Bill Nye, Progressive Science, and the Threat of Nature by Alastair Roberts
The most telling feature of the whole show? Reproduction was never once mentioned.
Despite the many claims to be presenting the ‘science’ of sexuality and that opposing viewpoints had no basis whatsoever in science, at no point did the show mention the great elephant in the room. Apparently we can make sense of the human sexes, and human sexuality, gender, and sexual relations without once needing to make any reference to the reality of reproduction. The realm of sexuality is simply one of radical natural diversity, with no apparent natural cause, end, order, or purpose.
The omission of reproduction from the discussion of the realm of sexuality and gender is not accidental. Reproduction is the very last fact that a progressive-friendly show would want to admit; it is the spanner in the works of the progressive vision of sexuality. The fact of reproduction reveals that not all sexualities and identities are ambivalent or equivalent in their significance on the biological level. Men are overwhelmingly gynephiles (persons attracted to women) who are at home in their own bodies and who have predictable forms of gender expression for a reason, and that reason is a biologically rooted one. Human beings have sex for a reason and that reason is a biologically rooted one. Indeed, sexuality, gender expression and identity, sex, and gender all exist for reason and that reason is a biologically rooted one. Certain forms of sex have a significance that other forms of sex don’t have for a reason and, once again, that reason is a biologically rooted one.
As a fact, reproduction is essential to unlocking the scientific basis for all of these realities. However, it is a fact that causes deep problems for popular gender and sexuality theories, as it reveals that the realm of sexuality and gender isn’t one of mere ambivalent diversity, but that, at least on the biological level, there are certain orientations and bodies that are ‘natural’ in ways that others are not.
Within the context of the gender and sexuality debates, the word ‘natural’ is highly contested, of course. A central aim of the Nye episode was the argument that gender and sexuality diversity is ‘natural’ and that these things occur on a spectrum. The term ‘natural’ here is being used in a particular sense, as a reference to those things that occur in nature. Yet, this is a fairly weak way of using the term. By the same measure, the number of human digits is on a spectrum from zero to over thirty. It is not more ‘natural’ to have five digits on each hand and foot, just more common.
LGBT activists have long argued against arguments from the natural order, insisting that the fact that something is biologically natural doesn’t settle the question of what is good socially, or what free individuals should be permitted to do. Yet the very telling thing is people implicitly acknowledge the moral force that nature has in the arena of sexuality when, even while opposing conservative appeals to nature, they invert the argument.