Probably the apocalypse is on its way.
May 21st from what I hear. :P
Probably the apocalypse is on its way.
May 21st from what I hear. :P
a little glimpse of the future:
Homeschooling is all fine and well, and it may make a significant impact on a child's development for the better. The problem comes in, of course, when you *do* have religious fundamentalists who decide that their children need to learn not about science or real history, but about young-earth creationism, the bullshit argument of 'irreducible complexity' and how global warming is a liberal lie.
Of course, I did think those things in my childhood. By which I mean to say, a) people turn out fine with even strongly religious parents, b) religious h.s. is not markedly worse than secular h.s. for the intellectual development of a child, and c) the number of religious fundamentalists that I think shouldn't h.s. their kids is no doubt way, way smaller than the number of religious fundamentalists that you think shouldn't h.s. their kids.
You might have overcome some of those childhood false beliefs but you also have a more curious and intellectually slanted mind than most. I suspect that sort of indoctrination sticks much more easily with people that don't live an examined life. This to me is really where the home school debate rests. I don't think there is any question that one-on-one teaching is superior or that our current school system has a lot of areas it needs to improve on, but an important value of public schools is it does allow us to set standards which (hopefully) given public and scientific scrutiny will be of higher quality than parents just teaching whatever they feel like.
I think one key here is that it is more within our control to improve public school effectiveness than it is to ensure that parents don't teach their kids that we were running about riding dinosaurs 6,000 years ago. I am not totally unsympathetic toward home schooling but like working from home it requires a certain level of discipline that most people simply do not possess.
Jonjon, you may have rejected fundamentalism, but you're still religious, and you'd make a really great atheist.
I'm just waiting for the day when JonJon finally comes over to the dark side.
Jeremiah, I think you're on to something when you mention living an unexamined life. This is the most important thing I can think of; I tell theists and atheists (at least when I'm debating with them) that I don't care what they believe as long as they figure out what they believe, why they believe it, and begin to work through the implications of that belief. You've simply got to examine what you believe. But to hold that over the head of theists exclusively, or even predominantly, is a little silly. The vast, vast majority of people don't actually consider this kind of thing. That includes atheists. There are many people on these boards who have deeply considered what they believe (or don't believe) and why. But there are people on these boards who do not think through what they believe; or to be more accurate, who have to be pushed pretty hard to do it. It's tricky to identify the tendency in atheists I think, primarily because most atheists feel compelled to justify their non-belief pretty loudly. I think that's good, but sometimes I worry that the internet is not a great place for atheists to hang out, because they have access to so much raw information that they don't feel the need to delve all that deeply into their own motivations.
Obviously, this should not be construed as an attack on anybody. I just think that referencing other people's ideas can be taken too far for both theists and atheists, and that the healthiest thing for everyone is to really work through their own ideas as deeply as possible. I'd venture to say that public school doesn't prepare you to do this any more than homeschooling does. It isn't something we teach. Too bad, really.
"There are many people on these boards who have deeply considered what they believe (or don't believe) and why. But there are people on these boards who do not think through what they believe; or to be more accurate, who have to be pushed pretty hard to do it."
Pretty arrogant to claim this is true about people you've never met.
It isn't, really, unless your argument is that the people on this particular board are substantially, almost miraculously more self aware than the people you run into at the hardware store. Or the people on other boards across the internet. I'm taking as my sample "everyone I've ever had a serious conversation with." Of those people, some deal with their own ideas, and some don't. I don't have access to anyone's inner life, whether I've met them in person or not. In all cases, my access to that life comes through their own verbal interaction with me. No doubt it would be more accurate to say "as far as people represent their own ideas to me in language, my own judgment is that some consider the implications of their ideas at some length, and others do not."
I am curious whether or not meeting someone would drastically change the way that I view their inner life. Maybe if I was a close personal friend I would have better access. This is possible, but I tend to think that for the most part people represent themselves fairly honestly here. If they don't, I don't have a good way of knowing that. Am I arrogant? Yeah. Am I nevertheless justified in assessing people through the way they represent themselves in writing? I think so.
I think that's good, but sometimes I worry that the internet is not a great place for atheists to hang out, because they have access to so much raw information that they don't feel the need to delve all that deeply into their own motivations.
I feel the need to delve deeply into my own motivations for not believing in Eros and Gaia.
"It's tricky to identify the tendency in atheists I think, primarily because most atheists feel compelled to justify their non-belief pretty loudly."
That may be true in your experience but certainly isn't it mine - is that down to the fact that religion is in many ways irrelevant in the UK, probably.
Edit: ... and of course the second part is that as atheists don't have to wear a badge (although I;m sure some people think that they do) saying I don't believe in fairy tales how is it possible to even know that most atheists do or don't do?
