Analysis: Morality In Media Doesn't Understand Sexual Science

NEW YORK - Ed Hynes, one of Morality In Media's resident anti-porn "experts" has taken a crack at interpreting Prof. Anthony D'Amato's theory (which AVN reported here) that the proliferation of sexually explicit material – "porn" – is the primary cause for a decrease in the rate of rapes in the U.S. from 1980 to 2004, the last year for which such figures have been reported.

A "rate," of course, is an arithmetic function, comparing the relationship between two different quantifiable units; in this case, between the number of rapes occurring yearly in the United States and the population of the U.S.. Prof. D'Amato found that in 1980, there were 2.7 rapes per 1,000 U.S. citizens versus 0.4 rapes per 1,000 citizens in 2004.

But this decrease of the rape rate by 85%, even when the U.S. population grew by about 60 million during that period, isn't good enough for Hynes.

"He [D'Amato] fails to mention that the actual number of rapes in the United States in 2004 was an appalling 95,089, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports," Hynes writes in a Morality In Media press release today. "This was an increase of nearly 15% in the incidence of rape from the 82,990 rapes recorded by the FBI in 1980."

Of course, the fact that the U.S. population grew by approximately 25% over that time period apparently doesn't bother Hynes, even though it shows that his "15% [growth] in the incidence of rape" didn't even keep up with population growth – another fact that could be attributed to the availability of porn.

"Would it console the 95,089 rape victims of 2004 to know that the rate per thousand had 'plunged?" Hynes moans. "Would it seem to them that we’re getting better as a nation in the rape department? Would they feel better about pornography?"

In other words, the fact that porn may have only led to a phenomenal decrease in the number of rapes per 1,000 people isn't good enough for him; porn apparently would have had to wipe out rape entirely in order to get any respect from Hynes!

Hynes' press release goes on to claim – falsely, of course – that the "phantom plunge" in the rape rate couldn't have had anything to do with porn because, "Clinical psychologists, people who actually know something useful about such matters, say something else: masturbating to pornographic images is addictive, and the addiction escalates to compulsive acting out of the pornographic fantasies, which is where rape and prostitution sometimes come in."

No, Ed; some people suffer from obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD), and can become fixated on anything from gambling to hand-washing to praying, none of which actions have anything to do with the disorder itself ... just like porn doesn't.

"Professor D’Amato should know better," Hynes claims. "Common sense should tell him what effect 'triple-X pornography movies' would have on youngsters already struggling with their hormones. And as a lawyer he must know that the distribution of hardcore obscene pornography violates federal obscenity law and the obscenity laws of most states. Yet he says nothing about breaking the law."

Perhaps Ed can be excused for not knowing that "common sense" once told people that the Earth was flat, and that sacrificing virgins on an altar would make the harvest plentiful ... but that's why one of the most important advances in human history has been the development of the scientific method, which puts hypotheses based on "common sense" to the test of experimental replication – something the anti-porn crowd has never even attempted to do.

Therefore, when Hynes quotes Dr. Mary Ann Layden, who testified to a Senate Commerce Subcommittee that porn was an "equal opportunity toxin," that "If you want sexual violence on campus you can tutor it using pornographic movies. Movie imagery is massively potent to tutor behaviors," he fails to mention that Layden has no scientific evidence to back that up – and that Drs. Edward Donnerstein, Daniel Linz and Steven Penrod both studied and actually did such experiments more than 20 years ago and found that non-violent porn has no effect whatsoever on college students' propensity (or lack thereof) toward violence.

From that point on, however, Hynes' claims take a right-turn into the Twilight Zone.

"For example," Hynes writes, "if pornography is good for sexual behavior, why do we have a new slave trade, with some 800,000 women and children trafficked into prostitution each year, some 20,000 of them into the United States?"

Um ... because porn isn't made with trafficked women and children? (That's illegal, y'know, and the federal government makes producers keep records to prove its performers' identities.)

"If pornography is good for sexual behavior," he continues, "why do we have 40,000 new HIV infections annually in the U.S., and 19 million new infections of all the other sexually transmitted diseases?"

Because people like yourself object to schools providing comprehensive sex education to children that would teach them how to use condoms, masturbation and other methods to avoid contracting sexually-transmitted infections?

"If pornography is good for sexual behavior," he continues further, "why do we have 627,000 registered sex offenders in the United States?"

Because, as noted on an ABC "20/20" report titled "The Age of Consent" just last Friday, people – children! – get branded as "sex offenders" these days for behavior as innocuous as slapping a fellow student on the ass in public on the way home from school, and minors who have sexual relations with each other can both be branded sex offenders even though they screw consensually? Reporter John Stossel even reported instances where girls who falsely accused their boyfriends of molestation, earning those boys "sex offender" status, admitted they'd lied and tried to recant their accusations but were unable to do so.

"And why are 19,000 of them – twice the national average – in Oregon, where the obscenity laws were thrown out by the state supreme court in 1987?" Hynes concludes.

First of all, Oregon has never had enforceable obscenity laws; the state's constitution precludes them. But granting Hynes' (questionable) statistics for a moment, aside from the Northwest's reputation as a more libertarian area of the country, could it be that Oregon is just a nice place to live? And of course, Hynes fails to cite any statistics regarding the number of sex offenses in that state, which, if the sex offender population there were actually a problem, would be evidence of that.

Hynes ends his piece with a rant about D'Amato's suggestion that the legalization of abortion of unwanted fetuses correlates with a later reduction in crime because "unwanted children" are the "most likely group to turn to crime" – a concept accepted by just about every sociology professor and textbook in the world.

But not by Hynes, of course.

"This is a kind of eugenics the Nazis would have understood," Hynes conflates. "Eugenicists seek to improve the human species, a noble purpose. How they do that is sometimes another story. Methods have ranged from controversial to malevolent. The range has included selective breeding, prenatal testing and screening, genetic counseling, abortion and other forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, genetic engineering, and state-sponsored discrimination, forced sterilization, the killing of institutionalized mental patients, and, in some cases, the genocide of whole populations judged to be 'inferior'."

So ... women who don't want children but get pregnant anyway, and subsequently have abortions ... are Nazis?

Maybe you can sell that horseshit to the Fox News crowd, Ed, but fortunately, adult content producers and their customers are better educated than that.