Showing posts with label biology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biology. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Temporary Insanity" Is a Legal Term But Not A Valid Psychological Concept

This is a short summation of the circumstances surrounding the first ever implementation of the legal defense known as "temporary insanity:"


George Reimus built a massive bootlegging empire during prohibition. His wife was by his side during his ascent to becoming a major kingpin and he provided her with anything she ever wanted.
Reimus gets sent to prison for a short 2 year prison term. He left her in charge of his entire empire while he was incarcerated. She was his soulmate and he trusted her completely, without hesitation.
His wife starts sleeping with a new man. Within 6 months, she sold all of her husband's assets, stole all his money, and filed for divorce.
Upon his release, George was driving to his divorce hearing when he spotted his wife in another car. He forced her car off the road, then shot and killed her. He immediately turned himself in and admitted to the murder.
At his trial, he pleaded temporary insanity and won. He said this afterwards: 
It was a duty I owed society. She who dances down the primrose path must die on the primrose path. I'm happy, this is the first piece of mind I've had in years - George Reimus

The problem with this defense is the fact that it's simply not real. 

"Temporary insanity" is a legal term but isn't at all a real psychological phenomenon. In fact, in reality, there is no sanity or insanity or even a "real you." There are just moment to moment brain states which are a result of biological, chemical, physiological, environmental, etc factors.

That guy wasn't "temporarily insane." His behaviour was the end result of a specific set of factors which were in play the moment he saw his wife; the reason he had never acted that way before was simply because he has never been in that situation before. Just like when an otherwise "friendly dog" attacks someone. They aren't insane in that moment; they were acting on circumstances that hadn't been in play prior to that moment.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

About This Elliot Rodgers Thing. Look, It's Not Misogyny or 'Rape Culture' That's To Blame

There has been a ton of talk online since the shooting happened and most of it is centred around misogyny, rape culture and guys feeling entitled to sex with girls who are not interested in them. The mainstream media, bloggers, etc have been postulating about this stuff and the answers they put forth are almost always missing the point. It's really, really, REALLY simple and it's not about hating women or seeing them as objects.

It's ignorance of human biology.

We men (and women, but the focus for now is on men) all have a biologically imposed need for sex and the objects of said need are going to be largely the same (ie, 'hot girls') as the 'hot ones' are the ones that bear the indicators of good genetic material. You know, youth, symmetry, health, hip to waist ratio, etc*(see below). These guys don't lust after these girls because they think of them as objects that they have a right to; they lust after them because millennia of evolutionary imperatives compel them to. This is exactly the same type of compulsion that drives women to want to feel safe and protected with their man. Are these women viewing men as security objects? Oh, what's that? "That's different?" Okay, explain how without just implying that sex is somehow less valid a need than security.

Hmmm...silence. Odd.

Want a hint? Either we all view one another as objects (because we ALL want certain things from someone else) or none of us do and it's all a part of life. You don't get to pick and choose which needs are 'okay' and which needs are 'objectifying' people. Doing that is simply sexism; ironically the very charge you're levying against the guys for wanting sex (which you do too, right?).

Look, snarkiness aside, all guys want sex; the only difference is the Elliot Rodgers' of the world never get their urges satiated. Year after year of this resulting in them becoming enraged after years of frustration is understandable and NOT a symptom of rampant misogyny. It's simply frustrated biological urges manifesting in a terrible, terrible way.

The real answer is not gun control, blogging about rape culture or any of that other nonsense: It's education, better communication in our society regarding sex and relationships, a removal of the stigma against male sex toys and legalized and affordable prostitution for guys who cannot get laid but really need to. You'll never get rid of the urges, nor can you change the fact that some guys will never get said urges satiated. So what you do is allow them to legally and safely satiate those urges, thereby allowing it to be done without harming another person.

You'll never get guys to stop lusting after women. And to think if you just educate them about "women not being objects" they will stop feeling this way is really missing the point. If you think you can condition this into them then logically you could condition the girls to be into the guys they aren't into, right? I mean, men aren't objects and maybe that nerd is an excellent person- if only she could get past her culturally induced ideas about what is attractive, right?

Oh, what's that? Suddenly biology is a factor?

Make up your damn minds!

I'll end this with this thought: Even if he did view women as "objects" how did those women view him? As nothing. would you rather be sexualized or totally ignored?

*Right here is where the 'women as objects crowd' will get all excited and say "see! he's talking about them like they are objects as well." Here's something you all need to hear, so listen up: People have physical characteristics and it is these characteristics upon which they are judged by men when it comes to sexuality. This is much in the same way as THOSE SAME GIRLS JUDGE THE GUYS AS NOT BEING 'WORTHY' OF SEX. Either both sides are objectifying the other, or neither is. Pick one but stop putting the onus on the guys only. As i pointed out above, if you want to talk about sexism, it's actually here in this area, and it's against men. Women categorize men all day long but anytime they feel like a guy might be categorizing them suddenly there's an epidemic of men viewing women like they are pieces of non sentient meat.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"I'm Already Bored With My Marriage" Marriage Advice From Logan at Cosmopolitan Magazine (And Then The Truth, From Me)

Ask Logan, taken from COSMO

I’ve been married for a year, but with my husband for almost five years all together. Within the past seven months, I have felt like we are drifting apart. When we’re together, we have nothing to talk about or everything he says annoys me. We are often in the same room together playing on our phones because there’s nothing to talk about. I was recently contacted by an old fling, someone I had a huge crush on for about five years and was good friends with. We only slept together twice but never actually dated. While talking to this guy, I felt giddy and all my previous feelings resurfaced. It felt as though I had never met my husband. I am conflicted and don’t know what I should do. I love my husband dearly, but I honestly feel bored with our relationship.
Their response:

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. There’s often a lull, right after the excitement of the engagement and the thrill of the wedding, when the honeymoon period peters out and two new spouses suddenly realize that they’re not newlyweds anymore: They’re just another married couple, sitting in another living room, playing Candy Crush on separate phones. And since you were together for four years before the wedding, I’m sure you have those days when you think that the wedding didn’t change much: that you are, in some sense, right back where you started.
You sound so disconnected — and you mention twice that you’re unable to even talk to each other. So, of course, this old flame rekindled some old passion. There’s nothing wrong with a little flirting: Everyone flirts a little. It feels good to be desired. But you have to know your limits (and your partner’s limits), and right now, you seem dangerously confused. It’s one thing to flirt harmlessly when you know it’s not going anywhere, but you’re playing with fire when you’re unhappy in your marriage and don’t know what you want. It’s probably not worth the risk. So think this through.
You say you love him dearly, so if you do, do not strike up some ill-conceived affair. It’s only been a year since you took your vows, so it’s too early to get complacent, and it’s too early to become fatalistically convinced that nothing is ever going to change. You’ve got to focus on your marriage and not distract yourself. So, before you do anything else, tell your husband how you’re feeling: Don’t let quiet resentment gnaw away at your relationship from the inside. Start a discussion about how the reality of your marriage is different from your expectations. And try to get a handle on what’s going on in his head too. He doesn’t sound that happy, either.
Then maybe do something pro-active. This might sound cheesy, but maybe you should break up the monotony with a vacation. Get out of that house where you’re always on your phones. Take a break, even if it’s just for a weekend. Try to talk and have fun and reconnect.
And try to stop thinking about this former crush. Since you are distraught, I’d recommend that you cut him out of your life until you know what you want. Think about it: There are probably reasons you only slept with this old flame and never dated him. And there are certainly many more reasons you loved your husband so much that you put a ring on his finger.
Now reality, courtesy of me:

Dear everyone who writes a litter like this:
The truth is, monogamy is not our biological norm and as such marriage is contrary to our nature. This sort of stuff will ALWAYS happen because the situation you're in is stupid to begin with and if we had been taught reality from the start no one would be in this mess.

Signed,

reality.

Friday, April 5, 2013

How Do You Feel About Love/Relationships At This Point In Your Life?


This was a forum topic I recently encountered and the following was my response:

At this point, having been married, single and everything in between, as well as seeing the experiences of people around me and reading about these things online, I have to say that I am opposed to relationships in which the two parties are living together. At least for now. I own my own house and am perfectly content being alone in it. I have absolutely no desire to live with another woman at this point (I have lived with 2 in my life).

