Should religion be illegal for children?

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Izawwlgood
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:34 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:What would you call it when a parent signs a consent form for a child to have surgery? And again if an adult is unable to consent to a similar procedure yet needs it? Both parties, the parents and guardians, have legal responsibilities, to act for and in the best interests of the people involved. They can and do grant consent for things that need it.
That is the Guardian consenting to a procedure because the dependent is incapable of providing informed consent.

Notice some keywords here - incapable. of providing. informed. consent.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:44 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:I’ve had this thought for a while and I would like to discuss it, I have had a search and couldn’t find anything related to it and my argument is this:

Society bans children from many rights and privileges on the grounds that they are not mature, intelligent or responsible enough to make certain choices, to do certain things, or to foresee and properly judge the consequences. Obvious examples: having sex, getting married, acquiring debt, driving, drinking alcohol etc.

Why then does society judge children to be mature, intelligent or responsible enough to understand and consensually accept a particular theology? Which is often equally or more complicated and difficult to understand then other things that we ban them from doing and is also capable of having consequences that are just as serious. So why not make them wait until they are 18 or 21 and are fully capable of choosing a religion for themselves or not choosing one at all?


How do you do this, exactly? How do you ban a belief?

Sure, no arguments that children are generally less capable, but I'm not sure of how you would even raise a kid without passing on SOME views regarding religion. I have no idea how a government could force people to do this.

44 stone lions wrote:
Why do you think that allowing children to be religious reflects a judgment about maturity, intelligence, or responsibility? We do not ordinarily require people to be mature, intelligent, or responsible in order to hold beliefs. In fact, I can't think of any belief that it's illegal to hold in a liberal society, for any reason.


Why would a liberal society allow its citizens to be forced into believing one thing when they don't have the competence and/or ability to question it or reject it?


So, you're against education of children entirely, then?

Good. Once we stamp out all exposure to everything, then surely these uninfluenced blank slates will be better prepared for adulthood.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:47 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
morriswalters wrote:What would you call it when a parent signs a consent form for a child to have surgery? And again if an adult is unable to consent to a similar procedure yet needs it? Both parties, the parents and guardians, have legal responsibilities, to act for and in the best interests of the people involved. They can and do grant consent for things that need it.
That is the Guardian consenting to a procedure because the dependent is incapable of providing informed consent.

Notice some keywords here - incapable. of providing. informed. consent.
Yes. You can quibble if you wish, but the legal fiction is clear, you speak for them since they can't speak for themselves. The only thing different than acting for yourself is that you have a higher bar to satisfy in considering what you can consent to when acting for someone else.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:18 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
morriswalters wrote:What would you call it when a parent signs a consent form for a child to have surgery? And again if an adult is unable to consent to a similar procedure yet needs it? Both parties, the parents and guardians, have legal responsibilities, to act for and in the best interests of the people involved. They can and do grant consent for things that need it.
That is the Guardian consenting to a procedure because the dependent is incapable of providing informed consent.

Notice some keywords here - incapable. of providing. informed. consent.
Yes. You can quibble if you wish, but the legal fiction is clear, you speak for them since they can't speak for themselves. The only thing different than acting for yourself is that you have a higher bar to satisfy in considering what you can consent to when acting for someone else.
It's not just a quibble though - the point is clear that dependents don't need to grant consent to have things done to them, and that in that vein, having things done to them is not the equivalent of them having granted consent.

This isn't a problem in all cases - a toddler need not consent to getting a vital procedure or such, because the toddler is incapable of making decisions that would lead them to deciding whether or not to consent. We, as a civilized rational society, choose to recognize that in some situations, individuals need not grant consent to have things done to them, because some individuals are incapable of doing so in the first place.

But it's important to recognize that that is not the equivalent of them granting consent.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby icanus » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:31 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, no arguments that children are generally less capable, but I'm not sure of how you would even raise a kid without passing on SOME views regarding religion. I have no idea how a government could force people to do this.

It's pretty easy. You don't talk to children about religion. I was raised that way by an atheist mother and grandfather and a catholic grandmother. On the rare occasions the topic came up, they all phrased their answers as "I believe x, other people believe y, you can make up your own mind". I guess you could argue that they were effectively passing on an atheistic view of religion, but only in the same way as typical parenting in ancient Rome effectively passed on a lack of enthusiasm for reality TV.

As far as the government enforcing this, it's rather like the issue of healthy eating for children - governments can't (and shouldn't) monitor every meal eaten by a minor, but they can make sure they at least a get a decent lunch at school. Same applies to religion - enure that all children get a decently broad exposure to different views at school, even if you can't stop them getting a one sided indoctination at home.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:52 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:Why then does society judge children to be mature, intelligent or responsible enough to understand and consensually accept a particular theology?


Because society doesn't typically consider theology to be something that needs to be consented to; and because for most people, it's far too ingrained into their lives to be considered something that can be separated and "made illegal" in any practical way. For example, my parents are Catholic; I was raised Catholic because our family lived Catholic. It wasn't something that they could compartmentalize and separate from their daily lives. Time was set aside on Sundays to go to church, sure, but that it wasn't and isn't limited to that. It defined how we acted towards one another, and towards other people.

And as for what that meant... basically, be good people. Treat others how you'd like to be treated.

Which is often equally or more complicated and difficult to understand then other things that we ban them from doing and is also capable of having consequences that are just as serious.


What consequences? Being honest? Being charitable? Treating other people with dignity and respect?

Sure, there are some believers out there who do stupid things in the names of their religion; sometimes horrible things. But there are also believers - far more, I would argue - who do good things. And far, far more than that that do very little good or bad that can be traced to their religion.

Rather than prohibit religion, why not prohibit the horrible things? That way, you're addressing the behavior of the tiny subset of religious people who actually do horrible things, and you're leaving the rest of us alone?

So why not make them wait until they are 18 or 21 and are fully capable of choosing a religion for themselves or not choosing one at all?


Because, as I've said before, for most people it's not something that you can just carve out of your life and set aside. Even for people who aren't particularly strict in their observance of their religion - which is probably most people - it tends to have an influence, in varying degrees, on who they are and how they live. Even if it was a good idea, there is simply no practical way to prohibit that.

I have friends who drifted away from the church until they had kids of their own, and then went back because they wanted their kids to grow up with what they grew up with. The sense of community. The morals. The tradition. Because they saw it as something that was positive in their life, and wanted their kids to have that thing. It strikes me as ridiculous to even suggest that they not be allowed to do that, because of vague consequences that may or may not even apply to them.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:10 pm UTC

I think it's worth pointing out that 'values' are not fixed. At 10, 16, and 20 I wanted different things from life than I do now.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby 44 stone lions » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:48 pm UTC

elasto wrote:No, my assumption was that you were from the US


Yes I did consider that may have been what you had done, but ruled it out due to me having stated multiple times in the thread that I am British/from the UK. The remaining two choices were that you were from the US or that you had brought it up as a random example. On balance of probability I'd consider that most people would choose an example from their own experience and thus chose the former.

morriswalters wrote:To the OP. If a child was raised and not allowed to participate fully in the life of its parents, can you imagine that it might feel some sense of desertion about that. Think if your parents had never involved you with the activities related to church. Church among other things is a social environment. How much of your life would have been removed from your experiences. You can't make your child's life a patchwork experience.


Probably some, and probably in a non-negligible way, however religion was not the only this that I shared with my parents as a child. As a personal example I would say that the hours I spent with my dad teaching how to fix an engine or build things was far important, and had far more of an impact on our relationship and my development as a child than the hours we spent in church. Also I grew up in a predominately protestant area, and a lot of the kids there basically viewed me as an alien (eg "I don't want to play with the catholic kid, they drink blood in church" believe it or not this is something that that kid had been told by his parents, and then took it upon himself to inform every child he could find of this "fact") so it probably meant that I had less friends. (Looking back obviously I don't blame the kids, they were just kids, but religion divides as much as it brings people together)

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:03 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:As a personal example I would say that the hours I spent with my dad teaching how to fix an engine or build things was far important, and had far more of an impact on our relationship and my development as a child than the hours we spent in church.
I don't think you're fairly recognizing the fact that all parents and all children are not the same as you.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby mcd001 » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:14 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Rather than prohibit religion, why not prohibit the horrible things?

