Watch what you catch in your filters

January 11, 2013 § 18 Comments

320px-Sewer_Plant

In the previous post I suggested that generally speaking we are much more ignorant about reality than we are willing to let on.  It is important not to throw up our hands in a postmodern adolescent fit and proclaim that there is no truth; but it is also important to acknowledge the limits of our methods and knowledge.

Take the subject of “Game” as discussed in the manosphere.  I have no doubt that “Game” produces the desired results in certain women under certain circumstances, and the “rationalization hamster” is a funny metaphor for when women who actually do behave badly rationalize away their behaviour.

An open question though when it comes to “Game” is, is Game something specific that mainly works on slutty women that a pickup artist wants to use as a sexual toilet, or is it something which gives greater insight into how to relate to women more generally.   Some commenters contend that “Game” is mainly just for cads and sluts, while others contend that it is universally useful.   My own guess is that both points of view have some validity; but this makes making distinctions between cases all the more important.

Obviously it is critical to take note of any preselection filters inherent in the data used to advance various arguments.

The experiment and conclusions in the linked post depend upon a study or series of studies by one Meredith Chivers.  As described, the studies measure sexual arousal in men and women by showing them pornography and other images with various measuring apparatus attached to the subjects’ genitals.  What I would like to make note of here is that such a study doesn’t really tell us much about the general population.  The population it tells us something about is the population of people who are willing to sit and watch pornography and animal sex, with measuring apparatus attached to their genitals while they watch.  This population has been filtered out of the population at large.  I would suggest that drawing conclusions about how normal, functional people think and behave from the population caught in this filter is similar to going down to the local psychiatric ward and drawing conclusions from observations there about how normal, functional people think and behave.

In general, when we want to know the properties of water we draw a sample from the clean side of the sewage filter.  When we want to know the properties of fecal matter we draw a sample from the dirty side.  And when we are trying to draw general conclusions, we have to make sure that our data isn’t full of shit.

§ 18 Responses to Watch what you catch in your filters

  • […] So now we’ve noted that data preselection matters. […]

  • electricangel says:

    Assuming both the men and the women were drawn “from the dirty side” of humanity, can the fact that “fecal” men respond differently to sexual stimulus than “fecal” women do provide us ANY enlightenment? Perhaps the sexual corruption causes MORE damage to the women than the men? I don’t know.

    Now, what of the rest of the story? Are women more likely to give in to impulses, depending where they are in their cycles (say, to have a cookie), or are the data on ego depletion and free won’t likewise compromised?

  • Zippy says:

    @electricangel:
    are the data on ego depletion and free won’t likewise compromised

    I don’t know. I was addressing the filters I encountered in the linked post.

  • NobleHipsterSlayerOfDeath says:

    The objection to the pornography study sounds like a rationalization. In any case, the proportion of the population willing to do this is not small at all I would warrant. Especially not within the confines of an academic study, which can let people justify a lot of things. Super-selected or not, I would pay heed to the findings of such a study. Also does having strong moral/religious convictions reduce physical response to pornography? Worth a study maybe…

  • Zippy says:

    @NHSOD:
    the proportion of the population willing to do this is not small at all I would warrant.

    I agree but all that shows is that a large part of the population has lost moral sanity.

    Also does having strong moral/religious convictions reduce physical response to pornography? Worth a study maybe…

    You’d have to do the study on unwilling prisoners, which doubtless acts as another kind of filter.

  • I’d bet the religious conviction comes in when the decision is made to avoid pornography in the first place. Like the celibate and presumably chaste priest in Cinema Paradiso, even religious people know when to ring a bell when stimulative matter appears before them.

  • Zippy says:

    @electricangel:
    even religious people know when to ring a bell when stimulative matter appears before them

    True, and avoiding the occasion of sin is part of it. But I can guarantee to the level of absolute certainty that physiological responses can be conditioned (imperfectly, perhaps, but filters are never perfect) to follow virtue — or vice, for that matter. The will is far more powerful than sexual libertines would like us to believe … which is part of why we are responsible for our choices.

