Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Question of the Day #41

Can politically liberal atheists be as anti-scientific as Christians?

For example, a study conducted last July in Chicago, Illinois revealed that bisexual orientation actually does not exist in men. However, most liberals have rejected the findings in favor of bi-positive, politically correct dogmatism.

Erm... I suppose I just answered my own question again, so I guess the only thing left to do is end with a statement.

If we ever expect creationists to accept science, then it seems to me that we need to start getting liberals to adhere as well.

Here's a question: Do you think it'll be easier to get through to liberals than conservatives?

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At 5/01/2006 11:37 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Is the one study peer-reviewed? Has it been duplicated?

At 5/01/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger Brandon declaimed...

in addition to the post above, do you have a link to it? I'm interested.

At 5/02/2006 12:47 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

It is a received myth that liberals are more science-friendly than conservatives. That is, of course, absolute nonsense. They both use science as far as it supports their ideology, and then reject it when it doesn't. The only difference is that religious people are more honest about it.

As a market anarchist, I love science. Science is (even if it is sometimes manipulated for political and religious ends, which I'm afraid cannot be helped) the most successful voluntaryist system ever made by man. That's why I also love the Internet.

At 5/02/2006 8:03 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Absolutely. The HIV Myth thread is really popular over at right now, and it frankly disgusts me to see so many people falling for it, atheist or not.

I don't think it's necessarily "easier" to get through to any specific political idealogy. I was fairly conservative before my apostasy, but I was willing to look at the facts. I would think that even nonreligious liberals are highly susceptible to being "spiritual," and are thus as tightly committed to irrationality as any Bible-toting conservative.

At 5/02/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Daniel declaimed...

I think it depends on what we mean by "liberals". The definition of "progressive" subsumes people who willingly incorporate novel findings, scientific and philosophical, and trends/culture/etc., into their worldview. If we equivocate "progressive" with "liberal", it would seem antithetical to claim that "liberals" reject science.

Let's consider this study -- a typical liberal, even if they disbelieve the findings, would say, who cares? If some men say they're attracted to men and women, is this scientifically verifiable? Perhaps the men are confused, but who cares? A typical liberal stance would be to say, "let them be free, consenting adults who do as they wish with their own bodies". Do you think this study means we have a moral imperative to go out and convince bisexual men they're really not attracted to men and women? Ridiculous. This is the naturalistic fallacy at work. What "agenda" can we derive from such scientific findings? How many areas can we take an "is-ought" approach to, with scientific findings or not?

I think that you ask a simple question about non-progressive liberals, who are probably a fraction of liberals overall.

I have never once known of a Socialist who opposes evolutionary theory. Do you? I've never met an atheist who does. Berlinski is supposedly an agnostic, but the pompous bloated ass doesn't seem to even know what to support as to the natural history of life. Would you count Berlinski as anti-science? He's an egotistical ass either way.

At 5/02/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger Mike declaimed...

For example, a study conducted last July in Chicago, Illinois revealed that bisexual orientation actually does not exist in men.

This is utterly retarded. In order to pose the question "Do bisexual men exist" you first must have a definition of "bisexuality." There is absolutely no scientific way to define that term, and so there is no scientific way to carry out a study to answer that first question.

The folks in Chicago aren't doing science. They are playing games with definitions

At 5/02/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

I'd be interested to see if the study was duplicated as well. If bisexuality means men who have sex with both men and women, then of course there are bisexual men. If it means men who want to sleep with men as well as women, well, if they don't want to do it and get nothing out of it, then why are they doing it? If it means that men only get aroused by one sex or the other, I'd be really interested to see this. I know plenty of men who have slept with both sexes and don't identify as bisexual. I don't really understand this. If the study proves that there are thousands of men lying to themselves, this should be a huge, huge thing.

Or maybe it means that men are straight when they sleep with women, and either disgusted-yet-aroused when getting blown by men, or they are gay when sleeping with men, and disgusted-yet-aroused when sleeping with women. And again, lying when identifying as bisexual.

I think you need a new example, because I don't have to be pro-science to question or not question the statement. Science exists, and statements are true or they are not true. This statement definitely needs some clarification.

At 5/02/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

The article in question is: Rieger, Gerulf, Chivers, Meredith L. & Bailey, J. Michael (2005)
Sexual Arousal Patterns of Bisexual Men.
Psychological Science 16 (8), 579-584.

I've read the abstract- apparently the researchers recruited equal numbers of men self-identifying as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. They showed all the men sexual imagery of either females or males, and measured genital arousal (should be a no-brainer) as well as self-reported feelings of arousal.

The conclusions show that instead of giving an equal arousal response to both male and female imagery, bisexual men responded mostly to one or the other. Most of the bisexual men were aroused by male imagery, although a few were aroused by female imagery.

There are, no doubt, more subtleties involved in a bisexual orientation which are beyond the scope of this study, but with regard to sexual arousal, it seems to conclude that you really are one or the other.

