Pharyngula

Indoctrination?

You know, people don’t believe me when I say I don’t give my kids weekly or daily instruction about atheism, but it’s true: my daughter asked for my videos of “The Root of All Evil?” and “The God Who Wasn’t There” for the first time the other day, and I let her watch them. She has posted her reaction.

The sure sign that I didn’t tell her what to think is that she likes the idea of the Brights movement, which I’ve curled up my lip at from the beginning. She also thinks Dawkins could have been a bit tougher. Uh-oh—if you think I’m ornery, wait until the next generation takes over.

Comments

  1. #1 B. Dewhirst
    November 30, 2006

    The generation which protested Nixon elected Bush.

    Color me unimpressed with the Boomers as “the socially active generation.”

  2. #2 Stine
    November 30, 2006

    Yh, nw try t tll m tht nxt gnrtn f thsts wldn’t st p th Glgs f thy cld.

  3. #3 Warren
    November 30, 2006

    Yeah, now try to tell me that next generation of atheists wouldn’t set up the Gulags if they could.
    Posted by: Stine

    Based on what? So far, my lack of belief in god hasn’t led me to murder. So why would a world dominated by atheists be full of gulags?

    (Don’t bother with Communism; that is a totalitarian governmental system, not an atheistic one.)

  4. #4 Tyler DiPietro
    November 30, 2006

    Yeah, now try to tell me that next generation of atheists wouldn’t set up the Gulags if they could.

    We won’t, the EAC is working tirelessly on something way better than Gulags at this very moment. You just wait. 😉

  5. #5 ERV
    November 30, 2006

    I like the Humanism movement more than the Brights (love how its anti-magic-healing-stones and subtly points out how inhumane popular religions are), but Im with her on Dawkins not being tough enough in ‘Root of All Evil.’

    *high-fives-Skatje*

  6. #6 Steve_C
    November 30, 2006

    Like the Christian president and his Cuban Gulag and secret network of prisons?

    Putz.

  7. #7 entlord
    November 30, 2006

    Seems to be a bright child. I did not teach my kids atheism but did try to imbue them with a healthy dose of cynicism. While raising a child seems to take a half century or so, giving the kid a good b.s. detector early in life certainly prepares the kid to deal with matters later on.

  8. #8 Joshua
    November 30, 2006

    Yeah, Humanism is hard to object to. We’re all humans. Who doesn’t like humans? I’m not sure why we need this pointlessly and insultingly self-satisfied “Brights” thing.

  9. #9 Greco
    November 30, 2006

    We won’t, the EAC is working tirelessly on something way better than Gulags at this very moment. You just wait.

    And it involves beer volcanoes and stripper factories.

  10. #10 minusRusty
    November 30, 2006
    We won’t, the EAC is working tirelessly on something way better than Gulags at this very moment. You just wait.

    And it involves beer volcanoes and stripper factories.

    SHHHHH! You wanna attract all the Xian Evangelical conventions???

    Oh, wait… I thought you said meth and gay masseuses…

  11. #11 DigitalLifeform
    November 30, 2006

    Speaking or Prof Dawkins, does anyone have any idea why his foundation website (www.richarddawkins.net) has been unavailable all day today?

  12. #12 Dustin
    November 30, 2006

    I’m going to set up Gulags for atheists who feed the trolls. We know he’s stupid, we know how to respond to his stupidity, responding to his stupidity won’t change his mind since the probability of anything tunnuling through that thick head of his is pretty much zero, and it’ll just incite him into typgn mr thngs lk ths.

    Still your tongues, fools!

  13. #13 Steve_C
    November 30, 2006

    He was disemvoweled already. It was just a shot as the door hit him in the ass.

  14. #14 SEF
    November 30, 2006

    Skatje definitely seems smart. Since you claim you didn’t indoctrinate her, would she be likely to put her atheism down to being nature rather than nurture?

    On another site we were having a discussion about the age at which people became interested in science. For some of us there wasn’t really a start. Rather, science seemed natural all along (from first babyhood experimentation onwards). Ditto atheism (including a-santa-ism and a-tooth-fairy-ism etc).

  15. #15 Caledonian
    November 30, 2006

    Yeah, Humanism is hard to object to. We’re all humans. Who doesn’t like humans? I’m not sure why we need this pointlessly and insultingly self-satisfied “Brights” thing.