    All of which is very abstract. But it is obvious that people who are willing to look at porn with sensors strapped to their genitals have been differently conditioned, sexually, from people unwilling to do so.

  • NobleHipsterSlayerOfDeath says:

    I don’t see how it’s obvious. I see how the question could be raised, but I don’t believe the virtuous react differently physiologically to phenomenon. That is quite a claim, what’s the basis? Because the reverse is what seems intuitively obvious to me. There would scarcely be such a thing as corruption if not.

  • Zippy says:

    “Phenomena” is a big term. I know for an absolute fact that developing virtue makes one respond differently to seeing porn.

  • Zippy says:

    Sexual response is like breathing, inasmuch as it is at least partially under conscious control. How can anyone not know this?

  • Zippy says:

    The study has other problems too, an obvious one being that it pretends to measure qualia with a crude physical apparatus, presumes that entirely different physical responses in men and women correspond to the same qualia, and presumes that in reporting qualia the apparatus is authoritative over the report of the conscious subject.

    I would suggest that this study is a kind of Rorschach test: while the study itself contains little or no informative content, a person’s response to it is an indicator of his degree of commitment to philosophical naturalism.

  • Zippy

    “An open question though when it comes to “Game” is, is Game something specific that mainly works on slutty women that a pickup artist wants to use as a sexual toilet, or is it something which gives greater insight into how to relate to women more generally. ”

    I want to throw my two cents in here as to what I have experienced.

    I was originally taught by PUA’s how to run game on all women. They will openly admit that game on women at regular locations (day game) is considerably harder than game run on women in clubs and bars (night game).

    Basically, PUA’s want to get laid, so they focused game on women in clubs. Why? Mostly just dumb luck and experience, but the reasons are real none the less. Women who dress up and go to clubs are either slutty or ovulating and looking for a man with certain dominant traits. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel and your chances are greatly increased if you use the tools necessary for that venue. You overwhelm her attraction triggers so quickly that she literally gets this deer in the head lights look. She just wants you. Badly. The problem is that this can’t last as you can’t make this kind of overwhelming impression ever single time, so the relationship is set up for failure in the long term from the start.

    On the other hand, the same things that women in clubs find attractive are also the things that women find attractive everywhere. The difference is you aren’t trying to overwhelm her with it. In day game, which is what I teach, you move much more slowly and naturally. It’s hard to overwhelm, but it can be done.

    I teach an even subtler form of this which is a slow build up of your social standing with everyone. You aren’t just using game to attract women, but to get there best friends on your side. You use those same communication skills to establish some dominance in your social circle with the guys you know. It’s much slower in it’s build up (usually months) but the effects are much more satisfying and longer lasting.

  • […] But terminology aside, a lack of scientifically reductive rigor and comprehensive social science documentation isn’t enough to make me dismiss a whole set of ideas – especially ideas about as squirrelly a subject as sex – as moronic.  In fact when it comes to matters of sex, I tend to find pretensions to scientific rigor rather suspicious. […]

  • vetdoctor says:

    Late to the conversation as usual but I don’t know if you’ve discussed WEIRD people in research. BTW: Briggs has a nice site for reading.

    WEIRD = Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic
    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=5566

  • Zippy says:

    vetdoctor:
    Interesting post. Basically, sociologists know a lot about affluent liberal Western college students and not much about anyone else.

  • Bike Bubba says:

    The study referenced of something Douglas Wilson (a Presbyterian pastor from Idaho) said about sex researchers; that someone who goes around with a clipboard asking other people about their sex lives is a poor judge of what is normal. I would guess that someone who goes around attaching electrodes to other peoples’ genitals is an even less astute observer of what is normal.

  • […] What further follows is that men going to cads to learn about women is rather like women going to hookers to learn about men.   Sure, you might learn a thing or two.  But watch what you catch in your filters. […]

  • […] This is certainly a problem when we are talking in general, abstract terms, because it applies to situations where the ‘filtering’ process is up to  women.  Women should make note of this inherent problem in their filters. […]

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