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Re: [evol-psych] Re: Article: Women Are Diagnosed With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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  • Jim Buck
    Steve moxon wrote: Er, it s a book review, and it doesn t outline Caruth s position. I presumed that you had read the final two chapters of Leys book,
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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      Steve moxon wrote:
       
      'Er, it's a book review, and it doesn't outline Caruth's position.'
       
      I presumed that you had read the final two chapters of Leys' book,  where she attempts to stuff Caruth with straw---before kicking her about.  If you have not in fact read the book, then you are brandishing it as a mere talisman.  But here goes:
       
      'In its general definition, trauma is described as the response to an unexpected or overwhelming event or events that are not fully grasped as they occur, but return later in repeated flashbacks, nightmares, or other repetitive phenomena.

      Traumatic experience, beyond the psychological dimension of suffering it involves, suggests a certain paradox: that the most direct seeing of a violent event may occur as an absolute inability to know it; that immediacy, paradoxically, may take the form of belatedness.  The repetitions of the traumatic event---which remain inaccessible to consciousness but intrude repeatedly on sight—thus suggests a larger relation to event beyond what can simply be seen or what can be known, and is inextricably tied up with belatedness and incomprehensibility that remain at the heart of this repetitive seeing. ' (Cathy Baruth)

      Regards
       
      Jim Buck
    • steve moxon
      I ve read it five times, actually. One of the most impenetrable texts I ve ever come across. Baruth, judging by the quote you enclose, is competing for the
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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        I've read it five times, actually.
        One of the most impenetrable texts I've ever come across.
        Baruth, judging by the quote you enclose, is competing for the same sort of dubious crown.
        If this wasn't getting ever more tangential to any import, I could ask what point you're supposed to be making.
         
        Steve Moxon
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jim Buck
        Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 11:11 PM
        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Article: Women Are Diagnosed With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

        Steve moxon wrote:
         
        'Er, it's a book review, and it doesn't outline Caruth's position.'
         
        I presumed that you had read the final two chapters of Leys' book,  where she attempts to stuff Caruth with straw---before kicking her about.  If you have not in fact read the book, then you are brandishing it as a mere talisman.  But here goes:
         
        'In its general definition, trauma is described as the response to an unexpected or overwhelming event or events that are not fully grasped as they occur, but return later in repeated flashbacks, nightmares, or other repetitive phenomena.

        Traumatic experience, beyond the psychological dimension of suffering it involves, suggests a certain paradox: that the most direct seeing of a violent event may occur as an absolute inability to know it; that immediacy, paradoxically, may take the form of belatedness.  The repetitions of the traumatic event---which remain inaccessible to consciousness but intrude repeatedly on sight—thus suggests a larger relation to event beyond what can simply be seen or what can be known, and is inextricably tied up with belatedness and incomprehensibility that remain at the heart of this repetitive seeing. ' (Cathy Baruth)

        Regards
         
        Jim Buck
      • steve moxon
        It s far from absurd . A man who is cuckolded has had his major reproductive effort seriously and likely irrevocably compromised. Most men have to make an
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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          It's far from "absurd".
          A man who is cuckolded has had his major reproductive effort seriously and likely irrevocably compromised. Most men have to make an enormous investment in a long-term relationship -- not least an ongoing demonstrable commitment to provide for a family at a level commensurate with his status. The lower is his status, the more he has to work his socks off to show his reliabiliy and provider function to ensure that his long-term partner does not regret accepting the trade-off between status and reliability he offered (hence the ridiculous overtime and shift work by male blue collar workers).
           
          This is not comparable with an instance of a woman discovering extra-pair sex by a long-term partner -- for the reasons well discussed in EP re sex difference in the basis of jealousy.
           
          So it's surely not outlandish to make a comparison in terms of 'hijacking reproductive choice'.
           
          Furthermore, in today's (first) world the cuckold suffers psychologically both through the event and the repercussion of his actually destroyed major reproductive relationship, whereas a female rape victim suffers few repercussions given the absence of stigma and a very simple termination should a pregnancy ensue.
           
          Steve Moxon
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 2:18 PM
          Subject: [evol-psych] Re: Article: Women Are Diagnosed With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

          -- Graeme Deeth expressed caution about using the word 'equating', but
          in any case the comparison was not with cheating but with cuckoldry.
          The latter involves the "hijacking" of a man's reproductive choices
          and resources in much the same way as rape involves the hijacking of a
          woman's choices and resources.