Just so! (And the horrible things are most likely already prohibited.)

Hard to follow that, but here goes: First, as has been pointed out by others in this thread, the idea of prohibiting the teaching of religion to children could only be implemented by the sort of draconian and totalitarian measures that no modern liberal state could sustain. A child's parents are expected to have the best interests of that child at heart, and while a quick search of the news will reveal exceptions, they are rare in the populace at large. I doubt there are any better alternatives at hand; certainly a bureaucratic institution like the modern government is not one.

Second, the OP states that children should not be exposed to any religion until they are old enough to decide which of them (if any) to embrace. I think he believes that this constitutes a neutral treatment of religious beliefs, while the opposite is true. By treating religious beliefs in such a way, society is making a judgement that these beliefs are different than all other beliefs that children are permitted to be taught, that they are not as important or consequential. Even if society makes a statement of just how important they are at the grand religious unveiling, that statement will not ring true.

Finally, some of the posts seem to imply that the purpose of religion is to teach (and enforce) ethics and morality. While this may be true for some religions, it's not true for Christianity (at least the protestant variety, which is the one I'm most familiar with). The purpose of Christianity is salvation; Christian morality is a fringe benefit. If you believe the teachings of Christ, none of us are ethical or moral enough to justify salvation on our own merits. I do not tell people about Christianity to improve their morals; I do it to save their souls. There may be other religions where ethics and morals are also a by-product of the core beliefs, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment on them. This has no bearing on the original post; I'm just correcting what I see as a common misconception.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby 44 stone lions » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:37 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
44 stone lions wrote:As a personal example I would say that the hours I spent with my dad teaching how to fix an engine or build things was far important, and had far more of an impact on our relationship and my development as a child than the hours we spent in church.
I don't think you're fairly recognizing the fact that all parents and all children are not the same as you.


It's funny because my dad also used to take me fishing and I used to hate it, but my brother loved it so much that he now works as a fisherman. Although this comic is missing the bit the last panel where the kid says "I guess all we've got in common is religion then"

So religion is just a fallback for parents where you force them to believe something from an early age so that you can have something in common with them later?

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:54 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:Probably some, and probably in a non-negligible way, however religion was not the only this that I shared with my parents as a child.
Precisely. It's interwoven through the social family of your parents life. They weren't strictly about religion I'm sure. They did other things and involved you in them. It's what parents do.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:03 am UTC

44 stone lions wrote:So religion is just a fallback for parents where you force them to believe something from an early age so that you can have something in common with them later?
I think you just described a huge swath of parenting.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:35 am UTC

Before I had kids, I knew everything about ideal parenting. It's amazing how stupid, incompetent, and negligent one becomes when one actually becomes responsible for children's growth and wellbeing.

Fortunately, there are plenty of childless people around to tell us what we're doing wrong. If only they really could pass legislation to force us parents do things their way. Sigh.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:43 am UTC

I think others have covered the main problem with this argument quite well--whether or not childhood indoctrination is desirable or not, there really is no way to prevent parents from teaching their children whatever it is that they happen to believe and whatever values that they happen to hold without imposing some really undesirable, draconian provisions on them. The level of coercion needed to prevent parents from indoctrination far exceeds the level of coercion that parents apply to their children to get them to believe in the first place (that isn't to say that there aren't cases of parents applying levels of coercion that probably do justify some government intervention--say, kicking your minor child out of the house for "coming out" atheist"). The record for forced secularization is pretty shoddy. You can look at the recent histories of Northern Africa, parts of the Middle East, and the former Soviet Bloc for many examples of ways in which this can go terribly wrong.

