Respectful Insolence

Children are not their parents’ property

Yesterday’s post about Sarah Hershberger, the Amish girl from northeast Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma who refused chemotherapy, prompting a court battle that led to the appointment of a medical guardian for her to make sure she receives treatment, got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing). Actually, I had to think back over the years about all the similar cases of unfortunate children with cancer whose misfortune was compounded by having been born to woo-loving parents, such as Daniel Hauser.

These stories are depressingly similar, as are the arguments that go on over them. First, a child develops cancer. That child starts chemotherapy and does well initially. Then, the child develops side effects. The parents react quite understandably, becoming alarmed at their child’s suffering. However, because of a tendency towards magical thinking they can’t seem to see the big picture. So they stop the chemotherapy and pursue quackery. Sometimes, thinking that their child’s tumor is gone because it is no longer detectable after a cycle or two (or three) of chemotherapy, they think their child doesn’t need any more chemotherapy. They don’t understand (or accept) the rationale for consolidation and maintenance chemotherapy that lead most chemotherapy regimens for childhood malignancies to be at least two years long. They don’t understand that by stopping therapy so early they are greatly increasing the chances that their child’s cancer will return.

Other aspects of these stories are maddeningly similar. Usually what happens next is that either the hospital or the state’s child protective services go to court to make sure that the child receives proper cancer care. What follows is then usually a court battle in which the parents and their allies (and, yes, they always find allies) portray the hospital and child protective services as fascistic tools of big government doing the will of big pharma to torture an innocent child. I only exaggerate a little. Actually, no, I am not exaggerating at all. In the uncommon case in which the court actually rules that the child must undergo treatment, it is not uncommon for the parents to flee with the child. We’ve seen it with Daniel Hauser; we’ve seen it with Abraham Cherrix and Katie Wernecke; and we now see it with Sarah Hershberger, whose father is said to have taken her out of the country to avoid her receiving chemotherapy.

It is this demonization of medical professionals and case workers trying to do the right thing that reveals a very disturbing aspect of the American psyche, and that’s the attitude that children are property and parents’ rights trump the well-being of the child. For example, take a look at this comment from a commenter by the ‘nym of H323:

All of this is caused by the general rejection of Judeo-Christian values. The Bible if very clear that children are a gift from God our Creator to the parents. They are God’s and God has given them to parents as stewards. The Bible leaves no room for the state to have custody of children! I am Mennonite and of the same Anabaptist faith as the Amish. The Amish and Mennonites will simply not accept a socialistic government that takes custody of it’s children and hands them over to a medical system that has little regard for human life (abortion services are considered a medical service.) If we have too, we will leave this country before we accept this type of horror. When the mother wants to kill, the state grants the choice to the mother. When the mother wants to make cancer treatment choices, the state takes the choice from the mother! The cause for this is a society that has no regard for the Word of the Lord.

Then if you go to the Akron Children’s Hospital Facebook page, you’ll find comments like this one by a man named John Strangis (whose YouTube channel is chock full of HIV/AIDS denialism and videos on chemtrails), who writes on the ACH Facebook page:

Looks like the family won and the girl recovered with NATURAL TREATMENTS regardless of your efforts to force her into something which went against the wishes of her parents.

Then someone by the name of Elect Sys writes:

The Lord has given parents custody of children–not the state or worse yet someone who has a conflict of interest with the parents such as Akron Hospital. Flee the place at all cost!

Here’s someone named Madison Treiber:

THIS HOSPITAL IS VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS!!!! They are forcefully administering chemotherapy to a child who does not wish to be treated with such a method. Her parents are being legally required to allow this treatment that they, nor their daughter support.

This hospital, in conjunction with the Ohio court, are violating human rights. They are legally mandating what this girl do her body! It is not their choice. What sort of a country do we live in if the courts can decide how we treat our ailments?? They are robbing this child and her family of their freedoms. There are so many other options in treating cancer, and everyone should be able to pursue the treatments THEY prefer, not be legally required to do what the state thinks is best.

Do not support this appalling institution.

Funny how Ms. Treiber doesn’t seem to consider endangering the life of a child by withholding potentially life-saving treatment to be a violation of human rights. If you scroll back to the early part of October on the posts on the ACH Facebook page, which is around the time the ruling that Sarah Hershberger should undergo chemotherapy was handed down, you’ll find screed after screed after screed castigating ACH using similar arguments. They all boil down to outrage that any entity, be it the hospital, the courts, child protective services, or any other agency of the government, would dare to interfere with the parents’ absolute right (in their view) to care for their children the way that they see fit. It doesn’t matter that the parents are endangering Sarah Hershberger’s life by withholding the only treatment that can save her in favor of “natural healing” that can’t. While many commenters try to argue that this “natural healing” will work better than chemotherapy, more than a few of them seem to realize deep down that it won’t. They’ll qualify their statement by saying that the parent has the “right to choose” what is “best” for their child even if it’s clearly not, even as they express outrage that the state would try to intervene in the best interests of the child.

This belief that parental rights over their children are absolute and inviolate is not only common, but it takes some insidious forms, particularly when the abuse of children is based on religion. Given the strong tradition of religious freedom in this country that is inscribed in our very Constitution, it is understandable that people don’t want the government telling them how to practice their religion or interfering with their religion. However, as with all rights, the parents’ right to raise their children as they see fit has to be balanced with the rights of the child to life. When the exercise of a parents’ religion endangers the life of a child, the life of the child takes precedence—or should. It doesn’t always. It’s rare that parents who deny their children medical care suffer any penalty. (It does happen occasionally, but cases like this are rare.) Indeed, so much do government authorities bend over backward to respect parental rights that it is possible for parents who let one child die of pneumonia untreated because they believed Jesus would heal him retain custody of the rest of their children so that they could do it again and let a second child die.

We see this particular attitude among antivaccinationists as well. For instance, just the other day, the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism published a little screed by someone named Dr. Karol Osborne entitled Concerns: UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Noting that the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified this treaty, Osborne is disturbed by reports that there is going to be another push to ratify this treaty, and that supporters of the treaty will try to “push it through very quickly.” Here’s the bug that’s up her posterior about this treaty:

This document is concerning on many fronts, but I believe it should be particularly concerning to any parent of a vaccine injured child, or really to anyone concerned about the skyrocketing incidence of autism (as well as a plethora of other serious chronic diseases) in our youth, and a potential link to vaccinations. The fundamental concern with this document is its adoption of the “best interests of the child” standard. With this change in language, courts and government agencies (rather than parents) would be given the authority to decide what is best for children with disabilities. This would come into play with choices about future vaccinations for autistic (and all disabled) children, decisions about medical treatments for autistic (and all disabled) children and school/educational choices.

Yes, you read that correctly. Osborne is upset because this treaty would adopt a standard that is based on the “best interests of the child,” and she fears that such a standard might interfere with the ability of antivaccine parents not to vaccinate. She also fears (with far more justification) that such a standard would make it far more difficult for antivaccine parents to subject their children to “autism biomed” quackery such as when Kent Heckenlively subjected his daughter to bogus “stem cell” treatments in Costa Rica or when parents risk the lives of their children by subjecting them to quackery like the Lupron protocol or chelation therapy.

According to Osborne, this is just the beginning:

The CRPD is just the first arm of the “1-2 punch” that is being planned. The second arm will then be ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Once the language is changed to the “best interests of the child” in the CRPD, this will grease the way to ratify the UN CRC, which, of course, is grounded in the same fundamental shift in language and approach to all of the children in the U.S., not just the disabled. Political leaders are leading with the CRPD, I believe, because they feel it stands a better chance at ratification, because parents of the disabled (busy caring for their disabled children) will not have the time to stand up against these plans.

What bothers Osborne so much is this:

What is at the crux of this is who determines what is in the “best interests of the child”? Historically, unless proven to be negligent or abusive, this authority has always rested with U.S. parents. With ratification of these two documents above, this authority will be transferred to the U.S. Government, and its health institutions (when it involves medical and health matters).

If you read the actual text of the convention, it’s nowhere near as ominous as people like Osborne try to paint it. Article 5, for instance, states that “States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.” I will say that parts of the document strike me as a bit utopian, but not any horrific threat to parental authority.

I actually do understand to some extent how parents might take a dim view of too much government interference in how they raise their children, particularly if government views conflict with cultural views. I also recognize that there are gray areas, where it’s not clear whose vision of the best interests of the child should prevail. I am not talking about such gray areas. I’m referring to how an utter insistence the inviolability of parental rights leads to children being harmed, even dying. It’s an insistence that has led to a Proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would essentially neuter the government with respect to protecting children from parental medical neglect or mistreatment. No wonder antivaccinationists like it.

It’s about more than just antivaccinationists, though. This deference to parental rights over the health of the child plays out again and again and again in these chemotherapy “refusenik” stories. Abraham Cherrix and Katie Wernecke? Their parents ran away with them. Daniel Hauser? Same thing. Now it’s Sarah Hershberger. The fact is that no one wants to take a child away from her parents, and no hospital wants to, either, the rants about big pharma profiteering as a motive for crushing parental prerogatives notwithstanding. In the case of ACH, the easiest course of action would have been for the doctors there to shrug their shoulders and mourn the lost of another child to superstition. It didn’t. It tried to stand up to defend the best interests of the child, the best interests of Sarah Hershberger.

Comments

  1. #1 Delysid
    October 29, 2013

    Children are not property of the parents, but they most certainly not are property of the State.

    Orac you might find this interesting and I hope you read it.

    http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/fourteen.asp

    Rothbard lays it out in a way in which neglect and mistreatment are distinguished. It’s difficult to summarize, but basically he argues, more eloquently than here, that parents have the right (though it is still morally wrong) to neglect but not to mistreat so long as they don’t infringe on the child’s absolute right to leave home or run away at any time.

  2. #2 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    15 years ago in New Zealand we had the Liam Williams-Holloway case, where the parents of a 3-year-old with neuroblastoma did not want him to undergo the rigours of chemotherapy and the possibility of survival, preferring Quantum Vibrational Therapy from a Rife Machine. There was a messy court case, and the parents — facing the prospect of court-ordered treatment — eventually absconded to some quack clinic in Mexico, where young Liam predictably died.

    Newspaper pundits generally took the side of the parents. Meddling government! Destroying family autonomy! One reckoned he would have used a shotgun to protect his child from the law, if court-appointed doctors had come to his door.

    There was another case about the same time, where a teenager from Tonga developed some manner of bone tumour in his leg. His family decided to opt out of the Western medical system and keep him at home, treating the tumour with traditional herbal poultices while it metastatised, ulcerated, turned gangrenous and eventually killed him. The reactions from newspaper pundits could not have been more different. The *very same* columnists this time worked themselves into a frenzy about the stupidity and backwardness of the Pacific Island community, and why wasn’t government doing more to intrude on their lives and force them to follow enlightened Western ways?

    I am loath to generalise, but in NZ at least there is a strong racial component in whether parents are deemed worthy to maintain control over their children’s lives.

  3. #3 lilady
    October 29, 2013

    I hesitated to voice my opinion about statements attributed to the the parents of young Sarah Hershberger, for some very valid reasons.

    Being a parent myself who experienced the death of my beloved son at age 28, I really do have great empathy for parents who are at first hit with the heartbreaking news of their child’s cancer diagnosis. The second heartbreaking news for Sarah’s parents is that there will be no quick cure and easy recovery. The facts of the unrelenting and progressive lymphoblastic lymphoma and the only methods of treatment, as well as the extensiveness of the treatment that offer her the only chance of survival, have got to be the most painful experience that parents of such a child will ever have to face.

    Just observing a little child undergo painful multiple invasive blood tests and other procedures to enable physicians to make an accurate diagnosis and to determine the stage of the cancer, then to observe the induction of chemotherapeutic medications, on a youngster who is not your own child, is extraordinarily difficult. Yet, doctors and nurses who work in pediatric oncology care, have the knowledge base to know that these treatments give a child the only chance to survive.

    Imagine then, observing the testing and induction of treatment on your own child, when parents do not have that knowledge and are having great difficulty understanding that their child who appears healthy, will succumb shortly and die a painful death. The heartache must be unbearable.

    That being said, I will not be kind to this absolute stranger, this odious flim flamming ignorant man, John Strangis. For him and others of his ilk, Sarah’s illness and her parents unrelenting grief, is just another opportunity for him to promote himself and his ill-informed ignorant opinion about her Sarah’s cancer care.

    I feel dirty just listening to Stangis’ disjointed, conspiracy-filled rants. He is an uneducated vile pathetic excuse for a human being who is totally devoid of basic compassion…just a slick snake oil salesman who feasts on the bodies of little children who are critcally ill and who will die, if their cancer goes untreated.

  4. #4 Orac
    October 29, 2013

    Rothbard lays it out in a way in which neglect and mistreatment are distinguished. It’s difficult to summarize, but basically he argues, more eloquently than here, that parents have the right (though it is still morally wrong) to neglect but not to mistreat so long as they don’t infringe on the child’s absolute right to leave home or run away at any time.

    I read Rothbard’s article. Much of it is horrifying.

  5. #5 Orac
    October 29, 2013

    I hesitated to voice my opinion about statements attributed to the the parents of young Sarah Hershberger, for some very valid reasons.

    Which I understand, at least as much as possible as it is for someone who’s never gone through it but who does know fairly closely what chemotherapy can do in terms of side effects. I actually do have some empathy for the Hershbergers and every other child with cancer whose parents refused chemotherapy that I’ve written about. Indeed, I’ve pointed out multiple times in the past how horrible it is to watch a child suffer and not understand that the reward for all the suffering is getting to live. It’s why I mention and explain the concept of of induction, consolidation, and maintenance chemotherapy so many times.

    That being said, these parents, as I have said with so many other parents before, are making a horrible mistake. They also have exhibited some of the attitude that I wrote about here in that they have railed against the state interfering with their parental rights and have in essence in another article shrugged their shoulders and said that it’s “God’s will” if Sarah dies. Come to think of it, it’s usually religion that drives this attitude.

  6. #6 Orac
    October 29, 2013

    I am loath to generalise, but in NZ at least there is a strong racial component in whether parents are deemed worthy to maintain control over their children’s lives.

    Oh, there’s definitely some of that here in the US. You’ll note that these stories of parents running away to avoid chemotherapy for their children in which the coverage is almost universally anti-government and anti-hospital are all white and Christian. Your comment makes me think that if such a case occurred and the family were African-American or Muslim, the coverage might be different, but I don’t have any examples that I know about to look at. Maybe those cases don’t get as much news coverage.

  7. #7 lilady
    October 29, 2013

    As you all know, I despise parents, who, whether through sheer ignorance or by hiding behind religion…or a combination of both of those factors (which IMO, are in play here), who deny their children proven treatments for cancer and other serious diseases, and who listen to the likes of snake oil salesmen.

    I have never differentiated between parents who actually subject their children to horrific bogus treatments and/or parents who brutalize their children emotionally or physically…or who neglect their basic needs that include a safe loving environment…or who medically neglect their seriously ill children. The innocent children are just as harmed and just as dead, no matter which practice(s) parents inflict on their children.

    Sarah’s parents are incredibly ignorant. I’ve listened to the video of the father describing the “alternative treatment” they want:

    “Our belief is the natural stuff will do just as much as what that does, if it is G-d’s will”

    And…

    “If we do chemotherapy and she would happen to die, she would probably suffer more than if we do it that way and she would happen to die.”

    I also provided the link to the CBS Good Morning TV show on yesterday post and one person’s comment stating that “children are chattel”. During all the years I have posted on blogs, I have never heard anyone refer to a child as “chattel”.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ohio-hospital-force-chemo-amish-girl-court/story?id=20513841

    ” StevenNewsom jrzwrld
    • 20 days ago

    Sorry but under our laws, children are chattel of their parents, until they become adults, or are made wards of the state.”

    I wrongly assumed that other RI posters read my comment directly beneath Steven Newson’s:

    ” lilady R.N. StevenNewsom
    • 17 days ago

    Care to pony up some laws that children are chattel StevenNewsom?

    We protect children in our society and the courts can and should intervene when parents are unable or unwilling to provide appropriate medical care for their minor children.”

    eSteven Newson never ponyed up those laws…which exist only in his vivid imagination.

    Sarah’s parents will be dealt with by the courts, once Sarah is located. I want the courts to mete out justice for Sarah, to those who aided and abetted the parents to remove Sarah from the jurisdiction of the court.

    This bleeding heart lefty is not a bleeding heart lefty, when it comes to those who harm innocent children.

  8. #8 Michael
    October 29, 2013

    To be fair, there ARE legitimate concerns about the wording of the Convention- David Smolin suggested that the United States ratify but with reservations.

  9. #9 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    parents have the right (though it is still morally wrong) to neglect but not to mistreat so long as they don’t infringe on the child’s absolute right to leave home or run away at any time.

    It is reassuring to know that the parents’ “larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die” is tempered by the legal requirement that they do not prevent that infant from crawling out of the house in search of more hospitable accommodation with passers-by, or wolves.

    This sounds disconcertingly similar to Turnbull’s depiction of Ik culture. That might be the ideal libertarian society but it is not for me.
    ——————
    This from Rothbart is also reassuring:

    Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such “neglect” down to a minimum.)

  10. #10 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    I have to wonder, what the reaction would have been had Sarah was not Amish (I say that because while the Amish are insular, they are not wholly anti-modern medicine, so that gives an advantage to being publicly discovered) been found in her home, emaciated, tumor-riddled, and dead (or close), the public fight having never had occurred because her parents quietly decided it was their right to pursue BS. What would the outcry have been then? Would it still be the same, or would the parents be (rightfully) condemned and neighbors yelling about how they would have called someone in had they known, etc etc? I used to think there would be an outcry, but now I’m not so sure.

    For better or worse, the US has a long-standing tradition of “you can’t tell me what to do.” It’s deeply ingrained, and a lot of times, pretty inocuous and even enviable. My inalienable rights . Unfortunately, more and more crazies are not realizing that when their “inalienable rights” infringe on the rights of others to safety, health, and in more extreme cases, life, something has to give, ESPECIALLY when the decision is not just about themselves. Too often these stories (CAM, antivax, whatever) boil down to ME, MINE, I, MY. When we choose to do certain things, there are limitations that protect those around us. If I choose to drink, I am legally prohibited from operating a motor vehicle. If I choose to smoke, I cannot be indoors in a public space. If I go hunting, I can’t fire my gun within 500 yards of a residential building (where I live). If I have a gun and children, I have to keep it locked up (again, where I live). These are decisions we make for ourselves that can potentially advsersely affect others, and most people have no problem submitting to the subsequent limitations to activity that follow. Why are so many facets of healthcare different? Do people not realize that when they make decisions, it affects other people?

