Sex and Desire:
The Role of Parental Aspiration in Sex Selection

Reproductive Technologies — By on March 30, 2005 at 2:33 am

[Note: This originally appeared on this blog as a post and has been revamped in order to be used for CBHD ‘



  • Septeus7

    Several Comments:
    1. It is Sex Selection not Gender Selction. Gender is a construct of languauge not a physical reality. Sex on the overhand is a physical reality. Never accept the enemie’s abuse of the language.
    2. I like that you quoted Leon Kass saying:

  • http://citizenz.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2005/3/30/492359.html Citizen Z

    Meddling In Creation, For Fun And Profit

    Evangelical Outpost has a great post on gender selection, including these insights:

    In a country that prizes both consumerism and …

  • Rick C

    China has been doing a form of this for years. They can already show us what happens with this path.

  • Rob Ryan

    I hope my daughters never know how badly I wanted a son. Despite this fact, I never would have considered using technology to effect such an outcome. I wouldn’t change a thing about my family.
    I tend to favor the ways of nature. I understand the motivations of people who wish to select sex or even clone themselves, but I am uncomfortable with such uses (abuses?) of technology. Unlike Septeus7, however, I don’t see it as a result of postmodern rejection of “truth”. I seriously doubt anyone fails to recognize the difference between a doll and a human being.

  • Bjs

    Rob Ryan – Good for you. Unfortunately I do know how badly my father wanted a son in my place.

  • Ilkka Kokkarinen

    “Parents who choose the sex of their child, however, are expressing a contingent form of love:

  • Jack

    Now, hear me every fertile woman who is reading this: If you decline to have a baby with me, the potential children that don’t meet your criteria for the choice of sex partner are simply not chosen. They are discarded, never to exist. In essence, they are being told that since they cannot be created in the way the mothers desire, its better that they not exist.
    Dude, God or nature, for reasons that are somewhat obvious, give us a roughly equal amount of males and females. Whether or not you think this is purpose or chance is irrelevent; if we work that way biologically, it must be for a reason, so messing with the ratio is at the very least, dicey.
    I will decline to speculate on the reasons women are unwilling to bear your children. :)

  • Ilkka Kokkarinen

    Jack: “Dude, God or nature, for reasons that are somewhat obvious, give us a roughly equal amount of males and females. Whether or not you think this is purpose or chance is irrelevent; if we work that way biologically, it must be for a reason, so messing with the ratio is at the very least, dicey.”
    No need to convince me, since I agree with all that. It was a very different thing that I was objecting to, the idea that refusing to have a child of sex A somehow makes the love of the child of sex B contingent on his sex. And this is somehow bad, because the child should be loved unconditionally.
    With the exact same argument, you could say that a woman refusing to conceive a child with the man A somehow makes the love of the child that she conceives with her husband B contingent on the father of the child. “It

  • http://alangrey.blogspot.com Alan Grey

    Ikka
    ‘With the exact same argument, you could say that a woman refusing to conceive a child with the man A somehow makes the love of the child that she conceives with her husband B contingent on the father of the child. “It

  • Ilkka Kokkarinen

    Rob Ryan: “I tend to favor the ways of nature.”
    Actually, you probably don’t. The more people know about nature, the less they want it in their own lives. We can see this everywhere where people actually have a choice. They haven’t had much of such choice in making children, but wait a few decades. They will reject natural ways as quickly as they rejected them in all other walks of life.
    “Natural” would be if your wife had a dozen children by the age of 30. Most people in modern societies would be horrified if they actually had to procreate the “natural” way. Only a small minority of Christians subject themselves to such natural ways any more.
    In fact, for almost all important aspects of modern life, natural = bad. This doesn’t imply that artificial = good, but it makes appeals to what is natural and what is not irrelevant.

  • Rob Ryan

    Good point, Ilkka. It is true I have often found contraception handy, and I’m glad I don’t have to walk my fifteen-mile commute. That’s why I said I TEND to favor the ways of nature instead of saying I ALWAYS favor the ways of nature. When I’ve wanted to produce a child, I’ve done so naturally. The conception part, I mean; we did deliver in a nice modern hospital.If I lived closer to work, I would gladly walk. Like Ben Franklin, I’m too practical to be very dogmatic. How convenient it is to be a rational creature!

