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sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,09:34   

Is extreme religious indoctrination child abuse?

Over on PT Nick Matzke posted a reaction to the writings of Nancy Pearcy:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/05/yet_another_ver.html

In that post, we see Nancy describe both her "early struggles" with her religious beliefs, as well as her current recommendations for how to indoctrinate children.

Nancy tell us what it was like to grow up orthodox Lutheran, and how much she struggled with it in high school; note the last sentence.  No, I didn't clip anything out, it really is a stark transition:


Quote
I grew up in a Lutheran home where I was taught orthodox Christian doctrine from an early age. I went to a Lutheran grade school. I knew the word “evolution” and I knew in some vague fashion that “they” were wrong and “we” were right. But the how’s and why’s, specific scientific theories and evidence, I was never taught.

Halfway through high school, I realized I did not believe the Christianity I had been taught for so many years. I was hanging onto it out of respect for my parents. But I personally had no reasons for believing it to be true. I had no criterion for holding to creation instead of any other world view. I decided the only honest thing to do was reject the faith. I embarked on a tumultuous and painful search for years through agnostic philosophies and eastern religions.

What I had was a borrowed faith. I was a “second-generation Christian.” I believed because my parents and teachers told me to. My borrowed faith lasted only until I found out other young people believed opposite things because their parents and teachers told them to. Without being able to put it into words at the time, I realized that this was not an adequate reason to belive.

I did eventually become convinced of the truth of the Bible and accept Jesus as my Lord.


OK, so she was born again.  Let's move the current day, where she now profers this as the best way to indoctrinate (er, i mean teach) kids:

Quote
It is a major concern of mine to help children make creationism their own. That happens only when the child, on whatever level he is able, thinks the issue through for himself. I hope not only to teach the subject of creationism, but to teach children how to think.

To help our young people find their way through the creation-evolution debate, we need to teach them how to handle basic scientific concepts. What is the difference between a fact and a theory? Between data and interpretation? How can the same data be explained by different conceptual schemes? What constitutes evidence? What does it mean to say a piece of datum is evidence for or against a theory? How can we misuse evidence, or mislead with statistics?

It is not enough to teach children to memorize individual proofs for creationism. It is good to know, for example, about the implications of the contemporaneity of man and dinosaurs.


do note the last sentence again.

This got me thinking.  First, that parents who expose their children to extreme religious viewpoints, while not preparing them for how those views differ from observable reality set them up for the kind of mental dissonance that Nancy describes in the first quote.  I don't know just how extreme it was, but it's not like I  (nor I'm sure most of you) haven't seen this kind of reaction before, and watched teenagers (and older) suffer as they struggle to reconcile an early set of taught beliefs with what they actually see and learn as they get older.  Second, that the way Nancy describes the way she wishes kids taught reminds me of descriptions of some brainwashing cults.  

It's probable that if we actually asked Nancy to detail what she really wants wrt teaching kids, it wouldn't look so odd.  However, on the surface at least, there are some disturbing things in what is quoted above.  What I see is someone so convinced of their worldview, that they would be willing to distort information and out and out lie to kids to "prepare them for us evilutionists" (to borrow from our favorite AFDave).  Which got me thinking that that sounds an awful lot like cultism.

Further, if we think about the implications of cultism on children, one could make an argument that this is a form of mental abuse, and therefore child abuse.

Now just to be specific, I’m not talking religion in general here, but working back from extreme examples of cultism, and eventually locating exactly where the kind of indoctrination profered by Nancy fits on that scale.  Moreover, our own AFDave has provided examples of the places he is indoctrinating his kids at (and proud of it).  Are these examples of cultism?

so let’s start with the most extreme example i can think of that actually DOES happen:

If your neighbors had kids and submitted them to a brainwashing cult, would you consider that child abuse or not?

To steal a post from that thread, Registered User had this to offer as a place to start:

Quote
Posted by Registered User on May 24, 2006 01:16 AM (e)

http://www.da-tulareco.org/child_abuse.htm

There are four forms of child maltreatment: emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

i.e., “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;” “When you do that, you make Jesus sad” “Do you want to go to ####?” etc., when spoken to 3-6 year olds.

Whether that sort of stuff can constitute child abuse hasn’t been addressed directly, as far as I know. The big bad atheism-promoting ACLU hasn’t gone there, to my knowledge.

Many people — even self-identifying “libertarians” — believe that parental autonomy is a fundamental right. It’s an interesting and (IMHO) an important political issue but one that this country is far far away from ever seriously addressing.


well, if we're far away from seriously addressing this issue in general, perhaps we should get started here.

  
Ladlergo



Posts: 32
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,09:46   

Well, this is quite an interesting topic.  I'll have to mull it over for a while, but for now I have a few legal questions (in case anyone is familiar with the subject).  What's the history of cases involving brainwashing in the western world?  Have they ever been considered?  Have there ever been any cases concerning the brainwashing of minors?

   
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,10:12   

a little addition:

today our own AFDave posted this in one of his screeds:

Quote
Oh, by the way, I also like to write poetry.  You will see mine in the form of a soon-to-be-released new Dynamation called "The Watchmaker" at www.kids4truth.com. See, we want to get to these kids with the truth at a young age, so that they will not go wrong in science like you did when they grow up.


Is this evidence of cultism, or not?

judging by Dave's statement that he had no idea of the difference in genetic similarity between chimps, gorillas and humans, it's at the very least an indication of the kinds of kids produced by such an approach.

  
beervolcano



Posts: 147
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,10:59   

Just about all education can be labelled as indoctrination, but that's not what indoctrination is.

It has to be pretty forced. The child cannot decide what to believe for himself.

I guess the test would be to see if there is not just education going on, but downright coersion. That would be cultish behavior, IMO.

--------------
("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."--Jonathan Swift)

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,11:05   

Yes, extreme religious indoctrination (and AFDave's antics) are child abuse. Yes, they are a more obvious and pernicious form of abuse than "normal" parenting (quotes absolutely intended).

The problem isn't what is child abuse, the problem is what isn't? As Phillip Larkin said in "This Be The Verse":

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself."


Now don't take me the wrong way (heaven forfend!;) I am not defending cultism/fundy bullsh1t of the AFDave variety, but I see a problem with the conveniently easy stereotyping of a extremely religious upbringing as child abuse. It has parallels with the vehement atheist's occasional sweeping generalisation of religious belief as a mental illness. (I am an atheist, and vehement, but I don't like to make catagory errors of the "all X is Y" type)

Part (and only PART) of the definition and diagnosis of child abuse (as indeed certain mental illnesses such as delusion) rests on what is perceived by the child to be "normal". (By the way, if Thordiddly reads this, this is precisely why we need to legalise gay marriage, let gay people adopt, and treat different people as equally as possible). A child raised to be a devout baptist in a community of devout baptists will feel and appear "normal" in that social group. To all intents and purposes.

Obviously this is all WAY more complex than can be given in this glib and inexpert treatment I am attempting, my only intention is to raise this one caveat: be careful how we define these things as child abuse.

As I said at the start, yes I consider these things to be child abuse. Certainly from any rational perspective, or any perspective in which one views the child as being capable of functioning in a more diverse social environment, religious indoctrination of this child deliberately stunts their ability to think and interact.

The caveat I raise is that, to a greater or lesser extent, ALL education does this. My background and education has forever (barring brain injury) prevented me from becoming a fundamentalist religious person. I am sure AFDave (or someome very much like him) considers that a legacy of my horrid abusive upbringing removed from the light of his personal sky pixie. The one saving grace I have, which saves me from slipping headlong into ridiculous cultural relativism, is that my ideas can be tested independantly of me, and found to be applicable in the natural world. My ideas are not contrary to observed reality.

So in summation, yes I think we can say that by any modern norm or rational perspective, that the indoctrination of children in extremist religion is at least tantamount to child abuse. However, we should bear social context in mind, and hope that the state is sufficiently well run (ha!;) to provide a state education system which challenges these extreme religions by exposing children to more diverse ideas.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,11:17   

Quote
It has parallels with the vehement atheist's occasional sweeping generalisation of religious belief as a mental illness.


funny you say this, because it was an argument about dawkins that got me going in this direction to begin with.

do please note what i mentioned in bold tho:

I’m not talking religion in general here

just to be clear.

I assume there is a sliding scale, and want to figure where we DO draw the line, legally and socially, as to what is cultism, and what is child abuse.

Quote
The caveat I raise is that, to a greater or lesser extent, ALL education does this.


but this is a gross overgeneralization, and a mischaracterization wrt public education in general.

why?

because the difference is that public education is designed around parsimony based on evidence, while at the opposite extreme, cultism is based on forced ideology with NO evidence (or faked evidence).

I see a BIG difference between the two, with a ton of room to explore in between.

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:11   

Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,16:17)
I assume there is a sliding scale, and want to figure where we DO draw the line, legally and socially, as to what is cultism, and what is child abuse.

I also agree that there is a sliding scale, but I suspect that the line gets redrawn on a case-by-case basis. And of course the view of abuse depends on which side of the line you personally fall. If you were raised an atheist by atheist parents, you might be happy for your good fortune, but a fundie would be quite certain you were abused.

The other thing to consider is that religious indoctrination is actually fairly mild compared to some of the truly vile and depraved things that adults have done to children. To get anyone to buy it as an argument, you’d have to compare it to “raped the kid with a broom handle” and “locked the kid in a broom closet for two weeks without food”.

Offhand, I wouldn’t want to advance it as an argument.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:29   

Quote
but a fundie would be quite certain you were abused.


that's a bit of a cop out.

it's like saying there are no objective ways of determining child abuse.

Would a disciple of Manson say we are all abused?  of course they would! (and they, in fact, did!)

does that mean they are correct?  

would someone who beats their children (and i don't mean "spanking" i mean BEAT) consider someone who doesn't to be abusing their children?

taking your argument, we could say, sure they do.

but there IS a measurable, consistent negative psychology that results from beating your kids that doesn't when they are not.

hence, that's why it's been considered child abuse for some time.  It wasn't always.

that's what I'm trying to explore here.

Are there measurable, objective negative psychologies that result from cultism?

can you honestly answer "no"?

OK, let's knock it down a notch to the kind of "education" profered by Pearcy.

Seems that based on her own history, the very thing advocated by Pearcy could result in severe negative psychology in the long term.

should we as a society be responsible for the damage these kids end up causing when they grow up and try to ram their forced belief structures down everybody elses' throats?

Take a gander at AFDave.

Is AFDave the result of a psychological dysfunction?  Is that dysfunction having a negative impact on society at large?  Would allowing AFDave to indoctrinate children in ever more dysfunction qualify as abuse?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:35   

Quote
What's the history of cases involving brainwashing in the western world?  Have they ever been considered?  Have there ever been any cases concerning the brainwashing of minors?


the easy answer is yes.

If nobody provides specific examples on point in the next day, I'll go ahead and see what i can dig up.

EDIT:

as a quick start, and to support the idea that "there is nothing new under the sun", evidently not only is thinking of extreme religious indoctrination as child abuse not a new idea, it seems to have had a go in the courts a few times, based on this attempt at defense by thefamily.org website.

http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book3/chapter3.htm

this specifically is giving a brief overview of the "brainwashing" or mental abuse aspect of cultism in the courts, but it's a start.

do note the interesting case cited at the end, where the ones who did the DEprogramming were actually held liable!

might as well start with the most extreme counter-argument, eh?

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:59   

Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,20:29)
that's a bit of a cop out.

it's like saying there are no objective ways of determining child abuse.

