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Refuting James Cantor 's pedophile brain articles

Posted by Kristofor on 2012-06-26 21:18:02, Tuesday
In reply to Interesting article posted by Blackstone on 2012-06-22 02:44:07, Friday

About this paragraph and associated assertions by James Cantor in a video'd lecture (see link):

"Pedophilic men have significantly less white matter, which is the connective tissue that is responsible for communication between different regions in the brain. Pedophiles perform more poorly on various tests of brain function, tend to be shorter in height and are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous (characteristics that are observable before birth). Although nonbiological features may yet turn up to be relevant, it is difficult, if not impossible, to explain the research findings without there being a strong role of biology."

Here is a response that I wrote in cjat's inside fora the other day.

"1. Even though, in discussing the frontal lobe, Cantor says that many pedophiles appear to have more self-control than average, since they don't act on their sexuality by engaging in sex, he soon begins to refer to his pedophilic offender population as 'pedophiles.' He never, however, neglects to mention that his control population is a population of offenders. One must suspect him, then, of bias, even if it's subsconcious; but even if he is innocent of bias, his presentation still distorts reality. He has no data on pedophiles who are not offenders. He can only properly talk about pedophile offenders, not about pedophiles.

2. The 'crock' of his interpretations - the alternative explanation that makes his explanation look unlikely - is what you could call 'sexual desocialization.' Some of the pedophiles and hebephiles who become offenders are going to try to sexually engage kids who are unwilling or, at least, by no means asking to become sexually involved with them. Unlike the hebephile who picks up that a 14-year-old is highly interested in him and would like to experiment, the hebephile who uses his position as a sports coach, for example, to coax/coerce boys into unwanted sexual acts probably has deficient social intelligence. Very few pre-pubescent boys are dying to get sexual with adults, so those who engage such boys in sex are probably bulldozing through all the negative cues and clues these boys are giving out. While some people who ignore boys' reluctance may be sociopaths, dreamers, wishful thinkers or just plain pushy a--holes, others may go this route because they really can't understand that the boys aren't interested in having sex with them. You see a good example of this in Mikey Walsh's uncle Joseph in the book Gypsy Boy, which I reviewed ( Joseph has acted completely against Mikey's will, and has intimidated him explicitly when he has to, but still, when Mikey breaks free, is astonished to be told that Mikey doesn't love him. He seems to really think they are happy boyfriends. He's just too stupid, pardon the frankness, to understand what he's doing to the boy. He doesn't have the wit to fully understand where his sexual actions fit in with social realities.

Offenders with pre-pubies, I would hypothesize, are more likely to be sexually desocialized, either through sociopathy or through low intelligence, than offenders with pubescents. The latter would include a mixed bag of very socially aware and conscientious people, like Mikey Walsh's 'gay' rescuer (who was never actually arrested but whose probable sexual relationship with 13-year-old Mikey is heavily hinted at), and clumsy, sexually-socially doltish offenders, like hockey coach and serial boy-distresser/extortionist Graham James. Teleiophilic offenders with "histories of nonsexual offenses but no sexual offenses" (Cantor's control group) may have social deficits, e.g., criminality based on anger or substance abuse issues, that are unrelated to the factors involved in sexual desocialization. (Remember from Cantor's presentation that his non-pedophiles were highly significantly linked to higher alcohol use.)

The converse of this, then, is that non-offending LBL pedophiles should be predicted to be, on average, more intelligent than the general public. This would be because a disproportionate number of the low-intelligence LBLs become offenders.

3. There is next to nothing really known about the two white matter areas that Cantor's study focuses on. Putting "superior fronto-occipital fasciculus" into the biomedical search database Pub-Med only yields seven hits. Nothing specific has been attributed to these neural connection cables so far. The right arcuate fasciculus has been found to be absent or nearly so in people who are musically tone-deaf. Should we theorize that LBLs are likely to be tone-deaf? In fact, I know several who sing very well, and don't know of any who are tone-deaf. That's not statistics, but it doesn't bode well for Cantor's ideas.

On the other hand, the 'defects' he found in pedophile offenders could very easily indicate, or even causally explain, a proportion of the 'desocialization' that I hypothesize. People who have low social intelligence may have poor communication of signals within their own brains.

4. Cantor leaps from 'this white matter bundle connects sexual stimuli to behavior in some way' to 'pedophiles must be cross-wired to have sexual excitement replacing nurturing' or, in good earthy Christian language, 'pedophiles must be cross-wired to have lust replacing empathy.' This is egregious stereotyping, and absolutely poisonous speculation. One really wonders if the man is missing some white matter himself. It is pure dehumanization to speculate that a group of people is constitutively lacking in empathy, and I am sure all of us here know it's absolutely untrue. We have a great deal of empathy. It's part of what keeps most of us out of legal trouble, though in a few circumstances (such as meeting a Mikey Walsh who needs love and rescuing) it may also get us into trouble. In any case, we are full human beings. We are not cross-wired to lack empathy. Cantor's offenders may be, to a statistically significant degree, but this has nothing to do with 'pedophiles' per se.

People tried for decades to connect homosexuality to brain phenomena and next to nothing has come of the whole enterprise. Something may be learned some day about the brains of the youth-attracted, but I don't think this Cantor study will be regarded as a major step along the way."

• ( http link ) Cantor on pedophile (offender) brain scans

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