- Through such research, Cantor hopes to identify early causes of pedophilia and come up with ways to prevent its development. "I feel like one of the most rooted-for scientists in the world," he says. "Everyone wants me to be successful in these projects."
A semi-private listserv:
- > Or do you believe that sexual interest in children is a mental disorder even if it is not acted on, obsessive or productive of personal distress?
- Well, I can't give you any answer that has not already been widely discussed throughout the DSM literature: What does and does not count as a mental disorder depends on your definition of "mental disorder". There are definitions (and proposed definitions) that pedophilia fits, and I have read other proposed definitions that pedophilia would not fit.
- To the extent that any diagnosis is a societal statement about a behavior, the definition of mental disorder is not scientific. To the extent that it is not scientific, I have no opinion. As Richard Feynman said, "I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy."
Jillium 18:33, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Cantor on Wikipedia:
Glenn Stokowski asked me on my talk page if I would weigh in on this discussion. I apologize for having been delayed. First, I have to say: Wow. Although a little heated here and there, the discussion you folks have had is as intelligent and as insightful as any I have seen among professional sex researchers. For what it's worth, the issues that folks here appear to be going in circles around are the same issues that professionals go in circles around. Please holler if I am not correctly capturing the main issues here:
- Pedophilia is or is not a disorder. This is an unanswerable question. There does not exist a universal definition of disorder at all; there is no scientifically valid method of knowing whether anything is a disorder. So, although it is true (in a sense) that no one has proof of pedophilia being a disorder, that is true only because no one has proof of anything being a disorder. One should not interpet the lack of proof of disorder to be evidence that pedophilia is "normal" (we have no valid definition of "normal" for the exactly the same reasons that we have no valid definition of "disorder"). A thought experiment that many people find useful is to try to come up with a definition of "disorder" or "mental disorder" that captures all the conditions you think it should capture and excludes all the conditions you think it should exclude.
- The DSM is valid/invalid. The sides being argued here appear to me to be a bit more dichotomous than I would recommend. The DSM is an enormous collection of a very wide range of assertions, and they vary considerably in how well validated they are. One is correct to not to accept DSM statements as gospel, but it is a mistake to through the baby out with the bath water: The DSM contains a great many well validated and well accepted statements. All claims should be considered on their own merits. (Other DSM comments have been made here, such as about how the DSM gets written and by whom. Although I think that that is an interesting conversation, it strikes me as rather tangential to improving the pedophilia page.)
The Admins 19:11, 8 June 2009 (UTC)