Sorry, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that. Perhaps I should've used some qualifiers and said "And of course the view of abuse sometimes depends on which side of the line you personally fall." I think in these initial comments, most people are going to raise the Complexity and Relativity flags before venturing to define specifics. Even your observation:
Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,20:29)
and i don't mean "spanking" i mean BEAT

could be open to some debate based on different interpretations of "spanking" and "beat".
This is a REAL thorny issue, is all I'm sayin'

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,16:04   

Quote
This is a REAL thorny issue, is all I'm sayin'


couldn't agree more.  which is why i thought it would be a great thing to toss about here at the bar.

watch out for flying beer bottles.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,22:39   

Hi Sir TJ,

Perhaps I didn't communicate what I wanted correctly. If so, my bad.

I absolutely agree with everything in your original posts, and I certainly agree that an extreme fundy upbringing is at least tanatmount to child abuse.

The caveat I was raising was that (as you mentioned with Dawkins' comments on religion as a mental illness etc) is that there is some degree of environment to be considered. Like you say, that degree, and the degree of abuse, is difficult to determine. Legally we must draw a line somewhere, scientifically it is nigh on impossible to do so.

Beervolcano brings up a good point, coercion. So here's my tentative proposal, see what you think of it, should the following aspects be present I reckon it's abuse:

1. The parental opinion/worldview is being forced onto the child in a strongly coercive manner (threats of #### or similar etc). There are adverse consequences for not adhering, or appearing to adhere to, the "party line".
2. The opinion/worldview is demonstrably at odds with observed reality.
3. Dogmatically holding to this recieved opinion/worldview could hinder social or professional progress in more diverse social and professional environments. (think Fred Phelps type homophobia in a modern multinational corporation etc).

How does that grab you?

I reckon that an extreme fundy upbringing fills those criteria nicely.

Cheers

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,23:20   

Very very interesting Thread.

Quote
Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

i.e., “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;” “When you do that, you make Jesus sad” “Do you want to go to ####?” etc., when spoken to 3-6 year olds.


I don't know if the examples given would really fit the criteria above.

First example. “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;”. How is this different from "No Games as punishment for what you did"?

Second Example “When you do that, you make Jesus sad”. How is this different from "You make Daddy/Mommy sad if you do X"?

The he11 thing hovever might be something. Eternal punishment by torture of the worst kind. This does appear to be abuse, to me anyway.

Everyone here knows I am an ex-fundie. The he11 thing is pretty intense, for fundies, to say the least. It was for me anyway. I think the whole role of he11 in fundie religion is blackmail, threatening with eternal torture. If a child grows up believing he11 is true, then it is the single most powerful factor that makes him adhere (and defend) the given doctrine.

I recall the stage when I started doubting the Christian Doctrine. I would have left it easier and earlier were it not for the he11 factor. It might sound stupid, but reaching the stage where you know your faith will not take you to heaven (and by default land you in he11) is pure torture. It makes it even worse then you lost the ability to have faith in all the things you were told. So, you are going to he11 and can't help it, and, there is nothing you can do about it.

The chalenge would be to define and prove the behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders that arrive from fundie upbringing. I wish Afdave would let us study him :-)

However, I think any state would be LOATH to interfere in religious upbringing. There are various political reasons. The fundie population in America is substantial, and polititians are not going to do that much and offend them. It's voters that count in the end.

Another problem is drawing a line between acceptable indoctrination (standard Christian upbringing) and unacceptable upbringing (Fundie). To define a scale where you say "X" is ok but "1.2X" is not. I don't see this as easy or anything that will surface soon.

Some posters has sugested that each case would have to be seen on it's own merit. More detailed analysis is required on the effects that Fundie stuff has on kids. We should also remember that the effects would differ from child to child. I know a fundie pastor who has three kids. One of his kids is fundie and the other two are agnostic. Why did one kid fall for it and the other two not?

Futhermore, are there any studies that shows that the ratio of disorders are more for fundies than non fundies?

Then, lets assume there is a court case and 2 (loving) fundie parents gets convicted on child abuse. The kids are taken away from them. Does this help? Would the kids be better of with foster parents?

It is a very sensitive subject this. I don't have any answers to this, although if a way could be found to limit the cultish parents from damaging a child by indoctrination, then I would be all for it. Fundies however will raise he11 before submitting to such a thing, of this I will assure you.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,04:57   

Quote
(list) How does that grab you?


promising.  Did you check out the link provided by Registered User in my original post?

read the section on how abuse is defined; here's a relevant snip (sorry for the repetition, Renier):

 
Quote
Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

Neglect: The failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or coats). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use.



I see several aspects of the definitions of emotional abuse applying here, and the potential for using neglect as punishment.  Renier has already started on some of these.

compare/contrast.

I'll have more later.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,05:06   

I see a slippery slope with the "x is ok, but 1.2x is abuse" thing.  I don't claim to know where to draw the line, but clearly a line must be drawn somewhere.

I am also an ex-fundy.  Before getting sucked in, I wanted nothing more in life than to be an astonomer and/or astrophysicist.  Once the hook was in, I withdrew from public school and paid my own way through christian high school, where most of the non-religion classes were comprised of material I learned in grade school.  I then attended Bob Jones University in SC.  At the end of the first semester, I was asked to leave Blow Job U. because I was asking too many questions and not liking the answers I got.  It was just the beginning of a long road of awakening from a drug-induced-coma-like state.

I then spent quite a few years drifting around through life, became an electrician by accident, and though I eventually tried to go back to college, I didn't finish.  Being a single dad, divorced, and working in a bar wasn't terribly conducive to getting an education.  I'm not whining, and I know it's certainly possible to do, but it's much harder than being 18 with support from home.  It's a situation I should never have been in, and indeed would not have been in, were it not for the creeps peddling this crap.

Look, I am personally 100% responsible for the choices I make and I make no bones about that.  But the fundgelical movement absolutely, positively caused harm in my case.  Though I have long since dumped most of the emotional baggage of fairy-tale bullshit, twenty years on I'm still feeling the effects and consequences of what I allowed those freaks to do to me.  And I'm still pissed about it.

Hard-core fundyism is child abuse, plain and simple, and should be stopped.

Ramen.

(After previewing this post, I see I have much more anger to deal with than I thought.  Yet, I believe my point still stands.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,05:09   

thanks for tossing one back with us, Lou.  Your perspective is certainly a welcome one on this issue.

I'd comment further, but I'm out the door and will return a bit later in the day.

please feel free to continue on, all; i'll catch up.

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:17   

Abuse and it's relationship to religiosity being a topic near to my heart, I had to finally join the forum in order to participate in this one.

   There is no question in my mind that extreme religiosity can lead to abusive behaviour, and I see no reason to think that 'educational'/indoctrination practices would be exempt.  

   I do think you will probably find that in those cases where the religious indoctrination is so extreme as to be abusive the abusive behaviour is not limited to the religious teaching aspects of the parent/child relationship.

   I think Louis' list is on the mark, though I would also add  

 4.  The opinion/worldview/practice is demonstrably harmful when adhered to.

   While I acknowledge the right of adults to choose to marytr themselves for their faith, forcing children to adhere to such practices is appalling.

Penny

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:33   

Let me ask this:

Does there in fact exist one or more behaviors that would be UNIVERSALLY considered child abuse?  By “universally” I mean “regardless of culture or societal context”.

My gut reaction is, well, yeah, murdering your kid would be such a behavior.

But ya know, I’m coming to be impressed with humankind’s ability to find exceptions to anything.  Still,  I’ll stick with my vote for murder. Can anyone think of any others?

My sense of it is that there are probably very few such behaviors, and this would point up the difficulty in getting any particular behavior classified as “child abuse”.

The four forms of child abuse listed on the Tulare County DA page are useful, but they can be more compactly expressed in two categories: PHYSICAL or MENTAL. I would guess that a behavior that is UNIVERSALLY regarded as child abuse is more likely to be a Physical one.

I do NOT think that Louis’ list is workable:

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
1. The parental opinion/worldview is being forced onto the child in a strongly coercive manner (threats of #### or similar etc). There are adverse consequences for not adhering, or appearing to adhere to, the "party line".


“Billy, learn your science lesson or you won’t get into CalTech and you’ll end up being a hamburger flipper. And Mommy will kill herself.”

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
2. The opinion/worldview is demonstrably at odds with observed reality.


Geez, isn’t this the whole problem with trying to reason with Creationists? They literally observe a different reality than do others.

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
3. Dogmatically holding to this recieved opinion/worldview could hinder social or professional progress in more diverse social and professional environments. (think Fred Phelps type homophobia in a modern multinational corporation etc).


“Sorry, Billy, your CalTech degree sorta automatically disqualifies you for a management position here at Fundie-Owned Corp.”

There’s NOTHING that can’t be twisted around. But you knew that already.

  
Ladlergo



Posts: 32
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:39   

Quote (Joe the Ordinary Guy @ May 25 2006,16:33)
Still,  I’ll stick with my vote for murder. Can anyone think of any others?

How about raping one's prepubescent offspring?  I think that's pretty universal.

   
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,11:05   

I'll vote with the child abuse folks, depending on certain classifications. I carve them up like this:

1) Belief as ratified by evidence. "I believe it's raining outside."
2) Belief without evidence when it's consistent with evidence supporting related matters. "I believe the flagellum evolved normally."
3) Belief without evidence, even though if the belief were correct, evidence would be overwhelming. "I believe in <insert god of choice>"
4) Belief in defiance of evidence. "I believe the earth is 6000 years old."

The fourth category clearly reflects parental abuse, or at the very least malignant neglect. The believer has a no-doubt-about-it damaged brain.

The third category is problematic. It seems human nature for children to have invisible playmates, to WANT horoscopes to be true, or UFOs or miracles. It's possible to outgrow the beliefs and expectations, but probably not the wants. Most of us sincerely want centuries of youthful vigor.

And I think most religious belief falls into this category. To sincerely accept unattested and unattestable things incapable of being refuted. But it's probably a fine line to slip over into the category of sincerely accepting solidly and unambiguously false things for reasons psychologists may someday understand.

  
Renier



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,02:06   

Quote
The third category is problematic. It seems human nature for children to have invisible playmates, to WANT horoscopes to be true, or UFOs or miracles.


Ah, I really think you got something there. How does the childhood thing of "invisible playmates" differ from the way the fundies construct their "personal" relationship with Jesus?
Some children create "make-believe" friends to fill a specific need. What is this need, and is it possible that fundies are doing the exact same thing?

  
edmund



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,06:23   

STJ wrote:
Quote
Now just to be specific, I’m not talking religion in general here, but working back from extreme examples of cultism, and eventually locating exactly where the kind of indoctrination profered by Nancy fits on that scale.

STJ, I apologize. (Over on PT, I'm B. Spitzer.) On looking over my post to you the other day, I'm embarrassed to see how cranky it was. I should have kept my virtual mouth shut and let you explain yourself, instead of rushing to judgment.

--B. Spitzer

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:43   

No worries.  This is a contentious issue on the face of it, let alone when we grind out some of the details.

feel free to add your perspective as you deem fitting.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:53   

would it help this discussion to get some summary legal opinions/statues/court cases to go along with the few referenced so far?

I'd be happy to do so.  

I think Nick might also have some ideas on where to get some legal perspective on this issue as well.

other directions/input anybody would like to see?

The court cases i cited from the family.org site suggest this is a REAL issue, not just one we are bantering about here, so I personally would like to see as many perspectives and as much evidence as possible.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:58   

Quote

Ah, I really think you got something there. How does the childhood thing of "invisible playmates" differ from the way the fundies construct their "personal" relationship with Jesus?


there are fundamental differences in reinforcement.

In the latter case, especially wrt what we specifically are addressing here, there is a potentially significant reinforcement influence (both positive and negative) coming from the parents themselves.

