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Alfred Kinsey: entomologist, wasp taxonomist, and researcher on human sexual behavior, on prescriptions:

February 12, 2010

“Prescriptions are merely public confessions of prescriptionists…What is right for one individual may be wrong for the next; and what is sin and abomination to one may be a worthwhile part of the next individual’s life. The range of individual variation, in any particular case, is usually much greater than generally understood. Some of the structural characters in my insects vary as much as twelve hundred percent. This means that populations from a single locality may contain individuals with wings 15 units in length, and other individuals with wings 175 units in length. In some of the morphologic and physiologic characters which are basic to the human behavior which I am studying, the variation is a good twelve thousand percent. And yet social forms and moral codes are prescribed as though all individuals were identical; and we pass judgments, make awards, and heap penalties without regard to the diverse difficulties involved when such different people face uniform demands.”

(via Stephen Jay Gould: “Of Wasps and WASPS.” The Flamingo’s Smile.)

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