Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Brownback goes after pornography

In the current climate of "moral values" triumphalism, it is probably too much to expect the media to give critical attention the blatant showboating and promotion of pseudoscience in last week's Senate hearings on "the science [sic] of pornography addiction."

As this article in Reason details, the Congress has demonstrated a demagogic contempt for scientific investigations of sexuality.

According to a report in the Wichita Eagle:

Some of his middle-age male friends limit their time alone in hotel rooms to avoid the temptation of graphic pay-per-view movies, Brownback said.
Hmm, would those middle -age friends be his Congressional room-mates in the townhouse subsidzied by a strange religious cult, his fellow Republican members, his staffers?

MSNBC carried an AP report
Comparing pornography to heroin, researchers are calling on Congress to finance studies on “porn addiction” and launch a public health campaign about its dangers.

Internet pornography is corrupting children and hooking adults into an addiction that threatens their jobs and families, a panel of anti-porn advocates told a hearing organized Thursday by Senator Sam Brownback, chairman of the Commerce subcommittee on science.

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of a sexual trauma program at the University of Pennsylvania, said pornography’s effect on the brain mirrors addiction to heroin or crack cocaine.
Actually what Layden said is
Research indicates that even non-sex addicts will show brain reactions on PET scans while viewing pornography similar to cocaine addicts looking at images of people taking cacaine.
And, maybe, brain scans while viewing pictures of food would be similar as well.

There was also some just plain sloppy reporting. The AP wrote, "She [Layden] told of one patient, a business executive, who arrived at his office at 9 a.m. each day, logged onto Internet porn sites, and didn’t log off until 5 p.m." In fact, Layden's written testimony presents this as a hypothetical definition, not as an actual case.

The lead witness for Brownback's hearing was Judith Reisman who presented a truly fantastic version of brian psychology.

Thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting the First Amendment by overriding the cognitive speech process. This is true of so-called “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography. And once new neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete.

Pornographic images also cause secretion of the body’s “fight or flight” sex hormones. This triggers excitatory transmitters and produces non-rational, involuntary reactions; intense arousal states that overlap sexual lust--now with fear, shame, and/or hostility and violence. Media erotic fantasies become deeply imbedded, commonly coarsening, confusing, motivating and addicting many of those exposed. (See “the Violence Pyramid” at http://www.vbii.org/violence.html) Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the “high” from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub erototoxins -- mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer’s own brain.

How does this ‘brain sabotage’ occur? Brain scientists tell us that “in 3/10 of a second a visual image passes from the eye through the brain, and whether or not one wants to, the brain is structurally changed and memories are created – we literally ‘grow new brain’ with each visual experience.
Here's an example of the Reisman's crackpot views
Action Item: Repeal all “sexual orientation” and “hate crime” bills as predator protection legislation. Under California’s AB 1785, et al., children who commit “hate” by resisting sexual orientations such as sadism, masochism, homosexuality, voyeurism, etc., may be retrained by State sex authorities. On the evidence, credentialed State sex trainers proselytize schoolchildren via an anti-Judeo-Christian, pansexual religious cult, violating separation of Church and State.

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