How is this the case with an imaginary friend?

   
Quote
If a child grows up believing he11 is true...


Would convincing a child that the concept of he11 has validity constitute an aspect of coercion that could be construed as the kind of child abuse we are discussing here?

 
Quote
3) Belief without evidence, even though if the belief were correct, evidence would be overwhelming. "I believe in <insert god of choice>"
4) Belief in defiance of evidence. "I believe the earth is 6000 years old."

The fourth category clearly reflects parental abuse, or at the very least malignant neglect. The believer has a no-doubt-about-it damaged brain.


perhaps, as noted above (beervolcano), one of the key constituents that seperates abusive parental behavior from non is the coercion aspect?

If i present a set of religious beliefs to my kid, and they accept that, it's one thing.  However, if I present those same sets of beliefs, and then utilize coercion to force them to accept them, that's something different, yes?

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,12:53   

Lou presented his own case as evidence on point.

I didn't really see anybody disagreeing with that.

Is there a general consesus then that what Lou describes is in fact, child abuse?

It even seems like long-term institutionalized abuse in general.

It would seem so to me (obviously), but is this the point we start from, or the point we end at?

  
Fractatious



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,01:28   

I am obviously a little slow moving around the board.

Ironically, I recently completed a paper (still awaiting my grade for it) concerning "abuse of children". (I posted concerning Hovind and manipulation/indoctrination on the Media Theistic Blunders thread but will focus on the legality and definition side of things).

My country is New Zealand. For those who don't know where that is, we're parked right next door to Australia with only the Tasman Sea separating us. Our politicians are battling out our Crimes Act, where in Section 59 it allows for parents or those acting in the role of a parent to hit a child with *reasonable force*. Yet it can be determined exactly what *reasonable force* will be. Considering too that if you hit your spouse, hit your employer/employee or hit an animal, you face immediate assault charges (hit can be defined as push and slap), it would seem that in relation to children, its subjectively defined. Ok, I'm getting off topic a tad bit but I do have a point to this.

Quote
1998 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


However religious families find away around a childs rights with:

Quote
Article 26.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.


These are sketchy, which is why the following is more vitally important when dealing with children.

Quote
Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

Article 13

1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.


The implications are quitec clear but the reality is vastly different. Most children are not aware of their rights. In fact, most adults are not aware of the rights of children.

  
PennyBright



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,06:16   

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child is a good good thing.

Unfortunately the US refuses to ratify it.   Conservative opposition and our insistance on being allowed to sentence minors to death have gotten in the way.

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,07:24   

STJ

Just a quick drive-by.

Thanks for starting this topic, I believe it's a rather important and thought provoking subject.

While I've been chewing on this quite a bit, I'm still a little too angry to post anything substantive and sane just yet.  (I've really been pissed over this since you've brought it up, and it's a good thing strangely enough.)

Just to clarify something I said earlier, though, when I returned to college in the mid nineties, it was to a real University... Marshall U. in WV.  (This would probably not be a good time for any WVU folks out there to chime in, just in case the thought crossed your itty bitty minds.   :p  )

On second thought, let me throw this out there:

The fundy mantra goes along the lines of:

"If you don't accept Jesus in your heart as your Lord and Master and personal Savior, and ignore those scientists, with their 'man came from monkeys' and their 'billions of years' lies, Jesus will send you straight to he11 where you will burn in torture and torment for all eternity."

The preceding is (for anyone born and raised on some other planet who may never have heard this explicitly stated) neither parody nor caricature.

How is this not, by anyone's definition, child abuse?

The speaker has:
1. Invoked the ultimate, omniscient, invisible authority
2. Demanded unquestioned self-abasement and servitude to that authority
3. Insisted that irrational delusion replace observed reality which in turn can only harm the ability of the listener in question to function
4. Threatened not only harm, but eternal, unspeakable torture as the only alternative to #2 and #3 above

This is not even in the same ball park as "Billy do your homework or you'll work at McDonny's Booger Joint for the rest of your life".  Yes, I'm paraphrasing, and I admit I dropped the maternal suicide clause from the statement earlier in the thread.  I don't know that "Mommy will kill herself" is an oft repeated refrain, and in context I don't think Joe meant it was.

I have to insist that the fundy statement is orders of magnitude more detrimental than the Booger Joint statement, with or without the involuntary matricide clause.   (Maternal suicide or involuntary matricide - you be the judge)

Ok, "quick drive-by" evolved into "rambling diatribe" and "biting missive", so I'm off to experience and examine more internal (but hemorrhaging) anger.

Peace.  (I'm aware of the irony of that statement in this post, shut up.)

:)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,11:28   

Quote
you face immediate assault charges (hit can be defined as push and slap), it would seem that in relation to children, its subjectively defined. Ok, I'm getting off topic a tad bit but I do have a point to this.


no, I think the analysis of subjectivity in definition and usage is right on point here.

Quote
However religious families find away around a childs rights with:

Quote  
Article 26.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.



Are there records of parents utilizing this article as support in a civil or criminal case?

Quote
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.


SO much contained in a simple sentence.  Seems we could spend weeks trying to unravel exactly how  "prescribed by law", and "protect ... fundamental... freedoms"  influence the decision on what is and is not child abuse.


So... would a productive approach be one of volume?  compare how these issues have balanced out in actual legislative action in various places and states, and in actual court cases?

I bet some of the underlying issues have been addressed by the US Supreme court at one time or another.

thoughts?

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,11:32   

Quote
Unfortunately the US refuses to ratify it.   Conservative opposition and our insistance on being allowed to sentence minors to death have gotten in the way.


Penny:

do you think the refusal of the US to ratify the document itself makes the arguments contained therein moot from a US legal standpoint?

I keep wondering if anyone in the US has tested the arguments in court somewhere.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,11:43   

Quote
How is this not, by anyone's definition, child abuse?

The speaker has:
1. Invoked the ultimate, omniscient, invisible authority
2. Demanded unquestioned self-abasement and servitude to that authority
3. Insisted that irrational delusion replace observed reality which in turn can only harm the ability of the listener in question to function
4. Threatened not only harm, but eternal, unspeakable torture as the only alternative to #2 and #3 above


hmm.

Lou, have you ever considered following this up legally?

It would seem, based on our admittedly armchair analysis so far, that you might have a case for a civil suit.

It might be fulfilling to approach a lawyer with this and see if you might make it to plaintiff status.

Also would be a great way to explore the legal arguments involved.

Please do note though:

-I'm no lawyer (I don't even play one on TV :) ), and can't really say one way or the other whether there is a real legal argument here; this is all just "mental masturbation" at this point
-I'm also no psychologist, and you might be far better served exploring what happened to you with a professional therapist before attempting any legal avenues.

Either way, don't think you're alone. as you note, there are entire educational systems and institutions devoted to the kind of brainwashing you document here.  You might actually be able to contribute to knocking them down a peg, AFAICT.

You might try locating others who are in the same boat as yourself.  there's bound to be many "graduates" from the same places as yourself that feel exactly as you do.

It would be very worthwhile if you could contact them and speak with them about the issues as well.

... A giant class-action child abuse civil suit.  I wonder how well they would swallow that, eh?

cheers

  
nmatzke



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:15   

I am not deeply fascinated by this topic, since it seems to me that there is no way that parents merely teaching their children young-earth creationism or even flat-earthism can qualify as child abuse.  Everyone has some wacky beliefs, and everyone thinks everyone else's beliefs about religion are wacky, and there is no way politicians or courts are ever going to take the dangerous steps into controlling what parents teach their kids.

Therefore, raising the issue within the evolution/creationism context is only going to start fights, make the evolutionists look like zealots, etc.

I will offer some random thoughts, though:

* I know nothing about the law in the areas of child abuse, psychological abuse, cults, brainwashing, etc.  However, I read Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven, which is about the murder of a mormon woman and her baby by (IIRC) two of her brothers-in-law.  The family was part of a mormon fundamentalist splinter group and somehow or other the brothers got the idea that God was telling them to kill the woman.  Demons and possession, tied up with some weird homoerotic stuff, were a piece of this also.

When they were arrested and went to trial, one of the questions that came up was, Could the brothers use an insanity defense?  Were their beliefs so crazy that they weren't morally responsible for their actions?  Expert witnesses were called on both sides.  The eventual answer was basically that, no, these ideas are not obviously any crazier than some of the well-known beliefs of many well-known religions, many of which seem bizarre to outsiders.  If the court gave these guys a pass for their religious beliefs, it would have to do the same for every other "God told me to do it" type of excuse.  Thus the insanity defense was excluded.

So, I think the law has a strong tendency to focus on regulating actions rather than beliefs, and I suspect this would apply to any attempt to call simple beliefs "child abuse."  

Emotional abuse and brainwashing might be different, but it would have to me much more than simply "you are going to #### if you say/believe X."  Cults tend to control every aspect of a person's life in a very rigid way, which gets us back to actions.

* Another random thought is that I keep noticing weird parallels between cults and anti-cult groups.  Scandals, lawsuits, etc.  Is it just me or is there something here?

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:18   

What nick said.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:31   

Quote
Therefore, raising the issue within the evolution/creationism context is only going to start fights, make the evolutionists look like zealots, etc.


We don't necessarily have to raise the question in the context you specify.

Indeed, one of the main reasons i wanted to punt the idea about outside of PT was for this very reason.

ATBC itself isn't necessarily the ideal place to address it either, but it's a place to start, anyway.

 
Quote
since it seems to me that there is no way that parents merely teaching their children young-earth creationism or even flat-earthism can qualify as child abuse.  


I think it's been clearly established so far that the issue isn't necessarily the beliefs themselves, but the WAY they are taught that could fall under various mental abuse statutes.

this goes directly to the argument of actions you present.

as to courts addressing the issue, please check out the link from thefamily.org site I noted above.

seems the ideas to some extent have already been bandied about in the courts.

 
Quote
If the court gave these guys a pass for their religious beliefs, it would have to do the same for every other "God told me to do it" type of excuse.  Thus the insanity defense was excluded.


I think you are missing the next step implied by this case.  the murderers were tried on their actions, not their beliefs, as you rightly note.

If the methods used for coercion of beliefs are considered to be "actions", how is that not related to supporting the case for child abuse; completely aside from the beliefs themselves?

 
Quote
Emotional abuse and brainwashing might be different, but it would have to me much more than simply "you are going to #### if you say/believe X."  Cults tend to control every aspect of a person's life in a very rigid way, which gets us back to actions.


yup, and is pretty much the direction the discussion seems to be headed.

 
Quote
Another random thought is that I keep noticing weird parallels between cults and anti-cult groups.  Scandals, lawsuits, etc.  Is it just me or is there something here?


hmm, I'm not sure if this is a real or simply a perceived phenomenon, resulting from the kinds of counter-suits filed by those charged with abuse to begin with.

again, take a gander at the few cases listed here:

http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book3/chapter3.htm


Quote
What nick said.


uh, you wouldn't care to elaborate on that profound statement, would ya?

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:37   

"what nick said" is shorthand for "I agree with what Nick said."

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:42   

You should wait until i put up the official poll then.

In the meantime, perhaps you could explain to me why it is so much more fascinating to argue the value of gay marriage with bigots that have bricks for brains?

;)

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:51   

I don't know. I don't argue gay marriage with those bigots. When you're so crazy you're saying that the people who don't want to discriminate against gays are bigots, you're as bad as any creationist.

   
nmatzke



Posts: 3
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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:55   

It seems to me that that webpage shows:

* Legal theories based on brainwashing have occasionally been introduced in court, often to defend anticult people/groups that are accused of kidnapping when they forcibly extracted someone from a cult

* These legal theories sometimes work and sometimes fail in court

* The accused cults (apparently "The Family" is one of these?) play the "freedom for religious minorities" card immediately when the brainwashing accusation is leveled.

