Only three days ago, I made the observation that our regnant scientism is causing us to feel a need to seek confirmation of our most basic intuitive beliefs in research evidence. We are getting into the habit of thinking that the only way to be certain of the things that stare us in the face is to look back on them through the many-lensed mechanism of modern science and see if they show up. We seem to think that the things that are most certain must be established on the basis of things less certain than the things themselves--that, in short, we are trying to confirm obvious things by appealing to things that are less obvious. It is as if I were to go and water my garden, umbrella in hand, in the middle of a rain storm--and thought it was a perfectly normal thing to do.
Well, the rhetorical gods have smiled on me. Today the New York Times reports that researchers at the University of Texas wanted to find out why people have sex. Pause a moment if you will, and ponder this fact. On the other hand, maybe you'd better not.
Here are some of the reasons, according to these enterprising researches, people gave for having sex:
- "I was frustrated and needed relief"
- "I was bored"
- "It seemed like good exercise"
- "The person smelled nice"
- "The opportunity presented itself"
- "I wanted to get a job"
- "I wanted to end the relationship" (???)
- "It was a favor to someone"
- "I wanted to get rid of a headache"
- "I thought it would help me fall asleep"
I am not sure what is more frightening: that there are researchers at the University of Texas who don't know why people have sex, or that there are people who would seriously give these answers to a researcher.
I am tempted, in the wake of the release of this study, to call on everyone to head to the nearest fallout shelter and take refuge until this cultural crisis is over. The only thing preventing me from taking this extreme measure is my fear that I might have to share space with one of the study's respondents--that and the fact that I am not sure they even have fallout shelters anymore.
Next up on the University of Texas research agenda: A study on why people breathe.