IQ Researcher Suspended for Views on Paedophilia

Constance Holden
Science, November 22, 1996


Bad boy Christopher Brand, psychology professor at Edinburgh University, has done it again: he's gotten himself suspended and charged with ``gross misconduct'' as a result of comments suggesting that pedophilia isn't as terrible as it's made out to be.

Brand caused a stir last spring when, on the eve of the publication of The G Factor, his book on IQ research, he told members of the press that he believes black-white IQ differences are partly genetic. The resulting uproar prompted the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, to withdraw the book (Science, 3 May, p. 644).

Now the talkative professor has gotten himself into hot water by leaping to the defense of Carlton Gajdusek, the Nobel prizewinning neuroscientist who last month went on trial for alleged pedophilic activities with one of the many ``sons'' he has brought back with him from the South Pacific. When the Gadjusek trial started, Brand wrote in his personal online newsletter ``I find it totally disgraceful that a 73-year old man of such distinction should be hounded by the courts and the press.'' He added: ``Academic studies and my own experience [as a choir boy occasionally importuned by older men] suggest that non-violent paedophilia with a consenting partner over age 12 does no harm so long as the paedophiles and their partners are of above-average IQ and educational level.'' The Scottish press picked up Brand's comments this month, under headlines such as ``Race Row Lecturer in Child Sex Storm.''

The Edinburgh dean of social sciences, Neil MacCormack, on 8 November asked for a formal investigation. Brand's teaching and administrative duties were suspended and his computer networking privileges cut off. He is being charged with ``conduct [that] is bringing the university into disrepute,'' according to a university statement which concludes: ``The university can...have no truck with the condoning of paedophile acts which transgress laws'' protecting minors. University spokeswoman Anne McKelvie says that if the investigation fails to clear Brand, a tenured professor, there will be a full ``tribunal'' that could culminate in his being sacked.


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