Tuesday, May 05, 2009

People Can Come to Some Silly Conclusions

Andrew Stuttaford at Secular Right discusses the question of why nonreligious parents often raise religious children (though of course no numbers are cited here to define what HOW often this happens). While sticking some needles in some "left-liberal" straw men who think that the only way people come to religion is by through parental guidance, he points out the apparently obvious fact that religion is in our genetic makeup, that "[I]t’s the way our species has evolved." After all, everything about us as people is gotten from our progenitors, because we are all raised as hermits living in secluded Arctic Ocean islands.

Stattuford suggests that the best way to raise irreligious children is to raise religious children (yes.). Now, if you liked that, you'll REALLY like the follow up, wherein he berates a namby-pamby "left-liberal" nonbeliever for his belief that secularists should find a way to appeal to the metaphysical impulse which our Secular Right protagonist has already asserted is inborn and inescapable.

In the end, Stuttaford's overall point is actually somewhat difficult to discern. That he thinks religiosity is an inescapable natural urge that must be placated in some way is clear, though his only suggestion as a way to do this makes no real sense; it is more of a suggestion as to how to train people out of it (one is forced to assume the mechanism here is an urge to rebel). But how often are efforts to train people out of genetic imperatives successful? Then, when presented with a suggestion of secular spiritualism as a way to appease our inherited penchant for the supernatural - something which actually follows from this ridiculous assumption - he rejects it out of hand because he is above the need for any sort of ethereal crutch. In this case, one wouldn't be surprised if Stuttaford were also free of the inborn human desire to eat food a couple times a day.

As this was written by Andrew Stuttaford* and quoted by Andrew Sullivan, I'm afraid I'm going to have to start a policy of distrusting any non-religious conservative named Andrew.

*Update - Okay, Andrew Stuttaford is also a National Review Online writer. I suppose that says a lot about him.


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