          Jeremy Bowman

          Standard English definition of cuckoldry is cheating, but accepting your definition for the moment, this is still absurd. Consider the notion of reproductive cost in your equation. Biologically, men are virtually unlimited in their reproductive potential, and the cost to them of the "hijacking of... reproductive choices" is miniscule. For women, the investment in reproduction is MUCH higher, leading to a consequently higher impact. Additionally, one of the theoretical evolutionary impacts of this difference in reproductive cost is that women are MUCH more picky in terms of mate selection, and since emotions are the vehicle by which we evolve this sort of choosiness, the abrogation of her choosing is going to have an impact emotionally as well; that is what the emotions are for. 

          Also, one must consider that the rape is not just about the sexual intercourse, but also about the threat of violence, the fear of murder, disfiguration, pain, unwanted pregnancy, disease and social ostracization that rape includes. Lets not forget that people are complex beings, not a single evolutionary aspect that can be considered rationally  without regard for other involved aspects.


        • Jim Buck
          Steve Moxon wrote: I ve read it five times, actually. One of the most impenetrable texts I ve ever come across. Baruth, judging by the quote you enclose, is
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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            Steve Moxon wrote:
             
            'I've read it five times, actually.
            One of the most impenetrable texts I've ever come across.
            Baruth, judging by the quote you enclose, is competing for the same sort of dubious crown.
            If this wasn't getting ever more tangential to any import, I could ask what point you're supposed to be making?'
             
            Five times! yet Cathy Caruth's name was still unfamiliar to you, eh? 
             
            The point of my posts, on this subject, has not been to challenge your views on the status of "rape trauma".   I have not read the Home Office data, you refer to (a link please?), and so am not qualified to comment on that.  What I can comment on is trauma,  having been present at the Hillsborough disaster    ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_2491000/2491195.stm ) I know that the symptoms of PTSD, as described in DSM-111are  descriptively  accurate---including the "survivor guilt" which was later dropped for DSM 111R.    On that latter point,  Ruth Leys sees the dropping of "survivor guilt"  as 'yet another manifestation of the oscillation between mimetic and antimimetic theories of trauma' (Leys, 2006).   Within her own terms that might be true.  However, I prefer to view it as yet another manifestation of the move to "biologise" psychiatry ("Hysteria" became politically incorrect for similar reasons: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/26/science/26hysteria.html?ex=1165208400&en=260e500e2df5cd5c&ei=5070   )
             
            Regards
             
            Jim Buck
             
            Leys, R (2006) Image and Trauma;  Science in Context, 19(1) 137-149
          • steve moxon
            I read the book a decade ago, when it first came out, and it s as near impenentrable as writing gets, so too right I didn t recall Caruth s name. It s
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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              I read the book a decade ago, when it first came out, and it's as near impenentrable as writing gets, so too right I didn't recall Caruth's name.
              It's interesting that you seem to deny a basic common aspect of memory yet accept the notion of 'survivor guilt' as being a form of PTSD, by which on duty policeman at Hillsborough conned shed loads of money.
              And on the contrary, trying to anchor 'survivor guilt' as PTSD: isn't that itself a case of what you see as 'biologising' (sic) psychiatry?
              Stress response is a biological mechanism, and in trying to squeeze a disparate set of symptoms that may (but usually don't) arise, into some supposed continuation of stress response, surely is trying to extend psychiatry or clinical psychology into areas of human experience under the cover of supposed hard science cred.
               
              Steve Moxon
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Jim Buck
              Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2006 10:05 AM
              Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Article: Women Are Diagnosed With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

              Steve Moxon wrote:
               
              'I've read it five times, actually.
              One of the most impenetrable texts I've ever come across.
              Baruth, judging by the quote you enclose, is competing for the same sort of dubious crown.
              If this wasn't getting ever more tangential to any import, I could ask what point you're supposed to be making?'
               
              Five times! yet Cathy Caruth's name was still unfamiliar to you, eh? 
               
