TruthMovement an internet research-guide for students and scholars. Best viewed in Chrome Browser

Blog Search

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

False Accusations

False Accusations
False Accusations


Psychiatric Association Debates Lifting Pedophilia Taboo By Lawrence Morahan

Psychiatric Association Debates Lifting Pedophilia Taboo


In a step critics charge could result in decriminalizing sexual contact between adults and children, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently sponsored a symposium in which participants discussed the removal of pedophilia from an upcoming edition of the psychiatric manual of mental disorders.

Psychiatrists attending an annual APA convention May 19 in San Francisco proposed removing several long-recognized categories of mental illness - including pedophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, transvestism, voyeurism and sadomasochism - from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Most of the mental illnesses being considered for removal are known as "paraphilias."

Psychiatrist Charles Moser of San Francisco's Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and co-author Peggy Kleinplatz of the University of Ottawa presented conferees with a paper entitled "DSM-IV-TR and the Paraphilias: An Argument for Removal."

People whose sexual interests are atypical, culturally forbidden or religiously proscribed should not necessarily be labeled mentally ill, they argued. Different societies stigmatize different sexual behaviors, and since the existing research could not distinguish people with paraphilias from so-called "normophilics," there is no reason to diagnose paraphilics as either a distinct group or psychologically unhealthy, Moser and Kleinplatz stated.

Participants also debated gender-identity disorder, a condition in which a person feels discomfort with his or her biological sex. Homosexual activists have long argued that gender identity disorder should not be assumed to be abnormal.

"The situation of the paraphilias at present parallels that of homosexuality in the early 1970s. Without the support or political astuteness of those who fought for the removal of homosexuality, the paraphilias continue to be listed in the DSM," Moser and Kleinplatz wrote.

A. Dean Byrd, vice president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Utah, condemned the debate. Taking the paraphilias out of the DSM without research would have negative consequences, he said.

"What this does, in essence, is it has a chilling effect on research," Byrd said. "That is, once you declassify it, there's no reason to continue studying it. What we know is that the paraphilias really impair interpersonal sexual behavior...and to suggest that it could be 'normalized' simply takes away from the science, but more importantly, has a chilling effect on research."

"Normalizing" pedophilia would have enormous implications, especially since civil laws closely follow the scientific community on social-moral matters, said Linda Ames Nicolosi, NARTH publications director.

"If pedophilia is deemed normal by psychiatrists, then how can it remain illegal?" Nicolosi asked. "It will be a tough fight to prove in the courts that it should still be against the law."

In previous articles, psychiatrists have argued that there is little or no proof that sex with adults is necessarily harmful to minors. Indeed, they have argued that many sexually molested children later look back on their experience as positive, Nicolosi said.

"And other psychiatrists have written, again in scientific journals, that if children can be forced to go to church, why should 'consent' be the defining moral issue when it comes to sex?" she said.

But whether pedophilia should be judged "normal and healthy" is as much a moral question as a scientific one, according to Nicolosi.

"The courts are so afraid of 'legislating someone's privately held religious beliefs' that if pedophilia is normalized, we will be hard put to defend the retention of laws against child molestation," Nicolosi noted.

In a fact sheet on pedophilia, the APA calls the behavior "criminal and immoral."

"An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act that never can be considered normal or socially acceptable behavior," the APA said.

However, the APA failed to address whether it considers a person with a pedophile orientation to have a mental disorder.

"That is the question that is being actively debated at this time within the APA, and that is the question they have not answered when they respond that such relationships are 'immoral and illegal,'" Nicolosi said.

Dr. Darrel A. Regier, director of research for the APA, said there were

"no plans and there is no process set up that would lead to the removal of the paraphilias from their consideration as legitimate mental disorders."

Some years ago, the APA considered the question of whether a person who had such attractions but did not act on them should still be labeled with a disorder.

"We clarified in the DSM-IV-TR...that if a person acted on those urges, we considered it a disorder," Regier said.

Dr. Robert Spitzer, author of a study on change of sexual orientation that he presented at the 2001 APA convention, took part in the symposium in San Francisco in May.

Spitzer said the debate on removing gender identity disorder from the DSM was generated by people in the homosexual activist community "who are troubled by gender identity disorder in particular." Spitzer added: "I happen to think that's a big mistake."

What Spitzer considered the most outrageous proposal, to get rid of the paraphilias, "doesn't have the same support that the gender-identity rethinking does." And he said he considers it unlikely that changes would be made regarding the paraphilias.

