Should religion be illegal for children?

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Tyndmyr
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:13 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:
Autolykos wrote:Religions got to stick around this long because they are among the most virulent and resilient memes in existence, refined by millenia of evolution and latching onto pretty universal flaws in human reasoning. You won't get rid of them any time soon, and certainly not by violence or threat of violence (which is what laws, in essence, are).


Laws aren't just threats of violence they also encourage social disapprobation. The law couldn't be enacted now because of the current social position. It would be flouted, unreported and institutions would be despised for enforcing it. However social change to the point where this kind of mental abuse is sufficiently suspect for a law of this kind to be enacted is not an impossible task.


Nonsense. Laws mostly follow social movements, not create them. When enough dislike of something exists, a law is created to punish those who are disliked for whatever reason.

For that reason, they are often unnecessary. Laws are often merely banning the thing that everyone has already decided to abandon. An explicit punishment for violating social norms already in place. Often, such punitive actions go well beyond the minimum, and stray into harming people because they happen to fall outside the norm, not because they pose any actual threat.

In short, if you can create the social shift necessary for folks to want to ban religion, you no longer have a need to ban religion, and doing so would end up being harmful.

SPACKlick wrote:
cphite wrote:
SPACKlick wrote:Ideas lead to actions. Fostering, and actively promoting, bad ways of thinking leads to more bad ideas which leads to more bad actions. And yes, you cannot(or rather never should) legislate ideas. What you can (and should) legislate is actions that lead to the promotion of bad ways of thinking, to reduce the bad ideas, to reduce the bad actions.

Who gets to decide what the "bad ways of thinking" are? Even setting religion aside completely, there are some very different ideas out there about what are good ideas, and what are bad ideas.

Methods of thinking are tested in the sphere of reality. Does a particular method of thinking lead to conclusions that demonstrably correlate with reality? If so it's a good way of thinking. Does it lead to conclusions that demonstrably conflict with reality? if so it's a bad way of thinking. Purely and practically amenable to testing


Absolutely.

But there is a great difference between reality testing ideas and humans testing ideas.

It's the difference between natural selection and eugenics.

I trust you can extrapolate to determine why making thoughtcrime a thing would be horrifying.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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SPACKlick
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:17 pm UTC

I can indeed extrapolate.

Can you read enough to see no thoughtcrime is being proposed?

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:18 am UTC

SPACLlick wrote:I don't want to control the children. I would like to protect the children from excessive influence of harmful ideologues.

I am convinced by the evidence so far presented that raising children with bad methodologies for identifying true facts leads to negative consequences.

I am proposing that [...] the mainstream of medical science [...] determines certain forms of behaviour, such as violent behaviours, are harmful to a child, those behaviours be made illegal for an organisation to perform or be established to promote.

Again, I'm not saying a set of ideas would be illegal. I'm saying actions demonstrated to cause significant or lasting harm would be illegal.

You've raised the concern that you might be communicating poorly, so let me assure you that it is very likely that you are. And responses like your last post to not set your communications up to be considered in good faith.

Above are a few snippets of your statements. You started out very much saying you wanted to protect children from harmful ideologies, and seem to have morphed that into a very vague "behaviors that cause harm should be illegal". The latter position is entirely boring -- we all know that harmful behaviors should be illegal. Appealing to "mainstream medical science" here feels like a cop out. Yes, we all agree that if medical science says that beating children with a rod as punishment is harmful, it should be illegal. However, mainstream medical science does not suggest that teaching your children to share your religion is harmful. So further elaboration on your part is required.

What I think you're missing is in your argument is a more concrete explanation of where you believe teaching religion to children intersects with creating lasting harm. I have no doubt that the "Teaching Religious Practice to Children" circle and "Harming Children" circle intersect at some point in this Venn diagram. But is teaching your child that god exists a harmful ideology? Is it only harmful if the child does not develop a sufficient skepticism? Does a child have to have undergone a deliberate thought process to decide to continue believing in God for their religious upbringing to have not been harmful? How on earth do you measure these things? Where does one draw lines?

Because mainstream science currently doesn't draw those lines. A proposal that it should needs metrics by which it can. Please, suggest some.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:32 am UTC

Azrael wrote:You've raised the concern that you might be communicating poorly, so let me assure you that it is very likely that you are. And responses like your last post to not set your communications up to be considered in good faith.
I don't act in good faith to repeated straw man's of my position. I have been very clear that no individual is to be considered criminal under any development of the law for believing anything. Nor for saying they believe it. Nor for claiming it is true. Throwing emotives like "Thoughtcrime" around is disingenuous and so doesn't warrant good faith rebuttal.

Above are a few snippets of your statements. You started out very much saying you wanted to protect children from harmful ideologies, and seem to have morphed that into a very vague "behaviors that cause harm should be illegal". The latter position is entirely boring -- we all know that harmful behaviors should be illegal.

This is not a morph. I wish to protect developing minds from harmful ideologies. I do not wish to make ideologies illegal, I believe it would be a moral harm to make any set of thoughts illegal. I wish to protect children from certain harmful acts often associated with ideologies. I would hope that this protection would reduce the number of them holding that ideology but a failure of the law to achieve that would not criminalize the individual. It's the same as the way I don't want to make it illegal to think all homosexuals should be killed but I do want it to be illegal to encourage others to kill homosexuals I also would make it illegal for a school system to teach in such a way as to promote within its students the belief that homosexuals should be killed.

However, mainstream medical science does not suggest that teaching your children to share your religion is harmful. So further elaboration on your part is required.

As I've said before, I have so far addressed only one half of the argument and not addressed the justification for the premise.

I have no doubt that the "Teaching Religious Practice to Children" circle and "Harming Children" circle intersect at some point in this Venn diagram. But is teaching your child that god exists a harmful ideology? Is it only harmful if the child does not develop a sufficient skepticism? Does a child have to have undergone a deliberate thought process to decide to continue believing in God for their religious upbringing to have not been harmful? How on earth do you measure these things? Where does one draw lines?

I don't believe merely teaching that a god exists is harmful. Some groups attempt to reinforce this belief with the teaching of modes of reasoning including faith based reasoning which are harmful to the developing mind. How you measure it and where you draw the lines is entirely based on psychology, neuroscience and sociology. Adolescents with lower reasoning scores are more likely to commit a wide array of socially negative acts including crimes even when accounting for income status and various parental factors. Young adults who believe in one or more supernatural entities (not specifically including or excluding god) were more than twice as likely to be victims of fraud. Cognitive dissonance between an ideology they were raised with and a new perception of reality was a determined factor in a significant percentage of suicides of males between 18 and 30.

