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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jurassic Park and complementarianism

- Nemo the successive hermaphrodite :)

Still reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and I've come to a place that reminded me of complementarianism, that belief the Catholic Church holds that says men and women are not just biologically different, but also "ontologically" different, a belief used to justify disallowing women priests and also disallowing same-sex marriage (needless to say, I think compeimentarianism is a flawed concept).

In Jurassic Park, the subject of successive hermaphroditism comes up and maybe it's just nutty me but I thought it mght be an interesting sort of challenge to the idea of complementarianism. In the story, the scientists at the facility have genetically engineered all the dinosaurs to be female so that there won't be any chance of them breeding. This plan fails, the dinosaurs do breed, and paleontologist Alan Grant tries to explain to the scientists why introducing amphibian DNA into the gaps in the dinosaurs' DNA is the cause ...

"[T]he phenomenon happens to be particularly well documented in frogs. Especially West African frogs, if I remember."

"What phenomenon is that?"

"Gender transition," Grant said. "Actually, it's just plain changing sex." Grant explained that a number of plants and animals were known to have the ability to change their sex during life -- orchids, some fish and shrimp, and now frogs. Frogs that had been observed to lay eggs, were able to change, over a period of months, into complete males. They first adopted the fighting stance of males, they developed the mating whistle of males, they stimulated the hormones and grew the gonads of males, and eventually they successfully mated with females."
- (p. 375)

Another book that uses successive hermaphroditism is Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.


Blogger Daniel said...

Well, maybe there is some hope then for women clergy yet. If the priests keep dressing up in frilly women’s clothes for a few more centuries maybe they will develop breasts and their penises will drop off?!

8:55 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Like the frogs? Yeah, I think Cardinal Rodé, for instance, is approaching metamorphosis :)

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

...all those buttons

9:15 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

They must have minions for tasks like buttoning.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

ah, that's why they need butlers

10:29 AM  

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