PSAs

Nothing hugely substantial today; just a quick signal boost on three fronts.

 

Strange Bedfellows

First up: an anthology of political science fiction (“Where ideology is a character!”), a crowdsourced project to be edited by Ottawa insider (and personal con buddy) Hayden Trenholm.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if there’s one thing science fiction novels tend to preach about other than science, it’s ideology. You’re imagining the way all those Heinlein novels would deflate down to 12-page pamphlets if someone were to go through them and cut out the authorial stand-in who filled so many pages with libertarian lectures; you’re wondering if there’d be enough left of Joanna Russ’s The Female Man to fill a doggie bag once the gender politics had been excised. You’re thinking of the political infodumps in Kim Stanley Robinson’s work, the thinly-veiled diatribes in Robert Sawyer’s; you’re remembering that Atlas Shrugged was basically a science fiction novel and you’re thinking Jeez, someone thinks we need more of this?

Well, maybe not. But there’s politics, and there’s politics. There are authors who deliberately dress up political lectures in gauzy veils of fiction, and there are those who — just trying to tell a story — can’t help letting their politics seep into the narrative despite themselves. (I suppose I might be one of those, if you regard the Darwinian perspective as a kind of ideology. Personally, I regard it as simple empiricism; but maybe that just makes me an ideologue of an especially blinkered sort.) Yet there must also be authors who set out not to preach politics but to explore them, to use fiction not as a club but as an analytical tool. And some of those authors must work at the more easily-digestible length of the short story.

Yeah, I know. I’m having a tough time thinking of any myself. Tiptree’s work, sometimes (“The Screwfly Solution” was one of the creepiest and most effective feminist experiments I’ve ever encountered, and she performed it through the lens of pure biology). Le Guin, certainly. Robert Silverberg, back in the day.

My point is, there’s lots of room for more, if it’s done right.

Hayden Trenholm first came to my attention back when I was an editor for On Spec. Early in his career he submitted a story — Tempus Fugitive, I think it was called — that stood head and shoulders and upper thorax above the usual slush that washed over the transom. He’s continued to publish in the meantime — stories, novels — but what I didn’t know until recently is that the dude makes his living in politics. He’s been doing that for over thirty years; as advisor, as policy analyst, even as a candidate. He’s worked with all three of Canada’s national parties; he’s worked for two of them. If anyone’s more qualified to edit an anthology of politically-themed SF, I don’t know who it is.

So check out the project. Consider supporting it. I myself will be watching this experiment with interest; given the way the conventional publishing industry is going, I may be doing something like this myself before long…

 

Readings & Rickards

This next one involves me. I’m one of three authors who’ll be serving up performances at tomorrow’s installment of the Chiaroscuro Reading and Workshop Series (put on by the inexplicably and relentlessly productive folks at ChiZine). I can’t tell you what fellow scribes Matt Johnson and Kate Story will be serving up; I myself will be reading three short never-before-seen-or-heard fragments, two from upcoming short stories and one from the closing pages of Echopraxia. As usual, the event is being held at Augusta House just north of Dundas, halfway between Bathurst and Spadina. It has chairs and tables and alcohol, and wallpaper that’s a little reminiscent of the house in the 1963 iteration of The Haunting, except it doesn’t look like demonic faces in the middle of the night and you can’t hear faint cries and screams seeping from behind it.

Anyway, if you’re local, come on by.

 

Alcohol and Atheists

Finally, this recently-opened local pub has been brought to my attention (ironically by Dave Williams, who heard about it first even though he’s on the other side of the goddamned continent):

Photo: Gizelle Lau

Named for the deceased atheist gadfly. Equipped not with flatscreens that show football games, but with projectors that show TED talks. And if they’re being faithful to the memory of their inspiration, they won’t be watering down their drinks.

I have not been there yet, but it’s at the top of the list. Anybody out there tried it out?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday March 12 2013at 12:03 pm , filed under ink on art, misc, public interface . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

54 Responses to “PSAs”

  1. I’m not so sure that TED talks are much better than football games, but certainly funded the Strange Bedfellows campaign. Sounds interesting!

  2. Contributed to the Strange Bedfellows anthology. Thanks for pointing me to it!

  3. TED Talks? Really? Those vapid, style-over-substance, hype-chasing, techno-fetishistic egomasturbatory exercises in marketing fluff? Doesn’t sound like much of a tribute to the Hitch – his oratory flair was the result of a solid core of actual substance, not there to hide a lack of meaning but to enhance the actual message of his words.

    To anyone indulging in the TED phenomenon, I highly recommend you read Evgeny Morozov’s take on it: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/105703/the-naked-and-the-ted-khanna

    Not all TED talks are craptastic, but the majority are nowadays.

  4. Hello, mr. Watts. I concern, will you write novellisation of videogame Crysis-3?

  5. TED talks may be vapid, but so is Morozov. In which area Sturgeon’s law doesn’t apply? I’m only aware of mass-produced goods, there making 90% crap isn’t viable.

    Overuse of net porn does have a definite downside and that is first addiction later on erectile dysfunction. It kind of sneaks upon on people, and takes usually at least half a decade to properly develop, like alcohol addiction.

    Wikipedia, the ever-wrong online encyclopedia states it thusly: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocturnal_penile_tumescence”

    >>All men without physiological erectile dysfunction experience this phenomenon, usually three to five times during the night, typically during REM sleep.<< Followed by a reference.

    Which is funny, because I haven't had morning wood one in about six years and I sure as fuck don't have physiological erectile dysfunction.
    I can tell from seeing my name among the first 3% of half-marathon finishers and not suffering from any illness or condition known to cause physiological ED..

    If he instead of blithely dismissing the issue took some time, he'd have discovered that a lot of 20-something's can't get it up anymore without viagra or tadalafil, that plenty of men (google 'nofap' ) are trying to abstain from masturbation for 90+ days, because it appears doing exactly that allows the brain to restore it's wiring to something approaching 'normal'.

    The issue of porn is a steaming pile of sacred cow.
    And there's trouble with having control groups for any research, since it's impossible to find WEIRD young men who don't watch it.

  6. Barry Adams:
    TED Talks? Really? Those vapid, style-over-substance, hype-chasing, techno-fetishistic egomasturbatory exercises in marketing fluff? Doesn’t sound like much of a tribute to the Hitch – his oratory flair was the result of a solid core of actual substance, not there to hide a lack of meaning but to enhance the actual message of his words.

    To anyone indulging in the TED phenomenon, I highly recommend you read Evgeny Morozov’s take on it: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/105703/the-naked-and-the-ted-khanna

    Not all TED talks are craptastic, but the majority are nowadays.

    Hey, some of them aren’t half bad. It’s just that all venues of that type attract “demise of guys” type drivel.

    I mean, there are worse offenders than TED crowd, and always were. Comes with the “social events about innovation thingies” territory.

    At least TED isn’t gathering money to research “friendly” AI in a world where there isn’t yet a coherent, operational theory of general intelligence, while using intractable decision-making routines as your inspiration for the AI :)

  7. A.C.:
    TED talks may be vapid, but so is Morozov. In which area Sturgeon’s law doesn’t apply? I’m only aware of mass-produced goods, there making 90% crap isn’t viable.

    Overuse of net porn does have a definite downside and that is first addiction later onerectile dysfunction. It kind of sneaks upon on people, and takes usually at least half a decade to properly develop, like alcohol addiction.

    Wikipedia, the ever-wrong online encyclopedia states it thusly: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocturnal_penile_tumescence”

    >>All men without physiological erectile dysfunction experience this phenomenon, usually three to five times during the night, typically during REM sleep.<< Followed by a reference.

    Which is funny, because I haven’t had morning wood one in about six years and I sure as fuck don’t have physiological erectile dysfunction.
    I can tell from seeing my name among the first 3% ofhalf-marathon finishers and not suffering from any illness or condition known to cause physiological ED..

    If he instead of blithely dismissing the issue took some time, he’d have discovered that a lot of 20-something’s can’t get it up anymore without viagra or tadalafil, that plenty of men (google ‘nofap’ ) are trying to abstain from masturbation for 90+ days, because it appears doing exactly that allows the brain to restore it’s wiring to something approaching ‘normal’.

    The issue of porn is a steaming pile ofsacred cow.
    And there’s trouble with having control groups for any research, since it’s impossible to find WEIRD young men who don’t watch it.

    By all machine saints, not this “porn causes erectile dysfunction in a bunch of studies done by obviously biased researchers with small samples and poor controls, so hear us roar” claptrap.

    Even the new DSM folks (who are quite happy to pathologize as much as possible) have abandoned that thing (exiled it into an appendix, IIRC).

