Vox FAILS with Monogamy “Explainer”

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Vox Media’s series of explainer videos failed badly when it tried to use science to suggest that monogamy doesn’t really fit with human nature. We asked Dan Kuebler, Professor of Biology and Dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at Franciscan University, to help us understand monogamy in a more adult way, using both scientific and moral arguments.


Cy Kellett:What can science really tell us about monogamy? Dr. Dan Kuebler is next.

Cy Kellett:

Hello, and welcome to Focus, the Catholic Answers podcast for living, understanding, and defending your Catholic faith. I’m Cy Kellett, your host, and among the things you might find yourself having to defend, as a Catholic, as a Christian person, or maybe just as a religious person in general, is the idea of faithfulness in marriage. That is the idea that marriage is the permanent relationship of a man and woman, and it’s intended to be faithful. It’s actually good for us to be faithful to one another.

Cy Kellett:

There are good philosophical, maybe even scientific reasons, for us to be to one another. Vox Media has an “Explainer” out and they explain that maybe our understanding of monogamy is completely wrong and human beings were not made to be monogamous. I’m using the word, “explain,” quite loosely here. We wanted to get into that a little bit. Is that what science teaches. Do we have to, as mature modern adults, give up this idea of monogamy?

Cy Kellett:

We ask Dan Kuebler, who’s a professor of biology and the Dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at Franciscan University in Steubenville to talk with us about just this.

Cy Kellett:

Dr. Dan Kuebler, from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Thanks for being with us.

Dan Kuebler:

Thanks for having me, Cy.

Cy Kellett:

That’s okay. You’ve written about sexual ethics, sexual morality. This episode that we’re going to look at with you from the Vox Explainer, which is on Netflix and YouTube, these are things that you have considered before. Were you surprised at anything you saw in that episode?

Dan Kuebler:

Not really. There is a strain and, particularly amongst scientific minded folks, to think they can explain everything from a evolutionary perspective and from a materialistic perspective. They reach conclusions that I think go well beyond what the science is able to demonstrate. In some cases they extrapolate it from the science in the wrong direction.

Cy Kellett:

What strikes me though is that probably a lot of young people watch these. There’s an explainer about money, there’s an explainer about cryptocurrency. That’s actually two things that are almost exactly the same thing. I was trying to do the whole variety, but think of a lot more things.

Cy Kellett:

They explain them there. They’re very well produced and they’re very compact. 15 minutes, 20 minutes in length. I’m sure that there are many young people who are vulnerable to this. Essentially what this explainer is saying is, “Look, the more we know about social science and the more we know about evolutionary biology, the less you need to be faithful in your marriage.”

Dan Kuebler:

Right. I think that there is amongst young people, probably this tendency and given the culture that they have, it bombarded them to want to get rid of any sexual ethics at all. This is the best excuse science says that sexual ethics is just a fantasy or a fairytale. It’s nothing that I have to follow. Science has this trump card for young people. “Well, if science tells me this, that’s the ultimate truth. The ultimate arbitrator of what’s right and wrong is what science says.” They take it uncritically.

Cy Kellett:

I have to admit something to you here. I actually think there is an ultimate arbiter of what’s right and what’s wrong. I think He walked on this Earth with us and his name is Jesus. I wanted to ask you, what might Jesus say about monogamy? Then we’ll take a look at all this science and stuff that’s given to us in this episode. I want to put our cards on the table right from the beginning. What did Jesus have to say about monogamy?

Dan Kuebler:

Jesus talks about the idea that we’re made in the image of likeness of God, in the fact that we are made male and female. We meant to live of a man, leaves his parents and clings to his wife, that there’s a unity there that is meant to symbolize the ultimate self gift that Christ did on the cross mimicked in marriage. You give yourself to one person unconditionally. That’s what Christ said to us, because Christ wants us to be fulfilled human beings. He wants us to be happy and to reach the eternal life and to reach the potential we have. That’s why it’s not as if He gave us some arbitrary rule, “Now you have to do this,” but He wants us to be who we’re meant to be.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. It’s interesting that when you say what Christ had to about it, you do exactly what He did. He goes back and He quotes the book of Genesis. I think that’s from the Second Chapter of the book of Genesis, maybe the third, but I think the Second Chapter of the book of Genesis, the quote that you just gave. This is a teaching that really Jesus is saying, in a certain sense, by quoting the book of Genesis, you already know this. This is already there for you. God already revealed this to you a long, long time ago and nothing has changed. This is what makes human beings happy.

