Surprising what you find hard-wired in your DNA these days

An archbishop has been reading The Little Golden Book of DNA, and he has derived much wisdom therefrom.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan yesterday said advocates of gay marriage “are asking for trouble,” arguing that traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA. “There’s an in-built code of right and wrong that’s embedded in the human DNA…Hard-wired into us is a dictionary, and the dictionary defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, please God, leading to the procreation of human life.”

Uh huh. Traditional one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA – which would explain why there is no such thing as polygamy anywhere on earth: it’s because it just ain’t in our biology, that’s why. We can’t fly, we can’t dig tunnels with our snouts, we can’t hide in cracks in the woodwork, we can’t lick our crotches, we can’t scurry up walls, we can’t decipher olfactory messages left on bushes and trees and bits of grass, we can’t digest bamboo – and we can’t do polygamy. Traditional one-man/one-woman marriage is the only way human adults have been managing sex and reproduction and child-rearing and economy for six million years, so now it’s gotten into our DNA and we’re stuck with it. Ask us to have one man married to two or ten or thirty women, and we all just look at you blankly, puzzled, unable even to figure out what you’re talking about. We can’t process it. It’s not in our moral DNA.

It’s also not in the dictionary that is hard-wired into us. I actually didn’t know that – I learned something new today. I never realized we have our very own dictionary hard-wired in. (But in which language? How does the wirer know which language to use? What if something happens and the kid has to move and then is stuck with a DNA dictionary in the wrong language? Is there a 1-800 number to call, or what?) I never realized that, but now I know, and in that dictionary it defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, and anything else is not marriage, and that’s that. All these funny people who have been calling other things marriage all this time are just wrong, because they don’t know how to consult the dictionary that is hard-wired into us.

Actually…I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t know how either. I guess that’s not suprising, since I didn’t know I had such a dictionary until just now, but the archbish seems to think everyone does know how to consult it, because that’s his point – it’s in our DNA and it’s hard-wired and we can’t change it without messing everything up in a big way, so we must know about it, the same way we know we can’t fly or dig tunnels with our snouts. But I seem to have been behind the door the day that lesson was covered. I don’t know how to consult my wired-in dictionary, and I don’t know how to check what the archbish says.

But I should just take his word for it, you’ll be thinking. Well maybe, but how can we be sure he’s not an impostor? Maybe he’s really a geneticist dressed up as an archbishop. Ah – you didn’t think of that, did you. It pays to be careful.

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