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  • #46
    Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post
    I kind of agree with TAG on the fetish idea. There may be predispositions involved in sexual orientation but human sexuality is fairly complex. That complexity I suspect arises primarily from environmental factors more than genetics. A fly after all has a pretty complex mode of intercourse compared to humans.

    There is an old joke about two guys headed out to the gold fields. They stop at the general store to stock up and there is a standard list of supplies that the shop owner has to ensure everyone gets the bare essentials that is enforced by the Mounted Police. At the bottom of the list is a handwritten addition. One board with fur lined hole. Months later one of the prospectors stops by the store and the owner asks where his partner was. The remaining prospector says he caught the other guy messing around with his board.

    Fetish is an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.

    I acknowledge that the hypothesis that homosexuality could fulfill the fitness advantages of group selection but it's a stretch especial since the proponents typically deny instincts in humans. The more likely explanation is imprinting which we know is a very powerful and observable behavioral pattern in many animals. Just as a goose imprinting on a human interferes with it's fitness so to would homosexaulity interferes with the fitness of homosexuals. It is a strange inversion of reason that humans should be uniquely spared the pitfalls of random environmental influences.

    A more significant fetish in terms of morality is the fixation that male humans have for certain types of oversexed display prone females. Often these females are the worst choices for raising children and the most miserable of companions yet "trophy" wives are abundant. It can be assumed that these poor choices are related to imprinting from cultural influences. That they reduce fitness is again just the pitfalls of random environmental factors acting on the predispositions we call instincts.
    It's okay if you agree with him on it, it just runs contrary to psychologists and published science. Just because a field is complex doesn't mean every claim at a "theory" is equal.

    Not everything in human sexuality is on the same plane, logically and by definition.

    Sexual orientation is universal. All sexually mature humans possess one, even if it's asexuality.

    Paraphilias are not universal, unless someone tries to play fast and loose with the definitions by changing the meaning around.

    You cannot have a paraphilia without a sexual orientation, but you can have a sexual orientation without a paraphilia. They are different concepts with different definitions that simply happen to both fall under the umbrella of 'human sexuality'.

    Is there any science to back up the claim that heterosexuality is comparable to a paraphilia or fetish? Considering how much is thrown about on the topic, it deserves something more than anecdotes and assumptions. Your post hits a lot of subjects and themes so we should see what the published research has to say before we start labeling human beings incorrectly.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
      I

      Is there any science to back up the claim that heterosexuality is comparable to a paraphilia or fetish? Considering how much is thrown about on the topic, it deserves something more than anecdotes and assumptions. Your post hits a lot of subjects and themes so we should see what the published research has to say before we start labeling human beings incorrectly.
      Fetishes Do Not Exist

      In fact, the evidence strongly suggests that the male sexual brain is designed to imprint upon individual sexual cues. Most of the time, men end up imprinting upon female body parts (namely, breasts, butts, and feet), female body types (young or MILF, skinny or BBW), or reproduction-oriented sexual situations. These all direct men towards intercourse and are a sign of the healthy, natural functioning of the male brain. We also find "paraphilias" as a natural, healthy component of sexual behavior in many birds and mammals, such as male baboons fetishizing female buttocks, male roosters fetishizing red female combs, and female zebrabirds fetishizing colorful male feathers. Our complex, technological society now exposes us to a greater diversity of stimuli than ever before, so it's now much more likely that a man will imprint upon stimuli that are similar to those cues men are biologically predisposed to imprint upon, such as women's shoes (instead of feet), hypnotized women (a variant of submissive women), Japanese anime characters (instead of young, curvy women).
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-exist-part-ii

      I want to point out as the authors of the above paper did that standard clinical definitions may not be based on actual research. Although there is much speculation in the literature on human sexuality there is surprisingly little concrete evidence supporting main stream opinions. What little research exist it focuses more on social interactions than primal motivations. It is safe to say that complex behavioral patterns may exist at a level below what current investigative technologies and techniques can access.