    Interestingly, Morozov made but a faintest mention of this whole “debate”, and here we go, a metric fuckton of outrage in the comments of a blog which dared but mention the Morozov article in comments. Someone doth protest too much.

    P.S.:
    I find it remarkable that there seems to be a notable uptick in attempts to steer discussion towards porn addiction in the (definitely non-porn related) blogs I follow. I wonder why…

    A.C.: If he instead of blithely dismissing the issue took some time, he’d have discovered that a lot of 20-something’s can’t get it up anymore without viagra or tadalafil

    Alternate hypothesis:
    People are more eager to seek medical attention since they know that now, there are treatment options beyond “weird, expensive psychotherapy with little evidence-based support to back up its efficacy claim” and “find hobbies that do not require an erection”.
    Before the “penopharmaceutical revolution” :), a person would quickly discover that medicine ain’t got much to offer and thus would be discouraged from seeking medical attention.

    A.C.: And there’s trouble with having control groups for any research, since it’s impossible to find WEIRD young men who don’t watch it.

    So, basically, you pledge research impotence as a justification for lack of good research support of your claims regarding sexual impotence ?

    If only we could get iron out of all this delicious irony

    Now, pardon me, I gotta-hafta call third. Sex-science flamewars are something she’d hate to miss.

  8. Barry Adams: Not all TED talks are craptastic, but the majority are nowadays.

    Seconding the reminder to Sturgeon’s Law. And there was a rather cool talk on stock market algos a while back, for example.

    Docbrain:
    Hello, mr. Watts. I concern, will you write novellisation of videogame Crysis-3?

    Nope. Or at least, if I am, they’ve certainly left it to the last second to ask me — but my sense is that I won’t be working with those guys again. Cevat Yerli didn’t seem especially enamoured of my attitude, and all the guys who brought me on board in the first place have long since been fired or have quit in disgust. Life goes on.

  9. Peter Watts: Cevat Yerli didn’t seem especially enamoured of my attitude, and all the guys who brought me on board in the first place have long since been fired or have quit in disgust. Life goes on.

    That’s unfortunate.
    I liked the way you handled Crysis. Oh well…

    P.S.:

    One of my comments is stuck in Great Filter’s maw again…

  10. Peter Watts:
    Nope. Or at least, if I am, they’ve certainly left it to the last second to ask me— but my sense is that I won’t be working with those guys again.Cevat Yerli didn’t seem especially enamoured of my attitude, and all the guys who brought me on board in the first place have long since been fired or have quit in disgust.Life goes on.

    Oh, please do tell more. What was it like working with Crytek?

  11. @01

    “Demise of Guys” TED talk is bad, in that it’s just a bunch of rhetoric and statistics thrown together. Same goes for the book, according to reviews.

    Anyway..if you’re in your twenties, and you don’t know anyone who’s wasted a good number of years and a couple of years worth of higher education because of playing too much World of Warcrack or something else online, maybe you should get out more. I’ve seen my roommate drop out, likely because every time I saw him use his computer he was playing Dota on it.

    I don’t know how has that affected male performance in universities.
    Difficult to compare, because of changing metrics. SAT’s have stayed roughly the same.. and Zimbardo claims that SAT scores for boys are at a 40 year low.

    When it comes to porn, only time will tell, but so far it seems some people have issues because of it’s use.

    If they hadn’t, how would a subreddit like noFap get 51,000 subscribers with the vast majority not religiously motivated ..

  12. A.C.: Anyway..if you’re in your twenties, and you don’t know anyone who’s wasted a good number of years and a couple of years worth of higher education because of playing too much World of Warcrack or something else online, maybe you should get out more.

    From what I know of WoW players, you can’t meet more of them by getting out more :-P

    Having said that, unless you are some sort of posthuman superintelligence (blessed be machine god :) ), defining “waste” is a nontrivial task.

    It’s subjective.
    Is time in the law school “wasted” if you decided not to become a legal professional after all ? (One would likely accumulate more debt this way, compared to just playing WoW…)

    Is time spent reading non-instructive (that is, not manuals or textbooks) literature a waste, even if experience was, at the moment of reading, enjoyable ?

    A.C.: I’ve seen my roommate drop out, likely because every time I saw him use his computer he was playing Dota on it.

    Alternative hypothesis: the material at hand and career prospects in question were not sufficiently attractive for him.

    Alternative hypothesis 2: he had poor impulse control, and the game was just a convenient proximal trigger factor. Were he to live in a less technologically advanced society, he would have found other silly distractions to have his minds wander towards – counting birds, contemplating angels on pins or trying to derive is from ought.

    A.C.: When it comes to porn, only time will tell, but so far it seems some people have issues because of it’s use.

    It’s this because that is most tricky, isn’t it :) ?

    A.C.: If they hadn’t, how would a subreddit like noFap get 51,000 subscribers with the vast majority not religiously motivated ..

    How would something as evidence-wise controversial as Alcoholics Anonymous get so popular (and how come something so popular has such a hard time providing consistent hard evidence of its positive effects ;) )?

    How would something as obviously retarded as “alien visitation” claims manage to get millions of devoted believers worldwide?

    How would a politician obviously and specifically seeking to reduce social welfare systems to a burnt out husk get more than ~1% votes of median-and-lower income population (you could, of course, chalk up about ~1% to schizophrenia ;) ) ?

    How would someone who takes Roko’s Basilisk seriously manage to get more than one rusty cent in venture funding ?

    How would anyone expect to be taken seriously after attempting to use reddit subscriber count (of all things) as evidence for presence of a hypothesized outside effect ?

  13. I can’t help but snicker at people who dismiss TED as overhyped fluffy pablum (which a lot of it is, of course), yet hold up Chris Hitchens as some kind of paragon of insight and intellectual honesty.


  14. Is time in the law school “wasted” if you decided not to become a legal professional after all ?

    Having a sheepskin is used by HR drones as a proxy for being able to take something seriously. The more selective institution, the better.


    Is time spent reading non-instructive (that is, not manuals or textbooks) literature a waste, even if experience was, at the moment of reading, enjoyable ?

    Few people consistently spend so much time reading fiction that it interferes with the rest of their lives.


    How would.. yada yada.

    AA? You ignore bigger animals in the room, such as religious belief.

    Same with politics, people are stupid, don’t you know that? Dunning-Kruger effect I guess.


    Alternative hypothesis 2: he had poor impulse control, and the game was just a convenient proximal trigger factor. Were he to live in a less technologically advanced society, he would have found other silly distractions to have his minds wander towards – counting birds, contemplating angels on pins or trying to derive is from ought.

    Can you compare counting objects which may become an obsession for autistics with computer games? It’s like comparing Dreyse’s wooden contraption with a motorbike.
    I don’t think that when it comes to time spent on them, there’s a comparable activity from the pre-PC age that occupies so many for so much time.


    How would anyone expect to be taken seriously after attempting to use reddit subscriber count (of all things) as evidence for presence of a hypothesized outside effect ?

    It’s not just subscriber count. There’s the activity. There’s other web-forums.

    Unless you postulate an extreme degree of sockpuppetry by some vast, sinister right-wing conspiracy, it appears there is a good deal of people who report, after years of porn use roughly this:

    1) erectile dysfunction that’s not present while masturbating
    2) lack of morning wood. If you look it up, and I have, in medical texts on ED ..that’s only supposed to happen to people with physiological ED who shouldn’t be able to get it up at all.
    4) after abstaining for usually at least 4+ weeks, with an average of 10-12, sometimes more return of morning erections and the ability to have penetrative sex.


    I find it remarkable that there seems to be a notable uptick in attempts to steer discussion towards porn addiction in the (definitely non-porn related) blogs I follow. I wonder why…

    Porn addiction isn’t easy to kick, and a good deal of people are indignant because they’ve never been told choking the chicken with great regularity may mean it gets paraplegic.

    That’s why.


    Even the new DSM folks (who are quite happy to pathologize as much as possible) have abandoned that thing (exiled it into an appendix, IIRC).

    Because it’s a political matter..duh!
    Social conservatives have always had a hard-on against porn, masturbation and the idea of sex for fun, and they are roundly disliked for being insufferably dickish.

    I’ll note that them being right in case of porn for an unknown % of population just shows that even a broken clock is right twice per day..

    DSM folks are being stupid there, since it’s been established for some time that all addictions share the same mechanism of addiction, whether it’s gambling, binge eating or nicotine.

    http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v2/n2/full/nrn0201_119a.html

    If people weren’t ‘addicted’ to masturbation & porn, how come quitting it, even for a month is so difficult? Read some accounts from people who’re trying to not do it, for whatever reason, and the majority find it quite difficult.


