Debate:Pedophilia is Pseudoscience

Discussion in 'Formal debates' started by ancientregime, Feb 24, 2009.

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  1. ancientregime Banned Banned

    Moderator note: participants in this Formal Debate are ancientregime and James R.

    For details of the rules of the debate, see the [thread=90786]Proposal[/thread] thread.
    If you'd like to discuss the debate, please use the [thread=90940]Discussion[/thread] thread.


    I decided only to focus on the legal aspect of the argument. I think this will be enough to argue. If you want me to keep the psychiatric side, I will, only because I did say I would. I myself would rather argue it separately, with you or someone else. It's up to you. I'll post it if necessary. Anyway, here is my opening argument.

    The interest in child erotica and adults who engage in sexual behavior with children is viewed as a crime by US Code. One way to prove Congress views it as a crime is their criminalization of visual depictions of child erotica. Congress claims the interest of child erotica and the production of child erotica is a threat to society and a threat to the children who model in child erotica. Because child erotica cannot be proven to be harmful, except in the most rare cases, they are using pseudo-science on which to base their laws.

    Proof of congressional psuedo-scientific claims can be found in the Congressional Findings (See findings below). Congress claims several times that 'the production of child pornography is harmful to the physiology, emotions, and psychology of children and society'. This particular Congressional Finding is the basis of all their arguments and laws and lacks supporting evidence and plausibility. There are several scientific experts in the area of physiology, emotion and psychology who could have tested the hypothesis of congressional claims before Congress reported them as facts in their findings.

    The biggest red flag of all for pseudo-scientific claims are claims that are not supported, but yet are touted as fact. Facts have a requirement of objective correlation. Any assertion of fact that cannot be supported by evidence is pseudo-scientific. For example, the belief that the world is flat, impossible to back with evidence, is pseudo-scientific.

    Even if Congress tried to back up their claims, they would not be able to do it . I describe in the following.

    There are only three areas of harm that may occur to a human: physical, emotional and psychological. They hit those categories, but still their claims provide no evidence or supporting scientific research. Why let congressional beliefs tell us what nature is, when instead nature will give a much more honest view by speaking directly to our five senses? What can the acts themselves tell us about these categories? I'll go through them. Take off your folksy goggles, quit your confirmation bias already, blink a couple times and look at things like nature intends for you to see nature. Nature will not lie like they do.

    In terms of physiology, only one act they mentioned can qualify as harmful. This is described under "sexually explicit conduct" sadistic or masochistic abuse. (See below) All the other acts they list under "sexually explicit conduct" are impossible to find evidence that causes physiological harm that would not normally occur during any sexual act. All the other acts they list, minus the sadomasochistic acts, are equivalent physiologically to an aerobic workout. The body heats up. It may sweat. In general, that is primarily all that sex does to people physically.

    In terms of the emotional harm claimed by Congressional Findings, there can be no emotions that spawn from any of those specific behaviors that are harmful, except again in the case of sadistic or masochistic abuse. The emotions that spawn from those behaviors, minus sadomasochistic, are only known to be in the category pleasurable. The sadistic and masochistic abuse would create painful emotional states, although some children enjoy playful sadistic and masochistic behavior.

    In terms of psychological harm, again no mental abuse can be proven, except for the possibility in sadistic or masochistic abuse. In terms of the other acts, psychological states represent an aerobic workout and chemical states of pleasure. Not much more to in general to see than that.

    The majority of cases of sexual preference for humans are not sadomasochistic. The top selling pornography is a significant indicator of this. Playboy and Penthouse as well as many other titles near it on the magazine stand do not dominate their pages with sadism and masochism. Adult porn on a Google search will bring up mostly sites that do not have this content in any predominate way. I have tested this, and it is open for anyone else to test; give it a try and scientifically prove to yourself what the appetites of humans really are. There is no evidence that proving that those producing child erotica are in the majority sadomasochists, which is the only way to begin to prove harm can occur physically, emotionally or psychologically. Therefore, most of the what the US CODE targets is pornography where no abuse can be proven to occur and is, if not for the most part, total pseudo-science.

    US CODE, TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 110 > § 2256 defines "child pornography" as:

    (8) “child pornography” means any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where—
    (A) the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
    (B) such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
    (C) such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

    "sexually explicit conduct” means—
    (i) graphic sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or lascivious simulated sexual intercourse where the genitals, breast, or pubic area of any person is exhibited;
    (ii) graphic or lascivious simulated;
    (I) bestiality;
    (II) masturbation; or
    (III) sadistic or masochistic abuse; or
    (iii) graphic or simulated lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person;


    An Except From Congressional Findings:
    “(A) The illegal production, transportation, distribution, receipt, advertising and possession of child pornography, as defined in section 2256 (8) of title 18, United States Code, as well as the transfer of custody of children for the production of child pornography, is harmful to the physiological, emotional, and mental health of the children depicted in child pornography and has a substantial and detrimental effect on society as a whole.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2009
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The topic of this debate is "Pedophilia is pseudoscience". In ancientregime's opening post, however, it seems that he has concentrated on child pornography rather than pedophilia. In the Proposal thread for this debate, ancientregime suggested (in [post=2173434]this post[/post]) certain definitions of pedophilia and pseudoscience, of which I quote part:

    Perhaps ancientregime intends to argue that the characterisation of pedophilia as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association is pseudoscience. I will address that argument if and when it is made. In the meantime, it seems to me that ancientregime is claiming that the criminalisation of child pornography, based on the perception that it harms children, is wrong because such claims of harm to children are pseudoscientific. In a nutshell, his argument seems to be that it is wrong to criminalise acts that cause no harm to anybody, and that child pornography is an act that causes no harm:

    The Congressional Findings linked above by ancientregime include the following:

    Here we have a very clear statement (with which I agree) of the various harms caused by child pornography, as well as some of the harms caused by pedophiles in victimising children. These are the findings of the US Congress.

    Now, we might well ask: how did Congress come to these "findings"? These are clearly conclusions presented as fact, not supported processes of reasoning, with references. Maybe ancientregime would like to suggest that members of the US Congress simply make up their "findings", rather than basing them on submissions by various experts, investigations by qualified committees and so on. If ancientregime can establish that these "findings" are not evidence-based, then he will have gone some way towards "winning" the current debate.

    Not being familiar with the details of US lawmaking, and in particular the intricate details of searching congressional records for committee investigations and the like, at this point I am content to point out that, as far as I am aware, Congress has committees and experts available to it to advise it when it drafts laws. Moreover, numerous special-interest groups and concerned people make submissions to Congress during the process of drafting laws. These include, for example, professional organisations, law enforcement professionals, academics specialising in the subjects of the proposed laws, citizens' groups of affected persons and so on. ancientregime apparently would have us believe that all these inputs into laws relating to child pornography and pedophilia in fact amount to nothing more than pseudoscience. In so arguing, ancientregime would have us believe that child psychologists, criminologists, law enforcement personnel with experience in child sex abuse, social scientists and the like, are all peddling pseudoscience when they talk about the sexual abuse of children by adults.

    According to ancientregime, there is no harm at all from pedophilia - to the victims or to society in general. On the contrary, I assert (at this point without references), that the various harms mentioned in the Congressional findings quoted above, are well documented and attested to by experts in the various relevant fields. These include, I might emphasize, scientists of various types. The harms attested to by these reputable scientists and experts are well documented and almost self-evident. There is a legion of specific case-studies that lends supports to the findings cited above. Victims themselves tell us all the time about the harm they have suffered at the hands of pedophiles. Victims seek compensation for acts of pedophilia inflicted on them in the past. If they did not consider themselves harmed, why would they do this? Greed, perhaps?

    ancientregime claims that in terms of physical harm "only one act they mentioned can qualify as harmful ... sadistic or masochistic abuse. All the other acts they list ... are impossible to find evidence that causes physiological harm that would not normally occur during any sexual act." What he fails to appreciate is that sexual penetration of a child by an adult can result in physical tearing of the child's genitals or anus. Moreover, even if physical harm does not occur from the sexual activity itself, such abuse may well be accompanied by other forms of physical force or coercion which themselves cause harm (as in bruising or other injuries). Victims of pedophiles themselves tell us, however, that the physical harms (if any) that they suffered were far outweighed by the psychological harms.

    ancientregime assumes that if sexual intercourse between two consenting adults is pleasurable, it must also necessarily be pleasurable if it is between an adult and a child, apparently regardless of consent. The simple fact is that child victims of pedophilia often do not, as a matter of fact, consent to the sexual activity. In many cases, it is something they absolutely do not wish to consent to at the time. Nor do they report enjoying the sexual activity with the adult, especially after they are old enough to understand what actually happened to them. In fact, they report feeling violated, treated as an object, having their privacy and personal integrity taken away from them by force - a permanent injury that never really loses its impact. As a matter of law, of course, underage children are not capable of giving informed consent to sexual activity with an adult pedophile. They lack the emotional maturity to understand what is occurring, and so cannot properly consent.

    Without even mentioning expert opinion, victim testimony tells a vastly different story. Adults who were abused as children report long-term psychological effects, such as loss of trust in people, an impaired capacity to form normal relationships (especially sexual ones), ongoing fears, nightmares, post-traumatic stress - the list of psychological harms goes on and on. Maybe ancientregime thinks they are making it all up, and that their testimonies do not constitute sufficient "proof". Members of the US Congress apparently disagree.

    ancientregime claims that for a pedophile to harm a child, the pedophile must be a sadist. In fact, ancientregime would presumably have us discard the label "pedophile" as meaningless (harmless). He would argue that the only harm is violence; sex can never be harmful - it is always pleasurable, no matter who is involved and whether or not they consent. Perhaps I am overstating his position. I hope so. Please correct me if I am wrong, ancientregime.

    My contention in this debate will be that pedophilia is a recognised deviation from "normal" human sexual proclivities. It's definition is "scientific" in that it is clear and logical. Its criminalisation follows from the accumulation of incontrovertible evidence of harms suffered by child victims, attested to both by the victims themselves and by various scientific experts in psychology, sociology, criminology and other relevant fields of scientific inquiry.
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  5. ancientregime Banned Banned

    The pseudo-scienfitic term pedophilia is based around the claim of an adult having erotic interest in children and that interest causes harm, but no harm can be proven. The interest may be subjective or objective. It is not illegal to only have a subjective interest. It is illegal according to the pseudo-scientific US Code to carry out a subjective interest, which makes it objective (physically manifests). There are only two fundamental ways that pedophilia physically manifests: the acquisition of visual depictions of child erotica or sexual interaction between an adult and a child. The laws are focused on these two acts which are categorized as pedophilic acts by the use of the term. "Child pornography" is by no means outside the category of pedophilia as the wiki definition defines it because the visual depiction commonly includes pedophilia acts, although most actual child pornography does not have sexual acts occurring between adult and child. Child Pornography was chosen as a case in point to prove that pedophilia is pseudo-science.

    The answer to this is yes. Let me point out there is a common misperception on how crime is defined as evidenced by many web definitions, although there is not complete misperception. One can find web definitions for crime by typing "define:crime" in the Google search box. All the misperceptions contain a definition which is based upon the fallacy of argument from authority, i.e., it is a sin because the bible said so, it is a crime because we wrote it down in US Code. The ones that correctly define crime show the underlying principle, that the act harms someone. The argument from authority is more common, which demonstrates the popular psyche of the crime definition as people who are more interested in what authority says, rather than understanding the principle.

    Two examples from Google search:

    Principle Misconception: An act in violation of the penal laws of a state or the United States... ...act in violation of penal law.

    Principled Definition: A violation of a law in which there is injury to the public or a member of the public...

    The onus is on James to point out the Congressional Findings do have evidence, not just suggest they do. He suggests I look for something that confirms the negative of his claim. This is similar to the argument from a Theist that suggest an Atheist must prove that God doesn't exist to win.

    In my first argument, I have provided an affirmative, fundamental, self-evident explanation of what the acts cause physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

    I don't want anyone to believe anything. Faith-based reasoning was the cause of killing millions of Jews. Had Germany based their ideas upon reason, they would be acting the way they do today, not creating a mass murder by gassing Jews. Pseudo-science is belief-based because it provides no evidence for things impossible to prove. I am open minded to being directed to evidence that proves Pedophilia is not Pseudoscience. Until then, I demand evidence that proves these behaviors are harmful.

    Yes. They don't realize their condemnation causes the feelings of abuse, not the act itself. Many have a belief that sex is fundamentally wrong in some way. Consensual sex never caused any harm emotionally, physically or psychologically to anyone; and when they make this claim, they confuse rape with consensual sex.

    I did not claim this. My claim is Pedophilia is Pseudo-science. In fact since I claim Pedophilia is pseudo-science and the application of that pseudo-science imprisons innocent people and makes children feel dirty about sex, yes it is harmful.

    If they were raped, they naturally want justice.

    If they consented to pleasure, they are just brainwashed to believe the pleasure they felt should make them feel repulsive. Once they are brainwashed by the pseudo-scientific pedophilia ideas, they will think the repulsive emotions planted by therapy and law officials are caused by the pleasurable act. Once their reasoning is tampered in such a way, of course they will believe the person they had the pleasurable act with needs to be punished.

    James is confusing physical abuse with sexual acts listed in the sexually explicit conduct As I pointed out before, the population has predominate interest in sex that is not sadistic in nature. There is no proof that adults who have an interest in viewing "child pornography" or who engage in sexual acts with children are sadists. Any rational person could not tear the vagina or anus of a child without fitting the category of sadist or rapist (sexual force used against the will of another). A study was done of male tumescence with rapists and non-rapists to measure arousal to audio recordings of consensual acts and rape. The audio scenarios were qualified in five categories from "mutually consenting" to "assault". Although the rapists scored higher for assault, the non-rapists and rapists kept near consistent changes in the same direction as the scenarios went from mutually consenting to assault. (Patterns of Sexual Arousal, Rosen & Beck 1988, pg. 224 ). This implies that arousal in sadism declines in interest with rape and non-rapists alike.

    Again James is confusing rape with sex. Force and coercive threats are not necessary to exist in order for a child to engage in a sexual act. Many children masturbate and are curious about sexuality with others. There are studies that cite culture where the Christian shame-based sexuality is not taught. In these cultures adults and children interact sexually(Barnough 1975, p. 284) (Archer 1985, p. 760), and those acts in and of themselves cannot be proven to cause harm.

    Where these people consented, their psychological harm is due to cultural condemnation of the act, not the act itself (cum hoc ergo propter hoc). Pleasurable sex does not cause guilt, nasty feelings, dirty feelings of any sort.

    James is distorting my arguments. James confuses rape with sex again. Sex has the quality consent. Rape doesn't have the quality consent. Children can consent to sex. Naturally, they masturbate and understand the feeling. Due to this understanding, it satisfies one main criteria for consent. They may consent to a back scratching, because they itch. They know what will happen if somebody hits that spot just right. In turn, they know how it feels to feel sexual feelings and will understand exactly what will occur. On the other hand, an act of rape requires that you use force against someones will.

    It's called emotional tampering through socio-cultural indoctrination. A natural response of pleasure is what he or she felt at the time. As the years go by, societies cultural beliefs continue to hammer away at the individual. The act's pleasurable feelings get trampled and replaced with repulsion and hate. Years later they no longer feel what was the authentic feelings of the moment, but rather see the act through a confirmation-bias-social construct that condemns and plants emotional associations that don't natural come from the act. Instead the emotions they feel are hatred manifested by nothing more than by socially acceptable Hitlerization technique supported by so-called experts in criminal justice and the mental health field.

    Some children are informed sexually already, because they masturbate. Others may not be informed, but there is no evidence of harm where the knowledge is acquired through consent, otherwise sex education itself would be a crime. This argument is an old trap that tries to create circular reasoning.

    If they masturbate on their own, the act of masturbation is normal. But if they are informed of it, and masturbate, then the masturbation is seen to be caused by sexual abuse. Fallacy of cause. The cause of masturbation is due to seeking of pleasure.

