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The Decline of Sex Science and the Decline of Society

By Eloquence in Culture
Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:10:28 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

The New York Times reports that scientists who study sexual diseases have been advised by federal officials to avoid certain dangerous words in their grant applications:

The scientists, who spoke on condition they not be identified, say they have been advised they can avoid unfavorable attention by keeping certain "key words" out of their applications for grants from the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those words include "sex workers," "men who sleep with men," "anal sex" and "needle exchange," the scientists said.

Just an isolated incident? Hard to believe without named sources? Viewing this incident in its cultural history makes it very easy to believe, and very discomforting. We are frequently told that, as a society, we know everything there is to know about sex. In reality, this knowledge is sparse and deliberately suppressed. Acting upon it is key to solving our most pressing problems.


The article cites an anonymous NIH official stating that the situation for sex disease researchers has become much worse under the Bush administration. One researcher said that he was "struggling with how to write the grant proposal" about a study of HIV testing among homosexual men without mentioning them in the abstract.

The United States have a strong empirical tradition. Science enjoys a positive reputation, and the public generally expects laws to be rationally justifiable. Sex and social science therefore should have influence on policies regarding disease control, sex education, pornography, child sexual abuse, and so on. The tried and tested process of transition from science to policy cannot work if science is silently suppressed and only ideological messages that resonate with pressure groups are disseminated.

But this recent act of secret pressure on scientists does not stand alone. In the US, sex science has frequently come under fire from conservative politicians. On October 21, 2002, 12 Congressmen, led by Henry Waxman, have expressed concern over "a pattern of events at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggesting that scientific decisionmaking is being subverted by ideology and that scientific information that does not fit the Administration's political agenda is being suppressed." Specifically, the letter (772K PDF) said:

On the NIH website, information has been removed discussing scientific findings of the National Cancer Institute that, contrary to popular myth, abortions do not increase the risk of breast cancer. On July 9, 2002, a bipartisan group of congressional representatives wrote to you seeking an explanation for the removal and asking that you contact the NIH to have this information re-posted. We agree with those members, who wrote to you that "women must have access to scientifically accurate and unbiased health information." To date, they have received no reply.

In at least two cases, scientific information has also been removed from the CDC website. First, information concerning educational programs that have been shown through scientific studies to be effective in reducing risky behavior among adolescents has been taken down from the website. At the request of schools, the CDC created a web page, called "Programs That Work," to identify for educators "curricula with credible evidence of effectiveness in reducing health risk behaviors among young people...to help inform local and state choices." The website did not recommend any particular program, instead stating that "the choice to adopt a curriculum ultimately rests with local decision makers and must address community standards and needs." Yet despite this objective, science-based approach, the entire "Programs That Work" page has been eliminated.

Second, fact sheets regarding the effectiveness of condoms have been removed from your website. These fact sheets which were based on an NIH working group report stated the following: "Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly are highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, consistent and correct use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases...[and]...has been associated with reduction in risk of HPV-associated diseases, such as cervical cancer." Having evidence-based information on preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases is critical to the health of our young people. Removal of this information from the website strongly strongly suggests an ideological, rather than scientific, agenda at work.

Furthermore, the authors worried that critical health officials were replaced with abstinence-only fundamentalists and industry lobbyists.

Previous controversies include the 1994 resignation of Clinton-appointed Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders who stated that "masturbation .. is something that is a part of human sexuality, and it is part of something that perhaps should be taught", and who criticized the Catholic Church for opposing abortion and contraceptions. Another case where Congresspeople were involved is the Rind & Bauserman controversy. A 1999 meta-analysis by these two authors found the effects of child sexual abuse to be much less severe than typically considered. The study was unaninmously condemned by Congress, an event which has been called a "return of the Inquisition" by some authors. This comparison may seem extreme, but Rind & Bauserman's scientific career, at least in the US, was effectively destroyed.

Fundamentalist groups like the Family Research Council or Focus on the Family also engage in heavy lobbying, funding groups like Restoring Social Virtue & Purity to America which aim to discredit past sex science efforts.

Porn and criminal behavior

Speaking of which, the classical example of a political sex science scandal is of course the 1968 Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, which, when it was taken over by Richard Nixon, was suppressed in order to avoid having to change pornography laws. The $2 million Commission found porn to be, for the most part, harmless and possibly beneficial: Sex criminals were exposed to less, not more, pornography than the average population, and had usually very little knowledge about sex; furthermore, specific criminological evidence suggested a decline in specific sex crimes in Denmark after the legalization of pornography.

Nixon tried to avert a public relations disaster. He appointed Charles H. Keating, Jr. of the "Citizens for Decent Literature", a well known anti porn crusader:

By 1960, Keating was testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives armed with, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer article, "hundreds of books and magazines -- purchased at newsstands throughout the country -- describing and depicting a variety of perverse sexual activities." After Keating's testimony, in a scene that must have been right out of a Nazi propaganda film, the House subcommittee burned the mass of material. [source]

For his involvement in a banking scandal, he was later sentenced to 151 months in prison (Keating, not Nixon; Nixon just resigned for spying on the competition). At the time, however, he did his best to suppress the porn report through court action (which failed), and prepared a "minority report" along with two other anti-porn members of the commission, one of them a Catholic priest and cofounder of Morality in Media.

The US Senate rejected the majority report 60-5 (35 abstentions). The political attitude towards sex science was perhaps best summarized by Richard Nixon's response to the report: "So long as I am in the White House, there will be no relaxation of the national effort to control and eliminate smut from our national life." Imagine you are a sex researcher -- now imagine what effect such a reaction by a US President will have on your future work and on your findings. What will you publish and what will you avoid? To say that such public condemnation is not a danger to science is, at the very least, hopelessly naive.

Regardless, the report's results continued to be cited as a defense against media censorship, and in 1984 the purely political Meese Commission was formed to create a new antiporn consensus. However, when several researchers distanced themselves from the effort (which did not fund any original studies), it lost all credibility with most critical observers.

Why care about it? It's just sex!

Perhaps the biggest scandal of them all is the 1970s coverup of the scientific results produced by a research team led by Dr. James W. Prescott, then Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Prescott's team conducted research into the origins of violence, which consisted of several components:

  • Studying the effects of isolation on primates (monkeys reared in isolation, orphaned children)
  • Studying the human brain's aggression and pleasure regions in the limbic system and its effects on behavior
  • Comparing data on "primitive" societies, their child rearing methods and behavioral patterns. This data had just been digitized and is still in use.

Regarding isolation, Prescott's team refined earlier findings by Harry Harlow on the essential nature of mother/child bonding, specifically touch, in primates. The symptoms of sensory deprivation are many, among them an aversion to touch, self-injury, aggression and head-rocking. Sound familiar? Look at a US high school. Self injury has become a rite of passage among many US teenagers, something I am sure conservative observers will explain with an increase in media violence, drug use and premarital sex. Meanwhile, hundreds of US schools have rules against "Public Display of Affection" such as hugging and kissing.

Prescott's team discovered that besides touch, movement (cradling) of the child was crucial. The reason for this is probably that cradling developed through a process of natural selection as a means for the primate mother to indicate to the child that it is safe (close to the mother). If the child does not feel safe, it must call attention to this fact, since it is still too young to care for itself. Therefore the child must scream -- and to scream it must feel bad. (Evolution tends to arrive at simple solutions.) Cradling does not occur naturally, so besides touch and the mother's heartbeat, it is a good indication for safety. In addition, it stimulates the child's vestibular pathways, therefore training the sense of balance, crucial for learning spatial orientation. In association with Time Life, Prescott produced the film Rock A Bye Baby, which called attention to these facts.

Push that button one more time

The studies of the human brain are perhaps most fascinating to technically minded readers. These were led by Dr. Robert G. Heath, and they involved the implantation of electrodes into the brains of usually schizophrenic patients. This type of direct brain research has received much negative publicity, which is perhaps not coincidental. Among other things, Heath inserted electrodes into the so-called septal region of the human brain in the limbic system. Whether this region is "the pleasure center" or just one of several such centers is unknown, but when activated, it produced feelings commonly associated with sexual pleasure. Previously depressive patients suddenly felt wonderful and became flirtatious. Not surprisingly, any previous violent/aggressive behavior stopped immediately. More unexpected was the discovery that patients did not become addicted to the positive stimulus, but just used it to maintain a general good feeling, which increased, not decreased, their work productivity.

Stimulating the pain/aggression centers of the brain produced the opposite effect. Notably, these two effects cancelled each other out, which Prescott later called a "reciprocal relationship" between pain and pleasure. A good summary of the research can be found here, and some of the actual studies are archived on my site. Heath's research has been almost forgotten. Today, researchers are slowly rediscovering "brain pacemakers", electrodes inserted into the brain which act as neural stimulators to perform regulatory functions. The pleasure region of the brain, however, has turned into uncharted territory: scientists now prefer less problematic brain areals such as the subthalamic nucleus, the stimulation of which can diminish the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The most intuitively accsesible results, which I have discussed here before, came from Prescott's cross-cultural research. Using the HRAF data, he could predict with certainty the violence of a society by merely looking at two factors: the treatment of infants (physical punishment vs. physical affection) and of juveniles (permissive attitude regarding premarital sex vs. punishment). Affectionate, permissive societies were largely free of violence, while punitive ones were violent and theocratic. You may wish to read this comment I posted to a previous story for some elaboration, specifically on the "correlation vs. causation" argument which is thrown against every study that works with correlation.

In addition to his publications in scientific journals, Prescott wanted to carry his message to the general public in order to influence decision makers. He appeared in TV shows advocating massage parlors and criticizing spanking. His 1975 publication Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence (which summarizes all the above research) was reprinted by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and read by Carl Sagan, who mentioned its insights as enormously valuable to the human species in his book "Cosmos". Prescott seemed to be destined for the Nobel Prize.

Then he was fired.

The 1980 dismissal ("Removal for improper use of official position and resources to promote research on 'Developmental Origins of Violence' and 'Child Abuse and Neglect', subjects that are not within the mission of the NICHD, as part of the program of this institute") came after years of obstruction of Prescott's research after a change in leadership in the NICHD. Funding for child abuse research was cut, even computer time for basic data analysis was denied. Prescott wanted to study prison population, in spite of willingness to cooperate by prison officials, this, too, was denied. Conference proceedings were not published. Had Prescott complied with the new "research guidelines", as current NIH officials are so willing to do, he would have kept his job. Instead, he criticized his superiors and demanded a continuation of the research program.

This 1980 Federal Employee article summarizes the case, and this page presents a collection of internal NICHD memos, damning evidence for a long history of cover-up. Note that Prescott's research was never challenged -- in fact, it continues to be favorably cited in social science papers up to today (most recently in the Scientific American). But after his dismissal, Prescott became a pariah, ostracized by his peers. He received funding from porn magnate Larry Flynt and led editorship of a humanist magazine, The Truth Seeker, where he continued to publish his findings, until his atheistic and anti-monotheistic views clashed with the owner. Today, many of his publications are archived on my website, The Origins of Peace and Violence, and have been viewed more than 50,000 times. Prescott's 1975 paper has been translated by volunteers into French, German, Dutch, Finnish and Spanish (to be posted). A CD-ROM collecting and presenting much of his work, including several videos, is being sold by a group called Touch the Future (I can only recommend it for the videos, however, since the PDFs which were generated from my website are incomplete). I am very proud of my contributions to these efforts and hope that they will soon reach a new level.

New data

Of course, new research has been conducted since Prescott, and others have carried on his efforts. The practice of spanking has been much examined, and the results validate Prescott's data: The more severe the punishment, the more lasting and substantial the negative effects. Primatology has since discovered and learned to love (and hate) the bonobo chimpanzees, who use sexuality to mediate in conflicts. Primatology is in the enviable position of not being taken seriously by the general public: It's just monkeys. The fact that humans like to view themselves as superior to and strictly separate from the animal kingdom has always been easily exploitable.

As such, primatology has been relatively unharmed in carrying out its research (although the scientists demanding legal protection for chimps have become a bit bothersome). The other side of the coin is, of course, that these results do not lead to any policy changes, or spur substantial research on humans, the state of sexology being what it is.

The negative effects of sexual abstinence education have by now been well documented, although the critical meta-analysis by DiCenso et al. has been essentially ignored (the French AFP published a good summary, but the US media didn't pick it up). Routine infant circumcision (a US peculiarity), at last, is increasingly frowned upon by the medical establishment, although it is still a long way to its abolition, with some religious groups firmly defending the practice.

One bright ray of hope comes from an unlikely publication and the least expected event: After September 11th, the debate over a clash of Islam with Christianity was renewed. Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris have published an interesting analysis of the World Values Surveys which links anti-homosexual and anti-woman attitudes to domestic instability. It argues that a prosexual, secular approach is necessary for dictatorships and corrupt regimes to turn into stable democracies. It is not our attitude towards democracy that separates our cultures, it is our attitude towards sex -- and we are walking into the wrong direction. This article should be read in full, its approach is similar to Prescott's cross-cultural research.

Whether it is brain research, sociology, primatology or psychology: The knowledge that sex is a positive, powerful and necessary part of human nature, that touch and affection are the cure for the social diseases of violence and fundamentalism, has been solidified in recent years. It is so strong that billions of dollars by religious fundamentalists have failed to eradicate the findings by a small group of scientific outsiders who stumbled upon aspects of human nature that must remain taboo.

But thanks to the influence of those who desire theocracy or at least a certain degree of ignorance and servitude, it remains elite knowledge, an epiphany that is reserved to the few who dare to question authorities and who are not afraid to enter the deep water in this ocean of human wisdom. The majority, on the other hand, will always rationalize what the mass media present as truth -- afraid that they will otherwise drown in conspiracy theories or dangerous ideas like atheism and communism.

What can be done?

Political suppression of sex science is nothing new. What is new is the dimension of such suppression. It is hardly surprising that lawmakers have not embraced a legalization of pornography, or a more lenient approarch toward the issue of child sexual abuse. The Clinton dismissal/resignation of Jocelyn Elders was already a new level, as conservative Reagan-appointee C. Everett Koop had previously taken a similarly liberal stance on teenage sex, seeing condom distribution as a safe defense against AIDS.

However, the abstinence-only stance of the current administration, which it carries to an international level through the United Nations, is a reactionary program of unprecedented proportions in recent US history. Multi-million dollar abstinence propaganda in schools (usually accompanied by scare pictures of sexual diseases) and "faith-based" initiatives are contrasted with self-censorship in institutions like the NIH -- and not only regarding taboo topics like pornography and pedophilia but also concerning STDs and abortion. Most liberals will see these trends as slightly disturbing, but not much more. One is reminded of the tale of the boiling frog, who does not notice his own demise as the temperature increases little by little.

With traditional media being heavily regulated by the FCC, pixelized breasts and beeped out swearwords, perhaps the last bastion of freedom that has survived all conservative onslaughts is the Internet. Not that they haven't tried -- but laws like the Communications Decency Act are routinely repealed by the Supreme Court. There are now primarily three strategies used for heavier Internet regulation:

  • Copyright. Laws like the DMCA have been abused for censorship (specifically its "Notice and Takedown" provision, which exempts ISPs from liability if they shut down controversial sites immediately), and the content industry will continue to lobby for stronger laws until piracy is eradicated, i.e. indefinitely. So far, anti-sex conservatives have not realized that this is their opportunity to combat smut and sex ed as well, with much backing from industry lobbyists. Wait for it.
  • State-level action. State-level Super-DMCAs are much more restrictive than their federal equivalent. Establishing such laws is easier since less money and less media exposure is involved. We will probably see more state level censorship laws in the future.
  • Kiddie porn. Europeans and Americans alike have realized that child pornography is the right hook to get the public to accept almost any censorship measure. As soon as child porn laws are successfully implemented, they can be used as leverage to build more restrictive censorship indices. The state of Pennsylvania already has a law in place which forces ISPs to block child porn sites, and refuses to disclose the list.

Meanwhile, as traditional media are mostly supportive of the Bush administration and give little airtime to critical views, the Internet is also the best chance to stop the cultural decline of the US into a theocratic, feudal state. Preserving this freedom should therefore be our highest priority. If we fail, our children will ask us what we have done.

My personal contributions to this struggle are my websites, infoAnarchy one of the leading sites on the issue of IP-related censorship, and violence.de, the above mentioned archive of suppressed scientific data that is crucial for the survival of our species. I am in the process of building the latter site into a news/discussion weblog, to be called The Touch Society, which will cover many of the issues mentioned in this article. From a technical perspective, this is a bit of a challenge, as the news part of the site has to be well-integrated with the archive. If you want to help me, the best thing you can do is donate some money which will allow me to spend more time on these efforts (a direct Paypal link is on the violence.de frontpage, if you are willing to contribute a larger sum, I will do my best to detail how the money is used). Once this project is up and running, supporting it through donations will hopefully become easier.

On a personal level, existing groups like Attachment Parenting International provide good guidance on raising happy, healthy children. I also highly recommend NoSpank by Jordan Riak, who has with tremendous energy fought state-level corporal punishment laws in the last decades, and has documented more evidence against the unnatural and barbaric practice of child spanking than you can shake a stick (or paddle) at. If you don't want to support my efforts, you should support his.

I would recommend political action as well, but this can only happen effectively within larger frameworks like the aforementioned organizations. Effectively, all I can try to do is raise awareness of the issues and the history behind them. What you do or don't, what conclusions you arrive at remains your responsibility. If you think US issues do not concern you, think again -- I am from Germany myself, but I know that the old adage still holds true: Falls Rome, falls the world. Believe me, you do not want World Targets in Megadeaths in the hands of religious fundamentalists. But if you think that the temperature isn't hot enough for you to worry yet, think of the frog. Dare to jump.

Public domain content. But you knew that already.

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Poll
Biggest sex science scandal?
o No research grants for studies that include "bad words" 10%
o Recent removal of abortion/safe sex information from government websites 24%
o Multi-million dollar federal abstinence only program and UN abstinence pressure 30%
o Involuntary resignation of Jocelyn Elders over masturbation remarks 16%
o Congress "condemnation" of Rind/Bauserman child sexual abuse study 5%
o Rejection of 1968 Presidential Commission results 2%
o Cover-up of NICHD/Prescott research 5%
o None. They're all fine with me. 4%

Votes: 73
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o reports
o Henry Waxman
o letter
o resignatio n
o Rind & Bauserman controversy
o some authors
o Restoring Social Virtue & Purity to America
o source
o 151 months in prison
o Morality in Media
o smut
o Meese Commission
o still in use
o Harry Harlow
o Rock A Bye Baby
o here
o my site
o subthalami c nucleus
o this comment
o Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence
o dismissal
o This 1980 Federal Employee article
o this page
o cited
o The Origins of Peace and Violence,
o Touch the Future
o mediate in conflicts
o legal protection
o critical meta-analysis
o interestin g analysis
o internatio nal level
o Super-DMCA s
o and refuses to disclose the list
o infoAnarch y
o violence.d e
o Attachment Parenting International
o NoSpank
o Also by Eloquence


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The Decline of Sex Science and the Decline of Society | 246 comments (199 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
Impressive. (4.75 / 8) (#8)
by Kasreyn on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 07:08:14 PM EST

I've long known of (and long since visited) the links in your .sig, Eloquence, but I had no idea the sites were your creations. I'd like to say, congratulations on having put together (in violence.de) one of the most coherent webpages I've seen on the origins of violence.

+1 FP for this article (I learned a lot, esp. the link about Bonobos, which I knew next to nothing about before). Also, please post again at k5 when the "Touch Society" becomes a reality, or at least contact me; I would like to find a way to support this.

To everyone else: I highly recommend you check out Origins of Violence and the link to Rock-A-Bye Baby. Both contain very persuasive and informative material.

Finally, on the topic of spanking a.k.a. corporal punishment, my problem is that if I oppose it, I always wind up being stuck with having to come up with an alternate parenting solution for training children to behave properly, and as they're too young for reason or sense (at least, at the age range one might use spanking), I must admit to being at a loss as to what other tools a parent might use. Of course, when I was a kid, neither punishment nor reward worked on me, but I'm going to hedge my bets and assume I'm atypical.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Wow, positive feedback (4.90 / 11) (#15)
by Eloquence on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 08:40:39 PM EST

Reward has always worked on me, so I'm going to elaborate a bit on the topic of spanking.

I don't have children myself. I intend to, but at 24 years of age, I'm still more interested in spreading ideas than in spreading my genes. In addition to occasionally immersing myself in research on child rearing, I have made some personal observations. A brief synthesis of these ideas follows.

Before thinking about how to deal with a disobedient child, the question has to be asked why the child behaves in this fashion. Please read the article Would you trust this man with your dog? by Chris Dugan. It discusses the views of spanking advocate James Dobson, who compares child rearing with dog training. To him, the reason the child (or the dog) misbheaves is simple: It wants power over him. Childhood rebellion, to him, is simply a manifestation of the "original sin", in other words, he has no clue why it happens. Because he doesn't know why it happens, he doesn't know how to deal with it, other than by opening a can of whoop-ass.

In truth, there are many different reasons why children can become irritating to their parents. For the most part, children are very logical. Some of the logic is their own, and some of it is the result of the evolutionary process.

Attention seeking behavior is perhaps the most common form of irritation. The child does something deliberately loud and obnoxious in the hope that the parent will deal with it. One observation: The child loves the parents so much that it wants their attention even if it knows the reaction will be negative.

The reasons the child seeks attention can be many:

  • First of all, it could, in fact, be attention deprived. Children need a lot of physical affection, a lot of time. This may sound reactionary, but I tend to believe that at least one parent should be always there for the child, especially in the early years. Daycare just doesn't cut it.
  • Second, children want and need to play. Play is the most basic and natural form of learning, it can of course be wasteful, but many forms of play can be highly educational. The desire to play is innate, it is an evolutionary one: children who play have a higher survival rate than those who don't. Therefore children will seek to create a rich environment, much moreso than adults. If the parents fail to provide this environment, and the child gets bored, it will seek attention, not necessarily so that the parents play with him, but that they provide an occupation. Now think again about how unnatural it is to react to such behavior with punishment.
  • Third, not all attention seeking behavior is really attention seeking behavior. Sometimes the child just doesn't know or doesn't care about others and is immersed in its own world. It takes a long time for children to learn empathy (much less so if they receive it themselves) and to grow out of the "me"-universe. In order to make these steps, the child needs to be accomodated. Improper behavior needs to be explained in age-adequate terms, but the response needs to be an affirmative, positive one. More important than rational explanations are emotional, physical responses. Only if the child feels that it is loved will it learn to respect those who love it.
  • Fourth, accept that you are not perfect. In many cases, what is perceived as highly irritating may in fact be normal play, but the parent is already stressed out. This is, of course, more likely with two working parents. In such situations, the child is often blamed for the parents' problems. Bring alcohol into play and things can get ugly.
  • Last, when nothing else helps and you are sure you're doing things the way you should, there is always the possibility that your child is suffering from a genetic disorder, or from environmental toxins that cause mental problems. The latter is much harder to identify and requires a lot of knowledge about the environment you live in. But toxins are a big problem, and their effect on mental health is largely unknown -- industry will always prefer to blame it on cultural causes, of course. If you do any experiments with different locations, different foods etc., act like a scientist -- keep a logbook. Don't rely on the experts, they just want your money.

Knowing all this, I think the key phrase is "love and understanding". I know this sounds trite, but allow me to elaborate. Love creates the bond between parent and child, which is necessary for the child to trust the parents, and thus to desire to please them and to believe their explanations. Love creates understanding of the child towards the parents. But the parents also need to understand the child. They need to learn, and teach, early on to communicate with the child. That may sound self-evident, but it really isn't. All too many parents are talking over their children's heads.

In my personal observations I often see parents who tell their children to behave in a certain way and react negatively when they don't -- but they never explain to the child why it should behave the way it should. This in spite of the fact that children always ask why. "Because I say so" is an all too frequent answer.

Anti-spanking activists hate to admit this, but spanking and other physical punishment works. It stops the "offending behavior" very effectively. So does beating your child with a belt, or rod, until it bleeds. Children are not dogs, however, like Dobson thinks, they are primates. Spanking, and virtually all physical or psychological punishment, erodes the bond between parent and child, and threatens to destroy the trust relationship. The trust relationship is, of course, the basis for everything else. Ironically, the reason many adults maintain that spanking didn't harm them is that the trust relationship remained sufficiently intact for them to rationalize their parents' behavior.

Typical US children who are spanked are also hugged, kissed and tickled -- thus they also have developed the feeling of being loved. As an impartial observer, I find spanking in such a relationship to be almost more perverted than in a routinely abusive one: the notion of a parent hitting the child "because I love you". Many parents certainly only have the best intentions, as the media mainstream deliberately misinforms them. The Attachment Parenting movement gets relatively little airtime.

I have a personal experience that many people share. I was never spanked or routinely physically punished. I was slapped a single time. Like most of those who share such a "single event" experience, I do not remember the reason why I was slapped. What I do remember is that it had a big psychological effect on me -- that it suddenly called into question my trust relationship with my mother. I also remember that, as personal revenge, I was slightly more obnoxious than usual in the following hours.

This is how spanking fails: The offending behavior disappears, but the child then misbheaves in other ways -- either in more subtle forms, or towards others who cannot defend themselves. It loses trust and is less likely to believe parental explanation. Because the negative effects are so invisible (let's not even talk about the long term effects) many parents get an overall positive impression and feel the method to be effective.

Those opposed to spanking are typically either victims of severe abuse, where the trust relationship was destroyed entirely, or come from very affectionate families and are simply shocked and disgusted by this form of violence towards children. I am happy to count myself among the latter group. I was, by the way, an unusually quiet child. Not necessarily well behaved, as I tended to tell people very openly how I felt about them, or their ideas, but certainly not in any awy hyperactive. Was I that way because my parents loved me that much, or vice versa? I would say a bit of both. And that, I believe, is the beauty of the love/understanding relationship -- it works both ways. Give and you shall receive.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

You hit the nail right between the eyes. =P (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by Kasreyn on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:32:03 AM EST

"...but they never explain to the child why it should behave the way it should. This in spite of the fact that children always ask why. "Because I say so" is an all too frequent answer."

This was always my problem. I would be told "clean your room". I would look at my room, and fail to see a problem with the condition it was in. "Why?" "Because." or, "don't ask why, just do it because we're your parents and we know best." Well, maybe it sounds horrible of me, but at that age, I certainly didn't yet agree that they knew best! It hadn't yet been proven to me. Now that I'm an adult, time and experience has proven that yes, they do indeed "know better" than me on a great variety of subjects - but at the time, I certainly didn't think so. All my life, I wouldn't do ANYthing unless it was explained to me first why it was necessary. Even at six, Arguments from Authority had no effect. =P

"...Those opposed to spanking are typically either victims of severe abuse, where the trust relationship was destroyed entirely, or come from very affectionate families and are simply shocked and disgusted by this form of violence towards children."

I think I'm part of a third group. I was spanked, and even switched (read: whipped with a green stick) when I refused to behave. But I was also showered with love and affection. I was a very hyperactive kid, a real goof-ball, and I know I frustrated my parents to the limits of their endurance and beyond, and when all rational persuasion failed, they resorted to physical punishment to try to reach me (though usually they preferred to take away privileges, which I never missed anyway). I'm not sure whether this "traumatized" me or not, all I know is that I retain a very close relationship with my parents, and am ambivalent on the spanking issue. I don't have a strong "gut reaction" against it, because in my life I experienced very little violence, at least compared to most. Spankings were rare things. I oppose spanking more intellectually, out of a hope that there is a better way to handle parenting. It seems to make my conviction less forceful than anti-spankers who have an emotional opposition to spanking.

I have a question for you, also. You mention the views of spanking advocate James Dobson, who compares spanking a child to punishing an errant puppy. His argument is obviously full of holes, though, since he bases it at least partly on religious nonsense. How about the views Robert A. Heinlein put into the mouths of the characters Col. DuBois and Col. Nielsen in his novel "Starship Troopers"? (If you haven't read it, maybe you could do so, then reply; if you've only seen the movie, you have no concept of the book). He compares raising a child to raising a dog, and reaches a favorable conclusion that spanking is a valuable - in fact, he seems to claim, the only - tool for teaching young beings how to behave. I'd be delighted to hear you rebut Heinlein's argument, since he has the same point as Dobson but argues it about a hundred times better, plus he avoids explaining away difficult portions with religious mumbo-jumbo as Dobson does.

Hope to hear back from you. If you don't want to reply on AIM, check my k5 Bio for contact information (assuming you want to continue this discussion). Thanks!


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Spanking (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by tetsuwan on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:53:08 PM EST

I was spanked by my father. It stopped when I was 13 and had started to practicing Karate. When he tried to grab me the last time, I said
"Stop doing this or I'll knock you down. I really mean it!"
I really meant it. The only way I could stop my angry father was to be twice as angry myself.

The effects of this spakning, which was never severe (but certainly too close to hand), was that it really made me demonize my father. He became my anti-role model for several years. I still have a hard time trusting him physically, as he's fond of violent tickling me when I'm really not up to it.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#105)
by doubled on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:06:14 PM EST

I am curious. Would you consider the possibility that the demonization of your father was not a direct result of the spanking but an overall poor relationship with your father? I get the impression from your post that spanking was just one more thing in an already tense relationship. (apologies if I am off base) I was spanked as a child although I am pretty certain it stopped before I was 13, and replaced with the loss of priviliges model. While I condem excessive spanking which is really child abuse, I believe there is a place for physical correction.

[ Parent ]
well yes (none / 0) (#128)
by tetsuwan on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:22:08 AM EST

Spanking mainly contributed to the physical aversion I felt for my father. Of course there were other reasons too.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Heinlein has a bit of a spank fetish. (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:16:18 AM EST

if you ask me. I've read a few of his books (though not starship troopers), the one passage I remember was when a character who was an obvious cypher for the author spent some time trying to persuade a girl to become his second (simultaneous, not consecutive) wife because his first wife didn't like being spanked and she did.

To my chagrin I can't remember for sure exactly which book it was, could have been "between Planets"

So I'm not sure Heinlein's argument was entirely from an objective standpoint. Should point out that I like Heinlein's books a lot, full of entertainment.

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Dogs and kids (5.00 / 1) (#157)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:14:03 PM EST

Mother dogs communicate displeasure to their pups by biting them, sometimes quite hard.

This is why so many dogs are so poorly behaved: the only real way they can recieve negative stimulation is through pain, but humans raise them as if they were kids and try to explain to them what they did wrong, or take away 'privileges' the dog can't concieve came from the human's intended actions in the first place.

Think about it, how is a mother dog supposed to explain to a puppie it's behavior is bad? How is she supposed to take away privileges? No, she bites when the puppy is bad.

But humans are very different from dogs, we have other ways to communicate and should use them if we don't want our kids to behave like dogs:-). In fact that is the point of much of this research: the natural way for human beings to raise children is with alot of touching, alot of communication, and alot of time.

This conflicts not only with the anti-touch religious/authoritarian mindset of our current rulers, but also with the capitalist mindset: you are here to work, you are not here to enjoy yourself. So whip those kids into line and get to work, its the most short term efficient way to keep adults pushing the buttons at the factory and away from non-productive leisure at home as much as possible.

Myself, my dog is very well behaved, but that took alot of nose biting & spanking when she was a puppy (along with a few entire couches, car seats, drum sets, and a closet full of shoes). But I would never train my child the way I trained my dog, that is just silly.

All young beings are not the same, our evolutionary strategies for raising young are quite different (perhaps we should follow the lion's model, and expect a second husband to kill all the first husband's children?)The lion's model is no more logical for primates to follow than the wolf's (dog's).

Heinlein was a great writer and often a good thinker, but he was hardly an authority on the subject of child rearing.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

bravo (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by drgonzo on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:24:06 AM EST

thanx for you positivly reinforcing my thoughts about humanity :)

i'm absolutly against beating children (although i have never [except once] been beaten)

i'm 19 and i am the the authority for my little (half-) sisters. not because i secretly beat them while noone watches but because i treat them as equal, explain to them, in a rationaly way, everything they want to know and their wrongdoings, and because i act as a positive example.

also, if i every have children, i will put great attention on the physical contact between the members of a family (this includes brestfeeding; sleeping together in one location; ...)

so long

ps: if you aren't already one please look into veganism/vegetarianism because you are the first person in a long time which doesn't stick his head in the sand and screems 'STFU' without evaluation the standpoint of someone other

[ Parent ]

Another unmarried marriage guidance councillor (4.33 / 3) (#67)
by Peter Vile on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:22:21 PM EST

Your ideas are absolutely correct.  Unfortunately they require parents who are prepared to be utterly subservient to their childrens' needs, every instant of their waking lives.

You'll hear people joke about how that's what parenthood is like, but that's hyperbole.  Sometimes you just have to - metaphorically or (gasp) literally - lock the kid in the coal cellar just to give yourself half an hour of peace.

If that disturbs your happy huggy world view, then consider that what's not hyperbole about parenthood is that the only thing stopping you from killing the vile, self absorbed little monsters that issue from your loins is, well, I forget, but it can be a close call at times.  If daddy snaps at you - or even smacks you - once a day in order to retain his sanity, that's better than him flipping and smashing your shrieking, squalling selfish little brains out once in your short lifetime.

Thanks for the advice though, I'll put that with the huge pile of laughably useless parenting books (mostly subtitled: "Real advice for real parents") that my wife insists on wasting money on.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]

Just as I said (none / 0) (#72)
by Eloquence on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:30:18 PM EST

You receive what you give.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
What on earth is that supposed to mean? (5.00 / 3) (#73)
by Peter Vile on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:36:24 PM EST

I suspect that you don't really know, but that's all right, because not being a parent, you're not yet required to have all of the answers, all of the time.

The de facto goal of parenting is to keep your devil-offspring alive until it can fend for itself.  Anything beyond that is a bonus.

Never mind, keep telling yourself that you'll be better, because you'll have angelic children who will look up at you with their huge manga eyes and say "Good heavens, faaaather, I certainly regret my selfish and thoughtless actions.  Now that you have corrected me by patiently explaining things in a loving fashion, I will sit here and quietely lose myself in the wonder of books, while you read your Sunday paper."

Yes, that's exactly how it happens.  Keep telling yourself that.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]

Hmhm (none / 0) (#200)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:21:50 PM EST

That's not even close to what I said, but why should I even bother explaining? I'm just another "unmarried marriage counselor". Honestly, is there really anything I could say to change your mind about physical punishment? If you think there is, then read my original comment again, and this time without the filters active.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Well, what I received is a polite, loving (none / 0) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:04:17 PM EST

10 year old son about whom I hear nothing but compliments.

Probably because of the way I viciously abused him with corporeal punishment when he was younger, I'm sure.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
LoL. (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:03:07 PM EST

Once, when my son was about one or so, I found him trying to unplug an electrical outlet. I smacked his hand.

He looked at me, rubbed his hand, then (still watching me) reached out for the outlet with the other hand.

Yeah. Withhold the hug. That'll work.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
You monster! (none / 0) (#140)
by Peter Vile on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:20:20 AM EST

What kind of a parent are you if you put his survival above his drive to empower himself as a person by killing himself?

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
The kind that would rather (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:24:58 PM EST

be arrested for child abuse than negligent homicide.

:-P


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
I think there is a big difference (4.00 / 1) (#158)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:24:38 PM EST

between knocking a kid's hand away from a dangerous place, and a pre-meditated spanking "for your own good".

When a kid is too young for you to explain what happens when you stick your hand in a bad place, you don't really have any other way of explaining what is bad.

Do you think it would have been effective or reasonable to pick the kid up, lay him over your lap, and whack his ass for a while to teach him not to put his hand in the electrical socket?

I think the issue of unreasonable punishment comes more into play when your kid reachs the stage when you can explain to them about dangerous things, but you choose to whack them anyway, without trying to explain things.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Yeah, well, (none / 0) (#166)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:29:20 PM EST

you might see the difference (and for that matter, so do I) but most of the anti-spanking crusaders have a rather zero-tolerance approach to these things.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Absolutism (4.66 / 3) (#117)
by gidds on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:16:49 PM EST

I wonder why people always seem to have an all-or-nothing approach to smacking.  I was smacked as a child, but very rarely - probably no more than every few weeks or months at worst, only for things that deserved it, and after we'd been made to understand exactly why. It did make an impression on me, but not to the extent that yours did, and I think I'm better for it.  It didn't affect our family relationships, for example, as we could see that it was fair.

I'm sure most people would agree that smacking should NEVER be used just to work out the frustrations or temper of the parent; never without a good, clear reason that the child can understand; never to the point that it could cause any harm; and never frequently enough that it becomes a routine. If the child doesn't learn something from the experience, or if they're being smacked several times a day, then there's clearly something very wrong, and I wouldn't condone that at all.

But, having said that; very occasionally, for very serious offences, done with consideration and fairness, in some cases some parents may find it useful.  Ideally, it wouldn't be needed at all, of course, but which family is ideal?  So I'd be against any sort of absolute ban.  There is already legislation to cover physical abuse, cruelty, etc., anyway.

Maybe the flip side of this, though, is that if you're allowed to smack children within reason, you should be allowed to show them affection as well.  Cuddles, holding hands, physical contact, etc., is even more important.  Maybe if we were more affectionate and physical with our children generally, then the very occasional, restrained smack might not be quite such a big deal?

(Disclosure: I'm not a parent, though having a 2-year-old goddaughter, I'm not entirely ignorant about such things.)

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Instead of spanking, don't hug. (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by gauntlet on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:45:04 AM EST

Kids desire touch from their parents, for all the biological reasons that are presented in the links above. (Brilliant article, by the way. Send it to voting while I'm paying attention, please!)

Hug your kids. Kiss them. Pick them up and shake them around. Tussle their hair. Sit them on your lap. Do it all the time, whenever you can.

Then, when their behaviour warrants correction, stop touching them. Refuse even to look at them in the eyes, and tell them what you want. Don't worry about justification, they're not going to understand it anyway.

The funny thing is, as I see it, this should come naturally to people. If you're angry with your spouse, you don't want to hug. Perhaps we have been trained to avoid touch, and we touch each other so infrequently now that the removal of touch no longer serves to express disapproval.

Just my thoughts on kids.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Yes, that works just fine (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by Peter Vile on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:24:19 PM EST

On imaginary children.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
Apathy, Distance (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by Alfie on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:22:01 PM EST

I dunno. Doesn't that teach kids that love is a thing to be bargained for? Wouldn't that make a kid afraid that one day you might stop loving them if they did something wrong?

I don't see what's wrong with expressing genuine anger or displeasure towards a kid when they do something wrong and/or stupid. After all, that's what expressions of anger or displeasure are for.



[ Parent ]
Every kid is different. (4.50 / 2) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:52:26 PM EST

With my son, when he was very young, a smack on the hand was often the only thing that worked. With my daughter, all I have to do is boost the bass in my voice a little and she comes into compliance.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Spanking (4.75 / 4) (#101)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:33:29 PM EST

My two girls have (so far) turned out OK. They got spanked, but with strict spanking rules:

Spanking offenses were for actions that were "stupid and dangerous". Like running out in traffic. A spanking hurts a lot less than getting run over by a car, or playing with fire.

Never spank in anger

NEVER use anything but the hand to spank, and never slap the kid ANYWHERE but the buttocks. Your hand is a fragile thing with lots of tiny bones. The butt is muscle and fat. You will NOT injure the kid by hitting his butt with the flat of your hand. You may, however, hurt your hand. That's one price you pay for parenting.

For all but things that could hurt the child or others (trying to put sister's eye out or something), spanking is appropriate

After age 2, making them sit in the corner is a VERY effective punishment.

If they need to be spanked after they are 8 or 10, you've done something wrong.

Reward good behavior. Repeat. Repeat.

Some fools think they can raise the kid to not be a jerk by only rewarding good behavior and not punishing for bad behavior. They are, as I said, fools. Such children turn out to be lawyers, politicians, or other such scum.

The ones who wind up in prison aren't spanked, they are beaten. They are objects of the parents' rage, sometimes at things beyond the kids' control. And these kids likely don't get any reward for good behavior, and aren't shown much, if any, affection.

Making sure the child knows you love him/her, not just telling but showing, is the most important thing you can do. And ironically, sometimes you have to spank to let them know you love them.

It ain't easy being a parent. Especially when the other parent is a loon.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

in my experience.. (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by synik on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 12:19:42 AM EST

Kids (that are old enough to comprehend things to some extent) seem to behave much better when you don't treat them like idiots.

I'm not a parent, but I do have 2 little brothers whoem I look after sometimes (I'm 21, they're 10 and  12). My dad's solution is to hit them when they do something wrong, or humiliate them. He and their mother treat them as if they don't know anything.

I on the other hand listen to what they have to say, because quite often kids understand more than people think. Sure they come out with stupid stuff sometimes, but pointing out politely why they're wrong can do wonders :)

If they do something wrong they'll know I'm disappointed in them (and sometimes as a consequence they won't get taken out and about). Usually that's enough.

That said, I don't live with them, and kids often seem to be better behaved for other people...

---
The human race has suffered for centuries and is still suffering from the mental disorder known as religion, and atheism is the only physician that will be able to effect a permanent cure. -- Joseph Lewis
[ Parent ]

Brothers are not seens as parents. (none / 0) (#191)
by jjayson on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:51:10 AM EST

I am in a similar situation to you. I am 25 and have two younger brothers -- 8 and 10 years old. I can get them to do almost anything from doing the dished to cleaning up their room. However, that doesn't come from how I treat them; it has much more to do with how they see me. I am not viewed as a parent, even though I do punish them when I am around them, and am some sort of authority figure. They look up to me more as somebody to emulate, as opposed to an older parent.

Don't attribute too much to your child rearing ability. It has more to do with you not being parents and how they perceive you.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

Idiots (none / 0) (#219)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:51:04 PM EST

Yes, you're right, if you treat someone like an idiot they'll act like one.

You have to remember they're always testing the limits, too.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

More and more explicit. . . (2.25 / 3) (#13)
by Pop Top on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 08:10:00 PM EST

Another unrelated example:

World Health Organization says sugar makes people fat!

Bah! Junk science:

"We will exercise every avenue available to expose the dubious nature of the Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases Report," the Sugar Association said in a letter earlier this month to the WHO director general in Geneva.

The group said it may ask Congress to eliminate the 400 million dollars the United States contributes to the World Health Organization because of the report, and that effort drew a sharp reply from some public health activists.

"Naturally, the sugar lobby would reflexively oppose any suggestion that sugar contributes to obesity and dental disease," said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

No, fuzzy science [NT] (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by grouse on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:07:44 PM EST


You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#113)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:36:31 PM EST

No - sweet, sweet science.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
The True Clash of Civilizations (4.22 / 9) (#19)
by jjayson on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 09:37:42 PM EST

The Foreign Policy link by Inglehart and Norris doesn't support your claim. You try to say:
It argues that a prosexual, secular approach is necessary for dictatorships and corrupt regimes to turn into stable democracies. It is not our attitude towards democracy that separates our cultures, it is our attitude towards sex....
However, the article's analysis isn't about a prosexual agenda, attitude towards sex, and it doesn't make a claim about secular societies.

Inglehart and Norris speak of gender equality issues, such as if "men make better political leaders than women" and a woman's right to vote. When the article speaks of "sexual liberation" it means the liberation of the women in being seen as an equal to the male in areas of public service and human rights. This has no relation to Prescott's research into violence or affection.

They even go so far as to claim that the secular nature of the societies isn't as important of a factor as other issues:

Yet this preference for religious authorities is less a cultural division between the West and Islam than it is a gap between the West and many other less secular societies around the globe, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. For instance, citizens in some Muslim societies agree overwhelmingly with the statement that "politicians who do not believe in God are unfit for public office" (88 percent in Egypt, 83 percent in Iran, and 71 percent in Bangladesh), but this statement also garners strong support in the Philippines (71 percent), Uganda (60 percent), and Venezuela (52 percent). Even in the United States, about two fifths of the public believes that atheists are unfit for public office.
The article also seems to deny that we are on a "decline of society" as you put it, saying that the younger popular is progressively getting more liberal:
In other words, the values separating the two cultures have much more to do with eros than demos. As younger generations in the West have gradually become more liberal on these issues, Muslim nations have remained the most traditional societies in the world.
The points raised in the article is that you cannot have a stable democracy where people are not viewed as equals and women and gays cannot run for office. It has nothing to do with sexually promisciousness.

(Proundly fighting liberalism one small step at a time.)
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

My, what persuasive reasoning (4.71 / 7) (#24)
by Eloquence on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 10:38:22 PM EST

Firstly, for the aspect of secularity:

it doesn't make a claim about secular societies.

It does demonstrate that the level of approval for religious authorities is higher in Muslim nations, but elaborates that secularity alone is not the division line. As the authors write in the very first sentence, Huntington "was only half right". Being secular is one half of the answer -- being prosexual is the other.

The article also seems to deny that we are on a "decline of society" as you put it

Duh.

Predictably, you try to separate the issue of gender equality from sexual freedom, since it can't be true what must not be true (sexual freedom contributes to political freedom). You manage to perform this act of fact filtering even as the authors themselves speak of "sexual liberalization" and of "eros" rather than demos.

From the article:

On the matter of equal rights and opportunities for women--measured by such questions as whether men make better political leaders than women or whether university education is more important for boys than for girls--Western and Muslim countries score 82 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Muslim societies are also distinctively less permissive toward homosexuality, abortion, and divorce.

Specifically, I suggest you take a look at the chart "The Cultural Divide: Approval of Political and Social Values in Western and Muslim Societies", which clearly shows the substantial differences with regard to the latter three. For example, approval of homosexuality:

In response to a WVS question about whether homosexuality is justifiable, about half of the world's population say "never." But, as is the case with gender equality, this attitude is directly proportional to a country's level of democracy. Among authoritarian and quasi-democratic states, rejection of homosexuality is deeply entrenched: 99 percent in both Egypt and Bangladesh, 94 percent in Iran, 92 percent in China, and 71 percent in India. By contrast, these figures are much lower among respondents in stable democracies: 32 percent in the United States, 26 percent in Canada, 25 percent in Britain, and 19 percent in Germany.

Tolerance towards homosexuality is, obviously, one of the strongest indicators of sexual freedom, as the authors note correctly: "Tolerance of well-liked groups is never a problem. But if someone wants to gauge how tolerant a nation really is, find out which group is the most disliked, and then ask whether members of that group should be allowed to hold public meetings, teach in schools, and work in government." Gay sex is, obviously, the most blatant form of sex for pleasure since there is no possibility of reproduction. This is why it is so heavily opposed.

Not surprisingly, the same societies that are tolerant towards homosexuality are also tolerant towards divorce, which is, of course, considered a form of adultery in fundamentalist nations. This negates your argument that "it has nothing to do with promiscousness" since the people in these countries would argue that since we allow homosexuality and divorce, we promote promiscousness. Abortion also has an interesting link to sexual freedom (which is why the pro choice movement grew out of sexual liberation in the first place), namely that it runs contrary to the view that sex should only serve reproductive purposes. If you allow abortion and contraception, you must accept that there are other purposes for sex beyond making children, namely having fun, and the sex=pleasure association is something that conservatives can never accept.

Lastly, the issue of sex equality you gloss over as being about something entirely different from sexuality is of course directly related to the attitude towards sex. In a society where women are treated worse, they are not allowed to express their sexuality in any way. Exposure of the legs while riding on the bicycle is considered pornographic in Iran. And we all know what women were subjected to in Afghanistan -- the situation in Saudi Arabia is very similar. The reasoning behind these subjugations of women is always that women would otherwise "seduce" and "distract" men.

So what you are saying is that the article is about tolerance for abortion, gay sex, adultery, and female beauty, but it has nothing to do with sex? I mean, how far removed from reality can you get? That's a new standard even for you. But then again, you do have a mission:

(Proudly fighting liberalism one small step at a time.)

Proudly ignoring reality one fact at a time .. I'll back away slowly now.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Let's take a closer look at the article. (4.45 / 11) (#38)
by jjayson on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:12:50 AM EST

Behind your argument is rhetoric trickery through vague word usage. You ignore the most of the article, instead trying to focus on a few sentences that are taken out of context. You stretch the conclusions of the article beyound what is said. You take an correlative conclusion and try to turn it into something of necessity without any sort of explanation as to why that applies. Worst of all, you try to pass that off as the opinion of the article and not your own.

The article is about the underlying reasons of what creates a stable democracy. No where does it say that liberal attitudes towards sex does this. That is your own creation. It uses views of homosexuals and women as barometers of how well a country can support democracy.

It does demonstrate that the level of approval for religious authorities is higher in Muslim nations, but elaborates that secularity alone is not the division line. As the authors write in the very first sentence, Huntington "was only half right". Being secular is one half of the answer -- being prosexual is the othe
The quote about Huntington being only half right is concerned with him getting the "cultural fault line" correct. It might be possible to argue something by implication, but Inglehart and Norris are blatantly clear later in the article that secularity isn't a very important factor: "the preference for religious authorities is less a cultural division between the West and Islam than it is a gap between the West and many other less secular societies around the globe." It then goes on to give numbers that show this cultural fault doesn't divide between secular and religious as cleanly as you would have others believe.

Second, no where in the article does it say that seculary is a necessary component. Never. Not once. It actually disproves this by saying that 40-percent of Americans don't view atheists as being equiped for political office.

Predictably, you try to separate the issue of gender equality from sexual freedom, since it can't be true what must not be true (sexual freedom contributes to political freedom). You manage to perform this act of fact filtering even as the authors themselves speak of "sexual liberalization" and of "eros" rather than demos.
I do explain what is meant by sexual liberation saying that it is clear from the context and questions that were asked. The partial thesis or the article is on the "disenfranchisement of women," that is, relegating them to second class citizens: "no society can achieve the desired state of well-being and human development, or compete in a globalizing world, if half its people remain marginalized and disempowered." This statement has nothing to do with sexual liberation, but political power. Only in your mind are they linked. Promiscuity may come along with universal sufferage, as the same world views that serve to liberalize the politcal process also serve to open soceity in other ways, but that doesn't mean that liberal sexual views are required for s stable society. The article concludes these view are "indicators" not that they are a causal phenonmenon in the same vein as Prescott's reseach on touch.

Inglehart and Norris research is based on question of political presence and attitudes towards governing ability.

On the matter of equal rights and opportunities for women--measured by such questions as whether men make better political leaders than women or whether university education is more important for boys than for girls--Western and Muslim countries score 82 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

In every stable democracy, a majority of the public disagrees with the statement that "men make better political leaders than women."

And most importantly
But economic development generates changed attitudes in virtually any society. In particular, modernization compels systematic, predictable changes in gender roles: Industrialization brings women into the paid work force and dramatically reduces fertility rates. Women become literate and begin to participate in representative government but still have far less power than men. Then, the postindustrial phase brings a shift toward greater gender equality as women move into higher-status economic roles in management and gain political influence within elected and appointed bodies.
This last paragraph is important to the understanding of the entire article. It lays out the causal nature of a changed society at the same time explaining that participation in government is key. It is the changed society that has new attitudes in many areas. If is not that prosexual attitudes are necessary, but actually an egalitarian society that liberalizes views. You're claim is reversed.
Gay sex is, obviously, the most blatant form of sex for pleasure since there is no possibility of reproduction. This is why it is so heavily opposed.
I don't know who you are making these claims about. Among the conservative Christian tradition, gay sex isn't opposed because it is only based on physical pleasure, so I assume that Islam is relatively in line with this view, too.
Lastly, the issue of sex equality you gloss over as being about something entirely different from sexuality is of course directly related to the attitude towards sex. In a society where women are treated worse, they are not allowed to express their sexuality in any way.
Once again, this moves in the wrong direction. You can say that divorce may be a barometer of how much society has changed, but you still cannot say that a prosexual policy is "necessary." Sexual Egality and modernization is a necessary compenent, that in turn incubates a prosexual policy: "even in established democracies, changes in cultural attitudes--and eventually, attitudes toward democracy--seem to be closely linked with modernization."
Abortion also has an interesting link to sexual freedom (which is why the pro choice movement grew out of sexual liberation in the first place), namely that it runs contrary to the view that sex should only serve reproductive purposes. If you allow abortion and contraception, you must accept that there are other purposes for sex beyond making children, namely having fun, and the sex=pleasure association is something that conservatives can never accept.
This is a total mischaracterization of the anti-abortion crowd. The story against abortion is that is involved the killing of another human being. It has nothing to do with a sexual pleasure connection. No conservative that I know is against pleasure in sex, from any religion.

In the end there is no scenario on how manking a pro-promiscuity policy creates democracies. The story the authors support is that egalitarian attitudes towards gays and women create a climate for democracy to flourish. These can be measured by asking if women or homosexuals will make good public servants but it is not caused by pro-sexual policies.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

Good debate. Pleasure to read. But... (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by poopi on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:46:05 PM EST

...I think you've both siezed on one aspect of a larger issue, one which is the underlying issue of all conflict. Simply stated the conflict is between the tolerant and the intolerant. That's it. The more tolerant the society - the more democratic. What is tolerance? The acceptance of different opinions/beliefs as valid and the desire to find compromise. The greater the number of individuals a society has that practices "tolerance" the more democratic and peaceful it is. You can have peace by making society homogeneous by force or you can have peace by accepting the heterogeneous nature of existing society: Fascism and Democracy. Just my 2c - I'm not as capable as you guys.

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - Parent ]

Into the abyss, once again (3.00 / 1) (#202)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:53:04 PM EST

Behind your argument is rhetoric trickery

Said he before getting knee deep into rhetoric..

The article is about the underlying reasons of what creates a stable democracy. No where does it say that liberal attitudes towards sex does this. That is your own creation. It uses views of homosexuals and women as barometers of how well a country can support democracy.

Second sentence of the arrticle: "The cultural fault line that divides the West and the Muslim world is not about democracy but sex". Later they refer explicitly to "sexual liberalization". Only someone with your absurd view of reality could think that views regarding homosexuality, gender equality, divorce and abortion have nothing to do with sex. But obviously the authors are wrong -- they claim to be talking about sex, yet your impeccable logic shows that they aren't. Do me a favor and complain to them and not me. And maybe explain to the homosexuals and the promiscious women who are stoned or beheaded in Saudi Arabia that their execution really had nothing to do with sex.

"the preference for religious authorities is less a cultural division between the West and Islam than it is a gap between the West and many other less secular societies around the globe." It then goes on to give numbers that show this cultural fault doesn't divide between secular and religious as cleanly as you would have others believe.

You're not making any sense (again). Dividing between secular and religious doesn't divide between secular and religious? The authors simply make the point that religious fundamentalism isn't exclusive to Islamic countries. It is lowest in European nations, medium-high in the US and highest in third-world nations and Islamic countries. Generally, the more democratic a nation is, the more likely it is to be secular. But you are correct -- the authors do not treat the issue of secularity in much detail (which might have something to do with the fact that the US are neither particularly democratic nor very secular, but incidentally the nation where the authors reside). However, it should be obvious even to you (or am I asking too much?) that tolerance for homosexuals, women, abortion and divorce will not exactly be easy to attain under Sharia law.

I do explain what is meant by sexual liberation saying that it is clear from the context and questions that were asked. The partial thesis or the article is on the "disenfranchisement of women," that is, relegating them to second class citizens: "no society can achieve the desired state of well-being and human development, or compete in a globalizing world, if half its people remain marginalized and disempowered." This statement has nothing to do with sexual liberation, but political power. Only in your mind are they linked.

Sure, there's no link whatsoever between the views that

  • women must have children
  • women cannot be political leaders
  • women cannot make political decisions
  • women do not need to study
  • women have less rights to a job than men
  • women should not be allowed to leave their men
  • women should not be allowed to have an abortion

and sexuality. It's all about "empowerment". The Taliban just didn't want their women to be "empowered". What you don't get is that these rights are not abstract concepts, they are linked to views that cause them. And it's these views that are about sexuality. Women don't have rights in societies that think women need to be sexually repressed and controlled. "An egalitarian society liberalizes views", you say. But why is the society not egalitarian in the first place?

I don't know who you are making these claims about. Among the conservative Christian tradition, gay sex isn't opposed because it is only based on physical pleasure, so I assume that Islam is relatively in line with this view, too.

The so-called arguments against homosexuality are, frankly, not even worth mentioning. You do not seem to understand the concept of a pretext. You should look it up, since your worldview is based on it. What these "reasons" mask is a disgust with the practice that is only sometimes openly admitted, e.g. by Mr. God Hates Fags. Take a look at the people who commit acts of violence against gays and ask them about their "reasoning". "Damn faggots, they won't stick their dick up my butt!"

And why is the practice so disgusting to these people? Simply, because they have been taught, emotionally and rationally, that sex is only for reproductive purposes. Sex for pleasure is already bad enough (don't spill the seed, Onan!), but sex that can, by definition, never serve the godly purpose of reproduction is, of course, wholly evil and repellent. To those opposing homosexuality, the very idea that it might be pleasant is disgusting.

Sexual Egality and modernization is a necessary compenent

So it's OK for women to be stoned for exposing themselves as long as they get to vote? You draw a line the authors do not draw. You speak of "sexual egality" yet you do not recognize the causes and the extent of sexual inequality.

This is a total mischaracterization of the anti-abortion crowd. The story against abortion is that is involved the killing of another human being.

And that's exactly what it is, a story. Ask in less intellectual circles and you'll come closer to the real answers: "If she hadn't messed around, she wouldn't have this problem now! Let her have the baby!" Of course, the fact that, if you define "human being" by something materialist like brain waves, the whole idea of a "soul" goes to /dev/null where it belongs also comes into play.

You are driven by the powerful desire not to see certain things as true -- so you create lots of very small arguments that make sense as long as you don't think a second about the ideas they are connected to, which you don't. Your separation of women's rights from sexuality is an excellent example for that: For you, they become an abstract issue of "political empowerment" that has nothing to do with male views on natural female inferiority. Your reasoning would be an interesting subject for a study -- if it wasn't so profoundly annoying.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Please (none / 0) (#203)
by jjayson on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 10:21:17 PM EST

Why must you result to personal attacks, questioning my ability to reason ("or am I asking too much?"), equating all view to the absolute fringe that 99-percent of Christians do not agree with ("Mr. God Hates Fags" Fred Phelps), and attack what you perceive as my world view ("You are driven by the powerful desire not to see certain things as true").

Despite you not living in America or knowing many Evangelicals (if any), and me living here and a part of multiple churches, you get to define what the consesus Christian view is. You try to find the vast minority that supports your points, by looking towards those that would brutally beat anther human to death even. That isn't the Christian view. I can say it. Other can say it. The Bible can say that many will do horrible deeds in Christ's name, but in the end you think you get to define the Christian agenda and belief by simple assertion.

It isn't much work to respond to what you say and most people can simply reread my post carefully and see where your are simply repeating yourself and ignoring the analysis, however, I will not take part when you cannot remain civil about it. Your behavior is unacceptable, I think.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

You're welcome (5.00 / 1) (#206)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:19:51 AM EST

you result to personal attacks

The combination of arrogance and ignorance has that effect on me. You ignore even the most obvious contradictions with your worldview, then act as if others were distorting the truth. This self-righteousness is the most disgusting and irritating aspect of virtually all religions.

equating all view to the absolute fringe that 99-percent of Christians do not agree with

Not the same views, just the same underlying emotional motivation, to a different degree. And 99 percent? Is there some Christian value survey I am not aware of? Do you know what Phelps' views are? Even he only endorses violence to a limited extent. He just doesn't put any effort into doing it credibly.

and attack what you perceive as my world view ("You are driven by the powerful desire not to see certain things as true").

This you have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt, and even admitted yourself ("proudly fighting liberalism ..").

Despite you not living in America or knowing many Evangelicals (if any)

Funny (and typical) you should say that -- of course, the rest of the world functions completely differently from the US, and people living elsewhere know nothing about it. Incidentally, we have the same brand of evangelism/fundamentalism in Germany, only in much smaller numbers. I have worked for a religious fundamentalist for a year -- the Ned Flanders type, with US-style creationist and anti-occult tracts, with a dozen children, with Bible games for the kids, with prayers before and after meals, with countless Bible translations to pick the most convenient one. As his employee, I was exposed to constant preaching and even persuaded to endure one of their masses. Yet, he was a reasonably nice guy -- which made it clear to me why so many people stay in these cults. To simply view these people as evil is too short sighted. They form communities, which give people a feeling of safety and belonging. That feeling can, of course, be taken away as soon as they violate the rules of the cult.

This conditioning makes it impossible (and undesirable) for most members to get away. Only when they realize that they don't need the cult and the friendship it offers, they have a chance to break its intellectual chains. Most would rather convince themselves that the rest of the world is in chains, and they are the chosen ones.

My biology teacher was a fundamentalist (who taught creationism). My father is a protestant religion teacher (thanks to lack of church/state separation, religion is an official school subject in Germany, often taught by priests), my mother went through pretty much every religion out there, including fundamentalism. I have been baptized and have personally gone through the Protestant ritual of confirmation, along with the year-long religious indoctrination that precedes it. I have been exposed to more religion than I ever wanted to know.

and me living here and a part of multiple churches

You have my sympathy.

You try to find the vast minority

*cough*

that supports your points, by looking towards those that would brutally beat anther human to death even.

No, you don't get it. What I am saying is that, in order to understand the underlying emotional motivation behind anti-homosexuality, you need to talk to those incapable of rationalizing it. Otherwise all you get are pretexts. Or you can look into history, when people didn't bother that much to defend their views and just described homosexuality, masturbation, sex for pleasure as "disgusting", "vile", "evil" etc. Even at the height of the anti-masturbation campaigns, however, people came up with a lot of pretexts to mutilate and restrain their children: disease, mental damage, physical suffering etc. Just as they oppose teen sex now because of the risk of pregnancies and STDs, which they are doing their best to increase by telling children nothing about sex. These justifications are necessary to convince those who are not 100% emotionally anti-sex already, and to make the worldview more coherent.

That isn't the Christian view.

Sure, whenever Christians do evil things, they're not really Christians because that's the way you define them. Very old school (you can do better than that). Of course, my point is not so much about violence -- I have no problem acknowledging that many Christians, including fundamentalists, are categorically opposed to most forms of violence. They may not always condemn it as loudly as they should (e.g. abortion doctor killings), but many of them certainly will not endorse it. The key point is that the underlying motivation is the same, these people just want to take different actions based on it (prohibit abortion, force homosexuals into therapy etc.).

You can see these effects in action if you compare a moderately fundamentalist country, Catholic Ireland, with a highly fundamentalist one, Taliban Afghanistan. In Ireland, homosexuals, promiscuous women etc. were silently treated as a "social disease", locked up and forced into prison slavery (such as the Magdalen Asylums, where thousands of women were imprisoned under extreme conditions, forced to work in laundries by sadistic nuns). In Afghanistan, the same people, for the same reasons, were just tortured and killed. There is of course a moral distinction here, but both acts should be morally condemned, and both are born of the same emotions.

You effectively say that what causes some brains to oppose homosexuality violently or rigidly is functionally completely different from what causes "most Christians" to oppose homosexuality. To you, there are the "99%" rational Christians on the one hand, who only do these things because they arrive at "logical conclusions", and the 1% pseudo-Christians who haven't understood anything. But the human brain doesn't work like that: All reasoning is based on emotion -- for most people, the emotions come first, then comes the rationalization. When a smoker says "I smoke because ..", his brain has long decided that he wants to smoke -- his limbic system now instructs his cortex to come up with reasons. The same is true for those who oppose homosexuality.

you are simply repeating yourself and ignoring the analysis

There is no analysis -- just your desire to ignore the truth, and to separate the issue of sexuality, which you cannot accept, from that of "empowerment" and "egality". It's your way of saying "I smoke because ..". You know what happens to women and gays in these countries -- yet you cannot acknowledge the relationship between sexual repression and political repression. You are locked into a mental cage from which you will probably never escape.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Not possible to have a discussion with you (none / 0) (#213)
by jjayson on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 04:46:44 PM EST

No matter how I try to explain the reasoning of the poeple I know about and interact with on a daily basis your retort is that isn't what they really believe or that you truly know their underlying reasons.

Oh, that and you turn into an arrogent ass.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 05:36:46 PM EST

Some people may be convinced by the anti-gay arguments, simply because they are presented by people they trust, and they are not exposed to much outside information. As a whole, however, anti-gay "discourse" has little to do with rationality.

the poeple I know about and interact with on a daily basis

This is exactly the community factor I mentioned -- the emotional bonding prevents you from questioning people's motivations, even though there's really nothing wrong with using rationality as a pretext for emotional motivations. Most people do it constantly, but they hate to admit it.

As for arrogance, someone who needs to use the rating system to boost his own self esteem should really be more careful with such terms.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

You are bing... (none / 0) (#216)
by jjayson on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 06:14:11 PM EST

suck a fucking asshole that it is amazing. I can never be a rational being to you or argue at your level. My views are always covered in an emotionality that you seem to be free of. Whenever I say this is how people are, your response is that I am just blinded to the The True Reason. Fuck off.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
As I just said .. (5.00 / 1) (#217)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 06:44:30 PM EST

.. not necessarily, but very probably. In the remaining cases, you are simply wrong. :-) I think I have demonstrated to a reasonable extent that I am not using these explanations as a pretext to avoid discourse, however. I'm always interested in new arguments and facts, no matter how they were born. There are things that I don't really care about debating, such as homosexuality and morality. This is an issue that is, thankfully, largely solved, esp. in Europe, and I doubt there are any arguments worth considering that I am not aware of.

My views are always covered in an emotionality that you seem to be free of.

Of course not. But I have learned to accept many views that I emotionally disagree with, based on rational arguments. Can you say the same? I do not consider myself a very arrogant person, but I am proud of one personal attribute: I'm pretty good at reflection and introspection. I know what I don't know, and I know why I feel how I feel. I'm aware of how my motivations work -- that doesn't mean that I always control them. For example, I consider personal attacks to be a character flaw. But only if you recognize your own emotionality you can learn to improve yourself and to correct your own worldview. You seem to prefer denial.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

arrogence (none / 0) (#218)
by jjayson on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 07:13:46 PM EST

Your own arrogence prevents you from seeing the other side. I wouldn't pat yourself on the back so much when you have your eyes closed to the world.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Not all spanking is abuse. [nt] (3.85 / 7) (#22)
by tang gnat on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 09:54:03 PM EST



Absolutely correct! (5.00 / 3) (#119)
by beauseizure on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:45:00 AM EST

Spanking between consenting adults is A-OK!

[ Parent ]
Hello, Jon Katz! (2.11 / 18) (#23)
by RobotSlave on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 10:36:03 PM EST

And welcome to Kuro5hin!

Here's the problem. (3.66 / 2) (#30)
by Mr Hogan on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:27:29 PM EST

The notion a people can get sex or another behavior "wrong" - as if behavior were thought up "willed" into existence calculated from pi or inferred from the smog of true principles suspended in the vacuum - that is the unscientific fiction of human progress talking.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.

This is completely! (none / 0) (#32)
by Relayer on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:32:02 PM EST

True.

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

Uh OK. (none / 0) (#39)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:12:38 AM EST

So you think people are meat robots?


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

He's saying (1.25 / 4) (#57)
by Relayer on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 11:11:22 AM EST

That we're not born knowing how to fuck, or know what "gay" is.

Whatever gets your nuts off, gets your nuts off.

Whatever doesn't, doesn't.

A healthy society will generally destroy homosexual tendancies, while an over-developed one introduces such things as art and faggotry to stem the overpopulation.

It tastes sweet.


[ Parent ]

You're dodging the question. (none / 0) (#77)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:35:27 PM EST

Are people meat robots?

Yes or no, please.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

They are, imho (none / 0) (#129)
by elias miles on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:47:40 AM EST

Had a lot of arguments about this. Some people don't like the idea of being sort of a robot.

But who says meat robots can't have fun, eh?

[ Parent ]

Fun? (none / 0) (#208)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:46:39 AM EST

"Fun" is an existential choice.

How can robots make existential choices?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

How can you? (none / 0) (#228)
by elias miles on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 06:01:44 PM EST

Why shouldn't it be possible to simulate a complete brain in a computer (including all the inputs a brain gets)?

Only works if there is no god. My preferred way of thinking.

[ Parent ]

We've had this discussion before. (none / 0) (#62)
by Mr Hogan on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 12:06:45 PM EST

I've forgotten my position. :-( But whatever - I think it is a mistake to think of living things as machines or robots - not because I believe in ghosts or noble savages but because life is not a category can be separated from the world it lives in - everything is ONE. So anyway sexual mores - one set isn't better or worse than another - genes dancing to the celestial music of the spheres is all that is - massively indifferent to questions of good or bad they put thoughts inside our head - instructions really - contrive it so we can take the credit for inventing our ever changing circumstances - ONE - that are inventing us. Something like that anyway.

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

You seem to be confused here. (none / 0) (#76)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:34:33 PM EST

The answer to the question "are people meat robots?" is either "yes" or "no". There can be no middle ground; either you believe that people are fully deterministic (---> "yes") or that there is some supernatural (meaning "not part of nature") quality about people that makes them non-deterministic. (---> "no")


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

That's what you say. (none / 0) (#82)
by Mr Hogan on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:15:19 PM EST

Fact is 'robot' is a word - you are fond of words a typical liberalist - that need not and I say does not describe a human being determinism or no. 'Robot' conjures a thing can be imagined defined and built by man - but I must emphasize the being in 'human being' - it is not a category can be defined - everything is ONE - not your binary logic "yes" or "no" that's just you thinks models of nature is nature.

Look it you cannot create a foot without you first create a 'beach' a 'standing' a 'feeling' a 'squishing' a 'sand' between your a 'toes' - you have to create everything first before you can create a human standing on the beach squishing sand between his toes is all I'm trying to say. Being is ONE - it is standing on a beach squishing sand between your toes while all around you swims crawls flies the chain of food and rape permits you stand there squishing sand between your toes "thinking" 'gosh it feels good to be alive.'

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

OK then. (none / 0) (#90)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:23:24 PM EST

Let me rephrase. Is "everything" deterministic? Is the universe a giant clockwork machine?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

How should I know? (none / 0) (#91)
by Mr Hogan on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:37:08 PM EST

Jesus! Get a grip. Teach a dog to make a sound sounds vaguely like `causality' - well that don't mean such a thing "exists" not even if the dog acts consistently as if it believes it does - that's just the way dogs act!

--
Life is food and rape, then tilt.
[ Parent ]

You seem to misunderstand. (none / 0) (#94)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:57:54 PM EST

The question is very important.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Is nature deterministic? (none / 0) (#88)
by Amorsen on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:08:13 PM EST

What makes you believe that?

[ Parent ]
Well. (none / 0) (#89)
by tkatchev on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:21:55 PM EST

By definition, really. (Define "nature" to be everything that is deterministic.)


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

wrong definition (none / 0) (#106)
by des mots on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:08:38 PM EST

A common definition is that nature is everything we can sense (ok, it is a synonym of the universe).

BTW, I have often read that quantum physics is non-deterministic. Maybe a specialist could explain us if it is really fundamental. Has a deterministic law been proven (from observations of course) to be impossible?

[ Parent ]

Quantum physics (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by Amorsen on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:12:32 AM EST

Quantum physics is fundamentally non-deterministic. It is not just a lack of understanding that makes it seem non-deterministic. Of course we can never know who rolls the dice, in theory God could sit outside the Universe and just influence whatever rolls suits him. As long as he does not do it too systematically, so someone detected it; that would disprove quantum physics.

It all comes down to the uncertainty principle. You cannot simultaneously know the position and the energy of a "particle". All you get is a wave function that describes the probability of measuring particular velocities or positions.

[ Parent ]

everyday examlple of Non-deterministic (none / 0) (#133)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:36:20 AM EST

Beyond a certain distance in the future prediction of the weather (as distinct from the climate which is the average weather over years) becomes impossible. Even the smallest changes in the initial conditions which you start predicting from can produces totally different outcomes. For this reason weather forcasters usually run their computer models a few times with very slighly different input. Over a long enough period of time random fluctuations at the molecular scale (which quantum mechanics tells us are truly unpredictable) would start to influence the sytem, and then you are left with a truly insoluble problem.

We will never be able to predict with certainty the weather for a given place one year in advance (especially if the place has complex weather e.g. anywhere at mid-latitudes, not a desert)

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

You misunderstand. (none / 0) (#207)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:45:46 AM EST

"Non-deterministic" doesn't mean "impossible to predict with certainty given current conditions and technical state".

"Non-deterministic" means something that is unpredictable in principle. i.e., something that would be unpredictable even if you had a perfect computer larger than the whole universe.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

*poof* (none / 0) (#126)
by Amorsen on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:13:56 AM EST

Nature just became the empty set.

[ Parent ]
other options. (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by joshsisk on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:37:03 PM EST

The answer to the question "are people meat robots?" is either "yes" or "no".

Wrong. Other possible answers include "I don't know", "I have no opinion" and the ever-popular "Who cares?"
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

except... (5.00 / 2) (#194)
by ragabr on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:56:24 AM EST

most things in life don't fit into aristotelian dichotomies. nice try though.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
Logical phallocy. (none / 0) (#209)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 09:47:58 AM EST

Most don't. That doesn't mean, though, that Aristotelian dichotomies do not exist.

Case and point: the question we are discussing.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Don't buy it (none / 0) (#239)
by Alhazred on Fri May 02, 2003 at 08:53:07 PM EST

When you run into a nonsense question, or a question that no matter how much you ask it you cannot get any closer to an answer, then you're just asking the wrong questions.

Consider your 'meat robot' question. This is the classic 'determinism vs free will' question. Depending on what perspective you choose to adopt you can pick any answer you want. Its just not a valid question, it cannot be meaningfully answered, any more than the question 'is it possible for God to make a square circle?', or 'What is the meaning of life?'.

I don't mean we can't get some benefit from considering these propositions, I just mean that they aren't really questions, more like internal rhetoric.

If you want answers, reformulate your propositions. Ask a question like 'How does the concept of the equivalence of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics with one single unbounded deterministic spacetime relate to the concept of determinism' and when you start considering the implications for the nature of time, etc. you may come to some conclusions. They may not be correct, and they may only 'mean' something under certain epistemological assumptions, but they are answers of a sort.

Or you can just be happy without answers, which is my answer.

I am the path. There is no path.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

Decline of Society (4.25 / 4) (#33)
by RyoCokey on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:47:19 PM EST

Society has been declining ever since agriculture was established and apparently continues to this day.



"Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him." - Ralph Peters
Actually (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by hamsterboy on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 12:42:32 PM EST

I would say that society has been declining since industrialism. Agrarian life was hard, but happy. Hamster

Hamster
[ Parent ]

Rubbish. It was short, ugly and brutal. (4.00 / 3) (#71)
by Peter Vile on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:28:47 PM EST

Just like me.

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.
[ Parent ]
Would you care to back this up? (none / 0) (#187)
by irrevenant on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:19:18 PM EST

This is a position contrary to popular opinion. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but I'd like to see it backed up with some evidence before I throw out 'what we all know'.

[ Parent ]
The United States is Fucked Up (2.00 / 6) (#52)
by rdskutter on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:52:31 AM EST

News at 11.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

It's "Film at Eleven" (none / 0) (#75)
by Edgy Loner on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:09:26 PM EST

and it's getting old anyway. We need a new hip catch phrase to indicate old news that everybody already knew.

This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful knife.
[ Parent ]
News at 10? [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#135)
by melia on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:51:46 AM EST


Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]
For folks in the midwest perhaps (none / 0) (#175)
by Edgy Loner on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:03:55 PM EST

but it won't play on the coasts. You'll need to do better than that.

This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful knife.
[ Parent ]
I know, it's appaling (1.77 / 22) (#54)
by Peter Vile on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:57:20 AM EST

That "no touching" rule in schools is really putting a damper on my sex life.  Now I have to lure them outside to my van.

Say, would anyone like to see some puppies?

---
rusty made nowhere near $80K this year for posting diaries about how fucking great it is spending our money.

Promises sex (2.18 / 11) (#59)
by SanSeveroPrince on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 11:32:17 AM EST

but then fails to be exciting.

-1

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


+1 Good Subject (4.55 / 9) (#61)
by Noize on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 11:58:16 AM EST

The Paradox of being one of the most sex-crazed Nations ind private and having one of the most prudish puritan administration and mainstream media in the USA always gives me the creeps. Watching american mainstream movies with the constant motion of "violence is good/sex is bad" makes me hope that this part of the american will never be adopted by the more liberal societys. Good article but a bit to long, most people won´t read all(too many words make my head swirl...).

Paradox (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by Josh A on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:18:47 AM EST

I'm not sure how well I can express this, but here goes. It seems like a lot of people around me (I live in the US) think sex is too important and don't think sex is important enough. They will flip flop however they think will be most effective in convincing you to maintain the status quo.

From sexology and policy recommendation, to gay rights & gender rights, to alternative forms of relationship such as polyamory, these ideas will meet with criticism for how "seriously" they take sex... the tactic here is to try to make you feel as if you are a deviant for "being obsessed with sex".

And these same people who will tell you "it's just sex" can, in the same breath, tell you all about how important sex is in the "proper" context... how sacred it is, etc etc... wrapped up in a bunch of mystical b.s.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
question: (4.66 / 3) (#70)
by ethereal on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 01:26:29 PM EST

How do other primates discipline their young? Don't they use physical remonstrations (i.e. hitting the young'un when they act up) at times?

Kudos on a very well-researched and thought-provoking article, BTW.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

What bonobo boy fails to mention (3.60 / 5) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:07:33 PM EST

is that Bonobos also have wars, gang rape and cannibalism, besides putting out when they think it might prevent violence.

So, I'm not real sure they are some sort of "moral model" we should aspire to.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
And humans don't? [N/T] (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by Theranthrope on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 09:08:27 PM EST


"Turmeric applied as a suppository will increase intelligence." -- HidingMyName
[
Parent ]
And your point would be? (none / 0) (#144)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:54:45 PM EST


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Nope, you're thinking of chimpanzees.[nt] (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 08:47:06 AM EST


--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Bonobos *are* chimps (none / 0) (#145)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:55:20 PM EST

At least, one species of chimp.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus are separate.. (5.00 / 1) (#198)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 07:59:44 PM EST

..species, and most primatologists reserve the term "chimpanzee" for Pan troglodytes. Bonobos were not recognized as a separate species until recently, though -- they look similar to chimps, but looks can be deceiving.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Okay, assume for a moment that your right (4.00 / 1) (#147)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:02:02 PM EST

That some chimps display these behaviors and other species do not.

Doesn't that destroy the relevance of your comparison? If it's such a successful strategy, why don't other species use it?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Who said its successful? (none / 0) (#185)
by zakalwe on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:23:32 PM EST

The claim was that it reduced/replaced violence/war/rape among the community. This isn't necessarily a very good survival strategy for chimpanzees - rape is great for reproducing your genes, and violence is a good method of establishing dominance. Humans on the other hand, whose only real threat comes from their own specis, would certainly benefit from a reduction in violence.

[ Parent ]
Who says a reduction of violence is success? (2.00 / 1) (#192)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:32:57 AM EST

Why wouldn't an *increase* in violence add additional selective pressures on the human gene pool, resulting in an improved gene pool?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
I think thats what I said (5.00 / 1) (#195)
by zakalwe on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 10:57:31 AM EST

In evolutionary terms an increase in violence could very well be a good thing - if you want to produce a more competitive, fit human. Personally, I don't care a bit for that - a less violent society would be a far better result for me, and every other individual in it. As an individual, evolution doesn't work in my best interest. Its rather dubious if even the evolutionary goals are beneficial in the long term - as a species, intelligence is now a far better survival stragegy than physical accomplishment and dominance.

[ Parent ]
And why does less violence benefit you? (none / 0) (#205)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:36:11 AM EST

because you can't compete in a violent environment? So you try to solve the meta-problem instead?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Because (5.00 / 1) (#211)
by zakalwe on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 10:38:08 AM EST

Because I prefer a world where the chance of getting killed or hurt is low. It doesn't provide the slightest bit of comfort to me that a man who rapes someone is improvimg the survival chances of his DNA. I prefer a world where it is less likely that I or someone I know is raped or killed. Most people feel the same, to the point that every human sociery does solve the meta-problem by artifically weighting the rules so that rape and murder isn't so great an evolutionary advantage.

[ Parent ]
Sigh. You're almost there, but you miss the point (none / 0) (#212)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:23:02 PM EST

Your preferences are irrelevant. There are good social benefits to prohibiting rape; such benefits increase genetic diversity and as such, do confer a long term evolutionary advantage. This is one narrow example of why, in the very long term, the pacifist farmers tend to outlast the aggressive raiders.

In such terms, it is easy to see how not only anti-rape laws but general codes of ethics emerge - because societies which adhere to such codes out live societies that do not.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Only relevant to social animals (none / 0) (#199)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:18:06 PM EST

In order for sex as a conflict solving mechanism to evolve, you need complex social structures in which these conflicts take place. For complex socio-sexual behavior you also need fairly high brain functions. So there aren't really that many species for which this strategy would work: chimpanzees, bonobos, dolphins, humans .. incidentally, dolphins engage in sex for pleasure quite a lot, and so do many humans -- and bonobos split off from the more brutal chimpanzees. These are the "perverted animals" -- other animals, including chimps, have sex for procreation, not recreation. In that respect at least we are closer to the bonobo than to the chimpanzee.

We really don't know how successful the bonobo would have been as a species without our intervention. Certainly, their sexual behavior provided survival advantages, or it would not have evolved in the first place. As has been pointed out, whether a particular strategy is successful for survival in the jungle, savannah or sea is not particularly important for deciding whether it may be useful to us and our culture, however. That it would be useful has been conclusively shown by the research cited in my article.

As for the inevitable argument that "anti-pleasure societies are more successful", you may want to read this text.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Flipper would have been a rapist... (4.00 / 1) (#227)
by Max Leung on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 12:23:21 PM EST

I hope you realize by now that there is a species of dolphins that practice mass rape. Males, usually in groups of 5, band together and harass pods of female dolphins, eventually separating one form the group and capturing her. Over the course of days or weeks, they gang-rape her until they get bored with her and allow her to leave, or another band of males steal her from them. I suggest you read more literature on the subject. Your knowledge is more limited than you realize! I suggest you read the following works, to catch up on the latest findings on animal and human behavior: The Origins of Virtue, by Matt Ridley The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, by Steven Pinker. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, by Matt Ridley (I believe this is where the dolphin information can be found -- many animals have sex for pleasure, but there are other reasons besides that and procreation). I found your article lacking in breadth, but serves its purpose I guess.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, right (none / 0) (#233)
by Eloquence on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:51:19 AM EST

Somehow I get suspicious when an American or Australian biologist observes bottlenose dolphins and thinks they are "gang raping" or "harassing" each other. "Mass rape", that's a good one, too -- nice association with war crimes. Ever watch children play in a permissive environment? You frequently have a situation where five children are "ganging up" on another, tickling and teasing him/her. This is playfulness, not violence. When you have a species with limited communication skills, much flirting and teasing will inevitably take place on the physical level.

I will believe that these dolphins are being raped when you show me electrode readings from the brain of the female dolphin that prove she is experiencing fear, panic, pain etc. Yes, to determine rape, the question if she/he "wanted it" is essential. And you won't be able to answer that question by simpistically judging dolphin behavior by twisted human standards.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

What if the biologist in question was an Arab? (none / 0) (#242)
by Max Leung on Thu May 08, 2003 at 01:04:17 PM EST

Well, by our definitions, that is what is happening...gang rape. Literally, that is what it is. The female dolphin is observed trying to escape. Your reasoning about asking for electrode readings can be turned around and applied to human females as well...Do you need to believe that a woman is being raped only if you had her electrode readings while the rape is in progress?

[ Parent ]
No (1.00 / 1) (#243)
by Eloquence on Thu May 08, 2003 at 03:30:08 PM EST

Because I can ask her. Man, you people are so predictable.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
What is that supposed to mean? (none / 0) (#244)
by Max Leung on Tue May 20, 2003 at 03:54:58 PM EST

It seems that you are less interested in science, and more interested in your righteousness. That would explain your article's lack of objectivity, and even worse, its lack of evidence. It is attitudes similar to yours that is the real reason behind the so-called decline of sex science (have you watched any episodes from the excellent documentary series, "The Sex Files"?). Why is it that when a person believes he or she is right despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he always resorts to thinly-veiled attacks on a person or a group of persons? You need to buttress your "argument" better. Try introducing facts for a change, instead of resorting to silly patronizing statements.

[ Parent ]
Eloquence is mostly right... (none / 0) (#141)
by Josh A on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:21:59 AM EST

To my understanding, bonobos are a type of chimp. But it's the common chimp that behaves as you describe, not bonobos. They are fairly violence-free, whereas, yes, chimps form tribes and wage war on each other. And are very sexually repressed, comparatively :-)

 The lesson? Make love, not war. Your choice.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Cats in a healthy environment ... (5.00 / 3) (#85)
by jurgisb on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:48:36 PM EST

... play. And play much, especially young kittens. Parent-cats spend much time playing behaviour-molding games with kittens, who then improvise between themselves when parents are unavailable.

I've never seen an unabused community of cats living in a stressless environment exhibit any violent tendencies to one another.

Of course, they're not primates, point noted, but what I'm trying to say is that it's entirely possible in nature.

So, that's it - the old-as-the-universe notion of playing, and having fun, as the ultimate learning tool.

And let no tool tell you otherwise ;)

[ Parent ]

stressless environment (none / 0) (#108)
by des mots on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:11:07 PM EST

A stressless environment is not common in nature.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (4.00 / 1) (#152)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:16:07 PM EST

Isn't it common for male cats to kill kittens/cubs that aren't theirs when they take up with a female with kittens? Happens with big cats and the small ones.

I doubt we should be using other animals as a main pointer to how we should behave. Many people have a rather rose tinted view of animals.

Certain human societies and cultures have achieved dominance and strength through the ages. In a way - a survival of the fittest. Disregarding all that development for the different chimp or cat cultures would be silly.

Since we have brains we should use them. Sure the US Gov is being a bit silly, but so are the fanatics on the various sides.


[ Parent ]

Right. (none / 0) (#168)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:53:47 PM EST

You mean like when a tom comes by and kills the kittens to force the female back into heat? Nah. That never happens.

I bet you think they eat plants, too.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Cats eat grass ... (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by pyramid termite on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 11:45:10 AM EST

... to make themselves throw up their hairballs. The trick is, of course, to make sure they stay outside long enough to do it out there instead of on your bed.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Citizens for Decent Literature (5.00 / 5) (#83)
by ebonkyre on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:16:48 PM EST

A 2-reel "educational" film by the CfDL, entitled "Perversion For Profit" can be viewed at the Internet Moving Image Archive. It is well written (for propaganda) and quite persuasive in it's condemnation of pornography... at least, up to the part about how:
"This moral decay weakens our resistance against the Communist masters of deceit."
Reel 1 12m 23s
Reel 2 17m 00s


The truth hurts sometimes... Nothing beats a nice fat cock. ShiftyStoner
Question for the Sex Party Candidate (2.00 / 2) (#84)
by knott art on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:45:22 PM EST

Are you hard on anal sex and flatulation/ Do you advocate teaching masturbation/ in the schools and churches of our land/ through federal grants to Helping Hand?
Knott Art
excellent, excellent, excellent (4.80 / 5) (#87)
by circletimessquare on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:56:01 PM EST

very good article, kudos to the author. sexual hypocrisy can almost be a litmus test on the health of a society.

here is a question: how healthy is a society?

answer: look at the prisons. look at the homosexuals.

the health and vibrancy and potency of any society can be judged just by looking at the amount of rights of those two groups.

they are like canaries a coal mine.

when the rights of these two groups suffer, then you can say with almost dead certainty that the rights of individuals in society at large will suffer eventually too.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

But look at Rome (1.00 / 5) (#95)
by Stick on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 05:02:13 PM EST

While they were all bumming each other the barbarians came and killed them. This means that a bunch of muslims are coming to kill us all! Well, all the bum boys at least.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
You mean how they were ruled by (none / 0) (#156)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:54:26 PM EST

the dilletante, anti-intellectual, superstitious sons of former leaders?

How they tried to stave off collapse by conquering more lands?

How they suppressed any information that contradicted their leaders beliefs?

And you think the bummin' around is what caused their fall?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

The issue (4.60 / 5) (#93)
by tokugawa on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:56:14 PM EST

Is not homosexuality or sexual deviance or some such, it is a culture that values uniformity and the status quo above all else. There is little room for being different, and by that I mean that marked differences will never truly be accepted by the masses. At best, they are tolerated.

If we wish to grow as a people we must move beyond tolerance and replace it with acceptance. In some areas it seems that even tolerance is a stretch, an unrealized ideal.

If homosexuality was accepted rather than merely tolerated, then it would be a non-issue, the same way the differences between people with brown and hazel eyes is a non-issue.

But... (2.50 / 4) (#96)
by Stick on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 05:13:33 PM EST

What about people who subscribe to the notion that homosexuality is little more than a sexual disorder and should be treated, not tolerated. Should we accept depression and people killing themselves? Young men are being lured into a world of sexual deviancy and abuse and you want to accept it? Shall we accept murderers and thieves as well? Where will it end!!??


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
fascinating (none / 0) (#98)
by tokugawa on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 05:59:16 PM EST

I have no answer

[ Parent ]
not fascinating; ignorant (4.33 / 3) (#137)
by Josh A on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:09:28 AM EST

[i]What about people who subscribe to the notion that homosexuality is little more than a sexual disorder and should be treated, not tolerated.[/i]

What about them? They are free to engage in whatever delusional flights of fancy they wish--just leave us out of it. When they want to wake up and smell the reality, they can come back and join the game.

[i]Should we accept depression and people killing themselves?  Shall we accept murderers and thieves as well?[/i]

Hmm... depression, suicide, homosexuality, [b]violent crime & theft[/b]. Which one doesn't fit? Which is a violation of someone else's rights? I've given you a hint to make it easy for you. Why would you compare these things?

[i]Where will it end!!??[/i]

Doesn't it end where your rights stop and mine begin?

[i]Young men are being lured into a world of sexual deviancy and abuse and you want to accept it?[/i]

I don't care if you accept it or not, I'm too busy enjoying my sexual "deviancy" ;-) Hope your night's as fun as mine...

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
whoops (none / 0) (#138)
by Josh A on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:10:16 AM EST

Sorry for the screwed up formatting in my other post :(

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
homophobia (5.00 / 5) (#111)
by des mots on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:28:02 PM EST

What about people who subscribe to the notion that homosexuality is little more than a sexual disorder and should be treated, not tolerated.

Very easy: they feel bad or are a danger for other people => they should be treated. Of course, treatments against homophobia may not be very effective, that could be a problem.



[ Parent ]
"treatment" (none / 0) (#171)
by Zxaos on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 05:42:57 PM EST

The ASA went almost as far as to denounce such "treatments" as unethical in all cases. There is little to no documented evidence that these so called treatments work; the studies which say they do are generally short term studies. If one examines the long term studies on this subject, one finds that the subjects of the treatment may "convert" for a period of time, but it is usually only a repression of their true nature, which resurfaces months or years later accompanied in some cases with moderate to severe psychological damage and stress.

Zx.
You and my fists are going to have a discussion on the nature of truth.


[ Parent ]
Easy (5.00 / 3) (#115)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:48:22 PM EST

What about people who subscribe to the notion that homosexuality is little more than a sexual disorder and should be treated, not tolerated.

If those people happen to find themselves turning homosexual, they should seek treatment. But they certainly shouldn't attempt to force treatment on people who don't subscribe to that notion. And they shouldn't attempt to make people feel depressed about being gay if they are worried about depression and suicide.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Value Judgements (none / 0) (#121)
by Space on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:26:16 AM EST

Hey skin colour could be a hereditary abnormality how are we going to tread that? So long as you keep making value judgements these types of arguments will keep going around in circles, let people make their own value judgements If they must be made at all!
<recycle your pets>
[ Parent ]
One should not be able to force treatment(nt) (none / 0) (#197)
by PowerPimp on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 04:37:38 PM EST


You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
[ Parent ]
Hmm.... (none / 0) (#170)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 05:20:18 PM EST

If we wish to grow as a people we must move beyond tolerance and replace it with acceptance.

Then you must not only tolerate my intolerance, you must accept my intolerance.

How could I discriminate against gays- unless they tell me they're gay? There's no obvious marker for gays, unlike a black person or a woman, etc.

How the hell would I know who/what you like to make love to? I have no clue, nor do I want to, about what you and your wife/gay lover/dog do in your bedroom. In any case, I don't want to hear about it- it's none of my business (yeah, I did make a diary entry about my dick but hell...)

If we must tolerate and even accept homosexuality, why not bestiality? As long as it's not my dog, or daughter, or grandma you're buttfucking, why should I care where you put your pathetic little pecker?

Personally, since I'm single again I wish you fellows would all turn gay. Then I'd have all the women to myself!

But I'm sick of gays asking for "equal rights". They already HAVE equal rights. Acceptance? Why should your views demand my acceptance, or even tolerance? My God demands that I not accept homosexual acts. He also demands that I not judge you for them. What you and your dog do is between you, your dog, and God (whether or not you believe in Him).

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

How about... (5.00 / 2) (#193)
by ragabr on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 09:48:25 AM EST

when I'm walking down the street holding hands with my same-sex lover?

why should someone not feel free to express themselves without fear of discrimination. whether non-traditional orientations technically or even usually have equal rights, there is a huge amount of discrimination that continues in day to day life in this country. in fact, it's not even limited to people who deviate from sexual "norms" but turn from most any part of consensus and unless you hide it very well all of a sudden life becomes more difficult.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
[ Parent ]
Why not (none / 0) (#221)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 10:06:05 PM EST

Personally, I don't like seeing hetero couples walking down the street holding hands either. It just reminds me I don't have a woman.

You might consider that a man walking down the street seeing you holding hands similarly be reminded of his lonliness.

It doesn't hurt to consider others' feelings and not be so preoccupied with thinking someone's "discriminating" against you.

Personally, when I see two guys holding hands I laugh. Most heteros I know have the same reaction. And we're NOT laughing WITH you.

Understand that what you do isn't natural or normal, and most people aren't like that. Seeing something incongrously out of place, like a dog and cat kissing each other, is seen as funny by those who aren't threatened by it

You must understand that some ARE threatened by it. "Homophobia"- what, exactly, is it a fear of? Cartainly not that the homosexual will attack him. I'd say the phobia is a fear of being thought homosexual himself, or that he may harbor some self-doubts.

But since people DO feel threatened, it is only common courtesy not to threaten them, or to shove it in their faces. Just have a little discretion.

You're not normal. (neither am I, my abnormality is of quite a different nature). Stop pretending you are.

A genuine question I've wondered about- if you are attracted to male features, why are you not attracted to male looking women? I've seen women that looked more masculine than me.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Gays to society: Get over it (5.00 / 3) (#223)
by skunk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 03:24:57 AM EST

But since people DO feel threatened, it is only common courtesy not to threaten them, or to shove it in their faces. Just have a little discretion.

Would you give the same advice to a racially mixed couple who want to hold hands?

God forbid people have to learn to deal with things that fall outside their idealized social milieu. I think that advising a (gay) couple not to hold hands in public may be helpful inasmuch as it prevents potential harm/abuse from any hard-core bigots within eyeshot, but to do so merely as a courtesy to onlookers only helps perpetuate the very reason that the advice is being given in the first place. How are people to become comfortable with the existence of gay folk in their world, if the very least indicators of that are suppressed out of such discretion?

A genuine question I've wondered about- if you are attracted to male features, why are you not attracted to male looking women? I've seen women that looked more masculine than me.

I would turn this question around: If you are attracted to female features, then why are you not attracted to more-than-usually effeminate men?

Gay folks may have their brains wired a little differently, but I've found that many of the modes of thought w.r.t. one's preferred mate hold the same regardless of his/her sex.

--SS
[ Parent ]

You missed the part (none / 0) (#230)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 08:08:17 PM EST

Where I said even heteros.

Actually, if I saw you and your lover I'd probably think one of you was a really ugly flat chested woman.

As to mixed race couples, yes. Just because I may not have anything against it doesn't mean someone else may not.

You should know that what you do is no less unnatural than a man and his doberman. Of course, nobody is going to know about him and his doberman, because dogs are naturally affectionate to everybody they're not trying to kill. And he's no more going to suck his dog off in public than you and your lover will.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Be considerate: Don't hold hands! (none / 0) (#231)
by skunk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:45:57 PM EST

...Where I said even heteros.

You said that a hetero couple might refrain from holding hands in public, so that lonely onlookers might not be reminded of the sad state of their lives. By the same token, said couple could do even better:


  • They might refrain from laughing with each other in public, so that those who lament the lack of humor in their lives need not feel bad;

  • They might decide not to wear fancy clothes, that those who cannot afford them (or have too poor a fashion sense to even consider buying them) do not end up thinking any less of themselves;

  • Heck, if the couple wanted to be really considerate, they could act like they're miserable all the time when they're out in public. Then no one will have reason to envy any aspect of their relationship, and everyone ends up happy!


Or, they could simply leave it at that anyone who has a problem with their holding hands should just get over it. That the burden is on said maladjusted person not to take offense at seeing them happy together, and not on themselves to hide the fact, when they have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of it.

I mean, come on: If you're walking down the street with your (female) SO, are you really not going to hold hands just because it might bother some antisocial loser? Are you really not going to say, "#@$& them---if they don't like seeing us happy together, that's their problem!"

You should know that what you do is no less unnatural than a man and his doberman.

Well over 90% of what humans do nowadays is arguably unnatural (and good luck finding a consensus on what makes up the remaining <10%). The "naturalness" of gay relationships is immaterial; it is "normalness" that needs to be attained. The same kind of normalness that makes "Jungle Fever" couples a mostly unremarkable sight today, despite being a whopper of an aberration historically.

In the end, there are gay couples out there who love each other, in the same way that racially mixed couples love each other, in the same way that plain-vanilla hetero couples love each other---and it is destructive for society not to openly accomodate all of them. Such accomodation is never going to come about without a transition period in which some people will be made highly uncomfortable. And I don't think for a second that causing this discomfort is something one would properly admonish on the basis of courtesy or discretion. One might as well say that Rosa Parks should have moved to the back seat of the bus, because to do otherwise was impolite.

--SS
[ Parent ]

Look, (none / 0) (#238)
by mcgrew on Fri May 02, 2003 at 07:29:23 PM EST

You're not going to change the world. You're not going to change me. And you're not going to get anywhere playing word games.

I personally don't show pubic affection, for the reason I gave. I'm not saying that I'm going to condemn you for it. It's not my place to condemn anyone for anything.

My original point is that being homosexual is not like being black.

If you walk down the street holding hands with another man, it's no different than walking your dog, wearing a Tshirt that says "I like to fuck my dog".

Bestiality is no more abnormal than homosexuality. The person who likes to get it on with his great dane has HIS "brain wired different" too.

And it's not my place to judge him, either.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Interesting off topic historical point (4.50 / 4) (#97)
by parabolis on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 05:25:41 PM EST

First off I suppose I should give fair warning that my comment is an off topic historical note that starts out with grammar Nazi speak. I realize that almost anybody posting anything online anywhere has been touched by at least one grammar Nazi flame war. Consider this fair warning. If you are prone to be sucked into or bothered by grammar Nazi flame wars then just keep scrolling down to another comment.

The United States have a strong empirical tradition

I thought your treating the "United States" as a plural noun was rather interesting. A history professor pointed out that the Civil War subtly changed forever the term "United States" because before the war everyone would have said "the United States have," however after the war the plurality is lost and people (generally) say "the United States has."

I have never heard anyone treat the US as a plural and I am curious whether you (or people you know) talk (and/or think) about the US that way or if it was just a random accident.


the US (none / 0) (#114)
by des mots on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:37:41 PM EST

I have never heard anyone treat the US as a plural and I am curious whether you (or people you know) talk (and/or think) about the US that way or if it was just a random accident.

I do, because I speak french. We write "les États-Unis". In french the plural form "les" is not the same as the singular one "le" or "la". In german (the author's langage I think) it's a bit more complicated, but the plural is generally different.



[ Parent ]
mere lazyness, imo (none / 0) (#131)
by Quark on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 08:48:22 AM EST

The United States have The Republic of the United States has Saying "The United States has" makes every hair in my neck stand up straight...it just doesn't sound right. Dutchy, btw, just in case you wondered ;-)

So much bandwidth, so little time...
[ Parent ]
British usage (none / 0) (#132)
by zakalwe on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:29:28 AM EST

Its an accepted usage in the UK to apply either has or have to collective nouns. Some googling turns up this and this:
In British usage, collective nouns are more often treated as plurals: The government have not announced a new policy. The team are playing in the test matches next week.
Some more googling shows that the american usage is more common (at least when talking about the US), but "the United states have" is pretty common too.

[ Parent ]
in Slovak (none / 0) (#224)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:50:14 AM EST

if it looks gramatically like plural, it is used like plural:
* United States have,
* Organization of the United Nations has (because the main-word is singular Organization, not the plural Nations),
* United Arabic Emirates have,
...no other examples now coming to my mind.

And, in Esperanto, it makes no difference, because singular and plural verbs have the same form. (However, "Usono" is singular.)

[ Parent ]

Heh.. (3.33 / 3) (#99)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:06:11 PM EST

hehe... "Science enjoys a positive reputation, and the public generally expects laws to be rationally justifiable." He he ha ho "Sex and social science therefore should have influence on policies regarding disease control, sex education, pornography, child sexual abuse, and so on." HA HA HHEEE HEEEE WOW HEEE OOOH STOPPIT YER KILLIN ME!!!!!!! WHAHOO HA HA HA HA!!!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Yay Science! (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by jefu on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:10:36 PM EST

"Science enjoys a positive reputation"

This undoubtedly explains why the "astrology" section in the local Barnes and Noble is rather larger than the sections for Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry put together.

And why the science/technology section was moved to the most obscure corner of the store possible.

And why the Christian section is probably larger than all of the science/technology/computing sections all added together - at least if you leave out all the "MS Word for Scorpios" books and the like.

Alexi De Tocqueville is probably chuckling knowingly in his grave.

[ Parent ]

reputation vs popularity (none / 0) (#188)
by irrevenant on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:50:30 PM EST

Reputation is not necessarily reflected in popularity.

IMO, scientific literature is less popular than many other forms of literature because it is usually a much more challenging read, and, frankly, people don't need to know it. People don't need a medical library - they just know to go see a doctor when they're sick. The fact that they don't read scientific books, doesn't imply that they don't trust in scientists.

You also seem to imply that "new age" beliefs are incompatible with science, when often they aren't. It is entirely possible (and I believe common) to believe that scientists know what they're on about, but that they just haven't got around to discovering the existence of ESP/UFOs/Ghost/whatever yet.



[ Parent ]
Erm, ahem, sorry about the outburst... (3.57 / 7) (#100)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:13:48 PM EST

Have you seen the government propaganda film Reefer Madness? You can find it on Kazaa if you have broadband, it is one of the funniest movies ever made, especially when you're wasted. I saw it at a NORML meeting in 1976, back when pot was cheap enough to actually smoke (before "Mr. Alzheimer's" Reagan declared war on pot to get the blacks hooked on Contra Coke)

That was the basis for convincing congress to outlaw reefer. All subsequent studies were suppressed.

1st Bureaucrat: "Get me some numbers."
2nd Bureaucrat: "Sure, boss. What numbers do you like?"

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Excellent Article (4.92 / 13) (#102)
by spacemoose on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:51:13 PM EST

It's always interesting to consider these sorts of issues. I've been living away from America for the last 4 years, but it looks like I have to move back now. I'm pretty anxious about it, as I really don't like living in America. This kind of thing is closely related to why I don't feel good about going back. We like to talk about freedom of speach, but boy we just don't have it.

Some might say I'm stretching things linking this with Freedom of Speach, or diluting the (very serious) problem of censorship of science. But man, the sexual bigotry in America is astounding. It's right up there with terrorism and drugs as one of the paranoia tools used by the govt to strip us of our privacy and liberties. Don't want the government to have free access to your hard drive? Why, are you hiding [drug evidence, kiddie porn, terrorist connections]?

And you have to be careful what you say, lest you be subject to harrassment at work.

An example. In Italy, it's apparantly pretty normal to expose the breasts of 16 year old girs in magazanes. I'm talkinga bout a pretty soft, girl in some nylons and no top kind of spread over several pages. And these are in TV guides and movie review magazines, not esoteric pornography.

Well, frankly my impression of Italians is they have a hell of a lot more family values than we do. The men are definately pigs when it comes to women, but I think it's only more evident because they are more honest about it. I don't think they wind up acting more piggish than American men. They just like to talk about it more. Okay, and they seem to have an obsession with anal sex, but I don't think this is related to the 16 year old breasts...

My point being I don't think anyone is getting hurt by this, including the girls who can go on to perfectly respectible careers, and don't get judged in the least by anyone for having shown their tits. Hell in Italy there was even a retired (female) porn star in politics (I think in the congress?). Fantastic.

Now, would I feel safe hanging around my American office water cooler and arguing "well, I don't think there's anything wrong with allowing photographs of topless 16 year old girls"? Hell no. I'd feel pretty secure that I would get dismissed, or at least reprimanded. I'd be lucky if all I got was the cold shoulder and a lot of whispering behind my back, and maybe one zealot calling the authorities about me.

It's okay to outlaw a certain behavior if you think it is really harmful to society (and people support you in this), but when you come down on any discussion of these things through fear of persecution, well that's more harmful to society than most things, and that's why the constitution tries to protect agains it.

Boo. Long winded and certainly didn't say anything new. But yeah mean, this is scary stuff, and a lot of it is new information to me. Thanks

You speak of NIH funding as though it were a right (3.60 / 10) (#103)
by LilDebbie on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 06:59:49 PM EST

Frankly, the government decides how it spends its money based off of the general will of the masses. This isn't suppression by any means. I should mention that this is one of my biggest beefs with liberals; the belief that if the government is not giving money to programs they support it is a form of oppression or censorship or what have you. No one is preventing scientists from doing this research on their own. No one is preventing anyone's access to pornography (except for the whole under 18 years of age thing). The government is not actively preventing information about contraceptive use and "healthy" sexual attitudes. All it's doing is not encouraging the distribution of this information through its own institutions. That's all. No conspiracy here. If you think sexual science is so damn important to the health and well-being to society, gather the funding yourself.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

The government (4.50 / 4) (#110)
by Jman1 on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:26:58 PM EST

"All it's doing is not encouraging the distribution of this information through its own institutions."

