whole population got to believe Kinsey’s dehumanising claim that “biology would not justify the use of the term ‘biologic function’ for every embryo that happens to get implanted in a uterus.” It no doubt helped the momentum when Kinsey’s clearly erroneous use of the word “embryo” was replaced with today’s “zygotic material”, “ball of cells” or “potential life.”
But that can’t be the whole story – I just have to mention the request for social termination I received from a girl who said, “I know it’s murder, but I think it’s the best thing.” Was it me who was morally confused?
Sexually transmitted diseases increased exponentially during my career, and several new ones appeared, including AIDS, whilst the old ones gained resistance to antibiotics because they got so common. Chlamydial sterility was always hard to explain to patients, especially when it resulted from one holiday fling. Treating it was expensive and, often, heartbreakingly unsuccessful. Genital papilloma virus became endemic in my lifetime, as would the consequent cervical carcinoma if an expensive screening program hadn’t kept abreast of it. But all this is generally considered a small price to pay for “sexual health.”
Kinsey’s one notable lack of success was in selling paedophilia as normality. There was an inconvenient public backlash, and we currently have in the UK an unravelling of historic abuse cases involving thousands of damaged individuals and, notably, celebrities like Jimmy Savile, who was an evil man – though it would seem he abused fewer children than Kinsey’s main “researcher” did. But though history is being airbrushed by the media to paint the perpetrators merely as isolated and depraved individuals, there seems to be a concerted attempt to distance paedophilia from the rest of the progressive sexual agenda.
Yet Savile was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, an advocacy and lobbying organisation that was quite open about its aims to lower the age of consent to zero, and traded in children’s souls in its small ads. It had a number of prominent members (it remains OK to scapegoat academics, politicians, churchmen or policemen as perverts, as long as they’ve died. Otherwise, attempts to pursue investigations are still, in most cases, stonewalled to protect the powerful). But more importantly PIE was openly represented on government policy bodies, and was part of the Civil Liberties coalition. The Gay Liberation Front, too, had a paedophilia branch, though that seems to not to be such a matter for Gay Pride now – in fact, it seems to be forgotten.
After a number of years, a few politicians and journalists caused trouble, which resulted in a public outcry and PIE being driven underground. But why was such an organization welcomed into public life in the first place? Not just because there were some child-fancying old men in Parliament – though there were – but because Kinsey’s work was accepted as legitimate by academics, up to and including the policy makers of the WHO, and children were just another instrument of the same concerted attempt to overthrow the sexual values of society and replace them with the values of those like Kinsey. Jimmy Savile was living out the evolutionary theory of the academics – or so he would be entitled to say in self-justification.
Kinsey was an early advocate of sex education – and you’ll understand now why, to him, that meant giving children maximum information about sex as early in life as possible. In some contexts it’s called “grooming” – another thing I saw in my time as a police surgeon, as it happens in a family I knew whose children were rendered vulnerable by their mother leaving to find authentic relationship outside her marriage. Sex education was sold as the antidote to Victorian repression – though headlines in today’s papers still report on how Britons don’t think they’re getting enough sex. Repression seems pretty resistant to liberation, even for the grandchildren of the sixties generation.
Early in my career I visited a social services home for troubled teenage girls run by social workers presumably trained, as I was, in Kinsey-science. In retrospect it was almost certainly an abusive child-knocking shop – the director himself told me, as a nubile inmate brought us coffee, that they made sure these girls, so unsuccessful in other walks of life, would at least be successful sexually. I was young and naive, and considered it simply misguided to encourage immorality – but now I wonder whose sexual success was really being promoted. But the management policy was no secret – it was inspired by the science that still fuels the moral changes made to our society. No other kind of science is even possible now, because having defined all sexual practices as normal, it has become unethical to investigate their causes as if they were pathological. That would, in today’s world, be a hate crime against minorities.
Meanwhile, those who, for whatever no doubt pathological reasons of their own, refuse to believe that this science adds up either in evolutionary terms or in practical terms, look at society and see that, far from improving, nearly every measurable criterion related to sexuality has worsened, be that divorce rates, abortion rates, child abuse, or their consequences in broken familes with their emotional, educational and financial costs. It’s hard to have been born in the wrong society.
Children, being now less repressed, are supposedly sexually healthier. Those targeted by their teachers or by celebrities still, in a reactionary way, consider their lives ruined. Why, even my own patient, who had been seduced by her older step-brother as a young teenager, perversely saw it as abuse rather than as healthy experimentation – but then she was a troubled soul with chronic depression for obscure reasons that were, obviously, entirely unrelated.
Granted, many kids as young as twelve are now addicted to pornography. But pornography’s healthy and natural too – if you don’t count the teenage participants pressured into what they consider unnatural acts for natural and healthy money, or the disadvantaged Asian girls trafficked into the Western sex-trade. Granted, many of our British teenage girls have been pressured to send sexually explicit photos of themselves to their healthily-sexualised boyfriends in what is called “sexting”. It’s probably only natural (and of course healthy) that the boys in turn publish them online, or blackmail the girls for sexual favours…
Need I go on? If I sound negative, and less than polychromatic in my celebration of our freedom, it’s because over a medical career I saw countless lives damaged by a big lie, and that big lie has continued to flourish and to define the very nature of our corrupt culture. It even coloured the manner in which we democratically tortured prisoners in Iraq. It’s a lie perpetuated by the intelligent, the powerful and the influential and, increasingly, by the state. I’ve seen my own country perverted, and its timeless moral values destroyed and called evil, and I’ve seen my country seek to export that perversion around the world like some kind of twisted gospel mission. Maybe you’ve occasionally felt the same. Maybe you should.
The problem is, who is left to reform a society when our institutions and all of us within it have become corrupted by the lie to one degree or another? If history is anything to go by, purgation will indeed come, but from outside, at the hands of those who hate our corruption even though they are worse than us. Ironically (perhaps even appropriately) our enemies’ perverted addiction to death also arises from willing exposure to oft-repeated falsehoods. Such correction may prove to be a very blunt instrument. Or if not, as Ruth Graham said back in 1965, God is going to have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah.