Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is Man-Boy Love a Beautiful Thing?

Man-boy love could be a beautiful thing (click) was an article written by Dr. Ashley Tellis, who is an assistant professor at the Department of Liberal Arts of Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (click).

I urge the readers to go through his article published in The Indian Express linked above, as it will form the basis for my arguments here.

I had come to know of this issue reading a post - Why am I paying for Ashley Tellis’ salary? (click). Dr. Tellis had responded on the post informing the author(s) of Offstumped that he was considering “filing cases of criminal offense and slander against offstumped and Ot(hers)” largely owing to the tone and nature of comments that had ensued on the post.

In a subsequent post - IIT undergrads and Age of Consent (click) - published by Offstumped, the following issues were raised:
  • "Is it ok to advocate a debate on the issue of consensual Paedophile sex between a Man and a Boy ?"
  • "Can someone who advocates such a debate be employed at an educational institution ?"
  • "Is it ok for such an advocate employed at educational institution to come in contact with children who are under the legal age of consent ?"
  • "Can such contact potentially influence the behavior of the underage child making him vulnerable to sexual abuse by a same sex Adult"
Of course, other issues were also raised. Plus, the readers’ responses on the Indian Express web site were hysterical (and colorful, to say the least!).

I personally think a more comprehensive view of the entire occurrence needs to be taken to reach the most rational conclusion. Of course, whether that conclusion could be legally actionable is a different matter. Here, I will try to examine various arguments put forth by people including Dr. Tellis.

In the initial portions of his article, he has demonstrated that many people confuse pedophiles with homosexuals, and this creates more hatred towards pedophiles (than would be warranted). He has (rightly) pointed out that majority of pedophiles are actually heterosexuals.
”…they will not accept that this practice is at the heart of the heterosexual complex, that most ‘offenders’ are indeed heterosexual men and the ‘victims’ are young girls, often daughters, nieces and cousins’ children, most often within the context of incest, another unexamined taboo. So, one of the first ways to answer this charge from the homosexual point of view is to point out that most paedophiles are actually heterosexuals.”
In his next argument, he has termed any stipulation set by the judiciary (Delhi High Court, for instance in its much publicized ruling on section 377 of the Indian Penal Code [click]) as to the minimum age at which a person (child) becomes capable of giving informed and valid consent as “rather arbitrary”. In India the minimum age at which a person could consent for homosexual contact is 18 years, whereas for heterosexual contact it is 16 years for unmarried girls, 15 years for married girls and (from my memory) 17 years for boys. In the state of Manipur the minimum age for girls is 14 years.
”The second is to say that homosexuals are two adult consenting individuals and paedophiles are abusers of children, two distinct conceptual categories. While this is stated clearly (the Delhi High Court judgment on 377, for example, states clearly that adult consensual sex is all it is talking about) in legal language, there is no examination of the rather arbitrary category of the ‘adult.’ The linear language of the law is not capable of that examination.”
To summarize what he says in the aforementioned and subsequent paragraphs:

1. Pedophiles are not necessarily homosexuals. In fact, most cases of pedophilia are of heterosexual nature.

2. All children do not become adults at the same time, and that the transformation process is gradual, rather than occurring suddenly (say, on their 18th birthday).

3. That child marriage practiced (but illegal in India) is also a form of institutionalized pedophilia. (Thus, most rampant form of pedophilia is rather heterosexual, and not homosexual).

4. That viewing children as incapable of complicity/willingness in sexual encounters robs them of all agency "in the business of the negotiation of sexuality”.

5. Child has a sexuality and sexual drives. ["Do we, over a hundred years after Freud, still deny the fact that a child has a sexuality and sexual drives?”]

6. "Everybody’s initiation into sexuality is traumatic … that most sexual encounters, even with willing consenting adults are part coercion and part consent”.

7. "Power is part of all sexuality”.

8. In a significant fraction of pedophilia cases, the perpetuators are actually females.

9. Netherlands is quite progressive about sexuality, and that there is an active pedophiles’ rights’ group.

10. Arbitrariness of age of consent for having sex is further proved by the fact that it varies from 9 to 18 years in various parts of the World.

11. Issue of consent v/s abuse. In this context he cites the case of one William Heum (click), who had been arrested in November, 2009 in Chennai, for having sex with minors, uploading the videos on the internet and distributing them. He disapproves of his acts because no consent was taken from the concerned children.

12. What a man “does” to a boy, and woman to a girl could be "beautiful thing.” This is the most ambiguous part of his article. I suppose he was not talking of something socially acceptable as a hand shake or a peck on the cheek. Because had he been, then he would not have used words  like ‘love’. And of course, he would not have projected his ideas as inciting radical reactions. So, at the very least he might have meant hugging, or kissing on the lips (kissing on the forehead is very much acceptable in the Indian society), or in the most extreme case, penetrative sex, i.e., anal or vaginal penetration. The last speculation of his using “man-boy love” to mean anal penetration is supported by the following words in the first paragraph:
"pederasty, or the practice of man-boy love".
Pederasty means:
Anal intercourse with a boy usually of age 11 to 19 years as the passive partner.
References are many.

Okay, so now I will deal with each of the points made by Dr. Tellis. Of course, he has made a few valid points. I will try to reason out why I disagree with a few specific points. Where I agree, or am not skeptical of the point, I will merely indicate my agreement. I will deal with the points in the order which will make things most clear, and not necessarily in which Dr. Tellis has dealt with them. Right at the outset I will enlist those points that I agree with, but I will add my remarks:

1. Pedophiles are not necessarily homosexuals. In fact, most cases of pedophilia are of heterosexual nature.

3. That child marriage practiced (but illegal in India) is also a form of institutionalized pedophilia. (Thus, most rampant form of pedophilia is rather heterosexual, and not homosexual).

5. Child has a sexuality and sexual drives. However, it is to be remembered that the very same Freud who had identified existence of sexuality did so by studying adults (largely, females) who suffered from 'hysteria' (conversion disorder [click]), and he had found the cause to be sexual abuse in the childhood.

"Patients with conversion disorder reported a higher incidence of physical/sexual abuse, a larger number of different types of physical abuse, sexual abuse of longer duration, and incestuous experiences more often than comparison patients."
- Am J Psychiatry 159:1908-1913, November 2002 (click).

7. Power is part of all sexuality.

8. In a significant fraction of pedophilia cases, the perpetrators are actually females. - Possibly. It may or may not be true, but it does not influence the ongoing discussion much.

9. The Netherlands is quite progressive about sexuality, and that there are active pedophiles’ rights’ groups. - Could be true. Ascertaining does not serve any significant purpose. One of the respondents to his article in Indian Express had clearly stated that pederasty is illegal in the Netherlands. We do not have to take the respondent on trust. You can go through this chart - Worldwide ages of consent (click). So, in Netherlands, the age of consent is 16 years, which is the same for both the sexes, as well as for hetero- and homosexual relations. So, it is not a case that to have sex with those below the age of consent is legal in the Netherlands. However, we do not have to reach a conclusion only because of some trend over there. We should ideally reach decisions, on the basis of what seems most rational to do, after taking a most balanced view possible. In fact, of all the countries to call the Netherlands most progressive and to imply that as worthy of emulation itself is a rather arbitrary choice, just like the fixed age of consent. Moreover, just because a rights' group exists, does not make meeting their demands reasonable.

11. Yes, Heum was wrong - because he did not take consent of the concerned children. This is something I agree with. But if that is the only reason he was wrong is yet undecided, and in fact forms the core of the whole debate.

Now coming to the points I disagree with and the reasons behind them.

First of all, I urge the readers to go through Wikipedia’s article on child sexual abuse (click). While, Wikipedia is not to be considered the most reliable source of information, it is important to note the highly reliable sources used to back up the assertions contained in the article.

Point discussed - 4: That viewing children as incapable of complicity/willingness in sexual encounters robs them of all agency "in the business of the negotiation of sexuality”.

First issue to be discussed is the complicity of child. I am quoting relevant portion from pages 3 and 4 of the book - Childhood sexual abuse: a reference handbook (click) by Karen L. Kinnear:

Children are not capable of consenting to sexual activities with an adult; just because the child participates in this abuse does not mean that the child has consented. Another condition is exploitation. Children are manipulated or coerced into sexual behavior by adults who are stronger, more resourceful, and more knowledgeable. They may buy the child gifts, persuade the child that all fathers teach their daughters about sex, threaten the child with punishment or with the death of the other parent (“if your mother ever finds out, she’ll probably die of a heart attack”), or provide attention to the child in other ways.

Ambivalence is also a characteristic in child sexual abuse. Children often feel ambivalent about what is happening to them; they do not like or understand the sexual part of the experience, but they may enjoy the attention they are receiving, as well as any rewards or special privileges they may receive because of the abuse. Some children may be confused because some of the physical sensations they experience are enjoyable; these sensations make them feel good. However, they know that the behavior is wrong, and although they want the abuse to stop, they do not want to stop receiving the gifts, privileges, or attention they gain by remaining silent.

Point discussed - 12: What a man “does” to a boy, and woman to a girl could be "beautiful thing.”

It is important to understand the harms that could be caused by child sexual abuse including the heterosexual kind, non-penetrative kind, or even the seemingly consensual kind.

Following is an excerpt from a statement (click) issued by the American Psychological Association:

Those who are reporting that the study says that childhood sexual contact with adults is not harmful to children are misreporting the findings. The facts are that the majority of the psychological literature reveals that childhood sexual abuse has serious negative effects on its victims. The question raised by the study is an important one Does sexual abuse cause varying degrees of harm to children? In other words, can the child's age, resiliency, and/or family environment ever mitigate the ill effects of the abuse? If such mitigating factors can be shown through this and further research child abuse prevention and treatment programs could put that knowledge to work helping both children and families. Such knowledge would, however, in no way excuse any form of abuse. All abuse is wrong, but all abuse may not be equally harmful.

The Wikipedia article in its section on effects of child sexual abuse (click) enlists the following major harms:
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety-spectrum disorders (phobias, panic disorder, etc.) - examples have not been mentioned but adding from my knowledge.
  • Dissociative disorders (complete loss of memory or loss of memory with history of travel to remote places - dissociative fugue).
  • Somatization (roughly put, psychologic stress manifesting as physical complaints like blindness, or pain)
  • Chronic pain
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Substance abuse (significantly, odds of abusing substance as an adult are increased by 37 to 300 per cent).
  • Learning problems
  • Criminality
  • Infections
  • Actual structural damage to the brain if the abuse is severe, which leads to aberrant development. This included development of seizure disorders ("fits"), actual shrinking of corpus callosum (information carrying fibers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain) and reduced volume of hippocampus (involved in long-term memory).
It is significant to note that many of the above problems continue into the adulthood.

Also significantly, statistics have made allowance for other confounding factors like discord between parents and the use of force by the abuser. Of course, if abuse is against the will and/or without consent, harm done is greater, but even after putting in place controls, it had been found that even sexual abuse of a  so-called "consenting" child led to long-term harm. The amount of data and the meticulousness of methodology used is pretty well established as the one to arrive at conclusions. For instance, that smoking is hazardous to health is a conclusion reached through similar clinical research.

Point discussed - 2: All children do not become adults at the same time, and that the transformation process is gradual, rather than occurring suddenly (say, on their 18th birthday). I will club it with point number 10 - Arbitrariness of age of consent for having sex is further proved by the fact that it varies from 9 to 18 years in various parts of the World |10: Arbitrariness of age of consent for having sex is further proved by the fact that it varies from 9 to 18 years in various parts of the World.

What Dr. Tellis has mostly meant is that emotional growth is a gradual process and that it begins and "ends" at different ages in different people, and moreover, that it could occur at different rates. Of course he is correct in stating that. But, since we are talking of legal issues, a definite criterion needs to be in place. Because for every single case of abuse, we cannot call in experts to determine what level of emotional maturity was attained by the child in question. Also these kind of limitations are put wherever we use specific numbers. For instance, how does a student suddenly become "passing-worthy" in exams by getting 35% instead of 34%? But because of some unfairness, it does not become legitimate suggestion to remove all kind of numerical limits wherever they exist.

Also, in the list (click) of ages of consent, most of the countries' ages have tended to range from 16 to 18 years, with mean being 16 years. And at least on a cursory glance I could not find the minimum age to be 9, as had been claimed by Dr. Tellis in the article. The list has 13 years as the minimum age.

But are there other indicators to determine what could be the appropriate range of age to term someone as adult? I will give two specific examples, which suggest that 16 to 18 years is indeed the most appropriate age.

First is the Weschler adult intelligence scale (click) for measurement of intelligence quotient (IQ). The age from which it becomes valid is 16 years. Historically, another test called the Stanford-Binet intelligence scale was also based on the assumption that maximum growth of cognitive intelligence takes place by 15 years. It should not be surprising that maximum emotional intelligence and maturity would take a bit longer to develop.

Also, a broad group of psychiatric disorders known as personality disorders (click, and see under the heading "Age") are diagnosed only after the age of 18 years.
"Personality disorders generally should not be diagnosed in children and adolescents because personality development is not complete and symptomatic traits may not persist into adulthood. Therefore, the rule of thumb is that personality diagnosis cannot be made until the person is at least 18 years of age."

Basically, both the IQ-tests had been developed decades ago and have been updated using new information from time to time. The diagnostic criteria for personality disorders have been developed after years of research and observation of countless patients, and yet, 16 to 18 years appears to be the age at which children mature into adults.

So, if Dr. Tellis would have recommended lowering of age of consent by two years to 16 years in India, it would have seemed a rational assertion. But to suggest that all ages and age-ranges are rather arbitrary is clearly going against decades of observation of child psychology. It would be worthy of noting that in the medical science, "normal" is defined as the population that falls between 2 standard deviations from the mean, usually 95.5% of population. Which implies that at least 95.5% of population takes 16 to 18 years to mature into adults according to psychiatrists and psychologists.

Also, one very important point to note here is that if majority of children world over feel "infantilized" or discriminated against for having sex with adults being considered illegal, and that they actually feel quite grown up (say, to take example given by Dr. Tellis, at age 10 years), why have we heard only of pedophiles' rights group and not something like "children wanting to have sex with adults rights group"?

Points discussed - 6: Everybody’s initiation into sexuality is traumatic … that most sexual encounters, even with willing consenting adults are part coercion and part consent | 7: Power is part of all sexuality

I would not agree that eveyone's initiation into sexuality is traumatic. And even if it is, so there is something like intensity of trauma, and whether that trauma is caused suddenly or the person eases into it. Moreover, adults are better prepared to handle traumatic events. Such events are significantly less likely to cause long term psychological harms to adults.

Power is a part of all sexuality, but at least in case of adults, the power could shift from one partner to the other in both hetero- and homosexual relations. Whereas, it is unlikely that children would take the initiative and be the dominant partner in this power relation.

Children are highly impressionable, and they tend to hold those older than them in high esteem and tend to feel overawed by them. I can personally recall being greatly impressed and awed by those 3 to 4 years older than me. It had been very tempting to emulate them. Children view adults as a separate class of people.

Also, how a 10 year old kid views a 15 year old one is very different from, say how a 25 year old person views a 30 year old one despite the fact that age difference in both cases is only 5 years.

It is keeping in mind these facts, the legal concept of "close-in-age" has been applied in Canada (click) and the USA (click)

It can be deduced from these provisions that it is not per se having sex under the age of consent that is detrimental to children, but their doing so with someone significantly older than them (adult) is.

-----

Taking these facts into consideration raises many questions. All stem from the most significant question:

Why did Dr. Tellis not discuss or consider these issues in his article?

In particular, two mutually exclusive assumptions can be made. I will not go into guessing which is the more likely of the two.

1. He was unaware of these facts. In which case to writing an article in such an authoritarian tone, challenging a whole lot of legal and ethical considerations, and psychological and psychiatric knowledge in context of an issue, which by his own admission is considered very sensitive by the society totally baffles me. What was the intention? He did not bother to verify if his ideas were in line with the vast (and reliable) academic material available on the internet, despite knowing if his judgment went wrong some people's physical/psychological health could suffer permanent damage.

2. He deliberately withheld the facts. On the IIT, Hyderabad staff he serves as as an expert on gender studies and in particular LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender) studies. Considering the area of his expertise, if he did in fact have an idea of the known harms of child sexual abuse, what was the point in withholding this information? Is one not supposed to reach conclusions, and furthermore disseminate them after taking a most balanced possible views factoring in all the available data?

Now, to answer the issues raised on Off-stumped:

1. Is it ok to advocate a debate on the issue of consensual Paedophile sex between a Man and a Boy?

To simply disagree is not called debate. Debating involves facts and well-reasoned arguments. After going through the well substantiated information available, Dr. Tellis hardly seems to have done that. The strength of evidence of what one argues for should be proportionate to the severity of its consequences and also the amount of data available that supports the originally held (mis)concept.

So a debate gets justified only when substantial new information to base our opinion on becomes available. Has Dr. Tellis provided us with any such substantial information.

Instead, he has omitted relevant facts, invented a few facts, and distorted logic in advocating something that is decidedly harmful for children. This is certainly not a "debate".

2.Can someone who advocates such a debate be employed at an educational institution?

This is difficult for me to comment on. But since, the article he has written was on public platform and what he has recommended was with an authoritative tone (as an "expert" on the matter), it is reasonable to believe that his intention was to alter public perception on the issue. But this he had attempted through presenting inadequate and/or distorted data. Also, his line of reasoning was not rational. Hardly anything in his article led us to this conclusion that "man-boy or woman-girl love could be a beautiful thing". His reasoning suffers from a logical fallacy analogous to saying - New Delhi is the capital of India and London is the capital of UK, hence the Earth is flat". Meaning, by presenting a few true facts, and making a few valid arguments, he has reached a totally unrelated (and flawed) conclusion that child sexual abuse could be a beautiful thing. For instance, only because majority of pedophilia is heterosexual (and wrong), does not in any way make man-on-boy love beautiful. Likewise, only because pedophilia rights groups exist, it in no way leads to the conclusion that their demand and the consequence of meeting them would be "beautiful".

And despite availability of scientific data, which is starkly opposite to his ideas, he has held on to them without any sound reasoning or evidence to counter the ideas widely held by the scientific community. This behavior is extremely stubborn, and does not lend itself favorably to Dr. Tellis role as a teacher. And most important, it should make one sensitive to the possibility of a conflict of interest in holding views which have been proved wrong.

3. Is it ok for such an advocate employed at educational institution to come in contact with children who are under the legal age of consent?

The foremost reason I would consider him dangerous for the institute that currently employs him is the manner in which he has executed his role as a disseminator of information. If he employs the same techniques of distorting and withholding significant information to buttress his unpopular opinions, then it is bound to be detrimental in ways more than one to the institute and the students who he teaches. One more thing that Offstumped has not considered is that a whole generation of students who study under him would end up with this idea - "Man-boy or woman-girl love is a beautiful thing". It needs to be considered if they would themselves become more likely to indulge in child sexual abuse owing to their considering it alright, or rather "beautiful". Though students are expected to verify what they are told by the teachers and not take their opinions merely on faith, it should also be remembered that students many times do not find time for this and that a teacher not just doles out dry facts, but also leaves a mark on students' psyche, least of which a few beliefs may get passed on. And why have a teacher who is likely to take students away from learning facts rather than facilitate the process?

4. Can such contact potentially influence the behavior of the underage child making him vulnerable to sexual abuse by a same sex Adult?

The answer is definitely not "no". Remember, just like "could be" in Dr. Tellis' article, we are talking here of possibilities. Nothing should be ruled out of the domain of debate. And as I pointed out, such obdurate holding of an opinion in face of substantial data to the contrary betrays a possible conflict of interest.

But personally for me, whether students become more likely to be victimized by Dr. Tellis is an independent concern, but his unreliable method of dispensing information and logic about sensitive issues is definitely worth a very close scrutiny.

The last thing I want to point is, unlike what some people (in particular, John Rebus on Offstumped) have suggested, this issue is not merely of "personal opinions", but one of building them based on balanced and evidence-based logic. It is not a matter of mere "personal opinion" whether smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. Scientific evidence is that yes, it does. It is a different issue that someone here is trying to call lung cancer as "beautiful", and probably it is within his rights to do so. But let such an opinion come from those who are desirous of smoking and suffering from lung cancer and not from those who manufacture cigarettes!

12 comments:

  1. "whether students become more likely to be victimized by Dr. Tellis is an independent concern, but his unreliable method of dispensing information and logic about sensitive issues is definitely worth a very close scrutiny."

    and the last para of the post have aptly summed up your concerns.

    professor should know that he is paid to enlighten the minds of children by introducing the beauty of literature and arts so that studies for the budding technocrats becomes more meaningful and wholesome .

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  2. Well analysed and well argued. Yes, Tellis's argument is fallacious: just because most cases of pedophilia are heterosexual in nature, just because cases of heterosexual pedophilia are illegally given social sanction in the form of child marriages and just because there will always be an arbitrariness about any cut-off level (age, in this case)doesn't logically translate into proof that pederasty is Ok.

    Tellis makes only one semi-valid point actually relevant to his argument: that the age of consent is arbitrary. Yes, it is. As any such legal or official stipulation will always be. As you have pointed out, we find the same arbitrariness elsewhere: the percentage of marks needed to pass an exam, the minimum age to acquire a driving license, the minimum age required to consume alcohol in bars, or vote etc. You have also examined existing ages of consent in other countries, as well as medical and quasi-medical opinions about age and emotional/personality development.

    What I feel has not been touched upon, neither by you nor by Tellis, is the physical damage that both heterosexual and homosexual pedophilia (penetrative) might cause. Correct me if I am wrong, but won't penetrative intercourse with an adult physically hurt and damage children? I am no doctor, but isn't there a medical consensus on the age of "readiness", biologically and physiologically speaking? In any collection of data, there will always be outliers, but we are looking at the Normal Distribution here, and won't the range 13-15 years be +/- 2σ? That, coupled with medical/psychological evidence of "emotional" maturity , should pretty much take care of the only semi-valid point that Tellis raised in his article.

    He is, of course, entitled to his opinion, but it worries me to know that it is not impossible that at least a few of his students, over the years, might believe his ideas and look upon such acts as "beautiful".

    Quirky Indian

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  3. @ Sunil:

    Firstly, thanks for patiently reading and going through all the links. I suppose you are a teacher yourself so you must be better understanding the role of teachers.

    I have no idea of Dr. Tellis' intentions in writing the article in the manner in which, leaving out so many facts, and distorting a few.

    What is worrying is that engineering students are more likely to take on faith something falling in the domain of human sexuality as compared to something in their core academic subjects. This sort of opinion-building with assertions far removed from fact is very frightening. What is worse is that his article had appeared in such a prominent daily as the Indian Express, but just fortunately, the average readers did not believe him, either because of their prejudices or logic. TC.

    @ Quirky Indian:

    Thanks! Yes, to come up with this article had taken me lot of effort. Because to be honest, his idea even on most cursory perusal are totally whacky and insane. What was bugging was few intellectual and free speech-trolls who do not understand that any kind of freedom comes with its own set of responsibilities. One of them being, being honest, especially when trying to shape public opinions.

    Yes, you are right I have not touched upon the physical harms of homosexual child abuse. This is because, Dr. Tellis had, for some odd reasons, only called man-boy and woman-girl love as beautiful. So, I wanted to include only those harms that occur exclusively in children because of homosexual contact, and not in adults. For instance, rectal incontinence because of anal penetration occurs even in adults. Also, females when not sexually mature do not secrete vaginal fluids, and this increases the friction during vaginal sex, further predisposing them to infections. But as I pointed out, Dr. Tellis has not talked of the beauty of man-girl love! :P So, if you would see I have included infections, which includes not only local infection, say of vagina or anus, but also of STDs like syphilis and AIDS. And one more reason I did not want to talk much of physical harms as I wanted to keep the focus restricted to acts without physical force, which seemingly the professor has recommended....

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  4. ...Good, you brought up the concept of normal distribution (which makes me curious of your academic qualification ;) ). You are right about the 2σ part. But the mean when talking of emotional readiness would definitely be greater than 16, and not between 13 to 15 years. Because complete cognitive development takes place by 15 years, so completion of emotional development should take around 2 more years, which would be like 17 to 18 years. And this is corroborated by the fact that psychiatrists feel that stable personality develops by around 18 years. And it should be rememberd that when talking of personality, important components are the nature of choices made and the manner in which decisions are reached. In fact, I did not include this fact in the post itself, but there are movements for increasing the age of consent, too! But any way, since we are talking of prevention of exploitation,

    Where I somewhat disagree with you is probably in my believing that he is not entitled to propagate his opinion (in Indian Express, for instance) without valid scientific studies to back his claim. Because, the thrust of my effort behind this post was to point out that opinion on this issue is not at all about personal preference (like you like red more or green?), but rather based on scientific facts after years of cumulative data. So, if one wants to challenge the established ideas, they have to produce stastical scientific facts! That is why I pointed out in the last paragraph that whether smoking increases the risk of lung cancer or not is not a matter of personal opinion at all! It is a scientifically established fact. Likewise, that child sexula abuse causes many kinds of harms is also a scientifically proven fact.

    And lastly, I feel Yossarin (the author of the blog) did a very shrewd thing by bringing up the issue of a few IITians under the age of majority. I think that was to shut up Dr. Tellis as he had threatened with legal action! ;) And apparently, now he has shut up.

    Thanks a lot for the effort you took in reading the post, and also commenting so lucidly. And knowing that some post of mine was read carefully and responded to with intelligent comments, is what delights me the most. So, thanks again! :) TC.

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  5. Ketan,

    It makes me sad to think someone actually believes 'man-boy love could be a beautiful thing'.

    I am no doctor/psychologist and neither am I an objective person!! But I do wonder, if the author's own son/daughter were to go through the emotional trauma (and the physical one, as rightly highlighted by Quirky), will he still say the same thing?!

    Children ought not to be deprived of their childhood. And its childhood, in all its innocence, that is a beautiful thing. Love can wait, it corrupts, so it can wait until children are older.

    Makes me sad, really.
    -P

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  6. Good singles throughout. Boundaries pe boundaries in the last paragraphs!

    //For instance, only because majority of pedophilia is heterosexual (and wrong), does not in any way make man-on-boy love beautiful. Likewise, only because pedophilia rights groups exist, it in no way leads to the conclusion that their demand and the consequence of meeting them would be "beautiful".

    // It is not a matter of mere "personal opinion" whether smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. Scientific evidence is that yes, it does. It is a different issue that someone here is trying to call lung cancer as "beautiful", and probably it is within his rights to do so. But let such an opinion come from those who are desirous of smoking and suffering from lung cancer and not from those who manufacture cigarettes!

    I guess I know why I stopped following teachers somewhere around 12th/First Year Engineering :P.

    Anyways, Tellis thoda gadbad lagta hai mereko.
    Like you said, possible 'conflict of interest'

    BTW I finished Atlas Shrugged about an month back. Currently reading 'Catch 22'. As far as I can tell, its not giving out any 'earthshaking' philosophical ideas like Ayn Rand, but it says a lot about human behaviour through sarcasm, humour and some tragedies here and there, all weaved around a military and war setting. Also, in a comment above, you mentioned a blog writer 'Yossarin'. I don't know what blog you are talking about because I have hardly clicked any links above. But 'Yossarin' is probably a pseudonym. Its the name of the lead character/hero of Catch 22. In short he is a somewhat goofy but true to self fellow, a little like Stupidosaur (though I don't know what 'supremefied' ideas you hold or held about Stupidosaur :P)

    I don't know what happens to Yossarin at the end.

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  7. there is some problem with feeds from your blog man.it says am following but am not getting your updates.a bit long will read this over weekend man..free

    ReplyDelete
  8. @ Pal:

    Apparently, it seems Dr. Ashley Tellis does not have children.

    Anyway, You might find this discussion on Sraboney's blog interesting:

    Devi's Advocate (click)

    Take care.

    @ Stupidosaur:

    I am not so sure about conflict of interest, honestly. In my estimation, all he wanted to do was create a controversy, take a higher moral ground by showing others to be narrow minded, and then indulge in some sanctimonious preaching about acceptance of new ideas and open mind, etc.

    Well, I had just about started reading Catch 22 a year back. It had not been able to sustain my interest, or probably I was not having the time to read it.

    Anyway, would like to know what you felt about Atlas shrugged.

    And well, I guess the character in the story was Yossarian. :) I was curious as to what Yossarin meant, so I had searched.

    And what's with you, man (lizard)? You find only the heroic protagonists like yourself? First it was Roark, now Yossarian! :P

    Anyway, I might write a novel with you as the protagonist. And I will include 5 avatars of you - all fighting with each other, and forgetting intermittently as to whether they are supposed to be "negative" or "positive"! ;)

    And thanks for the compliment (fours and sixes)!

    TC.

    @ soin:

    Am not sure what the problem could be. I have been getting the feeds. Yes, sometimes feeds can take up to hours to update, but beyond that I have not faced any problems.

    Sure, would like to see your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Ketan

    Haven't read the entire post yet. Will come back later in the evening once again to run through the entire post including the article you had referred to sometime back. Was thinking of posting something related (not on Paedophiles though), about how some religious leaders indulge in such forcible sexual act under the disguise of some "kundali" correction.

    Going by the depth of your post, I must research better for my post, to make it meaningful. Thanks for giving some ideas though. Will revisit later.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think Tellis has some valid points.I consistently fail too see how people can condemn children as incapable of consenting to safe sexual activity,while at the same time openly allowing said children to engage in sexual activity with other children.This would appear to be a double standard.As for the physical harms associated with sex,nobody ever said sex has to include acts of coitus,as in fact "child abuse" rarely does.As for the concern over minors being coerced into sexual acts,the likelyhood of coercion is the same regardless of the age of the partner.For example it is commonplace for underage teens to use phsycological tactics to "win over" a potential partner,bed them beore swiftly dumping them after.Nobody seems the least bit concerned about that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @anonymous. I don't know what planet you live on, where no one is concerned with teen sex, but it certainly isn't this one.

    @OP: VERY well-reasoned takedown of this pervert's so-called points. You were far more polite to him than I would have been, or than he deserves. If he were here in the States he would most likely be fired for promoting sexual abuse of children, so at least there's one way our laws are better.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You heavily overestimate the scientific evidence against man-boy love.

    That's because all the studies you mention consider sexual abuse, most of them of girls. This includes everything, in particular rape other forms of unwanted sex. Some studies of sexual abuse even define it in a way that consensual relations are not considered abuse. But even if not, the fact that a statistical mixture of rape with some form of love is dangerous does not prove at all that this form of love is dangerous.

    Then, of course, everybody who talks about man-boy love in a positive way will be faced with personal attacks, suspected to be a pedophile himself, may lose his job and so on. So one cannot expect any open scientific discussion.

    You cite a statement of the APA out of the context of the study which has been discussed there - a good scientific meta-analysis from Rind at al, which has been condemned by the American Congress. This condemnation is an exceptional pressure on scientific freedom comparable with Stalin time condemnation of genetics.

    ReplyDelete

Well-articulated disagreement would be a very good indicator that I was understood, and would be appreciated more than perfunctory agreement or praise. But of course, you could agree and praise...

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