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Richard Dawkins talks about "mild pedophilia"

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Anonymous, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. Anonymous Member

    I will add to this that, from my experience, sufferers of abuse tend not be helped by folks who keep reinforcing ‘a culture of victimhood’.

    Recovery from abuse is a difficult process involving many complicated psychological strands. A common one is the task of recovering a sense of self-worth. Those who have suffered severe abuse can sometimes have their entire mental sense of oneself broken down after being dominated by another for a prolonged period of time. The effect can be to leave a person unsure of their very internal personality, which leads to an absence of self-confidence, self-belief, and self-identity.

    The task of regaining one’s self-worth requires acceptance of what happened, to understand it and, most importantly, to move beyond it and feel a transformation from that of ‘a victim’ to that of ‘taking control of one’s life back’. All too often well-meaning people are unaware of this journey, and their simplistic understanding and accompanying social stigma can make this escape from victimhood more difficult.

    It is difficult for me to describe what I mean with reference to a real-world example without doxing myself somewhat, but I will try to keep it general. I refer to a group of people, who have all collectively suffered at the hands of the same particular abuser, who came together to raise awareness of the issue. Their motivation was not to gain vengeance against the abuser, nor to be a group of ‘victims’. What they wanted, if not needed, was for their society to recognise that the abuse had happened. That closure, which they obtained after a corrosive campaign, was far more healing to them than all the platitudes and reinforced victimhood combined and societal well-wishing combined.
  2. laughingsock Member

    • Like Like x 1
  3. Well, I have read his comments, at least as extracted by The Times of 7 Sept, and I will concede this: Dawkins did not say, in terms, that our reactions today are overblown. That is a faithful rendition of the HuffPo slant on what he said, rather than what he said.

    But we are entitled to interpret his words in the way HuffPo does, I think, because of the totality of what he says. He says, for example, that he sympathises (now, today) with the Catholic church, for being "victims of our shifting standards", and later on warns of the danger of "lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket", when some are examples of what he terms "mild paedophilia", not to be bracketed with violent rapists and murderers. The thrust of these comments is to suggest that our reactions to (in some instances, at the least) child molestation are overblown.

    If he also says he would not condone today what he argues we condoned in past decades, I would say that this is nothing more than a further example of his muddled thinking on a subject he does not understand. I shake my head in disbelief that he can use the word "victims" when discussing an organisation which has systematically abused children around the world for generations, and have been actively covering up those abuses at the very highest levels until forced to do otherwise.

    Muddled thinking is the most charitable interpretation I can put on such crassness.


    Don't bother with the "spoon-feeding". You would do much better simply to argue your case, minus the insults. You know you can do it! I responded to the point you make earlier.

    Look, he's inviting us to accept the concept of 'mild paedophilia' (which he does not explicitly define, and which I find to be at best meaningless and unhelpful - at worst, misleading). He implies that his and his schoolmates' abuser was an example of such 'mild paedophilia' (because, as he claims, they were not harmed by it). How can we not interpret this as meaning that we shouldn't make a fuss about something so 'mild' in the general case?

    There is definitely muddled thinking going on here. Why, if the abuser's actions did no harm and was so 'mild', would Dawkins (or anyone else) condemn it (as opposed to, say, mildly disapproving)?

    I'm not going to respond to most of the rest of what you write, because

    a) You continue to be rude and insulting, and
    b) Most of the points you want to argue are already covered by my earlier responses, and I find very little of merit in your blanket apologia for every word Dawkins has said, without any attempt at acknowledging their overall implications.

    I will respond to your final point, though.

    There is no denying that this is how interviews most often come out. The Times is not some shabby tabloid, however, and I think care will have been taken not to distort Dawkins' views. If there is muddle, it is in all probability Dawkins' muddle as much as with the editing.
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  4. Anonymous Member

    This is one of those threads where people don't define their terms, eh?

    Here's an idea:

    mild = 1st base
    mod = 2nd base
    severe = 3rd base
    ugh! = home run
  5. Anonymous Member

    Mild=child abuse
    Moderate=child abuse
    Severe=child abuse
    Worst case=child death.
  6. Anonymous Member

    Touching = forced penetration.
  7. Anonymous Member

    I don’t really buy this from given how you have been unaware of the totality of his remarks on this subject ITT. The use of anecdote, and it’s context within his wider words which was posted ITT, that you misrepresented due to being unaware of that context is a jarring example. It seems to me that, after having being challenged on your misrepresentations over Dawkins’ remarks, that totality has only become relevant as a potential source for more ammunition. I’ll play that game with you.
    I’m going to quote a full piece to give the context your rendering has left out here, which came immediately before the quotes you chose. I’m using this source:
    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_...-world-according-to-richard-dawkins-the-times

    “The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile. Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense? “I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”

    The point he is making (bolded above) is to highlight the lumping of cases of drastically different severity under the same label, and how it leads to a false equivalency. That was the context that led into the following portion you them quoted from:

    “So is there a risk of a metaphorical lynching of well-known people as soon as they’re accused? “I think there is a risk of that.”

    What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.””

    The bolded ‘same thing’ is referring to the earlier context, and is a continuation of the very same point he was making regarding the false equivalency. This is the context that you left out, and in so doing are misrepresenting what he was saying.