Dan Kuebler:

Yeah, that’s right. It’s at the foundation of who we are and what we are. Genesis, the book, is trying to explain what it means to be human that’s one of the fundamental principles. It’s there. That’s what it means to be human. You’re male, you’re female. You’re meant to be together.

Cy Kellett:

These Vox Explainers, I almost think of them as if you want to think the correct thoughts, but you need a justification to think the correct thoughts, that’s what Vox gives you. They never think a thought, they never offer a thought, that’s not obviously the culturally approved thought. Again, they’re very, very powerful. How about I play you a clip from just from the beginning of this Explainer, this Vox Explainer on monogamy, which is really more of a justification for giving up on monogamy. Here’s how it opens. Here you go. I’m going to play a couple clips for you from the very introduction.

Speaker:

From virtually the moment we’re born, there’s a story that’s preached across cultures and continents. It’s a familiar fairy tale.

Speaker:

“He was even more beautiful than he had thought.”

Speaker:

That finding One True Love is the key to a fulfilled and happy life. Our quest for, and failure at, monogamy has caused so much pain and heartbreak. If it’s so hard for humans to be monogamous, why do most of us, all around the world, make it one of the most central goals of our lives?

Cy Kellett:

Okay, just your impressions of how we’re even opening this conversation about monogamy.

Dan Kuebler:

The fact that monogamy can be so difficult for people is not justification that it’s not good for us, right? It’s very difficult for a lot of people to drink in moderation, but that doesn’t mean, “Oh, we should all just get drunk as much as possible because that’s what’s going to be good for us.”

Dan Kuebler:

I think a lot of times they point out, “Oh, it’s very, for people to be monogamous and people will cheat on their spouses and people will have a second marriage and do this. Therefore we’re not meant to do this. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult to do.”

Dan Kuebler:

hat in no way justifies that it’s not necessarily good for us to do that. Just because something’s difficult, as Christ says, just because it’s difficult, picking up your cross daily is not easy to do, so it’s not a justification for throwing something out the window because it’s difficult.

Dan Kuebler:

Anyone that’s raised kids, that’s a message you try to feed into them. [crosstalk 00:08:17]

Cy Kellett:

Yeah, do the difficult thing. [crosstalk 00:08:18]

Dan Kuebler:

Oh, it’s difficult? Forget about it. It’s difficult. Don’t worry about it. It must not be for us.

Cy Kellett:

How many times are you standing there with with the aluminum can in your hand going, “It’s more difficult to recycle this than to throw it away,” but they don’t go, “Therefore, why are humans bothering to recycle?” As a matter of fact, I’m sure they’ve got Explainers on why everyone should recycle.

Dan Kuebler:

Exactly. That’s the exact problem with that argument there, at least the first clip there, what they’re saying.

Cy Kellett:

I also thought they prejudiced the case so much. Even the way she just drips with sarcasm, which I’m sure she was directed to do, I’m not attacking the voiceover person. “With love,” and like, “Oh, we just want love and this fairytale.” I think you mentioned that before, the idea of monogamy being a fairytale, that if it’s so difficult, why do we even bother with this fairytale?

Cy Kellett:

Yet, people put it at the middle at the center of their lives. Let me just ask you that, since she asked the question, more rhetorically, I think than genuinely, but why do you think that even people who have never heard of the Bible or Jesus or any of that so often put monogamy at the center of their lives?

Dan Kuebler:

If you look across cultures, and this is something that’s true, there are certainly examples across cultures where people and cultures permit non-monogamous relationships, but by and large, even in those cultures that do, most individuals live in serial monogamous relationships. Whether because the spouse has died and then they enter in another monogamous relationship. That tends to be the norm for humans as they walk through this Earth. I think part of that speaks to our desire, not only to be with person, but to share a life with one person and to raise children, which is part and parcel of that family unit. You come together in a monogamous relationship because you want to be there for your children as a mother and a father.