    This abject argument only has value in our society because of culturally religious vestiges that sexuality has some evil quality about it, but nature contradicts this. Sex exudes no evil attribute, pleasure only. The acquisition of knowledge of it teaches a way to find pleasure. This acquisition or the teaching of the knowledge cannot be proven to harm, but rather teach a way of experiencing personal and social pleasure.

    This is one of the biggest myths surrounding this issue. Emotions are based upon the chemicals a body produces. Emotional maturity means a person can handle the chemicals their body produces. Children handle the pleasurable rush provided by masturbation maturely.

    Most people try to superimpose that in order to be emotionally mature in a sexual sense, one must be able to care for offspring. This too is a myth. More than 99% percent of human sexually is not done for the purpose of creating offspring, it is done for human bonding and pleasure. Children do not need to be able to raise offspring to enjoy the experience of sex.

    James provide no evidence that these sexual acts cause these symptoms. Maybe he is confusing them with the act of rape, since he has failed to distinguish rape and sex his entire argument.

    Of course people who are raped as children will have some kind of problem or another depending upon the individual.

    On the other hand, there are no authentically negative feelings that arise from an act of pleasure.

    Making what up? I assume James means harm.

    In the cases where they were raped, no they are not.

    In the cases where they consented, they feel hurt because taboo creates emotional damage. The nasty feelings are due to finger pointing idiots who can't prove the sex itself was harmful. They brainwash with morals with the intent to make you feel bad for an act that does not cause harm or bad feelings.

    The activities listed in sexually explicit conduct are not stipulated as non-consensual. But since you brought it up I can clarify my claim. Under all non-consensual situations, all those acts are rape which obviously cause harm. Under all consensual situations, those acts cannot be proven to cause harm physically, emotionally, or psychologically, except in the case of sadism and masochism.

    Normal is based upon cultural orientation and is not of significance to deciding criminality. Many behaviors, such as homosexuality which is only practiced by 3% of the population, can be considered abnormal simply because of it's rare occurrence, but since it is harmless it is not a mental disorder or crime. Normalcy is a pseudo-scientific factor when deciding a crime or mental illness. Another example: Most people are not the President of the United States; therefore the president is an abnormal person. Normalcy is irrelevant criteria here.

    All of these are rapes or people brainwashed to believe their consensual act was wrong. Most of the cases aren't rape due to the fact most people are not sadists. This leaves the rest fo the causes where consensual acts occurred, but the individuals are suffering from societal emotional tampering.

    There is no evidence that proves consensual sex between an adult and child is harmful. There is no evidence that being aroused by a human body at arbitrary age brackets is harmful to any individual. There is no evidence that viewing visual depiction of these acts is harmful. James provides no reference that proves harm exists.

    Although James didn't provide any sources, I assume the studies he indicates are based upon children who were raped by adults and children who had consensual sex.

    James projects properties of rape and folk beliefs upon consensual acts to make them appear to have harm. James neither provided evidence for harm of consensual sex where between an adult and a child. James provided no evidence of harm of visual depictions of child erotica.

    It would be easy to assume that sex is bad if all you do is base your evidence on this kind of research that claims all child erotica is harmful and all sexual acts between child and adult are harmful. It is clear, this kind of research is only meant to confirm one point of view. It's meant to take cases of non-consenting sex and project that emotional damage upon the consenting ones. In doing so, those who enjoyed the experience begin to believe that the pleasurable act should make them feel repulsive.

    James, nor Congressional Findings provided a links or sources for their views. The second argument has been entered and there is a lack of evidence that supports that the consensual acts listed in sexually explicit conduct are harmful in anyway, except the sadist and masochistic acts or that viewing the material that represents such acts is harmful.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The main question in this debate is whether there is any evidence that sexual activity between adults and prepubescent children is harmful to the children. ancientregime claims that there is never harm, except possibly where the sexual activity is combined with physical violence.

    Here are a few peer-reviewed scientific studies that say otherwise:

    Roosa M.W., Reinholtz C., Angelini P.J. (1999). "The relation of child sexual abuse and depression in young women: comparisons across four ethnic groups," Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 27(1):65-76. link

    Widom C.S. (1999). "Post-traumatic stress disorder in abused and neglected children grown up," American Journal of Psychiatry; 156(8):1223-1229.

    Terri L. Messman-Moore & Patricia J. Long, "Child Sexual Abuse and Revictimization in the Form of Adult Sexual Abuse, Adult Physical Abuse, and Adult Psychological Maltreatment," 15 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 489 (2000). link

    Dinwiddie S, Heath AC, Dunne MP, et al (2000). "Early sexual abuse and lifetime psychopathology: a co-twin-control study." Psychological Medicine, 30:41–52 link

    Nelson EC, Heath AC, Madden PA, et al (2002). "Association between self-reported childhood sexual abuse and adverse psychosocial outcomes: results from a twin study.," Archives of General Psychiatry, 59:139–145 link

    Arnow, B. (2004). "Relationships between childhood maltreatment, adult health and psychiatric outcomes, and medical utilization.". Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 65 (Suppl 12:10-5.). link

    Joan Arehart-Treichel (2005-08-05). "Dissociation Often Precedes PTSD In Sexually Abused Childre". Psychiatric News (American Psychiatric Association) Volume 40 Number 15: p. 34. link

    "Long-term correlates of child sexual abuse: Theory and review of the empirical literature". Applied and Preventive Psychology (Elsevier Ltd.) Volume 4, Issue 3, Summer 1995, Pages 143-166.

    "Childhood Sex Abuse Increases Risk for Drug Dependence in Adult Women". NIDA Notes, National Institute of Drug Abuse, volume 17, no. 1. National Institutes of Health. April 2002. link

    Freyd, J.J., Putnam, F.W., Lyon, T.D., Becker-Blease, K. A., Cheit, R.E., Siegel, N.B., & Pezdek, K. (2005). "The science of child sexual abuse". Science 308: p501. doi:10.1126/science.1108066. link

    Kendall-Tacket, K. A., Williams, L. M., & Finkelhor. D. (1993). Impact of Sexual Abuse on Children: A Review and Synthesis of Recent Empirical Studies. Psychological Bulletin, 1993, Vol. 113, No. 1, 164-180. - also published in Hertzig, Margaret E.; Ellen A. Farber (1994). Annual progress in child psychiatry and child development 1994. Psychology Press. pp. p321-356. ISBN 0876307446.

    Gauthier, L., Stollak, G., Messe, L., & Arnoff, J. (1996). Recall of childhood neglect and physical abuse as differential predictors of current psychological functioning. Child Abuse and Neglect 20, 549-559. link

    The briefest internet search turns up hundreds or thousands of studies that link pedophilia and other forms of child abuse to long-term harms. For a good introduction to some of the harms of child sexual abuse, try the Wikipedia article on Child Sexual Abuse.

    To quote the Wikipedia artible, which sites the above studies among others, the established psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects of child sexual abuse include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, dissociative and anxiety disorders; general psychological distress and disorders such as somatization, neurosis, chronic pain, sexualized behavior; school/learning problems; and behavior problems including substance abuse, destructive behavior, criminality in adulthood and suicide. A study funded by the USA National Institute of Drug Abuse found that "Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood sexual abuse was associated with increased likelihood of drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and psychiatric disorders. The associations are expressed as odds ratios: for example, women who experienced nongenital sexual abuse in childhood were 2.93 times more likely to suffer drug dependence as adults than were women who were not abused."

    As for harmful effects on society, these include suicidality, antisocial behavior, and alcoholism of past victims. And adults with a history of abuse as a child, especially sexual abuse, are more likely than people with no history of abuse to become frequent users of emergency and medical care services.

    ancientregime has argued that prepubsecent children consent to sexual activity with adults, and enjoy it, suffering no harm at all from the activity.

    On the issue of consent, as I have already mentioned, the laws of most, if not all, western nations stipulate that underage children are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activity with an adult. ancientregime discounts this, essentially by saying that laws are just arbitrary proclaimations that amount to no more than "argument from authority". However, as I pointed out in my previous post, laws are not made in a vacuum. As I made abundantly clear earlier, when the US Congress makes a law prohibiting pedophilia or child pornography, it does not do so on a whim. It does so only after careful consideration of the empirically established effects of the activities to be regulated or prohibited by law. In short, it looks at the available evidentiary material presented to it and makes a law designed to protect children and reduce or prevent the kinds of harms listed above.