  • Rob Ryan

    I’m not a Christian, by the way. ;-)

  • Ilkka Kokkarinen

    Alan Grey: “No, this is not the same, as the refusal to bear a child by any particular father is not based on the qualities of the child, but the qualities of the father.”
    “My father is Bob” is a quality of one potential child, and “My father is Tom” is a quality of another potential child. (Note this quality would play a fundamental role in the development of character and personality. Which is of course why women consider it even more important than even the sex of the child.)
    If a woman totally rejects giving birth to children of the first quality and only wants to give birth to children that have the second quality, she cannot be said to love her children unconditionally, since her love is obviously conditional on the child’s quality “My father is Tom”.
    And even if we accepted your claim, why should the potential child be denied existence based only on who his father would be?

  • Septeus7

    Quote: “I understand the motivations of people who wish to select sex or even clone themselves, but I am uncomfortable with such uses (abuses?) of technology. Unlike Septeus7, however, I don’t see it as a result of postmodern rejection of “truth”. I seriously doubt anyone fails to recognize the difference between a doll and a human being.”
    Then why did the AP compare Terri Schiavo to a robot? The reason people aren’t very confused yet is because the Dolls don’t look human enough yet but except for the very latest which people in Japan are already confusing them with humans. You haven’t been keeping up to date on this technology like I have so trust me its coming….its inevitable as the tide.
    You have to understand that for postmoderns its not about being unable to to recognize the reality but being unable to act upon the reality because the culture makes it so much easier to function while ignoring the truth. Eventually the ability recognize the truth will fade with practice. One doesn’t just wake up and start denying obvious truths but one does so because he has a need to do so.
    The truth is which sex a child is doesn’t matter (in the sense of true value) but we believe otherwise because we have an emotional need to believe that it matters.
    Oh and Rob if you want a $100,000 and take the http://codeblueblog.blogs.com/codeblueblog/ challange.

  • Septeus7

    QUOTE FROM IKKA: ” ‘Parents who choose the sex of their child, however, are expressing a contingent form of love:

  • Ilkka Kokkarinen

    Septeus7: “Such bad logic….its kinda marvelous for writ of stupity. […] but then again you could just be an idiot.”
    Christian, heal thyself. People who reject science and reason, as every young earth advocate necessarily does, are not exactly in the position to criticize other people’s supposed lack of logic.
    “Your continuation of the argument is flawed because you made the catagory error of confusing identity of being with the temporal qualities of being.”
    Going to school or not going highly affects what someone is going to be like, perhaps as much as their sex.
    “You are Asian”
    No, I am not.
    “Then why did the AP compare Terri Schiavo to a robot?”
    Because Terri is in the Uncanny Valley. “Terri” as the recognizable person she once was has been dead for many years, and science has kept what remains of her body alive as a kind of semi-animated corpse for the entertainment of her religiously-deluded parents who insist the real Terri is still alive and somehow present in there.
    Do Christians believe Terri Schiavo is going to a better place, now that godless science has stopped playing God and the real God is apparently calling Terri Schiavo home?
    Consider the lilies of the field, they don’t toil for their raiment, and yet was Solomon in all his glory arrayed so well? Remove Man’s feeding tube from Terry Schiavo, and take no thought for the morrow. Let God feed Terry Schiavo.