Dan Kuebler:

There’s something that’s deeply written into us that desires that. The fact that it could be difficult doesn’t mean that it’s not deeply written into our psyche. There are not only spiritual reasons for that, I think there’s evolutionary, biological reasons for that. This is a problem with a lot of times trying to explain monogamy, or human behavior, any human behavior, whether it’s monogamy or our social organization, solely by evolutionary or biological explanations. We are more than material beings. Certainly, we’re influenced by our biology. Biology influences, everything I do, but my biology doesn’t determine everything I do.

Dan Kuebler:

There’s something else that helps me determine what I want to do today, other than my biology. I think at the heart of what’s wrong with the argument that monogamy is passe.

Cy Kellett:

All right. Let’s get another clip here.

Speaker:

But monogamy and love aren’t the same thing.

Dan Savage:

We are so psychotically welded to this idea that monogamy means love and love means monogamy and the absence of monogamy, there is not love/

Speaker:

Love is a feeling. Monogamy is a rule. You’ll only have sex with this one person and most people live in a culture where they’re expected at some point to make that rule a legal contract, called marriage.

Cy Kellett:

Wow, so much there. I started playing the next clip, but I just want to get any thoughts. That was a lot. A lot of things were said there, but go ahead.

Dan Kuebler:

I would start with the idea that love is a feeling and that’s part and parcel of the problem with that whole conversation. No, it’s much, much more than that. In fact, love is a lot of different feelings and they’re not all nice. A lot of times love is a sacrifice, right?

Dan Kuebler:

If love is supposed to be a fairytale, just a nice fuzzy feeling, then there is no relationship, whether it’s just monogamy or polygamy, that’s ever going to give you all of that. Love is something more than that. So to say, “Oh, monogamy, doesn’t give us this lovey dovey feeling all the time, therefore we should throw it out.” Well, nothing’s going to do that. That can’t be your standard for what is good human behavior.

Cy Kellett:

What would a Christian person say love is then? If it’s not a feeling, what is it?

Dan Kuebler:

Love is a conscious decision. It’s a total self-gift to the other. That’s what the Catholic Church talks about marriage, and a monogamous marriage, is to totally give oneself to the other completely and unconditionally. you’re not giving yourself to this person this week and another person next week. No, you’re giving yourself to that person.

Dan Kuebler:

Out of that self giving, love naturally flows children who desire to be brought into the world in a situation where they have a mother and a father that love them and love each other. Have that model of you’re brought into this world out of a love, a self gift. That’s not a feeling that I have to have, no, but it’s a commitment I have to you and to you as a person, and that you have dignity and worth that I am willing to lay my life down for.

Cy Kellett:

It’s interesting that the narrator’s connection was, “Love is a feeling. Monogamy is a rule.” When you get around to explaining, “No, love is an act of will,” as you said, “I choose to give myself entirely to you.” That undermines the second part that says, monogamy is a rule. Cause monogamy is not just a rule that someone made up. Monogamy is part of the total, loving self gift of one person to the other person. A gift that because it’s total, it can never be revoked, it’s lifelong, and it’s exclusive.

Dan Kuebler:

When we say it’s a rule, you say, “Well, this is a commandment or a rule.” The rules are there so that you can do the right thing, to give you the freedom, to be the person that you’re meant to be. A lot of times, especially when you’re younger, you don’t understand. “Why is this rule in place? Why is that rule in place?”

Dan Kuebler:

Those rules are in place to guide you towards the type of life that’s going to make you be the person God wants you to be. It’s a rule, but I decide that this is a rule that I want to follow, because I recognize that this is a rule that’s going to give me self fulfillment in the way that Christ wants me to.

Cy Kellett:

The other thing is at the beginning of that clip, and I left it in, because it really struck me. Dan Savage, “We are psychotically attached to the idea of monogamy.” Dan Savage, not known for subtlety, but you’re psychotic, if you believe in monogamy? That’s a psychosis?

Dan Kuebler:

I think what’s probably true is we’re psychotically attached to this idea that relationships are going to fulfill every need that I have. That’s what the Disney fairy tale love, the happily ever after marriage, that every need that I have is going to be met and I’m never going to have a bad day again. That’s what we’re psychotically attached to as humans and what we’re never going to find in this Earth.

Dan Kuebler:

I think he’s associating that with monogamy, but reality is that’s what we’re psychotically attached to, not monogamy.

Cy Kellett:

Oh, very well said. All right. I think I’ve got this third clip set up properly since I played it prematurely before, but let’s see where we are here.