Without digging out the meta-analyses I can't give the specific definition of the cause of the harm but from memory it was approximately "a foundational belief being a faith based position". Having children build their world views from there increased their risk factors for personal harms and social harms. This was ameliorated if the faith based position was incorporated later into the child's worldview. I remember distinctly one study finding no effect on what it was looking at when the "religious instruction" began after 13 but strong effects when it began between 5 and 8.

Activities which promote this sort of foundational weakness in a worldview I'm not an expert in. What little I have seen seems to point to large group activities (hence my focus on groups and organisations) with peers from within the child's community and led by authority figures from outside the child's immediate community being the kind of activity most apt for instilling this kind of foundational belief whether a harmful one or not.

The law as proposed would make it illegal to organise that type of activity to promote any idea [possibly with an exception for those approved by academic boards] to children or preteen children. There may be a wider scope of activities which would also reasonably be so outlawed and to determine those, and what children require protection from them I would turn to the research community to find out which activities have similar effects or if there is a subgroup of the above defined activity which doesn't have the negative effect.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:36 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:The law as proposed would make it illegal to organise that type of activity to promote any idea [possibly with an exception for those approved by academic boards] to children or preteen children. There may be a wider scope of activities which would also reasonably be so outlawed and to determine those, and what children require protection from them I would turn to the research community to find out which activities have similar effects or if there is a subgroup of the above defined activity which doesn't have the negative effect.
I have yet to hear you answer the question, if religion is so bad, how did we get here? And you have yet to account for the fact that secular ideas have been the source of bad outcomes. Your research communities are not immune to bigotry and hate, nor do they lack the capacity to manipulate of the numbers to produce the results they see as best. And general agreement is not a guarantee of correctness. History is littered with ideas once thought correct that were shown to be incorrect.

By definition controlling what is taught to children is power. And corruption follows power. Because we are human. Committees tend to become hidebound rigid bureaucracies interested in perpetuating themselves at the cost of whatever it is the were designed to do. This can be best seen in child welfare agencies. They are designed to protect children. Instead quite often they are responsible for doing just the opposite.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:07 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I have yet to hear you answer the question, if religion is so bad, how did we get here?
[flippantly]In the face of it tooth and nail. [seriously] I don't really understand the grounds of the question. If smoking was so bad how did we survive till now? If Cannibalism of brains is so bad for you how did the fore get here? Just because you survive something and endeavor through it doesn't mean it isn't bad or shouldn't be protected against in the future.
And you have yet to account for the fact that secular ideas have been the source of bad outcomes.
I have no need to account for it. To stick with an above example, people who don't smoke also get lung cancer. Laws on smoking have no need to account for that. They rely only on it being shown that smoking causes more harm through cancer than it grants benefits. Poor foundational ideologies or reasoning methodologies are harmful to the children they are within and the societies those children are part of. (sadly that sentence is tautological through the definition of poor). This is not to say that no other form of thinking can cause similar harms but it does mean that if those harms can be prevented we should attempt it.
Your research communities are not immune to bigotry and hate, nor do they lack the capacity to manipulate of the numbers to produce the results they see as best. And general agreement is not a guarantee of correctness.
No but it is the best methodology we have. If you want me to defend the scientific method as part of this discussion then our positions are too far apart and I will save the bytes by allowing disagreement to continue.
History is littered with ideas once thought correct that were shown to be incorrect.
and almost always shown incorrect by the agreed reasoning of those who found expertise in the area.
By definition controlling what is taught to children is power. And corruption follows power. Because we are human.
So it is wrong and dangerous that we have curricula determining what areas of knowledge it is right to provide children with? It is wrong that we have an institution of education for our children? Get real. Controlling what we teach our children is how we foster a better society tomorrow than we ourselves had.
Committees tend to become hidebound rigid bureaucracies interested in perpetuating themselves at the cost of whatever it is the were designed to do. This can be best seen in child welfare agencies. They are designed to protect children. Instead quite often they are responsible for doing just the opposite.
Absolutely there is a problem with bureaucracy but with this law I was attempting to address a singly problem, not reform the entirety of how governance works in modern first world countries which I think you'd agree would be a hell of a lot to ask of one legislative addition.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:20 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:
However, mainstream medical science does not suggest that teaching your children to share your religion is harmful. So further elaboration on your part is required.
As I've said before, I have so far addressed only one half of the argument and not addressed the justification for the premise.


I don't believe merely teaching that a god exists is harmful. Some groups attempt to reinforce this belief with the teaching of modes of reasoning including faith based reasoning which are harmful to the developing mind. How you measure it and where you draw the lines is entirely based on psychology, neuroscience and sociology. Adolescents with lower reasoning scores are more likely to commit a wide array of socially negative acts including crimes even when accounting for income status and various parental factors [1]. Young adults who believe in one or more supernatural entities (not specifically including or excluding god) were more than twice as likely to be victims of fraud [2]. Cognitive dissonance between an ideology they were raised with and a new perception of reality was a determined factor in a significant percentage of suicides of males between 18 and 30.[3]

Without digging out the meta-analyses I can't give the specific definition of the cause of the harm but from memory it was approximately "a foundational belief being a faith based position" [4]. Having children build their world views from there increased their risk factors for personal harms and social harms [5]. This was ameliorated if the faith based position was incorporated later into the child's worldview. I remember distinctly one study finding no effect on what it was looking at when the "religious instruction" began after 13 but strong effects when it began between 5 and 8.[6]


That whole second quote is you addressing the justification, but doing so without sources. Care to fix that? Those are fairly big claims. I'd like to see how you show anything causative between [1] and [2] rather than correlative -- those with lower reasoning scores might be more prone to socially negative acts, but would also be more likely to be defrauded. How is religion to blame here? Can the studies supporting [4] through [6] really separate those born with naturally lower reasoning skills from those who's religious education caused those? In essence, perhaps people with lower reasoning skills are also just more religious (as well as prone to being defrauded or "socially negative acts").

And before you start back into the two prong defense, no, we're not going to take these on faith and focus only on the "if these are true" side of your argument. The question here is "should religion be illegal for children" not just "how would we make it". You need to demonstrate the harm -- the need -- first.

