Thursday, January 05, 2012

This is what Dawkins says about child abuse

A redated post.

It's my contention that these statements go well beyond the sensible things you might say about religious education, and implies that all religious education is abusive because it subverts the mind (from the "proper" view of atheism). Gosh, what if Duane Gish compared teachers of evolution to pedophiles? Well, he might actually have. I'm not a great reader of Gish.

47 comments:

Timothy David said...

Do you know if Dawkins has ever cited any actual psychological studies on the effects of teaching the doctrine of Hell to children? Whenever I read something he's written or hear something he's said on the subject, it tends to be anecdotal, which is a bit strange coming from a man so obsessed with rigorously testing everything else for hard evidence.

Tom Gilson said...

timothy david, I've seen Dawkins say a lot on this and none of it has had anything to do with evidence. It's strange indeed.

Victor Reppert said...

TD: You are right on the money in pointing out that Dawkins' insistence on scientific testing and hard evidence goes on holiday when he talks about the psychological effects of a religious upbringing. To everything there is a season, and this is the season to use the word "bullshit" to describe what Dawkins is doing here.

Parsons, to do him credit, does refer to psychological literature, based on Chesen's book Religion Can be Hazardous To Your Health. The evidence Tom presents in his response to Dawkins suggests that there is some counterevidence to Dawkins' claim must be taken into consideration as well.

Mike Darus said...

Dawkins uses rhetorical tricks in an attempt to form an argument. The result is a sloppy argument. I pulled these quotes from Dawkins:

“the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse”

Dawkins “proves” that teaching hell is mental child abuse by positing the possibility. Weak but effective for the casual, sympathetic reader.

“An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is.”

Here Dawkins adds assault to the indictment. However, he fails to differentiate between threat and warning.

“mental terrorism of the hell fire type”

Now Dawkins is employing rhetorical terrorism. Does he really hope to substantiate that teaching a child about hell is similar to strapping on a suicide bomb?

“Why aren't Catholics and ex-Catholics lining up to sue the church into the ground, for a lifetime of psychological damage?”

It is interesting how Dawkins minimizes the severity of sexual abuse to enhance his indictment of the teaching of theology. He claims that most priestly sexual abuse is “mild”, a “misdemeanor”, or just “embarrassing” and the real harm is psychological. Is this how moral judgments work now?

“The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse”

Mental abuse is a criminal offense. Does he really want the government to bring charges against clergy and parents for what they teach their children? Does he want the government to be guardians of truth and to punish the heretics?

“…we should work to free the children of the world from the religions which, with parental approval, damage minds too young to understand what is happening to them”

Is this a call to a world-wide ban on religions?

“Priestly groping of child bodies is disgusting. But it may be less harmful in the long run than priestly subversion of child minds.”

It is comforting that atheism has no priests. Or do they?

Victor Reppert said...

MD: It is comforting that atheism has no priests. Or do they?

VR: Haha. No priests, just a Grand Inquisitor or two!

mattghg said...

Doesn't Dawkins write somewhere about having received letters from parents and educators of children who were distraught at having been told by him that, at bottom, everything is meaningless? Doesn't this then count as a form of "mental abuse"?

Can't find the reference right now but I'm looking for it.

Ilíon said...

"Doesn't Dawkins write somewhere about having received letters from parents and educators of children who were distraught at having been told by him that, at bottom, everything is meaningless?"

Well, doncha know, that's just the "wrong" way to teach the trVth of atheism to children.

The "right" way is to teach them that, in the final analysis, we're all nothing but worm-shit [I refuse to apologize for using that good English word].

mattghg said...

Well, that would probably be psychologically damaging. As, indeed, it would be to tell your kid: "The reason I care about you is because I'm programmed by my genes to protect copies of them".

Also, as Bede has pointed out, on Christianity, hell can be avoided, whereas on atheism, annihilation cannot be avoided. And he has quite a telling story to tell:

"I have a friend who was brought up by atheist parents. When she asked him what happens when you die, her father admitted that you are worm food. Annihilation was all that he could offer her. This caused her such distress that many years later she admitted that she was afraid of having children in case they suffered as she had. Even today, she suffers panic attacks over death. Worse, her atheistic upbringing means that she has never been able to find her home in the church despite desperately wanting to."

