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 O'Reilly and Dawkins, claiming child abuse?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2006 :  13:18:35  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
I hope nobody has posted this yet - I haven't been as diligently reading SFN lately. (I know, for shame.)

Anyway, this 8-year-old kid has this video circulating on the Internet where she rants about Bill O'Reilly and then the violence and irrationality of religion. Pretty funny actually. (Do a search for "The Coolest 8 Year Old In The World Talks About O'Reilly" on YouTube to find it.)

So now check out Bill O'Reilly's response:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgzB4zMvTo4

He argues that this (liberal atheists teaching their children their views and then having the child express those views publicly) is child abuse and that children's services should get involved. He gets a child advocate on his show who claims that this kid has no idea what she's saying. I teach 8 year olds, and while they are extremely immature compared to adults, that is the age of questioning and skepticism beginning to develop in kids. They most certainly do understand some things, even if it is a very inexperienced and immature understanding. And why shouldn't a child be able to express a view?

So one of the reasons I bring this up is because while I agree with and absolutely love 99.5% of what Richard Dawkins has to say on politics, philosophy, and morality, which his latest book, "The God Delusion" and in the television show based on that book "The Root of All Evil?", Dawkins suggests that raising a child with a certain religion, sending them to religious schools, and labeling them with the religion of their parents is "child abuse". This is where I severely part ways with Dawkins because child abuse (oppose to something merely distasteful) is an action which generally requires the law to step in and make changes. To me, Dawkins saying I was abused by being sent to Catholic schools and taught Catholic dogma and belief until I was old enough to form my own unique worldview is quite similar to O'Reilly claiming it is abuse for this little girl to be instilled with a liberal and atheistic viewpoint.

To sum up my own thoughts, I think it is a real shame when parents are so insecure in their own beliefs that they feel they must force them on their kids. And that can be really rough on the kid if their mind resists their parents' worldview. But it is hardly child abuse, and certainly not the sort of thing where authorities need to get involved.

What do you guys think?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com


Edited by - marfknox on 12/13/2006 13:24:06

JohnOAS
SFN Regular

Australia
800 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2006 :  15:34:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit JohnOAS's Homepage Send JohnOAS a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox
So one of the reasons I bring this up is because while I agree with and absolutely love 99.5% of what Richard Dawkins has to say on politics, philosophy, and morality, which his latest book, "The God Delusion" and in the television show based on that book "The Root of All Evil?", Dawkins suggests that raising a child with a certain religion, sending them to religious schools, and labeling them with the religion of their parents is "child abuse". This is where I severely part ways with Dawkins because child abuse (oppose to something merely distasteful) is an action which generally requires the law to step in and make changes.

I essentially agree with Dawkins that it is child abuse. I also agree with you that it's not something the law should step in and stop. (Damn that fence smarts)

I think it's a matter of definition and scale. To me, the idea of a catholic/buddhist/muslim 6 year old is absurd. Religious indoctrination at any level of intensity can (not will) have long term consequences.

I want my kids to learn about religion (like they have a choice in this world), but not from within an environment where any particular flavour gets preferential treatment.

quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

What do you guys think?

If you define abuse as actions severe enough that the state should take action, then I agree with you, and Dawkins has overstated the case. If however you define abuse as below (taken from Dictionary.reference.com, just for an example) - link.

quote:

–verb (used with object)
1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one's authority.
2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse; to abuse one's eyesight.
3. to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
4. to commit sexual assault upon.
5. Obsolete. to deceive or mislead.

–noun
6. wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
7. harshly or coarsely insulting language: The officer heaped abuse on his men.
8. bad or improper treatment; maltreatment: The child was subjected to cruel abuse.
9. a corrupt or improper practice or custom: the abuses of a totalitarian regime.
10. rape or sexual assault.


Then I'd have to say that in 6/10 cases I'd agree with Dawkins and the dictionary. It is abuse. The phrase "child abuse" is somewhat loaded, but I think in general terms it's appropriate, but not to the point where I'd walk up to someone who had their kid in a religious school and sholt "child abuser!". Context has a lot, perhaps everything, to do with it.


