Friday, March 07, 2008

Curable ‘illness’ debunked

Peter Banks, of the US Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, makes a very nice attempt to nail child sexual exploitation, in a single sound-bite:

“It’s not a sickness, it’s not an illness, it’s not a disease. It is obsessive behaviour to exercise your power, will and control over someone who is helpless.”

And incidentally... Congratulations to those Queensland police who, with their international law enforcement colleagues, helped crack a vicious international child pornography ring operating across six countries, and rescued twenty of its innocent victims. (See the transcript above for the full story.) I’d like to buy them all a drink.

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Blogger Caz said...

At least the Queensland police are protecting someone's children. Just wish they'd start doing the same for all of the Aboriginal kiddies up their way.

Current brain research is a bit of a slippery slope with some of these issues Jacob. As you would expect, some researchers are trying to pinpoint the parts of the brain that make pedophiles what they are. Of course, the problem with this is the rush to biological determinism, or, now, "brain determinism".

Ditto all of the other brain studies trying to identify why a murderer kills, and so on and so on.

You can see the future defence arguments, abusing this particular specialty area: "HIS BRAIN MADE HIM DO IT! IT ISN'T HIS FAULT. HE IS INNOCENT!"

Yeah sure.

Bit of a problem with that though, which experts and the common folk alike need to catch onto quick smart: every single thing we do is because our brains "tell us to" - from brushing our teeth to putting one foot in front of another, to breathing.

Brain research is interesting, but it's being politicized up by the researchers before it's even a mature or proven area of study.

9/3/08 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

Yes well, if we're going to give up on the idea of personal volition, individual agency, or whatever, then that's a double edged sword.

If someone "can't help themselves" by virtue of their brain's wiring, then society is justified in locking them away for the greater good.

Not necessarily in prisons, but in a 'special place' where they can be cared for, and prevented from doing harm.

Arguably, if individual agency is an illusion, then things like 'human rights' cannot be said to inhere in the individual.

So it's okay for the beehive state to lock certain 'types' away for their own or others' safety.

Could solve some sticky problems, eh?

11/3/08 10:14 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

Ah, except that all of this research has already raised the prospect - quite real, and starting to be tested in rare cases - of people not being held culpable - it's a defense argument! Not a lock 'em up in special facilities argument!

It's disturbing and wrong.

Brain activities are not behaviors, brain activities are not consciousness. Never will be.

Yet because this is seen as the "frontier" of research, it's already being misapplied and distorted.

It's a slippery slope, but I think there are enough sensible people to put the kybosh on any slide into an abyss. At least I hope there are.

Well, once they start looking at the other side of the coin, as you've presented it, the researchers might just decide to shut the hell up - which would probably be a reasonable outcome.

11/3/08 10:30 PM  

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