Ilíon said...

"Well, that would probably be psychologically damaging. As, indeed, it would be to tell your kid: "The reason I care about you is because I'm programmed by my genes to protect copies of them".

We might thing so, but we have in on good authority (the general gist of several responses there) that this is the way to do it.


"Also, as Bede has pointed out, on Christianity, hell can be avoided, whereas on atheism, annihilation cannot be avoided."

Of course! I certainly understood that even as a young child.

Shackleman said...

"I have a friend who was brought up by atheist parents. When she asked him what happens when you die, her father admitted that you are worm food. Annihilation was all that he could offer her. This caused her such distress that many years later she admitted that she was afraid of having children in case they suffered as she had. Even today, she suffers panic attacks over death. Worse, her atheistic upbringing means that she has never been able to find her home in the church despite desperately wanting to."

This has been precisely my experience, although my upbringing was sans religion, not necessarily atheistic. I received my education on the subject from reading the philosophical works of "scientists" (of course, I know now in adulthood that scientists have no authority on the subject of philosophy, but that doesn't stop them from publishing this hogwash, complete with a public who consumes their works, assuming that scientists are the *only* authorities on *anything*). It was and is profoundly emotionally damaging. As an adult, and only recently, I've come to the Church and to Christianity more generally, but it's an uneasy sort of truce.

Dawkins and the like are the ones causing emotional abuse if you ask me. I would be very interested indeed to read a *scientific* study of the emotional and psychological effects of atheistic teachings. Anybody know of one? Anybody want to start one? I'd offer my anecdotes as part of the data set!

Victor Reppert said...

People should notice that Dawkins is making a testable claim or at least, a potentially testable claim. He is saying that the damage done by the teaching of religious beliefs like the doctrine of hell is similar to the danage done by sexual abuse of children. In fact the comparison is supposed to hold even if the doctrine of hell is not part of the upbringing. So, where is the psychological studies confirming this claim. The evidence concerning the effects of sexual abuse is well-documented.

When someone has a status in the scientific community, but uses that status to defend claims in the absence of any scientific evidence in their favor, he needs to be called on it.

Ilíon said...

Of course. And repeatedly, continuously, courageously: there is no point in even starting to call [insert-name] on misusing his position/prestige as a scientist to advance an absurd agenda if one/we are going to wimp-out when some 'atheists' start the oh-so-predictable of accusations "monomania," or "beating a dead horse," or "refusing to 'move on,'" or "persecution and/or misrepresentation of [insert-name]," or "hyper-sensitivity," or "having a persecution/martyr complex," or etc, etc, etc.

Hans said...

To be fair to Dawkins, teaching Muslim children that it is right for 9 year old girls like Aisha to have sex, really is child abuse.

Emanuel Goldstein said...

Abortion of a viable unborn baby is the ultimate abuse.

And atheists defend it routinely.

Papalinton said...

A balanced, and uncompromising insight into religious terrorism. As much as VR and others on this site wish it were not true and dismiss it out of hand simply underscores how the christian memeplex is congenitally unable to clean its own nest, looking only to reinterpret or reassign its opinions as a means of minimizing prodigious cognitive dissonance. This is the practiced art of apologetics since the inception of the christian epoch.

As someone said, "a belief in religion is to believe indiscriminately."

Let's face it guys, Dawkins has called you out. No amount of casuistry or nonchalance is going to take away the import of the damning overview of religion that you shake off with such unprincipled indifference.

You might wish to read this article of what christians are doing in Nigeria:

http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/01/notorious-nigerian-witch-hunter-to.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewHumanistBlog+%28New+Humanist+Blog%29

and this one:


http://newhumanist.org.uk/2548/witch-hunt-saboteurs-by-richard-wilson-mayjune-2011

if you were all so honest in doing something to rid child abuse by religion.

Don McIntosh said...

Papalinton,

Regarding “religious terrorism”:

It seems to me that if Scripture is indeed revelation from God, and if hell is indeed a scriptural doctrine, then the doctrine of hell would be as much true in principle as hell itself would be unspeakably horrible to actually experience. In that case eternal torture at the hands of demons in hell would be not only be terrible for a child to consider but a real possibility, as would the peril associated with riding in a car with a stranger or crossing the street without looking both ways.

