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Coffee!! Pop science flexes its flab: “Christians” vs “science” on … spanking

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What happens when pop science usurps reason in the public sphere? Not always what you would expect. Here’s a great example, courtesy Jewish Canadian civil rights lawyer and publisher Ezra Levant: “Liberal Senator thinks spanking is the cause of all violence” (January 4, 2011)

“I’m not even kidding,” he begins.

Ez, no fear you’d be kidding. A fellow Norther, I accept that any lunacy may phosphoresce suddenly from our unelected Senate (a gravy heaven for past-their-sell-date partisans).

And, like, what hoo-hoo this time?

So she wants to make it a crime to spank your kids. That’s right: get a criminal record for it. And mandatory, government parenting classes.

Read her nutty speech here. My favourite part is when she cites an animal biologist to say no animals are naturally violent – it’s taught.

As if carnivores in nature would naturally negotiate with their dinner-to-be, as opposed to hunting them.

Wowza, Ez. Wonder what other animal biologists will say – never mind fans of Taylor Mitchell (folk singer killed by coyote attack). What restrains a wild animal from gratuitous violence is the need to fill the belly quickly and move on.

Now, what about Christians, Ez? Where we come in?

He goes on:

Canadian parents who spank, even in accordance with the Supreme Court’s rule about gentleness, are “violent,” she says.

But she goes much further, and weirder. She claims spanking is “the root cause of the violence in our society.” [Hint: Check world violent crime stats for Canada’s ranking, to see how much time to spend on this problem. Decide whether to sponsor an invasion or … have another lemon fizz. – d.]

Hervieux-Payette rails against Christianity, specifically denying its doctrine of original sin, and its belief that all boys and girls have some evil tendencies within them that have to be controlled. According to her, “parental authority” is just a Christian superstition. Badly behaved children, especially ages three to six, simply need to be persuaded “through argument in order to bring them under control.”

Are you ready to take mandatory parenting classes from her? [asks proud father Ez]

Hervieux-Payette says “beliefs are slow to die and churches do not intend to surrender so readily to science.”

Who is this woman? Some one-term backbencher? Nope. She’s a high-ranking Liberal.

The moral of this story is that when pop Darwinism (we are just animals) flows through a culture, it evolves into whatever is “needed”, not necessarily what your local Darwin lobby currently rants.

By the way, does anyone know much about animal behaviourist John Paul Scott, Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University, whom Hervieux-Payette cites as a source re all those peacenik wild animals?

Could he be serious?

(Because of some system glitch, I can’t add a comment responding to Barb below, but let me just say that the dangerous nonsense she outlines is exactly what happens when scientism rules. )

“For centuries, religious concepts held sway in the absence of any scientific knowledge about child development. The doctrine of original sin led those raising children to see in children's souls a mixture of good and bad tendencies. In other words, according to the religious precepts of Christianity, violence was innate in man — and I must say, women also.” We do have good and bad tendencies inherent in us. That is obvious to anyone. The fact that prisons exist proves this point. “This meant that the proper way to raise them was to submit them to parental authority, and to control them through authority rather than through argument in order to bring them under control or domination.” How, exactly, are you going to argue with a 2-year-old who insists on playing with sharp objects? How, exactly, are you going to reason with a 3-year-old who wants to touch the hot stove? “not only that force is ineffective in child rearing, no matter what level of force is used, but also that its consequences are counter-productive in the medium and long term…” It might be ineffective on, say, an 8-year-old but, as noted above, reasoning doesn’t work during the ages from birth to age 5 through 7. Oh, and there is a huge difference between slapping and spanking. She doesn’t seem to understand this. Her speech sounds logical and rational when first read, but when analyzed, it’s simply nonsense to anyone who is a parent. Barb

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