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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » It's naive to say that Pornography does not harm women, kids and men (Page 1)

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Author Topic: It's naive to say that Pornography does not harm women, kids and men
Trogdor the Burninator
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Here's a link...

http://www.protectkids.com/effects/harms.htm

I guess it's like working on a car. I am not mechanically inclined to fix my car at all. It just does not interest me. I have no problem with laying down good money to have someone do it for me, because I'm just not interested.

But my cousin can fix cars, install dishwashers, build things, etc. He's driven by it. He buys tools and works on keeping his workshop up to date, clean and ready to build his next project.

The difference between us? One is liable to get sucked into a home improvement show, another is not.

I think the problem with pornography is a lot like this. It might not bug you. It might not push you to do deviant, strange, things for who knows why.

But the statistics show that it does affect those people who have problems with sexual addiction, or rape, or pedophelia, or incest, or sexually abusing their children.

Anyway, this isn't a thread to say we should outlaw porn, but more of a thread to acknowledge that porn does indeed harm society, even if it doesn't harm you. Or not.

Whatcha think?

[ April 06, 2004, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: Trogdor the Burninator ]

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AvidReader
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I'm a Christian. Impure thoughts are bad.

From Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:
"You have heard it said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." -Matthew 5:27-29

Since porn is about lust, Jesus seems to think it's bad. I'm with Him.

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Suneun
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I think that it's not a good enough reason to make something illegal. Countless things are considered legal in this country even though harmful, immoral, or illegal acts could be instigated by them. Smoking, prescription medications, video games, television, driving, alcohol, fast food restaurants. Each have their cost. But what's the worth of living if the government makes all those decisions for you?
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Trogdor the Burninator
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quote:
Smoking, prescription medications, video games, television, driving, alcohol, fast food restaurants.
But these don't lead to sexually deviant behavior.

For some people, porn leads them to sexually deviant behavior.

Should we curtial the triggers that cause sexually deviant behavior, or should we throw them in jail after they have harmed someone?

As you can see, I'm reasoning through this as I go.

[ April 06, 2004, 07:33 PM: Message edited by: Trogdor the Burninator ]

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Suneun
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Ah so you're just curious about _sexual_ deviance from any other kind of deviance?

Well I simply have to disagree that it's any worse than any other sort by involving Sex.

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Book
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Porn doesn't make you a rapist or a killer, it just makes you a loser.

Or chapped. Depending how you see it.

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Chungwa
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I don't really see how pornography harms society if it is used responsibly. Meaning, if an adult male looks at porn by himself (or with a spouse, I guess) there is no harm. I he makes it accessible to his children, then there is a problem.

I'd also argue that if a married man looks at porn, he should discuss it with his wife. If the wife has a problem with it, don't do it.

The argument that sex offenders view porn and therefore porn is bad is just plain false. That's like saying that it's warm in June because it's June as opposed to because of the temperature. Placing the blame on porn takes the blame off of the sex offender. Further, because a sex offender was exposed to porn from an early age also doesn't mean the porn is even a remote cause of the act; maybe the offender had poor examples of how to treat people.

I'm sure my arguments have some flaws [Smile]

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Cow-Eating Man
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*waits to see how sexually deviant behavior vs. cancer plays out*
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AvidReader
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A quick disclaimer: At differnt points in history, our laws have been interpreted with varying degrees of harshness. However, if I egg someone on to commit a crime, I can be charged as an accomplice. I don't see porn as any different.

If porn is shown to encourage perverts to commit crimes, than the porn is an accomplice to that crime. So does the porn encourage deviant criminal behaviour? I don't feel qualified to even hazard a guess on that question. But it's a good question.