"Getting rid of the paraphilias, which would mean getting rid of pedophilia, that would not happen in a million years. I think there might be some compromise about gender-identity disorder," he said.

Dr. Frederick Berlin, founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, said people who are sexually attracted to children should learn not to feel ashamed of their condition.

"I have no problem accepting the fact that someone, through no fault of his own, is attracted to children. But certainly, such an individual has a responsibility...not to act on it," Berlin said.

"Many of these people need help in not acting on these very intense desires in the same way that a drug addict or alcoholic may need help. Again, we don't for the most part blame someone these days for their alcoholism; we don't see it simply as a moral weakness," he added. 

"We do believe that these people have a disease or a disorder, but we also recognize that in having it that it impairs their function, that it causes them suffering that they need to turn for help," Berlin said. 



y Lawrence Morahan

Online Sex Abuse Cases Not Characterized by Deception, Abduction and Force, Research Shows Findings From National Sample of Law Enforcement Agencies Indicates That Current Prevention Efforts Emphasizing On-Line Deception May Be Missing Their Mark Kimberly Mitchell, Ph.D., Janis Wolak, M.A., J.D. & David Finkelhor, Ph.D.,

Online Sex Abuse Cases Not Characterized by Deception, Abduction and Force, Research Shows Findings From National Sample of Law Enforcement Agencies Indicates That Current Prevention Efforts Emphasizing On-Line Deception May Be Missing Their Mark Kimberly Mitchell, Ph.D., Janis Wolak, M.A., J.D. & David Finkelhor, Ph.D.,
Online Sex Abuse Cases Not Characterized by Deception, Abduction and Force, Research Shows Findings From National Sample of Law Enforcement Agencies Indicates That Current Prevention Efforts Emphasizing On-Line Deception May Be Missing Their Mark Kimberly Mitchell, Ph.D., Janis Wolak, M.A., J.D. & David Finkelhor, Ph.D.,


The Congressional censure of a research paper: Return of the inquisition? by Kenneth K Berry; Jason Berry

Congressional censure
The Congressional censure of a research paper:
Return of the inquisition?
by Kenneth K Berry; Jason Berry
Source: Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest
Commentary in the issue dated December 10, 1999
1st January 2000

In July 12, 1999, the United States House of Representatives took an historic step toward censorship of scientific findings when it voted 355 to 0 to condemn and censure a scientific publication because the members disagreed with the findings and believed that they would have a negative effect upon citizens' thoughts and actions.

The paper, published a year earlier in the American Psychological Association's journal Psychological Bulletin (July 1998), by Bruce Rind of Temple University, Philip Tromovitch, and Robert Bauserman was titled, "A Meta-analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples." This paper was basically a review and analysis of fifty-nine previous research studies of the consequences of sexual molestation of children.

The congressional members found some of the findings personally repugnant, particularly the conclusion that some molested children grow up to be normal and a small portion are seemingly little affected by this experience. The members, especially Rep. Salmon (an Arizona Republican and a sponsor of H. Con.Res.107) believed that the findings would not only encourage pedophilia among United States citizens, but the findings could not be true. The Representatives' thinking appeared to be a demonstration of what Donald Watson (1993) called "Autistic Certainty" ("I would not believe something that was not true; I believe this is not true, therefore this must be untrue").

The journal's review of past research was brought to the attention of congressional members by several very vocal, fundamentalist religious voices. Two of these are lobbying groups: the Family Research Council, a group whose primary missions appear to oppose civil rights for homosexuals, advocate celibacy for heterosexuals, and to stop abortions when they are not celibate; and the Christian Coalition, a strong political group with similar goals but with the additional one of doing away with the separation between church and state. Another strong voice was that of radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger, who uses her popular nationally syndicated radio program ("Dr. Laura") as a forum to attack those who do not agree with her personal ideas of morality and religion.

Although this may be the first time in US history that the legislative branch of the federal government has officially condemned and censured a scientific publication, it is not a first in world history. In the thirteenth century there was no separation of church and state in Europe and mysticism prevailed over direct observation of phenomena; Roger Bacon, known for his publications on logic and experimental sciences, was condemned and spent two years in prison.

Following this he wrote his final paper, published the year of his death in 1292, which was a caustic critique of the corruption of Christianity. An outspoken supporter of Copernican views of the solar system, Giordano Bruno, was victim of an inquisition (meaning "inquiry"), found guilty of heresy, and was burned at the stake by the Church/State in 1600.

