Segregating kids by school: public, private, religious, homeschooling…

It’s not just that a segregated education system entrenches comparative privilege or disadvantage from one generation to the next – that it allocates educational resources differently not according to the merit of the child but the merit (or fortune) of his or her parents.

It’s also that having separate educational regimes, like home-schooling, exposes children to creepy and destructive indoctrination when they’re supposed to be receiving a comprehensive, neutral education:

My parents were originally fairly ordinary evangelicals. Like so many others –it’s a common story — it was homeschooling that brought them to Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull. They began homeschooling for secular reasons, and then, through homeschool friends, conferences and publications, they were drawn into the world of Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull. It starts slowly, one belief here, a book there. For those who are already fundamentalists or evangelicals, like my parents, the transition is smooth and almost natural. Suddenly, almost without realizing it, they are birthing their eighth or ninth child and pushing their daughters toward homemaking and away from any thought of a career…

By homeschooling us, my parents could completely control what we learned. I studied from creationist textbooks and learned history from a curriculum that taught “His Story,” beginning with creation, Noah and the flood, and Abraham and his covenant with God, showing the hand of God moving through the 6,000 years of the earth’s history. I never had anyone tell me to dream big, or to think outside the home, or that with my talent and intellect I could have a brilliant career. Everyone around me believed the way my parents did, including all of my friends, who, after all, were without exception children of my parents’ friends. They encouraged me in my steadfastness of beliefs and held me up as a paragon of virtue. Why would I desire anything else?

It didn’t help that I was taught that those outside of our beliefs, including humanists, environmentalists, socialists, and feminists, were evil, selfish people who were destroying our society, and that Christians who did not share our beliefs were “wishy-washy” and “worldy.” There is a very “us versus them” mentality in Christian Patriarchy. They were the enemy, the agents of Satan out to destroy belief in God and pervert the world. They cared only for themselves and their own desires and were not to be trusted. I was taught that the world outside was a scary and dangerous place. If I stayed under my father’s authority, I would be protected and safe.

The full article’s worth reading to better understand the mindset of those confined to that particular subculture – one powerful enough that the candidates in the US Republican primaries are presently doing their utmost to earn its approval.

But it’s also a reminder of the power of education, and just how taking kids away from their peers and segregating them into special little enclaves of people with views matching their parents’ can be so destructive. And unfair – many of those children never have real exposure to alternative choices at all.

Even in its mildest form – Islamic schools, or Catholic schools, or Jewish schools, the kids are being denied a real choice. They have teachers – the teachers they’re supposed to trust to teach them Maths, or Science, or English – using their authority in the classroom to push one religious view over all the others. Is it any wonder that such an overwhelming majority of people who hold a religious belief just happen to pick the one that their parents hold, or the one that is dominant in their society? Could it be because they’re taught from a young age to associate any spiritual feelings with one particular religion, and their educations completely lack a reasonable consideration of the alternatives?

There’s only one excuse I can see for homeschooling – if you live in Texas, where they have armed police officers at schools handing out fines and worse. To the children.

Seriously, armed police? At primary schools?

Advertisements

36 responses to “Segregating kids by school: public, private, religious, homeschooling…

  1. narcoticmusing

    It begs the question of if what they speak is the truth, then what are they so afraid of? If they are right, and this is the right god, then why be afraid of questions? Why be afraid of understanding? Why be afraid of other views and religions?

    It is actually contrary to the teachings of the bible; The Proverbs, Psalms and Ecclesiastes all talk about gaining wisdom and understanding as being the most important, noble quests any person can undertake (eg Proverbs 4:7). It was scriptures like those you find in Ecclesiastes that got me interested in the bibilcial texts in the first place.

    Furthermore, Galations 3:28 makes it pretty clear that men and women (and people of other beliefs) are all to be treated equally. So why create a different role for women than men? Why not give them equal education, equal choices, equal opporunities?