Unsettling as they are, these are the sorts of realities with which children—and the rest of us—must eventually be confronted. Terrorists are not just terrifying to the imagination, but also capable of actual acts of terror against ourselves and our loved ones. This is precisely why we resist them so vigorously. But the fact that Dawkins commits the moralistic fallacy doesn’t make me guilty of “unprincipled indifference.”

Tom Gilson said...

Dawkins is not only wrong, he's ignoring all science. It's very hard to understand how someone who claims science as his sole authority could do that. Hard, that is, unless you recognize that he takes science as his sole authority precisely when it suits him to do so, and ignores science when that suits him.

Victor Reppert said...

Perezoso, you're still banned.

Papalinton said...

" ... if Scripture is indeed revelation from God, and if hell is indeed a scriptural doctrine,...."

If, if, if! Always if, if, if; always the equivocation, always the conditional predicator to any discussion about the christian mythos. It is as if one is always trying to convince oneself of their own belief in belief.

All this if, if, iffing, has the equivalent strength of explanatory power of a pork chop. All just words.

Don, all that you have written is supposition, a teleology that simply isn't there, just imaginary. Let's take your two principal notions:

1. 'If scripture is indeed revelation from god'; no proofs, fact or testable claim has substantiated any causal relationship, not even a correlational connection. Indeed, on the contrary, christians proudly claim this disjunction as verification. It is usually termed 'faith'. The term 'revelation', as it is used in this statement is proscriptive in its most restricted sense, as a confession or an admission in sharing a confession of faith. No substantive link to evidence can be adduced from this meme.

2. 'if hell is indeed a scriptural doctrine'; Of course! hell is a scriptural doctrine. Christians have been beating us over the head with it for millennia. But that is all it is, scriptural doctrine. Doesn't make it fact or real. It is and remains a wholly owned derivative of the christian memeplex. Without the hell meme, the christian mythos would not survive on its own. Hell is an integral element of the christian doctrine. It seems to me that Satan is the most powerful dramatis persona in the christian myth because without Satan there can be no god. Manipulating existential fear has been a clerical strategy for compliance and control of club members since the dawn of the christian epoch.

You say, "Terrorists are not just terrifying to the imagination, but also capable of actual acts of terror against ourselves and our loved ones. This is precisely why we resist them so vigorously."

And terrorism, whether through religious indoctrination, enculturation or inculcation must also be resisted vigorously. And on that point Dawkins is correct in signaling what is happening in your local neighbourhood:

A disgrace to Humanity - Child Indoctrination
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVdEMCTGJS4
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvLrpyTYOGA
Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udw4XOZ_HAg

You say, "But the fact that Dawkins commits the moralistic fallacy doesn’t make me guilty of “unprincipled indifference.”
No moralistic fallacy here folks and yes, you are guilty of unprincipled indifference.

Papalinton said...

Tom Gilson
I read your piece. Pretty much another apologetical blurb that hinges its credibility on misrepresentation. I note your premise is based on a book, "Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Eyes of American Teenagers" and make known loudly that it was printed by Oxford house as some form of legitimation. The study seems a bona fide study, as I have only skimmed it, but it looks kosher.

But here comes the Gilson apologetical deliberate twist of the outcome of the research and conflation: "What can we conclude? This study suggests (though its methods cannot prove) that growing up Christian is a very good thing." and "For followers of Christ who have been concerned about the bluster raised by books like this [Dawkins, The Christian Delusion]: This, like other baseless attacks, will pass. The Christian faith has stood for a long time; it will withstand this, too."

No it doesn't. It doesn't say anything of a sort about christianity.

From Wiki:
"The authors find that many young people believed in several moral statutes not exclusive to any of the major world religions. It is this combination of beliefs that they label Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD).[cont]

Papalinton said...

[Cont.]

Authors' analysis [from Wiki]:

The authors say the system is "moralistic" because it "is about inculcating a moralistic approach to life. It teaches that central to living a good and happy life is being a good, moral person."
The authors describe the system as being "about providing therapeutic benefits to its adherent" as opposed to being about things like "repentance from sin, of keeping the Sabbath, of living as a servant of a sovereign divine, of steadfastly saying one's prayers, of faithfully observing high holy days, of building character through suffering..." and further as "belief in a particular kind of God: one who exists, created the world, and defines our general moral order, but not one who is particularly personally involved in one's affairs--especially affairs in which one would prefer not to have God involved."