    I do also wonder about the silent majority. If the comments on blogs and news stories was even remotely representative of the public at large, we’d be in a lot more trouble. We know the extremes usually scream the loudest and take the time to speak. But how many of these people, especially those who make antivaccine comments, walk the walk IRL? Or do they follow what is recommended by the AAP and the law for school entry, and just go on internet boards to scream to be contrary? Who really, in the wake of devastating illness, would hold no contempt for SBM, despite what they post on FB next to a LOLcat and George Takei meme? Internet tough guys?

    I’m also curious, is this relegated to solid-tumor malignancies and lymphomas? I have honestly never seen a story about someone attempting to cure AML or ALL or any other leukemia with this nonsense.

  11. #11 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 29, 2013

    These anti-vaxxers need to get over themselves; the CRPD isn’t going to cause “forced vaccination”. There are far more pressing matters concerning disabled people’s rights. But yeah, they ought to be concerned with “rights” to abuse their children with “biomed”. Somehow I suspect that children have the right to not have bleach shoved up their bums, or get chemically-castrated and chelated or jacked up with off-label and inappropriate prescription drugs. Think of the parents will you.

  12. #12 MikeMa
    October 29, 2013

    There is, of course, the obvious hypocrisy with the parent’s absolute right to deal with their offspring in any way they see fit.
    Withholding lifesaving treatment is okay but when a mother decides not to give birth for whatever reason, the loons turn on her. The control reverts from the parent to the state pretty quickly.

  13. #13 Chris Hickie
    October 29, 2013

    My wife and I gave up our Arizona foster care license recently, in part because of the heartbreak of seeing a shaken child we’d fostered reunited by court order with biological family members who were still suspects in the criminal act of shaking the child. Basically the judge didn’t give a sh*t about the child and wanted the case off his roster.

    So maybe all these “parents” who view kids as property should move here to Arizona, because the court system here treats children like inanimate objects and ignores the best interests of the child.

  14. #14 Lawrence
    October 29, 2013

    I’m so glad to see that Delsyid is okay with parental neglect, as long as the child has the opportunity run away (would love to see how a toddler “runs away from home”).

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    October 29, 2013

    Dr Chris points out how views of the child vary even within one culture. I was fortunate to study with a fellow who looked historically at how the ‘concept’ of children itself had evolved primarily in Eurocentric cultures.

    Early Christians considered the child as unbaptised, unruly and in need of stern discipline and programmed religious instruction to tame its wanton, inborn, heathen immorality.
    Later reformers like Rousseau viewed children more admiringly as exemplars of the Natural Man prior to his corruption by the many snares of Society. During the Industrial revolution, they were often conceptualised as small adults, and expected to work and think as such but remain small enough to fit inside chimneys and the tighter recesses of coalmines.

    The idea that children have rights is pretty new. When I read over anti-vax Matricratic confessions, I wonder how far we have progressed from those historical models because if children serve their parents’ needs over their own – whether religious or economic or ego-based expressive- something is frightfully wrong.

  16. #16 brian
    October 29, 2013

    We see this particular attitude among antivaccinationists as well. For instance, just the other day, the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism published a little screed by someone named Dr. Karol Osborne entitled Concerns: UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

    AoA continues to attract quality contributions. It’s worth noting that Dr. Osborne’s medical license was suspended by the State Medical Board of Ohio in 2007 after she was “adjudged mentally ill or mentally incompetent.”
    Liz Ditz noted

    Dr. Osborne has recently left the practice of medicine to ” fight attacks upon the family and the parent/child bond becoming especially prevalent in Pediatrics. Additionally, she has a desire to work towards maintaining and restoring Purity and Innocence in Youth, and exposing them to Virtue, Beauty and Truth in their homes, schools and communities.”

  17. #17 Calli Arcale
    October 29, 2013

    Orac:

    Come to think of it, it’s usually religion that drives this attitude.

    I used to think that, but after reading a lot of these kinds of stories I’ve realized that’s not quite true. Religion rarely drives the decision; rather, the decision comes first and then religion is used to justify it. This, of course, is a very popular use of religion — possibly it’s most popular. Not to give guidance, but to justify our preconceptions. How many people join a church that challenges them? Very few. Most join churches because they are in line with what they already believe. The exercise of self-justification has long driven the progress of religion.

    H323 is quoted as saying:

    he Bible if very clear that children are a gift from God our Creator to the parents . . . The Amish and Mennonites will simply not accept a socialistic government that takes custody of it’s children and hands them over to a medical system that has little regard for human life (abortion services are considered a medical service.) . . . When the mother wants to kill, the state grants the choice to the mother. When the mother wants to make cancer treatment choices, the state takes the choice from the mother!

    How interesting. This person is astonishingly lacking in self-reflection, because he/she cannot see that he/she is not really arguing for ultimate parental autonomy, but only autonomy to do what pleases H323. And he/she cannot see the irony in that, because he/she has built up a tidy wall of religious justification to prevent seeing it.

    This isn’t about the state’s rights to the children. It’s about the rights of the children themselves. How telling that the people supporting the parents in this case are opposed to that.

    I have mixed feelings about the case. But I do not have mixed feelings about the argument that the state should butt out because parents own their children.

  18. #18 Sastra
    October 29, 2013

    AnObservingParty #10 wrote:

    For better or worse, the US has a long-standing tradition of “you can’t tell me what to do.” ..Too often these stories (CAM, antivax, whatever) boil down to ME, MINE, I, MY.

    Well put. I think the problematic aspects of this attitude is often fueled by a strong tendency to confuse lifestyle choices with questions of fact. “You can’t tell me how to live” turns into “you can’t tell me what to believe” and suddenly modern science knowledge is just one way of seeing things.

    Also, a strong cultural respect for anything which falls into the category of religion and faith immunizes virtually any belief which is held with an emotional conviction from legitimate refutation. You’re ‘telling people what to believe.’ That’s wrong, because reality is only a thin cover on spiritual truths which are known through faith. Thus there’s no common ground to stand on in order to do that.

    One of my altie friends was once defending a parents’ right to use faith healing on their sick child. When I asked about children subsequently dying from diseases which were otherwise curable I was informed that, as an atheist, I wouldn’t be able to understand the proper paradigm in which to frame this problem.

    It seems that it’s not areal problem., You see, death is not really death. It’s simply a transition to another stage. If the child dies it was meant to be and the faith of the parents was helping this along. The stronger the attitude of faith, the stronger the love and the better the outcome for the child. And on the spiritual level the child knows this. Dead or alive. It’s all good, all right, all part of the process of growth.

    Not being spiritual, nonduality is going to scare and bewilder me. But it’s fine, I was reassured. MY way can be respected as long as it doesn’t try to interfere with the ways of OTHER people.

    My reaction to this defense of murder was apparently only to be expected from an atheist, and since faith can’t be compelled it was time to change the topic.

  19. #19 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    When I asked about children subsequently dying from diseases which were otherwise curable I was informed that, as an atheist, I wouldn’t be able to understand the proper paradigm in which to frame this problem.

    One of my uncles is a Catholic priest, and he is appalled by the notion faith-healing. Granted he’s a Jesuit, but the majority of mainstream-religions don’t hold what your altie friends think to be a proper paradigm either.

    I think some of the more fringe groups also use the religion and or medical autonomy/health freedom to place blame somewhere but avoid taking any real responsibility, be it to find a way of absolving themselves, finding answers in a sea of randomness, or passively giving up responsibility for a decision. It’s a very strange kind of hypocrisy, wanting rights and choices but not wanting to own up to everything that comes with it. It isn’t that they refused treatment, it was that God would decide that it was time.

  20. #20 JGC
    October 29, 2013

    parents have the right (though it is still morally wrong) to neglect but not to mistreat so long as they don’t infringe on the child’s absolute right to leave home or run away at any time.

    So a parent has the right to neglect a three-year-old child, as long as they leave the doors unlocked so the child can escape and fend for itself in the wild?

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    October 29, 2013

    @ An Observing Party:

    Psychologists have often studied how and why people assign blame: attributing causation for negative outcomes to external causes may be a way to preserve self-esteem but not taking responsibity for one’s actions has other consequences as well.

  22. #22 Orac
    October 29, 2013

    Hmmm. It appears that Mr. Stangis has already recorded a video and placed it on YouTube. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Maybe tonight. I figure Orac fans will enjoy, though, and let me know what it says.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCq0b8MCbAI&feature=share&list=UUUHQz7YFdoYrAJjMgEFeKiA

  23. #23 Edward Nigma
    October 29, 2013

    Now that I’ve read a few more of your articles I really have your number. I know you won’t allow this comment through, just as you denied previous comment, but I also know you will read it.

    All you do is follow around the alternative medcine people and then try to discredit them. Your posts are completely derivative and you have nothing to offer in the way of content or insight. Obviously you have been stunted emotionally and intellectually and that explains your incredible defensiveness towards politcally incorrect points of view.

  24. #24 rork
    October 29, 2013

    I hate people just saying thankyou, but thankyou Sastra, for the lessons in #18.

  25. #25 Lawrence
    October 29, 2013

    @EdNigma – wow, you are a real dummy, aren’t you?

    Anything of any real substance to add? And unlike the sites you probably inhabit, this one encourages free-flowing conversation.

  26. #26 Sastra
    October 29, 2013

    Edward Nigma #23 wrote:

    All you do is follow around the alternative medcine people and then try to discredit them.

    If you think Orac is wrong then you ought to try to discredit his arguments. That this hasn’t been your tactic — and you have instead pursued the childish tactic of personal insults — is going to make everyone here think we have YOUR number.

    There is nothing wrong with trying to point out errors. Alternative medicine is not “politically incorrect. It’s just plain old incorrect.

  27. #27 Orac
    October 29, 2013

    Now that I’ve read a few more of your articles I really have your number. I know you won’t allow this comment through, just as you denied previous comment, but I also know you will read it.

    Of course, Mr. Nigma, not understanding that I don’t sit around instantly waiting to approve posts that got hung up in moderation, is unduly antsy. Amusingly, I let both of his comments through, both here and at my other post, as I do with nearly every commenter except for some rare—and I do mean rare—exceptions. In any case, neither of your comments added anything of value, and certainly you are completely unable to rebut anything I’ve said. And you accuse me of writing posts that are “completely derivative.” Yawn.

  28. #28 Shay
    October 29, 2013

    Your comment makes me think that if such a case occurred and the family were African-American or Muslim, the coverage might be different

    I have the funny feeling that if such a family were American Indian, it would be totes cool to let them use their ancient earth-centered natural healing techniques, though, at least in the US.

  29. #29 Calli Arcale
    October 29, 2013

    {nerdmode}
    Mr Nigma, if you are actually a DC comics fan attempting to be clever, surely you’d know it’s spelled “Nygma”. ;-)
    {/nerdmode}

  30. #30 Beamup
    October 29, 2013

    So a parent has the right to neglect a three-year-old child, as long as they leave the doors unlocked so the child can escape and fend for itself in the wild?

    Strictly speaking, he’s only saying that doing so shouldn’t be a crime, leaving open the argument that it’s immoral. In doing so he only succeeds in proving that his position is completely untenable. (Putting it kindly.)

    I’m so glad to see that Delsyid is okay with parental neglect, as long as the child has the opportunity run away (would love to see how a toddler “runs away from home”).

    Rothbard’s position is that if the child can’t run away yet, they have no option but to suffer whatever neglect the parents choose (explicitly including being deliberately starved to death). Anything else would supposedly represent an unsupportable assault upon the parent’s liberty.

    Truly one of the most vile and despicable arguments I’ve seen recently. He’s worse than NAMBLA.

  31. #31 Politicalguineapig
    October 29, 2013

    Delysid: I think your article embodies what I distrust most about the libertarian mindset: Why is it assumed that attempting to imitate a decent human is imposed by society rather than being a default state? Humans have been social animals for thousands of years, and those rules would make wolves ashamed.

    All: I think what we are failing to understand here is that G*d is fundamentally malevolent. If you’re not a grown straight male and not a fetus, He really doesn’t care about you. In fact, He is prolife only because pregnancy punishes women for being alive. He likes it when kids die and enjoys watching people sufffer.

  32. #32 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    {nerdmode}
    Mr Nigma, if you are actually a DC comics fan attempting to be clever, surely you’d know it’s spelled “Nygma”.
    {/nerdmode}
    You beat me too it, @ Calli #29. Part of me also immediately wondered if this is Jim Carrey in disguise. But then I realized that that kind of conspiracy-y thinking makes me like them.

    Of course, Mr. Nigma, not understanding that I don’t sit around instantly waiting to approve posts that got hung up in moderation, is unduly antsy Why, why would have throught that Orac has actual doctor-things to do? *sarcasm mode*

  33. #33 lilady
    October 29, 2013

    Where are all those published case studies of cancer patients that the odious John Stranger claims were cured by cannabis oil?

  34. #34 lilady
    October 29, 2013

    Orac, I already viewed John Stranger’s video about Sarah’s cancer…and his super strain HIV video…and his Chemtrails video, as well.

    Folks, go and view them; they are unintentionally funny. Some people should be aware of their limitations with their inability to pronounce words, their stammering, their atrocious grammar and their lack of poise in front of a video camcorder.

  35. #35 Dangerous Bacon
    October 29, 2013

    It’s difficult to _not_ be derivative in writing about alternative medicine, since alt med constantly recycles the same tired old tropes. But RI has a knack of frequently managing a fresh take on nincompoopery.

    “Now that I’ve read a few more of your articles I really have your number.”

    It’s 666 – hadn’t you realized?

  36. #36 Dangerous Bacon
    October 29, 2013

    Anyway, why are we picking on parents for denying their kids effective cancer treatment, when we should be asking ourselves why the FDA, AMA and CDC have suppressed so many cancer cures?

    Fortunately, an intrepid “citizen journalist” at NaturalNews has revealed the top 7 cancer cures the Man doesn’t want you to know about, including my favorite, 35% hydrogen peroxide. Concentrated H202 is not only good for what ails you, it builds a whole new you.

    “What should you do, whether you have cancer or not? Alkalize your body, that’s what. Now keep in mind, hydrogen peroxide does not rebuild the immune system or repair the cells damaged by toxic chemo; however, there’s no better time to welcome that “change of season” for the regeneration of new cells, skin, hair and organ cells than right now. This is preprogrammed in your DNA. Men and women have the same schedule:

    120 Days – NEW Red Blood Cells
    90 Days – NEW Skeleton
    60 Days – NEW Brain Cells, Tissue
    49 Days – NEW Bladder
    45 Days – NEW Liver, NEW DNA Cell Material
    30 Days – NEW Hair, NEW Skin
    5 Days – NEW Stomach Lining

    http://www.naturalnews.com/042577_cancer_treatment_hydrogen_peroxide_alternative
    _medicine.html#ixzz2j87F8H00

    I just hope all these regenerating cells know how to fit into your brand new form. It’d be depressing to drink H202, turn into a shapeless mass of protoplasm and have to crawl around using pseudopods.

  37. #37 janet
    In my own little world
    October 29, 2013

    I have a nifty machine that vaporizes H2O2–we use it to disinfect potentially contaminated rooms. I bet it would work fine on woo-meisters–it could certainly get to the magical 35%. And they could inhale it–certainly that’s better than merely drinking it. Surely that would alkalize the body. Just a thought.
    (oh look, there’s sarcasm dripping from the walls!)

  38. #38 Sian Williams
    October 29, 2013

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone heard of a case that’s the reverse of this situation? Where the parents or the child is refusing alternative medicine in favor of science based medicine? I wonder if those screaming about the rights of Sarah Hershberger and her parents would fight just as hard for the aforementioned hypothetical family or if it only applies for those seeking alternative treatments.

  39. #39 Jerry A.
    October 29, 2013

    Bacon (comment #36) and Janet (comment #37)
    It is truly frightening how difficult it is to tell parody from full blown woo (or religion or politics, but I repeat myself). It would only take a few slight changes in your comments to turn them into an alt-med advertisement. I suspect Libertarians like Delsyd or Rothbard would have no problem justifying your selling it to the scientifically illiterate, whether or not it killed anyone, as long as you ‘neglected’ to provide a guarantee in writing. Let the victim/mark/target/buyer beware.

  40. #40 Carl
    October 29, 2013

    Orac said:
    “Come to think of it, it’s usually religion
    that drives this attitude.”

    Maybe, certainly in many cases, but we also know that religion survives as a second set of books in the brain. It’s not unusual for people to use it as an excuse when their real motivation is something else (even when the something else is somewhat legitimate but uncomfortable to admit).

    In this particular case, didn’t they start with real doctors first and then abandon it? It seems like their religion isn’t really the cause.

  41. #41 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 29, 2013

    Exactly, Carl. Religion isn’t what caused this, though a number of commentators are gleefully supporting them with religious arguments. Turns out it’s actually true that religion justifies — it’s just that folks often misunderstand what that means. They think it means religion will make them just, but no.

  42. #42 Chemo The Rapist
    ::1
    October 29, 2013

    The crux of the fail in this article is that you have not recognised that once a human being has kids they gain special mental abilities that means they are operating an a whole other level. A level that those who have not had a big dose of hormones and love and sleep deprivation cannot possibly understand.

    This superiority can be observed in the field by any writings or speech that begins “As a parent….” as what follows will be concrete truth. The parent always knows best, therefore [article subject matter].

  43. #43 Sastra
    October 29, 2013

    Calli Arcale #40 wrote:

    Religion isn’t what caused this, though a number of commentators are gleefully supporting them with religious arguments.

    But what causes religion? And what keeps it going?

    The term “religion” doesn’t apply only to the particular edicts or tenets of a creed or church: it can also be used to indicate the basic human tendencies towards error which are encouraged, fostered and even celebrated in specifically religious styles and patterns of thought. From the Naturalistic Fallacy to anthropomorphizing to trusting anecdotes to eschewing science to demonizing your opponents to adhering to dogma to granting power to belief itself, the religious approach weaves our subjective tendency to be biased into a noble story of a choice for virtue. And alt med plays this narrative out.

    If the problem is that alternative medicine proponents treat their beliefs like a religion then I think this points to a problem with religion itself. Add to this the fact that all too often the quackery turns out to be based on some form of vitalism or dualism or ‘woo’ and the connection is even clearer.

    Can religion be combined with humanism — with science, reason, human rights, etc? Sure. Just like alternative medicine can also be combined with reasonable science-based medicine. This doesn’t mean though that the problem can’t be religion, it can’t be alternative medicine, it must be something else. I think it suggests the opposite.

  44. #44 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 29, 2013

    What causes religion? People do. Whether God created Man or Man created God, it’s absolutely certain that Man created religion.

    Note: I am a Lutheran, and I do believe God created the universe. But religion? That’s our doing (though in my cynical moments, I can see a strong argument for the devil’s hand in it).

    I think it’s a mistake to label the general errors that humans are prone to as “religion”, as if there is a bucket labeled “good critical thinking stuff” and “everything else”. Religion versus science really isn’t a thing, because the two are not really comparable. They’re not really two different ways of knowing, as some like to claim.

    Now, some religion absolutely makes it science difficult for its adherents. Christian Fundamentalism, for instance. But most religions don’t. This gets back to my premise that religion isn’t about making one just, it’s about justifying one’s beliefs/practices/etc. The original ideas behind a religion (like being kind to other people because God loves them and is in them) become buried in justifications for those ideas. Once that process begins, the religion becomes self-justifying.

    The Terry Pratchett book “Small Gods” has some very interesting things to say on this subject. I highly recommend it.

  45. #45 Calli Arcale
    October 29, 2013

    BTW, I don’t think alt med is usually a religion. However, you are right that the same sort of thinking does show up in that it’s more about justifying conclusions than finding out what’s true. I find that most alt med users aren’t what I’d call religious about it, though. They’re far more casual.

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    Rothbard’s position is that if the child can’t run away yet, they have no option but to suffer whatever neglect the parents choose (explicitly including being deliberately starved to death). Anything else would supposedly represent an unsupportable assault upon the parent’s liberty.

    Remember Rothbart’s reassuring words,

    in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such “neglect” down to a minimum

    .
    Swift’s Modest Proposal is the obvious precedent for someone arguing how a truly free market in infants — untrammelled by government regulations — would reduce the frequency of neglect. Note the scare quotes around the word ‘neglect’; perhaps Rothbart is rejecting the validity of the concept, and is using the word here only as a concession to his readers.

    Anyway, Rothbart does not seem to grasp the concept of “reductio ad absurdum”. If your philosophical postulates lead directly, ineluctably to monstrous absurdities, then sane people conclude that your postulates are wrong.

  47. #47 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    @herr doktor bimler- I’m wondering if this “free baby market” would include children repossessed from parents in debt.

  48. #48 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    “As a parent….” as what follows will be concrete truth. The parent always knows best, therefore [article subject matter].

    I could pull up some references to serial murders and abuse cases of children by parents that completely obliterates your statement. Becoming a parent is not intrinsically a level up in ANYTHING.

  49. #49 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    AnObservingParty, I’m thinking that her statement was probably sarcastic. That said, I still have to qualify it with a “probably”, given some of the people I’ve seen.

  50. #50 Sastra
    October 29, 2013

    Calli Arcale #44 wrote:

    I think it’s a mistake to label the general errors that humans are prone to as “religion”, as if there is a bucket labeled “good critical thinking stuff” and “everything else”. Religion versus science really isn’t a thing, because the two are not really comparable. They’re not really two different ways of knowing, as some like to claim.

    Religious faith vs. science, then — are they “two different ways of knowing” or something else? Is religious faith in the bucket of “good critical thinking stuff?” Or is it belief based on evidence which is insufficient for those in the world who don’t want to believe — but enough for those who do, who are open and receptive to the Truth?

    This gets back to my premise that religion isn’t about making one just, it’s about justifying one’s beliefs/practices/etc.

    Yes, through making a commitment to believe — and to stand by a claim of fact as if one were standing by the value the fact presumably supports.

    Religions which ‘do not make science difficult for its adherents’ are I think in the same position as schools of naturopathy which try to include a lot of science-based modalities and encourage vaccination. That’s lucky, not a vindication of naturopathy. The category is defined by not being science-based: too reasonable and they’ve gone to the Dark Side of SBM. It’s just as easy to use the principles of naturopathy to justify why vaccines are okay as to use them to justify that they are not. There’s no ability to appeal to the common ground of what we can all agree on.

    Alt med is not necessarily a religion itself, I agree. But like all pseudosciences and religions, it ends up falling back on common apologetic techniques. Techniques and ways of thinking which are not only familiar, but associated with virtue.

  51. #51 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    I’m wondering if this “free baby market” would include children repossessed from parents in debt.
    That is unfair to Rothbart. I think he imagines the baby market as operating more like a free labour market. So the baby is a free, autonomous agent: If it can’t persuade its parents to feed it, it is the baby’s responsibility to find a new home (or to join the neighbourhood wolf-pack). But the new family don’t *own* the infant; that would be monstrous!

  52. #52 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    @ Gray Falcoln,

    I don’t know anymore, honestly, especially from a name I’m not familiar with. Isn’t that sad? That we’ve experienced enough people with that mindset to not be sure when someone saying something so illogically horrible if s/he is being facetious?

  53. #53 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    @AnObservingParty- Remember, just about anyone, and I mean anyone can post here. Out of a billion or so people, we’re bound to find a few lunatics.

  54. #54 Renate
    October 29, 2013

    in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such “neglect” down to a minimum

    Really? So if you don’t want your baby anymore, you just sell it to the highest bidder? Yes, that might end the “neglect”, but it might just as well start the abuse.

  55. #55 Delysid
    October 29, 2013

    @Renate

    Have you ever heard of “adoption?” Is that a crazy libertarian fantasy?

  56. #56 Lawrence
    October 29, 2013

    @Delsyid – I hear that Pedophiles pay incredibly well for “neglected” children…..should fit right in to your libertarian fantasy land…..

  57. #57 Jubilee
    October 29, 2013

    I shudder to think how the “free baby market” would be impacted by pedophiles (after all, you only have to look at human trafficking for a non-hypothetical example of a market in people.) It remains very strange to me how so many libertarian-identified people can say truly dreadful things while sincerely believing that if only nasty government got out of the way, everyone would be nice to everyone else.

    Shay@28
    Actually, I doubt it–there’s a long history of Native children being removed from their familes at rates higher than statistically probable. There’s a big difference between the woo or otherwise romanticized versions of “Native” things beloved by (mostly) white people and the actual lives of most Native/American Indians.

  58. #58 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    October 29, 2013

    @Jubilee:
    There are accounts by ‘care takers’ of darker skinned indigenous children that the children’s skin would get lighter the more ‘civilized’ they became.

    If I remember correctly Mormons were particularly fond of that meme.

    Antroposophists (the Steiner lot) still subscribe to this nonsense.

  59. #59 Delysid
    October 29, 2013

    @Lawrence

    Pedophiles have the ability to create their own chidren.m

    Also the black market exists already. Did making drugs illegal stop the drug trade? No. It makes it more dangerous. Why would doing the same thing in other sectors work differently?

  60. #60 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 29, 2013

    Also the black market exists already. Did making drugs illegal stop the drug trade? No. It makes it more dangerous. Why would doing the same thing in other sectors work differently?

    Babies, recreational drugs, yup absolutely see the parallel there.

  61. #61 Lawrence
    October 29, 2013

    @ScienceMom – I was thinking the exact same thing….

  62. #62 Shay
    October 29, 2013

    Jubilee — you are correct. My snark was mis-directed.

  63. #63 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    Pedophiles have the ability to create their own chidren.m

    By binary fission, like amoeba? By assembling them out of spare parts and animating them with electricity? Growing them in vats? Please be more specific. Your response is noncupatory (excuse me for writing like this; I’m practising for Talk Like a Jack Vance Character Day).

    If you are arguing that bad or exploitative foster-parents are not a concern for a market in child custody (and therefore not a reason to regulate the market) because they can “create their own children”, you might as well go all the way and claim that anyone “create their own children”, in which case there is no need for a market in child custody.

  64. #64 Chris HIckie
    October 29, 2013

    Also the black market exists already. Did making drugs illegal stop the drug trade? No. It makes it more dangerous. Why would doing the same thing in other sectors work differently?

    Whatever happened to it’s just damn wrong do nothing and let evil people abuse kids? Kids are not adults and they haven’t a chance in the world defending themselves against predators.

  65. #65 Carl
    October 29, 2013

    I’m with Chris Hickie on that. I don’t see it as a freedom-vs-regulation issue. Neglect is a clear crime to me, which justifies intervention regardless of your preferred default system for normal non-horrible everyday parenting. If there were no laws whatsoever, I might even be MORE likely to intervene in a lot of things.

  66. #66 accidie
    October 29, 2013

    Delysid, your attempt to draw an equivalence between selling babies and the drug trade fails. Taking drugs is a victimless crime. The illegal status of drugs is what creates violence and victims: if drugs were legal users would only be – putatively – harming themselves.
    This is manifestly not the case for selling children. There is considerable potential for children to be victims. It is in general wrong to harm others, and far more so to harm those who can’t protect themselves.
    Try this quick quiz: would you like your parents to have sold you to a paedophile (for a mutually agreed price, of course)? Would you – if you have children – do it to your child? If not, it fails the Golden Rule test, which tends to be a good first approximation guide to moral questions.
    And Rothbard’s frankly deranged argument that all that is needed to exculpate neglect or abuse is that children are free to run away doesn’t work. A child or toddler, let alone a baby, may be free to run away but lack the means or the physical ability. This renders the freedom to do so entirely meaningless.
    I, for example, am free to fly to Mars. I lack the ability to do so. Therefore, my freedom to fly to Mars is, while real, is every bit as valueless as Rothbard’s ‘contribution’.

  67. #67 lilady
    October 29, 2013

    Time for lilady’s Media Review of Dachel’s Media Review:

    The bot links to Emily Willingham’s post about The 5 Scariest Autism “Treatments”. For some reason the bot has not posted her inanities…I wonder why?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/10/29/the-5-scariest-autism-treatments/

  68. #68 Carl
    October 29, 2013

    accidie,

    I think your are wrong on that. Recreational drugs can be very harmful if used without regard for how it affects others. How about the adoptable baby who was taken away from the druggie mother who didn’t bother to stop having fun while she was pregnant? MOST parents, by far, stop getting trashed when they are pregnant, and also do not get drunk when driving with or without children.

    Similarly, far from every person willing to pay to adopt a child is going to be an irresponsible or evil parent, though that certainly is possible, and the legal ease of doing so probably increases the risk.

  69. #69 Carl
    October 29, 2013

    I’ve had some second thoughts on religious motivation. While my original conclusion about the initial cause often being non-religious still stands, I suppose that it can still be said that religion is a driver if it takes the wheel and provides a convenient excuse to forget about the need to have rational arguments to explain an initially non-religious choice. It wasn’t the driver at first, but now it is.

  70. #70 Calli Arcale
    October 29, 2013

    Sastra:

    Is religious faith in the bucket of “good critical thinking stuff?”

    Actually, it misses the point I was trying to make. The point is that tempting as it is break everything into dichotomies, it doesn’t represent reality very well. There aren’t two realms, one labeled science and one labeled religion, with all thinking neatly divided between them. People use lots of different strategies for getting on with their lives, often more than one at once.

  71. #71 accidie
    October 29, 2013

    Granted, Carl, RDs can harm children if they’re exposed in utero or neglected after birth while their parents party. But this is not restricted to drugs sold on the black market, which is what Delysid referred to.
    But – and this is NOT nit-picking – with the exception of harm caused in utero, which presents a special case, the harm caused to others is indirect. The drug user is directly harming only him or her self, whereas a person who sexually molests a child is directly harming another. I don’t want to suggest that indirect harm is other than reprehensible, but it in general lacks the element of intent that marks more heinous acts.
    Neither did I suggest that every person willing to pay to adopt a child has malevolent intentions. Most adoptions at the moment involve considerable financial cost, which can be glossed as ‘paying’, and most adoptive parents have honourable motives in adopting. But to reduce adoption to an unregulated financial transaction would, as you indicate, greatly increase the risk. Cthulhu knows I object to nanny-statism, but I draw the line at that one.

  72. #72 Art
    October 29, 2013

    As I understand it, rooted in British common law, the state is considered to be the ultimate authority for the disposition, and best interests, of children. The biological parents are, by convenience and default, considered adequate until they are shown to be unreliable.

    This established precedent is why the state can, and do, remove children when biological parents are deemed sufficiently unfit to pose a risk to the well being of the children and wider good of society.

    And yes, this does include the, albeit indirect, power of life and death over children and adults alike. Given sufficient cause adults, but on a sliding scale, can be drafted to serve, and possibly die, as the nation deems necessary.

    I know … paint your face blue and scream freedom .. knock yourself out with outrage in contradiction of this bold-face truth but it is both functionally and historically accurate. It has always been so. Welcome to reality.

  73. #73 Calli Arcale
    October 29, 2013

    Delysid:

    Have you ever heard of “adoption?”

    Of course. My beautiful goddaughter was adopted through open adoption, arranged through Lutheran Social Services. Her adoptive parents had some genetic issues that they didn’t want to pass down, and her biological mother did not want to be a mother at that particular time. So I definitely think adoption can be a wonderful win-win situation for all involved.

    But it isn’t always, and US adoption is poorly regulated. Open adoption in particular is almost completely unregulated. There’s a very disturbing book I recently read, called “The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption”, by Kathryn Joyce. It is a frightening expose into some of the abuses that have occurred to feed the voracious market for adoptable children in the US, and the disturbing subtexts of it. It is definitely not as simple as benignly pairing children in need with parents who will love them.

  74. #74 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    Delysid, why are you bothering studying dentistry? People are going to get cavities anyway.

  75. #75 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    @Calli Arcade- There is a difference between adoption and the child market. In adoption, what you describe is a gross abuse of the system, and one which no doubt requires several people to be investigated and punished. In the child market, that’s just business as usual.

  76. #76 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    Have you ever heard of “adoption?” Is that a crazy libertarian fantasy?

    Another noncupatory response. It is clear from the linked Rothbard passage that the “free baby market” is something which will spring up in Libertarian Utopia; it is different from existing adoption policies.

  77. #77 Narad
    October 29, 2013

    If not, it fails the Golden Rule test

    The categorical imperative is going to be a non-starter on this front. It has the taint of being synthetic a priori anyway, which should be objectionable on theoretical grounds to someone who thinks praxeology is some sort of great revelation, but this sort of analysis is above D.’s pay grade.

  78. #78 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    @ Chris Hickie #64 @ Carl #65

    In the words of Wil Wheaton, “don’t be a d*©k.”

  79. #79 Narad
    October 29, 2013

    It is clear from the linked Rothbard passage that the “free baby market” is something which will spring up in Libertarian Utopia

    How does it respond to inventory surpluses?

  80. #80 Gray Falcon
    October 29, 2013

    Narad@79- My guess, textile mills and similar would buy up the surplus.

  81. #81 accidie
    October 29, 2013

    #Gray Falcon @80
    My chimney needs sweeping.

  82. #82 Politicalguineapig
    October 29, 2013

    Chris: Whatever happened to it’s just damn wrong do nothing and let evil people abuse kids?

    I think the very short answer is that in libertarian-land, ethics are not economically viable and therefore deserve to be jettisoned. Another piece of evidence that a lot of libertarians subscribe to that philosophy in order to gain a place where they can be as creeptastic as they want to be. By the way, I am not saying Del is a pedophile, I just think he doesn’t see a lot of people as..well, people, not economic units.

  83. #83 herr doktor bimler
    October 29, 2013

    How does it respond to inventory surpluses?

    Dean Swift had a modest proposal on how the free market deals with such problems, if only government stood back and allowed it to function properly and unencumbered.

  84. #84 Militant Agnostic
    Where the on-hold music is by Jefferson Airplane
    October 29, 2013

    @Gray Falcon

    Delysid, why are you bothering studying dentistry?

    For the money obviously.

  85. #85 Spectator
    October 29, 2013

    “parents have the right (though it is still morally wrong) to neglect but not to mistreat so long as they don’t infringe on the child’s absolute right…”

    Right, wrong, is but isnt’t. It’s absolute, they have relatives, it’s the same, it’s not!

    Sounds like a Communist Party book club.

  86. #86 AnObservingParty
    October 29, 2013

    @lilady For some reason the bot has not posted her inanities…I wonder why?

    Circling the wagons, I’m sure. It does take some time to come up with a defense for bleach enemas, after all.

  87. #87 Carl
    October 29, 2013

    accidie,

    NOBODY has said it should be legal to molest children, I only see people talking about paying for adoption.

    You are taking a secondary possibility and talking about it as though it were the proposal, but talking about your own position in direct terms.

  88. #88 Shay
    still reeling from the Dunning-Krueger being manifested on the other thread
    October 30, 2013

    They are NOT bleach enemas. They just have a name that sounds like bleach…um…well, whatever, they’re not bleach. And only a paid pharma shill would say they were.

  89. #89 Khani
    October 30, 2013

    #1 So, Delysid, to you, this worked as intended:

    http://www.startribune.com/local/18894054.html

  90. #90 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    October 30, 2013

    @ Herr Doktor Bimmler:

    When is it ever not talk like a Jack Vance character day?

  91. #91 Khani
    October 30, 2013

    #23 Edward Nigma: “All you do is follow around the alternative medcine people and then try to discredit them.”

    In many cases, Orac doesn’t have to try. All he has to do is point out what they’re actually doing.

    #42 Chemo

    Can you please change your nick to something that doesn’t include “rapist”? I understand it was part of a pun on “chemotherapy, but… Given how common the crime is, there is a substantial chance that someone on this thread has been a victim, primary or secondary.

    #60 What, Science Mom? Are you telling me you’ve never smoked a baby? You need to get out more, live a little!

    #82 PGP “I just think he doesn’t see a lot of people as..well, people, not economic units.”

    Agreed.

    “And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.” –Granny Weatherwax

  92. #92 LIz Ditz
    whenever, whereevery
    October 30, 2013

    Brian @16:

    It’s worth noting that Dr. Osborne’s medical license was suspended by the State Medical Board of Ohio in 2007 after she was “adjudged mentally ill or mentally incompetent.”

    Dang. I should have thought to look at Osborne’s licensure record.

    AoA made (in passing) much of Osborne’s medical background.

  93. #93 herr doktor bimler
    October 30, 2013

    Delysid, why are you bothering studying dentistry?

    For the possibilities of interstellar travel, obviously

  94. #94 herr doktor bimler
    October 30, 2013

    All you do is follow around the alternative medcine people…
    If Mr Nigma and I are thinking of the same joke, the punchline is “What?! And leave show business?!”

  95. #95 nz sceptic
    October 30, 2013

    herr doktor bimler @ #2

    A person extremely close to me in her mid-fifties was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the 1990s. She lived in the same town as the rife machine man and his clinic, around the same time. After following little Liam’s story, she too put her faith – and money – into a ridiculously expensive tangle of wires – eschewing potentially life-saving chemo – and died. Hence my concern with these matters. To this day I remain deeply bitter, and believe she could still be with us.

  96. #96 nz sceptic
    October 30, 2013

    Incidentally, this is the latest madness from our neck of the woods. I hope you can see it but I’m not sure if the link will work. As the mother of a son it breaks my heart that any parent – although undoubtedly very well-meaning – could put a vulnerable little guy through this: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/dad-turns-unique-therapy-help-video-5664509

  97. #97 nz sceptic
    October 30, 2013

    Incidentally, this is the latest madness from our neck of the woods. I hope you can see it but I’m not sure if the link will work. As the mother of a son it breaks my heart that any parent – although undoubtedly very well-meaning – could put a vulnerable little guy through this: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/dad-turns-unique-therapy-help-video-5664509

  98. #98 Renate
    October 30, 2013

    Yes, I’ve heard of adoption and there are instances that try to control adopting parents to protect the potential adopted child. This doesn’t always prevent abuse by the adopting parents.
    I don’t think I want to know how this would be in a libertarian society. But well, I live in a country that Delasyd considers socialist, or perhaps even communist, though it is neither, although a part that considers itself more or less as socialist is part of the government.

  99. #99 Chris Hickie
    October 30, 2013

    @AOP #79: suddenly my life path flow chart is much easier: http://dontbeadickday.com/howtonotbeadick.jpg

  100. #100 AnObservingParty
    October 30, 2013

    @ Chris, I’ve never seen that, I actually LOL’d, while sitting in an airport no less. But it’s such a novel concept! What happened to not being evil just because you shouldn’t be evil, and if you are evil, being held accountable?

  101. #101 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    @43 -Sastra

    Indoctrination & deference to authority coupled with fear of the unknown, which in our species nascent years would have been pretty much everything much less “ceasing to be”, recursively fed into the following generations. Anything untoward happens and well, we puny humans canna ken the mind of the Creator of the Universe!!

    Perhaps psychochemically for large numbers of people it is like a constant demerol drip…

    Calli Arcale:

    What I find interesting is someone can come along and claim to be able to bust clouds from poolside, and you will ask them for evidence of such.

    However, you claim a deity made this joint and that it is somehow required for daily life and you are party to its demeanor, but you don’t seem to ask yourself the same question.

    If you have, what evidence did you find of a Great Maker?

  102. #102 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    al kimeea: Can you prove to me that you are not, in fact, an automaton? It’s equally implausible that pile of water, proteins, and calcium carbonate would get up and move around because it wants to.

  103. #103 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    To follow up, nearly every one of the moral and ethical arguments on this thread are based on the premise “Humans possess some measure of free will”, which is an unfalsifiable tautology. Why is that allowed to pass?

  104. #104 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Easter Island, their religion/spirituality was ancestor worship in the form of big heads. This may have played a vital role early in the development/cohesion of the culture.

    When this culture arrived, the island was a lush tropical paradise and the different sub-groups set about their wise, ancient, spiritually infused ways – they knew of nothing else.

    Like many congregations today, it became a competition among the groups to see who was the mostest religious – one head was going to be over 20 meters tall.

    Eventually, these deep religious thinkers cut down the last tree. This, and the stowaway rats (now in the millions) decimated their food supply (no lagoon or reef and eventually, no boats for fishing).

    The various groups had been fighting each other over and as resources for some time when they realised armageddon was nigh.

    Their critically considered solution was an ironman competition to a small nearby island to be the first to return a holy egg to the top of their holy mountain. the winner’s group was boss for the next year.

    They struggled like this for a while, only delaying their eventual demise, and then European Christians arrived with their loving God.

    Similar thing happened with the Maya and their brand of spiritual thought. They put themselves in dire straits and the Spanish happened to come along and finish them off.

    Critical thinking may have allowed these two cultures to realise the limits of their environment and come to grips with it reasonably.

    Spirituality doomed them prior to the christian coup de grace (which was likely anyway thanks to the loving embrace of smallpox. syphilis etc)

    Hardly a false dichotomy by any stretch.

  105. #105 Politicalguineapig
    October 30, 2013

    An Observing Party: What happened to not being evil just because you shouldn’t be evil, and if you are evil, being held accountable?

    Ethics aren’t economically viable.

  106. #106 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    al kimeea: Ayn Rand was an atheist. What’s your point?

  107. #107 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Gray Falcon – I’m not claiming anything, why are you asking me?

    If Calli Arcale had responded to the cloud busting claim and asked for evidence, would you ask her if she’s a robot? Why is a deity claim any different?

    There are perfectly reasonable explanations for big ugly bags of water and chemicals walking around – sans deity origins

  108. #108 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Al, if you really believed in critical thinking, then please, why are you accepting the following tautologies:
    1) Humans have free will.
    2) Life has inherent value.
    3) Death of a civilization is a bad thing.

  109. #109 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    From Polynesia to Ayn Rand and atheism, WTF?

    Easter Island is a very good example of how religious thought is not at all critical thought. Religious apologists like to conflate the two to give faith a patina of sophistication.

  110. #110 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Ok Grey Falcon – you produce evidence of any deity, I’ll wait…

  111. #111 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Al kimeea- I’m not arguing in favor of religion, I’m arguing against your knee-jerk rejection of it. And Ayn Rand is a very good example of how atheistic thought is not at all critical thought. Atheistic apologists like to conflate the two to give faith a patina of sophistication.

  112. #112 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Excuse me sir, but atheism wasn’t on the table. Critical thought being just like spirituality is and claimed by someone who also knows the mind of the creator of the universe to boot.

  113. #113 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    I’m not asking you to believe, I’m saying that your standards are built on uncritically accepted statements as much as anyone else. Rothbard’s idea of a “free child market” is based on critical thinking and the following premises:
    1) Autonomy is the greatest virtue.
    2) Human worth is determined by productivity.
    3) The more productive you are, the more autonomy you deserve.
    Can you show what’s wrong with his ideas with critical thinking alone?

  114. #114 kruuth
    October 30, 2013

    Hey Orac, not sure if I’m the only one, but some of the old article links don’t work, but if you search for titles they show. Is that normal?

  115. #115 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    @113 – someone made an extraordinary claim regarding the origins of the universe and the thing that made it.

    I asked for evidence, just like you would if it were anything other than religion, which as we see, gets a pass and goalpost shift

  116. #116 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    @115 – Someone made an extraordinary claim regarding the inherent value of life and the beings that hold it.

    I asked for evidence, just like you would if it were anything other than ethics, which as we see, gets a pass and goalpost shift

  117. #117 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    are your eyes brown? where did I do that exactly?

  118. #118 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Perhaps you remember post #104, where you basically declared your personal superiority over every religion ever. Just so you know, al, if you feel you are under no obligation to prove your beliefs about right and wrong, neither am I.

  119. #119 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    I guess I should make my point clear. It’s the same thing you hear all the time on the ‘net: It’s all right that you’re an atheist, but could you please not be a jerk about it?

  120. #120 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    My personal superiority? An extraordinary claim regarding the inherent value of life and the beings that hold it.?

    I don’t claim to know a deity loves us or how the universe was created.

    I merely related what happened to the culture by way of example. It quite clearly shows that spiritual thinking was not the equivalent of reasonable thinking for either the Islanders or the Maya. Their religious thinking did nowt to resolve issues of their own creation brought on by their spiritual pursuits. Nothing more. 2 data points, but history is full of them…

  121. #121 al kimeea
    October 30, 2013

    @119 – shut up and don’t ask uncomfortable questions, yeah I know the drill

  122. #122 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Two data points, from which you extrapolated far more, completely ignoring the good things religions had done. Furthermore, you said, and I quote, “Religions which ‘do not make science difficult for its adherents’ are I think in the same position as schools of naturopathy which try to include a lot of science-based modalities and encourage vaccination.” Would you have let a religious fundamentalist get away with any of that? I’m just asking you keep to the same standards you ask of others.

    And yes, it is an extraordinary claim. There were and are numerous cultures where a child really is regarded as the property of the parents. You’re not arguing a universal truth, you’re arguing modern ethics.

  123. #123 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    #120- No, you don’t know the drill. Here’s what I’m asking: Don’t demand of others what you don’t let others demand of you. Don’t use tactics you would not approve others using. Don’t assume modern Western values are a universal, or have no basis in Christian thought.

  124. #124 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    @122 you talkin to me? not my words u r using there to say something

    Any good, far out weighed by the bad. I guess I have far more sympathy for the victims than the perps.

  125. #125 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Western values are they like western medicine? Nice strawman there 123

  126. #126 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Good point, that was Sastra’s. And are you suggesting all Christians or people of faith are the “perps”? How does that differ from saying the same about blacks or Jews?

  127. #127 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    No, I am responding to this “completely ignoring the good things religions had done”

    Therefore, I refer to the victims of religions

  128. #128 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    #125 – No, they aren’t. They’re what you and I currently believe in. I have nothing wrong with believing in them, or even convincing others to do so (Case in point: The plight of girls in India), but they built, at least in part, on Christian thought. Much (though admittedly not all) of our attitude about children comes from the following:
    “…but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14, ESV.
    Yes, I am fully aware you can quote Scripture to say otherwise. However, the one on this thread who suggested the “free child market” was the atheist Delysid. So I doubt that removing religion from the equation would fix anything.

    #127: Yes, many Christians did act against Jesus’ words, but to condemn religion on those grounds is no different that condemning atheism because Delysid and Ayn Rand were atheists. Why are you saying things that you’d never let a Christian get away with?

  129. #129 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    Got any evidence of buddy Jesus?

    Plenty of authors would have been around with this itinerant apocalyptic death cult preacher shaking up the armpit of the Roman Empire and they don’t write about this guy at all.

    Atheism has zero to do with D’s love in with libertarianism.

    Many religious people love to talk bout how their faith informs and guides them, just like Hilter did.

    The Good Book also has “spare the rod and spoil the child” and Jesus’ words:

    I am come to send fire on Earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:49–53)

  130. #130 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    I have no evidence of Jesus, but that would not make me give up my religion. You have no evidence of free will, yet you will not give up your ethical stance. If free will existed, surely there must be some particle of it we can find somewhere. Why should you be exempt from your standards? How can you be sure atheism has nothing to do with Delysid’s stance? It certainly played a part in the formation of objectivism, and that is the basis of much of modern libertarianism. And I’m guessing guilt by association is okay if you’re the one doing it? Why do you think you’re exempt from your own standards? Oh, and [citation needed] about your Hitler claim. Seriously, you’re no better than most of the religious trolls I’ve encountered. It’s clear you aren’t interested in serious discussion.

    Oh, and about Jesus’ words: People were turned against each other, brothers against brothers, parents against children by the abolition movement, suffrage, and civil rights. Does that make them wrong? Seriously, do you think one or two out-of-context verses are going to convince me?

  131. #131 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    ” Seriously, do you think one or two out-of-context verses are going to convince me?”

    No, you’ve already made up your oh so open mind and no amount of evidence will challenge your faith.

    I am not atheism. You are not the idea of religion. You fail to grasp that..

    My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

    -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

    There are lots more

    Never read Ayn Rand’s bad sci-fi and have no urge to

    I was born into a world to, thank God, atheist parents. I soon learned there are waaaay more people who are claiming a deity exists and they have been for a very long time.

    Yet not one can produce anything more than faith as evidence.

    It is not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, who is impious, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them

  132. #132 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    You keep complaining about how I keep believing without evidence or about how closed-minded I am. I’m not arguing I’m not. I’m arguing that it isn’t a bad thing.

    And thanks for the Hitler speeches. I now have enough evidence to show my friends at church that atheists rely heavily on guilt by association, and why we atheism is not a moral choice.

  133. #133 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    LOL – MarJudith couldn’t have said it any better:

    “You keep complaining about how I keep believing without evidence or about how closed-minded I am. I’m not arguing I’m not. I’m arguing that it isn’t a bad thing”

    No I asked for evidence. You attacked me personally. Typical.

    Would you like some Martin Luther quotes to go with that?

    If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country.
    - Martin Luther (On the Jews and Their Lies)

    and High Ranking Germans singing his praises:

    Only we can enter into Luther’s spirit…. Human cults do not set us free from all sin, but faith alone. With us the church shall become a serving member of the state…. There is a deep sense that our celebration is not attended by superficiality, but rather by thanks to a man who saved German cultural values.
    -Konigsberg-Hartungsche Zeitung, 20 Nov. 1933, [cited from Richard Steigmann-Gall's The Holy Reich]

    Our confession to God is a confession of a doctrine of totality…. To give ultimate significance to the totalities of race, resistance and personality there is added the supreme totalitarian slogan of our Volk: “Religion and God.” God is the greatest totality and extends over all else.
    -(Gertrud Kahl-Furthmann (ed.), Hans Schemm spricht: Seine Reden und sein Werk (Bayreuth, 1935), [cited from Richard Steigmann-Gall's The Holy Reich]

    “atheists rely heavily on guilt by association” what does that even mean? And for what?

    Who said atheism is a moral choice? Another strawman. Most children have religion foisted on them through familial indoctrination

    Given the international child rape ring the RCC has been running for centuries but has only come to light in the last few decades, it is easy to see why there is no commandment agin the spelunking of children.

  134. #134 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 30, 2013

    Goodness, we’ve really gotten off course here in this discourse about religion. And we’ve been down this track so many more times I’m not sure there’s point in reiterating it. If some are simply determined to say “Ah HA!!! You believe in something unproven!!!!” just because I’m Christian, well, that’s fine, but it’s not exactly something I’m unaware of. To me, it’s a bit like telling a person wearing a Star Trek badge to an engineering class that they’re a bit of a nerd. You’re not telling them anything they don’t already know, and you’re telling them something so transparently obvious that crowing about it can only make you look silly.

    Okay. I’ll make a few points here.

    * al kimeaa objects to faith being offered as evidence. But that’s a little silly, because faith isn’t evidence. Faith is a synonym for trust. Taking something as if it is known, even though it is not. You trust that the person who borrowed your circular saw will return it in good condition. Religious people trust that what they believe about God(s) is correct. You and I know that odds are poor that they actually are correct, but that doesn’t change that they have faith in it. People will put faith in all kinds of things.

    * Faith is not religion. Everybody in life has faith in various things. Sooner or later, you need it to get on with life, because we are not equipped with clairvoyance. Faith that the investment accounts you’ve opened will not completely tank before you decide to retire. Faith that the pilot of your airplane has not been drinking. Faith that your boss isn’t going to fire you for no reason in a week. When you take out a loan, the bank is having faith in you that you will repay. These are not unreasonable faiths . . . at least, on the surface. Investment accounts get mismanaged. Drunk pilots have been caught — after flying a plane. People get fired all the time. And the recent bank failure is certainly evidence that the faith in borrowers is sometimes misplaced.

    * Some people believe in things that cannot be seen. Sometimes this is taken as an article of faith; most people who ascribe to a religion are like this. They know God cannot be proven, and they’re okay with that; for whatever reason, they like the idea enough to put their faith in it anyway. Sometimes, however, it is taken not on faith but as fact. When this happens, it is the sort of thing you’re disparaging, where people are insisting it absolutely must be true because .

    Me, I like the idea of Christianity enough to take it on faith. But the natural world reigns supreme as a source of evidence. Show me evidence Jesus did not exist, and if it’s convincing, I’ll recant my faith. Absent such evidence, I am content to continue taking it on faith that he did exist, because I very much like the idea.

    There is overwhelming evidence the Earth is far older than the book of Genesis indicates; therefore, Genesis is wrong in the details. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. I find it unreasonable to expect ancient Hebrews living hand-to-mouth in the wilderness to have a particularly solid grasp on astrophysics and planetary science and evolutionary biology. Obviously they would not record it the way it really happened, but the way they thought it had happened.

    I know people who take it on faith that aliens exist. Personally, I don’t find that idea so compelling. It’s possible, and it would be very cool, but like firebreathing dragons, I just don’t see a compelling reason to put faith in finding such things in my lifetime. It’s just not important to me. (Important to others, absolutely, and that’s fine.)

    I have no problem with people making preposterous claims as long as they are willing to acknowledge the preposterousness of them. The Christ story is crazy. It really is. But I love it all the same, and so I put faith in it. Not because of what it promises about the afterlife; to be honest, to me that’s like dragons and aliens — cool if real, but not really that important to me. (Besides, I have a strong suspicion that if real, precisely zero of us have a realistic image anything close to what it would be like. It’s pleasant to think of our deceased loved ones carrying on with their favorite hobbies up there, but somehow I don’t think it’s really like that, even if it’s real.) No, I put faith in it because I think it’s a beautiful idea and carries within it a great vision of what the world could be like if we all genuinely cared about one another.

    I seem to have gone on a great deal longer than I meant to. Sorry about that.

  135. #135 Calli Arcale
    October 30, 2013

    Whoops, I used angle brackets there and it’s not visible as a result. “Sometimes, however, it is taken not on faith but as fact. When this happens, it is the sort of thing you’re disparaging, where people are insisting it absolutely must be true because {Scripture, personal experience, whatever}.”

  136. #136 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    First of all, why am I required to give you evidence? I’m not selling medicine or making scientific claims. I’m not saying anything that involves something that can be physically measured. You seem to have a hard time understanding the concept of religion.

    Secondly, you presented to me a web page that provided, as proof that Christianity is inherently immoral, immoral people who were Christians. That’s called “guilt by association”. Yes, they used Christianity to justify their acts, but they would have found something else if they didn’t have Christianity. If I wanted to say that black people were inherently criminal, would a list of black criminals be enough evidence? If you’re going to demand critical thinking, I suggest you engage in some of it yourself.

  137. #137 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Oh, and thanks for the comment, Calli. I should probably call it quits, it isn’t relevant, and I don’t think either me or al said anything worth remembering.

  138. #138 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 30, 2013

    I believe there are two possibilities on free will:

    If I act as though there is free will and there is, then I am correct.

    If I act as though there is free will and there is not, then I have no choice in how I acted because I have no free will. Thus I may be wrong but I can do nothing about that.

  139. #139 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 30, 2013

    I believe in free will, but in a deterministic universe I had to say that.

  140. #140 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    A religious debate, oh my.
    I think there are different categories of truthiness that we can put ideas in. The ones I prefer to use are:

    True – there is enough evidence to support the idea and little enough evidence contradicting it for me to assume for all practical purposes it is true.

    False – there is enough evidence contradicting the idea and little enough evidence to support it for me to assume for all practical purposes it is false.

    Indeteminate – not enough evidence to come to any conclusions either way.

    Indeterminable – I cannot imagine an experiment that would prove or disprove the idea one way or the other.

    All these categories are fluid; something that is indeterminable today may become determinable tomorrow, something I believe to be false today may be proven true the day after. I don’t believe in absolutes, but sometimes there is so much evidence one way or another that it seems behaving as if there is any doubt. With the indeterminate category you have to look at prior plausibility and employ the precautionary principle.

    Religion in its widest sense mostly falls into the indeterminable category. There may some intelligence behind the universe, or my experience may be some alien video game, for all I know. I cannot think of any experiment to falsify this, therefore it is pointless arguing about it. I wonder a bit about it, but I see no sense in making any decisions based on the existence of any kind of deity (or highly advanced video game developer), since I know of no evidence for one.