John's just this guy, you know.
Edited by - JohnOAS on 12/13/2006 15:34:44
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2006 :  16:27:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
First, a big "right on" for that little girl!

If O'Reilly or Dawkins were right in their charges of child abuse, then all passing down of cultural beliefs to children would be abuse. I think they are both talking out of the asses in this case.

A society that values freedom of thought and religion cannot lightly distinguish between beliefs, branding one set as abusive, and another as acceptable. (Individuals and groups within such a free society may, but they cannot turn their judgements into law.) I think the key here is how the culture is handed down.

Marf mentions a Catholic upbringing. From many people I've heard from, that can sometimes entail physically and psychologically abusive indoctrination. Likewise, under the state atheism of some communist countries, including the Soviet Union, religion was persecuted in varying degrees. This ranged from killing those who admitted to religious beliefs, under the Khmer Rogue, jailing them, having religious belief declared a psychiatric disorder (Soviet Union), and simply making it impossible to advance in society if one were religious (common in most communist countries, where membership in the Party was restricted to atheists, and Party membership was required for social advancement).

For the most part, I salute Dawkin's active atheist evangelism. But calling a religious upbringing "child abuse" per se is wrong, and resonates with dangerous historical implications. True abuse can be dealt with, without bringing religion into it. (And this doesn't even touch on the matter that atheists realistically are not nearly in a position to enforce a non-theistic family upbringing, anyway!)

Let's leave the families out of this, and focus on defending and expanding religious neutrality in education and government, instead. Why (rightfully!) piss off people over the private affairs of religious families, when the great battle in the schools is still raging?

As for O'Reilly, he is beneath contempt.

[Edit: "atheist" to "atheists."]


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 12/14/2006 23:05:50
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Original_Intent
SFN Regular

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  15:33:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Original_Intent a Private Message
To accusse folks of abuse over something like that is pretty bad. What if the Christians/Jews/Muslim/Jedi Knights start accussing the atheists or agnostics of abuseful and neglectful of their childs spiritual needs?

Or

What Mooner said...

Peace
Joe
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  15:52:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
Read the winning essays in AIG's contest. Don't you think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap?


The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  21:55:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Well, the original video makes everything absolutely crystal clear:
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: THIS VIDEO FEATURES A TALENTED YOUNG ACTRESS PLAYING A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER. IT IS A COMMERCIAL FOR THE BAND 'THE BASTARD FAIRIES' AND DIRECTED BY AN AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING TEAM.
Yup, it's all a lie. The Bastard Fairies seem like an interesting group, and you can hear a bit of their song, "We're All Going to Hell" (not work safe!) while the credits roll on the 8-year-old video.

It's a real shame that this guy's response cuts off mid-sentence. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders.

On the other hand, it's tough to figure out whether this response, with its note, "Listen to how Cool Christian feels about the 8 year old atheist bitch!" is joking or not. The fact that the person who made the video was evasive in answering one comment makes me lean towards "he's serious," but I'm not completely sure.

O'Reilly (and Wendy Murphy) missed it, dramatically. "You need to know what's going on" he says, while refusing to tell people what's going on. Typical hypocrisy when someone's got an axe to grind. He goes so far as to suggest that social services needs to get involved and save the poor kid from her own parents. But it seems that a lot of people have missed the fact that it's all scripted and staged. I didn't look at all of the response videos (and haven't looked for commentary outside of YouTube), but it'd be nice to see someone pointing out that it's all fake, and deriding O'Reilly for falling for it, as well as ridiculing him for calling it abuse.

Is it abuse - either way the "indoctrination" goes? No. While psychological abuse definitely does happen to children, neither instilling lefty atheist values nor righty fundy values alone should rise to the level of "abuse." Terrorizing a child such that he wets his pants when dad speaks harshly to him, now that might be abuse, but I've got to consider Dawkins just as nutty as O'Reilly on this point.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1880 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  06:06:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by R.Wreck

Read the winning essays in AIG's contest. Don't you think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap?

