Home JackpineRadical Rooms JPR Reading Room How internet porn caused the rise of Donald Trump

  • bemildred (1949 posts)
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    How internet porn caused the rise of Donald Trump

    Mildly NSFW picture at link.

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    But isn’t this claim … ridiculous?

    Of course it is. No part of this argument stands up to scrutiny. It’s just a smattering of basic neuroscience combined with a very simplistic (and somewhat harsh maybe) portrayal of pornography. People’s sexual leanings and behaviour varies tremendously, as does porn, given how much of it there is. Internet porn was no less common during the Obama years, and is just as accessible in places like Canada and Germany, which seem to be avoiding the embracing-ridiculous-despots trend thus far. Invoking a few fundamental neurological processes does not confirm that watching porn causes you to be a gullible sexist, any more than playing Grand Theft Auto automatically makes you a sociopathic serial killer (despite what some media may seem to think). People doing things without acknowledging the camera isn’t exactly exclusive to porn, it describes practically all TV shows.

    This article just is an example of how easy it is to create a valid-sounding theory by forming a conclusion and reverse engineering it, cherry-picking things that back it up from the vast amount of data available. I cynically picked porn and Trump because those are two extremely popular search terms right now, so people are more likely to read it, but it could have been anything: how renewable energy lead to Labour’s Copeland by-election defeat. How feminism caused the Oscars announcement chaos. How Netflix lead to Brexit. They even sound similar!

    There are many articles, blogs, opinion pieces, Twitter threads etc. flying around lately, which confidently explain major and complicated events in straightforward and compelling ways, and they’re often shared readily by those who agree with their conclusion. But over a decade in neuroscience makes one extremely wary of such an approach. It’s just too like the countless claims about how a certain specific bit of the brain is responsible for some incredibly abstract and complex phenomenon (e.g. religious experiences and Apple fandom) when the truth is it’s actually many different regions working together in baffling and convoluted ways.

    As with the brain, so it is with society. Millions of people spread over thousands of square miles, existing in countless different environments and situations, the idea that one specific and graspable factor explains their behaviour en-masse something of a stretch. It’s understandable why people want there to be one; the human brain really doesn’t like uncertainty, especially regarding things that may affect the individual concerned. So we seek out and gravitate towards explanations for complex, worrying events, and the simpler the better.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2017/feb/27/how-internet-porn-caused-the-rise-of-donald-trump

    DoctorJ, immoderate, jeff47 and 4 othersFanBoy, dreamnightwind, azurnoir, Doremus Jessup like this
    It ain't the things you don't know that hurts you, it's the things you know that ain't so.

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  • azurnoir (1534 posts)
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    1. Delicious-a must read – thankyou

    • bemildred (1949 posts)
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      2. +1. Thank you.

      It ain't the things you don't know that hurts you, it's the things you know that ain't so.
    • bemildred (1949 posts)
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      3. "Reality is like oatmeal, it's messy, and it has lumps in it."

      It ain't the things you don't know that hurts you, it's the things you know that ain't so.
  • FanBoy (6313 posts)
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    4. interesting that they use some fundamental truths to suggest that

    human behavior is random and undiscernable

    • bemildred (1949 posts)
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      5. Could you elaborate on that?

      I dunno if we are random but it can be hard to tell what someone else is thinking or likely to do.

      Maybe if you explain your argument I can respond better.

      It ain't the things you don't know that hurts you, it's the things you know that ain't so.