  • TJones

    Septeus7, If you’re going by the name (assuming that its not an alias), ‘Ilkka Kokkarinen’ is almost certainly Scandanavian and most probably Finish.
    Ilkka Kokkarinen, you seem to be describing a clinically dead person (i.e. “…science has kept what remains of her body alive as a kind of semi-animated corpse for the entertainment of her religiously-deluded parents…”). Even the husband (who it is alleged caused her condition and tried to kill her on a couple of occassions and who refused to let her get rehabilitative therapy) was arguing that she was in a PVS not ‘clinically dead’. And aside from your statement being simply false, you stated your idea in a crass, bigoted, and grossly unfair manner.
    In addition, you seem to misunderstand both Christianity and science. Science is simpily a method of falsifing (or tenatively verifing) hypotheses that leads to a set of theories/methods/tools to be used in various activities. So, science is just a powerful toolbox, what we do with it defines us. Do we build or destroy? Do we heal or kill? In neither case is the outcome certain, and its always more difficult to build than to destroy. Christianity tells us what we should aspire to do, no matter whether our tools be from the ‘stone-ages’ or from the ‘scientific-ages’. Christianity defines what we ‘ought do’ with our tools, and science show us the limits of what we ‘can do’.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Oddly enough, I don’t think that Joe addressed when parents and doctors actually do choose the sex of their child. Namely in the case of inter-sexed babies, when a child is born with indeterminate genitals. Its in an article I was reading in Scientific American, sorry, can’t remember which issue. But inter-sex babies happen more often that you might think. What has usually happened is that a doctor will test and look at the chromosomes the child has and then do reconstructive surgery. However, apparently this is not entirely reliable. There have been many cases of where the child grows up and they find out that the wrong sex was chosen. So now they are saying the best thing to do in these situations is to not do the sex-reassignment surgery when the child is an infant, but to wait until your child actually can tell you what gender they are. This usually happens by age 6.

  • Jack

    And even if we accepted your claim, why should the potential child be denied existence based only on who his father would be?
    In the case where no child is sought, there is no ‘potential child’.
    None the less, genetic manipulation for the sake of determining characteristics, sexual or otherwise, may very well be indicative of one’s prejudice’s, indeed disfavor toward those charcteristics excluded.
    Example: Parent doesn’t care for non-aryan characteristics, seeks manipulations of hair, skin, and eye color to prevent their child from looking like ‘one of them'; I think sexual determinism is more akin to this kind of thinking.

  • Septeus7

    Quote: Christian, heal thyself. People who reject science and reason, as every young earth advocate necessarily does, are not exactly in the position to criticize other people’s supposed lack of logic.
    Poisoning the Well.
    Quote: Going to school or not going highly affects what someone is going to be like, perhaps as much as their sex.
    Pure ignorance. Look at twin studies. You can put an idiot in school for years and even call him a proffessor and he will still be an idiot just look at Wart Doesn’tGoToChurchAndNeedsAPill. Location and vocation can’t change a persons identity. The idea that “education” can make somebody into something they are not is typical leftist stupidity.
    Quote: Because Terri is in the Uncanny Valley. “Terri” as the recognizable person she once was has been dead for many years, and science has kept what remains of her body alive as a kind of semi-animated corpse for the entertainment of her religiously-deluded parents who insist the real Terri is still alive and somehow present in there.
    So you agree that “animation” determines value? I leave aside your ignorance of medical science focus on your idea of the animated. Since the robots have more “animation” than Terri wouldn’t it follow the robots were more “human” than Terri? Since you have rejected the value of the inherant or human organisms it follow that this “animation” is what is to be valued. The question then becomes what is “animation.” Well, thats question can only framed in terms of functional response which brings to the problem of functionalism.
    Since the “animation” of the robots is nothing more than your projection of personality onto the machine the robots is the same as Terri. So in your mind Terri is nothing more than a lifeless doll with which the childish parents want to keep playing with….which to0 bad for Rob Ryan proves my the point of my first post.
    You are simply unable to realize the truth Terri’s parents were trying to save a they’re child. Children are not dolls like you seem to think. It not the Parent’s love for their child which is deluded but you who cannot understand difference between the robot’s “animation” and Terri because it is you who wrongly project personality onto machines where there is none. There is no analogy between Terri the human being and the “animated” robot except for the one that your childish mind puts there.
    Quote: Do Christians believe Terri Schiavo is going to a better place, now that godless science has stopped playing God and the real God is apparently calling Terri Schiavo home?
    That’s a red herrings. Is it yummy?
    Quote: Consider the lilies of the field, they don’t toil for their raiment, and yet was Solomon in all his glory arrayed so well? Remove Man’s feeding tube from Terry Schiavo, and take no thought for the morrow. Let God feed Terry Schiavo.
    Here’s one for you: Consider the retarded, they don’t toil to nurishment…Remove the mothers breast and take no thought for the morrow. Let God feed those useless feeders.
    Nice to see that Ilkka is a fan of Dr.Alfred Hoche.