Human sexuality and age of consent

skepticdude
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Human sexuality and age of consent

I post a good argument, but this type of subject has the distinction of being beset with heavy emotion even by those who profess to work dispassionately.  So let me calm the predictable response "are you a child molester?" by answering truthfully: "no."  I only chose this ultra-forbidden topic because it is, after all, ultra forbidden. 

Since this topic rouses so much emotion, it will be a good way to test our ability to analyze something objectively, and set ourselves apart from the rest of society that is largely led more by emotion than critical thinking.

Without an absolute standard of morality, what criteria do you use to determine the proper "age of consent"?

And can you admit that, in the absence of an absolute morality, you are never going to prove that any age is too young?  All you are going to do is find a whole bunch of people who agree with you, which accomplishes nothing more than what the world has already given us; a bunch of people who disagree on the minimum age-of-consent.

My own position on the matter is that our current laws don't reflect reality.  The popular Mary K. Letourneau matter is a case in point: The boy that got her pregnant does not give any sign of having been more negatively impacted psychologically or physically because of his having sex with an older woman while he was a young teen, anymore than your average 18 year old guy would have been in the same, eh, "position" Smiling

They are now happily married with kids, even though they were separated by her 7 year prison sentence.

If we really wish to say that a 34 year old woman having sex with a 12 year old boy is "wrong", aren't we morally obligated to show why?

Most acts called crimes in criminal law are so designated because they "harm" other people, agreed?

Yes, there is a difference between Fualaau's case, and the case of an older man with a younger girl, but what if the girl consented, and there was no physical rape or other use of force?  The only evidence I'm able to marshal to show that the girl is being traumatized, even though she consented, is the subjective opinion of the outraged emotional community, who, like most people, are sure that 13 is just too young, and have zero proof for it.

Here are some questions to consider:

Suppose a girl aged 17 years and 364 days, gives consent to an adult male to have sex.  They begin around midnight.  She changes her mind, and has him prosecuted.  The state is able to prove that the sex began actually at 11:59 p.m. when the girl was yet 17 years and 364 days old.  The man is convicted of statutory rape and must now carry this stigma around for life.  One minute is the difference between rape and legal sex, right?  A single minute is the difference between the girl not being able to give informed consent and being able to give it, amen?  Hopefully you see the relativity.

For the adult men here:

Suppose you have a picture of a 25 year old woman whom you are sexually attracted to.  Suppose you are now married to her, and she had 9125 pictures of herself (roughly one picture of her for every day of her life since birth).  What is the earliest picture of her that you could honestly say she started to become sexually attractive to you?  Would you say that she had no sexuality about her whatsoever when she was 17 years and 364 days old, and then the very next day, suddenly, she was sexually attractive?  

Suppose you like boobs and butts, and you are shown 10 photos of different women with boobs and butts that you like....but their faces are blurred.  Would you be unable to be aroused at this sight because you are not able to decide whether you are looking at early-developing junior high school girls or full grown women? 

For the adult women here:

Suppose you are a schoolteacher, and you fulfill the fantasy of one of the 12-year old boys in your class.  In your best estimation, he had a real good time and is hoping for more.  How would you argue that this act of yours caused him any kind of physical or psychological damage whatsoever?

For all adults:

Lots of adults do role-playing games during sex.  Lots of adult women like to pretend they are underage girls and have their male partner play the role of the "older man", pretending to coerce them gently into sex.  Some women have rape fantasies.

Similarly, there is no shortage of guys (usually submissives) that want to play the part of the young schoolboy while the wife or girlfriend or prostitute plays the part of the older female schoolteacher, during sex.

Why?  Were all such people raised the wrong way and so cannot find fulfillment with "normal" sex"?  Could you prove that people who have "wild" sex all come from broken dysfunctional homes?  What's normal sex?  If you often want your husband to hold your hands down to the mattress with force while in missionary position, are you thus in need of psychotherapy?

The point I wish to make is that it is impossible for atheists who deny absolute morality, to yet speak in public as if the age-of-consent was an absolute moral.  Christians will quickly pounce on this as an inconsistency, and they would be right.

What the atheist should do is affirm that the world does not agree on the age of consent, proving that the laws we now deem to be normal and acceptable in America are nothing more than social conditioning.  The "age of consent" controversy provides a good opportunity for the atheists to demonstrate the power of social conditioning, and that the particular age of consent in the fundamentalist Christian's county or state of residence are clearly not "gospel". 

I am honest enough to admit that I think having sex with a 13 year old girl, even with her consent, is immoral, but only because I've been conditioned by my environment to believe that way, not because there is any evidence that such an act is necessarily harmful or psychologically traumatizing to the girl.  If I had been born and raised in certain tribes in Africa, I might feel that having a 9 year old girl for a wife is par for the course of life, and that her protests to having sex are just because she is rebellious to the gods.
 

By the way, I've done extensive debating on the issue of sex in the bible; God's word condemns many petty crimes like lying, stealing, loaning money at interest to fellow Israelites, swearing, cussing, etc....but it both advocates sex between adult men married to female children, and never condemns this practice.  I'll debate any Christian here who thinks otherwise.

What does it mean if an "underage" child consents to sex with an adult, the act is never forced, and thereafter, shows no signs of psychological trauma consistent with typical rape?  Is there a reason criminal law distinguishes regular rape from statuatory rape? Is it because sex with an "underage" person cannot always be proven to result in harmful effects on the child, and so the state feels compelled to step in and arbitrarily assert this act must have harmful effects even when it doesn't?

British society regards the statutory presumption in American Law,  that teen kids cannot meaningfully consent to sex with an adult, as a legal fiction.

If Fualaau endured no harm, does that mean the "statuatory rape" laws need serious revision?

A related debate is just how much the state should feel itself compelled to legislate morality.

See Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, by Judith Levine

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I agree that the whole age

I agree that the whole age of consent notion is rather poorly thought out. Humans like to attach numbers to things.Let's face it, there are some 15 year olds who are practically adults and some 21 year olds who couldn't function without their parents. Age is a arbitary number, it is always the individual one must consider.

Personally, I don't see much difference between a 16 year old having sex with a 18yo or a 30yo. The biological act is the same right? I'm not sure how far down we can go before the line between consent and the influence of age get blurred, as well as the simple fact of having sex with children,which I'm not condoning.

Like the OP said, in many cultures a 13yo girl would be married and bringing out the babies. It's just that we(ok,maybe theists Eye-wink ) have taken the simple act of reprodution and put such a spin on it nobody knows what to think of it.I know, I still have a lot of hang ups concerning the idea of sex.

I think America's consent laws are pretty insane. Wasn't there a 15yo jailed for oral? I actually don't know what the age of consent is in SA. I've heard the average age for a girl to loose virginity here is 11-13,but I have no idea how true that is.(Keep in mind that's in tribal culture,it would be blasted in suburbia) Not to say we don't have stupid laws, fairly recently the so called 'kissing law' was invented. This prevents people from kissing or any form of intimate contact if one is under 16. The police did say it was to stop older men preying on teens and they wouldn't actually prosecute consenting teens who were kissing.It still led to wide spread protest among the youth and nation wide 'kiss-a-thons.'

Anyway, basically..consent laws should be reviewed in my opinion.

Psalm 14:1 "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God"-From a 1763 misprinted edition of the bible

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This is getting redudnant. My patience with the unteachable[atheists] is limited.

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DamnDirtyApe
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Nice post.  These are the

Nice post.  These are the kind of discussions we need more of around here.  I largely agree with you, and admit to the same kind of cultural conditioning, but the fact remains that we do have something to be upset about here, though it's from a more pragmatic rather than purely ethical stance.  This is the first time I've made these arguments myself and I invite you to tell me why I'm wrong.

I don't currently have any children, but I have no problem paying taxes for the sake of educating other people's kids.  It's a win-win, as far as I'm concerned, even if the school system's going to hell.  I'm a scientist and I need educated people to staff my lab when it's time for me to take on executive duties.  Therefore, I care about the quality of teachers.  When a teacher fucks a kid, he/she is out of the teaching game for good, because even if his/her behavior isn't ruled criminal, the teacher's legitimacy in the eyes of the students, parents, co-workers and the taxpayers is irrevocably tarnished.  Furthermore, Mary Kay was on the clock.  I'd be upset if my mailman was letting his mail truck sit idle while he was getting a blowjob in the back (well, actually, my female mail carrier is kinda hot and I'd happily stuff some envelopes if she needed a break, but back to the argument), so why should she get a pass for wasting public funds that are already going down the drain?

From the other end, it's still about taxes.  Assuming that our statutory rapist isn't a government employee, the kid is still the beneficiary of my taxes.  If the kid is female and gets pregnant and drops out as a result, then the statutory rapist is at least partly at fault for wasting my money.  Admittedly, if she gets knocked up by a kid her own age the situation is the same, but I don't think I'm wrong in expecting an adult to show a little more restraint.

Once again, these arguments are not about pure morality and they may be stale with age, but as far as I'm concerned, as long as I'm paying for their education, I've got a stake in the protection of my investment from both ends.

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


HeyZeusCreaseToe
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Firstly, there are about 1

Firstly, there are about 1 million questions here, and I would say next time it might be better to ask one or a few very clear questions rather than a ton, but let me get to the heart of the matter. I think I would take the idea of mutually satisfactory activities makes sense here. I mean if you could prove that a 35 year old woman having sex with a 14 year old male had no negative impacts on the male's life and he enjoyed it, then I wouldn't say it is necessarily wrong, and vice versa with the genders reversed. I don't think there really can be an absolute age where its like, 18 is the point you become an adult, a light goes on in your head, and all of the decisions you make are perfectly rational and made in an absolutely beneficial way for yourself. This is a subconscious meme, where we as a culture recognize that person's consent to be of more importance than their legal guardians. In other words, they are solely responsible for their actions and what happens to their body.

I would say a much better way to view the age of consent is to take into account each situation with the parties involved, the maturity level of the younger participant, the harm or lack of harm done to the younger participant, the intent of the older participant, and the consequences of the activities of the younger participant. If the younger participant genuinely enjoyed the activity, was not used in an abusive or deceptive manner, and the intent and actions of the older participant were without malice, then the activities would not be immoral in my opinion. While I am sure this situation has happened countless times in history, the laws in place to protect "minors" are in place(aside from the obvious religious, morally prescribed reasons) because time and time again, younger participants have been duped, coerced, or actively participated in very destructive sexual relationships that leave the younger participant emotionally scarred as a result. The prescribed laws have been put in place to create a blanket set of rules, erring on the side of caution, to prevent the odious consequences of what has been described above. The legal system takes the position that it is better to disallow legal adults from engaging in sexual acts with those younger than the age of consent prescribed by law, so as to protect the minor from possible negative consequences related to sexual activities. The law creates the frame that any number(lets say the vast majority,even though this is probably not true) of positive sexual activities between persons under that age of consent are not worth the risk of even one harmful sexual activity of a person under the age of consent.

The problem in legal systems, is that every case is different, and it is almost impossible to say sex with anyone of any age is permissible as long as the older participant demonstrates no harm is done to the younger participant. The minor involved is an able, willing, consenting, and demonstrably enjoys the activities. This would also neglect any rights that the legal guardian of the minor was afforded under the law to be responsible for the welfare of said child. It creates a situation where it would pit lover against parent for legal deference over how exactly "welfare of the child" can be administered and whether that means parents have the right to decide whether their children can or cannot engage in sexual activities.

 

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skepticdude
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DamnDirtyApe wrote:Nice

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Nice post.  These are the kind of discussions we need more of around here.  I largely agree with you, and admit to the same kind of cultural conditioning, but the fact remains that we do have something to be upset about here, though it's from a more pragmatic rather than purely ethical stance.  This is the first time I've made these arguments myself and I invite you to tell me why I'm wrong.

I don't currently have any children, but I have no problem paying taxes for the sake of educating other people's kids.  It's a win-win, as far as I'm concerned, even if the school system's going to hell.

That's pretty bold.  When I see my tax money being wasted, I don't want to pay it anymore.

Quote:
I'm a scientist and I need educated people to staff my lab when it's time for me to take on executive duties.  Therefore, I care about the quality of teachers.  When a teacher fucks a kid, he/she is out of the teaching game for good, because even if his/her behavior isn't ruled criminal, the teacher's legitimacy in the eyes of the students, parents, co-workers and the taxpayers is irrevocably tarnished.

The solution is to educate the community better and prove that the state is overstepping it's boundaries when it tries to decide for parents the age of consent for their kids.  There was a day when oral sex between married couples was illegal, thank christ those days are gone.

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Furthermore, Mary Kay was on the clock.  I'd be upset if my mailman was letting his mail truck sit idle while he was getting a blowjob in the back (well, actually, my female mail carrier is kinda hot and I'd happily stuff some envelopes if she needed a break, but back to the argument),

Ok so you don't mind helping the female mail-carrier use her time in a way that wastes your neighbor's federal tax dollars, got it Smiling

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so why should she get a pass for wasting public funds that are already going down the drain?

She wasn't wasting public funds.  She was giving that kid an education he'd never forget.

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From the other end, it's still about taxes.  Assuming that our statutory rapist isn't a government employee, the kid is still the beneficiary of my taxes.  If the kid is female and gets pregnant and drops out as a result, then the statutory rapist is at least partly at fault for wasting my money.

Dropping out of high school is no guarantee that the person will remain uneducated.  If you only knew how utterly immoral taxation really is, and how much surplus money the government has at the end of each year, you'd probably join a militia and plan to eradicate the American government.

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Admittedly, if she gets knocked up by a kid her own age the situation is the same, but I don't think I'm wrong in expecting an adult to show a little more restraint.

If that's true, you are faulting Mary K. for using tax-funded time for personal business, not because she engaged in sex with a 12 year old boy.  If Mary K was not a schoolteacher and engaged that boy in sex privately on nobody's time, would you still disapprove of the act?

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Once again, these arguments are not about pure morality and they may be stale with age, but as far as I'm concerned, as long as I'm paying for their education, I've got a stake in the protection of my investment from both ends.

Your argument is weakened by the fact that your money is being used in a very ineffective way.  The state government decides how much money school's get, not you.  You have no idea how much of your money actually goes to pay for schooling of kids, but this would be necessary to decide whether the waste of this amount of money is negligible.

If you found out that out of all your taxes, $1 every payday ends up going to the schools, that would give you a stake, but how much?  Like stocks, the less your share is, the less say you have in spending company money.

 

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The age of consent in SA is

The age of consent in SA is the same as Zim - 16. Interestingly, that only became law in South Africa this year. The significant difference between the 2 statutes is that the Zimbabwean law specifies that it applies to heterosexual and lesbian contacts. Homosexual contact is punishable by a year's imprisonment (where the offence is highly likely to repeat, albeit without consent.) Mugabe; what a dick.

I compare the 2 because there are cultural similarities and I know one better than the other. In rural Zimbabwe marriages can be arranged, imposed or a couple may marry for love. Women marry as young as 12 or 13, the consent question being neatly taken care of by their parents. A younger bride is preferred, as she is less likely to be HIV positive.

Lobola (where the groom "buys" the bride from her parents) is also payable, often in the form of cattle, corn and/or cash. It varies with the status of the bride, her age and her perceived beauty. Village chiefs are often the matchmakers or have to approve as well as carry out the marriages. Polygamy is permitted.

Swaziland, at one stage in the last 10 years and maybe to this day, required all virgin women to wear tassles and made it illegal for any man to have sex with a virgin. The stated reason was to combat HIV, but it was probably more likely that Swazi King's wanted to ensure he had an ample supply of virgins at his next wife selection. (I'm not making this up - he and his advisors put together an entire stadium filled with virgin women ranging from about 13 to 30 from which they choose his next bride. Happens every few years and is a national event.)

The moral zeitgeist accepts young marriages in these communities, but it is shifting and has been since Western (Christian) "values" entered it. The raising of the age of consent in South Africa evidences that - the urban populations, largely educated to a curriculum that must be compatible with the Western one in order for the West to consider it part of an education and so continue to fund it, are changing the zeitgeist to fit their moral view. Helped in no small part by the cultural influence of Western-style television & film and by the colonial past of each of these societies.

I point these things out to provide perspective in support of one of the OP's points. The view that a child of 13 is too young to engage in sexual activity with another person is one that has evolved (for want of a better word) within Westernized society. At a guess, I would say it is probably born of the puritan societies that took hold after Martin Luther, where sex was itself taboo to the point of deviant fetish. Or perhaps it comes from the Catholic obsession with Mary and her virginity, inspiring a desire to prolong virginity for as long as possible whilst enduring the survival of the species. I wonder if the Catholic Church would have been so anti-cloning had the technology to reproduce without sexual contact been available at the dawn of the Rennaissance.

In order to avoid pariah status I'd better point out that my personal preferences mean that, to me, a woman is only physically attractive from post-pubescence onward. Before or during puberty does not do it for me at all. Also important (I'd go so far as to growl provocativley if I could get the sound right)  is several degrees of self-knowledge and emotional maturity that whilst rare amongst the "barely legal" crowd does show itself from time to time. I guess I agree, then, that assigning an age to sexual consent is dumb and that instances now considered statuatory rape should be judged on a case-by-case basis, not on that of a generalised age bracket.

