The Instigator
PoeJoe
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Nail_Bat
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Pedophilia

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Nail_Bat
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/10/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,824 times Debate No: 7779
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (26)
Votes (3)

 

PoeJoe

Pro

---- Full Resolution ----

Society should take steps to more accept pedophiles.

---- Introduction ----

+ I would like to thank my opponent for joining me in this debate, and I would like to thank the audience for taking the time to read this. Thank you.

+ I request that the audience please not give either side any sources, arguments, counterarguments, and that the audience please wait to do this after the debate has concluded.

+ I believe the definitions are straight forward. I don't feel the need to clarify anything, but if my opponent wishes to define the terms, I of course reserve the right to dispute his definitions.

+ I reserve the right to introduce new points in the second round; my opponent may do the same if he wishes. I request, however, that we both do not introduce any new arguments in the closing argument, because not enough time will have been provided to sufficiently discuss new points at that point.

+ In this debate, I make a distinction between "pedophile" and "active pedophile." I define a "pedophile" as anyone who has a sexual attraction to children, while I define an "active pedophile" as someone who actually acts upon those urges through encounters with children.

---- Argument ----

I often hear the following argument from right-wing Christian conservatives:

"What the heck are you talking about Joe? Attraction is between a man and a women. A man and a women only. That's how God created it, and that's how he intends for it to be. These homosexuals are so unnatural — their sex organs don't even match up! But, hey, let's consider the thought for your benefit. If indeed there really exists such thing as predetermined biological orientation, where does it end? What about pedophilia?"

I normally snicker with a cynical grin when I respond, "It doesn't end."

I believe without a flinching doubt that pedophilia is a sexual orientation pedophiles are born with. That is, they cannot control their urges, and they most certainly did not choose to have those urges. Pedophiles do not see children as we see children. Pedophiles see them as any of the rest of us see our partners or crushes. Pedophiles see children just like a schoolboy/girl might see a teacher s/he has a crush on. Pedophiles are just like that — they can't control it. They just have an affinity for something society deems as inappropriate, because they were born that way.

The scientific evidence proves this claim. In 2002, Canadian sexologists James Cantor and Ray Blanchard reported that pedophiles have lower IQs, score poorer on memory tests, have greater rates of left handedness, are generally shorter, and have differently structured brains. In 2006, it was reported that heterosexual male pedophiles have lower levels of testosterone. A 2008 study notes of "a dysfunction at the cognitive stage of sexual arousal processing" . . . whatever that means. Point is: Pedophiles do not choose to be pedophiles. Pedophiles are born pedophiles; and because of their societally unfortunate predisposition, they will always be pedophiles.

A question arises: Is it therefore okay to lock active pedophiles up since it's not really their fault anyway? Of course it is okay to lock active pedophiles up! The perspective view must default to the child who will be psychologically scarred for the rest of his/her life. Not to mention, the act of locking active pedophiles up is such a huge deterrent . . . imagine you woke up tomorrow morning to find that there were no longer any laws! You'd bet you'd be scared. . . . Locking pedophiles up certainly isn't fair, but it is the fairest thing to do.

Another question, this time rhetorical, and asked to a pedophile: If you love children so much, certainly you would love them enough not to harm them? Pedophile answers by asking, "How does it harm children?"

Indeed, this eighteen year old cutoff mark is astonishingly high when compared to the rest of history. Juliet (you know, "Romeo and Juliet") is supposed to be thirteen. In Ancient Greece, male homosexual pedophilia was unabashfully rampant. Today, many Eastern countries still marry off daughters as young as thirteen, twelve, eleven, and, yes, sometimes ten! So let's backtrack to when I wrote, "The perspective view must default to the child who will be psychologically scarred for the rest of his/her life."

Let us imagine a world where pedophilia isn't taboo, a world where pedophilia is common and natural and even beautiful. (That was the world of Ancient Greece after all, wasn't it?) In this world, wouldn't pedophilia not psychologically scar a child? Wouldn't it even be a life enhancing experience for the child — to be exposed to sexuality at a young age — for sexuality not to be this mysterious thing that s/he just has to go and try unsafely?