              The point of my posts, on this subject, has not been to challenge your views on the status of "rape trauma".   I have not read the Home Office data, you refer to (a link please?), and so am not qualified to comment on that.  What I can comment on is trauma,  having been present at the Hillsborough disaster    ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_2491000/2491195.stm ) I know that the symptoms of PTSD, as described in DSM-111are  descriptively  accurate---including the "survivor guilt" which was later dropped for DSM 111R.    On that latter point,  Ruth Leys sees the dropping of "survivor guilt"  as 'yet another manifestation of the oscillation between mimetic and antimimetic theories of trauma' (Leys, 2006).   Within her own terms that might be true.  However, I prefer to view it as yet another manifestation of the move to "biologise" psychiatry ("Hysteria" became politically incorrect for similar reasons: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/26/science/26hysteria.html?ex=1165208400&en=260e500e2df5cd5c&ei=5070   )
               
              Regards
               
              Jim Buck
               
              Leys, R (2006) Image and Trauma;  Science in Context, 19(1) 137-149
            • Jim Buck
              Steve Moxon wrote: I read the book a decade ago, when it first came out, and it s as near impenentrable as writing gets, so too right I didn t recall Caruth s
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                Steve Moxon wrote:
                 
                'I read the book a decade ago, when it first came out, and it's as near impenentrable as writing gets, so too right I didn't recall Caruth's name.It's interesting that you seem to deny a basic common aspect of memory yet accept the notion of 'survivor guilt' as being a form of PTSD, by which on duty policeman at Hillsborough conned shed loads of money.
                And on the contrary, trying to anchor 'survivor guilt' as PTSD: isn't that itself a case of what you see as 'biologising' (sic) psychiatry?
                Stress response is a biological mechanism, and in trying to squeeze a disparate set of symptoms that may (but usually don't) arise, into some supposed continuation of stress response, surely is trying to extend psychiatry or clinical psychology into areas of human experience under the cover of supposed hard science cred.'
                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 
                The book first came out in June 2000; and you have stated that you read it 5 times; and since the last two chapters are a sustained attack on Caruth (and on Bessel van de Kolk  http://www.traumacenter.org/bvdk.html ) one might have expected some of that to have sunk in; evidently, it did not; but, somehow, despite the "inpenetrable" nature of the text, you managed to conclude that the book was the final word on the subject of PTSD.  The constant 'shift from one mutually contradictory position to another' --which you decipher as being Leys' chief finding--with regard to the PTSD literature---is no big deal; similar anomalies and paradoxes are found in the conceptualisation of schizophrenia; and the constantly collapsing mimetic-antimimetic dichotomy---which exercises Leys, so much---is also characteristic of the dreams which occur during REM sleep (Hobson, 1994).
                 
                 
                According to Wilson & Keane (1997), about 25% of people exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD. Susceptibility seem to depend on factors such as: degree of trauma; anxiety traits; suggestibility.   It is reasonable to assume that the latter factor (suggestibility) will produce a number of false positives--complicated by pecuniary considerations (as you claim it did amongst South Yorkshire Police).   However, how do we explain, Steve, those individuals who, after years of suffering  PTSD, rapidly become asymptomatic-when teated by quite simple methods--treatment, in fact, for which they have paid themselves? (  http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/rewind-technique.htm )
                 
                 
                Regards
                 
                Jim Buck
                 
                Hobson, J (1994) The Chemistry of Conscious States; pub Little, Brown & Co
                 
                 
              • steve moxon
                It s an interesting post-modern (?) idea that shift from one mutually contradictory position to another ... is no big deal . This is of course how feminists
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                  It's an interesting 'post-modern' (?) idea that "shift from one mutually contradictory position to another ... is no big deal". This is of course how feminists see no problem in alternatively and simultaneously arguing that men and women are identical and radically different.
                  It's certainly a 'big deal' for most of us.
                   
                  As for recovery from PTSD upon treatment: how many plausible explanations do you want?
                   
                  What I am sceptical of is certainly not that some people suffer from serious psychological problems following what most of us would readily describe as 'traumatic' situations. Nobody could possibly deny the suffering of those many soldiers in the First World War who displayed what were then seemingly bizarre symptoms.
                   
                  If only 25% of people exposed to situations that are held to lead to PTSD did in fact (supposedly) subsequently suffer PTSD, then by definition the situation did not of itself cause the PTSD. The problem would seem to be put the wrong way round. This is even without considering that the criteria for what constitutes PTSD is an elastic catch-all that is likely to spread far wider than any underlying mechanism, should the concept of PTSD be plausible enough to go searching for one.
                  Instead, the question should be put: what psychological conditions or predispositions in an individual combine with the experience of what is taken to be a 'traumatic' event to precipitate what is called PTSD?
                   
