Learning to have sex from watching porn is about as effective as learning to drive from watching car chase movies. And unfortunately, that’s what our sex education system forces people to do. Rather than helping people learn how to make authentic sexual choices, communicate with a partner, set boundaries or identify their needs, desires, and goals, we withhold information and then shame them for making mistakes. Is it any wonder that people are trying to learn how to have sex from porn?
Porn isn’t any more of a fantasy than a romantic comedy or an action movie is. But until we give people more accurate ideas about sex, there’s no way to balance it out. And to critique porn for doing something that every other genre of entertainment does seems a bit silly to me. After all, there’s no reason to have higher expectations for porn than we do for action movies.
At best, we nurture the fantasy that knowledge is always cumulative, and therefore concede that future eras will know more than we do. But we ignore or resist the fact that knowledge collapses as often as it accretes, that our own most cherished beliefs might appear patently false to posterity.
That fact is the essence of the meta-induction — and yet, despite its name, this idea is not pessimistic. Or rather, it is only pessimistic if you hate being wrong. If, by contrast, you think that uncovering your mistakes is one of the best ways to revise and improve your understanding of the world, then this is actually a highly optimistic insight."