For the most part, Western countries (and many others) tend to give parents very wide latitude for how they raise their children. I certainly think that there are certain cultural/religious practices that are currently legal but probably shouldn't be, and others that probably should be legal but are nonetheless fairly reprehensible. Practices are much easier to dictate than beliefs, however. The government can much more easily, say, require that children be given life-saving medical care even if it violates their parents' religious beliefs (e.g. blood transfusions to Jehovah Witnesses) than it can say, ban the belief that immodestly dressed women are responsible for getting raped. Even then I'm sure you could find many examples of governments banning certain cultural or religious practices as a way of oppressing or assimilating a minority population. The only way that we've found to actually preserve freedom of religion, freedom of thought and speech, and freedom from oppressive government seems to be to have governments not to actively promote any particular religion, but also not to actively promote non-religion, beyond what is minimally necessary to prevent violence or unnecessary suffering, and combine that with both a robust education system and a healthy economy (and probably universal broadband internet access would really help too).

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Autolykos » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:25 am UTC

I completely agree that it's impossible (and probably undesirable) to stop parents from raising their kids in their own religion when at home.
But the least our society could do is to stop supporting it in public.

- Religious organizations should not be allowed to target children in particular, the same way cigarette ads aren't allowed to target minors and you aren't allowed to sell them porn. Or, if that seems too harsh, we should at least stop paying them for advertising their beliefs to kids (churches seem to be quite keen offering activities for kids, and their advertisement is funded mostly from tax money - at least here in Germany).

- We should not even acknowledge kids as "having a religion", e.g. for matters of what classes to put them into. There are no catholic, protestant or muslim kids, there are only kids with catholic, protestant or muslim parents.

- There should be no classes in schools that teach religious claims as if they were facts. Just mixing up religious education of all faiths would probably get you quite far here (at least in countries without a strong majority religion; if one exists, they need to be more actively diverse).

- Teach the scientific method. Teach applied psychology, especially self-deception and cognitive bias. (I'd also add statistics, but that's less relevant here). Teach it early. Seriously, I only made contact with this stuff when I was at university, and not in any of my mandatory courses. If you can become a physicist without having to know even the most basic stuff about rationality, I don't dare to think how bad others must have it.

The last one is probably the most important and the most effective. I think of religion not as the problem itself, but as a symptom of a much larger problem. It's the dead canary in the coal mine, and unless we get in some fresh air, taking out the canary won't do much good.

Religion is only dangerous in so far as it teaches that believing something on faith is a good thing. Getting children to accept this will seriously cripple their ability to form a correct picture of reality later on. This, incidentally, is also the part that's most effectively countered by learning rationalism and seeing it work.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:38 pm UTC

Autolykos wrote:There should be no classes in schools that teach religious claims as if they were facts. Just mixing up religious education of all faiths would probably get you quite far here (at least in countries without a strong majority religion; if one exists, they need to be more actively diverse).
What I hear you saying is parents should not be able to choose what schools to send their children to.

Autolykos wrote:Religious organizations should not be allowed to target children in particular
Enuja already wrote about coming of age ceremonies, and particularly how they are extremely important to a number of faiths... Like... all the faiths.

Autolykos wrote:We should not even acknowledge kids as "having a religion", e.g. for matters of what classes to put them into. There are no catholic, protestant or muslim kids, there are only kids with catholic, protestant or muslim parents.
Because parents are going to... not take their kids to Church with them?

Teach the scientific method. Teach applied psychology, especially self-deception and cognitive bias
Alternatively, you could just teach the religious texts with an eye to the issues found in them? A lot of my religious upbringing involved criticizing the actions of the Patriarchs, which led to criticizing the actions of God. I'm all for teaching the scientific method, but it's not some silver bullet that'll erase religious belief. Unless... Are you unaware of the historical weight behind the religious scientists that have shaped scientific progress?

Autolykos wrote: If you can become a physicist without having to know even the most basic stuff about rationality, I don't dare to think how bad others must have it.
wat




I'm pretty atheist, but the low bar set for most of the arguments here in support of the OP is frustrating to see.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:19 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Autolykos wrote:There should be no classes in schools that teach religious claims as if they were facts. Just mixing up religious education of all faiths would probably get you quite far here (at least in countries without a strong majority religion; if one exists, they need to be more actively diverse).
What I hear you saying is parents should not be able to choose what schools to send their children to.

...

Autolykos wrote:We should not even acknowledge kids as "having a religion", e.g. for matters of what classes to put them into. There are no catholic, protestant or muslim kids, there are only kids with catholic, protestant or muslim parents.
Because parents are going to... not take their kids to Church with them?


