Monday, February 17, 2014

Monster Pr0n, because Science!

From “Scientific” American:

What “Monster Porn” Says about Science and Sexuality

Um . . . yeah, so I don’t actually have any thoughts on the subject.  But this bit jumped out:

Here’s what I love about monster porn: It’s a wonderfully wacky reminder that human sexuality is too weird, wild and woolly to be captured by modern science, and especially by theories that reduce our behaviors to genes.

Take, for example, evolutionary psychology, which seeks to find some adaptive purpose—adaptive for our Paleolithic ancestors if not for us–underpinning our thoughts, emotions, actions. Evolutionary psychologists assume that everything we do and feel must in some direct or indirect way promote our genes’ perpetuation (or have promoted it in the past). Evolutionary psychology is hard-pressed to explain homosexual lust, let alone lust for Godzilla.

Another popular bio-paradigm is behavioral genetics, which attempts to link specific traits to specific genes. The behavioral geneticist Dean Hamer claims to have discovered a gay gene, but this assertion–like virtually all those emanating from behavioral genetics—has not held up to scrutiny.

The key to our sexual tastes, Scientific American columnist Jesse Bering, my favorite sexologist, proposes, may lurk not in our genomes but in our childhood experiences. That, of course, is a foundational assumption of psychoanalysis, the steampunk theory of human nature devised by Freud more than a century ago.

How Sciency™:  tossing out genetics in favor of . . . Freud.

*Postscript: I was distressed to discover while reading “The Uncanny” that Freud was a free will doubter. The old grouch mocked “all those unfulfilled but possible futures to which we still like to cling in phantasy, all those strivings of the ego which adverse external circumstances have crushed, and all our suppressed acts of volition which nourish in us the illusion of Free Will.” Freud was wrong about free will, just as he was wrong that what women really want is a penis.

. . . except when he is politically inconvenient.  Then Not-Freud.

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