Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
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30-08-2011, 03:15 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Hey, Xander.

Quote:Would you give an example of what you think is emotional abuse if you think threatening children and the people they love with everlasting torture is not?

That which is considered emotional abuse is carefully decided by health care practitioners and legislators, not the angry mob. Nor by me.

If someone can produce a single study that shows THAT and or HOW religious teachings are emotionally or mentally traumatising to children or that and or how they lead to mental health disorders, then I will be more than happy to look at the boundaries. But if people are saying, "it like totally is, man," then I don't care to listen to them.

Hey, Blasphemy.

I agree with you. If parents abuse their children then that's child abuse. But your belief that what they think and teach will inexorably lead to abuse doesn't hold.

Quote:Never mind the fact that you are limiting the child's future by by deliberately misguiding them on what is real and what is not.

Now we're talking about what this is really about. We think we're right and we want to stop you from teaching wrong so we're going to call it abuse, not because of any research that demonstrates that, but because we want some flimsy pretense to stop you so we're just gonna say it is.

The problem is that culture is contextual. If I live on an island full of people that believe something preposterously false and my parents teach me the "truth", I'M the one who is going to have a limited future.

What we're saying is that there should be one context. OURS! It's the ideal in all cases. But that simply isn't how things work.

Quote:And to condemn scientific learning will diminish their capabilities of supporting themselves when they are grown up. The world is becoming more technologically dependent every day, and those who cannot adapt to this change will find themselves limited in what they can do to support themselves and their future families.

Now we're talking scientifically.

There is, increasingly, a global economic, political, ideological and cultural context. Within that context, certain understandings and beliefs have great value. The mistake is to think that because these things have value in THAT context, then they have value in ALL contexts and because something is maladaptive in THIS context that it is valueless in ALL contexts. But that's just not how it works.

Wade Davis, anthropologist in residence at National Geographic, has stated that there are currently (he said this within the last decade I believe) 6 000 languages in the world. But because many of them are no longer being taught because they are not as advantageous in the current context, 3 000 human languages will disappear within one generation. That's considered mass extinction. So ideas that aren't advantageous in this context need no help to be driven to extinction. But the idea that those 3 000 languages are objectively without value is preposterous.

Now, ideas like racism and maybe even hell, have less and less relevance in today's context and smaller and smaller representations in the global meme pool. I'm not saying they're great. I'm not saying they're hunky dory, but culture isn't based on what's ideal, it's based on what works in a given context. So maybe there is an argument that they're maladaptive in this context, but that doesn't mean they are to be stamped out. That's cultural genocide. And it doesn't mean that they should be legislated against. That's counter to freedom. And it doesn't mean that teaching things that aren't considered advantageous in this context is tantamount to abuse.

Hey, Angry.

Quote:My problem is that Hitchens and Dawkins are implying all religious education is child abuse which obviously cannot be true. And this gives religious people an argument against us...

My question really is does anyone else see how this debate appears to religious people - and I mean the most reasonable and rational religious people - not Westboro nutcases. I suspect that we are making the chasm of misunderstanding on a narrow point of common interest far wider than it needs to be. Can anyone else see this?...

But we are in danger of being accused of something worse. The accusation from, say Peter Hitchens, is that we are trying to sever the binds of parental instruction so we can impose on them our own twisted morality. This accusation has potential for real resonance which can damage our cause.

I absolutely see this.

And it's not just an argument against you or a potential PR nightmare. It's a legitimate concern. We're talking about stopping parents from teaching their children things. That's 1984.

Hey, Mark.

Quote:There is no doubt in my mind a "religious education" has as its very core an agenda of establishing power and control over an innocent child.

I'll just object for the record on this one.

I do want to be clear about something though. I enthusiastically INVITE child psychologists to examine the effects of specific teachings to children and I would be more than willing to support amendments to the legislation that are in line with their findings.

Quote:If Christian adults disagree with me and genuinely believe the Christian agenda is so wonderful, why the pressing need to indoctrinate and pre-prejudice young minds with so much of it? Why not teach Christianity to children when they are old enough to better think for themselves? Geography, trigonometry, and economics are universally regarded as valuable, but no one thinks a five-year-old needs to be saturated with them.

I'm sorry. I like you, Mark. You're a smart guy. But that's one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard.

We don't teach five year olds those things because they are physiologically incapable of understanding them. It's an issue of human biology, not preference.

Hey, Cufflink.

Frames are powerful.

The government dictates what must be taught to children. What they do not do is dictate what should NOT be taught to children.