The remoteness of God in this kind of theism explains the choice of the term "Deism," even though "the Deism here is revised from its classical eighteenth-century version by the therapeutic qualifier, making the distant God selectively available for taking care of needs."
It views God as "something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he's always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process."
It has been pointed out that this use of the term presents a misuse of Deism. An examination of the term reveals that "Deism is belief in God through Reason, Nature, and/or Experience" but that "MTD supporters base their beliefs almost entirely off of what makes them feel good (hence the word "Therapeutic"), not any sort of logical, intellectual reasoning." This presents the first error in using the term "Deism."

The authors believe that "a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity's misbegotten stepcousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism."[ But it is pointed out as well that a second error in the use of "Deism" is that the active deity posited could make this simply another branch of Christianity, but one not recognized by other sects equally amorphous from an original perspective.""

Gilson takes all the 'good bits' and rams them under the rubric of christianity. Such conflation is mischievous and dishonest. The telling conclusion of the authors is, ".. significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity's misbegotten stepcousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism."

And it is here I take issue with the emotive expression 'misbegotten' inserted into a research finding. It stands out like the dog's proverbials, an unwarranted insertion. But then i am not surprised at this rather jejune and silly attempt to stamp one's personal imprimatur into the findings. From the Wiki bio: "Smith’s theoretical agenda has also been to move a certain view of culture, morality, and identity to the center of sociological theorizing generally and the sociology of religion specifically." Oh well. I guess it takes a christian to surreptitiously misinform the reader in the name of jesus.

Come on Tom. You can do better than this.

Papalinton said...

[cont]

In regard to the MTD, Damon Linker suggested in a 2009 blog post that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, while theologically "insipid," is "perfectly suited to serve as the civil religion of the highly differentiated twenty-first century United States.

Yep, the makings of a civil religion.

Sopme more info on Damon Linker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nxd8Eoz2ps

:)

Don McIntosh said...

['If scripture is indeed revelation from god'; no proofs, fact or testable claim has substantiated any causal relationship, not even a correlational connection. Indeed, on the contrary, christians proudly claim this disjunction as verification. It is usually termed 'faith'. The term 'revelation', as it is used in this statement is proscriptive in its most restricted sense, as a confession or an admission in sharing a confession of faith. No substantive link to evidence can be adduced from this meme.]

Okay, good! So you will agree that there appears to be a subjective or even volitional aspect to apprehending the truth (or falsity) of the Christian religion. Now given that a religious person sincerely perceives hell to be a reality, it would be perfectly rational and thoroughly moral for that person to warn his children of that perceived reality for the express purpose of encouraging them to avoid it. In much the same way you would presumably do what you could to prevent your own loved ones from driving off a cliff or sticking a fork in a light socket—assuming, that is, that you believe those actions could result in tragic consequences.

But you have to decide exactly what it is you want to discuss. Earlier you were arguing that Christians are guilty of "unprincipled indifference" to your own perception of Christian teaching on hell as an acutely immoral form of "religious terrorism." Now you are suggesting that, quite regardless of how otherwise morally principled they may be, Christians are guilty of embracing imaginary suppositions without epistemic justification. These are of course separate issues.

[And terrorism, whether through religious indoctrination, enculturation or inculcation must also be resisted vigorously.]

Does that mean that you would willingly make religious people psychologically uncomfortable by vigorously warning them of the dangers of religious terrorism? If so, then by your own rather malleable definition of "terrorism" you would be...a terrorist.

[You say, "But the fact that Dawkins commits the moralistic fallacy doesn’t make me guilty of “unprincipled indifference.”
No moralistic fallacy here folks and yes, you are guilty of unprincipled indifference.]

I thought that as a skeptic you would have an affinity for brutal, stark realities, and I can imagine nothing more brutal or stark than an eternity in hell. Yet you seem to be appealing to discomfiting perceptions of evil associated with promulgating Christian doctrine in order to refute Christianity itself. That's like saying evolution must be false because extinctions are undesirable. How can that not be a moralistic fallacy?

Steven Carr said...

What exactly is Dawkins problem with priests telling children they will go to Hell unless they repent of their sins?

