Jean Mercer - Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings

June 13, 2011

Host: Karen Stollznow

This week’s guest is Jean Mercer, a Developmental Psychologist and Professor Emerita at Richard Stockton College. She is the author of the new book Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings.

Jean writes the blog "Child Myths", and along with Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins, she is a co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion. Jean is also a contributor and Consulting Editor to the Center for Inquiry’s journal, the Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice.

In this interview with Karen Stollznow, Jean talks about the developing field of developmental psychology. Jean jokes that "studying child development isn’t rocket science…it’s a lot more complicated than that!" This is an area that is fraught with myths, mistakes and misconceptions; Jean explains how these develop and the often serious repercussions.

Jean discusses the importance of critical thinking about child development. Pseudoscientific therapies often have the semblance of science, so what information can we trust? Jean talks about the emphasis on evidence-based practice in developmental psychology, and why we have to think critically about that too.

Books Mentioned in This Episode:


Comments from the CFI Forums

If you would like to leave a comment about this episode of Point of Inquiry please visit the related thread on the CFI discussion forums

I was hoping she would actually go over some myths and misunderstandings, but she barely went over any. She was more focused on why myths and misunderstandings happen, and critical thinking, which is good and all, but not what I was expecting!

Posted on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:54pm by domokato Comment #1

You lost most of any listening audience when the subject hovered and hovered over EVERYTHING BUT the negative effects of religion upon child development.

That’s probably because there aren’t any negative religion effects on child development.

Posted on Jun 15, 2011 at 10:36pm by George Comment #2

Dawkins is wrong and he should know better by now as he was explicitly told by the psychologist Steven Pinker while discussing this topic that parents have no influence on the behaviour and the personality of their children—if I find the link I’ll post it later. According to twin and adoption studies parents do have a big influence on the religious label of their kids but the the long-term parental effect on their kids’ religiosity (i.e., church attendance, religious discussion, observance of religious holidays, religious moralizing, etc.) is almost nonexistent.

And FWIW, no, I am not religious. Dawkins is one of my heroes but he’s simply wrong on this one.

Posted on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:04am by George Comment #3

The fact that Dawkins has defined religious indoctrination as a type of child abuse doesn’t make it equivalent to horribly common forms of physical abuse and neglect, some of them— like genital cutting— based on myths and misunderstandings about development. In my opinion, religious beliefs and teachings (while all erroneous world-views) do not have a universal effect on children. I’m much more concerned with the fundamentalist beliefs that advocate whipping infants with plumbing supply line when they cry or disobey than with instruction on the 39 Articles. Why fight about catechism lessons when there are children who die of starvation as their fundamentalist or cult-bound parents attempt to “break their spirits” and ‘save their souls”?

My position, based in part on growing up in a freethinking family, is that it’s more important to encourage critical thinking about the development of human beings than it is to turn every discussion to a battle against theism.

I’m reminded of the apocryphal story about the Victorian advertisement for a private chaplain, which included the proviso: “Believer not objected to.” Organized religion may or may not have a powerful influence on other aspects of thinking, like beliefs about children. Except for parents committed to the Calvinist/fundamentalist view typical of certain dissenting groups, I doubt (pace Dawkins) that religious belief has much direct influence on parental behavior.

Jean Mercer

Posted on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:20am by Jean Mercer Comment #4

I really welcome talks which don’t focus on the “anti-religion mantra” for a change. It’s been done to death. I’m an atheist and in complete agreement with the common anti-religious arguments, but there’s only so long you can talk the same thing through over and over. Bring on some science, bring on some philosophy, bring on the varied debates. I guess the hunger for anti-religious talk doesn’t permeate the audience afterall. My guess is there are some who want more (probably more common among American audience members, as the issue is so big there) and some who want other discussions, so variety is the key.

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:42am by fingermouse Comment #5

Anyway, I thought this was the Center for Inquiry, not the Church of the Gospel According to St. Richard and/or St. Steven. I find it disturbing when people argue that “Dawkins says” rather than referring to relevant facts. Can it be that skepticism for some people means believing implicitly in a different set of dogmas from the religious ones? How is that different from religious indoctrination? I would say, with Hume, consign that kind of thinking to the flames.