You've framed it so that it seems that the government tells you the only thing you're allowed to teach and that it is to the exclusion of everything else. That's not the case. A parent can teach their child to recite the Qur'an AND do phys-ed. There is no limitation to extracurricular activity, just clear parameters of what the curriculum is.

I grew up with a boy that did 5 days of public school followed by a Saturday at Armenian school where he learned about Armenia, its history and about the language (I knew the Armenian alphabet had 36 characters in grade-school because he told me). The fact that this is extra to the curriculum is the reason they call it extracurricular.

This entire argument has nothing to do with what should be taught. It has only to do with what should not be taught.

Do we as private citizens or we as the state, have the right to tell parents what they cannot teach their children?

Can we base the justification for the idea that we can when it's child abuse on our opinion, or do we require scientific data?

On example 3, I was at a BBQ this weekend in southern Quebec where a man gave his 9 month old daughter some beer. She didn't much like it, we all had a laugh. But if a state representative had shown up and tried to take her, I would have laid down my life to stop them.

People roll differently. That's just life. Legal drinking age in Quebec is 18. Try increasing it to 21 and see how far you get. Won't happen because our context is different.

If I catch my newly pubescent kid jerking off in the bathroom and is throw him a stack of nudies, who the fuck are you (general you, not you you, Cufflink) to tell me I'm a bad parent?

I always say, the one film plot that makes my fucking blood boil, like actually angers me, is when some group of people are confronted with a situation and through a long process, figure out something that works for everyone involved and then some asshole from outside with no knowledge of the people as individuals or of the particulars of their situation swoops in and says that they can't do that because it doesn’t conform to some ideal and then shuts them down. I could rip a tree out of the ground after I see a movie like that.

On example 4, it goes back to the extracurricular thing, but, there was a racist couple in Winnipeg who had their daughter (and son too if I remember) taken away from them. I don't agree with that. And I'm black! I'm the guy they hate.

That being said, I support the fact that there are limits to free speech in Canada. For example, you can't publically incite hatred. Maybe 15 years ago, the KKK tried to break into Quebec. They distributed The Clansmen; their shit rag newspaper. I had a copy in my hand. And they got shut down quick, fast and in a hurry.

I don't like that racists exist. I don't like that they teach their children to hate me. I don't like when people tell their kids that everyone that doesn't accept Christ is going to Hell (although I have less issue with teaching them that there is consequence to being a dick). I absolutely think that it is a subject that should be addressed. But addressed is vastly different than outlawed. The idea that the state could have the power to come into my house and tell me that I can't teach my children... it doesn't matter what... sickens me.

Lastly, I don't think that this conversation has strayed. I think that the question has arisen, what are the consequences of classifying it as child abuse? I think that it's a legitimate question that influences whether we should consider it child abuse. And it's not an all or nothing question. Just because it isn't child abuse doesn't mean there isn't any problem or that it's not objectionable or that we can't have a conversation with the people doing what we object to. Blessedly, the world is more complex than that.

I absolutely think that there are dangerous ideas in the world. Unlimited growth for example (and after years, I just realized that even that is a contextual issue). And I would absolutely like to see that idea disappear. But I’m interested in figuring out how culture works first instead of just resorting to some draconian measure. I believe that one day we’ll be able to engineer cultures like we engineer organisms. That’s going to be a dangerous time because it can be as harmful as it is helpful. It will be able to enslave us as easily as it will be able to emancipate us. But if we go into that period thinking that we simply have to change everything according to our whim, then we’re doomed.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-08-2011, 03:17 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
I think Dawkins and Hitchens are not doing their cause any favors by engaging in this fight. If a religious person really believes that their children are going to hell then it is unreasonable to try to prevent them from talking to them about it. I don't see what we gain here other than disillusioning and alienating people needlessly.

IMO we should spend our efforts on fights that have a greater chance of success and leave this issue alone. How about we focus on real abuses, unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation in the name of religion?

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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30-08-2011, 05:17 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(30-08-2011 03:17 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  I think Dawkins and Hitchens are not doing their cause any favors by engaging in this fight. If a religious person really believes that their children are going to hell then it is unreasonable to try to prevent them from talking to them about it. I don't see what we gain here other than disillusioning and alienating people needlessly.

IMO we should spend our efforts on fights that have a greater chance of success and leave this issue alone. How about we focus on real abuses, unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation in the name of religion?