Then we can go back to how to actually identify those "modes of reasoning including faith based reasoning [that you will have shown] are harmful to the developing mind".

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:34 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Above are a few snippets of your statements. You started out very much saying you wanted to protect children from harmful ideologies, and seem to have morphed that into a very vague "behaviors that cause harm should be illegal". The latter position is entirely boring -- we all know that harmful behaviors should be illegal. Appealing to "mainstream medical science" here feels like a cop out. Yes, we all agree that if medical science says that beating children with a rod as punishment is harmful, it should be illegal. However, mainstream medical science does not suggest that teaching your children to share your religion is harmful. So further elaboration on your part is required.

What I think you're missing is in your argument is a more concrete explanation of where you believe teaching religion to children intersects with creating lasting harm. I have no doubt that the "Teaching Religious Practice to Children" circle and "Harming Children" circle intersect at some point in this Venn diagram. But is teaching your child that god exists a harmful ideology? Is it only harmful if the child does not develop a sufficient skepticism? Does a child have to have undergone a deliberate thought process to decide to continue believing in God for their religious upbringing to have not been harmful? How on earth do you measure these things? Where does one draw lines?

Because mainstream science currently doesn't draw those lines. A proposal that it should needs metrics by which it can. Please, suggest some.


Not only that, but once we have concretely established what exactly is harmful, we need to establish that banning is indeed a reasonable solution for fixing it before jumping to that. Banning isn't a catch-all fix for everything that's universally the best solution. My guess is that extreme religious views that are most likely to be harmful are more likely to be held by people who won't give a fig that it's banned, and will cheerfully teach/adhere to it anyway. And it'll just further cement the divide between the oddball religious community and the "outside" which is described as persecuting them.

Even once you've nailed down the problem, there's still the issue of finding a good solution.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:57 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:That whole second quote is you addressing the justification, but doing so without sources. Care to fix that? ... And before you start back into the two prong defense, no, we're not going to take these on faith and focus only on the "if these are true" side of your argument. The question here is "should religion be illegal for children" not just "how would we make it".

I don't believe any level of sourcing would make a compelling argument in this sort of discussion setting, particularly between non-experts and I don't have direct access to any journals from my personal computer. It would be a waste of both our time. I gave you the facts as best I could remember them from the relevant studies I had most recently read in order to give you the position I was coming from. So once again I go back to the two prongs. Showing that banning these sorts of acts is the appropriate moral solution to this type of problem as it is identified by the relevant experts without non-experts having to agree on the minutiae of the psychological foundations of a complex problem.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:53 pm UTC

Now that is a cop out. Well done. But, to use your own words:

SPACKlick wrote:[Citation needed][Failed Verification][Argument not found]


Again, no relevant mainstream expert, organization or publication has made the claim that teaching religion is cognitively bad for children. You're trying to suggest that a few studies -- that you won't cite, and aren't clearly causally linked -- is sufficient grounds that we should all just believe that stance, and move on to discussing how to fix it. Or, more precisely, should move on to accepting that banning the practice is the right solution.

In short, no. Try again.

... showing that banning these sorts of acts is the appropriate moral solution to this type of problem as it is identified by the relevant experts without non-experts having to agree on the minutiae of the psychological foundations of a complex problem.

Except that you aren't doing this either. You've suggested it. But then you outright ignore the immediately preceding challenge regarding whether banning is the right solution. Never mind that you're lacking any metric for judging what behaviors you're talking about.

All you've done is float an amorphous could of an idea, and doubled down on defending it -- whatever it actually entails -- without providing additional detail. At best, your stance is "we should outlaw teaching things to children that cause substantive harm", which is obvious and boring. Demonstrate that religion is one such thing. Explain where you think the boundaries are.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:12 pm UTC

There's no cop out there, merely a willingness to admit my limitations and in particular those limitations relevant to the medium. I would point to Zimbardo's Lucifer effect as a good example of a general access text on the mental harms of religion although it has a more individual than social focus. Should I wait a week for the book to arrive from your nearest distributor and you to read and digest it and a further week for you to read as many of the references as you feel relevant and ask some more expert than you or should we not ask the unattainable?

As an aside, to gauge the gap, would you agree that, even if not as yet demonstrated, it is plausible that the effect of this sort of organised indoctrination into a faith based position could have a negative effect on the recipient or the society the recipient is an agent in?

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:26 pm UTC

OK, you think that actual evidence for the empirical claim underlying your thesis is unattainable?

And rather than seeing this as a reason for skepticism, you see it as a point in favor of what you're saying?

"Well there's no evidence for this, but the evidence would be unattainable anyway, so let's just assume I'm right."

A couple other points:

SPACKlick wrote:Showing that banning these sorts of acts is the appropriate moral solution to this type of problem as it is identified by the relevant experts without non-experts having to agree on the minutiae of the psychological foundations of a complex problem.

Who are "the relevant experts"? I seriously doubt that there is any one field where you could become an expert on whether religious education is harmful. The terms involved are too fuzzy. As Azrael asks above, what counts as religion, and how do you decide which harms are harms of religion and which harms are harms of a particular way of raising a kid? And what counts as harm? Also, what about the heterogeneity of religion? Saying "Religion harms children" on the basis of some small-sample studies seems rather like saying that drinking liquids lowers your short-term intelligence, while ignoring any distinction between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. In other words, "Taken as an aggregate, the forms of religious education practiced in the US tend to decrease reasoning ability" is not the same claim as "Religious education tends to decrease reasoning ability."

SPACKlick wrote:I want to demand that groups which do demonstrable harm be prevented from doing that harm. Which is not an authoritarian position to take.

Without some limiting principle, yes, that is an authoritarian position to take. It's a liberal platitude that not everything harmful should be illegal.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:57 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:
Azrael wrote:That whole second quote is you addressing the justification, but doing so without sources. Care to fix that? ... And before you start back into the two prong defense, no, we're not going to take these on faith and focus only on the "if these are true" side of your argument. The question here is "should religion be illegal for children" not just "how would we make it".

I don't believe any level of sourcing would make a compelling argument in this sort of discussion setting, particularly between non-experts and I don't have direct access to any journals from my personal computer. It would be a waste of both our time. I gave you the facts as best I could remember them from the relevant studies I had most recently read in order to give you the position I was coming from. So once again I go back to the two prongs. Showing that banning these sorts of acts is the appropriate moral solution to this type of problem as it is identified by the relevant experts without non-experts having to agree on the minutiae of the psychological foundations of a complex problem.