    So, basically, you pledge research impotence as a justification for lack of good research support of your claims regarding sexual impotence ?

    Well, not exactly. Given time, someone will stick people who can’t get it up into NMR’s and people who formerly couldn’t get it up and have thus given up porn and measure the differences.

    There’s already a study where Italian scientists found that brains of people with psychogenic erectile dysfunction exhibit some changes.. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22723943#

    So, the thing that needs to be established now, apart from confirming the above results by replicating the study’s findings is that it’s possible to get serious psychogenic erectile dysfunction with the brain changes on the basis of enough porn use.


    Well according to Italian urologist Carlo Foresta (head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine) it can and does have a negative effect on sexual performance. Dr Foresta noticed that “70% of the young men his clinic treated for sexual performance problems had been using internet porn heavily.”

    Dr Foresta also conducted a survey of over 28,000 users who had started viewing porn from an early age and found that by their 20’s many had lost their libido, were unable to achieve an erection without viewing porn, had difficulty having a normal relationship with a woman and were heavily addicted to it.

    There are italian articles referencing above the study, but I can’t seem to find the study anywhere.

  15. ^
    @01
    I’ve got a big comment above in the moderation queue..

  16. I’m totally against porn.
    The libertarian impulse to uphold the right to consume leads to some interesting calisthenics on the debate floor.
    I watch, because I might learn something.
    And then again, I might not.

  17. A.C.:
    Having a sheepskin is used by HR drones as a proxy for being able to take something seriously. The more selective institution, the better.

    Correction – sometimes *might* be used by HR drones.
    That line of HR reasoning is not a given (and some would say that “HR reasoning” is an oxymoron ;) but I love my HR folks. Folks, if you are reading this, you’re bee’s knees :D )

    If we’re talking various things that have a potential to result in financial income, World of Warcraft is one of them (google says one would have to fork over anywhere between $ 200 and $ 1000 to buy a “just add water” high-level character there… and as far as I can tell, those are “free range raised” by players, and not supplied by Blizzard which actually frowns upon the practice).
    Generally speaking, the human civilization is more than eager to pay for various weird activities (consider the near-uselessness of “professional sports”, and the impressive salaries found therein), so weird skills like “really good at playing MMO things” can also be monetized, to various degree.

    Thus, your argument as to inherent wastefulness of this behavior does not appear to be sustainable.

    Also, it seems that you’re running with an unspoken assumption that the whole point of human existence on this earth is to “optimize employment”, so to say.
    And while personally, I don’t completely disagree, I believe that different people might have different sets of goals and motives, not necessarily readily relatable for you or me.

    A.C.: Few people consistently spend so much time reading fiction that it interferes with the rest of their lives.

    The “interferes” bit is probably up to the person to decide, which in turn means that it’s rather hard to make the comparison (and substantiate this claim of yours)

    A.C.: AA? You ignore bigger animals in the room, such as religious belief.

    Same with politics, people are stupid, don’t you know that? Dunning-Kruger effect I guess.

    I was striving for diversity. Religion gets a mention a mite to often.

    Also, I would kindly suggest that many AA believers, and at least some religious people and alien visitation aficionados, aren’t stupid, at least not in the “low intelligence” sense.

    A.C.: Can you compare counting objects which may become an obsession for autistics with computer games? It’s like comparing Dreyse’s wooden contraption with a motorbike.
    I don’t think that when it comes to time spent on them, there’s a comparable activity from the pre-PC age that occupies so many for so much time.

    Contemplating the amount of angels on pins, however, was quite a popular and time-consuming pastime among the intellectual elite of time long past :)

    Also, my point was exactly that it’s not so much obsession as a very convenient distraction, and in absence of Dota a whole lot of other activities would have taken its place – likely not “useful” ones, per the implied standard you have adopted

    A.C.: It’s not just subscriber count. There’s the activity. There’s other web-forums.

    Unless you postulate an extreme degree of sockpuppetry by some vast, sinister right-wing conspiracy, it appears there is a good deal of people who report, after years of porn use roughly this:

    All I “imply” is that reddit user count is notoriously unreliable, which subtracts severely from any argument that tries to leverage it as a form of evidence.
    Also, even if we were to assume that your reddit user count maps to “person count” one-to-one, there are roughly 70 000 Raelians worldwide, which kind of makes your headcount not very impressive, in perspective.

    And finally, using the quantity of your adherents as a form of evidence constitutes a form of Argumentum ad populum, which does not bode well for your argument.

    A.C.: 1) erectile dysfunction that’s not present while masturbating
    2) lack of morning wood. If you look it up, and I have, in medical texts on ED ..that’s only supposed to happen to people with physiological ED who shouldn’t be able to get it up at all.
    4) after abstaining for usually at least 4+ weeks, with an average of 10-12, sometimes more return of morning erections and the ability to have penetrative sex.

    I’ll leave this one to Third, since she’s more keen in the “sex psychology and biology” department

    A.C.: Because it’s a political matter..duh!

    You mean, just like depathologization of homosexuality and of BDSM, amrite ? ;)

    A.C.: DSM folks are being stupid there, since it’s been established for some time that all addictions share the same mechanism of addiction, whether it’s gambling, binge eating or nicotine.

    You know, I was a fan of “unified addiction theories”, until Third’s psychiatrist friend explained how trivially one could pathologize every thing a human might care deeply about using the “behavioral addiction” framework.

    You could easily apply “behavioral addiction” framework to almost every single thing or activity the removal of which could cause prolonged, extensive distress in a subject.

    And that’s before we get started on Salmon MRI (BTW, some of those MRI studies suggest that there’s little fundamental difference between falling in love and cocaine addiction, which is an idea that, one must admit, does have a kind of intuitive appeal despite its superficial loopieness)

    A.C.: If people weren’t ‘addicted’ to masturbation & porn, how come quitting it, even for a month is so difficult?

    “Quitting” nice things is typically rather “difficult”. Like “quitting” a comfortable condo or using a car with a personal chauffeur :P

    A.C.: Well, not exactly. Given time, someone will stick people who can’t get it up into NMR’s and people who formerly couldn’t get it up and have thus given up porn and measure the differences.

    Well, those things are quite harder than you imagine them. I’m sure Third will bring with her the link to a finely crafted article of a certain kind that I can’t find right now.

    Also, the control would still be flimsy. You guys need to recruit Amish folks, or something :)

    A.C.: Dr Foresta noticed that “70% of the young men his clinic treated for sexual performance problems had been using internet porn heavily.”

    Trying to use this statement as evidence of causal link is, as kids these days like to say, the living worst

    The amount of possible confounders is staggering

    Do note that I don’t mind further research – after all, if Yudkowsky can get 300k to carry out what amounts to little more than philosophical public masturbation and wild goose chase, sure someone should fork over some cash to you guys.

    I guess I’ll leave the rest to 03 when she finds time

    Leona: I’m totally against porn.
    The libertarian impulse to uphold the right to consume leads to some interesting calisthenics on the debate floor.

    Care to elaborate your position beyond deploying an association fallacy ?

    Leona: I watch, because I might learn something.
    And then again, I might not.

    Well, porn can be fairly inspirational, if you approach it right (then again, there are some… interesting ideas to be lifted from ßehemoth ;) you know…)

  18. Screwed up email when posting^… Curses!

  19. 01,

    It’d still have ended up in moderation queue on account of url’s, I imagine.

  20. Peter Watts: Seconding the reminder to Sturgeon’s Law.

    If you take 90% as the normal state, than TED easily breaks this “law” by reaching 98%+.

    It’s nothing more than part of the incumbent power elite and techno-triumphalist celebrity CEOs’ propaganda machine.

  21. Esebian: It’s nothing more than part of the incumbent power elite and techno-triumphalist celebrity CEOs’ propaganda machine.

    Hey, knock it off !
    I am technotriumphalist technofetishist allright (though not a CEO – too public a position with too little time for myself, if you ask me, or so I think at this particular junction), and I’m not particularly fond of the sheer amount of bullshit artistry and outright nonsense that gets thrown around at TED. They should seriously upgrade their bullshit filters (unless TED administration is intentionally aspiring to become the largest springboard for various high-profile pump-and-dumpers and other con artists)


  22. You could easily apply “behavioral addiction” framework to almost every single thing or activity the removal of which could cause prolonged, extensive distress in a subject.

    If you do no consider loss of social status, wealth or such, can you name one thing that’d cause prolonged, extensive distress?

    No ‘love’ too. Love, IIRC is an addiction, and I distinctly remember not considering negatives about women I was in love with. Technically it was limerence, but that’s an artificial distinction.

    Something else that’d cause prolonged, extensive distress.