    Getting away from the legal issue for a moment, I note also that the American Psychiatric Association also holds that, as a matter of psychology "children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults". This is in accord with the legal position, which itself is based on such scientific psychological findings.

    As to the argument that children enjoy being sexual abused by pedophiles, studies of convicted child sex offenders support the contention that pedophiles commonly use cognitive distortions to justify their actions. They make excuses for their behaviour, attempt to redefine sexual abuse as an act of love (supposedly mutual), and exploiting the power imbalance in all adult-child relationships. Other cognitive distortions include the ideas of "children as sexual beings," the supposed "uncontrollability of sexuality," and "sexual entitlement-bias."

    In this context, see for example:

    Lawson L. (2003 September-November

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    . "Isolation, gratification, justification: offenders' explanations of child molesting". Issues Mental Health Nursing (6-7): (24): 695–705.

    Mihailides S, Devilly GJ, Ward T. (October 2004). "Implicit cognitive distortions and sexual offending". Sex Abuse 16 (4): 333–50.

    If the above studies and findings are not convincing enough, how about some testimony from an actual victim of sexual abuse?

    On the subject of "natural" child sexual behaviour, this article is useful. In particular:

    Clearly, in the case of pedophilic child sexual abuse, children are led to do things they do not want to do. They do not know or understand what is happening to them. The adult involved is in a position of power and of greater knowledge, both about the physical and mental implications of the acts and, just as importantly, about the moral implications. The pedophile fundamentally denies the child his or her right to sexual self-determination. There is no real "choice" involved for the child, for the child is not mentally equipped to make such a choice or to understand such a choice.

    I now turn to some specific parts of ancientregime's latest post that I have not already addressed, or not directly addressed above:


    I submit that I have satisfied this burden of proof with the current post.

    Now we come to ancientregime's burden of proof. He asserts:

    I require ancientregime to cite the scientific studies he relies on to prove the assertion that any harm to victims of child sexual abuse comes not from the abuse itself but from society's labelling and condemnation of the acts as abusive. If ancientregime cannot do so, we must assume that he has hoisted himself on his own petard of "pseudoscience".

    I ask ancientregime whether he believes that adults having sex with children are "innocent" in their motivations. Does ancientregime believe that the children and adults involved are equal partners in the sex acts, and that children actually benefit from sex with adults, as opposed to being harmed? If so, I ask ancientregime to cite scientific studies that support that position.

    ancientregime must back up his assertion that therapy and law officials plant repulsive emotions in child sexual abuse victims and thereby cause harm. This is a positive assertion that is directly contrary to all the studies that show that harm results from the abusive sexual acts and the circumstances in which it takes place. As such, the burden of proof is squarely on ancientregime to support this with appropriate non-pseudoscientific evidence.

    Pedophiles do not predominate in the general population, so this is neither here nor there.

    I note the careful use of the word "threats" by ancientregime here. I freely concede that force and threats are not always used by pedophiles to coerce children into taking part in sexual activities. However, as I have already pointed out, there is always the natural power imbalance implicit in every child-adult relationship, together with the much greater knowledge of the adult as to the implications and meaning of the sexual activities themselves. I reiterate that sexual play for a child is a very different thing than it is for an adult. The common pedophile excuse that children enjoy and want sex with adults is just that - an excuse and a self-serving rationalisation. I might go so far as to suggest that it is a pseudoscientific belief held by some pedophiles.

    The first sentence needs proof; the second is a non sequitur.

    This is all unsupported by any evidence, and can therefore be called "pseudoscientific", by ancientregime's own professed standards.

    This is more unsupported nonsense. Emotional maturity means understanding the emotional implications of one's own actions and the actions of others. It requires a certain level of social understanding, as well as a capacity for reflective introspection and a theory of mind. Emotions can have chemical correlates, but to reduce emotions to chemicals alone is, dare I say it, pseudoscientific.
  8. ancientregime Banned Banned

    This post has been edited since it was first published for grammar, spelling, format, and link fixes. No semantical changes have been made.

    James contends, based upon the research he has provided, that any sex between an adult and child causes harm. I will prove, although unfamiliar, unapproved and misunderstood to Western culture, that sex does occur between adults and children and does not create any harm suggested by the Congressional Findings or the studies James provided, except sadistic and masochistic sex. I will show the Congressional Findings are not based upon fact, but instead pseudo-science.

    James provided studies to support his argument, but the studies pose several problems:
    (1) they do not check for iatrogenesis;
    (2) they ignore the most scientific fundamental evidence on physical, emotional, and psychological states created by sex;
    (3) they fail to show a direct link between the fundamental physical, emotional, and psychological states of sex with mental illness;
    (4) they inappropriately link negative physical and emotional psychological states with sexual acts that are only known to cause positive physical and emotional psychological states.

    Of the studies James provides, none test for iatrogenic trauma[1] . Iatrogenic trauma is traditionally known where a the treatment offered to patient causes the harm; although, iatrogentic trauma can be induced by culture, as evidenced with the history of religious ideals imposed upon society. Münchhausen by Proxy, in principle, is another form of iatrogentic trauma, where any person having influence over another irrationally makes a false claim of a problem about an underling and the underling is harmed due to the management of the imaginary problem. Without testing for therapeutic or cultural type iatrogenesis, such studies use unsubstantiated disregard of the possibility that harm could be produced from something other than the sexual act. The credibility of these studies is in question and is a clear case of confirmation bias.

    Shultz and Jones reports in a study where 40% of both sexes in their sample engaged in three sexual acts before age 12 expressed, "...highly differentiated reactions to the sexual act" Due to this fact, they warned professionals to check for iatrogenis, because psychological trauma must not be assumed. They state much of the literature on sexual abuse is" cloaking of moral position with scientific attitudes". [2]

    Anthropological studies have shown, Robert E. Bartholomew points out in his book Exotic Deviance, several references of sexual behavior between child and adult in other times and cultures: "The Siriono of eastern Bolivia are one of several peoples for who "parents may masturbate their own children" and "open self-masturbation of children is accepted and taken for granted" (Barnouw 1975, p. 284). ... fondling or playing with children's genitalia was common in medieval Europe (Archer 1985, p. 760). ... Among the Papuans it is traditional for an uncle and nephew to practice homosexuality." Western perception of this unfamiliar behavior medicalizes it as mental illness and touts their ideals as neutral science, although there is no empirical basis for the Western diagnosis pedophilia. Bartholomew mentions in his book that medicalization of unfamiliar and misunderstood conduct is a form of intellectual colonialism, where Eurocentric cultural perceptions of sanity are imposed upon other people.

    Not only does Western perception impose their pseudo-scientific ideals upon other cultures, but subcultures within the Westernized world. For example, a study of cultures has shown polygamy to the be most practiced form of marriage throughout human history, yet in places such as the United States having several wives or husbands is Western justification for imprisonment.

    Large populations in the past have been brainwashed to feel evil toward things, people and human acts, although these things, people, and human acts caused no harm. How is it that people come to kill millions of Jews, murder 20,000 innocents called witches, enslave millions of Africans, mutilate the genitals of females and males who masturbate, kill and stigmatize lesbians and gays all under the guise of system of justice and science? The answer is clear: pseudo-science. In order for pseudo-science to be effective the population must be emotionally conditioned to believing something that is not empirically based. I describe the process below on how memories and emotions can be tampered with to make people sense things that don't exist, think things that never happened, believe things that aren't true. This is the process in which people come to believe the pseudo-scientific belief that sex between an adult and child always must always be harmful.

