Reflections of Science, Human Sexuality and Public Policy
In academic circles, we are presented with scientific evidence proposing that same-sex couples rear children who grow up to be well-adjusted adults, demonstrating that same-sex couples are just as competent at child raising as heterosexual couples are. This evidence is often used to argue how these families are at a disadvantage as they do not receive legal recognition. Other academics argue that in light of scientific evidence such these that dispel many of the myths we have about sexual minorities, there is good reason why same-sex couples should be granted more if not equal legal status as their heterosexual counterparts.
In this hub, I look at the role of science and how it shapes affects not only our policies regarding sexuality, and the further impact of these policies. I propose that most often, scientific evidence is used to build a case, and support policies which will ultimately steer a country toward economic prosperity.
Another Hub About Human Sexuality and Public Policy
- Thoughts from a Human Sexuality Class
Taking a human sexuality class can be a most enlightening, interesting and extremely thought provoking. In this hub, I reflect on some of the concepts that dealt with in the human sexuality class I took.
Science provides us with a tremendous amount of insight and revelation into what was previously concealed from our knowledge. In modern society, we have great respect for doctors and the scientific community, as we believe they bring hope and promise to our society. Although some people blame scientific advancement for many of today's social ills, we cannot deny how science has definitely helped to modernize our lives. It is a pity that some of the scientific inventions that were purely intended for good, like gunpowder, turned out to become such a deadly weapon.
In society today, much of our research is highly influenced by the availability of funding. Often these funds are backed by sources with political connections; having these political agendas attached to them which make scientific research less objective than it ought to be. In many countries outside the US, and in places that are more conservative, many doctors are weary of prescribing birth control (especially to teenagers) as they know that the pharmaceutical industry is a multibillion dollar business with profit making motives. Sometimes, there may be insufficient testing of drugs which can result in long-term consequences we are yet unaware of. I think behind this stance, many countries that are still conservative also have more traditional family values, so premarital sex is frowned upon and so is homosexuality, especially because of the promiscuous stigma of the gay lifestyle. Although the links may not be very direct, I think that the less forthcoming stance with doctors and birth control does reflect much of our political concerns. On many of the medical boards, we also have political figures sitting on the directorship, which influence how much of the ideas about contraception are aligned with the political concerns and the ideology of the nuclear family being that of heterosexual and monogamous couples.
When I think of these countries’ same-sex marriage, I think that it will take a long time for the government to legalize it, as the family is seen as a basic unit of society. In this family, the nuclear family with heterosexual parents is deemed as the ideal as the family is self-containing, and parents are functional. A homosexual couple cannot conceive their own children naturally nor can they subscribe to the traditional gender roles and values that the country upholds. Homosexuality, though much more tolerated nowadays than before is still regarded as deviant and even criminal behavior by some. Although there is a genuine social and moral concern attached to this issue, there are also the unspoken costs that are attached to it. The amount of welfare, subsidy and taxpayer’s contribution that the government would have to provide for these families and the lifestyle that they maintain costs the government money.
Turning our attention back to science and how it is used to justify much of the societal changes that we are experiencing, I think that it is always useful to take results from scientific studies with a pinch of salt, as statistics are easily manipulated to gather results that one might be seeking. In today’s culture, we rely heavily on scientific proof and calculability as a source of information. One danger of this is that if we let scientific findings inform our social policy blindly, we will soon lose the human element in our daily living. This is especially so for controversial issues such as same sex marriage where we must be discerning regarding scientific studies that may report results that are misaligned with our values and beliefs, and intuition. Very often, while scientific results can be used to reduce stigma for what may have once been taboo and socially disdained, science can also be used a powerful tool used by a powerful and vocal minority to enforce their beliefs and values onto the rest of society.
Herek, G. M. (2006). Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States: A social science perspective. American Psychologist, 61, 607- 621.
Kuehl, S. J. (2000). Seeing Is Believing: Research on Women's Sexual Orientation and Public Policy. Journal of Social Sciences, 56, 351-359.