RE: Gore Shocks Scientists With Creationism Statement

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Tue, 31 Aug 1999 20:19:58 +1000

> 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.

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.

> (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.

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.

Emlyn, pushy