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Main Discussion Zone => Sexuality, Reproduction, & Abortion => Topic started by: Timtheskeptic on June 09, 2012, 10:03:32 PM

Title: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Timtheskeptic on June 09, 2012, 10:03:32 PM
ok, i know that there are some countries that have lower age of consent around midteen and some like the USA is around 18. In some places like the Middle East has it a lot lower i think. Two questions is this; why do is it that US prefers it 18 and some Europe has it 15 or 16? Are young teens more likely to understand the romantic relationships just as adults can?

The reason i ask this is because i'm confused about the age of consents (As well as those who can drink or smoke at certain age). Plus, i thought it might be a good way to discuss the issue about this.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: joebbowers on June 09, 2012, 11:19:12 PM
I think it has a lot to do with grabbing votes. Telling the public that you want to raise the age of consent makes them think you're supporting responsibility and morality, so they vote for you. And of course there's no downside, as the only people affected can't vote against it. Other countries have lower ages of consent because their people don't vote on every single issue like Americans do, and the legal age of consent is decided by tradition.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: naemhni on June 10, 2012, 06:22:43 AM
ok, i know that there are some countries that have lower age of consent around midteen and some like the USA is around 18. In some places like the Middle East has it a lot lower i think. Two questions is this; why do is it that US prefers it 18 and some Europe has it 15 or 16? Are young teens more likely to understand the romantic relationships just as adults can?

The reason i ask this is because i'm confused about the age of consents (As well as those who can drink or smoke at certain age). Plus, i thought it might be a good way to discuss the issue about this.

Actually, in most states, sixteen is the age of consent.

http://www.ageofconsent.com/ageofconsent.htm
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Timtheskeptic on June 10, 2012, 08:13:19 AM
ok, i know that there are some countries that have lower age of consent around midteen and some like the USA is around 18. In some places like the Middle East has it a lot lower i think. Two questions is this; why do is it that US prefers it 18 and some Europe has it 15 or 16? Are young teens more likely to understand the romantic relationships just as adults can?

The reason i ask this is because i'm confused about the age of consents (As well as those who can drink or smoke at certain age). Plus, i thought it might be a good way to discuss the issue about this.

Actually, in most states, sixteen is the age of consent.

http://www.ageofconsent.com/ageofconsent.htm

ah, didn't realize that.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 10, 2012, 08:38:44 AM
ok, i know that there are some countries that have lower age of consent around midteen and some like the USA is around 18. In some places like the Middle East has it a lot lower i think. Two questions is this; why do is it that US prefers it 18 and some Europe has it 15 or 16? Are young teens more likely to understand the romantic relationships just as adults can?

The reason i ask this is because i'm confused about the age of consents (As well as those who can drink or smoke at certain age). Plus, i thought it might be a good way to discuss the issue about this.


Here in canada, it is or wss, in some provinces as young as 14.

I think, 18 should be the age you can 1) vote, 2) join the army and die for country 3) drink and 4) have sex with whomever you want.

I see these as being related. You are an adult and rights/responsibilities come together

I find it morally offensuve to allow somebody to die at 18 but not to drink.

Society has to recognise that teens have sex and allow peoole close in age not to be considered rapists for it.


In our society, having sex and possibly getting pregnant under 18 are far from beneficial. Biologically, the muslimsmight be right to start with puberty but in general that is not in the best interedts of the minor.

We ,ive in a complex society and most who do that too young will regret. A older person is more likely to take advantage. As such,the law protects the minor.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Quesi on June 10, 2012, 09:12:39 AM
Thank you for starting a thread on this topic Tim.  Gnu Ordure directed a question at me yesterday on another thread, challenging me by citing younger ages of consent in a variety of European countries, and suggesting that I am subjected to a cultural bias.  I don’t think he will mind if I address his questions here, because I agree that this topic is worthy of its own thread. 

As I stated in a previous thread, my concerns about the sexual exploitation of children have to do with power imbalances.  There is often a huge disconnect between laws and practices, and the realities are often much to complicated to be addressed via legislation or executive dictate.  Sexual exploitation of children is certainly a problem worldwide, and it exists in all nations, regardless of legal age of consent.  However, because I believe that the sexual abuse of children is much more prevalent in societies that have intrinsic power imbalances.

@ Gnu Ordure - I don’t pretend to know a lot about Scandinavia, other than the countries are extraordinarily egalitarian, with strong social structures, exceptional education, exceptional access to health care, and low degrees of disparity between the wealthiest and lowest income residents.  My understanding is that there are very healthy sexual attitudes, with laws that offer both exceptional freedom coupled with strong protections. 

Spain?  I don’t know for sure, but I would suspect that many of the current laws are leftover from the Franco years. 

There are some countries that I know a little bit more about.  Guatemala, for example.  In Guatemala, anywhere between 21% and 29% of children between that ages of 7-14 are in the workforce.  For those of you not familiar with Guatemala, there continues to exist a semi-apartheid system, with a huge Mayan subclass, and a small ruling class of European ancestry.  About 8% of Mayan girls are lucky enough to land a job as a domestic worker, freeing them from the toils of following the crop harvests or exposure to dangerous conditions in factories.  They get to live in houses with running water, solid roofs, and sometimes even get to sleep in a bed as opposed to the traditional hammock or mat. They get rice and beans and those thick, Guatemalan tortillas, sometimes several times a day, as well as kitchen scraps and leftovers from their patron’s table.

There are no statistics about sexual abuse of domestic workers in Guatemala, (that I know of) but I can say with absolute certainty that the majority of 9 or 10 year old girls who put in the normal 3-4 years in a household will not leave as virgins.  The typical scenario would be the male head of the household.  But it could be the teenage son.  Or a dinner guest.  Or even a male domestic worker who is higher in the pecking order.  It is about power. 

Afghanistan has a really different social system, and very different sexual standards and practices.   Although the legal age of consent (marriageable age) is 16 for girls, between 60%-70% of girls are married before 16.  The numbers are higher in the tribal regions.  Because virgins are commodities, girls rarely marry the farmer boy next door.   The typical marriage is arranged, and young virgins are given in marriage to pay off debts or solidify alliances between extended families, usually to much older, established men.  Wealthy Afghan men have other socially acceptable sexual options available to them during those times that their wives are pregnant or menstruating or once they get too old to be interesting.  Bachi bazi  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacha_bazi are prepubescent boys who are bought and sold and traded to friends for entertainment and sexual purposes.  It is about power. 
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 10, 2012, 09:30:19 AM
I think it has a lot to do with grabbing votes. Telling the public that you want to raise the age of consent makes them think you're supporting responsibility and morality, so they vote for you. And of course there's no downside, as the only people affected can't vote against it. Other countries have lower ages of consent because their people don't vote on every single issue like Americans do, and the legal age of consent is decided by tradition.


You raise fair points here. I knew a girl, in university, who happily told me that she had sex when she was 11 and another who had it at 14 with a 30 year old. By their own admission, they were not raped. Still, had they become pregnant or been manipulated by power imbalances or whstever ...

If the law recognizes teens will have sex with each other, which is not advatageous, but holds adults responsible, i still think in our society, that is in the best interest of the teens.

I do not see a huge number of teens protesting to be allowed to seduce 30 yesr old men. It happens but often it is an abuse scenario. The best interest for a teen is career pfeparation, whstver sexual desires a teen can have, a mature adult, should know this.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Timtheskeptic on June 10, 2012, 07:37:38 PM
wow Quesi, thanks. I think that many people have different ideas about what age it should be for many things. For some stuff like gambling, it says no one should be below 18 to play. I don't understand why. When it comes to drinking alcohol or smoking, i do wonder why some thinks you should be 21 to drink and 18 to smoke (From where I live in Arizona).

As for the sexual relationship between adults and young teens, it does seem to be a bit more of power i think. I recall some folks who said thast they choose some younger guys at are 18 because they are "more beautiful and younger" which makes me wonder if they value people or just appearance.

You raise fair points here. I knew a girl, in university, who happily told me that she had sex when she was 11 and another who had it at 14 with a 30 year old. By their own admission, they were not raped. Still, had they become pregnant or been manipulated by power imbalances or whstever ...

Happily told she had sex at 11.  :-\ I would have been going insane. I'm not sure even at 11 they understand anything. Sounded more like taking advantage of them.

Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: ParkingPlaces on June 10, 2012, 07:56:21 PM
The age has probably risen as part of some undefined cultural evolution. A hundred years ago they would have scoffed at waiting that long to get married (they weren't allowed to scoff at just plain sex. That absolutely never happened back when everyone was moral  ;)) I had great-great and beyond grandparents that got married at 12 and 14 and 16, and that was the norm.

Much of what we now call childhood (through the high school years) is a fairly new phenomenon. In some cultures, there is almost no such thing. There are places in the world where you are a working stiff by the time you're six. If not at a factory, at least on the farm or in the garden.  I read a book by a guy who was a kid in the Soviet Union and by the time he was six his only job was to walk back and forth the mile or two to the nearest well and get buckets of water. He did that all day, every day. I guess he eventually started going to school too, but he still had to get water.

Extended childhood is a luxury. And that probably turned public school into a babysitting business. Which is why you get taught the same damn thing over and over as you move up the grades. Which makes kids bored. Which, when combined with hormones, watching pretty girls on the Disney channel and actually wearing the clothes you see in The Gap causes certain things to happen. Toss in people over 18 getting involved and the capacity for things to turn ugly, by modern standards, increases.

I don't know if they still do it in Utah, but it wasn't that long ago an 86 year old guy from Texas or wherever could go to Utah with his 12 year old girlfriend and her mom (I'm speaking Mormon here) and get married to her legally.

(Oh, heard a great one. Religion is like a movie with sequels. The jewish version is movie I. The christian is movie II. Muslims are movie III. And mormons wrote the fan fiction...  Well, I thought it was funny.)

Anyway, people who love rules will come up with stuff like ages of consent. The inconsistency comes from having different people who want rules, not anything logical.

