One of things I do enjoy about social media is how it causes members of academia to out themselves as intellectual lightweights. Case in point – Dr. Eric Sprankle. According to his web page:
Dr. Eric Sprankle is an Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he serves on the faculty of the clinical psychology graduate program and the sexuality studies undergraduate program. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Minnesota, and an AASECT-certified sex therapist. Dr. Sprankle received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Xavier University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Human Sexuality. He currently leads the Sexual Health Research Team at MSU examining sex work stigma, the effects of sexually explicit material, older adult sexuality, and the intersections of sexual health and genital piercings.
I see. So Dr. Eric Sprankle is highly educated. PhD. Associate Professor. Clinical psychologist. Faculty member for the clinical psychology graduate program. Post-doc experience. Leads a Research Team.
If that’s all we had, you’d be tempted to think Sprankle is an intellectual force. But thanks to Twitter, Sprankle exposes himself as someone with a rather limited intellect:
Shortly after tweeting this, Tom Cleary easily body slams Sprankle:
Cleary is right – it helps if you actually read the text. In fact, that’s Scholarship 101. You can’t offer a scholarly response to something without having actually read what you are responding to. So Dr. Sprankle got caught lashing out against something he only vaguely understood, a mistake common among intellectual lightweights.
But it gets worse. True scholars can admit when they are wrong. Sprankle? He is psychologically invested in being seen as being smart. So he digs in his heels and reaches for a rationalization:
LOL. Nice try. We’ll skip over the vague and superficial understanding of the “biblical god” and instead draw upon Theology 101. Dr. Sprankle, you have already invoked the “all knowing” deity in the first tweet. Such a being would know the “yes” was a true yes. Such a being would know if someone was just saying yes for fear of punishment. Such a being would choose someone who would willingly and eagerly participate in such a momentous event in human history. What’s more, it is reasonable to assume that the percentage of young, devout, Jewish women who would have wanted to give birth to the Messiah was actually quite high.
Sprankle’s rationalization collapses like a house of cards. No one was put in a position of having to say yes when they wanted to say no. Nothing predatory at all.
But now that Sprankle has our attention (something he wanted), let’s consider some of his socio-political views.
He comes across as another dime-a-dozen social scientist who has carved out a little niche as an advocate/activist for “Sex workers’ rights.” And that got me thinking in terms of Sprankle’s “power difference” argument. I seem to recall that atheist activist Richard Carrier was also into “sex workers’ rights” and would argue that sex work empowers women because men are forced to pay for their services. But it would seem to me you could just as easily make the opposite argument – sex work empowers men because women are forced to serve in exchange for money. That is, how many sex workers are doing some sex acts they would not normally do except for the money? When a man can say to any sex worker, “You either perform or you don’t get your money,” it’s not clear that yes is really a yes. How often are sex workers put in the position of saying “yes” when they would rather say “no?” Thus, it’s ironic that Sprankle is so worried about consent in a biblical account when he champions a whole subculture where consent is blurred by money, money, money.
Things get even more murky when you consider that Sprankle is concerned about law enforcement cracking down on human trafficking. In February of last year, Sprankle wrote:
On February 23rd, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will vote whether to approve almost $400,000 in funding for the county sheriff’s and attorney’s offices to combat “sex trafficking.” The money would be used to hire two detectives and one investigator exclusively assigned to a sex trafficking task force.
We all know this means more cops will be combing through adult sex workers’ online content and advertisements to set up sting operations leading to arrest or forced diversion.
I have been in contact with my Commissioner (Peter McLaughlin, District 4) and the Chairperson of the Board (Jan Callison, District 6). I urge you to contact your County Commissioner to express concern about this funding request.
Finally, if you check through Sprankle’s twitter feed, he seems somewhat obsessed with the Satanic Temple. And that brings us full circle, as the Satanic Temple is clearly a magnet for intellectual lightweights. After all, it’s popular over at the Friendly Atheist.
I wonder if any of this creep’s students said ‘no’.
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Just start from the presupposition that the “biblical god” is a moral monster — problem solved. It works for Dawkins.
His twitter bio states: ” Clinical Psychology & Sexuality Studies • Sex education • Secularism • Sex worker rights”
Yea, that pretty much says it.