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Trogdor the Burninator
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quote:
The argument that sex offenders view porn and therefore porn is bad is just plain false. That's like saying that it's warm in June because it's June as opposed to because of the temperature. Placing the blame on porn takes the blame off of the sex offender. Further, because a sex offender was exposed to porn from an early age also doesn't mean the porn is even a remote cause of the act; maybe the offender had poor examples of how to treat people.
And I go with what the statistics say.

quote:
Among the child molesters incited, the study reported that 53 percent of them deliberately used the stimuli of pornography as they prepared to offend. i

i W. L. Marshall, "The Use of Sexually Explicit Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters, and Nonoffenders," The Journal of Sex Research 25, no.2 (May 1988): 267-88.

quote:
The habitual consumption of pornography can result in a diminished satisfaction with mild forms of pornography and a correspondingly strong desire for more deviant and violent material.ii

ii See H.J. Eysenck, "Robustness of Experimental Support for the General Theory of Desensitization," in Neil M. Malamuth and Edward Donnerstein, eds., Pornography and Sexual Aggression (Orlando, Florida: Academic Press, 1984), 314. D. Zillmann, "Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography," in Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations, eds. D. Zillman and J. Bryant (Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1989), 129.

quote:
In a study of convicted child molesters, 77 percent of those who molested boys and 87 percent of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use of pornography in the commission of their crimes.iii

iii Take Action Manual (Washington, D.C.: Enough is Enough, 1995-96), 9.

quote:
Research has shown that "males who are exposed to a great deal of erotica before the age of 14 are more sexually active and engage in more varied sexual behaviors as adults than is true for males not so exposed."vi One study reveals that among 932 sex addicts, 90 percent of the men and 77 percent of the women reported that pornography was significant to their addiction.vii

vi K.E. Davis and G.N. Braucht, Exposure to Pornography, Character and Sexual Deviance, Technical Reports of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970), 7.

vii Patrick Carnes, Don't Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addictions (New York: Bantam, 1991).


quote:
Children often imitate what they've seen, read, or heard. Studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt kids to act out sexually against younger, smaller, and more vulnerable children. Experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse report that any premature sexual activity in children always suggests two possible stimulants: experience and exposure. This means that the sexually deviant child may have been molested or simply exposed to sexuality through pornography.viii

Sorry Chungwa. I've seen too much of the harms of porn to say that porn is ok if used responsibly, again, you might be able to use it responsibly, but there many others who do some serious harm based on what they may have thought was harmless before.
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Chungwa
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quote:
So does the porn encourage deviant criminal behaviour?
If anything, I'm even less qualified than you are to answer, but I'll give it a shot.

My answer: it depends (I know I hate it when people say that). If the porn is depicting violant behavior, then it is. If it simply a nude picture and someone looks at it and feels the desire to commit a criminal act, then that person is to blame, not the porn. But the problem is it would be really a huge task for the government to go through porn archives and pick out pictures *they* deem encourage ciminal behavior.

Another thing that must be considered is intent. This is going to sound really flimsy. Anyway, think about how offensive some Mel Brooks movies would be if the intent wasn't humour, it would be hate propaganda. Again, though, this is really a flimsy argument, how can you enforce something on the basis of intent?

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Chungwa
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I did read the article you posted [Smile] My point is that those statistics really don't matter. The blame still is with the offenders.

Say, for example, that a man committed a sexual assault and it was found that he looked at porn often when he was young (14 or so). No one is arguing the porn made him do it, they are saying that it was a factor in his decision. But what if, as the article claims, people who are mor likely to commit sexual offenses are also more likely to view porn? Maybe the two are related (just not directly), but I just can't believe that the porn is a major contributing factor to the decision to view porn.

I didn't say that very well. I guess I'm trying to say that someone inclined to commit a sexual assault may also be inclined to view porn. But the two actions are still very separate. Just like someone inclined to commit a sexual assault may also be inclined to read war books.

It's kind of like the video games cause school violence argument. School crimes have been going on long before Quake was around, only until the media started discussing the situation was it an issue.