I, for one, don't demand that everything be extremely well detailed in scientific journals specifically. But SOME sort of explanation of mechanism beyond an appeal to expertise helps a great deal with making a convincing argument. Especially given that expert opinion isn't really perfectly unified here in the way that you seem to think it is. Yes, an expert or two may have raised concerns, but they are no more unified than you and I are.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:OK, you think that actual evidence for the empirical claim underlying your thesis is unattainable?

And rather than seeing this as a reason for skepticism, you see it as a point in favor of what you're saying?

"Well there's no evidence for this, but the evidence would be unattainable anyway, so let's just assume I'm right."


This. It's one thing to admit a shortage of data, but quite another to hold out that something is untestable. That pretty much puts it in the realm of "not science". It's one thing to decry a religious belief or action on the basis of data, but it's quite another to do so while acknowledging you have none.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby cphite » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:02 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:
Azrael wrote:You've raised the concern that you might be communicating poorly, so let me assure you that it is very likely that you are. And responses like your last post to not set your communications up to be considered in good faith.


I don't act in good faith to repeated straw man's of my position. I have been very clear that no individual is to be considered criminal under any development of the law for believing anything. Nor for saying they believe it. Nor for claiming it is true. Throwing emotives like "Thoughtcrime" around is disingenuous and so doesn't warrant good faith rebuttal.


I don't believe you know what the term "straw man" actually means. You keep throwing it out there, but it's really not appropriate.

Your position seems to be that teaching religion to children is harmful, and that it should therefore be banned. But you provide no detail as to what you even mean by "religion" - are you including the most basic "there is a/are god(s)" ideas? Or does it have to be specific beliefs about god(s)? And what actual evidence do you have that religion, however you describe it, is harmful? You keep alluding to experts; but you cannot (or will not) name these experts, nor the studies that led them to this conclusion. As others have pointed out, you seem to want to skip right by the actual question that started the thread, and move right into what to do about it.

Nobody is expecting you to write a doctoral thesis here; we are expecting you to make a rational argument if you expect to be taken seriously.

I don't believe merely teaching that a god exists is harmful. Some groups attempt to reinforce this belief with the teaching of modes of reasoning including faith based reasoning which are harmful to the developing mind. How you measure it and where you draw the lines is entirely based on psychology, neuroscience and sociology.


Based on what psychology, neuroscience and sociology? You do realize that these aren't singular monolithic entities, right? That there is a fairly vast and highly diverse range of opinions? I am quite certain you could find research showing that religious teaching is harmful; and I am quite certain you could find research showing the opposite of that. The problem is that you're attempting to cherry pick without even bothering to see the cherries.

Adolescents with lower reasoning scores are more likely to commit a wide array of socially negative acts including crimes even when accounting for income status and various parental factors.


Which, even if true, has not been linked to religion by you or by any (reliable or not) source cited by you.

Young adults who believe in one or more supernatural entities (not specifically including or excluding god) were more than twice as likely to be victims of fraud. Cognitive dissonance between an ideology they were raised with and a new perception of reality was a determined factor in a significant percentage of suicides of males between 18 and 30.


According to whom? Sorry, but if you're going to make bold, authoritative statements about this topic, you're going to have to back those statements up with something.

Without digging out the meta-analyses I can't give the specific definition of the cause of the harm but from memory it was approximately "a foundational belief being a faith based position". Having children build their world views from there increased their risk factors for personal harms and social harms. This was ameliorated if the faith based position was incorporated later into the child's worldview. I remember distinctly one study finding no effect on what it was looking at when the "religious instruction" began after 13 but strong effects when it began between 5 and 8.


Again, this simply doesn't cut it. Anyone can pull anything out of their ass and claim that it comes from something they kinda-sorta remember reading. Nobody is asking you to dig through entire studies and write complete summaries of their results; but we would like to know who you're basing your claim on and why we should believe them.

If you're going to use research as the basis of an argument, you ought to be at least capable of pointing to the research. "I remember someone said this..." doesn't cut it.

Activities which promote this sort of foundational weakness in a worldview I'm not an expert in. What little I have seen seems to point to large group activities (hence my focus on groups and organisations) with peers from within the child's community and led by authority figures from outside the child's immediate community being the kind of activity most apt for instilling this kind of foundational belief whether a harmful one or not.


In all honesty, the impression I get from the above is that you're trying to throw a lot of words together in a way that seems (to you) to reflect deep thought and academic depth, without all the fuss of actually thinking or learning about what you're talking about.

The law as proposed would make it illegal to organise that type of activity to promote any idea [possibly with an exception for those approved by academic boards] to children or preteen children.


Right. You want a board (or council, panel, whatever you want to call it) to approve the ideas that parents can teach their children; and you actually believe that limiting this restriction to organized groups makes it reasonable. What you are proposing is offensive with or without religion being involved.

There may be a wider scope of activities which would also reasonably be so outlawed and to determine those, and what children require protection from them I would turn to the research community to find out which activities have similar effects or if there is a subgroup of the above defined activity which doesn't have the negative effect.


But again, even if we went along with this, we are left with the question of who gets to decide what is harmful? As has been pointed out to you dozens of times now, there is an enormously wide range of opinions on what is or is not harmful to children. You cannot simply pass something like this off to "the research community" as if that were some singular unit; it's simply not.

There is a reason society does not base it's laws on what "the research community" happens to be saying at any given time. Research, with rare exception, is constantly changing; hopefully more forward than backward, but even that isn't a given.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:14 pm UTC

I know exactly what straw man means and you repeat the straw man in your laying out of my position

cphite wrote:Your position seems to be that teaching religion to children is harmful, and that it should therefore be banned. But you provide no detail as to what you even mean by "religion" - are you including the most basic "there is a/are god(s)" ideas?

My position is that the teaching of religion to children is harmful and therefore certain methodologies of instructing children, currently commonly used by religions, should be banned

In all honesty, the impression I get from the above is that you're trying to throw a lot of words together in a way that seems (to you) to reflect deep thought and academic depth, without all the fuss of actually thinking or learning about what you're talking about.