      I think it worth considering that after more than a century of research the idea that most of human behavior is instinctual as Darwin proposed, in The Expression of the Emotions in Men and Animals is highly controversial even among evolutionary psychologist. The simple explanation for this is that philosophically evolution is poorly understood and the "strange inversion of reason" that a perfect machine can be produce by a completely stupid unreasoning process is difficult to accept. Not until Turing demonstrated that a perfect calculating machine did not have to understand arithmetic was there hard evidence that such a thing was possible. Society has simply failed to keep up with the evidence.

      What TAG failed to include in his post was the qualifying statement that a choice was not necessarily a choice as in a decision base on the application of free will even if there was no specific instinct underpinning a behavior. Most people don't' choose their religion any more than they choose their sexual orientation.

      The false dichotomy of nature vs nurture is an endless source of confusion. Ponder this simple fact for a minute. Humans have large brains because their small brained ancestors used tool not because they have large brains to build tools. Cultural evolution often precedes physical evolution even in non human species. This same principle applies to embryos and fetal development. Coding DNA provides the parts but it is the non coding DNA that determines the environment that guide the embryos development.

      As it relates to this discussion it is simply irrelevant if sexual orientation is acquired genetically or from the environment as the two cannot be rationally separated. The moral implications are not however particularly insignificant as morality is exclusively the domain of agents with free will. In human it requires knowledge for free will to be applied and that is the catch. Free will cannot be exercised in a coercive environment or in ignorance.
      We hunt the hunters

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      • #48
        Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post
        Fetishes Do Not Exist



        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-exist-part-ii

        I want to point out as the authors of the above paper did that standard clinical definitions may not be based on actual research. Although there is much speculation in the literature on human sexuality there is surprisingly little concrete evidence supporting main stream opinions. What little research exist it focuses more on social interactions than primal motivations. It is safe to say that complex behavioral patterns may exist at a level below what current investigative technologies and techniques can access.

        I think it worth considering that after more than a century of research the idea that most of human behavior is instinctual as Darwin proposed, in The Expression of the Emotions in Men and Animals is highly controversial even among evolutionary psychologist. The simple explanation for this is that philosophically evolution is poorly understood and the "strange inversion of reason" that a perfect machine can be produce by a completely stupid unreasoning process is difficult to accept. Not until Turing demonstrated that a perfect calculating machine did not have to understand arithmetic was there hard evidence that such a thing was possible. Society has simply failed to keep up with the evidence.

        What TAG failed to include in his post was the qualifying statement that a choice was not necessarily a choice as in a decision base on the application of free will even if there was no specific instinct underpinning a behavior. Most people don't' choose their religion any more than they choose their sexual orientation.

        The false dichotomy of nature vs nurture is an endless source of confusion. Ponder this simple fact for a minute. Humans have large brains because their small brained ancestors used tool not because they have large brains to build tools. Cultural evolution often precedes physical evolution even in non human species. This same principle applies to embryos and fetal development. Coding DNA provides the parts but it is the non coding DNA that determines the environment that guide the embryos development.

        As it relates to this discussion it is simply irrelevant if sexual orientation is acquired genetically or from the environment as the two cannot be rationally separated. The moral implications are not however particularly insignificant as morality is exclusively the domain of agents with free will. In human it requires knowledge for free will to be applied and that is the catch. Free will cannot be exercised in a coercive environment or in ignorance.
        Bringing free will into an argument about whether all sexual orientations should be treated equally is a bit more philosophical and far reaching than I was picturing. When you add morality into the mix, it becomes even more highly subjective, and far removed from scientific objectivity.

        The original point was on the difference between a paraphilia and sexual orientation, and that having a foot fetish or lusting after animals is not the same thing as being attracted to the opposite sex.

        If one wants to get into the current field of psychological development, that's a big pandora's box more fitting the science forum, really. But you're quite right that current thought doesn't believe that the Nature/Nurture debate is an absolute either/or situation - both play a factor, and as sexual orientation is only discernible after years of development, there is plenty of room for debate on the issue. And there are so many variables that isolating what exactly makes someone straight, bi, or gay is unclear, as "environment" is not limited to social or cultural forces, but things like the chemicals in the mother's bloodstream during prenatal development.