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AvidReader
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quote:
If it is simply a nude picture and someone looks at it and feels the desire to commit a criminal act, then that person is to blame, not the porn.
Actually, it's not porn unless there is a sex act depicted. In the case of child porn, an adult touching the child with any part of their body or the child touching themselves in a sexual manner is enough to make it porn.

Basically, if looking at Michaelangelo's David makes you want to go out and rape people, you're just really weird and nothing society does can stop you. But if Hardcore XXX makes you want to violate someone in the manner that was depicted, it could be argued that that was the point. If porn makers are encouraging rape, doesn't that make them accessories to the crime?

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Chungwa
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quote:
if Hardcore XXX makes you want to violate someone in the manner that was depicted, it could be argued that that was the point. If porn makers are encouraging rape, doesn't that make them accessories to the crime?
Yes, it would, if the makers are encouraging rape. If the porn is of two people having sex (both, presumably willingly) and someone views it and then commits a crime, I do not think it would be any different from your sculpture example.

If someone views two people having sex (again, both willingly) and then has a desire to commit rape, that person has a problem and needs help. The solution to the problem is not to get rid of the porn (as it's unlikely doing that would relieve the person's desire to rape someone).

Edit: I think it's obvious that child porn is a whole different matter. ANY manner depicting naked children is harmful. Though I would argue it is not harmful because it may or may not encourage others to commit similar acts, but because it is harmful to the child involved in the picture. *cough* I hope that statement doesn't come back to smack me later, though I'm seriously considering not posting it.

[ April 06, 2004, 08:13 PM: Message edited by: Chungwa ]

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BookWyrm
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Hmmmm.... fat people go to the local Burger King/McDonalds/Hardees 5,6,7 times a week. And we know obesity is harmful to society as a whole in the costs. Should those be outlawed?
Stores have products out on the shelves. People Steal. If the stores had everything locked up then people couldn't steal. But every thief goes to a store. Maybe we chould outlaw stores since they cause thievery.
Everyone has hands. People use their hands to kill other people. Maybe we should outlaw hamds so people won't kill each other? Every killer has hands you know.
See how rediculous the argument is that Porn causes sexual deviance?

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Lara
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I had to take a class in Mass Media Law a few years ago, and I wrote a paper on the dilemma of regulating the internet, so I had to read through a lot of cases that dealt with things like this. I think the bottom line is, the Supreme Court doesn't like to pre-regulate anything, they just pull it after the fact if it's too obcene, and then their definition of "obscene" is really vague.

This case from 1973, it's called Miller vs. California, was the one my prof said was definitive on the issue. Justice Berger said,

quote:
"This much has been categorically settled by the Court, that obscene material is unprotected by the First Ammendment."
And then the definition of obscenity is:

quote:
The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
I agree with Trogdor on the principle of the thing, though.
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Destineer
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There are lots of other forms of art that I think have negative social consequences. Like Bill O'Reilly's books.

The Miller v. California decision was silly, and will one day be overturned.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Hmmmm.... fat people go to the local Burger King/McDonalds/Hardees 5,6,7 times a week. And we know obesity is harmful to society as a whole in the costs. Should those be outlawed?
Stores have products out on the shelves. People Steal. If the stores had everything locked up then people couldn't steal. But every thief goes to a store. Maybe we chould outlaw stores since they cause thievery.
Everyone has hands. People use their hands to kill other people. Maybe we should outlaw hamds so people won't kill each other? Every killer has hands you know.
See how rediculous the argument is that Porn causes sexual deviance?

All of those analogies are flawed. If people develop an addiction to Burger King and then need increasingly greasier food to satisfy their craving and then commit criminal acts because of their craving, then you've got a good analogy.
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digging_holes
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The problem with pornography, the way I see it, is not the nudity or depiction of sexual activity itself. It's the incredible level of misogyny that permeates most of it. Alot of pornography, hardcore or otherwise, is openly hostile towards women. It is not rare even in so-called "soft" porn to see women being forced into sumbission, or called by extremely degrading terms.