    Some religious claims are open to scientific investigation or at least assessment – whether [insert religious figure here] performed miracles, whether someone was cured of leprosy at Lourdes, whether statues weep blood, or drink milk. The existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster* is a matter of faith.

    Morality is a different thing altogether, though traditionally it has been a part of religion, imposed from above by a deity. I see morality as a choice, that each of us as a human being needs to make. If we want to adopt a ready-made set of morals, that’s OK. I like some aspects of Christianity, about forgiveness and loving your neighbor for example, and Buddhism’s ideas about non-aggression. The purpose of morality, in my opinion, is to make society better and fairer for all its members.

    Incidentally, some anthropologists suggest that religion is often society writ large. Patriarchal societies have a male god (Judeo-Christian religions), matriarchal societies have a female god** (Ancient Egypt at times, probably Bronze Age and some others), and societies with many different groups have many gods (e.g. Hinduism). This might seem obvious, but often we seem to think of the god coming first, and society afterwards, as in the society in question’s creation myth.

    * The FSM no doubt exists now in some sense, in the collective unconscious as a thought-form, and perhaps as a tulpa, thanks to atheists all over the world thinking about her. I predict sightings.

    ** Early Hebrew archaeological sites suggest that the original Hebrew god was female, according to some documentaries I have seen recently, so I wonder if Semitic societies in general were originally matriarchal. If early societies were mostly matriarchal, it’s quite possible the evidence has since been mostly erased.

  141. #141 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    @O’Brien: An odd story I heard. At a dinner party, one guest was talking loudly and incessantly about determinism. (I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide whether he was a preacher, a philosopher, or a physicist.) “Free will is just an illusion, all things happen as predetermined.” At that point, an annoyed neighbor jabbed him in the hand with a fork. “What did you do that for?” asked the first guest.

    “Like I had a choice in the matter?”

  142. #142 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    @Kreb: I have seen, in church no less, archeological evidence that YHWH had a female consort in the early days of Judaism. I suspect Josiah was in no small part the one responsible for the erasure of history. We also noted, in our class, that “You shall have no other gods before Me” didn’t preclude the existence or reverence of other gods, you just needed to put one first.

    We have an odd church.

  143. #143 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Missed a bit – “sometimes there is so much evidence one way or another that it seems behaving as if there is any doubt just seems foolish“.

    Oh, and when I wrote, “I see no sense in making any decisions based on the existence of any kind of deity”, I include deciding to argue with someone who chooses to believe in a religion in that.

  144. #144 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Okay, now I’m also drawn back to the subject. I’ll try to be brief.

    First of all, the existence of God is a fact claim, not a value or moral statement. Placing “God exists” in analogy with something like “life has inherent worth” is a category error. It’s like equating believing in the Loch Ness Monster with caring about protecting endangered species. It shifts the focus and immunizes the claim.

    Gray Falcon #122 wrote:

    Furthermore, you said, and I quote, “Religions which ‘do not make science difficult for its adherents’ are I think in the same position as schools of naturopathy which try to include a lot of science-based modalities and encourage vaccination.” Would you have let a religious fundamentalist get away with any of that? I’m just asking you keep to the same standards you ask of others.

    I think you missed my point. Religion is similar to alternative medicine in that both systems ultimately define themselves by their inability to convince rational skeptics.

    “What do they call alternative medicine which works? Medicine.” What do they call religion which makes sense even to atheists? Humanism.

    They’re in a similar bind. If they were consistent with science all the way down, then they wouldn’t be considered “alternative” or “a matter of faith.” Thus the similar tendency for each to slip away from the rational arguments for their truth and instead focus on the hearts and motives of the nonbelievers.

    Calli Arcale #134 wrote:

    Faith is a synonym for trust.

    Bait n switch. Religious faith is distinct from secular forms of faith — and you know this. Consider the distinction between “having faith in your doctor” and “having a RELIGIOUS faith in your doctor.” If you trust in your doctor’s competence the way you trust in God — what would it now take to change your mind? You’d be abandoning a commitment.

    Show me evidence Jesus did not exist, and if it’s convincing, I’ll recant my faith.

    You’ve got it the wrong way around. It’s a hypothesis. This would be like a homeopath demanding that you show evidence that homeopathy has never worked.

    No, I put faith in it because I think it’s a beautiful idea and carries within it a great vision of what the world could be like if we all genuinely cared about one another.

    How lovely. If it turned out that Christianity wasn’t true and God doesn’t exist — would you want to find that out? Or are the beautiful ideas too inspiring and useful to abandon for such an insignificant reason?

    (Either way you answer, there are problems.)

  145. #145 lilady
    October 30, 2013

    Hey guys, this is not a religion blog.

    I recall a thread on RI where I mentioned I am a Christian. Within a few minutes, several posters here labeled me as a “hypocrite”.

    I’d like to know why religious beliefs…or lack of religious beliefs…color anyone’s opinion of me when I post on this blog or any other science blog.

  146. #146 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    @lilady:

    Heh. I think religion is on topic though in that alternative medicine tends to justify itself using the same techniques and tactics that religions use. It’s one reason alt med proponents become so outraged over criticism and so indifferent to skepticism.

    I don’t think less of religious believers. I love you and Calli and and and!! :)

    You can be a fine skeptic and also be religious. But there’s an inconsistency there — in that you can also be a fine skeptic and believe in healing energy, or alien abductions, or ESP. A ghostly “otherwise” haunts the area before it gets all fine.

  147. #147 Narad
    October 30, 2013

    Religion is similar to alternative medicine in that both systems ultimately define themselves by their inability to convince rational skeptics.

    And the rational basis of ontology is?

  148. #148 herr doktor bimler
    October 30, 2013

    both systems ultimately define themselves by their inability to convince rational skeptics
    So in the absence of rational skeptics there can be no religion? Not sure how that works.

  149. #149 AdamG
    October 30, 2013

    Hey guys, this is not a religion blog.

    Seriously. Take it to Pharyngula.

    I’ve lurked there long enough to know that these discussions are hardly ever productive.

  150. #150 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    “First of all, why am I required to give you evidence? I’m not selling medicine or making scientific claims. I’m not saying anything that involves something that can be physically measured. You seem to have a hard time understanding the concept of religion.”

    Claiming a deity did it is a testable claim in the marketplace of ideas and you are trying to sell the idea of ReligiCorp, just like VatiCorp sells salvation.

    Thank you Sastra

  151. #151 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 30, 2013

    there are around a coupla dozen authors who would of been contemporaries of this Jesus fellow and his earth shaking ideas and nada, not one word

    Then there’s the Crusades, including one for the kiddies, the Thirty Years War – thanks Marty!, the female holocaust (them bitches be witches), etc etc and we’re supposed to ignore the religious justifications behind all these things because the truly nice people here who have bought into this really bad idea to the point of being enamoured of it, are the only ones wearing kilts..

    BTW, when the Maya civilization started going south. Their spiritual solution? Sacrifice more children to their deities to gain their favour…

  152. #152 Ethir
    Uk
    October 30, 2013

    What an ungrateful person, acting like an animal. “It’s your lives” ? It was never your lives. Thank to whom that you were born ? Who had carried you for 9 months ? Who had endured the pain to give birth to you ? Who had loved you unconditionally for all the years ? Who had fed you for all the years ? Who had paid for your education ? Who did you wake up every night with your crying ? Have you paid back all of these ? You are nothing without your parents. It is your jobs to do everything for your parents. If you think your friends, your lovers know what best for you ? You are deluding yourselves. What ever your parents decide for you they ONLY think of your benefit first. You think those strangers could measure up to your parent love ? Not even the purest Love between a man and woman could compare to the love of parents for their children.

  153. #153 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Narad #147 wrote:

    And the rational basis of ontology is?

    Ontology is the philosophical inquiry into the nature of existence. Do you think reason has no place here? Evidence? I’m not sure I understand the objection.

    Herr doktor bimler #148 wrote:

    “…both systems ultimately define themselves by their inability to convince rational skeptics.”
    So in the absence of rational skeptics there can be no religion? Not sure how that works.

    I’ll rephrase it. If alternative medicine and religion were capable of standing up under strict analysis and rational scrutiny and making their case to skeptics, then they wouldn’t insist on needing a special category for their claims where the usual rules don’t apply.

    AdamG #149 wrote:

    Seriously. Take it to Pharyngula.

    I think our criticism of alternative medicine rests on a broader principle: the value of rational skepticism and the science-based approach to understanding the nature of reality. If this entails that criticizing atheist Bill Maher for his alt med friendly stances is legitimate on Pharyngula (which I would argue it does), then I don’t think religion is off-topic here.

    Religious attitudes, approaches, and apologetics often lie behind belief in alternative medicine — and many times alt med rests on supernatural beliefs. There’s a connection we ought to examine.

    I’ve lurked there long enough to know that these discussions are hardly ever productive.

    Like discussions with alt med advocates are ‘hardly ever’ productive?

    I don’t think pessimism is warranted here for either case. Too many people, too many stages, too much common ground. If nothing else we can understand why the ‘other side’ believes as it does. We needn’t try to produce wholesale consensus.

  154. #154 al kimeea
    October 30, 2013

    @140 “I predict sightings”

    rAmen, brother, HE is love incarnate

  155. #155 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    But lilady, it’s not a food blog either! And we do that. LOTS.

    But it is a science blog and a few earlier scientists/ philosophers weigh in about religion -briefly-

    Wm James holds that we ask instead- what does religion (or its lack) accomplish for us in the real world? If it makes your life better or if its lack does, then go ahead… no one can prove anything. ( Actually, he has lots more to say but I’m tired tonight) from ‘Pragmatism’.

    -btw- we can study human beliefs and ideas about religion. And he did. ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’

    Freud- in “The Future of an Illusion” wrote that religion served early humans by providing an explanatory system, a moral code and reliable protection, like a parent.

    HOWEVER we moderns have scientific cosmologies, legal systems and we grow up no longer needing parents.

    For myself, I didn’t become an atheist by an act of ratiocination – it was a family tradition altho’ not oversold. When I was old enough to ‘think for myself’, I didn’t see any reason to convert or have faith. I instead believe in working on my own skills and trying to understand people.

    I sometimes think that sophisticated people who believe in a deity/ ies are really thinking metaphorically and don’t imagine at all that there’s an old celestial patriarch existing enthroned on another plane pulling strings omnipresently across the multiverse. Maybe their g-d is really the laws of physics, mathematics,chemistry , genetics, psychology, law idealised and anthropomorphised- what makes the whole mess appear to function in an orderly, predictable and meaningful manner. A just and meaningful place.

    Thinking purely for myself, I can’t fathom how a supernatural being could exist- it’s an abstraction that we dreamed up elevating our own selves to the nth power.

    And I have no problem calling real people “saints” -because a Christian or Buddhist saint is actually an outstanding PERSON first, prior to sanctification and mystification.

    I have no problem with what others believe and I don’t think that belief is weakness-maybe it’s poeticism.

  156. #156 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Alternative medicine is a set of eminently testable hypotheses, many of which have been tested and found sadly wanting.

    Conversely, I can’t think of any experiment that would falsify the hypothesis that some intelligent entity created the universe, with all its physical laws. To my mind, that’s the difference.

    I see the point of arguing with someone about having a belief in something that is demonstrably untrue. But that isn’t the case with a belief in a deity per se. As the Discordians say, random impersonal forces created the universe, those random impersonal forces are female and her name is Eris.

  157. #157 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    To be frank, in our church, the big questions aren’t “Is God real?” or “What is God’s will?” so much as “Would you mind donating to our Thanksgiving food drive? We’re looking for yams and cranberry sauce this year.” and “Do you think people will mind a song in 5/4 time?”.

  158. #158 Narad
    October 30, 2013

    Ontology is the philosophical inquiry into the nature of existence.

    So you’re OK with “ontology” sans noumena?

    Do you think reason has no place here?

    Quite the contrary.

    Evidence?

    Of what? The externality of relations?

    I’m not sure I understand the objection.

    This I surmised.

  159. #159 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Denice,
    In the United States Declaration of Independence the Founding Fathers of the USA referred to ‘Nature’s God’ as a sort of personification of the laws of nature. Many of them were nominally Christians but also free thinkers and scientists who may not have shared the contemporary popular idea of God. Of course the ‘God of the gaps’, as an explanation of the unexplainable has become smaller and smaller as science has explained more and more.

    I still think the metaphorical personification of the universe is an interesting and perhaps useful exercise. I still feel a sense of awe when contemplating a number of the wonders of life and the universe*, and I think this is an appropriate modern outlet for the religious feelings that human beings are perhaps programmed with. I have suggested here before that I think notions of blasphemy should be transferred to misinformation and deliberate mistruths.

    * As Professor Brian Cox tells us, it’s really, really big.

  160. #160 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Gray Falcon,

    To be frank, in our church, the big questions aren’t “Is God real?” [...]

    I was raised in the Church of England which I finally decided is not a religion at all, more a social club for singing dirges and an excuse for ladies to wear hats. Quite a number of C. of E. clergymen (and some RCs) openly admit they don’t really believe in God. Bless them.

  161. #161 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    re the metaphorical personification of the universe

    It certainly makes it less frightening- imagine all of that blind, mindless power and energy swirling around haphazardly. Random collisions and mutations.
    A girl could get hurt out there.

  162. #162 herr doktor bimler
    October 30, 2013

    the Church of England [...] more a social club for singing dirges and an excuse for ladies to wear hats

    The same in NZ: a socially-acceptable form of agnosticism, and a channel for getting involved in community altruism without being a weirdo do-gooder.

  163. #163 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Krebiozen #155 wrote:

    Conversely, I can’t think of any experiment that would falsify the hypothesis that some intelligent entity created the universe, with all its physical laws. To my mind, that’s the difference.

    What happens though if we consider what modern science has told us about the brain, the mind, and the evolution of both? An “intelligent entity (which) created the universe” involves mind/body duality, psychokensis, and the idea that goal-directed behavior (and the ‘entity’ which had it) would and could exist in a vacuum, without environment, history, or other individuals with whom to react.

    Technically speaking, we can never falsify the hypothesis of vitalism. It simply becomes unnecessary. And yet vitalism and God (even a minimalist deistic god) aren’t very different.

    If God existed its existence could have been much more obvious. The universe could conceivably have shown strong, repeatable, convincing evidence for the paranormal and the supernatural, with disembodied (or unbodied) minds simply accepted as a matter of course in scientific models. That’s a prediction which would have falsified the so-called “materialist paradigm” and established spirituality. Alternative medicine would work! It’s now a much more plausible step to God.

    Narad #157 wrote:

    So you’re OK with “ontology” sans noumena?

    I think a “purely intellectual, nonsensuous intuition” needs to be crossed-checked on various levels if it involves claims about purported mind-like entities which may or may not exist outside of the mind.

    Can you express the concept of God clearly and rigorously enough to be a hypothesis?

  164. #164 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    … more a social club for singing dirges and an excuse for ladies to wear hats.

    Wait, what — hats? An excuse for wearing them?

    Ok, I may have to rethink this….

  165. #165 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    Fortunately, I never got ensnared by the hat cult.
    Jackets would have been an entirely different story.

  166. #166 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Sastra,

    If God existed its existence could have been much more obvious.

    Could have been, I agree, but not necessarily would have been.

    The universe could conceivably have shown strong, repeatable, convincing evidence for the paranormal and the supernatural, with disembodied (or unbodied) minds simply accepted as a matter of course in scientific models.

    I think that’s a bit of a straw man, as the idea of a creator doesn’t necessarily mean that it would have paranormal powers, or even if it did that it would choose to use them. If I were a God creating a universe, I would make it look as if it just happened, just to f*ck with my creations’ heads ;-)

    Can you express the concept of God clearly and rigorously enough to be a hypothesis?

    Not in any way that is falsifiable, which is, in my opinion, why it is an indeterminable idea that isn’t worth arguing about. If people want to believe it, let them alone. However, if they use it as an excuse for child abuse, God help them.

  167. #167 Krebiozen
    October 30, 2013

    Sastra and Denice,
    Ladies, there were not hats that would suit either of you. Trust me on that.

  168. #168 al kimeea
    October 30, 2013

    Wm James, the 1st Pres of the American branch of The Society for Psychical Research?

    Quelle surprise – a wooligan, finds another form of woo pragmatic

    One thing missing from all these words, just as with MarJudith. though, evidence.

  169. #169 Narad
    October 30, 2013
    So you’re OK with “ontology” sans noumena?

    I think a “purely intellectual, nonsensuous intuition” needs to be crossed-checked on various levels if it involves claims about purported mind-like entities which may or may not exist outside of the mind.

    That’s certainly a peculiar entry to just stick in a mainstream dictionary. Anyway, what does being “mind-like” have to do with anything? The point is whether the distinction gets you anything. If it doesn’t, then parsimony suggests chucking it overboard.

    Can you express the concept of God clearly and rigorously enough to be a hypothesis?

    How exactly does “the concept of” a name get to be “a hypothesis”?

  170. #170 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    @ al kimeea:

    I think the only evidence that WJ sought was interested in was what people *thought* about religion and how they behaved based on faith or atheism- not anything about it existing outside of thoughts. -btw- when he talks about tough-minded ( incl atheism) vs tender minded (incl religion)- I don’t get the impression that he was the latter. Au contraire.

    And these early forays into ‘psychical’ research happened over a century ago. Remember, this was around the time Freud was still asking questions about ‘prophetic dreams” and people were still attending seances in fashionable places like London and New York.. He was interested in studying all human experience including belief.
    And -btw- physiology, perception, selective attention, memory, personality, emotion, illness as science.

  171. #171 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Krebiozen #165 wrote:

    Could have been, I agree, but not necessarily would have been.

    True, but that places God in the suspicious position of a hypothesis which can be confirmed, but never falsified.

    I think that’s a bit of a straw man, as the idea of a creator doesn’t necessarily mean that it would have paranormal powers, or even if it did that it would choose to use them.

    How does the Creator create? What method does it use? What can it use? I don’t see how you can avoid some form of psychokenesis, the “alteration of the state of an object by mental influence alone, without any physical intervention.” And how does God — can God — communicate with human beings? Some sort of extra-sensory perception.

    It seems to me that if you remove paranormal abilities from God, then the divine has no way to act or do anything. After all, most theists are quite insistent that God has no body, certainly not one made out of atoms and molecules. And that leaves methods which use Thought, Mind, or Intention alone, acting as its own irreducible power or force.

    If people want to believe it, let them alone.

    On an individual basis, sure. Same way we’ll leave someone who quietly and privately chooses to use homeopathy alone. .