IIRC from my own lessons on German, "religion" is a regular class that exists in public schools in Germany, which I believe is what Autolykos is talking about?

I agree with your broader point, though, Izawwlgood; history does not suggest that the scientific method is a particularly great tool for eliminating religiosity.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Autolykos » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:29 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:What I hear you saying is parents should not be able to choose what schools to send their children to.
What I am saying is that schools teaching religion as if it were a fact should not be funded by the public. That's pretty much all one can (and should) hope for.

Enuja already wrote about coming of age ceremonies, and particularly how they are extremely important to a number of faiths... Like... all the faiths.
I don't get what you're arguing for, or against, with this point. If the ritual is that important to them, they can do it just as well when the potential candidates are old enough to decide for themselves. Wouldn't that make it even more valuable?
Besides, I see not much point in regulating that part. What I'm mostly getting at is that church-run nursery schools and the like should not receive any public funding or support. At all. I'd also support keeping a close eye on the level of indoctrination, but that might be difficult in practice.

Alternatively, you could just teach the religious texts with an eye to the issues found in them? A lot of my religious upbringing involved criticizing the actions of the Patriarchs, which led to criticizing the actions of God. I'm all for teaching the scientific method, but it's not some silver bullet that'll erase religious belief. Unless... Are you unaware of the historical weight behind the religious scientists that have shaped scientific progress?
Isolated refutations of single points are no good at all when it's the premises and the way of thinking that's wrong. And it also works the other way round - once you have the right premises and avoid faulty logic, you don't need to refute every single one of millions of details. They will all disappear the moment you look at them.
As for scientists who happened to also be religious: One could write whole books about the matter, but the most important point IMHO is, that if their science was any good, it was developed independently of their religious beliefs. Humans are quite good at compartmentalization.
Also, you don't need to be that good at scientific thinking to produce good science. Finding the right problem at the right time counts for much more.

Autolykos wrote:If you can become a physicist without having to know even the most basic stuff about rationality, I don't dare to think how bad others must have it.
wat
What mythical place are you from, that you can honestly claim your education system to be so much better (if that is what you wanted to say)? It seems to be a pretty universal problem to me - memorizing trivial facts will get you almost any degree in almost any country.

Puppyclaws wrote:history does not suggest that the scientific method is a particularly great tool for eliminating religiosity.
We seem to draw completely different conclusions from the same observations. Religion may not have been eradicated completely, only reduced from "almost universal" to "majority position" - but that is rather consistent with only a minority having absorbed scientific thinking even today. And once you look at scientists in particular, they are less, not more, religious than average, and of the ones that still identify as members of a religion, very few take it literally. Most tend to redefine "God" to mean "the beauty and order in the universe", which is so far removed from what's in the books that you can hardly call them religious at all.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:14 pm UTC

What the hell, I'll stick my hand in the garbage disposal... which is how I feel about religious debates...

What's wrong with teaching kids to take things on faith? I am thinking of my (extremely intelligent and well-educated) Catholic grandfather, who is quite old now, telling me that most of his friends were living in a state of terror about their impending death, because they had no faith in an afterlife. Faith makes life better, and I'm not just talking about faith in God. My faith in my husband (and his reciprocation of it) has made my marriage incredibly wonderful.

Also, you might note that many religions don't let children fully practice them. You have a confirmation or bat mitzvah or some other thingy. In my church (baptist) kids aren't considered to have reached the "age of responsibility," as one of my preachers put it, until the age of 12 or so. They can't be deacons, they don't have to be committed to Jesus, and so on.

Anyway, it's not like atheists have a better track record as better, kinder, gentler citizens or something. There's lots of nice atheists, but there's also lots of tools.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:33 pm UTC

Autolykos wrote:What I am saying is that schools teaching religion as if it were a fact should not be funded by the public. That's pretty much all one can (and should) hope for.
Then you should be careful how you word things because the arguments you're making have serious holes in them based on how easily misconstrued they can be.