Sheesh, doesn't he want children to hear both sides, or just one?

Papalinton said...

Don McIntosh
Did you view the 3 parts of the documentary that I posted? Namely:

A disgrace to Humanity - Child Indoctrination
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVdEMCTGJS4
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvLrpyTYOGA
Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udw4XOZ_HAg


What are your thoughts?

You would be happy for your children to attend such meetings?

Do you subscribe to this form of political theology?

Do you indeed attend such meetings in your local parish hall?

Please respond.

Perezoso said...

And you're still a suspect VR, fraud, hypocrite, most likely a pedophile (defending them, as usual), like your palsies here.

buh bye wicca trash

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Steven Carr
"What exactly is Dawkins problem with priests telling children they will go to Hell unless they repent of their sins?
Sheesh, doesn't he want children to hear both sides, or just one?"

Yes Dawkins really has it in for priests doesn't he? I wonder made him so mad about priests and kids? After all, it was the priests' responsibility to make sure every catholic child had a genuine sin to repent, and what better way than pederasty or paedephilia? What's the good of a child growing up without a sin; that would make him/her a very unsuitable christian unable to repent.

Priests must make sure everyone suffers sin. After all priests are the frontline jesus soldiers that everyone must respect and defer to. They studied long and hard at seminary school [or is that semen-ary school] to deal with kids' sexual sins. Just ask Ratzi. He knows the absolute importance of the relationship between sinful children in propping up the catholic message.

I agree with you Steven, doesn't he [Dawkins] want children to hear both sides, or just one? Dawkins really has cheek.

Sheesh

Perezoso said...

for a "Christian"
Reppert sure loves his mumbling atheists (pseudo-atheists) who clog up the com-boxes daily.

Don McIntosh said...

Papalinton,

Re: Jesus Camp

For starters I don't subscribe to "dominion theology" and have no interest in joining "Joel's Army." The example and teaching of Christ make it pretty clear that Christians are not called to take over the world's political institutions. The problem for me here, then, isn't so much that these children are not being taught the truths of Christianity at an age-appropriate level of instruction (though it appears they are not) but that their teachers don't seem to have the best handle on Christianity themselves.

But now that you mention it, didn't Dawkins recently publish a book with the express purpose of indoctrinating kids with the good news of natural selection and the blessed hope of annihilation?

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

"The problem for me here, then, isn't so much that these children are not being taught the truths of Christianity at an age-appropriate level of instruction (though it appears they are not) but that their teachers don't seem to have the best handle on Christianity themselves."

And that's it? Nothing to write home about? No moral or social outrage? I say, unprincipled indifference at best, depraved indifference at worst.

And Dawkins writing a book is considered indoctrination? And Dawkins's indoctrination strategy in writing a book is of the same order as that portrayed in the Jesus Camp video documentary?

No balanced, right thinking reasonable person would suggest that Dawkins writing a book on evolution amounts to indoctrination.

Yes, christianity is an ugly undiscriminating, uncritical, thoughtless beast in matters of moral discernment. Good people do good things, bad people do bad things. Only religion can make a good person do bad things.

The christian moral compass is as illusory as its god and its legendary accretion of the jesus figure.

B. Prokop said...

"Only religion can make a good person do bad things."

Papalinton, we've been through this before, and you know very well the above statement is false. Now if you were to change it to "Only fanatical conviction can make a good person do bad things", then we might be able to agree on something. But surely you'd have to admit that Lenin's fanatical conviction of a demonstrably non-religious communism led him to do many bad things.

Why do you persist in repeating debunked statements, when you yourself can't possibly believe them?

Papalinton said...

Off topic, but very interesting:

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8399631

Religion, you just gotta love it.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"But surely you'd have to admit that Lenin's fanatical conviction of a demonstrably non-religious communism led him to do many bad things."

I agree. Lenin's conviction of communism was appalling. And communism like any other authoritarian or totalitarian system is fundamentally one for the apparatchiks, be it catholicism or communism.

You say, "Why do you persist in repeating debunked statements, when you yourself can't possibly believe them?"

I think it pretty obvious communism attempted to supplant the Russian Orthodox church as a belief system, and when it failed, that very same vacuum is once again being filled by the Russian Orthodox. And Putin is a devout Russian Orthodox and plainly and unashamedly wears the crucifix around his neck.