    But the idea itself requires rigorous critique, not least because God isn’t supposed to be a small, insignificant personal taste akin to a hobby or sheepishly admitted superstition. It’s supposed to be the Foundation of meaning, purpose, love, and existence — and belief in it is considered critical to a full and mature understanding. I also think that the cultural assumption that believing in God, the spiritual, the supernatural, and the paranormal is the sign of a sensitive, deep, and open-minded person — and that this belief ought to be respected as such and thus immune to criticism — especially from “scientism” — is a major contributor to the undue respect granted to alternative medicine. The “holism” in alt med signals that they’re including the spiritual.

    Not the only contributor, no. But at the very least it sure helps it along.

  172. #172 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Narad #169 wrote:

    How exactly does “the concept of” a name get to be “a hypothesis”?

    Could you please define what you mean by “God?”

  173. #173 Shay
    Who was introduced at Mt Pisgah Baptist last Sunday with What A Friend We Have In Jesus
    October 30, 2013

    was raised in the Church of England which I finally decided is not a religion at all, more a social club for singing dirges and an excuse for ladies to wear hats.

    Sounds like your average African American church but without the good music.

  174. #174 Narad
    October 30, 2013

    Could you please define what you mean by “God?”

    Where have I said anything about G-d? By and large, I’m simply noting that arguments against supernaturalism are not arguments for monist materialism. Do you assume plural minds or not?

  175. #175 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Narad #174 wrote:

    By and large, I’m simply noting that arguments against supernaturalism are not arguments for monist materialism.

    I think it’s usually supernaturalism vs. naturalism — with various forms of each. What is your definition of “supernatural?”

    Do you see a relationship between the supernatural and alternative medicine? Do you perceive a connection between defenses of the supernatural and defenses of alternative medicine? I do (obviously), but I’d be interested in hearing your opinion.

  176. #176 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    @ Sastra:

    My absolute best guess is that supernatural, ultamundane personified *gods* are merely another facet of the purely human cognitive capacity to abstract, perfect, idealise, extend, synthesise and reconstruct sensate reality into incorporeal ideas that might serve as guides/ plans for personal action (including belief as a precursor to action). This would include language and imagery.

    The Russian psychologist Vygotsky observed children learning tasks- he noted how the child first listens to the instructor, then repeats the instructions by telling him/herself what to do over and over; eventually the words become silent speech, then thought. This is a simple illustration of how ideas are incorporated.

    There are interesting studies about how people respond to ‘prototypes’ – memory of generalised objects, animals and people- a general “dog” or “person”, a schematic, so to speak. Artists re-create ideal faces and ‘angelic’ images .
    I find that the Faces of the Future (coalesced images of a multitude of people living in particular cities – cited by Orac) have that oddly transcendent perfection- ethereal and unreal yet instantly identifiable- all of the distinctive characteristics of the individuals are averaged out by their converses yielding an eerie beauty.

    In short, if deities and belief are internal guiding images acquiredby learning but created by humans, they aren’t really supernatural .Not any more than a scifi story is.

  177. #177 Bill Price
    October 30, 2013

    Sastra, October 30, 2013, #172:

    Could you please define what you mean by “God?”

    I’d get a little stronger here, to make the challenge a bit less ambiguous:
    A usable definition of ‘god’ is a decision function by which a ‘god’ can be unambiguously distinguished from any other phenomenon in the universe of existents (the set of all phenomena which exist). Note that the universe of existents might be coterminous with the physical universe, but might not be: that is an entirely different question that should not be addressed until it’s necessary to do so.
    (It follows from this definition that a copout of “my god is outside this universe” is a statement that your god does not exist.)
    Please provide such a usable definition.

  178. #178 Vicki
    October 30, 2013

    Al Kimeea–

    Except that’s not what actually happened on Rapa Nui (sometimes called Easter Island). The original settlers arrived with a suite of plants suited to more tropical Pacific islands, and some of the important ones wouldn’t grow there. Also, they were dealing with relatively old, poor soil. The rock cairns that look odd to western European and American eyes are good agricultural practice: they protect the crops from wind and salt spray, and breaking the rock down into bits adds valuable nutrients to the soil. (The rats may have been deliberately imported as a food animal.)

    Then there was a European invasion.

    But it’s so easy to believe that a culture unlike our own was fundamentally misguided, and that their monuments are somehow proof of that, rather than consider that the moai are no more key to understanding the economics of Rapa Nui than the Space Needle is to explaining the Seattle economy.

  179. #179 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 30, 2013

    All this talk of religion is swell, and all, but could we please bring the conversation back to the whole notion of parents viewing kids as property?

  180. #180 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    @ Denice Walter:

    I agree. Psychologist Bruce Hood also has some interesting ideas regarding the human brain’s innate tendency to naturally organize the world in categories which involve essences, hidden invisible perfect stuff — powers, forces, and entities which lie beneath the physical world. Religion then draws on this intuition, codifies it into a learned form, and creates an elaborate system to protect it from too much doubt or too much examination. The Science of Superstition: how the developing brain creates supernatural beliefs is an interesting read. Basically, we find it easier to believe in magic than in what we discovered through a lot of hard work. Science is, as Alan Cromer says, uncommon sense.

    Every time I read about the foundations of religious and spiritual thinking I discern aspects of a lot of alternative medicine.

  181. #181 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Todd W. #179 wrote:

    All this talk of religion is swell, and all, but could we please bring the conversation back to the whole notion of parents viewing kids as property?

    Religion was brought up because there is a question as to whether the belief that children are the property of the parents draws its “self-evident” force from religion. I think the hierarchical thinking involved — with ascending layers and realms of Powers which control what lies below them can certainly contribute. There is a proper place and role for each thing, which has a duty to fulfill it. The parent owns the child the way God owns us. God gave them their child as a gift. They are its only proper authority — after God.

    But you can also justify authoritarianism using libertarian politics. So it’s clearly not necessary.

    I will say this, though: once religion (or ‘spirituality’) enters the conversation the debate is OVER. Tell people that you’re withholding modern medicine from your child as a matter of your deeply- felt and sincerely- held faith and now you’re suddenly on ‘gool’ (as we used to say when playing tag.) That’s not supposed to be touched or argued against. You invoked the sacred.

    I’m not so sure that most people are just using the religion as a prop, a back-up system to justify what they want to do for other reasons. I think it often gives them the idea in the first place. Thus the discussion on a possible connection between the thought processes of religion and the thought processes of alternative medicine.

  182. #182 Politicalguineapig
    October 30, 2013

    Calli Arcale: There aren’t two realms, one labeled science and one labeled religion, with all thinking neatly divided between them.

    Sure there are. Just like there’s a neat dividing line between emotions and thinking. The mark of a mature person is knowing when to chose between the two, and knowing that emotions shouldn’t be everyday wear.

    Todd: I don’t think religion can be left out of it, since that’s where a lot of understanding of what children are and who they belong to comes from.

  183. #183 Denice Walter
    October 30, 2013

    Sastra:

    Both involve storylines- the restoration of the sinner/ sickperson through faith and righteous action. A woo I follow often blames illness on people who refuse to listen to him and don’t ‘live right’. Both include the idea of a life essence that is definitely not SB or discernible to the senses. In both, the thought ( positive thinking/ intention) is frequently more important than the deed. Usually some mysticism lurks and the idea that ‘science doesn’t know everything”.

  184. #184 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Just like there’s a neat dividing line between emotions and thinking.

    Um, no there’s not.

  185. #185 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Just like there’s a neat dividing line between emotions and thinking.

    Um, no there’s not.

  186. #186 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Just like there’s a neat dividing line between emotions and thinking.

    Um, no there’s not.

  187. #187 Sastra
    October 30, 2013

    Sorry for all the repeats — I kept getting an error message.

    Makes me sound very confident, though.

  188. #188 herr doktor bimler
    October 30, 2013

    Just like there’s a neat dividing line between emotions and thinking.
    Um, no there’s not.

    As Damasio and others have pointed out on umpteen occasions, affective responses are a central component of cognition.

    I will settle for saying that once.

  189. #189 Khani
    October 30, 2013

    #179 Yes, let’s.

    Please.

  190. #190 Gray Falcon
    October 30, 2013

    Sorry for engaging al. I took his statements as an affront to myself and my family, and look where it got us.

  191. #191 Delysid
    October 30, 2013

    I never defended child abuse and neither did Rothbard. As Carl pointed out, NOBODY here did.

    Neglect is not the same thing as abuse. One involves negative action (not feeding a child or giving them a medication) and the other involves a positive action (abusing and actively harming a child like giving them poison).

    Mothers have been leaving infants on the steps of Churches and orphanages for hundreds of years. Should they be punished by the State?

  192. #192 lilady
    October 31, 2013

    I’ve been offline for a good while. Children are not chattel (see my post at # 7) and anyone who parents a child and hides behind their religious belief system to deny a child medical care, should not be surprised if a physician or a hospital seeks the court’s intervention on behalf of the child. Health care providers have a legal and moral duty to a child whose parents neglect their medical care.

  193. #193 herr doktor bimler
    October 31, 2013

    Mothers have been leaving infants on the steps of Churches and orphanages for hundreds of years. Should they be punished by the State?

    Parents have been abandoning children on hillsides or in forests for centuries. Should they be punished?
    I say “yes”, if only for their irresponsibility. Sometimes the children turn into murderous vandals who attempt to eat gingerbread houses and then kill innocent old women. Sometimes they grow up to marry their own mothers and bring misfortune upon the cities they govern.

  194. #194 Militant Agnostic
    October 31, 2013

    @Calli

    Not because of what it promises about the afterlife; to be honest, to me that’s like dragons and aliens — cool if real, but not really that important to me. (Besides, I have a strong suspicion that if real, precisely zero of us have a realistic image anything close to what it would be like. It’s pleasant to think of our deceased loved ones carrying on with their favorite hobbies up there, but somehow I don’t think it’s really like that, even if it’s real.)

    I have it on good authority (Jehovah Witnesses) that Heaven is “a nice place like Banff* (National Park in Alberta, Canada)”

    In other words, it is full of annoying Japanese & German tourists and belligerent elk.

    *Trivia fact – Banff is where Cheech met Chong

  195. #195 Militant Agnostic
    Lamenting the lack of preview
    October 31, 2013

    Dummysid

    Mothers have been leaving infants on the steps of Churches and orphanages for hundreds of years. Should they be punished by the State?

    Apparently our gliberterian troll cannot understand the difference between allowing a child to starve to death and leaving it somewhere where it will be found and fed.

    A quick perusal of the pfft of all knowledge indicates that the “Austrian School” which Dummysid admires so much rejects empiricism and evidence – they embrace all the worst aspects of religious thinking.

  196. #196 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 31, 2013

    @Sastra and PGP

    My main point was, keep the main topic the focus. The comments started just going off on an anti-religion tangent that had nothing to do with the OP. Want to discuss religion? Fine, but limit it to the context of parents viewing their kids as property.

    @Delysid

    I recommend you take some ethics classes. If you’ve already taken some, I suggest you take them again, but this time pay attention. While you’re at it, some logic classes would also help, since your comments in that other thread show you’re a fan of straw men. Perhaps if you do that, you will see how your arguments are not simply untenable, but also portray you as an awful human being, advocating for parents to be able to do whatever kind of neglect they want without being punished. I mean, hey, the kid could just leave, right?

  197. #197 al kimeea
    October 31, 2013

    @178 – sorry, but the archeological record doesn’t support your version of events

    I luv you Gray Falcon xox, you or your family are not “religion”, nor is anyone else FTM.

    @Denice – sure early days, but he writes of the sciences having nothing to do with the “unclassed residuum” AKA mysticism etc. at the time, so I’m sure there was ample info for him to consider. He got swindled, and bought into it.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    lilady @ 192, unfortunately at least in the US:

    37 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have laws providing that parents or caretakers who fail to provide medical assistance to a child because of their religious beliefs are not criminally liable for harm to the child. At the time Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act in 1974 to create a uniform approach to child abuse, it deferred to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now Health and Human Services) to determine the religious exemption policies of the act.1 HEW mandated that the states adopt religious exemptions to child neglect before they could receive federal funding for state child-protection programs.

    - US National DA Assoc

    Follow that link to WEIT, where Jerry has a post on a study of faith healing (the deity is now an active participant in nature and not just for snapping his fingers 14B years ago):

    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.

    Delysid will like this case study:

    One teenager asked teachers for help getting medical care for fainting spells, which she had been refused at home. She ran away from home, but law enforcement returned her to the custody of her father. She died 3 days later from a ruptured appendix.

    Another kid had bone cancer and Christian Science parents thinking that God’s Law of Adjustment would do all the healing for them. By the time authorities intervened, the smell of her fatal festering wound permeated an entire floor of the hospital.

    Madness, praise be to God.

  198. #198 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    Al, so it’s “love the sinner, hate the sin?” Pat Robertson would be proud.

    Delysid still hasn’t answered what prevents the “free market in infants” from dealing in children taken from parents to pay off a debt. Apparently, he’s willing to reinstate slavery in the name of individual freedom.

  199. #199 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 31, 2013

    @GF – so would the congregation of the Presbyterian minister who hitched Mrs K & me. He was later found guilty of raping three boys and his flock had nothing to say aboot the victims, but they sure love their pedo spiritual leader.

  200. #200 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    @Al- You lost all right to speak when you pulled the “Hitler ate sugar” card. Goodbye.

  201. #201 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    October 31, 2013

    Witness the oppression inherent in the system and a perfect example of running from contrary evidence while shutting down any valid criticism, as Sastra mentioned upstream.

    But I thought u found Hitler speaking his own mind, in his own words about the glories of God and how HE motivates him as HE did Luther useful?

    woo is as woo does

  202. #202 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Ethir, are you disagreeing with Orac’s premise that children are not property, suggesting that any other impression is ungrateful? Do you think all parents are perfect? If so, you are seriously naive. There are parents who have starved their children to death. Parents who have not only failed to pay for their children’s education but denied them access to free education out of spite or because, like you, they thought children were supposed to do everything for their parents and they didn’t want to lose the free labor. Parents who did not wake up with their children’s crying because they were too drunk or stoned, or who *did* wake up, and then there was hell to pay, beating the children for having a nightmare or wetting the bed.

    Mother knows best, eh?

    There are some real horror stories out there, Ethir. And if you insist that children have absolutely no grounds to complain about any treatment they receive, they you acknowledge that you are okay with that.

    That scares me.

  203. #203 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 31, 2013

    Delysid:

    Neglect is not the same thing as abuse. One involves negative action (not feeding a child or giving them a medication) and the other involves a positive action (abusing and actively harming a child like giving them poison).

    The law would not agree with you on that point. Parents who have neglected their children to the point of death have been convicted of child abuse (though I find those with a religious argument find it distressingly easy to earn clemency). There is passive abuse and active abuse, but both are considered abuse.

    Mothers have been leaving infants on the steps of Churches and orphanages for hundreds of years. Should they be punished by the State?

    Actually, in most communities that is indeed illegal. Those communities which have enacted “safe harbor” provisions to allow a new mother in crisis to give her child up anonymously have laid out very specific rules for how it is to be done and where; churches and orphanages are not usually eligible in the US. It usually has to be with one of the conventional emergency service providers: police, fire department, or hospital. Abandoning your child in a basket on the steps of a church is, in the US, a criminal act. And I think it should be.

  204. #204 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Krebiozen:

    Not in any way that is falsifiable, which is, in my opinion, why it is an indeterminable idea that isn’t worth arguing about. If people want to believe it, let them alone. However, if they use it as an excuse for child abuse, God help them.

    That pretty much sums it up for me too. ;-)

    To bring the religion thread back around to the notion of children as property and the problems with adoption, there is presently a trend among evangelical Christians (by which I don’t mean the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, oddly enough; I belong to the ELCA, but we’re pretty liberal as Lutherans go) of showing your spiritual greatness by adopting. Not adopting because you want to be a parent but have genetic problems or are infertile, but adopting because it’ll show other people how committed you are to spreading Christ’s Word. The book “The Child Catchers” goes into some detail on this, and it’s very very creepy.

    Upthread, I made the argument that religion is about justification, but not in the way practitioners usually say. In theory, religion tells you how to live, or at least that’s what they say. In practice, religion quickly becomes an exercise in justifying what you want to do anyway. This is not as simple as “I want to sin, so I like believing in a forgiving god!” It’s far deeper than that: “I want to believe myself superior, so I want a killer argument for why those other guys are so awful, so I can just disregard them”. That sort of thing. And when you take that sort of mindset and apply it to a religious trend of showing one’s righteousness through adoption . . . well, it should put a chill down your spine.

    For a long time, adoption in the US has been about taking children out of a bad situation and putting them into a better one. It doesn’t take much to imagine that moralizing becomes a big part of that, and of course it’s not much different from the attempt to eradicate Indian culture by taking away their children, or the eugenics activities of the early 20th Century that sterilized so many poor, unwed mothers for the crime of being poor and unwed, and taking away their children to boot. On the surface, you want kids to have a better life, so it becomes very easy to justify taking away kids because you don’t approve of what their parents do. Now, add religious fervor and a belief that you are intrinsically superior because of your faith, and it gets REALLY scary. It’s so easy to justify adopting more kids, with uncertain origins* even if you’re not a good parent to begin with, because your’e doing God’s work, and that can’t possibly go wrong, can it?

    And then you get small families with fifteen adopted children, still looking for more, in dire poverty because they cannot feed all these mouths. You get people who have no business being a parent adopting with no preparation whatsoever, taking it on faith that God will provide since this is God’s work, and then when the child arrives and is not a perfect angel they beat the child or neglect the child or abandon the child or even have an exorcism performed. And they will not countenance state interference. This is God’s work, as far as they’re concerned. And there have been horrible tragedies. And still the demand grows, because it’s God’s work, and people who believe that will not stop for anything.

    So they move on to outright theft. Procuring children in other countries by fraud, bribery, or even abduction. Consider the woman who tried to smuggle a couple dozen kids out of Haiti without the appropriate documentation; none of them were actually orphans, and in fact all had parents who were actively looking for them. But because the woman in charge believed the stereotype of neglectful Haitian parents, she didn’t care; she tried to argue in court that she didn’t know, but there is evidence she most certainly did know — she just felt that the kids would have such better lives in the US with “good Christian parents” that any duplicity was justified. The ends would justify the means.