So, sorry, I really don't think that pornography itself is not to blame for the actions of sex criminals. I just don't buy that.

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Trogdor the Burninator
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Porn has nothing to do with it, even though the research proves it?
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digging_holes
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What about my last statement?
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Jon Boy
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Pat, he said that he doesn't think that pornography is not to blame, not that he thinks pornography is not to blame.
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Trogdor the Burninator
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Oops. I misunderstood. My bad. sorry.
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Kayla
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In general, I find most people are frighteningly naive.
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digging_holes
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Hehehe... I guess I must have worded my last sentence wrong. I was agreeing with you, not disagreeing. I said that I think that pornography IS to blame, BECAUSE it is misogynistic.

Sorry about the confusion. [Smile]

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Trogdor the Burninator
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HEY GIRL! WHERE YOU BEEN?
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Jon Boy
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It wasn't worded wrong, digging holes. It was just a double negative (making a positve), and those can be hard to follow sometimes.
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Trogdor the Burninator
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holes -- [Smile] -- I smelled fresh meat and swooped in. Sorry.
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digging_holes
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No problem. I'll try to not use double negatives in the future. It's true they can be confusing.
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Kayla
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I believe the correct wording is "I won't use no double negatives."
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Trogdor the Burninator
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Kayla? I axed you a question, yo.
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Kayla
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Well, you know, here, there. I bought a new Game Boy Advance SP and two of the Spyro games for it. See, it was too dark on the regular Game Boy Advance for my old eyes to actually be able to play Harvest Moon, so I wanted the GBA/SP so I could see what I was doing, and as long as I was getting the GBA/SP, I might as well get the Spyro games, because I have all the other ones for Playstation, PS2 and GameCube. I'm a Spyro freak. And my husband might need gall bladder surgery and my cholesterol is too low. Where have you been?
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Trogdor the Burninator
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Dallin just got a Game Boy sp and the two Spyro games for his birthday not two weeks ago. I play them when I get spare moment.

Good to see you around.

[Smile]

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Zamphyr
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Then I'm definitely naive. Maybe I'm just in a snarky mood tonight but this
quote:
It's naive to say that Pornography does not harm women, kids and men
seems to be such a rhetorically blanket statement that you're inviting disagreement. It is obvious that you think that, on the whole, pornography has an extremely negative impact on society.

I will state, as a given, that porn is harmful to children. Done. It's not geared towards kids, shouldn't involve kids, and should't be shown to most kids, much like alcohol, tobacco, blah, blah.

Is it harmful to women ? I'm still on the fence about this. It probably, currently, has a negative impact on women in society as a whole. I've read plenty of sexual abuse statistics claiming it does. My problem is, how do you define pornography ? Everyone immediately thinks of super-hardcore orgy fests where women are nothing but meat. Are marital sexual help tapes also condiered porn ? Is Playboy ? A popular argument against Playboy and other adult magazines is that they take advantage of/objectify women...but magazines everywhere objectify women. Does Maxim take advantage of women ? Does Cosmo objectify women ? How about literature ? Penthouse forums ? "Romance" novels ? It all depends on how you define it.

Is it harmful to men? All else balanced, I say no. In a small percentage, it may encourage deviant sexual behavior. In a slightly larger percentage, it may impede healthy the ability to form healthy relationships with women. Given on both points....but when taken as a whole, that a) most men masturbate and b) better than half admit to watching porn, it doesn't look like much harm is caused at all. I'll even put forward the comical benefits that viewing porn reduces stress and can be viewed as a form of exercise, much like sex. And since it seems semi-relevant, made headlines today, and is scientific, I'll posit that viewing porn can help prevent cancer. [Big Grin]

Note: I realize that this argument has probably come up in the forum before. If any Hatrack vets disagree with anything I've said but don't feel like rehashing old bits, feel free to mail me a link to your old arguments

[ April 06, 2004, 11:20 PM: Message edited by: Zamphyr ]

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pooka
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How does your cholesterol get too low? I guess if you knew that it wouldn't be hard to fix.

quote:
sexually deviant behavior vs. cancer
Let's see, most folks don't harm someone else when they get cancer. Though most children do learn how to eat from their parents. And I would disagree with Jon Boy's statement that bad eating habits don't result in "tolerance". Witness supersized meals and 64 oz. Big Gulps. But I don't think it's worth it to take kids out of homes just because the parents are morbidly obese.