                  When this question has been answered then we can look again at data and try to work out if there are aspects of 'traumatic' situations that usually have psychological sequelae -- that is, psychological conditions that are actually caused by the 'traumatic' event we're considering. And then we can try to get a handle on a mechanism.
                   
                  Very simple.
                   
                  Very simple, but we are still waiting for somebody to do this with rape -- that is, to test the notion of 'rape trauma'. Nobody's doing any research on this obviously very interesting and topical problem because anyone who even superficially looks into it knows that the results of any research are likely to stymy his/her research career.
                   
                   
                  Steve Moxon
                   
                  (As for your apparent less than common-sense understanding of memory: a reply is too obvious to bother sending)
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Jim Buck
                  Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2006 3:46 PM
                  Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Article: Women Are Diagnosed With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

                   
                  Steve Moxon wrote:
                   
                  'I read the book a decade ago, when it first came out, and it's as near impenentrable as writing gets, so too right I didn't recall Caruth's name.It's interesting that you seem to deny a basic common aspect of memory yet accept the notion of 'survivor guilt' as being a form of PTSD, by which on duty policeman at Hillsborough conned shed loads of money.
                  And on the contrary, trying to anchor 'survivor guilt' as PTSD: isn't that itself a case of what you see as 'biologising' (sic) psychiatry?
                  Stress response is a biological mechanism, and in trying to squeeze a disparate set of symptoms that may (but usually don't) arise, into some supposed continuation of stress response, surely is trying to extend psychiatry or clinical psychology into areas of human experience under the cover of supposed hard science cred.'
                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   
                  The book first came out in June 2000; and you have stated that you read it 5 times; and since the last two chapters are a sustained attack on Caruth (and on Bessel van de Kolk  http://www.traumacenter.org/bvdk.html ) one might have expected some of that to have sunk in; evidently, it did not; but, somehow, despite the "inpenetrable" nature of the text, you managed to conclude that the book was the final word on the subject of PTSD.  The constant 'shift from one mutually contradictory position to another' --which you decipher as being Leys' chief finding--with regard to the PTSD literature---is no big deal; similar anomalies and paradoxes are found in the conceptualisation of schizophrenia; and the constantly collapsing mimetic-antimimetic dichotomy---which exercises Leys, so much---is also characteristic of the dreams which occur during REM sleep (Hobson, 1994).
                   
                   
                  According to Wilson & Keane (1997), about 25% of people exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD. Susceptibility seem to depend on factors such as: degree of trauma; anxiety traits; suggestibility.   It is reasonable to assume that the latter factor (suggestibility) will produce a number of false positives--complicated by pecuniary considerations (as you claim it did amongst South Yorkshire Police).   However, how do we explain, Steve, those individuals who, after years of suffering  PTSD, rapidly become asymptomatic-when teated by quite simple methods--treatment, in fact, for which they have paid themselves? (  http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/rewind-technique.htm )
                   
                   
                  Regards
                   
                  Jim Buck
                   
                  Hobson, J (1994) The Chemistry of Conscious States; pub Little, Brown & Co
                   
                   
                • Jim Buck
                  Steve Moxon wrote: It s an interesting post-modern (?) idea that shift from one mutually contradictory position to another ... is no big deal . This is of
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                    Steve Moxon wrote:
                     
                    'It's an interesting 'post-modern' (?) idea that "shift from one mutually contradictory position to another ... is no big deal". This is of course how feminists see no problem in alternatively and simultaneously arguing that men and women are identical and radically different.
                    It's certainly a 'big deal' for most of us.'
                     
                    It's a big deal for you because your argument about the non-existence of rape trauma is weakened by reports of PTSD cases.  Look at it this way: Imagine that you, a self-described hetrosexual man, are banged up in a police cell with 4 homosexual men. One of the homosexual men is a powerfully-built psychopath who is in the habit of enforcing his will on other people.  As a way of combating the boredom of incarceration, he decides that he will make the rest of you fellate him.  You reckon, do you Steve, that you would expereince no sequelae as a result of that experience?
                     
                    Regards
                     
                    Jim Buck
                     
                     
                  • Jay R. Feierman
                    (1) Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater investment in reproduction than men. (2) Jay R. Feierman: Huh? Reproductive investment = courtship investment
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                      (1) Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater "investment in reproduction" than men.
                       