 

(edited for too many hads)

Stop that... It's silly.


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Quote:And can you admit

Quote:
And can you admit that, in the absence of an absolute morality, you are never going to prove that any age is too young?

I think we can legitimately say that pre-pubescent children are too young.  There's biology behind it.  There's also psychology, since before puberty, many children have not felt any kind of sexual urges, and have no idea how to consent to what's happening.

Quote:
If we really wish to say that a 34 year old woman having sex with a 12 year old boy is "wrong", aren't we morally obligated to show why?

Yes, and no.

Morality isn't a function of rationality in many cases.  In fact, there's a pretty good case for the evolution of emotions as an easy way for genes to get their reproductive attachments (humans) to do illogical things for the good of the genes, and to the detriment of the humans.

To go back to something you mentioned earlier, I believe (and I think I can demonstrate) that morality is NOT arbitrary, even for the staunchest atheist.  If you're familiar with the Trolley experiments, you know that there are some things which give every appearance of being innate moral guidelines, particularly with regard to the taking of human life, and to the sense of responsibility for another person's actions.

So, I suggest that human morality is SUBJECTIVE, and anything but ARBITRARY.  That being said, when we question certain moral drives in humans, we must admit that one possible answer is this:  This morality exists because people are instinctively programmed for it to exist.  No other rational reason is necessary.

As an example, if we were perfectly rational creatures, we would realize quickly that it's a terrible idea for only one or two people to raise a child.  If something happens to one or both parents, the child is likely to suffer greatly.  If, on the other hand, all the adults in a particular neighborhood were to take equal responsibility for all the children, each adult contributing a small part of his or her own time and resources, there would never be a need for adoption, and all children would be raised efficiently and without poverty.

This will never happen because parents have an intensely strong desire to protect their own children from anyone outside the immediate family.  This isn't a product of American society, although it might be exacerbated by it.  This is a product of genes that tell us (accurately, I might add) that non-family males are likely to cause harm to our children.

So, the ethic of being completely responsible for your own child, while not 100% rational in a vacuum, is the way our genes have programmed us, and that is the way we will raise our children, regardless of any well reasoned arguments for any other way.

I cannot give evidence for an innate moral programming against sex with 13 year olds, primarily because there have been lots of times in history when it was common practice.  What I will suggest, though, is that all societies have some sort of "rite of passage" by which children become adults.  I suspect that sexual standards are linked to these rites of passage.  So, in any society, our genes tell us to make a cultural divide between adults and children.  That divide is somewhat flexible, depending on the demands of the society -- pre-industrial feudal type societies would have shorter life spans, and a bigger need for children to "grow up fast," so we would expect that the age at which people initiate "adult" sexual behaviors would be lower.  Without doing an in depth review of history, I think anecdotally that this is true.

In America, we grow up very slowly.  Think of how many 35 year olds you've met in your life who said that they didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives.  Think of how many 25 year olds are still in school, and have never worked a day in their life other than to buy cigarettes and beer.  I think this parallels our attitudes about sex.  Not only do we think it's immoral for a 21 year old to have sex with a 16 year old (only 5 years difference) we think it's wrong for a 50 year old man to have sex with a 25 year old (25 years difference, but both over the age of consent.)  Is this possibly because very few 25 year olds are perceived as being "really adults"?  I don't know, but I think it's probable.

In the Phillipines, it's been customary for centuries for old men to have very young wives.  The wives think it's a pretty good deal because the old men are the ones with all the money.  The young men just have to wait their turn, and work hard to accumulate enough wealth to afford a wife.  With the general poverty and the need for everyone to chip in, as predicted, has come a general acceptance of women joining the "adults" at a young age.

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Suppose you have a picture of a 25 year old woman whom you are sexually attracted to.  Suppose you are now married to her, and she had 9125 pictures of herself (roughly one picture of her for every day of her life since birth).  What is the earliest picture of her that you could honestly say she started to become sexually attractive to you?  Would you say that she had no sexuality about her whatsoever when she was 17 years and 364 days old, and then the very next day, suddenly, she was sexually attractive? 

I dated a girl who was 25 when I was 30, and she had a picture of herself when she was 16.  I have no problem admitting that I thought it was really hot.

This is a very good mental exercise, and illustrates very well that there isn't a REAL divide between sexual maturity and immaturity, and that even puberty is not a clear line, since it doesn't happen instantly.

I suggest that an arbitrary line, like 18 as an age of consent, is nothing more than an agreed upon approximation.  Certainly some people are ready for sex before, and some are not ready after.  I think the philosophy behind it is to get the age at which we are most likely to be accurate in assessing large numbers of cases.

 

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HeyZeusCreaseToe

HeyZeusCreaseToe wrote:

Firstly, there are about 1 million questions here, and I would say next time it might be better to ask one or a few very clear questions rather than a ton, but let me get to the heart of the matter. I think I would take the idea of mutually satisfactory activities makes sense here. I mean if you could prove that a 35 year old woman having sex with a 14 year old male had no negative impacts on the male's life and he enjoyed it, then I wouldn't say it is necessarily wrong, and vice versa with the genders reversed. I don't think there really can be an absolute age where its like, 18 is the point you become an adult, a light goes on in your head, and all of the decisions you make are perfectly rational and made in an absolutely beneficial way for yourself. This is a subconscious meme, where we as a culture recognize that person's consent to be of more importance than their legal guardians. In other words, they are solely responsible for their actions and what happens to their body.

Good point.  How much say to legal guardians have in the choices kids make for themselves?

Quote:
I would say a much better way to view the age of consent is to take into account each situation with the parties involved, the maturity level of the younger participant, the harm or lack of harm done to the younger participant, the intent of the older participant, and the consequences of the activities of the younger participant. If the younger participant genuinely enjoyed the activity, was not used in an abusive or deceptive manner, and the intent and actions of the older participant were without malice, then the activities would not be immoral in my opinion.

a good description of utilitarian ethics.  The less hurt an act causes, the less criminal it is.

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While I am sure this situation has happened countless times in history, the laws in place to protect "minors" are in place(aside from the obvious religious, morally prescribed reasons) because time and time again, younger participants have been duped, coerced, or actively participated in very destructive sexual relationships that leave the younger participant emotionally scarred as a result.

I would add that another reason those laws are in place is due to the uncritical belief of the populace and the lawmakers that all sex between grownups and minors is always harmful, when in fact that's not the case.

Quote:
The prescribed laws have been put in place to create a blanket set of rules, erring on the side of caution, to prevent the odious consequences of what has been described above. The legal system takes the position that it is better to disallow legal adults from engaging in sexual acts with those younger than the age of consent prescribed by law, so as to protect the minor from possible negative consequences related to sexual activities.

Erring on the side of caution is probably what the current law must do.  I'd rather wish America would put the fate of criminals into the hands of their victims.  That would deter crime, because the criminal would easily figure out his victims maybe pissed enough to take his life.  I used to steal when I was younger because I knew I didn't have much to worry about if caught.  But if the law would have been "upon conviction, you will be turned over to the victim and/or family, to be dealt with as they please," I wouldn't have done it.  Somebody may say "that would motivate criminals to steal only from Christians."  My answer is, Jesus told Christians not to resist evil, period.  So if letting the victims decide the fate of the criminal  only makes criminals target forgiving Christians more, maybe the new law will wake them up to the fact that forgiveness is not always the answer.

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The law creates the frame that any number(lets say the vast majority,even though this is probably not true) of positive sexual activities between persons under that age of consent are not worth the risk of even one harmful sexual activity of a person under the age of consent.

Your first statement, to the effect that the circumstances surrounding the act should be taken into consideration, would solve this problem.  This solution is better than the current one in which perfectly normal rational people are sent to jail and must live carrying a sexual slur around with them the rest of their lives, when in fact they didn't do something immoral.  The state has simply enforced it's morality on citizens without realizing that the consequences for conviction hurt the convict forever, and thus the law needs very careful thorough review.

At the same time, I think that the will of the democratic majority is best for instituting law.  If they are all stupid and think an 18 year old having consensual sex with a 16 year old is immoral, that's the price to pay for the higher good of living in a democracy.  Those who wish to change the rules need to start by educating the people of the democracy of how their laws hurt or help the society.

Quote:
The problem in legal systems, is that every case is different, and it is almost impossible to say sex with anyone of any age is permissible as long as the older participant demonstrates no harm is done to the younger participant. The minor involved is an able, willing, consenting, and demonstrably enjoys the activities. This would also neglect any rights that the legal guardian of the minor was afforded under the law to be responsible for the welfare of said child. It creates a situation where it would pit lover against parent for legal deference over how exactly "welfare of the child" can be administered and whether that means parents have the right to decide whether their children can or cannot engage in sexual activities.