    Homeschool can be justified in some cases, but far more often, we see examples like what you gave, where it is downright harmful. Not only does it indoctrinate, but it narrows them from fulfilling their own bible’s ideals – to get understanding.

  2. My religious sister is currently home schooling her kids (5 and counting, sigh). Couldn’t afford private school, but there is a perfectly good state school two minutes walk down the road. She is very heavily influenced by her husband and his beliefs. The kids spout creationism and refuse to read any book on dinosaurs that don’t show humans living side by side. So I can definitely concur with the linked article about Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull and its toxic effects.

    I gave her an earful years ago about it, but was basically told to butt out, and was sent a bunch of homeschool propaganda about educational outcomes and such. Homeschoolers are very well armed with one side of the argument, leaving family members scrambling to cut through the search result noise on Google to find the counterarguments.

    It’s ridiculous that this can still happen in the 21st century without social workers coming down like a ton of bricks on the families that do this. I don’t really know what I can do until the eldest reach late teens and start to rebel.

  3. Teaching religion at school is tantamount to child abuse. Marx was correct when he said ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’ Show me trouble in the world, you’ll find religion at the core of it, in big doses. The bloke that’s trying to knock your daughter/sister up in the back of a panel van no doubt comes from a God fearing religious, mostly butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths wholesome family unit. I think I am coming quite ill thinking about it.

    My dear wife was educated by Catholic indoctrination came out of school being able to speak Latin, good stuff yea right, everything else she taught herself.

    The quicker humanity rids itself of his utter deluded nonsense the better. Then we can all get on with what’s important, like saving the planet.

  4. Marx was correct when he said ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’

    Context, context, context. And knowledge about what an analogy is helps too.

    Late 19th Century. Talking about, broadly speaking, the uneducated poor.

    Opiates – a fairly widely used type of painkiller (still used today – morphine is an opiate).

    What did “the masses” (ie, those with poor, hard and short) lives use as their “opiate” (or means of getting through the day)? Religion. Most specifically (given that Marx was German) that of the Protestant and Lutheran denominations. I can’t speak for Lutherans, but Protestantism holds the belief that if you are poor, yet hard working in this mortal life, then you will be rewarded in Heaven.

    Sounds like a good deal to an uneducated factory worker, no? Be poor and hungry, but when you die, boy do you strike it lucky!

    “Religion is the opiate of the masses” is Marx’s acknowledgment that his target audience, the industrial proletariat, had so little in life that they would grasp at the hint of something better later on through religious belief. Marx’s writings, when put into action, was to show the industrial proletariat that they COULD get something better NOW – ie, overthrow the capitalists and take power, sharing the material wealth equally.

  5. “Marx’s writings, when put into action, was to show the industrial proletariat that they COULD get something better NOW – ie, overthrow the capitalists and take power, sharing the material wealth equally.”

    You could have left the rest out. Marx for mine was talking about the gullibility of the working poor. Which is as relevant now, as it was then.

    The thrust of his argument for mine was, if you can believe this clap trap (religion) then you will believe in anything. And as we all know (that is the progressives among us) they will and do. The follies of the modern human species is testament to that salient fact. To much opiate becomes addictive and in most cases it destroys. Religion/Opiate all the same stuff. Gives a false sense of reality.

  6. Splatterbottom

    Unsurprisingly atheist Marxists were the greatest mass killers in history.

    The reason for all the whining about schools is the ideological embitterment that comes from suspecting that some students escape the indoctrination imposed by state schools, and worse still, that they may actually be being taught to think for themselves. Teaching Al Gore’s climate crap is every bit as bad as teaching creationism.

  7. “Unsurprisingly atheist Marxists were the greatest mass killers in history.”

    What a load of unmitigated twaddle. Yes SB how old is the written word? I guess you got all your information (twaddle that is) from Egyptian hieroglyphics? Or was that ancient Chinese texts from the Ming dynasty? I’m sure it’s full of references to Marxist ideology.The Mayans had plenty of references to the murderous communists. Or just maybe it was an interpretation of cave paintings by Cromagnon man? Toilet Graffiti is always a good place to look to information on commies.

