Tuesday, 18 June 2013

No 10 Porn Summit or Why politicians don't understand cause and effect

Today is going to be a rant about why politicians are stupid opportunistic thugs who try to bully the rest of us with rhetoric. Now you cannot blame them for using rhetoric and not actual evidence based argument as that is the definition of a politician. Plato hated politicians for exactly that reason, because they are sophists with made up arguments that are not based on any reasoning or evidence.

Even if they do use evidence they get the reasoning backwards. Today they announced that there will be a number 10 porn summit. This is happening because of the two recent terrible murders of children by paedophiles and the finding that they both had violent child pornography on their computers. The argument is that this violent pornography caused them to carry out their terrible crimes. Sadly for their argument there is no evidence that this is the right direction for causality. Paedophiles like seeing images of paedophilia. It does not cause them to becomes paedophiles it is a consequence of them being paedophiles. The same backwards arguments were used over violence and video games and is used against pornography in general. If you look at the Williams Report they found no link between porn and violence against women, neither did the Howett and Cumberbatch report and it was not until the previous government that any link was proven and this was based on two discredited reports from Australia and the US that were methodologically flawed.

What you are talking about if you force ISPs to block porn is massive state censorship on the same level as that in China or Iran. First it is hardly practical without serious consequences for service and speeds. Secondly it will block a large amount of non pornographic material while letting a lot of porn through. For example this blog article might be banned because I say porn so often but explicit sexual images will be hard to filter from twitter, tumblr and other social media. Unless they have associated meta-data or they are reported then it will not work. The reporting system will be horrendous to implement and enforce, just look at the current problems Facebook has. So we are going to allow the government to censor and force us to opt in to porn. What will they censor next? Will we all be forced to swallow a Daily Mail view of the world or we have to opt in to get the Guardian or the Independent?

Anyway as is usual with politicians it is just distraction from real issues that affect real people, like the NHS, the economy, tax cheats, education etc. All the things that affect everybody.

PS I just read this comment

 I find so many of the comments very depressing. It is good that the government is taking the issue of the internet being used to circulate child abuse images and the proliferation and wide availability of pornography, seriously. Perhaps some of the writers would do well to read the report by Dr Linda Papdopoulos, which establishes a "clear link" between sexual imagery and violence against women.

We could do but the Papadopoulos report is a pile of unsubstantiated nonsense written by the Big Brother Psychologist. It has largely been debunked and is based on no empirical evidence. There is no clear link and it has not been shown ever by anyone. 

This one is even better. Showing that regardless of the evidence convictions matter more in making decisions. This person would get on well with Michael Gove.

 491. Ernie
"Societies with easy availability of porn suffer from less rape and assault, suggesting it is actually a positive."
I'm sorry, but I can't accept that. I've seen first hand the heartache that can be caused by casual attitudes towards pornography (and sex in general). Addictions can easily develop and families can be torn apart through lack of trust.

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