Massimiliano B wrote:I call sex ed "indoctrination" when it is clearly against a religious worldview, such as that of Christianity and any other monoteistic religions - but not only. I've used this word in response to Linguoboy's post, in which he writes that the state has not to indoctrinates people with any sort or belief system. A teaching is an indoctrination when it is presented as "absolute truth" and when its moral implications are not taken into consideration, or - this is even worse - when its moral implications are ignored at all. This short-sightedness is the great perdition of our times.
Okay. I think you've wanted to keep this as a discussion on principles and not specifics so far, and that's your prerogative, but at this point I find it hard to repond anymore without really knowing what kind of things you are talking about. What specific kinds of teachings do you consider problematic? My question in this situation, as is probably clear by now, would be whether they are problematic for the children's holistic wellbeing and wisdom or for the religion. If they add to a child's toolset to navigate this world successfully, I don't care all that much
whether it goes against their parents religion of choice. You disagree strongly, I acknowledge that.
The children's holistic wellbeing and wisdom is supported by a teaching that takes into account the child - not the future adult and sexually active person. In the second place, who says that religious teachings are against the boys' and girls' holistic wellbeing and wisdom? For instance, the complete abstinence is the most effective preventative measure against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This fact has never been in dispute. There are sexual educations curricula that teaches that. I have nothing to say against this kind of sex ed. Unfortunately, this kind of education goes againts the interests of the factories that produce condoms (how could I stop thinking of it?) and is supported by (almost?) all the religions.
Massimiliano B wrote:The questions that came to my mind are not necessarily related to the topic of this thread - but they are also related to it.
You say you don't believe in an absolute moral standard: this affirmation is, however, a universal proposition ("there are no absolute moral standards").
I'm a bit out of my depth when it comes to the topic philosophy -- I never managed to make myself as interested in the subject as I would have liked to be -- but are you saying that the statement "I don't believe there are absolute moral standards" is an example of an absolute moral standard? I don't know if I'm prepared to accept that, seems like quite a jump to that conclusion.
How does that break down, logically?
Logically speaking, the sentence "there aren't absolute moral standards" states the existence of at least one thing that everyone can say it's an absolute good thing: in effect, if believing that there is not an absolute moral standard is like saying that "there are no absolute moral standards" - then only when you believe that there are no absolute moral standards you know you are doing the only absolute good thing a person can do.
From a pragmatic viewpoint, however, the sentence "there aren't absolute moral standards" simply asserts the non-existence of absolute moral standards. So, I'm not saying that that proposition is an example of an absolute moral standard. I'm saying that it expresses a philosophical point of view, as legitimate as any other philosophical point of view.
Massimiliano B wrote:An absolute proposition of this kind is a philosophical point of view as legitimate as any other philosophical point of view.
You cannot prove that there is no absolute moral standard through the observation of the multifarious moral standards of the multitude of persons. In fact, the absolute morality is beyond the level of the moral standards of the people - and, philosophically speaking, the fact that everyone follows particular moral views don't say anything about the existence or non-existence of a universal moral standard.
So it's a kind of invisible thing that is not observable and bears no effect or consequences on our lives? I don't see how that's a useful thing. I personally don't care if it's possible to prove it doesn't exist, I only care if it's real for all practical intents and purposes. Like gods, I feel the same about them. They may exist invisibly all they want, but if they don't affect us in any way, I don't see the point in "taking them into account". All that taking into account would actually be us taking imagined things into account, because we can't know the nature of that which is not observable. Same with absolute morals. Since nobody knows what they are supposed to be, any guess is a figment of imagination and wishful thinking.
An absolute moral standard is not an invisible thing. When someone says that something is good or it is not bad - everywhere and at all times - he/she is making an absolute moral statement (i.e. "paedophilia is bad everywhere and at all times").
Massimiliano B wrote:As any kind of education, sex ed is imbued with moral worths. Not being aware of that leads to the situation of indoctrination that I've described above.
Again I'm curious what you think happens in sex ed class.
I think you said earlier, but I wasn't sure if you meant it literally or were exaggerating for simplicity, that you don't like that children are taught that "they can do anything they want with their bodies". If you meant that literally, I think you are very much mistaken. Progressive sex ed, if it goes into ethics, teaches things more like "Your body is yours and you should do with it only things you are comfortable with, and while doing that, respect others bodies and mental states (i.e. consent)". That is very much taking into account the moral issues surrounding sex. It's the minimal message everyone should get so that (hopefully) they do not get hurt by sex or hurt others with sex.
a. Is it good to assume that my body is mine and that I can pursue everything I consider to increase my personal comfort?
b. How can I remain within the limits of the respect of my body and other person's body and mental states if I think that "my body is mine and I should do with it only things I am comfortable with"? What if I love to have sexual intercourse with children? (I do not love to do that, however!!).