Speaker:

Because in the animal world, true sexual monogamy is virtually unheard of. The most romantic creature might be the diplazium pycnocarpon, a parasitic tapeworm that literally fuses together with its partner for life, but humans aren’t tapeworms we’re apes.

Cy Kellett:

Okay. In other words, the animal kingdom is our arbiter of what’s authentic behavior and we’re not tapeworms, we’re apes. What do you make of that?

Dan Kuebler:

It’s really dangerous when you say the animal world should be our arbiter of our behavior. It is true. If you look at mammals, it’s rare that mammals have monogamous relationships. If you get into primates, it’s also rare, but it’s more common in primates. Maybe goes from 3% in mammals to maybe 10% in primates, but primates do a lot of different behaviors that we wouldn’t necessarily want to emulate.

Dan Kuebler:

If we say, “Hey, these primates are most primates are polygamous, so we should be polygamous.” A lot of primates practice, like chimps, have a practice infanticide and in apes, there’s sexual violence that goes on and rape. Hey, that’s just natural. That’s our animal nature. That’s what we should do.

Dan Kuebler:

We can’t just look to what goes on and the animal world as our guide from what human behavior should be. If they argue that, “Hey, well, polygamy is more common in the animal world.” So is violence, infanticide amongst primates, so why are we having this ban on infanticide or ban on rape and sexual violence, when you see that in the animal kingdom? That’s just natural. Why do we have arbitrary rules against that? It’s very dangerous, I think.

Cy Kellett:

What about the person who will say, “Look, you Catholics, you believe in the natural law, you say to follow the natural law. Now I show you our closest natural relative. Why are you so against nature when you’re supposed to be for the natural law?”

Dan Kuebler:

Even though I say chimps are closest relative, evolutionarily, we’re 7 million years apart from them. We have a totally different biology and a totally different environment that we’ve come up in. There’s evidence, a variety of evidence that monogamy has been something that has been favored in the human lineage because of the benefits it has in terms of stabilizing social structure.

Dan Kuebler:

You think of a social structure that really has to have high division of labor because humans, more than any other primate, have huge needs in childrearing. Having a social structure, males having more input and more resources dedicated to child rearing and so forth, monogamy is a perfect sort of type of relationship to foster that. There are evolutionary benefits in the sense to having monogamy amongst a very close knit, social, primate, like we are.

Dan Kuebler:

You can make arguments that there is a benefit for that from a biological perspective, from just barely a scientific perspective, for the species as a whole. The other thing is that to reduce our nature just to our animal nature. Natural law, isn’t just about our animal nature, it’s about our human nature. Our human nature goes beyond that. We are body and soul. A man is not at the mercy of just his animal passions. We have reason to be able to evaluate our animal passions and say, “What is the good here? What is the benefit to all? Should I follow this passion or not?” That’s an important distinction. Natural law doesn’t just mean biological nature.

Cy Kellett:

The law of the jungle.

Dan Kuebler:

Right.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah, okay. Here’s another clip for you. I don’t even remember what clip we’re on. What are we on about, clip number four? Anyways, here it is.

Speaker:

They have sex to say, “Hello,” they have sex to say “Goodbye,” they have sex when they’re stressed out.

Speaker:

For both male and female Bonobos, that free love philosophy makes evolutionary sense. The males get to spread their seed and the females get to take in the seed of multiple males, which then compete against each other to fertilize her egg. It’s survival of the fittest for sperm.

Speaker:

There are aspects of Bonobo anatomy that seem adapted to promiscuity and, intriguingly, you can also find a lot of them in humans. Suggesting you may have evolved to be non-monogamous too.

Cy Kellett:

There it is. I guess that’s the payoff. I don’t know if you want to add, because you’ve talked about that already, but the basic thing is, “Looks like we’ve evolved to be non monogamous.”

Dan Kuebler:

The argument that Bonobos have evolved to be non-monogamous doesn’t necessarily imply that humans have evolved to be non monogamous.

Dan Kuebler:

We are very different in terms of our behavior, our social structure, the way we interact, our anatomy, our physiology. As I said, we’re separated by 7 million years of evolutionary differences and the societies and the way humans interact or organize society is totally different. To say that, “Oh, Bonobos, this is their natural sexual behavior, therefore it should be the natural sexual behavior for humans” doesn’t necessarily follow because if you look at chimps versus Bonobos, they have sexual behaviors. Bonobos are much more promiscuous in the sense than chimps, so which one is right? Which one is wrong? Should we emulate the chimps or the bonobos? They’re both equally distanced from us evolutionarily.

