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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I am not in the habit of ranking dissimilar acts, but I really wouldn't set cannibalism apart. If someone kills me then they kill me. It could be excruciating or swift. What they do with my body after may violate society's sensitivities, and perhaps disturb my family, but as the direct victim, it makes no real difference to me.

Then we have to admit that sex, no matter who is involved as long as no physical harm is done, (The kind in which Dawkins is supposedly defending) is not the worst thing you can do to someone. 

Setting aside litotic statements, there are too many variables beyond the physical to settle on such a statement. In a non-consensual scenario where there is a significant disparity in power, then even sexual activity which does no significant physical hard has the potential to seed rather deep feelings of helplessness, shame, and mistrust. This, in less mild terms, is what I have been told by more than one person who has experienced it directly. I don't pretend they represent the entirety of experiences by any stretch of the imagination, but having been shown just the tip of the iceberg, it seems to me that the damages can be quite severe and potentially worse than the purely physical aspects.


I'm sick of people who are not in any way, shape, or form involved with the event effectively labeling the perpetrator as a cannibalistic demon, and the victim as a blind, mute paraplegic. The first is mentally ill, and the second is a fucking human being, let them decide where to go after that.

......I think that this is a mischaracterization possibly perceived by what you see in the media. And remember that children are the most vulnerable....the demographic Dawkins seems to be addressing by his comments. And remember there are SOOO many incidents of sexual abuse towards children that are never reported...Most of what we see on the news are the reports of violent crimes, prostitution, drugs, poverty...etc of the parents' lifestyle, and many times the sexual abuse happening to their children goes unnoticed, unannounced, and ultimately MOST cases the perpretrator rarely gets prosecuted and if they do they serve time equivalent to a slap on the wrist.

Most victims/survivors I know do not consider themselves as mute, paraplegic, or blind, but they instead struggle with guilt, self-blame, confusion, and in many cases they fall in love with their rapists and enable the abuse to continue. Some victims don't even know they are victims until years later, but instead they believe they are in a "relationship" with someone who "loves them." This is never talked about unless you actually talk to someone who's gone through it.

I didn't say that the victims feel like that, I said that the onlookers act like that's what the victims are, and it pisses me off when that happens. It's up to the victim and whoever the victim chooses to rely on, and the crowd of gawkers needs to disperse.


I'm also very disappointed with him for making that ridiculous and irresponsible comment.

If he thinks that it didn't affect him then he is delusional.

Maybe we need a book titled "Dawkins Delusions about Mild Pedophilia"

even calling it "mild" is irresponsible.

He claims that "mild" pedophilia is harmless yet he would say that mild religious indoctrination is harmful. I think he's going mad.

I've always been suspicious that RD has a serious "empathy deficit".

Now I know where and how he lost it.


He claims that "mild" pedophilia is harmless yet he would say that mild religious indoctrination is harmful. I think he's going mad.

That is a tad worrisome. I wouldn't call it mad, but it's certainly not rational. As for being short on empathy, I have also noticed this trait, which somewhat limits his ability to effectively serve as a role model and leader that new atheists could fully embrace. 


"short on empathy,I have also noticed this trait,"

Im glad others are begining to notice it.

Yeah I have to disagree with Dawkins on this as well. I think the tendency with sexual activities no matter how "harmless" they may begin, is that they increase in degree. Just because his school master didnt take it further with him does not mean he did not push it with another student, and cause severe harm to that child.

Had Dawkins been my son and I had heard this had happened I would have done all I could to prevent this person from teaching any where and pressed charges, not because I hate the person but to prevent harm to other children.

I think Dawkins may be starting to slip a bit. I recently stopped following him on twitter after he just resorted to name calling at "progressive Liberals" and their Islamaphobia labeling.

I thought he was better than that. But he, as are we all are only human.

Every man has a breaking point. He tends to get into shouting matches with opponents that might as well be brick walls, as much as they're willing to listen. The scary part is that he really doesn't seek these fights out. They come to him, since he's the poster boy.

He already responded to that.

As for you:

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.

Well the only reason your religion would ever even try to suggest that child-adult relationships are wrong is because pretty much every fucking relationship is considered wrong in your religion.  It's just a happy accident. Your religion, along with others like Islam, denies humans even the most decent forms of human affairs and love. The only kinds of sexual relationships that your religion is ok with, is one heterosexual man with one or more of his chattels (ie women).

Hell, you can even rape her beforehand if that's what it takes. So long as you marry her! 

So no, sorry, but your judeo-christian culture gets not kudos for saying pedophilia would be wrong. Which I'm not even sure it does, considering all your child-raping priests and the church's efforts to cover it up. It almost seems like molesting kids is one of the commandments.

Good post, kOrsan, and good catch on the Dawkins rebuttal.  The Professor/Doctor Bob only skims contentious subject matter to post - you'd think by now he might look a bit deeper, but then again, there's that bloody great elephant in the room, the invisible god postulate thing that he clings to.  Doesn't really matter what the topic is, there is still that damn elephant :)

My phone wont give me the image option to post this properly, but...

Hahaha H3xx, here, I'll put up the image for you :)


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