Sex, Science and Social Policy


Stephanie Zvan’s first Research Blogging post is on the cherry-picking tactics used by people trying to shape social policy regarding the sex industry — tactics you might be familiar with, given their prevalence in arguments against the realities of evolution and climate change. The post is a whopper. (And I mean that in terms of size and impact, not as a euphemism for it being a lie.)

When it comes to the politicization of scientific topics and science denialism, everyone knows about the forces opposing our understanding evolution and global warming. Would it surprise you to see similar tactics on display when the subject is sex?

In the well-known cases, political actors band together with researchers who continually produce results favoring the politicos pet topics. It’s not that hard to produce the desired results, even when the mass of evidence doesn’t support your side. It simply requires that these researchers restrict themselves to dealing with tiny slivers of the available information on their topic. Global warming deniers look at temperatures in only one location or across one short period of time. Evolution deniers focus on unanswered questions and stay far away from the genetic evidence.

The results are what you would expect. They see what they want to see. They support what they want to support.

Keep reading.

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