I think that's what we're complaining about. It's not censorship per se, but it is flagrantly neglectful behavior. We -- as a society -- should be pushing science for all of our benefit. Not, say, refusing to fund research because someone uses the word "gay" or mentions condoms. When is the right going to wake up and realize that the solution to most of the world's problems does not lie in plugging your ears and going "NANANANANANANANANANANANANA" so that no information can get in?

[ Parent ]

Talking loudly to those not interested (4.66 / 3) (#112)
by LilDebbie on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:33:14 PM EST

Perhaps you missed that bit about the will of the people. Just because a group of intellectuals says, "this will be for the benefit of society," does not mean society agrees. This is why we don't have a meritocracy or technocracy. This is why the illiterate hick out in West Virginia you think is incapable of dressing himself has as much say in government as you do: society will determine what is best for society. If you think scientists and people with Ph.Ds should be running the show, move to France (before you jump the gun and think I'm blasting France for the sake of blasting France, you should know France has a technocratic tradition where it isn't so much the people who decide, but the people who went to college). Otherwise, deal with our fucked up sexual repression because apparently the majority is getting off on it.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Slavery was the will of society! Deb grow up! (2.00 / 1) (#190)
by lukme on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 02:27:53 AM EST

Just because naive Debbie has no need for sex research, doesn't mean that it is not needed. Do you think the boy or girl who is raped would like to know the results of this research? Wait, if the boy is raped it must be by a woman, because it is inconcivable that a male could rape another male.

It is myoptic people like you, who are going to eventually make this country part of the third world. I think you need to do some introspection and find your own vision (not that of some coporate conglomerate/politician).

l.

PS: the will of the people can always be bent by policy or lack there of.


-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Technocracy (4.00 / 3) (#123)
by o reor on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:19:58 AM EST

Since you're talking about France, well, sure, there is an annoying, inbreeding class of technocrats ruling most of the country. When I say "inbreeding", I really mean it : you will seldom see somebody without a "Polytechnique" or "ENA" or "Inspection des Finances" degree at the head of an important public institution or a political party, and even most of the major companies have their CEOs selected on this kind of criteria ; since most board members also graduated from the same schools, they tend to prefer the young guy just fresh out of those schools rather than the experienced guy who's been working at the company for 15 years in a high position, but with a degree from a minor university. This is absolutely disgusting. And most of those guys also have children who will be encouraged to go to those schools, and so on.

To go back on topic, I should also say that I am somehow grateful that some difficult political decisions in France were shoved on the agenda by "those scientists and people with Ph.Ds running the show" : the abolition of death penalty, the legalization of abortion, the right to consciencous objection for young men (who had to go to jail if they refused to do their military service), and a couple more of them like contraception laws.

Now, these laws really were a big step forwards for the younger generations (people between 15 and 35 years old); however, you can be pretty sure that those laws were not popular among the older generations, and if France had been through a referendum vote to adopt those laws, they would certainly have been rejected. Yet, 25 years after, only a tiny minority regrets the "good ol'days" where abortion was a crime, contraception was banned, the death penalty was applicable and so on. So, kudos for the "technocrats" of those days who could actually see a little bit further into the future than average Maurice or Jacques Sixpack.

[ Parent ]

Who asks? (4.33 / 3) (#134)
by melia on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:45:36 AM EST

This isn't suppression by any means.

Vs.

All it's doing is not encouraging the distribution of this information through its own institutions.

So how, exactly, are your "masses" supposed to make the decision on whether to continue with this research? If the government is suppressing distribution of information then it is actively failing in its duty.

Besides, to suggest that just because your government is elected means that it has blanket approval for every policy is ridiculous - especially in a two party system. This could only be achieved with a ballot on every single minute action the government takes, which of course is an impossibility. Haven't you ever voted on one issue, while disagreeing with another? Or at least, voted a government in, then expressed disatisfaction at a particular policy?

If you think sexual science is so damn important to the health and well-being to society, gather the funding yourself.

As you yourself seem to have something against liberals, (who I am not here to defend, by the way) then surely you must see the absurdity of this statement. The reason the government is required to fund these programmes is because there is no other body capable or willing to do so. It's a public good - like the military, or streetlighting, for example. Surely the major role of government is to fill in the holes left by the private individual or NGO.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

What I find really confusing (none / 0) (#183)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:06:08 PM EST

is that Eloquence is apparently a German. So why is a German, living in Germany, obsessing about an internal US matter and complaining about how we spend our own tax money?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
I can't speak for the Germans... (4.80 / 5) (#186)
by irrevenant on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:38:42 PM EST

... but I'm Australian, and what the US does is of great concern to me.

The US is currently the most powerful nation in the world, both economically and militarily. Everything it does tends to have a trickle-on effect to the rest of the world.

In this particular case, if the US chooses to turn away from funding certain forms of scientific investigation, that will greatly reduce developments in that field, worldwide.

Note that this is not the same thing as saying that the world relies on the US for it's scientific developments. But scientific researches tend to have an autocatalytic effect - you develop something based on something we developed based on something you developed...



[ Parent ]
So Ignorance is a Right? (none / 0) (#237)
by Alhazred on Fri May 02, 2003 at 07:28:21 PM EST

What are you saying? That if a majority of the population of the US believes the Earth is flat and bans space research because it might contradict their opinion on the subject that the rest of us should sit on our hands and just say "Well, the majority rules".

Go read John Stuart Mill's 'On Liberty' my friend. Several times over preferably.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

Tne New York Times? (none / 0) (#104)
by aftk2 on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 07:00:37 PM EST

...but I thought they were dying?!

Moral Ideals (1.33 / 3) (#118)
by Ashcrow on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:19:52 AM EST

I disagree with your story moraly. If someone came to my company and asked for private funding to promote cybersex with new skin-glove technology I would surely say no ... because I don't think it is moral. While I can't speak for the American people being just one, I do belive that the majorty of people probably agree with having these flagwords.

Honestly, would you allow a grant for 'the study of bestiality and it's posible virus crossovers after water sports'? Probably not ... in a nutshell, the line has to be drawn somewhere and untill the next president is elected (or slides in) this is where the line is.


----------
"Are you slow? The alleged lie that you might have heard me saying, allegedly moments ago? That's a parasite that lives in my neck."
blissful ignorance (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by Space on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:19:35 AM EST

But these key words have nothing to do with cyber sex or skin-glove technology. They are to do with health related issues concerning homosexuals, I.V drug users and sex workers. To close your ears and pretend these people don't exist because you think they live immoral lifestyles is ethically wrong because it implies they are less deserving of the improvements in quality of life that modern health science affords. Furthermore ignoring these peoples health issues hurt the rest of the population because these risk groups are common vectors for sexually transmitted diseases that affect the mainstream population.
<recycle your pets>
[ Parent ]
read the article again (none / 0) (#127)
by Greyshade on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:17:35 AM EST

The article isn't about the grants being outright denied due to their scientific validity. The concern is that certain words are becoming 'naughty' or taboo when applying for scientific grant funding.

Honestly, would you allow a grant for 'the study of bestiality and it's posible virus crossovers after water sports'?

No, that is a rather extreme scenerio. I would support funding for the grant to 'study contamination vectors of those filthy, heathen ass-fuckers'. Primarially because those filthy, heathen ass-fuckers happen to be people too. If it's ok to deny a grant just because it has a certain word or phrase, what makes it wrong to deny on the basis of 'colored person' or 'non-male' rather than 'same-sex'?

[ Parent ]

Not to mention (none / 0) (#182)
by Eccles on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 09:56:34 PM EST

Primarily because those filthy, heathen ass-fuckers happen to be people too.

...and many of us are hetero.

[ Parent ]
Anti-Majority (none / 0) (#229)
by Ashcrow on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 07:07:38 PM EST

I would not call a person who enjoys sex with the same gender a filthy heathen ass-fucker. If it's your money or you are in charge of the money then you have the right to say yes or no to what you believe is right. I agree that my scenerio is very extreme, but it illustrates my point. Should we deny people who enjoy sex with animals the wonders of modern sexual science because what they do is frowned upon by most people in the country? To further clarify I'm not syaing such people, no matter what they do behind closed doors, should be shunned from medial help, it just seems people who have cancers, AIDS, and other extreanly serious illnesses should have the funding going to research to try to help them with their pain and possibly to cure them. Don't get me wrong, I am not stating that we shouldn't dive more into sexual science, I just belive we have bigger and more important fish to fry.

To be honest, I don't know why it's wrong to deny on the basis of 'colored person' or 'non-male.' I come from the thought that if you are in charge then it's your show. I've had a hell of a time going through university, attempting to get financial aid (my family is literaly durt poor), and getting into courses because of being a white male but I don't complain because I'm not in charge and don't make the rules.

Thanks for the civil reply. Most people have just flamed me for my 'conservitive' labled ideas.


----------
"Are you slow? The alleged lie that you might have heard me saying, allegedly moments ago? That's a parasite that lives in my neck."
[ Parent ]
interesting (3.00 / 1) (#232)
by Greyshade on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:51:03 AM EST

I would not call a person who enjoys sex with the same gender a filthy heathen ass-fucker.

What any person would call someone else based on personal prejudices should be moot when deciding what areas of medical research need funding.

If it's your money or you are in charge of the money then you have the right to say yes or no to what you believe is right.

And who exactly claims ownership of federal funds?

To be honest, I don't know why it's wrong to deny on the basis of 'colored person' or 'non-male.'

You are either a bigot or a troll.

[ Parent ]

re: morality (none / 0) (#149)
by ibbie on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:43:02 PM EST

If someone came to my company and asked for private funding to promote cybersex with new skin-glove technology I would surely say no ... because I don't think it is moral. While I can't speak for the American people being just one, I do belive that the majorty of people probably agree with having these flagwords.

the majority of conservative thinkers, more likely.

i think that glove thing would catch on like plague through a whorehouse, myself. it'd probably prevent some plague while it was at it, too.

or are you just worried about your significant other cheating on you with some kid in beijing?

--
george washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but he also admitted doing it. now, do you know why his father didn't punish him? because george still had the axe in his hand.
[ Parent ]
The article was about (5.00 / 2) (#155)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:49:34 PM EST

studying the causes of violence, abuse, teen pregnancy, etc.

And the findings that solutions to these problems may contradict the personal beliefs of those in power. And the findings that policies based on the personal beliefs of those in power contribute to abuse, violence, teen pregnancy, etc.

And the subsequent suppression and defunding of these findings.

It's a silly strawman argumemnt to pretend the article was about promoting beastiality.

But a good question is if someone came to you with solid research showing that the skin-glove technology would end violence and promote reproductive responsible behavior, would you then refuse it for moral reasons?

Would you also want other companies to be forced to refuse it for moral reasons?

Would you want no one to even know about the research showing how to end violence and reduce teen pregnancy for moral reasons?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

moralism and authority (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by Space on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:45:25 AM EST

This reminds me of a story about a Renassiance painter (I think it was Rembrandt) who faced censorship by the spanish inquisition while painting a canvas depicting Jesus with prostitutes, lepors and huns (the immoral people of the day). The Spanish Inquisition decreed that the painting was blasphemous because it depicted Jesus amongst such moral decay and demanded the artist remove all religious references from the painting. But the artist protested pointing out references in the bible that showed these were the types of people that Jesus kept company with. Though the Inquisition insisted that it was no justification and the artist made the suggested changes fearing the Inquisition's wrath. I think this surpurbly demonstrates that Christianity isn't about moralism and that fire and brimstone leaders on the religious right are really just insecure people pandering to the interests of the status quo and those who capitalise off it.
<recycle your pets>
Depends on which Christianity you're talking about (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:57:04 PM EST

OK I'll bite. The last time I responded to something similar, the poster said he/she was trolling for christians - seems to be a common hobby.

Using the Spanish Inquisition to support what you say Christianity is about seems almost disingenuous. You can always play the same game with democracy, capitalism, communism, atheism, Islam, Buddhism etc.

The painter himself is likely to have been a Christian too- especially given the subject of his painting. So why don't you use what the painter wanted to paint as an example of Christianity? After all if that incident is true, I daresay the painter has a good idea of who Jesus and he was really about.

Especially since Jesus was known to associate with the downtrodden and outcasts of the day - tax collectors, Samaritans, prostitutes, sinners and so on.

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick". However from that we can also gather that the sick are not to remain sick, but to be restored instead.

[ Parent ]

Two Questions (5.00 / 2) (#222)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:38:54 AM EST

Using the Spanish Inquisition to support what you say Christianity is about seems almost disingenuous. You can always play the same game with democracy, capitalism, communism, atheism, Islam, Buddhism etc.
What Spanish Inquisition like episode is there in the history of Buddhism? Atheism?



[ Parent ]

For atheism, (none / 0) (#225)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:59:42 AM EST

you could probably choose communism - which oficially supported atheism.

For Buddhism... I would like to hear an example. (Better example than those sarin guys in Tokio, which were not the [part of] government.)

[ Parent ]

I don't buy... (none / 0) (#234)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:54:38 PM EST

... the guys in Tokyo as an example for Buddhism at all.

I don't really buy communism as an example for atheism either. The Spanish Inquisition was supported by the catholic church establishment. So an organized part of christianity supported the SI, not just the other way around. So it isn't enough that communism endorsed atheism, the example needs to be something that some organized group of atheists, as such, supported.



[ Parent ]

the Middle age goes on! (2.50 / 4) (#142)
by svSHiFT on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:23:37 AM EST

I absolutely agree with those, who recall the middle-age events -- that is what happens when low-educated and highly-religious or self-convinced people make decisions in the fields they have low or biassed notion about. This is a very dangerous trend -- remeber resent setting on fire genetical research labs, prohibiting Darvin's theory in schools or world-wide protests against nuclear energy -- especially protetst againt re-factoring the used nuclear fuel -- isn't that Medieval's setting on fire of Copernicus or witch-hunt, but in modern version?

Numerous Ned Flanderses are probably good people, but their oppinion is the most easily-manipulated, resulting in those numerous NO-CFC or NO-?holesterol hysterias they make. The only solution will be -- to educate them -- but there are lots of people who are not interested in it -- instead, the NEED this crowd of Ned Flanderses.

Let's just become a Theocracy (4.20 / 5) (#146)
by Dphitz on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:58:16 PM EST

First, great article.  Well written and quite interesting.

When you have the forces on the Right trying to make the US a theocracy these things will happen.  Any scientific facts, studies, whatever that contradicts conservative (christian) values will face attempts to suppress it.  That's why you can't do studies on homosexuals.  Then you'll have republicans screaming, "I don't want my tax dollars paying for no homo science."  That's why you can't talk to kids about safe sex; that's condoning sex outside marriage.  Then there's evolution.  That challenges the notion that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.  It goes on and on (as the article mentions).

This is nothing new.  Religion has and always will be the biggest obstacle to scientific and social progress.  Just ask Galileo.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

If we do... (none / 0) (#167)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:50:23 PM EST

can I have a handmaiden? I always wanted one of those.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Obstacle (none / 0) (#241)
by bigchris on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:31:37 AM EST

I don't agree with your statement: "Religion has and always will be the biggest obstacle to scientific and social progress"

From what I understand of the Crusades, much had been learned by Islamic studies into medicine. Science had progressed in an Islamic state. (feel free to correct me if I am wrong here, I am going off very shaky memory).

As a Christian, I beleive that Christianity has much to contribute towards society, however much of it is rejected out of hand by people who can't stand religion in any form. Many things, like placing others first and doing good have been mainstays of Christianity. There are many, many Christian charities doing great and necessary work in third world countries. They do this because of their faith in Jesus. So when you say that religion has and always will be the biggest obstacle to scientific and social progress, I cannot agree with you.

From my point of view, I have observed that if a Christian puts across their point of view as being correct, then often I have found that they have been screamed down by a mass of "tolerant" people.  Often it is cast aside without anyone actually engaging in intelligent and informed debate.

I feel that this is one of the greatest obstacles to scientific and social progress.

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]

The Social Conservative Mindset (4.25 / 8) (#148)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:43:00 PM EST

in inherently anti-science.

Because a typical staunch conservative learns everything he/she knows about how the world works in his/her teen years, and everything they see after that re-inforces their beliefs.

Because they see the world as a place of conflict between good and evil, studies that challenge their beliefs must be false, no matter how good the science appears.

This has lead to the extreme politicization of science, not just in sex studies, but in regenerative medicine (stem cell research and therapeutic cloning), in the teaching of science (evolution), etc.

Note that I'm not talking here about fiscal conservatives who tend to be quite different: they usually want to see solid research before spending money.

But we are being run by ideological conservatives now, and these folks don't have any problem with spending huge sums of money to support their beliefs, but they expect that if they spend money the beakers will produce research that supports and promotes their beliefs and goals. Folks that fail to toe the line and seek and report the truth are seen as bad team players and ultimately, on the side of the enemy.

This attitude is of course as anti-pure science as you can get.

Of course folks with the social conservative mindset strongly support science that brings them more power, so they tend to love the physical sciences. But you can see this pattern in the physical sciences as well, as in the fervent pursuit of Star Wars despite the numerous physical laws a missle proof sheild would need to violate.

Social science, on the other hand, when persued via the scientific method, tends to reveal things that contradict conservative beliefs. The real problem is that for a social conservative, the truth about society is contained in his religious works. So a beaker who comes up with a finding that contradicts his religious work is obviously wrong, and probably engaging in tweaking their research to attack the conservative's religion.

This pattern is also repeated in the evolution debate, where extreme social conservatives actually believe that biologists are trying to undermine their religious beliefs by making up findings regarding human evolution.

It's also repeated in the stem cell/therapeutic cloning debate, where social conservatives actually believe that stem cell researchers are tweaking their results to support the pro-choice movement.

I think this goes to the very nature of the problem: the social conservative believe the truth about society is already completely contained in his/her religious works, so why fund studies where the researcher reveals that she/he is not "one of the good guys" by using non-judgemental terms for "bad" people or "bad" behavior?

Instead, they want to fund studies that will lend a scientific support for what they already know is true, so you need to make that clear in your research titles.

Interestingly, my mom was writing an article about raising children and she called me to see what she had done to teach me to be a social liberal. I remined her that she just taught me to reason and to respect logic and recognize sound research, so my view of the world flows from reality rather than a rigid belief system.

Of course, social conservatives recognize that teaching people how to think for themselves also leads to people questioning rigid "good/evil" world views, and so they are also attacking programs that show good results in teaching children to think for themselves.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

The social liberal mindset (4.50 / 4) (#151)
by Skywise on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:59:23 PM EST

is inherently anti-science.

Because a typical staunch liberal learns to expand his/her horizons in his/her teen years above the limited life/world experience he/she has typically had at that time.  This reinforces the (false) belief that everybody else is stupid because they don't rationalize the world that he/she does.

There are stupid social conservatives and there are stupid social liberals.

Learning to understand and NOT call either side "stupid" requires expanding and growing above whatever limited social mindset you have at the time.

[ Parent ]

No the difference is (3.80 / 5) (#153)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:33:34 PM EST

when a person who knows how to think and evaluate evidence is presented with evidence that contradicts their beliefs, they change their beliefs. This is the heart of how science works, and it is the mental practice which has led me to my view of the world, which many would probably class as 'social liberal'. And my world view has changed a good deal from when I was in my teen years.

The social conservative I was talking about, as I made clear, is someone who doesn't change their mind, and who instead tries to manage the information they recieve, as evidenced by the information presented in this article. It's an actual pychological condition called authoritarian personality
Authoritarian personality - Believed to be the result of an upbringing of rigid discipline and conditional affection (Adorno et al. 1950). Its was a discovered connection between racism/fascism and the authoritarian parenting style which led Adorno to attempting to specify a psychodynamic framework as a basis. While finding comfort in the identification of submissive behaviour towards authority, the authoritarian person directs his/her aggression towards other groups, often racial minorities, all in an attempt to for the feeling of personal weakness with a search for absolute answers and strengths in the outside world.
I understand this personality type, I don't at all think they are "stupid", nor did I say that. I don't dislike them either, in fact I love and pity the ones I know (which they tell me is how a Christian is supposed to act, even though they tell me I'm not a Christian). I think they are limited by their rigid belief system, not "stupid".

And you can learn to recognize them yourself by their knee jerk reactions to criticism and for their frequent use of logical fallacies such as your straw man above when they feel their world view is under attack.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Would you like me to... (3.75 / 4) (#159)
by jjayson on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:32:42 PM EST

point out all the insluting remarks in your previous post? Your (self-proclaimed) intelligence can figure it out, right? Try not to be so judgemental just because other do not believe what you do. I am socially conservative, have changed my views much since I was a teenager (specifically going from atheist to Christian), so how to you classify me? You seem to think that there is only a one way progression, from conservative to liberal as one's eyes are opened.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Just like you use mod points (3.50 / 4) (#160)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:47:18 PM EST

I'm sure if you were on Bush's team you would be using research funding the same way you use mod points here: whatever power your kind gets you will use to try and suppress opposing viewpoints...

You seem to think that there is only a one way progression, from conservative to liberal as one's eyes are opened.