Dan Kuebler:

Maybe we should emulate the gorillas where you have one male with a big harem. Which one should we pick amongst the primates? Which one are we more similar to? There are biological, similar areas, between all those species, but more importantly, there are differences in behaviors and there’s huge differences in the way humans behave and the way humans societies are organized that demonstrate that there’s no necessary connection between the sexual behavior of one other primate and us, for example.

Cy Kellett:

It does strike me that there’s a subtext to all of this, and we’re getting near the end of our clips, so I want to bring this up on this one on evolution. As a matter of fact, I think there’s a subtext to the entire sexual revolution. This little video is just one more little brick in the wall of the sexual revolution or whatever metaphor you might like to use.

Cy Kellett:

The subtext of the sexual revolution is essentially that Christian morality is not humane enough. I say that because I don’t think the sexual revolution is a revolution against the sexual morals of Muslims or Buddhist or Hindus. You’re welcome to disagree, but it does seem to me that after the coming of Christ, there was the introduction of a sexual ethic that really is stricter and more difficult than any sexual ethic that had been generally accepted by a major philosophy or world religion, anywhere before Christ. He really does bring a change in the human understanding and the human way of living our sexuality. The current sexual revolution is really a counter revolution against what was, 2000 years ago, the original sexual revolution.

Dan Kuebler:

I think you’re right, Cy. I think it goes a little deeper than that because it goes beyond sex and a sexual way we’re meant to be. It’s a revelation in understanding what human person is and what the human person is supposed to do. It goes beyond, in addition to Christ, the lay down a higher calling sexually to humans, he laid down a higher calling about everything, about aspect of our lives that I think that the sexual revolution is just one aspect of us rejecting. It’s rejecting one aspect of that higher calling. That higher calling He gave is not necessarily foreign to us in a sense. We talk about human nature, we’re fallen creatures.

Dan Kuebler:

We have written into us this desire, St. Paul says the desire to do the good, but I can’t, I’m paraphrasing it badly here. I desire to do good by my body, I fail at that. I can’t do the things I don’t want to do. We have this knowledge. There’s something that we’re being drawn to, but we’re being held back in a sense. I think you see, even in non-Christian societies or pre-Christian societies, there was a good deal of monogamy going around. Even though there wasn’t these strict rules, there was a lot of monogamy that tended to be the way humans interacted. Serial monogamy tended to be, even when the king might have had a harem, but most of the other people there were mostly monogamous.

Dan Kuebler:

There’s something about that that resonates with us. Now we’re called to monogamy in a different way. Rather than monogamy is just a good way to order society because it makes society more stable in a sense, from an evolutionary perspective, possibly, because now you don’t have frustrated males running around killing people or getting upset or whatnot. No, monogamy is part and parcel the “who” we are as human beings. It’s the way that we can be fully a self gift to the other.

Dan Kuebler:

It’s sort of a different way of viewing monogamy rather than just a pure social benefit or cost benefit type thing for society. No, it’s about who we are as a person.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. For some reason, starting with the dawn of the mass media age, we started to really change about what we wanted to say who we are as a person. I suppose, maybe starting before this, but certainly picking up steam in the 1920s and 30s, and then the 1960s, there’s been a reevaluation of an understanding that came from Christ himself and persisted for 2000 years.

Dan Kuebler:

I think there’s been an acceptance of the undercurrent of sin that’s always been with us, but sort of been in the margin. Sexual sin is as old as the devil, in a sense on Earth. It’s usually, in most society up until last hundred years, been pushed to the margins. I know that people recognize that as sin, as something that wasn’t going to lead to human flourishing, and you’re right in the last a hundred years, it’s thought, “Well, no, that’s what human flourishing is. It’s having as much sexual fulfillment as you want.”

Dan Kuebler:

It’s totally changed what we view, what makes a fulfilled life. That’s one aspect. Sexual fulfillment, monetary fulfillment, any type of fulfillment of any of my needs, which is, back to the first clip, this idea that, it’s this fantasy of this love that we want. We want this total self satisfaction at all times. That goes hand in hand with the sexual revolution. It’s also why it’s doomed to never bring us happiness, because that’s not what we are made for.

