Fury as college professor argues adult-child sex ‘not always wrong’

Most people – in fact, almost all people – instinctively understand paedophilia is deeply wrong. In fact, it is generally regarded as being so harmful and unnatural that it is described as evil. 

There has been widespread anger and disgust then at videos that surfaced yesterday of a professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) questioning whether pedophilia was in fact unethical.

Professor Stephen Kershnar, who teaches libertarian philosophy and applied ethics at SUNY, was filmed for a podcast on January 30th 2022 discussing ‘Sexual Taboos’ with host Mark Oppenheimer.

“Imagine that an adult male wants to have sex with a 12-year-old girl. Imagine that she’s a willing participant,” Kershnar says in the shocking clip shared by the MythinformedMKE platform which has gone viral on Twitter.

“A very standard, very widely held view is that there’s something deeply wrong about this — and it’s wrong independent of it being criminalized,” Kershnar says .

“It’s not obvious to me that it’s in fact wrong. I think this is a mistake. And I think exploring that why it’s a mistake will tell us not only things about adult/sex and statutory rape and also fundamental principles of morality,” the professor says.

Reactions on social media ranged from profound shock to fury. Many urged commentators to clarify that what Kershnar was describing was not ‘adult/child sex’ but rape.

SUNY Fredonia says the professor, who has been employed by the college for 23 years, is now under investigation by the school.

Kershnar had even more disgusting things to say, and this deserves a trigger warning for making your skin crawl.

“One is even if you are looking for a threshold. Let’s say there’s a threshold. I’m making this number up, but let’s say it’s at age 8. Still, that tells you that some adult sex is permissible.

“Second, the notion that it’s wrong even with a 1-year-old is not quite obvious to me,” he says.“There are reports in some cultures of grandmas fellating their baby boys to calm them down whenever they’re colicky,” he says.

“I don’t know if this is true but this is sort of widely reported as occurring in at least one culture — and it’s working, that the grandmas believe that this actually works,” Kershnar continues.

“If this were to be true, and again, I don’t know it to be true, if this were to be true, it’s hard to see what would be wrong with it,” he claims.

“No, I don’t think there’s a blanket period beyond which this is permissible,” he says in the shocking video.

“If we are interested in willing participation, which is the way I structured it, then yeah, there’s a point below which people aren’t willing participants in anything, cos they don’t have intentions or they doin’t have  the sort of mental states that allow for willing participation  – but no I don’t think it’s blanket wrong at any age.

SUNY Fredonia released a statement in response to the hugely controversial video, tweeting that the views were “reprehensible” and that the matter was being “reviewed”.

President Stephen Kolison posted a statement reacting to the professor’s comments about pedophilia.

“SUNY Fredonia is aware of a video posted online involving one of its professors,” he said. “The views expressed by the professor are reprehensible and do not represent the values of SUNY Fredonia in any way, shape or form. They are solely the professor’s views. The matter is being reviewed.

However, some commentators claimed Kershnar has a record of ‘justifying horrible things’


Others pointed to what was in his bio on the university’s website and elsewhere:  his views hiding in plain sight.


On abortion, Kershnar argued that “a person who brings about an abortion guarantees that the aborted individual goes to heaven and that it is morally permissible to guarantee someone goes to heaven. It follows that if Threshold-Hell Christianity is true, then abortion is morally permissible”

Local media reported the views of students who reacted in disgust and horror to the news about the professor ‘holding a position of power’.  Some said his comments were not a “once-off”.







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