Now obviously practicalities must be noted of. For example, penetrative sex would most certainly harm children. But leaving those considerations for later, first consider this point:

All these sexual taboos we have today are so unnatural — not the taboos themselves, but the being of them. I'm sure all of our first reaction to the notion pedophilia is, like, ewww. The reaction is shared by me too. But let's give pedophiles some slack. They didn't choose their orientation; and the very reason they are bad isn't because there is actually anything wrong with what they want to do, but because of our instinctive reaction to call them bad. Hopefully, as history moves forward, we can become more accepting of one another's sexual dispositions. Hopefully, as pedophilia becomes more accepted by society, the possible psychological trauma children might receive will lessen. Hopefully, a more accepting day will come.
Nail_Bat

Con

I'm surprised nobody has taken this debate yet. Given the stigma that pedophilia has, PRO might as well have named this topic "Hitler: Role model for today's youth?". I ask the judges of this debate to try and be as objective as possible. We KNOW you detest pedophilia.

He does bring up several points that I'm sure true pedophiles are using to justify their lifestyle: Pedophiles can't help being attracted to children, different cultures have allowed sexual conduct with minors, the pedophilia taboo has no natural basis, and sexual conduct between a child and an adult wouldn't be traumatizing if the taboo didn't exist in the first place.

I would agree that people do not have much conscious ability to control who they're attracted to. Attraction is a biological process that existed long before consciousness ever evolved. The question is, does this make pedophilia any more acceptable? Surely, a pedophile can choose not to act on his or her urges. We might accept that a person be absolved of guilt if there was no other course of action they could have taken, but this only applies if there truly was no room for choice.

PRO points out that in some cultures, it was acceptable to be sexually active with a child. This is false on two fronts. First, the age range of a "child" is not universal. Puberty gives a lower bound on adulthood, but even that is likely controlled in part by one's social upbringing. In an earlier time, when a 13 year old was considered to be an adult, pedophilia would still be scorned. The only difference is that the age range of a child would be significantly less than it is today.

The second contention is that marriage to a child did not necessarily imply sex, particularly if the marriage was made in the name of politics.

Pedophilia aversion is a very interesting moral law, as it doesn't seem to behave like most other morals. We don't bat an eye when someone voluntarily watches a simulated murder, or plays a video game which simulates theft. In the case of pedophilia, not only is the action deplorable, but so is voluntarily watching it, simulating it, or even desiring it. We can say "Boy I'd really like to strangle my boss" and be met with nods of approval. Not so if you said "Boy I'd really like to take that 8 year old up to my place."

Rape has a very similar pattern: merely simulating it is thought to be unacceptable. The rape of an adult is generally not considered to be as unacceptable as the rape of a child, but it is still tends to generate more moral disgust than theft, assault, or even murder. What is the reason for this? PRO argues that there is nothing natural about the pedophilia taboo, so where might such a powerful aversion arise? Religion is an obvious answer, but the crusade against pedophilia does not appear to be as overtly religious as the crusade against gay rights.

My view of morality is that moral laws define a social group, the "acceptable persons" group. Like any other social group, it evolves over time, changing as new people develop slightly different conceptions about what it means to be part of the group or not. Moral groups tend to be the oldest and most powerful of the social groups we belong to. We can then ask, would aversion to pedophilia give one social group enough of a survival advantages over moral systems that didn't take a stance on the issue? If so, we would have our answer as to where the basis for the pedophilia taboo comes from.

Let's revisit the distinction between child and adult. It might seem like this should be a gradual progression, but if you think about the archetypical "child" and "adult", you will see little in common between them. Many cultures have specific rites in which the passage from childhood to adulthood is celebrated. Deciding on a cutoff point between child and adult, no matter how arbitrary, makes it considerably easier to categorize our social networks. If we treated the passage from child to adult as a smooth continuum, rather than a set of discrete steps, the words "child" and "adult" would lose much of their meaning.