Personally I'm hoping the raise the age to 60. Mostly because I know a couple of hot 59 year olds that would be more fun if they had something to look forward to.

What's that sound I'm hearing. Sounds like a bunch of people are throwing up. Weird...

Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Timtheskeptic on June 10, 2012, 08:05:32 PM
The age has probably risen as part of some undefined cultural evolution. A hundred years ago they would have scoffed at waiting that long to get married (they weren't allowed to scoff at just plain sex. That absolutely never happened back when everyone was moral  ;)) I had great-great and beyond grandparents that got married at 12 and 14 and 16, and that was the norm.

Well the life span back then was a lot lower. But of course, maybe it's just how i feel.

Quote
Much of what we now call childhood (through the high school years) is a fairly new phenomenon. In some cultures, there is almost no such thing. There are places in the world where you are a working stiff by the time you're six. If not at a factory, at least on the farm or in the garden.  I read a book by a guy who was a kid in the Soviet Union and by the time he was six his only job was to walk back and forth the mile or two to the nearest well and get buckets of water. He did that all day, every day. I guess he eventually started going to school too, but he still had to get water.

Yeah i also thought about what age children should be to start working. I remember when i was little, in my middle school i was paid to take trays after cafeteria lunch and wash it. I don't have a problem with the idea of children working at younger age, i think that could be better. But i can be wrong.

Quote
Extended childhood is a luxury. And that probably turned public school into a babysitting business. Which is why you get taught the same damn thing over and over as you move up the grades. Which makes kids bored. Which, when combined with hormones, watching pretty girls on the Disney channel and actually wearing the clothes you see in The Gap causes certain things to happen. Toss in people over 18 getting involved and the capacity for things to turn ugly, by modern standards, increases.

I don't know if they still do it in Utah, but it wasn't that long ago an 86 year old guy from Texas or wherever could go to Utah with his 12 year old girlfriend and her mom (I'm speaking Mormon here) and get married to her legally.

(Oh, heard a great one. Religion is like a movie with sequels. The jewish version is movie I. The christian is movie II. Muslims are movie III. And mormons wrote the fan fiction...  Well, I thought it was funny.)

yep, i would agree with that.

Quote
Anyway, people who love rules will come up with stuff like ages of consent. The inconsistency comes from having different people who want rules, not anything logical.

That's what i'm guessing. Figures, it wasn't about common sense or logic, but different opinions and beliefs.

Quote
Personally I'm hoping the raise the age to 60. Mostly because I know a couple of hot 59 year olds that would be more fun if they had something to look forward to.

What's that sound I'm hearing. Sounds like a bunch of people are throwing up. Weird...

Well that won't be me throwing up, i have no problem with that.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Nam on June 10, 2012, 09:57:54 PM
Not too long ago, early/mid 20th century. Tennessee's age of consent was 12 years old. Actually, many girls at that age got married, and then had babies. A law eventually was passed making it illegal to marry a girl so young, and I'm sure the age of consent soon followed. But, it was common, and normal for such things.

Anyway, thought I'd share. Here in Florida, I think it's 16 but the person can be 5 years older than the younger one. I don't know, I forget.

-Nam
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 10, 2012, 10:54:55 PM
Happily told she had sex at 11.  :-\ I would have been going insane. I'm not sure even at 11 they understand anything. Sounded more like taking advantage of them.

I hope my poor grammar did not disguise my meaning.

She told me, when she was in her 20s that her first boy friend seduced her when she was 11. As an adult, she had no regrets about the other encounter.

Personally, i thought and i think, that is too young.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: sun_king on June 10, 2012, 10:55:37 PM
In India its recently been raised to 18 (used to be 16), except in one state where it is still 14.

However there was a recent court ruling that allows Mulsim girls to be married as young as 15 years if they have attained puberty (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/muslim-girl-can-marry-at-15-if-puberty-attained-hc/264491-3.html)
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Fiji on June 11, 2012, 02:41:14 AM
In Belgium, it's 'the full 16 years', which legalese for 17. Fairly recently the addendum of 'comperative age' was added (conveniently omitting just how comperative the age has to be).
In fact, our current prime minister was accused of pedophilia. Turns out he had had sex with his boyfriend when he was 17 and a bit and the boyfriend was 16 and a half or somesuch. Which neatly demontrates why one hard limit simply doesn't work in all cases.
Basically , the principle is, wait until the younger partner is old enough to make an informed decision. And in the absence of a formal way to discern exactly when someone is old/wise enough, the somewhat flexible limit of 17 has been imposed.
Now, keep in mind that in Belgium, sex education is part of the official curriculum for ages 11 through 18 (though religion based schools[1] try to avoid it). Absent sex education, I guess teen pregnancies/STDs would skyrocket.
 1. Mostly orthodox Jewish schools
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Ivellios on June 11, 2012, 04:44:37 AM
Well, just imagine how it would be if sex ed there was the same as when I went to HS.

Feel like having sex? Abstain till Marriage!

If you just had to whip it out, masturbate.

It took just a few minutes, then we moved on to "more important things."
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: naemhni on June 11, 2012, 05:49:04 AM
The whole thing can be pretty screwy.

When I was one month past my eighteenth birthday, I had sex with someone nine months younger than I was -- that is, I was 18 years and 1 month old, she was 17 years and 4 months old.  In the state we were living in at the time, that was lawful, but in other states, such as Idaho or California, it wouldn't have been; in fact, in Idaho, it could theoretically have been penalized with life in prison (!)  This in spite of the fact that, if we had done exactly the same thing five weeks earlier, it would have been perfectly legal in either of those jurisdictions.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 11, 2012, 06:10:11 AM
"Age of Consent" is a metaphorical barrier based on the laughably false assumption that, as people grow older, they become more knowledgeable and responsible. If people aren't responsible at 17.999999999999999999999... years old, why would they be responsible at 18? Or 19? Or even 20?
The only logical way to try[1] to dictate this would be with a psychological evaluation. Responsibility doesn't grow on bones, as far as I know; why would age matter?
That said, given that contraceptives are not 100% reliable and that psychological evaluations are expensive and slow, an average age for when the body is actually prepared for sex/pregnancy would also be logical, as well as an average age for when people are capable of starting a family. But only if you really want your arbitrary line to be somewhat less arbitrary.



Personally, I couldn't care less. If I like someone, I don't care if they're 16 or 50. I like, I (try to) date (and have sex with, if it comes to that). That's all there is to it.[2]
 1. Let's face it - some people are going to have sex regardless.
 2. Note that this specific standard only applies to me because I can't like people who can't understand love and/or can't have a real relationship. The standard would have to include those things to apply to everyone else.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 11, 2012, 06:15:01 AM
It is not so much on the false assumption as to when a person becomes legally responsible for themselves.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 11, 2012, 06:17:16 AM
It is not so much on the false assumption as to when a person becomes legally responsible for themselves.

Sorry, no. AoC and that aren't always the same. In fact, I'm willing to bet that, most of the time, the age when a person becomes legally responsible for themselves is higher than AoC.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Ivellios on June 11, 2012, 06:45:50 AM
We have many "barriers" that are in place in society:

Age of Consent, Adulthood, Drinking, Insurance rate decrease, Carry & Conceal, to be President[1].

So you take each and every single one of these "barriers" and subtract 1 day and the person involved is clearly clueless in everything till they get that 1 day back.  &)

People mature at different rates, some ahead of the curve but for most, behind it. I've known people over 60 that don't act resposibly regarding drinking. There are guys in thier mid-twenties to thirties that when they get turned down by a chick they asked out they throw a temper-tantrum like a two year old. Yet each and every single female endures the beratement, including the sexual harassment, thinking that they're the only person he did this to, and if they don't do anything he'll magically realize it's wrong and not do it again.

Should there be? I believe so. It protects those from being unable to make an informed decision. Should they be based soley on a specific age? I think not. I think they need to demonstrate that they know what they need to know, are capable of making an informed decision and, if worse comes to worse, able to take responsibility for themselves: financially and otherwise.
 1. yes there is a min age
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: EV on June 11, 2012, 04:35:18 PM
As a 17 year old living in the UK, the age of consent here is 16. I agree with that. Indeed I know that my girlfriend's old school contains people who wanted to have babies aged 14. Indeed there are some girls there who are pregnant in year 10 (aged 14).

There is a problem with the age of consent though, I've heard that weirdly there is no age of consent for two girls having sex with each other in the UK, due to a peculiarity in the law, although statutory rape can still be applied as a verdict if a case goes to court.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Nam on June 11, 2012, 07:12:42 PM
I actually haven't seen one of those sex ed tapes unless in a movie, or online somewhere. They didn't have them in my schools and if they did, I must have skipped that year.

-Nam
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: BaalServant on June 11, 2012, 09:57:35 PM
I don't know.  I'm kinda glad the age is 18 for legal consent here in Oregon.  Otherwise, it's likely I would have married an ardent Christian when I was younger.

I'm not saying anyone's not going to make rash decisions after they're 18, but it's so much easier to make rash decisions when you're younger.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: oogabooga on June 12, 2012, 12:09:29 AM
"Age of Consent" is a metaphorical barrier based on the laughably false assumption that, as people grow older, they become more knowledgeable and responsible. If people aren't responsible at 17.999999999999999999999... years old, why would they be responsible at 18? Or 19? Or even 20?
Would they be less responsible at age 16? 15? 10?
It's not a matter of responsibility - if it was, it would have been called age of responsibility.

Quote
The only logical way to try[1] to dictate this would be with a psychological evaluation. Responsibility doesn't grow on bones, as far as I know; why would age matter?
 1. Let's face it - some people are going to have sex regardless.
Because you have to draw a line somewhere. There are kids that are extremely mature at 10 and there are supposedly normal adults who are completely infantile at age 50, but the vast majority of people gather enough life experiences and knowledge to give informed consent about something as potentially problematic as sex around the age of 15 in my opinion.

As I've already commented, the age matters because it's a line that simply has to be drawn. Just because a girl got her period and a boy god a stiffy doesn't mean the latter should put his aforementioned stiffy in the former's appropriate orifice. The stakes are simply too high.

Quote
That said, given that contraceptives are not 100% reliable and that psychological evaluations are expensive and slow, an average age for when the body is actually prepared for sex/pregnancy would also be logical, as well as an average age for when people are capable of starting a family. But only if you really want your arbitrary line to be somewhat less arbitrary.
And when is the body prepared for pregnancy? After the girl's first period? You know, that would be a no. The safest time to get pregnant is after puberty, so when a girl's body is fully developed. That would be around the age of 18.


Quote
Personally, I couldn't care less. If I like someone, I don't care if they're 16 or 50. I like, I (try to) date (and have sex with, if it comes to that). That's all there is to it.[2]
 2. Note that this specific standard only applies to me because I can't like people who can't understand love and/or can't have a real relationship. The standard would have to include those things to apply to everyone else.
Some people do care. Parents, for instance. They don't like having their daughters having sex until they're old enough to know what they're doing, know how to protect themselves and, last but not least, know how to say no.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 02:58:17 AM
Would they be less responsible at age 16? 15? 10?
It's not a matter of responsibility - if it was, it would have been called age of responsibility.

The fact that the age is arbitrarily chosen tells me that it's actually "age of responsibility", rather than "AoC", regardless of what it's called.

Because you have to draw a line somewhere.

...That's the dumbest justification I've ever heard for this. Just because you have to do something doesn't mean you should do it without giving it one iota of thought.

There are kids that are extremely mature at 10 and there are supposedly normal adults who are completely infantile at age 50, but the vast majority of people gather enough life experiences and knowledge to give informed consent about something as potentially problematic as sex around the age of 15 in my opinion.

There's classes. Thirty minute lectures. If you need more than thirty minutes[1] to explain to kids that sex without protection is bad, you're not doing your job right.

And when is the body prepared for pregnancy? After the girl's first period? You know, that would be a no. The safest time to get pregnant is after puberty, so when a girl's body is fully developed. That would be around the age of 18.

Sorry, that's the one I meant.

They don't like having their daughters having sex until they're old enough to know what they're doing, know how to protect themselves and, last but not least, know how to say no.

Bold mine.
There's that age thing again. Age does not make one more intelligent or responsible. It's a false assumption based on the tribal belief that elders are given magical powers and/or knowledge from the gods.
 1. Not counting the time taken to answer questions they might have.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 12, 2012, 05:29:39 AM
AoC and that aren't always the same. In fact, I'm willing to bet that, most of the time, the age when a person becomes legally responsible for themselves is higher than AoC.

I didn't say they were the same. I said, they should be. In some states, the age of concent is I believe 21.

I think we have to recognize that people of the same age will have sex and not criminalize it.

However, adults, with a significant age difference, should be held accountable, unless their partner is truly an adult.

The drinking age in the US is 21. I believe it should be 18. 18 is also the age where you can die in the army.

Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 05:32:11 AM
However, adults, with a significant age difference, should be held accountable, unless their partner is truly an adult.

Why? If children are deemed responsible enough so that they can have sex with each other at such a young age[1], why would an adult be less responsible?
 1. Using the "age" fallacy everyone seems to be using.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 12, 2012, 07:55:09 AM
We're not just talking about responsibility here. We're talking about young people getting hurt. People talk about sex education as if its all about contraception and what parts go where. It should also be about knowing yourself well enough to know what you want. It should be about how to say "no" to someone who's pressuring you into more than you want to give. It should be about caring and sharing and boundaries. But its not. And I know a lot of women who were pressured into things they were not ready for. These pressures are often very subtle, but to an insecure young woman they are very powerful.

I understand that the age is arbitrary. But the human brain simply doesn't mature very fast. I tried to find the info but I haven't found it yet. I seem to recall that one of the important parts of the brain re: decision making isn't mature yet, even in the late teens.

I believe it would be possible to teach our children well enough that we might not need so many legal controls on what they can do sexually. I believe we are nowhere near that level of maturity as a species. You throw in religious nut jobs who think its ok to prohibit sex education at all, and you have a recipe for disaster. As I understand it, the more a person is educated about sex, about options, about boundaries ... the longer they tend to wait, and the more responsible they are about contraception and being kind to one another. That's certainly been the case in my extended family. The right wing christian young-earth creationist nutjobs have tons of teen pregnancies in their families. The "men" aren't anywhere to be found, and these children are raising their babies with their parent's help. Education is disrupted, and often not re-started. Their lives and potentials are forever stunted. I find it very, very sad.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 07:58:48 AM
I seem to recall that one of the important parts of the brain re: decision making isn't mature yet, even in the late teens.

Now that is a good justification for AoC.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Timtheskeptic on June 12, 2012, 09:50:32 AM
well said Traveler, i agree. Also, i wonder considering the idea of age of consent, some folks would say age is just numbers. I think age isn't just numbers, otherwise, no one would have a problem with giving minors alcohol, cigarettes, allow them to drive at age 12 or even have sex with them at very young age. It's really complicated and i agree with the poster who said some children at very young age can be mature and some as old ad 50 can be very immature. I see maturity and immaturity in all various of people of all ages. I remember a former co-worker who is very old who is very immature than i was and i was in my early twenties. I even felt tat i was way more mature than most students in my high school. The "Age is just numbers" is more complicated than that i think. While there is no reason to object people who are adults dating someone that are 10 years or more apart from each other, it is a problem if you took advantage of a child.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 09:53:07 AM
While there is no reason to object people who are adults dating someone that are 10 years or more apart from each other, it is a problem if you took advantage of a child.

And how would you define "taking advantage of a child"?
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 12, 2012, 10:22:57 AM
And how would you define "taking advantage of a child"?

I'm not the target of your question, but I'd answer "Anything that causes them harm."
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 10:27:46 AM
I'm not the target of your question, but I'd answer "Anything that causes them harm."

That's still too vague. Some would consider dating a child causes them harm, even if there's no sex involved and the relationship is just like any other. Others would consider single parents cause harm to the child(ren). While the latter is irrelevant, the former is not.
In short, your answer warrants further explanation.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 12, 2012, 10:36:18 AM
I understand that it needs fleshing out. But its not something I've put a ton of time into defining, as I don't have children. So, I hope others will take that as a starting point for further discussion. What I do know is that forcing children, or intimidating children, or pressuring in any way, to have sex is harmful to the child. It can be harmful to adults too, but as adults, its our jobs to protect children until they're old enough to either protect themselves, or know how to ask for help.

In a country that was originally colonized by Puritans, this is a very, very difficult thing to achieve. Lack of knowledge, and in fact, deliberate withholding of knowledge about sex, is a sure way to make certain that children get hurt.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 12, 2012, 10:40:04 AM
I understand that it needs fleshing out. But its not something I've put a ton of time into defining, as I don't have children.

Non sequitur. I don't have children either, but I've defined "harm". ;)[1]

So, I hope others will take that as a starting point for further discussion.

I'm sure they will.

What I do know is that forcing children, or intimidating children, or pressuring in any way, to have sex is harmful to the child. It can be harmful to adults too, but as adults, its our jobs to protect children until they're old enough to either protect themselves, or know how to ask for help.

Aside from the age thing[2], I agree with the rest.

EDIT: Read my signature (the second paragraph) for a short version of my thoughts on this matter.
 1. The smiley face is there to indicate that this part is in jest.
 2. And on an unrelated note, what is it with adults and age? Age doesn't mean dick!
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Quesi on June 12, 2012, 02:46:31 PM

I believe it would be possible to teach our children well enough that we might not need so many legal controls on what they can do sexually. I believe we are nowhere near that level of maturity as a species.

Absolutely.  Part of the point that I wanted to make with my post about young girls in Guatemala and Afghanistan is that the laws don't matter.

I want my daughter to grow up to be a happy, healthy woman who embraces her own sexuality.  At 5 1/2, she is 3 years removed from potty training, and perhaps as little as 3 years removed from puberty.   When I hear people say that once she hits puberty she is fair game to be put on film for men to jerk off to, I feel like I want to hide her away from the world, rather than encourage her to be a strong, secure person who asks questions and makes her own, informed decisions.  But I won't. 

I’ve always tried to be really open and honest with her about all aspects of sexuality, in an age appropriate way.  Kids are curious.  They want to know stuff.   I remember once having a conversation with her when she was about 3, and we were talking about the fact that all girls have vaginas and all boys have penises.  She was really quite surprised.  She said “ALL BOYS have penises?”  And I said yes.  She then announced “Oh.  Ok.  I’ll ask J to show me his penis tomorrow” (in preschool.)  I explained that we don’t show people our genitalia in public, and immediately got on the phone with a mom of a 3 year old friend of hers, to say that I wanted my daughter to be around for diaper changes on the friend’s 1 year old brother.  My daughter clearly wanted to see a penis, so I made sure she got to see one.  Little did I know that 4-6 year old boys enjoy showing them off, and that in the next two years, she would have another few opportunities to see male genitalia.  A 4 year old friend pulled down his pants on a busy urban street, and held his penis up for my daughter and all passerby’s to see.  Much to the dismay of his father, who rushed to remedy the situation.  And twice in kindergarten, once in the classroom, and once at recess, she has reported to me that different boys have exposed themselves. 

I love that she talks to me.  Even when she is not telling me stuff I want to hear. 

She has also told me that she “lip kissed” a boy in Spanish class, and that she “touched tongues” with a girl on the school bus.  She sees no relationship between kissing and tongue touching.  The tongue touching seems to have been the girls’ response to boys that were spitting on the bus.  I suggested that all contact with saliva, especially during cold and flu season, is not a really good idea.  I’ll need to recant on that one later.  But it was the best I could come up with at the moment.   In terms of the kissing, she presented the story with more of a “yuck” attitude than the tongue touching.  She always goes “yuck” when the prince and the princess kiss.  After clarifying that in spite of the “yuck” she was not forced into the kiss, I pointed out that some day there will probably be a special someone who she will want to kiss a lot.  To which she responded “yuck.’   

