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[P]
Tis the Season to be Dishonest

By catseye in Op-Ed
Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 03:48:38 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

What is it about the holidays that inspires deception? I am, of course, speaking of the millions of parents that lie to their children about Santa Claus.


I tried very very hard not to be one of those parents. Up until the time our child was 3, we never mentioned Santa Claus around Christmas time, and he was really too young to pay much attention anyway. Last year, however, he started asking so we told him, in terms that a 3 year old could understand, that Santa Claus was a myth and that there were legends all over the world about a man that gave toys to children on Christmas (or whatever the appropriate cultural holiday was) and that now that's represented by Santa Claus. We explained that lots of men dress up as Santa Claus to help celebrate Christmas and have fun, like dressing up on Halloween. We also explained that presents did not come from Santa, but from other people in the family and if he saw a tag that said "From Santa" is was just someone having fun and getting into the holiday spirit. At three, he seemed alright with that and thought it was a lot of fun.

Then came Christmas last year, and even though we told the grandparents what we were doing about the whole "Santa issue" they took it upon themselves to fill his head with all the traditional Santa garbage because otherwise he might "ruin Christmas" for the other children. Since the idea that Santa is an immortal, magical man who has flying reindeer and gives toys to millions of children all over the world is a LOT more fun than the reality of the situation, guess what our dear child preferred to believe?

Now, it's been a year and he's firmly convinced that there IS a Santa Claus thanks to his grandparents, television, and other children. When we tried once again to explain that it was just pretend, he started to get upset, so we just trailed off and dropped the subject. Fortunately, most 4 year olds have the attention span of a butterfly, so he quickly got distracted by something else.

I really do not understand how parents (or anyone else for that matter) can feel that it's right to systematically lie to their children for years, assuming they'll just figure it all out later when they get older. Santa Claus... the Easter Bunny... the Tooth Fairy... why is it alright to lie to children about these things but not others? How can parents expect their children to trust them once they're caught in the lie? I was about 6 or 7 when I stopped believing in Santa Claus and his ilk, and kept pestering my mother until she finally admitted that they were make-believe. Then I asked her what else she was lying to me about. Oddly enough, our relationship went downhill from there.

For the other parents on K5... how did/do you handle the Santa Claus issue with your children, and what was your reasoning?

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Poll
Did/do you encourage your children to believe in Santa, Tooth Fairy, etc.?
o Yes, it's harmless childhood fun. 19%
o Yes, but only because I was pressured by spouse/family. 0%
o Yes, but only because I other family members got to him/her first and I don't want to hurt him/her now. 0%
o No, and I have the support of my family. 3%
o No, and I do not have the support of my family. 4%
o I don't have kids, but if I did I'd want them to believe. 9%
o I don't have kids, but if I did I wouldn't want them to believe. 62%

Votes: 198
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by catseye


Display: Sort:
Tis the Season to be Dishonest | 386 comments (378 topical, 8 editorial, 6 hidden)
The Emperor Has No Clothes... (2.40 / 15) (#1)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:09:40 PM EST

How dare you gore our sacred cow!

Seriously though, I have two children and we do not celebrate Christmas in any form whatsoever. When my wife and I got married, we both agreed that the entire thing was far too dishonest and had been taken over by commercial interests anyway. When you also throw in the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with any meaningful religious observance, we felt there was nothing left worth celebrating. Instead we give gifts to our children at least once a month, we spend time with them every day and are doing our best to instill in them a thinking, questioning attitude so that they won't get sucked into the rest of the consumer driven drivel that passes for culture in this country. So far, so good. Keep up the good work. There may be hope for the future yet.

The mice will see you now.
The Vulcans have spoken [nt] ... lighten up. (none / 2) (#88)
by causticmtl on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 02:32:16 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Well, you buggers cowed our sacred Gore... (none / 2) (#92)
by Russell Dovey on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:25:31 AM EST

That is, assuming that Republicans tell their kids that Santa exists. Or something.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Baby, bathwater (none / 1) (#251)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:15:17 PM EST

There are some who say "well, this is how we celebrate in our family" and then proceed to take back the holiday and make it our own as we always have.

And then we enjoy what we have preserved of our various ancestral traditions, as well as a few things we have made up for ourselves.

We do not surrender it to the commercial, neither by playing it their way nor by giving it up altogether. We do it our way.

The exesses of commercialism and the saccerine sentimentality provide teaching moments, topics for critical thought.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Applause (none / 0) (#304)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:21:30 AM EST

I'm glad for you and yours. But you are definitely in the minority.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Missing the Point (none / 1) (#376)
by FlightSimGuy on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:03:46 PM EST

I have respect for the pure logic your post represents but in my opinion, to refuse to celebrate Christmas because of what it stands for or doesn't stand for is to miss the point entirely. I don't celebrate Christmas because I believe in God/Christ/Santa/whatever, but because I want to celebrate. I want to have something to look forward to the entire year. I want to get together with the whole family, throw a big party, etc.

