A freedom-denying petition

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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:30 pm

Timothy Chase wrote:

Mikey - might want to check the wording on your last sentence.


Indeed so and it was kindly corrected.
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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Timothy Chase » Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:23 pm

Gwynne wrote:I would contend that this is a different 'kind' of education. What we're talking about here is not about learning facts or the three 'R's, it's not even about whether there is a deity or not but about model building. It's about children gaining the frames of reference from which they can build a world view that is broadly compatible with ie allows them to interface with the consensual reality of wider society. The problem I see with any kind of indoctrination, religious or otherwise, at an early age is that it creates reference points which are at odds or in conflict with large sections of the world that reside 'outside' that particular framework. Devisiveness and an 'us and them' mentality becomes the basis on which they have to interface with all the other consensual realities that they will come in contact with during their lives.


Having been a philosophy major, like all those who major in philosophy, I have this aweful tic of bringing up the Nazis. Let us assume for the moment that the world is no wider than Germany itself. Once Hitler has taken power, consensual reality would dictate that exterminating certain minorities is a good thing - or at the very least, the severe curtailment of their rights. However, I suspect that you would hold views similar to my own that this would be a bad thing, at least if we were suddenly transported into such a world. Likewise, the majority of people in a given society might very well believe in slavery - but I believe you would grant that - independently of what the majority of people might think, slavery would still be a bad thing. Therefore I would have problems with accepting the norms of consensual reality per se.

Likewise, most people would agree that reality exists independently of what anyone believes. In this sense, the idea of "consensual reality" would seem rather problematic. Likewise, being what might loosely be described as a neo-Aristotelean, I am of the view that, regardless of what the majority of people believe, or for that matter, what everyone might subscribe to down to every last individual, reality is what it is. The earth was not flat at one point, and then suddenly became round as soon as enough people thought it so. Moreover, the simple fact that one has to speak in terms of *consensual* reality would seem to be an admission that there is something very problematic in the concept itself.

Gwynne wrote:IMO, children should not be taught a particular metaphysical construct from which to judge the world but rather that there are many such constructs and which one you choose, as an adult, should be of no consequence to your ability to function amongst your fellow human beings.


If my religious views were of a more traditional sort, I would want to bring up my child in that tradition - because I would think that tradition right, even if I fully recognised the rights of others to hold to other traditions - as I would, being a liberal person. (To imagine myself being something other than a liberal would be so far removed from what I am that speaking even hypothetically of such an individual would no longer make any sense whatsoever.) However, I am also of the view that the "us vs. them" element to fundamentalist beliefs is so thoroughly engrained in fundamentalism itself that it severely impairs the ability of fundamentalists to function in society, whether it is with regard to science or society's democratic institutions.

I am inclined to recognise the political right of fundamentalists to bring up their children in their beliefs, but not without a great deal of personal reservation. In fact, I regard such indoctrination (even when undertaken simply by the parents of a given child) as a severe form of psychological abuse, but believe that any political remedy would in all likelihood be worse than the problem it was intended to correct.
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Postby jon_12091 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:14 pm

Timothy Chase wrote:If my religious views were of a more traditional sort, I would want to bring up my child in that tradition - because I would think that tradition right, even if I fully recognised the rights of others to hold to other traditions - as I would, being a liberal person. (To imagine myself being something other than a liberal would be so far removed from what I am that speaking even hypothetically of such an individual would no longer make any sense whatsoever.) However, I am also of the view that the "us vs. them" element to fundamentalist beliefs is so thoroughly engrained in fundamentalism itself that it severely impairs the ability of fundamentalists to function in society, whether it is with regard to science or society's democratic institutions.


The us v's them element I think is profoundly damaging. I've heard it/seen it plenty times from across the spectrum of evangelical Christianity and even from the more orthodox traditions. If hear one more British Christian claim they are persecuted I'll probably spontaneously combust. Their simultaneous decrying of societies fallen state and their refusal to understand it or to attempt a constructive engagement with it, ultimately prevents me and I suspect alot of other people from taking them at all seriously.

