The roots of this post are not found in the items that will be discussed below. They actually reside in the current issue of Scientific American Mind, that I found on a news stand. In this periodical, which I haven't read before, (and which I am actually unsure whether it is a stand alone periodical or a special issue of Scientific American, or just an issue of that magazine devoted to mind) was an article on psychopaths, and what makes them different from other people with mental illness, besides their ability to pass as not only sane, but charming, even charismatic people. Two things really stood out to me: One, they seem to be unable to read facial expressions and body language of other people, especially when these express pain and fear. Two: They become fixated on an idea or process, or a goal they are attempting to the point that they seem unable to stop, or conceive of stopping. Everything else become immaterial to them.
That is the key to my understanding of the issues in this post. Because when I red the things that led to it--I became convinced that Kinsey, of IU sex research fame, was a psychopath.
The Kinsey Institute has been embattled for it's entire existence. And I don't want anyone to come away from this post thinking that i am opposed to research into human sexuality as such--I'm not. I see how such research, physiological, psychological and sociological is of value. At the same time, I think that fact that such research has driven our mores, and influenced our morals is unfortunate. Science, especially social science, is good at describing what, but weak on how or why.
But the Kinsey institute has problems. And it inherited them from it's founders.
First, is the problem of secrecy. I understand and fully support the idea of confidentiality. If you are researching peoples intimate behavior, you need to be able to protect their identities. But secrecy in scientific research isn't supposed to extend to secrecy about methodology. Nor is it to extend to concealing raw data. The Kinsey Institute has a long history of secrecy, as opposed to confidentiality. The achieves of the institute are closed--not just protected from being riffled by the unwashed, but even closed to scholars who are not approved by the institute in a vetting process that weeds out dissenting viewpoints, thus insulating their methods from peer approval.
Second is the problem of mendacity. The Kinsey Institute has repeatedly issued statements that neither Kinsey, nor the institute has ever paid or recruited pedophiles for their research. Yet this is contradicted by statements of people involved with the institute. Some of whom the Institute denies being involved with.
Starting in 1943, Kinsey corresponded with one Fritz von Balluseck, a Gestapo officer. Balluseck was convicted of being a serial pedophile in 1957. Among other things, Balluseck raped hundreds of girls between the ages of 9 and 14, in Germany and Poland. In Poland he gained access to Jewish girls, whom he gave a choice between submitting to his activities or going to the gas chambers. When he was convicted, the police went through his possessions and found his correspondence with Kinsey. The Polezei, working through INTERPOL, asked the FBI to get the records of the correspondence in Bloomington. Kinsey refused. And, he successfully resisted all pressure to comply. During his trial, when asked why he compiled such extensive records of his activities, (four thick notebooks worth) he replied "Kinsey himself asked me to do so."
There remains also the problem of the infamous "Table 34", which recounts how long it took children--as young as 2 to 4 months old--to reach orgasm when stimulated by adults. How was this data gathered? In any scenario, the one thing that is clear is that Kinsey, Pomeroy et al, had knowledge of pedophilic rapes, and failed to report them.
Famously, Paul Gebhard, who directed the institute after Kinsey's demise said "We knew it was illegal,we knew it was criminal, but we did it anyway". The people at the institute know what they were doing, and they didn't care.
I am especially troubled by Kinsey's own assertion that the child victims of his research signaled their enjoyment by crying and fighting back at their abusers--this bizarre interpretation of evens is what makes me think he was a psycho. I also have to wonder about his statistics on rape: of 4441 women he gathered information from, he doesn't ascribe a single instance of rape. Considering that we now cite a figure of one in four women as experiencing rape, and one in six men--were things that much different in the 1940s? Or did Kinsey not even know what constituted rape--was he unable to empathize with others?
The Institute has repeatedly said that nether it, nor Kinsey paid Pedophiles. Yet one informant,known to the Institute under a variety of pseudonyms, including "Rex King", and who committed over 800 child rapes was acknowledged by Wardell Pomeroy. And, in 1954, Kinsey offered to pay "King" to take a leave of absence from his regular job and collate and collect all his information from child rape, especially that on "preadolescent orgasm". This last was reported by Kinsey biographer Jim Jones (no, not THAT Jim Jones!).
Paul Gebhard said in 1998, to the BBC, that "King" was an invaluable source of information. he also said that "It was illegal, and we knew it was illegal...that's why a lot of people say..we should have turned him in instantly...if we had it would have been the end of our research project." In a 1995 Bloomington Harold-Times article Gebhard also acknowledged that Kinsey and the institute didn't tell law enforcement about the pedophilic rapes it knew of, to protect it's research.
The Kinsey Institute is funded impart by tax dollars from the State of Indiana, and from the Federal Government. That might be changing soon, because State legislators Cindy Noe and Woody Burton are introducing measures to defund the Institute. This follow on the heels of a woman, known as Esther White speaking out about the rape and abuse she suffered at the hand of her father--including being timed with a stopwatch and filmed. Mrs. White asserts that the data and film was sent to Dr. Kinsey, that her father acted on the promptings of her Grandfather, who was associated with Dr. Kinsey, and that she saw Dr. Kinsey present her Grandfather with a check. She also reports seeing that her father kept records of his activities and sent them off in brown envelopes. She said that Kinsey paid her father. She began speaking out after seeing the documentary The Children of Table 34. i think this is enough to warrant an investigation, and a defunding of the institute.
As a Hoosier, I am convinced this is as great a blot on our state as our embrace in the 1920s-40s of forced sterilization in the name of Eugenics. We have funded, and are continuing to fund, the work and legacy of a genuine mad scientist--a psychopath who didn't recognize the suffering he was abetting, in the name of his research.