Sex Differences: Evolved, Constructed, and Designed

Volume 29
Winter 2001
Sex Differences: Evolved, Constructed, and Designed

Evolutionary psychology (EP) is reviewed as one currently popular theoretical framework to explain and predict psychological and behavioral differences between women and men. This approach has considerable promise, but there are numerous logical, theoretical, and methodological problems yet to be resolved. Social constructionism (SC) is briefly reviewed as an alternative approach that more adequately accounts for gender and sexual diversity; however it minimizes human embodiment. Both approaches deny a supernatural or spiritual dimension in creation; EP often explicitly assumes philosophical naturalism- €”a belief in a material universe in which evolutionary processes are random and purposeless. This assumption limits its ability to account for several aspects of the experience and the expression of human sexuality. The intelligent design (ID) approach is considered here as a possible complement to EP and SC. The key difference is foundational: ID assumes and infers the necessity of a supernatural, purposeful element. This assumption provides a broader interpretive framework and some potentially novel predictions about human sexuality. All three approaches have something to contribute to our understanding of human sexuality, and I conclude that a cautious, critical mutual engagement may enable us to transcend the dichotomies and limitations of each theoretical framework.

Dr. H. Looy
301 - 313
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