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Hot for…student?

Jesse Bering is that weird evolutionary psychologist who writes for SciAm and who I’ve criticized before. It seems he doesn’t like me at all (boy, does he hate me—it’s extremely personal for him), and I’ll be charitable and assume his personal antipathy has clouded his judgment, because he’s really gone on a frothing tear on facebook and made a few strange accusations. Apparently, I have a choice: I can be sexually attracted to my students, or I’m sick and need to see a doctor. And then he and his friends proceed to carry out a remote dissection of my psychological problems. On facebook. By a bunch of people who’ve never even met me. How…unprofessional.

I was sent a copy of the thread; if you’d like to read bizarre internet drama completely disconnected from reality, you’ll find it below the fold.

This is especially strange since Bering is also a college professor, and he’s also a gay man. He should be entirely comfortable with the idea that a) professional relationships carry a body of responsibilities that should rather effectively put the libido in tight rein, and b) different people have different arousal responses to different stimuli. They chat about hooking me up to a plethysmograph (not going to happen; the only reasons they have for such an activity seem to be prurience and fault-finding), but I can already tell them all they would learn from such a recording: I’m a fairly normal heterosexual male. People send me porn all the time. It’s mostly gay porn — these are typically weirdly obsessed conservatives who think they’re hurting me, or something — but also straight porn, and I can tell you how I react. To the gay porn, I may briefly admire the well-sculpted bodies and large penises before hitting the delete key; to the straight porn, I linger a little longer over the well-sculpted bodies and large breasts before hitting the delete key.

But the thing is, I don’t walk into a classroom full of young, healthy, attractive students and see a collection of two-dimensional porn images; I see a group of people with whom I have a web of trust and obligations. That’s my first concern, and try as I might, I can’t reduce them to pin-ups.

I’ve been tested, too. I’ve had one experience in my career where a young woman came into my office, unhappy with her grade, and directly offered me sex (and when that didn’t work, threatened to claim to have sex with me anyway) in return for an A. I can tell you exactly what I felt, and it wasn’t the slightest bit of arousal: it was panic. This was a threat to my career and my family, and my response was to leave the room immediately, ask a nearby graduate student to look in on the young woman, and go straight to my department chair to explain the situation and get it documented. Perhaps Dr Bering would understand as a psychologist if he grasped the idea that sex with a student is associated with strong aversive conditioning in most professors’ minds. It’s a threat, not a treat.

Here’s another way to think about it that might appeal to a psychology professor: I’ve got a very kinky paraphilia. I’m not interested in sex except with mature, intelligent women with whom I have a deep personal relationship and who have a mutual sexual interest in me. There are plenty of mature, intelligent women in the student body, but they don’t usually meet the second criterion, and that last kink…man, that one is a killer. It kind of disqualifies just about everyone on the planet.

Comments

  1. raven says

    It seems he doesn’t like me at all (boy, does he hate me—it’s extremely personal for him),…

    No it is not. He is merely acting on his evolutionarily determined drive to reproduce with young girls in their prime child bearing years.

    And you are in the way by pointing out that an old guy chasing down underage girls or ones under his control by being students are off limits. You are in the way by pointing out that Jesse Bering is an undesirable mate on personality and intellectual grounds.

    Any sensible woman would take one look at him and take their limited lifespan reproductive potential and run like hell the other way.

    Really, Jesse Bering is just a substandard gamma male who wishes all the good mates would disappear into a black hole so he had a chance in hell.

  2. truthspeaker says

    Weird.

    I mean, I assume you find some of your students sexually attractive. Personally, I’m sexually attracted to 10 or 20 women every day. But you just keep those thoughts to yourself like everybody else.

  3. says

    raven writes:

    Really, Jesse Bering is just a substandard gamma male who wishes all the good mates would disappear into a black hole so he had a chance in hell.

    … and after that perfect summary, what’s left to say? Beautiful!

  4. raven says

    I’m wondering how long it is until Jesse Bering ends up in trouble by not being able to separate his personal quirks from his professional responsibilities.

    Evo Psych seems like a sockpuppet god. It hates what you hate and wants you to have what you want.

  5. says

    I had a quick flick through and I have to say, these people have a lot to learn about sex, attraction and relationships. For an evolutionary psychologist and followers, thats a bad sign!

    Petty, possibly libelous and deeply unprofessional.

  6. Dick the Damned says

    Raven, apparently he’s gay anyway, so maybe different rules apply? But not very different, i would imagine. (Children aren’t involved.)

    For what it’s worth, i’m with PZ on his ethics – faultless.

  7. says

    Jesse Bering is gay. No sensible woman has a chance.

    I find my students pretty, or well-groomed, or vivacious, or interesting, or whatever pleasant adjective you want to use, all the time. I might notice when they have large breasts or are dressed provocatively, and I might recognize in an abstract sense that they are sexually attractive.

    But good grief, they’re younger than my kids. If you can understand how someone would not think at all about sex when looking at their children, how can you not understand that sex isn’t an issue when I’m looking at certain other groups of people?

  8. says

    Pz, you sell yourself short. I’ll bet that somewhere out there in Pharyngula-land, there are some young or not so young fillies that would qualify for the third criteria.

  9. Jeremy Shaffer says

    raven- Nice take down but you might have overlooked this:

    This is especially strange since Bering is also a college professor, and he’s also a gay man.

    So, as deplorable as his actions and claims here are, I doubt Bering is all that interested in reproducing with young girls in their child- bearing prime.

  10. raven says

    Raven, apparently he’s gay anyway, so maybe different rules apply?

    I didn’t notice the gay part when I wrote that.

    But the same reasoning would apply to his circle of followers, supporters, and heterosexual fanboys.

  11. says

    huh; there’s some interesting symptoms of ignorance about the breadth of human relationships/sex in that thread.

    “sex is just slapping meat”

    “meat-slapping is a necessary part of any such [happy and satisfying] marriage”

    “if it would be ‘boring at best’ to have sex with a beautiful 20-year-old, he’s even worse than I thought”

  12. jjgdenisrobert says

    It seems to me that there’s a whole lot of jumble of concepts being thrown around in that “conversation” without any attempt to define the terms in a way that would be testable. “Attracted”, “Interested”, are all terms that mean little in a scientific context, unless they are accompanied by pretty solid operational definitions.

    I’m sure PZ that you find some of those young ladies sexually attractive. But to me, this is different than being aroused, and even further away from being “interested”. Finding someone sexually attractive is as much an esthetic judgement as it is a sexual one. Being aroused is a very specific set of physiological and psychological responses. And being “Interested” carried the implication of being willing to do something about those responses. Bering is mixing it all up. Funny that, for a psychologist.

  13. says

    especially that last one, from Bering himself. since when is “young” and “beautiful” and indicator for a compatible sex partner?

    I mean, I’m sure there are people whose sexuality is so completely visual, they actually get off primarily on the visuals rather than the tactile, but that’s not as common as that comment implies; if it were, most people (men?) would have stopped having sex the moment free internet porn became a thing.

  14. Ariaflame says

    Very strange. I’m trying to remember now if this was related to someone making an assertion about how male professors having sexual relationships with their students was common. I was flabbergasted by the idea that such breaches of ethics were common. Can’t remember where I read it now. I have never come across such a thing in my area of academia, though since I primarily identify as asexual I tend to be a little oblivious to some things.

    Opposite to my situation there may be be people with high libidos that can’t help thinking about sex when they meet people, but I can’t imagine they get much work done.

    And in any case, even if you do appreciate someone’s physical attributes that does not mean acting on them if they are a student because that would be a breach of ethics.

    But I presume that Jesse also would state that because I don’t get physically attracted to people that I am also sick and need a doctor, and to anyone that thinks that way I would like to say, “Fuck off!” My sexuality is not a disease. I don’t need to be “cured” and I find it hypocritical in the extreme that such a thing be suggested by someone who is gay and presumably would be offended by someone suggesting that they need to be “cured”.

  15. says

    Yes, I can say esthetically that students are sexually attractive. I cannot say that I’m tempted personally, and I definitely cannot ignore all the other factors in a student-teacher relationship.

    It’s also weird to see this fetishization of the young. I’ve had sex with a 20 year old — it was about 30 years ago — and it was great, but it’s actually gotten better and better over the years, with practice.

  16. jjgdenisrobert says

    @Ariaflame: It’s more common than usually admitted. But what’s far more common is a kind of adolescent fawning where a young woman (usually, although not exclusively by any means) is mixing up many emotions into a brew that is expressed as strong sexual attraction for a prof. Most profs recognize this and don’t take advantage, especially the older profs who’ve been around the block a few times. But once in a while, it does happen. (Sometimes it even leads to real relationships…). Mind you, it often happens only after the student is no longer in the prof’s class.

    I don’t have any numbers, so it’s hard to judge what proportion of the faculty in any given university is likely to have had a relationship with a student. But I’d be surprised if it’s a significant percentage, considering the often catastrophic consequences for the prof if the relationship becomes public.

  17. danielleborchard says

    has this guy said why he hates PZ so much? some reason other than “hes arrogant and dumb,” i mean. just wondering; ive never heard of this guy before

  18. jjgdenisrobert says

    PZ: That was my point exactly. But I’m shocked that Bering is either unwilling or incapable of seeing the difference. It makes me fearful for his own students…

  19. chigau (難しい) says

    Lucky for Jesse that he was born after homosexuality was removed from the DSM, else he may not have been able to go into the Psych-biz.

  20. says

    has this guy said why he hates PZ so much? some reason other than “hes arrogant and dumb,” i mean. just wondering; ive never heard of this guy before

    PZ has at least once before dissected a rubbish piece of “science” by Bering; evidently, dude takes this quite personally.

  21. says

    So in the ends he admits he was wrong for calling PZ sick. He’s “statistically abnormal.” Even assuming for the sake of argument that this was true in some meaningful sense, I can’t get past the fact that a gay man would so casually jump between statistically abnormal and pathological.

  22. otrame says

    Oh, come on, PZ. There are some of us who think you are probably quite cuddly. Your writings on feminist subjects is a bit of a turn-on as well. But I and others like me keep well clear because: a) you are in a committed relationship; b) you live in a small town far away; and, c) your trophy wife might have a pointy stick.

  23. says

    I suspect calling EP Bering’s sockpuppet-god is probably quite accurate: what he doesn’t see as pathological is not biologically/evolutionarily pathological. Thus, being gay is just statistically uncommon, but not being attracted to young, pretty facades is deviant.

  24. Reginald Selkirk says

    who writes for SciAm

    I have a suspicion that, after this incident, the present tense is inappropriate.

  25. says

    I have a suspicion that, after this incident, the present tense is inappropriate.

    doubtful. the “black women are biologically ugly” guy hasn’t been fired from his job either. Apparently you can be as sexist and racist as you want as long as you hide it behind EP

  26. Ouabache says

    Well, if psych evaluations at a distance are fair game then I am going to say that Bering has a very bad case of projection.

  27. says

    What’s interesting is that (some of) his own friends got him to back down and essentially admit that his whole rant was fueled by personal animosity. I especially like this exchange (edited for length):

    Bering: Let’s not forget this is my personal FB page, not my science column.

    Friend: The FB page of the person who writes your science column.

  28. says

    This is another piece of evidence that supports my “evolutionary psych people watch way too much porn” hypothesis.

    Here’s another way to think about it that might appeal to a psychology professor: I’ve got a very kinky paraphilia. I’m not interested in sex except with mature, intelligent women with whom I have a deep personal relationship and who have a mutual sexual interest in me.

    That is the antithesis of porn sexuality. Porn sexuality is wanting sex with young, inexperienced women (preferably stupid ones) who will pretend to like whatever you want to do to them. Pornography presents a version of sexuality meant to drive consumption rather than happiness, but the thread on facebook is proof of how so many dudes can fail to understand that pornography is a product, not actual sex. Imagine being brainwashed into thinking pornography was an accurate representation of human sexuality and women’s desires; these dudebros make sense within that context. The dudes seem to think that women exist to be consumed and that men are helpless against the urge to fuck women, and that not wanting to duplicate pornographic depictions of sexuality means that one must have a really “boring” sex life. It sure is “boring” to give a fuck about the person you are with and not be a totally shitty person, apparently.

  29. garnetstar says

    I must say, I’ve just never found people that young sexually attractive, either men or women, even when I was that age.

    Until humans are about 30, or at least in their late twenties, the bones of the face don’t settle into an adult look. The face retains some childish features, which don’t look good.

    Nice bodies, mostly, but really, that’s true during the next few decades too. And, as in well known, the most erotic organ in the body is between the ears. The immaturity and lack of experience of most very young people is a mental and therefore sexual turnoff.

    And so is having professional responsibility towards them! I so agree that the idea is repulsive, not attractive, and is a complete short-circuit of sexual attraction.

    “What do you talk about with a 20-year-old? Motley Crue?”—Clint Eastwood

  30. Loqi says

    “For PZ, sex is ‘a mutual interaction between two people…’. I think he’s implying that college students aren’t people. Talk about dehumanization.”

    Talk about quote mining and lack of reading comprehension. I hope there was a Fox News talent scout reading that thread, because this person has some talent.

  31. leftcoast says

    It’s been over 20 years, but when I was a graduate student I taught two sections of an introductory programming course and I had female students come to my office all the time and while a lot of them were quiet attractive, the professional atmosphere completely subverted any overt sexual desire. I was 30 at the time and single and while I definitely saw them as attractive young women I never gave any thought to making any moves on them.

  32. says

    One other datum: if you go to Bering’s facebook page, you’ll discover he brags about being on a Templeton Foundation grant. I can forgive him for hating me so intensely, but that…that is beyond the pale.

  33. leftcoast says

    @garnetstar – I agree. When I was 29 and in graduate school I went out on a date with a 19 year old that I’d met – it was the longest 3 hour date in my life; we literally had nothing in common beyond the fact that we both attended the same university. It wasn’t a matter of intelligence, it’s just that my being 50% older than she was at the time put us in wholly different places.

  34. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ariaflame @ 14;

    I also noticed that Bering seemed to be throwing asexuals under the bus here. Given that as recently as the 1970s homosexuality was still classed as a mental illness in the US, you would think that he would be a bit more leary of bandying about words such a ‘sick’ in this context, if only out of empathy for a group of people who are facing their own struggle to have their sexuality accepted by society.