From Wiki: "Right before an official visit to Israel his mother gave him his baptismal cross telling him to get it blessed “I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since.”

It is ironic that in the days of communism Putin was a very high ranking KGB officer and in the fall of communism is now a god-fearing Orthodox.
Just ask the journalists and media in Moscow how christian he is. You just gotta love religion.


http://www.christiantoday.com/article/putin.sends.christmas.greetings.to.orthodox.believers/16070.htm

B. Prokop said...

So then you'll now promise to never repeat that debunked canard again?

Don McIntosh said...

Papalinton,

[And that's it? Nothing to write home about? No moral or social outrage? I say, unprincipled indifference at best, depraved indifference at worst.]

I usually reserve “moral or social outrage” for overtly and deliberately immoral acts that clearly threaten the public welfare. Instead some kids are being taught a specific set of theological doctrines which I do not happen to completely believe, but which I cannot prove to be completely false, by people who don’t seem especially well trained in child education and development. So I point out that I disagree with them and their methods, and go about my business. I take it that you don’t see any irony in condemning me for lacking sanctimonious intolerance of others?

[And Dawkins writing a book is considered indoctrination? And Dawkins's indoctrination strategy in writing a book is of the same order as that portrayed in the Jesus Camp video documentary?]

The point here is that in decrying child indoctrination while creating ideological reading materials for children, Dawkins is being a wee bit duplicitous.

Papalinton said...

Don MacIntosh
"The point here is that in decrying child indoctrination while creating ideological reading materials for children, Dawkins is being a wee bit duplicitous."

No. The point is the book is in accord with the science in which the fact of evolution is unequivocal. It is the central organizing feature of these disciplines:
Aerobiology — the study of airborne organic particles
Agriculture — the study of producing crops from the land, with an emphasis on practical applications
Anatomy — the study of form and function, in plants, animals, and other organisms, or specifically in humans
Arachnology — the study of arachnids
Astrobiology — the study of evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe—also known as exobiology, exopaleontology, and bioastronomy
Biochemistry — the study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
Bioengineering — the study of biology through the means of engineering with an emphasis on applied knowledge and especially related to biotechnology
Biogeography — the study of the distribution of species spatially and temporally
Bioinformatics — the use of information technology for the study, collection, and storage of genomic and other biological data
Biomathematics or Mathematical Biology — the quantitative or mathematical study of biological processes, with an emphasis on modeling
Biomechanics — often considered a branch of medicine, the study of the mechanics of living beings, with an emphasis on applied use through prosthetics or orthotics
Biomedical research — the study of the human body in health and disease
Biophysics — the study of biological processes through physics, by applying the theories and methods traditionally used in the physical sciences
Biotechnology — a new and sometimes controversial branch of biology that studies the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification and synthetic biology
Building biology — the study of the indoor living environment
Botany — the study of plants
Cell biology — the study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell
Conservation Biology — the study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
Cryobiology — the study of the effects of lower than normally preferred temperatures on living beings.
Developmental biology — the study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure
Ecology — the study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment
Embryology — the study of the development of embryo (from fecundation to birth). See also topobiology.
Entomology — the study of insects
Environmental Biology — the study of the natural world, as a whole or in a particular area, especially as affected by human activity
Epidemiology — a major component of public health research, studying factors affecting the health of populations
Epigenetics — the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence
Ethology — the study of animal behavior
Evolutionary Biology — the study of the origin and descent of species over time
Genetics — the study of genes and heredity
Herpetology — the study of reptiles and amphibians
Histology — the study of cells and tissues, a microscopic branch of anatomy
Ichthyology — the study of fish
Integrative biology — the study of whole organisms

[Cont.]

Papalinton said...

[Cont.]