Good point. The matter of when a child should be deemed by the lawmakers as mature enough to make informed decisions, needs careful review.  Most teens engage in sex at 17 or before, and they don't necessarily end up traumatized because of it, so the age of the older partner appears irrelevent.

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In terms of absolutes,

In terms of absolutes, pre-puberty children are, of course, biologically not prepared for sex, as Hamby has allready pointed out. So that, at least, is a clearcut MORAL age-of-consent bottom line. Anyone who does not agree with that will be deemed blatantly immoral by me, with no need for further consideration on my part. Any such person is loathsome to me, and I feel perfectly entitled to think so (as I'm sure you all will agree). Of course the onset of puberty varies from person to person, but it it at least a biologically identifiable point in time.

 

Now, in terms of a LEGAL age of consent, I think it is reasonable for any society to agree on what is, in actual fact, an arbitrary number (Your 17 years and 364 days example shows just how arbitrary it is). But for the purposes of law, it's okay to have some clear cut lines.

 

However the 18 years age of consent is ridiculously high, and serves only to criminalize the most sexually active group of people in most societies: older teens. (well, actually the "most" active, is probably wrong, that is more likely 20-somethings, but still, I hope you get my point).

 

In Denmark the age of consent is 15, and that is a perfectly reasonable number, as far as I'm concerned. For legal purposes, this serves Denmark as a society quite well.

 

Now, let me just share with you, two stories, to show how the MORAL problem is a lot more muddy than "15 years is just fine".

 

First, a couple of friends I had back when I was myself a teenager. She was 14 when she met him, and he was 16. When I knew them they where 15 and 17 respectively, and very happy together. They were at it like rabbits, and had been from the start (so for a couple of months there, they were, in fact, breaking the law, a fact that they relayed to me one time, giggling profusely Smiling ). Their parents knew of their relationship, and approved, and had had, I'm sure, the "Sex talk" with them and everything. By the way, he might have been two years older, but in terms of emotional maturity, it was no contest, he was an overgrown (and might I add, very lucky!) kid, and she was a strong, selfassured, and very mature young woman. Nothing I can come up with is moraly objectionable in this story.

 

Now, My ex-girlfriend's first boyfriend was 22, and she was 15. Her farther had left her mother when she was 13 and she had a serious issue with trying to regain his love byproxy, by a strong attraction to older men. He was a muslim, who, just to make this a giant Freudian nightmare, had never known his farther, and had grown up with only his mother, aunts and sisters. and he was incredibly violent and domineering: He desperately tried to act out the male stereotype in all its worst incarnations, I'm sure in some warped attempt to be the "perfect" man that his farther probably was in his mind.

 

For a year he beat her, and repeatedly had sex with her in ways that she described to me, years later, as rape. She didn't tell him not to, and did manage to set some boundries for things she would not consent to, but she often, if not always, did not actually want to have sex with him. But she had her own emotional issues, and had convinced herself that she was madly in love with him.

 

Only when she was 18, when I met her, had she had time to process the whole thing, and could now see that first, fateful year of her legal status, and her first sexual experiences, for what they were. And legally, she could never have made a case for rape (though certainly for violence, but that's another story), since she was never really objecting, and would have defended him at the time, because of her own issues, and since she was legally old enough, there was no case there.

 

But, as she and I talked about it, we agreed that, had she not gone through that, and two later relationships with considerably older men (who were thankfully, not violent, but who still used her), she would have never processed her own issues, and would have been just as vulnerable if she had been a virgin when she was 19, and only then met the guy.

 

My point is, even if I think 15 is a good age for legal age of consent, there are cases, like the first, where breaking the law is not at all immoral, and cases like the second, where you can still do terrible things, without breaking the law.

 

Personally, I only really worry about girls. I will be the first to say that men invest themselves as much emotionally in sex, as women do, since sex, for me, is the single most emotional experience in life. But I do recognize that to victimize a man sexually is alot harder, unless you actually forcefully rape him, and that is illegal, regardless of age or gender. I have had my heart broken, and I have felt betrayed by a lover, but I have never felt that a girl took emotional advantage of me for sex... I simply cannot imagine such a situation. If a girl wants me, I cannot feel that I have been used. And I certainly can't imagine feeling like that if I had been lucky enough for that to happen to me when I was 13 either.

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As far as age of consent. I

As far as age of consent. I think prepubescent children is always wrong and adults who have sex with these children need to go to jail.

For picking the age, there should come an point in time when children are no longer the responsibility of the parents or the government, the age when you can decide to stop going to school, get a job, join the military, drink liquor, etc... When people reach this age the should go to a government office and get a new ID card to this effect. So this could vary from 15 to 21.

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Hambydammit wrote:I think we

Hambydammit wrote:

I think we can legitimately say that pre-pubescent children are too young.  There's biology behind it.  There's also psychology, since before puberty, many children have not felt any kind of sexual urges, and have no idea how to consent to what's happening.

I was masturbating furiously two years before the onset of my puberty.  Even as a very young child I had primitive sexual urges though I didn't really realize what was going on.

Also from experiences with raising children.  It seems like kids even at a very young age have some kind of sexual desire.  Of course it would be abhorrent to do anything to them.  But if I had gotten laid by an older woman at the age of 12 I would have been thrilled.

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Quote:I was masturbating

Quote:
I was masturbating furiously two years before the onset of my puberty.  Even as a very young child I had primitive sexual urges though I didn't really realize what was going on.

On reflection, I guess I was probably speaking from my personal experience rather than an objective viewpoint.  There was nothing in my house that would have sparked any sexual thoughts in me, and I was well past puberty before I had a um... grasp... on what sex was really about.

As you have clearly illustrated, even puberty is not a concrete boundary, but I think it's fair to say that there is a real biological divide before and after puberty, and that it makes sense to have social prohibitions against sex with prepubescents.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:On

Hambydammit wrote:

On reflection, I guess I was probably speaking from my personal experience rather than an objective viewpoint.  There was nothing in my house that would have sparked any sexual thoughts in me, and I was well past puberty before I had a um... grasp... on what sex was really about.

As you have clearly illustrated, even puberty is not a concrete boundary, but I think it's fair to say that there is a real biological divide before and after puberty, and that it makes sense to have social prohibitions against sex with prepubescents.

 

Agreed.

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I've been sexual all my

I've been sexual all my life. I've been fascinated by sex for, literally, as long as I can remember. At the age of six I would fantasize, innocently perhaps, and naively certainly, about various situations with women, but I would always picture myself as an adult, if indeed "I" was even present in the fantasy. More usually I would imagine characters, like in a story, and "I" was not there as anything but the narrator/creator of said story. And the thought of sharing this with anyone never crossed my mind.

 

I don't like the thought of someone sexually mature, man or woman, trying to somehow talk to me about my own sexuality, and certainly not "experiment" with me at this time, and nor do I feel it at all appropriate that anyone should do that to a pre-pubesant child. But to be open about sex with children, tell them what it is about, and make no secret of the fact that it is a vital part of ADULT life, is not only acceptable, but I think, should be encouraged. The fact that I was treated this way as a child; I got to have my OWN sexuality to myself, but was never "sheltered" from the sexuality of the adults around me, is the reason, I think that I have had such a healthy and happy sexlife.

 

And actually, my concern about girls being victimised, as I adressed in my previous post, is IMO best handled in this way. To send the signal to a little girl that her sexuality is hers, that she can and shall figure that out for herself, and that nobody needs to "teach" her anything, that she chooses what she wants to do when she feels ready. I mean, it won't be enough, cause you never know what stupidly unfair things the world will throw at her, but at least that way she will be best equipped to deal with it.

 

Oh, and also, farthers: love your daughters, and be there for them, cause if there is one things I've seen from far too many of my girlfriends and girl friends, it is that a surefire way to screw up a girl's sexuality it is an emotionally distant farther.

 

Edit: sorry to go all Freudian on you. Reading back my previous posts I can see I'm spouting pop-psychology left and right. Something I find rather pretentious and annoying when I hear other people do it, but clearly I'm doing it all the time myself. Mea Culpa...

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Nikolaj wrote:Oh, and also,

Nikolaj wrote:

Oh, and also, farthers: love your daughters, and be there for them, cause if there is one things I've seen from far too many of my girlfriends and girl friends, it is that a surefire way to screw up a girl's sexuality it is an emotionally distant farther.

True.  I won't make that mistake with my girls.

 

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Quote:fantasies That's the

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fantasies
That's the key. Fantasy is just fantasy, but some people can't quite tell the difference and try to make their fantasy real. 


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Well the age of consent

Well the age of consent varies massively even in Western Countries. I believe in Europe its generally between 12 and 17.