It seems to me that at most this page tells us is that the defense "I kidnapped her to get her out of that brainwashing cult!" sometimes works with judges and juries.  But I strongly doubt that this tells us much about the likelihood of such an argument working as a plaintiffs' argument.

You might look up cases involving conflicts between government child welfare departments and various religious groups.  I think the best-known conflicts arise over medical issues -- vaccinations, refusing medical treatment, and the like.

E.g., should parents be prosecuted for murder/manslaughter/criminal neglect or whatever, if their religion says that they should pray rather than seek modern medicine when their child gets sick with something easily curable?  I would say clearly "yes", but my understanding is that state law and court cases go both ways on this.  Many states have exceptions written into the law specifically for these religious groups, I think.  And even if the law is clear, juries will sometimes refuse to convict if the parents appear holy enough.

If this is the situation with literal life-and-death issues, there is little chance that there is much of a legal case to be made with milder issues.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,12:58   

STJ,

I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about any of what you've mentioned.  But honestly I see several problems/issues.

1.  I'm sure whatever statutes of limitations in place at the time have run out.
2.  There's no way this country is ready to see such things as child abuse.  Freedom of religion is still seen as freedom to be a christian, although I think there is a very gentle eddy in this stream that may one day become a full strength back-current.  Look at the soldier's widow still fighting to get a wiccan symbol on his tombstone.  Even if she succeeds, I am willing to bet that tombstone doesn't remain undefaced for more than a month.  "Can't have them evil devil worshiping symbols in our Christian Country's Military Cemeteries, you know.  Damage for Jesus."
3.  I'm much closer geographically to the previously mentioned Blow Job U than when I grew up, and have a genuine safety concern for my family.  I won't even put an FSM logo (man I want one of those) on my car here.  Humor and respect for others is beyond the comprehension of a fundy.  I'm not willing to be so publically "out" as it were, as an irreleventist.  (Seems to me, labeling me as an atheist is about as dumb and about as relevent as labeling me as an atoothfairyist.  Technically true, I suppose, but completely meaningless.)  I'm sorry if that sounds irrational or offensive, but I was there, and I know better than to put anything at all past a fundy.  There is simply no depth to which they will not stoop to achieve a complete theocracy.
4.  I don't know that I'm willing or ready to really revisit that whole part of my life just yet in that way.  I wonder if there's an AA analog somewhere for this.

So although it's probably too late to do anything legal in my case, I'd be thrilled to see it go to court eventually, when a case actually had a chance to win.

Since leaving all that behind, I've bumped into exactly one of the 23 other students with whom I graduated high school.  Turns out, she was the one girl I really had the hots for back then (in a purely platonic way, of course...eh yeah).  She was married when I bumped into her, couple o' kids, working as the school secretary.  Still very cute.  We were chit chatting and she even asked why I never asked her out.  She'd have said yes.  But I think I might have used a very slight profanity in the course of the conversation, at which time the conversation sort of faded out and I could see she was still all wrapped up in all that.  I don't hold out much hope for any of the others.  It's just not that easy to escape from.

As for actions, Nick, and please understand I hold you in the highest regard, this IS an action.  If witholding medication from a child because of some freak superstition is child abuse because it's physically damaging to a child, why wouldn't f'ing up their head because of some freak superstition be child abuse because it's mentally damaging to the child?

And as for STJ's question, I'd posit it's much easier (and more entertaining) to verbally body slam an obvious blockhead.  The conversation in this thread is much less simple, has genuine room for gray area, and is much more likely to tread on taboos that are still deeply head by our society.  It was a very long time after leaving all that before the little nervous wince went away that occurred whenever I uttered the g-d word.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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PennyBright



Posts: 78
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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,13:23   

Quote (sir_toejam @ May 27 2006,16:32)
do you think the refusal of the US to ratify the document itself makes the arguments contained therein moot from a US legal standpoint?

I keep wondering if anyone in the US has tested the arguments in court somewhere.

IANAL,  but I do think that it makes the Convention moot under US law.   While the arguments themselves may have validity under our law, I do not know of any cases of them being tested.

As I understand it, until ratified by the US, the Convention is not relevant to US law --  one of arguments against ratification is that if we ratified it, we would then have to abide by it.   Here is a good run down of some the standard objections: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000021.asp

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
nmatzke



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,13:24   

An interesting article in the journal Pediatrics:

Quote
Seth M. Asser and Rita Swan (1998). "Child Fatalities From Religion-motivated Medical Neglect." Pediatrics Vol. 101 No. 4 April 1998, pp. 625-629.

Objective.  To evaluate deaths of children from families in which faith healing was practiced in lieu of medical care and to determine if such deaths were preventable.

Design.  Cases of child fatality in faith-healing sects were reviewed. Probability of survival for each was then estimated based on expected survival rates for children with similar disorders who receive medical care.

Participants.  One hundred seventy-two children who died between 1975 and 1995 and were identified by referral or record search. Criteria for inclusion were evidence that parents withheld medical care because of reliance on religious rituals and documentation sufficient to determine the cause of death.

Results.  One hundred forty fatalities were from conditions for which survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90%. Eighteen more had expected survival rates of >50%. All but 3 of the remainder would likely have had some benefit from clinical help.

Conclusions.  When faith healing is used to the exclusion of medical treatment, the number of preventable child fatalities and the associated suffering are substantial and warrant public concern. Existing laws may be inadequate to protect children from this form of medical neglect.
Key words: child abuse, child neglect, child fatality, Christian Science, faith healing, medical neglect, prayer, religion and medicine.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,13:24   

Quote
You might look up cases involving conflicts between government child welfare departments and various religious groups.  I think the best-known conflicts arise over medical issues -- vaccinations, refusing medical treatment, and the like.


that sounds like a productive area to research.

thanks.

 
Quote
When you're so crazy you're saying that the people who don't want to discriminate against gays are bigots,


yeah, I really couldn't fathom that one myself.

Lou:

Quote
I wonder if there's an AA analog somewhere for this.


I bet these guys would know:

http://www.factnet.org/Children.html

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,13:47   

Quote (nmatzke @ May 27 2006,17:55)
You might look up cases involving conflicts between government child welfare departments and various religious groups.  I think the best-known conflicts arise over medical issues -- vaccinations, refusing medical treatment, and the like.

E.g., should parents be prosecuted for murder/manslaughter/criminal neglect or whatever, if their religion says that they should pray rather than seek modern medicine when their child gets sick with something easily curable?  I would say clearly "yes", but my understanding is that state law and court cases go both ways on this.  Many states have exceptions written into the law specifically for these religious groups, I think.  And even if the law is clear, juries will sometimes refuse to convict if the parents appear holy enough.

If this is the situation with literal life-and-death issues, there is little chance that there is much of a legal case to be made with milder issues.

The poster child faith for abuse through medical neglect is Christian Science (The Church of Christ, Scientist).   Due largely to the lobbying of Christian Scientists in the 60's and 70s, 44 states currently have religious exemptions to child abuse and neglect laws.  

Court cases brought against CS parents have, as Nick points out, varied in result - it is un-common for CS parents to be convicted,  and in many cases where they are, those convictions are later over turned (often on the basis of religious exemption laws).

I agree with Nick that while such egregious abuses are permitted in the name of religion, there will be no censure for anything lesser.

For more information on this issue see:Death By Religious Exemption and Childrens Health Care is a Legal Duty

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
PennyBright



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,13:52   

Nick,

  Excellent catch with the Pediatrics article --  Rita Swan is a former Christian Scientist, whose son died due to medical neglect.  She's one of the founders of the CHILD website I linked too.

 I think that her case provides a tragic example of how one can wake from religious fanaticism to find themselves deeply injured.

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,14:53   

Quote
I bet these guys would know:

http://www.factnet.org/Children.html


Checked out their message boards...  Overrun with fundys ie..."America is a Christian Nation", "Ban the ACLU", "Christians are persecuted because we can't force our superstition on everyone else", "Bush has a brain", and other  such nonsense.

             
Quote
In 1876, the congress passed a bill that the Bible should be the standard for all morality. Our Laws are based on the 10 Commandments and the mosaic law. It is time for some lawmaker to introduce a bill to confiscate the properties of ACLU under the statutes of RICO. Please contact your cognressmen and senators over this. This is long due. We must get this done for the future of America.


I'm going to keep poking around there for a while, but there seems to be a stance of "this is what defines a cult...unless it's Christianity, in which case shut up and do what Pastor Bob says Jesus said."

There is rebuttal going on, but it's all beside the point of what I'm looking for.

This page at that site looks a little more promising.

Thanks for that link, STJ.

I'm not sure I really see a distinction between letting your child die for lack of medical attention because of your superstition, which is apparently legal in 44 states (unless I'm misreading what PennyBright says about the extent of the religious exemption), and shooting or blowing up a planned parenthood medical professional because of your superstition.  In fact, I would argue that the former offense is even more morally reprehensible than the latter.  In a backwards-logic-insane kind of way, at least the crazy with the rifle thinks that he's saving lives.

 
Quote
I agree with Nick that while such egregious abuses are permitted in the name of religion, there will be no censure for anything lesser.


I would agree with this statement, again because I think fundy christians get a pass on the whole cult thing.

Hey, is the proper spelling "fundys" or "fundies"?  I'm thinking it's the second, but I like the first.

:D

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,14:58   

ahh, I saw this:

http://www.factnet.org/cris.htm

linked on that page and thought maybe it was  a legitimate support group kinda thing.

sorry.

from your description, it sounds like it's one fundamentalist group trying to save folks from the rest?

Is this accurate in your opinion?

I haven't checked these, but if you find any useful resources feel free to share them:

http://www.factnet.org/orgspubs_list.html

they might all be related.  I don't know.

It's just the first place i ran into when I thought about the AA thing.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:10   

No, actually they actually might be what they purport to be, it's just there's a large amount of fundy commenters on the christianity section of the boards, no real discussion about recovering from fundyism, or the harm it causes.

Instead of "Can christian fundamentalism be cultish, and if so, what should be done for victims?" there's a lot of "The Christian god is the one true God" and various agreement and rejection of that.

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:22   

as a related, but side venture, I'd like to take a look at something Steve said:

   
Quote
When you're so crazy you're saying that the people who don't want to discriminate against gays are bigots, you're as bad as any creationist.


One of the reasons i started this thread was that based on many conversations with, looking at writings of, and watching the behavior of creobots on this forum and in many other places, they do seem to share a fundamental similarity in psychology.

-irrational rejection and denial of even basic evidence
-tons of projection
-inability to recognize basic flaws in logic.

You can see this if you look at the arguments of Behe, or AFDave.  Dembski, or Thordaddy.

The point is, after spending YEARS attempting evidentiary argumentation to refute creobots, I see little traction gained with the creobots themselves.

This ISN'T saying that evidentiary arguments have no value in these "debates"; obviously they do, hence we have Kitzmiller, etc.

However, when looking at the results amongst the creobots themselves, I see little progress being made.

40 + pages of essentially the same arguments over and over again in the gay marriage thread; even more than that in AFDave's threads.

has there been any support that an evidence based argument is affecting the arguments used by T-diddy or AFDave?

any support that evidentiary argument has been successful in changing what Behe has to say?

nope.  none.

why is that? i kept asking myself.

well, steve points to it, but I'll spell it out:

You can be successful with an evidentiary argument when debating an idea, but not when your arguing against a psychology.