    Being “Bright” has more to do with rejecting superstition and illogic than “Humanism” – it’s an attempt to make a more palatable name for Rationalism. Humanism requires accepting certain assertions that are incorrect.

  16. #16 Stogoe
    November 30, 2006

    And those incorrect assumptions would be?

    I’m curious, ya crazy curmudgeon.

  17. #17 Davis
    November 30, 2006

    Since you claim you didn’t indoctrinate her, would she be likely to put her atheism down to being nature rather than nurture?

    Based on a sample size of one (me), I suspect that children brought up under no particular religious belief system are likely to wind up atheists.

    Most religious beliefs sound silly to someone not constantly told they’re The Truth during formative years. At least, they do to me.

  18. #18 Greco
    November 30, 2006

    From the Game Revolution review:

    While it could have been an interesting premise for a game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces is little more than a not-so-special message from Jesus Christ. Its few bright spots just can’t save this sinner. Speaking of which, I’m sure there are a few of you out there praying for me right now. You don’t think I’m prepared for the second coming of Christ, but I am. You see, I’ve got a nail gun.

  19. #19 Greco
    November 30, 2006

    Sorry, wrong thread… This should go in the comments about the (Brain) Left Behind game.

  20. #20 ERV
    November 30, 2006

    Caledonian: Being “Bright” has more to do with rejecting superstition and illogic than “Humanism”

    How so? I think rejecting superstition and encouraging science and rational thought is obviously a major concern of Humanism:
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=declaration

    Davis: Based on a sample size of one (me), I suspect that children brought up under no particular religious belief system are likely to wind up atheists.

    hehehe Sample size of two, me too.

  21. #21 Caledonian
    November 30, 2006

    Didn’t we just go over this a few months ago?

    From the Wikipedia entry on Humanism:

    Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people

    People are talking meat. Most of them don’t have anything interesting to say.

    Humanism entails a commitment to the search for truth and morality through human means in support of human interests.

    Human means are weak and ineffectual; human interests are irrelevant.

    That’s the quick and dirty version of the long analysis I posted ages ago and can no longer remember where exactly it is.

  22. #22 Magnus
    November 30, 2006

    Add me to that pile of non-indoctrinated sample atheists.

  23. #23 ERV
    November 30, 2006

    People are talking meat. Most of them don’t have anything interesting to say. Human means are weak and ineffectual; human interests are irrelevant.

    *shrug* Thats nice you have that opinion, but you didnt explain why you said Humanism isnt against superstition and for reason when that is not the case.

  24. #24 Dee
    November 30, 2006

    I was brought up in a moderately religious family (LDS), and lost my faith (thank god) when we moved back to Utah in my early teens. I’m not sure I count as non-indoctrinated, but I’m not sure I count as indoctrinated either. On the other hand, both my kids are non-religious (my oldest is vehemently so), without much explicit indoctrination on my part, but with constant low level exposure from the neighbors (daycare/scouts/school friends). I was very concerned about not forcing a belief system on them until they were able to make up their own minds, but they seemed to form an opinion on their own quite early.

    So is atheism nature or nurture? My own experience leans towards nature.

    And what about religion? Indoctrination or inherent?

  25. #25 Tukla in Iowa
    November 30, 2006

    Who doesn’t like humans?

    Furries?

  26. #26 Stogoe
    November 30, 2006

    Cephaloporn enthusiasts?

  27. #27 Baratos
    November 30, 2006

    Cthulhlu?

  28. #28 llewelly
    December 1, 2006

    Human means are weak and ineffectual; human interests are irrelevant.

    Cthulhu has come! The Stars Are Right!

  29. #29 llewelly
    December 1, 2006

    I was raised by my devoutly Mormon mother, my devoutly Mormon grandparents (on my father’s side) and my mother’s devoutly Mormon friends. I learned everything that I could about the Book Of Mormon, the Bible, the lives of the Mormon prophets, and Mormon doctrine. Joesph Smith Jr. made me an atheist. (Dawkins, eat your heart out.)

  30. #30 Dustin
    December 1, 2006

    D&D, Rock Music, Homosexuals and Masonry made me an atheist.