    As for the evo-psych blather about PZ being somehow compelled to be sexually interested in his students, and must therefore be lying when he says he is not – it just makes no sense to me. I would consider it self evident that one can be conscious of the abstract sexual attractiveness of someone else without being sexually interested in that person at all, especially if your relationship to that person has an authority component that would make such interest inappropriate, or the person in question is younger than your own children. Not to mention the fact that many people are interested in a meaningful relationship with another person with whom they connect on many levels – physical, enotional and intellectual – rather than simply treating any attractive young person of their gender preference that happens along as a glorified sex toy.

    Frankly, I find it worrying that Bering, as a professor himself, would think that sexual interest in one’s students is anything other than inappropriate.

  35. carlie says

    Good grief, he’s skeevy. I’d hate to be a 20 year old male in one of his classes right now. He’s just so… insistent about how young people are sexually attractive.

    I’m a decade younger than PZ, and I can’t even remember the last time I found a student to be sexually attractive. My main reaction to them is “damn, they keep getting younger every year, I’m practically teaching babies here!”

    I just can’t believe that, especially as a gay man, Jesse would absolutely deny the possibility that PZ isn’t actually attracted to the most fertile young women. I mean, he isn’t, right? So on a personal level he must understand that it’s possible not to be attracted to fertile young women. Cognitive dissonance, he has it.

  36. Pteryxx says

    I’ll also vouch for PZ’s attractiveness, from an outsider’s POV (what can I say? I have a thing for intelligent, outspoken, straight vanilla guys) but that point #3 is absolutely a deal-breaker. I don’t want sex, even casual sex, with anyone unless they want sex with ME also – me as a person, not an exercise of power or means of gaining status or favors on either side. This has led to quite a few friendly conversations of the form “You’re totally hot and I’d do you in a minute if you were interested,” after which we part on good terms. So I’m perfectly happy to sigh after PZ and just note that Trophy Wife’s an extremely lucky woman.

  37. says

    Well, I can only speak as a straight woman but finding someone attractive has always felt like something totally and completely separate from wanting to have sex with them. I have met downright beautiful men who I might find exceptionally good looking physically but who, for various reasons, simply aren’t people I have any interest in connecting with intimately. They might, for instance, be neo conservatives or libertarians. They might be racist, they may be willfully ignorant, or come off as overly cheesy, they could try to pull one of those insufferable pick-up artist style lines. Whatever the case may be, getting hot and heavy with someone I find intellectually, ethically or situationally disagreeable takes all the wind out of my libido sails.

    At the same time, there have been times when I’ve been incredibly attracted to someone I might not normally consider attractive, were I simply shown a picture. Intelligent, thoughtful, intellectually curious, ethical, witty, caring people are simply more appealing to me.

    I’m lucky that I’ve been with someone for over a decade who makes me exceedingly happy and who seems to be just as happy with me. Even when I meet someone attractive the mere minutes of potential passion with them seems pretty lame in comparison to what I have at home. What could I possibly get out of a one night stand that I can’t enjoy to an even greater degree with a person who has gotten to know me over the years and genuinely cares about me?

    Of course, evolutionary psychologists often dismiss women as only caring about having someone to provide for them and offer good genetic material, so my thoughts would be dismissed out of hand.

  38. says

    if you go to Bering’s facebook page, you’ll discover he brags about being on a Templeton Foundation grant.

    from one perspective, this makes absolutely no sense, since nothing he does has to do with religion in science. From another perspective, validating the patriarchal views of the old religions might be where the common cause lies.

  39. hpswf says

    Wow isn’t he a hyper emotional little sweetheart
    I think his finding it impossible and possibly “sick” that not all of us think with the “little head” all of the time speaks volumes.
    I thought one of the secrets to our development was that we had learned to develop societal living which by necessity includes compromise and not abusing power relationships? I also would have thought an evolutionary psychologist would have understood this; but in reality this discipline just looks to return us from whence we came.
    No doubt a return to the agoge and the slaughter of undesirable infants is next on the books for this collection of wanna be scientists. Sooo much better back then.

  40. robro says

    @jadehawk #24 touched on some serious irony here. Here’s a guy who’s public sexual preference is considered “deviant” by large numbers of people in this god-fearin’ land suggesting another person “needs to see a doctor” because he lacks the personal inclination and has the professional ethic to not think “want to jump her” when an attractive young woman walks into the room. At the very, very least you would expect a psychologist with the credibility to write for Scientific America and an open homosexual to appreciate the vast diversity in human sexuality. But apparently not. Gosh, what a weird world we live in.

  41. Pteryxx says

    Hang on a minute… isn’t “fetishization of the young” also equivalent to fetishizing a power imbalance directly? Maybe it’s not the young un-worn bodies, but the implied controllability that’s the big draw here… Blech. As if I needed MORE reason to loathe “conventional” sexual portrayals.

  42. DLC says

    How amusing. Bering hates you. ’cause you’re like, mean, and . . . and stupid! and stuff! Somebody call the drama-holic* a Whaaaambulance.

    (*drama-holic : my newly coined term, intended to replace the gendered “drama-queen”. use it if you will. )

  43. says

    Hang on a minute… isn’t “fetishization of the young” also equivalent to fetishizing a power imbalance directly?

    Yep, it works on older women too. They have to do a ridiculous kind of drag show where they pretend not to grow any body hair or age to please men who fetshize power imbalances. It is a real mindfuck that wastes all kinds of time and money. It puts women “in their place” though.

    The world is gross.

  44. scottportman says

    Bering seems like kind of a bizarre guy with an unhealthy fixation. It’s not particularly relevant whether one finds a student or intern in her early 20′s sexually attractive, the point is there’s all sorts of reasons not to go there, and not to tease someone or call someone a liar for not going there. This sums it up:

    “I don’t walk into a classroom full of young, healthy, attractive students and see a collection of two-dimensional porn images; I see a group of people with whom I have a web of trust and obligations.”

    It really is that simple. Most of us link sexuality with some degree of romantic love, and with the possible exception of Woody Allen, most of us of PZ’s age can understand how a thirty-plus years age difference effectively renders a 22 year old intern, no matter how cute or seemingly willing, outside the realm of potential partners who can click emotionally. Life stages matter, and it goes beyond common cultural references, musical tastes, etc that people of roughly the same age share. Anyway, the idea of hitting on an intern or a student is instinctively wrong enough to be cringeworthy.

  45. lisaj says

    Bering is a sad, sad character. He once wrote something that I thought was interesting, and I decided to add him to my Facebook friend list. Since that time I have found his writings to have largely become useless, scientifically unsound, attention seeking pieces of garbage. This in addittion to his inability to respond constructively to any criticism, but to instead hurl personal attacks, reveals his mindset as incredibly childish, concentrated primarily on protecting his ego from harm and presenting himself as a ‘provocative’ writer instead of ensuring that he relays sound scientific findings.

    The really sad part (but clearly fortunate for the scientific community) is that he recently resigned from his academic post to concentrate on his writing. I feel like this guy’s headed for a professional breakdown, and couldn’t have set himself up worse for the fall.

  46. anchor says

    Bering: “And yes, let me reiterate that I hate PZ Myers like a nasty rash”.

    Bering hates a body’s response to an irritant. He targets the response which alerts to the presence of the irritant, rather than the irritant itself.

    Bering is a psychologist? A scientist?

    bly me

  47. Lycanthrope says

    PZ:

    I find my students pretty, or well-groomed, or vivacious, or interesting, or whatever pleasant adjective you want to use, all the time. I might notice when they have large breasts or are dressed provocatively, and I might recognize in an abstract sense that they are sexually attractive.

    Yes, I can say esthetically that students are sexually attractive. I cannot say that I’m tempted personally, and I definitely cannot ignore all the other factors in a student-teacher relationship.

    Jesse Bering clearly doesn’t grasp this distinction. He plays this game of “…but, c’mon. It’s just us guys. You’re telling me you’ve NEVER been attracted to a student?” *eyebrow waggle*

    I find myself in something of a microcosm of your position, PZ. I’m 22, and I have some female friends who are 17 or 18. But I’ve known them since I was 17 or 18 and they were 13 or 14. So, although I can see that they are now very attractive young women, there’s a strong mental block in place preventing me from thinking about them “that way”, and I think that’s as it should be.

    I was talking another 17-year-old friend of mine (whom I’ve only known for about a year) the other day, and she made some flirtatious remark. It was a throwaway line, meant perfectly innocently, but it really weirded me out, because I’d long ago placed her in the same category as the girls I mentioned above. I still don’t quite know what to think about that.

  48. says

    I find myself in something of a microcosm of your position, PZ. I’m 22, and I have some female friends who are 17 or 18. But I’ve known them since I was 17 or 18 and they were 13 or 14. So, although I can see that they are now very attractive young women, there’s a strong mental block in place preventing me from thinking about them “that way”, and I think that’s as it should be.

    Well lets say you did, for whatever reason. Or you had a sexual thought about someone else who you would never really have sex with (like a family member or something). I don’t think anyone is saying that the people who do have those thoughts are wrong for thinking them, you know? How they are reacting to the thoughts is troublesome. There are a lot of unhealthy ways of dealing with it. There are people who get really ashamed and feel awful forever and that isn’t very healthy, but neither is convincing yourself that everyone else has the same thoughts and that it would be acceptable to act on them because of it. I see a lot of dudes doing the 2nd thing in response to sexual urges towards people who are vulnerable.

  49. newfie says

    Let me get this straight…. he’s a psychologist, yet doesn’t understand how a male in his 50s isn’t sexually attracted to 20 year old female students in his charge? Why would anybody take him serious on phychology? It would be akin to PZ not having an inkling of a clue about mitosis.

    What a maroon

  50. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Goecke Chuck, #8, men who describe women as “fillies” are inevitably creeps. Have a nice day.

    jjgdenisrobert, #17, your victim blaming of female students whose professors take advantage of the power differential between them by fucking them is noted, just as it was yesterday.

    Skeptifem, #29, some of us here are feminists who do not buy into the Twisty Faster decree that all porn/erotica is dehumanizing and damaging. Much of the mainstream stuff, yes, but all erotic materials, categorically, and even so if we lived in “a perfect world”? I strongly disagree.

    As for Bering himself, he’s hardly the first misogynist gay man, nor the first gay man to make a living catering to people’s prejudices. I think lisaj at 47 has it right: He’s “edgy,” without bringing any substance to the table. Oh, well, it gets page hits.

  51. thomasfoss says

    I can’t help but read this as the evo-psych version of what sex-negative homophobic conservatives do: assume that everyone is wired the same way they are. So often when conservative blowhards talk about homosexuality–and especially about anti-gay conservatives who got caught with their pants down–the undertone (or overtone, in some cases) seems to be “we’ve all had homosexual urges, and woe unto those who succumb.” It’s the first premise that seems so telling; in fact, some of us have not had such urges, and it suggests that the rates of homosexuality or bisexuality among conservatives may be much higher than previously reported.

    Bering seems to be doing the same thing: I’m sexually attracted to my students, therefore the only way to make this not seem skeevy is that everyone is attracted to their students. Thus, my attraction is not only natural, but rational, and normal, and normative.

  52. bcskeptic says

    I’m not a teacher or a prof, but when I see sexually attractive young women (at the gym, the beach, wherever), images of screaming collicky babies, shitty diapers, C-sections, conflict, divorce, alimony, and child support all flash thru my mind. Been there, done that, not a turn on.

    Happy and and in love with the mature intelligent woman I’m with, and love my grown daughters more and more each day. And hoping some much older creep doesn’t swoop in and mess around with them.

  53. sabazinus says

    Reading over what Bering has said reminds me of the Monty Python “Candid Photography” sketch.

    “Nudge, nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?”

    PZ says, “I do not find myself attracted to students as I’m professional and understand teacher/student boundaries.”

    Bering replies, “Professional, eh? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!”

    PZ replies, “What are you going on about?”

    Bering, “You’re being mean! Off to Facebook I go!” *whoosh*

  54. says

    I like that the very first post misrepresents what PZ just said. There is a difference between finding students ‘attractive’ and being sexually interested in them. On the other hand, it is really just silly to think that everyone has to find 20 years old students attractive and there would be something wrong (doctor-worthy) in them that they don’t.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

  55. says

    It baffles me how people go on about how OBVIOUSLY all men are so attracted to the nubile 20 somethings (ok to be fair more often it’s creepy and they’re talking about 14 somethings) and somehow just ignore the HUGE amount of porn that is as far as I can tell made for people who prefer not-teen/tweentysome partners. I mean if we’re just going by Evopsyche bullshit anecdote standards, how do they take into account that there’s a very successful market of products designed to sexually arouse, using women past this alleged fertility peak? It’s not even an obscure fetish, it’s like one of the obvious big ones.

  56. shouldbeworking says

    I am shocked tht some dean has actually allowed students to in the presence of that creep. I’m in a public place with my kids so I can’t use the words that I’m thinking. Male Chauvinist Pervert with Delusions of Competancy isn’t quite strong enough. That guy is an embarassment to all male educators

  57. says

    I also HIGHLY question why evopsyche is so insistent that women prefer older mature partners (because they can provide?). My um…cursory glancing research seems to indicate that the prevalence of women who are attracted to young fertile men is roughly equivalent to the men who are attracted to young fertile women.

    Is it just some odd cultural blindness that we apparently note women who have the thing for older men yet sort of ignore the whole HUGE lust market of older women aimed at men?

  58. says

    Another thing: I’m sure I’m not the only professor who has noticed the colossal difference between first year and fourth year students — college catches them right in that window where young men and women do an amazing amount of growing up (or college forces them to do that). It’s only in the last year or so of their time in college that they really begin to seem like full adults.

  59. ekims says

    LisaJ,

    Did you share the PRIVATE Facebook posts here with PZ?

    PZ — is it ethical and professional to post PRIVATE Facebook conversations to a PUBLIC bog? Did you get permission from these people to post their PRIVATE comments and photos to a PUBLIC blog?

  60. janine says

    When spring came during my freshman years and high school junior and seniors were visiting the campus, most of my fellow freshman were amazed at how young the high school students looked to us.

    Now I am at the age that I have a hard time telling the difference between a person in their late teens and mid twenties. They are so damned young.

  61. says

    Did you share the PRIVATE Facebook posts here with PZ?

    PZ — is it ethical and professional to post PRIVATE Facebook conversations to a PUBLIC bog? Did you get permission from these people to post their PRIVATE comments and photos to a PUBLIC blog?

    That’s so adorable.