As far as relationships that don't involve cohabitation go, I am not necessarily opposed to them but at this point in my life I don't even want that. To be honest, I have much more fun hanging out with friends/my brother than I ever did with a girlfriend/my ex wife. Really, if you take sex out of it, you have a friend, but in most cases, one that isn't as fun to be around as are your male friends since females and males are often so different (what they consider fun, the conversations you can have, etc). Of course I am generalizing here but that's the nature of the conversation.

I really believe that despite what we tell ourselves, access to sex might really be the biggest/most potent motivator for the forming of relationships. Not many relationships survive without it and guys will go to extreme lengths to put up with **** that they would NEVER take from friends and the reason for that is sexual desire- which, if you really want to deconstruct this, is simply the biological urge to procreate. I believe that alone is the basis for all of it, and everything else is  a nice little narrative constructed around it.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sex Before Marriage Rant

I wanted to rant about premarital sex and religion, and I decided to do it in the form of a response to a fictional character who would represent the real fears of many real people. Hence, witness my rant in the form of a response to Sam, a ficticious 18 year old who is concerned about the fact that he and his girlfriend of four years just had sexual intercource for the first time, despite the fact that they were planning on waiting for marriage. Sam feels dirty and ashamed of his 'sin,' as he calls it, and he is terrified of the possible consequences awaiting him in the afterlife.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sister Wives: What's the Big Fucking Deal? I Issue a Challenge to those against polygamy:

Sister Wives: What's the Big Fucking Deal?

So there's this show on TLC called Sister Wives, which I was not aware of until about 10 minutes ago. For those who do not know, it is a 'reality' show documenting/fictionalizing (you know how 'reality' shows go....) the lives of 5 adults and 13 children. The 5 adults are a man named Kody, and his four wives, and the thirteen children are, well, their children.

Yes, the show is about polygamists. How this is possible when polygamy is illegal in the U.S., I don't know, but it's happening (happened?) (not sure if it's still on or not). The guy is married to four women and the four marriages have thus far produced 13 children.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 3

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2"

Some further discussion has taken place. A new comment from him, in response to the last one I gave (featured in part two of this (originally not intended to be a) series:


Then again I never studied psychology so thank you for elaborating. I just don't know how that general psychology or psychoanalysis as you pointed out helps any in the business world other than bettering someone as a person. I feel the same about art even though I am kind of an artist myself; I think it's totally useless unless you're actually going into art.

And my response to that was as follows:

Well, I'm not sure why you're using the business world as an endpoint (remember though, I still basically agree with your contention), but if that's the one you're going with, I suppose one could argue that, ina ddition to bettering yourself, as you pointed out, you could possibly use an understanding of the human psyche to aid yourself in processes like detecting falsehoods, guaging prospective employees, social networking, closing deals, etc.


Not that I really buy that (well, to some limited degree, sure) but I think that could be an argument. Although, if you remove the business world as the end goal, you have all sorts of ends: the sake of knowledge, interest, interpersonal relationships (famiial, marital, etc), professional endeavours (counselling), etc etc.

I was never a fan of it, but I don't think it's wise to write it off entirely (not that you or I are necessarily doing that).

If you compare real world benefits of something like your field and psychoanalysis, I think that the clear winner is your field. I think the argument could be made that of all areas of study, mathematics is probably the most important, as much as I hate(d) it.
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one and/or part two, does this have any bearing on your opinion at all? As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

EDIT: Go back to part one to see a comment from this very same person. His original opinion is no longer one that he holds to the letter. I think we had a productive dialogue here. I also got his major wrong :(

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 2

This is a follow up to THIS post, entitled "Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit?"

A bit more discussion has taken place. Him:

At the same time many psychological hypotheses are not testable and repeatable and that is a controversy in psychology. Modern psychology does use the scientific method a lot so that's why I consider it to be somewhat of a science. I totally agree with what you said about neuropsychology and evolutionary psychology but when I was talking about psychology being 'lame' I was talking about the main branch of psychology that most people study in college. I think it's kind of useless in the business world, not totally though.
And my response:

You're talking about psychoanalysis, and you're 100% right. However, I don't think that's the most studied branch of psychology. I think (at least, it was at the university I attended), that psychoanalysis was taught in intro psyc as a starting point, and also in history of psyc courses. I could be wrong though, as this is only based on one school. I can say that there are so many branches of psyc now that I feel confident thinking that it's probably no longer #1, and I DO know that it's an area of contention within pyschology itself.