    Yep all of those past civilizations, well they were all just happy flower people.

  8. “The reason for all the whining about schools is the ideological embitterment that comes from suspecting that some students escape the indoctrination imposed by state schools, and worse still, that they may actually be being taught to think for themselves”

    Yep SB I started to learn all about Marxism in a ‘State school’ in grade three. Grade four we went into the deep dark secrets of the Russian gulags and the murderous communists.BTW we did get taught that the Russians just changed their oppressors. Same oppression just a different master so to speak. Grade six was just wonderful, we learnt how the union movement and the evils of social welfare destroyed society. Yada yada yada. I think you may be getting my drift SB , that was maybe. Think for myself? Never.

  9. Teaching Al Gore’s climate crap is every bit as bad as teaching creationism.

    Yes SB and if my aunty had balls she’d be my uncle.

  10. Yes SB, the completely illusory state school indoctrination that doesn’t exist except in your head is way worse that the actual indoctrination into creationism, patriarchy, and other assorted evidence-free idiocy that occurs in religious homeschool environments. Projection much?

  11. Very well-put Jeremy. If there is hope it lies in secular education for everyone. It is very bad for our society that the government encourages religious schooling. It means that kids from religious backgrounds who go to these schools will not meet kids from other backgrounds. How does that help anyone? How does that make us a better society?

    It’s easy to say “well the Catholic system these days is pretty progressive” and so it must be okay. Well maybe it is, but if it’s okay for the Catholics and the Anglicans to have their own schools then it must be okay too for the Maronites and the Muslims and the Jews and for every tiny fundamentalist sect as well. How can we encouarage the big religions to have their own schools but discourage the little ones?

    As for home schooling, don’t get me started! I have two university degrees and two Cert IVs from TAFE but if I want to teach in a state school I’ll still need to spend a year doing a Dip Ed – and it seems that all teachers will soon need a masters degree as well.

    But any fool can homeschool his own kids! How is that fair?

  12. Splatterbottom

    Funny thing is that home-schooled kids do better than their peers at tertiary level.

  13. I think it’s undeniable that anyone suggesting the teaching of climate science is even remotely on par with teaching creationism is a troll. Or a fucking moron.

    Let’s all resolve to try harder to avoid feeding the trolls in 2012, people.

  14. .”Funny thing is that home-schooled kids do better than their peers at tertiary level.”

    More verbal diarrhea.

    Let me try, let me see. State schooled children can’t tell the difference between caca and clay. Hey this is easy..

  15. zaratoothbrush

    SB could be right in some respect: home-schoolers probably know where to find the best diploma mills…

  16. narcoticmusing

    Funny thing is that home-schooled kids do better than their peers at tertiary level.

    And how many girls are in that cohort? How many even know there is a choice?

    I won’t go as far as lynot to suggest homeschooling is outright abuse, or at least, to suggest DHS/DOCs should step in – particularly when balanced against the alternative (a home-schooled child has better outcomes/life than a ward of the State any day; both are denied basic choices). Indeed there are some benefits, particularly in very young children (regarding the cognitive development of the brain, particularly relating, ironically, to empathy – this is ironic as in later years, this is the part of the mind that is harmed by homeschooling. Nevertheless, at ages under 4, contact with parents increases the size of the part of the brain responsible for empathy).

    I’m not sure, SB, if you are advocating homeschooling just to generate angst on this forum or if you are defending the claims of the harms of indoctrination. There is significant evidence that girls in particular are denied choice and are treated unequally. I can comment from my own experiences within several church contexts that all forms of tertiary study for women was frowned upon, particularly if it was philosophical or a ‘mans’ subject. Anything remotely philosophical, including mathematics (which I agree is a philosophy) was frowned upon for all – actively discouraged. Let alone not even being aware it was an option as with a home schooled person.