  23. A.C.: If you do no consider loss of social status, wealth or such

    Ooh, you know, pretty much anything in life can be defined as some form of wealth, status, or their combination (especially if you add a bit of nebulous “or such” in the mix).

    In fact, I have a hard time imagining a thing that could not be defined as some kind of wealth, some kind social status determinant, or, especially, some kind of “or such” (even memories can technically be considered a form of wealth, especially in our age of intellectual property rights and trade secrets :) )

    You play hard and fast with them terms and definitions. Too hard… and too fast.

    A.C.: No ‘love’ too. Love, IIRC is an addiction

    it would be most appropriate to replace that IIRC of yours with an IMHO or…such ;)… since the whole “love as addiction” thing is, at best, a fledgeling hypothesis and not some kind of “established fact”

    A.C.: Technically it was limerence, but that’s an artificial distinction.

    Technically, limerence is not a clinically recognized condition. End of line.


  24. You play hard and fast with them terms and definitions. Too hard… and too fast.

    Name one hobby that doesn’t involve fucking, whether auto or interpersonal , where replacing it with something else won’t cause prolonged, extensive distress.

    RC planes?


    Technically, limerence is not a clinically recognized condition. End of line.

    It’s justa fancy name for infatuation. Should’ve used infatuation, since that’s the term for one-sided pointless love.


    it would be most appropriate to replace that IIRC of yours with an IMHO or…such ;) … since the whole “love as addiction” thing is, at best, a fledgeling hypothesis and not some kind of “established fact”

    It’s been established that monogamous species are more susceptible to addiction, through studying the two species of voles that are almost the same except one’s not pair-bonding.

    And it’s been pretty much established that love is like an addiction, I believe.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/face-it-love-is-just-another-addiction-7869596.html

    Sexual desire stimulated the same “reward” neurons as those which respond to anything inherently pleasurable, such as sex and food.

    The “love area”, meanwhile, was involved in a more complex conditioning process that drives the need to repeat high value reward sensations.

  25. ^@PW

    Message in queue..
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Also, previous message, the part reading

    else won’t cause prolonged, extensive distress.

    should read

    else is going to cause prolonged, extensive distress.

  26. Also, just a thought – don’t you consider the concept of “wealth addiction” (you excluded wealth from your previous inquiry) to be patently ridiculous ?

    As in, something out of Stephen Colbert show?

  27. A.C.: Name one hobby that doesn’t involve fucking, whether auto or interpersonal , where replacing it with something else won’t cause prolonged, extensive distress.

    RC planes?

    Replacing it with something else is cheating.

    You don’t get to replace one [air quote] addictive behavior [/air quote] with another and then claim the first one wasn’t addictive in the first place. That would be like replacing one substance addiction with another, per the “unified addiction framework’

    Having said that, I’m pretty sure that most avid philatelists would experience severe distress if they were to find their collections suddenly replaced with equivalent (per current estimated market price) sum of money (and would proceed to use the funds to recover as much as possible of the lost collection).

    People have committed murder for rare postage stamps .

    So, per “unified addiction theory”, postage stamp collecting is addictive.

    But then again – a really cool postage stamp collection is both wealth and social status (however, so is a ton of heroin ;) )

    A.C.: It’s justa fancy name for infatuation. Should’ve used infatuation, since that’s the term for one-sided pointless love.

    According to available sources, this term was initially developed as a term for describing an allegedly clinical condition that, upon investigation, can not be reliably distinguished from “infatuation” and “unrequited love”

    A.C.:
    It’s been established that monogamous species are more susceptible to addiction, through studying the two species of voles that are almost the same except one’s not pair-bonding.

    I don’t think that you can reliably map results in voles to humans. Especially behavioral results.

    This reminds me of a discussion we had in Two Pounds Brain with a certain… tier-2 acquaintance of mine… um… Anyways, I would refrain from attempting to generalize results from two closely related species to life in general (and even “mammals in general”)

    But most importantly, who the fuck told you humans are a strictly monogamous species ?
    Humans have, perhaps, one of the most ridiculously diverse sexual behavior repertoires documented (I’m pretty sure we even beat bonobos – unless there are bonobos who are into knife play or needle play :D )

    A.C.: And it’s been pretty much established that love is like an addiction, I believe.

    I don’t think the research you quote counts as “established”.
    It at most counts as “has interesting parallels that count towards supporting the addiction hypothesis”.

    Having said that, if you subscribe to that hypothesis, you will have a hard time finding an even remotely pleasant activity that would not be [air quote] addictive [/air quote] . Hell, a decent job would probably need “surgeon general’s warning” plastered at the entrance :p

    It seems to me that a theory of addiction in which almost anything that isn’t painful (and perhaps some of that, too, since certain “painful” activities, like, for instance, flagellation, can feel pretty damn cool even if you aren’t technically masochistic – if carried out with sufficient skill, that is) turns out to be addictive is, to put it kindly and courteously, a pretty useless addiction theory.

  28. 01,

    Wealth addiction? That’s your idea, not mine, and I’ve never said only addictions are capable of causing prolonged distress in people.

    Alot of other examples capable of the above exist: sheer idiocy, toxic workplace environment, mothers-in-law…

    I’m checking out until I see some kind of reply that’s not just a load of sophistry that’s beside the main issue, which is, not whether it’s possible to define constant, obsessive use of pornography(P) as wealth, but whether (P) may cause long-term desensitization to ordinary sexual impulses and consequently psychogenic erectile dysfunction. Or worse anhedonia, or hypofrontality..

  29. A.C.: Wealth addiction? That’s your idea, not mine, and I’ve never said only addictions are capable of causing prolonged distress in people.

    #cough-cough
    This does not appear to be a quote of mine:

    A.C.: If you do no consider loss of social status, wealth or such, can you name one thing that’d cause prolonged, extensive distress?
    No ‘love’ too. Love, IIRC is an addiction

    So, you excluded wealth, social status, and “such”, as well as “love” while explicitly stating that “love” is addictive (and thus implying wealth and social status are addictive as well).

    Thus “wealth addiction” is your idea, whether you like it or not :D

    A.C.: I’m checking out until I see some kind of reply that’s not just a load of sophistry

    Hilariously enough, to me your entire position is basically sophistry + overgeneralizing results of a few highly questionable studies. Exactly the same thing PUA morons and various neo-sexists do.

    A.C.: which is, not whether it’s possible to define constant, obsessive use of pornography(P) as wealth, but whether (P) may cause long-term desensitization to ordinary sexual impulses and consequently psychogenic erectile dysfunction.

    For which your best evidence is speculative (over)generalization of several imaging studies and speculative interpretation of self-reported event sequences (which, basically, puts you in the same category as alien visitation folks, who have approximately same amount of evidence to back their visitation claims), but I’ll leave that part to 03 since she has a more extensive interest in sex-related scientific affairs.

    A.C.: Or worse anhedonia, or hypofrontality..

    Oh, there we go.
    I guess in a few years, you’ll add cancer and multiple sclerosis to that bouquet of poorly substantiated claims.

  30. @01:
    I do “love” you, in that overly-used and oft-vacuous sense of the word, but one of my pet peeves is when people want to endlessly show off their debating skills without stating their position frankly at the outset (or even midstream). You (and @AC) have written a lot, most of which (admittedly) totally goes above my head, so I apologize right now if I missed the actual statement-of-position.

    I stated mine quite clearly and was immediately asked if I cared to elaborate beyond an association fallacy. Heh. Sounds like someone has a list of associations ready to debunk 8-)

    I think, if people think porn is so frigging awesome, they should have the guts to just come out and say so. Otherwise they’re just hedging their bets in circular debate.

    The selector [who likes porn] is a billion times more useful than the selector [who can best defend a position on porn]. That’s basically my point. So I’ma hold out on those supposedly fallacious associations that you’re asking for… until I see some collateral.

    Just where do YOU, @01, ultimately stand on the issue of pornography – it’s creation and it’s consumption? And yes, you’ll be judged, just like I might have been myself. That’s what happens, in life, that space largely outside the cushty confines of philosophical debate, and in which women struggle to inflate a useful sense of self for themselves while keeping out the rot.


  31. So, you excluded wealth, social status, and “such”, as well as “love” while explicitly stating that “love” is addictive (and thus implying wealth and social status are addictive as well).

    What? I don’t get what you’re writing. And I don’t get your point. At all.

    If I name four things, and then say one other thing is like an addiction, am I implying the first four were?

    No. And go fuck yourself with something sharp ;-)


    Hilariously enough, to me your entire position is basically sophistry + overgeneralizing results of a few highly questionable studies. Exactly the same thing PUA morons and various neo-sexists do.

