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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Homophobia Phobia: Bad Science or Bad Science Comprehension?

Homophobia Phobia: Bad Science or Bad Science Comprehension?

"I discussed evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup’s theory about the possible adaptive function of homophobia, or, more broadly defined, negative attitudes toward gay people. Central to his position—which, he assures me, has not since wavered—is that homophobic responses "are proportional to the extent to which the homosexual [is] in a position that might provide extended contact with children and/or would allow the person to influence a child’s emerging sexuality." I also described a set of studies meant to test some hypotheses related to this theory, and which, according to Gallup, offered provisional evidentiary support.

I expressed some unease with the implications (and insinuations) of Gallup’s line of argument. But I was also rather unabashed in my conviction that his theory, though impolitic, was not only plausible, but also insightful and worth revisiting, particularly now, when homophobia may be too hastily, and simplistically, characterized as "socially learned." To explicate, using the neutral language of evolution, the idea that homophobia may be adaptive, and furthermore that it is adaptive because children exposed to homosexuals may themselves develop same-sex attractions, is a delicate affair, to say the least...

It’s no secret that many evolutionary biologists have a "problem" with evolutionary psychology, holding its practitioners in almost the same regard as creationists. "Ugh," wrote one Pharyngula commentator, "[e]volutionary psychologists make the rest of us look bad. I have to smile and make nice when we pass in the faculty lounge. It brings me great pain." What Christ-like behavior indeed...

BERING: Let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s embarrassing for me to even ask this of you, since the answer is so obviously "no" to me. Is your theory a justification of your own homophobia?

GALLUP: A lot of people think that if a person has a theory it’s a window unto their soul. I have lots of theories. (See CV (pdf).) I have a theory of homophobia, I have a theory of homosexuality, and I have a theory of permanent breast enlargement in women, just to mention a few. So that would make me a homophobic, homosexual who is preoccupied with women’s breasts...

BERING: Evolutionary biologists, but also non-specialists, casually deride evolutionary psychology as generating "just-so stories." Jon Wilkins, for example, of the Santa Fe Institute, reminds us that, "plausibility is NOT scientific proof." Likewise, Yoder layers his critique of your work with references to Brother Grimm fairy tales. Larry Moran of the University of Toronto, writes, "Why is it that respected evolutionary psychologists think these just-so stories are an important part of their discipline?"

How has this just-so-story rhetoric affected your research, and what, in your view, are the implications of this type of Gouldian-era language for the discipline as a whole?

GALLUP: Just as the title of my 1996 reply to John Archer implies, everything in science boils down to a matter of evidence. I have never taken the position that plausibility is a substitute for evidence. My 1995 paper along with my reply to Archer is based almost entirely on evidence. It is interesting how my critics tip-toe around the fact that my approach is based on a testable hypothesis, and how they go out of their way to side-step the fact that the data we’ve collected are consistent with the predictions. Whether it is politically incorrect or contrary to prevailing social dogma, is irrelevant. In science, knowing is preferable to not knowing. Minds are like parachutes, they only function when they’re open. If I were a homosexual, I’d want to know about these data...

BERING: [PZ] Myers is, of course, notorious for such over-the-top statements—like the Jim Bakker of New Atheists, a caricature of sweat, histrionics and stage glitter, he sees religious conspiracies as often as evangelicals see the Devil...

GALLUP: In contrast to women, men have what amounts to a monopoly on paraphilias and kinky sex. This is consistent with the idea that there may be a critical period following the onset of puberty that leads to sexual imprinting in males. This can be used to generate a number of testable predictions. Sexual experiences that occur before or after the critical period ought to have little or no lasting effect on sexual orientation. With parental homophobia, evolution doesn’t always result in perfect outcomes. As evidenced by the 1995 data from the third study, parents show a generalized concern for young children that are perceived to be impressionable.