It's pretty arbitary but in a functioning society even if young people break the law prosecutions are only ever made in the UK if its in the public interest

 

If a 16 year old boy has consenting sex with a 15 year old girl in the UK its illegal (consent age is 16) but its extremely unlikely any prosecution would ever be made. At worst the 16 year old would get a telling off and that would be it.

The problem occurs when the police who decide who to prosecute become political . They are not elected in the UK (and rightly in my opinion) so they can use their own discretion without fall out. It really doesnt matter to some extent what the exact age is

Some possible guidelines would be when can you pay taxes, when can you vote, when can you go to war. Been quite a few inconsitincies in UK law regarding that but they are generally getting ironed out. The fact we used to be able to have front line soldiers at 16 who couldnt vote or even have a beer was utterly absurd  (its been changed now you need to be 18 for all this now but can join the army at 16 but can't fight)

 

 


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Can-o-worms, anyone?

Hooooo Boy!Tough, complex subject.

I have a few opinions.

Sex with pre-pubescent children is always wrong. Biologically, mentally and emotionally, no one can convince me that a child can truely consent to have sex.

Yes, pre-pubescent children can and do have sexual feelings. Masturbation (of sorts) is common for both males and females at a time when potty training occurs. That does NOT mean they are ready to be sexualized.

That being said...

I've had a few 'close calls' over the years with some frighteningly aggressive little vixens. 12-14 yo's (No, I didn't succumb... although a couple of the encounters might fuel a masturbatory fantasy or two).

I can agree with the ideal that if there is no harm, there is no foul. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. I think we can agree that some boundery must be set. In a perfect world, where the courts have the time to sort out the complexities of each individual set of personalities, weighing the relative maturity levels and adjudicating on the absence or presence of 'harm' we could do away with arbitrary age limits. And I agree that arbitrary limits do set the stage for some tragic and absurd situations.

However, in the real world, limits must be set, and to be fair, they must take into account the worst case scenerio and work from there. To my mind, the age of consent should be around 15.

Other points;

Age play, that is erotic play between adults in which one partner plays the role of a younger person. Harmless. In fact, I'll go out on the limb to say that ANY erotic play between consenting adults is basically without harm. I've been a part of the D/s lifestyle for the better part of 30 years. Informed consent is like an artical of faith with us...

 

LC >;-}>

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Nikolaj wrote:In terms of

Nikolaj wrote:

In terms of absolutes, pre-puberty children are, of course, biologically not prepared for sex, as Hamby has allready pointed out. So that, at least, is a clearcut MORAL age-of-consent bottom line. Anyone who does not agree with that will be deemed blatantly immoral by me, with no need for further consideration on my part. Any such person is loathsome to me, and I feel perfectly entitled to think so (as I'm sure you all will agree). Of course the onset of puberty varies from person to person, but it it at least a biologically identifiable point in time.

Your emotion-laden response is the precise reason I brought up this subject.  You cite pre-puberty, and then emotionally insist that you regard all who disagree with you as loathsome, which means you aren't objective anymore, you are just mad at people who might disagree with you or challenge your view.  Another problem is that "pre-puberty" is itself a highly subjective state of affairs.  How do you know when a person has grown past the "pre-puberty" stage?  And again, I agree with your basic position, but I am on a mission to get atheists to accept their moral relativity and take the Christian challenges to it head on. 

Quote:
Now, in terms of a LEGAL age of consent, I think it is reasonable for any society to agree on what is, in actual fact, an arbitrary number (Your 17 years and 364 days example shows just how arbitrary it is). But for the purposes of law, it's okay to have some clear cut lines.

I would argue that trying to have clear cut lines regarding a very subjective issue that admits of no clear cut lines can only create problems.  The best solution is to have a general law regarding non-consenting sex defined as rape, and let the legal guardians of variously aged people decide whether a sex-act that came to their attention constituted non-consenting sex.  The parents would be the best, compared to the state, to decide whether the younger of the two gave informed authentic consent.  If they felt her consent was not authentic because of maturity issues, they'd have the right to seek prosecution of the older partner. 

By the way, is family nudity too close to underage sex?  I am completely disgusted by the idea of my kids, wife and myself all being nude together in the same room, watching tv or whatever, but I'm objective enough to realize that these strong emotions of disgust for this practice were part of my environmental conditioning as a kid.  I suppose if such a thing had been allowed by my parents after my toddler years, I would feel differently.  I can also realize that the question "why would you want to see your daughter's nude body?" can be trumped with "what exactly is the moral difference between seeing her in clothes and seeing her nude?  Is nudity some sort of sin or violation of an absolute moral standard after a certain age?  What is the cut-off age after birth, that a parent must start demanding that the child be clothed fully when around other family members? 

If we cannot come up with an absolute morality to make the issue clear cut, can we admit that our collective disgust for adults who have sex with kids comes from nothing more significant than our personal conditioning and childhood experiences?   Our answer to the Christians who say "what gives you the right to condemn a child molster when your morality is just as trivial as his?" should be "The state and country I live in give me the right to legislate my morality, and collect signatures from as many people who agree with me as possible, and in a democracy, whoever has the most votes when passing law, gets their moral viewpoint legalized."

See? I have to differ with Kelly in her debate with Comfort and Cameron, when she said Atheism doesn't automatically make everything relative.  In the area of morals it sure does, beacuse there is no absolute standard in atheism against which to condemn or praise any moral action.  But that doesn't mean we cannot give a reasonable rational response to justify our strong feelings of morality that is consistent with our atheism.  I hate child-molesters just as much as you do, but I probably wouldn't feel that way had I been raised differently.  See?

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EXC wrote:As far as age of

EXC wrote:

As far as age of consent. I think prepubescent children is always wrong and adults who have sex with these children need to go to jail.

Why? Does their action with kids violate some absolute moral standard?

Or do you feel the action is condemnable because of the specific way you were raised?

Would you still feel the same if you had been born with different genes, hormone levels, different parents, different childhood environment?

For picking the age, there should come an point in time when children are no longer the responsibility of the parents or the government, the age when you can decide to stop going to school, get a job, join the military, drink liquor, etc... When people reach this age the should go to a government office and get a new ID card to this effect. So this could vary from 15 to 21.

What made you pick 15?  Might it be that in a democracy where laws govern conduct, a definite age must be picked to make the law work, even though the age is largely arbitrary?  Can we admit that the arbirariness of the minimum age of consent is a necessary hazard to the prospect of ruling people with law?

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
I was masturbating furiously two years before the onset of my puberty.  Even as a very young child I had primitive sexual urges though I didn't really realize what was going on.

On reflection, I guess I was probably speaking from my personal experience rather than an objective viewpoint.  There was nothing in my house that would have sparked any sexual thoughts in me, and I was well past puberty before I had a um... grasp... on what sex was really about.

As you have clearly illustrated, even puberty is not a concrete boundary, but I think it's fair to say that there is a real biological divide before and after puberty, and that it makes sense to have social prohibitions against sex with prepubescents.

Would it be fair to say that "sex" is not defined very clearly in your viewpoint?  there are several things I'd like you to clarify:

a - we can agree that a prepubescent couldn't have an orgasm.  What makes you think that ability to have an orgasm is the boundary marker?  This is a problem because I myself longed very much for intimate contact with girls back in the 5th grade, long before I could ever have had an orgasm.

b - We will agree for the sake of argument that intercourse and oral sex are those acts adults should not engage in with pre-pubescents.  What other acts of intimacy/touching would you classify as also forbidden?  If he kisses her feet, is this also "sex" and thus forbidden? 

Here's one: If you wouldn't automatically call the police on the boyfriend of your slightly underage daughter just because they had consenting sex during lunch at their high school, then would you share with us how you know when violations of moral/legal law should be formally reported to law-enforcement and when they shouldn't?  Or would you agree that this kind of choice-making is the sole discretion of the witness?

I'll note for the record that because this is an emotional issue, I am not trying to make arguments for pedophiles to use, and I myself am not a pedophile.  I would ask that we try to figure out criteria for drawing lines, but which are consistent with our moral relativity as atheists.  Christians know that you feel strongly against pedophilia, and will pounce on that common ground to suggest God has put his laws into your heart, and that's why you feel so strongly against it.

Be sure to remind them of two things:

1 - You might not be so against it had you grown up with different genes, hormone levels, parents and environment/childhood influences.

2 - The bible supports sex between an adult man and the female child he is married to (Numbers 31:15-18)  I've argued this last point in detail on other forums, the Talmud certainly does promote pedophilia and uses Numbers 31 to do it.  One publisher of an old English endition refused to translate a certain portion of the Talmud beacuse it advocated a morality that was extremely offensive to the civilized people.