Autolykos wrote:I don't get what you're arguing for, or against, with this point. If the ritual is that important to them, they can do it just as well when the potential candidates are old enough to decide for themselves. Wouldn't that make it even more valuable?
Presumably you've never been to a baptism? Or a bar/bat-mitzvah?

Autolykos wrote:Also, you don't need to be that good at scientific thinking to produce good science. Finding the right problem at the right time counts for much more.
Indeed, though I'm not sure what you think this has to do with anything at all.

Autolykos wrote:What mythical place are you from, that you can honestly claim your education system to be so much better (if that is what you wanted to say)? It seems to be a pretty universal problem to me - memorizing trivial facts will get you almost any degree in almost any country.
I'm not even sure what you're on about here. I was asking you to clarify what you meant in the bit about physicists not needing to know 'basic stuff about rationality', and you started blathering about bad educational systems?

Autolykos wrote:And once you look at scientists in particular, they are less, not more, religious than average, and of the ones that still identify as members of a religion, very few take it literally. Most tend to redefine "God" to mean "the beauty and order in the universe", which is so far removed from what's in the books that you can hardly call them religious at all.
I don't know what point you're trying to make here, how you're supporting it, or what you think scientists religious views have to do with this discussion.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:49 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:What the hell, I'll stick my hand in the garbage disposal...


Me too! Wheee!

Fizz wrote:I am thinking of my (extremely intelligent and well-educated) Catholic grandfather, who is quite old now, telling me that most of his friends were living in a state of terror about their impending death, because they had no faith in an afterlife.[Citation other than crazy old religious guy needed]


Are you sure they actually lived in a state of terror, or is that just what your nutter grandpa says?

Fizz wrote:Faith makes life better[Citation needed], and I'm not just talking about faith in God. My faith in my husband (and his reciprocation of it) has made my marriage incredibly wonderful.

Faith in a spouse is not the same thing as faith in a deity. Faith in a spouse is better described as trust. Based on your previous experience and knowledge of your spouse, you trust that your spouse loves you and has your best interests in mind. Based on a complete lack of evidence and knowledge, you have faith that a deity loves you and has your best interests in mind.


Fizz wrote:Also, you might note that many religions don't let children fully practice them. You have a confirmation or bat mitzvah or some other thingy. In my church (baptist) kids aren't considered to have reached the "age of responsibility," as one of my preachers put it, until the age of 12 or so. They can't be deacons, they don't have to be committed to Jesus, and so on.

Yes, because 12 year olds are fully mature and capable of making life-altering decisions and determining the existence and will of god(s).

Fizz wrote:Anyway, it's not like atheists have a better track record as better, kinder, gentler citizens or something. There's lots of nice atheists, but there's also lots of tools.


By what measure? By just about every measure you can name, secular/atheist people and countries come out on top. If you are just talking Atheists being dicks toward Theists, we still come out on top.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:20 pm UTC

Since we have agreed that this is the garbage disposal (or better yet, the blender! Blood smoothie!) I'll just reply casually.

Religion makes people happier, studies have shown. (Google "Study religion makes happier." Too many links to paste.) The "why" seems to vary depending on who's reporting it. I suppose I am equating religion with faith, although I concede that there are religious non-believers. (Though in this day and age, when religion isn't mandatory, there are probably fewer of those.)

You could split hairs between faith in one's husband and faith in God, but as a matter of fact, for me, the two are quite similar. I don't have faith in my husband based merely on my experience of him in the past. I have faith in him because he is my husband. I have faith in him even when I do not trust him. This is what brings us through the hard times. So far, he has rewarded my faith. But for me, faith is not exactly about the rewards. Faith is bigger than that. It's very hard to describe. You might think of it as idealism combined with love and stubbornness.

And yes, some 12-year-olds are quite bright and mature, if they are raised well. But the age of responsibility is not necessarily fixed; what would the age of responsibility be for a person with Down's Syndrome?

As far as atheist countries being kinder, gentler places... how about North Korea or Cuba? I might more accurately say "atheist regimes" in that case, I suppose, but all the same they are not nice places to live.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:22 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:Religion makes people happier, studies have shown.
Since we're bringing up studies - religious is also tied to lower intelligence. Higher intelligence is also tied to lower reported happiness.

