Re: Masturbation sections in TC

Timothy Perper/Martha Cornog (
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 19:44:18 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 19:44:18 -0500
From: (Timothy Perper/Martha Cornog)
Subject: Re: Masturbation sections in TC

Aaron Lynch responding to TP/MC on 6/18/97:

>I recently invited Bill Benzon to be specific about the "blinding" effects
>of Dawkinsian memetics by explaining how it pertains to the memetics of
>masturbation, a familiar topic and one which arises early in my book
>Any grasp of the bare bones thesis of this book requires reading at least
>the whole first chapter, available online at
> An intelligent discussion of how the
>book's thesis handles the proliferation of sex taboos such as those against
>masturbation and also the proliferation of competing sexual liberation
>memes (e.g., in separate eras) requires reading THE WHOLE BOOK. (Not too
>much to ask, since the book is short and introductory in nature.)
> --Aaron Lynch

TP/MC: I (TP) have indeed read the entire book. However, we stress that
you yourself listed the pages that discussed masturbation, and it was to
those pages and discussion that we are responding. Indeed, the reason we
asked you to list those pages was to avoid vague references to other
material somewhere else: we must try to focus our attention on specific

Furthermore, you yourself invited discussion of specific topics in your
comments to Bill Benzon. If you do not wish to comment about what we
wrote, that is of course your privilege.

We are stressing this issue because discussions on this list have been
hampered by vague theoretical generalities. If memetics is to achieve the
respect its practitioners desire, it must be able to deal in detail with
specific data and specific cases. If you do not do so -- and that is up to
you -- then memetics remains only a fuzzy mass of untestable hypotheses,
Monday-morning quarterbacking, and "educated guesswork" that, in the
masturbation case, are contradicted by large masses of data gathered by
specialists and scholars.

In brief, either memetics is science or it isn't. If it is, then the
critique we posted must be discussed. If not, then memetics fails.

Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog

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