  62. says

    Now I am at the age that I have a hard time telling the difference between a person in their late teens and mid twenties. They are so damned young.

    this is already true for me, too. the visiting high-school students and the freshmen all look so… tiny and child-like. I swear, they’ve shrunk since I’ve been a teen :-p

  63. says

    Seriously, the idea of saying Facebook and Private in the same sentence *giggle*.

    Look, high falutant ideals of what you think is right and proper aside, unless it’s in a PM, it ain’t fucking private.

    Hell any thread where you get 14+ people all commenting almost automatically makes it public. If you WANTED a private place that outsiders couldn’t see there are private places to discuss something on line. Facebook ain’t it, sugar.

  64. shouldbeworking says

    Yeah, all those people can be easily identified through the blacked out names bit. Just get some digital eraser and presto, we know who you are. Everyone knows the Internet is private.

  65. says

    You will note that the names are redacted and faces blurred. Also, since all those people seem to be getting off on weird speculation about my sexuality, I can’t feel at all guilty about making a conversation that was entirely about me public.

    Is it ethical and professional for a psychologist to carry on a protracted and demeaning psychoanalysis of a person he doesn’t know?

  66. ekims says

    For those would think FB users don’t anticipate some privacy, how’s about posting your FB name and password here?

  67. says

    Abandoning your spouse and your own growing children for a young woman who has neither the resources nor the inclination to raise your children alone and who will never want to have any relations with you beyond a quick lay (hopefully with proper protection) is just not a good strategy for getting your genes into future generations. Why do people insist on reducing all the complex interactions (which include plenty of genetics at their core) into cheap sex?

  68. says

    I cannot believe that someone who actually interacts with students would not only hold these beliefs, but would be unable to fathom that a professor/teacher/coach would find students unappealing no matter their aesthetics.
    They are by definition unappealing by the simple act of being a student. Students are annoying. They whine and complain. They manipulate and finagle. None of these things are attractive. I wonder how challenging this individual’s classes are if he has yet to deal with tiresome student behavior.

  69. says

    For those would think FB users don’t anticipate some privacy, how’s about posting your FB name and password here?

    That would be loosing control of the account, not anything to do with privacy.

    If you want my login is Ingdamnit and the password is gofuckyourself22

  70. anteprepro says

    It was a private conversation…on the internet? Isn’t that like, an oxymoron? The only thing resembling a private conversation on the internet are sufficiently private chat rooms, emails, and IMs. It’s not like PZ wiretapped them and played a record of their phone conversations. Or like he videotaped them discussing something in their home. Or hacked their e-mail accounts. Or snooped around on their hard-drive and found some word documents. It was posted on the internet, on someone else’s profile page. Somebody else who happens to have 2.5 thousand FB friends. If one doesn’t want what one says on the internet to be attached to one’s real name, then maybe one should be saying it with a pseudonym and not with one’s real name on someone else’s fucking Facebook wall. Fucking serious business, ekims.

  71. says

    I know that some students occasionally flirt with their professors in hopes of garnering some preferential treatment (i.e., better grades), but do actual grown-up faculty members view their classrooms as candy boxes full of toothsome goodies? Eww! Not sensible teachers with adequately functioning brains! Since I’m an old-school coat-and-tie (most of the time) instructor, it may be that students looking for shortcuts to better grades don’t view me as a ripe prospect. (At my age, “over-ripe” is more like it, I’m sure.) We cheerfully leave each other alone and my math classes never devolve into passion pits (as exhilarating and stimulating as algebra and calculus might otherwise be).

  72. Crow says

    If that conversation was indeed supposed to remain private, then we need to attach cowardly and immature to the growing list of adjectives that describe it.

    This guy is a professor? Of an actual university? *raised eyebrows*

  73. says

    Ekims – pointing out that a criticism is stupid (and creepy) is not “not taking it.” PZ took it just fine, and handed it right back to the ass who’d served it up.

    Not intending the following violent imagery to be anything but one of my usual clumsy analogies, you’d might as well say to a boxer who easily blocks an inept punch that that boxer “can dish it out but can’t take it” because they fended off ineptitude with little effort and a chuckle.

  74. joed says

    what’s the matter with you people.
    dont you know about the teacher/student relationship.
    it is not a question of holding back your sexual urges when you see a student. jesus christ, havent you people ever looked at an attractive person without feeling sexy about it. i know, in my case it took me till i was in my late thirties before i could see a woman as a human being rather than a sex thing. but that is my loss.
    when another human is entrusted into your care then if you are struggling to not fuck them then you are in the wrong business.
    fuck people grow-up.

  75. raven says

    For those would think FB users don’t anticipate some privacy, how’s about posting your FB name and password here?

    Sure. No problem.

    FB name: Ekimsisamoron

    Password: Idiot

    PZ, You can dish it out publicly, but you just can’t take it…

    Oh really? No one but you has noticed that. Mostly we are laughing at Jesse Bering and evo psych. EP seems like nothing more complicated than a sockpuppet god. “Everything I want is good because evolution says so.”

    BTW, we aren’t laughing at you. Yet. You haven’t said anything remotely coherent and intelligent. Dumb is just boring. Do try harder but I’m afraid even seeming silly is beyond your talents.

    You are an evolutionary failure at being even mildly amusing. No babies from luscious young reproductively skilled young girls for you.

  76. says

    Taking this off on a sick and twisted tangent, perhaps Our Gracious Host would consent to providing some actual data to JB, on which JB can apply all of the dubious statistical tools of evopsych and inevitably come to a conclusion predictable by Freud (which, BTW, is not an endorsement of Freud).

    * n, total, median time, maximum time, and minimum time spent gazing at anonymously provided same-sex porn that arrives in PZ’s e-mail during a given week

    * n, total, median time, maximum time, and minimum time spent gazing at anonymously provided opposite-sex porn that arrives in PZ’s e-mail during a given week

    * n, total, median time, maximum time, and minimum time spent gazing at anonymously provided tentacle porn that arrives in PZ’s e-mail during a given week

    <sarcasm> and then seeing if the Templeton Foundation approves of the results </sarcasm> or if it has any correlation with the actual reproductive acts of the subject.

    And, for the humor impaired, I suppose this entire comment should be inside <sarcasm> tags.

  77. says

    Oh dear, Ekims won’t be winning an internet today. What is it with these FB defenders?

    Did Jesse really think PZ would never find out he was being repeatedly slagged off behind his back on probably the most popular public website ever?

    I think it much more likely that Ekims is trying to get in the way of Jesse’s newest publicity stunt.

  78. Irene Delse says

    * n, total, median time, maximum time, and minimum time spent gazing at anonymously provided tentacle porn that arrives in PZ’s e-mail during a given week

    Aaah, of course! This is why JB fails to understand why PZ wouldn’t feel suddenly hot for a random 20yo student humanoid devoid of tentacles. Only Cephalopods should apply ;-)))

  79. says

    Ing @58

    I am really glad you commented on that. I was about to yell “What about the cougars?!?!”

    Evopsych puts a ton of emphasis on sexual selection and the raw genetic benifits from slapping two pretty bits of meat together. Bering is basically saying “Hey, *wink wink* it is cool. No judgment here. You can’t prove that all men AREN’T attracted to younger mates. Look at my fancy evopsych to support it.”

    While there may be a trend for us to select mates in their sexual prime, it is on a teeny tiny level. This process can easily be drown out by this potential mate having chipped nail polish or wearing a ridiculous hat. Last year, my Sexual Psych teacher warned us not to confuse these very biological bases with how we interact daily with other human beings. Sure I may look fuckable, but most people cannot deal with my personality. Bam.

    Sure, it may suit my genes to get it on with a twenty year old (which, me being twenty, is usually the case.) But what about my attraction to the 40+ crowd? As Bering being a gay man, I would think that he would be able to see that there are some groups of people we just don’t want to fuck regardless of how pretty they are.

    But, hey, dissonance, whatever.

  80. Luc says

    Lots of pornified minds in that thread it would seem. It makes you see everyone else as things to be fucked, and what’s worse, it makes you think that idea is healthy and natural.

    There’s even one saying that sex *is* slapping meat. How very sad for that person and all their partners.

  81. Luc says

    Oops, posted before reading skeptifem’s comments. She already said everything I wanted to say, except more eloquently. Kudos are due.

  82. rogerallen says

    Complaining you can’t have a private comversation on Facebook is like complaining because people can listen to your phone calls in a train comprtment.

  83. raven says

    Complaining you can’t have a private comversation on Facebook is like complaining because people can listen to your phone calls in a train comprtment.

    Not to mention it is really tacky, low class, and immature for an academic to attack another in a semi-private setting behind his back. It’s also cowardly.

    Jesse Bering would greatly increase his evolutionary inclusive fitness if he could act like a mature, sort of rational adult. Who had something worthwhile to say.

  84. screechymonkey says

    I’m just curious as to why it’s so damned important to them to establish this point. We already know that, for any particular age group of humans, there are at least some adults who are attracted to that age group. I fail to see what difference it makes to any substantive discussion how common such attraction is.

    I mean sure, if you’re just idly curious about it, like asking, “hey, am I the only one who likes pistachio ice cream with candy sprinkles?”) then fine. But it always seems to go well beyond such idle chatter.

    Specifically, if you want to talk about age of consent laws, it’s kind of irrelevant to keep pointing out “but I want to fuck minors!” We know, asshole. That’s why we have those laws. If nobody wanted to fuck minors, we wouldn’t bother.

  85. cybercmdr says

    This reminds me of a joke I read a while back. A pretty young student goes into her professor’s office to get him to raise her grades. “I can’t fail this class! I’ll do anything if you raise my grade!”
    “Anything?” he asked.
    She leaned over, and whispered in his ear. “Anything…”
    He then whispered back, “Would you …. study?”

  86. BRamsey says

    These people can’t seem to make a distinction between being sexually attracted to someone and recognizing that someone is attractive. And that’s an important distinction, at least in my mind. It also tells you something about them that they don’t make that distinction. Like they immediately objectify a woman and can only see herin terms of whether or not they would have sex with her.

    Recognizing that someone is attractive is much broader. As a CIS male, I can still say that Brad Pitt is attractive. That’s easy. I’m not sexually attracted to him, but his face and body conform to current notions of male beauty in America, he’s in good health, etc.

    I can also easily say that Julia Roberts is attractive. But I am not sexually attracted to her. Now if we were talking Willow from Buffy, Kaylee from Firefly(yes, a thing for red hair) or Sgt. Carter from Stargate it would be a different story. I find Sgt. Carter sexually attractive, but not Helen Magnus from Sanctuary, even though Amanda Tapping plays both characters. Go figure that one out.

    My guess is that good professors unconsciously put their students in the same category as their family or children, close kin and not sexual partners.

  87. screechymonkey says

    And just to clarify my comment @95: it’s not having a particular sexual desire that makes one an asshole. It’s thinking that your desires should be our priority.

  88. says

    PZ has at least once before dissected a rubbish piece of “science” by Bering; evidently, dude takes this quite personally.

    Yes, when I was posting @ #22 I thought I recalled his having written something absurd about homosexuality. Turns out it was about homophobia. It’s strange that he’s so emotionally fixated on PZ, though. In this case, the homophobia one, and the earlier one, other people (Jeremy Yoder, Chris Clarke, Threadcop, Mike the Mad Biologist,…) have shredded Bering’s stupidity up just as much if not more.

  89. says

    This sums it up:

    “I don’t walk into a classroom full of young, healthy, attractive students and see a collection of two-dimensional porn images; I see a group of people with whom I have a web of trust and obligations.”

    It also seems pretty certain that humans, who live in cultures, have as part of our evolutionary heritage the capacity and desire to form and maintain such webs. These people seem to think all humans ever did or thought about is sex. It’s very strange.

  90. Crow says

    So, he’s defining the students as “sexually attractive” and then asking if you would find them “sexually attractive”.

    This seems akin to saying that from a certain perspective some trees look like sexually attractive women. So, “Are you sexually attracted to “sexually attractive” trees?”

    If you say yes then you are attracted to trees and if you say no then you are not sexually attracted to things that are by definition sexually attractive.

    The proper answer (that PZ gave) is: “I’m attracted to sexually attractive women (of a certain type), but if I find out they are students (or trees) I am no longer sexually attracted to them.”

    Maybe JB is the type who would swoon for a tree if it were supple enough. Hard to say since I don’t like to conjecture about someone I don’t know with a threadful of people who share my ignorance.

  91. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    I see sexually attractive people every day. But like PZ I’m sexually interesting in only one person.

  92. says

    When I was in my early 20s, just a few years out of highschool, I worked as a substitute teacher. I still looked like I was a highschool student myself. Most of the time I covered middle school classes but sometimes I worked in the highschool. Despite the fact that the kids I was working with were practically my peers (especially the 17-18 year old seniors, some of them had been freshmen and sophomores when I was in highschool) it never even cross my mind to think of them in a sexual way. I was already at a point where I saw them as too young and inexperience in life to be attractive to me, because attraction for me is about more than looks.

    Amusingly as I approach 30 I find men under 30 to be less and less attractive physically. A friend of mine’s boyfriend is 28,only a year younger than me, and while I find him attractive I’ve caught myself thinking “he’s too young”.

  93. Azkyroth says

    Yep, it works on older women too. They have to do a ridiculous kind of drag show where they pretend not to grow any body hair or age to please men who fetshize power imbalances. It is a real mindfuck that wastes all kinds of time and money. It puts women “in their place” though.

    Not this shit again…

    Skeptifem, #29, some of us here are feminists who do not buy into the Twisty Faster decree that all porn/erotica is dehumanizing and damaging. Much of the mainstream stuff, yes, but all erotic materials, categorically, and even so if we lived in “a perfect world”? I strongly disagree.

    You don’t think she hasn’t been told this, do you? :/

  94. Azkyroth says

    I see sexually attractive people every day. But like PZ I’m sexually interesting in only one person.

    Well, from a phenomenological perspective it’d certainly be interesting if you were in more than one person at a time. :P

  95. Azkyroth says

    Did you share the PRIVATE Facebook posts here with PZ?

    PZ — is it ethical and professional to post PRIVATE Facebook conversations to a PUBLIC bog? Did you get permission from these people to post their PRIVATE comments and photos to a PUBLIC blog?

    The worst thing about rat fuckers is the way they try to use our own ethical standards against us. It’s like their jealous of us for having any.

    (Well, second worst; the worst is how they use laws against us, which have a bit more weight…)

  96. Azkyroth says

    Yeah, all those people can be easily identified through the blacked out names bit. Just get some digital eraser and presto, we know who you are. Everyone knows the Internet is private.