Limnology — the study of inland waters
Mammalogy — the study of mammals
Marine Biology — the study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings
Microbiology — the study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living things
Molecular Biology — the study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry
Mycology — the study of fungi
Neurobiology — the study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology and pathology
Oceanography — the study of the ocean, including ocean life, environment, geography, weather, and other aspects influencing the ocean
Oncology — the study of cancer processes, including virus or mutation oncogenesis, angiogenesis and tissues remoldings
Ornithology — the study of birds
Population biology — the study of groups of conspecific organisms, including
Population ecology — the study of how population dynamics and extinction
Population genetics — the study of changes in gene frequencies in populations of organisms
Paleontology — the study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
Pathobiology or pathology — the study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease
Parasitology — the study of parasites and parasitism
Pharmacology — the study and practical application of preparation, use, and effects of drugs and synthetic medicines
Physiology — the study of the functioning of living organisms and the organs and parts of living organisms
Phytopathology — the study of plant diseases (also called Plant Pathology)
Psychobiology — the study of the biological bases of psychology
Sociobiology — the study of the biological bases of sociology
Structural biology — a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
Virology — the study of viruses and some other virus-like agents
Zoology — the study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, and behavior (See also Entomology, Ethology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy, and Ornithology)


I am curious as to what it is in Dawkins book that is particularly ideological? And if it is ideological, what opposing ideological idea is it attempting to replace? Please enlighten me, Don.

Matthew G said...

Vox Day talks about this in "The Irrational Atheist" on page 91-93:
http://www.voxday.net/mart/TIA_free.pdf

BenYachov said...

Paps,

When it comes right down to it you are still a fundamentalist believer at heart.

Where as at one time in your youth you no doubt believed:

Everything Christian/religious=can do no wrong.

You have merely replaced it with:

Everything Atheist=can do no wrong.

and everything religious can only do wrong.

It is more than a bit tedious & as plain as a Bulgarian Pin-up.

BenYachov said...

>The point here is that in decrying child indoctrination while creating ideological reading materials for children, Dawkins is being a wee bit duplicitous.

His book is ideological but I will give it to Dawkins in that it's anti-religious ideology is subtle and because Dawkins equates "magic=religious belief" taken literally, persons (like Thomists, Scotians, Calvinists etc) with a more sophisticated view of religion will be nonplussed.

Crude said...

It is the central organizing feature of these disciplines:

You can add "baraminology" to the list because - surprise - the sort of evolutionary claims far and away the majority of those disciplines deal with are uncontroversial even to YECs.

A BS list, and I say this as a TE who think YECs are gravely mistaken. But as usual, Linton doesn't care if his criticism is honest.

Please enlighten me, Don.

Impossible, Linton. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Especially if the dog in question ain't very swift, and is just an anti-religious bigot at the end of the day. ;)

Don McIntosh said...

[The point is the book is in accord with the science in which the fact of evolution is unequivocal.]

1. At issue is whether Dawkins' ideologically charged version of evolutionary apologetics is appropriate learning material for grade school children, not whether it accords well with our current understanding of a given scientific theory.

2. The "fact of evolution" is entirely equivocal. Indeed it seems to me that one cannot validly argue that "evolution" is a fact without committing the fallacy of equivocation. Yes, it is an observable fact that the frequency of alleles in a population can change over time, but not an observable fact that all of life on earth descended from an unidentified common ancestor over the course of three-point-something billion years of prehistory. Only the latter conception remains controversial.

3. On the premise that prevailing theoretical science reliably corresponds with reality, descent with modification only began to occur sometime after 1859 — which doesn't make any sense.

BenYachov said...

I really don't understand Paps' lunatic deathless defenses of Dawkins and company?

You don't see me wasting comments box space defending Kirk Cameron's banana argument for the existence of God.

It's appallingly bad and just because Kirk loves Jesus and is therefore on my "team" doesn't make it any less so.

Crude said...

It's appallingly bad and just because Kirk loves Jesus and is therefore on my "team" doesn't make it any less so.

The problem is making the assumption that people are as fair as you. I've seen you compliment multiple atheists deeply for their reason and thoughtfulness (Even ones I thought were chumps, frankly!) You put some value on fairness and thoughtfulness, for as animated as you get.

The Cult rejects those things thoroughly. Dabble in that and you risk being branded a traitor (accommodationist!) and being expelled. And if one is expelled... there usually aren't many options of where else to go.

Victor Reppert said...

Think there are serious epistemological problems with the OTF? What kind of atheist are you? Are you sure you are a real atheist?
Are you sure you aren't a believer in drag pretend to be an unbeliever? I'm not sure about you.

Think Dawkins goes overboard on the child abuse charge? Ditto.

Kind of reminds me of some Christians I know.