    Emotion Planting
    Russian Nobel laureate, Ivan Pavlov, over a century ago showed how emotions can be planted via his work in which submitted to Congress of Natural Sciences known today as one of the most fundamental ideas in psychology, "Classical Conditioning". [3] Naturally, a bell stimulates the auditory system, causing a ringing sound in a dogs ear. A bell doesn't naturally cause a dog to salivate. Although food, when smelled or placed in the mouth, does cause salivation. Pavlov proved he could plant olfactory emotions in a dog that would induce saliva using a bell. Over a course of a few days, Pavlov demonstrated this by ringing a bell at feeding time. Finally, he changed one variable in his study--he rang the bell for feeding time, but this time provided no food. Even though the sound of a bell is only heard, it can't be smelled or tasted, the dogs salivated at the sound of the bell. Due to moral agendas and devious intentions, people have been classically conditioned in the same way as Pavlov's dogs to feel emotions that do not naturally arise from a phenomenon. There are several studies that support classical conditioning is possible at the individual level and at a cultural level; I cite two recent studies here. [4] [5] In this argument I will refer to classical condition used for moral agenda or devious intention as emotional tampering or emotion planting.

    Science Magazine recently published a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging showing emotions overriding reason in decision making. [6] This provides support that the way we feel about something is of primary importance vs. reasoning. This makes reasonable sense, if the emotions we feel really are caused by the stimuli. But when the emotions we feel are not caused by the stimuli, they are like the bell used with Pavlov's dogs. Planted emotions may bring about irrational thoughts and actions. This accounts for the power of irrational religious and dogmatic thinking in human culture that has persisted for hundreds and thousands of years. Once emotions are tampered with in a culture, generations of humans go by without ever experiencing the true feelings of unfamiliar, unapproved, or misrepresented phenomenon. Instead, they are numbed by the true sensations of the phenomena and register only the emotions previous generations planted. One may know this by how difficult it is to reason with moral and religious zealots.

    Memory Tampering
    Emotions are the only thing that can be planted in the human mind. Memories can be planted as shown in an article by Elizabeth F. Loftus. [7] The same principle involved in Pavlov's conditioning at work when memories are tampered with and planted. Therapists can interview clients in such a way that manifest false memories that are then conditioned with a person's sense of personal history. After repetitions of visualization caused by questioning, the patient becomes unable to distinguish a planted memory from a real one. Law enforcement interrogation has been known to plant memories in intellectually disabled individuals, causing them to admit to a crime they didn't commit. This has prompted the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) to promote legislation demanding a lawyer present and training with law enforcement on how to respond with intellectually disabled citizens.

    When Westernized culture views the idea of a child and adult in a sexual act, they automatically are feeling Pavlov's bell. They are conditioned to think that all acts must be threating, manipulative and/or violent. This unsubstantiated and unreasonable disregard leaves out the possibility that a sexual act between a child can be non-threatening, non-manipulative and non-violent. The act of sex has been isolated by science and the fundamental physiological, emotional, and psychological evidence follows.

    Physics, Chemistry and Psychology of Sex in a Nutshell
    Masters and Johnson developed a four-stage model of physiological responses of human sexual response: excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase, and resolution phase. [8]

    A female child's physiological state during sex: engorgement of the clitoris; moistening of the vagina; increased blood flow to skin; the clitoral glans moves inward under the clitoral hood; the inner lips become darker; the vagina tightens, narrows, lengthens and dilates; uteral muscles begin contraction; finally, a serious of rhythmic contractions of the uterus, vagina, anus, and pelvic muscles.

    A male child's physiological state during sex: rapid, rhythmic contractions of the anus, the prostate, and the muscles of the penis; sperm issues from the testicles to the prostate, and through the seminal vesicles; contraction of the sphincter; and finally the prostate expels semen from the penis opening. This process has been known to repeat, resulting in multiple orgasms 55% of time in preteen boys.[19]

    The Emotional State
    The key hormones and neuro-transmitters released during these four stages are: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), oxytocin, phenylethylamine (PEA), estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, vasopressin, dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. [9] These hormones and neuro-trasmitters responsible for the emotional state experienced in sexual arousal and orgasm.

    The Psychological State
    The psychological state of a child during these four stages represents the four categories of senses: chemoreception, photoreception, mechanoreception, and thermoception [10] in which include the physiological and emotional states describe above.

    Based upon the facts provided above, sex only creates physiologically, emotionally and psychologically neutral or pleasurable states. The sexual activity, in and of itself, has never been known to create abusive states. The origin of abuse instead is caused by negative stimulus, not sexual stimulus.

    The origin of abused is caused by such things as the sensation of pain, and emotions of fear or repulsion. In order for abuse to occur, harm to a person must be present. Fundamentally, harm may be physical, emotional, or psychological. Physical harm causes tissue damage and is experienced by the sensation of pain. Emotional harm induces negative chemicals states, which may include physical pain. Psychological harm is mental conditioning that prompts physical harm or emotional harm.

    Physical and Emotional Harm
    A physiological chain of events between the nerves, the spinal cord and brain occur when we feel pain. [11] The principle chemicals involved in the experience of pain are substance P, bradykinin, and leukotriens. [12] "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage." [20] Science has also indicated that specific emotions such as fear and disgust, as well as pleasurable emotions, have their own neural systems. [13]

    This scientific description of the physical and emotional properties of pain, disgust and other negative states are starkly different from the scientific description of sexual and pleasurable states. This supports my claim that the isolated sexual act does not contain the properties of abuse; and therefore cannot be abuse.

    Sex Occuring with Abuse
    No act of sex is abuse, but sex and abuse can happen in association with one another, causing one to think that sex is the cause of abuse. Like the bell rung at meal time, Pavlov's Classical Conditioning is the result.

    Sex and abuse get coupled four general ways:
    (1) a person has arousing/non-arousing sex during physically forced sex by a participant.
    (2) a person has a arousing/non-arousing sex under threat by a participant.
    (3) a person has arousing/non-arousing sex due to psychological manipulation of a participant.
    (4) a person has arousing/non-arousing sex, where a person/society plants emotions in regard to the sex (Iatrogentic Trauma, Emotional Tampering).

    Items (1-3) have objective origins due to the abusive environment. I do not contend that the sexual acts listed in the Congressional Findings that occur during items (1-3) above are harmful. What is harmful is the violence, threat, and manipulation conduct used to obtain and/or maintain a sexual act. Sex itself does not produce abusive states, as pointed out previously. This is where many people in society confuse the ideas sex and rape.

    In the last example(4)is of subjective origin and is an example of iatrogenic trauma (emotional tampering). Iatrogenic type trauma is multifaceted and can have several different socio-cultural sources such as taboo and norms(unapproved or unfamiliar conduct), religion (the bible forbids it), the law (criminalization of conduct), and medical community (medicalization of conduct), are all examples.

    The Shame Feeling has been planted by popular religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Women are emotionally tampered with shame and wear clothes that cover their entire body, including a hijab which covers their head. To reveal one's body then seems to cause a natural feeling of shame, but victims of emotional tampering seldom understand the natural feeling one is born with. When children are born, they do not have an innate sense of shame about their bodies; instead shame is induced through emotional tampering. It has been powerful enough to last several hundred years with little change in the Middle East. Even today, a woman in the American, the so-called land of the free, where vestiges of this moral radicalism still are intact are enforced by the judicial system, can be imprisoned for revealing her breasts in public; but, she won't do it due to deterrence of imprisonment; instead due to the planted emotion called shame.

    Here are a few excerpts from religious texts, very influential sources of emotional tampering upon populations:

    Koran (subjugation of female beauty):

    "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands"[14]

    Christian Bible (suppressed a womans voice (right to vote), demonized sexy appearance):

    "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful." [15]

    Torah (filthifies the human body):

    "Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." [16]

    Torah (source of murder and emotional torment of many homosexuals for thousands of years):

    "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them."[17]

    Paul Rozin, who has done research on emotional connections with morality. "In a number of scholarly publications, he (Rozin) traces the evolution of disgust across the animal-human boundary: from a visceral rejection response to bad-tasting foods, through a more abstract and conceptual rejection of certain animal foods and other reminders of our animal nature, and finally to a fully elaborated level where the emotion of disgust becomes linked to morality." [18] This study, as cited before, shows how European and Japanese have different emotional conditioning toward identical stimuli. [5]

    The Wiki link James posted suggests that studies have found links between sex between children creates shlew of disorders in children. In the book, Rethinking the DSM a Psychological Perspective, Dr. Arthur C. Houts states, "After 25 years of following changes in the various editions of the DSMs, I have concluded that there is far more pseudoscience than science in the modern DSMs." What separates science and pseudo-science is primarily an empirical basis and the lack of an empirical basis. As pointed out before, the sexual states only cause pleasurable feelings, not mental illness. Many of these disorders are contested on the grounds they are not empirically based, but giving the benefit of the doubt the logical cause of these disorders would not be sexual arousal and orgasm. Instead things such as manipulation, threats, and violence would be a more logical cause of James' list: depression; post-traumatic stress disorder; anxiety; eating disorders; poor self-esteem; dissociative and anxiety disorders; general psychological distress; somatization; neurosis; chronic pain; school/learning problems; substance abuse, destructive behavior, criminality in adulthood and suicide.

