Tom O'Carroll

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The dubious analogy of the ‘extra arm’

Time to resolve that cliffhanger I left you with yesterday – since when, incidentally, Heretic TOC’s hit rate has jumped significantly: seems a bit of controversy is good for business! So, where was I? Ah, yes, I said a neuroscientist had agreed with Susie Orbach and myself that there was good reason for skepticism over a theory that paedophilia is caused by “crossed wiring” in the brain. An MRI scanning study by James Cantor and his team into the brains of paedophiles and others had shown that paedophiles have less “white matter”, this being interpreted as a dysfunctional deficiency. Before going …

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Scientific egos as fragile as eggs

When academics disagree with each other there’s only one way to settle who is right. As TV comedian Harry Hill would say: “Fight! Fight!” Shouting around the playground that battle is underway, with fisticuffs and blood in prospect, has always been an exciting scenario for kids. And it’s really not much different among the profs. Try as they might to affect an air of gentlemanly courtesy and “collegiate” spirit, there is sometimes no disguising the ferocity and malevolence that pervades the world of academic disputes. Unlike the kids’ world, where aggression is often spontaneous and quickly resolved, in the seemingly calm …

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Why do girls lose their virginity?

Why do girls lose their virginity? What, exactly, is lost? In her recent radio talk on the age of consent, Mary Beard mentioned what she called “quaint talk” about girls “losing their virginity”, as though the phrase really belongs to another age. And so it does, in a sense. These days, in many societies of the economically developed world, there is no strong expectation or requirement that a female must be a virgin when she marries, if she does. An attractive and personable young woman – and a good many without such attributes – will not fail to land “a good …

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Sentencing Council consults the public:that means YOU!

Sensational as the vertiginous plunge of Sir Jimmy Savile’s reputation has been in Britain, sinking from national treasure knighted by the Queen and the Pope to reviled pervert, the Oktoberfest of news about him turns out to have been merely the hors d’oeuvre ahead of a Christmas feast of celebrity arrests for the tabloids to gorge on. There was little surprise when “usual suspect” glam rocker Garry Glitter had his collar felt yet again (not so glam these days, sadly), but comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis and TV presenter Stuart Hall were quite another matter. And now, most stunningly …

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Snake-oil Gene is not so able

Abel Sexual Abuse Prevention (ASAP), appears to be the latest wheeze of snake-oil salesman Gene Abel. It sees Abel and his colleagues, though that is too polite a word, touting for business among distressed Minor Attracted Persons (MAPs) who have “not been detected by the authorities”. The not-so able outfit does not claim outright to “cure” paedophilia, but the website implies as much by saying it is a treatable disorder, when really the best that can be claimed honestly is that a good therapist might succeed in reconciling paedophiles to their sexuality. Heretic TOC’s attention has been drawn to ASAP through …

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A rare court victory

Hot from the BBC, news of a rare victory for “paedophiles”: A convicted sex offender has won a High Court order for the removal of a Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles in Northern Ireland. A judge ruled some content amounted to prima facie harassment of the man and risked infringing his human rights. See Facebook given 72 hours to remove paedophile monitoring page. Time to break open the champagne? Sure, why not enjoy the moment, although this humane court decision is sure to provoke a whopping backlash, with predictable howls that it is an example of “human rights gone …

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Man’s house accused of sex crime

In a first for Heretic TOC, this blog brings you news before it has even happened: a story from New Zealand datelined 30 November, even while a good few hours of 29 November remain to be completed here in Britain. As usual, though, the news is not good. A defendant found guilty of “historic offences” a few months ago is now faced with losing his house to a forfeiture order, on the grounds that the house itself facilitated sexual offences. That’s what the prosecutor said about Michael Jackson’s Neverland (see book extract below), but Jackson was never threatened with losing ownership. …

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A necessary warning

Heretic TOC loves writing and has dozens of tasty topics in mind just bursting to get onto the page. Unfortunately, it is time for a really boring post that cannot be further delayed. In my About page I say my aim here is to present a “discourse of resistance”. It is time to emphasise that the “resistance” I am looking for is precisely one of “discourse” rather than resistance to the law. In other words, it is fine for commentators here to argue that laws should be changed. It is not at all fine, though, to encourage, or appear to be …

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Can animals consent?

So Germany is to ban “bestiality” under animal welfare law, according to yesterday’s Guardian. Like young children, animals cannot give “informed consent”. Interesting, then, that Peter Singer, pioneering philosopher of animal rights, has not condemned sex with animals. Some years ago he reviewed a book on the subject. Among other interesting points, he said this: …sex with animals does not always involve cruelty. Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects …

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Mary gets in touch

Mary Beard kindly replied after Heretic TOC queried by email the accuracy of her radio statement that the age of consent in England was 12 for many centuries. The eminent classical scholar conceded that “what happened between 13th and 19th century is complicated”, adding “and how far driven by LAW is not clear”. Yep, no argument with that. Thanks to excellent work by reader Peter (see comment to Mary, Mary, wonderfully contrary) we can now refer to important information in Carolyn E. Cocca’s book, Jailbait : the politics of statutory rape laws in the United States, which goes back to the …

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