27 May, 2007

Kentucky Hosts Child-Indoctrination Centre

One of the most disturbing things I know is religion. Sick people, who have completely lost touch with reality and who believe that magic beings made the world, control the world and monitor, reward and punish the behaviours of individuals, are struggling constantly to impose these delusions on everybody. The worst of it all is that these deranged people are able to tell children about their fantasies, even compel them to listen, and threaten them with punishments if they don't believe in the insanity they are being fed.

Quite often the rights of these crazy people are protected by the law – mainly because the people who make the law also believe in magic beings and can see nothing wrong with what they are doing. Religious beliefs dissociate people from reality. People who believe in these magic beings are confused about what is real and what is not. They do not understand how to tell good things from bad things. They cannot easily think for themselves. They believe they must follow rules, written in ancient books, either by people inspired by the magic beings or by the magic beings themselves. That the rules they follow were actually made up by other crazy people, thousands of years ago, is not apparent to them. They are so confused about reality they think that magic beings really did make up the rules.

Honestly, it is scary that so many people can be so insane. It is frightening that we live in a world where people who talk to magic beings alone in their rooms make also make the laws, sit in judgement, and teach our children. If we could just stop them teaching children for a couple of generations, all of this madness would die out. Just think how wonderful that would be.
Why do I mention this? Because I just read about the Creation Museum, which is about to open in a place called Petersburg, Kentucky. This is a 'museum' based on the insane notion that a magic being created the whole universe a few thousand years ago. Its exhibits include, I hear, a diorama where stone age people and dinosaurs are alive at the same time. It is dedicated to a fantasy in which fossils are the result of Noah's flood, dinosaurs roamed the Garden of Eden, and the Grand Canyon was carved in a couple of days. This is the kind of idiocy you are led to once you throw away reason and start believing in magic. It would be easy to laugh at this kind of nonsense, to ridicule these nutcases and their pathetic opinions if it wasn't all so horribly dangerous. This museum of madness, this Creationist Disneyland, is designed to attract children and young people. Kids get special rates. Under-fives are allowed in for free!

What is it going to do to impressionable young minds to see all these distorted and confused exhibits? How much is it going to damage their developing understanding of the world and how it really works? There is absolutely no difference between crazy people presenting religious ideas to children and Holocaust deniers doing the same. Both believe in a twisted fantasy that has nothing to do with reality - but lots to do with their own emotional and psychological problems. Both are distorting the understanding of young minds. Why has no-one stepped in to prevent this abuse of children by these deranged lunatics? We have laws that prevent advertisers misleading people about their products. Why don't these laws stop people passing off a mad fantasy about the world as a genuine museum?


Gorilla Bananas said...

"If we could just stop them teaching children for a couple of generations, all of this madness would die out."

I doubt it. Religious belief has arisen quite independently in countless different human cultures. It is probably hard-wired into the human brain. Those who have it are better at surviving and reproducing than those who don't.

Katherine said...

Spirituality - sensations of awe, mystery, reverence - may well be hard-wired, but the details of religious mythology seem entirely cultural. The Christian creation myths were products of a pre-scientific society - when they were first taught, they didn't contradict any known facts. People invent religions to explain things they don't know, not to deliberately contradict things they do. If we stopped teaching Christian myths, in a couple of generations they would seem bizarre and redundant.

Most likely, there would still be people having mystical experiences, but any religion they then invented would be more in line with modern knowledge, and so vastly less irrational than a 2,000 year old religion.

graywave said...

Hi Gorilla. You're just saying that about hard-wiring to depress me, aren't you? Anyway, what would you know about the human brain - ya big ape!

I suppose I agree about people being naturally inclined to confabulating this stuff but I also believe that what we're seeing is cultural evolution in action here, not physical evolution. It is the most vicious, expansionist, authoritarian cultures that are doing best - and it's no accident that they also have the most vicious, evangelistic and authoritarian religions.

I like the idea of current religions seeming bizarre and redundant - which is what they've always seemed to me - but I wonder whether a new global religion could ever get off the ground if all the other ones were wiped out. Given the state of modern understanding of the world, what's left for a supreme being to do? Kick off the big bang? Throw the dice for quantum events? Puh-leeze!

Timothy Carter said...

I'm not going to argue with you about the existance of God, mainly because that isn't at issue here. What is at issue is how people choose to celebrate God, and whether it does more harm than good.

This is a big topic for me. I've just finished a novel that deals with religion being used as justification for evil. I don't think religion itself is to blame, though. It all comes down to the people in that religion and how they choose to interperet it. I believe most if not all religions start as a genuine attempt to experience and understand God, be He an actual being or a force in the universe or what have you. But then people get involved, and put in their own ideas, and see opportunities for gaining power. And it all goes literally to Hell from there.

I laughed when I read about the museum, and I don't think it will be any more harmful to young minds than anything else. People have been arguing that TV and movies are harmful to children, after all. I think what's bugging you is that TV and movies are fantasy, whereas this museum is being advertised as the truth. That is a big difference.

However, I don't think the children being brought to that museum will be changed in any significant way. They will, for the most part, already have had the creationist story dumped on them, and likely they will be kept away from all natural history museums. They will already have their minds muddled. In the end, they will have to make their own choices when they become adults. That's something even their parents and priests can't control.

With regards to the museum, and the Creation theory in general, it seems less like an earnest attempt to explain the world and more a desperate attempt to display evidence for their way of thinking. The motivation is to try and convince the rest of the world they are not crazy for believing the world was made in 6 days. The museum was made out of fear their beliefs will be proven wrong. And anything done for that reason cannot last.

xman said...

Hi Gray :-)

How can anyone say there is no God when they cant prove it?. Its OK to say I haven't met one yet, but nobody can accurately say one does not exist without it being just a personal preference, surely?

And if religion is hard wired into the brain - how did it get there?

graywave said...

Hi X :-)

You know, there are hundreds and hundreds of gods from hundreds of religions and I can't disprove the existence of any of them. Does that mean I have to believe in them all? Then there are fairies, goblins, elves, the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, aliens, etc., etc.. I can't disprove their existence either. Should I believe in them too?

Sorry but this 'you can't disprove it so it might exist' argument is pretty weak. If you accept it, then I could make up things on the spot and you would have to give them the benefit of the doubt just because you can't disprove they exist (an invisible friend, for example). It is logically OK to take this position but it's just not a sensible basis for belief. With a claim so incredible as 'a magic being made the universe', I'd say the burden of proof was on the person making the claim.

As for the brain wiring. Fear is wired into the brain, so is insecurity, the need for parents, and the ability to confabulate. I don't think there is religious wiring (or else how can there be atheists?) but there are a lot of other, quite sensible cognitive structures that unfortunately drive us in that particular direction.

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