Fizz wrote:As far as atheist countries being kinder, gentler places... how about North Korea or Cuba? I might more accurately say "atheist regimes" in that case, I suppose, but all the same they are not nice places to live.
I take you haven't done much in the way of research here -
Cuba

But sure, there are shitty atheists. That's not really something we're claiming.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby icanus » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:28 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:As far as atheist countries being kinder, gentler places... how about North Korea[?]

You are aware that the North Korean regime insists that the Kim family are gods, right.

North Korea is even less of an atheist state than the vatican, in that it actually has its god as head of state.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:30 pm UTC

[eiditng so as not to double post]
ha! Didn't think of that way... hard to think of NK's state "religion" as a religion as opposed to oppression in the form of a religion.

As for Cuba, the people might be religious, but the regime is Communist.

In fact, Communism (100 million dead and counting) is essentially atheist, no matter whether they partner with religions or take the form of religion. At heart, the idea is that nothing is more powerful than the State... certainly not God.
Last edited by Fizz on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Chen » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:34 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Fizz wrote:As far as atheist countries being kinder, gentler places... how about North Korea or Cuba? I might more accurately say "atheist regimes" in that case, I suppose, but all the same they are not nice places to live.
I take you haven't done much in the way of research here -
Cuba

But sure, there are shitty atheists. That's not really something we're claiming.


I think the original comment was about secular states, which is what Cuba considers itself. Not about countries that somehow contain mostly atheists.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:54 pm UTC

Anyway, the point about atheists being just as bad as the rest of us is...

Christians have a proverb: You will know the tree by the fruit it bears. Letting kids grow up religious bears good fruit (and sometimes bad). So does letting kids grow up atheist. So why not leave them alone?

Or you could go by the medical saying: First, do no harm. It would do much more harm to prevent a kid from following in the footsteps of his ancestors than it would to let him learn (from one point of view) false ideas.

[edited for clarity]

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:00 pm UTC

So, putting aside your 'Communism has 100m deaths on it's hands' noise...

Fizz wrote:Or you could go by the medical saying: First, do no harm. It would do much more harm to prevent a kid from following in the footsteps of his ancestors than it would to let him learn (from one point of view) false ideas.
Yes, this is fine, and probably the best a parent can hope to do. The problem is who decides what is best. Religion happened to be a terrible fit for me, and caused/s me a lot of anguish. Religion happened to be great for my sister, and caused/s her a lot of joy. I think my sister all told is a pretty stand up person. I think I'm also a pretty stand up person. My parents had no way of knowing ahead of time that we would react so differently to effectively the same stimuli.

And neither would some governing Department of Parenting Ethics or whatnot.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:09 pm UTC

Great way of articulating it.

As far as the Communist death count... alright, let's take the low number, 20 million. (Going by wikipedia, which we all know and completely trust.)

Still a lot. Not noise. Dead people. Very important.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:10 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:As far as the Communist death count... alright, let's take the low number, 20 million. (Going by wikipedia, which we all know and completely trust.)
I mean, lets not? You could just as easily as say that right handedness was responsible for all the worlds wars for all the use that little nugget of information serves. Or maybe mustaches? Or 'countries with horses'?
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby brenok » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:13 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:Christians have a proverb: You will know the tree by the fruit it bears. Letting kids grow up religious bears good fruit (and sometimes bad). So does letting kids grow up atheist. So why not leave them alone?

If only religious people could follow that last part...

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:15 pm UTC

Fizz wrote:As far as the Communist death count... alright, let's take the low number, 20 million. (Going by wikipedia, which we all know and completely trust.)

Still a lot. Not noise. Dead people. Very important.


This video comes to mind as a good response.

TL;DW - Religions, and Abrahamic religions in particular, have a very violent history. It's not their fault that things like missiles, bombs, chemical weapons, machine guns, etc. didn't exist for most of their history, or that the population of the world was so much less then.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:21 pm UTC

Sorry, I'm a bit touchy about Communist killing sprees. They're so underreported. People talk as if Hitler were the wurst tyrant ever, and they go on and on about things Christians did centuries ago, but the Urkrainian famine, the Soviet gulags and so on were so bad! So recently!