    What makes your misrepresentation all the more egregious is that it comes after your claim that you are taking into account the ‘totality’ of what he says. How about taking into account of what Dawkins has not just said, but actually done with regard to the Catholic Church. When the pope visited the UK in 2010, Dawkins was heavily involved in organising and financing the ‘Protest the Pope’ campaign. One of the results of that campaign was the book The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse. Dawkins’ himself was on record multiple times discussing the issue in the lead up to the visit. How do reconcile this with what you are attributing to his views above? Dawkins’ making the point that case of child molestation that do not involve rape or murder are not as bad as rape or murder is neither defending child molestation nor the Catholic Church abuses – so ignore the context of those remarks (not to mention and entire body of work he has done on the subject) to make misrepresent him?
    Apparently it seems fully necessary. In your previous post I called you out for ignoring relevant context, and it transpired that I had to do more spoon-feeding this time around for exactly the same reason. If you want to regard that an insult then feel free – it won’t change the necessity for pointing out relevant context that you are ignoring in your misrepresentations.
    Don’t even try pretending you cannot grasp the concept involved here. You full well have the capacity to understand that abuse occurs along a spectrum of severity, and the implications of such, and this playing dumb act is extremely disingenuous and pointless. If you wish to continue pretending that all child molestation cases are of equal severity and of equal damage-causing potential that is your right. Why you would want to do that puzzles me, since such feigned incomprehension is neither persuasive nor honest.
    I’ll spoon-fed you the same passage again: “I am very conscious that you can't condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don't look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

    See that bold, and how it indicates that he would condemn such? All he is saying is that, in what happened to him, no lasting harm occurred. Not only is he not generalising in any way, but in the very same fucking piece he saying he would condemn the act today – the bolding (which you have ignored for two straight posts btw) is incompatible with your interpretation that “we shouldn't make a fuss”.

    The bold fully answers the question you later posed: “Why, if the abuser's actions did no harm and was so 'mild', would Dawkins (or anyone else) condemn it (as opposed to, say, mildly disapproving)?” The answer is yes, he would indeed condemn it. He wouldn’t compare it to murder or rape, but he would still condemn it.
    Make up whatever reasons you want, and continue to ignore any relevant context you want. Sell your misrepresentations to yourself anyway you want. Invent any reason you want for trying to take the moral highground in furtherance of your misplaced moral indignation. Fill your boots mate. But consider this little factoid – it is extremely rich to hear your cry about insults (each of which I would argue was fully deserved and fully backed by argumentation) there is nothing I have said, in terms of insulting anyone ITT, that comes anywhere close to the insult your misrepresentations represent. But that won’t wash in the game of your moral indignation will it?
  8. Anonymous Member

    So what Dawkins thinks the Catholic Church abuse scandal is
    What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”
    -Tell that to the victims of priests including the young women that had children as a result of priest pedophilia, they will tell you they are very much effected. Seriously will you listen to yourself? You are accepting his argument without sourcing the victims of priests.
    . Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense? “I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”[/quote]
    -How about mild cases of pedophilia where no touching-up occurs? The organized pedophile ring that takes pictures of children at playgrounds and shares them, and advises fellow pedophiles which parks are good? Are those children harmed? The children that pedophiles convince to strip on Skype, the You Tube videos where pedophiles convince children to dance wear "those red shorts"
    The "mild" vr "serious" pedophilia is a fiction, unless you can tell us that pedophiles that do "mild touching up" have stopped there.

    The "mild" vr "serious" pedophilia is a fiction, unless you can tell us that pedophiles that do "mild touching up" have stopped there.
    Address this please
  9. CarterUSP Member

    Protip. Try reading a post before trying to criticise it.
    I shall identify where this is addressed in my own post for your clarification.
    Now what I did here was the following:
    I clarified my own argument, condensed into one nice easy sentence for ease of comprehension.
    I then clarified what I did not say, as this was what you clearly though I had said, and what you were responding to.

    So there you have it. Your question about my post was answered by reading my post.
    Ust sayin'
  10. Anonymous Member

    You left out the very same context I just made a post about in response to AnonymousVanAllen, and as a result are completely misreading the intent and purpose of his comments. Given that Dawkins’ has put time, money, resources and energy into raising awareness about human rights abuses by the Catholic Church during the whole ‘protest the pope’ campaign, which I made reference to in my previous post, why are you choosing to ignore both the context of his comments and real-world evidence of Dawkins’ actions that utterly disagree with your interpretation of his comments????

    Dawkins’, in that context you have utterly ignored, already covered your objection here: “But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”

    The “young women that had children” that you reference would come under rape and clearly not what Dawkins’ would refer to as ‘mild paedophilia’. A simple reading of this context on your part should have been sufficient to realise this, and your zealous attempts to claim that Dawkins’ comments excuse those acts of rape is grotesque misrepresentation that you have no excuse for.
    An utterly irrelevant question that has nothing to do with either the content or context of Dawkins’ remarks, and frankly little more than thinly-veiled attempt on your part to try implying Dawkins’ would ever condone (or refuse to condemn) such a thing.
    So many many misunderstandings here that it would take an age to correct. And, frankly, none of this should be necessary on my part if you weren’t so intent of missing the point, intent and context of the very comments you are so determined to condemn.

    The term ‘mild paedophilia’ was coined in terms of the act, and was with reference to the recounting of an experience that Dawkins’ and his classmates suffered no lasting harm from. At no stage did Dawkins’ imply the abuser shouldn’t be condemned, only that he finds it difficult to do with reference to today’s standards (in the same way he has difficulty condemning past slave owners with the same standards of today). He stated: “I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”” This clearly is implying that, if such occurred today, he wouldn’t have any hesitation or difficulty in issuing condemnation. That you want to extend his comments far beyond the domain that inspired it, and then use that as a basis for completely misrepresenting and maligning such, isn’t justified by either your moral indignation or the argumentation you have thus far offered.
  11. Anonymous Member

    Ironic, given your inability/refusal to accurately parse Dawkins’ comments on this issue.

    And no, you did not explain why what I wrote was a strawman. In order to use the claim of ‘strawman’ it is necessary to explain how my response misrepresented your argument – that portion, which is a requirement for any strawman claim, was absent from your posting. Simply stating you did not do something, when that something was a logical and necessary conclusion of what you have written, is a poor argument imo.

    And that was the key point. My post that invoked the strawman claim had already explained why the conclusion of lying and not knowing their own minds followed – and in failing to address this you failed in any strawman claim.
  12. Anonymous Member

    Maybe an analogy will help: aggression. Most people are not aggressive unless they feel in immediate personal danger. But some people are very aggressive and seem to enjoy a physical fight. Some of those aggressive people are fully law abiding; some aren't. Acts of aggression can range from borderline illegal verbal harassment to predatory stalking, maiming and murder, even mass murder. The spectrum of severity is obvious here, isn't it?

    Similarly, light touching that stops when a child shows embarrassment isn't going to cause the same level of injury as forced penetration with permanent damage to the vagina and anus. That's obvious, right?
  13. You didn't answer the question. I asked you about the idea of "mild" pedophilia, you are supporting that this form of pedophilia exists.
  14. Dox for mild pedophilia. Ask the victims of priestly abuse if "mild" touching up has "mild" consequences for them.
  15. I was not implying anything about Dawkins. I was asking you.
    Is pedophilia "mild" when no touching up occurs?
  16. Not playing games. There is no intent to misrepresent Mr Dawkins on my part, and you certainly haven't demonstrated any such thing. Quoting entire paragraphs is not always required when providing context, as you are doing here. If you claim that I'm misrepresenting him, show what I have misrepresented, and make your case. No need to get belligerent about it, is there?

    I read the same info you did, so I don't see any lack of awareness of context on my part - depends which context you mean, I suppose. I'm arguing about Mr Dawkins' piece in the context of the recent explosion of cases of very serious child molestation coming to light. That, I believe, is Mr Dawkins' context, too. He discusses the celebrity arrests and prosecutions, as well as the huge number of cases involving the RC Church. Right in the middle of it all, he gives his anecdote of his own, less serious experience with a serial molester (who later killed himself, according to Dawkins, so perhaps he isn't totally accurate in describing such pedophilia as 'mild', after all).

    I have consistently made the point that he is a scientist, but the piece reads as though he is talking off the top of his head, and it is really a most unfortunate juxtaposing of decades-long, systematic abuse of children together with his and his schoolmates' experiences. To what end? What is his purpose in mixing up these things? What is his purpose in mentioning sexual molestation and attempting to compare it with religious indoctrination? I think it is perfectly legitimate to question these matters. It's as if Mr Dawkins wants to jump on the bandwagon of current scandals, and to tag on his unrelated anti-religious views. To what end?




    The bolded ‘same thing’ is referring to the earlier context, and is a continuation of the very same point he was making regarding the false equivalency. This is the context that you left out, and in so doing are misrepresenting what he was saying.[/quote]

    I do not see that you have made a case for any misrepresentation on my part, simply because I did not quote entire screeds of Dawkins' reported speech.

    So, you say he is making an argument against the false equivalency of 'mild' vs. - what? - 'non-mild' pedophilia? Why then, does he argue, in the same context, that the RC Church are 'victims of our shifting standards'? Is he equating the many, very serious cases of molestation and rape of children by priests with his teacher touching him up? Are we to judge acts by their harmful effects, their violence, or by the date when they occurred? What exactly does he mean by 'same thing' here? Is that not a false equivalency? It's not the same thing at all. It's a complete muddle of an argument. If that's not what he intended, how can he state that vast numbers of serious crimes of molestation in the RC Church and the scandals that erupted when they were exposed makes them victims (of the rest of us)? Think about it.

    I don't think I misrepresented his reported speech. He mixes up the notion that 'not all cases of pedophilia are equally serious', with the notion that 'our standards are different from those of earlier decades' and the notion that 'inculcating the idea of Hell is a worse form of child abuse than the actions of those pedophiles who just put their hands down boys' trousers', and makes a dogs breakfast of it.

    I think Richard Dawkins is a decent sort and an eminent intellectual. It is not my wish to misrepresent him in any way, but to understand what he means. But if I think he's talking tosh, I will say so (and suffer the consequences).


    Only in your head. Go and re-read what you wrote in the portion of your previous post that I didn't comment on. You were quick to insult.


    Read what I wrote. I do grasp the concept of varying degrees of molestation/harm done. As far as I can tell, Dawkins would not find a definition of 'mild pedophilia' in any scholarly work, and that is what I was questioning. Dawkins might be able to state with some degree of certainty how harmful or otherwise his molestation was, but he could have no way of gauging how 'mild' or otherwise his molestor's pedophilia was, and I would question whether that is a meaningful concept at all.

    It is questionable in the extreme whether a teacher putting his hand down boys' shorts is an indicator of 'mild pedophilia', as Dawkins seems to think.



    Yes I see that bold. Do you see it? What does it actually mean?

    He can't find it in himself to condemn it, now, today, because standards were so different then? He wouldn't condemn it then, but he does now? It happened a long time ago, so we shouldn't condemn it? But he does condemn it, anyway, but using the standards of a few decades ago? Is he or isn't he?

    Clear as mud.

    Oh, I see you're at it again with the 'spoon-feeding'.


    Well, that is your interpretation. I'm not able to follow you in your certainty.

    What is it about what I have written that makes you so sure I deserved your insults?

    Usually, when someone resorts to insults, it's because they are losing the argument. Think about that, won't you?
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Dox for mild touching up not causing the same level of psychological damage. Dawkins describes mild pedophilia as not causing lasting harm.
  18. CarterUSP Member

    I did explain, albeit briefly, why. I fail to see the confusion here. I'll try to paraphrase.
    What I argued: Dawkins cannot state with confidence that the abuse had not affected others significantly.
    What I didn't argue: Dawkins is a liar and all of his fellow abusees are liars
    What I didn't argue: Dawkins et al are "utterly unreliable" (Your words, post #62) in their tesimonies on the subject

    You responded to points 2 and 3, the points that I didn't make. You successfully pulled apart and tore down arguments that I didn't make.
    And there, my friend, is the very definition of the straw man.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. ITT: splitting either only black and white, or also gray hairs on a very touchy (sorry!) subject.
  20. Anonymous Member

    Well which would you rather suffer, light touching or forced anal penetration?
  21. Anonymous Member

    Dox for no harm from "mild" pedophilia, light touch.
  22. Anonymous Member

    We are arguing about different levels of criminal activity, the argument of some people here seems to be that mild pedophilia isn't really criminal activity and should not be pursued as such.
  23. Anonymous Member

    AnonymousVanAllen
    I have been doing just that. If you want to try using some of my forceful language as a means to ignore it then it’s your choice to do so I suppose.
    The first portion of bolding has been answered, in some depth I might add, in my previous post if you would care to not ignore it. Rather than consider that context you have chosen, it appears, to simply substitute your own.

    I linked to the full article within which the comments were reported. If you care to read it you will note that this issue first arose with reference to Stephan Pinker and the decline of violence in society (our “shifting moral zeitgeist”). As the article noted, Dawkins was “fascinated by the way today’s transgressions might have been viewed differently not long ago.” How you can read the article and not have noticed this context (and then choose to substitute your own) is completely beyond me.
    It’s an interview. Pretty much most interviews go like that….
    If you read the article, in context, then the ‘end’ becomes clear. So why are you choosing not to do so?

    You seem to have taken great umbrage at the ‘spoon-feeding’ comments, but unless I do this I have no confidence whatsoever you will ever bother yourself to see the context. The flow of the article began with the usual introduction, and then moved on to discussing changing moral zeitgeists. It was the interviewer, not Dawkins, who brought up his writings within which he had given the anecdote. Further, it was the interviewer, not Dawkins, who directed the discussion towards the Catholic Church – with Dawkins answering the interviewer’s questions within the context of changing moral zeitgeists.

    My lack of confidence in your ability to faithfully parse context is reinforced greatly when you then ask: “What is his purpose in mentioning sexual molestation and attempting to compare it with religious indoctrination?” For some reason I doubt that anyone who has actually read the originating article for Dawkins’ comments (published in The Times) would have failed to notice that not once was religious indoctrination mentioned. You lack of reading the article is exemplified with this nonsense: “It's as if Mr Dawkins wants to jump on the bandwagon of current scandals, and to tag on his unrelated anti-religious views”.

    FTFY.
    I have number each of these questions to make addressing them easier. To be frank, you have little excuse for being unable to answer any of them since they are either trivial or directly deducible from the context of the article.

    (1) This is answered directly in the article itself: “But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”

    (2) Because the article, at that point, was specifically discussing changing moral standards. So talking about changing moral standards, when the article was explicitly discussing changing moral standards, can only come as a surprise to someone who has not read the article itself.

    (3) No, as the quotation with bold given in answer to (1) makes clear.

    (4) Current law does indeed punish according to the extent of harms (usually with additional punishment for more severity) and the presence of violence, and nothing in what Dawkins has said contradicts that. Dawkins point regarding changing moral standards was that judging people of yesterday by the standards of today was difficult for him, but there is nothing in what he has written to suggest he would apply this as a point of law.

    (5) The article was discussing changing moral standards, and how things in the past that were considered allowable are not considered the same way today. The interviewer brought up the example of Savile being done for child molestation as an example of how moral standards have changed and how that is no longer as tolerated in society as it once was. This was what “same thing” was referencing it – and I find it somewhat comical that you object to the ‘spoon feeding’ comments while you ask a question like this that requires spoon-feeding.

    (6) Since both cases involved changing moral standards, and since changing moral standards was the topic of discussion, it makes sense to consider them as case involving changing moral standards. I don’t see what was controversial about this.

    I don’t really see how you could reasonably object to the notions that “'not all cases of pedophilia are equally serious” or “'our standards are different from those of earlier decades”, so I will assume those are not problematic for you.

    The two sections I have bolded above are completely incompatible – because the interview never discussed religious indoctrination. What has happened here is that media other than The Times have taken his earlier written works and shoved them into his comments from The Times interview – something it seems you are unaware of. Due to you not knowing the context of his interview (due to, it seems, having not read it) nor the context of his earlier work, and then conflating those two, you are grossly misrepresenting Dawkins on both counts.
    The two bolded sections are incompatible. You cannot, on the one hand, claim you grasp the spectrum of severity while, on the hand, simultaneously claim that a turn of phrase clearly coined to refer to one end of that spectrum is meaningless to you. This is just playing dumb on your part.
    This is your response to this comment from Dawkins: “...can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.” Your difficulty in parsing this one single line seems indicative of your difficulty in parsing his words as a whole.

    Let me spoon-feed you the same passage for the third time: “I am very conscious that you can't condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don't look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

    The whole context of the article at this point was changing moral standards. He is neither defending acts of the past nor claiming they should be allowable. What he is doing, which is vital context that you seem intent on ignoring, is noting that as our moral standards have changed actions that were once viewed as tolerable in the past are no longer considered tolerable today. Further, within this context, he is saying that he finds it difficult to condemn people of the past for committing acts that were not considered as intolerable (by modern standards) in those times.

    This is a single paragraph with less than 100 words – and you have little excuse for your continuing pretence of being incapable of reading its clear meaning. That I have had to spoon-feed this to you for the third time is utterly incredulous to me.
    You can accuse me of many things, but subtlety is not among them. I have been very clear and candid about why I think you deserved my comments.

    CarterUSP
    As I wrote in a previous post:
    IF you claim someone is making an untrue claim/interpretation AND offer reasons to explain why the person is mistaken THEN you are indeed claiming that person is lying.
    As I wrote in a previous post:
    “IF the claims made by some people regarding a given incident, claims WHICH rely on an accurate knowing of their own minds, AND said claims are challenged AND reasons for why those people are not accurate about their own minds (trauma, memory suppression, coping mechanism) THEN the implication is that said people do not know their own minds to a sufficient accuracy.”
    Both of the above seem perfectly accurate to me. Writing “1+2” and then crying strawman when someone points out “equals 3” doesn’t wash with me.

    Anonymous
    Nobody ITT has made the bolded claim.
  24. CarterUSP Member

    *sigh*
    Let me S P E L L this out for you:

    I DIDN'T SAY THIS OR ARGUE WHAT YOU SAID THERE
    I DIDN'T NOR HAVE I EVER MADE THIS ARGUMENT
    YOU ARE MAKING THINGS UP AND CLAIMING THAT I SAID THEM
    YOU ARE IGNORING THESE FACTS DESPITE ME STATING THEM TO YOU NOW FOR A THIRD TIME

    I am really, really, really trying not to descend into name calling here but you are being a very silly person.
  25. Anonymous Member

    So if I have claim someone is issuing untrue information/interpretation, and I further offer reasons to explain why they are offering that untrue information/interpretation, then I am not saying that person is lying? Doesn’t compute imo.
  26. Similarly, light touching that stops when a child shows embarrassment isn't going to cause the same level of injury as forced penetration with permanent damage to the vagina and anus. That's obvious, right?
    Dox for mild touching up not causing the same level of psychological damage. Dawkins describes mild pedophilia as not causing lasting harm.
    1. -How about mild cases of pedophilia where no touching-up occurs?
      An utterly irrelevant question that has nothing to do with either the content or context of Dawkins’ remarks, and frankly little more than thinly-veiled attempt on your part to try implying Dawkins’ would ever condone (or refuse to condemn) such a thing.
      I was not implying anything about Dawkins. I was asking you.
      Is pedophilia "mild" when no touching up occurs?
      and oursbil, Today at 10:05 AM


    2. iclpri that
      The "mild" vr "serious" pedophilia is a fiction, unless you can tell us that pedophiles that do "mild touching up" have stopped there
      I'm asking you, as you are supporting the existence of 'mild' pedophilia.

  27. / - i see smart people in this thread. / :p
  28. Anonymous Member

    Do you think you need controlled scientific studies to determine if a light touch is less damaging than forced anal penetration? Fine we can get to that after we study whether it's safer to jump from a plane with a parachute verses without.
  29. You attempt to excuse your own rudeness and insulting language by labelling them 'forceful language'. These are different things. It is as much a courtesy to you that I don't choose to put them under your nose as for whatever validity or otherwise of your arguments.

    Not my own. Earlier ITT there was a link to remarks Mr Dawkins made in 2012, which I reproduce for the benefit of clarity:

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/glob...efends-mild-pedophilia-again-and-again/69269/

    That is why I stated 'it depends on which context you mean, I suppose'. The narrower context might be the Times article of Sept 7 2013, but I am referring to the wider context of Dawkins' expressed views on pedophilia and religion, as exemplified in the above-linked article, in reflecting upon the current controversies that form the background to the Times article.

    You will note that I did not insist that this was the only possible context, and left it open for you to clarify, without condescension, accusing you of misrepresentation, or questioning your reading comprehension. That is because I prefer to discuss the issues, rather than trading insults, which it appears you are incapable of doing. I won't keep extending you the same courtesy if you continue.

    Read the Atlantic Wire piece linked above. It is perfectly legitimate to consider what Dawkins says in the Times article in the context of his published views from as recently as 2012.

    Disagree. When a person of some eminence gives an interview, we have good reason to expect his views to be coherent and considered.

    Again, I'm referring to a slightly wider context and I posed the question to you of what Mr Dawkins' agenda was in comparing and contrasting the issues he chose to discuss. I think I made it clear what my opinion on it was.



    The context I'm referring to would be clear to you if you had read the Atlantic Wire article, specifically, this extract:


    Having pointed this out, it should be clear to you that I was not misrepresenting Mr Dawkins' expressed views. I stand by my comment about his reasons for comparing the religious indoctrination and sexual molestation. Do you maintain that it is 'nonsense'?

    I have number each of these questions to make addressing them easier. To be frank, you have little excuse for being unable to answer any of them since they are either trivial or directly deducible from the context of the article.

    Others have already pointed out ITT, correctly, that Dawkins is confusing pedophilia and child molestation - the one being a sexual orientation, the other, criminal acts of varying degrees of severity. It is Dawkins who is lumping together different things into the same bracket. It's a clumsy error.

    What is surprising is his characterisation of the most serious kinds of child abuse as being subject to shiftiing moral standards. Whose moral standards? People who were raped by a priest 50 years ago might disagree strongly with Mr Dawkins, if the perps do not. He should have taken a good deal more care to avoid making or implying such a dubious claim.

    I have already stated that I read the article. Are you calling me a liar?

    <snipped some of your comments I don't care to comment further on, or where you persist in insulting me>

    See my response to point (2).


    No. You appear to be unaware of what Dawkins said in 2012, but whether or not you are aware, you cannot sustain your accusations that I misrepresented his views and you should retract them.


    In your head only. Dawkins appears not to understand what pedophilia is. He is wrong to confuse less violent acts of molestation and the notion that these must be due to the perp having only a mild form of the condition of pedophilia. The evidence available does not support such a notion. Indeed, as I mentioned in passing, the behaviour of grooming is designed to slip under the radar of parents and others, with the goal of controlling and indulging in sexual acts with children.

    It appears that you share Dawkins' confusion.


    I hoped to bring out how 'clear' Dawkins' words were, by offering several different interpretations of what they might mean, but you seem fixed on your own interpretation - ie, when Dawkins says he 'can't [find it in himself to] condemn...' you interpret it as him finding it 'difficult' to do so, but you are sure that he does condemn (but presumably not by today's standards).

    Do you insist that yours is the only correct interpretation, and that anyone who does not share it is 'pretending' not to grasp it?

    Note that Dawkins is speaking about a man he knows to have molested several other boys. Dawkins might expect to discover that the molestor went on to molest others, as the evidence shows this to be the most likely possibility. Not only that, but it is likely that, given the opportunity, the man would likely have committed more serious offences. As a boy of 9 or 10 at the time, he was in no position to know this, of course, but he should have little doubt that serial abusers were condemned by the parents of those children. So I ask again, whose moral standards is he referring to here?

    I accused you of being rude and insulting, and you are, as you have once again demonstrated. Unsubtlety is something quite different, as is being candid. You appear unable to tell the difference.
    • Like Like x 1
  30. Anonymous Member

    Nice side step. The question was dox for mild pedophilia/frotteurism not causing damage. All the comments about how mild pedophilia is ok because it doesn't cause lasting harm- Dox -still waiting..
  31. Anonymous Member

    You are totally missing the point Dawkins was making, which actually isn't about pedophelia but the damage done to children when they are convinced to believe that hell is real. Dawkins feels we ought to worry about this at least as much as we worry about mild pedophelia, which is quite a lot of worry, obviously.
    • Like Like x 1
  32. Pedophilia breaks a most sacred bond of trust that has been established between the child and an adult.
    Quite often, the pedophile gains the trust of its intended prey by "grooming" them. They may give the child what at first appears to be an irresistible personal attention and praise, telling the child how special they are and even beyond the compliments and perhaps also preying on the child's insecurity, makes himself their best friend in a way. A silly example would be the older man who owns a bike shop who lets a bunch of boys hang out in the office watching tom and jerry cartoons while eating candy soda and popcorn. This could go on for months, with even the kid's parents knowing where they are hanging out after school. It just takes that one time when the predator corners its prey and pounces on them on an intentionally surprising way, and the child feels confused and at the same time almost guilty for having bad feelings about someone was supposed to be their cool friend and adopted mentor... Most children, no matter how smart and charming they are, are interested in getting fresh with an adult. They are barely learning about the birds and the pubescent bees in middle school. soo....

    Just flirting is fine, but that is not what is being discussed here. This is about inappropriate touch.

    The trust is broken.
    Boundaries of safety and physical space have been invaded. The most private aspects of that innocent child has been violated for the selfish and sick pleasure of a pervert,
    And, it is a shame.
    And, it is wrong.

  33. Correction - (sorry)
    Most children are not interested in getting fresh with an adult.
    Most children think that is gross, as gross as boys think girls are when they are still in grade school.
    They are not even fully at the age when they are even growing to a point at which they are physically sexually mature, themselves, and don't have a clue a lot of the time on how to handle an adult, particularly if that adult is well liked and respected by the community. That is also why a lot of kids who experience this actually keep quiet about it. Unfortunately there is still a shameful stigma attached to this when it comes to a victim who has spoken out about an abusive situation.
  34. Anonymous Member

    Ffs, the very first paragraph states this: “First, here's what Dawkins said to The Times magazine”. The Atlantic (and you) then go on to pull out a quote from The Times interview completely devoid of the context within which that quote was given. I have explained, at some considerable length, the context of that quote. But, since you seem utterly intent on not reading The Times article, you seem quite happy to substitute your own (and The Atlantic’s) context for the actual context of The Times piece.

    I find it very difficult to regard you doing that as anything other than an act of misrepresentation. If you are not prepared to examine the context within which such remarks were made then at least have the honesty to state clearly that you are doing so.
    Given that you not just ignored the context I described at length, but that you even go so far as to try justifying it simply because The Atlantic committed the same mistake is quite telling. Hiding behind your perceptions of condescension is a poor excuse for this.
    It is far from “perfectly legitimate” give that:
    - The Times piece was never about paedophilia directly, but about the larger context of changing moral standards;
    - The Times piece never once brought up indoctrination (since the interview was never about that);
    - The Times had a completely different context than what The Atlantic transplants onto comments from the interview;

    If you want to take issue with material he has written or words he has uttered then you (and The Atlantic) have to consider the context in which those words or writings were made. All you and The Atlantic are doing is collecting different snippets from vastly different contexts and combining them into one huge misrepresentative piece.
    This is a level of hypocrisy that I find borderline dishonest, to put it bluntly. You are quite prepared to make huge sweeping claims regarding that interview, all under your expectation that it be “coherent and considered”, while not having read the interview in the first place???? But, much more than that, when it has been pointed out to you multiple times that you need to read the full interview the get its context you still apparently refuse to do so??? How the fuck can claim, with an anyway straight face, that you could evaluate whether any interview is “coherent and considered” when you won’t read the fucking thing???? Is my condescension stopping you from reading it?? Or what is your malfunction here???
    But The Times article never once discussed indoctrination. Not once. So how the fuck can you defend The Atlantic for taking a comment made to The Times, which had absolutely fuck all to do with indoctrination, and use it to bolster any argument on the topic of indoctrination????
    When you strip away the quote from The Times interview, and consider the context within which the present comments were made, it is much more difficult to challenge the point he is making here. If you would like to debate those comments, within the context they were made, then I’ll have that discussion.

    And it isn’t a complex argument being forwarded either. Abuse occurs along a spectrum, from violent rape to what Dawkins’ describes as a ‘mild feeling-up’. His supposition is that it may transpire that religious indoctrination, and in particular the inculcation of concepts like ‘hell’, may have more capacity to cause long-lasting harm than the mild end of that spectrum. Trying to challenge this supposition is difficult to do without embarking on the sort of quote-mining The Atlantic (and yourself) have engaged in.

    Here are the fundamental premises of the argument, broken down for clarity:
    - Child sexual abuse occurs along a spectrum, from violent rape to light touching/fondling.
    - Child sexual abuse at the severe end of the spectrum has a high capacity to cause lasting harm, while abuse at the less-severe end of the spectrum has a lower capacity to cause lasting harm.
    - There are people who have experienced abuse at the less severe end of the spectrum who have not suffered lasting harm. This premise is not intended to be a generalisation to all persons who have experienced abuse at the less severe end of the spectrum.
    - There are people who have experienced indoctrination (particularly in concepts such as ‘hell’) that have suffered long-lasting harm. This premise is not intended to be a generalisation to all persons who have experienced indoctrination.

    Which of those four premises do you regard as being false? Which specific premise and for what specific reason? It is much harder to refute/challenge this argumentation directly than it is to pull a quote-mine (as The Atlantic did with The Times interview).
    I was the first person to do that ITT. I was also the only poster that provided dox to that effect ITT. That you chose to reiterate a point that has already been adequately covered ITT rather than the thrust of the point that was being made (both by myself and Dawkins) is disappointing.
    And here, yet again, you are taking The Times interview completely and utterly out of context for umpteenth time. Specific points that have already been addressed (and you ignored) include:
    - The context was a discussion of changing moral standards in society. Your question of “Whose moral standards?” would have been easily answered had you read The Times piece.
    - Within the context of changing moral standards was also the discussion of the changing moral zeitgeist. In modern times a much stronger focus is placed upon child sexual abuse that in the past, and as a result of this there have been more such cases prosecuted. This was the context within which The Times piece quote was made.
    - The hypothetical priest you introduce would likely not have been prosecuted in the past because the zeitgeist of the time was not focusing on prosecuting that type of crime. Now that the zeitgeist has changed, such a priest would be prosecuted. Dawkins is making the point that it was due to such a shifting zeitgeist that such prosecutions are occurring.
    You clearly have not read The Times piece, so yes I am calling you a liar. You have made far far FAR too many comments on The Times quote displaying such a basic ignorance of the content, intent and flow of the interview that I have to conclude you have not read it. Instead, you are relying on The Atlantic’s complete and utter mischaracterisation of The Times interview.
    I reiterate what I said earlier: “That you chose to reiterate a point that has already been adequately covered ITT rather than the thrust of the point that was being made (both by myself and Dawkins) is disappointing.”

    I also find it disappointing that you appear to have adopted a mischaracterisation that was introduced by others in this thread. As is clear from the anecdote itself, Dawkins’ is referring to the act that was done to him and not the actor. It is the act that he is describing as ‘mild’, something that is clear from his comments. Unfortunately, some in this thread have misread his use of the word mild to refer to the actor, a reading that is completely incompatible with his comments as a whole.

    The only quote given in The Atlantic article with reference to ‘mild paedophilia’ is this one: “…I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia…”. Caning is referring to the act. Similarly, ‘mild paedophilia’ is referring to the act. This is a pretty basic and elementary misreading on your part tbh.
    Frankly, yes. So far I have been the only person who has offered an interpretation that is compatible with the entirety of The Times piece. Further, it is quite possible that I have been the only fucking person ITT who seems to have bothered their ass to read the fucking thing.
    I have answered this numerous times by now. If you were in any way genuine about seeking an answer to this question you would have read The Times piece for yourself to find out.
    You ask why you deserved the insults, and I write “You can accuse me of many things, but subtlety is not among them. I have been very clear and candid about why I think you deserved my comments.

    Ffs it’s two lines. Just two lines. And you cannot even parse those….?
  35. ^ When you engage in a rant, you lose coherence. Rule #1 for a meaningful discussion is that you must keep your head. If you can't do that, you lose by default, because who would want to engage with some nutter ranting at them?

    I expect you'll be blaming me next for your truly appalling manners - I made you behave badly, just like I deserve all the rudeness and insults you toss at me. (A clue: this is what abusers do).

    Nothing in your latest rant seems worthy of any further comment from me - it's full of your repetitious, yet quite empty and unsubstantiated claims of misrepresentation on my part (except this time you rope in The Atlantic to keep me company :) ), together with the usual, seemingly never-ending stream of undeserved and unwelcome personal insults.

    Oh, there was just one teensy little thing -

    Pedophilia, 'mild' or otherwise, isn't an act, like caning is. Pretty basic and elementary, tbh.
    • Like Like x 3
  36. Anonymous Member

    I am not disputing that Dawkins has misused the term, and as I explained I have already dealt with his misuse of the term previously ITT (and provided dox to boot).

    That is why you have to read his words in context to understand what he is trying to say. From the context it is clear he is referring to the act and not the actor. If you replace his use of the term ‘paedophilia’ with ‘paedophilic act’ this becomes clear. I do not understand why you are pretending that his use of the term, which clearly was intended to refer to the act, is beyond you.

    And good job letting your moral grandstanding be the excuse for avoiding the substantive content you do not wish to address. Real smooth that.
  37. Anonymous Member

    Posting this extract from The Times article, which gives the full context that lead to his remarks that both The Atlantic and anons ITT have misrepresented, because some folks apparently need spoon-feeding:

    The world according to Richard Dawkins | The Times

    The scientist and Selfish Gene author talks to Giles Whittell about his new memoir, his childhood abuse – and what it’s like for an atheist to be labelled a fundamentalist
    It feels a bit creepy to be counting pictures in Richard Dawkins’ downstairs loo, but evidence is evidence. Most of the pictures are actually awards, but it’s the number that counts: 21 honorary doctorates and international prizes, framed and hung along with a certificate from the 2008 Crufts dog show.

    The dogs are around somewhere; we can hear them yapping. The loo gives onto a generous hallway, from where Britain’s top atheist leads the way through his sitting room and an enormous kitchen onto a terrace partly occupied by a two-tonne limestone picnic table hewn specially for him from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It’s pitted with hundreds of tiny fossils. We haven’t been shown the indoor swimming pool, but it’s there behind us in a long, low outbuilding.

    It’s easy to envy Dawkins, as long as you have a thick skin and don’t believe in an afterlife. His gentler critics include the former Chief Rabbi and Professor Peter Higgs, of Higgs boson fame, and he has plenty of enemies (he added a few hundred thousand earlier this month by tweeting that Trinity College, Cambridge, had more Nobel prizewinners than all the world’s Muslims). But he has a huge and devoted following, too. He’s written 12 books including two epoch-making bestsellers. He has his large North Oxford home. He is a leading evolutionary biologist, a decent electronic clarinettist and a public intellectual in demand from Tokyo to Tennessee.

    He hasn’t won a Nobel prize himself, but, as we sit at the Jurassic slab in glorious sunshine, he generously argues that several of his peers deserve one for books on science far less widely read than his own.

    This is important, because one scientist whom Dawkins commends to the Nobel committee is Steven Pinker of Harvard University. Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, explains the decline of violence in human society partly in terms of what Dawkins calls our “shifting moral zeitgeist”. Apparently, this means we’re less beastly than we used to be because we disapprove of beastliness more than we used to.

    Dawkins is fascinated by the way today’s transgressions might have been viewed differently not long ago. For instance, as a junior academic he went to the University of California at Berkeley for two years in the late Sixties, which gave him a ringside seat at the Summer of Love. He relates one vivid memory in his new memoir, An Appetite for Wonder:
    “I was walking along Telegraph Avenue, axis of Berkeley’s beads-incense-and-marijuana culture. A young man was walking ahead of me, dressed in the insignia of the flower-power generation. Every time a young woman passed him, walking in the opposite direction, he would reach out and tweak one of her breasts. Far from slapping him, or crying, ‘Harassment!’, she would simply walk on by as if nothing had happened… Today I find this almost impossible to believe.”
    He says he’s pleased how things have changed on the harassment front in the past 40 years. But on other occasions when that shifting moral zeitgeist rears its head – as boys, including him, are molested or beaten at his various boarding schools, for instance – he fails to be outraged. One master at his public school, Oundle, he writes, “was prone to fall in love with the prettier boys. He never, as far as we knew, went any further than to put an arm around them in class and make suggestive remarks, but nowadays that would probably be enough to land him in terrible trouble with the police – and tabloid-inflamed vigilantes.”
    Is he guilty of rationalising bad stuff just because it’s past? “I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

    The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile. Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense? “I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”

    So is there a risk of a metaphorical lynching of well-known people as soon as they’re accused? “I think there is a risk of that.”

    What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”

    In the book, Dawkins mentions one occasion when a teacher put a hand down his trousers at a prep school in Salisbury, and four others at Oundle, when he “had to fend off nocturnal visits to my bed from senior boys much larger and stronger than I was”. The Oundle incidents don’t seem to have bothered him. The prep school one did, but he still can’t bring himself to condemn it, partly because the kind of comparison his adult mind deploys is with the mass murders carried out by Genghis Khan in the 12th century. “Without condoning what was done, at least try to put on the goggles of the period and see it through those eyes,” he says. “I find it much harder to put on those goggles where we’re talking about the monstrous cruelty that went on in past times. It’s hard to think of that and to forgive using modern standards in the same way as it might be for the schoolmaster who touched me up but didn’t actually do me any physical violence.”

    It was a rare dark moment in a rather special childhood. His earliest years were spent in rugged bliss in southern Africa, where his father was a colonial servant. The trauma of moving to England in a converted troop ship and living with grandparents who forced him to say, “Good morning,” at breakfast briefly gave him a stammer. At 13 he became “intensely religious” and was confirmed into the Church of England. At 17, having learnt about other religions, he became “militantly anti-religious”, and has been ever since.

    He was shy but pretty. Hence the unwanted advances at Oundle. Hence, too, a long delay before properly discovering girls, but when that happened it happened in style. “I didn’t finally lose my virginity until much later [aged 22],” he writes, “to a sweet cellist in London, who removed her skirt in order to play to me in her bedsitter (you can’t play the cello in a tight skirt) – and then removed everything else.”

    The book is charming, and full of careful translations of phrases such as “public school” for American readers. Is it, then, a charm offensive aimed at those he may have offended down the years? He admits the thought occurred to him, but only once he’d finished it. At this point another thought occurred to him: “Hey! Wait a minute! Maybe I’m not so strident and shrill as people thought I was.”
  38. PP Prout Member

    TRUE.

    FALSE, but an understandable error.
    (That assumption can fairly be treated as accurate where the abuse is an isolated incident. It becomes very much less accurate, the more it belongs to a pattern of systematic abuse: the error is in thinking of abuse as chiefly a matter of physical acts.)

    TRUE, by definition, if one defines the spectrum correctly. (Re. definition, fools and Professors rush in where angels fear to tread.)

    TRUE.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TRUE.

    Alas, that point could have been much more effectively made without reference to any of the others, having nothing whatsoever to do with any of them.
  39. But then, you go ahead and misuse the term in your latest rant. I was quoting you. You went on to say it was a basic, fundamental misreading on my part, rather than a misuse on Dawkins' part, which is the true position - while repeating Dawkins' error and explaining how pedophilia is an act. Of course, it's one thing for you to misuse the term, and another for the distinguished Professor to do so (which was one of the points I made earlier).

    I would not presume to put words in Mr Dawkins' mouth. Unless he told you that's what he intended, you cannot be certain he meant something other than what he said. I'm not going to accept your interpretation, however certain you are that it is the correct one, just because you assert it.

    You cannot claim that he 'clearly' intended anything, while at the same time conceding that he misused the term. Using the correct term is clear.

    What moral grandstanding? I already explained to you how your going off on a rant caused your whole post to be incoherent, so that there was little or nothing substantive to address. You are so busy - feverishly - calling me a liar and everything else you can think of that you cannot string a coherent argument together, take the time to consider the points I raise, or answer my questions.

    Instead you simply parrot or paraphrase Dawkins' words, while claiming that everything I have quoted Dawkins as saying is somehow taken out of context - the context you have in your head for the moment - or absurdly stating that I 'haven't read the fucking article', ad nauseam. Tub-thumping, hectoring, chucking in lots of ???? and random insults is not substantive content, but only serves to cloud your judgment or cause you to lose the plot entirely.
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