Friday, February 15, 2013

Creationism, Child Abuse, and the Hubris of Modernity

The present age always thinks that it is the most enlightened. If you lived in the 17th century, you would think that the people of the 16th century were merely uneducated heathens. It is no different for us in the 21th century, who regard the ideas of former centuries as asinine, whether we have solid evidence for this judgment or not. Our 21st century pundits conveniently overlook our current ills – the proliferation of crime, abortion, pornography, sex trafficking, drug and alcohol addiction, STDs, economic exploitation and collapse and environmental problems. Nevertheless, we are the greatest generation, and therefore, we know best and can tell, even coerce, others to live according to our philosophy!

Theoretical physicist, Lawrence Krauss, is convinced that he knows better than the best. On a talk show, he declared that the teaching of creationism is a form of child abuse (and, of course, child abuse must be addressed as a criminal matter).

Needless to say, in order for such a judgment to stand, Krauss has to redefine “child abuse” as “putting children at a disadvantage compared to others.” He explains that by teaching children creationism, they will “go through life believing a myth and not learning those things that are really crucial.”

Interestingly, this definition of child abuse can be applied to anyone who teaches anything incorrect to children. Consequently, every teacher is guilty of child abuse! And any textbook author should be found guilty of child abuse, whenever it is found that the textbook requires correction.

However, is creationism – the idea that the universe was created by a superior intelligence – really a myth? On the contrary, many reputable scientists have gone on record that creationism is the most logical understanding.

Creationism has only one competitor – naturalism. According to naturalism, the universe sprang “naturally” into existence, uncaused out of nothing. However, research has yet to show how the world of matter and energy can originate uncaused and how it can come out of nothing. Perhaps equally damning is the resort to “natural causation.” This raises many unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions. How can natural laws provide any explanation, when they too didn’t exist prior to the universe? Is such a concept even coherent?

Our laws operate uniformly and immutably throughout the universe. How can this be possible if they are bound up with a universe which is always moving and always changing – molecules in motion? And how could they have originated in an explosion – the big Bang? From a scientific perspective, explosions don’t create order; they destroy it! And why are the formulas that describe the operation of these laws so darn elegant?

These observations should lead us to at least consider the possibility that instead of being natural (embedded in mature), they are transcendent and the product of intelligence. However, any rational consideration of these questions has been banned from the university, where, even raising these questions, can ruin careers.

In light of this, perhaps Krauss and the vast majority of the university community are guilty of child abuse through teaching the myth of naturalism? I wouldn’t suggest such a thing. Instead, science will do best when it isn’t encumbered by a politically correct straight-jacket. If we are convinced of the superiority of our theory, them we should open the windows to serious scrutiny and the free exchange of ideas. However, this is precisely the thing that is now forbidden. Instead of the free and honest exchange of ideas, Western society increasingly criminalizes unpopular theories and views with such charges as “child abuse.”

Are children who are taught creationism missing out, as Krauss maintains? Was there a flowering of science and scholarship under communism, the quintessential anti-creationist states? Hardly! Instead we find that science experienced its modern renaissance through creationists. British scientist Robert Clark sums it up this way:

  • “However we may interpret the fact, scientific development has only occurred in Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations—Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on—science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that, perhaps, science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did. And no wonder. For the non-Christian world believed that there was something ethically wrong about science. In Greece, this conviction was enshrined in the legend of Prometheus, the fire-bearer and prototype scientist who stole fire from heaven, thus incurring the wrath of the gods.” (Christian Belief and Science, Henry F. Schaefer, 14)
I can hardly imagine Isaac Newton charging his parents with “child abuse” for teaching him creationism! However, Krauss likens parents who teach creationism to the Taliban who teach violence and repression. Perhaps instead, the censorious, repressive Krauss bears a greater kinship to the Taliban than the creationist.

The interviewer subsequently asked Krauss, “Who gets to determine what is good for children?” Krauss seemed to be discomforted by this question. It uncovered another dilemma for him. If he answered, “The parents must ultimately determine,” this undermines everything he had been saying. However, if he answered, “The State,” his whole enterprise begins to look quite sinister. He therefore answered:

  • We need to educate people…Society has an obligation…
In other words, “The State must reign supreme in these matters.” Indeed, there have been addictive or sexually abusive parents, and society has had to intervene. However, ordinarily, the West has recognized that children were the provenance of their parents, and they thrived maximally when in the hands of those who loved them and would die to protect them.

In contrast, the State doesn’t have a good track record as the ultimate care-giver. When the State took ultimate authority – think Hitler Youth or Stalin Youth - it never benefited the children.

Krauss charges that allowing children to be removed from the public school system in favor of home-schooling is not being fair to the child. In other words, he wants to see home-schooling banned in favor of a uniform system of compulsory, centralized, monopolistic education.

Krauss’ views would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that many others agree with him. For example, Germany has banned home-schooling:

  • The Supreme Court of Germany declared that the purpose of the German ban on homeschooling was to "counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies." (LifeSiteNews, 2/14/13)
After all, the State knows best – better than the parents. However, has the State been able to demonstrate that they can do better than the parents? Not at all! It has been repeatedly shown that home-schooled children do far better than the average on standardized testing. Instead, as Germany admits, the real issue is philosophical conformity – control!

In lieu of prison, one German home-schooling family has fled to the USA, where they are seeking asylum. However, it seems that they have sought asylum in the wrong place:

  • The Attorney General of the United States thinks that a law that bans homeschooling entirely violates no fundamental liberties.
Sadly, this seems to be a harbinger of what we can expect here – an increasingly totalitarian State that has little interest in maintaining diversity of opinion and religion.

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