    I feel I must also strongly disagree with your assertion that schools indoctrinate students. I am sure there are teachers with certain views on issues, and there are teachers that are not professional, but the vast majority are very professional (regardless of if they teach in a Catholic school or secular public school or otherwise) and have such a crowded curriculum there is no time to teach any agenda. This is where doctrine based schools differ, they make time to teach that agenda. This isn’t always bad. For example, Catholic primary schools teach what you would see as very left wing ideas like, sharing and caring for others. But this enables children to learn how to participate in a community and society – they are good values. Public schools teach these too but more in passing, rather than dedicated time. In secondary schools there is far too much to teach to have time to pass on some agenda. If some show Al Gore’s film, so what? Are you suggesting we censor his film because you don’t like it? I agree it has some misleading components, but it also raises some good points/topics for discussion and debate. It is one sided. Yes. So debate it.

    It is my fortunate experience that most (agreed, not all) teachers strive to teach critical literacy – ie the ability to tell the truth for yourself – to make up your own mind and not just believe what any one source tells you. SB, you frequently chastise those on this forum for assuming people are stupid and cannot think for themselves, and yet do you now imply the majority were brainwashed by the public system not to?

  17. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “I’m not sure, SB, if you are advocating homeschooling just to generate angst on this forum or if you are defending the claims of the harms of indoctrination.”

    Not at all. I didn’t home school my kids and I’m not advocating it. My main purpose is to add some balance to the hive-minded fundamentalism expressed here. My understanding is that studies have shown home-schooled kids do as well as or better in tertiary education and are not socially maladapted. There has also been some criticism of these studies.

    “I feel I must also strongly disagree with your assertion that schools indoctrinate students.”

    There is a fair bit of idiocy embedded in the curriculum. Critical minds see through it but sadly the more obtuse buy into it and become leftists.

    The teaching of values in schools is extremely important. It is a difficult issue because there is a tension with individual liberty. Still there must be some level at which we can agree as a society on basic concepts of good and bad. Instead we have the promotion of vague concepts like “fairness” and “diversity”. Diversity isn’t a worthwhile value so much as an excuse for moral relativism.

    “If some show Al Gore’s film, so what? Are you suggesting we censor his film because you don’t like it?”

    Given that it is fundamentally flawed unscientific political propaganda it is no better than creationism. The only reason to show it is to demonstrate the stupidity of the politicisation of science. ( I had to pay for my kids to be taken to see it).

    I have great respect for teachers and the very great help some of them have given my children. Nevertheless there is a political cast to the curriculum. I noticed it most in the geography courses my kids did.

  18. narcoticmusing

    I must admit I haven’t paid much attention to the geography course content. Nevertheless, English and literature do not appear to have a left bent, although it depends on the school council involvement as to whether the texts chosen fall one way or another.

    Mathematics remains, if anything, slightly right (in that any pragmatic mathematics is considered rationalist economics and anything else is treated as wishy washy never use it despite it having a core function in developing the brain and logic capacity to enable one to tackle more sophisticated ideas).

    Nor do the science subjects (both general science in 7-10 and senior specialist sciences) predominantly because the curriculum is so full there is no space to do some really constructive things like watch Al Gore’s film and then debate it – perhaps the issue here is that the post-film activity should be to discuss/debate the issues in the film critically and use it as a launching point as opposed to using the film as a lesson in its own right. I am sure some teachers do the latter which is unfortunate and lazy (I have seen this particularly with teachers being forced to teach science when they are not qualified to – but this is an entirely different dilemma). I have also seen the former, teachers using Al Gore’s film as a launching point for discussion and debate, including debunking some of the things raised in the film.