Unfortunately, the USA is pretty damn religious, so if one is to remain an atheist, one usually has at least a basic understanding of why god/religion is unneeded. At least, that's been my experience in the bible belt. :P
"But there are people on these boards who do not think through what they believe; or to be more accurate, who have to be pushed pretty hard to do it."
This is not stated in general, 'out of everyone I know' terms.
"Am I nevertheless justified in assessing people through the way they represent themselves in writing? "
I've always though writing was a very narrow bandwidth method of transmitting information about people. I think at best you are justified in assessing those writings.
I get the impression that atheists in the US are louder (of course I don't live in the US so I could be totally wrong here!) due to the must higher level of religious activity in the US. In the UK it's all rather irrelevant so "we" don't feel the need to shout to make our voice heard.
@Jabster: It's quite possible... I know I've certainly experienced the "having to shout to be heard" scenario. It's kinda sad when a bunch of kids at ballet start calling you "monkey face" and asking what you believe about the bible when they notice you're reading a book on evolution. :P
It certainly sounds plausible as many groups who feel they are disadvantaged will be more vocal. You just don't get regular pride marchs celebrating the fact that you're heterosexual!
Yeah, I think it is an American thing to some extent (although we're just pretty loud all the time.)
I actually meant to say that I thought the loudness was due to the relative minority of atheists here, but I seem to have left that off...
I think the loudness is entirely because of how much interference religion has in our day to day lives.
I will quietly ignore religion the very second it starts quietly ignoring me.
@Morpheus - Seriously?
@Jonjon - Yep, you are pretty loud:-)
And for the record, I doubt very much that islam are about to replace christianity in Europe. But one thing that is true is that we have an increasing number of refugees from Muslim countries and of course that makes islam more visible in the society.
For the matter of atheists being loud, I think it's down to those atheists who feel the need to speak up when religion begins to affect policy in the US. While I don't hide my atheism, many people are very surprised to find out that I am an atheist. Most people I know have the default view that everyone is christian. Of course many of them then worry about my eternal soul and then feel they need to save me. I find it to my advantage not to be loud about my atheism
@drax - I did not think of atheists, I actually thought that Americans generally are loud. *revealing my bias and a feel a bit ashamed*
It's different worlds we live in. Here's the other way around. We're not talking much about faith either but the default view is to not belong to any religion. But then again, Sweden is on the top of the list with 64% nonbelievers.
Don't worry Carina... US-bashing is common sport among us arrogant EU-dwellers.
Velkommen i clubbet. ^_^
Also, can I ask you what brings a godless Swede on a website like this?
Well, I am a missionary child and raised in the pentecostal movement. I thought that my parents had strict rules, but I've realized that it's nothing compared to the Baptists. I stopped being active many years ago but, unlike most here, I'm not an atheist (who knows, maybe I'll get there) but still believe in some kind of god...which I'm not gonna try to get someone else to believe at!
A few months ago, I searched for american sites who wrote about the religious right. It was when it was a lot of talk about gay marriage in US. I was surprised at how much influence christians could have on laws and on the state. For me, politics and religion are two very different things and I have not seen a successfull example of how it works when you mix them. Anyway, I found UF and liked the discussions. I recognize many of the issues. I've had them too. So here I am!
Tack så mycket! Det var väldigt interessant.
(Jag hade varit uttbytestudent i Stockholm och bli kär med Sverige...)
I met theists and Christians in Sweden, but it is the first time I hear a Swede whose life was strongly affected by religion.
As long as you acknowledge that your beliefs are very subjective, with all the limits and advantages that this entails, I think everyone here is very much ok with your beliefs.
We're not so common.
Exchangestudent in Stockholm? Wow! When was that and where do you come from?
Jag är imponerad av svenskan!
@Carina: Yup, sadly, lol. Around here the homeschooling community is pretty much synonymous with conservative Christian community, and quite a few of the students at ballet fit into both those categories. I had my kindle out backstage and they were curious about the gadgetry, and woe is me for having Jerry Coyne's book up. :P
@drax: You hit the nail on the head. When the nutters are a large enough portion of the population to start making the laws, someone has to make some noise.
@Carina: My reply was not directed at you, just to the conversation in general. I'm afraid and a little ashamed to say that your perception of Americans as generally loud is fairly accurate in some regards. There are lots of people who aren't loud, but unfortunately those aren't the people you tend to see in the media. I attribute it to American society's short attention span. It seems if you aren't making a spectacle of yourself no one pays attention for very long.
@Morpheus: not so sure the nutters are that big a portion of the population, they're just the loudest. I don't consider all religious people to be nutters.
Depends on whether or not they try to force their religious convictions into the law and into the minds of their children imho.
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