Posted On June 24, 2016

The pushback has been swift and strong against Target’s unsafe bathroom policy, along with the Obama administration’s demand that all public schools adopt pro-transgender policies for showers and locker rooms. But for long-term success against these impositions, the response must also be strategic.

That means drilling down to the source of transgender ideology.

The roots of moral issues always bring us to questions about human nature. Both classical Greek and Christian philosophy regarded the natural world as purpose driven or teleological – from the Greek telos, meaning purpose or goal. To ordinary human observation, it is evident that eyes are for seeing and ears for hearing; fins are for swimming and wings for flying.

Because the human body is part of nature, it too was regarded as having a purpose. The delightful diversity of male and female was not some cosmic accident. Instead it showed that the human body is ordered to the purpose of opposite-sex pair-bonding and reproduction. Teleology is the basis for natural law ethics, which aims to tell us how to fulfill our true nature, how to become fully human.

Today it is popular among Western elites to deny teleology. The key turning point was Charles Darwin. He did not deny that nature appears to be designed for a purpose. But as an agnostic, he hoped to use science to demonstrate that the appearance of design was the result of purposeless material process – random variations sifted by the blind, automatic forces of natural selection.

As historian Jacques Barzun writes, “This denial of purpose is Darwin’s distinctive contention.”

The Darwinian worldview implies that the cosmos is merely a vast amoral machine. It reduces the human body to a lump of matter, a collection of atoms and molecules, not intrinsically different from any other chance configuration of matter. There can be no natural law ethic because humanity has no purpose to fulfill. Philosopher Charles Taylor explains, “The cosmos is no longer seen as the embodiment of meaningful order which can define the good for us.”

The implication is that our biological identity as male and female is a cosmic accident after all. The sexual differentiation of male and female has no special dignity or meaning. The body is reduced to raw material to be manipulated and controlled to serve human needs and preferences – like any other natural resource.

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