    Art and physical education (ie sport as opposed to health) seem to be more and more marginalised as other studies in the crowded curriculum take greater time. This is unfortunate both in the context of health outcomes and mental health outcomes – art appreciation/practice is linked to better mental health outcomes and resilience. I don’t need to explain the benefits of sport/physical education.

    The issue here, is that of all that I mentioned above, the home-schooled child does not even get the opportunity to find out. If a girl, she gets taught how to be a good wife and mother, where good is defined as domestic servitude with a ‘submissive spirit’. This is not ok.

    Btw, there is some very informative longitudinal studies, particularly in the UK re: home-schooling (actually about all types of education but they included home-schooled subjects) that show its impacts are indeed very negative to adults (compared to public/private equivalents), albeit not as negative as say, being a ward of the state or being in a legitimately abusive home. I do not think it is correct to characterise home-schooling in the same way as one would neglect, physical, mental or sexual abuse. These are serious harms.

  19. There is a fair bit of idiocy embedded in the curriculum. Critical minds see through it but sadly the more obtuse buy into it and become leftists sorry that should read “wingnuts”

    Change one word and the truth shines out.

  20. Religious education isn’t child abuse. That sort of abuse of logic is on a par with calling creationism a science or chess a sport.

    As for Catholic schools…

    Well according to that awesome source – my mum – who works at the Catholic Education Office and helped write the national curriculum that brainwahes kids about global warming and sustainability, enrollment rates in catholic schools are rising especially among non catholics because of the better educational outcomes these schools provide.

    So they are hardly exclusive institutions only for catholics. They are exclusive institutions for people who can afford fees.

    Which is a serious issue and says more about the quality of state school education than anything else. (Fix the funding and support for state schools and this will no longer be as big a problem.) What it doesn’t do is segregate kids by religion. If anything its the opposite of what it was when I went to a Catholic school. Then nearly all of us came from catholic families, and most probably became secular humanists as a result of our education.

    Homeschooling is a different matter tho. Especially religious homeschooling – it says alot about the nature of US culture and its insular scared attitude thats its on the rise. It won’t “work” in the long run tho. All those home schooled kids in the US are going to off in a big way when they finally get exposed to the real world.

  21. “Religious education isn’t child abuse. That sort of abuse of logic is on a par with calling creationism a science or chess a sport.”

    Yea it is, and your comparisons are lousy. Catholic education is on par with witchcraft. Although they don’t burn you at the stake any more so that’s a mass improvement all round, I guess.

    Only religious fruit cakes call creationism a science. Most people call it a theory, and that’s being generous.

    .

  22. Creationism isn’t even a theory. But child abuse is one thing and (most) religious education is another. So while religious fruitcakes might consider creationism a science, secular ones think religious education is child abuse.

    Not all fruitcakes are religious. Some are even delicious.

    Catholic education isn’t on par with witchcraft either. Witchcraft is much more fun for a start, and the catholic education I had was fundamentally a secular, scientific experience. Even the religious bits were dogma free. My catholic education taught me scientific method, biology, basic physiology, maths – calculus, algebra, trigonometry, and all the basic stuff you need to get those concepts, like addition, subtraction and the like. It taught me history, a little bit of politics, a lot of the basis of Australian civic life. How laws are made, why. What voting entails etc etc. A bit of basic computer programming, and various oher things that have nothing to do with religion.

    My catholic education even taught me that if I was gonna have sex with people and not be in a mutually monogamous lifelong relationship then I should probably wear a condom, what with unwanted pregnancies in certain situations and aids and other stds in potentially all of them. That was controversial I know, and some parents objected, cos they were freaks – their kids missed those lessons.

    That is the fault of their freaky psycho parents not the Catholic school I went to.

    That was in the 80s. I accept it might not be the case now, or everywhere, in every school.

    I even learned a healthy scepticism for religion, but that most religious people whether they were priests/brothers/nuns or lay people, were people first and just trying to muddle their way thru life like everyone else. (I always wondered if they were called lay people cos they were the ones who were allowed to get laid.)