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:36am by Jean Mercer Comment #6

Anyway, I thought this was the Center for Inquiry, not the Church of the Gospel According to St. Richard and/or St. Steven. I find it disturbing when people argue that “Dawkins says” rather than referring to relevant facts. Can it be that skepticism for some people means believing implicitly in a different set of dogmas from the religious ones? How is that different from religious indoctrination? I would say, with Hume, consign that kind of thinking to the flames.

ROFL

Welcome to the atheist dogma.  The dogma of FREE THINKERS.  :lol:

Have you paid any attention to Transactional Analysis or read The Games People Play by Berne?

Sometimes I think people in the field of psychology don’t really want to apply what has been learned about psychology. 

psik

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:46am by psikeyhackr Comment #7

psikeyhackr—Are you thinking that Transactional Analysis is part of “what has been learned about psychology”? It involved an interesting set of metaphors about interpersonal communication, but regrettably it devolved into toleration of sado-masochistic practices. You might want to read Jacqui Schiff’s “All My Children” to see what belief system caused a death by scalding— this being one of the many reasons why that branch of TA went abroad to countries that didn’t watch too closely what was done to people.

TA isn’t even mentioned in Norcross’s recent edition of “History of Psychotherapy”. It wasn’t evidence-based in any case.

But is what you really mean, that psychologists should use principles of persuasion to convince people? We only do that when we put our white coats on (bwa ha ha ha!).

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:34am by Jean Mercer Comment #8

You might want to read Jacqui Schiff’s “All My Children” to see what belief system caused a death by scalding— this being one of the many reasons why that branch of TA went abroad to countries that didn’t watch too closely what was done to people.

Ahh, St. Jacqui. I see…  :-)

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:38am by George Comment #9

Hardly— she’s the one who caused the scalding.

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:46am by Jean Mercer Comment #10

psikeyhackr—Are you thinking that Transactional Analysis is part of “what has been learned about psychology”? It involved an interesting set of metaphors about interpersonal communication, but regrettably it devolved into toleration of sado-masochistic practices. You might want to read Jacqui Schiff’s “All My Children” to see what belief system caused a death by scalding— this being one of the many reasons why that branch of TA went abroad to countries that didn’t watch too closely what was done to people.

TA isn’t even mentioned in Norcross’s recent edition of “History of Psychotherapy”. It wasn’t evidence-based in any case.

But is what you really mean, that psychologists should use principles of persuasion to convince people? We only do that when we put our white coats on (bwa ha ha ha!).

Well the only two reviews are certainly interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/All-Children-Jacqui-Lee-Schiff/dp/0515054224/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308332679&sr=1-1

The reviews of The Games People Play do not seem to match well with what you say.

http://www.amazon.com/Games-People-Play-Transactional-Analysis/dp/0345410033/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308332817&sr=1-1

I have discussed the book and method with a psychiatrist before.  He gave me the impression it did not serve the economic interests of psychiatrists to well.  It may be somewhat difficult to get evidence for the effect of increasing people’s understanding versus manipulating them.  Pavlovian techniques are easier to measure but require people to be dumb enough to fall for it.

psik

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:58am by psikeyhackr Comment #11

No type of talking therapy serves psychiatrists’ economic interests, because they can prescribe medications, have that service well-reimbursed, and quickly have the patient feel different if not better.

As for the reviews, are you under the impression that Kurt Vonnegut knew anything about modern psychology and psychotherapy (not the same things, necessarily)? This seems to me as likely as that Richard Dawkins knows much about child development.

Rather than tussle with me, why don’t you look up recent professional material about psychotherapy and see how much you see TA mentioned?

However, I don’t doubt that the average naive reader would very much like the TA books. This is congruent with what I called the “trailing edge theory” in my interview with Karen— that ideas that are long gone from the professional realm continue to appeal to the public, who recognize vaguely that they’ve heard of something before and therefore assume they understand it. I don’t mean to suggest that this is harmful, though, because anything that helps people apply cognitive skills to emotional problems is likely to give them a pleasurable feeling of mastery. (What’s more, they will probably start to feel a bit better not long after they feel their worst, even without any help.)

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:12am by Jean Mercer Comment #12

Kurt Vonnegut?

Posted on Jun 17, 2011 at 7:50pm by psikeyhackr Comment #13

I promoted this interview on Somasimple.com where we commonly discuss the problems inherent to “evidence-based practice.” It’s in the “Range of Motion” blog.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:26am by Barrett Dorko Comment #14

Yes, there’s an Amazon quotation from him (K.V.) among the reviews of the Berne books.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:08am by Jean Mercer Comment #15

Yes, there’s an Amazon quotation from him (K.V.) among the reviews of the Berne books.