    And of course, this isn’t all that new. The Irish workhouses and orphanges run by the Catholic Church were an anthology of horrors as unwed mothers were abused and forced to give up their children so they could be raised by the “right” parents. There is a disturbing subtext in much of adoption, especially religious adoption, that it’s not about finding a good home for a child in need but bringing the child home to the right parents, as if a child might not be born to the right parents in the first place. And thus is found a way of making even adopted children the property of their parents. And it’s not actually a thing of the past. The overwhelming demand for adoptable children in the US means that all sorts of methods are used to increase supply. Legal tricks to keep the biological parents from asserting custody. Lobbying for custody rules that favor adoption agencies. (Look at the story of the soldier who has been fighting to gain custody of his daughter, whose mother lied and told him she was getting an abortion. Some adoption agencies have been documented telling pregnant women what to say and do to derail the father’s right to custody, and even to derail their own, by keeping them from learning their own rights.) Promises are offered which cannot be enforced, and all to gain custody of the children so they can get paid for placing them. Children become a commodity — and a fungible commodity at that, which is terrifying. And because of the rise in adoption as a form of mission, many of the adoptive parents aren’t even aware of it themselves, because they’ve let “it’s God’s will” keep them from examining it too closely.

    *I don’t mean in terms of lineage. I mean in terms of whether or not their parents really gave them up.

  205. #205 Krebiozen
    October 31, 2013

    Delysid,
    If people are born with an inherent right to own property and to defend it, surely a child is born with an inherent right to be cared for and protected by its parent(s) to the best of their ability. I don’t see how anyone could believe the former but not the latter.

  206. #206 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    @Krebiozen- Maybe Delysid sees children as unproductive little leeches who depend too much on their parents. Remember, he supports the repealing of child labor laws.

  207. #207 Marry Me, Mindy
    October 31, 2013

    OT, but re: Callie

    (by which I don’t mean the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, oddly enough; I belong to the ELCA, but we’re pretty liberal as Lutherans go)

    Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. Socially completely liberal (not anti-woman, anti-gay, not anti-abortion, even) and religiously (none of that transubstantian stuff or especially any of the goofy catholic rules)

    It is very different from the various Synods (isn’t there like a St Louis Synod, and Wisconsin version, etc), which tend to be more hardcore fundamentalist.

    My wife and I are considering switching to an ELCA church. Even she is pretty fed up with the catholic crap.

  208. #208 Krebiozen
    October 31, 2013

    By the way, I don’t believe in inherent rights, but at least some Libertarians apparently do. I believe rights and responsibilities are human creations that we decide on between ourselves.

    I do think that if parents are incapable of caring for their children properly for whatever reason, and that includes a failure to provide adequate medical care, their children should ultimately be taken away from them. In the UK we have the specter of Baby P to remind us of what can happen otherwise.

    Conversely, during the satanic abuse scares of the 80s, a number of children were taken from their parents for what turned out to be spurious reasons and, I believe, never returned to them. This was because they had been with their foster parents for so long it was in the best interests of the child to stay with them. Property does not have “best interests”.

    If you are going to take a child from its parents, or give it medical treatment against the will of its parents, I think you have to have very solid grounds for doing so. I would not be a social worker for anything; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  209. #209 Renate
    October 31, 2013

    @ Calli Arcale
    Don’t forget Franco and Pinochet regimes where children of people opposing the government were placed in families that where loyal to the government.

  210. #210 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    @Calli Arcade- I’ve heard of abuse by adoptive parents before, often disguised as “therapy”, I think I know a site which has several documented examples.

    http://childrenintherapy.org/

    @Marry Me, Mindy- Wasn’t being fed up with the Catholic crap how the Lutheran church was founded? Interesting Reformation Day fact: Just about everyone nailed things to the church doors. They didn’t have cork boards and push pins.

  211. #211 Alain
    October 31, 2013

    @Krebiozen- Maybe Delysid sees children as unproductive little leeches who depend too much on their parents. Remember, he supports the repealing of child labor laws.

    I can second that, with labor law in place in canucksland, I was able to deliver newspaper on 3 good streets and make over 180$ per week back in 1990-1993 which result in about 25$ per hour with no tax levied on this amount.

    Alain

  212. #212 Sastra
    October 31, 2013

    A few years ago some atheist organizations were contacted by an association which deals with foreign exchange students. Apparently some fundamentalist host families in iirc Texas were rejecting or returning European children who were refusing to attend church and participate in other religious activities because they were atheists. The organization was having trouble placing these kids with anyone else and thought we might be able to help.

    Turns out they managed to find a few more liberal, relaxed Christian families by the time we had the volunteers, so it worked out any way. But whether you think these kids were missing out on experiencing another culture or not, a host family which refuses to respect an atheist’s right to draw lines sounds to me like another case of taking in children in order to save their souls.

    Which makes sense, from the point of view of the true believer. It’s not manipulative: it’s your job. A Christian is in the wonderful position of having a purpose-driven life. And if the child won’t follow this same purpose, then it’s your task to make sure your other children aren’t tempted and corrupted. It’s a sacred obligation.

    Within that environment of knowledge, a perfectly nice, normal, caring person would see all that. I don’t think it’s the individuals looking for excuses to be negligent or mean who are the ultimate problem: it’s the system. The world view is reframed so that everything has to be evaluated using different criteria. And science doesn’t know everything about health and healing: we consult Higher Authorities.

    After all, most religions teach that the MOST important task we have in this world is to discover and/or learn about and/or connect with and/or relate to and/or fulfill the will of and or live out the values of a supernatural realm and/or its occupant(s.) We are here to learn lessons available only through revelations, traditions, mysticism, faith, trust, and transcedence. If you take this seriously then of course it makes sense to care more about a child’s soul than their body. That’s the real child and it lives forever. We have to try to believe that as hard as we can.

    Therefore a child who dies when undergoing faith-healing is possibly more secure of heaven than one which observes Mommy and Daddy losing their trust in God when it gets difficult. Or, perhaps, the child dies a “natural” death and is able to ascend easily to the next spiritual level. Assuming, of course, that the expected outcome — the story where the Doctors Were Amazed over how powerful God and Faith could be — doesn’t happen.

    I can understand that; I can even imagine believing it, and imagine then how it would feel to ‘know’ vital, important things which people limited to the world can’t understand or accept because they’re blinded by their own arrogance and pride. I imagine that walking according to Spirit, praying, and using what nature has provided would feel extraordinarily humble and humbling. I’m a real parent.

    I think I would be astonished, incredulous, and maybe even frustrated or amused to be told that this deep sense of connection to God/Nature/Spirit was only an excuse for doing what I’d want to do any way. That would sound instead like the rationalization.

    Maybe. Maybe not — but I’d bet the other way.

  213. #213 Denice Walter
    October 31, 2013

    @ Sastra:

    A true believer once remarked to me that if people didn’t believe in g-d, nothing would prevent them from harming, raping, murdering or robbing others. I responded that I’ve never done any of that. That ended the conversation.

    Those who study the development of moral judgment might classify that interestingly.

  214. #214 Edith Prickly
    October 31, 2013

    Neglect is not the same thing as abuse. One involves negative action (not feeding a child or giving them a medication) and the other involves a positive action (abusing and actively harming a child like giving them poison).

    Neglect is indeed the same thing as abuse. There is an inquest going on right now in my home city for a 5-year-old who was starved to death by his grandparents.

    Are you ever going to come up with something resembling a coherent argument for libertarianism or are you just going to keep spitting out reflexive nonsense every time someone points out its (myriad) flaws?

  215. #215 Alain
    October 31, 2013

    Can something be said about praying for our own conception of god? In my case, when I stopped drinking, I was (and still am) an atheist and when I faced that question of finding a force more powerful than myself, I had the goal of finding a force intelligent enough to make good choices for me and I choose natural selection in the form of over 2 millions non-drinking members of that particular association who are consciously deciding they want to remain abstinent. That’s natural selection at work.

    Alain

  216. #216 lilady
    October 31, 2013

    Here, a recent article about the background of the case:

    “(RNS) An Ohio court has given limited guardianship of a 10-year-old Amish girl to a lawyer who will make medical decisions instead of the girl’s parents.

    Maria Schimer is also a registered nurse and will be in charge of arranging transportation and payment for Sarah Hershberger’s medical treatments — costs that will be covered by government programs. The guardianship will last until Feb. 1, 2016.”

    And…

    “Courts usually side with the hospital in life-or-death cases that involve children, said Robert Tuttle, professor of law and religion at George Washington University Law School.

    While adults can refuse treatment for any reason, children can only be denied treatment by their guardians for non-essential medical procedures, such as braces on teeth.

    “Ordinarily parents are entitled to make those decisions, but when the decisions of the parents are not in the best interest of children, the state is allowed to step in,” Tuttle said. “Then the courts will allow the hospital with the state to intervene and take temporary custody, but usually to take temporary guardianship for the purpose of medical decisions.”

    http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/10/ohio-court-gives-lawyer-guardianship-of-cancer-stricken-amish-girl/

    And the Ohio Court of Appeals case that overturned the lower court’s ruling…which was in favor of the parents. The Ohio Court of Appeals decided that “Medical Guardianship” only, which does not give complete guardianship to the hospital-designated guardian is appropriate in the case.

    http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/9/2013/2013-ohio-3708.pdf

  217. #217 Khani
    October 31, 2013

    #207 “Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. ”

    The ELCA is pretty middle-of-the-road for a mainstream Christian denomination. It is the most liberal of the large Lutheran denominations, however.

    It is definitely not Catholic. Its church leaders are elected, not selected by bishops or popes. Churches decide what pastors to call by election, as well. Individual church leaders who make the decisions for a church are also elected (often it is hard to get people to do this as serving on a church council is a lot of generally thankless work).

    The ELCA is arranged by synods, which are its political bodies (like legislative districts, really).

    Its leader, the presiding bishop, is currently female, and many of its pastors are female as well. Its pastors do get married. People who are not pastors can give communion.

    Theologically it’s pretty different from Catholicism as well, as Catholicism has seven sacraments and the ELCA has two, like most Protestant denominations. Because the ELCA is actually the result of multiple denominations joining up together over the years, many of the churches have different traditions–German, Swedish, Norwegian, etc. etc., and whether a specific body is more “high church” or “low church” really depends on the specific congregation.

    They teach that a lot of the trappings of the church service are really not that important, and can be changed out or updated when convenient. (In practice, quite a few people like their traditions and have a hard time parting with them.) They do tend to be less ‘fancy’ than Catholicism, but your mileage may vary, in other words.

    The Episcopal/Anglican churches are rather closer to Catholicism than the ELCA is, but they too vary quite a bit with regard to how high-church/low-church they are in practice.

    Likely the most important thing about Lutherans from a Lutheran perspective is the doctrine of “saved by grace through faith,” meaning that you can be as good as you like, but people are generally screw-ups and God is the one who saves you anyway, so don’t worry about it and come sit with us and have some coffee after the service.

    I paraphrase, of course.

  218. #218 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Marry Me, Mindy:

    Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. Socially completely liberal (not anti-woman, anti-gay, not anti-abortion, even) and religiously (none of that transubstantian stuff or especially any of the goofy catholic rules)

    We are very liberal as Lutherans go, but if you’re catholic, you may be in for some culture shock, perhaps. Martin LUther was the dude who started the Protestant Reformation, after all. There are some significant differences in doctrine, and we don’t have all the same rites — we don’t do full mass (though our services have most of the same bits in them), we don’t generally use incense, we don’t use holy water, we don’t do confession or last rites. The biggest one is probably one you’ll find appealing: we believe in the priesthood of all believers. Pastors aren’t special; they’re ordained, but it’s more like a graduation ceremony. Anybody can preach or perform the rituals; a pastor is just somebody who specializes in it and who has gone to school for it. ;-) We do still do Confirmation, though, like the Catholics.

    The Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod are . . . not like the ELCA. In fact, quite honestly, they think we’re going to hell. ;-) We’re not “real” Lutherans, in their view. They are indeed hardcore evangelical fundamentalists. Michele Bachmann used to be long to the WELS, if I recall correctly, before deciding they weren’t quite evangelical enough.

    Gray Falcon brought up Reformation Day, which is right around the corner. Today, in fact, is the actual annivesary of the 98 Theses. Next weekend, Lutheran churches will celebrate, probably by singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, which Martin Luther wrote and set to the tune of a German drinking song. :-D

    Khani has a great overview of the ELCA. And he is very much right about the coffee. That is probably more important than the communion wine!

  219. #219 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Sastra:

    I think I would be astonished, incredulous, and maybe even frustrated or amused to be told that this deep sense of connection to God/Nature/Spirit was only an excuse for doing what I’d want to do any way. That would sound instead like the rationalization.

    You have a frighteningly clear depiction there of how righteous evil can feel within the context of religion. I don’t think most practitioners are *consciously* trying to rationalize themselves. I think it happens on a larger scale. Not one person deciding “well, I think they’re stupid, so i’ll make up a religion that says that”, but a more emergent thing that gradually and organically grows over time. It’s something that arises out of many minds, some more purposeful than others.

    It’s part of why I am such a fervent proponent of public school education. In view, it is the best opportunity we have to prevent the rise of such pernicious belief systems, because it exposes children to different religions, different views, different cultures. I believe passionately in *secular* education for this very reason.

  220. #220 Shay
    October 31, 2013

    “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.” ` (Susan B. Anthony, addressing the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1896).

  221. #221 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    November 1, 2013

    A very quotable woman. ;-)

    Another thought occurred to me while driving in. This emergent growth of very disturbing and damaging ideas within a religion is what happens when the religion becomes an echo chamber. And it is indeed precisely what can happen with alt med, conspiracy theories, the paranormal, and so forth. Any time one restricts one’s exposure to other views, one risks getting trapped in an echo chamber.

    I’m not keen on the whole respecting “other ways of knowing” argument, but I think it’s important to learn about other ways anyway. You have to get out of your shell once in a while so that you can look back on it from the outside and make sure you haven’t just been hearing your own echoes. A sort of sanity check.

  222. #222 Narad
    November 1, 2013

    Sastra @175:

    Apologies for my tardiness, I’ve been swamped.

    I think it’s usually supernaturalism vs. naturalism — with various forms of each. What is your definition of “supernatural?”

    A good question, and I doubt that I’ve taken care of all loose threads. Nonetheless, by “supernaturalism,” I’ll say that I mean the addition to the time-space continuum of monist materialism of ontologically “real” entities (i.e., that “exist” independently of the perceiver) that are not bound by physical law.

    In this reading, “qi” is supernatural by virtue of manipulable without being measurable. McKenna’s elves are supernatural if they are claimed to be causally enabled. Mutatis mutandis mind-brain dualism.

    Do you see a relationship between the supernatural and alternative medicine?

    Not any essential one.

    Do you perceive a connection between defenses of the supernatural and defenses of alternative medicine?

    The answer is pretty much the same as the last one. There’s obviously a lot of overlap in practice, but it’s not necessarily requisite. Hence homeopathic nanoparticles, Bengston’s quantum-entanglement murine reiki cancer cure, etc. Simple orientalist appeals to antiquity needn’t invoke anything supernatural.

  223. #223 Narad
    November 1, 2013

    ^ “by virtue of being manipulable”

  224. #224 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 1, 2013

    Martin LUther was the dude rabid anti-semite who started the Protestant Reformation, after all.

    FTFY

    Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts? – Marty Luther

  225. #225 Gray Falcon
    November 1, 2013

    I’d like to thank you, al. Several people have embraced Christianity just to avoid being associated with you.

  226. #226 herr doktor bimler
    November 1, 2013

    I think it’s usually supernaturalism vs. naturalism — with various forms of each. What is your definition of “supernatural?”

    For me, the distinguishing quality of “supernatural” is “non-lawful, unpredictable”. If a phenomenon has regularities, allowing you to make predictions, then it’s part of nature. Quantum entanglement may be “spooky action at a distance” but it’s natural.
    So if someone tries to explain some phenomenon as a ‘miracle’ — an irruption from some higher plane of reality, perhaps at the whim of some other-reality entity, with no way of predicting whether or when it will happen again — then it counts as supernatural (and it’s not really an explanation at all).

  227. #227 Calli Arcale
    November 1, 2013

    Thank you, Al, for that totally pointless addition to the thread. Luther was a lot of things; as an antisemite, he had the company of just about everybody else around him, especially when you throw in the context of the indulgence scandal. As with many of the great events in history, most of it really came down to money and power. The main reason Luther’s Reformation was successful after many others had failed (sometimes with their proponents getting burned at the stake for their troubles, or even worse — c.f. the Albigensian Crusade, centuries earlier) was that German nobles stood to gain a great deal by not having to listen to the Pope any more — or the Holy Roman Emperor, for that matter. And, of course, they’d be able to stop paying tithes to Rome and taxes to the Emperor.

    It’s kind of funny how many religious movements gain support because of people not wanting to pay taxes. :-D

  228. #228 Khani
    November 1, 2013

    And of course, Lutheran seminaries actually do note that about Luther when they have students read his works, with plenty of disapproval.

    Luther is not particularly revered by Lutherans.

    Fun fact, though–his wife (a former nun) was known far and wide for her beer-making prowess. So anybody can feel free to revere her on totally secular grounds. :)

  229. #229 lilady
    November 1, 2013

    al kimeaa enjoys viewing Bill Maher on his cable TV show, when Maher takes apart Michele Bachmann and USSC Justice Antonia Scalia for their strict interpretations of biblical verses. (So do I, btw)

    http://quackademiology.com/?tag=scotus

    al kimea…Maher is an entertainer and he has “bizarre” opinions about science-based medicine:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/07/27/bill-maher-and-anti-science/

    Would al kimea care to link to comments by any of the RI Regulars who have identified themselves as Christians, where they have posted on RI or any other science blogs any anti-science or antisemitic comments?

  230. #230 Delurked Lurker
    On the shore of a cosmic ocean
    November 1, 2013

    I have found the comment thread here totally off topic and annoying. If I want a pointless debate on religion I can go to numerous sites where christians and atheists bang their heads against a brick wall but it is so tedious I find little to amuse or educate me.

    Al I take your Hitler and raise you Kim Jung Ill or perhaps Jeffrey Dahmer or even good old Chairman Mao. But I won’t because its a logical fallacy. So stop it for dogs sake

    I am not a christian nor am I religious in the usual definition. As a Saganite I could be classed as agnostic but that doesn’t fit either but is about as close as I can get. Just to make that clear.

    BTW has Al invoked goodwins law ??? Anyone care to comment on that.

  231. #231 Khani
    November 1, 2013

    I agree, but I’m not going to let misinformation go, either. I probably could have been briefer about Lutheranism, but I’d hate for a Catholic person to expect a similar experience at a Lutheran church and get shellshocked. (Or vice versa.)

    Sorry.

    Trying to re-rail the thread:

    It’s so strange to me that people are even framing this whole issue in terms of the parents’ rights.

    Children have rights too.

    Custody, too, can be far too preferential to birth parents, from what I’ve seen…

  232. #232 Delurked Lurker
    On a pale blue dot suspended in a sunbeam
    November 1, 2013

    Oh by the way I am not a mineral. As far as I know I am the only Saganite on this pale blue dot :)
    I belong to a church of 1 …suits me just fine :)

  233. #233 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/
    November 2, 2013

    nz skeptic,

    “Incidentally, this is the latest madness from our neck of the woods.”