    Please tell me you don’t seriously think that.

  97. says

    Did you share the PRIVATE Facebook posts here with PZ?

    PZ — is it ethical and professional to post PRIVATE Facebook conversations to a PUBLIC bog? Did you get permission from these people to post their PRIVATE comments and photos to a PUBLIC blog?

    His wall is public, therefore it’s not private facebook posts.

  98. Azkyroth says

    i know, in my case it took me till i was in my late thirties before i could see a woman as a human being rather than a sex thing.

    Err, why do you think those are separate?

  99. Azkyroth says

    Lots of pornified minds in that thread it would seem. It makes you see everyone else as things to be fucked, and what’s worse, it makes you think that idea is healthy and natural.

    Not this shit again…

  100. says

    Hang on a minute… isn’t “fetishization of the young” also equivalent to fetishizing a power imbalance directly? Maybe it’s not the young un-worn bodies, but the implied controllability that’s the big draw here… Blech. As if I needed MORE reason to loathe “conventional” sexual portrayals.

    Yep, it works on older women too. They have to do a ridiculous kind of drag show where they pretend not to grow any body hair or age to please men who fetshize power imbalances. It is a real mindfuck that wastes all kinds of time and money. It puts women “in their place” though.

    Not this shit again…

    Azkyroth, do you deny that there exists some fetishization of youth which results in some aversion to body hair?

    Or are you going to grant that much, but pretend that skeptifem said something more than she said?

    Skeptifem, #29, some of us here are feminists who do not buy into the Twisty Faster decree that all porn/erotica is dehumanizing and damaging. Much of the mainstream stuff, yes, but all erotic materials, categorically, and even so if we lived in “a perfect world”? I strongly disagree.

    You don’t think she hasn’t been told this, do you? :/

    What I wonder is why you act like skeptifem therefore should stop disagreeing.

  101. Azkyroth says

    Azkyroth, do you deny that there exists some fetishization of youth which results in some aversion to body hair?

    Do you deny that Pharyngula members have claimed repeatedly that the preference some men have for a lack of body hair on female sexual partners is in the general case a sign of sexual attraction to children, been corrected by certain of those men, and continued to assert this anyway? Do you have evidence to counter my recollection that skeptifem was among them? Would you seriously contest my observation that skeptifem tends to make the same handful of “points” over and over in discussions that touch on sexuality?

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that wasn’t exactly what she was getting at, in which case I retract it.

    Or are you going to grant that much, but pretend that skeptifem said something more than she said?

    Why the sudden interest in only responding to the things people explicitly said?

    What I wonder is why you act like skeptifem therefore should stop disagreeing.

    Why am I not surprised that you find the idea, that intellectual (and, arguably, regular) dishonesty is undesirable, incomprehensible…

  102. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    sex with a student is associated with strong aversive conditioning in most professors’ minds. It’s a threat, not a treat.

    Treat.
    Threat.
    It’s amazing how one little letter can be so important.

  103. Nimravid says

    One of the participants does have her name unredacted (@ 3:05 pm).

    So Bering thinks that it’s just science that everyone finds the exact same people attractive? Nothing in his experience, I don’t know, as a gay man might make him think otherwise? If someone doesn’t fall into the exact center of a distribution, they’re pathological, whether it does harm to anyone or not? Oddly, he seemed to have no problems accepting the guy who “liked very young girls” in his advice column. And he claimed in that same column that “a representative sample of the general population hasn’t been assessed to determine the relative distribution of “erotic age orientations,”” so it’s strange he’s so set on the idea that a single person is pathological for not falling into the center of the distribution that he made up.

  104. says

    Maybe the rules don’t apply to me, since I am just a woman and most EvoPsychs tend to make different rules for women, but when I’m in a monogamous relationship, my sex drive gets very specific. Sure, I can still see an attractive man and think he is attractive in the physical sense, but I have no interest in bedding him. I have a high sex drive, just ask my poor boyfriend who has to deal with it, but once I’m in a relationship something inside my brain flicks to “no thanks, I’m good” and I’m no longer sexually interested in other males. But then, even when I’m single it takes more than a great set of pecs to make me drool.

    And hell, I’m only 30 and when I see early 20s males my brain classifies them as “babies”.

  105. Luc says

    lol@115. In b4 “all porn is okay because of invisible, quantitatively insignificant feminist porn… which btw doesn’t look all that different from mainstream porn anyway”.

  106. David Marjanović says

    It’s a threat, not a treat.

    I love orthography puns.

    huh; there’s some interesting symptoms of ignorance about the breadth of human relationships/sex in that thread.

    The scary thing is that most or all of them have, in all probability, had sex. They’re not talking from a lack of experience, they’re talking from a bafflingly complete lack of paying attention.

    Scary.

    especially that last one, from Bering himself. since when is “young” and “beautiful” and indicator for a compatible sex partner?

    I mean, I’m sure there are people whose sexuality is so completely visual, they actually get off primarily on the visuals rather than the tactile, but that’s not as common as that comment implies; if it were, most people (men?) would have stopped having sex the moment free internet porn became a thing.

    Visual and tactile aren’t even the only two categories here. I bet plenty of people get off, at least in part, on the psychological part that doesn’t apply to porn, like being wanted – and, for literal fuck’s sake, neither “young” nor “beautiful” is a reliable indicator for “wants me”!

    Bering: Let’s not forget this is my personal FB page, not my science column.

    Friend: The FB page of the person who writes your science column.

    Full of win!

    Porn sexuality is wanting sex with young, inexperienced women (preferably stupid ones) who will pretend to like whatever you want to do to them.

    Keyword “to”, as opposed to “with”, right?

    I just can’t believe that, especially as a gay man, Jesse would absolutely deny the possibility that PZ isn’t actually attracted to the most fertile young women. I mean, he isn’t, right?

    Depends on his definition of “gay”, I suppose.

    Not long ago, I read a little book that compared the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans on their attitudes to, among other things, sex and violence. The upper-crust educated male (but I repeat myself) Greeks, at least those philosophers who bothered to write about it, preferred relationships with men over those with women because they were able to connect with men emotionally and intellectually while women, being uneducated, were simply boring to be around. If forced to squeeze themselves into modern nomenclature, such men would probably self-identify as gay rather than bisexual. Maybe Bering is likewise a misogynist bisexual who may not know there actually are Kinsey 6 people or considers them to be in urgent need of a hypothetical doctor.

    Hang on a minute… isn’t “fetishization of the young” also equivalent to fetishizing a power imbalance directly?

    I hope they don’t think that far.

    Meh. At least some of them obviously do. :-(

    (*drama-holic : my newly coined term, intended to replace the gendered “drama-queen”. use it if you will. )

    Awesome! At last! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    Is it just some odd cultural blindness that we apparently note women who have the thing for older men yet sort of ignore the whole HUGE lust market of older women aimed at men?

    Wouldn’t surprise me.

    this is already true for me, too. the visiting high-school students and the freshmen all look so… tiny and child-like. I swear, they’ve shrunk since I’ve been a teen :-p

    Thirded. They’ve even become younger than my baby sister! (…who is now a 2nd-year student of medicine, but… once the baby sister, always the baby sister.)

    My guess is that good professors unconsciously put their students in the same category as their family or children, close kin and not sexual partners.

    Of course. May not even be unconscious.

    It also seems pretty certain that humans, who live in cultures, have as part of our evolutionary heritage the capacity and desire to form and maintain such webs. These people seem to think all humans ever did or thought about is sex. It’s very strange.

    Very easy – they have extremely childish ideas of what “the wild state of humans” was like.

    It’s amazing how one little letter can be so important.

    It’s especially amazing how that letter can change the pronunciation of two other letters that are not even right next to it.

  107. Azkyroth says

    lol@115. In b4 “all porn is okay because of invisible, quantitatively insignificant feminist porn… which btw doesn’t look all that different from mainstream porn anyway”.

    Luc, I glanced over your links. It’s a tiresome exercise in confirmation bias that would be laughed out of the room if submitted for publication anywhere. In terms of scientific and intellectual integrity you and yours are on a par with Jenny McCarthy and pushing Andrew Wakefield. Expect your lies to get eviscerated here and that adolescent smirk wiped off your face. But I’m done with you.

  108. Irene Delse says

    @ luc #121:

    LOL with a side order of ROTFL, my dear sir. Nobody needs to post that kind of silliness here, now, you’ve already provided us with a nice inflammable straw man.

  109. Azkyroth says

    Actually, one more thing.

    lol@115. In b4 “all porn is okay because of invisible, quantitatively insignificant feminist porn… which btw doesn’t look all that different from mainstream porn anyway”.

    No you weren’t.

    See Mrs. Daisy Cutter @52.

    Gosh, an anti-porn kook Unpersoning a woman who disagrees. That’s original.

  110. says

    Do you deny that Pharyngula members have claimed repeatedly that the preference some men have for a lack of body hair on female sexual partners is in the general case a sign of sexual attraction to children, been corrected by certain of those men, and continued to assert this anyway?

    I wouldn’t know; I don’t obsess about skeptifem the way you do. You can cite your claim if you like.

    But let’s be clear about something: skeptifem was not saying that here in this case. In fact, if other threads proceeded as you claim, then skeptifem’s words in this thread may well be a case of narrowing her arguments in response to the criticism you allege occurred.

    What you appear not to allow for is the possibility that skeptifem actually meant to say what she said, and not something else that you imagine she must always be wanting to say. You appear not to allow for the possibility that people change their arguments, and you demonstrably do not allow for the possibility that these current arguments are in fact different arguments.

    So, again: Azkyroth, do you deny that there exists some fetishization of youth which results in some aversion to body hair?

    Do you have evidence to counter my recollection that skeptifem was among them?

    Do you have any evidence to support your alleged recollection, since you have at other times admitted your memory is often faulty?

    Would you seriously contest my observation that skeptifem tends to make the same handful of “points” over and over in discussions that touch on sexuality?

    Why are you seriously contesting the fact that skeptifem in this thread is not making the points you say she’s made in other threads?

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that wasn’t exactly what she was getting at, in which case I retract it.

    That’s what we call intellectual dishonesty, Azkyroth. If you cannot support your own claims, then honesty demands you retract them now, not wait and make your retraction contingent upon someone showing up to declare that they didn’t say in this thread what they already demonstrably did not say in this thread.

    Why the sudden interest in only responding to the things people explicitly said?

    Do you or do you not believe that intellectual honesty is important, Azkyroth? If you do, then you ought to care about what people actually say, rather than what you imagine they’d be saying in your ideal debate.

    Why am I not surprised that you find the idea, that intellectual (and, arguably, regular) dishonesty is undesirable, incomprehensible…

    Again, you give no evidence of any intellectual dishonesty on anyone’s part, and if there was any in the past then you make no allowance for the possibility of change.

    Let me remind you again what’s happening here: skeptifem gives her argument against porn, Ms Daisy Cutter responds that she does not agree with it in all cases. So far, all are honest in the argument. Now you enter and insinuate that because skeptifem does not agree with Ms Daisy Cutter, skeptifem is therefore being dishonest.

    That’s you being dishonest, Azkyroth. And I can document that it’s a pattern in your hounding of skeptifem.

  111. says

    lol@115. In b4 “all porn is okay because of invisible, quantitatively insignificant feminist porn… which btw doesn’t look all that different from mainstream porn anyway”.

    No you weren’t.

    See Mrs. Daisy Cutter @52.

    Ms. Daisy Cutter in fact said that “Much of the mainstream stuff [...] is dehumanizing and damaging”, therefore she did not say “all porn is okay”.

    (And neither did you, yet; that’s why Luc was in before any such statement.)

    Unpersoning a woman who disagrees.

    Not reading the same implications into someone’s comment that you read into it is “unpersoning” now? Boy, Azkyroth, why don’t you just cut to the chase and call everyone fascists?

  112. Azkyroth says

    Your pretense that no one but you should form any opinions based on history is disingenuous and contemptible, and your wildly varying and dysfunctional standards of evidence for conclusions in a casual context has been noted and condemned by our host just yesterday. On the one occasion where I made a misstep (not even the one you imagined) in my engagement with skeptifem, I apologized and retracted it. As far as “hounding” anyone, I’m not even going to bother linking to the picture of the pot and the kettle I keep; I’ve done that a few times already.

    PZ’s right; you are a troll. I wish you were easier to not engage.

  113. says

    And he claimed in that same column that “a representative sample of the general population hasn’t been assessed to determine the relative distribution of “erotic age orientations,”

    And I love how they talk about “the general population” as though some survey of the population in one place in one historical moment would represent the general population of the world throughout time. It is. So stupid.

    ***

    I did find Bering’s mentioning his dream and Freud on that thread interesting since I thinking about how much evo psych people look like the descendents of the worst Freudians. Reading Fromm’s otherwise truly brilliant The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, I’m finding it fascinating that even he sometimes can’t get away from some of the silliest reasoning and just-so stories about mothers and sex and evolution and repression/reaction and so on, and some of the Freudians he criticizes…forget about it. So much of evo psych sounds so similar to the worst bits. Some people seem incapable of appreciating that there can be a core of insight and potential in an approach beyond which the speculative interpretation and reductionist explanation is ideological and dumb.

  114. says

    Oh joy…someone is less pure than LM and is being attacked for their moral weakness.

    I think you mean skeptifem is less pure than Azkyroth and thus is being attacked for her moral weakness.

    As you can see, I have no complaint about Ms. Daisy Cutter’s disagreement, because Ms. Daisy Cutter did not misrepresent anyone’s argument. She simply disagreed, and treated the other person with common decency. That’s all I ask for, and these debates usually proceed with mutual decency until Azkyroth steps in to pursue his vendetta.

  115. Azkyroth says

    For the benefit of anyone else reading:

    <blockquote.Ms. Daisy Cutter in fact said that “Much of the mainstream stuff [...] is dehumanizing and damaging”, therefore she did not say “all porn is okay”.

    (And neither did you, yet; that’s why Luc was in before any such statement.)

    Yes, “Ms.” You’re right, that was a thoughtless oversight on my part. Apologies to the person actually offended.

    That said, Luc explicitly addressed his statement to my post number. Interpreting that as a strawman aimed me and by extension other critics of anti-porn kookery is, at minimum considerably more logical and defensible than…

    Not reading the same implications into someone’s comment that you read into it is “unpersoning” now? Boy, Azkyroth, why don’t you just cut to the chase and call everyone fascists?