How can a successful writer not be psychologically astute?  Possibly even more so than someone who gets their psychological knowledge from books and courses.  A writer needs to get inside readers’ heads to create characters that they want to read about.  Many psychologists just need to get hired by bureaucracies.

I was simply indicating the difference in the number of reviews between the two books and the majority of rating for The Games People Play are 4 and 5.

psik

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 1:03pm by psikeyhackr Comment #16

Being “psychologically astute” is not the same as having studied the evidence from systematic research on mental and behavioral phenomena. A “psychologically astute” novelist attributes to his characters thoughts and feelings that are congruent with his potential readers’ beliefs about the nature of human beings. Popular psychology like TA also is congruent with what many readers already think, so they like it.

Actual psychologists (most of whom are not psychotherapists) use systematic investigation to test their own and other people’s beliefs about human beings, and quite often they find that the evidence doesn’t support those beliefs. Then a lot of people don’t care to hear about it. You may remember the flap some years ago when a meta-analysis showed that most children who are painlessly sexually molested don’t have any problems as a result of their experiences.

If you are using the term “psychologist” to mean “psychotherapist”, we’re definitely talking at cross-purposes here.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 1:58pm by Jean Mercer Comment #17

Thanks for the promotion , Barrett Dorko. PT and PH people have made wonderful contributions to this issue (evidence basis), and to the essential issue of transparency of reporting.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 2:03pm by Jean Mercer Comment #18

Thank you. I’ll tell my readers you responded personally. It’s rare.

A long discussion regarding further problems with evidence may be found here, “Is Evidence-based Practice Making Us Stupid?” http://www.somasimple.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5828

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:43pm by Barrett Dorko Comment #19

Well, the guest made mention that her initial rocket science comparison was probably going to draw angry letters from rocket scientists ... but the way she delivered the comparison still leads me to believe that she thinks it’s a good one.  Well, here’s the “letter” :)

While I think the guest discussed some interesting material, and I think her work is very important, she does herself a disservice by making the comparison, which reveals a profound ignorance of what rocket science is (disclosure: I don’t work as a rocket scientist anymore, but I have Aero/Astro degrees from Caltech and Stanford, and am pretty qualified to speak on the subject). 

In our language, rocket science and brain surgery are held up as the epitomes of complexity.  I’m sure many people would like to think that what they do is more complex than those two subjects.  So, there’s a natural pissing contest aspect to this.  That said, rocket science actually is tremendously complex. 

The guest’s description seems to imply that she thinks rocket science is the same thing as a simplified computer model of rocket science.  A discipline where everything has an exact answer, where you only have to plug in the right variables, and the computer spits out a black and white answer.  She described her science as being one where you could only get average answers, that still had an inescapable variation on either side of that average, because of the complexity and variability of human psychology.  In fact, that’s exactly what happens in rocket science, too.

For example, one of the difficult problems in rocket science is picking materials that hold up to the extremes of temperature, pressure, radiation, speed, vibration, etc.  When you use engineering materials, you don’t know when those materials will fail.  You have estimates, based on alloys of a given assumed composition (aluminum isn’t just aluminum, and steel isn’t just steel, and nothing is pure).  You try to predict failures with statistics that suggest a certain lifetime, but everything down to microscopic flaws in the material will influence whether you achieve the life cycle estimate, or have early failures. 

Another example is that rockets don’t get teleported into space.  To get there, and get back (if they come back), they have to go through the atmosphere, and that subjects them to weather.  I hope everyone understands that there’s no equation that predicts weather with perfect certainty.  Remember Challenger?  Even in space, you have solar weather (e.g. cosmic radiation) that fluctuates, and will affect the operation of electronics.  We’re still struggling to predict sunspot activity, as followers of recent climate science news will note.

Perhaps one layman’s impression of rocket science concerns orbital mechanics, which is one and only one part of rocket science.  Within an environment with no atmosphere, some of the orbital mechanics equations can be quite precise.  However, when the spacecraft is relaying data back to the ground, or even to its onboard computers, it doesn’t know where it is or how fast it’s going.  It only knows what sensors tell it.  Sensors do not know truth.  They only estimate measurements, and there’s error in any physical sensor.  Part of rocket science concerns how to interpret the sensor data, and make corrections to yield the best result.  Anyway, I hope this brief explanation offers a look into some of the complexities of the field.  Obviously, I could go on indefinitely about nuances of rocket science completely lost on general technical minds.

