Sacerdotus Demands an Apology from Dawkins!


My new play thing Scabbydot has had a bit to say about hell after a tweet from Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins tweeted this:

He then links to an article from his book that discusses his thinking.  It’s really very good.  Of course, he then attracts a lot of attention and the christians get all pissed off.  Queue Scabbydot…

So-called “new atheist” Richard Dawkins is at it again. Like the late Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins is using shock value tactics to draw attention to his insignificant self.

Dawkins is a well recognised personality.  Rabid Llamas and Scabbydot catholics are insignificant.

He goes on twitter posting his view that teaching kids about hell is child abuse. What a foolish guy. Is he really scientists?

That’s not foolish.  As Hitchens said – religion poisons everything.  Reading the tweet would also give you a hint about his question.  He didn’t make a statement, he asked two questions.  Is it child abuse?  Might it be worse?  No statement of fact, just a couple of curious questions that are then expanded in the linked article.

If this were true, then telling kids that if they break the law they will go to jail; then that is child abuse as well. If a teacher tells a student he/she will get detention, then that must be child abuse as well. Each of these scenarios does affect the psychological state of children. They bring about fear and anxiety. In most cases, the change behavior. I remember in elementary school thinking “the corner” was the worst thing ever and avoided getting myself put there by charming my teachers.

canComePlayDevilWinkWell, it’s true.  If you break the law, you may go to prison.  However, we don’t lock up children.  We understand that they make mistakes and need to learn.  Sure, there may be some form of punishment.  And yes, threatening a child with prison would be a form of child abuse, when it’s taken to extremes.  That is very different to the threat of eternal torture.  At least in prison you get parole.  We need rules in society to continue to work.  Hell and sin are human constructs that only serve to waste time and energy.  Getting caught for committing a crime as an adult has a real outcome.  Talking about hell and being persecuted for breaking rules you don’t fully understand or are aware of is abusive.

Psychology teaches that punishment can work depending on the situation and how it is administered. When bad behavior is associated with an aversive stimuli, then the organism learns or is conditioned to avoid the bad behavior so as to avoid the aversive stimuli. Hell, detention, jail can be processed by a child’s mind this way. Nobody wants to burn forever, no one wants to be in a boring room, no one wants to get locked up, so he/she changes his/her behavior in order to avoid that.

It’s wrong to hang a threat over the head of a child.  Either you behave or you’ll burn in hell for all eternity is.  The devil will push you into a lake of fire where there is gnashing of teeth.  You will be forever in pain, it will be unbelievably hot and you will never escape from it.  That’s what hell is, that’s a horrible, horrible thing to tell a child.  That’s child abuse. That’s an unjustifiable threat and different to saying ‘if you disobey me I will put you in your room for one hour’ . There is no hell.  At all.  Anywhere.

It is sad that Dr. Dawkins misconstrues psychology and theology in such a way. Not only is he offending Catholics and others of faith, but he is downplaying the affects of sexual abuse.

He should apologize to all those he offended and retract his uneducated statement. If not, he will continue to lose credibility as a scientist and will bring atheism down with him.

Scabbydot has not bothered to read or understand the tweet or the link that was in the tweet from Dawkins.  If he did he would find this:

Anecdotes and plausibility arguments, however, need to be backed up by systematic research, and I would be interested to hear from psychologists whether there is real evidence bearing on the question. My expectation would be that violent, painful, repeated sexual abuse, especially by a family member such as a father or grandfather, probably has a more damaging effect on a child’s mental well-being than sincerely believing in hell. But ‘sexual abuse’ covers a wide spectrum of sins, and I suspect that research would show belief in hell to be more traumatic than the sort of mild feeling-up that I suffered.

There’s a curious scientist, doing what he does.  He makes a really good point, and I too would be eager to read some reports on the relevant research.

The reaction from Scabbydot shows how little he bothers to follow the trail and comprehend before announcing how offended he is and demanding an apology.

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