It's me trying to explain where my current position is based. Given I don't still have the studies, given that a debate about the merits of consensus conclusions among academics isn't likely to be worthwhile among non experts on a talk forum.

Right. You want a board (or council, panel, whatever you want to call it) to approve the ideas that parents can teach their children; and you actually believe that limiting this restriction to organized groups makes it reasonable. What you are proposing is offensive with or without religion being involved.

Ok the board referred above is the scientific community. It is for them to determine the specific harmful methods of teaching, they have identified some patterns which do lasting damage to the reasoning ability of children which would need to be more specific before the specific law could be proposed. However you repeatedly assert it is the content of the ideas that is being banned, it isn't. The type of idea will likely come into it and as I say there will likely be grounds for some exceptions within education but the law I have so far discussed has been content neutral. Which I have repeated and still you ignore.

But again, even if we went along with this, we are left with the question of who gets to decide what is harmful? As has been pointed out to you dozens of times now, there is an enormously wide range of opinions on what is or is not harmful to children. You cannot simply pass something like this off to "the research community" as if that were some singular unit; it's simply not.

It's not monolithic but over time there becomes consensus. Smoking indoors banned because the community reached that consensus. Certain drugs are banned because of that consensus. In civilised countries medicines are funded or prohibited because of that consensus. The only value judgement being placed on this is that behaviours tending to lessen a child's life success measured in the outcomes of years productive employment, wealth accrued and years lived healthily (as defined in standard assessments) should be disincentivised. The precise form of those activities is a matter for scientific research not value judgement.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:08 pm UTC

You keep referring to a "consensus" and talking about how "the scientific community" has determined that yadda yadda yadda. Even when you've deigned to cite actual evidence, it doesn't come anywhere close to establishing the consensus that you claim exists. What you've given us is a few studies finding correlations between certain kinds of cognitive error and mental illness, on the one hand, and certain features of some religions (and non-religious worldviews for that matter) on the other. Apart from the problems that have already been noted, and that you continue to refuse to address, the existence of a few studies is paltry evidence for the existence of a consensus.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Azrael » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:47 am UTC

SPACKlick wrote:My position is that the teaching of religion to children is harmful and therefore certain methodologies of instructing children, currently commonly used by religions, should be banned

This doesn't flow logically.

If religion is harmful to children, it shouldn't be taught to children
If some methodologies of instructing children are harmful to children, they shouldn't be taught to children

But "religion is harmful, therefore harmful methodologies should be banned" is the bastard child of neither. It just doesn't make sense. That's why you're having issues with people not understanding your position.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby elasto » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:02 pm UTC

And the other disconnect is that something might be harmful, but banning it by law can be more harmful. The poster child for that would be the failed war on drugs.

But this thread is going round in circles really...

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby cphite » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:05 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Your position seems to be that teaching religion to children is harmful, and that it should therefore be banned. But you provide no detail as to what you even mean by "religion" - are you including the most basic "there is a/are god(s)" ideas?


My position is that the teaching of religion to children is harmful and therefore certain methodologies of instructing children, currently commonly used by religions, should be banned


You've offered no real evidence for, or even a compelling argument for, any of that. You haven't shown us anything to support your premise that teaching religion is harmful to children; and yet you want us to accept that as given, simply because you say you read it somewhere?

In all honesty, the impression I get from the above is that you're trying to throw a lot of words together in a way that seems (to you) to reflect deep thought and academic depth, without all the fuss of actually thinking or learning about what you're talking about.


It's me trying to explain where my current position is based. Given I don't still have the studies, given that a debate about the merits of consensus conclusions among academics isn't likely to be worthwhile among non experts on a talk forum.


So you not only have research, but research about research, that supports your position? Such a shame you aren't able to cite even one example.

Right. You want a board (or council, panel, whatever you want to call it) to approve the ideas that parents can teach their children; and you actually believe that limiting this restriction to organized groups makes it reasonable. What you are proposing is offensive with or without religion being involved.


Ok the board referred above is the scientific community. It is for them to determine the specific harmful methods of teaching, they have identified some patterns which do lasting damage to the reasoning ability of children which would need to be more specific before the specific law could be proposed.


The point that you keep missing - well, one of the more glaring ones - is that the "scientific community" has done no such thing. Even if we accept, out of sheer politeness, that the research you keep talking about actually exists, it would simply be that: Research. Just because one or two or ten scientists writes a paper saying X, does not make X an indelible truth. No matter how much you'd personally like to believe X.

However you repeatedly assert it is the content of the ideas that is being banned, it isn't. The type of idea will likely come into it and as I say there will likely be grounds for some exceptions within education but the law I have so far discussed has been content neutral. Which I have repeated and still you ignore.


Actually, no... you need to read more closely. I have said - repeatedly, as have others - that your proposal is objectionable regardless of the content of the ideas. Religion is almost incidental to what we're really debating here. You are proposing that we use the force of law to control what ideas are acceptable for children, based on the whims of some vaguely defined version of the "research community" which, frankly, exists only in your imagination.

But again, even if we went along with this, we are left with the question of who gets to decide what is harmful? As has been pointed out to you dozens of times now, there is an enormously wide range of opinions on what is or is not harmful to children. You cannot simply pass something like this off to "the research community" as if that were some singular unit; it's simply not.


It's not monolithic but over time there becomes consensus. Smoking indoors banned because the community reached that consensus. Certain drugs are banned because of that consensus. In civilised countries medicines are funded or prohibited because of that consensus. The only value judgement being placed on this is that behaviours tending to lessen a child's life success measured in the outcomes of years productive employment, wealth accrued and years lived healthily (as defined in standard assessments) should be disincentivised. The precise form of those activities is a matter for scientific research not value judgement.


There is a difference between regulating specific activities that can be demonstrated, conclusively, to have a negative effect; and regulating in broad strokes the passage of ideas and belief structures.

Further, in civilized countries, the key word is community. Smoking is not banned in public spaces because a bunch of scientists said it should be; smoking is banned in public because the public said it should be. Drugs aren't regulated because scientists say so; they're regulated because society says so. That scientists, as a whole, generally support these positions is a convenience; not a cause. That is civilized society. What you are proposing is an authoritarian setup where government passes decrees based on the musings of vaguely defined "experts" with or without the consent of the people.

To say that this isn't going to happen in a civilized society would be redundant; because it would be the antithesis of civilized society.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:22 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And the other disconnect is that something might be harmful, but banning it by law can be more harmful. The poster child for that would be the failed war on drugs.