If a schizophrenic tells you that there are blue bugs crawling up the walls behind you, it really doesn't matter WHAT evidence you present to them to the contrary.  they will think you simply can't see the obvious, and wonder why you are so blind you can't see the #### bugs crawling up the wall.

so while it was a half-assed question i posed to steve, the answer says volumes about exactly what I think we are dealing with here, and why i think that evidentiary argument will not be productive in obtaining any positive conclusions to these "debates".

Religion is an idea that can be debated.  I don't see any religion presented by AFDave.  I see a psychological pattern very reminiscent of aspects of schizophrenia.

so, bottom line, one of the reasons i posted this was in fact, to seperate the psychology from the idea; to seperate the religion from the "fundamentalism"; to seperate the creobot from the Xian.

This is of value not just to the issue wrt science, but also from the viewpoint of religion as well.

not a new argument, I know, but I felt it needed to be made here regardless.

feel free to prove me wrong.  I have no personal stake here; but if you can explain the behavior of AFDave, or any of the other rampant creobots anybody has seen here or elsewhere, I'm all ears.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:33   

Quote
it's just there's a large amount of fundy commenters on the christianity section of the boards, no real discussion about recovering from fundyism, or the harm it causes.


non-moderated forums are no place to spend your time with an issue like this.

I would search the links for professional support groups instead.

look for something moderated by an accredited psychologist if you insist on trying to do this in an online medium.

However, I would hope the links would somewhere point to an "in person" support group network, much like the AA to which you referred earlier.

In fact, you might not go wrong contacting AA itself, to find out if there are support groups in your area that deal with issues relating to your own.

here is the main AA site; perhaps if you contact them they will have some better ideas than myself.

http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org

keep us posted.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:34   

Relatedly, what's the difference between someone who can get out, and someone who can't?  I'm now wondering what made me different than anyone else.

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:37   

can you explain what you mean by can and can't get out?

did you mean forced coercion by use of some physical restraint?

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:39   

STJ,

Yeah, I wasn't going to deal with it online, I was just looking for information, and perhaps a lead.

And feel free to posit that I'm just really brilliant for a reason I managed to get out.  I'm pretty good with that one.

;)

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:40   

I look at it, as how one uses their thinking. We tend, unfortunately, to use our reasoning skills to justify beliefs we already have (edit: and this is not always a bad thing. You want people to justify that murder is wrong, you don't want somebody starting from scratch and concluding that murder is fine, and then acting on it. You want them to justify the accepted norms). Then since we have a stake in getting to the preexisting conclusion, we'll overlook shaky parts to our reasoning.  That's how I see the bigot thing. Nobody, thinking logically, would argue that bigotry is in not discriminating against someone, since that's the opposite of what it means. But if the argument seems to get you where you want to go, you'll overlook that. The value in getting a science education is that by getting answers wrong, you are forced, over and over, to go over your reasoning and find the errors and suck it up and change your belief. You learn to be less attached to your desired conclusions. Conversely, the problem with religion is it demands you commit to certain conclusions at all costs. The dogma of the faith is absolutely true, no ifs, ands, or butts. And so people will go to great lengths, overlook horribly broken reasoning, to keep those demanded conclusions. It causes people like Dembski to waste their lives trying to square the circle.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:43   

Quote
And feel free to posit that I'm just really brilliant for a reason I managed to get out.  I'm pretty good with that one.


ok, consider it posited.

with the caveat that it's posited by someone who has no real background to say such

;)

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:46   

Quote
can you explain what you mean by can and can't get out?

did you mean forced coercion by use of some physical restraint?


Nope.  Physical restraint is unnecessary to keep the faithful in line.  That's the point of this thread, in a way, isn't it?

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:50   

Quote
We tend, unfortunately, to use our reasoning skills to justify beliefs we already have.


agreed, but let's focus on one phrase here:

Tend to.

It could be argued that the difference between a religious person and a creobot is one of degree, yes?

while we all "tend to" use our reasoning skills in a similar qualitative fashion, there is a great difference in how that relates quantitatively.

for example, let's take AFDave again.

You can see a difference i trust, in the degree to which AFDave "tends to" use his reasoning skills (if you can even call them that) to justify his beliefs, vs. the others who post in his thread, yes?

would you qualify the overusage of the tendency to rationilize your belief structures "normal" or "abnormal" from a psychological perspective?

Quote
Conversely, the problem with religion is it demands you commit to certain conclusions at all costs


I'm not at all certain that can be qualified as a blanket statement.

but then that's kinda the core of my argument.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:54   

Quote
Physical restraint is unnecessary to keep the faithful in line.  That's the point of this thread, in a way, isn't it?


yes, but I'm still unsure how to answer your original question.

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:54   

Oh, yeah, well, the religious person, in your example, has a small and remote set of required conclusions. So they're not going to run into much conflict. Whereas creobots like Dave have huge sets of concrete conclusions, such as the set of all sentences in the bible, and the odds are great that some real knowledge, in science, will conflict, and Dave will have to back-justify why it must be wrong. It's an awful position to be in. You see the lengths to which he must go to deny reality, to try to preserve all those religiously-required beliefs.

Quote

would you qualify the overusage of the tendency to rationilize your belief structures "normal" or "abnormal" from a psychological perspective?

Oh it's absolutely normal, it's a 50-year-old theory in social psychology that people will rework their set of beliefs to reduce cognitive dissonance.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,15:58   

Quote
It's an awful position to be in. You see the lengths to which he must go to deny reality, to try to preserve all those religiously-required beliefs.


exactly the kind of thing that causes cognitive dissonance.

Quote
Oh it's absolutely normal, it's a 50-year-old theory in social psychology that people will rework their set of beliefs to reduce cognitive dissonance.


and do you see AFDave doing that?

I sure don't.

It's my position that the level of cognitive dissonance exhibited by AFDave has already caused significant damage.

I don't see him trying to do anything rational to reduce the level of dissonance, i see projection and denial as mechanisms to deal with it instead.

normal?

natural, maybe, but it wouldn't qualify as "normal" in any pych text I've ever perused.

oh, and glad to see the subject has garnered your interest.

:)

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,16:08   

Quote
yes, but I'm still unsure how to answer your original question.


I don't think I was actually looking for a magical answer, rather I was looking for discussion on the broader principle, while using my self in particular as example.

What is the difference between someone who never leaves fundyism/cultism whatever, and a person who wakes up one day and says "hey, wait a minute..."

With that, I believe I'm off to bed.

I bid you all good evening, and look forward to continuing this discussion.   :)

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,16:16   

He's doing it, he's just doing an awful job of it.

Here's another example of why, moment to moment, these kinds of rationalizations can appear reasonable to the creobot (This is a hypothetical example, don't bother telling me that I got a detail or two wrong, that's not the point), and reduce cognitive dissonance:

Suppose you know that Potassium decays into Argon, and that argon is a gas at the temperatures where Potassium is molten, and you know the earth used to be molten, so you look at Potassium deposits and you find a certain percentage of Argon mixed in, and you know the half-life, and you know any mixed-in argon gas would have escaped during the molten stage, so you do the calculations and lo and behold, the calculation says the rock formed 4 billion years ago, which you know various other ways was when the earth was molten. Now, if you don't have any preexisting beliefs this interferes with, you can just accept the datum. One more fact to file away. But say this conclusion violates the foundational beliefs you have about the world. If this is right, everything you know about the universe and your place in it is wrong. Under those circumstances, it's not hard at all to insert a small monkey wrench. You tell yourself that some unknown circumstance trapped argon in the molten potassium. Some pressure, or confinement, or unknown physical chemistry rate function. Such an unknown process isn't impossible, is it? So which is better? Allow this unknown possibility, or face the obliteration of your worldview? From that perspective, it looks perfectly reasonable. Accept this tiny thing without evidence, and preserve numerous and important beliefs you have, which give you comfort, connect you to a community, etc etc.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,16:21   

Quote
One more fact to file away. But say this conclusion violates the foundational beliefs you have about the world. If this is right, everything you know about the universe and your place in it is wrong.


Is that why the gov. refuses to show us the aliens they found in area 51?

sorry, had to pop that out there. couldn't resist. :D

I understand your argument, but have this to say as a less flippant repsonse:

the actual belief itself is not what is at issue, but rather how it is defended.

as nick pointed out above; it's not the thought, but rather the actions that are significant.

I don't care if the murderer is mormon.

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,16:34   

Well, in the above example, it's an invention of a tiny belief, which removes an incompatibility between big beliefs. It's a reliance on an x factor to explain something. It's an inferential thing people do all the time. You believe that your car, in an unbroken state, works, and so when you get in and turn the key and it doesn't work, you say, Ah, unknown part x is broken, you don't reevaluate the bigger idea that unbroken cars work. The problem with the creobots is they litter their brains with these x-factors to preserve the religious beliefs which don't easily fit the evidence. They wind up with all kinds of special pleads all over the place.

   
Joe the Ordinary Guy



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,16:38   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 27 2006,20:34)
Relatedly, what's the difference between someone who can get out, and someone who can't?  I'm now wondering what made me different than anyone else.

Broadly restated, this could be:

“What is the difference between someone who CAN change one or more personally-held beliefs, and someone who CANNOT make such a change.”

Because THAT’S what we’re looking at here; some people can change a belief and some cannot. The very nature of practicing science requires you to look at your results and change your hypothesis if need be. Thus, scientists get a fair amount of practice at this, and may be quite good at it. They don’t take it personally.

Consider, then, the requirements of the job of Minister (or Priest, or Vicar, or Swami): If you are representing a thousands-of-years-old tradition, and you are charged with carrying it forward, the very nature of your job requires that you do NOT change your opinions on any of it, ever. It is true and eternal, and it is not your place to question it in any way. You probably get good at it.

And because both science and ministry are practiced by human beings, there is some, let’s say, VARIETY in the details.  Some scientists compartmentalize their religious beliefs, some ministers compartmentalize their real-world practicality. Some don’t, and are eventually drawn more completely towards religious or secular belief.

And of course, this ability or inability to change a belief is not confined to scientists and ministers; it would have to be found in varying degrees in all people. But not all people are called upon to change or resist change as frequently, and so most of us muddle through life being flexible in some things and rigid in others. Perhaps the conflict has erupted between science and religion because their practitioners are at the extremes of the ability.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:02   

Quote
They wind up with all kinds of special pleads all over the place


exactly my point.

others, simply, do not.  

You don't.

I don't.

most here don't.

and not even all creationists do.

hence our friend Lou, who "escaped" for lack of a better term.

In that light, how would you answer Lou's question?

Quote
And of course, this ability or inability to change a belief is not confined to scientists and ministers; it would have to be found in varying degrees in all people.


I'm reminded of a quote from near the end of the movie "Dogma"

after having actually MET god and saved the world from annhilation, there is a brief discussion between an unknown disciple of Jesus (Rufus) and the "last zion" (Bethany):

Rufus says:

"crisis of faith over?"

Bethany:

"I think I'm blessed with an overabundance now."

Rufus:

"Does that mean you believe?"

Bethany:

"No.  But I have a pretty good idea."

Rufus nods in agreement.  Rufus' point was made earlier in the film:

"You can change an idea, but a belief? that's MUCH harder."

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:05   

While we're talking about dissonance, how'd you like to be Dembski? How'd you like to try to reconcile the following two beliefs:

1 I am a revolutionary, genius scientist
2 My followers are Salvador Cordova, DaveScot, GlennJ, DougMoron...

I'm not sure there's enough special pleading in the world to deal with that. :-)

Quote
exactly my point.

others, simply, do not.  

You don't.

I don't.

most here don't.


Well I think we do use these kinds of x-factors in our day-to-day thinking, the difference is we don't have the huge worldview beliefs which are at odds with science, so we don't have to use those pleads in those areas, and in excess.

