Re: Masturbation sections in TC

Bill Benzon (
Thu, 19 Jun 1997 06:56:30 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 06:56:30 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: Masturbation sections in TC

Aaron Lynch says,

>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

I read the whole chapter. The section on masturbation seems to me to meet
the basic demands of a causal explanation. Beyond that, of course, one
would like to know whether or not the proposed explanation is true. On
that score I really don't have much to say. I'm not an expert in that area
like Tim & Martha are, though I have, at various times, read quite a bit
about human (& primate) sexuality. Their remarks seem pertinent & at the
moment I'm inclinced to think this particular memetic hypothesis is not
very plausible.

Of course, Lynchian memetics isn't going to rise or fall on a single
example. But as Tim & Martha have said, if memetics is going to be
persuasive, it has to stand up to detailed critique.

>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.)
Whether or not it's too much to ask depends. Even before this list got
started I had read the book chapter, and one of your more technical papers
(perhaps the one currently up as "for scientists only" -- which I assume is
a forbidden fruit meme, designed to attract maximum interest to the hidden
core or memetics). On that basis I decided not to get the book.

I suppose that means I'm not equiped to participate in an intelligent
discussion of how CT deals with sex taboos & liberation taboos. Fair

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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