It's often tempting, especially for people who feel passionately about their own opinions, to think that those who disagree with us are mentally damaged. I think Dawkins and others who regard religious teachings to children as inherently abusive may be guilty of that mode of thinking. He thinks that teaching children to accept their families' religion is more devastatingly and permanently harmful than sexual abuse because it impairs their ability to think correctly--like he does. I acknowledge at the outset that excessive physical violence against children is child abuse, and that religions that advocate that can be considered abusive. I say "excessive" because I'm not at the point where I condemn all spanking as abusive, although I personally don't believe in it. Certainly, sexual molestation of children is abusive, made worse when done by clerics. The major issue raised by Dawkins, though, is that teaching to children views that he considers to be wrong and detrimental to logical thought is inherently abusive. I see several problems with this. Does it apply only to religion, or would we throw other beliefs into the mix--like being raised Republican. That, as a matter of fact, that happened to me. My parents were pretty casual and open-minded when it came to religion, but Republican politics was another matter. It was like being raised by Fox News. Obviously it didn't work, which sometimes seems to be the case when indoctrination efforts are carried too far. Republicans seem to be anti-scientific when it comes to such matters as Climate Change--I think less for religious reasons than that it threatens the profit margins of the fossil fuel industry. Certainly voting for Trump has major adverse consequences for the safety and well-being of the United States and the rest of our planet. Yet I think there are major practical problems in trying to ban even such irrational and odious views as Trumpism.
I think Dawkins is wrong because: (1) he adopts a simplistic distinction between truth and error; (2) he fails to discriminate among different kinds of religion; (3) he fails to put forward scientific (as opposed to anecdotal) evidence for his position; and (4) he does not consider possible adverse consequences of such a ban, especially getting the government involved in such an operation.
(1) Dawkins seems to view reality in terms of truth and error: his own view, scientism, being truth; any opposing views being error. Scientism is defined as "an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities) https://www.merriam-...onary/scientism
According to Philopsher Tom Sorrell, “Scientism is a matter of putting too high a value on natural science in comparison with other branches of learning or culture.” http://www.aaas.org/.../what-scientism Dawkins is considered somewhat extreme on this by other natural scientists such as theoretical physicist Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Bosom theory), himself an atheist, who considers Dawkins to be an atheist fundamentalist prone to criticize religious fundamentalists but exeplifying the same pattern of rigidity and dogmatism.
https://www.theguard...-fundamentalism. Democratic theory assumes that reasonable people can differ, and although some opinions are better grounded in the evidence than others,.
(3) Dawkins is prone to overgeneralize about religion on the basis of the most fundamentalist examples. Karen Armstrong's excellent historical studies of religion distinguish between logos and mythos. Logos is reason that helps us deal effectively with physical reality and must be closely in tune with science; mythos is about finding meaning and moral purpose in life and expression our sense of mystery and the transcendent through symbols and allegories. In practice, the two are easily confused, and when they encroach into each other's realms, it is important to slap them back.
(3) oddly for one so dedicated to science, Dawkins puts forward no systematic empirical evidence for his claims against religious upbringing, but relies mainly on anecdotes and conclusions based on what he figures stands to reason on the basis of his assumptions about religion. The most extensive social science study of the matter is by Smith and Farris, who surveyed some 2500 twelfth grade adolescents and found that adolescents who received frequent religious instruction . Those who attended regular worship services were less inclined to get into fights, get drunk, use or deal drugs, steal, engage in vandalism or arson , or hit their teachers; were more inclined to volunteer for community service, and reported being happier. Christian Smith and Robert Faris. 2002. Religion and American Adolescient Delinquency, Risk Behaviorsm and Constructive Social Activities.The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of course some might argue that these goody two shoe conformists are not really what we want in the world, but that would seem to be a personal value judgment.
Edited by Okiefreak, March 21 2017 - 01:20 PM.