Thursday, July 16, 2015

Is Creationism a form of Child Abuse?

By itself that's too vague a question to seriously address, but something like that never stops davey klinghoffer, one of the mouthpieces for the Discovery Institute.  You can read his post, but I'm not sure you really need to.  ('Lawrence Krauss, Influential Physicist and Atheist, on "Creationism" as "Child Abuse')  Now before getting into it, I do have a question that klingy will never answer.  Why is he, in his role as DI cheerleader, addressing an question involving Creationism?

Does that make you think?  I mean after years of trying to distance themselves from Creationism, they can't seem to shake that particular connection.  I'm glad they keep going back to their roots, because it makes their attempts at disassociation transparent.  No one ever bought that Intelligent Design wasn't, and isn't, Creationism.  So does this, and other posts, reveal a change in policy of the DI?  I doubt it, but I do so enjoy reminding them about this dichotomy.

OK, back to the central issue.  Is Creationism a form of Child Abuse?  While Lawrence Krauss toned it down by calling it a mild form of abuse, I'm having trouble comparing Creationism to any other form of recognized child abuse, mild or not.  I don't really think I am in agreement with klingy all that much.  His defense of Creationism isn't based on innate honesty about child abuse, his is more a knee-jerk reaction to anything that smacks of criticism of his religious beliefs.  I can't reconcile Creationism with abuse.  I do have issues with some of the other things klingy said, and we will get to them shortly.  But first I want to discuss the impact of Creationism when taught to children.

What it does do is fail to adequately prepare children for higher education and. in my opinion, the real world.  Creationism, particularly the Evangelical version, is not a good basis for a science education, which ties into so many potential careers.  Look at the kids taught Creationism by John Freshwater in Mt Vernon OH.  In subsequent classes one of the constant issues was teachers having to re-teach that part of the curriculum because of Freshwater.  Is that fair to those children?  Teachers have a responsibility and when you teach a non-scientific subject as if it was science, you are doing a disservice to those students.  To me it would be the same as teaching Astrology or Alchemy.

Another example, a few years ago the University of California won a lawsuit brought about by a group of Christian schools and several specific students.  The gist was those schools used textbooks that declared the Bible infallible and rejected evolution.  The ruling didn't call out the fact they taught Creationism, but the fact that they failed to teach a number important scientific topics.  While the plaintiffs claimed religious persecution, the focus was on what they failed to do.

I recall walking through the Creation Museum a few years back and listening to parents reading the various placards and 'explaining' the exhibits to their kids.  What I felt more than anything was pity for when those kids start hearing actual science. Improperly preparing our children is unfair, but I can't quantify it as abuse. 

Now, back to klingy's comments.  Here is one of the things he said that cracked me up:

"In the controversy over academic freedom -- that is, whether laws should permit public school teachers to share relevant mainstream science with students even if it's critical of Darwinism -- it is precisely the folks wrongly dismissed as "creationists" who would maximize the flow of scientific information, while Darwin defenders like Krauss withhold knowledge from young people."
Davey, you are wrong!  Current laws permit, and encourage, teachers to share mainstream science with students.  The thing klingy can't seem to remember is that Creationism, and it's little brother Intelligent Design, are not mainstream science, they aren't even science.  They are religious propositions.

Davey's claim that Creationism is simply something that is 'critical of Darwinism' is nothing more than a smokescreen.  Since his religion is unacceptable in science class, claiming that is simply being withheld because it's critical to current science is a tactic, a dodge.  The reason Creationism, in all it's forms, doesn't belong in science class is because it's not science.  There is no evidence supporting any of it.  There have been scientific theories that raised issues with Evolution that have been taught in science class.  But these were legitimate scientific theories, not religious ideas dressed in an ill-fitting lab coat.

OK, one final note.  I've said it before and I do believe it.  There are quite a few age-restricted activities like driving, voting, joining the military . . . to name a few.  I firmly believe children should not be exposed to religion until they are old enough to understand it.  I know that won't be a popular concept among theists, but it's the only one that makes sense to me.

Like anything else, you can find extreme examples, like someone refusing medical care to a child because of their own personal religious beliefs.  But the abuse is in the action, regardless of the rationale.  But even saying that, I can't call Creationism/ID 'child abuse'.  Unscientific, yes, Unsupported by evidence, certainly, but not child abuse. 

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