Introduction from SF Bay Area, CA
Posted: 17 July 2009 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Greeting fellow earthlings! (Except you, over there in the corner, with the noodling appendage),

My name is Derek. I’ve long been a skeptic, but like some, didn’t realize there was a ‘name’ for it. grin A while back I discovered the PoI podcast and have been enjoying my commute a bit (or at least feel like I’m accomplishing something during the drive) catching up on all the episodes. Today, I’ve finished my second issue of Free Inquiry and was inspired to join the forums because of the review of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement in the June/July 2009 issue. So, why did that inspire me to join?

Our family ‘homeschools’, but not for religious reasons; I’m an atheist and my wife identifies as pagan. The homeschool community is growing and surprisingly not all of it is for religious reasons. Granted there are still several families of faith who homeschool because of their beliefs. However, I’ve also encountered several people who are religious but that is not the reason they homeschool. Yes, their faith is part of their families lives, but it would be anyway even if the children went to public school. I agree with Dawkins (to a point) that indoctrinating children into religion is heinous. (Not sure I’d go quite as far and call it ‘child abuse’ though.) The children are never given the chance to decide for themselves, just told to believe mommy and daddy and the person ‘in the pulpit’. I want my children to be able to think for themselves, search for evidence, examine that evidence, and make an informed decision from there. We’re teaching them (I hope) compassion, altruism, manners, respect for others, respect of differences, enjoyment of life, respect for our home (a.k.a. the little blue dot), et al.

What I found a bit disconcerting was the implication I* took from the review. That perhaps ‘we’ (society) shouldn’t allow anyone to homeschool because of what the parents might be teaching their children. (I believe Germany outlawed homeschooling for this very reason.) My questions: (1) Where is the dividing line between parents’ rights and children’s rights? (2) When, if at any time, do the rights of society at large trump parental rights?** (3) When, if at any time, do the rights of society trump children’s rights?

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to all types of discussions on these forums.

Take care,

Derek

* I could certainly be reading too much into it, since I perceive it to ‘attack’ one of my life choices. I’m also tired of the stereotype that all homeschoolers are religious zealots ‘living at the compound’. Though, of course, some are. (And I really wouldn’t mind a larger house, come to think of it… smile )

** Assuming lack of any kind of abuse; behaviors which are illegal; etc.

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“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

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Posted: 17 July 2009 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome to the forum, Derek, good to have you here. Hopefully you’ll get some answers to your questions; I think I’ll lay off for now.

grin

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Doug

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Posted: 17 July 2009 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome Derek.  Glad to have you here.  You ask some good questions. I’m not sure I have any answers for you.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 17 July 2009 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The problem, Derek, is that there are easy answers, but they lead to a second tier of questions.

You asked, “(1) Where is the dividing line between parents’ rights and children’s rights?” —When the actions involving the child by the parent can harm the child or others, and when the actions by the child can harm either him/herself or others.

“(2) When, if at any time, do the rights of society at large trump parental rights?**” —When the actions of the parent in reference to the child can harm the child or society, either immediately or in the long term.

“(3) When, if at any time, do the rights of society trump children’s rights?”—When the actions of the child according to his/her rights can harm any members of society (including the child) either immediatel or in the long term.

I know - Who defines harm, what does one define as harm, etc.?

Occam

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Posted: 17 July 2009 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam - 17 July 2009 05:53 PM

The problem, Derek, is that there are easy answers, but they lead to a second tier of questions

<snip>

I know - Who defines harm, what does one define as harm, etc.?

Occam

Hmm… I see what you mean. So how do we answer those questions? Or can we? I suppose it’s probably one of those situations where the definitions can be objective (at least in part, at their most simplest) but then veer off into Subjectivity Land pretty quick.

Thanks again for the welcome!

Take care,

Derek

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“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

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Posted: 17 July 2009 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Welcome Derek, I live in the East Bay and feel as if we belong to the only African American atheist in the Bay Area! Parents who home school their children, from what I’ve seen run the gamut of any other human endeavor, from incompetent to the extraordinary. Of course, to a funditheist, giving a child a secular education would be incompetent!

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 20 July 2009 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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asanta - 17 July 2009 10:49 PM

Welcome Derek, I live in the East Bay and feel as if we belong to the only African American atheist in the Bay Area! Parents who home school their children, from what I’ve seen run the gamut of any other human endeavor, from incompetent to the extraordinary. Of course, to a funditheist, giving a child a secular education would be incompetent!

Thanks all for the welcome!

So true on the secular education. smile I certainly plan to teach my children about world religions, but that can certainly be done without indoctrinating them into any of them. wink

Take care,

Derek

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“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

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Posted: 20 July 2009 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Derek,

I’m from the East Bay as well. Welcome.

Kenneth

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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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