At 5 ½, of course she is curious.  But she is far, far away from coming into her own sexuality.  We had a talk the other night, in which she seemed to have the misconception that pregnant women can’t urinate or defecate, or the baby will fall out of their vaginas and into the toilet.  I ran to get a children’s book on the human body that we had looked at many times before, and tried to explain the relationships between the various orifices and internal parts like the bladder, colon and uterus, but in all honesty, she had gotten herself so silly about the baby falling in the TOILET that she really didn’t focus.  It seems that in spite of all of my conscious efforts, she is not really clear on how many orifices she has, let alone where they lead to and what they do. 

But three years removed from potty training, potty jokes trump all.  She is many many many years away from coming into her own sexuality. 

I hate having the talks about “no one can every touch your body in a way you don’t like. Except sometimes the doctor, but only when mommy is there.”  And then having her scream that J touched her body in a way she didn’t like while his mom and I were watching them play tag and he crashed into her too hard.  But J’s mom smiled and nodded and understood. 

I hate having the talks about never following a man who says he has candy or kittens and never getting close to the car door of a man you don’t know, and how she needs to scream if someone tries to take her out of the park or somewhere she doesn't want to go.     

But I am so grateful that she comes home and talks about penises on the playground and lip kisses in Spanish class and tongue touching on the bus, because I want her to always be able to talk to me.

She will carry condoms long before either of us is emotionally ready for her to use them.  And I hope that she continues to takes hundreds of little baby steps (on her own terms) in a long, slow journey to becoming the strong, confidant, joyful sexual woman that she is meant to be. 
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 13, 2012, 07:23:27 AM
We're not just talking about responsibility here. We're talking about young people getting hurt.

You seem to be misunderstanding my point, there is a point in every one's life where they make decisions for themselves as to what is hurt and what is not hurt. Prior to that point, society protects them from being hurt by stupid choices and punishes people who are adults supplying them with said stupid choices

An 18 year old, may get hurt in a consentual relationship with a 60 year old. Thing is, that 18 year old, is an adult and for whatever reasons, chose the relationship in question.  A 30 year old may also be hurt in a mutual relationship with a 30 year old.

If consent is not involved, we are talking about rape.

If an 11 year old is sleeping with a 20 year old; we can reasonably hold the 20 year old responsible for taking advantage of the 11 year old. (Now we get dicey, what age difference will we accept ...?)

Quote
People talk about sex education as if its all about contraception and what parts go where. It should also be about knowing yourself well enough to know what you want. It should be about how to say "no" to someone who's pressuring you into more than you want to give.


Abstinence only education might teach one to say "no" to somebody pressuring you. The thing is, abstinence only education does not teach you how to use a condom. If doesn't evaluate the differences between different types of birth control

Quote
It should be about caring and sharing and boundaries. But its not. And I know a lot of women who were pressured into things they were not ready for. These pressures are often very subtle, but to an insecure young woman they are very powerful.

Again, abstitenence only education would likely cover this. The difference between the two philosophies centers around birth control and premarital sex.


Quote
I understand that the age is arbitrary. But the human brain simply doesn't mature very fast. I tried to find the info but I haven't found it yet. I seem to recall that one of the important parts of the brain re: decision making isn't mature yet, even in the late teens.

The age is arbitrary but at a certain point, you are responsible for living in the bed you make. If society tells you, that they can send you off to die, I think that is an indication that they believe you are an adult.

Some people may be immature all their lives. That is not society's concern. Society can't live your life for you.

Quote
I believe it would be possible to teach our children well enough that we might not need so many legal controls on what they can do sexually.

Good parenting makes a difference, I totally agree. I also believe in interactive education programs that teach people to think for themseves about issues like sex and drugs. Our sex education program was called "health studies". It was similar to what you seem to be asking for.

Drugs were covered as well. The course, being a liberal one, was not judgmental. It offered kids a chance to discuss the facts and presented them. Whatever you do has consequences.

Again, I've knew somebody who says she had sex at 11 and she is not ashamed of it. She is 40 now. And another who slept with a 30 year old man at 14. We are facing the reality that some young people want to have sex and balancing it with our feeling that those people are too young to know what is in their best interest. In addition, going back to the getting hurt thing, many people do apparently manipulate children.

Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 07:39:48 AM
...Abstinence only education might teach one to say "no" to somebody pressuring you. The thing is, abstinence only education does not teach you how to use a condom. If doesn't evaluate the differences between different types of birth control...Again, abstitenence only education would likely cover this. The difference between the two philosophies centers around birth control and premarital sex...

And yet the evidence suggests otherwise. Abstinence-only education, at least as practiced here in the states, merely leads to ignorance and bad decisions. They are NOT teaching about love and sex and feelings. They just say stop it, without giving them the ammo they need to be able to stop. People need facts. What keeps an educated person from too-early sex is information. No one in their right mind, if they're intelligent and want to finish their education, runs out and gets pregnant. And that often means saying no to sex, since birth control isn't fool proof. Statistics, I believe (but am still half asleep so will look it up later) show that the higher the education about sex, the later they have sex. Abstinence-only education is one of the biggest lies and biggest failures of religious ideas. Ignorance hurts.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Nam on June 13, 2012, 08:01:01 AM
I understand that it needs fleshing out. But its not something I've put a ton of time into defining, as I don't have children. So, I hope others will take that as a starting point for further discussion. What I do know is that forcing children, or intimidating children, or pressuring in any way, to have sex is harmful to the child. It can be harmful to adults too, but as adults, its our jobs to protect children until they're old enough to either protect themselves, or know how to ask for help.

In a country that was originally colonized by Puritans, this is a very, very difficult thing to achieve. Lack of knowledge, and in fact, deliberate withholding of knowledge about sex, is a sure way to make certain that children get hurt.

The Spanish were colonizing the U.S. way before the Puritans came along, and you make it sound as if the Puritans just stood by while England and Spain massacred millions of natives over a 400+ year period. As if they were "pure" of it all.

-Nam
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 08:17:33 AM
...The Spanish were colonizing the U.S. way before the Puritans came along, and you make it sound as if the Puritans just stood by while England and Spain massacred millions of natives over a 400+ year period. As if they were "pure" of it all.

-Nam

I don't understand your point. Puritans did bad things. Conquistadors did bad things. All those war-mongering, murderous lechers who "colonized" the states were bad. Just ask the natives. Just ask any of us who inherited their religious nonsense.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Nam on June 13, 2012, 08:22:42 AM
...The Spanish were colonizing the U.S. way before the Puritans came along, and you make it sound as if the Puritans just stood by while England and Spain massacred millions of natives over a 400+ year period. As if they were "pure" of it all.

-Nam

I don't understand your point. Puritans did bad things. Conquistadors did bad things. All those war-mongering, murderous lechers who "colonized" the states were bad. Just ask the natives. Just ask any of us who inherited their religious nonsense.

Perhaps I misread your comment, it seemed to me, to imply that the U.S. was founded by Puritans, which isn't true, and that they were more of a good stock, than those of today (relating to the topic) which also would not bew true.

-Nam
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 08:25:19 AM
...Perhaps I misread your comment, it seemed to me, to imply that the U.S. was founded by Puritans, which isn't true, and that they were more of a good stock, than those of today (relating to the topic) which also would not bew true.

-Nam

I DESPISE the puritans. They did more long term harm to women than I can bear to think about. Their ideas about women and sex have been so damaging to women and society that we're still feeling the effects now, and might never outgrow it.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Graybeard on June 13, 2012, 08:48:01 AM
I have just been listening to a Radio Program "Woman's Hour" Radio 4 BBC, in which the topic was the decreasing age of female physical maturity. The research shows that 50 years ago the average age in UK for periods and pubic hair to appear was 15, today it is 12. One woman gave a story of how her daughter, aged  7, (Yes, seven) developed breasts, pubic hair and started periods.

We must never ever forget that we are animals. We can give ourselves trappings of distinction and pretend we are not but nature steadfastly ignores this and continues on her way. It really does not matter to nature if you are mentally mature when you are physically mature. Consent is an irrelevance to nature.

The question thus arises "What does a society, which is known to ignore evidence that it does not like, say is an acceptable age for marriage?" ("Marriage" being a euphemism for "sexual relationships.")

The answer, as with many things, is to have a "one-size-fits-all" policy, when clearly one size does not fit all, but it is easier than judging each case on its merits.

I dare say that you, like I, can think of people who would have been happy to have been married at 15 and others who, although they are 30 should not be let near the other sex for fear they might reproduce. (Of course, nature has no such qualms.)



Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Ivellios on June 13, 2012, 08:48:01 AM
and might never outgrow it.

I hope this nation does outgrow it.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 09:03:53 AM
and might never outgrow it.

I hope this nation does outgrow it.

Me too. The sooner the better.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: oogabooga on June 13, 2012, 09:10:05 AM
They don't like having their daughters having sex until they're old enough to know what they're doing, know how to protect themselves and, last but not least, know how to say no.

Bold mine.
There's that age thing again. Age does not make one more intelligent or responsible. It's a false assumption based on the tribal belief that elders are given magical powers and/or knowledge from the gods.
How exactly did you come to that conclusion? Is it really so wrong to assume that people can't make informed decisions on certain things when they're not old enough? Can a five year old really decide as well as a twenty year old? We base our decisions on our experience, which we gather directly or indirectly (by experiencing something or by receiving information on it). Which means that age definitely has an impact on our decision making. It has nothing to do with tribal beliefs.