Cy Kellett:

What about the Metaverse? Isn’t the Metaverse going to finally make it so we’re all happy all the time?

Dan Kuebler:

All the time, exactly. Just plug myself in and be done.

Cy Kellett:

Here’s another clip.

Speaker:

But if monogamy is all a made up construct, a way to enforce gender roles and social order, how do we explain that visceral, deep rooted feeling we get when our loved ones stray?

Cy Kellett:

In other words, even the purveyors of polyamory or polygamy or whatever they’re selling today say, “Wait a second, I’m going to feel jealous.” They got to tell me what to do with my jealousy.

Dan Kuebler:

When we give ourselves sexually to another person, we’re meant to give ourselves completely as a total self gift. Is it surprising when they give that to someone else? It shouldn’t be. We are meant to give ourselves completely unconditionally. You would be shocked if someone was, “Oh, my spouse is cheating on me. Okay. That’s all right. What’s for dinner?”

Cy Kellett:

Exactly. Right, right. That’s supposed to be the mature and adult position rather than the adult position being, “I don’t want to be treated like that and I don’t want to treat another person like that.”

Dan Kuebler:

Right, exactly. When we’re enlightened, but realized that we were just being selfish when we expected some else to be monogamous or somebody else to reciprocate that love.

Cy Kellett:

All right. Here’s the final clip. I believe it’s the final clip. Let’s get your reaction to this. Go ahead.

Speaker:

As human society evolves, so will human sexuality.

Speaker:

As we enter, what I think of as uncharted territory, for the first time human history, we’re trying to develop relationships that are not based on coercion. Coercion of women by their economic and legal dependence, coercion of women by their bodies, coercion of men by the social and economic structures. We’re trying, I think, to find maybe a new balance.

Cy Kellett:

There it is. Evolution has brought us this far and now we’ll just take over from here and evolve into the next thing.

Dan Kuebler:

I think the biggest irony in that statement is the idea that we are getting to a place where there’s less sexual coercion.

Cy Kellett:

Oh, I know.

Dan Kuebler:

I think in the last 40 years there’s been nothing but sexual coercion. If you look around college campuses and what’s been going on has not been a respect of women and their bodies.

Dan Kuebler:

You’ve actually have been being able to use women more because you’ve made women think that they should be sexually available all the time to anybody. That plays well to adolescent boys that haven’t figured out what marriage is about and what sex is for.

Dan Kuebler:

You actually have done the exact opposite of what they say in that clip. We haven’t reached a stage where we’ve liberated people from oppression, but we’ve created a new set of oppression for people. Addiction to pornography to a rise in abortion and all of these sexual sins that people are swamped on there.

Cy Kellett:

Pornography doesn’t liberate a society when it’s everywhere, it enslaves a society. I want to get to one thing you’ve said, because I do think this is important.

Cy Kellett:

Underlying all of what Jesus taught is a love for men and women. This new sexual revelation, or revolution, they can’t hide ultimately the hatred for women. What I want to point to is this woman at the end, says no more coercion of women by their bodies. The hatred of the female body, it’s fertility, it’s menstrual cycles, it’s difference from the male body is intense.

Cy Kellett:

She even said it right there, “a woman cannot be coerced by her own body.” She’s body and soul, a woman. This hatred of women and womanhood is I think the dirty secret, the greatest cruelty underneath all of this sexual revolution stuff.

Dan Kuebler:

I couldn’t agree more with that because I think what sexual evolution is done is said, “Let’s take the worst tendencies of men, in terms of their sexual appetites, and let’s force that on women, or we will allow women to do that as well.”

Dan Kuebler:

The problem is because biologically women have a different biology than men, they bear the brunt of that. They have to deal with unwanted pregnancies and so forth. The only way for them to be sexually liberated as men are, is to have male bodies.

Dan Kuebler:

They detest the female body because it gets in the way of unlimited sexual license in a sense. That is brought about by men not treating women properly. Women have been damaged by men in the way they’ve treated them and they want to escape that and be free in the way they think men are free.

