Sunday, February 7, 2010


Assumptions, we all make them, but there is only so much assuming a person can make without looking uneducated and bigoted. A few topics were brought to my attention recently, they concerned a small group of people in a fringe community. The topic was totally unrelated to the subject matter of the online community but their opinions seemed to very synchronized.

The topic in question was about pedophilia. Now as someone well read in Anthropology I try to look at this from an outside perspective. Although I feel it is a social deviance and I do not approve, when I put my anthropology hat on I make no rash conclusions.

The discussion in question escalated to points being made which reflect a world view I am very uncomfortable with. For example people make the assumption that a pedophile is going to commit a crime, so lock them up before they cause harm. This doesn't make sense to me, I feel the entire bases of a justice system based on proven guilt crumbles with beliefs like that.

I don't like idea of throwing people who have yet to commit a crime in jail, I see no justification in it. You could just as easily say that sociopaths have no emotions, so throw them in jail before they kill someone. It also works for someone who has an attraction to animals, because they are definitely going to go to a barnyard and start sizing up the sheep.

This is a world class fallacy of thinking, to assume that Correlation equates Causation. There are many more variables involved in cases like this, I assume that we probably live in a world which inhabits countless people of a social deviant nature, we just hear about the ones who cross that societal invisible line. To make broad assumptions that person who is associated in these groups will step over that line is, in my opinion, paranoid and contributes to fuels which set society off balance.

Now I understand and appreciate a persons concerns, and I can even see where some of their paranoia could come from. If someone you know turned out to have an attraction to children and you had kids.. well you'd probably keep your children far far away. I think any parent would take that type of precaution. However to propose a jail sentence, seems a little extreme when no laws have been broken.

Social norms and their attitudes towards social deviance are a fascinating phenomena, it seems most anthropology text books touch on it at some point.

I have a feeling I'm going to revisit this blog topic in the future, I'd like to talk to some anthropologists I have good rapport with and see what they have to say. It seems like an issue which can go either way with no absolute correct answer, it is very subjective and messy.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Unfortunately, making assumptions has been one of humankind's favorite pastimes. In fact, I think most of the idiots in this society feel as though it's their f*cking duty to gossip and openly make assumptions. I guess if you don't engage in such activity, you're considered uninteresting or bland, somehow. Personally, I'm not into it.

As a victim, myself, of many assumptions, I will tell you this: Making open assumptions (often lies)about someone is incredibly cold blooded.

Ah, ranting again. Oops. I'm very passionate about this particular subject. Anyway, great post!