    That’s a willful misunderstanding on your part.
    Firstly, I’m mostly convinced that excess porn use may cause ED because of my own experience, second-hand anecdotal data (friends), anecdotal data from the internet and the number of studies that taken together suggest that’s the case.
    You can easily find them if you google ‘porn induced erectile dysfunction’.


    But most importantly, who the fuck told you humans are a strictly monogamous species ?

    I wrote monogamous. And we are a mostly monogamous species.
    Polygamy is uncommon in the civilized world, and among people who have the good luck to not be sub-saharan Africans.


    Oh, there we go.

    Anhedonia and hypofrontality may accompany addictions. What’s outrageous about that?


    You know, I was a fan of “unified addiction theories”, until Third’s psychiatrist friend explained how trivially one could pathologize every thing a human might care deeply about using the “behavioral addiction” framework.

    “Unified addiction theory” I mentioned was about finding out the neurobiological basis of all addictions is the same.
    Addicts share a reduction in the amount of dopamine receptors in the brain. Net addicts too.

    So, there. You see: there’s a tool to establish whether some sort of a behavior is an addiction or not.

  32. A.C.: What? I don’t get what you’re writing. And I don’t get your point. At all.

    If I name four things, and then say one other thing is like an addiction, am I implying the first four were?

    Why yes, if you exclude X from discussion as “obvious addiction” and also exclude those “other” things (Y and Z) in same passage, that does count as such an implication, unless you specifically state that only one of the excluded items is something you consider addictive. Implications are sneaky like that.

    A.C.: And go fuck yourself with something sharp

    I prefer to use sharp things on other people during intercourse, but thanks for the offer ;)

    A.C.: That’s a willful misunderstanding on your part.
    Firstly, I’m mostly convinced that excess porn use may cause ED because of my own experience, second-hand anecdotal data (friends), anecdotal data from the internet and the number of studies that taken together suggest that’s the case.
    You can easily find them if you google ‘porn induced erectile dysfunction’.

    1) The studies in question range from “questionable” to “seriously bad” in terns of design quality, as far as I can tell (and no, playing the “no good controls” card does not improve the research quality)

    2) The plural of “anecdotes” is not “data”

    3) First hand experience is rather unreliable (“but I saw the greys come out of their spacecraft – saw them with my very own eyes!” “PUA stuff works! I used this stuff for 6 months and eventually got laid!” “I know many women and none of them are as good with math as the men I know, ergo, female brain is not evolved for math!” etc.) and especially useless in the context of internet discussion, where everyone can be anyone else (for all you know, I am a space alien, or a hiveminded murder of DARPA-bioengineered crows ;) )

    So my initial characterization was, as a matter of fact, fairly charitable.

    A.C.: I wrote monogamous. And we are a mostly monogamous species.

    By Machine God, now this claim would need a tremendous citation list to support.
    Seriously, that’s quite a claim to make.

    NB: marriage as legal construct != actual sex partner selection tendencies

    A.C.: Polygamy is uncommon in the civilized world, and among people who have the good luck to not be sub-saharan Africans.

    Polygamy as “legally recognized social construct” ?

    You do realize that “legal constructs” like marriage aren’t necessarily accurate reflections of human relationships, and absence of “multiparty marriage protocol” is by no means an indicator of actual monogamy or lack thereof ?

    Also, I hope you realize that “humanity as a species” is primarily defined by traits that have very little to do with the “civilized world” due to “civilized world” being a very recent development as far as species’s history is concerned.

    A.C.: Anhedonia and hypofrontality may accompany addictions. What’s outrageous about that?

    Why, your willingness to go from a speculative theory to further speculation regarding possible aggravations is outrageous.

    A.C.:
    “Unified addiction theory” I mentioned was about finding out the neurobiological basis of all addictions is the same.
    Addicts share a reduction in the amount of dopamine receptors in the brain. Net addicts too.

    So, the addiction theory you subscribe to, the way you parse it, essentially boils down to:

    “chemical addicts have certain alterations in brain’s dopamine systems, hence all conditions that involve a somewhat similar “dopamine profile” are ipso facto addictions”

    Would the above be a correct summary of your general position on addiction ? :D

  33. Leona: I do “love” you, in that overly-used and oft-vacuous sense of the word, but one of my pet peeves is when people want to endlessly show off their debating skills without stating their position frankly at the outset (or even midstream).

    I’m kinda flattered, and definitely love you back – well, to the extent possible with internet people ;)

    My position, as far as this discussion goes, is quite straightforward – some people are making claims they don’t have evidence to make. On the internet, of all places. AND I DON’T LIKE THAT! ;)

    Or, with slightly less tongue in cheek, I think that A.C.’s position is not grounded in any coherent evidence, is speculative, anecdotal, and at most charitable interpretation is edging on junk science.

    That’s basically my position in the context of this argument “in a nutshell”.

    If you inquire as to my position on merits of pornography in general, then my position can be stated as such:
    I know of no credible evidence that would allow one to consider pornography inherently harmful, in fact, I see no reason to consider it more harmful than, for example, crab fishing.

    I also do not find it subjectively offensive (or at least, any more offensive than most other forms of artistic expression or their commercial derivative).

    Thus, I see no sound reason to subjectively “dislike” pornography depicting and produced by consenting adults, let alone any sound reason to support repressive action against it.

    Leona: I stated mine quite clearly and was immediately asked if I cared to elaborate beyond an association fallacy. Heh. Sounds like someone has a list of associations ready to debunk

    I don’t :) But “The libertarian impulse to uphold the right to consume leads to some interesting calisthenics on the debate floor” does come off as a sneaky way to introduce association between any person who does not support anti-pornographic actions and libertarians. Which isn’t a good debate tactic, and in fact, would be a fallacy.

    Leona: The selector [who likes porn] is a billion times more useful than the selector [who can best defend a position on porn]. That’s basically my point.

    I disagree.

    Likes / dislikes is purely a taste thing.

    I may dislike postmodern philosophy, or abrahamic religions, or dogs, or whatever, but if I intend to support any actions against those (or at least imply that continued existence of those phenomena is a product of “rhetorical calisthenics” carried out by a %fuzzy political group% ;) ), I would need something other than my own personal distaste.

    Leona: Just where do YOU, @01, ultimately stand on the issue of pornography – it’s creation and it’s consumption? And yes, you’ll be judged, just like I might have been myself.

    See above.

    Also, just for the record, you weren’t judged ;) just your attempt to forge a link between people not sharing your position and a particular loosely-defined political group :D

    Leona: That’s what happens, in life, that space largely outside the cushty confines of philosophical debate, and in which women struggle to inflate a useful sense of self for themselves while keeping out the rot.

    Oh, but we’re well within cushy confines of internet debate, which is even cushier than your average philosophical one.

    Also, “useful sense of self” and “sense of self” are extremely subjective things.

    Do you believe that existence of pornography is sappn’ yours ? (this is a whimsical inquiry, with no intent to offend)

  34. Yikes. I look away for a couple of days and people are telling each other to fuck themselves with pointy sticks. Did requiresmeds slip in the back door while I wasn’t looking?

    It took a while to find out how a slam against TED talks turned into a discussion of internet porn (I actually had to follow the link and slide down through Morozov’s article — which, given his preference for zingers over analysis, comes across a little like TED’s angry evil twin). And I can’t possibly comment on every one of the points/counterpoints I’d like to (I do have a novel to finish, after all), but before I dig in to the “Parasite” section of Dumbspeech, I can touch on a few:

    Alexey: Oh, please do tell more. What was it like working with Crytek?

    That is a story for a whole blog post or four. And for another day. And over beers. If it ever happens. For now, suffice to say I made some good friends, and even some connections. None of whom work there any more.

    Sylocat:
    I can’t help but snicker at people who dismiss TED as overhyped fluffy pablum (which a lot of it is, of course), yet hold up Chris Hitchens as some kind of paragon of insight and intellectual honesty.

    Dude, the comparison was to a sports bar. We’re not comparing TED or Hitchens to Thomas Metzinger — we’re comparing them to Don Cherry. Believe me, they’re a huge step up.

    Leona: I’m totally against porn.

    I like porn. What’s more, I’m grateful for porn. Without brokestraightboys.com and boysfirsttime.com my poor old dad wouldn’t have got off once during the last half-century of his life. This is not hyperbole. After a lifetime of misery, porn helped make the tail end of his life bearable.

    A.C.: it appears there is a good deal of people who report, after years of porn use roughly this:

    1) erectile dysfunction that’s not present while masturbating
    2) lack of morning wood. If you look it up, and I have, in medical texts on ED ..that’s only supposed to happen to people with physiological ED who shouldn’t be able to get it up at all.
    4) after abstaining for usually at least 4+ weeks, with an average of 10-12, sometimes more return of morning erections and the ability to have penetrative sex.

