I was sent this terrible statement reputed to be from the guy who calls himself “The Amazing Atheist”. There is, however, no evidence that he actually said these specific words, so the attribution was inappropriate. However, somebody still wrote this idiotic statement:
Nature already has an age of consent. That age is approximately 12-13, otherwise known as the onset of puberty. We don’t need Christian morals to set an arbitrary age on when a sexually mature human female can mate legally. We already have clear parameters on sexually maturity as established by the law of evolution, and acting within those parameters does not under any reasonable definition constitute “rape”. Moreover, because this irrational moral imperialism is almostly solely applied against males who pursue relationships with younger females, I do believe the change of age-of-consent laws should be a critical area of focus for Men’s Rights Activists.
So much wrong.
Nature does not set an age of consent. Nature doesn’t care. Nature doesn’t stop you from raping babies, and it doesn’t tell you it’s OK to rape 21 year olds, either. The age of consent is a social construct, made by people, intended to protect our children from exploitation during those difficult years when they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
law of evolution (tell me, which one?) does not set clear parameters for sexual maturity. Humans have complex, prolonged development — we’re an altricial species, helpless at birth and requiring a long period of nurturing before fully independent. Ovulation is not a magic signpost that says you’re ready to be impregnated. It says your ovaries have developed, but humans live by complex social interactions and sex can be a difficult phenomenon, with obligations and responsibilities and privileges. We expect people to be able to be able to interact with each other in non-damaging social ways before they leap to bumping genitals.
The only way evolution comes into play here is in a pragmatic, rather than a moral sense. For instance, if the author were to promote the idea that since babies are plump, tender, and helpless, Nature’s Law says that we’re free, even encouraged, to eat them, it would be easy to see that any population that thought that would be quickly on their way to self-enabled extinction. Similarly, evolution doesn’t say that you can’t rape young children…it will simply and objectively pass a kind of operational judgment on your population, as the next generation grows up with fucked up, likely unstable and untenable, social structures.
The legal age of consent is arbitrary. Some people might be able to enjoy sex in a mature fashion at an earlier age, others might be best off avoiding it for a few extra years. But we don’t have a way to measure sexual maturity, so as social and legal animals, we abide by one arbitrary dividing line. But picking the moment of first menstruation is also arbitrary — it says nothing about human behavior, or the ability to be responsible for one’s actions, or readiness to cope with the burdens of a possible pregnancy.
Somehow, even worse, the author seems to think that the ability to get pregnant nullifies the concept of rape. That doesn’t follow. If a person has poor judgment because they are too immature to consider all of the consequences, that does not mean you’re allowed to freely have sex with them, as long as they say “yes” to a bowl of candy. We do not use the legal age of consent to dismiss the idea of rape — we don’t say, “she’s over 21, we can rape her now” (well, some people do, but they’re wrong.)
I’ll also condemn with equal severity older women who take advantage of boys. I know, the attitudes in our culture do trivialize sexual assault on boys and men, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss them. Maybe that would be a good goal for MRAs, to work to defend the sexual autonomy of young men and boys.
But that would be a rational and responsible approach. That last line is revealing: rather than a responsible goal, go for personal sexual gratification. Yeah, sure, encourage MRAs to embrace pedophilia. We’ll see how effectively cultural evolution can work.