Update: So if my idea is correct, what the question reduces to is, Why are people like Dave so committed to those fundy beliefs, that they'll endure so many special pleads? And I don't really have an answer for that.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:17   

Quote
how'd you like to be Dembski? How'd you like to try to reconcile the following two beliefs:

1 I am a revolutionary, genius scientist
2 My followers are Salvador Cordova, DaveScot, GlennJ, DougMoron...


I've often wondered how he deals with this myself.  I saw some of his early discussions he posted from his college days, and it seems he embarked on this "adventure" as a bit of a lark, maybe make some bucks along the way.

I do wonder just how deep he has fallen into the hole he has dug for himself.

OTOH, I'd bet he's actually making quite a bit more money than myself these days.

*shrug*

Quote
And I don't really have an answer for that.


nor did I.  which is kinda what motivated me to start this bit of investigatory debate.  I'm sure i could make a more convincing argument if I had more than a year of undergrad pych under my belt, but I kinda feel like I know "just enough to be an idiot" if you catch my meaning.

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:20   

Quote

I've often wondered how he deals with this myself.  I saw some of his early discussions he posted from his college days, and it seems he embarked on this "adventure" as a bit of a lark, maybe make some bucks along the way.
I can relate to that. I have some friends who started a homeopathy company. Do they believe in homeopathy? Not on your life. They think it's utter nonsense. But they think there's a mountain of money to be made there.

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:29   

do you mind if we end this side discussion here for now?

I don't want to get too far off the main thrust of the thread, which I'll pick up again tommorrow.

cheers

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,17:31   

I don't have anything else to say on the topic, really. And Chauncey Billups just made it a 1-pt game on my tivo, so I'll switch my attention to that :-)

   
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,19:55   

[deleted]

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,04:54   

Ok, I feel better.  A day at the beach will do that for a fella'.

:)

I've been chewing on this, and so far we've been picking out random instances and saying "oh yeah, this is child abuse" or "I'm not sure that constitutes child abuse" but there doesn't seem to be any way to delineate what is or isn't.

I'm thinking maybe we should alter our methodology.  How about this.

Let's draw a scale for actions, from 0 to 100, where 0 is an action that amounts to no irrationality, and 100 is an action that results in the death of a child from extreme irrationality (witholding medication from a child for religious objections which results in the death of a child would be at or near 100, I'd say).  We'll divide the line exactly at 50 and say that a 49 is really wacky, but just short of child abuse, and 51 is just barely child abuse.

Let's further separate the high end of the scale with 51 to 74 being milder forms that might have some hope of recovery, and 76 to 100 being actions that would indicate it is necessary to remove the abuser from all contact with children (i.e. jail, abuser offenders list, etc.)

Back down on the other end, obviously there is no one who can honestly claim 0 type behavior in all instances, so let's reserve 0 to 24 for more innocuous behavior ("my favorite team wins when I wear my replica of their jersey" would fit in there somewhere) and 26 to 49 for stranger actions which are a bit more irrational, but wouldn't quite be considered abuse.  (Perhaps this might include things like inducing labor in a pregant woman so her baby won't be born on June 6.)

The locations on our scale corresponding to 25, 50, and 75 would be set aside for behaviors which are borderline between the actions on either side, and for which concensus simply cannot be reached.

I'm open to suggestions on this, what do you think?

In honor of the fella' who brought this topic up here and got me thinking about it, I'm going to name our scale the T.O.S.I.C.A., or Toejam Objective Scale of Irrationality and Child Abuse.


:D

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Joe the Ordinary Guy



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,06:30   

Lou,

Your scale is certainly a workable starting point for discussion. I think the next step would be to start calibrating the various contributors to this thread by asking them to assign a score to a single action: teaching a child that there is a god.

No other qualifiers here; just teaching a child that there is a god.

I myself would assign that action a TOSICA score of 45.

  
PennyBright



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,07:10   

Lou, I like it for a starting point.

I'll follow Joe's example and rate 'teaching a child there is a god'.

I'm assuming the teaching is just that - no specific particulars about religion or behaviour, just 'there is a god'.

I'd have to rate that a 28 or so -- at that level it seems the equivalant of teaching 'there is a santa claus'.

On the 'with-holding medical care due to religious belief'  I think that the general behaviour is a solid 75,  since it may or may not be fatal or injurious, depending on the circumstances.  There is no question that many specific instances of the behaviour hit 100.

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,14:39   

I've got some references to track down and some things referenced by others in this area to read, so I'm paying attention, but before we go much farther, I'd like to be able to say I know a bit more about what has come before in the areas being discussed.

It seems all agree that one of the main ideas here is to somehow generate some objective way of qualifying whether a specific indoctrination practice would be considered to cross a line into mental or emotional abuse.

Is this essentially correct?

a sliding scale is an excellent place to start, one with as large a scale as possible.

scale of 1-100?  pretty good sized scale.  might even make it larger until we can get a clearer picuture of exactly what is meant by mental and emotional abuse, see further examination of cases on point, etc.

I figure as the picture becomes clearer, the scale will narrow.

then, I suppose we would need to figure exactly where an specific set of circumstances would become actionable.

I'm no lawyer, but I wouldn't doubt there is a veritable cornucopia of relevant cases to study.

Hmmm, I guess what I'm really asking is, "raise your hand" if you want to do some legwork so we can all come to some workable and productive conclusions here.

Ideally, some time spent gathering relevant court cases would be helpful;

also treatises on the psychology of cultism, examples of "brainwashing" and methods used to treat same (professional only, not amateur).

any current work on the phenomonon of cognitive dissonance, or whatever is currently the relevant area of investigation.  Ways mental health-care professionals use to analyze and treat related symptoms, etc.

I'd like to see this proceed beyond a well-reasoned set of assumptions based on very little data, into something where we all agree there is some value.

there's no rush.  posts on ATBC stay indefinetly, so we can always come back to it as new things come up, and time becomes available.

at the very least, I hope it will eventually become a decent repository of references and information, and it certainly will be interesting, as it's already achieved that, at least in my mind.

cheers

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,15:27   

Hmmm...

I'm thinking my TOSICA score for "there is a god" is a multi-part answer, and that answer is dependant on our definition of "god".  If, indeed, we say that there is no restriction or qualification on the word, just that there is some force or being, supernatural, that exists, then I would lean more towards Penny's score of around 28 to 30.  If we instead give this god more of an anthropomorphological (is that a word?) characteristic, "there is some guy looking out for us" then I'd raise that score to somewhere around a 40  to 45.  If we give him/her more of the Judeo-Christo-Muslim attributes, "He sees you when you're sleeping, and punishes you when you are bad", then I'd go even higher than Joe, and put this between 48 and 52.  Teaching a child that the literal God of Genesis exists is well above 50, and might well stray above the 75 mark.

I guess my point here is that we should be very exact when using the term "god".  Are we talking about "a god", "a God", "The God", or "The Christian God Who Sends People To #### For Ridiculous Reasons"?

Again, if we're just talking about a generic "a god", I would really rate that close to where Penny did on the TOSICA.

STJ,

Although the topic has certainly tweeked my nose, in all honesty I'm not even remotely capable of rendering an unbiased opinion, synopsis, or review of anything on subject.  If I were in any way involved in the adjudication of a case involving this topic, I would have to recuse myself in all fairness.  I assume it's quite obvious why.  Of course, the fact that IANAL precludes my involvement in most ways anyway.  Hey, I'm just the son of a carpenter.

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sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2006,16:41   

Quote
Although the topic has certainly tweeked my nose, in all honesty I'm not even remotely capable of rendering an unbiased opinion, synopsis, or review of anything on subject.


that's fine.  nobody at this point has asked for any unbiased opinion on the surface, as all opnions will end up in the mix.  I personally am only asking that each of us spend a bit of time tracking down some relevant actual research or cases that work to generate a more informed opinion, regardless of bias, for all involved.

for that matter, I count myself as having little more than biased opinion at this point as well.

in fact, a specific bias can be helpful at times.  allows for a different perspective that might be missed otherwise.

heck, haven't you learned something from watching AFDave flail about?

In fact, I think I will have to thank AFDave for being a great resource on point.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2006,05:37   

Point taken, Ick.

I've begun looking for court cases etc. and will let you know what I come up with.

In the early course of this, I've just happened across Richard Dawkins' The Root Of All Evil on google video.  I highly recommend both parts.  In fact, he makes a strong case for radically raising the TOSICA score for "there is a god".  Good stuff, in any event.

Peace.

Download Part 1

Download Part 2

Download the Google video player

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Fross



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2006,12:12   

on the 0-100 scale, I just don't see teaching about god as making it on the chart.  It's usually taught as a sincere belief.

I guarantee that every action a parent does can be considered child abuse by someone else.  "OH my god, they let them play outside in the dangerous world.  Child abuse!!"  or "Oh my god, they make them stay inside all day to watch TV and get fat.  Child abuse!"   I bet my family thinks it's child abuse that I'm not taking my kids to church.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2006,12:40   

Hey Fross,

Thanks for joining the discussion.  The TOSICA sliding scale is one of irrationality, with innocuous and harmless stuff to the left near zero and increasing to the right as the stuff becomes more and more irrational, eventually culminating in actions that result in the death of a child due directly to irrationality.

As I noted above when I introduced the TOSICA, something as irrational yet basically harmless as "we have to wear our jerseys tonight so the Flyers will beat the holy snot out of the Devils" is on the scale, just way left of child abuse.  Obviously, there is no evidence that such behavior influences a hockey game, just as there is no evidence of god, God, The God, or The Almighty Christian God Who Commits Genocide When Heathens Don't Worship Him.

The TOSICA is just a starting place for our discussion on quantifying and catagorizing what does and does not merit the label "child abuse".

I sincerely wear my Flyers jersey whenever they are on TV down here in my adopted habitat (I guess I'm an invasive species here in NC), in the intellectually vapid hope that it might somehow affect a game in Philadelphia, but it's still irrational no matter how sincere I am...  Unless we kick the crap out of Jersey, in which case we all know that "a god", "a God", "The God", and "The Almighty Christian God Who Commits Genocide When Heathens Don't Worship Him" are all Flyers fans.

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2006,12:49   

Its not true Lou, I won't believe it!  Call it the collective mind, but I watch every Cardinals game I can because I KNOW they play better when I watch!!!!!! LOL

  
deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,12:28   

Here's some old stuff I had on CD from before I wiped out my comp.

A disturbing fact continues to surface in sex abuse research. The first best predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father. But the second best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in traditional male-female roles. This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is whether or not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes. (Brown and Bohn, 1989; Finkelhor, 1986; Fortune, 1983; Goldstein et al, 1973; Van Leeuwen, 1990). .........."Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches", by Carolyn Holderread Heggen, Herald Press, Scotdale, PA, 1993 p. 73 (my emphasis)

In the book, "The Battered Child", physician Ray E. Helfer cites, "the assault rate on on children of parents who subscribe to the christian fundamentalist belief in male dominance, is 136% percent higher than for parents who do not have this belief system."

http://www.robinsharpe.ca/essay-fund-abuse.htm
http://www.atoday.com/magazin....t.shtml
Philip R. Shaver, Gall S. Goodman, Jiangjin Qin In the Name of God: A Profile of Religion-related Child Abuse (Journal of Social Issues 1995, Vol. 51, No. 2)

I added this not to agree that AFDave actively engages in child abuse, but to note that it really is an issue of power and control, and that recent events in the Mormon community suggest the same. If you can brainwash kids that god wants things to be a certain way...then you can control them

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,13:14   

136% percent higher?????? I would have guessed it was higher, but that's crazy. I had no idea.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,13:52   

Quote
"the assault rate on on children of parents who subscribe to the christian fundamentalist belief in male dominance, is 136% percent higher than for parents who do not have this belief system."



Did they actually conclude the specific belief structures are causative, as well?

Or was it just a correlative study?

I'm suspecting that the belief structures themselves have an underlying causation; perhaps even a genetic component to some extent.

There have been a few articles published on the subject in the last couple of years looking at potential underlying causative factors like genetics; but they aren't overwhelmingly convincing either way.  Just suggestive at this point.

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deadman_932



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(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,15:43   

Ichthyic: It was correlative, and dates from quite a while ago. Yeah, the TLE and "god module" stuff is interesting in regard to propensity of absolutist belief systems, but..fuzzy

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,15:53   

fuzzy... yup.

I often wonder if the old bruhaha over EO Wilson's sociobiology causes researchers in these areas to be overly cautious.

Not that being cautious is a bad thing, but it can be taken to an extreme, and interesting questions are left poorly addressed.

If you or Fractatious run across any other relevant articles, I'd be obliged if you remember to post the links here.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 26 2006,10:26   

Ok, I think if we begin reading at the last comment ON THIS PAGE I think we can justify adding 20 points to fundyism on the TOSICA.

'nuff said.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 26 2006,10:53   

what, the part about humans being the pets of the gods?

I've gotta admit, that idea is a new one to me.  I have no idea which way it influences the scale, but it certainly is nuts.

funny, if you look at Carol Clouserbot's posting about utilitarianism and how she apparently thinks Albert Schweizer was telling us to "save the zebras", it's almost the exact opposite of Dave's "logic", but just as whacky.

just a general note:

I'm a bit stymied in continuing this thread, as my general knowledge of the core issues involved is dependent on a one year pysch course, and processing the literature provided as reference in this thread and elsewhere, so it will be a couple of weeks or so before I can put another substantive post here that attempts to move the topic along.  I just feel slow is good when approaching such a potentially rancorous topic.

IMT, don't let me slow down anybody else who wanted to contribute to the discussion here.

cheers

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 26 2006,11:01   

Although that idea was wacky, and Clouserbot's was really nutso, the relevent portion to which I was referring in AFDave's post was where he was saying it was ok to kill women and children if God told you to do it.  Then he somehow drifted off into a comparison to the U.S. military, intimating that if your superior tells you to, then it's ok because you were given orders to by a representative of the God-annointed government.

Man that boiled my blood.  Anyone who thinks it's ok to go around killing women and children simply 'cause God told you to belongs behind bars, and certainly has no business raising children.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 26 2006,11:16   

Quote
ok to kill women and children if God told you to do it.


oh THAT.

oh, yeah, that's a common part of the creobot mindset too; devaluing human life at the same time they decry abortion.

It gives them the excuse to do any range of behaviors.

IIRC, this is known as "displacement".

Edit:

hmm, actually now that i think about it more, that's not exactly the correct term for it either; but I think it's perhaps because the freudian explanations for the types of behaviors exhibited by creobots just fit so well.  I also seem to recall the term "trasnferance" being loosely used to describe this phenomenon as well, but I still haven't been able to recall what the modern usage is.

/edit


Essentially what it means is that they can displace their own guilt over their actions onto something or someone else.

Also, I seem to recall it being commonly exhibted by sociopaths, but not as sure about that one.

so, yeah, in that sense when someone exhibits extreme displacement that would add to the sense that they would shift farther towards the "dangerous whacky" end of the scale.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 26 2006,07:42   

(bump)

I know I said this a few months ago, but I really feel the need to reiterate.

Anecdotally, I think I can safely say that folks like AFDave bump religious fundyism a few points on the TOSICA.

Watching him over the past few months has really been enlightening.  (AFDave, that's BAD news for you, not good.)

The extreme denial of reality at all costs can't be good for kids.  It has to stunt their education horribly.

[EDIT for spelling]

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 20 2007,21:18   

there have been several threads over on Pharyngula of late with heated debate on this issue, so I'm bumping this thread to visibility for stragglers who I invited from over in that neck of the woods.

so, *bump*

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,08:22   

Heh, funny.  I just popped in to bump this thread.  I had been thinking I'd be interested in hearing Spags' thoughts as a fellow ex-fundy type.

You beat me to the punch.  Better Nate than lever, I s'pose.

*bump anyway*

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,13:54   

I'm finding that once you get folks into the mode of thinking about indoctrination in terms of child abuse, they then start to realize what a difficult issue it really is, and bail out.

I've invited many people to offer their thoughts on this thread over the last few months, and not one has taken up the offer.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,15:19   

Given the current social/political climate wherein christianity tends to get special deference for no apparent reason other than popularity, it's not surprising that people hesitate.  It often seems to me to be ingrained in our society that christianity is somehow special, that it is not classed with other religions, that it enjoys special privilege.

I wonder if some of that is due to or is revealed in the word "god".  I suppose we all have noticed that whenever someone speaks of the gods of other religions, they are called by name, yet christianity has for all intents and purposes co-opted the generic for use as its god's name.

Hmm.. how to be more clear on what I'm saying...

It's like christianity and all its trappings are the assumption, the default.  If I say to you "I'm going to church" or "God is blah blah" our society is so steeped in christian tradition that you probably wouldn't even consider that I might be speaking of any other church or god unless I specifically made a point of mentioning it.

This works in the fundies' favor, most of the time.  Even if I refer to "a cult" it's almost a given that I'm not referring to any christian sect, in popular parlance.  In fact, I'm fairly sure that "a cult" by most Americans' definition is "any non-christian religion".

Sad that one religion gets a free pass on just about everything.  Interesting that the same religion is the one most fond of crying "Persecution!!!!"

In any event, I find it unsurprising that there is a hesitation to indict christianity at large for child abuse, even in its most extreme forms.

Depressing, but unsurprising.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,15:23   

P.S.  Both Janie and I have posted and pointed to this thread today on our respective blogs.  Perhaps we might gain a participant or two.

Just so y'know.

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PennyBright



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,19:11   

I'm still here - I've peeked on the thread from time to time over the past year,  but not had anything new to contribute.

I would like to see the discussion resume - the dangers of religiosity to children is a topic near to my heart.

Interesting comments on displacement, Ichthyic -- isn't that almost by definition what much of Christian dogma is supposed to encourage in believers -- the faith that the guilt for their sins as been assumed by Jesus, and they are redeemed through his sacrifice?

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,19:28   

Hi PennyBright!

Good to see you're still checking.

There's a similarly themed thread over on Pharyngula that went up yesterday.

Child Abuse?  Or not?

Worth a read.  (You'll find Ichthyic amongst the 150+ comments there.)

Ichthyic posted a link to this thread, so perhaps the conversation here will pick up as that thread falls off Dr. PZ's front page.

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PennyBright



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:10   

Heya Lou  :)

  I saw PZ's thread - I generally take a look his headlines a few times a week,  but I tend to stay out of the comments - they get contentious.   I do hope that some of the commentors will wander over here.

  The particular case he discusses is a tricky one,  and I think depends alot on what a person thinks of religious upbringings in general -- those inclined to be anti-religious will,  I think,  be much more likely to see the situation as abusive.   Personally,  I don't know enough to comment as to the abusiveness of it -- but I find the abusive potential of the situation very worrying.  

  On the other hand -- some kids are capable of passionately embracing  something they want to do,  and will - if enabled - spend huge chunks of their life on it.   When my daughter took ballet and gymnastics we met kids who were fanatic about their sports --  if this kid has gotten a bee in his bonnet about street preaching,  is it any more abusive for his parents to enable him then it is for the parents of those sport obsessed kids to enable them?

Of course I'm begging the question as to what degree of 'kid enabling' is acceptable, and what point enabling becomes itself abusive.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:24   

Quote
Interesting comments on displacement, Ichthyic -- isn't that almost by definition what much of Christian dogma is supposed to encourage in believers -- the faith that the guilt for their sins as been assumed by Jesus, and they are redeemed through his sacrifice?


interesting thought.

I've been far more on the extreme end of things over on PZ's blog, mostly because I think someone needs to be.

it reminds me a LOT of the arguments a couple decades back about the issue of corporal punishment.

at one time, corporal punishment was quite acceptable, even in schools.

attitudes change...

I still need to take a closer look again at that article that came out in last month's Science about early childhood influences on creationism.

I think some clues are to be found there, too.

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:36   

Quote (Ichthyic @ June 21 2007,21:24)
it reminds me a LOT of the arguments a couple decades back about the issue of corporal punishment.

at one time, corporal punishment was quite acceptable, even in schools.

attitudes change...

Growing up in the Deeeep South I've seen my own attitudes dramatically change. They used to be pretty conservative, including on things like spankings. After I was exposed to well-behaved kids, from intelligent families, who were reasoned with in disciplinary moments, and compared those to the kids I know who're now in prison in Florida (BTW prison in Florida is no joke, especially Raiford) who were disciplined via beatings, my opinions gave way to the evidence.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:40   

and I've seen more and more evidence, from the people who have suffered through religious cultism, to indicate directly the permanent damage it causes.

eventually, it will be recognized just like other kinds of cults are now, and likely stigmatized in a similar fashion.

I predict that twenty years from now, we'll be looking back and seeing that's exactly what happened.

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:49   

Society has changed pretty dramatically just in my short lifetime. Growing up on the playgrounds of north Florida it was "Nigger this" "Nigger that". I doubt you'd find that now. I was watching a 70's cop show with a friend, I don't remember the show, but the cop yells after a fleeing suspect, "FREEZE FAGGOT!". And we sort of looked at each other like, 'say what now?'. 20 years ago when my brother wanted a Michael Jordan t-shirt my grandmother asked, "Why do you want a shirt with a nigger on it?"

As static as cultures can be, this one's changed pretty drastically, for the good, in the last generation. Discriminations based on race and sexuality are diminishing. They're being replaced by voluntary cultural identity. For instance, I'd say even though most of the people here are straight white folk, we'd get along with a black gay scientist who accepted evolution a million times faster than we'd get along with a white, straight creationist.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:54   

it's kinda hard to keep it in perspective sometimes, but yeah, things have changed a lot, and for the better, over the last 40 years.

good reminder.

it's also another thing that keeps me thinking that the damage religious indoctrination causes will eventually be recognized.

I look at movies like "Jesus Camp", and see that it's already happening.

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,20:58   

My first awareness of the amount of change was in high school in the early 90's, a friend told me, "my grandmother said, when she was growing up, if a black person was walking on the same sidewalk as you, they'd have to get off the sidewalk as you came by, or somebody'd beat em up." and because i'd met his grandma, and she was still alive, it struck me as a very immediate thing. Not something from a history book.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,21:06   

heck, I see it in my own father, who had friends in the Japanese concentration camps in California during WWII.

He just saw that Iraqis can get work visas in the US today, and his first comment was:

what the hell do we need those terrorists over here for?

I had to remind him about his best buddy, Dave Fujioka, who was taken along with his family to the camps during WWII, and how his current attitude is no different than the attitude that allowed his best buddy to be taken away, for no other reason than the fact that he was Japanese.

It's interesting how new generations, exposed to new ideas, will embrace them and allow for change, even as older generations cannot.

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,21:31   

Yeah, I saw a version of that myself. Had an elderly doctor in Florida, he was obviously japanese, his name was, well, for privacy reasons let's call him Dr. Fujimora. A japanese guy from central casting. He was more Japanese than Toshiro Mifune. I'd learned a little japanese and asked him a few questions to try out my new skills. He pretended not to hear me. He would not admit to being Japanese around white folk. Racism affects people deeply. I'm quite glad it's going away. It's not gone, it will never be gone. People will always have some pause when dealing with The Other. But it's a lot better than it used to be.