I know rocket science wasn’t the topic of the podcast, but I never like to see scientists undermine their message with faulty logic, or false claims.  Statements like the one made by the guest only demonstrate ignorance, and distract some members of an audience from the intended content.

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:31am by n8r0n Comment #20

The guest’s description seems to imply that she thinks rocket science is the same thing as a simplified computer model of rocket science.  A discipline where everything has an exact answer, where you only have to plug in the right variables, and the computer spits out a black and white answer.  She described her science as being one where you could only get average answers, that still had an inescapable variation on either side of that average, because of the complexity and variability of human psychology.  In fact, that’s exactly what happens in rocket science, too.

I think she is right that brains and psychology are more complex than rocket science.  But I think rocket scientists could do a better job with psychology if they were interested.  Psychology is too complicated for most psychologists.

My college psych book had the statement, “Intelligence is what intelligence tests measure.”  I couldn’t stop laughing.  But that is actually a famous statement from the 1920s by a psychologist.  Non-psychologists are not supposed to see how dumb that is.

psik

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 at 5:52pm by psikeyhackr Comment #21

That’s actually a perfectly good operational definition, but if you want to spend your time discussing whether rocket scientists are smarter than psychologists, I’ll leave you to it.

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 at 5:18am by Jean Mercer Comment #22

Eh? Why heavy on the Ms.— just out of curiosity?

As for being co-author of PBB, this was a misstatement made by Karen Stollznow and her staff (if she has one?), and I just didn’t think it was important enough to correct. PBB is an edited book and I am one of the contributors, not a co-author in the usual sense. The editor, Dale McGowan, who manages that website, had the idea for the book and contacted a number of people to ask them to write essays bringing their own ideas and expertise to the issue as it’s defined in the book’s subtitle. My piece is about the process of moral development and how it is and is not related to religious instruction. I thought McGowan got a pretty broad selection of contributors, including the Rev.Dr. Roberta Nelson, who wrote a piece called “On Being Religiously Literate” which I thought was excellent.

In short, I didn’t “feel the need”, nor did I agree with everything in the book (try agreeing with everything Penn Jillette says). I did accept the invitation as an interesting challenge to my ability to connect developmental research with a real-world problem, and of course as a way to review in my own head my personal and parental experiences with this issue.

Domokato seemed to want me to describe some myths. I did speak of a couple on the interview— the very disturbing Primal Wound myth, for one. But i don’t think I’ll type out all the others! Get your library to buy the Myths & Misunderstandings book, guys.

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:00am by Jean Mercer Comment #23

BTW:  George, did you ever come across that link you mentioned?

I believe it was in HERE somewhere.

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:05am by George Comment #24

Dawkins is wrong and he should know better by now as he was explicitly told by the psychologist Steven Pinker while discussing this topic that parents have no influence on the behaviour and the personality of their children—if I find the link I’ll post it later.

Really? (I don’t mean that as flippant as it may come across. I’m genuinely interested.) Perhaps naive on my part, but doesn’t parents use of negative and positive rewards alter behavior? My continually reminding my children to ‘use their manners’ and correct them when they don’t, won’t alter their behavior? If so, weird.

I’ve often argued with my wife about various conventions of parenting we use for teaching manners, et al. Having different parents (whew!) we learned different social conventions. Simple but different. Like elbows on or off the table during a meal. Neither is fundamentally right or wrong, but the conventions instilled in us as children sure seem to follow us into adulthood. (Assuming I ever get all the way there. :))

Take care,

Derek

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 at 3:54pm by harry canyon Comment #25

That’s actually a perfectly good operational definition, but if you want to spend your time discussing whether rocket scientists are smarter than psychologists, I’ll leave you to it.

Yeah, assume the validity of your testing instrument and just go from there.  Nice circular logic.

Physics does not care how smart people THINK they are.  It either works or it doesn’t.  The thinking has to conform to reality.  Is that SANITY? :lol:

psik

Posted on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:27am by psikeyhackr Comment #26

My position, based in part on growing up in a freethinking family, is that it’s more important to encourage critical thinking about the development of human beings than it is to turn every discussion to a battle against theism.

