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> Free Speech and Children, For those who ordinary believe in free speech
Fox
post Mar 6 2008, 07:22 PM
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Those of you who know me and see me on this board alot know my views in regard to our civil liberties. I am libertarian, and I believe in total (and I mean total) freedom of speech. But recently I came across and idea that made me question my views, and I was wondering what other people thought on this subject.

Should freedom of speech apply uncategorically (or at least should it apply the same amount that you happen to believe) when speaking to children? The trouble is, as adults 95% or so of us have filters. We can choose to ignore propoganda and what we see as blatent lies - but children have no such thing. They are very easily impressionable and can be indoctrinated easily into whatever catches them first.

Should we, therefore, be allowed to teach children certain things as fact, who are too young to question these things? Should we be allowed to impress religious beliefs on them? Should we be allowed to impress cultural prejudices on them? Should we be allowed to tell them "such and such" is wrong jsut because we believe it either individually or as a society. Because the way I see it, just because one culture makes it wrong, doesn't make it so. Maybe a child should be able to grow up, figure out their own values and if this culture won't tolerate them let them move to one that does.

But on the other side of the coin, what SHOULD we teach them? What should we not leave out when teaching the next generation? Maybe, after all, it is important to implant the idea that killing is wrong far beyond they get to the point of being able to understand why.

Personally, I don't know where to draw these lines at the moment. I think if I had children I would teach them as early as I could how to question ideas and how to reason, but I would not tell them "There is no god". But then I think, although I can't see a better way, questioning and reasoning isn't the only way to think. So should I let them choose to do that as well?

What do you think?


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Resurrection
post Mar 6 2008, 08:26 PM
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Good question.

If I have children, I'll certainly raise them Catholic. I'd do that because it is what I believe is the truth. "If you don't stand for something, you end up standing for nothing". I would probably also tell them that it is important to question the ideas we have. The reason that I am who I am today is because I questioned my beliefs, even though I have stayed with the religion in which I was raised.


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steiner
post Mar 6 2008, 09:04 PM
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Yeah, as you may know, I dont believe in freedom to the same extent as Fox. Especially with children you have to be careful. Whereas I would not go so far as to agree with Dawkins on his argument that teaching religion o children is child abuse since it brainwashes them at a vaulnerable age, I would say that it can become child abuse in the most extreme cases. Looking at some Jesus camp videos will support that argument.

But, to me, to say that children should not be taught the religion of their parents is unfair. After all, as a loving parent you would want your own child to experience the same joys you have through your own religious experiences. You would also want to teach knowledge that you believe to be the truth. However, I do think that it is the duty of the parents and Sunday schools to not teach that particular religion as fact. Instead children should know that there are religions out there which are equally valid and that there is also atheism. They should also know that there is no real proof or disproof for religion. I also think it would be good if children were taught about atheism in an unbiased way at an early age.

I do think that Sunday School and Jesus camp and parents are capable of brainwashing children. But I dont think that teaching a child your own religion leads to brainwashing if its taught right.


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Fox
post Mar 7 2008, 01:33 PM
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Well, I'm not saying dont teach them ABOUT religion, but like you said its the teaching them "as fact" that i think is unfair on the child. The trouble is people believe it is fact, right or wrong, so they don't consider it propoganda. But then you could say that about anything most of use believe is fact, "The world is round" being a good example.


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Resurrection
post Mar 7 2008, 06:15 PM
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QUOTE(Fox @ Mar 7 2008, 08:33 AM) *

Well, I'm not saying dont teach them ABOUT religion, but like you said its the teaching them "as fact" that i think is unfair on the child. The trouble is people believe it is fact, right or wrong, so they don't consider it propoganda. But then you could say that about anything most of use believe is fact, "The world is round" being a good example.

And this is why fundamentalist Christians don't like evolution being taught in school. They believe that it conflicts with the Genesis creation story, which is their "fact", so they don't think it should be taught.


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rainbowbrat
post Mar 7 2008, 08:13 PM
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QUOTE
Should we, therefore, be allowed to teach children certain things as fact, who are too young to question these things? Should we be allowed to impress religious beliefs on them? Should we be allowed to impress cultural prejudices on them? Should we be allowed to tell them "such and such" is wrong jsut because we believe it either individually or as a society.


I am raising my children to figure it out for themselves. I always tell my oldest..."this is what I think, other people think differently, so when you are older...you can choose your own path and always research and learn about (insert whatever here) before you make a decision. Just because this is what I believe does not mean you have to believe it."

When it comes to religion....she knows how I feel about it and I have told her that I will NOT force my beliefs on her. I have told her that she will have the chance to go and experience and learn things for herself, and then make her own choices. This is about the only way anyone learns anything anyway.

The facts we should teach our children is that when they grow up, life is a bitch and they will need to learn money management, people skills, and how to have tact when dealing with people.

Also want to throw in here that I never let her believe in Santa. I have told her since she was able to talk who santa was, and I explained that santa is nothing more than a tradition carried on from an old story (yes, she knows the religious reason for christmas too). IMO, parents that tell their kids about santa, and make them think he is real is flat out lying to their children...I don't care how they try to justify it, it is lying.

When I was 8, and my mom told me he wasn't real...I was more upset that she had been lying to me about it when she use to lecture & punish me for lying. That was the day I decided to never lie to my children.




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Fox
post Mar 7 2008, 08:18 PM
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I totally agree there. Santa certainly isn't one I'll pass on. I don't think it makes a sack ful of presents any less special on christmas day if you know they've been given to you by your loving family.


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rainbowbrat
post Mar 7 2008, 08:25 PM
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Exactly. She is just as excited about christmas as any other child...and she always tells me that it is "not the presents I can't wait for, it's the time with the family...but the presents are awesome too!" xD

She's a good kid...lets hope I can guide her to stay that way...afterall, it is ME (with a lil help w/hubby now) that is rainsing her xD


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Dawn
post Mar 7 2008, 08:48 PM
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Well, actually the points which RB mentioned were the ones (sometimes in a more lax way than others) in which I was raised and will probably be the ones I will raise my children. I'll let them decide after explaining them most of the posible views in which things can be dealt with, either if I agree with them or not.

I won't give them any religious influence, since I don't want religion to take part in my way of thinking, but if they decide to follow a different path, well, it's ther option


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steiner
post Mar 7 2008, 08:49 PM
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I was a sceptical child who quickly got suspicious of Santa. Thats what I like to think anyway. wink.gif

Tbh, I dont remember truly100% believing in Santa after the age of five.

QUOTE(Resurrection @ Mar 7 2008, 06:15 PM) *

QUOTE(Fox @ Mar 7 2008, 08:33 AM) *

Well, I'm not saying dont teach them ABOUT religion, but like you said its the teaching them "as fact" that i think is unfair on the child. The trouble is people believe it is fact, right or wrong, so they don't consider it propoganda. But then you could say that about anything most of use believe is fact, "The world is round" being a good example.

And this is why fundamentalist Christians don't like evolution being taught in school. They believe that it conflicts with the Genesis creation story, which is their "fact", so they don't think it should be taught.

But there is such a thing as a real fact. A theory that is supported by strong evidence eg. Belief that the world is round. Sure, evolution isnt as clear-cut as the world being round, but the evidence is still pretty damn huge.




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Fox
post Mar 7 2008, 09:22 PM
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^ I'm reminded of a creationist I get along quite well with on another forum, who says "The evidence we use is no more or less than yours, because it is the same evidence. The only difference between us is the conclusions that we draw from that evidence."

So I think from that tack, creationism is, from the creationists point of view, thoroughly backed up by physical evidence.


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steiner
post Mar 7 2008, 09:27 PM
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^But they dont use logic in combination with that evidence when arguing for ID.

Its like looking at some photos of the circular earth and concluding that someone just made them up in order to trick everyone. Or looking at the stars moving annually and concluding that we are in the centre of the Universe and that God is just moving them to keep us interested.


Sure, ID proponents attempt to convey a sense of using logic, but each of their arguments are weak and can be knocked down by an expert biologist in the relevant field.


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Fox
post Mar 7 2008, 09:33 PM
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Well you have a good point there.