    I had a look into the media presentations of that story here – Poking needles into child’s tongue unlikely to bring back missing DNA.

  234. #234 Gray Falcon
    November 2, 2013

    One wonders how common Ethir’s (post 152) attitude is, especially amongst the more reactionary, and how much effect it has on our court system.

  235. #235 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 2, 2013

    Lilady – thanks for that link to the Maher post I read when it was originally published. I don’t see a lot of Maher and that may have been the one which made me aware of his bizarre ways.

    Remember, this all began because someone claimed “a deity created reality” and that mediwoo also makes similar fantastic claims about it. Not really OT is it?

    Religion isn’t a testable claim. Sure is. People here might not make them but, millions and millions do.

    Sanal Edamaruku has been forced from his home in India on blasphemy charges for testing, yet again, the RCC “Weeping Jesus” con. One of the longer, long cons. And in one of the poorer neighbourhoods. Nice.

    My buddy married into a Weslyan family from down east. She’s a sweet girl. HIs family/friends travelled some far in most cases to meet her family and celebrate. Say a hundred or so people with aboot 15 of his guests from away

    Nice ceremony, pictures lotsa driving. Finally the meal and then the party. Nice meal. At this point most of her family says thanks and leaves. Music, dancing and hootch are the work of Satan. I saw a grown man literally recoil in fear from a bottle of wine because it emanates the power of Satan Weird. And a testable claim.

    How do I know they take Satan that seriously? From looking Wesleyanism up when we got home and reading what former members of the church had to say about what they are taught from birth. Apostates is more accurate.

    Two members of her family are ministers. The wife was horribly burned in an accident and prospects were grim. Miracle she pulled through. Metaphorically yes, but they are serious their prayers did it.

    Prayers are said to work all the time. 14(?) miners trapped, a whole state praying and Sylvia Browne on the radio in real time saying they’re alive. Tragically, no and testable.

    To the 172 kids in only 20 years who perished needlessly and very painfully, because faith healing had no luck, you can add Jean Harlow whose Mum was a Christian Scientist. No doctors for you. Renal failure. I thought she died in a car accident. The things you learn watching old Vincent Price movies.

    Testable and harmful. – John of God, faith surgeon.

    Martin Luther arguably laid the foundation for 400 years of German anti-semitism, culminating in the Godwin Gang and their solution to the problem. The near immediate result of his idea was to embroil Europe in three decades of murder, mayhem and suffering. You don’t see any of that nuance in the comments about him.

    That people today share the same faith as these grotesques from the past, isn’t guilt by association. How is that possible? Only if you’ve misbehaved as they have and it is rather silly to ask if I think anyone here condones this or state that I’m attacking their family. Having said that, there are people of faith who do condone these acts today.

    That these horrific acts can be carried out by those who – in their own words – profess divine inspiration and point to their holy scriptures for confirmation might give one pause to consider the validity of the concept they’ve learned from birth.

    And examine the evidence behind it.

    So, in a knee-jerk reaction to a claim about reality, I politely asked why the claimant, known to ask others who make similar claims, such as reiki, doesn’t consider that question in this case.

    In a roundabout way the question was answered and in an ancient and popular fashion – you prove my claim false, while for evidence I will provide: faith, popularity, antiquity and it is a pleasant idea to me, therefore it exists in reality. I will also ignore anything you might provide casting doubt on my assertions, while shifting the argument away from the claim.

    Religion is a pseudoscience with a far more pernicious grip on society and is the growth medium of the more viral strains of cultism.

  236. #236 Ed Ball
    Sidney, Ohio
    November 2, 2013

    As a County Veterans Service Officer, I’ve witnessed many a veteran endure chemo and radiation treatments, and am not sold on treatments that severely damage the immune system to the point treatments are not “one size fits all”.

    Our own government studied the benefits of Japanese Miso soup and came to the conclusion found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3695331/

    Okinawa is known for it’s centenarians diet that results in a life style that suffers from very little cancer and cardio dibilitating illnesses. Obviously their life style is more than just diet, to include exercise and meditation. Bottom line, if something is so good for you, why does cancer claim the majority of its victims even after treatment? Their so called quack treatments with herbs, spices, and soy based products as a preventive measure appears to have a track record that puts modern medicine to shame. Perhaps we just need an open mind, and change in lifestyle.

  237. #237 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 2, 2013

    Ed Ball – A small correction, the paper you linked to was funded by the Central Miso Institute, not by the US government. It doesn’t seem to relate to cancer treatment, though I admit I only briefly scanned it.

    I’m not sure the point of your last paragraph. Naturally, preventing cancer is better than treating it. It seems well accepted that the risk of contracting some cancers is affected by diet, activity, smoking, and other lifestyle choices. There seems to be very little evidence that making those same choices after an actual cancer diagnosis will provide a cure.

    Cancer is, as I’m sure you understand, a very nasty thing to die of and hard to treat. Those who make a career of cancer treatment and research are, I’m sure, always looking for safer, more effective treatments. If a change of lifestyle would actually cure cancer safely and effectively, then I’m sure that someone somewhere will perform a study that will show this. If you are aware of one, please share.

  238. #238 lilady
    November 2, 2013

    @ al kamei: I believe it was you who first brought up religion and Hitler’s faith. Hitler was baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic, not a Lutheran, and used G-d in his early speeches to appeal to the masses and Hitler then thought of Jesus as a Nazi Aryan warrior (blue-eyed Jesus, perhaps?)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler

    You’ve been trying to derail this thread with your introduction of Hitler and his religious belief system. Hitler was raised as a Roman Catholic and used Christianity as a political expedient to gain power. He also plugged into the simmering undercurrent of antisemitism present in Germany at that time and the feeling that the Germans were roundly defeated in WW I because they were “betrayed” by the international cartel of Jewish bankers and Jewish Germans…whose “first allegiance was to their Jewish faith”.

    If you had read the link I provided to the Ohio Court of Appeals, http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/9/2013/2013-ohio-3708.pdf you would have seen Sarah’s medical history and the fact that the child was brought to the hospital with multiple tumors, one of which was partially obstructing her airway.

    “…In April 2013, S.H. was admitted to Akron Children’s Hospital for fatigue and an observable mass near her collarbone. After examination and testing, it was determined S.H. has a type of leukemia, T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, Stage III.
    She had tumors in her neck, chest (mediastinum) and kidneys.
    The most significant concern was the mass in S.H.’s neck area, which prior to initial treatment, impacted her airway and caused her admission into the pediatric intensive care unit. Sarah’s doctors recommended she undergo chemotherapy. The parents consented, but they testified the doctors did not fully explain to them the short-term and long-term effects of chemotherapy. According to the parents, the doctors also understated the risks to S.H.’s health if she underwent chemotherapy….”

    Read on, to see how the parents reacted to the side effects of the treatment, how they reacted to their child’s reactions to the treatment and how they “prayed to G-d for guidance”, rather than the advice of the child’s medical doctors

  239. #239 Shay
    who spent 3 years on Okinawa and Ed is full of it
    November 2, 2013

    Ed: speaking as a veteran, I hope you confine your activities to counselling on benefits and legal issues, and are not passing out medical advice.

  240. #240 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 2, 2013

    @al kimeea

    Please stop derailing the thread. Yes, some people use religion to justify viewing children as property. But you are not discussing that aspect of the issue. You’re just being a jack*** using the comment thread as your personal soapbox to lambast religion and denigrate those people on here who happen to have religious beliefs. In fact, you have not made a single on-topic comment in this whole thread. I actually went through everything you’ve said here and not once did you discuss the issue of children being viewed as property. Stick to the topic. I’d also like to ask everyone else to bring the discussion back on target and drop the whole religion discussion. There are other places to have those discussions.

    What are people’s thoughts on how to talk to those who do view their children as property? Is there some way to educate them or convince them that they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to making decisions for their children?

  241. #241 Narad
    November 2, 2013

    Okinawa is known for it’s centenarians diet that results in a life style that suffers from very little cancer and cardio dibilitating illnesses. Obviously their life style is more than just diet, to include exercise and meditation.

    Ryuykuan identity now involves mediation?

  242. #242 lilady
    November 3, 2013

    @ Todd W: I’ll try to bring us back on topic.

    It has been my observation that people (in the broader sense), who view their children as property view children as an extension of themselves. These “helicopter parents” who hover over their children don’t want their kids to grow up or apart from them…ever.

    In this particular case, and other similar cases, where parents deny their children medical care for serious medical conditions, the family unit lives within a closed group, set off from their neighbors…whether it is in a commune or within a religious group.

    The situation is further complicated because the parents themselves have had limited education (through 8th grade), in an Amish school which is not known for scholastic achievement or the development of critical thinking skills.

    If you open up the two links I provided to the two court hearings up-thread, you will see how both parents claim that they were unaware or “the treating doctors didn’t tell them, about the immediate side effects of the treatment and the possible long-term consequences of Sarah’s treatment”. The question is who are you going to believe…the parents…or the treating doctors?

    “Sarah didn’t want to continue the treatment”…well d’oh. Do we know any 10-year-old children who would want to undergone extensive, and at times, painful treatment? That’s why we don’t permit children to made decisions on life-saving treatment. That’s why we depend on parents who are well informed to give consent to treatment that has an 85 % chance of a complete cure. That’s why we have a system in place to examine the evidence, to weigh the benefits for the child, and to appoint a medical guardian if parents refuse treatment.

  243. #243 herr doktor bimler
    November 3, 2013

    Ryuykuan identity now involves mediation?

    If the Okinawans wanted to be recognised as having their own culture — rather than being treated by every passing nimrod as just part of exotic Japan — they shouldn’t have let themselves be annexed by the Empire.

  244. #244 al kimeea
    yawning as the wagons circle
    November 3, 2013

    lilady @238 – Adventist or Zoroastrian, a distinction with no difference – other than the arcane rituals to please their deity

    “Come to think of it, it’s usually religion that drives this attitude.”

    - our esteemed host in either the original post or early comments

    “Religion rarely drives the decision; rather, the decision comes first and then religion is used to justify it. This, of course, is a very popular use of religion — possibly it’s most popular” – Callie @ 17

    Some more back and forth with Sastra about religion, then Calli @44

    Note: I am a Lutheran, and I do believe God created the universe. But religion? That’s our doing (though in my cynical moments, I can see a strong argument for the devil’s hand in it).

    Then me first to mention religion @101 with some real denigrating prose right here:

    What I find interesting is someone can come along and claim to be able to bust clouds from poolside, and you will ask them for evidence of such.

    However, you claim a deity made this joint and that it is somehow required for daily life and you are party to its demeanor, but you don’t seem to ask yourself the same question.

    If you have, what evidence did you find of a Great Maker?

    A raptor flaps by and demands that I “prove you’re not a robot” as if that is some kind of, well I don’t know what. Later calls me a troll and melodramatically declares I attacked his family with my first comment.

    A comment anyone else here would have made if the claim wasn’t aboot religion. Irony meters worldwide are straining.

    You’re just being a jack*** using the comment thread as your personal soapbox to lambast religion Stan Burzynski and denigrate those people on here who happen to have religious beliefs. faith in him

    In fact, you have not made a single on-topic comment in this whole thread. I actually went through everything you’ve said here and not once did you discuss the issue of children being viewed as property.

    Hmmm – lilady @ 192 “Health care providers have a legal and moral duty to a child whose parents neglect their medical care.”

    And @197 I reply, off topic, that many states grant religious exemptions for faith healing and that it is a requirement for funding.

    I also provided an off topic link to a study showing the deadly consequences of parents preferring divinely inspired healing for their chattel – an idea that is well represented in the Abrahamic texts.

    I don’t think you read the same thread.

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    – lucius_annaeus_seneca

  245. #245 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 3, 2013

    mea culpa

  246. #246 lilady
    November 3, 2013

    How about commenting on my comment @ 242…or are you still attempting to justify personal attacks on posters here?

  247. #247 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 3, 2013

    Ah yes, one comment that addressed faith healing. My apologies, al kimeea. That makes up for all of the rest of your off-topic ranting against religion. Carry on. Teach us all the error of our ways of granting an exclusion to religion. For we are truly benighted fools.

    Seriously, though, there is a time and place to talk about religion and how skepticism can interact with that. This is neither the time nor the place, al kimeea. Your behavior in this thread is not that much different from the pot troll that tried to turn every conversation toward his own pet topic. I would have the same reaction to you if you tried to veer the conversation solely toward talking about Stan Burzynski’s nonsense without keeping it related to the topic of the OP.

    This has nothing to do with whether or not I agree with what you’re saying. Rather, it’s about the appropriateness to the topic. Now, please drop the whole generalized anti-religious ranting and get back on topic.

  248. #248 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 5, 2013

    lilady @ 246 – If I read your link properly, the system seems to have worked in that case, for 172 others over just 20 years, not so much.

    Religious Exemptions to Child Neglect – National District Attorneys Assoc.(2013)

    That it happened in Ohio, which is one of the states with exceptions is promising. Hopefully, these laws will be removed from the books altogether, including the federal statute granting the same exception. They can only cause legal delays which further endanger the children.

    Lets assume your reading of Dolph Baby’s motives is accurate. Not motivated by religion, but a cynical ploy to appeal to the masses.

    It worked.

  249. #249 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 5, 2013

    Todd, I’m fairly certain if I singled out anyone’s comments on a thread and read those alone, they would appear out of context.

    The subject of religion was long broached and engaged in this thread before either of us wandered in.

    @43, Sastra asks:

    “But what causes religion? And what keeps it going?”

    @44: Callie claims a deity created reality and knows that it loves us and @70 tries to conflate/equivocate faith/spirituality with reason:

    There aren’t two realms, one labeled science and one labeled religion, with all thinking neatly divided between them.

    My first comment directly addresses 43 & 44. Sure, there’s snark in my reply to Sastra. After all, we’re discussing a myth centered on an angry wizard in an enchanted garden and his zombie offspring. There is none in my perfectly reasonable query of Callie.

    Ignoring GF’s attempts to derail the conversation, I mention Rapa Nui @ 104. This directly addresses Callie @70.

    Some more philosophical back and forth with GF where he gets to quote the Bible out of context and I don’t. Interestingly, he retrofits the quote I provided to suit his personal taste while ignoring the almost 2000 years between the quote and the 1960s. Jesus could easily have been referring to the War of Northern Aggression or the Thrity Year’s War…

    Anyhoo, @132 GF further cements the dichotomy said to be false @70 by stating it is a good thing to believe in things without evidence and in having a closed mind, leaving little doubt that religion is woo…

    Many comments are made implying religion makes no testable claims – “when did the word god become a testable claim?”

    I provided several real world examples of such claims from personal experience.

    All this talk of religion is swell, and all, but could we please bring the conversation back to the whole notion of parents viewing kids as property?

    This is where you come in. At this point in the conversation, religious motivation for children as chattel is being hand-waved away as justification.for existing behaviour. Sastra has already pointed out the slippery use of language and the flipping of the burden of proof on it’s head.

    After that you personally attack me and mis-characterise my comments…

    What are people’s thoughts on how to talk to those who do view their children as property? Is there some way to educate them or convince them that they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to making decisions for their children?

    Not if they take their holy scriptures seriously:

    Seriously, do you think one or two out-of-context verses are going to convince me?

  250. #250 lilady
    November 5, 2013

    You are still defending your personal offensive attacks on other posters here. How about commenting on post at # 242 above?

  251. #251 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 6, 2013

    pls see 248, which references 246 which in turn references 242 – pls also provide examples of personal attacks

  252. #252 TERRY72763
    On My Way to Helping
    November 7, 2013

    Sounds as if the Poster of this is all for REGIS-station of your children. Reg-is referring to regal(king) station; from strata meaning (land) :Kings Land
    PARENTS! All birth certificates are an abandonment of your child to the State. ie; Kings Land and thenceforth will be PROPERTY of the STATE. And the State is Always used (legally) to refer to United States Corporation, in Washington, District of Columbia. Which owns several subdivisions known as State of (place your States name here) another Corporation. and the Evil the State does begins to sink into your Subservient little minds.
    You have No rights the moment you say you live in or are citizen of THE UNITED STATES. for that is a Foreign Corporation on a Foreign soil plot, with it’s own laws, police, rights, and ALL applies to members of THE UNITED STATES. You gave away your child at registration and the father and you were treated as minors. And answered the question “do you live in THE UNITED STATES”? with a simple Yes!
    Well Be Free and Learn how to Secede that Company. Obama is a President of a Corporation just like Bill Gates is The President of MICROSOFT, there is NO difference if you work for Bill it’s their Corporate Charter (constitution) you must abide by, and the UNITED STATES has to Read the Charter (UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION) every 20 years to Legally do business {Regulate, Mandate and Dictate, how they WILL you to comply} your silence is testament to their power over you, and that you are subject to their rules. Company rules in the form of a Constitution and acts entered in the big stage show……Wake up Ame-ricans the Money is counted by the Porto-Rican Accountant. has since we went bankrupt on debt in 33. And this poor girl will be Arrested and her parents as well.
    [img]http://paulding.com/forum/uploads/monthly_12_2012/post-5399-0-86039400-1356705926_thumb.jpg[/img]

  253. #253 TERRY72763
    On My Way To Help
    November 7, 2013
  254. #254 TERRY72763
    November 7, 2013

    If this was a BLACK girl there would be no such fight….
    And if she was MORMON the State would Not interveneStrange how MYTHOLOGY has more Law in this Land than, LAW OF THE LAND….Sad Days in this Country.

  255. #255 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 7, 2013

    Anyone else suspect that all of the new commenters, with the possible exception of Jon Lee, are all fake personalities of a single troll following a script for how to drag red herrings into an argument and disrupt any real discussion?

    Just a hunch and I could of course be wrong, but I’m just struck by what seems an underlying similarity in behavior (specifically, dropping one-more-thing-to-get-riled-about at surprisingly *regular* intervals) and a few things in the style of writing which seem very similar for what are supposedly different people…

  256. #256 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 7, 2013

    Oh, and for anyone who’s curious about #253, http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/spurious-quotations (second entry on the page)

  257. #257 Lawrence
    November 7, 2013

    Great, another “Sovereign Man” wacko…..

  258. #258 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    November 7, 2013

    AK @ 224:

    Everbody (especially in Germany) was Anti-Semitic at that time, so why single out Luther?

    Temper of the times, sir, temper of the times.

  259. #259 al kimeea
    www.quackademiology.com
    November 11, 2013

    Perhaps because Heidi & Rolf of Dusseldorf didn’t write a paean to anti-semitism that was luved 400 years later in a similarly tempered time

    temper of the times indeed

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