    So far witchcraft involves lots of sex and mind altering substances.

    Which is good. But nothing like a Catholic education.

  23. “So far witchcraft involves lots of sex and mind altering substances.”

    Being an x rock muso there is nothing wrong with that.

    What did the pope decree? Oh Yea! Stop it before you go blind.

    Condoms!!!! Perish the thought. Spare me the porkies.

  24. The school was in Essendon. An all boys secondary school that produced last years brownlow winner. OK they promoted the idea of waiting till you got married before you had sex, but then qualified that by saying “but if you’re not gonna wait then use these things”. And it was the mid eighties when condoms had been shown to be the only possible was (apart from abstinence) to stop or inhibit sexual transmission of AIDS.

    The people responsible used to get hassled by hard core fundie catholics, including that Margaret Tighe lady. She was one of the parents whose kids were banned from “sex education’ classes. Tho they weren’t really sex education classes, more basic life skills. She used to have her kids spy on teachers and report what was taught in a variety of classes back to Pell when he was in melbourne.

    The catholic Church hierarchy, especially the ones who were outraged by vatican 2, are full on. they are dangerous people and .. the history of the church makes sense if you think about how it attracts the likes of Pell and those “decent church-goin’ women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.”

    But mostly the school was interested in giving its students an honest, excellent, modern education that would serve them well/turn them into good little conformist citizens. Religion came second to that. And when I was there Aussie Rules was a bigger religion than catholicism anyway. Religion might have been important to some people but footy was life.

  25. Sorry Jules it’s all wasted on me. I find religion of any type to be dangerous. That some people find comfort in believing in some man/ women in the sky or what ever they think God is, and it brings a comfort to them fine.

    For mine it is and always was a nonsense. Humanity will rid itself of this conjob one day, unfortunately I won’t be around to see it.

  26. narcoticmusing

    It is interesting that the possibility of educating children about condoms was higher in the 80s than now – have we become more conservative?

    Lynot – you would love our dear first chief justice of the highcourt – he compared/equated religion and witchcraft too. He was a great man.

  27. “Lynot – you would love our dear first chief justice of the highcourt – he compared/equated religion and witchcraft too. He was a great man.”

    Indeed. Further to that, Sir Mark Oliphant Governor General of South Australia 1971-76.

    Sir Mark was involved in the Manhattan project is on record as equating all religious people as charlatans. He would not meet any representative of any religious denomination whilst he was in office. His secretary was informed to tell them to ‘Go Away’ (From the book grossly improper) a paper back about Don Dunstan.

    . That btw is not some delusional throw away line but a fact. He was like the above in your burst, a forward thinker of great integrity. Probably (tongue firmly in cheek) indoctrinated into the communist ideology at a state school. When he was young and gullible he he.

    The world needs more Sir Mark Oliphants.

  28. narcoticmusing

    The quote, for your own collection, Lynot:

    [This was in response to the rationale being given to the Court that Ecclesiastical law should be accepted as authority for their position. It is a long quote so I’ve skipped bits for brevity.]

    “Many doctrines have been asserted on the supposed authority of learned persons… I do not, myself, accept the dogma of the verbal inerrancy of ancient text writers. Indeed, equally respectable authority, and of equal antiquity, may be cited for establishing as a matter of law the reality of witchcraft…. We are, therefore, freed to regard it as a case… arising in the 20th century, and to decide it in accordance with general principles of law, which are usually in accord with reason and common sense.”
    Dodeward v Spence (1908) per Griffith CJ in the High Court of Australia (I’d be happy to provide the citation for anyone interested).

  29. “We are, therefore, freed to regard it as a case… arising in the 20th century, and to decide it in accordance with general principles of law, which are usually in accord with reason and common sense.” ”

    Clear. With reason and commonsense. Religion is left wanting in both these parameters. Religion like Witchcraft exists only in the minds of fools.