There are certain limitations on what people can understand at a certain age. You'd need a lot more than half an hour to explain sex (and its potential consequences) to a prepubescent child, because they're not physically, emotionally and mentally developed enough to even begin to understand it. Sure, they will  understand where babies come from, but they lack the basic sexual drive to even begin to understand the need for intercourse. Have you ever tried to explain menstruation to a five year old girl? I have. It didn't go all that well. When she was twelve, it took me about thirty seconds.

I don't see the age of consent as the means of control (tribal or otherwise), but as a way of protecting those who can not (yet) make informed decisions on certain matters. The same goes for age limitations on driving, drinking and even voting. As I've already pointed out in my previous post, there are kids who are far more advanced and intelligent some adults and there are adults who are way too infantile for their age, but for the vast majority of people that simply doesn't apply. There is no such thing as 'one size fits all' in anything, including the age of consent. Going with those who fall into the dip in the bell curve is (maybe unfortunately, but that's a potential topic for another debate) the only way to make laws fit the majority.

Anyway, we set age limitations on all sorts of things, for instance teaching. Should we teach kids to read with Shakespeare or Joyce? If age doesn't make you more (and therefore less) intelligent, kids in first grade should be able to understand such literature. Or microbiology, quantum mechanics, particle physics, Kant's ethics etc. But they don't - because they lack previous experience (in this case theoretical knowledge) to understand any of it. Kids aren't stupid, they just lack knowledge, information and experience, and all of that comes with, well, age.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 13, 2012, 09:27:10 AM
How exactly did you come to that conclusion?

Have you ever spoken to people on the Internet without knowing their age?

Is it really so wrong to assume that people can't make informed decisions on certain things when they're not old enough?

Unless the parts of their brain responsible for processing that information are underdeveloped, definitely yes.

Can a five year old really decide as well as a twenty year old? We base our decisions on our experience, which we gather directly or indirectly (by experiencing something or by receiving information on it). Which means that age definitely has an impact on our decision making. It has nothing to do with tribal beliefs.

Bold mine.
Read the bold part again and the answer to the underlined question should be obvious.

There are certain limitations on what people can understand at a certain age.

Don't assume kids are retards just because the ones you've spoken to behave as such. Kids behave according to the way parents treat them. My mother and grandmother laughed (supposedly not to make fun of me, but I really don't give a shit now) when I used vocabulary that was "uncommon" for my age. I only started using it ten years after that; maybe more.

I don't see the age of consent as the means of control (tribal or otherwise), but as a way of protecting those who can not (yet) make informed decisions on certain matters.

...And? Your view is irrelevant. Things are what they are, regardless.

Anyway, we set age limitations on all sorts of things, for instance teaching. Should we teach kids to read with Shakespeare or Joyce?

Apples and oranges. They need the basics to be able to understand the rest. Could I teach you particle physics if you knew everything about biology? Obviously not. Could I teach you the basics of physics and work my way up to subatomic particles even if you were ignorant of everything else? Yes.

If age doesn't make you more (and therefore less) intelligent

Non sequitur and strawman; all in one phrase. Nice going.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Zankuu on June 13, 2012, 09:41:02 AM
Unless the parts of their brain responsible for processing that information are underdeveloped, definitely yes.

The answer to this is yes since infant, child, and adolescent brains are all still going through stages of development. So age is a factor with regards to behavior, cognition, and more on topic- critial thinking and decision making.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 09:45:13 AM
...Unless the parts of their brain responsible for processing that information are underdeveloped, definitely yes....

The brain doesn't reach maturity until about the age of 25 ...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141164708

Quote
So the changes that happen between 18 and 25 are a continuation of the process that starts around puberty, and 18 year olds are about halfway through that process. Their prefrontal cortex is not yet fully developed. That's the part of the brain that helps you to inhibit impulses and to plan and organize your behavior to reach a goal.

And the other part of the brain that is different in adolescence is that the brain's reward system becomes highly active right around the time of puberty and then gradually goes back to an adult level, which it reaches around age 25 and that makes adolescents and young adults more interested in entering uncertain situations to seek out and try to find whether there might be a possibility of gaining something from those situations.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 13, 2012, 09:46:36 AM
The answer to this is yes since infant, child, and adolescent brains are all still going through stages of development. So age is a factor with regards to behavior, cognition, and more on topic- critial thinking and decision making.

I apologize for my poor phrasing. A fully developed brain is not necessary for critical thinking and decision making. It may be necessary to solve equations without a pen and paper, for example, but it is not necessary to decide when and with whom to have sex.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Zankuu on June 13, 2012, 02:25:37 PM
A fully developed brain is not necessary for critical thinking and decision making. It may be necessary to solve equations without a pen and paper, for example, but it is not necessary to decide when and with whom to have sex.

It's true that a developing brain can still think critically, but it won't perform at the same level as if it were fully developed. How far along do you believe a brain needs to be developed in order to make decisions regarding sexual consent? Should the brain be capable of performing hypothetical-deductive reasoning? Only concrete reasoning? Where are you drawing the line in regards to development?

I see that Traveler already drew attention to the prefrontal cortex in her quote from NPR, but it's worth going into a bit more detail. The prefrontal part of the brain is THE driving force in sexual motivation and decision making, and during puberty it is underdeveloped.[1] Look at those keywords again: underdeveloped, sexual, decision making. That's really all that needs to be said. And post-puberty, the prefrontal cortex is still growing- one of the most notable changes is synaptogenesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaptogenesis) and it's pruning process: trimming synaptic connections and making the cortex more efficient.

So I would say that a fully developed brain is necessary to make the best decisions concerning sex. With regards to your point about age being irrelevant- it's relevant, primarily because of the developmental reason above.
 1. It's also responsible for many other extremely important tasks such as organizing, cognition/working memory, etc.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 13, 2012, 02:34:38 PM
How far along do you believe a brain needs to be developed in order to make decisions regarding sexual consent?

How the hell should I know? I like physics; not biology.

So I would say that a fully developed brain is necessary to make the best decisions concerning sex. With regards to your point about age being irrelevant- it's relevant, primarily because of the developmental reason above.

You know how many times I've had the opportunity to get laid? More than once.[1] You know how many times I've done it? Zero. And that's when I was 16. I had the information, and thus I was able to draw the best conclusion, even without having a fully developed brain. Hell, my brain isn't fully developed now, and I can still kick your (adults') asses in logic.
While I do not disagree with the development issue, I do disagree that it's necessary to make the best decisions in life. You need knowledge and the brainpower to process it; nothing more.
 1. I say "more than once" because I don't know the exact number.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Graybeard on June 13, 2012, 02:49:05 PM
It's true that a developing brain can still think critically, but it won't perform at the same level as if it were fully developed. How far along do you believe a brain needs to be developed in order to make decisions regarding sexual consent?
As we all agree that some people are more mature and/or intelligent than others, the stage you imply will be reached by people at differing ages or, in some cases, never.

An age of consent is the stage at which subjective morality (is there any other sort?) of society says, "Well, even if they aren't sufficiently mature/intelligent, I've given up on them, so let them get on with it." with a touch of ""When I was that age, I was OK, so let them get on with it."
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Zankuu on June 13, 2012, 02:59:54 PM
As we all agree that some people are more mature and/or intelligent than others, the stage you imply will be reached by people at differing ages or, in some cases, never.

I remember stumbling on a well done research study where the researchers collectively found that between 20-40% of college freshmen were only concrete operational thinkers. I'll try and find the sources as it's an interesting, albeit sad read.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Gnu Ordure on June 13, 2012, 04:58:18 PM
The whole thing can be pretty screwy.
Indeed.

In fact, many people make the mistake, when discussing the Age of Consent, of thinking that it applies to sexual intercourse, when it actually applies to any sexual activity - even kissing.

Thus, the law here in Britain says:
Quote
Section 10: Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if :

(a) he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual, and

(c) either—
     (i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or
    (ii) B is under 13.

So technically an 18-year-old man or woman is breaking the law if they kiss a 15-year-old girl (or boy).

Quote
When I was one month past my eighteenth birthday, I had sex with someone nine months younger than I was -- that is, I was 18 years and 1 month old, she was 17 years and 4 months old.  In the state we were living in at the time, that was lawful, but in other states, such as Idaho or California, it wouldn't have been; in fact, in Idaho, it could theoretically have been penalized with life in prison (!)  This in spite of the fact that, if we had done exactly the same thing five weeks earlier, it would have been perfectly legal in either of those jurisdictions.

In Britain, the bolded part isn't true. The Law here (introduced in 2003) criminalizes all sexual activity between the under-aged. Which is insane. The Law says:
Quote
Section 13: Child sex offences committed by children or young persons

(1) A person under 18 commits an offence if he does anything which would be an offence under any of sections 9 to 12 if he were aged 18.

So technically, two 15-year-olds kissing in the back row of the cinema (do kids still do that? I'm showing my age) are committing a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

I say technically, because in practice people aren't bothered about teenagers kissing, and nobody calls the police in those situations.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 06:00:46 PM
Do you know what I don't understand? And please correct me if this is only an urban myth. Its my understanding that religious teens taught abstinence-only, will have oral sex, thinking that its only actual intercourse that's to be abstained from. WTF???
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 13, 2012, 06:02:05 PM
Sounds like an urban myth to me.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 06:05:22 PM
Ok, I took the few seconds (lazy me!!!) to look it up. From http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/21606.php ...

Quote
Although teenagers who take "virginity pledges" begin engaging in vaginal intercourse later than teens who have not committed to remain abstinent until marriage, they also are more likely to engage in oral or anal sex than nonpledging virgin teens and less likely to use condoms once they become sexually active
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 13, 2012, 06:09:52 PM
You know, I would've been surprised at their idiocy, but I know that their parents tell them nothing about sex, save for "penis goes here".
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: rickymooston on June 13, 2012, 07:30:56 PM
They just say stop it, without giving them the ammo they need to be able to stop.

Well, that may be so.