According to an imprinting model, prepubertal boys who are sexually molested by older males should be relatively unaffected in terms of their sexual orientation. I would also predict that heterosexual men sent to prison and coerced into same-sex relationships with other inmates, ought to resume heterosexual lifestyles on being released. There are data that show that being sent to all male boarding schools increases the incidence of homosexuality; I would predict that this effect would be conditional upon whether they were in such schools when they went through puberty. As detailed in my 1996 reply to Archer, we’ve collected data from male homosexuals that show that most gay males don’t report getting a clear sense of their homosexual orientation until they have their first same-sex postpubertal sexual experience. I would also expect other "sex object choices," such as fetishes, to be tied to sexual experiences males have in association with sex shortly after the onset of puberty.

BERING: You claim, citing several older datasets, that homosexual men are more likely to have sexual relations with children and adolescents than are heterosexual men. In an email exchange with Ray Blanchard, perhaps the world’s leading scholar on the study of "erotic age orientation," he confirmed that a major analysis of penile responses indeed shows that, "homosexual pedophiles constitute a disproportionate number of pedophiles." But he also adds an important caveat, which is that most homosexual males are teleiophiles—attracted to adults—and they are no more attracted to children than are heterosexual teleiophiles...

GALLUP: The evidence reviewed in my 1996 response to John Archer shows that the incidence of gay males who have sex with minors—although these are likely to be postpubertal age—is far higher than Blanchard suggests. There is also evidence that shows that the propensity to have sex with minors is positively correlated with promiscuity among homosexual males. Unlike heterosexual pedophiles, homosexuals who have sex with minors target young postpubertal victims. Although they rarely admit it, heterosexual males experience sexual arousal to photos of young postpubescent females as well. Homosexuals are merely expressing a generalized evolved male strategy that puts a premium on youth. Unlike a man, a woman’s capacity to reproduce following puberty is inversely proportional to her age...

With the help of a transfer student from Taiwan, the surveys used in my 1995 paper were translated into Chinese. When this student returned to Taiwan several years later, she was able to replicate all of the effects I reported in a sample of native Taiwanese college students. While this doesn’t prove the results are a cross-cultural universal, it certainly implies that they aren’t an artifact of Western culture...

Before anyone accepts the unfounded assertions that my work is an attempt to somehow demean and diminish homosexuality and promote homophobia, they should read my 1995 paper. If you do, you will learn that the theory also predicts that even homosexuals ought to be homophobic under certain circumstances.

Contrary to the claim that most evolutionary psychologists make evolutionary biologists look bad, it’s my critics who haven’t bothered to read the literature and should know better, that make themselves look bad...

As I emphasized in my original post, Gallup’s 1995 study is imperfect, as all early-stage research endeavors are, and indeed his findings are not without alternative explanations (incidentally, however, not a single one of these critics—Myers, Yoder, Wilkinson, Wilkins, or Morgan—actually engages with Gallup’s specific findings, but instead simply brush off the data as "bad science" or "ridiculous"). But Gallup’s findings are the only data available, and they do indeed, as he says, support his hypotheses...

Evolved social biases—in whatever form they take—can only wither away the more by shining a mercilessly bright light of science on them. If this reveals unsavory blemishes, such as the stereotype that gay men are pedophiles, so be it. Some are—and as Blanchard’s data reveal, homosexual males are in fact overrepresented in this category"


(Luckily the author has Gay Privilege)


This would explain why people get very agitated when they talk about "protecting the children".

Thursday, June 27, 2013

France 2012 - Day 8 - Montparnasse Cemetery (Part 1)

France 2012
Day 8 - 20th October - Montparnasse Cemetery
(Part 1)

I left Rambouillet this day. I'd intended to visit the Chateau (since during the week I'd have had to cut classes to visit) but it was closed for a private event, so it was not meant to be.

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"Domain of the Dukes"
Silly name for housing development

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Rambouillet market

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"Delivery and momentary stops"
How do they enforce this? Ah, the honour system!

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Around we go

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"Air Astana is quietly revolutionizing air travel to and within the vast and mysterious lands that make up Central Asia."
Self-orientalisation!

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More of the anti-nostalgia "no, not everything was better in the past" ads, featuring the Berlin Wall and Cod Liver Oil

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A documentary on Natalie Dessay preparing for La Traviata

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The Lion of Belfort

This being Paris, people ran red lights. Grr.