    I recognize that N=1 here, but my own experience is the exact opposite. I indulge in porn; I jerk off a few times a day (I’m doing it right now, in fact) (just kidding); I have sex at least twice a day. ED is not a problem; in fact, the only time I resorted to Cialis was when coming off a dry spell during which neither sex nor masturbation were all that common.

    There’s also been at least one study which endorsed masturbation as a healthy means of flushing out old and senescent sperm, but I’m too backed up to look for the citation at the mo.

    Esebian: If you take 90% as the normal state, than TED easily breaks this “law” by reaching 98%+.

    I trawl TED the same way I trawl the internet in general; I scroll down the feed and if a summary catches my eye, I watch the talk. Otherwise I let it slide. I’m not saying that 98% of the talks aren’t crap (I have no numbers one way or the other); I am saying that the talks I end up watching veer closer to 50:50. It’s comparable to what I get off of boingboing and slashdot; way better than io9 or tor.com.

  35. A.C.: And it’s been pretty much established that love is like an addiction, I believe.

    Hmmm. Well, yeah, in the sense that you get a dopamine rush that inspires you to keep pushing the button. My understanding, though, is that “addiction” only sets in when the brain grows additional receptors to handle the stimulating molecule, which takes said molecule out of circulation in greater numbers, which provokes a desire for ever-more molecules. Offhand I don’t know if “love” as such involves that positive-feedback spiral leading to increasing need, increasingly dissatisfaction, and inevitable fiery collapse into the pit of disillusion and despair.

    Oh, who am I kidding. Of course I know.

    01: I don’t think that you can reliably map results in voles to humans. Especially behavioral results.

    How about chemical results, i.e., a cross-species oxytocin response?

    01: Exactly the same thing PUA morons and various neo-sexists do.

    Could someone tell me what PUA stands for? I think I’ve got “moron” figured out…

    A.C.: I wrote monogamous. And we are a mostly monogamous species.
    Polygamy is uncommon in the civilized world, and among people who have the good luck to not be sub-saharan Africans.

    Uh, I think you might be confusing natural inclinations with top-down constraints imposed by religious and other authorities. There’s a pretty substantial body of work suggesting that monogamy — or at least, long-term monogamy — isn’t our natural state (not the least of which was a recent longitudinal genetic study in the UK in which fully a third of the sampled offspring-of-married-couples proved to have been sired by someone other than the husband). Also our huge penises suggest an evolutionary history of sperm competition, which in turn implies multiple partners on the female side at least (relative to, say, male gorillas, who control access to their females and who have relatively tiny needle-dicks). I’m pleading time-pressure on the whole dig-up-the-references thing, but any edition of Krebs & Davies would contain at least one chapter that describes this stuff.

    Unless all the data have changed since the mid-nineties, of course. Which has happened before. Although I’d be really surprised if the gorilla/human penis morphometrics had changed much.

    01: I’m kinda flattered, and definitely love you back

    You should be. Leona is awesome.

  36. Peter Watts:
    There’s also been at least one study which endorsed masturbation as a healthy means of flushing out old and senescent sperm, but I’m too backed up to look for the citation at the mo.

    Yeah, I know, I always go for the juvenile humor.

  37. Whoever: too backed up

    I’m not quite native in my English, so could you perhaps explain this joke to me ?

    I kind of thought Peter used “backed up” as in “The accident backed the traffic up for blocks.”

  38. 01,

    plumbing can also be “backed up”.

  39. My position, as far as this discussion goes, is quite straightforward – some people are making claims they don’t have evidence to make. On the internet, of all places. AND I DON’T LIKE THAT!

    What about looking at this from another angle: what evidence is there that porn and masturbation don’t alter the cognitive physiology of some males? If you’re going to dismiss his references out of hand – and there are plenty of references online that support his position, both through studies and anecdotes – then you should have a better defense of your position than “he doesn’t have evidence.”

    If you inquire as to my position on merits of pornography in general, then my position can be stated as such:
    I know of no credible evidence that would allow one to consider pornography inherently harmful, in fact, I see no reason to consider it more harmful than, for example, crab fishing.

    I also do not find it subjectively offensive (or at least, any more offensive than most otherforms of artistic expression or their commercial derivative).

    Thus, I see no sound reason to subjectively “dislike” pornography depicting and produced by consenting adults, let alone any sound reason to support repressive action against it

    I’m sorry but I read this thread a few days ago and don’t remember all I read: are you saying that you know of no evidence that pornography + masturbation can be harmful for SOME people, or is this a blanket statement covering all people? I’d agree that it shouldn’t be universally labelled as harmful but it’s very easy to find people reporting their difficulties while using and their improvements after abstaining for months.

    As far as I’ve seen there aren’t any studies with fMRI imaging that show the neurological activity of a porn+masturbation user. The question becomes: are you willing to admit that it’s an addiction for some of them? If so, there are studies that show diminished activity in the mesolimbic pathways of those who are addicted to behaviors.

    Here’s one referring to gambling, a commonly accepted analogue to other behavioral addictive disorders:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933850/

    Here’s an article from the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (linked freely through a website which you might explore if you’re curious about finding more evidence)
    http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/introduction-to-behavioral-addictions

    It seems pretty clear that there have been observable behavioral difficulties caused by addictive behavior. The question, as relates to porn, must then be “Is frequent use of pornography and masturbation by a person with ED and social inhibitions a sign of addictive behavior?”

  40. I myself will be reading three short never-before-seen-or-heard fragments, two from upcoming short stories and one from the closing pages of Echopraxia.

    any chance for the chiaroscuro talks to get uploaded? please please

  41. OK…

    I know you guys are WAAAAY smarter than me and that I really SHOULD just take your gentle (thank you for being gentle) proddings toward moving from stage 1) knee-jerk revulsion to stage 2) analytic, post-caring, evidence-based orientation to porn. I GET it. I promise. I get it.

    But too many people are being left behind in the vices of too many sex obsessed-fucktards for me to just blithely move on. Porn might not be THE CAUSE to end all causes, but it sure as hell is a cross-cutting concern that ties together, into a fairly craptastic bouquet, most women’s amygdaline preoccupations and the real world events that tend to trigger them. I think enough hard drives have been sniffed, post- BAD THINGS HAPPENING, to make it okay to construct “where there is porn there is also…” sentences. It’s great for you adult males that you can stick around till the proverbial sentences are finished, but most right-minded, sufficiently survival-oriented women are going to stop processing and scarper for the effing hills. Maybe it’s just a side-effect of being more bundlable into cars – I don’t know. But I think the divergent responses to porn are understandable?

    I imagine as a guy, it can get to be real tiresome defending this turf. The last thing you’re probably interested in right now is the sniffely viewpoint of one more pint-sized female extolling on the problematic gender dalliance that now encumbers itself further with porn… but the weariness cuts both ways. I can stop giving a bonobo’s posterior that porn also happens to help rather than hinder those everyday folk who just want to find a moment of bliss… if people will go online and put such effort into championing the cause of porn-motivated wankers everywhere, while staying utterly silent on the bubble of oppressive/discomfiture it exerts on others who gain precisely ZERO from it and yet are suddenly in danger of being held to its bizarre standards.

    I do not and will not traipse up and down the country trying to terrorize or convert pornsters (I don’t think I’d scare anyone anyway) but that doesn’t mean I’m down with any of what they do/make/consume/support.

    It would seem that, nevertheless, this antipornster is down with actual, real-life, self-confessed pornsters. Whose opinions she actually values. It’s so… meta and backwards and inside out.

    The best-est part of all though, is that this is all she wrote on the matter.

  42. Leona -

    She’s welcome to write more on the matter.

    I think some of your issues have to do with the way that males are raised in our society and their experiences in the early stages of our educational system. We live in a society where fledgling hunters are made to sit in a rectangular room, silently, and face frequent reprimand when their instinctual need to move and act comes through. Many boys (and some girls) require experiential, hands on learning and are at a major disadvantage in the system, caused by their very nature.

    So, to get to my point: I don’t think that porn is the most prevalent or appropriate scapegoat for your fears of being transported via a trunk. A vast, vast majority of men own and consume pornography so attributing specific abhorrent behaviors to it can be tricky. Instead, I would posit that males raised in a very feminist-colored educational system come out of it at the end slightly broken and often very frustrated in trying to navigate a society that they may feel uncomfortable within.

