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On teaching your children that there's no God
and no basis for morality if evolution is true.

Post of the Month: November 2007


Subject:    | Won't someone THINK of the CHILdren?
Date:       | 16 Nov 2007
Message-ID: |

Our new friend the pineapple guy has me thinking. What with his unusually persistent use of the think-of-the-children card and the culture-wars card. I think the whole creationism/scientific creationism/intelligent design crowd is missing the first and most basic fact about childhood when they make this argument.

If the adult involved is the slightest bit competent at parenting, childhood is TEMPORARY.

Sure, having a clean, friendly, obedient child is a nice interim goal. When he's ten. But that's at best the halfway mark. The endgame of parenting is to produce a fully functional (hopefully clean, friendly, etc) adult. I've seen families leave out this final step, not necessarily for religious reasons. It won't draw the wrath of Child Protection Services down on your head like bruises will, but bruises would be kinder.

If they work hard at it, parents can keep a given school district from teaching evolution because it's too much hassle. (Or they can bypass public schools entirely.) But when the ex-minors hit the free society outside, they can't help hearing about evolution. Because it keeps, y'know, happening. And so biologists keep talking about it, for the same reason that physicists keep bringing up their theory of gravity instead of God's Intelligent Falling.

If your ex-children-turned-adults want to avoid ever hearing about evolution, they can just about manage it. Just as they can use computers without hearing the word 'microprocessor' or knowing what electricity is. But they're going to have to be very careful about it, and they're going to have to narrow their horizons.

You probably already know that a biology degree is out. (A real one; Bubba's Bible College can slap a degree on a kid and call it biology, but calling a tail a leg does not make the name fit.) But I'm not sure you've thought through how much else the kid is going to have to give up. You may not have realized that geology is also out. (Yes I'm going to mention Glenn Morton here, for notes on what you have to do to in real world, find-an-oil-well-or-get-fired geology to keep on being a creationist. )

Becoming an MD is out, unless you want to live an "I'll act as if evolution happens at work but claim lip service to creationism on Sunday" sort of life. Or an RN. Even a nurses aide these days, unless you want to blindly follow orders without understanding the reasoning behind them. My RN-in-ICU best friend tells me you can't breathe in a hospital these days without dealing with the risk of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Pharmacy school or pharmacist's aide (with the same just-following-orders proviso) is out for the same reason.

A veterinarian can't ignore evolution for the same reasons an MD can't. If not more so, because they're dealing with a wider range of species. If you pull zoo duty and give a chimp an IV with human blood, successfully, it's gonna make you think.*

(* I believe all chimps share a single human blood type. It may be A+ [also mine] but I'm not sure on that part. The blood tests police and forensic pathologists use to determine human vs. animal blood at a crime scene also put chimps in the human category[1]. But you can pretend that doesn't mean anything if you cover your ears really hard and say la la la.)

Of course, you can reap the _benefits_ of biologists using evolution, like vaccines and antibiotics, without having to handle the icky thing yourself. You can pretend your steak dinner grew in the grocery store, already packaged, instead of being aware of feed lots and dead cows. But it doesn't change the realities, and pretending it does is less than adult behavior regardless of your age.

Then there are the most acute cases, the kids who come up through the creationist 'teaching' track and manage to learn biology or geology (or several other fields) anyway. Some of them will learn to crimestop (Google it) and get the technical expertise in the field without letting it shake what they learned as kids. But the best of them, the ones who can think for themselves, are going to see the contradiction.

And they're going to turn to you and say the worst thing a parent of a grown child can hear. "You lied to me. What ELSE did you lie about?"

Hey, you're the ones who told these kids all their lives that if creationism isn't true, God doesn't exist and church has no meaning and there is no reason to have any moral code. Whose fault will it be if they believe you?

[1] See a more complete discussion of nonhuman blood types here

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