Perhaps the best known incident of suppression of scientific research was Galileo's proposition of the heliocentric theory of the solar system. Those in power disagreed with his research findings and believed that the Sun circled Earth because to them it appeared to do so. An inquisition was held and, in order to avoid punishment, Galileo recanted his findings. It is an interesting parallel that Dr. Raymond Fowler, Executive Director of the American Psychological Association, "recanted" in a letter sent to the House of Representatives during the congressional inquisition. This action brought the APA praise from the House.

The most recent period of official condemnation that led to governmental censorship of science occurred in the USSR under Communism. This followed the similar pattern that led to the book burnings in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Historically, the path begins with religions or states (or both, as in Res.107) exerting pressure upon research bodies, researchers themselves and other writers, to "self-censor." This is often achieved through withdrawal, or threat of withdrawal, of financial support for specific kinds of research and/or by public censure of anything that lacks "religious" or "political" correctness. This has often been effective in science, especially in behavioral sciences.

Researchers quickly become afraid to apply for grants or perform research that might bring them pejorative labels or worse. In 1633, upon hearing of Galileo's situation, Descartes expressed surprise and vowed out of fear to either burn his manuscript in progress or hide it so that no one would ever see it. Fortunately he did the latter.

The next step on the road to control of science, as happened in the USSR, is "official censorship" (Sinitsyna 1998). Governmental bodies, or "committees," are established (some of which in the USSR were called "editorial boards") to review research projects and prevent publication of findings if they do not agree with the beliefs of those in power.

During Stalin's period and after (official censorship did not end until 1988) research in the behavioral sciences floundered. The reasons for censorship of a particular piece of work, whether art or science, were political. Work that did not fit or was critical of "accepted" standards of ideology, work that dealt with a prohibited subject (such as nudity in art), and findings or facts that might cause undesirable thoughts or associations in citizens (emphasis added, Sinitsyna 1998), were all subject to censure.

It seems that a number of variables may have influenced this recent Congressional decision. First is the general turning away from science and critical thinking and toward mysticism in the US as shown by revival of interest in supernatural and psychic powers. Science - or at least its methodology is too little valued or respected today in the United States by the majority of people and their elected representatives.

The rise of fundamentalist Christian thinking appears to have played a role in shaping judgmental attitudes, values, and the public's negative attitude toward critical thinking. The lack of public media interest in the ramifications of the House action should be a matter of concern for everyone. One cannot help but wonder what would have occurred if the Washington Post or the New York Times had been publicly censured by Congress in response to a published article or an editorial. Is it then that scientific journals, which are intended for a relatively small number of professionals and scientists, are fair game? Congressional members are well aware of the control they can exert over research, since much of the funding comes from governmental grants. Scientists are at the mercy of those in power and, at least for now, those in power are often at the mercy of the public press.

Throughout the history of science, scientists themselves have been the harshest critics of research, but their denouncement of specific studies is usually based upon the strength or weakness of the methodology, rather than their personal values and emotions about the findings.

The Evangelical Christian groups appear to have "discovered" the behavioral sciences and may likely wield their power against unpopular research findings to a greater extent in the future. It seems likely that their next targets may be gender studies, research on sexuality, and research into parenting roles.

We have taken the first large and frightening step away from scientific freedom and toward totalitarianism in control of scientific endeavours.
References:

Sinitsyna, Olga. 1998. Censorship in the Soviet Union and its cultural and professional results for Arts. Paper presented at the Sixty-fourth International Federation of Library Associations, Amsterdam.

Watson, Donald. 1993. Autistic Certainty, Telicom, XI, 7, 43. D

The Condemned Meta-Analysis and Child Sexual Abuse Good Science and Long-Overdue Skepticism; BRUCE RIND, ROBERT BAUSERMAN, AND PHILIP TROMOVITCH

The Condemned Meta-Analysis and Child Sexual Abuse Good Science and Long-Overdue Skepticism; BRUCE RIND, ROBERT BAUSERMAN, AND PHILIP TROMOVITCH

Pedophilia and the Culture Wars by G.E. Zuriff

Pedophilia and the Culture Wars by G.E. Zuriff

The uproar over sexual abuse research and its findings; Carol Tavris

The uproar over sexual abuse research and its findings; Carol Tavris
The uproar over sexual abuse research and its findings; Carol Tavris

The politics of child sexual abuse research; by Janice Haaken; Sharon Lamb

The politics of child sexual abuse research by Janice Haaken; Sharon Lamb
The politics of child sexual abuse research by Janice Haaken; Sharon Lamb