Can Human Cultural Influences be Causing the "Disappearing Male?"
Posted Dec 23 2008 9:14pm
Put this post in the Total Conjecture File. A story about the decline in male fertility and increasing birth defects among male babies got me to wondering: Is it possible that human biological evolution can be impacted by the changes in perception caused by radically evolving cultural trends? From the story:
Are males becoming an endangered species? That's the question scientists and researchers have been pondering since alarming trends in male fertility rates, birth defects and disorders began emerging around the world.
More and more boys are being born with genital defects and are suffering from learning disabilities, autism and Tourette's syndrome, among other disorders. Male infertility rates are on the rise and the quality of an average man's sperm is declining, according to some studies.
But perhaps the most disconcerting of all trends is the growing gender imbalance in many parts of heavily industrialized nations, where the births of baby boys have been declining for many years.
As the story points out, environmental factors may have a part in this. But what if something else is also at play, something less easy to measure and quantify?
Modern cultural views that devalue the importance of males have become prominent at the same time these disturbing biological phenomena have taken place. Men are no longer looked upon as necessary protectors and providers. We are now told that fathers aren't all that important in raising healthy children. Indeed, some reproductive technologies point to the day when men won't even be necessary as sperm donors for reproduction. As the old feminist saying had it, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
What if our species has taken that thought to heart? Can these cultural evolvements (if you will) be stimulating human psychological intentionality and changes in perception that impact our biology? I have no idea, but consider this: Human beings have an astonishing power to create our own reality. And we know that the unconscious is very powerful with the ability to alter our thoughts, emotions, and perceptions--even our biology--impacting our lives in profound ways. Is it out of the question that our collective ideas and cultural desires could have the power to materially impact our species' biological future?
Like I said, this is pure conjecture. But I don't think the thought is beyond the pale.