Jumping in a little late here, but I like Nicholas Humphrey puts it:

“If it is ever the case that teaching this system to children will mean that later in life they come to hold beliefs that, were they in fact to have had access to alternatives, they would most likely not have chosen for themselves, then it is morally wrong of whoever presumes to impose this system.”
Nicholas Humphrey, Oxford Amnesty Lecture, 1997

Posted on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:26pm by Lausten Comment #27

But—if they don’t later come to hold beliefs that otherwise they probably wouldn’t have chosen for themselves, then it wasn’t morally wrong? And what determines whether they do or don’t come to hold those beliefs? Seems to me something’s missing from this argument. Why isn’t it morally wrong no matter what the outcome is, if it’s morally wrong at all?

And wouldn’t this argument apply equally well to table manners?

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 4:49am by Jean Mercer Comment #28

How have I gotten sucked into talking about religious instruction?! I suppose this has happened because of my objection to Dawkins’ statement that it’s child abuse.

Here are a couple of thoughts about that issue:

1. Every adult functioning as a parent provides religious instruction— that is, instruction on his or her beliefs about the origin , nature, and obligations of human beings (the essential material of any religion). This is done by modeling and indirect statements when it’s not done by direct instruction. It’s part of socialization of a child into the family and the community. Absence of belief in organized religious dogmas or in supernatural forces does not mean absence of religious instruction.

2. Whatever one teaches or refrains from teaching children about religious beliefs, the action is not child abuse. Child abuse is a name for actions that cause direct and immediate physical harm to a child; actions that create delayed harm or emotional harm are more usually called neglect. Dawkins’ statement is an an exaggeration for rhetorical purposes, and to take it literally is to downplay the serious plights of children who are starved, burned, beaten, and imprisoned by adults. To say that religious instruction is child abuse is to make the term child abuse meaningless.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:17am by Jean Mercer Comment #29

How have I gotten sucked into talking about religious instruction?! I suppose this has happened because of my objection to Dawkins’ statement that it’s child abuse.

Here are a couple of thoughts about that issue:

1. Every adult functioning as a parent provides religious instruction— that is, instruction on his or her beliefs about the origin , nature, and obligations of human beings (the essential material of any religion). This is done by modeling and indirect statements when it’s not done by direct instruction. It’s part of socialization of a child into the family and the community. Absence of belief in organized religious dogmas or in supernatural forces does not mean absence of religious instruction.

2. Whatever one teaches or refrains from teaching children about religious beliefs, the action is not child abuse. Child abuse is a name for actions that cause direct and immediate physical harm to a child; actions that create delayed harm or emotional harm are more usually called neglect. Dawkins’ statement is an an exaggeration for rhetorical purposes, and to take it literally is to downplay the serious plights of children who are starved, burned, beaten, and imprisoned by adults. To say that religious instruction is child abuse is to make the term child abuse meaningless.

Oh boy, another example of our linguistic limitations. We have had lengthy discussions on the problems caused by different interpretations of “religion.” Now the difference between abuse and neglect are mucking up things. Your definitions of abuse and neglect are not necessarily universally accepted. For example, look at the helpful link HERE that defines the terms somewhat differently. Specifically, your separation based on immediate versus delayed harm is not found. Indeed, sexual abuse is often a delayed harm and is certainly not properly defined as sexual neglect.
There are degrees of theistic religion and there are degrees of abuse and neglect.

Certainly Dawkins’s statement would apply to fundamentalists who withhold medical care from their child while “providing religious instruction.” I believe you are taking Dawkins’s claim a bit to strongly and you may not be taking the damage done by some theistic parents strongly enough. I can see situations where I agree with you and some in which I do not.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 7:22am by traveler Comment #30

I’ve seen a pic to two of Ms. Mercer on Amazon.com.  Here’s two pics of our illustrious interview leader, Ms. Stollznow.  Helps us to picture the conversationalists when we know what they look like, eh?  Doesn’t hurt,,,,,,, the eyes!  ;-P :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karen_Stollznow.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karen_Stollznow_2.jpg

Superficial much???

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 7:28am by traveler Comment #31

Certainly Dawkins’s statement would apply to fundamentalists who withhold medical care from their child while “providing religious instruction.” I believe you are taking Dawkins’s claim a bit to strongly and you may not be taking the damage done by some theistic parents strongly enough.