    Beyond that, I consider denying that someone even exists to be an extreme form of dehumanization and completely unacceptable, and I’ve observed that anti-porn kooks (and other kooks who crib from feminist thought) routinely do this with women who disagree.

    And I reject your apparent premise that no one but you is justified in informing their conclusions with pattern recognition or other history considerations.

  116. Azkyroth says

    Fucking hell.

    For the benefit of anyone else reading:

    Ms. Daisy Cutter in fact said that “Much of the mainstream stuff [...] is dehumanizing and damaging”, therefore she did not say “all porn is okay”.

    (And neither did you, yet; that’s why Luc was in before any such statement.)

    Yes, “Ms.” You’re right, that was a thoughtless oversight on my part. Apologies to the person actually offended.

    That said, Luc explicitly addressed his statement to my post number. Interpreting that as a strawman aimed me and by extension other critics of anti-porn kookery is, at minimum considerably more logical and defensible than…

    Not reading the same implications into someone’s comment that you read into it is “unpersoning” now? Boy, Azkyroth, why don’t you just cut to the chase and call everyone fascists?

    Beyond that, I consider denying that someone even exists to be an extreme form of dehumanization and completely unacceptable, and I’ve observed that anti-porn kooks (and other kooks who crib from feminist thought) routinely do this with women who disagree.

    And I reject your apparent premise that no one but you is justified in informing their conclusions with pattern recognition or other history considerations.

  117. Luc says

    @123, It’s funny that you accuse people of confirmation bias by ignoring the actual evidence they offer. But hey, I suppose those actual quotes from actual porn users don’t really count for some reason, right? Your personal opinion clearly outweights all those quotes. :)

    Do you even know what percentage of the porn industry is the kind people call feminist porn?

    @124, it’s always the same arguments, that’s why I anticipated them. People will say omfg but what about feminist porn? Then someone will ask where such a thing can be found, and then links will be provided where you can find content that looks like mainstream porn, except the people degraded and jizzed upon in those videos have tattooes and lack blond wigs and breast implants. And of course, that somehow makes mainstream porn not a problem anymore.

  118. markjn says

    If you want to see weird talk to people about their sexual preferences. Shit gets fucking crazy. Maybe if you want to talk in averages and the caveman days maybe… but nah I don’t see it. There is no convincing evolutionary explanation for my borderline shoe fetish.

  119. Luc says

    @132 Yes, “Ms.” You’re right, that was a thoughtless oversight on my part. Apologies to the person actually offended.

    xD Damn, did you fail to score an Internet point? Don’t worry so much, it *would* have been a nice “gotcha” if someone had said that before I posted my “in b4″ :)

  120. says

    Your pretense that no one but you should form any opinions based on history is disingenuous and contemptible

    No, you are welcome to your opinions based on history. But you should engage what people actually say, and you should not let half-remembered debates from months or years ago stand in for what a person is saying right now.

    Azkyroth, do you deny that people can change their arguments in response to previous criticism?

    Do you deny that there exists some fetishization of youth which results in some aversion to body hair?

    If you cannot support your own claims, then honesty demands you retract them now, not wait and make your retraction contingent upon someone showing up to declare that they didn’t say in this thread what they already demonstrably did not say in this thread.

    and your wildly varying and dysfunctional standards of evidence for conclusions in a casual context has been noted and condemned by our host just yesterday.

    I insisted upon no more than abb3w insisted upon, and your comparison of that to this thread is most disingenuous. I am not asking for any scientific evidence here, as I was asking in that other thread. I am only asking for you to cite your own claims by providing a link to a comment.

    On the one occasion where I made a misstep (not even the one you imagined) in my engagement with skeptifem, I apologized and retracted it.

    Which occasion was that? I remember that you made your not-pology contingent in the case I linked to: “If I misremembered, then I apologize to her.” And, implicitly, if you did remember her correctly, then you do not apologize for attributing her views to personal trauma.

    you are a troll.

    Not what he said, but who cares about accuracy?

  121. Azkyroth says

    Do I even need to add anything to the fact that you’re claiming victory on the basis of a mistranscribed screen name?

  122. Azkyroth says

    And, implicitly, if you did remember her correctly, then you do not apologize for attributing her views to personal trauma.

    She herself had attributed her views in large part to her personal poor experience with the porn industry, as I recalled at the time, and I meant to suggest that she was generalizing inappropriately, not that she was broken and couldn’t think straight or whatever you decided to take it as. I later acknowledged that this was a mistake and shouldn’t have even been brought up. Any chance you’ll link to that post, since I have neither the time nor inclination to hunt it down?

    No, I thought not.

  123. says

    Do I even need to add anything to the fact that you’re claiming victory on the basis of a mistranscribed screen name?

    You might add some evidence that I’m “claiming victory” on that basis rather than simply correcting your mistake in that one case.

    Is no one allowed to correct any of your errors without being presumed to be therefore claiming an epic win?

  124. Azkyroth says

    Is no one allowed to correct any of your errors without being presumed to be therefore claiming an epic win?

    If you’re not trying to score points, then why do you repeatedly jump down my throat based on throwaway comments addressed to someone else? My curiosity is almost breaking through the disgust here.

  125. says

    She herself had attributed her views in large part to her personal poor experience with the porn industry, as I recalled at the time, and I meant to suggest that she was generalizing inappropriately, not that she was broken and couldn’t think straight or whatever you decided to take it as.

    No, you said that she “has a gaping hole (no double entendres intended) in her skepticism, and even rudimentary intellectual honesty … Her comments suggest this is due in significant part to personal trauma as well as ideological poisoning”.

    That’s a great deal more than “generalizing inappropriately”, and I was not the only one to take issue with your characterization.

    I later acknowledged that this was a mistake and shouldn’t have even been brought up. Any chance you’ll link to that post, since I have neither the time nor inclination to hunt it down?

    No, I thought not.

    I assume that this is the post you’re talking about, but your memory does not seem to serve you in this case. You did not acknowledge that you made a mistake; you only made a contingent not-pology: “If I misremembered, then I apologize to her.”

    If you think you actually apologized to her, that sort of indicates that you wish you had apologized; and that’s a point in your favor. Why don’t you go ahead now and finally get around to that apology you wish you’d made?

  126. Azkyroth says

    I made a follow-up post in which I explicitly stated that I shouldn’t have brought it up anyway and that I should have realized it was a patronizing excuse to make. It may have been further down the thread or on a different thread where you shoved it in my face again.

  127. says

    If you’re not trying to score points, then why do you repeatedly jump down my throat based on throwaway comments addressed to someone else?

    Dearest Azkyroth, simply correcting a typo is not “jumping down your throat”. I did not impugn any motives to you regarding that typo. I did not even accuse you of “unpersoning” anyone by getting their self-description wrong.

    The substance of #128, that is, everything but the proofreading, I direct to you because I disagree with what you said to Luc.

    Sort of like how you disagree with what skeptifem said to Pteryxx, and so you wanted to respond, even though those comments weren’t directed to you. Remember?

  128. Azkyroth says

    “Not this shit again” is not even remotely comparable to a 40 comment thread derail. Even ignoring the fact that I’ve expressed in the past that I find your hounding of me threatening and triggering (I think, sadly, that I’m starting to get used to it), do you really not see the difference?

  129. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    It’s amazing how one little letter can be so important.

    It’s especially amazing how that letter can change the pronunciation of two other letters that are not even right next to it.

    English, eh? It’s such a well designed tool for confusing people.
    Several of my nephews/nieces speak Welsh, which is strictly phonetic; you write what you said, you say what you wrote. Try explaining tough vs though vs bough vs cough to an early-teen that is used to a language where even the elisions and softenings are written.

  130. says

    I made a follow-up post in which I explicitly stated that I shouldn’t have brought it up anyway and that I should have realized it was a patronizing excuse to make.

    Ah. Sort of:

    That said, in retrospect there probably was no compelling reason to bring it up and I can see why it could justifiably be considered patronizing to rationalize someone else’s mistakes for them. I’ll try to avoid that.

    Not actually an admission of a mistake, but it is to your credit that you want to remember it as such.

    Of course, your not-pology remains contingent.

    …Holy shit, was that all the way back in June?

    When you bother to dig up these old comments from skeptifem that you allege support your mistaken reading of her in this thread, I wonder if they’ll even be from 2011.

  131. Azkyroth says

    Also, I’m not talking exclusively about that one comment, I’m talking about your repeatedly jumping down my throat in the general case. I’ve asked you to just leave me alone. I’ve expressed that I find this threatening and triggering, and that the only effect you’ve had on my opinions is that I stopped posting on Pharyngula to speak of for a few weeks to months precisely because of your bullying. Why won’t you just stop?

  132. says

    “Not this shit again” is not even remotely comparable to a 40 comment thread derail.

    So, I shouldn’t take any exception to what you said back in #108? I should just ignore it?

    do you really not see the difference?

    Azkyroth, I will stop responding to you when you stop being wrong.

  133. Azkyroth says

    I wish I could say I couldn’t believe you were just ignoring the “threatening and triggering” and “stopped posting for a few weeks” parts.

  134. says

    Why won’t you just stop?

    Because in effect what you’re asking is to get away with misrepresenting the arguments of anti-porn feminists whenever you want to, without me ever responding to you. I don’t see any reason why I should let that happen.

    And it’s a little bit dishonest for you to play possum now when you tried to start a fight with me just a week and a half ago, out of the blue, in a thread where I’d said absolutely nothing to you.

  135. rogerallen says

    Perhaps Bering ascribes what is ‘normal’ for male homosexuals as ‘normal’ for male heterosexuals (it’s interesting that Bering seems to think that what is statistically ‘normal’ is evolutionarily ‘normal’ and so ‘natural’). In a ‘natural’ state male-female sexual encounters are likely to produce children which need caring and nurturing for several years, an exhausting and demanding investment of energy and time, which makes monogamy evolutionarily beneficial. As a result heterosexual men ‘switch off’ their libidinous instincts in the presence of inappropriate females, however sexually attractive they may objectively appear.
    Male-male sexual encounters have no consequences but themselves and so homosexual men do not have the same emotional investment in monogamy and so perceive the sexual potential of all the men around them. That would explain the greater promiscuity of homosexual men when their are no restraining factors and the fact that the more powerful and/or richer heterosexual men are, the more their sexual behaviour resembles that of homosexual men- the cost of child-care and their involvement in it are reduced accordingly.
    How’s that for an instant bit of evolutionary psychological punditry? It’s the problem/virtue with evolutionary psychology. You can decide whatever you want is evolutionarily beneficial and make up reasons for it and just let them run.

  136. rogerallen says

    English, eh? It’s such a well designed tool for confusing people.

    It’s what happens when you get a language with multiple sources with different spelling methods, with such wide variations in pronunciation within the language. Add that ‘ough’ in the words you quote was spelt with different vanished letters and sit back and watch the fun. The whole English language is a shiboleth.

  137. says

    “Not this shit again” is not even remotely comparable to a 40 comment thread derail.

    considering that your repeated use of that line was what started the derail, that’s a bit of a disingenuous comment to make

    Anyway, as impressive as I find LM’s effort to bring the pharyngula comment section back to some level of consistent rationality, I think it’s a lost and obviously thankless cause.

  138. says

    I wish I could say I couldn’t believe you were just ignoring the “threatening and triggering” and “stopped posting for a few weeks” parts.

    He declared me an enemy because I wanted to openly talk about Obama’s failings, and thus hurt his election chances. I guess I should just be glad we’re not living in his communist utopia where he’d use force against me. Just killfile him and move on.

    @rogerallen

    The guy has already argued that treating gay people like shit is evolutionarily selected for. He’s an asshole who probably doesn’t give a shit about other gay folks or how his wankings are used to justify attacks against them.

  139. says

    Ing: I think I decided you’re an opponent for that, which I differentiate from an enemy. I don’t remember for sure, but I hope I didn’t say otherwise; I don’t regard you to be my enemy, and I hope you also recall my expressions of respect for you.

  140. Azkyroth says

    Anyway, as impressive as I find LM’s effort to bring the pharyngula comment section back to some level of consistent rationality, I think it’s a lost and obviously thankless cause.

    …you think this is acceptable?

  141. says

    @LM

    I’m probably not good to talk to you personally right now due to other disagreement, but maybe you might consider how your actions come off regarding how much respect you feel for people versus how much they perceive it.

  142. Azkyroth says

    Just killfile him and move on.

    I would, except that he’s not discouraged by it and people are apparently swayed by the things he posts. That was what prompted me to break my early promise to just not respond to him. (Also, I don’t believe there’s a viable killfile script for the most recent version of Opera; I would LOVE to be corrected.)

  143. Azkyroth says

    And it’s a little bit dishonest for you to play possum now when you tried to start a fight with me just a week and a half ago, out of the blue, in a thread where I’d said absolutely nothing to you.

    I’ll admit that was a bit childish, but you’ll also note that I threw out one ironic echo and then let it go.

  144. jamesemery says

    I’ll admit, as a 31 year old hetero-flexible male, I do on occasion see younger women and find myself attracted. I mostly attribute this to my own still-evolving maturity, and typically, said attraction dissipates quickly as soon as they speak :/ That being said, I also find just as many women into their 40s that are quite attractive, and a HELL of a lot more interesting. Also, knowledge that a woman is a virgin is generally an instant turn-off… Experience and creativity trump all, in my book.

  145. Azkyroth says

    And it’s a little bit dishonest for you to play possum now when you tried to start a fight with me just a week and a half ago, out of the blue, in a thread where I’d said absolutely nothing to you.

    ….further thought.

    I Reject The Equivalence.

    My teachers used to play that bullshit game all the time. No matter how much abuse was heaped on me, if I ever said or did anything back, that was just as bad, and it totally showed I just brought all the bullying on myself. Fuck that noise. It was bullshit for them and it’s bullshit from you.

    I can’t defend everything I’ve ever posted, but I shouldn’t have to be perfect to not deserve to be harassed. No one should.

  146. Azkyroth says

    …however, since I seem to be the only one here who knows that, I’ll let this thread go.

  147. says

    I would, except that he’s not discouraged by it and people are apparently swayed by the things he posts.

    Of course, if I thought no one could be swayed by your misrepresentations of anti-porn feminists, I wouldn’t reply to you either. Sucks for both of us.

    I Reject The Equivalence.

    Who said anything about equivalence? You sniped at me over something that you agree was not important; I respond to your misrepresentations of others which I believe are important. There’s no equivalence: I’ve got a rational reason for making my arguments; you did not.