I think teaching kids to use logic as well as evidence is very important. And lateral thinking too. Knowing how to use your mind well has to be an advantage for any kid!


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Dawn
post Mar 7 2008, 09:36 PM
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In general terms, the point is to teach kids to use their brain to develop themselves when they are adults. I am not a parent myself but I think this is just the opposite of what many parents do, telling their kids what they have to do and what they have to think. They have to give them guide, of course, but I think it is a different thing


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Resurrection
post Mar 7 2008, 10:54 PM
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QUOTE(Fox @ Mar 7 2008, 04:33 PM) *

I think teaching kids to use logic as well as evidence is very important. And lateral thinking too. Knowing how to use your mind well has to be an advantage for any kid!

An interesting quote relevant to your statement:

"To trust to anything but sense in a matter of sense is irrational; why are the senses given us but to supersede the less certain, less immediate informants? We have recourse to reason or authority to determine facts, when the sense fail us; but with the senses we begin. We deduce, we form inductions, we abstract, we theorize from facts; we do not begin with surmise and conjecture, much less do we look to the tradition of past ages, or the decree of foreign teachers, to determine matters which are in our hands and under our eyes." -John Henry Newman

I don't know. I just think it's interesting to discuss whether what we perceive with our senses should be given greatest weight, or logic instead, when the two contradict.


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Fox
post Mar 7 2008, 11:04 PM
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It is an interesting point. And maybe one of the fundamental differences between some of us.

For example - two people see a "miracle". It's under certain conditions so you can be quite sure there is no "unknown explanation". It either happened or they were misled by their senses. One of them chooses to believe that sensory deception is an often occurance, the other is convinced he saw a miracle.

Sound familiar?


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Resurrection
post Mar 8 2008, 01:33 AM
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QUOTE(Fox @ Mar 7 2008, 06:04 PM) *

It is an interesting point. And maybe one of the fundamental differences between some of us.

For example - two people see a "miracle". It's under certain conditions so you can be quite sure there is no "unknown explanation". It either happened or they were misled by their senses. One of them chooses to believe that sensory deception is an often occurance, the other is convinced he saw a miracle.

Sound familiar?

Of course, you must be referring to Jesus. But scratch that, I don't want this to become a religion debate.

Anyway, how likely is it that we see something that didn't actually happen? Either there is something wrong with your eyes, something wrong with us psychologically, the "miracle worker" somehow deceived his audience, or it actually happened. If we can be sure of the body's proper optical and psychological functioning (since it is unlikely that the entire audience has these problems), that leaves the latter two. Is there anyone known of today who can "work miracles" that have some reasonable explanation? The name "David Blaine" comes to mind...maybe I'll check him out on youtube.


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Fox
post Mar 8 2008, 01:41 AM
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Sorry I wasn't getting at anything. I wasn't saying "You believe it actually happened therefore you're an idiot." Just that its a different way of thinking. Some of us are more tempted to believing the impossible happened, some of us are tempted into thinking that "it must be an illusion" even though we cannot imagine how.


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Resurrection
post Mar 8 2008, 01:45 AM
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QUOTE(Fox @ Mar 7 2008, 08:41 PM) *

Sorry I wasn't getting at anything. I wasn't saying "You believe it actually happened therefore you're an idiot." Just that its a different way of thinking. Some of us are more tempted to believing the impossible happened, some of us are tempted into thinking that "it must be an illusion" even though we cannot imagine how.

Oh no, I didn't think you were calling me an idiot or anything. It is indeed a different way of thinking, and it's interesting to think about why some people believe the "impossible" and some don't.


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Fox
post Mar 8 2008, 01:54 AM
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But again I wonder if this goes back to what was taught to you as a child. If you've grown up believing that supernatural things are possible or that they DO exist, you'll be more willing to believe them when you see them.

Having said that, I certainly don't think childhood experiences are the only cause. I was raised a christian - though not an immensly strict one, but I was the first of my family to become atheist. And that certainly wasn't what I got taught as a child, relegion was taught as fact in early schools and we would all have to pray etc etc.

....I hadn't INTENDED the only thing this discussion ended up on to be religion, I think in this case it just happens to be an excellent example.


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