    The basis of these disorders, for example post-traumatic stress disorder, need a negative based environment in which to manifest, which would cause the fundamental negative emotions and painful physical states. A pleasurable sexual state is not the cause of emotional or psychological illness.

    I've provided several examples where there was no empirical basis for cultural and legal attitudes that stigmatized, imprisoned, punished and murdered people for acts that had no empirical basis of harm. I've shown how emotional tampering can occur at the individual level and at the societial level through Pavlov's Classical Conditioning. I've shown the fundamental psychological states that represent the physiological and emotional proven through scientific studies. I've shown examples of the physical, emotional, and psychological fundamental scientific findings for abusive states, such as pain and repulsion. Comparing the two proves two starkly different physical, emotional and psychological states. I've shown how the two distinct entities, sexual states and abuse states, can be mixed through Classical Conditioning. I've debunked the wiki claim that proposes the sexual act causes multiple disorders by citing the true chemical, physiological and psychological states and how they can be mixed with abusive behavior. There is no evidence sex and abuse always must come hand in hand when a child and adult engage in sex, and therefore the Congressional Findings are unsupported and clear case of pseudo-science.

    [12](Pain Management, Eileen Mann, Eloise Carr 2006, pg. 6)
    [14](Koran 24:31)
    [15](Peter 3:2-5)
    [16](Genesis 3:7)
    [17](Leviticus 20:13)
    [19](Kinsey 1948, pg. 376)
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    ancientregime's latest post mainly repeats his previous arguments. However, the references he cites as support for his claim that children are not harmed by pedophilic sexual abuse are, on the whole, either not directly relevant or are taken out of context so as to appear to support ancientregime's argument when in fact they do not. Once the fancy terms and scientific-sounding references are taken out, ancientregime's argument is seen to be as weak as it was when he started this debate.

    I find it worrying that ancientregime is apparently unable to view instances of sexual abuse of children as acts with more than one implication. He consistently abstracts out the act of sexual intercourse from the context in which that intercourse occurs. His argument, in essence, is that the physical act of sex, unless accompanied by physical violence, is harmless and enjoyable for children and adults alike. But in so arguing, he completely ignores the emotional and psychological impact on the child victim of the social context in which the sex acts occur, despite paying lip service to those things in isolation. ancientregime wants us to imagine that children compartmentalise the physical act of sexual intercourse with a pedophile away from the circumstances in which that physical act is carried out, the child's understanding of the act, the child's relationship to the pedophile and so on.

    Pedophilic child sexual abuse is, at its core, a denial of a child's agency. The adult offender removes the child's choice of when, where and with whom the child wishes to experience sex (often for the first time). The offender abuses the position of power that an adult has over a child as a result of physical strength, intellectual knowledge and life experience. In general, the child victim is coerced into participating in sexual activity with the offender against the child's will. The child victim is often unaware of the full implications of the sexual act until after it has occurred, although the threat of force or other coercion often results in extreme fear and loathing at the time of the offence. Far from enjoying the sex, as ancientregime would have us believe, most victims of child sexual abuse report feelings such as revulsion, disgust, confusion, fear, shame and so on.

    ancientregime appears to believe that sex is only a physical act - an act whose entire import and content is determined by chemicals released by the body and brain. Sex, he thinks, can only result in a release of pleasurable chemicals, so all sex must be pleasurable and fun, as long as there is no physical harm that causes pain chemicals to override the automatic pleasure one gets from sex chemicals. That ancientregime can be so unaware of the complexities of human psychology and emotion is worrying.

    ancientregime wants us to believe that every time a child (either as a child or later as an adult) presents with the kinds of long-term traumatic effects mentioned in the studies cited in my previous post, these effects do not actually result from sexual abuse at all, but from "iatrogenesis" - in particular the "planting" in child's (or adult's) mind the idea that the sexual abuse they suffered was not pleasurable, when in fact that is all it could ever have been. It's society's fault, or psychologists' or parents' or whoever - but it couldn't have anything to do with the pedophile, since pedophiles only ever offer children pleasurable physical experiences. It's all the emotional baggage attached later that causes the problems - at least so says ancientregime. He argues that none of the studies I have cited ever considered iatrogenic effects, with the implication that ALL of the studies missed the "obvious" fact that any trauma or other after-effects of sexual abuse must be social constructs and not a direct result of the violation caused by the perpetrator of the abuse. In support, ancientregime cites Schultz and Jones (1983) (reference here). However, Schultz and Jones only "warn professionals that each case must be evaluated with caution because psychological trauma may not be assumed, and they ... have a duty to control for possible psychological iatrogenesis". This source does NOT support the contention that all reports of trauma from sexual abuse are iatrogenic. What Schultz and Jones say is eminently sensible, but is very far from supporting ancientregime's contention.

    ancientregime mentions non-western cultures in which, he argues, sexual activity between adults and children is taken for granted. However, he has presented no evidence that this activity does not result in the same kinds of harms to the children as in western cultures. But even if it does not, it is important that we do not fall into the trap, as he does, of ignoring the wider social and psychological implications of the physical acts in their appropriate cultural contexts. While I might well concede that some sexual acts in some specific cultural contexts might cause no long-term harm to the children involved, that is very far from saying that all pedophilic acts are harmless, as ancientregime would have us believe. I think ancientregime would find, if he looked hard enough, examples of pedophilic sexual abuse that are considered unacceptable in the very cultures that he holds up as examples to supposedly prove his point.

    ancientregime's discourse on Pavlovian classical conditioned reponses is an irrelevant rhetorial flourish and nothing more. While I might concede the point that some things can produce a learned or "conditioned" emotional reaction in human beings, ancientregime has done nothing but assert, without evidence, that pedophilia is one of those things. Unless he can support his argument that the normal revulsion most people feel about child sexual abuse by pedophiles is a result of classical conditioning, Occam's razor suggests that we should take reactions to pedophilia at face value - i.e. we should assume that the outrage and revulsion and condemnation follow from the acts themselves, and not because people are "brainwashed" into despising pedophiles.

    Similarly, ancientregime's suggestion that all victim-reported trauma can be put down to false-memory syndrome (memories implanted by prosecutors or psychiatrists) demands evidence and not just implication.

    ancientregime's scientific discourse on the human physiological sexual response is disturbing, not because it is inaccurate, but because ancientregime insists on referring to "A female child's physiological state during sex", for example. The articles and studies cited in support make no mention of children. In fact, all refer to the adult physiological response during normal, non-coercive sexual intercourse. This is ancientregime trying his own "classical conditioning" on readers. Again, I ask readers to note the emphasis on the physiology, to the exclusion of social, emotional, cultural and psychological factors.

    ancientregime's religious discourse, like his foray into physiology and classical conditioning, is largely irrelevant to the current debate. Yes, religion can sometimes inculcate shame regarding various acts, but ancientregime fails to establish a link between religion and the laws made by Congress that began this debate. In fact, Congress is forbidden by the US Constitution from making laws establishing particular religious beliefs. ancientregime has failed to establish that the findings of the scientists whose studies I cited above were religiously motivated or indoctrinated or "conditioned", or that members of Congress act from primarily religious motives when passing laws relating to child sexual abuse.

    ancientregime mentions a study that links feelings of disgust about certain foods, bodily excretions and the like to moral ideas. As usual, ancientregime seeks to imply, without any evidence at all, that our view of the immorality and hence illegality of pedophilic child sexual abuse is akin to feelings of disgust at certain types of food. However, even if this is true, it is not clear how this would make pedophilia "pseudoscientific". It also ignores the very real harms that have been found to go along with child sexual abuse, as supported by the articles I cited earlier.

    ancientregime states baldly that "sexual states only cause pleasurable feelings" (my emphasis). Victim testimony of the kind I quoted previously clearly proves otherwise. But here again ancientregime seeks to mislead his readers. He moves straight on to claim that "A pleasurable sexual state is not the cause of emotional or psychological illness". This is a deceptive way of arguing. This second statement would be, I assume, uncontroversial for most people. Pleasurable states, sexual or otherwise, do not cause emotional distress. If they did, they would not be pleasurable. This contention, although put after the claim that all "sexual states" are pleasurable, is actually logically prior to that claim. What ancientregime needs to establish is the contention that all "sexual states" are pleasurable. He needs to explain away (somehow!) the overwhelming contrary evidence from direct testimony of victims of rape and other types of sexual abuse (both from adults and children).