    I can’t defend everything I’ve ever posted, but I shouldn’t have to be perfect to not deserve to be harassed. No one should.

    I agree, and there’s no way you can argue that responding to your comments in this thread constitutes harassment.

  148. says

    Here’s what I wrote on Jesse Bearing’s blog.

    I don’t get it. Here we have two people who I respect and admire, two reasonable, rational and intellectually REALLY above-average adults, and you hate each other.

    Jesse, my first contact with you was over a SciAm article that I thought you had completely, hopelessly, terminally wrong. I still think so, and I think maybe you do too now, but that’s irrelevant. I’ve enjoyed listening to and interacting with someone on blatant goodwill and intellectual achievement, someone who has taught me a lot, someone who I’m really glad to know.

    PZ I’ve had a few run-ins with, but basically the same. He’s more prickly, less tolerant of difference, but our views are closer to coincident.

    I just can’t understand how this situation came about. Pardon me for hijacking here, but in this case it *is* all about me, I’m just flummoxed at this turn of events, and am trying to understand just how come I’m so spectacularly clueless about it.

    Maybe you can help me out here, PZ, if you’d be so kind. I happen to agree with you on the issue in question, but that doesn’t matter compared to the larger issue of why the two of you loath each other.

    On the topic at hand:

    Summerminor wrote:

    Maybe the rules don’t apply to me, since I am just a woman and most EvoPsychs tend to make different rules for women, but when I’m in a monogamous relationship, my sex drive gets very specific. Sure, I can still see an attractive man and think he is attractive in the physical sense, but I have no interest in bedding him. I have a high sex drive, just ask my poor boyfriend who has to deal with it, but once I’m in a relationship something inside my brain flicks to “no thanks, I’m good” and I’m no longer sexually interested in other males. But then, even when I’m single it takes more than a great set of pecs to make me drool.

    That describes my response pretty accurately too, though I know I’m an outlier sexually, so this is probably the only aspect where I’m remotely within the bounds of the usual.

    Again, while interesting, what gets me is that two really, really bright people of genuine goodwill, people who I respect both intellectually and morally, hate each other, passionately, and irrationally. What gives?

  149. zoniedude says

    I think this thread has mainly missed the topic. A professor having sex with a student is not an issue of sex. It doesn’t matter if the student is a teenager or in his/her thirties.

    The issue pure and simple is that a person in a subordinate position cannot give consent to one in a superior position. For a person in a dominating power imbalance to have sex with a subordinate is ipso facto rape. There can be no consensual sex because the circumstances do not provide for consent.

    Arguing that you do not have sex with students because they are not sexually attractive is not relevant or laudatory. Not having sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with doesn’t matter. Being intimidated into having sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with does matter. But the level of intimidation is irrelevant: you cannot have a consensual relationship with someone in an inferior position because there can be no consent in those circumstances.

    That is true for professors, students, bosses, anyone in any circumstance where one person holds a dominating power imbalance over another person: there can be no consent and sex is therefore ipso facto rape.

  150. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    It’s what happens when you get a language with multiple sources with different spelling methods, with such wide variations in pronunciation within the language. Add that ‘ough’ in the words you quote was spelt with different vanished letters and sit back and watch the fun. The whole English language is a shiboleth.

    Wasn’t it Terry Pratchett who commented on the failings of verbal communication by pointing out that speech originally developed as a way for one ape to tell other apes where the fruit was?

  151. says

    Because the jackass basically pulls up research out of his ass that justifies some of the worst of social prejudice and takes part in a twisted racist and sexist psuedoscience

  152. ekims says

    Here is why, imho:

    Jesse thinks that evolution produces functional adaptations both below the neck (that, is the body) AND above the neck (the brain/mind).

    PZ thinks somehow that evolution stopped above the neck.
    It is that difference that is key. Well, add to that his apparent disinterest in avoiding the “moralitstic fallacy” — the erroneous idea the way the world should be is the way it is, or at least should place limits on how it is. (Older men *should not* find young women sexual attractive, therefore they *do not*, or, if they do, let us hope it does not become widely known.)

    Well, add to that PZ’s tendency toward ad hominems and personal invective toward evolutionary psychologists. PZ seems to think every evolutionary hypothesis that has to do with the brain/mind, rather than with the body, is a “just so story” rather than a scientific hypothesis, like any other. By definition a hypothesis needs further examination and empirical testing.

    And, PZ’s tolerance of intolerance, ad hominems, name-calling, and shouting others down by those who post in the comments section here in his blog — which shuts down civil discourse and ends up in virtual reality name-calling intellectual food fights after post #30 or so…

  153. says

    PZ thinks somehow that evolution stopped above the neck.

    Strawman. Bordering on blatent lie.

    We aren’t convinced by your claim that evolution (odd how you never fucking show the brain anatomy, physiology, or genetics to point to such traits you assert are genetic and evolved) is the cause of complex social behavior.

    Eveopsyche looks at the culture then comes up with reasons why we evolved that way. They are mechanics who think they know how a car works without having ever lifted up the hood.

    And, PZ’s tolerance of intolerance, ad hominems, name-calling, and shouting others down by those who post in the comments section here in his blog — which shuts down civil discourse and ends up in virtual reality name-calling intellectual food fights after post #30 or so…

    Sorry, yes I am intolerant of the idiot who publishes about how homophobia is a benefit to the species. Ignoring all but his own culture and using the shittiest of methodology.

    The

  154. David Marjanović says

    He declared me an enemy because I wanted to openly talk about Obama’s failings, and thus hurt his election chances.

    Then I need to look it up again. The way I remember it, he got very agitated because you said you weren’t going to vote for Obama because you were sick & tired of voting for the lesser evil. Several people, such as myself, chimed in and said they nonetheless agreed with LM because voting for the lesser evil helps prevent the greater evil from gaining power; he and others then described in scary detail just how much greater the greater evil would be. Then, he added that he considered it a moral obligation to vote for the lesser evil. (I, for one, haven’t bothered forming a view on this, or on forming a system of moral philosophy in general, so I simply didn’t comment on that part. Neither, probably for similar reasons, did anyone else, IIRC.) The discussion ended very quickly when you mentioned you live in a safe state where your vote doesn’t count (unless you cast a protest vote and it’s actually noticed).

    Again, while interesting, what gets me is that two really, really bright people of genuine goodwill, people who I respect both intellectually and morally, hate each other, passionately, and irrationally. What gives?

    Sorry for being so… blunt, but… it’s past 4 am over here, and… have you read this thread? (You can ignore the comments about porn.) Indeed, have you read the post?

  155. says

    ekims tells a just-so story:

    PZ thinks somehow that evolution stopped above the neck.

    There are days when I simply cannot bear the entire field of evolutionary psychology: it’s so deeply tainted with bad research and a lack of rigor. And that makes me uncomfortable, because the fundamental premise, that our behaviors are a product of our history, is self-evidently true. It’s just that researchers in this field couple an acceptance of that premise to a deep assumption of adaptive teleology, the very thing that they should be evaluating, and produce some of the most awesomely trivial drivel.”

    As I said in my previous article, I think the general claim of evolutionary psychology, that our current behavior has been shaped by our biological history, is true. I think much of the research in the field is damaging to their thesis, though, not because it demonstrates the opposite, but because it flits over tiny details, like monthly variations in how a woman moves her hips or how she feels about men, and pretends that they’re all examples of the power of natural selection in sculpting a genome that encodes every pelvic wobble and every nerve impulse. It’s become a kind of modern ornithomancy, where each dip and swirl and change in direction of a flight of birds is interpreted as directly connected to the fate of nations. I remain unconvinced.”

    I know that not all evolutionary psychologists are this bad; more of them need to stand up and repudiate this bigoted clown and his ridiculous interpretations of sloppy data.”

    add to that his apparent disinterest in avoiding the “moralistic fallacy”

    Citation needed.

  156. David Marjanović says

    Well, add to that his apparent disinterest in avoiding the “moralitstic fallacy” — the erroneous idea the way the world should be is the way it is, or at least should place limits on how it is. (Older men *should not* find young women sexual attractive, therefore they *do not*

    Well, no. It looks like that if you haven’t paid attention, but that’s clearly not what it really is.

    First of all, the fact that someone is one’s own student can of course be a genuine turn-off, for the reasons PZ mentioned. Don’t act as if horniness lacked any psychological component.

    Second, what do you mean by “find [...] sexually attractive”? Do you merely mean “secondary sexual characteristics: present; turnoffs: absent”? Do you mean “absent meatspace consideration such as power differentials, might want to have sex with”? Or does it go all the way, and you mean “want to have sex with”?

    Third, some people really do have narrow age preferences; for them, age outside the desired range is a turn-off, even though Bering seems incapable of imagining this.

    Strawman. Bordering on blatent lie.

    Lack of reading comprehension, or plain lack of reading, can probably produce the same result. But that doesn’t matter to how much ekims should be ashamed.

  157. David Marjanović says

    ekims tells a just-so story: [...]

    I stand in awe at your memory and your google-fu. Pwnz0red!

    DM, such brevity, I’m agog. :-)

    As you can now see, I wasn’t done yet. I had simply neglected to refresh. :-]

  158. Luc says

    Am I claiming victory? It was just a funny remark to what I think was a silly attempt at “gotcha” by pointing out that I was not really “in before”. Hence my laughing smiley.

    Meanwhile, the big, actual problem discussed was left unaddressed, and my question unanswered.

    Here’s another question. If you bother to find that percentage, and you find that it’s ridiculously insignificant, and you agree that the mainstream stuff isn’t good… would you be willing to sacrifice the stuff you defend in order to get rid of the mainstream? (suppose it was an inevitable side-effect of a new set of regulations) Or would that be too high a price to pay for the end of the pornographic degradation of women?

    About Ing, who thinks this has something to do with “feminism cred”. It’s funny how that works. When I argue that religion should disappear, nobody tells me I’m saying that because I want atheist cred. Whenever I’ve gotten worked up on socialism, I’ve never had anybody dismissing me by telling me that I think the most important topic is my socialist cred. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the expression “Symfony cred” even though I often support it against other frameworks. But then I argue against porn and OBVIOUSLY I’m only doing it because I want to be more feminist than anyone and that’s all that matters to me. I don’t think that’s fair at all.

  159. ekims says

    Thanks, “love moderately,” for the thoughtful, non-ad-hominem post.

    Here is a blog post by Robert Kuzban about PZ’s use of the term “just so story” that you may find of interest:

    http://www.epjournal.net/blog/2011/12/pz-myers-clarifies-criteria-for-distinguishing-genuine-hypotheses-from-%E2%80%9Cjust-so-stories%E2%80%9D/

    According to Kurzban, there are 3 criteria that PZ apparently uses to determine whether a hypothesis qualifies as a “just so story”. The PZ ” …Myers Story Scale (MSS)” criteria are these: ” …no comparative data, no cellular mechanisms, and no word about the evolutionary trajectory of the trait.” So, if a hypothesis fails to include information about these variables, it is just a, well, “just so story.”

    Kurzban goes on to say: “… my guess is that Myers doesn’t really believe that those three criteria distinguish a testable hypothesis from a Just So Story. As I’ve shown here, he himself produces hypotheses which fare poorly according to his own criteria. It is easy to find other hypotheses from the animal and human literature, measure them against the MSS, and show that hypotheses that fail on this measure are treated as perfectly legitimate hypotheses. The reason is that functional claims entail predictions about the structure of traits, whether physiological or behavioral… The criteria Myers enumerates are not required for making a hypothesis falsifiable, and from his own writing, it seems that he implicitly believes this.”

    Also of interest is this article by Barash and Lipton “How the Scientist Got His Idea”:
    https://chronicle.com/article/How-the-Scientist-Got-His/63287/

  160. ekims says

    …and, it really doesn’t help PZ’s case that he allows posts such as the above to remain here in his blog’s comments section.

  161. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh please, ekims. You’re only still here because PZ hasn’t been back to take out the trash.

  162. says

    Thanks, “love moderately,” for the thoughtful, non-ad-hominem post.

    No one here has directed any ad hominem fallacies your way. You may deserve insults, though, since you’ve now failed to substantiate your claim about a moralistic fallacy, and failed to retract or even modify your now-refuted claim that PZ believes “evolution stopped above the neck”.

    I consider you a bullshitter.

  163. Sandiseattle says

    @ekims: PZ doesn’t moderate the commentary.

    (of course I do smell the banhammer oil being used, beware.)

  164. says

    …and, it really doesn’t help PZ’s case that he allows posts such as the above to remain here in his blog’s comments section.

    Yes because I was SO much ruder than you were.

  165. Sandiseattle says

    RE: my last comment brings this thought- is there a parser for the bloggers that looks for keywords like “ban” or “banhammer” just so PZ (or any blogger) knows who to dungeon?

  166. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Sandiseattle, he’s alluded to his methods before, but I shan’t here detail such. No, there’s no such automated mechanism.

    (Basically, the ‘parser’ is he, and he has an Olympian view)

  167. Stacy says

    As usual, I’m late to the party, but there was a comment in Bering’s thread that I don’t think anyone’s commented on yet:

    I gave a talk recently at a prestigious forum on my work in the evolutionary consumption area….My talk was subsequently censored (not posted on their area) because it was too “sexual”. It was an expanded version of my TED talk and this particular school felt that discussing human mating was too controversial. Welcome to the world of the Taliban (without the head choppings).

    Jumpin’ Jesus on the Hopscotch grid, I am sick of shit like this. This woman is clearly successful. She’s given a TED talk. But one particular school didn’t post one talk, for whatever reason, and she’s whining about censorship and the Taliban.

    (She should try posting a pro-feminist opinion online sometime, and compare the type and amount of splashback she gets. Not that she’d be likely to.)

  168. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Maybe you can help me out here, PZ, if you’d be so kind. I happen to agree with you on the issue in question, but that doesn’t matter compared to the larger issue of why the two of you loath each other.

    It could have to do with the fact that Bering is the sort of person who posts at length calling PZ sick and/or a liar for not sharing sexual preferences he believes to be held by all people.

    Just a thought.

  169. says

    …and, it really doesn’t help PZ’s case that he allows posts such as the above to remain here in his blog’s comments section.

    About the only thing you can get banned on here for is being boring. I doubt either of you are anywhere near being banned yet.

    Had PZ brought down the banhammer, i’m sure the cries of persecution and oppression of free speech would have been soon coming.