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Nikolaj wrote:I don't like

Nikolaj wrote:

I don't like the thought of someone sexually mature, man or woman, trying to somehow talk to me about my own sexuality, and certainly not "experiment" with me at this time, and nor do I feel it at all appropriate that anyone should do that to a pre-pubesant child. But to be open about sex with children, tell them what it is about, and make no secret of the fact that it is a vital part of ADULT life, is not only acceptable, but I think, should be encouraged.

I disagree.  My 15 year old son asks me sexual questions on a regular basis, and I tell him, "all you need to know is, use a condom if you don't want to get her pregnant, or catch some disease."  I am absolutely disgusted with the prospect of discussing sex in any more detail than that with my own son.  My parents never discussed sex with me, and I figured it out on my own with the help of 4 homeless sluts and 3 Hustler magazine editorials.

Quote:
And actually, my concern about girls being victimised, as I adressed in my previous post, is IMO best handled in this way. To send the signal to a little girl that her sexuality is hers, that she can and shall figure that out for herself, and that nobody needs to "teach" her anything, that she chooses what she wants to do when she feels ready. I mean, it won't be enough, cause you never know what stupidly unfair things the world will throw at her, but at least that way she will be best equipped to deal with it.

 I would agree with you and point out further that the world is simply not prepared to accept ideas that aren't mainstream.  You can barely get any telescope time as a scientist if you don't believe in the Big Bang, or if you have published in peer-reviewed journals against that theory.  Galileo had to put up with the snorts, snickers, rage and persecution of the Church for his heliocentric views until they finally pulled their heads out of their asses (and suddenly started acting as if Joshua 10:23 was figurative language the whole time, ha ha ha)

Quote:
Oh, and also, farthers: love your daughters, and be there for them, cause if there is one things I've seen from far too many of my girlfriends and girl friends, it is that a surefire way to screw up a girl's sexuality it is an emotionally distant farther.

Yes, but it makes them sufficiently uninformed that they give geeks like me half a chance, whereas a more consistent father figure would have made them more confident, and so pass me by without a second look.  Don't screw up my game, dude :

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Rosvarga

Rosvarga wrote:

Quote:
fantasies
That's the key. Fantasy is just fantasy, but some people can't quite tell the difference and try to make their fantasy real. 

So?  What sort of fantasies do you think people should not (moral question, aha!) try to make real?  Or do you agree that this is a personal question admitting of no absolute answers?

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Louis_Cypher wrote:Hooooo

Louis_Cypher wrote:

Hooooo Boy!Tough, complex subject.

I have a few opinions.

Sex with pre-pubescent children is always wrong. Biologically, mentally and emotionally, no one can convince me that a child can truely consent to have sex.

What is the oldest age a person can attain and still be a "child"? You didn't define that.

Quote:
Yes, pre-pubescent children can and do have sexual feelings. Masturbation (of sorts) is common for both males and females at a time when potty training occurs. That does NOT mean they are ready to be sexualized.

I agree with you.  But I also realize that my views on when sexual activity becomes morally acceptable have no stronger basis than my genetics and the conditioning I went through as a child.  Do you have anything stronger for your viewpoint?

Quote:
That being said...

I've had a few 'close calls' over the years with some frighteningly aggressive little vixens. 12-14 yo's (No, I didn't succumb... although a couple of the encounters might fuel a masturbatory fantasy or two).

I can agree with the ideal that if there is no harm, there is no foul. Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. I think we can agree that some boundery must be set. In a perfect world, where the courts have the time to sort out the complexities of each individual set of personalities, weighing the relative maturity levels and adjudicating on the absence or presence of 'harm' we could do away with arbitrary age limits. And I agree that arbitrary limits do set the stage for some tragic and absurd situations.

However, in the real world, limits must be set, and to be fair, they must take into account the worst case scenerio and work from there. To my mind, the age of consent should be around 15.

I agree with you that because the world is not perfect, law will not be able to rule people unless it draws a line in the sand somewhere, which may always be attacked as being somewhat arbitrary since kids and teens are all different.

Quote:
Other points;

Age play, that is erotic play between adults in which one partner plays the role of a younger person. Harmless. In fact, I'll go out on the limb to say that ANY erotic play between consenting adults is basically without harm. I've been a part of the D/s lifestyle for the better part of 30 years. Informed consent is like an artical of faith with us...

We allow kids and teens much freedom to choose concerning their body; what clothes to wear, when to shower (The 11th commandment from Mt. Siani is "thou shalt shower yer stinky ass at least once a day&quotEye-wink, what to eat, how often to eat, etc.  So the law against their ability to give informed consent concerning the sexual aspect of their bodies needs review.  If we don't sense moral violation when little johnny kisses little suzy, how do we argue that more bodily touching or play than this is immoral and illegal?

At the same time, I don't think somebody should have sex with a child (which I can't give a definite age limit for, let's say, under 18) even if they could justify it.  That act, even if consenting, will make the child more curious and thus increase the likelihood that they will get involved in a physically brutal rape with some other adult that doesn't have control of themselves.  So I'd argue even if the act could be morally justified, the doors it opens lead to a worse immorality than the act itself.  Sometimes morally justified acts are not morally justified because they put the actors at an increased likelihood for more harm.

For example, it's good to try to reach gang-members with the gospel, because those brutes live by mostly muscle and less critical thinking.  However, that morally justifiable act should not be done in places where gangs are especially violent (east L.A.?), because the preacher is put at increased risk of harm in her desire to do a morally acceptable act.  You wanna reach gangsters with the gospel?  Do it through email, and save yourself many bullets and bludgeonings.

Faith does not have the power to move mountains. However, it does have the power to make you think a mountain has moved.


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I knew a young lady once

I knew a young lady once that by the time she had reached 16, she had had sex with around 45 different guys. She lost her virginity at 9 and had sex with a 25 year old when she was 13. At 16 she hooked up with a guy who was 25 who got her onto Crystal Meth (ICE) and bashes her.

 

At the time she was 14, I was 27 and I lost my virginity when I was 31 to a woman 12 years older than me. I had known her since she was 4 years of age since she lived next door to me, one older sister, one older brother and one younger sister in her family.

 

That is the background out the way.

 

She and her female friends started talking to me about their 'lifestyle' when they were 14, which concerned me because of the reasons they were doing it. Basically having sex with guys in exchange for money, drugs or alcohol.

 

The parents were not aware of their activities, so I organised with the parents (mainly single mothers) that I would take them out for a day every now and again. We would go to the markets, or the movies, a fun park, etc. Anything to show them a different way of life and to hopefully at least decrease them going around to strange guys places to have sex with them in exchange for goods. I was also getting out a lot more because of it (because at that stage I was working 60 hours a week as a Network Administrator and my friends lived over 100km's away)

 

The main girl (mentioned above) and I became very close friends. We never had a relationship, we have never kissed, we have never hugged, and only have had non-sexual bodily contact twice. I gave her and a friend a pre mixed 375ml alcoholic drink on New Year's Day 2000, the first day of the 21st century.

 

Now here is the kicker, because I was paying attention to these girls by taking them out to places I was accused of being a child molester, trying to get them drunk with the purpose of having sex with them, stalking them, obsessed with them and a myriad of other accusations. No formal charges were ever laid against me. However I ended up gettting bashed, harassed, abused and generally my life made a misery.

 

Six months after the initial accusations, one of the girls left the scene, and the others contacted me and apologised to me for all that happened. 3 months after that, the main girl came to me for help in regards to her Crystal Meth problem. Why? Because she said that out of all the people she knows, I am the only one she trusts to do the right thing by her.

 

In the end they all got rid of me because I went up against her boyfriend in regards to the way he was treating her, they welcomed him with open arms.

 

Some weeks after that event I ended up speaking to her older brother (she was nearly 17 by this time) and he surprised me by saying that he would have liked to have seen us as a couple, he said that she has said that she likes me, and he also said that I have always treated her and her friends right, and I would have straightened her out. Apparantly when I was taking those girls out, they were actually showing improvement in their life, school work, socially, not misbehavin as much, being more honest etc.

 

So would it have been morally wrong in this regard if her and I ended up having a sexual relationship when she was 15 and I was 28? Who had the greater responsibility if it did come to sex between us, me being 28 and a virgin, her being 15 and very sexually experienced?

 

I fully understand why such laws are in place, however as some people have pointed out, in not all cases such an age of consent is not a clear cut indication.

 

I do agree with pre-pubescent children being out of bounds, I've personally never been able to fathom the attraction to such children.

 

Regards,

UltraMonk

 

 

 

: Freedom - The opportunity to have responsibility.

: Liberty is about protecting the right of others to disagree with you.

