Seriously, Please Read These Tweets

Seriously, Please Read These Tweets

As you know if you’re a regular reader of her posts, Calico isn’t much of a social media person. Part of this is that she’s not particularly social in the first place, but it’s also largely her desire to avoid exposure to corrosive stupidity, a legion of con artists, men who send unsolicited photos of their genitals and the extended Clan Kardashian.

The down side to her social media aversion, of course, is that Calico is always the last to know when there’s something good on social media, whether that good thing be new music, a funny video, or an invitation to an event put on by a good friend of hers who apparently doesn’t believe in using the phone, email, text or snail mail anymore.

Luckily, Calico has friends who forward her links all the time — and more fortunately still, Calico occasionally even clicks those links. (Admittedly, this is also how Calico’s old laptop got its crippling malware infection… thanks again for forwarding that, Sarah.) One such recent link-forwarding led Calico to a tweet thread that was — and I can’t believe I’m typing this even as I do so — filled with useful information and observations.

Stunned by this highly unlikely development, Calico had little choice but to type out her latest post, the appropriately titled “Seriously, Please Read These Tweets.”

– Calico Rudasill, Porn For Women

read these tweets

Read on…

Today, I’m going to do one thing I almost never do in my posts, which is to be semi-serious for at least portions of it and I’m going to do another thing that I never do in my posts, which is to recommend that people read something on Twitter.

Why do I never recommend that people read stuff on Twitter? Mostly because I’m never on the site and have zero idea what’s being discussed over there at any given time. But I also avoid recommending things on Twitter because that place is so packed with misinformation, scams and toxic trolls that it just doesn’t feel very neighborly to recommend it to anyone.

I’m making an exception today though, because Dr. David Ley recently tweeted some things that people need to hear.

I Am Also a “Neuroscientist” – to the Extent I Know What Brains Are and Where They Can Be Found

Dr. Ley’s thread begins by noting that in a recent report about Billie Ellish’s claims that porn had “destroyed” her brain, the BBC “introduced Dr. Trish Leigh as a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.”

“Pretty prestigious school, impressive title,” Ley added.

In the BBC segment, Leigh makes a series of terrifying sounding claims about porn, including that as you watch porn, it is going about in your brain “knocking out functioning in the frontal lobe and frying out cells in the reward center.”

“In the end people don’t feel well and develop mental health issues,” Dr. Leigh claimed.

The only problem? Trish Leigh isn’t a neuroscientist, nor is she currently affiliated with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The other, much bigger, problem, of course, is that what she’s claiming isn’t supported by anyone who is a credible neuroscientist.

It just so happens that my older sister is a retired neurologist, herself. When I asked her about Dr. Leigh’s claims, without saying anything about Leigh’s credentials (or lack thereof), her immediate response was: “I’m betting the person who made these claims is not a neurologist – or is an unethical neurologist who is more concerned with selling books than providing accurate information.” 

Hammer, meet nail.

As Dr. Ley pointed out in another of his tweets, “Leigh has a PhD, but it’s in communication disorders. She identifies that she ‘did training on cognitive science track’ but I’m uncertain how that works or what it means. Her degree isn’t in cognitive science, neuroscience or psychology.”

Gee, it’s almost like Leigh has exaggerated her qualifications so people will take her claims more seriously than if she described herself as a “speech-language pathologist with an strong interest in discouraging people from watching porn,” or something more honest like that.

There’s Always a Grift

So, what IS Leigh’s interest in getting people to stop watching porn? 

Maybe she just genuinely and strongly believes porn is bad for people. Or maybe it’s a good position to take if you want to generate income through Patreon, YouTube channels and generally selling people on the idea that you can teach them to “rock out their full potential by harnessing the power of their brains,” like it says on her Twitter profile.

Whatever her motivation, the problem here isn’t merely Trish Leigh, or the others like her that Dr. Ley mentions in his thread. The problem is media outlets like the BBC – who really ought to know better and do a better job of vetting their ‘experts’ – giving people like Leigh a forum to spout their nonsense and burnish their public profile.

As Dr. Ley observed in closing his thread: “Why is the porn addiction industry such a hotbed of fraud and misrepresented credentials? Because snake oil and moral panics always draws out the grifters – they know that fear makes you an easy target. Sadly, media needs to do their job, before citing so-called experts.”

At the risk of sounding dreadfully unscientific myself: Amen, Dr. Ley. A-fucking-men.


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