  170. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    bcskeptic: Why do I get the feeling that your ex-wife would have equally unflattering memories of your marriage?

    Also, aside from abuses of power such as their professor sleeping with them, if your daughters are grown, I think perhaps you should relax a little about men “messing around with them,” whatever their age.

    Zoebrain:

    Again, while interesting, what gets me is that two really, really bright people of genuine goodwill, people who I respect both intellectually and morally, hate each other, passionately, and irrationally. What gives?

    I’d suggest you review Fallacy #4 here.

    Ekims: Jesus H. Christ, why don’t you and your fellow EP fans read up even a little on sociology for a change and understand exactly how non-universal so many things you consider universal are. As for the alleged lack of “civility” here, some of us prefer a blunt but intellectually honest atmosphere to one that tolerates bigotry, shoddy science, and smarmy implications about the mental health and sexuality of those who call out the bigotry and shoddy science, made behind such person’s backs.

    Luc, as a man, you really don’t get to tell women what we should or should not find degrading. THAT is highly unfeminist.

  171. says

    #171: You have a fundamental misconception. I don’t hate Jesse Bering. I haven’t written anything about him comparable to what he’s written about me — I don’t know the guy at all.

    Ekims in #175:

    And, PZ’s tolerance of intolerance, ad hominems, name-calling, and shouting others down by those who post in the comments section here in his blog — which shuts down civil discourse and ends up in virtual reality name-calling intellectual food fights after post #30 or so…

    I note that his post is #175. 175 is larger than 30. Also, Ekims first post here is #63. 63 is more than twice as big as 30! I don’t know whether he has shot himself in the foot by showing that his claim was wrong, or by admitting that he’s an uncivil name-caller.

    Then Ekims in #187:

    …and, it really doesn’t help PZ’s case that he allows posts such as the above to remain here in his blog’s comments section.

    One of the virtues of avoiding censoring comments as much as I can is that I get a wide variety of commenters here, who will sometimes ably refute your nonsense for me so I don’t have to, and at other times will reveal that Mr Ekims stuffs hamsters up his nose. Both kinds are illuminating.

    One of the disadvantages is that I have to tolerate dimwits like Ekims.

  172. says

    A stray thought: If these people are arguing that sexual attraction is completely divorced from any societal circumstances, are these people suggesting it’s normal to be sexually attracted to your own daughter? Or (younger) sister? What argument against incest can they possibly mount if they’re saying older men being sexually attracted to younger women in completely universal?

  173. Irene Delse says

    @ love moderately #126:

    So, again: Azkyroth, do you deny that there exists some fetishization of youth which results in some aversion to body hair?

    If a youth fetish was the only, or even the main factor leading to “aversion to body hair”, this would be a good question. But sexual fetishism is a psychological concept applying to individuals. However, the attraction or aversion to body hair in adults is a broader cultural phenomenon. Different cultures (and sub-cultures) have different attitudes towards body hair, and it also changed between historical periods. It can be limited in one sex or apply to both.

    In the Western World, for instance, there’s a long established trend of finding body hair disgraceful in women, first in the upper classes (where women had more time for personal grooming instead of having to work in the fields or factories the whole day long), then more widely in society with the increase in leisure time. Women with little or no body hair are not simply perceived as more youthful, but more feminine, and they are supposed to have better hygiene. (I hasten to emphasise that this is societal perception, not something with actual truth behind it! It’s the same kind of stereotype as the one about uncouth, “hairy” radical feminists or male-looking lesbians.)

    For men, body hair has been traditionally linked to virility, so shaving or depilating was not considered sexually attractive in a healthy way, up until the end of the 20th Century. Just as the stereotypical view about women links hairlessness to feminity, cleanliness and sophistication, men without body hair were perceived as effeminate, vain, foppish, etc.

    In fact, it’s probably not a coincidence that an increase in the desirability for men of having their body waxed or shaved happened at the same time as acceptance of male homosexuality got more traction in Western societies.

  174. Irene Delse says

    @ luc #134:

    @124, it’s always the same arguments, that’s why I anticipated them. People will say omfg but what about feminist porn? Then someone will ask where such a thing can be found, and then links will be provided [...]

    Holy irony, Batman! Guy called out on his strawmanning, responds with more of the same. Doesn’t argue in good faith, unhappy to not be taken seriously. Riiight.

    http://qkme.me/35lv52

  175. Luc says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, I hope you never say something is racist. Your whiteness invalidates everything you may think about discrimination and injustice. Does that seem fair to you?

    Also, what makes you think I decide what constitutes sexual degradation on my own? People have sex with other people, you know. Sorry, but you don’t get to say that. My dick doesn’t make me blind, same as your skin color doesn’t make you blind.

    I don’t get to say what a woman *likes* (to each their own), but I do get to say what’s degrading, or racist, or discriminating, or unjust, because I’m neither blind nor stupid.

    A racist joke doesn’t stop being racist when a black guy finds it funny. Do you disagree with this?

    Now, if you’re done talking about me, would you like to talk about how porn is inherently objectifying? I argue that it is, because in actual sex there is a give and take, an interaction between people. In porn, the meat in the video only gives, and the user only takes (“consumes” is the right word). No connection. If you only give and don’t interact in any way, you’re acting as a toy for someone else, not as a sexual partner. It’s a fundamental difference. That’s the reason why most guys close the video immediately after they’re finished, and that’s the reason why porn users get angry when actresses quit porn. Their toy was taken away from them!

    People bring up webcams by now. That’s not a movie, in a webcam show there are 2 people and they chat, so there is interaction, right? So according to you, Luc, webcams should be okay. But as you may have guessed, I also have a problem with webcams. It’s basically one person telling another to do this and do that, and the other person must obey because that’s what they get paid to do. It’s like “sure, I agree to be your sex toy for half an hour. You don’t have to do anything to give *me* pleasure. This isn’t necessarily a mutually fun experience like actual sex. I’m just working here, and you get all the fun if you want.” So yeah, reducing yourself from person to toy is not exactly what I understand by healthy sex. Since a person is more than a toy, becoming one (even if you like it and do it willingly and happily) is degrading by definition.

    At this point people usually tells me that there are plenty of people acting in theatres and cinema. They act for you so according to you they’re also objectified, right? Should we then get rid of theater and cinema, too? This has an easy answer: a movie isn’t a personal relationship. Sex is. Do you find any conceptual difference between a sex scene in a movie (for example, “Y tu mamá también” by Alfonso Cuarón) and a porn movie? If not, you’re missing something. If you haven’t watched it yet you should, it’s good.

  176. says

    I think there can be multiple reasons for women to want to get rid of pubic hair.

    1. Fashionably pragmatic: skimpy bathing suits, for instance, have gotten smaller and smaller, and tufts of pubic hair can interfere with the lines of the clothing…and also are suggestive of what is beneath the bikini.

    2. Grooming intimacy: apes like to play with each others’ hair. It’s not surprising that some people really get into trimming and shaving each other…and there’s nothing more intimate than shaving pubic hair. (Of course, then you’d also expect to see lots of men with shaved groins.)

    3. Oral sex. Sorta obvious.

    4. Accentuating sex differences. We do this all the time, too — we try to amplify male and female differences as signals. Women have less body hair as adults than men, so to make themselves less manly, they spend more effort removing body hair. And some guys contrariwise spend less effort removing it.

    5. Youth fetishization. Younger people → less body hair. We try to look youthful by removing those odd hairs that crop up in more and more strange places as we get older, and sure, it can be carried to extremes and some people might strive for the prepubescent look.

    But I’m afraid I agree with the conclusion that the major reason so many women shave their pubic hair is the normalization of pornography. Men are being told what women’s vulvas are supposed to look like by the ubiquitous portrayals of porn star genitals, which nowadays are always completely shorn. It’s just weird. I’m old enough to remember when the thought that dominated horny teenage boys, fueled by the pictures in dirty magazines, was the idea of seeing “bush”. That was the illicit adolescent thrill of only a few years ago, back in the 70s and earlier. Now it’s all tanned plastic smoothness, and it’s kind of creepy. “Bring back the lawn!”, says this old guy.

    And just to piss off the evpsych people, there’s nothing specifically evolutionary about this behavior except in the most general sense that social animals are responsive to group signals.

  177. chigau (難しい) says

    When was the last time anyone saw an advertisement featuring a shirtless male model with body hair?

  178. Irene Delse says

    Ah, yes, fashion. The more skin we show, the less comfortable we feel about those hairy torsos, armpits, legs and crotches that betray our animality. But removing the hair makes it easier to wear bikinis thongs, short shorts miniskirts, sleeveless tops, or go shirtless without feeling distracted by these capillary remainders of hormonal activity…

    But PZ or Skeptifem have a point about the influence of the porn industry on pubic shaving. I remember being a teenager in the 1980s, when the mainstream ideal for women was to keep only a modest trimmed bush of pubic hair: a triangle small enough to be hidden under a bikini, but not totally absent, otherwise it wouldn’t feel like an adult female pubis. Now, this vogue of completely shaving one’s pubis skeeves me seriously. Grown up women, or men, without any hair on their sex organs don’t even look immature, IMO, they just seem even more naked.

  179. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Luc, I might speak up and say that something is racist, but if a person of color told me that they thought I was overreacting, I sure as shit wouldn’t continue to speak over them. You are mansplaining, and lengthily at that.

    Your anti-porn rhetoric is nothing I haven’t seen before. I find it telling how your baseline assumption is that men are always consumers, women always performers. The mere existence of a site like crashpad dot com, made primarily for lesbians by lesbians, is sufficient refutation of your thesis that porn must always be degrading and dehumanizing, with a side order of male supremacy.

    Also, sex isn’t always a personal relationship, either. Sometimes it’s all about love; sometimes it’s a quickie. Really, you sound like nothing so much as a fundie lamenting masturbation as “self-abuse” or completely ignoring the fact of the female libido. Or like Hugo Schwyzer (who is porn-negative), for that matter.

  180. David Marjanović says

    RE: my last comment brings this thought- is there a parser for the bloggers that looks for keywords like “ban” or “banhammer” just so PZ (or any blogger) knows who to dungeon?

    PZ bans people when he finds them annoying. He doesn’t listen to calls for the banhammer.

    I’d suggest you review Fallacy #4 here.

    Seconded!

    In the Western World, for instance, there’s a long established trend of finding body hair disgraceful in women, first in the upper classes (where women had more time for personal grooming instead of having to work in the fields or factories the whole day long), then more widely in society with the increase in leisure time. Women with little or no body hair are not simply perceived as more youthful, but more feminine, and they are supposed to have better hygiene.

    While that’s true, it also seems to be stronger in the US than elsewhere.

    don’t even look immature, IMO, they just seem even more naked.

    I suppose that’s the point.

  181. ChasCPeterson says

    Yeah, another old mammalian guy who likes hair.

    In like sixth grade there was this kid who sold his father’s Playboy centerfolds, and for a while he had a pricing schedule keyed to the absolute area (which he would measure and calculate in fractions of a square inch)(yeah a nerd) of pubic hair depicted.

  182. says

    Luc, I might speak up and say that something is racist, but if a person of color told me that they thought I was overreacting, I sure as shit wouldn’t continue to speak over them.

    I wouldn’t advocate “speaking over them” in any case, since that’s just rude. Luckily, it is impossible to “speak over someone” in text on the internet. It is a multiplex system; one person’s typing does not interfere with another’s typing.

    What it seems you meant was you wouldn’t continue to vocally disagree. This is simplistic, and cannot be applied to every issue.

    A black acquaintance of mine once told me that affirmative action at universities should stop because it’s racist against white people. This is a wrong opinion, so I argued with him. It’s much easier in person to tell when someone is tired of a discussion or when they are just not going to be convinced, so for those who notice social cues, such discussions are most productive in person. But an argument on affirmative action, for instance, is permissible in any medium; some opinions are destructively wrong no matter who holds them, and ought to be vocally opposed by anyone who is capable.

  183. ekims says

    PZ:

    “One of the virtues of avoiding censoring comments as much as I can is that I get a wide variety of commenters here, who will sometimes ably refute your nonsense for me so I don’t have to, and at other times will reveal that Mr Ekims stuffs hamsters up his nose. Both kinds are illuminating.”

    …Ah, no. They are really not. About as illuminating as a food fight.

    “One of the disadvantages is that I have to tolerate dimwits like Ekims.:

    I’m curious. In your classes, are intellectual disputes resolved by you calling others “dimwits” — or allowing that type of uncivil decorum in class discussions? Do escalating insults add to the learning process? I presume not.

    It is equally unhelpful here at your blog, also under your auspices and supervision. (Well, I see your point that it relieves you of having to address substantive issues — just let your sycophants here shout down those with views different from your own and the matter is resolved — with the added bonus of an ego boost for you).

    You teach college classes, right? PZ, this is Jr. High stuff. One expects to see “hamster comments” from immature adolescents. To have you, the person in charge egg them on, and engage in that behavior him/herself, is pretty surprising and unhelpful.

    Although I have previously linked to some of your posts about creationism because of your reasoned arguments, given this Jr. High level of discourse here, I no longer feel comfortable doing so.

    Make a joke of it, call me names, etc…. but, I hope you consider re-evaluating what your blog is about, what you are trying to accomplish, and whether the incivility here is really congruent with your purposes and goals.

  184. Irene Delse says

    @ DM #214:

    Duh! for me! Yes, of course. Still, I think I was trying to express that this nakedness of a shaved pubis didn’t feel titillating any more, but rather similar to an anatomical specimen’s nakedness (which, not being a necrophiliac, I don’t find sexually attractive, thank you).

    About a more specifically American trend for the appeal of hairlessness in adults: interesting. This goes with other things I’ve read about the hygienist tradition in the USA and its puritanical overtones.

  185. says

    ekims,

    Why have you still failed to substantiate your claim about a moralistic fallacy, and failed to retract or even modify your now-refuted claim that PZ believes “evolution stopped above the neck”?

  186. says

    I hope you consider re-evaluating what your blog is about, what you are trying to accomplish, and whether the incivility here is really congruent with your purposes and goals.

    OK.

    Think, think, think. Ponder, ponder, ponder.

    Done.

    Yes, it is! Because it drives away priggish insufferable dimwits like you who think their insulting insinuations are perfectly acceptable if cloaked in a sufficiently dense cloud of ‘civility’. Buh-bye!

  187. chigau (難しい) says

    jeez PZ, I guess ekims Told You!
    I hope you are thoroughly chastened and will Mend Your Ways.
    As penance you should help ekims remove the hamsters.