My question is, is it "abstinence only" or the mentality of the people teaching abstinence only that is the problem? The main point about abstinence only, is to provide a predefined solution for them. A solution that many of them, even if you teaching them about mental manipulation, are going to ignore. I believe, within the framework of that solution, an intelligent person COULD, teach teens about mental manipulation and some of the emotional black mail that goes on.

However, if we take the view that students are going to make choices, whether we like them to or not, means giving them as much information to make those decisions as possible. These decisions may include them having sex and taking drugs or doing other really stupid things with possible consequences. Obviously, we would rather they avoided said decisions but given that they may end up being involved, we can hope they are still aware of the risks that they are taking and how to best reduce said risks.

The idea of responsibility for the consequences of one's actions, of being able to analyze the consequences and talk about them in a judgement free environment, is what a well designed health class is about.

As a teen, I did go through such a program. I didn't take drugs and honestly, I would not have been likely to do so anyway. I didn't engage in sex, I wasn't seeking sex per se, but objectively speaking, I was not faced with much of a temptation. I had crushes and they were all very innocent.

Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Traveler on June 13, 2012, 07:51:20 PM
They just say stop it, without giving them the ammo they need to be able to stop.
...However, if we take the view that students are going to make choices, whether we like them to or not, means giving them as much information to make those decisions as possible. These decisions may include them having sex and taking drugs or doing other really stupid things with possible consequences. Obviously, we would rather they avoided said decisions but given that they may end up being involved, we can hope they are still aware of the risks that they are taking and how to best reduce said risks.

I agree completely, and the research supports the fact that more information leads to healthier individuals and healthier decision making. This is what good sex education and drug education, etc., is about.

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The idea of responsibility for the consequences of one's actions, of being able to analyze the consequences and talk about them in a judgement free environment, is what a well designed health class is about.

I agree.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Quesi on June 13, 2012, 07:54:01 PM
I have just been listening to a Radio Program "Woman's Hour" Radio 4 BBC, in which the topic was the decreasing age of female physical maturity. The research shows that 50 years ago the average age in UK for periods and pubic hair to appear was 15, today it is 12. One woman gave a story of how her daughter, aged  7, (Yes, seven) developed breasts, pubic hair and started periods.

We must never ever forget that we are animals. We can give ourselves trappings of distinction and pretend we are not but nature steadfastly ignores this and continues on her way. It really does not matter to nature if you are mentally mature when you are physically mature. Consent is an irrelevance to nature.

The question thus arises "What does a society, which is known to ignore evidence that it does not like, say is an acceptable age for marriage?" ("Marriage" being a euphemism for "sexual relationships.")

The answer, as with many things, is to have a "one-size-fits-all" policy, when clearly one size does not fit all, but it is easier than judging each case on its merits.

I dare say that you, like I, can think of people who would have been happy to have been married at 15 and others who, although they are 30 should not be let near the other sex for fear they might reproduce. (Of course, nature has no such qualms.)

Yeah.  I posted about that in another thread.  8 1/2 years old is not considered premature puberty anymore.  A 6 year old girl in my daughter's kindergarten class has small, but visible breasts that have grown noticeably over the course of the school year.  I know a number of moms whose little girls are getting regular medical treatments to delay the onset of puberty until 8 or 9. 

That is why I said that at 5 1/2 my sweet little girl is 3 years removed from potty training, and perhaps as little as 3 years removed from puberty.  I hope for 6 or 7 years, but that is not the current trend. 

There is a lot of speculation about the causes.  Parents are cautioned against a variety of ingredients in shampoos and conditioners and lotions, and are also encouraged to give their children organic milk and eggs to avoid exposing them to the hormones given to animals on factory farms.   Childhood obesity is being blamed as well.  But no one knows for sure.   

There have always been girls who had precocious puberty.  And there have always been men who abused them, as evidenced by this list of the youngest documented birth mothers in recorded history.  The list includes one very well documented case of a 5 1/2 year old giving birth, and a couple of 6 year olds.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Quesi on June 13, 2012, 08:10:15 PM
Oh the whole abstinence pledge thing is so wrong on so many levels. 

First of all, they get these 12 year old girls to pledge to be virgins until their wedding nights.  Contrary to speculation in another thread, my experience leads me to believe that most 12 year old girls think that the idea of intercourse sounds pretty yucky, so they go into the pledge pretty willingly.  And it is what dad and mom want.  It is what god wants.  Blah blah blah.
 
And then a few years later, the thought doesn't seem so icky anymore.  But they promised. 

They gave up their ability to make a thoughtful, informed decision for themselves, at an age in which they were too young to even know what kind of a decision they were making.  They deferred to authority, and the only option left to them is to continue to defer to authority on issues of sexuality, so they end up giving their boyfriends blow jobs in the church basement because he thinks it is a good idea. 
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: oogabooga on June 14, 2012, 08:41:38 AM
Have you ever spoken to people on the Internet without knowing their age?
I'd really appreciate it if you actually read what I write. So far I have pointed out twice that age itself doesn't make you more or less intelligent or responsible, but it does grant you time to gather certain life experiences in order to at least be capable (if not willing) to make informed decisions.

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Unless the parts of their brain responsible for processing that information are underdeveloped, definitely yes.
But parts of the brain responsible for processing certain information are not yet fully developed (for lack of a better term) until you've reached a certain stage of development. And development takes time. So that would actually be a no.

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Can a five year old really decide as well as a twenty year old? We base our decisions on our experience, which we gather directly or indirectly (by experiencing something or by receiving information on it). Which means that age definitely has an impact on our decision making. It has nothing to do with tribal beliefs.

Bold mine.
Read the bold part again and the answer to the underlined question should be obvious.
What should be so obvious?

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Don't assume kids are retards just because the ones you've spoken to behave as such. Kids behave according to the way parents treat them. My mother and grandmother laughed (supposedly not to make fun of me, but I really don't give a shit now) when I used vocabulary that was "uncommon" for my age. I only started using it ten years after that; maybe more.
Please, do read what other people write - more specifically the very last sentence in the post you're replying to. If you have no reference frame for something (in this case sex), you simply don't have the mental capabilities to fully understand a certain subject. People aren't born with such reference frames, we get them through time. In the case of sex the reference frame is also biological - a child without an actual sex drive will simply not understand what you're trying to explain, even it he or she is capable of using appropriate terminology.

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...And? Your view is irrelevant. Things are what they are, regardless.
Things are what? If that's so, your views are just as irrelevant as mine. And that hasn't stopped you from expressing them. In a debate. On a debate forum. Wow.

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Apples and oranges. They need the basics to be able to understand the rest. Could I teach you particle physics if you knew everything about biology? Obviously not. Could I teach you the basics of physics and work my way up to subatomic particles even if you were ignorant of everything else? Yes.
Could you teach a child everything about sex if he or she isn't sufficiently developed to even understand what a sex drive is? How is that apples and oranges? And what would be the basic prerequisite for you to work your way up from the basics of physics to subatomic particles? Would that by any chance be time?

Anyway, while you could teach a child basic and particle physics, you'd soon discover that the kid knows the terminology and can parrot it back to you, but can't really use any of that knowledge in practice, even given an opportunity. 

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If age doesn't make you more (and therefore less) intelligent

Non sequitur and strawman; all in one phrase. Nice going.
How is that a straw man? You claim that age doesn't make you more intelligent, don't you? Therefore it's safe to conclude it doesn't make you less intelligent either. I pointed out that we set age limitations on a lot of things, not just sex, and education is one of them. But the reason for such limitations is exactly the same - people in general aren't capable of understanding certain things without prior knowledge and/or before they're physically and mentally developed enough. All of that takes time and time does have something to do with age. I presume we wouldn't measure age in time units if it didn't. Illustrating a point of view with a similar subject is not a straw man the last time I checked.

The reason I used education is the fact that it changed over time. We've managed to figure out that words are extremely easy to learn, recall and repeat. Substance, however, is a completely different matter. That's why we discarded quite a few methods of teaching and replaced them with ones that actually convey information in such a way that it becomes useful. There are also very specific reasons why pedagogy and andragogy aren't identical. Methods of teaching adults and kids are quite different, and there are quite a few reasons of it, even if the subject matter is the same (presuming both don't know anything about a specific subject to begin with).

Anyway, I maintain that a person's physical, biological and mental stage are an important factor in what said person can understand and do (and decide, for that matter). And the mere existence of a small(er) percentage of people who are more or less developed than their peers doesn't mean you can apply the same criteria on all. Some people are really smart, regardless of their age, and some are incredibly dim compared to most. 'Most' being the key word here - most people are on roughly the same developmental stage at a certain age. Precocious or delayed puberty and other disorders don't mean that we should just consider letting kids decide on sexual (and quite a few more) matters before they're mentally and physically capable of it.

As we age we don't just change physically, but also mentally. Our brains change through time which makes us capable of learning and understanding things in certain way which would be impossible before we hit a certain developmental stage - at a certain age. We are simply incapable of understanding certain things before (and sometimes even after) that and would therefore act inappropriately when faced with certain decisions. I'm fairly sure developmental psychologists would agree with me on this.

Anyway, why do physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse have a completely different impact on children (and teens) than adults? Why do they perceive it and act on it differently than adults if they're fully capable of understanding just about everything, as you claim? Getting rid of age of consent would also get rid of the very concept of child/minor sexual abuse.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 14, 2012, 09:07:57 AM
oogabooga, I don't have the time to discuss this any further, so I'll just say this:

How is that a straw man? You claim that age doesn't make you more intelligent, don't you? Therefore it's safe to conclude it doesn't make you less intelligent either.

I misunderstood what you said. I thought you were saying that because age does not make one more intelligent, it makes one less intelligent.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Gnu Ordure on June 14, 2012, 12:10:19 PM
oogabooga, I don't have the time to discuss this any further, so I'll just say this
That appears to be a dodge of oogabooga's thoughtful post.

Unless you can explain why you have time to post in other threads, but not in this one.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 14, 2012, 12:13:13 PM
That appears to be a dodge.