    A few basic examples: as somebody very sensitive to other people I’ve always been intrigued by the male aggression at frat parties. I’ve been surprised at how many males will flip their lid about the tiniest stuff. The difficulty guys have relating to women in a social manner (as opposed to sexual innuendo) also comes to mind. I accuse their upbringing of being the culprit. I experienced (and still do) shifting goalposts and inexplicable anger from teachers/partners for something that to my thinking was totally innocuous. I can’t put into words what it feels like to live in a world where you don’t really know the social and sexual rules.

    01 is going to hate this post for lack of references to government-grant funded studies :-D There is material out there exploring this topic if anybody wants to learn more.

    Do you perceive porn to be the facilitator of distasteful behaviors?

  43. 01,

    Yes, plumbing, including the biological kind, as in backed up sperm. (He may have worded it that way intentionally, you know writers).

    Just to add something interesting to the porn discussion, there’s a rumor circulating that the Pope actually resigned because some group within or connected to the church was making kiddie porn. They have certainly thrown out enough “gay priest” red meat with their report to be able to distract from something like that and some of the worse financial scandals that came out of the leaked documents.

  44. Since I don’t think anybody actually did answer your question, PUA in this context, I believe stands for “Pick-Up Artist”, the guys who claim they have reliable ways of picking up women (and they’ll teach it to you if you buy their book), usually including tactics like giving “negative compliments” to lower a girl’s self-esteem and make her more susceptible, paying attention to the friends of the girl you want and virtually ignoring her, things like that

  45. Leona: I think enough hard drives have been sniffed, post- BAD THINGS HAPPENING, to make it okay to construct “where there is porn there is also…” sentences.

    The problem here is one of correlation vs. causation. You could, with just as much validity, claim that “enough hard drives have been sniffed, post- BAD THINGS HAPPENING, to make it okay to construct “where there are back issues of the Toronto Star there is also…” or “enough hard drives have been sniffed, post- BAD THINGS HAPPENING, to make it okay to construct “where there are mismatched socks in the closet there is also…”. All this stuff is everywhere, and the fact that folks tend to actively look for porn in such contexts makes for easy and invalid connections.

    As Azzmo points out: a huge number of us get off on porn. Very few of us, relatively speaking, are sexually violent. Leona, you’ve hung out with me more than enough to know which category I fall into; and yet, we keep hanging out.

  46. Okay, I arrive late, but I’ll try to address points in chronological order, or maybe not.

    Anyways, let’s start with the whole “unified” addiction theory shtick.
    First and foremost, I and 01 share a shrink friend, whose position on “behavioral addiction” 01 currently shares, and I do share partially.

    I agree that “dopamine core” of addiction is absurdly broad as far as theoretical approaches go, and allows to include all and any activities that are even remotely motivating into “potentially addictive” category.

    So yeah, if there can be “porn” addiction and “world of whatever” addiction, there can also be “wealth addiction”. Also, I’d go out on a limb and say that parent-offspring bonding likely is also an addiction under this framework :)

    Unlike 01, I don’t have a conceptual problem with that (so, caffeine, good job, wealth, social status, and family are technically addictions – so fucking what?), if anything, in my opinion, this should lead to us becoming more laid back in regards to “addictive” states, not crack back on porn, books, wealth and moms :).
    What is troubling is that if the theory does not offer a way to differentiate between a relatively benign and socially acceptable addiction (love) and something as remarkably troublesome as, say, heroin addiction, then it’s quite useless from a practical standpoint.

    Anyway, specifically as to porn addiction (in response to both A.C. and Azzmo) – there’s about as much evidence in “favor” of that as there is evidence in favor of “Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome” (which is basically “masturbating prone can cause a somewhat unusual ED”) which is basically “a few very weak studies, an academic following that is both kind of marginal and kind of small, and a whole load of internet anecdotes”. TMS is IMHO more plausible than “porn-induced ED” but frankly, both are quite weak hypotheses, as far as we’re talking about “evidence” and not whether it “would it look okay in a Watts sci-fi story”.

    As far as I’m concerned, that kind of evidence is, frankly, shit

    Do science to it.

    Do better science to it.

    And then we talk.

    Oh, and speaking of science, in before claims of “our poorly controlled, n=10 MRI study shows that bla-bla-blahdiblah” claims start raining, here’s the article 01 mentioned (but didn’t link) – fMRI “proof” of cognitive activity in dead salmon specimens. So be careful with that fMRI rig of yours :)

    Now, to some points that I think are worth addressing in this discussion before moving on

    A.C.: 1) erectile dysfunction that’s not present while masturbating
    2) lack of morning wood. If you look it up, and I have, in medical texts on ED ..that’s only supposed to happen to people with physiological ED who shouldn’t be able to get it up at all.
    4) after abstaining for usually at least 4+ weeks, with an average of 10-12, sometimes more return of morning erections and the ability to have penetrative sex.

    First, you seem to have lost a 3, which is especially relevant to my interests ;)

    Second, “Nocturnal penile tumescence” is not strictly the same thing as “morning wood” – you know, “nocturnal” kind of gives everything away actually. So unless one were to be fitted with a special device that monitors nocturnal erection (which is exactly how doctors know whether patient has his NPT intact) one can’t really tell.

    If one had complete NPT loss one has organic pathology.
    FULL STOP
    Even if some random intervention (such as “porn discontinuation” or “praying to Ass Hamsters”) has lead to an improvement, possibility exists that there is a progressive organic pathology that is being masked by the placebo effect (no one ever expects the placebo effect :D ), so consulting a physician is advisable.
    Your penis might be running on borrowed time.

    P.S.:
    on an almost unrelated note, it is possible to rupture the suspensory ligament of the penis and/or break one’s penis during an NPT event by turning in one’s bed in a particularly awkward way while sleeping.
    Sweet dreams :)

    Azzmo: What about looking at this from another angle: what evidence is there that porn and masturbation don’t alter the cognitive physiology of some males?

    While this gem wasn’t directed at me…

    No.
    No no no.
    No.
    Just say no to shifting burden of proof. It’s addictive :) and a really bad practice.

    What proof do you have that “vampires” don’t exists and aren’t running things from their spherical sanctuaries from behind the scenes ? Maybe they even are paying Mr. Watts to write sci-fi about them so that people don’t take vampires all too seriously ;) ?
    What proof does one have that it ain’t so?

    P.S.:
    And, like I already said above, behavioral addiction theory, if applied consistently (which is rarely done), is not very useful, since every subjectively rewarding activity becomes a “risk activity” (not that I have a problem with that – I don’t think addictions are necessarily pathological. Our very need for meaningful social interaction can very well be viewed as a form of addiction preventing us from becoming Ze Randian Ubermenshen :D )

    Now, moving on to porn proper :)

    Leona: Porn might not be THE CAUSE to end all causes, but it sure as hell is a cross-cutting concern that ties together, into a fairly craptastic bouquet, most women’s amygdaline preoccupations and the real world events that tend to trigger them.

    Okay, first, I preemptively ask pardon if I say something insensitive.
    I’m probably not very baseline as far as women go, so I might be failing to empathize properly or something, but I’m not sure I follow your argument.

    While I do realize that working in porn is usually isn’t a very nice way to pay the bills, I contend that there are “mainstream” jobs that are way worse as far as “bang/buck” (badum-tish) is concerned, all while earning you the same amount of spite from uppity prudes, snobs and bigots (if not more).

    Leona: I think enough hard drives have been sniffed, post- BAD THINGS HAPPENING, to make it okay to construct “where there is porn there is also…” sentences.

    I got to disagree.
    I don’t even think there’s really a correlation, let alone causation.

    And with no correlation or causation to argue from, one could use same line of reasoning to assert an association between socks and sexual violence. I believe that many assailants were wearing socks before, during, and even after the act.

    Leona: most right-minded, sufficiently survival-oriented women are going to stop processing and scarper for the effing hills.

    Eeemmmm…
    …what ?

    You know, I kind of thought that grew up in a shitty neighborhood of a shitty country, and I don’t have that much fear towards male humans (but then I’m algolagniac, so I don’t know if I count as right-minded or whatever :) ).

    What’s worse is that this way of reacting to porn (and males) doesn’t make for a very good rape prevention strategy – to the best of my knowledge, most rapists are relatively adjusted socially, and do not extoll the virtues of BDSM gay midget pornography when interacting with potential victims.

    Leona: but the weariness cuts both ways. I can stop giving a bonobo’s posterior that porn also happens to help rather than hinder those everyday folk who just want to find a moment of bliss… if people will go online and put such effort into championing the cause of porn-motivated wankers everywhere, while staying utterly silent on the bubble of oppressive/discomfiture it exerts on others who gain precisely ZERO from it and yet are suddenly in danger of being held to its bizarre standards.