                      (2) Jay R. Feierman: Huh? Reproductive investment = courtship investment + copulatory investment + pre-natal parental care investment + post-natal parental care investment. Given that, one only needs 3rd grade arithmetic to realize that F >>> M.
                       
                      (3) Jeremy Bowman: For both men and women, the urgency of behavior that successfully puts genes into future generations is about the same.
                       
                      (4) Jay R. Feierman: What does "urgency" have to do with it? That term is usually reserved for bladder problems.
                       
                      (5) Jeremy Bowman: The reproductive potential of the average man is EXACTLY the same as that of the average woman, for the simple reason that men have exactly the same number of children as women.
                       
                      (6) Jay R. Feierman: Whereas the average male of a species may have EXACTLY the same number of offspring than the average female, one can not apply that fact deductively to an individual male or female. There is much more variance in the reproductive success in males than in females, which is the reason that the sex ratio of litters is varied by the pregnant female, depending on the environmental conditions. There is some evidence that this same principle or a similar principle might be what underlies variations in sexual orientation, age orientation and gender identity in humans.
                       
                      (7) Jeremy Bowman: How much a female cares about which male impregnates her is not a matter of the magnitude of their respective parental investments, but instead depends on the normal strength of the bond between male and female parents.
                       
                      (8) Jay R. Feierman: Huh? You've been reading too many novels. What about when this female has an extra-pair, covert copulation with a male, who is higher status than her hunny bunny? Also, how do you know what you are saying is true? You are not even a woman to speak from personal experience and I'm not sure how one measures relative caring in females. You are just speculating. You also said that in elephant seals the female "takes very little interest in which male impregnates her?" How do you know that? You are also not a female elephant seal and I know of no way of polling female elephant seals. I spent a week observing their behavior in Alaska last summer. The rumor was that one of the male's had better techniques and gave the females more pleasure than the other males. Daniel Rancour Laferriere thinks that's real important to females.
                       
                       
                       
                    • bowmanthebard
                      Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater investment in reproduction than men. Jay R. Feierman: Huh? Reproductive investment = courtship investment +
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 3, 2006
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                        Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater "investment in
                        reproduction" than men.

                        Jay R. Feierman: Huh? Reproductive investment = courtship investment +
                        copulatory investment + pre-natal parental care investment +
                        post-natal parental care investment. Given that, one only needs 3rd
                        grade arithmetic to realize that F >>> M.

                        Jeremy Bowman: I certainly do not regard that extremely silly
                        psychologist's "equation" as "given".

                        Instead, I start off with the hypothesis that we are survival machines
                        for "selfish" genes, which direct our behavior in ways that are likely
                        to make them proliferate in future generations. Some survival machines
                        are male, and others are female, but both male and female machines are
                        "programmed" to the same degree. Why would it be otherwise? How could
                        it be otherwise?

                        A creature with low male parental investment such as a stag will be
                        every bit as "determined" to pass its genes on to future generations
                        as its female counterpart with much higher parental investment. For
                        both males and females, it involves taking risks up to, but not
                        beyond, the point at which even greater risks would diminish the
                        likelihood of future proliferation. For males, those risks involve
                        conflict, competition, etc.; for females they involve repeated
                        pregnancies, malnutrition, etc.

                        The sexes differ in WHAT they invest their respective reproductive
                        resources in, but they do not differ in HOW MUCH they invest, since
                        they carry very nearly the same genes all "trying" to proliferate to
                        the same extent.

                        I repeat: we must be careful to distinguish reproductive investment
                        and parental investment.
                      • Jay R. Feierman
                        Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater investment in reproduction than men . . . I repeat: we must be careful to distinguish reproductive investment and
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 3, 2006
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                          Jeremy Bowman: Women do NOT make a greater "investment in reproduction" than men . . . I repeat: we must be careful to distinguish reproductive investment and parental investment.
                           
                          Jay R. Feierman: It may help to draw a financial analogy. I'm defining an "investment" in reproduction as the caloric resources necessary to achieve one unit of reproduction, which would be one offspring, who would need to be nurtured to the point where the offspring could provision him or her self. I'm defining risk as the chance that an individual would not be able to produce future offspring. I'm defining benefit as one unit of reproduction, which is one viable offspring produced and nurtured to the point of self-sufficiency.
                           
