Head 'em up and move 'em out: Edmonton-style

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

E-Harmony = E-Bigotry

Tis the season of romance. Though how that’s even conceivable in the midst of this nasty winter is beyond me; nothing says romance like snot icicles dripping from your nose, I guess. But regardless, Valentine’s Day is approaching and I’m no Valentine’s basher. I love chocolate. And any holiday (made up and commercialized to hell or not) that provides the justification for the consumption of unhealthy amounts of chocolate is alright by me. So of course in perusing my monthly magazine selections this past week or so, I’ve noticed a lot of articles devoted that most mystical of topics: looooove.

But more interestingly, a lot of these articles have been focused on understanding to the so-called science of love. While I usually tend to roll my eyeballs at these types of articles (talk about taking all the mystery out of a good old fashioned crush), I did find one or two interesting things. First, apparently the reason why it’s hard to let go after having your ass dumped may actually have to do with a triggering of addiction receptors in your brain. So that heroin habit may end up being easier to kick than that summer fling. And speaking of alcohol (presumably involved in some small part with the creation of that fling), the whole ‘beer goggles’ thing isn’t as far-fetched as we thought. It’s not just a lowering of inhibitions that might cause one of those fatal errors in judgement, but our actual perceptions of beauty and what is a desirable trait in a mate that are altered by the chemicals in alcohol. So there are at least one or two things we can blame on biology to excuse the various ridiculous behaviours one engages in once bitten by the love bug.

The second interesting article appeared in this month’s Skeptical Inquirer and was geared at shedding some light on just how far science can actually go in determining the best matches for us. In the process, the author helped to highlight a nasty little side to one of the most popular internet dating companies around: E-Harmony.

First off the bat, the so-called scientific approach of logarithmic compatibility mumbo-jumbo jargon expressed by E-Harmony is bunk. Total and complete bunk. Not only do they not have any hard science or mathematics to back up their claims, but by their own assertions they’ve only produced 9 thousand matches that have led to marriage out of 5 million people using the service. Not that we should be too surprised at the lack of scientificity involved; the fact that 10% of the population who signs up to their system is considered completely “incompatible” kind of makes you wonder. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist/nuclear physicist/biological chemist/neurosurgeon/insertotherscienceyjobhere to figure out that chemistry (pun intended) cannot be determined by a machine. And personally, I like to think I’ve got more than 29 dimensions to my personality.

But the more troubling revelation in the issue was something that isn’t immediately apparent if you look to sign up on their website. Oh wait, unless you’re gay. Then it’s immediately apparent. Because if you happen to be looking for love with someone of the same sex, you’ve picked the wrong matchmakers. Apparently the founder of E-Harmony, Neil Clark Warren (the creepy guy on the ads) does not believe that gays and lesbians are worthy of being loved. Or rather, that they’re not worthy of being scammed by the same money-grubbing software as us heteros. Now it only takes about two minutes of Googling to determine that Warren is a pretty hardcore evangelical Christian. fine, no problem. HOWEVER, no where on the E-Harmony website does it indicate that this is a Christian-oriented dating service. Its stated intention as a company is to create “loving, lasting relationships.” So what’s next? Banning anyone who intends to ‘live in sin’ rather than get married?

And if all this wasn’t enough for you to avoid E-Harmony, then remember this: the hard-earned dollars you shell out to join the service will be going to fund the same right-wing fundamentalists who helped elect George W. for a second term…*shudder*