    Sorry.

    Lost you here completely.

    Would you kindly rephrase ?

    PS:
    Peter’s counterspam seems to hate me again :)

  47. @03


    “If one had complete NPT loss one has organic pathology.”
    FULL STOP.

    NPT occurs multiple times a night during REM sleep. During which dreams you can recall happen. I remember my dreams two-three times every month, usually after being woken by some asshat telemarketer at 11 am after a night shift..

    So, 24-36 wakings from REM sleep per year. Not one erection upon waking in the past five years or so.

    If I had ‘organic pathology’, I’d not be able to get it up at all. Not my case, I can get it up reliably with porn, or just vivid-enough fantasies.
    NPT can also disappear in severely depressed people ..

    So, you’re wrong.

    Do science to it.
    Do better science to it.
    And then we talk.

    Science? I’m a welder. How should I go about making this “science” you speak of happen?

    @Peter Watts

    I recognize that N=1 here, but my own experience is the exact opposite. I indulge in porn; I jerk off a few times a day (I’m doing it right now, in fact) (just kidding); I have sex at least twice a day. ED is not a problem; in fact, the only time I resorted to Cialis was when coming off a dry spell during which neither sex nor masturbation were all that common.

    It takes years to develop, and likely, normal sex delays or prevents the onset, because it reinforces the sex pathways.
    Have you ever tried exclusively masturbating twice a day to porn for 6+ years?
    I had no ED problems after 4 years of perhaps twice a day habit.

    Banning porn is not the point, the point is, no one ever told me too much wanking can make morning erections disappear and make me unable to have sex.
    Ironically enough with the woman after whom I’ve lusted for a couple of years and who figured prominently in my masturbatory fantasies.

    Then she moves back to my town, I manage to start dating her – which made me high on life and happy for the first time in years. And then I find out, over five weeks of attempts that apparently I have ED.
    She couldn’t even give me a blowjob successfully.

  48. Lordy… it’s the thread that keeps on giving.

    @03 – I have really bad run on sentences so sometimes I’m not always comprehensible. And I rarely go back to elucidate.

    @PeterWatts – your threat profile rivals that of a fluffy bunny. With mitts on. So yeah, we hang out (either that or you’re REALLY good and I’m being groomed, lol)

    @all: after LOTS of dubious google-powered anti-research fuelled by similar threads, I am a new and proud adoptee of the no evidence of porn-motivated crime position espoused on here. I don’t believe it at a cellular level, but I formally adopt it and look forward to deploying it with AFAIK headers.

    Hasn’t doused my utter disdain for porn one bit – but this is great progress. I can dislike porn for my own, personal, highly irrational reasons. This is a much healthier kind of dislike, methinks. I feel less like Chicken Little, but I can still shit eggs on the subject.


  49. @PeterWatts – your threat profile rivals that of a fluffy bunny. With mitts on. So yeah, we hang out (either that or you’re REALLY good and I’m being groomed, lol)

    Admit it, you have the hots for him.
    6’6″, intelligent, socially dominant, somewhat famous?
    And he’s not even balding at his age.

    You have to face it: your subconscious has you by the ovaries..

  50. @A.C: I hope you’re right about my subconscious and my ovaries, because these lovely egg-warmers were gently disabused of access to any actual levers of decision-making power a long time ago.

    And someone really needs to get their balls out of their machinations.

  51. @Leona…haha…that’s great! I hadn’t thought of a fluffy bunny myself, but I agree completely with your assessment of Peter’s threat profile. He is the least intimidating very large person I have ever met.

  52. A.C.: NPT occurs multiple times a night during REM sleep. During which dreams you can recall happen. I remember my dreams two-three times every month, usually after being woken by some asshat telemarketer at 11 am after a night shift..

    That’s not how one goes about documenting NPT.
    Self-reports of people, (sleepy people at that) are an unreliable thing.

    A.C.: If I had ‘organic pathology’, I’d not be able to get it up at all. Not my case, I can get it up reliably with porn, or just vivid-enough fantasies.

    Organic pathology isn’t an on/off switch as well, but that’s not the point.
    The point is that, something as major as total loss of NPT is hard to explain via purely psychogenic / “porn related” reasons

    So, it’s a good thing we have also established that your report of total NPT loss isn’t very reliable due to lack of a professional investigation into this matter.

    A.C.: NPT can also disappear in severely depressed people ..

    Rather, they have diminished NPT with a few small studies claiming cases of total NPT loss in depressed patients.

    A.C.: Science? I’m a welder. How should I go about making this “science” you speak of happen?

    Well, for one, you can stop extolling the virtues of a very speculative theory as if it was settled fact.

    At this point, every single claim made by “porn addiction” theory can be equally well made via other theories (including the Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome thing, which is at least a bit cooler due to the fact that it would justify state-sponsored “proper masturbation” education if it were to be eventually proven) and the evidence is mostly small, ill-designed studies and internet stories.

    Also, porn-add-theory ain’t making no unique predictions, but I guess now I’m just being a meanie ;)

    A.C.: It takes years to develop, and likely, normal sex delays or prevents the onset, because it reinforces the sex pathways.
    Have you ever tried exclusively masturbating twice a day to porn for 6+ years?
    I had no ED problems after 4 years of perhaps twice a day habit.

    Banning porn is not the point, the point is, no one ever told me too much wanking can make morning erections disappear and make me unable to have sex.
    Ironically enough with the woman after whom I’ve lusted for a couple of years and who figured prominently in my masturbatory fantasies.

    Then she moves back to my town, I manage to start dating her – which made me high on life and happy for the first time in years. And then I find out, over five weeks of attempts that apparently I have ED.
    She couldn’t even give me a blowjob successfully.

    You know, I am kind of perplexed by this entire story at this point.

    I mean, it can’t be that hookers in your area were so prohibitively expensive that you couldn’t afford one every month or so.
    Then again, my knowledge of US street sex work is rather superficial…

    Also, at this point I’d say blaming porn is more than a little bit premature. There are many things that can go wrong with such a lifestyle (said the pot to the kettle, I suppose :D ) both psychologically and otherwise.

    A.C.: Admit it, you have the hots for him.
    6’6″, intelligent, socially dominant, somewhat famous?
    And he’s not even balding at his age.

    You have to face it: your subconscious has you by the ovaries..

    I wonder… do you really believe that females are incapable of non-sexually driven social interactions and non-reproductive attachment?

    I mean, the whole “Leona’s hot for our kind host because Leona likes to hang out with him and said he’s safe as far as violence is concerned” comment strikes me as more than a little bit out of the blue…

    Leona: fter LOTS of dubious google-powered anti-research fuelled by similar threads, I am a new and proud adoptee of the no evidence of porn-motivated crime position espoused on here. I don’t believe it at a cellular level, but I formally adopt it and look forward to deploying it with AFAIK headers.

    My job here is done then, I suppose :D


  53. That’s not how one goes about documenting NPT.
    Self-reports of people, (sleepy people at that) are an unreliable thing.

    I assure you that it’s impossible for men to not notice that their penis is erect. It’s not a clitoris, it is a lot bigger and in my case sticks something like 8″ outwards. Impossible to overlook.


    The point is that, something as major as total loss of NPT is hard to explain via purely psychogenic / “porn related” reasons
    So, it’s a good thing we have also established that your report of total NPT loss isn’t very reliable due to lack of a professional investigation into this matter.

    I’ll be getting it checked out next month. I can keep you posted, if you leave me your email address.

    TMS is unlikely in my case. Masturbating while prone by rubbing my dick against something? Retarded and gay. I had no idea people did that before I came across it on the net.


    At this point, every single claim made by “porn addiction” theory can be equally well made via other theories

    So, the reason I have a hard time not looking at porn and fapping almost to a coma if not otherwise occupied is that I suffer from TMS?

    Please elaborate.


    You know, I am kind of perplexed by this entire story at this point.

    I mean, it can’t be that hookers in your area were so prohibitively expensive that you couldn’t afford one every month or so.
    Then again, my knowledge of US street sex work is rather superficial…

    Escorts are expensive, and I live in a low-crime area. Cops are bored.
    I know several people who got busted in vice stings after arranging a fuck with an escort. It makes more sense to save the money for later. Less risky.

    First time you get caught, you can get up to three months, next time it can be a felony and up to a year in jail.


    I wonder… do you really believe that females are incapable of non-sexually driven social interactions and non-reproductive attachment?

    No. But there’s almost always some sort of attraction, and we can’t control our subconsciousness.

  54. 03:

    She couldn’t even give me a blowjob successfully.

    The “magic” is in the tongue. Since being introduced to “the butterfly”, I’m a believer.