Evidence on the Hebephilia Question

It’s funny how the best argument against allowing hebephiles to have sex with children is a hebephile arguing s/he should be allowed to do as s/he wishes. If you have a strong stomach for this sort of thing, feel free to read the comments on my prior post on the topic. If not, what you really need to know is that one showed up insisting that “Yes” was consent to be taken at face value and the harm of these relationships was an extraordinary claim. Also, consent is only an issue if there’s some demonstration of harm, and sex is healthy, so it’s always good.

So, time to shed a little science on the matter. Let’s start with a couple of definitions, since those are also in dispute in the comments.

Child: We are discussing the rights of a child and the responsibilities of a society toward children. By international treaty, a child is defined for these purposes as “Every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable under the child majority is attained earlier.”

Hebephilia: “sexual preference for individuals in the early years of puberty (generally ages 11–14, though onset of puberty may vary).”

Now for the documentation of harm. Wherever possible, sources are reviews of the literature available without special access.

Continue reading “Evidence on the Hebephilia Question”

Evidence on the Hebephilia Question

Reaction Times and IQ Tests

As Bryan Pesta recently commented that his attempts to attack my expertise rather than my arguments on IQ is justified by my treatment of him, I thought I’d pull this out of the archive so everyone could judge it. This was originally published on Greg Laden’s Blog, with much additional discussion (with most of Bryan Pesta’s comments on the post, including his intimating that I could get into trouble for linking his study) on my old blog. The discussion of practice effects has been tweaked here for clarity.

In the ongoing discussion about disparities between racial classifications on IQ tests, Dr. Bryan Pesta requested that we consider his paper, “Black-White differences on IQ and grades: The mediating role of elementary cognitive tasks.” Because as he rightly points out, not everyone will have the background to evaluate the paper, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the paper in the context of the cognitive science literature.

Continue reading “Reaction Times and IQ Tests”

Reaction Times and IQ Tests

About That "Honor" of Yours

I’ve wondered for a while now what kind of a thing called honor could possibly be restored by killing someone. Honor is an abstract concept, so we can only really understand it by viewing its effects, and this particular abstract has had me perplexed for decades.

The existence of duels taught me that honor isn’t something integral to a person. I know that it’s supposed to be. All the stories tell me so. They tell me that so-and-so is a man or woman of honor, that this protagonist or that historical figure behaved with honor.

However, when honor can be taken away by a word and only returned on the point of a sword or the ball of a pistol, it can’t be internal. You can behave bravely and altruistically, and your honor can still be lost–to a lie, no less! Then it can only be returned by public contest. So honor, as it turns out, is really just petty reputation.

Then there is honor killing, or should we call it “reputation killing.” Continue reading “About That "Honor" of Yours”

About That "Honor" of Yours

About That “Honor” of Yours

I’ve wondered for a while now what kind of a thing called honor could possibly be restored by killing someone. Honor is an abstract concept, so we can only really understand it by viewing its effects, and this particular abstract has had me perplexed for decades.

The existence of duels taught me that honor isn’t something integral to a person. I know that it’s supposed to be. All the stories tell me so. They tell me that so-and-so is a man or woman of honor, that this protagonist or that historical figure behaved with honor.

However, when honor can be taken away by a word and only returned on the point of a sword or the ball of a pistol, it can’t be internal. You can behave bravely and altruistically, and your honor can still be lost–to a lie, no less! Then it can only be returned by public contest. So honor, as it turns out, is really just petty reputation.

Then there is honor killing, or should we call it “reputation killing.” Continue reading “About That “Honor” of Yours”

About That “Honor” of Yours

A Merry Little Christmas

A repost/remix for the day. Original here.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away
Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

I prefer this version of the song to the newer, cheerier lyrics. Continue reading “A Merry Little Christmas”

A Merry Little Christmas

Non-Atheists "Whine" About Christmas Too

Flickr looks like just a photo-sharing site to anyone who doesn’t use it much (like me). To photographers (like my husband), however, it’s a sophisticated social media site. Think Facebook before whatever particular change you really hated, with the bonuses of not getting friend requests from relatives and better ways of keeping track of things you’re interested in. In other words, people invest their personalities in their interactions there.

That’s why it was disturbing to see this:

So it’s distressing when someone puts Christmas lights on my virtual home. I’m not a Christian. I don’t care how secular the holiday is nowadays. I know about the holiday’s Pagan roots. None of that matters. The fact is, Christmas lights on a home are a signifier that the occupant is a Christian, the same way a mezuzah is a signifier of a Jewish occupant. These symbols have power, which is why we use them.

It’s not just that Flickr is smearing Christmas “cheer” all over itself. As a non-Christian in a Christian country, I’m grudgingly used to that. (Though it would be nice if clicking that “[x]” set a cookie that prevented it from loading on the next pageview.) It’s that my Flickr stream is my personal identity in the Flickr community. That’s my face there at the top. Flickr has added a Christian signifier to my virtual home and I have no way to remove it. In the eyes of the rest of the community, Flickr has turned me into a Christian.

Comments are predictably atrocious.

Continue reading “Non-Atheists "Whine" About Christmas Too”

Non-Atheists "Whine" About Christmas Too

Non-Atheists “Whine” About Christmas Too

Flickr looks like just a photo-sharing site to anyone who doesn’t use it much (like me). To photographers (like my husband), however, it’s a sophisticated social media site. Think Facebook before whatever particular change you really hated, with the bonuses of not getting friend requests from relatives and better ways of keeping track of things you’re interested in. In other words, people invest their personalities in their interactions there.

That’s why it was disturbing to see this:

So it’s distressing when someone puts Christmas lights on my virtual home. I’m not a Christian. I don’t care how secular the holiday is nowadays. I know about the holiday’s Pagan roots. None of that matters. The fact is, Christmas lights on a home are a signifier that the occupant is a Christian, the same way a mezuzah is a signifier of a Jewish occupant. These symbols have power, which is why we use them.

It’s not just that Flickr is smearing Christmas “cheer” all over itself. As a non-Christian in a Christian country, I’m grudgingly used to that. (Though it would be nice if clicking that “[x]” set a cookie that prevented it from loading on the next pageview.) It’s that my Flickr stream is my personal identity in the Flickr community. That’s my face there at the top. Flickr has added a Christian signifier to my virtual home and I have no way to remove it. In the eyes of the rest of the community, Flickr has turned me into a Christian.

Comments are predictably atrocious.

Continue reading “Non-Atheists “Whine” About Christmas Too”

Non-Atheists “Whine” About Christmas Too