Biblical model ??? Looks like Paul aspires to be the next Bill or Michael.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  11:54:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Wow! I love their idiotic responses to it, "ultimate inhumane treatment of a child", "she's being raised by nuts". I can think of hundreds of examples of child abuse that are truly inhumane which are occurring as they speak. That is not one of them.

Oh my, the girl said the Republicans were responsible for more violence than video games. That got O'Reilly's goat. Tee hee hee.
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  14:23:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message
I loved the video. Some of the comments (like the line about on republicans) were priceless. The girl really acted it out cool too.

As to child abuse. In my mind this qualifies nicely.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  14:45:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message
I'm watching one of the video responses now, namely that of Wendy Murphy, a 'child advocate'. Man, there's a mentally unstable personage if ever I saw one. Perhaps more mentally unstable as O'Reilly himself.

I mean, she first says that this girl has no idea what she is talking about and I would agree with that. But then she flips out that (to paraphrase) using the child to get a political message across is child abuse. I don't know how she sees it, but this is probably what happens. Mam and dad or asked here whether she wanted to do this. The girl has an absolute ball living herself out on the text and her acting. She has one of the best afternoons of her year. I train with a lot of kids of around that age and a little older with wushu, and I know they would. Then, after a wonderfull afternoon, she either forgets about it or has fond memories of it. Maybe later she'll look back and reflect on the viewpoints, but certainly not now. How that is child abuse is beyond me. The woman is crazy. I don't think she has a cerebellum, but if she has she sure ain't using it.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  15:01:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
Remind the next time a politician trots their family out in a commericial to call the cops.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  21:12:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
They should arrest Fred Phelps. But that reminds me, what was O'Reilly's response to the child water bearers trying to get into Terri Schaivo's hospital room?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  21:12:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
R. Wreck wrote:
quote:
Read the winning essays in AIG's contest. Don't you think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap?


I know! How about we do to the fundamentalist Christians what the British did to the Australian Aborigines during “The Lost Generation”: take their kids away from them and put them in homes with parents who won't teach them all the mythical garbage.

If “child abuse” is defined as treatment severe enough to mandate outside intervention, then no, I do not think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap. Is it any more crap than believing your ancestors were giant ethereal caterpillars and kangaroos?

Dave W. wrote:
quote:
it'd be nice to see someone pointing out that it's all fake, and deriding O'Reilly for falling for it, as well as ridiculing him for calling it abuse.
It would be nice, but it won't happen. How many times have other people pointed out some O'Reilly bullshit and it has done nothing to tarnish the guy's image with those who already like him? People who like O'Reilly like him because he says what they want to hear. They are not the kind of people who will look for evidence to the contrary or believe it when it is shoved in their faces.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 12/15/2006 21:13:37
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 12/15/2006 :  23:33:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
I meant right here in this thread, too, Marf.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2006 :  02:52:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Actually, Dave, I was glad you pointed that fact out. I found it even more amusing the stupid response was even stupider than it looked at first glance.

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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2006 :  06:31:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox:

R. Wreck wrote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Read the winning essays in AIG's contest. Don't you think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I know! How about we do to the fundamentalist Christians what the British did to the Australian Aborigines during “The Lost Generation”: take their kids away from them and put them in homes with parents who won't teach them all the mythical garbage.

If “child abuse” is defined as treatment severe enough to mandate outside intervention, then no, I do not think it is abusive to fill a child's brain with so much utter crap. Is it any more crap than believing your ancestors were giant ethereal caterpillars and kangaroos?


If there were to be any "outside intervention" for these nutcase fundies, I suggest it should be a finding that they are unfit to homeschool. We have laws requiring children to attend school. At least make them send their kid to a school where they might be exposed to ideas that will help them to function in a modern society, instead of intentionally trying to make them stupid.

As for the Aborigines, well, the fundies just substituted their mythology for the native mythology. However, I imagine one can function quite well in Aborigine society believing in "giant ethereal caterpillars" and such.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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