But this thread is going round in circles really...


We're all in pretty much the same place 'cept for SPACK. And I don't think we're even quite sure where he's at, but it definitely seems odd, wherever it is.

I'm not sure what this 'scientific consensus' is, but I doubt it's existence very much.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby debogail » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:56 pm UTC

I couldn't resist the urge to stop lurking and start commenting. To be upfront about the biases that I bring to this discussion, the first 13 years of my education were at private religious schools in the US, and the remainder at public universities. I don't believe I have suffered significant cognitive impairment as a result (biased personal opinion, no citation available).

SPACKlick wrote:I don't believe any level of sourcing would make a compelling argument in this sort of discussion setting, particularly between non-experts and I don't have direct access to any journals from my personal computer.


Pretty much the entirety of news media is non-experts discussing sources that they don't understand. Good science is good science, and can always be evaluated by people who understand science. I would like to point out that large-scale cohort studies are difficult, but by no means impossible to achieve. However, they are impossible to accurately analyze if you do not select the criteria that you're testing before you collect the data. You need to give a specific measurable endpoint that is correlated with "harm". When you talk about cognitive harm, what is the measurable endpoint that you would associate with cognitive harm in the ideal study? When you discuss psychological harm, what is the measurable behavior? Self-harm? Suicide? Once you have the endpoint, and can convince the NIH to give you money to study this, set up the study. One study isn't very meaningful, but it would at least generate the concrete data that is thus far entirely lacking in this discussion.

I found one such study, which relates to this discussion in a broad way, and is open access. I was trying to find your suicide statistic, because it's specific enough that a little work with google scholar should help to find it. The only related data I found suggests that gay youth who are exposed to adverse environments during the course of recognizing their sexual identity have higher suicide rates. (1) It may follow that the "reparative therapy" that exists for gay youth to be "turned straight" represent the sort of adverse environment that contribute to an increase in suicide rates. Is that what you've been obfuscating around, SPACKlick? I found a couple review articles discussing the legalities, but they are behind paywalls, and I don't have the time to run to the local university library right now... (2,3) They would at least be a starting point for a relevant discussion about government control of "teaching methodologies".

I would argue that in this specific context, there is a compelling reason to believe that "religious instruction" in the form of reparative therapy is causing measurable harm to the affected youth. However, based on my understanding of the suicide study, a lack of family support is already associated with higher suicide rates. If data differentiating the two causes exists, and if it demonstrates additional harm caused by reparative therapy, the case could be made to ban reparative therapy. Is the current removal of homosexuality from the DSM-IV sufficient, or should further action be taken?

(Just to point out, in case it's not obvious, I'm assuming that in modern society, the only groups associated with or advocating for reparative therapy are fundamentalist religious groups.)

References:
1. JP Paul, J Catania, L Pollack, et al. Am J Public Health. 2002. 92: 1338-1345 (Free on PMC)
2. KA Hicks. 49 Am. U. L. Rev. 505 (1999-2000)
3. R Delgado. 51 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1 (1977-1978)
Last edited by debogail on Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:11 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:It's me trying to explain where my current position is based. Given I don't still have the studies, given that a debate about the merits of consensus conclusions among academics isn't likely to be worthwhile among non experts on a talk forum.


How about the name of a paper or a link to the abstract? Lots of people here are university students or whatnot who may have access to those studies. If this is a consensus position, it should be easy to find something that shows it--really, it should be on the Wikipedia page.

Ok the board referred above is the scientific community. It is for them to determine the specific harmful methods of teaching, they have identified some patterns which do lasting damage to the reasoning ability of children which would need to be more specific before the specific law could be proposed. However you repeatedly assert it is the content of the ideas that is being banned, it isn't. The type of idea will likely come into it and as I say there will likely be grounds for some exceptions within education but the law I have so far discussed has been content neutral. Which I have repeated and still you ignore.


Let's be specific. Give an example of a type of teaching that you believe is sufficiently harmful that it ought to be banned that is not in and of itself a belief.

It's not monolithic but over time there becomes consensus. Smoking indoors banned because the community reached that consensus. Certain drugs are banned because of that consensus. In civilised countries medicines are funded or prohibited because of that consensus. The only value judgement being placed on this is that behaviours tending to lessen a child's life success measured in the outcomes of years productive employment, wealth accrued and years lived healthily (as defined in standard assessments) should be disincentivised. The precise form of those activities is a matter for scientific research not value judgement.


Causation is easier to prove in medicine than it is in psychology. And even still, smoking is legal in most developed countries despite the well-known harms, even smoking indoors in private spaces. If you wanted to make religious education analogous to smoking laws, you'd end up with something like "religious education is not allowed in public schools, but in the privacy of your own home or in a private establishment, you can do whatever you want". Which, really is not much different from what we have now.

The value judgment that you're making is that a child's life success should be measured in terms of employment, wealth accrued and health. That seems a dubious proposition in and of itself, but it also is not abundantly clear to me that religion is likely to be even negatively correlated with those things. I could certainly imagine that religious people, for example, tend to have larger and more diverse networks through their religious community, and therefore actually tend to have better employment prospects than religiously unaffiliated people. It seems likely as well that there are a wide range of activities--watching television, say--that might also be negatively correlated with these metrics of well-being and, by your reasoning, ought also be banned.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Autolykos » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:57 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Causation is easier to prove in medicine than it is in psychology. And even still, smoking is legal in most developed countries despite the well-known harms, even smoking indoors in private spaces. If you wanted to make religious education analogous to smoking laws, you'd end up with something like "religious education is not allowed in public schools, but in the privacy of your own home or in a private establishment, you can do whatever you want". Which, really is not much different from what we have now.

Unless you're lucky enough to live in one of the few secular countries on this planet, this alone would be quite a substantial step forward. Replacing it with education on how to check your beliefs for truth would be even better (let's call that one philosophy). And none of this would even come close to anything one could plausibly call "thoughtcrime".
OTOH, religions are still a big enough thing that factual information about them should be taught, possibly in social studies (or history).

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Spleen » Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:31 pm UTC

@Autolykos
I actually do live in a such a country, and our education actually used to address those questions and be part of the college education plan. Sadly PC ideas have since forced that part of the curriculum to be removed since critical thinking were considered to belittle some religious faiths. :roll:
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Sableagle » Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:41 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?


