Taking a stand for kids, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss argues teaching children creationism is a form of child abuse.
Krauss, appearing on the “The Weekly,” an Australian satirical TV news show, stressed the importance of teaching children critical thinking skills.
After that, host Charlie Pickering brought up the fact that Krauss had previously stated that teaching children creationism is a form of child abuse. Krauss doubled down on his claim, noting:
But it’s true. I mean, there are different levels of child abuse. It’s like not allowing your children to have medicine, not allowing you children to be vaccinated, for example, is child abuse, because you are doing them harm.
Krauss went on:
In some sense, if you withhold information from your children because you would rather them not know what reality is really like, for fear that it is going to affect their beliefs, then you are doing them harm.
Krauss is correct. Preventing children from learning the truth about the world, like teaching children that creationism is an acceptable scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, is a mild form of child abuse.
Previously, in 2013, while appearing on The David Pakman Show, Krauss acknowledged that teaching creationism to children was not on the same level of abuse as sexual assault, but insisted it should still be considered abusive because it puts children at a disadvantage.
If you’re introducing it (creationism or Intelligent Design) as reality, if you’re telling your kids the world is 6,000 years old, and they shouldn’t believe scientists because there is no way humans are related to other animals, and don’t believe any of that stuff you learned in school, or take you kids of out of school because they are learning something, then it is like the Taliban at some level, which is an extreme form of child abuse.
Earlier this year, Krauss, and another leading scientist, Richard Dawkins, advocated for the intellectual rights of children, arguing children should be allowed to develop as critical thinkers and be protected from religious indoctrination.
It seems clear to many rational people that forcing children to accept the religious superstitions of their parents can be a form of child abuse. And it follows that teaching children Biblical creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is an example of such child abuse.
Yet if we are to accept this claim, what are the implications for social policy? Should the government step in and protect children from the religious superstitions of their parents?
Or should parents retain the right to force their religious beliefs upon their children, even when those beliefs are demonstrably harmful to the education of the child, as is the case with the teaching of creationism?
And what about religious schools, as well as homeschoolers, engaged in the explicit task of indoctrinating children?
How does society protect children from the damaging excesses of religion?
How does society defend a child’s right to a proper education, even if that education violates the sincerely held religious beliefs of their parents?
Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is a professor of physics and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is also the author of the bestselling book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.
(Portions of this post were previously published here)
Discussion of creationism begins at 5:45 –