Unless you can explain why you have time to post in other threads, but not in this one.

Size matters in these things. A reply to all of oogabooga's points would take time I can't spare.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Ivellios on June 14, 2012, 01:45:06 PM
In all honesty... well, at least my opinion... when I saw this:

oogabooga, I don't have the time to discuss this any further, so I'll just say this:

It reminded me of a theist's post when you drive them to a point they can no longer refute.

I think it was Oogabooga that said about it being a "stage of developement." I agree with that myself. Yes, those "Stages of developement" happen around certain ages in most cases. People do end up ahead of the curve, and I know it's frustrating having to wait for the rest of those you grew up with to catch up to you... It's only after you realize you should have cherished it and been a child for just a little bit longer. Once you hit a stage though, you don't want to stop and smell the flowers, you WANT to grow up. You want to be treated like an adult, you want to be an adult. Hopefully they have some responsible adults that are there that can reign them in if they're headed to find themselves in over thier heads.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Zankuu on June 14, 2012, 02:11:41 PM
Size matters in these things. A reply to all of oogabooga's points would take time I can't spare.

Well it did sort of look like a dodge. When you do find the time I would like to see your rebuttal or concession on the points ooga raised.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 14, 2012, 02:16:36 PM
The fact that you consider the possibility that I was dodging as being greater than zero is insulting, to say the least.

I am taking a break from studying right now, so I'll indulge you and reply to oogabooga.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Zankuu on June 14, 2012, 02:33:00 PM
My intention wasn't to offend you, but your choice of words made it look like you wouldn't be returning to address ooga's post.

If you had said "A reply to all of oogabooga's points would take time I can't spare right now" or "...time I can't spare for the next few hours" it would have looked like you needed time to craft a reply. Hell even a "I'll address this later you filthy, uneducated tramps" would have been sufficient for me.  ;)
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 14, 2012, 03:04:29 PM
I'd really appreciate it if you actually read what I write.

I have. Misunderstandings don't mean I don't read; it just means I'm wrong. I am often (from my PoV) wrong.

So far I have pointed out twice that age itself doesn't make you more or less intelligent or responsible, but it does grant you time to gather certain life experiences in order to at least be capable (if not willing) to make informed decisions.

Said experience is gathered by making mistakes or hearing other people's stories. We don't protect adults[1] against the former for some mysterious reason, and the latter can be done to children.[2]

But parts of the brain responsible for processing certain information are not yet fully developed (for lack of a better term) until you've reached a certain stage of development. And development takes time. So that would actually be a no.

The age when development "ends", as was pointed out by another member (Traveler, IIRC, but I don't have time to check right now), is somewhere around 25. Why isn't AoC also 25? Because, way before then, people have learned enough from one another to make good decisions.

What should be so obvious?

Most children don't make good decisions in life because parents don't teach them anything until they're old enough to have made the mistakes that would've been prevented by said information. Some children get lucky and don't make mistakes, whereas others are treated like human beings by their parents and given the information they require to make good decisions.

If you have no reference frame for something (in this case sex), you simply don't have the mental capabilities to fully understand a certain subject. People aren't born with such reference frames, we get them through time. In the case of sex the reference frame is also biological - a child without an actual sex drive will simply not understand what you're trying to explain, even it he or she is capable of using appropriate terminology.

The reference frame is not biological. You can explain to a child what sex is without getting into why people have sex, because it's not essential to said explanation.

Could you teach a child everything about sex if he or she isn't sufficiently developed to even understand what a sex drive is?

Yes. Why is the reason for an act relevant to understand what the act itself is? Do you need to understand why a murderer killed people in order to understand how it happened?

And what would be the basic prerequisite for you to work your way up from the basics of physics to subatomic particles? Would that by any chance be time?

I could teach you particle physics since you started to speak, and it would take its time, but time is simply necessary because actions take time, and so does understanding. It's not a correlation; it's an effect[3].

Anyway, while you could teach a child basic and particle physics, you'd soon discover that the kid knows the terminology and can parrot it back to you, but can't really use any of that knowledge in practice, even given an opportunity.

What's your point? I know the basics of particle physics, and I can't use it either. It's because of what particle physics is. I also know biology and psychology, for example, but I can use that information because they deal with things I can perceive.

Anyway, I maintain that a person's physical, biological and mental stage are an important factor in what said person can understand and do (and decide, for that matter).

Ah, but here's the big question - is a person's mental state determined by their physical age or by the actions of those around them? I vote for the latter being a bigger influence than the former because I know how the actions of others affect people. I also know of several cases (anecdotal evidence; dunno if you count this as "regular" evidence) where children are taught things that other children aren't, and they do just fine with that. There are children whose knowledge surpasses what I knew at the time, and even their vocabulary is better than my own. In my mother tongue, no less!

And the mere existence of a small(er) percentage of people who are more or less developed than their peers doesn't mean you can apply the same criteria on all.

Considering that those people just happen to have been taught "complex" things from birth means you can apply the same criteria on all.

As we age we don't just change physically, but also mentally. Our brains change through time which makes us capable of learning and understanding things in certain way which would be impossible before we hit a certain developmental stage - at a certain age. We are simply incapable of understanding certain things before (and sometimes even after) that and would therefore act inappropriately when faced with certain decisions. I'm fairly sure developmental psychologists would agree with me on this.

And I disagree. Treat kids in a certain way, and they'll act in a certain way.

Anyway, why do physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse have a completely different impact on children (and teens) than adults?

Is that so? I was unaware of that. I thought that (some) children grew up to become abusers themselves, just like (some) adult abuse victims grew up to be aggressive and abusive themselves. My mistake.



Now, to conclude this thread (for good; I don't have the luxury of taking such long breaks from my studying every time you think I'm dodging), I'd like to present a few cases I know of as evidence for my claim that, if you treat children like retards, they'll behave like retards.

First case is my dad's. He was raised by an "excellent" father[4] who wanted him to get a job ASAP. My dad finished the fourth grade, probably tried to go all the way to 9th grade, dropped out, and joined the army some time after that. He was raised like an idiot, and so he became an idiot.

Second case is my friend's. She was raised by her mother to go to school, do her homework, et cetera. Right now she's on her way to be fluent in several languages. She was raised like a smart person, and so she became a smart person.

Third case is another friend of mine. He was raised to be a smart person, and so he became a smart person. He was even able to let go of his deep-seated homophobia that had resulted from an extremely religious upbringing. Right now he's on his way to getting his first boyfriend.


These are all various people from various backgrounds. While this is "just" anecdotal evidence, anecdotes are all I have at the moment, and they're all you're gonna get.
 1. For the record, I am only considering physical age when I use terms like "adults", "children" and so on.
 2. I will expand on this point and similar ones at the end of my post.
 3. I'm missing the proper word for this, but I really have to hurry this along.
 4. As this was a different time, his mother had no say in anything.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Samothec on June 14, 2012, 06:07:20 PM
EDIT: this quote is used as a stepping off point - this post also covers other aspects of the discussion.
I apologize for my poor phrasing. A fully developed brain is not necessary for critical thinking and decision making. It may be necessary to solve equations without a pen and paper, for example, but it is not necessary to decide when and with whom to have sex.

Impulse control, and thus decision making, is the last faculty to develop fully. This is why car insurance companies impose high rates for those under 25 - they know statistically that poor decisions lead to accidents and tragedy and those that make them are more expensive people to insure. Does that mean AoC should be 25? No. If people can't make decisions that matter, they won't learn how to do so.

In the USA we don't allow those under 18 to make decisions that matter most of the time so it is a reasonable choice for AoC for the most part. In other countries where those under 18 have more responsibilities and make decisions that matter, there is justification for having a lower AoC.

However, given that in the USA we are prosecuting those 12 to 18 as adults without actually evaluating them to see if they do understand the consequences of their actions, we probably need to start reducing AoC and other age limitations to advance the rate of mental maturation to match how we prosecute.

That includes making complete sex education manditory for all students regardless of the parents' supposed "moral" or religious views. Only an informed person can make a good decision. Otherwise it's just luck.

As for alcohol consumption (which someone brought up): no reduction in the age. If anything that age should go up since the goal is to impair mental function with the consumption of alcohol. It should probably be ten years later than any other age limitation.

Part of my attitude about alcohol is colored by the fact that in my state vehicular murder manslaughter while under the influence is very lightly punished. Drinking & driving is IMO a version of 1st degree murder: it is planned and will kill someone eventually. It's just that the victim(s) is/are random. A man having sex with a child leaves his victim alive while a drunk driver kills their target and since we only have this one life, I feel more animosity towards drunk drivers.

In a more rational world we could have a law that is vague about AoC but requires that the older person only do what the younger one asks for without prompting. The only "prompting" allowed would be a discouragement - from mild for those close in age and close to adult, to strong for a larger age difference and/or greater youth.

But ethical decisions are difficult in a society that values religious morals set down several thousand years ago by far more uneducated people.
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: Gnu Ordure on June 14, 2012, 07:59:41 PM
I'd really appreciate it if you actually read what I write.

I have.

< etc etc ... >

Oh look. OAA does have the time to reply, after all. At great length...

So he was lying (and dodging) when he said:
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oogabooga, I don't have the time to discuss this any further,
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: oogabooga on June 15, 2012, 06:13:45 AM
I have. Misunderstandings don't mean I don't read; it just means I'm wrong. I am often (from my PoV) wrong.
Actually, you made it sound like I claimed kids are retards (that's exactly your word), when I specifically said they weren't. From that I concluded you didn't read my entire post.

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Said experience is gathered by making mistakes or hearing other people's stories. We don't protect adults against the former for some mysterious reason, and the latter can be done to children.
We do protect adults the same way. That's why we set legal limitations on certain forms of behaviour - driving is a nice example. That's why we have speed limits, right of way, parking regulations and all sorts of other things. We set written and unwritten rules for all sorts of things and a vast majority of them is intended for adults.