No it could also be from liberal to conservative as one's eyes are closed:p.

Yes please do point out all the "insulting remarks" if you can find any, as a social liberal I'm quite willing to learn from my mistakes.

As opposed to social conservative who tries to hide view points different from his any way he can (in your case by abusing your mod points:-).

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Ratings remark (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by jjayson on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:56:13 PM EST

The reason I have given you 1s is because you are being insulting.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
You are insulting yourself (2.33 / 3) (#172)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 05:46:14 PM EST

by so eagerly demonstating the veracity of my points through your actions.

As I asked you to point out where exactly I have been insulting and you have been unable too, I will take that to show that it is not my actions that are insulting, but rather than your beliefs are threatened by the facts I have presented.

And so acting in the classic behavior pattern of an ideological conservative, you are trying to suppress my facts rather than debate them.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

better? (n/t) (none / 0) (#174)
by jjayson on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:02:43 PM EST


_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
He claims to follow science so... (5.00 / 2) (#177)
by Skywise on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:33:25 PM EST

Positive reinforcement should work...

[ Parent ]
You've "described" (5.00 / 2) (#164)
by Skywise on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:13:03 PM EST

A stubbon fool that could either be flaming conservative or conservatively liberal.

The problem is that you do NOT understand that personality type precisely because you think they ARE that personality type.  

There are plenty of highly religious socially conservative republicans who are NOT submissive to authority.  Think "social conservatives" when Clinton was President.

Yes, they're limited by their rigid belief system.  Just as you are limited by yours.


[ Parent ]

More strawmen (none / 0) (#176)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:10:47 PM EST

is that all you got?

Skywise: "No you are".

Oooo solid logic there, bud. Can't argue with your facts.

Its funny how you claim I don't understand the personality type and then go on to act exactly as predicted by the personality type. Maybe I don't understand you, but I seem to be able to identify you:p.

I was describing social conservatives of the extreme sort. Are social liberals "the same"?

Maybe some are. Of course their not the ones standing in the way of scientific research, nor are they trying to pass laws restricting what social conservatives can do with themselves. Further, I presented clear examples of who and what I was describing in case folks got confused. Yet you are still using your own definitions for who and what I was describing rather than debating my points. Classic strawman. Which is another behavioral characteristic of an extreme social conservative.

There are plenty of highly religious socially conservative republicans who are NOT submissive to authority.

Where? Who? They weren't submissive to Clinton because they didn't accept his authority, they certainly were submissive to the authority they accept (not many "socially conservative highly religious" buddhist republicans, are there?)

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Except that's not it at all (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by epepke on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 05:05:58 PM EST

Opposition to science comes from both ends of the political spectrum.

  • Pornography--On the right you have the Ed Meeses, and on the left you have the Andrea Dworkins. There's not much choosing between them.
  • Child Abuse--More likely to be a hot potato on the left than the right.
  • Anal Sex as a keyword--I'm sure some conservatives consider the idea icky, but "AIDS Does Not Discriminate" is a slogan of the left, and opposing specific investigation of anal sex on the basis that it would be "homophobic" is their bailiwick.
  • Child Sexual Abuse--Causes pretty much everyone's brains to go haywire, but aren't the people throwing barbs at young marriages mostly on the left?

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I think it is 'it' regarding the cases the article (3.00 / 2) (#178)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:12:09 PM EST

discusses.

Since the research in the areas mentioned in the article are not being blocked by social liberals.

As for the rather broad accusations you have made, I think it would help if you would be a bit more specific about who you are talking about and what proposed studies they are blocking.

Are 'left' groups really blocking research into the effects of child abuse? What do you mean by this?

As far as HIV, I know some groups have claimed that studies suggesting that anal sex leads to an increase in infection are biased, but have they been blocking the funding of such studies? Because the article in question is not about complaining about studies or critiquing studies, it is about social conservatives blocking studies from happening at all.

Young marriages, again, are folks on the left blocking studies from happening in this area or are they just criticizing studies that have happened? I'm not sure that two 16 year olds marrying each other is a big deal on the left, though a 30 year old marrying a 12 year old might be. But in any event, what proposed studies in these areas have been blocked by self identified leftists?

As far as Andrea Dworkin, she seems more like an extreme social conservative than any sort of liberal too me:p.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Greenpeace stops genetic food crop research (5.00 / 2) (#180)
by Skywise on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:20:42 PM EST

And claims the FDA doesn't do testing.  Which the FDA does.

[ Parent ]
Greenpeace's stand on GM food (5.00 / 2) (#181)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 08:42:57 PM EST

is why I stopped supporting them. And I used to canvass for them back in the 80s!

But what research have they 'stopped'? How does Greenpeace stop US Govt. research anyway?

As far as claiming that the FDA doesn't do testing, that, while deplorable, is still a far cry from defunding research projects in particular areas.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

I think... (none / 0) (#161)
by jd on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:52:35 PM EST

It's reasonable for the Government to crack down on Government-funded "hands-on" research into sex. A researcher who wants to personally study the qualitative difference between different age groups (s)he can pick up can go fund their own work.

But that's not what we're talking about, here. We're talking legit. research, into legit. issues of major concern, especially public safety and physical/mental health.

What's ironic is that the DoD is missing 4 trillion dollars, spent on military personel indulging in the first category I mentioned, but the rest of the Government can't/won't stump up the funds to ensure that deadly diseases are fought on all fronts.

Actually, doesn't the article suggest (none / 0) (#179)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 07:13:48 PM EST

that if the govt. funded actual hands on research into sex in a big way, it might be able to save alot of money in other areas like law enforcement?

:-).

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Yeah... (none / 0) (#163)
by artsygeek on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 03:56:44 PM EST

(sarcsam)God forbid we let those uppity queers think abstinence isn't the only way(/sarcasm).  When science and art, and yea, even journalism have become muted by ideologies that try to influence our government, we get caught in a dangerous, and deadly cycle, that homogenizes "the mainstream" and quashes a robust social debate on issues, making us more easily fall prey to poorly-seasoned, emotionally-based arguments that try to pull moral heartstrings, instead of convincing people through reason.

From Rick Santorum to other debates regarding sexuality, we end up with arguments that have the rhetorical equivalence of "Well, you're a poopy head!" and that's not healthy, at least not in what's supposed to be a democracy.

Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence (5.00 / 4) (#173)
by jrincayc on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:02:42 PM EST

I read the linked to work, Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence, and my first impression is that it is semi-baseless propaganda. My biggest complaint is Table 3, that sorts societies into four catagories. This is interesting, but then it claims that the two columns that are counter to its main thesis are actually the product of a second variable of wether or not premarital sex is allowed. This would be fine, except that the two 'correct' columns are not also divided depending on whether or not premarital sex is allowed. This basically then is using circular logic, since the explaination depends on wether or not there is high adult physical violence. Based on some quick library research, it seems that the Yahgan prohibit premarital sex, and the Comanche, Marquesans, Kaska and Thonga allow it, thus giving at least 4 new exceptions to the rule, despite the claim by Eloquence that there are no exceptions. This then brings up the question of causation vs correlation again. In short, I consider Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence to be junk science, unless someone can show that my logic, or my quick library search is wrong.

You're missing the point (5.00 / 1) (#201)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 08:32:01 PM EST

Four new exceptions to what rule? The reason that the premarital sex status for these societies was not listed is that it doesn't matter: Prescott's theory of violence is a two stage theory. Only if there is affection in childhood and adolescence is the society violent-free with certainty. If only one of these conditions is met, there is a certain likelihood that the effects of the other cannot be compensated by it. As Prescott states:

The strength of the two-stage deprivation theory of violence is most vividly illustrated when we contrast the societies showing high rates of physical affection during infancy and adolescence against those societies which are consistently low in physical affection for both developmental periods. The statistics associated with this relationship are extraordinary: The percent likelihood of a society being physically violent if it is physically affectionate toward its infants and tolerant of premarital sexual behavior is 2 percent (48/49). The probability of this relationship occurring by chance is 125,000 to one. I am not aware of any other developmental variable that has such a high degree of predictive validity. Thus, we seem to have a firmly based principle: Physically affectionate human societies are highly unlikely to be physically violent.

Prescott doesn't say anything about why some cultures which punish premarital sex but lavish their infants with affection are violent and some are not. He merely states that both conditions must be met for a society to be 100% non-violent. Certainly, either condition has a high predictive validity by itself, much more so than can be expected by chance. But it is their combination which makes things interesting.

Now, if you can find a society that is punitive toward infants and adolescents, and largely violence-free, or one that is physically affectionate and sexually permissve, and highly violent, that would be interesting. I wouldn't rule out the possibility: For example, a society might channel most of its violence into rituals and entertainment. On the other hand, the US seem to demonstrate that this is not sufficient ..
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Let me try and explain better (4.80 / 5) (#210)
by jrincayc on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 10:35:15 AM EST

My previous comment was composed in haste after some library research, but I then had to rush off to a class, so I did not make myself as clear as possible. The fact that you requote the 2% rule shows that I completely failed to make the point. So here goes.

Basically there are four categories of society in his model

  1. High Infant Physical Affection, Premarital sex permitted.
  2. High Infant Physical Affection, Premarital sex punished.
  3. Low Infant Physical Affection, Premarital sex permitted.
  4. Low Infant Physical Affection, Premarital sex punished.

Now, if the paper merely claimed that societies in category 1 almost always had low adult physical violence, and societies in category 4 almost always had high adult physical violence, I would not consider it junk science. Instead, lets look at what the paper actually said.

The article states about societies in category 2:

When the six societies characterized by both high infant affection and high violence are compared in terms of their premarital sexual behavior, it is surprising to find that five of them exhibit premarital sexual repression, where virginity is a high value of these cultures. It appears that the beneficial effects of infant physical affection can be negated by the repression of physical pleasure (premarital sex) later in life.

And about societies in category 3:

The seven societies characterized by both low infant physical affection and low adult physical violence were all found to be characterized by permissive premarital sexual behaviors. Thus, the detrimental effects of infant physical affection deprivation seem to be compensated for later in life by sexual body pleasure experiences during adolescence.

So, based on those statements, the paper claims that it can now explain 48 of the 49 cultures adult physical violence prevalence. Based on those statements, here is the criteria: societies of category 1 and 3 have low adult physical violence, and societies of category 2 and 4 have high adult physical violence. Now that we know what the paper is saying, we can get on to examining the data that the paper used to verify the claim with.

Notice at this stage there is an interesting point that is ignored in the paper. The paper at this point has gone from infant physical affection being the explaining the adult physical violence, to infant physical affection being negated premarital sex and therefore mainly ignored.

The data I would expect would be a listing of all 49 societies and whether they are in categories 1 - 4, along with whether they have high or low adult physical violence. However, the data that is given in table 3 is infant physical affection compared with adult physical violence. Then, on the exceptions to the infant physical affection model, a second piece of data is added. This is whether or not the society permits premarital sex. This data is only collected on the 13 societies that don't fit the previous infant affection rule. In other words, 36 cultures did not have there premarital sex attitudes examined. More importantly, these ignored cultures where chosen, not random, but instead because they fit the the infant affection theory. This is a severe selection bias.

So I went to the library to try and see if I could find evidence that this selection bias affected results. I found that Yahgan and Fon cultures punished premarital sex, Kaska and Thonga punished premarital sex if pregnancy resulted, and lastly Maori, Lesu, Tikopia, Wogeo, Comanche, and Marquesans permitted premarital sex. Since this is based on a somewhat cursory literature search, I may have some errors in this list (I had 3 hours total, but a more complete search would probably take at least 2 hours per culture). Note importantly that the Yahgan culture has low adult physical violence but is in category 2, and that the Comanche and Marquesans culture has high adult physical violence, but is in category 3. Basically, this demonstrates that the selection bias that happened when they choose the 13 cultures to study further matters, since had they studied all 49 cultures, they would have found different results.

This can be clearly highlighted in the quote that Eloquence kindly provided saying The percent likelihood of a society being physically violent if it is physically affectionate toward its infants and tolerant of premarital sexual behavior is 2 percent (48/49). Since they did not study all 49 cultures, and there are at least 3 significant exceptions, they can at best, use 12/13, or 8%. This basically means that the paper's conclusion of Physically affectionate human societies are highly unlikely to be physically violent should not be taken as a highly statistically significant prediction.

I consider this junk science, since they use a conclusion based on 13 nonrandomly (i.e. carefully selected with significant bias) chosen cultures, yet use statistics based on the assumption of 49 randomly chosen cultures. For the reasons listed in this comment, I consider the paper Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence written by James W. Prescott to fundamentally flawed and the conclusions should be discounted until such time as the flaws have been fixed.

I will gladly rescind my position on the paper when someone has either:

  • Categorized all 49 cultures into the 4 categories that I have listed in this comment based on both their infant physical affection and premarital sex punishing.
  • or, done a new study based on an equivalent number of cultures that fully categories them based on all three attributes (adult violence, infant affection and premarital sex attitudes).

Until then, I consider Physically affectionate human societies are highly unlikely to be physically violent. to be an interesting hypothesis that lacks supporting evidence.



[ Parent ]
You're *still* missing the point (4.50 / 2) (#215)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 05:54:35 PM EST

As I wrote in my earlier comment:

Prescott doesn't say anything about why some cultures which punish premarital sex but lavish their infants with affection are violent and some are not.

In the passages you yourself cite he states clearly that the negative effects of one condition can be compensated by the other, not that they necessarily are. His key theory is, then, that both conditions must be true for a society to be non-violent. Again, the cases you list (Comanche being sexually permissive and physically punitive yet violent etc.) are not exceptions to any rule Prescott has stated, just like the societies where he lists the premarital sex status are not (Cheyenne being physically affectionate and sexually restrictive, and violent etc.) -- they are examples for the same principle: the effects of one condition may outweigh the other. This misunderstanding is best illustrated by your following quote:

So, based on those statements, the paper claims that it can now explain 48 of the 49 cultures adult physical violence prevalence. Based on those statements, here is the criteria: societies of category 1 and 3 have low adult physical violence, and societies of category 2 and 4 have high adult physical violence. Now that we know what the paper is saying, we can get on to examining the data that the paper used to verify the claim with.

No, the paper never claims that. The paper only claims that of all the societies studied, only one (2%) met both conditions of affection and was violent. This was the only exception to Prescott's theory, and updated data on the Zuni eliminates this single case as well. None met neither condition and was violence-free. The statistical significance of this result is very high. There is no "selection bias" here: The theory does not concern societies where a single condition is met; Prescott makes no claims regarding the likelihood of violence in these societies, other than that infant physical affection alone already has statistically highly significant predictive value (P=.004).

Of course, only a part of the sample he studied met the conditions he was interested in. But this is not a "small sample" -- these were cultures, not individuals, consisting of thousands of people. The following statement is false: "If you know both conditions of a society, you know whether it is violent or not." Correct is: "If both conditions of a society are equal -- permissive or punitive -- then the result can be predicted with 100% certainty." This is the only thing Prescott wanted to say, and he has all the data necessary to make this statement. The premarital sex status of the cultures in columns one and two is irrelevant because none of them contradict this statement.

I agree with you on one thing: It would be interesting to have the premarital sex data for the societies where it was omitted (because the theory already correctly predicted the outcome, and research in this data was time and cost intensive at the time). It would be interesting because then we could say how many of the societies listed meet both conditions, or neither condition, and to which extent one can compensate for the other. This does not in any way undermine the validity of the theory, which is very sound. But you need to understand that it depends on both conditions to be true or false.
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[ Parent ]

The data is still biased and inconclusive (4.75 / 4) (#226)
by jrincayc on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:46:25 AM EST

In the passages you yourself cite he states clearly that the negative effects of one condition can be compensated by the other, not that they necessarily are. Okay. I will grant that they can be read that way. I didn't, but I can see how they could be interpreted as such. I can agree that that is a valid interpretation and probably how it was meant to be interpreted.

His key theory is, then, that both conditions must be true for a society to be non-violent. I don't think that he has the evidence for that in his paper. The selection bias does matter. The reason is that I can create a hypothesis that societies that have both high infant physical affection and permit premarital sex have high adult physical violence and societies that have low infant physical affection and prohibit premarital sex have low adult physical violence. This data is completely consistent with the data in the paper. Here's how.

The data from the paper

I am not including data I have gathered my self since the author did not include such data.

V
High adult Violence
L
Low adult violence
K
High infant physical affection (Kind)
M
Low infant physical affection (Mean)
S
permitted premarital Sex
T
punished premarital sex (Taboo)

          S                  T         
  #######################################
 K# V: 1             # V: 5             #
  # ---------------L:22---------------- #
  #######################################
 M# ---------------V:14---------------- #
  # L: 7             # L: 0             #
  #######################################

I am not sure this chart is completely clear so here is an example of reading it. First read down the T column and across the K row. This gives V: 5 and ---L:22----. The V: 5 says that there were 5 cultures with high adult physical violence that punished premarital sex and had high infant physical affection. The ---L:22---- says that there were between 0 and 22 cultures that had low adult violence that punished premarital sex and had high infant physical affection. The range is because we don't know where the 22 cultures fall. They could be all in the PK box, or all in the TK box, or they could be split between the two boxes. The data to determine that was not collected.

Here is my devils advocate hypothesis:
The probabilites for various cultures:
P(S and K) = 2/100
P(T and K) = 55/100
P(S and M) = 42/100
P(T and M) = 1/100

The probabilites for violence given a culture:
P(V | S and K) = 1
P(L | S and K) = 0

P(V | T and K) = 5/27
P(L | T and K) = 22/27

P(V | S and M) = 14/21
P(L | S and M) = 7/21

P(V | T and M) = 0
P(L | T and M) = 1

Note that running an experiment with 49 cultures on these probabilities will reproduce the data that is in Table 3 (minus rounding errors). For example, to get the V: 5 we take 49*P(T and K)*P(V | T and K)=49*55/100*5/27=4.99~=5. To get the L: 22 in the K row we take 49*(P(S and K)*P(L | S and K)+P(T and K)*P(L | T and K))=49*((2/100)*0+(55/100)*(22/27))=21.96~=22. Let me reiterate the point. My devils advocate hypothesis states that P(V | S and K) = 1 which means that the probability that a culture that has both high infant physical affection and permits premarital sex has a 100% probability of having high adult physical violence. This is perfectly consistent with the data presented in table 3 of Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. More over, you could examine a million cultures with the experimental design in the paper, and still not be able to distinguish between the possibility of P(V | S and K) = 1 and P(V | S and K) = 0. Hence, there is insufficient data to make the statement that If both conditions of a society are equal -- permissive or punitive -- then the result can be predicted with 100% certainty.

Yes, you can make the assumptions that the probabilities of premarital sex and infant physical affection are independent, and eliminate some possibilities, but I would not guess that they are independent, and I don't recall seeing that stated. There are probably other assumptions that can be made to get something useful out of the data, but they are not stated. I lack the statistics to do a hypothesis test on the data given for the paper to compare the two hypotheses of P(V | S and K) = 1 and P(V | S and K) = 0. I would be very interested in seeing how he came up with the very high statistical significance since my intuition tell me that the experimental design would preclude calculating a significance.

As I have said before, the method of collecting data is biased, and until data is collected in some non-biased way, conclusions should not be drawn from the data. The data that I collected in the library would tend to point to the hypothesis that if both conditions of a society are equal -- permissive or punitive -- then the result can be predicted with reasonable certainty. But the data in the paper is insufficient without making additional unstated assumptions.



[ Parent ]
Two stage theory (4.00 / 1) (#235)
by Eloquence on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 07:26:44 PM EST

Josh,

this is the most detailed critique of Jim's work I've seen so far, thanks for taking the time to delve into it. First, since you asked for the remaining data, I have looked it up in Textor's Cross-Cultural Summary, which is really an impressive collection of behavioral ratings and correlations. I'd like to know where you got your behavior ratings from (which work(s), specifically), because I'm always interested in up to date data. The HRAF collection is unfortunately very expensive and not available to me.

In column 1 of table 3 of the paper, the only sex punitive culture are the Cuna. For the Nuer, Textor has no data on premarital sex. The Yahgan, which you cite as sex punitive, are classified as "premarital sex freely permitted, weakly punished, but in fact not rare, or only punished if pregnancy results". Unfortunately no more fine grained information is available here, but there is a clear distinction between cultures which strongly punish premarital sex and the ones which only do it weakly or not at all. The classifications of cultures in Prescott's sample are triple blind, BTW, coded by different anthropologists (Textor group; Slater; Barry, Bacon and Child) who were not aware of each other's ratings.

In column 2 of table 3, perhaps surprisingly, only about 4 cultures are sex punitive (among them the Fon, as you correctly point out). For the Comanche Textor has no data, but I'll accept your information that they are sex-permissive. This would mean that we have 38 sex permissive cultures and 10 sex restrictive ones with the latest data from table 3 and Textor (not sure where the Nuer belong). Premarital sex is usually tolerated in these societies, which makes the clustering of antisex cultures in violent cultures that are affectionate towards their infants even more interesting.

Now, for the statistical statements Prescott makes and their consistency with the data. First, as I've already pointed out, you're still using the old data, the new data eliminates the only exception to the two-stage violence test. Let's first agree on the obvious: All cultures, in all four columns, are consistent with the Prescott two-stage theory.

The statement "A culture that is affectionate and tolerates premarital sex is non-violent" is consistent with all cultures in the sample. The statement "A culture that is punitive and punishes premarital sex is violent" is consistent with all cultures in the sample. To make these two statements, we do not need to know the premarital sex variable, because none of the cultures in column 1 and 2 can contradict the statements.

