October 17th 2016

The gender paradox

Biology or ideology?
Ulrich Kutschera, head of the Division of Evolutionary Biology at the German Life Sciences Association (VBIO) and visiting professor at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California

In the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series the Entrepreneurial School® recently welcomed Ulrich Kutschera, professor of evolutionary biology and plant physiology at the University of Kassel. Kutschera is a German evolutionary biologist and the author of numerous text books. Since 2002, he has been actively involved in the prevention of the spread of pseudoscience and creationism.

MCI Rector Andreas Altmann opened the first podium discussion of fall 2016/2017, which was organized in cooperation with the association of alumni, friends, employees, and supporters of the Medical University of Innsbruck, ALUMN-I-MED.

At the beginning of his lecture, Kutschera, who has published more than 280 works, explained the so-called “woman-equals-man theory” of the onetime German Democratic Republic and provided background information on the theory of gender equality. In the course of this presentation, Kutschera discussed Charles Darwin, one of the most renowned natural scientists and evolutionary theorists, and his role as a sex researcher and botanist. Furthermore, he touched upon numerous gender-specific theories, reducing them to absurdity. Thus, he also quoted from a school book that appeared in Germany in 2005: “Boys like to dance, girls like boxing. Boys have the same brooding instinct as girls.” He criticized the statement with the words: “To make this the rule is simply absurd.”

Kutschera does not shy away from provocative formulations and gladly sparks discussion. The avowed opponent of pseudoscience and creationism is an outspoken proponent of equal gender rights but an equally outspoken critic of gender mainstreaming: “Yes to rights, no to obligatory quotas,” the evolutionary biologist contends. According to Kutschera, in many Western countries gender mainstreaming has been furthered by lobbying and the discussion of its validity placed under a taboo. The Kassel plant physiologist even goes so far as to attribute an instinctive heterophobic stance to homosexual men and to deny homosexuality as a lifestyle: “Homosexuality is a Y-chromosome associated genetic defect,” the lecturer claims.

The well-known critic of creationism enlightened the audience about the identity of the genetic makeup of man and woman: “Men and women are as distinct in their genetic makeup as are chimpanzees and humans.” Thus, he declared man the chimpanzee and woman the human. “The primary sex is female. The true human being is the woman. Men are secondary derived funny chaps with rudimentary nipples,” Kutschera concluded.

The interesting and informative but also very provocative lecture of the evolutionary biologist ensured that many members of the audience in the MCI aula took the opportunity to ask critical questions during the discussion following the event, which was moderated by Professor Christine Bandtlow, vice-rector for research at the Medical University of Innsbruck.

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