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The age when development "ends", as was pointed out by another member (Traveler, IIRC, but I don't have time to check right now), is somewhere around 25. Why isn't AoC also 25? Because, way before then, people have learned enough from one another to make good decisions.
There are different stages of development at which people are capable of different things. We are capable of learning different things in different stages. This is a bit of an 'what use is half of an eye' type of an argument.

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Most children don't make good decisions in life because parents don't teach them anything until they're old enough to have made the mistakes that would've been prevented by said information. Some children get lucky and don't make mistakes, whereas others are treated like human beings by their parents and given the information they require to make good decisions.
I fully agree with you that children should be treated as human beings, not little idiots. But according to findings of developmental psychology and biology I can't agree with your conclusion that children are automatically capable of acting the same way as adults if you treat them that way. Brains develop and change throughout life and are capable of processing information in different ways in different stages of life. Abstract and hypothetical thinking (both necessary to understand potential consequences of 'wrong' behaviour) don't even develop until early adolescence.

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The reference frame is not biological. You can explain to a child what sex is without getting into why people have sex, because it's not essential to said explanation.
Understanding the reference frame is biological. Until your brain is capable of grasping certain concepts you simply won't understand them, regardless of the amount of information you receive.

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Yes. Why is the reason for an act relevant to understand what the act itself is? Do you need to understand why a murderer killed people in order to understand how it happened?
How and why are two completely different questions. You can describe an act to a child, but until he understands the reasons for it, he won't be able to fully comprehend it.

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I could teach you particle physics since you started to speak, and it would take its time, but time is simply necessary because actions take time, and so does understanding. It's not a correlation; it's an effect.
Actually, you couldn't. Before a person's brain is sufficiently developed to grasp theoretical concepts like particle physics, he'll just parrot the words back to you but won't be able to use the knowledge. The same goes for a lot simpler concepts than particle physics. I also don't understand how time can be an effect in teaching. It's a prerequisite.

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What's your point? I know the basics of particle physics, and I can't use it either. It's because of what particle physics is. I also know biology and psychology, for example, but I can use that information because they deal with things I can perceive.
But you're at a developmental stage at which you can perceive those things and therefore understand them. Could you have understood them when you were four?

Again, you didn't read what I wrote - I specifically mentioned that certain knowledge acquired at an inappropriate age can not be used even given an opportunity to use it. Children at a certain age have problems grasping metaphors, similes and other figures of speech. They gain the capability to do that at certain points in their development. 


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Ah, but here's the big question - is a person's mental state determined by their physical age or by the actions of those around them? I vote for the latter being a bigger influence than the former because I know how the actions of others affect people. I also know of several cases (anecdotal evidence; dunno if you count this as "regular" evidence) where children are taught things that other children aren't, and they do just fine with that. There are children whose knowledge surpasses what I knew at the time, and even their vocabulary is better than my own. In my mother tongue, no less!
A person's mental state is determined by their age (plus/minus a year or two) in optimal conditions. As I have mentioned more than once, we are talking about the majority of people, not the flappy ends of the bell curve. The mere existence kids who are more (or less) advanced for their age compared to most (due to biological and/or environmental factors) doesn't prove your point.

I also don't remember claiming that you shouldn't present children with information or that teaching them anything could be harmful. Of course kids will to fine with being taught things. But that doesn't mean they'll fully understand what they're being taught. A vocabulary is not a sign of real knowledge. It's just an ability to store and retrieve words and use them in contexts that we see fit - and not even necessarily the right context either.

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Considering that those people just happen to have been taught "complex" things from birth means you can apply the same criteria on all.
So people who simply have a lower (or even normal) IQ should be considered the same as people with exceptionally high IQ, simply because they haven't been taught enough? Children within one single family who are taught exactly the same things can differ vastly in that respect.

I'd like to use anecdotal evidence as well, if you don't mind. We have a set of twins in our family. And they had two other sets of twins in their kindergarten class. Now, our kids were treated exactly the same - there was not particular reason why they wouldn't be. One is a musical genius, highly analytical and logical, maths and physics wiz, the other is a bookworm with an amazing vocabulary that never ceases to amaze me, but doesn't particularly like numbers. Granted, the first is a boy and the other a girl, but nonetheless.

The other set of identical twins in their kindergarten class, two boys, are kids of two doctors (a psychiatrist and an gynecological oncologist). They started learning English and German at age three, they went to music school at age four. Their parents, dead set on shaping their kids into geniuses, were teaching them all sorts of things. They're both as average as they come. They're not doing all that well in English and German in school and they're not accomplished musicians either. But the funniest is the third set of twins, fraternal, but both girls. Their parents are 'ordinary' people, not exceptionally intelligent, not even university graduates, just simply average. The first girl started university at 16, because she finished high school in two years, instead of four, and the other is starting medical school this fall.

Nature versus nurture debate is still live and well and the battle between psychologists and neuroscientists, geneticists and biologists rages on, but they all agree that both factors (and the third, biology) have an impact on human development. Again, most people are what we'd call 'normal' or 'average'. They learn certain things at approximately the same age, which means their development takes a fairly predictable course. A smaller percentage of people are more advanced and some lag behind.

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And I disagree. Treat kids in a certain way, and they'll act in a certain way.
I actually disagree. Some abused kids do well later on in life. Some don't. Some well-loved kids will grow up to be abusers and some abused kids will end up being anything but abusive. And vice versa. Some kids respond to kindness, others respond better to punishment. There are kids who will take your explanation on why something is wrong at face value, others will demand endless explanations and end up doing the opposite. We all react differently to the same stimuli.

So, some kids who are sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused grow up into stable, well-rounded and non-abusive adults. Should we therefore treat all those, who do bear the scars of their abuse later on in life, the same as those who don't? Some kids excel when being pushed intellectually, most don't do all that well under such pressure. Should we also treat all of them the same way? And since we're talking about age of consent - some kids are capable of remembering to use a condom when having sex at age 12, because they're capable of understanding potential dangers of having unprotected sex. Most aren't. Should they be treated the same?

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Is that so? I was unaware of that. I thought that (some) children grew up to become abusers themselves, just like (some) adult abuse victims grew up to be aggressive and abusive themselves. My mistake.
And here you're contradicting yourself. Yes, some kids grow up to be abusers. Some don't. If you were in charge of making laws, meant to protect people, would you be willing to take a risk like that? That only some abused kids grow up to become abusers? That only some rape victims end up committing suicide or hurting their assailants?

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Now, to conclude this thread (for good; I don't have the luxury of taking such long breaks from my studying every time you think I'm dodging), I'd like to present a few cases I know of as evidence for my claim that, if you treat children like retards, they'll behave like retards.
You don't have to reply to anything here. Nobody is forcing you. And you don't have the power to end this thread. The debate will go on for as long as it will, whether you participate in it or not.

Again - I do agree that children aren't retards and should not be treated as such. I believe that the concept of neuroplasticity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_plasticity) proves my point rather nicely.

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First case is my dad's. He was raised by an "excellent" father who wanted him to get a job ASAP. My dad finished the fourth grade, probably tried to go all the way to 9th grade, dropped out, and joined the army some time after that. He was raised like an idiot, and so he became an idiot.

Second case is my friend's. She was raised by her mother to go to school, do her homework, et cetera. Right now she's on her way to be fluent in several languages. She was raised like a smart person, and so she became a smart person.

Third case is another friend of mine. He was raised to be a smart person, and so he became a smart person. He was even able to let go of his deep-seated homophobia that had resulted from an extremely religious upbringing. Right now he's on his way to getting his first boyfriend.


These are all various people from various backgrounds. While this is "just" anecdotal evidence, anecdotes are all I have at the moment, and they're all you're gonna get.
And I have pointed out other cases in my life. And, yes, those are 'just' anecdotal cases, but mine prove you wrong. Which just goes to show that anecdotal evidence can go either way.

You also inadvertently proved my point. Children are impressionable and malleable. You can 'teach' or convince them to believe just about anything. Which means you can also persuade them to do things that are bad for them, like having sex. Who is easier to trick into having sex - a 12-year old or a 20-year old? Who is more likely to be game for something stupid, like burning a huge pile of leaves right in front of the house (even if they actually possess the information that it's a bad idea and even why), a 6-year old or an 18-year old? Why are there so many accidents in kids who were told (even with full explanations) why something is wrong? Just because you do explain something and even have the child repeat the explanation, doesn't mean it's actually understood the way you think.

People you mentioned were 'convinced' that what they were supposed to do is also the right thing to do. In case of the last friend, he learned that some things he thought were right, actually weren't, and he was smart enough to change his mind. But he had to learn to overcome his religious upbringing. And the way you describe him it also seems he was religious when he was a child. Why was that? And why did he change his mind? Would that have something to do with his capability to understand the world in a different way?

Anyway, why aren't you an idiot if your father is?
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: oogabooga on June 15, 2012, 06:17:04 AM
I'd really appreciate it if you actually read what I write.

I have.

< etc etc ... >

Oh look. OAA does have the time to reply, after all. At great length...

So he was lying (and dodging) when he said:
Quote
oogabooga, I don't have the time to discuss this any further,
I wouldn't say that. He did say he was busy, and even then he took the time to address my posts - at length, as you said. He didn't just throw a tantrum 'you're wrong and I'm right, therefore you're an idiot'. I respect that. Anyway, we wouldn't have a debate if we all just agreed. It wouldn't even be fun.  ;)
Title: Re: Age of Consent topic
Post by: One Above All on June 18, 2012, 03:12:55 PM
Oh look. OAA does have the time to reply, after all. At great length...

Oh look. Gnu Ordure suffers from a condition known as "selective reading".

I am taking a break from studying right now, so I'll indulge you and reply to oogabooga.

I couldn't take another break for the rest of the day just for that reply. So the next time you want to accuse me of lying, I recommend you ask about the full picture.