Judith Reisman, who teaches at Liberty University and falsely portrays herself as an expert on human sexuality, has a truly vapid column at the Worldnutdaily arguing that pornography is bad because pesticides can keep gypsy moths from mating. No, I’m serious. That’s her argument. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s look at the start of the article:
On Sept. 21, 2012, Texas neurosurgeon Donald L. Hilton Jr., M.D., spoke on pornography addiction and sexual orientation, saying:
“Pornography is a visual pheromone, a powerful 100-billion-dollar per year brain drug that is changing sexuality even more rapidly through the cyber-acceleration of the Internet. It is ‘inhibiting orientation’ and ‘disrupting pre-mating communication between the sexes by permeating the atmosphere’ and Internet.” (emphasis added)
Hilton’s lecture, “Changing the Stamp of Nature: Pornography Addiction, Neuroplasticity, and the ASAM and DSM Perspectives,” put a hard neuroscience face on pornographic brain rewiring, implicating sex-education promotions of homosexuality as a normal genetic variation.
Leaving aside the fact that a neurosurgeon is not a neuroscientist, let’s take a look at the very first line of the excerpt from the talk that she links to in her column:
There are currently no prospective peer-reviewed studies on pornography or sexual addiction, for that matter, in the context of neuroscience.
How exactly does one add “hard neuroscience” to discussion of a subject when, by his own admission, not only is there not a single study on that question but none planned for the future either? Oh, because he declares that all such science would be tainted anyway:
Truly unbiased research on human sexuality is probably not possible in today’s cultural environment, particularly given the financials. At 100 billion dollars a year porn is big business, to say the least. Pro-porn activism has ensured that any true research regarding unrestricted sexuality will take place in a scientific vacuum.
Well that’s certainly convenient. There’s no scientific studies of the subject and there never can be. But remember, he’s bring “hard neuroscience” to bear on the question. But let’s get to Reisman’s bizarre argument about gypsy moths:
In 1869 gypsy moths, imported to create an American silk industry, instead decimated our deciduous trees – oaks, maples and elms – and devastated our forests for the next 150 years. In the ’60s scientists found male moths mate with the female “by following her scent,” her “pheromone.”
A 1967 paper, “Insect population control by the use of sex pheromones to inhibit orientation between the sexes,” reported that scientists permeated the moth’s environment with strong, artificial female moth pheromone “This … scent overpowered the normal females ability to attract the male, and the confused males were unable to find the females.”
So, our trees got saved by what could be called olfactory moth pornography, a heavy-duty phony scent that unmanned male orientation to create an impotent moth population.
Hilton reports this abstract of the paper: “We have for the first time obtained experimental confirmation that pre-mating communication between the sexes can be disrupted by permeating the atmosphere with an insect pheromone.”
In 1972 another paper described mating disorientation as “preventing male gypsy moths from finding mates,” using pheromones. Called the confusion method:
“An airplane scatters … pellets imbedded with the scent of the pheromone … [that] overpower the male’s ability to find the female. He is thus desensitized to the natural scent of the female by this artificially produced pheromone. … The male either becomes confused and doesn’t know which direction to turn for the female, or he becomes desensitized to the lower levels of pheromones naturally given out by the female and has no incentive to mate with her.” (emphasis added)
Gypsy moth pornography? In the trapping method, male moths looking for the female, enter traps with no exit “only to find a fatal substitute.” As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Hilton concludes:
“Pornography is a visual pheromone, a powerful 100-billion-dollar per year brain drug that is changing sexuality. … It is ‘inhibiting orientation’ and ‘disrupting pre-mating communication between the sexes by permeating the atmosphere’ and Internet.”
So can Cynipidae desensitization tell us genius humanoids about pornographic mating desensitization, say, about pornography as Erototoxic, as the toxic form of Eros? Gosh.
Short answer: No. The two subjects are not remotely analogous. First of all, pheromones are actual things, not hypothetical things, and porn does not actually release them. Secondly, she claims that the male gypsy moths have “no incentive to mate” with female gypsy moths when they are bombarded with much stronger pheromones, but there is a clear incentive for males to mate. If reproduction is truly a biological drive for most people, as it must be if the species has survived this long, isn’t that an incentive to do so?
Lastly, and most obviously, if this is true then wouldn’t men who watch porn be far less likely to reproduce? I highly doubt that is the case. And since about half of all married couples view porn and integrate it into their own sex lives, doesn’t that kind of blow this whole theory?
What I find amusing about Reisman is that she claims that viewing pornography releases “erototoxins” (an entirely made up word for something that does not exist) that corrupt the brain. Yet she has viewed a great deal of porn herself. Then again, that may be evidence of her thesis. Her brain clearly isn’t working very well.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: