1. Greg Peterson says

    Your kid just wrote something orders of magnitude more clever and cogent than anything I’ve seen on Uncommon Descent. But I don’t mean to damn with faint praise….

  2. says

    At roughly the same age, Ronald Reagan’s son became an atheist, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s a fundy.

    I conclude that if her daddy did tell her not to, she’s at the age where she probably would, just for the spite factor. :^)

  3. Russell says

    There are all sorts of ways Skatje could rebel. Let’s hope she does so by hating squid or moving to the tropics, not by becoming religious. ;-)

  4. CJO says

    Did you tell him not to?

    I wonder about this as a parent. My approach thus far has been cautious neutrality on religious questions. My son aked me once, not is there a god, but do you believe in god, and in that instance, I said that I didn’t.

    But I have resisted dogmatism on the subject and have instead just concentrated on critical thinking. Obviously, I know what conclusion I want him to draw, but it doesn’t seem any more admirable to me to indoctrinate a child into atheism than into religiosity (defensible, yes, admirable, no).

  5. Karey says

    This is just proof that PZ doesnt talk about religion much at home. When I have kids I need to make sure to pretend I’m a xtian conservative zealot just to make sure my kids come out as liberal as I want them to be =)

  6. says

    Man, I wish I was as clear-headed as Skatje when I was her age.

    For some reason, PZ’s ‘darn kids’ comment reminded me of a family story:

    I have two uncles (twins, actually) who were rather rebellious hippies in their youth. One day their mother, tired of their unkempt long hair, wondered aloud “who started this stupid long hair fad, anyway?”

    Without missing a beat, one of the uncles pointed to one of the many pictures of Jesus that hung on the wall (they’re Catholics) and said, “He did.”

    No word on what my grandmother’s reaction was, but I’ll bet those boys found all sorts of hard and tedious farm tasks added to their list of chores.

  7. says

    There are all sorts of ways Skatje could rebel. Let’s hope she does so by hating squid or moving to the tropics, not by becoming religious. ;-)

    She’s unreasonably afraid of anything that lives in the sea. She also won’t eat fish. Image of PZ she isn’t. ;)

    I think he posts stuff like his earlier salivating over eating live octopus just to make her squirm.

  8. MikeM says

    SCO, that’s exactly the opposite path I’m taking with my kids. Whenever I see a group of superstionists doing something whacky (turns out I see something nearly daily), I point out to them, “See kids? This is another example of what believing in an invisible sky daddy does to people. I want you to see this.”

    I hope people don’t think this is abuse, but when I see something I think my 10 and 13 year old childen should see that demonstrates weird/whacky/twisted behavior, I point it out to them. I’ll point out bigoted behavior, too. I think it’s important that they get into high school ready to defend themselves against some of the crazy ideas they’ll be hit with in the next few years.

    Sentimentality is the biggest fraud out there. “Don’t you want to be in heaven so you can be with your mom and me, and your grandparents, and Jesus, FOREVER?” That tactic really works when you’re a vulnerable 15 year old, and they need to figure out ASAP why it’s bogus.

    I go out of my way to not be neutral on the subject. That may not be what PZ did.

  9. Kyle says

    One thing it doesn’t address is a more common argument – at least in my area. That is:

    Empirical evidence, proof, concrete knowledge and the like is not the only way to look at the world. Faith is equally valid. You can’t measure “love”. You can’t measure [insert emotion or invisible feeling/product/etc]. There are just some things you have to take on faith.

    This is where people refuse to give up their beliefs. And I have yet to find a convincing argument against it. One that makes them stop and think.

  10. GalapagosPete says

    Re: #12

    I disagree. You can usually determine people’s feelings by their actions. If someone loves you, or hates you, or fears you, they normally behave in certain ways.

    And even if you do call it having faith in another person, at least it’s faith in something you know to be real, based on evidence.

  11. says

    I’m an atheist too, but my parents are Christians and I just turned 16 (how’d that happen?). Does that make me special? :P

  12. Stogoe says

    since someone already brought up zoophilia, I hear Mickey Kaus rapes goats. He has totally not denied it yet.

    “Your voice says ‘neigh’, but your eyes say yes!”

  13. says

    I go out of my way to not be neutral on the subject.

    If your kids figure out that atheism is important to you, it’s probably going to make religion look attractive. Kids instinctively decide that if their parents really don’t like something, there must be something good in it. Not a message I would want to send, but at least kids eventually grow up and learn to form their own opinions.

  14. says

    Junk Science, that’s not true. I’m largely interested in tech-related things (and maybe science-related things too) because my dad is. Also, I have many friends at school who are Christians because their parents are and they feel a pride about having their belief system, which they would unlikely have if their parents’ religion wasn’t important to them. Don’t get kids beginning to question what their parents tell them mixed up with kids actually being attracted to things that are the opposite of whatever their parents like. While that may sometimes be the case, it’s just another example of ageism.
    Another example would be death metal. My parents don’t like that at all and I probably dislike it much more than them. My point is that kids’/teens’ views aren’t necessarily as simple as you make them out to be.

  15. says

    I’m not saying everyone develops the same way. I was quite possibly the least rebellious teenager in the world. (Which caught up with me in a bad way when I got to college.) I liked religion because my parents did. But I’m now angrier and more defensive about my atheism because my parents disagree with it, and I think I’d take their opinion a lot less personally if I had rebelled and asserted my independence at a healthier, safer age. It’s not wrong for kids or teenagers to question their parents or even blindly defy them; it’s an important part of growing up.