2008-09-20

Is Porn Adultery?

The Frontal Cortex : Is Porn Adultery?

This is a great post on the bunk idea that porn is akin to adultery. Although Tipper Gore must be creaming herself with the idea that violent entertainment is akin to murder. Also got to love the Jesus reference.

3 comments:

sexyretard said...

I don't see how the activities of the brain, whatever they may be, have any bearing on whether the decision to start using pornography (or beginning any potentially addictive behavior) is ethical or unethical, unless you and the author would suggest that we have no "free will" to speak of but are rather complete products of our internal chemistry and our external environments.

douchashov said...

You're going to have to break down you're argument a little bit for me, because I am unclear on your criticism. However, if I understand correctly, I would say that it's ridiculous to assert that pornography is akin to adultery unless you also posit that other forms of entertainment are akin to the situation they represent.

If mirror neurons are activated in the consumption of different forms of pornography, including Die Hard, I can see that it allows for pleasant fantasy (lets you momentarily feel as if you are behind the wheel, as it were) but that is still orders of magnitude removed from the actual act. Whether you consider either ethical or unethical is irrelevant. In my book, the former is decidedly not unethical, but I can certainly see why some would disagree.

As for free will, well, I'm still waiting for the empirical evidence. Socialization of children appears to involve mostly impulse control, so I think there is a strong argument to make for free won't. (I first heard this from Paul Root Wolpe during a neuroethics presentation on neuroimaging and the Fifth Amendment.) So if you want to call impulse control free will, no arguments here. But even then, judging from theoretical and animal models, it seems that there is a genetic component to the propensity to control one's impulses. And the fact that you can look at demographic data (environment) and pretty successfully chart someone's trajectory is pretty telling. But rational thought would be maladaptive without the illusion of free will. In my mind, though, the illusion of free will is as good as the real deal. Even though I can provide no evidence for it, I believe my actions to be contingent on its existence. And yes, all the evidence suggests we are complete products of our phenotype.

sexyretard said...

It's unclear as my thinking is always unclear. It is a byproduct of having three young kids who think sleeping is for suckers.

My criticism is a very primary one--whether pornography is adultery has nothing to do with whether the same "neurons" are activated. OBVIOUSLY the act of reading pornography is not the same as putting your man-gland into a married woman's gulleyhole. The question is whether one can morally equate the two. I would suggest that the answer is yes, but not for any physical reasons (and even if the same neurons are activated--I was a C student in the "real" sciences) that is not an argument that I would use to equate the two. The comparison with playing violent video games and actually killing someone is an apt one; whether or not the same thing happens in the brain in both cases is irrelevant to the fact that you'd much rather have a kid get a million points on Halo than waste a busload of orphans.

However, I would say that wishing someone to be dead is morally equal to actually killing them, although I'm glad the law offers a difference. Similarly, I would say that actually desiring to have sex with someone to whom you are not married (which is very different from merely being attracted to a good looking human) is morally equal to actually doing it.

My basis for said belief, however, has nothing to do with the body chemistry involved, which (pro or con) I think has nothing to do with it.