Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scientific Mating

Mechanical Matchmaking: The Science of Love in the 1920s

"Online dating sites like eHarmony and OkCupid claim they can find you the perfect romantic match by using algorithms. These kinds of sites have catchy slogans like “date smarter, not harder,” implying that they’ve finally perfected a scientific approach to matchmaking. Just answer a few questions, and their super-secret love science will find the person who is right for you.

While much of the “science” behind online dating sites has been called into question, that doesn’t seem to dissuade us from wanting to make the messy (and often frustrating) world of romantic love into something quantifiable. This idea, of course, is nothing new—and at least one futurist thinker of the early 20th century hoped that new technological developments might one day create the perfect matchmaking device.

The April 1924 issue of Science and Invention magazine ran an article by Hugo Gernsback, the magazine’s publisher, which examined the different “scientific” ways to determine if a marriage will succeed or fail.

How much would the average man or woman give to know beforehand if his or her prospective married life is to be success or failure? At present, marriage is a lottery. It seems impossible to predict beforehand how your prospective mate will turn out in the future. Through certain fundamentals, which can easily be ascertained, one can be reasonably certain as to one’s choice. We take extreme care in breeding horses, dogs and cats, but when we come to ourselves we are extremely careless and do not use our heads nor the means that science puts in our hands for scientific breeding. There are certain basic tests which can be made today and which will give one a reasonable assurance of married happiness."

via the consistently reliable Disinformation
Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.