Timothy Chase wrote:I am inclined to recognise the political right of fundamentalists to bring up their children in their beliefs, but not without a great deal of personal reservation. In fact, I regard such indoctrination (even when undertaken simply by the parents of a given child) as a severe form of psychological abuse, but believe that any political remedy would in all likelihood be worse than the problem it was intended to correct.


IMO you rightly conclude any political remedy would be worse than the problem.

Personally I tend to think children grow up despite their parents not because of them.
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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Peter M J Hess » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:56 pm

Kyu,

(1) I certainly agree with you that we live in a pluralist
society. My disagreement is with your global characterization of
religious communities as exclusivist. This may be true of parts of
Islam, and of Lubavitscher Judaism in which funeral services are held
for children who marry outside the sect), but it is absolutely not
characteristic of Roman Catholicism. True, in the old days Rome
proclaimed the view "nulla salus extra ecclesiam" (no salvation
outside the church), but I personally have never (in fifty years)
encountered that attitude. Perhaps Catholics in California are more
liberal than elsewhere in the world, but this does put the lie to an
absolute claim in this regard.

(2) I wonder by what criterion of "waste'" you judge religious
practice to be a waste. Plant and animal life will probably be
extinguished on earth in 400 million years or so, and the planet
itself incinerated several billion years after that. Unless there is
some external referent of value, it would seem that it is only human
preferences that confer value on human activities. What you judge to
be a waste of time (religion) would be no more or less so than
gambling away one's life in Las Vegas, feeding the poor, spending
hours on-line playing "world of war craft," praying in monastic
seclusion, teaching evolution, or curing cancer. In the absence of
an external referent, "religion is a waste of time" is nothing more
than a matter of personal taste.

Best wishes,
Peter
Peter M. J. Hess, PhD
Faith Project Director
National Center for Science Education
http://www.ncseweb.org
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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Kekerusey » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:40 pm

Peter,

My disagreement is with your global characterization of religious communities as exclusivist. This may be true of parts of Islam, and of Lubavitscher Judaism in which funeral services are held for children who marry outside the sect), but it is absolutely not characteristic of Roman Catholicism. True, in the old days Rome proclaimed the view "nulla salus extra ecclesiam" (no salvation outside the church), but I personally have never (in fifty years) encountered that attitude. Perhaps Catholics in California are more liberal than elsewhere in the world, but this does put the lie to an absolute claim in this regard.


Oh come off it!

Those of Jewish faith do not typically believe that non-Jews will go to whatever passes for their Heaven, those of Islamic faith do not typically believe non-Muslims will go to paradise (with their 72 virgins) and those of Christian faith do not typically believe that non-Christians will go to Heaven. Furthermore in the Christian faith we DO have exclusivist subsets such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, The Mormon and yes, Catholics (and I say that with some personal knowledge since I have seen little evidence of real change in that respect since I ceased to be one near 35 years ago).

Perhaps the Catholics in California are more liberal!

(2) I wonder by what criterion of "waste'" you judge religious practice to be a waste.


Way to twist my words Peter since I conceded it might be possible to get something out of it even if there were no god.

Plant and animal life will probably be extinguished on earth in 400 million years or so, and the planet itself incinerated several billion years after that. Unless there is some external referent of value, it would seem that it is only human preferences that confer value on human activities.


I would judge that as a waste, yes! Fun while it lasted but ultimately pointless. To my mind the only thing that will give our (human) lives real meaning is survival ... I want to see us leave our nest (by which I mean our planet, the solar system and ultimately our galaxy).

What you judge to be a waste of time (religion) would be no more or less so than gambling away one's life in Las Vegas, feeding the poor, spending hours on-line playing "world of war craft," praying in monastic seclusion, teaching evolution, or curing cancer. In the absence of an external referent, "religion is a waste of time" is nothing more than a matter of personal taste.


And I am forced to disagree as I say above.

Kyu
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A freedom-denying petition

Postby Peter M J Hess » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:59 pm

OK, Kyu - let's agree to disagree!
Best,
Peter
Peter M. J. Hess, PhD
Faith Project Director
National Center for Science Education
http://www.ncseweb.org
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Re: A freedom-denying petition

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:00 pm

This thread has run its course and is no longer productive. I am closing it.
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