Massimiliano B wrote:There is not a false dichotomy between an absolute good and evil and an individual or majority opinion of good and evil. You have written that you don't believe in a universal, absolute, objective good and evil. I think also that you condemn paedophilia. As you said, paedophilia has been accepted in many cultures and times. The non-existence of an objective moral standard would entail that you could change your opinion and finally even accept that paedophilia is good. This conclusion is consistent with your view about the non-existence of an absolute moral standard. How could a life be consistent and coherent, if such changes took place?
Well, how do you
find life is consistent and coherent? Because you live in the same reality as me. It is also in your
reality that there exist people who think pedophilia is not morally wrong.
I am coherent if I don't change my opinion about what is good or what is bad. If I assume that there is no an absolute moral standard, today I can believe X, and tomorrow I can believe the opposite of X.
Varislintu wrote:Even people of faith, and people who believe in absolute moral standards (Catholics, for example). And you share with me the history of humanity that went from utter disregard of childrens rights, in fact a consistent tendency towards child abuse, and an utter disregard of women's sexual rights, in fact a consistent tendency towards abuse of women, to considering children and women to be people, and people having a right to bodily autonomy, and to the idea that sex should be based on consent.
I don't really see how I could answer your question. You may as well pose it to yourself, because I am talking about the same real world that we both see, not some kind of alternative universe where people behave differently. In this reality that we occupy, changes in morals on a personal and a community or social level, happen exactly in the pace and scale that we observe or can deduce from recorded history. The level of consistency and coherency that you observe is the same level as I observe (although we might interpret it differently).
I've posed my question to myself. The answer is that I believe in a moral objective order, which is independent from the different beliefs and behaviours of the people. Thanks to this objectivity, I can say that "X is good", "Y is bad".
Varislintu wrote:It is also in your reality that there exist people who think pedophilia is not morally wrong. Even people of faith, and people who believe in absolute moral standards (Catholics, for example).
The existence of paedophiles doesn't imply that we have to reject the idea of an absolute moral standard. In effect, a moral standard or a law can be disobeyed. For instance, you know that you have to stop at a red traffic-light, but you can freely choose to go through it. In this case, you break a law which is an objective law. This doesn't mean that the law doesn't exist.
Varislintu wrote:As far as I understand it, Catholics are very strongly of the belief that there are absolute moral standards. And yet, there have been Catholics who have systematically covered up and even committed pedophilia. My point is not trying to be that Catholics are more prone to this, but that even Catholics, of all people, do it. And show no particular remorse. Their belief in absolute morals didn't have an effect on that side of their behaviour.
Believing that there's an absolute moral standard doesn't imply that the believer follows in any case the moral law. The percentage of immoral acts is the same, both within such believers and within who doesn't believe in objective moral standards.
Human being is free. You can freely choose. Life is not like a mechanism, where everything functions perfectly, given some initial conditions or a set of universal laws. There's the human free will, which neither objective laws nor divine grace can delete.
Dormouse559 wrote:What's your source? I don't deny that some Catholics have sanctioned child abuse. But that's about as meaningful as saying some white people sanction racism. While true, it doesn't justify a blanket statement like "White people sanction racism".
But I'm not making that kind of statement. At least that's not my intention. Massimiliano brought up pedophilia as an example of an objectively immoral thing (or so I understand his intention here). And he seems to be suggesting that only if you believe in absolute moral standards, can you consistently condemn pedophilia. But I'm trying to say that that is observably not true, at least not on a practical level: since even Catholics have, as we know, committed acts of pedophilia or sancioned them, they were not on a practical level any more affected by this absolute moral standard than other people.
I'm trying to argue against Massimiliano's point by using Catholics as an example, not trying to single out Catholics as any less moral people than anyone else. Or paint them all over with the same Ibrush.
I brought up pedophilia as an example of an objectively immoral thing. But I didn't write that only if you believe in absolute moral standards, you can consistently condemn pedophilia. I say that if you absolutely condemn paedophilia, you must believe in absolute moral standards.
Do you think that even paedophilia is not absolutely wrong?