 


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It seems to be that consent

It seems to be that consent laws are a lot like the age restriction on alcohol consumption. Everyone agress that there are plenty of people under the age limit who would be just fine engaging in the activity and nobody would be hurt. And there are plent of people over the age limit who shouldn't be engaging in the activity at all.

The problem these two activities have in common is that there is no mechanism in place to evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis. It's much more expedient for the legal system to judge the situation by the ages of the participants rather than their emotional maturity.

I've only read about a few cases regarding consent law violations. The impression I have is that the punishment for the older participant is generally harsher the greater the age difference is.

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geirj wrote:It seems to be

geirj wrote:

It seems to be that consent laws are a lot like the age restriction on alcohol consumption. Everyone agress that there are plenty of people under the age limit who would be just fine engaging in the activity and nobody would be hurt. And there are plent of people over the age limit who shouldn't be engaging in the activity at all.

The problem these two activities have in common is that there is no mechanism in place to evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis. It's much more expedient for the legal system to judge the situation by the ages of the participants rather than their emotional maturity.

I've only read about a few cases regarding consent law violations. The impression I have is that the punishment for the older participant is generally harsher the greater the age difference is.

 

In Australia, having sex with somebody under the age of consent (16) is automatic statutory rape, doesn't matter if they consented, doesn't matter if they instigated it. So if you are over 16 and have sex with a 15 and a half year old. You have committed rape. I believe the same law applies in most western countries.

 

I heard a story here once where a taxi driver picked up a pair of female twins from a nightclub and took them home, they offered to have a threesome with him and he went for it. They even had ID stating they were 18 years old

 

Next thing he knows, he is in court, and in they parade the same pair of twins, in school uniforms and they were only 14. He got jail time and got listed as a child molester for most of his life.

 

Then on the other hand there was the case that they discovered a 13 year old girl working as a prostitute in one of the brothels here, she had fake id saying she was 18 and everyone believed she was, everything checked out on the initial checks when she started working there.

 

Not one guy who utilised her services (and it was in the hundreds) were charged with anything, the reason being they used her services in good faith.

 

Even better the infamous Traci Lords situation, they suddenly found out after she was 18 that she started in the porn industry when she was 15. Instantly around the world all her porn movies whilst she was underage became illegal and is regarded as child porn.

  

And no one ever kicked up a fuss when Buffy at the age of 16 was getting it on with Angel and Spike who were around 200 years old.

 

It's a damn crazy world.

 

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UltraMonk wrote: And no one

UltraMonk wrote:

 

And no one ever kicked up a fuss when Buffy at the age of 16 was getting it on with Angel and Spike who were around 200 years old.

 

 

Too be fair, all vampire sex is pretty much kosher...probably because vampires don't exist, but I see I your point.

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HeyZeusCreaseToe

HeyZeusCreaseToe wrote:

UltraMonk wrote:

 

And no one ever kicked up a fuss when Buffy at the age of 16 was getting it on with Angel and Spike who were around 200 years old.

 

 

Too be fair, all vampire sex is pretty much kosher...probably because vampires don't exist, but I see I your point.

 

When I get to the ripe old age of four hundred I'm gonna make sure I date no one older than one hundred years old.

 

 

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Consenting

Gambling, smoking, drinking, voting, marriage, as well as membership in private clubs such as a church.  As well as military service should all be the same age.  One of these activities should not be treated any differently than any other.  The age of consent should be the same across the board.  But then what about snowmobile permits, ATV permits?? 


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Age of consent is a throw back to arranged marriage

These laws do nothing to prevent anything.  They often used as punishment and revenge for marrying outside your class, race, or religion.

I think age of consent laws are a throw back to arranged marriages and the concept about children (females especially) being the property of their parents.  Arranged marriages fell out of fashion in western culture, yet many parents want a say in who their kids have sex with, who they marry and in what order this happens. Age of consent laws were enacted to allow parents to protect their children from unsuitable suitors-- unsuitable in their ethnic background or the social status of the suitor's family.

Once a marriage takes place, the age of consent is a moot point.  Because gays and lesbians can't legally marry in most jurisdictions, they have to wait until their status as their parents' property expires.

Child molestation is a different matter entirely but get lumped in because the ages overlap.

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Hey, speaking of, I bet the

Hey, speaking of, I bet the next R. Kelly album is gonna be awesome.


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Personally, I object to the

Personally, I object to the idea that anyone isn't capable of making choices for themselves.  The way I remember elementary school, the average student was thrilled to know as many vulgar words and rhymes as possible.  Children giggled as they discussed topics ranging from sneaking into bathrooms of the opposite gender, taking voyeuristic photos, seeing members of the opposite (or in some cases same) gender in various states of undress, kissing, etc., all within earshot of many other students.  Why?  Maybe because of the taboos, maybe out of curiosity, maybe innate biology, maybe some other reason... I certainly haven't paid enough attention to the issue to be able to make an educated guess.  Regardless, I haven't observed that adults tend to be particularly good decision makers on average, or that children are incapable of deciding what they want in their lives.

Another related complaint I have is the meme that children need to be protected from the world instead of prepared for it.  If someone is going to make a poor decision about an issue, them simply being older isn't going to stop them.  With all of the censorship and taboo conversation topics in the U.S., it should be no surprise that a lot of people aren't prepared to make these kinds of decisions even into their 20's and sometimes much later than that.

So, my attitude is, if there is mutual consent from all parties involved, there is no justification for making anything a crime, regardless of the age of the participants.  If one or both participants didn't think about the possible consequences, that's their failure to be prepared and their parents failure to teach them good decision-making skills.

I expect some (most?) people will object to this point of view, with the argument that very young children wouldn't have the opportunity to learn anything about STDs, etc., before an adult might try to take advantage of them.  It seems to me that an easy way to resolve that issue is to make a requirement like "in order to give consent for sex, a participant must express an understanding and acceptance of the possibility of pregnancy and transmission of STDs".  Anyone who hadn't heard of those issues, then, would be introduced to them and would have the opportunity to decline consent until they had done their research, and anyone too young to speak would obviously not be able to give consent.


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DamnDirtyApe wrote:Hey,

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Hey, speaking of, I bet the next R. Kelly album is gonna be awesome.

Especially since he was acquitted today.

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UltraMonk wrote:In

UltraMonk wrote:

In Australia, having sex with somebody under the age of consent (16) is automatic statutory rape, doesn't matter if they consented, doesn't matter if they instigated it. So if you are over 16 and have sex with a 15 and a half year old. You have committed rape. I believe the same law applies in most western countries.

In the U.S., the laws vary from state to state. And some states, if I recall correctly, take into account the age difference between parties involved when determining punishment for the older of the two.

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Quote:Another related

Quote:
Another related complaint I have is the meme that children need to be protected from the world instead of prepared for it.  If someone is going to make a poor decision about an issue, them simply being older isn't going to stop them.  With all of the censorship and taboo conversation topics in the U.S., it should be no surprise that a lot of people aren't prepared to make these kinds of decisions even into their 20's and sometimes much later than that.

Got to go with you on this one.  I've wondered for a long time what we're protecting children against when we don't let them hear curse words, and don't let them know that adults put their happy parts together from time to time.

When I've asked, I've gotten a lot of answers, but I've never gotten one that struck me as true.  I'm not advocating taking ten year old children to adult theaters and letting them see glory holes in action, but certainly it should be no great strain on a child's mind to gradually absorb the realities of human sexuality while gradually developing into a normal sexual being.  I can't think of a time when seeing a naked body traumatized me, and I grew up fundamentalist Christian.

 

 

 

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geirj wrote:DamnDirtyApe

geirj wrote:

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

Hey, speaking of, I bet the next R. Kelly album is gonna be awesome.

Especially since he was acquitted today.

Well, exactly.  A theme of liberation should abound.  And since there's no such thing as double jeopardy, there should be an amazing slo-jam about peeing on a minor's face.

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DamnDirtyApe wrote:since

DamnDirtyApe wrote:

since there's no such thing as double jeopardy, there should be an amazing slo-jam about peeing on a minor's face.

Probably the most offensively hilarious thing I have read all day. Of course you are a few years late.

 

 

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"If there's fluff on the muff then she is old enough."

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My solution to the age of

My solution to the age of consent thing would be anyone over (for example) 16 can give consent to anyone else over 16, and nobody would be charged with statutory rape if they are within 3 years of the younger one and there was no force/coercion involved.

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Actually in my state we do

Actually in my state we do have some "liberal" statutory rape laws.....15 is the age of sexual consent, as long as the older party is within 4 years of the younger party's age. After 18, obviously, you sleep with whoever.

 

BTW, this post gives me 666 points. I was hoping I'd sprout scaly wings and horns when this happened.....