At 5/02/2006 1:49 PM, Blogger Brandon declaimed...

Which makes sense, I don't think it's possible to be equal in two regards such as this. Typically bisexuals relate to sexuality being 'fluid' in that their attraction to each side varies depending on the the day and the people.

At 5/02/2006 2:47 PM, Blogger Brucker declaimed...

On the face of it, the question seems rather odd. Of course anyone can be anti-scientific. It's not the sole domain of theists, although admittedly there's something in having a religious dogma at the core of your set of beliefs that makes for science rubbing a person the wrong way at times.

Pointing out this study in particular though bothers me, as I find it hard to believe. I myself have known many men who are attracted to members of both sexes. Reading Zachary Moore's paraphrase of the abstract, I find myself wondering in particular if a different result might be found with a different sort of "sexual imagery". There's a big difference between a picture of a nude man and a clip from a gay porn movie, in particular.

Of course, one of the things I've always found rather odd is the oft assumed idea that sexuality neatly categorizes into heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. A lot of straight men are turned on by lesbianism, and if that's not particularly strange, I used to know a lesbian who was turned on by gay male porn.

I've strayed far from the main question though. I think refusing to accept the results of a single scientific study (or even a handful) does not necessarily mean one is *generally* anti-scientific. Using the study as a analogy, suppose somebody did a study on personal beliefs and determined that atheism did not actually exist? Even though as a Christian, I'd be interested in the results, I'd be unlikely to believe the result.

At 5/02/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Here's some more information about sexual arousal that I found interesting while perusing the authors' other works:

Men experience sexual arousal in response to very specific and preferred stimuli, whether gender, age, or activity. Women, however, have a less specific arousal response.

Both self-identified heterosexual and homosexual Women experience sexual arousal in response to both male and female sexual imagery. This supports the idea that women are, by default, bisexual. Interestingly, women also experience equal sexual arousal in response to both coercive and consensual sexual imagery.

In a different study, men and women were shown various permutations of human sexual imagery, and the gential response was measured, as well as the subjects' own preception of arousal. Category-specific gential and subjective arousal was measured in males, but female arousal was nonspecific, i.e., females responded equally to all sexual imagery.

Interestingly, subjects were then shown additional imagery depictng sexual activity among bonobo chimpanzees. In this case, neither males nor females reported feeling aroused, but genital arousal was detected in females only.

The authors conclude that female genital arousal doesn't correlate with preferred imagery, and is a nonspecific response to any "sexual" imagery.

At 5/02/2006 3:08 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...


Using the study as a analogy, suppose somebody did a study on personal beliefs and determined that atheism did not actually exist? Even though as a Christian, I'd be interested in the results, I'd be unlikely to believe the result.

It's impossible to appraise someone's personal convictions in any kind of scientifically meaningful way. Appraising their biology is a different story. I can conceive of an "Atheism Study" that parallels the study about male bisexuality which Mr. Neil reported. Let's say that there is a physiological characteristic or a neurological phenomenon which is strongly correlated with belief in a deity. If we could measure this somehow, we could see if self-identified atheists are lacking this characteristic. That would be about as far as you could go scientifically.

Neither this atheist study nor the bisexual study states definitively that "there are no atheists," or "there are no bisexual men." It's entirely possible that the God Gene (for example) is necessary but not sufficient for belief in a deity. It's also very likely that sexual arousal is necessary but not sufficient for bisexuality.

Scientific studies can be very interesting, but it's important not to conclude a non sequitur in haste.

At 5/02/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger TheJollyNihilist declaimed...

To me, that study sounds ridiculous.

I personally know a couple of bisexual men, and they happen to be equally attracted to men and women. Am I to tell them their sexual desires aren't as they say they are?

At 5/02/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Like I said, there's more to sexuality than just physical arousal. But if the data are accurate, then your friends are (unconsciously?) sprouting wood for one or the other, not both.

At 5/03/2006 3:26 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

BTW, the blog Critiques of Libertarianism is linking to this comment thread. I'd like to take this opportunity to give them a big anti-statist "go fuck yourselves, scumbags".

And since you did the linkage, consider yourself similarly addressed, aspergian "humanist", you fucking traitor to mankind.

Never let it be said that I'm not courteous.

At 5/03/2006 1:55 PM, Blogger Brucker declaimed...

Speaking of QotD, I was a bit surprised to be given access. I really expected I would give a few suggestions and one of you would pick and choose the ones you wanted. Do you want me to contribute? If so, only QotD posts? If so, would you still like them pre-approved? (I'm not going to try to pull a fast one and make the QotD "Why have you not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior yet?" as it clearly would serve little to no purpose to do so.)

At 5/03/2006 2:28 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

There's no need for you to post any questions if you don't want to - as you can see in the drafts, we have some reserve left.



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