RE: Gore Shocks Scientists With Creationism Statement

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 10:54:42 +1000

> "O'Regan, Emlyn" wrote:
> >
> > > Going back to the original post "parents should be allowed to raise
> > > their children to believe what they like", has three problems --
> > >
> > > (a) It inherently takes the position that children are property.
> > > I see little distinction between parents abusing their children
> > > physically or mentally (by teaching them fantasies that handicap
> > > their survival skills). Its only a matter of degree.
> > >
> > I agree. The problem is, that the yardstick is culturally determined.
> What
> > is acceptable in one culture is abuse in another. For example, I think
> that
> > the modern, western view of children as second-class citizens who have
> not
> > yet earned their stripes is outrageous, and only useful as a defense for
> > lazy parenting. I try to give my daughter as much buy in to society as
> > possible - she uses the internet, she buys things from shops, she is
> every
> > (practical) given assistance to achieve her goals (3 year olds do set
> goals
> > and pursue them quite competently). She is also given responsibility. I
> am
> > not her lord and master, I am her facilitator and guide.
> Despite the 'little adult' approach taken by such parents, they ignore
> at their peril the physiological facts that children are just not
> capable of making good decisions all the time, especially during teenage
> years.
I'm not suggesting putting kids in their own appartment, Mike. Just giving them a bit of leeway to make an impression on the world. Maybe I was a little overenthusiastic in my previous statements - I still make my daughter brush her teeth, clean up after herself, go to bed at a reasonable hour, etc...

> Additionally, saying someone is abusing their child because they are
> teaching them things that you find politically incorrect is bigoted and
> intolerant of you, hardly the example that a responsible adult would
> want to be to their child...
But I hate bigots Mike! Really, I never suggested that any of those things were abuse, in fact I am suggesting the reverse, that people need some lattitude in the way they raise their kids, and certainly that cultural sensitivity is important. I think that was where I was going with my previous post before I forgot what my point was (vague++), that even though I don't agree with many parenting styles, I'm not about to impose my methods on anyone else, and I expect them not to impose theirs on me. I'm happy for people to try to influence each other, however; I'll certainly continue to vocally support my own points of view on this subject.

> >
> > I have found that this approach to parenting is scorned by other parents
> on
> > the whole. It is seen as spoiling your child. Imagine giving a child
> > something just because she wants it!
> >
> > I don't have a lot of faith in centralising decision making on child
> > rearing. On the other hand, I think most parents are incompetant.
> > Understandably really. No one gets any training, there's not even a
> concept
> > that it requires any specialist knowledge! The single heaviest
> > responsibility you will ever have placed on your shoulders
> (repsonsibility
> > for someone else's life), and it's ok to just wing it. No wonder
> everyone is
> > so pissed off with their parents.
> >
> > So what's my point? ummm.....
> >
> > > (b) It is imposing a death sentence on almost all of those children.
> > > We now face a time when *most* of the children entering
> > > the world face the disctinct possibility of living forever.
> > > However by granting their parents carte blanche to teach them
> > > stuff that hurts their chances of survival, you significantly
> > > diminish the chances that they will be able to "deprogram"
> > > themselves in order to make informed choices about the path
> > > they desire in the future. I put this roughly in the same
> > > category as taking the baby and cutting off one of his arms
> > > or legs so she/he may proceed through life significantly
> > > disabled.
> > >
> > Religious people would have similar problems with children being raised
> as
> > atheists.
> And libertarians have similar problems with children being raised to
> a) expect that there are such things as free lunches
No argument here; that's raising someone to fail

> b) expect that
> government is there to protect them, that they are not responsible for
> their own lives.
This point is made up of a couple of bits. Expecting the government is there to protect them, well, I would subscribe to this point of view. That might not be what it actually does quite often, but that's the ideal (or at least part of it); it's meant to be about people getting together to support each other, provide a falback when things don't go to well.

People not being responsible for their own lives, now that's another thing entirely. Most of why government is a shaky, shonky beast is because of the proliferation of this attitude. I think that the prevalence of big institutions in peoples lives, especially but not exclusively their early lives, is the biggest determinant of this. Institutions encourage one to think that one cannot be responsible for one's own life. Falling for this one; well, that leads to swallowing whatever is served up to you, and is why people can abuse positions of power so easily.

> >
> > > (c) By allowing parents to teach drivel, you end up with a huge
> > > majority of children who believe drivel. When the grow
> > > up as adults, they may vote or worse act in ways that could
> > > quite possibly prevent you or I from surviving or achieving
> > > the transhumanist future that awaits. People naturally do
> > > not like change, they will react against it unless they
> > > have the capacity for rational thought and informed debate.
> > > Just because in a "libertarian" mindset, one wants to allow
> > > others the freedoms you want for yourself, doesn't mean
> > > *they* want to allow you those freedoms. Because you have
> > > damaged their capacity for rational thought, *they don't
> > > have to reciprocate*!
> > >
> > People can turn it around. I think that many transhumanists were
> probably
> > not raised as such. Probably many were raised as the antithesis of such!
> It
> > certainly doesn't make things easier, though.
> I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family. As soon as I had a
> chance, I went out and did all of the things I was not supposed to
> do.... some handicapping...
Good job! It's excellent to see that people can rise above seriously crappy upbringings. A lot of the baggage remains, of course, which does make things interesting at times. I think sometimes a really repressive upbringing spurs people on to greater heights. Maybe I should bring my daughter up Amish, if I want her to be transhuman.

> >
> > What do we do about the problem of anti-science, anti-rational momentum
> (the
> > Kansas factor)? Keep pushing. Promote science, rationality, proactive
> > approaches to the problems of humanity, faith in our own abilities.
> Perhaps
> > we only need to push long enough to hit the singularity. But we should
> be
> > prepared to keep pushing forever.
> There is a difference between advocacy and sending people to reeducation
> camps at gunpoint.
> Mike Lorrey
I don't even own a gun Mike. But them I'm fairly naive.

Emlyn (is that a libertarian in your pocket?)