Lynch's Hypothesis (was Lynch's Memetic Theories about Masturbation

Timothy Perper/Martha Cornog (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 11:52:15 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 11:52:15 -0500
From: (Timothy Perper/Martha Cornog)
Subject: Lynch's Hypothesis (was Lynch's Memetic Theories about Masturbation

Aaron Lynch wrote:

>>not dismiss a body of data as large as these two datasets.
>Show me good data on reproduction versus age in taboo and non-taboo
>populations, and I will not dismiss it. Show me data that cannot be used in
>the parameters of memetic analysis, and I have no choice but to set it aside.

Cannot be used??? You mean you don't see HOW to use it in *your*
particular kind of memetic analysis.

Lynch insists that if one compares the realized fertilities of men who
masturbate and who do not, then non-masturbating men will prove to have
more offspring. And that effect, he claims, is one reason why
anti-masturbation memes spread. He also insists that there aren't data
bearing on the issue. That means we don't know. Maybe it's plausible,
maybe it isn't. WE DO NOT KNOW.

On the other hand, let's say we have population #1 with (male) masturbation
rate of X1 and impregnation rate Y1, and population #2 with masturbation
rate X2 and impregnation rate Y2. If X1 > X2, what is the predicted
difference between Y1 and Y2?

1. Y1 > Y2. The more masturbation, the higher the impregnation rate.

2. Y1 = Y2. Impregnation rate is independent of masturbation rate.

3. Y1 < Y2. The more masturbation, the lower the impregnation rate.

Which of these three best represents Lynch's hypothesis?

Now, it might be wise to forestall another long answer from Lynch by saying
that we all understand that he wants a "pure" test of his idea, and that he
wants to stratify men into two groups according to the presence or absence
of masturbation and examine their impregnation rates. However, the
question now concerns the two populations above, which do not repesent that
ideal: for those less than ideal populations, which of them best
represents Lynch's hypothesis?

This question seems to deal *directly* with how to examine the relative
importance of two memetic hypotheses. One says that memes reproduce by
giving their carriers a reproductive advantage, and the other by saying
that memes reproduce regardless of the realized fertility of their
carriers. Both these possibilities may readily hold true, and they may
operate in the same or different directions. So we are using masturbation
as a way of thinking about two quite significant memetic processes.

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