   
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: June 21 2007,22:25   

Quote
heck, I see it in my own father, who had friends in the Japanese concentration camps in California during WWII.


That's not buried in the past. The town I live in was one of the few towns in the Bay Area where Japanese Americans were allowed to settle after WW2 when they were released (minus their property, usually) from Manzanar and Topaz. So to this day there are a LOT of elderly Japanese Americans in this town. (What a nice healthy Japanese diet will do for you I guess.) There's a church up the hillside from me that's about 80% Japanese American, and there's about 20+ internment camp survivors who attend there. So it's still pretty real.

Most of the Manzanar vets aren't bitter at all -- jolly grandparent types, mostly. However, when I was a kid a Japanese American friend of mind bragged how his father, who had grown up in Manzanar, was a foreman at Levi Strauss and loved to either not hire white people, or to harass his white subordinates, as some kind of belated payback for the camps. My friend thought this was very funny. (He turned into a very pushy Jehovah's Witness the next year and I quit hanging out with him.) He's the only such person I've heard of personally, tho.

Oh yes, and then Michelle Malkin writes a book defending the internment camps and talking about how America should reconsider the fine old policy of locking people up on purely racial criteria. I'd like to see the worthless fucking bitch tell some of the 80-year-old grammas at that church 5 blocks away that they deserved to have the government put them into a camp and have all their property taken away.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 22 2007,00:11   

can we arm the grannies with chains and baseball bats first?

Now that would be a pay-per-view event worth watching.

for those from other places or times who don't know what we're referring to:

http://www.factmonster.com/spot/internment1.html

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 22 2007,19:25   

Quote (stevestory @ June 21 2007,20:36)
Quote (Ichthyic @ June 21 2007,21:24)
it reminds me a LOT of the arguments a couple decades back about the issue of corporal punishment.

at one time, corporal punishment was quite acceptable, even in schools.

attitudes change...

Growing up in the Deeeep South I've seen my own attitudes dramatically change. They used to be pretty conservative, including on things like spankings. After I was exposed to well-behaved kids, from intelligent families, who were reasoned with in disciplinary moments, and compared those to the kids I know who're now in prison in Florida (BTW prison in Florida is no joke, especially Raiford) who were disciplined via beatings, my opinions gave way to the evidence.

My father used a belt on us.  I didn't get it much, mostly cause I disliked it enough to stay out of trouble (or at least not get caught).  My brother, not so much.

His (my father's) parents used a closed fist on him, so in a way I s'pose that's progress.

I spanked my daughter until she was about 2 or 3.  About the time my son was born, I quit.  He's never been spanked.

Sometimes, I regret that choice.  Maybe Pop was on to something.  (jk of course)

;)

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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SpaghettiSawUs



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(Permalink) Posted: June 23 2007,06:18   

Quote (Lou FCD @ June 21 2007,14:22)
Heh, funny.  I just popped in to bump this thread.  I had been thinking I'd be interested in hearing Spags' thoughts as a fellow ex-fundy type.

You beat me to the punch.  Better Nate than lever, I s'pose.

*bump anyway*

Eh up ;)

One point which I think bears pointing out is that alot of cults define themseves by being "different" to the world around them. This is basically a circular justification which goes something like:
1) Only God's true believers do X.
2) We do X.
3) We are god's true believers.

Where X is defined in whatever way the cult chooses.

For example, JWs define themselves through their door to door work. Firstly, though other "christians" may be involved in preaching in some sense, JWs are specific about the apostolic practice of going "house to house" or "to the houses" (acts 20:20 greek: "kata oikon"? IIRC).

This therefore limits "true" christianity to only those religions which are truly following the apostolic example. So we're down to Mormons and JWs. It's easy to show that Mormonism is not true ("prophets were unto John", "add nothing to the book" etc). Therefore JWs are the only ones practicing true Xtianity.

Ok, this way of defining the faith carries throughout: the blood issue, avoiding "worldly" pursuits, no Christmas or Birthdays etc. Thus for the JW child the experience of growing up is one of constantly reinforced separateness from their peers.

The upshot is that for those that manage to escape when they get older, they tend to fly completely off the rails. This makes a self-fulfilling prophecy as they bcome "devoid of morals", from the perspective of the religion.

Then there is the practice of shunning: any child growing up in a cult must face the prospect of being shunned by family and friends should they leave.

Add implated phobias into the mix (the devil, armageddon, sexually transmitted diseases) and you have a recipe for some very unstable individuals who've literally had their mind and identity stolen.

Is it child abuse? Is it anything else!

Cheers
Spags

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On June 23, 2007, 01:06 PM AFDave wrote: "How can we dismiss their theories without first reading their work?"

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 23 2007,12:26   

Fundy baptists (my former flavor) are on much the same page.

"Go ye into all the world.."

"Come out from among them and be ye separate..."

Right down to the 'we are the only true followers, everyone else is wrong because they aren't like us and we're right because we are'

Shunning and fear and constant reinforcement are typical weapons to keep the sheep in line...

etc.

Quote
Is it child abuse? Is it anything else!


Exactly my view at this time.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,10:05   

I'm bumping this thread in light of recent commentary by Ftk in the Unreasonable Kansans thread.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Schroedinger's Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: June 24 2009,17:33   

And I'm bumping it too, for exactly the same reasons, even though it's been a while since FTK was last seen.

It's just that I didn't know of this topic before the whole "Article linked from Disco institute" circle-of-life style tard exploration.

It is a fascinating subject, and maybe some newer input can be added...

My contribution right now will be in regard to physical punishment.

We are having quite some problems here in france with that subject. When I was a kid, my father would use a "martinet", which is a kind of cat-of-nine-tails without the hooks, on my brother and myself. It did hurt, but it also very efficiently kept us out of trouble. Another thing at this time was that our teachers were allowed some amount of physical punishment (nothing over the top, but usualy a bit hurting and/or humiliating).

Right now, in France, the situation is so that any single physical contact from a teacher to a pupil can lead to court, fines, even imprisonement. The direct result is a total lack of respect for the teaching body, especialy from youngsters (10-16). A few days ago, a teacher was slapped in the face by a 11 years old kid. The only recourse she had? Signal the kid to the cops, with all the troubles that will ensue.

Over-protecting our kids is, IMO, not always a good thing. When parents fail to do the basic homework of educating their kids and the teaching body is not allowed to correct the mistakes, we end up with a dangerous generation indeed.

So, in regard to the topic at hand, physical punishment is perceived as child abuse, so why shouldn't mental indoctrination be seen as such?

Of course, by physical punishement I do mean a good spanking when deserved. My father's martinet WAS over the top, but so is he...

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Schroedinger's Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,02:18   

Sorry, that was drunk-posting. I now see that there's no point to my post. Like...none at all.

My bad (headache).

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Amadan



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,06:57   

Here in Ireland we’re likely to spend the next few years coming to terms with the Ryan report on abuse of children by Catholic clerical orders. It makes for appalling reading. But what shocks me most is that these weren’t isolated Bad Apples. The abuse was a product of (in fact, integral to) a system, and the system was willingly accepted not just by the state and RC establishment, but also by the people who voted for the politicians and who went to church every Sunday.

We became Catholic Ireland because our national identity was Not-British, and Catholicism was Not-British. Any radical idealism there was in the independence movement was strangled in the messy compromise that we ended up with in 1921. The only group with the resources to provide health and education was the RCC, so the solidly middle-class types who took over government were delighted to hand them over. (Proper deference was of course shown to those who could afford private schools and private medicine.) The Poor (always capitalised – you inherit it like your surname) would always be with us, and the Brothers and the nuns would look after them. There was a constant undercurrent of suspicion that it could be very bad for the kids who were imprisoned for being Poor. But to doubt the system was to question the Church, and the Church was at the very centre of what it meant to be Irish.

So we rationalised the doubts away: it’s the best we can afford; they’re the Hard Cases and you can’t use kid gloves on them; a few belts didn’t do me any harm; the people in charge know best; the only alternative is Communism; the papers would be full of it if things were that bad. In short, classic accommodation of authoritarianism. I’d like to know how clerics and the religious orders rationalised it. Holy Catlick Oireland, Jansenism, ultramontanism and anti-modernism surely feature strongly, but I really don’t know.

Anyway, the point of this rant is to point out that certainties, particularly the smug ones, are authoritarianism’s best protection. And not just religious certainty: I get the same feeling reading the lynch mobs at Pharyngula sometimes. Dictatorships are always popular at the beginning, and the easiest way to replace one you're tired of is to install a new one.

Given the choice, trust the guy who admits he might be wrong.

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"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
J-Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,08:01   

Quote
Given the choice, trust the guy who admits he might be wrong


Well said - it works for me.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,08:41   

Quote
And not just religious certainty: I get the same feeling reading the lynch mobs at Pharyngula sometimes.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels that way. It seems that any attempt to understand the other person's point of view is seen by many there as a major weakness that requires you to be stomped on before you get a chance to spread your evil support for authoritarianism.

Edit to change formatting error

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
sledgehammer



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,14:42   

Here's a religion/child abuse situation that really frosts me: faith healing.
 Here in Oregon, we've recently had several kids die of pneumonia and other easily treatable diseases simply because their parents refused them medical treatment, opting instead for prayer, exclusively. One particular cult of fundies, "Followers of Christ Church", has been responsible for at least 70 childrens' deaths since the '50s, and not a single parent was ever prosecuted, because until recently, Oregon has had a provision (pushed through by fundie legislators) that exempts religious faith healing from manslaughter prosecution.
This provision has recently been removed from the statutes, mostly as a direct result of the practices of this cult, in spite of the vigorous protests of the Christian Science Church
   
Quote
Oregonian
The bill eliminates the shield laws from all Oregon's statutes, including murder by abuse, first- and second-degree manslaughter, criminal mistreatment and criminal nonsupport.

Only six states, including Oregon, allow such sweeping immunity for faith-healing parents whose children die without treatment, although more than 40 states include some kind of religious shields in their criminal, civil and juvenile codes.

Not only are Oregon's laws some of the weakest in protecting children of faith healers, but legislative records over the years show that lawmakers wrote the laws to suit the Christian Science Church.

Christian Scientists, the nation's largest religious group favoring spiritual healing methods, has been the chief defender of such religious shields nationwide. Oregon church members pushed through changes in 1995 and 1997 that strengthened parents' rights to use prayers in lieu of medical care, ironically as prosecutors were seeking stiffer sentences for child killers. The church's Oregon lobbyist, Bruce Fitzwater, said he will pay close attention to the debate, but said he couldn't comment Thursday because he hadn't yet seen the bill.

 The first manslaughter trial under the new statute is currently underway:
Faith Healing Manslaughter trial in Oregon

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The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,15:54   

I think those are some serious mischaracterizations re: Pharyngula, which strikes me as ironic.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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midwifetoad



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(Permalink) Posted: June 25 2009,19:36   

I can see Casey Luskin busily typing away on his version of the Ryan Report, detailing abuses perpetrated by Biology teachers.

Still to come: the first sentence...

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Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Richard Simons



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(Permalink) Posted: June 27 2009,07:27   

Lou; I am not talking about the posts that PZ writes, but the comments afterwards. I know that lately a lot of his posts have been about people and ideas that are plainly loony, but from time to time he posts items where it is possible for people who are not completely bonkers to have a different viewpoint (the ones on 'framing science' come to mind). When was the last time you read a comment on a post like that which tried to see the opposing point of view and was not greeted by shrieks of 'concern troll'?

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
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