You are wrong here, traveler. Of course parents who fail to provide their children with medical assistance are guilty of child abuse. Dawkins, however, refers to the parents’ teaching of religion to their children as child abuse; here he is clearly wrong. I really have nothing to add here as I thought Dr. Mercer already said everything that needed to be said.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:15am by George Comment #32

Certainly Dawkins’s statement would apply to fundamentalists who withhold medical care from their child while “providing religious instruction.” I believe you are taking Dawkins’s claim a bit to strongly and you may not be taking the damage done by some theistic parents strongly enough.

You are wrong here, traveler. Of course parents who fail to provide their children with medical assistance are guilty of child abuse.

And since that is their way of providing religious instruction, such instruction involves child abuse. Granted, it’s an extreme case.

Dawkins, however, refers to the parents’ teaching of religion to their children as child abuse; here he is clearly wrong. I really have nothing to add here as I thought Dr. Mercer already said everything that needed to be said.

Well, that’s certainly possible. But I cannot find where Dawkins (in God Delusion) states it that simply - that parents’ teaching of religion to their children is child abuse. He talks about blind faith being dangerous, priestly abuse, Humphrey’s thoughts about the ills of religious education, and more. Could someone help me find where he says simply that the teaching of religion by parents is child abuse? So far as I can tell, he always seems to qualify what he means.

I am not a fan of Dawkins - I find him rude and arrogant - but I want to understand him correctly.

Edit to add: by parents

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:48am by traveler Comment #33

I’ve seen a pic to two of Ms. Mercer on Amazon.com.  Here’s two pics of our illustrious interview leader, Ms. Stollznow.  Helps us to picture the conversationalists when we know what they look like, eh?  Doesn’t hurt,,,,,,, the eyes!  ;-P :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karen_Stollznow.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karen_Stollznow_2.jpg

Superficial much???

Quite right! Quite right.  Please forgive the indiscretion. 

How silly of me to have posted those ‘oh so limiting’ pics of Ms. Stollznow.  She certainly deserves better and twould be remiss of anyone to perceive her in anything but, the most honoring light! 

The “proper picture” link that I should have used instead is one that Ms. Stollznow has provided for us all to see.  Here tis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/surlyramics/sets/72157623856128547/detail/

Thank you, so much, for the corrective guidance.

More pics. Great. Answers the question though.  :cheese:

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:51am by traveler Comment #34

Could someone help me find where he says simply that the teaching of religion is child abuse?

HERE:

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

He has zero scientific evidence to support such claim.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:00am by George Comment #35

Could someone help me find where he says simply that the teaching of religion is child abuse?

HERE:

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

He has zero scientific evidence to support such claim.

Thanks George, but that doesn’t even mention parents. Did I miss something? (more likely the older I get…)


Edit to add: I should have said parents explicitly here, but it is in your original statement.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:18am by traveler Comment #36

Well, if the priest had an impact on the kids’ mental health, you could implicitly blame the parents since they are the ones who send their children to the priest. But Dawkins does explicitly blame the parents for committing child abuse (google it: I think he said so in the first “Beyond Belief”) through identifying their kids with religious labels. This is obviously nonsense.

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:29am by George Comment #37

Well, if the priest had an impact on the kids’ mental health, you could implicitly blame the parents since they are the ones who send their children to the priest. But Dawkins does explicitly blame the parents for committing child abuse (google it: I think he said so in the first “Beyond Belief”) through identifying their kids with religious labels. This is obviously nonsense.

Hmmmm, seems like the one who says I’m wrong should point to the explicit text…  ;-P   ;-P

Posted on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:58am by traveler Comment #38

This post #39 is the same as half of my post #23, so, Eh?  again.

Posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 7:51am by Jean Mercer Comment #39

This post #39 is the same as half of my post #23, so, Eh?  again.

It is a spammer, just copies some text in the hope it gets true. I hope it will be deleted soon…

Posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 8:18am by GdB Comment #40

This post #39 is the same as half of my post #23, so, Eh?  again.

It is a spammer, just copies some text in the hope it gets true. I hope it will be deleted soon…

Deleted. This is a tactic we’ve seen several times now, trying to get spam through unnoticed ...

Posted on Sep 05, 2011 at 10:17am by dougsmith Comment #41

If you want to read about some abuse that really is based on religious belief, see http://childmyths.blogspot.com/2011/12/faith-based-child-abuse.html. You’ll see that the reality is a far cry from religious instruction.

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 at 11:44am by Jean Mercer Comment #42