Afghanistan: Kingdom of pedophiles?

<< < (2/6) > >>

cyghost (September 03, 2010, 08:44:57 AM):
Seeing we're skeptics, the question does arise: In terms of whose value system are we judging these activities? I cannot for one millisecond condone it so don't misunderstand me, but if this is socially acceptable in Afghanistan and even a source of status (wtf!!) who are we (and American Social Scientists) to judge and by whose standards and morals do we judge?
By the standards that children don't really understand and as such have no chance to say no or yes. We protect children beacuse of this.

At 9 to 15 as a norm it is highly doubtful whether they can make informed decisions.
Peter Grant (September 03, 2010, 12:45:32 PM):
This is a fucked up situation and religion is entirely to blame. Any cultural relativist who tries to defend this behaviour is just as fucked up. There are many different ways in which a society might flourish, but this is obviously not one of them.
Hermes (September 03, 2010, 15:41:49 PM):

Seeing we're skeptics, the question does arise: In terms of whose value system are we judging these activities? I cannot for one millisecond condone it so don't misunderstand me, but if this is socially acceptable in Afghanistan and even a source of status (wtf!!) who are we (and American Social Scientists) to judge and by whose standards and morals do we judge? If the same study had been done by Afghan soc sc's would they also have reached the same conclusion?...I know, I know if we take my argument further, is the treatment of women by Islamists therefore also justified??? :-\ or child labour in China etc etc etc... as BM says the world is fucked! Just my penny's worth.

Brian, although you qualify your response by pointing out that you abhor paedophilic behaviour, you seem to doubt the foundations on which we denounce it. Your argument contains a malodour of cultural relativism that implies the absence of generally acceptable values. The ethical construct by which we live is not arbitrary, but based on certain nonnegotiable premises. These include the welfare of society, the avoidance of cruelty or exploitation and the preservation of nature. The exploitation of children is particularly abominable and there is nothing relative about it. Values may vary somewhat from one society to the next, but there are practices that can never be justified, irrespective of cultural considerations. Asking "by whose standards and morals do we judge?" suggests that we may have no right to judge. Not only have we the right, but the obligation to do so. The welfare of those children is paramount to Afghan cultural considerations.
Brian (September 03, 2010, 16:11:40 PM):

Seeing we're skeptics, the question does arise: In terms of whose value system are we judging these activities? I cannot for one millisecond condone it so don't misunderstand me, but if this is socially acceptable in Afghanistan and even a source of status (wtf!!) who are we (and American Social Scientists) to judge and by whose standards and morals do we judge? If the same study had been done by Afghan soc sc's would they also have reached the same conclusion?...I know, I know if we take my argument further, is the treatment of women by Islamists therefore also justified??? :-\ or child labour in China etc etc etc... as BM says the world is fucked! Just my penny's worth.

Brian, although you qualify your response by pointing out that you abhor paedophilic behaviour, you seem to doubt the foundations on which we denounce it. Your argument contains a malodour of cultural relativism that implies the absence of generally acceptable values. The ethical construct by which we live is not arbitrary, but based on certain nonnegotiable premises. These include the welfare of society, the avoidance of cruelty or exploitation and the preservation of nature. The exploitation of children is particularly abominable and there is nothing relative about it. Values may vary somewhat from one society to the next, but there are practices that can never be justified, irrespective of cultural considerations. Asking "by whose standards and morals do we judge?" suggests that we may have no right to judge. Not only have we the right, but the obligation to do so. The welfare of those children is paramount to Afghan cultural considerations.
I agree with your argument. However, when you've been in a variety of countries interacting with a multitude of cultures as I have as a consultant, you are often confronted by traditions and value systems which are not only alien but also unacceptable in terms of your own. The dilemma as an outsider with considerable sapiental power, is what to do about it. Many of these traditions stem from mysticism, religions and plain witchcraft. I've been castigated for example in a pre-dominantly Muslim country for expressing myself in favour of women's rights including the right to education and generating an income. My question as quoted, stems from a practical perspective when you deal with these issues where the lines are seldom as clear-cut as the issue of child abuse. A colleague of mine (female professor) was confronted in another Muslim country for trying to educate men! So see my question not as a reflection of my values, but rather as an honest question in a forum where I respect the views of people such as yourself.
Peter Grant (September 03, 2010, 17:24:44 PM):
I'm actually surprised that so few have heard of this before. The article makes out like it's some big mystery, Afghanistan isn't the only place where this happens.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Skeptic Forum Board Index

Non-mobile version of page