Your argument is based on the fact that, without knowing the premarital sex variable, we do not really know to how many cultures the statement is directly applicable. You conclude that the exact opposite statement can therefore be made with equal (or in fact higher, if you count the Zuni) likelihood. This is incorrect, for several reasons.

As I noted above, no matter which premarital sex status the cultures in column 1 and 2 have, the two stage theory is consistent with all of them. However, the exact opposite assumption (high infant physical affection+premarital sex=violent) is of course only consistent with the data if all cultures in column 1 punish premarital sex, and all cultures in column 2 permit premarital sex. Your hypothesis does, then, require the knowledge of the premarital sex status of the cultures to have any value. In the absence of this data, you would have to assume normal distribution of premarital sex status, which would negate your hypothesis, and so does the actual data.

But your main misunderstanding is that you completely ignore the predictive value of the infant physical affection variable alone which, as Prescott notes, already explains with P=.004, the violence status of 73% of societies (latest data: 80%). Your statistical calculation thus does not take into account that we are dealing with a two stage theory. Prescott's two stage theory is perhaps easiest to understand in pseudocode:

   if(AFFECTIONATE && VIOLENT && SEX_PERMISSIVE) {
        /* Houston, we have a problem */
   }

This piece of code is never entered. Neither is this:

   if(MEAN_TO_KIDS && NON-VIOLENT && SEX_RESTRICTIVE) {
        /* Hey, you guys should be angrier! */
   }

With a one-stage theory you would move the SEX_PERMISSIVE/SEX_RESTRICTIVE condition before the NON_VIOLENT or VIOLENT dependency variable. This is the difference between a two-stage theory and a one-stage theory. Prescott's statistical statements are only relevant to these specific two hypotheses. To test other hypotheses that involve the premarital sex variable, you need more data (which is easy to obtain, and further supports the two-stage theory).

Now don't ask me how exactly he calculated the probability rating for his two stage theory. Doing any correlative testing on such a hypothesis is obviously quite complex. I asked him about it, his reply was (he's currently on the road so he could not yet send me any data):

The probability statement is derived from the chi square table for the entire study where the probability value (z transform statistic) is equal to the square root of the chi square for a 2x2 table only. Most users of statistics are not aware of this relationship.

My knowledge of statistical theory is limited, so I have to assume the above makes sense. I would be very surprised if it doesn't, as Prescott's paper has been peer reviewed many times; by the Futurist, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the anthropologists who later verified his data, Carl Sagan who specifically cited his probability rating, and probably quite a few who tried to debunk it. I have personally done a citation search on Prescott's work (the results are here), and found no critique of the statistics. In fact, the only substantial criticism I am aware of was published one year later in the Bulletin, written by a Rabbi who argued that "Prescott's article seems to be an attempt to give a rational facade to juvenile rebellion and undisciplined pleasure-seeking".

The two stage theory does in fact predict correctly the violence of all the cultures in the sample, and this is what makes it so extraordinary. It would certainly be nice to repeat this cross-cultural data with a fresh sample (I assume more detailed behavioral ratings are available today as well), or possibly even with modern societies (Prescott has done some work in that direction using rape and spanking data from US states). The benefit of studying "primitive cultures" is the low number of confounding variables. We are really dealing with the basics of human nature here: the bonds that form, or break, during childhood and adolescence. This makes it an extraordinary and unique contribution to social science -- unfortunately, we haven't really learned from its conclusions yet, even though they are supported by research from many, many other areas (see my main article for details).
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Statistics wrong, some conclusions might not be (none / 0) (#245)
by jrincayc on Mon Nov 03, 2003 at 06:15:32 PM EST

I finally had time to try and figure out statistics to examine the data that Eloquence, myself and Prescott gathered.  This took a while because I had to first gain some more statistical background and secondly the statistics required do not seem to exist in standard literature as cookbook methods, so I had to take the theory and try and apply it to the data.

In short, after looking at the augmented data, I am almost certain that Prescott does not understand the statistics he is using for portions of the paper.  However with the augmented data that Eloquence provided I think that some interesting conclusions can still be gathered and statistically supported.  Let me warn you that I am a computer scientist and not a statistician so my statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, however, I will fully describe how I calculate everything, so others more knowledgeable can check my work.

Brief overview of significance

The first thing that needs mentioning about the article is what statistical significance actually means.  Basically, it comes from hypothesis testing where you have to choose some level of significance such as 0.05.  A significance of 0.05 (or 1/20) just means that if you ran the experiment 20 times, 1/20 of the time you would incorrectly reject or fail to reject the hypothesis.  If the significance level is used in regards to a confidence level it means that 19/20 times, the confidence interval should contain the true value of the variable, the twentieth, will not contain the true value of the variable (of course, you don't know which time it will be the twentieth).

I personally prefer to use confidence intervals since they make more sense to me.  Basically what a 95% confidence interval means is that you reran the experiment, hundreds of times, you would expect that 95% of the experiment's confidence intervals would contain the true value being estimated and 5% would not contain the true value.

The attached program calculates confidence intervals for statistics of small numbers by calculating a binomial distribution on the left that will have a 2.5% chance of showing up on as the best value and on the right it is calculated as having a 2.5% chance of showing up as the best value.  If the best value is 1 or 0 there can only be one side, so it uses a 5% chance of showing up on the other side instead.

The data

Based on Eloquence's and my research, here is the listing of groups for 48 of the original 49 cultures (There is insufficient data on the Nuer).  The abbreviations are as before Kind for high infant physical affection, Mean for low infant physical affection, Sex for permitting premarital sex, Taboo for forbidding premarital sex, Violent for high adult physical violence, and Low for low adult physical violence (N is the total number).

  • 21 are K,S,L (including Yahgan and Zuni)
  • 1 is K,T,L (Cuna)
  • 5 are M,T,V including Samoan
  • 11 are M,S,V including Jivaro
  • 4 are K,T,V (Eloquence, which are these?)
  • 6 are M,S,L

As a table:

           S                  T          S or T
 ##################################### ###########
K# L: 21            # L: 1             # L: 22   #
 # V:  0            # V: 4             # V: 4    #
 # N: 21            # N: 5             # N: 26   #
 ##################################### ###########
M# L: 6             # L: 0             # L: 6    #
 # V: 11            # V: 5             # V: 16   #
 # N: 17            # N: 5             # N: 22   #
 ##################################### ###########
K# L: 27            # L: 1             # L: 28   #
 # V: 11            # V: 9             # V: 20   #
o# N: 38            # N: 10            # N: 48   #
r#                  #                  #         #
 #                  #                  #         #
M##################################### ###########

As you can see from the table, the T column has small N values.  This will result in wider confidence intervals, since there is more possibility of some random event skewing a result.  For example, if you see 5 heads in a row, with a normal coin, that will happen with probability 1/32, so the coin might still be normal, but if you see 21 heads in a row, the probability of that happening with a normal coin is 1/2,097,152, so if you see that you can be fairly confident that the coin is two headed.

Here are the 95% percent confident probabilities (note that the probabilities of high adult violence V, like p(V) can be calculated by taking the probabilities from the inverse p(L) and subtracting them from 1 (so 1.0 - 0.7239 = 0.2761 < p(V) < 0.5679 = 1.0 - 0.4321)):

Significance = 0.05  Confidence Level = 0.95
                                 ------* 0.8671 < p(L|K and S) < 1.0000
    ---------*----------                 0.1421 < p(L|M and S) < 0.6167
--------*--------------------             0.0051 < p(L|K and T) < 0.7164
*------------------                       0.0000 < p(L|M and T) < 0.4507
                  -------*-----          0.4907 < p(L|K or S)  < 0.7899
    -------*---------                    0.1386 < p(L|K xor S) < 0.5487
   ------*--------                       0.1111 < p(L|M or T)  < 0.4628
                         -------*-----   0.6513 < p(L|K)       < 0.9564
   ------*----------                     0.1073 < p(L|M)       < 0.5022
                    -------*-----        0.5410 < p(L|S)       < 0.8458
----*-------------                        0.0025 < p(L|T)       < 0.4450
                ------*-----             0.4321 < p(L)         < 0.7239
          -----*------                   0.2761 < p(V)         < 0.5679

The -'s show where the probability intervals go from, the numbers on the right give this in a more detailed way.  As an example of reading the table look at the second line:

    ---------*----------                 0.1421 < p(L|M and S) < 0.6167

Basically, what this is saying is that given a society that is M (low infant physical affection) and is also S (permitting premarital sex) the probability that it will be violent is somewhere between 14% and 61%.  Since we only have surveyed a small number of cultures (N=17 in the M and S case) we do not know the exact probability, but we are 95% confident that it is between 14% and 61% (remember, 95% confident means that we expect to be wrong 5% of the time, or 1 in 20 times).

As a first pass approximation, if the confidence intervals don't overlap, then statistically the probabilities are different.  If the confidence intervals overlap a bunch, then the numbers are statistically the same.  From this we can see that there is a statistically significant difference between the probability of low adult violence when the society both gives high infant physical affection and permits premarital sex (p(L|K_and_S)) and the probability of low adult violence when the society both gives low infant physical affection and forbids premarital sex (p(L|M_and_S)). On the other hand there is no statistically significant difference between a society that is kind or mean to infants that forbids sex (the p(L|K_and_T) and p(L|M_and_T) probabilities) since they mostly overlap.  This is since statistically, 0 out of 5 and and 1 out of 5 are almost the same thing.  An interesting thing is that societies that have high infant physical affection or permit premarital sex or both (p(L|K_or_T)) have a statistically significant different between them and societies that have neither (p(L|M_and_T)).  One last one is the comparison between societies that have one of K or T, the p(L|K_xor_S) probability.  This is significantly different from societies that have both K and S.  (Comparing p(L|K_or_S) directly to p(L|K_and_S) is not recommended because the groups that they include overlap (as in they both include K_and_S))

So we can make conclusions that societies that have one or more of the K or S attributes are more likely to be nonviolent then societies that have neither.  We can also say that societies that have both K and S are more likely to be nonviolent that societies that have only one and are also more likely to be nonviolent than societies that have neither K or S.  These are some interesting conclusions.  However, remember that this is a correlation, not a causation.  So far as the statistics are concerned, it is just as likely that low adult violence causes high infant affection and permitting premarital sex, as high infant affection and permitting premarital sex causes low adult violence.  It is also quite possible that there is a fourth factor that causes all three.

statistics of the paper

One of the claims that the paper makes (which is curiously absent in a 1996 version of the paper) is that the results hold to a significance level of 1/250,000 (i.e. a confidence level of 99.9996%).  If you run the program with this confidence level, you get the following output:

Significance = 4e-06  Confidence Level = 0.999996
                     ------------------* 0.5533 < p(L|K and S) < 1.0000
--------------*--------------------       0.0243 < p(L|M and S) < 0.8613
--------*------------------------------   0.0000 < p(L|K and T) < 0.9747
*------------------------------------     0.0000 < p(L|M and T) < 0.9167
          ---------------*----------     0.2994 < p(L|K or S)  < 0.9121
-----------*-------------------          0.0290 < p(L|K xor S) < 0.7936
----------*------------------             0.0230 < p(L|M or T)  < 0.7067
              ------------------*------  0.3869 < p(L|K)       < 0.9965
----------*--------------------           0.0180 < p(L|M)       < 0.7596
            ---------------*---------    0.3315 < p(L|S)       < 0.9490
----*----------------------------         0.0000 < p(L|T)       < 0.8161
         -------------*-----------       0.2588 < p(L)         < 0.8624
    -----------*-------------            0.1376 < p(V)         < 0.7412

Notice how every single confidence interval overlaps a bunch.  At this confidence level, statistically, we are not confident that any of the probabilities are different.  This includes being sure that there is a difference between a society that is both M and T and a society that is both K and S, which is the important conclusion since for all we know p(L|K_and_S) could be 60% and p(L|M_and_T) could be 80% so in that case a society that prohibited sex and had low infant affection might be less likely to have adult violence than a society that had the opposite.  This possibility is directly counter to the paper's premise, so the significance level is bogus.

The next problem with the paper is that it makes conclusions without the additional data that Eloquence and I gathered.  Without the data on permissiveness or not of premarital sex on all the societies the only the probabilities that don't include the variable can be calculated.  This is because we do not really know how many cultures are in the L_and_K_and_S location (and others) and so we cannot get a confidence interval.  This is more than just a theoretical objection. Here are some more probabilities that will be used to illustrate this:

Significance = 0.05  Confidence Level = 0.95
          ------*------                  0.2948 < p(K and S)   < 0.5882
       ------*------                     0.2216 < p(M and S)   < 0.5054
---*-----                                0.0347 < p(K and T)   < 0.2266
---*-----                                0.0347 < p(M and T)   < 0.2266
              ------*------              0.3917 < p(K)         < 0.6863
                         -----*----      0.6501 < p(S)         < 0.8953
 -----*--------                          0.0655 < p(T|K)       < 0.3935
                    ---------*------     0.5463 < p(S|M)       < 0.9218

Eloquence said in the previous post that we could assume that the probabilities were reasonably normally distributed.  The important consideration for this paper is the p(T|K) and the p(S|M), i.e. p(T|K) is if the society is K (high infant affection) what is the probability that it will prohibit premarital sex.  This is important because if p(T|K) is high, than you would expect that a random sample of societies that have high infant affection (K) would have many societies that prohibit premarital sex (T).  In other words, you would expect that most of the societies in column 3 (in table 3 in the paper) would prohibit premarital sex, even though this is because of the relation between high infant affection and prohibiting premarital sex, not necessarily the variable that you care about, adult violence. This probability is less than 39% so Prescott lucked out and this does not affect the conclusions.

On the other hand the probability that a society permits premarital sex when it has low infant physical affection is between 54% and 92% (p(S|M)).  This does affect the conclusions since we expect that many of the societies in column 4 will permit premarital sex anyway, just because societies that have low infant physical affection often permit premarital sex.  In other words, the assumption that the probabilities are reasonably distributed (technically they are not independent) is false and this affects the conclusions that can safely be made without additional data.  In short, the conclusions that the paper makes cannot be made without the additional data.

Conclusion

The paper Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence by James W. Prescott is flawed.  The statistics are not significant to 1/250000 as stated in the paper and more data is required than given in the paper to make the conclusions stated in the paper about table 3.  On the other hand there are some interesting conclusions that can be made about the relationship that are similar to conclusions reached in the paper.

Extra comments

Eloquence, the significance 1/250000 is bogus so far as I am concerned, however I am certainly willing to look at a detailed description of how that was calculated and why it is correct.  If k5 archives this, I will take further comment on my user page on Wikipedia or the talk page on James W. Prescott.  I am certainly willing to answer questions about how anything in this paper is calculated, although I hope the python program and the text are reasonably self sufficient. All my posts for this article may be freely used under the GNU Free Documention License.


from math import *

def bisect(function,low,high,cutoff):
   middle = (low+high)/2.0
   f_low = function(low)
   f_high = function(high)
   f_middle = function(middle)
   if f_low >f_high:
       f_low,f_high = f_high,f_low
       low,high = high,low
   while abs(f_middle) >cutoff:
       if f_middle < 0:
           f_low = f_middle
           low = middle
       else:
           f_high = f_middle
           high = middle
       middle = (low+high)/2.0
       f_middle = function(middle)
   return middle

def fact(k):
   if k <= 1:
       return 1
   return k * fact(k - 1)

def choose(n,k):
   return fact(n)/(fact(k)*fact(n-k))    

def binomial(n,k,p):
   return choose(n,k)*p**k*(1-p)**(n-k)

def binomial_sum(n,low,high,p):
   sum = 0.0
   for i in range(low,high+1):
       sum += binomial(n,i,p)
   return sum

def get_confidence_interval(n,k,alpha):
   p = float(k)/n
   if k == 0:
       return p,p,1.0-exp(log(alpha)/n)
   if k == n:
       return exp(log(alpha)/n),p,p
   p_low = bisect(lambda p:binomial_sum(n,k,n,p)-alpha/2,0.0,p,1e-8)
   p_high = bisect(lambda p:binomial_sum(n,0,k,p)-alpha/2,p,1.0,1e-8)
   return p_low,p,p_high
   

if __name__ == "__main__":
   def print_ci(str,n,k,alpha):
       low,best,high = get_confidence_interval(n,k,alpha)
       i_low,i_b,i_high = map(lambda x:int(x*40),[low,best,high])
       front = " "*i_low+"-"*(i_b-i_low)+"*"+"-"*(i_high-i_b)+" "*(40-i_high)
       print front,"%1.4f < %s < %1.4f" % (low,str,high)
   #alpha = 1/250000.0
   alpha = 0.05
   print "Significance =",alpha," Confidence Level =",1.0-alpha
   #numbers of various groups.
   L_K_S = 21
   V_K_S = 0

   L_M_S = 6
   V_M_S = 11

   L_K_T = 1
   V_K_T = 4

   L_M_T = 0
   V_M_T = 5

   K_S = L_K_S + V_K_S
   M_S = L_M_S + V_M_S
   K_T = L_K_T + V_K_T
   M_T = L_M_T + V_M_T
   L_K = L_K_S + L_K_T
   V_K = V_K_S + V_K_T
   K = L_K + V_K
   L_M = L_M_S + L_M_T
   V_M = V_M_S + V_M_T
   M = L_M + V_M
   L_S = L_K_S + L_M_S
   V_S = V_K_S + V_M_S
   S = L_S + V_S
   L_T = L_K_T + L_M_T
   V_T = V_K_T + V_M_T
   T = L_T + V_T
   L = L_T + L_S
   V = V_T + V_S
   Total = T+S
   
   print_ci("p(L|K and S)",K_S,L_K_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|M and S)",M_S,L_M_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|K and T)",K_T,L_K_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|M and T)",M_T,L_M_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|K or S) ",K_S+K_T+M_S,L_K_S+L_K_T+L_M_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|K xor S)",K_T+M_S,L_K_T+L_M_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|M or T) ",M_S+K_T+M_T,L_M_S+L_K_T+L_M_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|K)      ",K,L_K,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|M)      ",M,L_M,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|S)      ",S,L_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L|T)      ",T,L_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(L)        ",Total,L,alpha)
   print_ci("p(V)        ",Total,V,alpha)
   print_ci("p(K and S)  ",Total,K_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(M and S)  ",Total,M_S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(K and T)  ",Total,K_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(M and T)  ",Total,M_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(K)        ",Total,K,alpha)
   print_ci("p(S)        ",Total,S,alpha)
   print_ci("p(T|K)      ",K,K_T,alpha)
   print_ci("p(S|M)      ",M,M_S,alpha)


[ Parent ]
Forgot to link to wikipedia talk (none / 0) (#246)
by jrincayc on Mon Nov 03, 2003 at 06:30:28 PM EST



[ Parent ]
My references (none / 0) (#236)
by jrincayc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 10:08:35 AM EST

I found the data on the Balinese, Yahgan, Comanche, Fon, Kaska, Marquesans, and Thonga in the book Varieties of Sexual Experience, by Suzanne G. Frayser. I found the data on Lesu, Maori, Tikopia, Wogeo, and Fon in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures with editor David Levinson.

[ Parent ]
Question (none / 0) (#240)
by bigchris on Wed May 07, 2003 at 08:16:49 AM EST

I'm no scientist, so I don't know much about how this sort of data is gathered and correlated, but I'm wondering how the authors of this report came to the conclusion that a society is violent or non-violent based on infant physical affection and tolerance of premarital sexual activity.

My first question is one of definition: is a non-violent society one where there is no violence visible by an external observer? Then what about violence that is systematically covered up or not observed?

Is it a society where there is only a small amount of violence classed as a non-violent society? if so, then what is classed as an acceptable level of violence?

My other question is, how did the authors of the study come to the conclusion that the level of violence in any society is solely based on the level of premarital sex and amount of physical affection shown to infants? what about other external factors, like punishment or deterrant systems, legal systems or religious beliefs?

Like I said, I am not a scientist, and I don't know how people put together studies, but it seems strange to me that they look at things with such narrow criteria. I thought that societies were more complicated than the seemingly simplified view I'm seeing here!

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]

It's not just the decline of sex science (4.00 / 1) (#204)
by Ndog on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 02:30:00 AM EST

It's the decline of science, period. Think of the stem cell situation under the Bush administration. Science in general is under attack, not just science related to sex.



Nobody in power, regardless of their beliefs... (4.33 / 3) (#220)
by yammering communist on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 10:05:03 PM EST

...will accept and promote the distribution of data which undermines the basis of their power.

Someone who built their electoral victory on "family values" (read: mortal terror of percieved sources of "immorality" and vehement promises to suppress the latter) is not going to sally forth and encourage scientific research on sexuality - simply because of the fact that sexuality can function as a basis for political power if it's something that frightens people.

It also helps things along that political leaders themselves lack any such vital passion by their very natures. By definition, someone who seeks political power is someone who is sexually defunct: nobody with a healthy sexuality will seek gratification through controlling others.

Of course, that's more my opinion than anything, since I just got finished reading Erich Fromm's _The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness_ and I know a few people in politics myself... maybe the fact that they're all head-cases with shitty sex lives is a coincidence, but I must nevertheless suspect otherwise.

But yeah... An excellent article, Eloquence, and I wish you only the best in your efforts.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


The Decline of Sex Science and the Decline of Society | 246 comments (199 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
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