I'd phrase this differently. We don't charge a 14-year-old with having sex too young, after all, do we? I'd make it illegal to indoctrinate children. Give children the right to be free from religious instruction until they're old enough to make up their own mind whether to believe it.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:06 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:We don't charge a 14-year-old with having sex too young, after all, do we?


Yes we (Americans) do, sometimes. If two people have sex and the older person is a minor, they can both be charged with statutory rape. The logic is that they are raping each other. The laws about statutory rape are very different between states, but most states have 'Romeo and Juliet' laws. These laws address say that minors, under certain conditions, may have their punishment reduced or provide a defense in court.

http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2014/0 ... crime.html

This is just something I wanted to add. Someone has probably said this before. By not introducing a person to religion until they are old enough to consent you are giving them the impression that religion is unnecessary. Imagine never teaching any mathematics higher than arithmetic with multiplication and division. To make this comparison worse, you are proposing that it is prohibited to teach a curious child legitimate information. I would define legitimate information as information that (a) is accepted as truth by a reasonably large population or (b) is protected by law as free speak and (c) is not altered to such an extent that it is propaganda. Just to be clear, I am saying that (a)II(b)&(c). Other people can define legitimate information in different ways; the fundamental point I am making is that making teaching illegal is a very dangerous line to walk across. I am sure that my own definition has its problems.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:47 pm UTC

But religion is unnecessary. Unlike math, which you use every day, even if you don't notice yourself doing do.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Sableagle » Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:47 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
Sableagle wrote:We don't charge a 14-year-old with having sex too young, after all, do we?


Yes we (Americans) do, sometimes. If two people have sex and the older person is a minor, they can both be charged with statutory rape. The logic is that they are raping each other. The laws about statutory rape are very different between states, but most states have 'Romeo and Juliet' laws. These laws address say that minors, under certain conditions, may have their punishment reduced or provide a defense in court.

http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2014/0 ... crime.html

This is just something I wanted to add. Someone has probably said this before. By not introducing a person to religion until they are old enough to consent you are giving them the impression that religion is unnecessary. Imagine never teaching any mathematics higher than arithmetic with multiplication and division. To make this comparison worse, you are proposing that it is prohibited to teach a curious child legitimate information. I would define legitimate information as information that (a) is accepted as truth by a reasonably large population or (b) is protected by law as free speak and (c) is not altered to such an extent that it is propaganda. Just to be clear, I am saying that (a)II(b)&(c). Other people can define legitimate information in different ways; the fundamental point I am making is that making teaching illegal is a very dangerous line to walk across. I am sure that my own definition has its problems.


Let's see ...
"Jews did 9/11" (actually that's a Steam account that's never joining my server again)
"Obama's a Muslim."
"Women's testimony is only worth 1/3 as much as men's."
"The Devil lives in clitorises and girls can't live virtuous lives unless He is excised from their bodies."
"Masturbation makes you go blind."
"The Sun goes round the Earth."
"Everyone else thought the Earth was flat but Columbus knew better."
"Black people are better off being enslaved and forced to convert to Christianity than living free as heathens."
"If Vietnam fall to communism, Thailand will be next."
"Crop rotation is an abomination." (I kid you not. That one's actually in Leviticus!)
"God hates fags!"
"Eating asparagus can cure AIDS."
"Only sinners get cancer."

How many of those count as "legitimate information" by your description?

Mathematics is actually useful. It's a necessary life skill. Understanding quite a bit of maths, biology, chemistry, physics and your own country's main language(s) are skills you need in life, without which you will struggle, your family will struggle and, if lacking those skills means you're in a large enough majority, your whole society will struggle. Being able to work out the dates of this year's Hajj? Not really useful in Sierra Leone right now. Being able to recite Matthew 7:1? Completely useless in working out whether you can afford a particular holiday. Knowing the sequence of the Ten Commandments? No help whatsoever in getting your car out of the ditch. Reciting the names of the first 20 reincarnations of Buddha? Doesn't shift stains and won't unstick your padlock.

After compulsory lessons in Christianity, presented as hard fact, and religious studies from age too-young-to-remember to age 16, I have all kinds of crap and bad memories wasting space in my head. I also have the following information:
First man: Adam
First woman: Eve
Problem in the garden: serpent
First murderer: Cain
Cain's victim: Abel
Parts of a church include rood, apse and nave.
Thsoe 8 words have been useful to me in completing cryptic crosswords, and that is the sum total of all the benefit I have ever received from all that droning, drivel and bullshit. That time could have been much better spent on emerging technologies, foreign languages, personal security, global politics, economics, carpentry, haberdashery, equestrianism, rock-climbing or archery, all of them more useful than sitting on one's arse listening to a man in a black dress with his shirt collar turned backwards (or a man in a red dress with a fabulous hat, on special occasions) quote from and waffle about a plagiarised book of fairy tales.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:12 pm UTC

Compulsory religious instruction taught me critical thinking skills and how to spot hypocrisy, demagoguery, and misogyny in all its forms (including homophobia, which is the belief that all men are inherently superior to women and must never, never be subjected to the passive sexual role reserved for such icky, evil females).

I have found the things I learned from religious instruction--which are not to be confused with the things my instructors intended me to learn--tremendously valuable, with direct practical applications for better understanding history, politics, and marketing.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:26 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Compulsory religious instruction taught me critical thinking skills and how to spot hypocrisy, demagoguery, and misogyny in all its forms (including homophobia, which is the belief that all men are inherently superior to women and must never, never be subjected to the passive sexual role reserved for such icky, evil females).

I have found the things I learned from religious instruction--which are not to be confused with the things my instructors intended me to learn--tremendously valuable, with direct practical applications for better understanding history, politics, and marketing.
Sure - do you think you could have acquired those skills more effectively and perhaps usefully via other means?

For example, while studying for my bar-mitzvah, I learned read and write in Hebrew, developed reasonable good mental techniques for relatively short term memorization, and learned a bunch of minutia about laws surrounding holiness at the Temple Mount. Some of those are transferable and useful, some are just handy bits of trivia. I also got to play with my tutors cockatoo, which was neat!

At least two of those skills could have been picked up with different hobbies. I don't disagree that you can learn the things you listed from compulsory religious instruction, but compulsory religious instruction seems a poor mechanism to teach those things.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:32 pm UTC

There's a certain value in picking up skills via actual practice, rather than in an abstract manner. I learned similar lessons(and more, thanks to being in a quasi-cult), in a way that I think would be fairly hard to replicate via other means. There's a certain degree of impact that stays with you, yknow?