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MattShizzle wrote:My

MattShizzle wrote:

My solution to the age of consent thing would be anyone over (for example) 16 can give consent to anyone else over 16, and nobody would be charged with statutory rape if they are within 3 years of the younger one and there was no force/coercion involved.

 

Matt, age of consent means you can have sex with whoever you want as long as they are also over the age of consent. Most countries age of consent is around 16, so a 60 year old can have sex with a 16 year old legally.

 

Ages of consent can be as low as 13 in the case of Spain, but if the person is under 16 that you are having sex with and the sex was gained by deceit you can be charged.

 

So your solution is what is generally practised now in the world.

 

People seem to think the age of sexual consent is 18 or more because of things like drinking laws, driver's license, etc. Because of this there are a lot of misconceptions amongst the general populace on what child molestation is, paedophilia, child pornography, etc. It's not even safe to have a photo of your very own child as a toddler in the bathtub anymore because of people's idiocy.

 

 

 

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I meant nobody would be

I meant nobody would be charged with it for sex with somebody UNDER 16, as long as they were no more than 3 years older than that person.

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First, the initial post is

First, the initial post was annoying to read simply on the basis that it was needlessly drawnout and asked far too many convoluted questions.  I won't be answering any of the questions directly.  Instead, I'll relate the laws surrounding consent my country has adopted and comment.

This is an excerpt from here, CANADA'S LEGAL AGE OF CONSENT TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY.

Canada's Legal Age of Consent to Sexual Activity wrote:

The Criminal Code does not now criminalize consensual sexual activity with or between persons 14 or over, unless it takes place in a relationship of trust or dependency, in which case sexual activity with persons over 14 but under 18 can constitute an offence, notwithstanding their consent. Even consensual activity with those under 14 but over 12 may not be an offence if the accused is under 16 and less than two years older than the complainant. The exception, of course, is anal intercourse, to which unmarried persons under 18 cannot legally consent, although both the Ontario Court of Appeal(3) and the Quebec Court of Appeal(4) have struck down the relevant section of the Criminal Code.

I don't have a problem with this (except the sodomy junk, which is null in Ontario anyhow and likely never sees actual use) and think it's one of the better thought out guidelines to consent that any country has.  I don't even think there is anything arbitrary with setting 14 as the youngest age at which anyone can, including those over 18, have sexual relations with anyone.  The law is set forth to stop as many people who may be (and nearly all are when under 14) any of emotionally, intellectually or biologically unprepared for sexual relations with someone who arguably is likely, if not certainly (as biologically), emotionally and intellectually more mature from taking advantage of them and potentially harming them, even if it is not in an immediately apparent way.

We'll notice that the law doesn't deny that even young humans can be sexual and has special ways to ensure that sexual acts between young people are not criminalised.  The law also takes special precautions against the sexual coercion of a person who may be of the age of consent but who is not legally an adult, thereby making it effectively illegal for a teacher, guardian, priest or anyone similar from using her authority to gain what otherwise would be the legal consent of someone who may not be in a position to say 'no.'  In other words, it removes a problem of conflict of interest. 

Very really, any adult human who would rather have sexual contact with someone of dubious maturity, biologically, emotionally and intellectually, than with someone she can be reasonably sure is educated about sex (grade 7 at the latest in Canada, I believe), biologically mature and if not emotionally mature neither totally naïve should be regarded with suspicion as to her intentions because it is doubtful that the person with whom she wishes to engage sexually will come away from the experience unharmed and with understanding about what occurred or with a level of emotional maturity able to cope with the experience regardless of its outcome.

Those are my thoughts on the Canadian law and I really do think it's one of the best for all the reasons above.  Assuredly, there are exceptions to the rules, but the law stands to protect everyone who is not an exception and it does it very well.

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Interesting - the Canadian

Interesting - the Canadian law is almost exactly the way I proposed (other than the part about anal.)

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Yes, and it's amazing how

Yes, and it's amazing how effective it has been.  It is actually under mild assualt as the ruling party wishes to change the age to 16, an act that would really mess things up.  I don't think that will happen though... but then, in Canadian politics, it's very risky to say that anything won't happen as long a Stephane Dion wants to be a pussy and no one wants a recurring conservative government... but that's a whole other topic.  Likely, however, is that they won't have the time to get into it over age of consent.

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So... um... what if two boys

So... um... what if two boys want to try anal sex?  Canada's laws sound a little biased against homosexuals.  Did I read that correctly?

 

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Age is a crappy qualifier

Age is a crappy qualifier for anything. I've been drinking since 15 (secretly until around 17, when my parents didn't care) and I've actually been more responsible about it than most of the people I know who started at 21.

I'm a test person. We have driving tests; we ought to have tests for sex, drugs, and all other possibly-detrimental-if-not-handled-responsibly activities.

Personally, I'd sooner see a drug-handling test than anything else simply because I know of a lot of psychadelics that are less dangerous than alcohol, and I'd rather take them than booze it up. Individual tests for individual drugs when a medical workup is done, a sanity test, and then a "medicated" observation to make sure that the testee is safe and (relatively) reasonable on that particular drug. End of drug war.

A psychological test could be used for sex. Does the tester understand the responsibilities? With such a license (heheh, a license to fuck, hee hee hee) the results of whatever the tester did would be their own, with their parents free of any liability.

Finally, what goes with sex and drugs? Why rock and roll of course! This test would require the participant to display some level of compitence in the works of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimmi Hendrix. . .


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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:

Finally, what goes with sex and drugs? Why rock and roll of course! This test would require the participant to display some level of compitence in the works of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimmi Hendrix. . .

 

I'd definately fail the rock and roll test, don't like much the ones you mentioned. Well The Doors are ok ...

 

 

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inspectormustard wrote:Age

inspectormustard wrote:
Age is a crappy qualifier for anything. I've been drinking since 15 (secretly until around 17, when my parents didn't care) and I've actually been more responsible about it than most of the people I know who started at 21.

I'm a test person. We have driving tests; we ought to have tests for sex, drugs, and all other possibly-detrimental-if-not-handled-responsibly activities.

Sounds good to me.  Though, for the record, I consider the driving test I took to be waaaay too lenient, which might help to explain why there are so many crappy drivers.


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Thomathy wrote:First, the

Thomathy wrote:

First, the initial post was annoying to read simply on the basis that it was needlessly drawnout and asked far too many convoluted questions.  I won't be answering any of the questions directly.  Instead, I'll relate the laws surrounding consent my country has adopted and comment.

plenty of people have answered or tried to answer those "convoluted" questions before.  I suspect don't really think they are convoluted questions, they are simply very tough questions that force you to acknowledge that even your most sacred morals are not absolute.  My purpose with the OP was to expose your sacred morality to the sort of criticism a Christian could launch against it, leaving you unable to provide a rational defense for relativistic morality.  You are gonna die fast and quiet in a debate with a Christian if you insist that adults having sex with kids is absolutely immoral.  You have to be honest and upfront and admit your moral viewpoint, however strongly held, isn't absolute.

>I don't even think there is anything arbitrary with setting 14 as the youngest age at which anyone can, including those over 18, have sexual relations with anyone.  The law is set forth to stop as many people who may be (and nearly all are when under 14) any of emotionally, intellectually or biologically unprepared for sexual relations

What minimum criteria must a person fulfill to be ready for sexual relations?  You'll have a difficult time with that question, since what constitutes "sex" is not defined. 

Quote:
with someone who arguably is likely, if not certainly (as biologically), emotionally and intellectually more mature from taking advantage of them and potentially harming them, even if it is not in an immediately apparent way.

What criteria do you use to determine when non-immediate harm has been done?

Quote:
Very really, any adult human who would rather have sexual contact with someone of dubious maturity, biologically, emotionally and intellectually,

what constitutes "dubious maturity..." ?

Quote:
than with someone she can be reasonably sure is educated about sex (grade 7 at the latest in Canada, I believe), biologically mature and if not emotionally mature neither totally naïve should be regarded with suspicion as to her intentions because it is doubtful that the person with whom she wishes to engage sexually will come away from the experience unharmed and with understanding about what occurred or with a level of emotional maturity able to cope with the experience regardless of its outcome.

If that 7th grade girl does nothing more than masturbate the guy, do you regard that as sex, and how would this experience harm her?  Again, I don't advocate this, but this is exactly how a Christian would debate you, hoping you'll admit that you believe such act is absolutely immoral, without having an absolute standard, so they can then accuse you of inconsistency.

Quote:
Those are my thoughts on the Canadian law and I really do think it's one of the best for all the reasons above.  Assuredly, there are exceptions to the rules, but the law stands to protect everyone who is not an exception and it does it very well.

So you would approve of a 30 year old man having sex with a 7th grade girl, as long as there was no sign the girl was harmed in any way?

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