  188. says

    ekims:

    I’m curious. In your classes, are intellectual disputes resolved by you calling others “dimwits” — or allowing that type of uncivil decorum in class discussions?

    Oh, fuck! This is a classroom?

    I have nightmares about being in a classroom (usually my biology class, oddly enough) in which I had forgotten my homework. And pants.

  189. says

    ekims:

    It is equally unhelpful here at your blog, also under your auspices and supervision.

    Citation, please. For the “unhelpful” bit. I’m quite aware PZ runs this blog, often with an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove of sweet, sweet discipline.

    Why do you think it unhelpful? It’s helpful for me. I enjoy true intellectual discussion, especially when it’s refreshingly honest and open. I despise vapidity disguised as condescension, which is what you apparently have to offer.

    (Well, I see your point that it relieves you of having to address substantive issues — just let your sycophants here shout down those with views different from your own and the matter is resolved — with the added bonus of an ego boost for you).

    You presented a substantial issue? If so, I don’t see what it might be. You haven’t even been able to defend your own statements, let alone posit a substantial issue. You are intellectually dishonest enough to ignore evidence against your claims — why should I treat you with the respect you demand?

    (As a side note: respect is earned, not given, and demanding respect is a sure way to get the exact opposite.)

  190. shouldbeworking says

    Ekims rules for PZ’s blog
    No name calling
    Thou shalt forgive typos
    Thou shalt cite references for any claims

    Oh fuck it, it is almost traditional that people are given a rotting porcupine as a parting gift. We a a special introductory offer of 2 for the price of 1 extra large skunks. Help yourself as you go away. On the house for you.

  191. Irene Delse says

    And if porcupines are in short supply, this thread suggests that hamsters are very acceptable too, nasal application suggested. But! Not shaved hamsters, please, folks. This is beyond the pale.

  192. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I no longer feel comfortable doing so.

    Baby snookums-poopie-kins innit comfortable. Sniffle.

  193. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Damn it. How come my quote didn’t show up in comic sans? I used the same html as PZ according to the page source information. . .

  194. says

    Here’s another way to think about it that might appeal to a psychology professor: I’ve got a very kinky paraphilia. I’m not interested in sex except with mature, intelligent women with whom I have a deep personal relationship and who have a mutual sexual interest in me.

    Wow, me too. Only it’s not women so much as “any one person of any sex/gender identity.” :P

  195. Crommunist says

    I must be incredibly abnormal then. There are very few 18 year-olds that inspire thoughts of lust in me. More commonly they irritate me, or my nascent paternal instincts kick in. Maybe if my evaluation of them was completely divorced from their personalities and any other contextual information, but then I am essentially reducing women to sex robots.

    I wonder if Jesse has the hots for his female relatives (of appropriate age, of course). After all – no context, right?

  196. says

    When was the last time anyone saw an advertisement featuring a shirtless male model with body hair?

    It should be a crime!

    so shaving or depilating was not considered sexually attractive in a healthy way, up until the end of the 20th Century

    Funnily enough I saw a picture of Scott of the antarctic + team (1912) and more than half were totally clean shaven. I was quite surprised.

    Ekims honey, this might shock you but:
    a) This isn’t a biology classroom.
    b) Feel free to flounce out. You will be forgotten by tomorrow, this blog has more visitors than most blogs have in a month.
    c) Please don’t be so cruel to hamsters. You’re doctor can help… that and forceps.

  197. says

    When was the last time anyone saw an advertisement featuring a shirtless male model with body hair?

    It should be a crime!

    Oops, I mean it should be a crime to shave mens body hair for advertising purposes.

  198. says

    140 Azkyroth

    She herself had attributed her views in large part to her personal poor experience with the porn industry, as I recalled at the time, and I meant to suggest that she was generalizing inappropriately, not that she was broken and couldn’t think straight or whatever you decided to take it as. I later acknowledged that this was a mistake and shouldn’t have even been brought up. Any chance you’ll link to that post, since I have neither the time nor inclination to hunt it down?

    I am not generalizing. Studies about the content of pornography use the top rated movies in order to avoid “generalizing” about it. You would have to be so completely fucking dishonest to say that mainstream pornography doesn’t involve aggression and humiliation (like ATM, choking, slapping, name-calling, etc). It is bullshit.

    What the fuck are you talking about? I have countless posts on my blog about pornography, and they all have to do with the shitty treatment of women within pornography. You could try reading what I fucking say instead of making up a bunch of shit. When I link to women saying things like “i was too high to remember my first porn scene but it got into the movie anyway” (which, more accurately put means “dudes jack off to my rape on film regularly”), or “my abusive husband made me do bestiality porn” or talk about how porn performers get diseases it is about my personal experience with pornography? Do you think I have been in porn or something? My only personal experience with porn is watching it as a dumbass teenager and not seeing how fucked up it was at the time and then getting horrified about it later on. I suppose I saw a fair amount of it in passing on 4chan as well, along with the attitudes of the pornsick.

    Nothing like being told your opinion is stupid because you are too traumatized to think straight. My “trauma” is this: I was raped 12 years ago. I think that is plenty of time to be able to think about and comment on social issues. Also; fuck you.

  199. says

    Skeptifem, #29, some of us here are feminists who do not buy into the Twisty Faster decree that all porn/erotica is dehumanizing and damaging. Much of the mainstream stuff, yes, but all erotic materials, categorically, and even so if we lived in “a perfect world”? I strongly disagree.

    Yeah I know, because I didn’t run into radical feminism until a few years back, so the only version of feminist porn critique I had was the one you cited. It was what I bought into for years. You think that wanting something not to be oppressive makes it not oppressive. Burlesque is empowering, etc etc. You know what though? Whatever you *want* it to be doesn’t change what it actually *is* to the majority of men. When the majority of men see a woman in a sexual performance it is irrelevant if she wants it to be transgressive or send a message or whateverthefuck, they see more proof that women are simply fuck toilets that can be rented for the right price. I am not asking anyone to quit for my sake, I am asking them not to bullshit me by saying that it actually accomplishes anything for women as a class.

  200. says

    And it doesn’t even make sense from the Porn POV because as was pointed out. Fuck tons of porn are made for people who want the contrary to that.

    This is like saying porn isn’t racist because there are non-white actresses. movies about “black bitches in heat” or movies called “miso horny” aren’t racist, they are inclusive, right?

    An orgasm is a really strong conditioning mechanism. Everyone is insistent that my past should be used as a reason to doubt my perceptions, but all of the dudes getting a serious dose of positive reinforcement every time they watch porn is just fucking irrelevant, right? This is bullshit.

  201. says

    I keep hearing about this mythical woman-positive pornography. I haven’t seen it (admittedly, my exposure to porn is very thin), and what makes me question its existence is that even mainstream, non-porn movies — the ones rated “R”, for instance — tend to use women like a coatrack with boobs. Casual female nudity is common, even obligatory, and most of it is male fanservice.

    What would a woman-positive porn screenplay even look like, I wonder? Even most lesbian porn isn’t really about lesbians, it’s about providing more naked women at once to gratify men.

  202. walton says

    Yeah, I’m very conflicted about the issue of porn and feminism. Having read feminist anti-porn arguments from the likes of Catherine Mackinnon and Melissa Farley (the latter of whom is also a critic of BDSM), I’m familiar with that side of the argument, and I see their point. I think it’s undeniable that much of the commercial porn industry is misogynistic, violent, and exploitative of women. That said, I don’t think that all porn or erotica is necessarily misogynistic, violent or exploitative (indeed, it’s easy enough to find counterexamples); but it’s impossible to deny the reality of the abuses that take place in mainstream commercial porn. Whether there could ever be such a thing as egalitarian porn or “feminist porn” is very much a disputed topic, of course, and I won’t pretend to offer an informed opinion on that. (And the other highly-disputed question is whether there is any kind of association between watching porn and the encouragement of violence against women; something which is often asserted by anti-porn advocates, but of course it’s difficult to test empirically. It’s also disputed how gay porn fits, if at all, into this analysis.) So I’m really agnostic about this; but I’d say that it’s undeniable that there is vicious institutionalized sexism in the porn industry, and many abuses of porn-participants. How society should deal with that is another matter, and I wish I had a good answer to that.

    That said, I really don’t agree with Mackinnon’s and Farley’s prohibitionist views on sex work in general. (In the context of prostitution, they argue that it should be illegal, and that, although prostitutes themselves should not be criminalized, the pimps and johns should be; this approach has been adopted in Sweden, for instance. I’m not sure what Farley’s stance is on criminalization of porn, but Mackinnon has certainly supported anti-porn laws in the past.) I tend to the view (based, I think, on a fair amount of historical evidence) that trying to ban things, and to stamp out undesired practices through the brute force of criminalization and police enforcement, almost always makes things worse for everyone involved, however good the intentions are. That applies as much to the porn industry as it does to drugs. Legalization and harm-reduction, while certainly not panaceas, are probably better in general.

    (In the separate context of prostitution – which I do think is a separate topic from porn, although some anti-porn activists tend to apply the same thinking and arguments to both – the US government, with the support of certain feminist activists, has tended to take a strong prohibitionist stance, and currently denies federal HIV-prevention funding to NGOs unless they sign an anti-prostitution pledge which commits them to supporting prohibition. The problem is that the groups getting funding are those like International Justice Mission, an evangelical Christian organization which has been criticized for its tactic of orchestrating police raids on brothels in the developing world, often leading to sex workers being put forcibly into “rehabilitation homes” or abused by police. Conversely, groups like the SANGRAM Project, which works with sex workers in India, have tended to be marginalized. The elephant in the room is poverty; the problem is that, when people are sufficiently poor and desperate to have no options other than sex work, the sex industry is not going to go away merely because it is banned. It will simply be pushed underground and made yet more dangerous. I mention this not because it has any direct bearing on the porn industry in Western countries – it’s a separate issue – but, rather, because it illustrates the dangers of well-meaning prohibitive laws in general.)

  203. walton says

    (Shorter me: I’ve read a great deal of feminist writing on this subject, on both sides of the debate, and am very confused and conflicted. I’m also conscious of my own position of privilege, something I should have mentioned up-front, which obviously affects my analysis of this issue.)

  204. Anri says

    I keep hearing about this mythical woman-positive pornography. I haven’t seen it (admittedly, my exposure to porn is very thin), and what makes me question its existence is that even mainstream, non-porn movies — the ones rated “R”, for instance — tend to use women like a coatrack with boobs. Casual female nudity is common, even obligatory, and most of it is male fanservice.

    What would a woman-positive porn screenplay even look like, I wonder? Even most lesbian porn isn’t really about lesbians, it’s about providing more naked women at once to gratify men.

    Ask Greta.

    She’s right here on FTB.

    (Mind you, she might say that you’re right, and that porn is inherently degrading to women – I don’t think she would, but if she did, I’d defer to her opinion.)

    What are your feelings on the Skepticon fund-raising pin-up calender? Did that exploit the women (and men) involved?

  205. says

    What would a woman-positive porn screenplay even look like, I wonder? Even most lesbian porn isn’t really about lesbians, it’s about providing more naked women at once to gratify men.

    I’m coming in late to the party on purpose, as I usually tend to just lurk when the convo goes to “porn or anti-porn”, but Anri has a point in asking Greta this question, and I would add that if people are really curious about what woman-positive porn would look like, there’s the Crashpad series (I’m not dropping a link, as I assume we all know how the Google works). Not a single fake boob, fake tan, or creepy long nail, or played up orgasm (at least that’s what they advertise) to be seen, it’s queer positive, and produced by women.

    Also, there’s the sites run by the blogger Furry Girl, which she’s pretty much runs on her own.

  206. Irene Delse says

    @ Anri, Niki M:

    And aside from the idea that scenarios can be designed to be woman-positive, there’s also the subdivision of visual porn created without exploiting human actors: I’m thinking about anime, manga, CGI, cartoon, etc. There’s tons of that stuff on the internet. It can be as stereotyped as most of the porn videos available, but at least it takes care of the issue of hurting or degrading actual people during production.

  207. Cyranothe2nd says

    I think it’s undeniable that much of the commercial porn industry is misogynistic, violent, and exploitative of women. That said, I don’t think that all porn or erotica is necessarily misogynistic, violent or exploitative (indeed, it’s easy enough to find counterexamples); but it’s impossible to deny the reality of the abuses that take place in mainstream commercial porn.

    Yep.

    Also, I’m a woman who writes erotica, and am active in many forums with authors who write porn for women, by women. It’s completely possible to do it in a non-misogynistic way.

    Also also, some of us find violence, exploitation, BDSM and humiliation hot. [Not real, actual violence, etc, of course.] My point is that female sexuality is a lot broader than some feminist writers wish it to be. While I find misogynistic porn to be sick and hateful, I LOVE me some dub-con, violent, BDSM kink…I just prefer mine to be m/m. =D

  208. Cyranothe2nd says

    Also lol at Skeptifem’s flat-out lying about what happened in this thread here. No one tried to silence you because you were raped. No one but you even brought it up (to my reading, no one even knew about it…). Way to completely mis-characterize a legitimate difference of opinion is an underhanded and thoroughly insulting way.

    Hope ya stick the flounce.

  209. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    No one tried to silence you because you were raped. No one but you even brought it up (to my reading, no one even knew about it…).

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Fuck off.

  210. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Sorry, Cyrano, your post didn’t warrant the “fuck off.” I had a bad day and I’m lashing out. (I’m going to go take a nice relaxing Netflix break far away from other humans after I click “submit comment” here.) But you were extremely dismissive of something that, if you’d read this thread more closely or looked at what was said on the same incarnation of TET you just linked to, did in fact constitute an attempted silencing by bringing up skeptifem’s rape. The only thing arguable about that is where it took place – the conversation was brought into this thread from another one, and I can see how you’d be confused if you were looking for its origin in this one. But you need to be more careful if you’re going to be that defensive and dismissive about this kind of statement. Btw, I’m saying that as a person who has no decided stance on porn (I’ve never really watched it, when I tried I just found it confusing and pointless), but who completely agrees with you on kink. Woo, yay, kink.

  211. Cyranothe2nd says

    =D Thanks, Classical Cipher. I’m willing to think that I might not have all the facts. What I saw was a reference to this particular thread, and a general statement about the “regulars” and got pretty miffed, since I didn’t see that happening.

    I tend to stay away from TET, as I’m aaaaaaalways late the party.

    It’s Sherlock time!