I'd intended to visit the Catacombs, one of the major things left in Paris I hadn't yet done, but it was closed.

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This despite my having visited the website (or what looked like the website) the night before and having seen no indication of its closure.

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"A piece of trash every 100m in Paris"
I'm not sure if this was a description or an aspiration, menace of fines notwithstanding

Luckily, the Cemetery of Montparnasse (another major sight I hadn't yet seen) was just beside the Catacombs. I'd intended to do both, but now had more time for just the former.

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Just past the entrance

It was cold and rainy - the perfect conditions to visit a cemetery. Happily, my heart was warmed by a free toilet being just by the gate and the guy in the booth giving me a free map automatically (at Père-Lachaise I'd had to buy one from a vendor outside)

For reference:
Balderdash: France/Spain 2011 - Day 5, Part 1 - Paris: Père Lachaise
Balderdash: France/Spain 2011 - Day 5, Part 2 - Paris: Père Lachaise

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On the cemetery. It's an important green area. Ok.

The cemetery was a lot more pratique than Père-Lachaise. The paths were straight, paved and in good condition. There were roads. There was not a lot of grass on where you'd walk. There was stone not soil between graves so navigating them was less messy (especially given the rain).

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Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier (mathematician)

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Dang-Ly family. I think they were Vietnamese

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Ferdinand-Frédéric-Henry de MYLIUS, General

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Police monument

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Baudelaire cenotaph

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"To you Laurence, to God"

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Modernity and Peace

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Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

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"Aug Dornes. Representative of the People, who died for Republic"
aka "Aug Dornes. Traitor to the Monarchy, who died opposing his Rightful King"

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C'est quoi ce bordel ?!
"To my friend Jean-Jacques a bird which took off too soon"

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Collard Bige Family

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Memento Mori

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Movie star remembrance photo (he died at 17.5)

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A poem in - English! Sacrebleu !

Poem For A Kid

I didn't really know you.
You were a fresh face
Unmarked by life
At a dinner table in silence

And fourteen years before
I know you only
From the way your father inhaled deep and
swelled
As he stood over you in a stroller
Before the terrace of the Select.

Now you have vanished
leaving only ripples of anguish
after you fell
in a Paris night.

And I know only
The empty space

*unreadable*
27/7/92

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Overflowing with flowers

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Way

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Lipstick marks, stones and métro tickets (seriously?!) on Sartre and Beauvoir's grave

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Jewish tomb. Now I know what JHWH is in French: D...

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Armand Silz family. It was impossible to read the plaque - the building was too small.

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Abandoned and dug up tomb

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Emile Durkheim
I was feeling very alienated at being unable to find his grave, but luckily I had my phone.

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Stained glass in one building

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Uhh. For Ricardo, a 37 year old

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Tombs along way

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Baudelaire. Again with Métro tickets

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"A tribute to Leonardo da Vinci, my Tuscan compatriot"
Nice try.

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André Del Debbio. He sculpted the Mona Lisa above his grave. Hah.

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Lions

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Monument to Navigation, Geography etc

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Garden of Remembrance

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I also want a curvy naked woman over me for all eternity. Would his sister/wife (whoever is interred with him) approve?

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Literally: Like A Boss

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"Aryan,
It is better to cry for you
Than never to have known you"

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Weary figure for Baltasar Lobo

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Example of the straight clean passages between graves at Montparnasse

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Sepulture of the Blind Sisters of St Paul

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Tower Mill

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Grave with Icon (which apparently can be removed)

Jean Hachette was not important enough to have his grave turn up on the first page of search results, so I gave up.

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Priests of St Sulpice

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Tree-lined way

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The grave on the left holds two sisters who both got married. Yet their husbands are not interred with them (usually men die before women).

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Astroturf

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Alexandre Duval

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I don't know how to translate "Defense Passive" - it's a concept of protecting the civilian population during wartime

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Another guy with an awesome grave representation

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Spirit of Eternal Sleep
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