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.

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.

"are you hearing bells and whistles going off  in your head now archie?" - are you saying you've added auditory hallucinations to your religious delusions? I don't hear a thing, but if you do, sea kelp --

I AM curious as to why you don't change your profile from "atheist," as you're clearly not.



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