  31. #31 junk science
    December 1, 2006

    I wasn’t raised to believe in Zeus or Thor, and for some bizarre reason, I don’t believe in them now.

  32. #32 Mary
    December 1, 2006

    I was raised Catholic and one day when I was about eight years old, on the way home from CCD, I asked my dad, “So, are all of the people in China going to hell?” He couldn’t give me a straight answer and I’ve pretty much been an atheist ever since.

  33. #33 Magnus
    December 1, 2006

    Dee: “I was very concerned about not forcing a belief system on them until they were able to make up their own minds”

    So, when they finalt made up their own minds did you then force your belief system upon them?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  34. #34 HairlessMonkeyDK
    December 1, 2006

    (First, I guess I should note that I’m a Dane).

    I was brought up without any sort of religious beliefs.
    However, I wasn’t taught to -disbelieve- either.
    It was simply a non-issue.
    And when I started looking into various religions,
    I immediatly saw it for the bilge it was.
    I’ve been an atheist since birth
    and I doubt that’ll ever change.
    Of course, actual evidence for a god/gods,
    night sway me, but the religions of the world have had thousands of years to present such… and -haven’t-.
    Color me unimpressed.

  35. #35 Steve LaBonne
    December 1, 2006

    Uh-oh–if you think I’m ornery, wait until the next generation takes over.

    Same with my (14 year old) daughter. Heh.

  36. #36 Caledonian
    December 1, 2006

    It will certainly be interesting to see what Generation Y does with the world – although the real show will be with Generation Z.

  37. #37 Ben
    December 1, 2006

    I spend hours awake at night worrying my daughter will fall victim to some sort of religion… even one of the more benign forms… but I don’t want to over react and try to indoctrinate her… It’s amazing the amount of low level religious craziness gets funneled her way… (She’s five.) I mean they have friggin’ veggie tales on NBC on Saturday morning… She’s incredibly smart though so I shouldn’t worry so much.. I’m pretty much angling towards instilling in her my sense of wonder about the natural world. In the end I think why worry… she has a thirst for knowledge… and in the end that will pretty much trump anything the religious idiots can offer. How can you search for knowledge, when you pretend you have all the answers in a little book.

  38. #38 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 1, 2006

    I love Humans, but I can only eat one.

  39. #39 Steve LaBonne
    December 1, 2006

    And I bet you’re hungry again half an hour later, too.

  40. #40 WookieMonster
    December 1, 2006

    I was raised with no religion, went to church (Lutheran) with a friend long enough to be baptized and have first communion before deciding that it was BS and all about the money (it was one of those giant churches full of wealthy people, pressuing me, a young girl from a poor family to donate money we didn’t have, and they did NO community outreach).

    I would say that those raised without religion may try some on for size, but ultimately end up atheist at their core.

  41. #41 WookieMonster
    December 1, 2006

    Dang it! Always proof read. Sorry that should be “pressuring”. Probably missed something else too…

  42. #42 Kseniya
    December 1, 2006

    And I bet you’re hungry again half an hour later, too.

    Oh, it’s ok to eat thoem – they’re all going to Hell anyway.

  43. #43 The Non-Editor
    December 1, 2006

    sigh… “them”

  44. #44 Dee
    December 1, 2006

    Dee: “I was very concerned about not forcing a belief system on them until they were able to make up their own minds”

    Magnus: “So, when they finalt made up their own minds did you then force your belief system upon them?”

    I almost snorted my coffee through my nose this morning when I saw this.

    As a matter of fact, I started indoctrinating my 16-yr old last night. He got pretty quiet while I was talking (pretty rare), and when I was done, his eyes were big and he had that ‘wow mom, you’re something else’ look on his face. Or maybe it was that ‘wow mom, you’re pretty weird’ look. Or something like that.

  45. #45 Mark Borok
    December 2, 2006

    I was raised in the Soviet Union back when there was still a Soviet Union, so naturally I have always been an atheist. Funny thing is, when I emigrated at the age of seven, I came to America with the firm belief that the only religious people left anywhere in the world were those without an education (peasants and the like). Even in Soviet propaganda, the decadent capitalistic West was not portrayed as being in the grip of religion. I was very surprised to meet someone who believed in God who was not a simpleton.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.