        However, current consensus is that claiming homosexuality is a "choice" in the way it has been used by the religious right is incorrect, and that sexual identity - while having environmental as well as genetic factors - is not something one can freely alter at will. Certainly the expression of sexuality, such as engaging in homosexual or heterosexual relationships, is a free choice, and history has shown us that many homosexual individuals, when faced with a hateful society, would choose to hide or fight their own natural desires to conform to what society told them was "normal" and "acceptable". But the actual desires behind those actions, the simple attraction to those of the same or different gender, are not matters of free will.

        More important is the debunking of the myth that homosexuality is no different than lusting after children or horses, which is a perennial argument that continues to be raised time and again to counter any attempt to get non-heterosexual sexual orientations equal treatment under the law. In the end, that's really the crux of the issue being raised now - that it is hypocritical to ask for gay marriage and not seek to allow zoophilia or incest as well. That people continue to believe that non-heterosexual sexual orientations are no different than wanting to molest children or animals points to a wider problem in perception, and why it takes reiterating the common definitions more than once to make progress.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
          Bringing free will into an argument about whether all sexual orientations should be treated equally is a bit more philosophical and far reaching than I was picturing. When you add morality into the mix, it becomes even more highly subjective, and far removed from scientific objectivity.
          Ok but honestly I don't think that stereotypical responses from either side are very intellectually stimulating.

          I agree that when I said homosexuality just as well be considered a fetish I was trying to make a broader point in which heterosexuality could be seen in the same way. In the article I linked there is a well made argument that it is best to not consider fetishes as existing at all. The same is true of sexual orientation. People may have sexual predispositions but the evidence suggest they may change over time, are primarily a imprinting process, cannot be defined with having a purpose only reasons, and sufficiently devoid of the attribute of choice to the extent that they have no moral context.

          You can't really address this topic without a bit of philosophy. The extreme views of Skinner and others of environmental histories of reinforcement as an explanation for all behavior is a bad idea that has not been properly put behind us. You cannot reprogram people like formatting a hard drive and putting a new program in. Pinker and others are slowly deconstructing the "blank slate" philosophy that was popular with Liberal thinkers throughout the 20th century. Neurologist and evolutionary psychologist however are not abandoning the equally bad idea of determinism as an explanation for behavior. This point of view has a long history going back at least as far as the Stoic philosophers of Greece and their "free will is like a dog tied to a cart, it can either choose to go along with the cart or it will be dragged along with the cart, unwilling".

          You can discard the philosophical idea of free will as some sort of absolute because frankly modern science has sufficiently deconstruct absolutes. Absolutes may seem like they are the providence of the common sense thinkers who love to throw out truism like nothing is certain but death and taxes or vague references to the laws of physics. In most cases however common sense is insufficient to deal with the complexities of behavior at the level need to judge morality. When discussing behavior absolutes are the providence of the religious and other delusional absolutist. What is necessary is a "common" sense approach to free will in which it is understood that while absolute free will does not exist there remains a necessity for the practical kind of free will.

          Philosophers like most of us like to make things black and white. It is a process of clarification that is hard to do without as how can you explain how grey something is with any kind of clarity. When discussing free will they divide the world into compatibilists and incompatibilists in regard to determinism. I don't want to make this a long discussion of these concepts but we can stick most scientist in the incompatibilist camp. What is ironic is that in rejecting a compromised position of compatibilism on free will proposed by most philosophers scientist have made themselves absolutist in the same sense as religious thinkers they hold in contempt. We don't have absolute free will just the ability to make choices just as many scientist choose absolute determinism. I hope you see the problem here.

          You can argue an absolutist deterministic view that sexual orientation is not a choice but what you cannot demonstrate is that the behavior associated with sexual orientation is not a choice. Put in a proper perspective sexual orientation is irrelevant what is important is choice in sexual behavior.

          We don't choose are sexual orientation any more than we choose the religion we are indoctrinated in from childhood. But we can choose to modify that indoctrination. Just like we choose not to stone adulterers because the Bible or Koran suggest we should we can choose not to engage in sexual behavior that is self or socially destructive. We can choose not to adopt the black and white conformist view that anything is fine as long as it doesn't hurt someone else liberal view nor the it's a sin view or religious fundamentalist. What we need to consider is how we express our sexual orientation and how it effects others within the limits of our agency.
          We hunt the hunters

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