Cy Kellett:

It’s striking that a society that will put out something like is where a woman actually says “A woman’s body is her enemy or her body coerces her.” Then they want to ask, “Well, why do 13 year old girls hate their body? Like what’s going on that these young girls hate their body?”

Dan Kuebler:

There’s also that disconnect. It flows into the disconnect, the gender fluidity. It’s like, “Well, I’m not my body. I’m something else. I’m not going to be limited by what my body is cause my body does something I don’t want it to do. I want to identify as this.” You have this disconnect from your biology and from your body that leads to all kinds of disunity in the person and mental stress and disorders and depression and so forth. We are a unity of body and soul, so we can’t separate ourselves from our body.

Cy Kellett:

Go ahead.

Dan Kuebler:

People say, “You are your body, so you can’t talk about me outside of my body. I can’t talk about that. I am part and parcel, not more than this, but I am this body as well as the soul.” It’s an oxymoron to talk about me being trapped in this body. No, this body is me. I can’t be trapped in something that is me.

Cy Kellett:

No, but we’re all dualists now, we’re materialists. Everyone has forgotten the teaching of Christianity that no, we’re hylomorphs. You are one substance with body and soul.

Cy Kellett:

Okay. So Dan, Dr. Dan Kuebler, Franciscan University of Steubenville, I’m going to give you, 10 seconds, 20 seconds take as much time as you like up to 25 seconds. If you have to rebut this, if a student says, “Look, I saw this explainer, Dr. Kuebler, and it’s about how really monogamy is a choice. If you want it, go ahead and get it. Try for it, but it’s really unrealistic as a human standard.” How do you rebut that?

Dan Kuebler:

I would say that you can’t allow your biology to dictate your morality. That there is much more to you than your biology and that your reason, and your spiritual soul, is to inform your biology so that you can orient your biology towards this proper end. You can’t look to other living organisms for direction on how you should orient your biology. God gave us reason, made us in His image and likeness and that’s what we should use to orient our biology.

Cy Kellett:

I’m so grateful to you, Dr. Kuebler, for taking the time to spend this time with us to respond to this. We may have to call on you again, because we found out there’s hundreds of these Vox Explainers, and we might need you to go through all of them with us and set them straight.

Cy Kellett:

It’s a beautiful gift god has given us, male and female He has created us, and He’s made us for each other. Even in our most basic physical structures, we are made for one another. It would be a great thing for people to rediscover the Christian idea of the total gift of self that you mentioned several times in this conversation. That really is the way to happiness in this life.

Dan Kuebler:

Yeah, it is. It is that mutual complementary, which, John Paul II talks about. The theology of the body. That is what we are designed to do is to be a mutual self-gift. That complementarity of the gift is one of the things, one of the beauties, of a monogamous marriage.

Cy Kellett:

Thank you, Dr. Kuebler.

Dan Kuebler:

Thank you, Cy.

Cy Kellett:

A very hearty, thanks for Dr. Dan Kuebler for coming in and doing this with us. He has a project called the Purposeful Universe Project that you might check out at purposefuluniverse.com, purposefuluniverse.com.

Cy Kellett:

I feel like we could almost make a full time job here at Catholic Answers just responding to these Vox Media Explainers, because there are many that are innocuous, but when they get into explaining things that have moral content, the morality of Vox Media reflects the morality of this moment. The intellectual preferences of the people who make these explainers are the intellectual preferences of this particular moment in history. Sometimes a deeper, a bit more ancient, a bit more settled, a bit more perspective generating response is needed. That’s what we find in Catholic teaching and Catholic history. If you’ve got other ideas of some media that we should respond to, there’s a lot of this kind of stuff out there in popular media, it’s very, very effective and powerful, but not always in a good way.

Cy Kellett:

So we’d love to hear from you. Just send us an email focus@catholic.com is where you can reach us focusatcatholic.com. Certainly, if you disagree with something we said, or you’d like some clarification, your email always welcome. You can support us by going givecatholic.com, givecatholic.com. You can also support us by liking and subscribing down here or over here or wherever. If you’re watching on YouTube, like and subscribe, that helps to grow the podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you listen. If you’re just listening to the podcast at Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you are, that way you’ll be notified when new episodes are available.

Cy Kellett:

I’m Cy Kellett, your host. Thanks so much for being here with us. We always appreciate that you take the time. We’ll see you next time, God willing, right here on Catholic Answers Focus.

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