But I kind of agree with King Benjamin that it is impossible to enumerate all the ways there are to sin. The only way to endure to the end is to focus on doing what's right, not avoiding what's wrong.

P.S. Zam, I'll be happy to read your post if you put some paragraph breaks in it. Otherwise I'll just assume you disagree with Trog. Though the link did catch my eye. Why is porn necessary to increase the lymphatic circulation to the groin?

[ April 06, 2004, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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lcarus
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I don't see that your link proves anything of the sort. All it demonstrates is that pornography is bad for kids (assuming you share basic assumptions).

The correlation between pornography and sex crimes is only one side of the picture. To prove anything, you'd have to be able, at least, to give numbers describing what portion of adults who view pornography do not committ any crimes. Otherwise, all you've got is correlation, not causality. (Can you tell I teach statistics?)

In fact, it's logical to assume that these deviant adults seek out pornography because of their sexual issues, not that the pornography causes these issues. To return to the fast food analogy, fast food doesn't cause people to be gluttonous. Plenty of people can eat it in moderation. But obese people may be more inclined to seek it out. Studies that look only at obese people would likely find that there is, in fact, a correlation between these people and fast food, but it is incorrect to presume that the fast food is responsible for their behavior.

The only statements there which do seem to speak to causality are those that refer to the exposure of children to pornography, because they compare exposed children to those that were not exposed. Which makes a pretty good argument for keeping porn out of the hands of kids. It doesn't follow that porn is inherently dangerous to adults.

quote:
All of those analogies are flawed. If people develop an addiction to Burger King and then need increasingly greasier food to satisfy their craving and then commit criminal acts because of their craving, then you've got a good analogy.
I don't think it's flawed. The first part of your statement ("If people develop an addiction to Burger King and then need increasingly greasier food to satisfy their craving . . . ") pretty much is what happens to people addicted to fast food. The absurd conclusion of this statement doesn't happen simply because these people can find a legal outlet for their craving. People "addicted" to rape or to sex with children can find no such outlet.
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Kayla
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quote:
Then I'm definitely naive.
Like I said, in general, I find most people are frighteningly naive.

Patrick, it is a freak of genetics. It runs in my family, though I've raised it from 97 to the mid 140s. Only 6% of people have cholesterol lower than 160, so there hasn't been much emphasis on how to raise it. When they were studying the effects of lowering cholesterol, though, they noticed that beyond a certain point, there was no decrease in death. What changed was the method of death. Cardiac death went down, but suicide, violent death, and death from cancer and hemorrhagic stroke increased. They also posit that low cholesterol might be responsible for depression, anxiety and aggression. The idea is interesting when you look at post partum depression. During pregnancy, cholesterol actually goes up to around 300, then drops after. If cholesterol is the catalyst for serotonin reception, then the high level during pregnancy would explain the "glow" pregnant women have and the depression when it drops suddenly.

Also, only 20% of your cholesterol is controlled by the food you eat. The rest of it is produced by your liver, which is also what is supposed to get rid of it. Malfunctioning livers are the cause of the problem, either eating too much or not enough, or producing too much or not enough. So, if I could figure out what the hell was wrong with my liver, and all, you know. My liver has always been screwed up, though.

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Kayla
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Also, Dallin has good taste in video games. [Smile]
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Trogdor the Burninator
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It sucks when you're liver is screwed up. Ever thought about donating it?

I guess I'm naive, too.

