Is human sexuality binary?
A well-known atheist agrees with the Bible
In a recent interview with British broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan, well-known author and atheist Professor Richard Dawkins argued for a traditional understanding of human sexuality: “As a biologist, there are two sexes and that’s all there is to it.”1 Of course, this is precisely what the Bible has always taught.
Dawkins’ response was in the context of claims by transgender campaigners who wish to abolish terms such as “man, woman, mother and father.”1 Morgan agreed with Dawkins, commenting that it is “from a completely false pretext that you can somehow pretend biology doesn’t exist, particularly when it comes to someone’s sex. It’s incontrovertible, there’s no scientific doubt about this, and yet a small group of people have been quite successful actually in reshaping vast sways [sic] of the way society talks and is allowed to talk.”1
During the interview, Dawkins referred to attempts to silence some women, such as J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books) and philosopher Kathleen Stock, as a form of bullying. He has also previously supported campaigns to end the practice of dispensing puberty blockers to children,2 which we would agree with (for example: Cancelling Eve).3
Dawkins framed his statements in terms of the science of human biology, but his views are in alignment with Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” It is clear from both science and the Bible that human sexuality is binary. This is in spite of the fact that, because of the Fall and Curse (Genesis 3), rare genetic mutations have rendered some individuals infertile (Sex abnormalities and transgender), and some are born eunuchs (Matthew 19:12).4 As Christian creationists we recognise the need to deal with issues around human sexuality in a sensitive and loving manner, but biological facts cannot be denied.
However, while we broadly agree with Dawkins on this issue, there remains a wide gulf between the beliefs of the ‘new atheists’ and Christian creationists. Furthermore, Dawkins ought to ask himself whether he shares part of the blame for the rise of a confused moral perspective, especially when we consider comments such as this:
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”5
Such sentiments by this influential evolutionist and author may have certainly resulted in many people’s rejection of the Bible and Christian morality. Dawkins’ dogmatic atheism was especially evident in his book The God Delusion (see Atheist with a mission). Is it any wonder that some consumers of his writings, especially children, experience crises of identity and purpose, which leads to confusion (see: book review of River out of Eden6).
Post-modern and post-normal times
The rise of the ‘new atheists’, and the materialistic philosophy of naturalism that they espouse, has increasingly undermined the old certainties that stem from Christian faith. The teaching of this modern secularised world has led to a loss of objective values (based upon the truth of God’s Word), and their replacement by subjective ones.
Enlightenment philosopher David Hume (1711–1776) taught that human rights arise from the sentiment of sympathy, and not because human beings have intrinsic value—for Christians, human rights and duties are based on the order of creation, where mankind is created in the image of God. Hume wrote of moral value, “Here is a matter of fact; but ‘tis the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object.”7 If so, the moral value of other people lies in the sentimental feeling of an individual, and not because people possess objectively grounded rights. The outcome is that we have today what I would call Hume’an rights, not true human rights.
With the loss of objective values, the foundation for truth has also been undermined. Overconfidence in the ability of science to explain all reality, and to solve global problems, has given way to post-modernism, where truth has become relative. The well-known statement nowadays is that, ‘what is true for you is not necessarily true for me.’ If that is accepted, how can someone know for sure what is true? In stark contrast, biblical creationists believe that truth is grounded in God, and revealed through the Bible.
Along with post-modernism some have argued for different ways of doing science. So, the term ‘post-normal science’8 was developed in the 1990s because of uncertainty in terms of scientific facts, and disputed values. Following this uncertainty, we are now said to live in ‘post-normal times.’ That is, we are “in an in-between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have yet to be born, and very few things seem to make sense.”9
Dawkins and his atheistic friends have a lot to answer for. They have been working hard to undermine the traditional Christian belief in God in Western society. In the minds of many people today, old certainties have been lost—meanwhile they have nothing to replace them with except indifference, especially when considering matters of truth and values. No wonder there is an identity crisis today, so many young people struggling with not knowing who they are. The message of Romans chapter one explains what inevitably follows in a society that rejects the Creator. The Apostle Paul taught that when people turn away from God, they pursue lifestyles that are harmful and contrary to the divine will.
We welcome the fact that Richard Dawkins seeks to uphold at least some objectivity in science, and knowledge of who people are (in the realm of human sexuality). Yet his own work has actually undermined the commitment to science and objective truth. With the loss of Christian values comes a lack of commitment to truth as an objective reality. When science is used to reject God, it leads to post-modernism and to relative truth. On the other hand, Christian values were instrumental in the development of science as an enterprise dedicated to the glory of God.10
While some believe that we will eventually pick up a new set of values following the decline of Christianity, history tells us that Christianity itself undergoes periods of revival following times of apostasy. We pray for, and look forward to, the day when people will realise that Christian values provide a better foundation for society than the alternatives.
References and notes
- In: Piers Morgan Uncensored, talk.tv, 20 March 2023. See also: Foley, R., Richard Dawkins says JK Rowling being ‘bullied’ by trans activists: ‘There are 2 sexes’, christianpost.com, 22 March 2023. Return to text.
- Gryboski, M., Richard Dawkins signs declaration opposing gender reassignment surgeries, puberty blockers for kids, christianpost.com, 2 December 2021. Return to text.
- The UK National Health Service’s Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock Trust has been forced to close due to lack of safeguarding of children. Over 1000 children were prescribed puberty blockers, or put through medical procedures, when 97.5 percent suffered from other issues, such as abuse, depression or autism. See: Cass, H., The Cass Review, Independent review of gender identity services for children and young people, Interim report, NHS, UK, February 2022. Return to text.
- We need to approach those confused with sex and gender identity with love and compassion, even as we teach Scripture as traditionally understood. Return to text.
- Dawkins, R., River out of Eden, Basic Books, New York, pp. 131–132, 1995. Return to text.
- Bohlin, R.G., Up a river without a paddle, a review of: River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, by Richard Dawkins, Journal of Creation 10(3):322–327, December 1996. Return to text.
- Hume, D., A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III (Of Morals), I, I, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 469, 1888. Return to text.
- Funtowicz, S.O., Ravetz, J.R., Science for the post-normal age, Futures 25(7):739–755, September 1993. Return to text.
- Sardar, Z., Welcome to postnormal times, Futures 42(5):435–444, June 2010 | doi:10.1016/j.futures.2009.11.028. Return to text.
- See for example: Harrison, P., The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998. Return to text.