When I studied psychology, I took courses on psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, psychology of health, psychology of sleep, personality, learning psychology, psychology of media, social psychology, behavioural pychology, cognitive beahvioural therapy, etc etc etc. The only times I ever really studied psycholanalytic theory was in intro pych (aka psyc 101 as it is commonly referred to) and in the 4th year borefest, history of psychology. I believe a bit of it was also covered in a philiosophy class I took, as some of it wasrelevant to some of the philiosophical ideas we studied, but the details of this are hazy.

Thanks for the eaboration though, and I must say (and I say this with no condescension, I swear) that this serves as an example of how we must be careful when we speak, as it is easy to totally screw up and have our message be misconceived. I mean, you stright up denigrated all of psychology, when really, you were taking issue with a paritucular area of study within it. There's a huge difference there, and I went from being a bit....well, off put to completely understanding and even agreeing (although we could both be wrong in our conceptions, and I am sure there are plenty of people out there who would like to alleviate us of our misconceptions!!!!) (and they'd probably have a big problem with me, having studied it and all lol).
What do you think? If you offered an opinion after part one, does this have any bearing on that at all? Mine might not, as it is merely a retread since I had already discussed psychoanalytic theory, but his comment probably will, as it represents further clarification on his end; clarification which changed the way I saw his original comment, and quite likely may for you as well.

As always, feedback is mucho appreciado.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Psychology: Science? Unscientific? Bullshit? Pt. 1

I've heard it many times before, as I am sure many of us have:

 "Psychology is not a science." I have even heard that "psychology is bullshit."

While the second sentiment is not uncommon (over 700,000 hits on google), the first, "psychology is not a science," is VERY common (over 50 MILLION hits on ze goog). In fact, I just ran into one such comment and engaged in a small conversation regarding it.

An online friend of mine, who is a molecular biology (or was it microbiology?....I can't recall, but something to that effect) major recently made a comment to this end on a blog of mine, in which I had interviewed someone who is going to be majoring in pyschology (which was the discipline in which I attained my BA as well). Here is his comment:

I think a psychology major is so lame.
His response to me after I asked him for an elaboration was as follows:

Well from all of my friend's experiences they say they absolutely got nothing out of psychology so similar to what Lenano is planning on doing they all ended up changing their majors. I just don't like it as a science; at least not compared to sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Sure psychology incorporates some aspects of biology and chemistry, but for the most part unlike those sciences, it doesn't provide conclusive theories. Since psychology uses a lot of deductive reasoning most psychological theories are in actuality hypotheses. I do however commend psychology for elaborating on stuff like social sciences and stuff, but for the most part I think other sciences could figure that stuff out and I consider psychology to be basically philosophy involving biology and chemistry. I may be stupid for saying that but that's just how I feel towards psychology.
I responded to him with the following:

One problem with this is that many psychological theories are testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. They also, just like theories in other disciplines, are based upon evidence. They are the explanations for the facts, and therefore, they ARE theories as opposed to just hypotheses. I see what you are saying about the nature of deductive reasoning, don't get me wrong, but psychology has changed much in the last 50 or so years.


Biology might point out that x follows from Y, but the manifestation of X will have to be pyschology. So if you think that form and function are good, but the interactions between and processes behind those functions are ''lame,'' well, I'd say you're looking at an incomplete picture. Without psychology, you'd have neurology but no neuropsychology. Without psychology, you'd have evolutionary biology but no evolutionary psychology.

Psyc is sort of like the why to the how. And the why toay is functionally much different than the why's of people like Freud and Jung. Of course, there are still those fanciful pychoanalytical theories (or hell, hypotheses) out there, as you drive at, and I agree. Even back when I was a fresh undergrad, I had issues with that stuff.

And psychology is the reason I am in the career I am in today.
What do you think? Is psychology a science?