In one of the interminable threads that devolved into endless discussions of pedophilia a couple of months ago, I raised an academic question about whether those who were commenting could come up with a reason why pedophilia was "wrong" without relying on a Judeo-Christian cultural context.   The history, I argued, was that in Greece and to a lesser extent in Rome, pedophilia in some forms was culturally acceptable; only those pesky Christians managed to radically change the culture.

For me it was just an academic speculation, but apparently I was much closer than I had ever considered possible.

In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”

Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.


Child welfare experts responded to Dawkins’ remarks with outrage — and concern over their effect on survivors of abuse.


I'm just curious what people think?   Even in the midst of the groping, fondling, and raping of kids, and hiding/covering up of the crimes which occurred among clergy of my faith, it was exceptionally rare that anyone actually tried to condone it as being harmless. 

Tags: Dawkins, Richard, pedophilia

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A last reminder that pedophiles can be indistinguishable from everyone else. Teach your children to pay attention to their own radar. If someone seems strange to them, they should feel enpowered to be able to tell a trusted adult.

You're right. Many pedophiles adopt the camouflage of ultra-normality. As for the second sentence, kids need to be told that if anyone seems to want to do something strange with them, to say, "I will ask my parents if this is okay first" and then to be sure to ask. The pedo is likely to say "Oh, he/she misunderstood me," but at least parents can thenceforth be on guard.

It's just sad that hiding among those who really do love children are people with ulterior motives, and sometimes we need the children themselves to identify them.

I, for one, am grateful that you have bared so much of yourself here.

Thanks Unseen, here's the thing: while I myself have had several experiences in my own life of sexual abuse, as I'm reaching out for support and healing from it I can honestly say that MANY women share my experiences. I know that these things don't happen over night. Ted Bundys don't just wake up and decide to do those sort of heinous disgusting happens slowly over a period of time, usually from childhood experiences. And so the abuse is passed on. The abused becomes abusers. If there were a way to help to-be abusers when they are young, or give a voice to those who need help without the social stigma of labeling them criminal before they are one, it WOULD be a very good thing.

My own earliest experience of sexual abuse happened as a child with a boy my own age. I know that he himself was abused. These things are taught. He then learned how to do the same to me. I never told a soul until I became an adult. I do not know what happened to him. But I am saddened to think I was possibly only the first victim of his. And no this was not a "playing doctor" situation. I don't want to get into detail, but just make the point that there are too many children who experience trauma who are never forced to deal with it. It manifests ALL kinds of issues. Parents must advocate for their children, and get them professional help.

My own son is already showing signs of trauma and he is 4 years old. I am getting him into therapy. I know he is at risk for becoming a bully. He already has and I am doing everything I can to address this now. I hope I can get him the help he needs. He's already shown physical violence towards a special needs child. He's basically repeating what his own father demonstrated. I have to undo that thinking. I need help doing so. We (as a society) need to get practical and the "threat" of going to jail (for example I'm having to watch how I word what his father did so CPS doesn't get called) needs to be removed for people who are earnestly seeking help for themselves and for their children. The challenge will always be distingushing those who are genuine from the sociopaths who can (and will) figure out how to play the system to their benefit.

While we can work on perfecting the system, and should, the system won't ever be 100% perfect. Any system will have gaps and cracks that both some abused children and some wrongly suspected adults will slip through. It's no different from anything else, like protecting children from traffic accidents.

@Belle - you're right, we have to remember that every abuser has been abused, and every bully has been bullied.  I think this idea is a gateway to correct humane treatment and breaking a cycle. 


I'm also interested to learn why do a lot of children who were raised in violence never repeat the behaviour as adults.


Unfortunately, I think it will probably lie in differences in the children more than outside forces. I say unfortunately, because that doesn't suggest a potential "handle" on the problem.

I have no stats at my fingertips, but I've read of a study that indicated that when tested for brain wave activity, psychopaths showed none in the area believed to be responsible for empathy, when shown an eclectic variety of photographs - it was as though they had no idea as to what others felt.


"psychopaths showed none in the area believed to be responsible for empathy,"

"it was as though they had no idea as to what others felt."

OMG - are you hearing bells and whistles going off  in your head now archie?

Did you get a lightbulb moment with that statement you just made????

This is why fostering empathy is so important - Are you getting the picture now?


Is there a theory that psychopaths exist because of a lack of fostering of empathy? I thought it was a brain defect.

Wouldn't it seem logical that a brain defect might inhibit activity in that part of the brain?




"Is there a theory that psychopaths exist because of a lack of fostering of empathy? I thought it was a brain defect."

Both - and you can have the gene which is responsible for psychopathy- which is the MAOA-L gene and not act on it. It all depends on the environment in which one is raised.

The MAOA-L gene can remain dormant in a nurturing environment.

There are a lot of people carrying that gene, the ratio is similar to left handers, Raise those people in an environment like Islam or Kenya or domestic violence and - well - you have a disaster.


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