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The brains of pedophiles are hardwired from the womb and nothing can change them, according to a study by a prominent doctor. Will this research serve to give child sex predators more rights than their victims?

Comment: As usual on controversial issues, both sides are wrong - or at least not entirely right. Whether or not pedophiles are hardwired makes no difference - if they commit a crime and get caught, they will go to jail. Psychopathy, for example, is widely accepted to be "hardwired", but so far there is no movement toward giving psychopathic offenders more rights than their victims. The majority of violent incarcerated criminals are psychopaths, and the fact that they are hardwired means they are less likely to get parole because of their higher chances of recidivism. There's no reason to think it will be any different with pedophilia if the issue is just one of nature vs. nurture.

Dr. James Cantor, a neuroscientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), has triggered controversy with a recent interview in which he argues, based on MRI brain scans of convicted child molesters, that "pedophilia begins in the womb." Strangely, however, no brains of infants or children were examined in the study.

Comment: Not a lot is known about the causes of sexual orientation and paraphilias. There's no "gay gene", for instance. As far as we know, it is probably some combination of genetics and early imprinting. But that's just a guess at this point. So Cantor's statement should be regarded as no more than a guess - as with everyone else claiming to know the source of human sexuality.

At one point in the interview, it seemed that Cantor was being too kind to "positive pedophiles," as he politely refers to those individuals who refrain from acting upon their unspeakable impulses. Cantor argues there is a difference between a so-called 'positive pedophile' who has committed no crime, and a sexual predator who has violated a child.

Comment: Technically he is right. The question is one of statistics - which we don't have. How many non-offending pedophiles are there? What percentage of total pedophiles? How likely is a "positive pedophile" to become a "negative pedophile" and offend? In the face of uncertainty, it's prudent to take steps to keep such individuals away from children.

"There's nothing about a pedophile who has never touched anybody, never watched child porn, has a sexual interest pattern he didn't ask for and can't get rid of. What did he do wrong," Cantor asked. "What am I blaming him for?"

That comment seems fair enough. So long as the sexual deviant is able to control his unnatural urges and not harm anyone, while seeking out professional help, there is no reason to vilify that person. No crime has been committed. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder if Cantor's use of the term "sexual interest pattern" is just another way of saying 'sexual orientation'? Some fear that is where this discussion on pedophilia and its alleged beginnings in the womb is heading.

Comment: Pedophiles are universally reviled. A change in terminology is unlikely to change that to any significant degree, thankfully. Then again, the far-left have gone so gender-hysterical that they might be the ones willing to jump on board. But the fact is, pedophilia is not an orientation, it is a paraphilia. What paraphilias have in common with orientations is simply this: you can't control who or what you are sexually attracted to. That applies as much to normal heterosexuals as to sexually motivated serial killers who are aroused by torture.

There has been an active campaign going on for years, and not least of all in academia, to categorize pedophilia NOT as some kind of sexual deviancy worthy of society's harshest opprobrium, but rather a 'sexual orientation.' In other words, in the very same ballpark as the LGBTQS crowd (I've taken the liberty of adding an 'S' for 'Straight' since this group tends to get sidelined these days). This appears to be just more identity politics, where sexual predators - the purported 'victims of nature' - are entitled not only to a special ranking in the camp of sexual orientations, but to our sympathy as well. The mainstream media has also been actively pursuing this line of thought.

Comment: One can have sympathy of some sort for such wretched creatures without condoning their crimes or letting them off easy. Sex is a strong drive, and it can't be easy for a "positive pedophile" to have strong sexual attractions with no legal way of satisfying them. That's probably why some non-offending pedophiles choose chemical castration voluntarily.

In this Norwegian study, the researchers found that psychology students had more sympathy for pedophiles, and were thus more willing to work with them and study them, than police trainees. But at the same time, that didn't change the fact that the students still did not want to be close to such individuals: "Even individuals who held less stigmatizing beliefs desired social distance at a personal level." These students want to understand, in order to find potential ways of treating pedophilia and preventing offending.

Back in 2013, Dr. Cantor was featured in an article where one of his former colleagues at CAMH, Dr. Michael Seto, answered the question proposed in the headline ('Is pedophilia a sexual orientation?') when he was quoted in a study as saying: "Pedophiles will remain hidden if they continue to be hated and feared, which would impede efforts to better understand this sexual orientation and thereby prevent child sexual exploitation."

It is very difficult to understand how slapping a 'sexual orientation' label on pedophilia will do anything to protect the real victims, who are, of course, the vulnerable children. In fact, it seems the new designation will only increase their chances of being victimized since the predators may feel that they have license to act according to their newfound status in the LGBTQS club.

Comment: It's not that difficult to understand. Whether or not it is correct or not is another question. That would require actual research. For instance, if the following results from a 2018 study are actually true, they should be considered carefully:
There is an emerging consensus among researchers that having pedophilic interests is not synonymous with child sexual abuse or other amoral behavior. Nevertheless, misconceptions about pedophilia are highly prevalent among the general public and mental health practitioners. This article provides an overview of recent findings on the stigma of pedophilia and derives guidelines for mental health practitioners based on these results. We argue that stigmatization of people with pedophilic sexual interests has undesired indirect effects on risk factors for child sexual abuse, particularly on an emotional and social level. Also, fear of being rejected or treated unethically may prevent pedophilic individuals at risk for sexual offending from confiding in medical practitioners or psychotherapists. Psychologists working with pedophilic individuals in forensic or clinical settings should be aware that stigmatizing people with pedophilia may increase their risk of sexual offending, and provide help to deal with potential stigma-related repercussions.

Furthermore, it seems odd that Seto wants to blame the public at large for their 'hate and fear' of pedophiles, which forces the latter to "remain hidden." There is, of course, a very good reason for people to feel threatened by such individuals, some of whom are determined to inflict harm upon children. These negative feelings are nothing more fundamental than the human 'survival instinct.' Finally, why has so much of the conversation on pedophilia these days switched from the abused to the abuser? What about the rights of the children who are at constant risk of being accosted by these mentally deranged individuals?

Comment: That's the problem, of course. There is a VERY good reason why people almost universally revile pedophiles. The question is whether or not some attitudes and behaviors associated with that revulsion might unintentionally make the problem worse and lead to crimes that could otherwise have been prevented.

While Cantor has refrained from using the term "sexual orientation," in one particular tweet he did not refute the idea when given the chance that pedophiles might eventually be counted among the LBGTQS crowd.

Comment: This will probably have more negative effects for "LGBT" than positive ones for "P".

When a Twitter user exclaimed that "No P [as in 'pedophile'] should not be part of LGBT because it is a category that is *inherently* abusive. P is a mental illness, not a gender," Cantor did not agree or disagree with the assertion, but only corrected the person, reminding him that "being a gender is not what puts something in the list." This forces one to ask if being a 'born' pedophile will assure future membership.

Although Cantor's research has been known for years, America's current cultural climate, steeped as it is in over-the-top political correctness, has given it renewed life. In fact, it seems possible that the 'progressive' social justice warriors, who have a talent for finding an injustice everywhere - from a Civil War monument in the town square and the 'patriarchy' to the men's bathroom - will one day be tempted to fight for the 'rights' of the pedophile.

Comment: And if it comes to that, they too should be reviled. The backlash against progressive SJWs is already on the rise. That would probably bring it to the breaking point.

As recent experience has taught us, the radical left has been known to act extremely irrational when confronted with the question of victimhood. And now with researchers claiming that pedophilia begins in the womb and that there is no effective treatment for this condition, it seems just a matter of time before convicted pedophiles demand full equality before the law. The way things are going, it would be premature and even foolish to say they will not succeed.

At this point, it should be remembered that the average American is being inundated by a massive wave of conflicting messages when it comes to the subject of pedophilia. And the media, as to be expected, is only aggravating the situation. Currently, Americans are trying to digest the news about the late sexual deviant Jeffrey Epstein and his private 'Pedo Island,' where hundreds of wealthy elites would gather to frolic among an entourage of underage girls. Coming just months after the torch-carrying #MeToo inquisition, the United States looked as if it really needed to check itself into 12-step sex-addiction rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, on the other side of this carnal carnival, the media continues to bombard its captive viewers with an opposing message that says sex and minors go together as naturally as apple pie and Chevrolet. Just ask 'Desmond is Amazing.' At the precocious age of 12, this boy from New York is the feature attraction at gay pride parades and strip clubs nationwide. Many people view this salacious exhibitionism as nothing less than pedophilia. Is this the future fate of America where very young boys and girls - far below the age of sexual consent, not to mention puberty - are able to participate in these spectacles? At least one media outlet thinks so.

"Desmond Is Amazing is the future and we're here for it," declared Mashable, unable to steer its misguided subjectivity like responsible journalists. Judging by the devastating public fallout that accompanied the tweet, however, it is obvious that the public has no stomach for such libidinous behavior from its youth.

Meanwhile, hyper-sexualization continues to run amok inside of the US public school system to the point that even preschoolers, too young to tie up their shoelaces, are being subjected to smut talk. The educators who teach the lessons occasionally dress in drag, while the textbooks are risqué enough to make a grown adult blush. Is it any wonder, then, that very young children are expressing doubts over their gender, proclaiming that they are the opposite sex?

Amid these two radically different messages it is increasingly difficult to say whether pedophilia is really taboo in the US or becoming more socially acceptable. Now, with Cantor's study declaring pedophilia as rooted in some kind of genetic trait, the kiddy pool is really muddied.

Comment: We couldn't find any studies from the last year or so, but this from 2014 should give an idea about what would have to change if pedophilia were to become more "socially acceptable":
Pedophiles are one of the most hated and distrusted groups in society; even more so, in some respects, than psychopaths. A 2014 U.S. based survey[39] found that, of those polled:
  • 44% believe pedophilia is something that one can choose
  • 49% believe that people with pedophilia have taken a deliberate decision to have these interests
  • 48% believe that people have the choice whether they have pedophilia or not
  • 94% believe pedophilia poses a danger for children
  • 83% believe pedophilia poses a danger for adolescents
  • 39% believe pedophilia poses a danger for adults
  • 59% feel afraid when they think of pedophiles
  • 40% feel pity when they think of pedophiles
  • 84% feel anger when they think of pedophiles
When asked, "How do you feel about interacting with people who are dominantly sexually interested in children, but have never committed a crime?":
  • 5% would have such a person as a friend
  • 6% would accept such a person in their neighborhood
  • 11% would accept such a person as a work colleague
  • 15% would talk to such a person
  • 49% would prefer such a person to be incarcerated
  • 27% would prefer such a person to be dead.
By comparison, only 21% favored incarceration of psychopaths who have never committed a crime, and only 8% favored death for psychopaths who have never committed a crime.

The results of the study, which may or may not aggravate the situation with regards to pedophilia, demand to be more heavily scrutinized by other members of the scientific community.

While it is true that not all pedophiles act upon their sexual urges, the fact remains that many do. Therefore we owe it to the safety of children to ensure that more resources are devoted to examining this mental problem and that pedophiles get the medical treatment they need and deserve in order to lead normal lives.

Comment: Exactly. If only we could get there without the mindless nonsense of the culture wars getting in the way.

Dr. James Cantor did not respond to requests to provide his comments on this story.
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. Former Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News, he is author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, released in 2013.