DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT THE EXTRA CREDIT POST FOR BILL NYE. THIS IS A REGULAR FRIDAY BLOG POST THAT HAPPENS TO BE FROM BILL NYE’S ARTICLE.
But you all should definitely go check him out at GW’s Lisner Hall on Wednesday night!
Many of us know Bill Nye the Science Guy as the quirky man who popped up on our classroom projectors explaining what cells are and how they work or other topics from science. In this article, he takes on a new topic that I think will make his young viewers a little uneasy: sex! To be more accurate, he explains how sexual selection is an evolutionary trait, something that exists so that all biological organisms could evolve. Nye starts his article with a comedic introduction, for all of the readers out there who might be uncomfortable with this topic, by saying that the best evidence for sexual selection is when he caught himself staring at his hot cousin. Obviously, this means that our sex drive is a biological characteristic that is instilled in everyone.
Nye points out that not only humans experience sexual selection but animals, plants, trees, bugs all have to mate to produce offspring. The article highlights the unique, and often difficult, sexual processes of different organisms. Like apple trees, they put in immense effort to produce the trunk, branches, leaves, and apples, all in hopes that some other organism will take an apple and plant the tree’s seed somewhere else. He speculates that sexual selection began with two primordial microbes that shared genes with each other and these began to develop into complex genes which lead to the invention of sex.
To simplify natural selection and sexual selection, he describes the latter as the first step in a stream of reproduction. Organisms must first select a mate to make “good-enough” offspring with. Nye argues that this concept of producing “good enough” offspring is more practical than saying the “fittest” offspring.
Referring back to Nye’s explanation of the birth of sexual selection, he maintains that the reason why there are only two binary sexes is because sex began with two microbes, one being the recipient and the other the donor. With the rise in awareness of the queer culture, does Nye’s argument of a two-sex society conflict with people who identify as intersex or transexual? Or does it provide a different insight on this society? Adn what about asexual people, who have little to no desire to mate? Where do sexual selection and eugenics differ and is the urge to produce a child that is physically and mentally “good enough” an unconscious factor that influences mate selection?
If you are not familiar with terms used by the queer community then here is a link to some definitions: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/