UK government advisor John Carr, of the Council on Child Internet Safety, claims in a radio interview:

Mr Carr said there was "no question" that some men who look at child sex abuse images go on to carry out abuse.

Earlier, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live he said: "There is enough evidence to suggest that if we can put more barriers towards guys getting to child abuse images, fewer of them will do it and more children will be safe."

He said between 15 and 50 per cent of men who previously had no involvement with child abuse images would go on to physically harm children once they accessed them.

That sentence claims correlation, not necessarily causation. But let's ask the question twice: once for correlation, once for the implied causation.

  • Is there evidence that >15% of men exposed to child pornography, physically harm children?
  • Is there evidence that exposure to child pornography leads to this harm being committed (that is, is there evidence that these assaults would not have happened if the culprit had not consumed child pornography)
  • @Sancho I don't understand. My first bullet is equivalent to the quote. The second bullet is equivalent to the (I think deliberate) implication made in the quote. – slim Jul 22 '13 at 15:45
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    Again (because we had this discussion before), the claim here is causation. By all means let’s discuss whether there’s correlation but at the same time let’s not forget that that’s obviously not what John Carr meant here, otherwise he couldn’t use it to justify his policies. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 22 '13 at 18:16
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    I also think it’s not enough to examine whether >15% of men exposed to child pornography harm children, the claim is 15–50%! That is an extremely wide margin (up to 50%!) and unless there is actual evidence which supports this upper bound, this is clearly a deliberate lie that answers to this question should expose as such. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 23 '13 at 13:58
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    At a guess (and therefore not putting it in as an answer) I suppose there could be a subset of men and women who are already inclined to pedophilia/molestation but who don't realize they are until they get massively aroused by child porn. But in those cases they were basically time bombs waiting to happen and the child porn is just the excuse they needed... – Shadur Jul 24 '13 at 9:13
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    Well I know that after watching Die Hard I went out and shot a bunch of people who sounded like Alan Rickman. I'd be very surprised if there had even been studies that draw the conclusions in question, let alone that the claims are accurate. – Tim Scanlon Jul 24 '13 at 13:16

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