    Yes I know many leaned men know and accept the dogma of religion, this like other events in human history will have intellectuals not of the faith, baffled for centuries. Human beings are as gullible as the day is long, one does not have to go back beyond antiquity to come to this conclusion. George Bush was like John Howard, Maggie Thatcher elected more than once.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????We are about to gin a war up with Iran, the list is endless.

  30. narcoticmusing

    One can’t help but admire Chief Justice Griffith; although at the same time, I also admire Sir Isaac Newton and he was devout in his beliefs (to the point it he struggled constantly to reconcile that which he observed to his faith.)

  31. narcoticmusing

    Btw – the case was over a pretty controversial matter too – whether or not a human body was capable of being property. So it wasn’t like he was making this statement over a bottle of soda or something.

  32. As a religious person, I must say all you atheists treating us like nothing but superstitious uneducated idiots is a touch patronising and offensive. But never mind that, God knows I have been patronising and offensive in this place many times over.

    I’d homeschool my kids if I had them, maybe, but I think that’s because teaching a young child about arithmetic and English and Physics and Evolution and Group Theory and Socrates is the most exciting job a person could conceivably aspire to. And I’d love to live in a household with a big family, a lot of kids, and a lot of stay-at-homes, but I would demand the girls go out and get careers at equal rates to the boys.

    Here here to the value of Catholic educations, too – giving poor kids a chance to learn stuff decades before the secularists got in on the act.

  33. Also, narcotic, I don’t know exactly which bits of Newton’s biography you refer to. But my understanding is that he struggled not to reconcile Faith and Science, but Heresy with Orthodoxy. He spent most of his working life not on physics, but on studying ancient texts, generally religious, with a major focus on anything in Greek, Hebrew, and most of all The Bible. He was as a result of his research an Arianist (believer in Christ as the Messiah and Saviour but NOT as part of a Triune God), a totally unacceptable view in the Church and hence society of his time. But it certainly wasn’t the struggle of “Oh look I can see the natural world, wow God must not exist…” that a modern Atheist might imagine.

    Or at least, that’s what I know of Newton. Perhaps you were referring to some other elements of his faith and his life?

  34. narcoticmusing

    Newton was a philosopher and as such, at the time, that also made him a scientist. These days we separate the two but both are just trying to understand the world.

    I was not trying to condemn his search or paths he took, I only mention that he had a difficult time reconciling some of the things he observed with his beliefs which led in some instances to him attempting to reason his observation in the context of his faith rather than with other observations.

    Jordan, I also did not attempt to belittle you or people of your faith. My point was regarding a party using their doctrines to impose their belief on another (in this case, within a court of law). I think that is valid to this thread which discussed the concept of imposing a belief system on another. The judge in this case was very wise in rejecting that one person’s faith, in a secular society and court, was an appropriate source of law for the other party who did not share that faith or society at large.

  35. narcoticmusing

    But it certainly wasn’t the struggle of “Oh look I can see the natural world, wow God must not exist…” that a modern Atheist might imagine.

    I actually claimed quite the opposite about Newton. I’m not sure how you got that impression unless you had in your head that Atheists try to find athiestic people in the world. I had suggested that he’d observe something and question the observation if it didn’t fit within his belief system and would then attempt to rationalise it – hence, I suggested it undermined some of his scientific work. That being said, considering his contribution to science, I can hardly criticise the man for taking a different path to understanding than perhaps I would.

  36. No worries narcotic, your tone is generally respectful, other atheists tend to be a little bit heavier on the contempt 😛

    On Newton, I think the misunderstanding arises simply because I misread a couple of ambiguous word/phrases you used. When you said:

    (to the point it he struggled constantly to reconcile that which he observed to his faith.)

    I thought you meant a conflict between “faith” as in “his personal sense of faith”, and “observations” as in “scientific observations”. But if you’re referring to his faith as the religious community he was part of, and that being in conflict with his own research into scripture, then yes, our readings agree 100%.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s