    In this post, I have exposed the showmanship in ancientregime's arguments. He has dredged up a lot of science, to be sure, but none of it directly supports his central argument that pedophilic child abuse is not harmful to children. As I have already shown, in fact the harm is very real and can last a lifetime.

    ancientregime has displayed a strange inability to comprehend all facets of child sexual abuse. He is fixated on the physiological responses of the body, while at the same time apparently unable to imagine any real emotional, psychological or social reactions that victims have to the violation explicit in sexual abuse. He wants us to believe that sex is just a chemical, physiological process with essentially no emotional content, regardless of the circumstances under which it occurs. Thus, he would argue, consenting sex between two adults is no different from sex between an adult and a minor who is incapable of giving informed consent to an act he or she doesn't understand. Sex is apparently no more than a secretion of the appropriate pleasurable chemicals, anyway.

    To me, ancientregime's argument sounds like the typical rationalisations that are often heard from convicted pedophiles. By reducing sex to a chemical physiological process, the pedophile can presumably objectify his child victim so that the child becomes to him merely a vehicle for his fantasies - in essence a non-feeling, non-thinking chemical factory made solely to serve the sexual needs of the predator. The pedophile thinks of his victim(s) not as thinking, feeling, innocent and fearing human beings but as simple means to an end - his own sexual satisfaction.
  10. ancientregime Banned Banned

    James has simpley taken what I have written, distorted and then claimed I expressed distortions of his own machination. I refuse to waste my time reassembling my point from his fabrications. If it were a courtroom, I would have objected and won several times based on the huge list of misrepresentations issued forth. This is a clear sign of desperation of a person who is loosing. I urge the inquisitive and truth seeking reader to decide what I said by careful reading what I said, and not relying of James distortions so his argument seems to gain imaginary strength.

    I will address two additional points for this last argument: A comment James made and Informed Consent.

    Informed Consent Is Irrelevant
    When I argue that there is no violence or threat in a situation of a child and adult engaging in sex, the general argument seems to be the Informed Consent argument. Using Informed Consent in this situation is a misapplication of it's intended use. It is unnecessary to be informed about a choice, where if that choice is made, has nothing deleterious at stake. Sex between an adult and child, not the situations (1-3) in argument three, does not cause anything to be put at stake, where the adult and child involved have an established relationship and the adult is STD free.

    Sorry, James, the vagina of a female child does experience orgasm, in which I gave a physical example. The vagina and it's ability to orgasm don't just suddenly appear when moral agenda says it does. Morality is not the determiner of how nature works. Science is unbiased, objective report of what nature expresses; it is not a moral representation of how one believes it should work.

    Note to Readers: I, the author of this post in no way endorse an adult using manipulation, threat or an act of violence to obtain sex with a child. It is important if you feel that you may engage in such behavior that you seek professional help immediately. If you feel that my message endorses it, I suggest you read it more carefully and understand it is an argument to attempt to find evidence of whether harm exists in every case or not.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    ancientregime accuses me of distorting his argument. I suggest that readers judge whether this is correct or not for themselves. It seems to me that ancientregime really just ran out of arguments and so decided to leave in a huff.

    The only substantive addition to his argument that ancientregime has posted is the assertion that the informed consent of children to sex with adults is unnecessary because nothing "deleterious" is at stake if such consent is absent. Once again, this merely repeats ancientregime's assertion that no harm can possibly result from sexual abuse of children. And so, in this closing post I will add to my previous refutation of this blatantly incorrect notion.

    First, let me list a few myths about child sexual abuse:

    The harmful effects of child sexual abuse are well-established and can last well into adulthood (Ref: Children, Youth and Women's Health Service). Child abuse usually happens in secrecy and the child is usually threatened so they won't tell anyone. The impact on a particular child can be affected by:

    • The age of the child.
    • How long the abuse goes on. The longer children endure abuse and the earlier in their life it starts, the greater the risk to children's emotional, physical or sexual health and development.
    • The frequency of the abuse. Children who are frequently and regularly abused can grow up thinking that being abused or abusing others is normal and okay. They may become bullies in the schoolyard or use the same methods on their own children later or seek relationships with people who abuse them.
    • The personality of the child. Everyone copes with upset and pain in different ways and children are no exception. Some children will try to cope with abuse by keeping it 'inside' or by pretending they are not being hurt. Others will be outspoken, 'act out' or take action to try to make it stop. Children in the same family can be affected differently.
    • The presence of caring adults. Whether the abuse is minor or life-threatening, children who are abused need adults to protect them from future harm. They also need to know that the abuse is not their fault. The presence of caring adults in a child's life can help to counter the damage that is caused by child abuse.

    Sexually abused children typically exhibit a range of behaviours, including (Ref: Adults surviving child abuse):

    • Withdrawn, unhappy and suicidal behaviour
    • Self-harm and suicidality
    • Aggressive and violent behaviour
    • Bedwetting, sleep problems, nightmares
    • Eating problems e.g. anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa
    • Mood swings
    • Detachment
    • Pains for no medical reason
    • Sexual behaviour, language, or knowledge too advanced for their age

    As adults, sexually abused children have poorer mental health than other adults. They are more likely to have a history of eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts. Sexual abuse is also associated with financial problems in adulthood, and a decreased likelihood to graduate from high school or undertake further education (Silverman, Reinherz et al. 1996).

    In cases of organised sexual abuse by pedophile "rings", children can be subjected to serious harms including child prostitution, the manufacture of child pornography, and bizarre and sadistic sexual practices, including ritualistic abuse and torture. Young children subjected to organised sexual abuse often have severe traumatic and dissociative symptoms that inhibit disclosure or help-seeking behaviour. They are often very withdrawn children with strong suicidal ideation. They may exhibit disturbed behaviours while at play or when socialising with their peers or other adults.

    Organised abuse, and ritual abuse, is a key predisposing factor the development of Dissociative Identity Disorder and other dissociative spectrum disorders. Adults with histories of organised abuse frequently have long histories of suicide attempts and self-harm, and they often live with a heavy burden of mental and physical illnesses.

    Among the greatest harms of pedophilic child abuse is the loss of trust that invariably occurs. Abuse is most often perpetrated by a person whom the child knows and trusts. The perpetrator's flouting of his or her position of power and responsibility over the child for his or her own personal gratification can result in the child feeling powerless and generally distrustful of people - a feeling that can persist into adulthood and consequently affect all the victim's relationships after the abuse. And while the abuse continues, the child lives in constant fear, not knowing when the abuse will be repeated.

    One source (]) summarises some of these harms as losses to the child of:

    • self-esteem and self-worth
    • trust
    • childhood, including the opportunity to play and learn
    • the opportunity for normal growth and development
    • intimacy
    • control over his/her body
    • normal loving and nurturing
    • safety and security

    Documented harms to adults who were victimised as children include (Ref):

    • Fears, panic attacks, sleeping problems, nightmares, irritability, outbursts of anger and sudden shock reactions when being touched.
    • Little confidence, and self-respect and respect for one's own body may change.
    • Behavior that harms the body: addiction to alcohol and other substances, excessive work or sports, depression, self-destruction and prostitution.
    • Social problems, including having little confidence in other people, and fearing loss of control in relationships.
    • Sexual problems. For example, during adult sex, the previously abused victim may be confused by remarks, touches or behaviors that bring back memories of the abuse. Alternatively, past victims may lose interest in sex completely due to the negative associations it has for them.
    • Physical complaints including abdominal pain, pain while having sex, menstrual pain, intestinal complaints, stomach ache, nausea, headache, back pain, painful shoulders - chronic pains of many kinds. These pains are often inexplicable.
    • Eating disorders.
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder, characterised by denial and repression (i.e. victims refuse to acknowledge the past abuse or suppress the memory of it), re-experiencing the abuse (i.e. unintentionally, victims are confronted with memories of the abuse, for example through nightmares, sudden memories or unexplainable physical problems), and over-irritation (i.e. they are easily affected, hot-tempered, jumpy, excessively alert and don't fall asleep easily).

    Here are some miscellaneous facts and findings (Ref). Refer to the reference in the link for a list of the peer-reviewed, scientific sources of these findings.

    • 17% of abused children exhibit age inappropriate sexual behaviour. Examples: a preoccupation with sexual organs of self, parents and others, sexual aggression and bullying behaviours.
    • 14% of abused children exhibit behaviour problems. Examples: sudden changes in eating and/or sleeping habits, depression and anxiety.
    • 29% of abuse children exhibit depression or anxiety, including refusal to change clothes in front of others,isolation, obsessively good behaviour, obsessed with cleanliness, relationship problems.
    • 13% of abused children exhibit negative peer involvement (Trocme & Wolfe, 2001, p.287), such as anti-social behaviour, unwillingness to participate in social activities, running away.
    • 10% of abused children have irregular school attendance (Trocme & Wolfe, 2001, p.289).
    • Abused children are seven times more likely to become drug/alcohol dependent.
    • In a sexual abuse effects study of 938 adolescents admitted to residential, therapeutic communities for the treatment of substance abuse and related disorders, 64% of the girls and 24% of the boys reported histories of sexual abuse. Disorders included dysfunctional relationships, avoiding confrontation, self-harm (including cutting and burning), paranoid behaviour.
    • The odds of becoming a child molester, according to one study, were 5.43 times greater for adult male victims of childhood sexual abuse than for adult male non-victims.
    • Children with a history of sexual molestation are ten times more likely to attempt suicide.

    Common feelings that children have about being sexually abused include (Ref):

    • Emotional isolation: a feeling of being in a bubble, 'not normal'. Children who are abused can be very emotionally isolated. The abuser can force the child to keep the abuse a secret, and the child may worry about what will happen to the family if the secret is told. The burden of the secret can be carried into adulthood. The carrying of the secret, and the fact of the abuse, can make you feel different and apart from others, not like a 'normal' person from a 'normal' family.
    • Self-blame and guilt: 'A sign on me saying "This is a bad person"'. Children may feel that they were to blame for the abuse, that the abuse was punishment for something they had done wrong. The abuser may, in fact, have told them that this was the case. Children usually assume that adults, who are in a position of authority, are right. The guilt and shame felt by the child can persist into adult life.
    • Betrayed trust, perhaps by someone trusted by the family, or even by a parent. When this happens it can be difficult to trust again. It can be difficult as an adult for the victim to trust in himself or herself, as well as to trust others.
    • Re-experiencing. For those who were sexually abused in childhood there may be things that bring back or 'trigger' memories. These include not only obvious things like childbirth, Pap smears or the way their partner touches them sexually, but also everyday things such as colours, kinds of furniture or vehicles, sounds, or smells, which bring back memories or feelings associated with the abuse.

    I could go on and on documenting the established harms of child sexual abuse. For those who need more references, studies and science to convince them that sex between adults and children is harmful, see for example:

    Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment (2002)
    Living well - a resource for men who have experienced child sexual abuse or sexual assault
    Child welfare Information Gateway - child sexual abuse
    Long-term effects of child sexual abuse


    If, after all of these studies and reports and discussions about child sexual abuse, readers are still not sure whether pedophilia is harmful, I urge you to read some actual accounts by past victims of such abuse. Here is just one (of three found here):


    I would like to deal briefly with some arguments advanced by pedophiles themselves to "justify" their abuse of children. These are self-serving rationalisations. Some of these I have already touched on previously.

    1. The child consented

    A prepubescent child cannot give informed consent, because he or she does not have the emotional and psychological maturity, nor the intellectual knowledge required to make such a decision.

    2. The pedophile was only "teaching" the child about sex, and the child "wanted" to learn.

    Informed consent cannot be taught to a prepubescent child. The child might appear to agree to sexual activity with the adult, but only after the adult has assured them that such activity is "normal". The child trusts the adult and consents as a result of that trust. This is very far from informed consent.

    3. Pedophilia is as "normal" as homosexuality. The only difference is that it is not yet accepted by society.

    Unlike homosexuality, pedophilia does not involve informed and equal partners capable of mutual informed consent. Pedophiles take advantage of the trust of children, or else force them to engage in acts they do not wish to engage in. Pedophilic child abuse is comparable to rape, being sexual activity in the absence of informed consent.

    4. Pedophilia is just a sexual preference for children. It should be accepted as a "normal" human variation.

    If we are to allow pedophiles to abuse children because it is in the "nature" of the pedophile, equally we could arguet that we ought to allow every other kind of sexual preference that is "uncontrollable". For example, what if somebody "just likes" to rape other people, and claims that is his or her "sexual preference"?

    5. Certain other cultures routinely practice (or practiced) pedophilia, so ours should allow it too.

    First, it should be said that the interpretation of the acts of unfamiliar cultures is a tricky business. The assumption that the supposed "pedophilia" that is "allowed" or "encouraged" in other cultures is really the same thing as in western cultures is arguable. However, even if it is comparable, the mere fact that it is accepted in one culture does not mean that it ought to be accepted in all cultures. There are many practices accepted in few, generally small, communities or cultures that are considered wrong in most others. There is no good reason why pedophilia ought to be allowed in our culture, and the documented harms provide compelling reasons why it ought not to be allowed.

    6. Child sexual abuse is never harmful if "performed correctly".

    I have refuted this argument extensively both above and in my previous posts. The harmful effects of pedophilic sexual abuse on the child, both during childhood and later in life, are well documented. There really can be no argument about this.

    Although peripheral to this debate, I would like to point out some risk factors for adult pedophilic offenders. If you have children, keep a lookout for adults who have the following characteristics, because they may be at risk of pedophilic offending against children. The pedophile may:

    • Miss or ignore social cues about others’ personal or sexual limits or boundaries.
    • Spend most of his or her spare time with children and show little interest inspending time with another adult.
    • Link sexuality and aggression in language or behavior, for example, sexualized threats or insults, like
      “whore” or “slut”.
    • Make fun of children’s body parts, describe children with sexual words like “stud” or “sexy” or talk again
      and again about the sexual activities of children or teens.
    • Have an interest in sexual fantasies with children or is unclear about what is appropriate with children.
    • Minimize hurtful or harmful behaviors when confronted; blame others or deny harmfulness of his actions or words despite their impact.
    • Have a “special” child friend - maybe a different one each year.
    • Encourage silence and secrets in children.
    • Masturbate so often that it gets in the way of day-to-day activities.
    • Have been physically, sexually or emotionally mistreated or abused as a child and has not adequately addressed the possible effects.
    • Download and view Internet pornography and be unwilling to show or say if children are involved.
    • Become so pre-occupied with the Internet sexual activity that it starts to impact family and/or work life.
    • Ask adult partners to dress or act like a child or teen during sexual activity.


    In conclusion, I have shown in this debate that pedophilia is certainly NOT pseudoscience. Pedophilic sexual abuse causes well-documented and often long-term harm to child victims. Children do not "enjoy" being abused, as ancientregime would have us believe. Nor is "society" to blame for the effects on children of the abuse by pedophiles.

    Since this debate was agreed to be restricted to 4 posts each, it appears ancientregime wishes to forfeit his chance to sum up. However, in the interests of fairness I invite him to post one additional post if he wishes, within the 2-day agreed time limit. If he chooses to take me up on this offer, I reserve the right to also post one more post, so that we have the same number of posts each in the debate. Otherwise, I thank ancientregime for his participation in this debate.
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