So what is the benefit of having a clear distinction between "child" and "adult"? If the cutoff point is well placed, a clear distinction would reduce instances of treating a child as if he or she were an adult. As society was forming, giving adult privileges to children would be disastrous. Children would not have the experience, intelligence, and judgment to act as adults. Hence, societies that have strong separations between children and adults would have an advantage over those that don't.

Sexual conduct is considered to be one of the most significant properties of being an adult. Treating a child sexually would be breaking the child/adult barrier. What of more trivial violations of this distinction, for example letting a child become a governor? We would consider this to be unwise, but it would probably not generate any kind of moral panic. To answer this, we can also go back to the notion that "pedophiles can not control their attraction". There is no basis for wanting a child to be in a position of political power, so there is no reason for moral outrage. There IS a basis for people to be attracted to children, which is their abnormal biology. Hence is it necessary to push back against pedophilia more strongly.
Debate Round No. 1
PoeJoe

Pro

PoeJoe forfeited this round.
Nail_Bat

Con

Skipping to let PRO give his argument. Since we lost a round I probably WILL be adding new arguments in the last round.
Debate Round No. 2
PoeJoe

Pro

I'd like to sincerely apologize to my opponent for forfeiting the previous round. (I have been extremely busy trying to balance school, my job, some major personal issues, and my social life.) In condolence, I forfeit the conduct vote, and I ask Nail_Bat to forgive this doing.

"Surely, a pedophile can choose not to act on his or her urges. We might accept that a person be absolved of guilt if there was no other course of action they could have taken, but this only applies if there truly was no room for choice."

Please refer to the introduction. This is a debate about "pedophilia" -- not "active pedophilia." This point is negated. My opponent's failure to understand the resolution shows a lack of critical reading of this debate. I very clearly stated in my introduction: "In this debate, I make a distinction between 'pedophile' and 'active pedophile.' I define a 'pedophile' as anyone who has a sexual attraction to children, while I define an 'active pedophile' as someone who actually acts upon those urges through encounters with children." Clearly this is a debate on pedophiles that want to act on their urges, but choose not to. I question: Is the rest of my opponent's argument then marked by this majorly critical misconception?

"In an earlier time, when a 13 year old was considered to be an adult, pedophilia would still be scorned. The only difference is that the age range of a child would be significantly less than it is today."

This is absolutely not true. Prepubescent sex with minors was not only encouraged but also even institutionalized in Ancient Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org...)! One could argue the point that the Spartans were against pederasty, but that is not the point. The point is: cultures in which pedophilia was not mentally scarring were cultures in which pedophilia was not mentally scarring. These men who loved boys took care of them, the families had oversight, and the boys were made sure of not to get hurt! Pedophilia mentally scars children only in societies that demand such scarring.

"We can say 'Boy I'd really like to strangle my boss' and be met with nods of approval. Not so if you said 'Boy I'd really like to take that 8 year old up to my place.' "

You cannot disprove the resolution by stating it! The whole point of this debate is that pedophiles should be more accepted by our modern society; the fact that it is not more accepted is the problem, and it is what we are debating. But to go along with your example, I believe murder to be a much more serious crime. Sex is something beautiful, whereas murder is a horrendous act.

"We can then ask, would aversion to pedophilia give one social group enough of a survival advantages over moral systems that didn't take a stance on the issue? If so, we would have our answer as to where the basis for the pedophilia taboo comes from."

Argumentum ad populum. Just because pedophilia isn't more accepted in our current society doesn't mean we shouldn't more accept pedophilia! In fact, that is what we are debating right now. Let us, indeed, do accept more pedophiles!

"If we treated the passage from child to adult as a smooth continuum, rather than a set of discrete steps, the words 'child' and 'adult' would lose much of their meaning."

In terms of sex, why should there be a gap? Sex is the most beautiful thing in the world. I find it rather odd that society looks at sex as this evil, sinister thing.

"Children would not have the experience, intelligence, and judgment to act as adults. Hence, societies that have strong separations between children and adults would have an advantage over those that don't."

I would argue that children were not taken advantage of in Ancient Greece and that sex is one of things that should be shared by all, but I'd like to remind my opponent and the audience: This is not a debate over active pedophilia but a debate over more accepting pedophiles. The resolution reads "Society should take steps to more accept pedophiles."

"What of more trivial violations of this distinction, for example letting a child become a governor?"

Cross this with everything said above.

---- Points the audience should consider while voting ----

+ English

"I would agree that people do not have much conscious ability to control who they're attracted to."

Directly following the preposition "to control", the appropriate word should be "whom."

"We don't bat an eye when someone voluntarily watches a simulated murder, or plays a video game which simulates theft."

The phrase "simulates theft" is necessary, so the word "which" should be replaced with "that."

"If the cutoff point is well placed, a clear distinction . . . "

The word "if" signifies a hypothetical; thus, the word "is" should be replaced with "were."

+ Argument

My opponent failed to correctly understand the resolution, which negates the majority of his points. I have sufficiently rebutted his other points.

+ Sources

I have been the only one thus far to provide any sources whatsoever. If my opponent attempts to add sources to his last round (I cited studies in my first round), let it be noted that his sources will have probably been a response to this text.

----

I thank my opponent for this wonderful debate.
Nail_Bat

Con

I'm glad my opponent came through in the last minute, although he seems to have missed a lot of what I wrote.

To ask whether pedophilia should be accepted, we need to understand the nature of its rejection. Hence, I pointed out the fact that in the case of pedophilia, the mere DESIRE to perform the act is deplorable. This is a statement of fact, not an argument that pedophilia should be scorned. I pointed it out because it is important to the discussion, and I apologize if my opponent took it the wrong way. Describing the current state of the taboo was merely a lead in to my theory of the adult/child dichotomy being its source. Strangely, PRO considers this to be an example of "Argumentum ad populum". It is more accurate to say its an "Argumentum ad natural selectionum" as it provides a theory for the origins of the taboo by demonstrating how it might give one group an additional survival advantage.

I will also revisit the distinction between an active and inactive pedophile. I did not ignore this point, it was actually part of the foundation of my argument. I began by asking the question: "Why do we scorn the mere desire to abuse a child almost as much as the actual abuse?"

How should we classify the pedophiles who have not yet acted upon their urges? PRO wants us to classify them with the rest of the population, those who have no desire for sexual activity with children. Hence, he makes great effort to point out the difference between an "active pedophile" and a nonactive one. The general consensus of society is that a nonactive pedophile should be classified in the same group as active ones.

Which classification makes more sense? The difference lies in the severity of the crime and the perceived likelihood that the crime will take place. Pedophilia is an extremely serious crime in modern society. (again, to avoid confusion, this is a statement of fact, not an argument) We know that sexual desire is one of the stronger biological drives we have, and we know that pedophiles can not control having these urges. A comparable action is making a threat against the President; it would be folly to make a strong distinction between an "active" presidential assassin and one who has not yet acted on his urges.

Of course, all of this reasoning operates under the basis of the pedophilia taboo existing and being extremely strong. With all the background information in place, I can now go on to the main point of the debate, which is "Should society accept more pedophiles?"

I pointed out that sex is considered to be strictly an adult thing in contemporary society. This was not true in some parts of Ancient Greece, however. According to my argument, the anti-pedophilia morals gain much of their power from the strong coupling between sex and adulthood. Without this coupling, the taboo loses its force. Ancient Greece thrived despite the lack of this taboo. Thus, we can rephrase the debate as this: "Should society eliminate the strong association between sex and adulthood?"

To answer this, I will make some assumptions that I actually disagree with, just to make a point. We'll assume a society can thrive with no taboo on pedophilia. We'll also assume that in such a society, there would be less suffering, as not only would pedophiles not be prosecuted, but children would not be traumatized by the act. We'll even assume that the existing pedophilia taboo is completely baseless. Given this, why not transition to a society where pedophilia is accepted or even encouraged?

There are some facts that can not be disputed: in modern society, sexual abuse of minors is highly traumatizing, and we react more strongly to infractions performed against children. It is also obvious that transitioning between an anti-pedophilic society and a pedophile-friendly society would be a massive undertaking that would take years to even partially implement. It would require the majority of the population to go against some of their most deeply held beliefs.

Hence, if we were to seriously begin the transition, for a time we would be severely increasing the suffering of children. Can you imagine a parent, knowing their child is being hurt through sexual activity, doing nothing about it because "it will make society a better place in the future". This is absurd, parents would fight back against pedophilia even more strongly than they do now. Thus, a movement to make pedophilia more accepted would actually result in it being more opposed. To justify such an intense rise in suffering, the benefits of a pedophile friendly society would need to be tremendous.

As far as I'm concerned, the debate is concluded, so the following will simply be a look into the origins of the pedophilia taboo. Greece did thrive for a time despite the lack of this taboo, but in the context of evolution it is possible for an entity to have a disadvantageous trait and still survive. There are advantages to delegating sex to adults and not children, advantages to treating children separately from adults, and advantages to giving more weight to crimes performed on children.

There are even advantages to making sexual crimes carry more weight than other crimes. Rape is a poor model of reproduction in modern society, as it denies the woman control over who will father her offspring. However, unlike theft or murder, the effects of rape are not as immediately felt to anyone except the victim herself. Giving increased weight to sexual crimes helps counteract this trend. Coupled together with the "crimes against children" rule, this makes the sexual abuse of a child carry much more weight than any other crime.

Footnote: Me fail English? Unpossible!
Most rules of grammar are simply arbitrary conventions. For example, a preposition is a perfectly fine thing to end a sentence with. None of that has any bearing on either of our arguments. PRO would be wise to understand the difference between the appearance of competence and actual competence.
Debate Round No. 3
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
PoeJoe

Very thoughtful and provocative 10/10
Posted by asiansarentnerdy 7 years ago
asiansarentnerdy
"Sex is the most beautiful thing in the world. I find it rather odd that society looks at sex as this evil, sinister thing."

It's because of society's abuse and mistreatment of it that it is looked upon in that way.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Too many wash their hands of the results of their actions. Every time you make a joke about mental health disorders, you help make it harder for someone in need of mental health help from getting treatment and make it that much more likely they will live in denial of their problems until after it is too late and they act out heinously, such as raping a child.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
The important phrase is 'If they have no free will..." Too many use determinism as an excuse to commit wrongs.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Lock up everyone to prevent speeding.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
"I believe without a flinching doubt that pedophilia is a sexual orientation pedophiles are born with. That is, they cannot control their urges"

If they have no free will (i.e. the ability to exercise self-control), they should be locked up. Society should not let them run free to violate children. I'm for crime prevention.
Posted by thereal_yeti 7 years ago
thereal_yeti
as a 21 year old male..

I ADMIT IT, sometimes I can't help but look at girls around the age of 13 and think "Wow.. what a nice BODY!"

But then, they have to open their mouths and demonstrate how immature they are :-/

Talk about a "arousal" kill..
Posted by Nail_Bat 8 years ago
Nail_Bat
I expected you to post your rebuttal to round 3.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
I had wanted to write my maybe 500 word rebuttal here for you to post in your R2, but then you posted your R2, so then I thought "Forget it".
Posted by Nail_Bat 8 years ago
Nail_Bat
Well?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by bored 8 years ago
bored
PoeJoeNail_BatTied
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Vote Placed by PervRat 8 years ago
PervRat
PoeJoeNail_BatTied
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Vote Placed by Lazy 8 years ago
Lazy
PoeJoeNail_BatTied
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