I don't think that we can really fight it. But all by the same token, we don't have to like it, or agree with it either. I certainly don't.
I do agree that we do need to address some bigger issues. Maybe, one day it would "trickle down" to the smaller issues. How to wage war with stupidity is certainly the paradox of all time. But as I've stated many times, having this (especially the hate issues) continue to be taught is the paramount advisary of forward learning & teaching.
I see on TV news every day, people taking advantage of the "Dumbing Down of America". It seems to, for the most part, be fairly even between politics and religion. And in this upcoming election, it seems that the "god" card is being played more heavily than ever before. (That I can remember)
It also seems that the religious nutcases are getting far too much media attention these days to. I was a travelling musician for many years. I know well the line "Bad publicity is good publicity". It seems that the nutcases are getting far too much these days. michele bachman, rick perry, and newt gingrich are high on that list.
Education is our best ally, but counter education is our greatest foe. That's why I stand so strongly against it. I simply cannot fathom, nor do I want to, whatever is in someones mind who would willing lie to and mislead their own children. But the biggest problem really is THEY DON'T THINK THEIR LYING! This is the sad truth that keeps their perverse silliness passing from generation to generation. And this is exactly what every church/religion wants!

Oxymoron: "Religious teaching"
"Simple common sense goes out the window when religion comes in through the door." Me (Blasphemy Fan )
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01-09-2011, 10:57 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(30-08-2011 03:17 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  I think Dawkins and Hitchens are not doing their cause any favors by engaging in this fight. If a religious person really believes that their children are going to hell then it is unreasonable to try to prevent them from talking to them about it. I don't see what we gain here other than disillusioning and alienating people needlessly.

IMO we should spend our efforts on fights that have a greater chance of success and leave this issue alone. How about we focus on real abuses, unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation in the name of religion?

It sounds like you're trying to derail this thread. If you believe that unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation are worth discussing, start a thread about them. If you don't believe religious child abuse is worth discussing, then don't reply here.

I gave an example from my own life when I discussed lack of evolutionary instruction due to a religious upbringing. You may not "see what we gain here", but I think those of us with a childhood indoctrination do. We don't want to see kids with the same ignorance or unreasonable bias that we were given by our parents.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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01-09-2011, 11:28 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
They don't think they are lying. Well said Basphemy Fan.

This is huge. Taking the view from a believer what else can one do but spread the fear and falsehoods to one's children? And when they see the fear and falsehoods spread by another faith they have to be passive about it because they are just as guilty in the name of their own 'beliefs'. To deny a parent the right to pass on these ideas is to raise questions about your own parenting. The unprovable nature of belief makes this whole argument relative.

I agree that education is the answer. If we can plant some seeds and work on some of the obvious problems (physical mutilation and discriminations against gender and other traditional social categorization) maybe eventually we can make a point against hell and other more wide spread concepts.

Most kids are victims of some form of psychological abuse in the minds of other people, in a religious context or not. I'm sure a parent raising a child to be a free thinker will be viewed as an abuser by some believers.

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there.
Dana Gould
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01-09-2011, 11:44 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(01-09-2011 10:57 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(30-08-2011 03:17 PM)nontheocrat Wrote:  I think Dawkins and Hitchens are not doing their cause any favors by engaging in this fight. If a religious person really believes that their children are going to hell then it is unreasonable to try to prevent them from talking to them about it. I don't see what we gain here other than disillusioning and alienating people needlessly.

IMO we should spend our efforts on fights that have a greater chance of success and leave this issue alone. How about we focus on real abuses, unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation in the name of religion?

It sounds like you're trying to derail this thread. If you believe that unjust discrimination and ritual mutilation are worth discussing, start a thread about them. If you don't believe religious child abuse is worth discussing, then don't reply here.

I gave an example from my own life when I discussed lack of evolutionary instruction due to a religious upbringing. You may not "see what we gain here", but I think those of us with a childhood indoctrination do. We don't want to see kids with the same ignorance or unreasonable bias that we were given by our parents.

Whoa, I'm not trying to derail anything, this thread asked for our opinion and I gave mine.

You are not unique, I grew up as a Pentecostal speaking in tongues, the whole Jesus Camp deal. My parents did what they thought was right out of love for me. It put me at a huge disadvantage to be sure. Mistaken as they were, I cannot in any way call it child abuse.

Sorry to insult you with my presence, but I humbly still submit that atheists are harming the cause of atheism by calling this abuse. If the members of this forum do not want me to reply any longer then I will stop.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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01-09-2011, 12:24 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Nontheocrat, I think someone got a little carried away. Please do not stop posting! You're one of the forum members whose posts I most look forward to reading.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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01-09-2011, 12:37 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(01-09-2011 12:24 PM)cufflink Wrote:  Nontheocrat, I think someone got a little carried away. Please do not stop posting! You're one of the forum members whose posts I most look forward to reading.

I only meant on this thread, not altogether.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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