You see, I work with men who have problems with porn. It has destroyed their marriages. It has alienated their children. It has ruined their lives. Mormon men who were living normal lives, except that they were so terribly addicted to pornography that they couldn't stop -- even to save their jobs. Multiple guys, all over the Western United States who get sucked into the false world of pornography, get fired from their jobs, their families, their children because of porn.

C'mon Icky. Those statistics aren't just for kids. Read them again. They state that grown up sexual deviants use pornography before they molest., or rape.

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lcarus
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I addressed those statements. There is no comparison to how many non-deviant men also use pornography, so all you have is a correlation, not causality. It's hardly suprising that pedophiles use pornography, but it's a long way from establishing that pornography contributes to the incidence of child molestation.
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Book
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I say that looking at porn doesn't make you a total loser/sex freak/rapist/killer/clown making pancakes. I'd say that's really more of a symptom. I bet the statistics also support violent or molested childhoods, too, and I think that steps should probably be taken against that before we start shooting down porn.

If people aren't screwed up one way, they'll find another. Whores, further rape, assault, you name it, their bizarre psychological flaws go far deeper than girl on girl action.

[ April 06, 2004, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Book ]

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Kayla
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Psst, Pat, I was agreeing with your original statement.
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lcarus
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quote:
I bet the statistics also support violent or molested childhoods, too
Another good example of a frequently misunderstood statistic (albeit a different one, because causation is demonstrated here--but it's a good example of statistics which only look at one side of a dynamic). Statistics show that a very significant percent of molesters are more likely to have been molested themselves--I don't recall the exact number, but let us say, hypothetically, that it's a majority. And so I have seen it argued in a parenting class that adults who were victims of molestation should not be allowed to adopt, because the majority of them go on to molest children, right? Except, that this is not true. The majority of molesters may have been molested, but the majority of victims do not go on to molest. This person was misapplying the statistic.

[ April 06, 2004, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: lcarus ]

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pooka
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I think foods and porn are both in a market driven "survival of the fittest" race to increase consumption. They don't really know or care whether the foods kill people of the porn results in crime.

But like viruses, they can only be so harmful to the "host" if they are to propogate. That is, the flu can spread because it makes people feel really yucky but leaves most of them alive. Ebola is a really effective killer, but because it causes such worrying symptoms (like bleeding from the eyes) it has a lower opportunity to be spread to a new host. Hmmm. Where's that syphyllis link?

Anyway, I think the market ultimately moderates for these things. If everyone who sees a film winds up in prison/unemployed, the word of mouth advertising is going to be somewhat limited. If the only people who are addicted to Oreos make you want to spontaneously start doing sit ups, they may lose their appeal. But then, it hasn't worked for cigarrettes.

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Book
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What I was saying was that a significant number of molesters were probably molested as children. What you were saying was that not all molested people grow up to molest, right?

[ April 06, 2004, 11:33 PM: Message edited by: Book ]

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Suneun
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I think it was a side comment, Book, not that you were necessarily making the incorrect correlation*.

* Correlation or Causation in this case? I don't want to think about it enough to get it right.

[ April 06, 2004, 11:34 PM: Message edited by: Suneun ]

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lcarus
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Right Book. I'm not arguing with you, just using that issue as an example.
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Book
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Okay. It's just that this quote

quote:
This person was misapplying the statistic.
confused me.

So, I guess I still stand by the idea of stopping child molestation is a much better idea than getting rid of porn, which is just a catalyst that can easily be replaced. Real life has enough naughtiness in it to fuel a few wackos.

[ April 06, 2004, 11:36 PM: Message edited by: Book ]

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Bokonon
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Heh, my cholesterol has been pinned at 150-155 for years. I'm a genetic anomaly!

-Bok

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lcarus
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The person in my parenting class. Sorry for being unclear.

(I wouldn't call you "this person"; I'd call you Book! [Smile] )

[ April 06, 2004, 11:36 PM: Message edited by: lcarus ]

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