I could whip out my conspiracy theories about that (schwing!) but I'll just let it go by saying that I'm not aware of any Communist regimes that are good places to live. (Would love to hear about some if you know of them.) Compare that to places with capitalism, socialism, religious communalism, etc. Never perfect, often awful, but sometimes, in the right time and place, nice places to live.

(Can't watch your video, BTW. Satellite internet.)

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Autolykos » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:22 pm UTC

Letting kids grow up religious bears good fruit (and sometimes bad). So does letting kids grow up atheist. So why not leave them alone?
I concede that you can use religion as an effective tool in teaching morals, in the sense of Wittgenstein's Ladder. But that requires (as with all other "lies told to children") ditching it eventually and replacing it with a more robust basis. Otherwise, it will sabotage the children's ability to think clearly and question their beliefs about non-religious things as well.
And since we can't rely on (religious) families to do that, public schools need to take on that job.

@Izawwlgood: I don't know if I'm really that bad at getting my point across, if you're intentionally trying to twist my words, or if the inferential gap between us is too large, but I predict that continuing our discussion can only lead to us talking past each other, more fisking, and eventually a flame war. So don't expect me to reply to you in this thread.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:23 pm UTC

I suppose it is a waste of time to point out that these things are all human institutions, so that you really can't blame God for all the chaos. Even if he existed. It isn't unreasonable to assume that had religion and God never been invented that we would have found other reasons to kill each other.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:25 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
Fizz wrote:As far as atheist countries being kinder, gentler places... how about North Korea or Cuba? I might more accurately say "atheist regimes" in that case, I suppose, but all the same they are not nice places to live.
I take you haven't done much in the way of research here -
Cuba

But sure, there are shitty atheists. That's not really something we're claiming.


I think the original comment was about secular states, which is what Cuba considers itself. Not about countries that somehow contain mostly atheists.


If you click on the Wikipedia article that Google search points to, it says "The Roman Catholic Church estimates that 65 percent of the population is Catholic, but only 5% of that 60% attends mass regularly" [3% of population], "while independent sources estimate that as few 1.5% of the population does so." Yeah, that's not really a Catholic country. You are not a good Catholic if you don't go (or at least try to go) to mass every Sunday. [citation]

If you search religion in France, it says over 80% Catholic (sources vary), but less than 5% go to church every Sunday. Again, not a Catholic (or Christian) nation, but a very secular one. Mostly atheist by my definition, looking at how people live their lives and not just what they say or claim to consider themselves.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Autolykos » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:30 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I suppose it is a waste of time to point out that these things are all human institutions, so that you really can't blame God for all the chaos. Even if he existed. It isn't unreasonable to assume that had religion and God never been invented that we would have found other reasons to kill each other.

Completely agree. That was my point in my first post when I said that religion is the symptom, not the disease. Human cognition is hacks built on patches put on ad-hoc-solutions (as is the case with anything built by evolution). You can expect a few bugs to crop up now and then.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Fizz » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:36 pm UTC

@Autokylos: Actually, I was raised in religion, ditched it, then went back. Yes, it can limit your scope of free thinking. But, to stick my other hand in the blender, science can be misused to the same ends.

Yes! Bad science is just as destructive as bad religion. "Don't eat butter, it's bad for you. Have some margarine instead." Or how about when people say about global warming, "The science is settled"? I'm no scientist, and I know very little about climatology, but since when is science ever settled?

(And I'm not trying to start a debate on climate change. I couldn't care less about climate change. :twisted: I hate recycling, and fuzzy little baby seals look like dinner to me.)

The really important thing is the ability to think for one's self. Without that, Christianity devolves into totalitarianism, and science devolves into paid-for studies that shill for the politicians.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SDK » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:04 pm UTC

Whoa, whoa, whoa. How can you hate recycling? That has very little to do with climate change, and even very little to do with science. Recycling is good for reasons that are even highlighted as important in the Bible!

Also, science is pretty much based on the "thinking for one's self" idea. Not taking things as true without evidence is entirely the point.
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