                          The calories required to continue the life of the bodies of the male or female during the time necessary to produce a self-provisioning offspring is the principle invested. As such, that is their respective investment in reproduction per produced unit of reproduction. Given this, a woman does make a greater "investment in reproduction" than does a man. A woman gets a lower rate of return on her investment than does a man. That means she has to work harder to get the same result, which leads to all those interesting differences between males and females in their reproductive behaviors.
                           
                          I believe you are referring to risk rather than to investment in your statement above, when you may be implying that males and females engage in the same degree of average risk to produce a unit of reproduction. That may be true with their being more variance in male than in female risk.
                           
                        • Graeme Deeth
                          Jeremy Bowman wrote Visit Your Group New Message Search Find the message you want faster. Visit your group to try out the improved message search. Share
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 3, 2006
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                            Jeremy Bowman wrote



                            I think most women fantasize about rape a lot, AND most women think
                            real rape would be terrible. Analogously, most men would hate their
                            wives to be unfaithful, yet "the unfaithful wife" is probably the
                            commonest narrative used in the letters pages of soft-core porn magazines.

                            We are a complicated animal. We are aroused by thoughts of things we
                            would hate in reality. That's human life -- let's be honest about it.

                             

                            May I suggest a somewhat different wording such as:  ...many women fantasize about (what many others would define as) rape...
                            Much of the argument arises from whom rape is defined, and by whom, and for what purpose.  Legal argument arises from this very difficulty of determining if rape actually occurred; sometimes this is crystal clear, particularly when violence accompanies the act.
                            Graeme Deeth B.V.Sc., B.A. (Psych), B.Psych (Hons 1st class), FACCP.
                            P.O. Box 548
                            Southport BC
                            QLD 4215
                            Australia
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                            Any opinions expressed in this message are those of the individual sender except where the sender expressly,
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                          • bowmanthebard
                            Jay R. Feierman: I m defining an investment in reproduction as the caloric resources necessary to achieve one unit of reproduction, which would be one
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 4, 2006
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                              Jay R. Feierman: I'm defining an "investment" in reproduction as the
                              caloric resources necessary to achieve one unit of reproduction, which
                              would be one offspring, who would need to be nurtured to the point
                              where the offspring could provision him or her self.

                              Jeremy Bowman: Well that's your problem right there. Caloric
                              investment is just one aspect of reproduction in general. No doubt
                              there are big differences between the sexes in plants, say, which
                              either produce bulky cotyledons or else tiny pollen out of little more
                              than sunshine. But it doesn't follow that the plant producing pollen
                              makes less of an "investment in reproduction" than the plant producing
                              seeds. The whole "point" of the existence of BOTH of them -- the only
                              reason they're there in the first place, and the thing that explains
                              every aspect of their behavior -- is reproduction.

                              Or consider a situation in which the respective calorie-provisioning
                              of the sexes is reversed. Producing a 9-pound human baby plus a few
                              gallons of milk counts for almost nothing in the production of a
                              successfully breeding human being. The caloric resources the average
                              man brings home (traditionally in the form of "bacon") as a child
                              slowly grows over the long years greatly exceed the equivalent brought
                              home by the average woman. But once again, it doesn't follow that men
                              make a larger reproductive investment than women.

                              The way to see this is to look at living things as survival machines
                              whose behavior is the "resultant" of the goals of the various genes
                              they carry. We are all programmed to the same extent, and we are all
                              programmed to do nothing other than reproduce successfully. (Or more
                              strictly, we are programmed to do nothing more than behave in ways
                              that tend to make our genes proliferate in future generations, which
                              usually amounts to the same thing.)

                              Of course we sometimes do things "in order to survive" -- but we are
                              only surviving in order to reproduce.

                              It seems to me that our disagreement has two sources:

                              First, I'm saying in effect that the "meaning of life" (in an
                              attenuated sense of 'meaning') is reproduction. That is the only
                              reason we are here, or any other living thing is here. Successful
                              reproduction of our forbears shapes every aspect of our bodies and
                              behavior. This applies equally to all living things, male and female.

                              Second, I'm taking a reductionistic approach that looks at living
                              things from the "bottom up", whereas you are looking from the "top
                              down" at behavior and interpreting it (wrongly). I urge you to return
                              to Darwin and Dawkins, and abandon feminist fantasies about the
                              greater commitment of the human female to sugar and spice and all
                              things nice. We're all puppy dogs' tails here on earth.

                              Cheers! -- Jeremy Bowman
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