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Sableagle » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:00 pm UTC

I suspect the adverse effects on a child's life from being brought up in a cult of delusional, pathological liars outweigh the benefit a person gains from the improved understanding of delusional, pathological liars such a child will have in later years.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:14 pm UTC

We can certainly make our points without resorting to hyperbole.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Sableagle » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

Well, can we settle on a parabola, then? T above me did bring up the word "cult." There are many experiences in life that can teach things people don't learn as well in other ways. I don't think the teaching effect can be the sole criterion for evaluating the total net benefit of the experience. Surviving a plane crash in the wilderness and walking 100 miles back to civilisation teaches a lot more about self-reliance than a well-planned 3-day trek in the Dales, but I wouldn't recommend dropping young teenagers off alone in the bush as a part of the national curriculum.

To leave out the trigger-word RL examples, let's go with DnD: which is better, the Cursed Belt of Strength and Nightmares (+5 Strength, +1 Wisdom, -6 Charisma, 1-in-20 chance of an attempt to sleep being wasted by nightmares for as long as you wear it, can't be removed) or the Belt of Strength (+4 Strength)? If you look only at the gain in strength, the cursed one's better. If you look at the wisdom bonus too, the cursed one's better. If the game system you're playing has heavy penalties for being short of sleep or frequent situations in which you need to pass charisma-based skill checks to do at all well, the cursed one's a personal disaster.

I don't want anyone to think I'm saying people who were brought up in cults, quasi-cults, fundamentalist households, monasteries, nunneries or whatever else are necessarily better, worse, more moral, less moral, tougher, weaker, well-balanced, traumatised, wiser or more naive than people brought up atheist-humanist or in any mixture of the two. Even if I *was* saying that, I'd blame the adults of the cult for any harm, not the child who had neither a choice about it nor the worldly experience to make such a choice wisely. I think responsibility for how a person is shifts from those doing the upbringing (if anyone is) to the individual *slowly*, at rates that vary from person to person, starting at ages that vary from person to person. I'm getting off the topic here, though.

I think the original question requires us to investigate one thing: what's the motive for "teaching" children religion? You can call it teaching, training, indoctrination, brainwashing, programming, instruction, edification or whatever else you want to, really. What's the motive of the member of (religious organisation) in passing on rules, mythology, legend, folklore, habits, rituals, prohibitions and so on to children too young to understand what's verifiable historical fact, what's presumed by logical interpolation from known history, what's speculation based on inadequate historical information, what's a much-translated bit of old culture passed on by word of mouth for so many generations before it was ever written down that nobody knows whether it was a children's bedtime story, an allegory or a legend in the first place and what's utter b_____ks someone made up a couple of centuries ago to assimilate the local pagans' seasonal rituals and festivals into their own religion? What does the inductor expect to gain from this? A convert? The joy of knowing a soul has been saved? Financial reward from the organisation? Another voice for the choir? More money in the collection plate?
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:16 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:what's the motive for "teaching" children religion?
From the POV of the parent, it is the passing on of valuable perspective on life and how to live it. The parent may be wrong about this perspective being a good one, but presumably the parent does not know this. It might also be that you are wrong and the parents are right. The question becomes whether or not you (or government with a law against teaching religion) should be able to decide how somebody else's children are brought up.

Jose
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Tyndmyr
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:36 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Well, can we settle on a parabola, then? T above me did bring up the word "cult."


Indeed. But my particular experience with religion is not the average experience, at least, not in first world countries. I'll grant that there have been some pretty terrible historical practices, and some still today in some parts of the world. And yes, those particular extreme examples produce a great deal of harm.

But painting all religion with that same brush is a bit imprecise and unfair.

I do think that moderate religion has some genuine benefits. Over and above teaching caution, etc, it often has a social role, for instance. Now yeah, you could have social bonds without religion, but religion does seem to be a particularly common way of making social bonds throughout history, maybe it's fairly good at it. *shrug*

Potential benefits do exist, even if they are not exactly the same for all religions.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:But religion is unnecessary. Unlike math, which you use every day, even if you don't notice yourself doing do.
You do have a worldview, an ethical system, a set of rituals, and a set of narratives you use to build interpersonal communications with; even if you don't notice yourself doing so.

I realize that's likely not what you mean by "religion"; you likely mean some kind of theistic belief that produces beliefs like in Sableagle's list above. I pick at words because the original subject of this thread was positive law limiting religious instruction. This raises the question of how we define the word "religion" that we make law around.

In American law there is some definition or "religion", but 1) it's typically with respect to negative law 2) it's a broad definition (like I used above) that includes things the neo-atheists in this thread don't take issue with.
Tyndmyr wrote:But my particular experience with religion is not the average experience, at least, not in first world countries.
I'm sorry if you had a bad experience.

From your experience, are there any problematic aspects or teaching methods you can think of that might be candidates for being isolated out?
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:50 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby IceFlake » Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:14 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:I have found the things I learned from religious instruction--which are not to be confused with the things my instructors intended me to learn--tremendously valuable, with direct practical applications for better understanding history, politics, and marketing.


Same here. I learned more history and political science in 8th grade Lutheran catechism class than I learned in 8th grade public school. And at the time, no, there was no other way for me to acquire this knowledge. 13 year-old me would not have known where to start if I wanted to research on my own and it probably wouldn't have occurred to me to take an interest in the European renaissance and reformation.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby ucim » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:23 pm UTC

IceFlake wrote:Same here. I learned more history and political science in 8th grade Lutheran catechism class than I learned in 8th grade public school.
But was what you learned true? That's the problem. If (any given) religion is FALSE, then everything associated with its teaching is suspect.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Should religion be illegal for children?

Postby IceFlake » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:29 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
IceFlake wrote:Same here. I learned more history and political science in 8th grade Lutheran catechism class than I learned in 8th grade public school.
But was what you learned true? That's the problem. If (any given) religion is FALSE, then everything associated with its teaching is suspect.

Jose


Yes, it was true. We're not talking fluffybunny Sunday school here. Catechism class was very scholarly - we took tests and wrote papers. Critical thinking was encouraged and necessary. I didn't hate it even though I was already an atheist at the time.


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