Shifting the Blame

Sometimes you have to wonder just who is funding scientific studies these days. There has to be some explanation for all the research on bizarre subjects. Like the study that came out recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, which purports to show that taller women are more career-oriented and less motherly than short women. I kid you not. Britain’s Sunday Times summed up the study this way: “The taller a woman is, the less maternal her personality. . . . Taller women aim for fewer children, and put off having their first for longer, the research found. But they set more store by a career than shorter women, and are more competitive.” This is not because tall women have trouble finding dates, the researchers assure us. It’s because tall women have more testosterone than shorter women. Well, they didn’t actually test to see if that were the case, but they think it’s true. Go figure. I think it was around this point that I really started to wonder about the researchers. Meanwhile another team of scientists has discovered a possible biological reason for infidelity among women. According to the journal Hormones and Behavior—there is such a journal—women feel more or less attracted to their romantic partners according to the time of the month. It seems that women prefer different kinds of men at different points during their cycle, which means, says one researcher, that “commitment to long-term partners falters . . . [or] strengthens” at these particular times. What does all this mean? Wendell Cantrell, one of the stellar graduates of our Centurions program, provides this useful summary: “For single men—stay away from tall women if you prefer a large brood and a stay-at-home mom. “Fathers—you can determine the masculinity of your son-in-law by determining when . . . [your daughter likes] certain men. “Husbands—beware of your wife’s activities during the second week of her cycle.” All of this would be hysterically funny if it were not so disturbing. You see, the trouble with studies like these is that they provide just one more opportunity for people to shift the blame for anything they do. This time, it lets them blame their biology. Remember the so-called “gay gene” study? It was eventually debunked, but that did not matter. The study had already been so widely publicized in the press that many people still believe that homosexuality is entirely a matter of genetics. It’s possible that studies like these new ones could provide the same justification for adultery. Anytime a scientific study gives us a convenient excuse for doing what we want, we tend to latch onto it, whether the study is problematic or not—or absurd like these. I am not saying that biology has nothing at all to do with our behavior. Of course it has an effect, and that effect deserves to be carefully studied like any other scientific subject. I am simply saying that biology is not the only factor, and that we need to remember that the process of civilizing our societies and building character involves controlling impulses, whether they are biologically induced or otherwise. No society can be healthy in which individuals do not take responsibility for their own misbehavior.


Chuck Colson



  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary