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Pedophilia-A Genetic Component?

Biology Pedophilia 2009

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#41 Rhea

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:09 AM

View PostVulcanMaster, on Sep 10 2009, 05:20 AM, said:

Let's, for the sake of argument, accept that Pedophilia has "a genetic component".

What are the implications? I'm thinking mainly, but not exclusively, in terms of how pedophiles are dealt with by the law.

I would hope no differently than anyone else. When an alcoholic gets behind of the wheel and causes an accident, nobody says "Alcoholism has a genetic component, let's let him go."

Unless you could prove that a pedopheliac was so learning disabled or so emotionally disturbed so as not to know the difference between right and wrong, I don't see why there would be anything different about pedophiles.

Edited to correct my abysmal typing :blush:

Edited by Rhea, 10 September 2009 - 08:10 PM.

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#42 Annibal

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:13 AM

^ Yeah, like preemptive or preventative "pedophile testing" where your genes are examined, compulsory "rehabilitation" or something. Scary!

Like Chakoteya said, that's scary mostly because, even if there is a gene to cause a predisposition to be sexually attracted to children, it's whether or not one acts on that that determines if they're a pedophile or not. I mean, there might be genes that cause an imbalance of hormones making me unbalanced enough to kill someone (not really...I think) but that's not enough for someone to tell me I need to be rehabilitated or for me to be treated as a murderer--just as someone who's a bit wonky.
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#43 Nikcara

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:50 AM

I also don't think that a genetic component is an excuse.  Unless someone is so far gone they don't see it as wrong (or if they are developmentally disabled enough - mental retardation is common among pedophiles) you can choose to give into impulses or not.  It may be hard, but like Rhea said nobody accepts the genetic component to alcoholism as an excuse for drunk driving.
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#44 VulcanMaster

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 06:28 AM

View PostRhea, on Sep 10 2009, 03:09 PM, said:

View PostVulcanMaster, on Sep 10 2009, 05:20 AM, said:

Let's, for the sake of argument, accept that Pedophilia has "a genetic component".

What are the implications? I'm thinking mainly, but not exclusively, in terms of how pedophiles are dealt with by the law.

I would hope no differently than anyone else. When an alcoholic gets behind of the wheel and causes an accident, nobody says "Alcoholism has a genetic component, let's let him go."

Nice analogue.

View PostAnnibal, on Sep 10 2009, 03:13 PM, said:

^ Yeah, like preemptive or preventative "pedophile testing" where your genes are examined, compulsory "rehabilitation" or something. Scary!

Like Chakoteya said, that's scary mostly because, even if there is a gene to cause a predisposition to be sexually attracted to children, it's whether or not one acts on that that determines if they're a pedophile or not. I mean, there might be genes that cause an imbalance of hormones making me unbalanced enough to kill someone (not really...I think) but that's not enough for someone to tell me I need to be rehabilitated or for me to be treated as a murderer--just as someone who's a bit wonky.

True. The words: "slippery slope" come to mind.

View PostNikcara, on Sep 10 2009, 03:50 PM, said:

I also don't think that a genetic component is an excuse.  Unless someone is so far gone they don't see it as wrong .

Interesting. You mean if it can be shown that there is a causal relation between committing a certain act and possessing a certain genetic make-up?
This statement is illogical, since all SIGNATURES are.

#45 Nikcara

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:34 PM

^Having an impulse to do something is not the same thing as believing that it is morally/ethically acceptable.  For example there may be someone who just really, really irks me to the point that I want to slap them upside the head but I know it's not an acceptable thing to do.  Many alcoholics know that their drinking is ripping their lives apart - that's why they try to stop, spend money on rehab or commit themselves to hours at AA meetings.
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#46 Chakoteya

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:21 AM

And the start of the treatment of sex offenders in prison is to get them to admit their behaviour is wrong.....
Apparently it is a long uphill struggle, especially with paedophiles, to start with, but once that hurdle is leaped then rehabilitation can continue apace. (Not that society at large seems to believe you can rehabilitate sex offenders though.)

here's a 2003 article from the APA http://www.apa.org/m...03/newhope.html

But just a search engine trawl of the subject shows how difficult it is to get it done, how expensive and how often it fails.
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#47 Rhea

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:47 AM

View PostChakoteya, on Sep 12 2009, 12:21 AM, said:

And the start of the treatment of sex offenders in prison is to get them to admit their behaviour is wrong.....
Apparently it is a long uphill struggle, especially with paedophiles, to start with, but once that hurdle is leaped then rehabilitation can continue apace. (Not that society at large seems to believe you can rehabilitate sex offenders though.)

here's a 2003 article from the APA http://www.apa.org/m...03/newhope.html

But just a search engine trawl of the subject shows how difficult it is to get it done, how expensive and how often it fails.

I'll look for info to back me up, but the recidivism rate for sex offenders is extremely high, so in the long run it does look doubtful that they can be rehabilitated. Even castration is not always an effective deterrant. Links to follow.
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#48 VulcanMaster

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 07:07 AM

View PostNikcara, on Sep 10 2009, 03:50 PM, said:

I also don't think that a genetic component is an excuse.  Unless someone is so far gone they don't see it as wrong

View PostVulcanMaster, on Sep 11 2009, 12:28 PM, said:

Interesting. You mean if it can be shown that there is a causal relation between committing a certain act and possessing a certain genetic make-up?

View PostNikcara, on Sep 11 2009, 11:34 PM, said:

^Having an impulse to do something is not the same thing as believing that it is morally/ethically acceptable.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Is your position that "believing that it is morally/ethically acceptable" is "an excuse"?
This statement is illogical, since all SIGNATURES are.

#49 Nikcara

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 10:14 AM

It's a reason.  But if someone is unable to determine that something is inherently wrong then that's also a reason to keep them away from the public.  So yes, if someone is incapable of seeing that it is wrong then I see it as an example of someone who has something fundamentally wrong with them.  I wouldn't stay very angry at a person like that - there's little point, really - bit I would INSIST that someone like that be very, very closely monitored/locked up and I would get very angry at whoever was responsible for them if they reoffended.  Until very recently I worked with adults with developmental disabilities and a very small number were attracted to children - and they were watched at all times regardless of if there were children in the building or not.  They even had to get walked to the bathroom when they needed to go.  I can't say that some of them were completely responsible for their behavior, but whatever they couldn't control we did.  

However, if you have someone who is normal functioning and knows that it's considered wrong and knows that the kids they offend on get hurt, then they are completely responsible.  These are the guys who go to great lengths to hide what they're doing - if they didn't know it was wrong they wouldn't care if people knew.  Someone who has the impulse to molest kids and tries to stay away from them and seeks professional help for their problem is vastly different in my eyes from someone who has the impulse and gets a job as a camp counselor or something so they have access to kids to offend on.
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#50 Cardie

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 12:10 PM

The legal definition of insanity is the inability to distinguish right from wrong. So if someone truly could not grasp why society considers it wrong to have sex with children, they'd get an insanity defense and if locked up, it would be in a mental hospital, not prison.

But I've never heard of pedophilia being a result of that sort of insanity.

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#51 Rhea

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 08:19 PM

View PostCardie, on Sep 12 2009, 10:10 AM, said:

The legal definition of insanity is the inability to distinguish right from wrong. So if someone truly could not grasp why society considers it wrong to have sex with children, they'd get an insanity defense and if locked up, it would be in a mental hospital, not prison.

But I've never heard of pedophilia being a result of that sort of insanity.

Cardie

I've worked with learning disabled adults that would be incompetent legally and not able to understand the ramifications of having sex with anybody. I don't think they'd necessarily qualify as insane, though, just legally incompetent.

I can see some conditions - schizophrenia, for instance - where the person might also be a pedophile, in which case a mental hospital would be a dandy place.

Otherwise, I agree with you. Most pedophiles know exactly what they're doing and I don't see how the legal definition of insanity would apply (although I'm not a lawyer).

Given that the only pedophiles we know about are those who get caught, it makes you wonder how many are out there who have impulse control and aren't sexually active.

Edited by Rhea, 12 September 2009 - 08:21 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#52 VulcanMaster

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:48 AM

View PostNikcara, on Sep 12 2009, 04:14 PM, said:

It's a reason.  But if someone is unable to determine that something is inherently wrong then that's also a reason to keep them away from the public.  So yes, if someone is incapable of seeing that it is wrong then I see it as an example of someone who has something fundamentally wrong with them.

OK. But is "being unable to determine that something is inherently wrong"  the same thing as "believing that it is morally/ethically acceptable"?

Would that latter be covered by insanity?

Anyone?
This statement is illogical, since all SIGNATURES are.

#53 Cardie

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:36 PM

The classic insanity defense only applies to people who can't even grasp the concepts of right and wrong, not to people who believe that something is right which the law says is wrong.

Of course, that's the 19th century McNaughten Rule.  I don't know how the various "not guilty by reason of insanity" and "guilty but mentally ill" statutes are written these days.

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#54 Vapor Trails

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:17 PM

I'm sorry I haven't been able to participate in this discussion much (I've been too busy), but it's great to see such a fascinating debate going on in this thread. :) Keep it up, folks. :cool: This is a subject that obviously needs to be examined and talked about at great length.
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#55 Vapor Trails

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:21 PM

View PostAnnibal, on Sep 10 2009, 10:13 AM, said:

^ Yeah, like preemptive or preventative "pedophile testing" where your genes are examined, compulsory "rehabilitation" or something. Scary!

Like Chakoteya said, that's scary mostly because, even if there is a gene to cause a predisposition to be sexually attracted to children, it's whether or not one acts on that that determines if they're a pedophile or not. I mean, there might be genes that cause an imbalance of hormones making me unbalanced enough to kill someone (not really...I think) but that's not enough for someone to tell me I need to be rehabilitated or for me to be treated as a murderer--just as someone who's a bit wonky.

I disagree with the bold-faced part. I've worked with child psychopaths. In fact, I seem to remember Rhea mentioning once a long time ago at her job dealing with a psychopath who was a toddler (?). There is some sort of biological malfunction going on that is making these kids act this way.
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"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#56 Rhea

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 06:16 PM

^I was talking about schizophrenia, where there's a very definite familial genetic predisposition (even when other mental illness are present in family members such as schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, etc.). We did have a 3-year-old who was diagnosed (and on meds - and being diagnosed so young is extremely rare). The poor kid was downright scary. She'd be talking about watching Barney and in the same voice talk about killing her dog or drowning mommy in the swimming pool. Usually the onset is puberty, though. She was a rare exception - and not all schizophrenics have the urge to kill. Children's brains are more sensitive to stress (5 to 10 times more than an adult, IIRC) and stress definitely contributes to schizophrenia. I digress.

I think what Annibal means is that there may be people with a predisposition to pedophilia, or even pedophiles who haven't done so much as touch a child, but unless they act on it we can't jail them. If we punished people for the thought rather than the act, what would happen to married men? :p

Edited by Rhea, 13 September 2009 - 08:34 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#57 Nikcara

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 06:31 PM

View PostVulcanMaster, on Sep 13 2009, 12:48 PM, said:

View PostNikcara, on Sep 12 2009, 04:14 PM, said:

It's a reason.  But if someone is unable to determine that something is inherently wrong then that's also a reason to keep them away from the public.  So yes, if someone is incapable of seeing that it is wrong then I see it as an example of someone who has something fundamentally wrong with them.

OK. But is "being unable to determine that something is inherently wrong"  the same thing as "believing that it is morally/ethically acceptable"?

Would that latter be covered by insanity?

Anyone?

I should have been clearer.  Generally speaking, the only way I can imagine someone believing there is nothing wrong with having sexual relations with children are incapable of being able to determine that it is inherently wrong.  Yes, I know it's a circular argument.  Yes, I know that there are people out there who find a way to justify it to themselves because it lets them sleep at night as they are doing something heinous.  I think the mental institutions should be reserved for those who are truly incapable and prison for those who simply self-justify themselves into thinking it's ok.
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

#58 Rhea

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:47 PM

This is a very interesting article: "Pedophilia and Temporal Lobe Disturances" Yes! A journal of Neuropsychology article that's not just an abstract! It's off the topic of genetic predispotions,  but I thought it was fascinating anyway.

http://neuro.psychia...nt/full/12/1/71

Interesting points:

Quote

In the overwhelming majority of cases, pedophilia begins among adolescent, often "psychosexually retarded" males. Nevertheless, there are case reports of pedophilia beginning with a brain disease in later life.1 Brain lesions can cause hypersexuality or sexual disinhibition, but the association between pedophilia and brain disease is controversial. Specific brain lesions could alter sexual orientation toward children or, alternatively, facilitate or release a pedophilic orientation in predisposed individuals

This article examines 2 different men with pedophilia AND a brain disease.

Quote

Extensive family interviews disclosed that an orientation to pedophilia was present at a younger age. An increase in sexuality from temporal lobe disease probably unmasked latent pedophilia in these two patients.

So the temporal lobe disease didn't cause the pedophilia, but unmasked it by removing sexual inhibitions.

Quote

Concern over pedophilia has increased in recent years. Although pedophiles may be otherwise "normal," they are often immature men with a great many sexual conflicts and without the assertiveness necessary for sexual relations with mature women. Pedophiles often report being sexually abused as children. With the conflicts and stigma associated with pedophilia, a predisposition to this behavior may lie dormant until a pedophilic episode is released by some factor, such as brain disease, in later life.

Quote

We conclude that bilateral temporal lobe disturbances involving the right more than the left result in hypersexuality. This sexuality change is probably part of the spectrum of the Klüver-Bucy syndrome. Hypersexuality may unmask a previously hidden orientation toward molesting children. Hypersexuality could also unmask predispositions to other paraphilias. Moreover, the literature to date does not reveal the presence of a specific "pedophilia lesion" in the brain. Undoubtedly, further work is needed to understand the neuropsychiatry of this disorder, as well as its potential responsiveness to anti-androgen, estrogen, selective serotonin receptor inhibition, and other treatments.

So this article is talking about two men who had a predisposition to pedophilia whose neurological disorders released inhibitions and caused them to act on the pedophilia. This is also true of other paraphilias.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#59 Rhea

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:50 PM

Can't get to the full article on this, but here's the abstract:

http://sax.sagepub.c...abstract/6/1/67

Quote

Homosexual (androphilic) and pedophilic men differ in a number of ways and two sets of differences are discussed in this presentation. Results from the literature suggests that there are neurological and endocrine abnormalities in pedophilia but not in androphilia. In contrast, some research suggests that homosexuality may have a genetic basis, whereas there is no evidence to date for a genetic factor in pedophilia.

So once again a scientific study shows there's probably no genetic factor in pedophilia. I'm totally frustrated at the cost of reprints of these articles.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH



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