Volume 92, Issue 68

Thursday, January 28, 1999


No links proven

Unbalanced power

A tattered symbol of national pride

No clear proof of association

Looking out for No. 1 in the Valentine's Day battle

No links proven

Re: Porno degrades more than models, Jan. 22

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Jeremy Johnston's letter. I agree with many of his opinions. I think that Larry Flynt is a sleaze and his magazine has no socially redeeming features. I believe that there are limits to freedom of expression and these exist for the good of society. For example, I do not think that anyone would argue it would be acceptable to scream "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre merely as an exercise in freedom of expression.

I do object to one of the statements made by Johnston though. In his letter he claims that, "studies have proven, conclusively, that there is a link between sex crimes and pornography." However, he does not enlighten us with any information to support this claim.

If this statement is to be believed, we should have been told who the authors of the studies are and in which academic journals the studies have been published. We should also be told about the nature of the "links" that exist between sex crimes and pornography, particularly if the study is correlational.

The conclusions that can be drawn from a correlational study are vastly different from the conclusions that can be drawn from an experiment. For example, it may well be the case that there is a correlation between sex offenders and the possession of pornography, but I am willing to wager that there is an almost perfect correlation between sex offenders and the possession of milk in their refrigerators. Clearly it would be absurd to argue that milk should be banned as a result.

Letters to the Editor need not become term papers, complete with references and citations. If people want to refer to "studies" to support their arguments, that is fine. But if a study is worth referring to, it is worth identifying.

Robert Webber
Computer Science/Psychology III

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Copyright The Gazette 1999