People have always wanted to do that sort of thing, and I believe that occasions like Christmas are nothing more than an excuse to do it. To deny your children the joys of celebration is, IMHO, cruel.

[ Parent ]

I Agree (none / 0) (#378)
by Ogygus on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 12:42:45 AM EST

But in our family we take it one further. Every single day that we are alive is a reason for celebration. We don't look forward to it, we do it!

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
I'm just wondering, (2.11 / 18) (#2)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:19:43 PM EST

Why do you hate Christmas?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Hate is too strong an emotion. (2.77 / 9) (#5)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:33:08 PM EST

I think it has more to do with this: If I am dishonest to my child, intentionally deceiving them about something as essentially meaningless as Christmas, what will they think of me when really important issues come up?

So hatred of Christmas? No, distaste perhaps, but not hatred. Let's reserve that for things that matter.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Why do you hate... ? (2.83 / 6) (#7)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:58:37 PM EST

Whenever you see the question "Why do you hate X?", it is almost always a joke - usually intentional. It is in reference to conservatives asking liberals why they hate America.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Ahhh... (2.25 / 4) (#9)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:00:33 PM EST

Thanks for the tip. I will keep that in mind in the future.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't a child be able to make the distinction? (none / 0) (#352)
by LaundroMat on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 05:12:30 AM EST

Unless something's very wrong with it, an upgrowing child should be able to see the difference between being "lied" to about Santa Claus, and being told lies regarding serious and important matters (such as: "It's not your fault mommy and daddy are spliting up"*).

I mean, look at ourselves. I'm not in the least way wary of anything my parents tell me because they once made me believe in the existence of an old bearded man showering gifts.

* Not that I wish you and your spouse to split up. I just take this example because it is a serious and important matter.
---

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

Re: Hate is too strong an emotion. (none / 0) (#387)
by Milo Minderbinder on Tue Jul 13, 2004 at 06:55:53 PM EST

YHBT. YHL. HAND.
--
M & M ENTERPRISES, FINE FRUITS AND PRODUCE.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (1.57 / 7) (#3)
by TheModerate on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:20:45 PM EST

The dishonesty is a bit much—especially for we atheists. Maybe we need an atheist holiday this time of the year that we can feel comfortable with.

But don't ask me to come up with it. I don't want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer

Christmas... (2.50 / 4) (#115)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:09:04 AM EST

...can be an atheist holiday. Mainstream Christmas almost is these days.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Dave Barry (none / 0) (#175)
by JWhiton on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 10:41:42 AM EST

I believe Dave Barry once suggested we create an "atheist kids get presents day" or something to that effect.

[ Parent ]
How about... (none / 1) (#377)
by FlightSimGuy on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 10:37:25 PM EST

How about Isaac Newton's birthday?

[ Parent ]
my experience (2.78 / 28) (#4)
by phred on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:32:19 PM EST

One Christmas eve, my dad went out back shot a shotgun into the air, then came back in and told us he just nailed some fat guy on the roof and had anybody seen the shovel.

heh (2.93 / 15) (#31)
by KittyFishnets on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:37:38 PM EST

My grandfather used to set cartoon-style traps outside the fireplace.  Christmas Eve, after he had gone to bed, Grandma would have us "disarm" them.

One year he woke us up Christmas morning and pointed to a black boot and a red Santa hat.  "I almost got him!" he exclaimed.  The next year he put all our presents on the roof.  He claimed Santa was afraid to come down his chimney anymore.

[ Parent ]

what a bastard (2.00 / 4) (#77)
by speek on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:43:53 PM EST

He really carried the lie to quite an extreme. You must've spent years in counselling, eh? That's one grandpa you probably don't have fond memories of.

catseye will never be as crappy a pappy as that.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

lol (2.52 / 17) (#6)
by desiderandus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 02:38:14 PM EST

When I was in kindergarten, my parents told me santa claus was not - we're not Christian, so why should my parents care? So of course I went to class, and told everyone that santa claus was a fake. I think that was my first successful trolling experience, because my teacher got fairly pissed.
_________
Our sins catch up to us in the worst possible way; they become part of our essential identities.
Santa and Christianity? (2.60 / 5) (#134)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:44:16 PM EST

we're not Christian, so why should my parents care?

Santa, in American mythology is far more related to Coca-Cola than Christianity.

[ Parent ]

So? (none / 2) (#206)
by it certainly is on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 03:33:12 AM EST

Anything in an American existance is more related to a corporation than to a church.

St Nicholas's popular image of a fat man in red and white clothes was around before the Coca-Cola corp. decided to adopt him as a brand image. In fact, he was around before Christmas became pathetically known as the multiculturalism embracign "The Holidays".

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Red clothes? (none / 1) (#210)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:17:40 AM EST

Yeah, he was around, but pictures of him before the Sundblom pictures are split pretty evenly between green and red.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Oh ho! (none / 1) (#266)
by gzt on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 02:19:48 PM EST

Yes, I know the imagery of Santa was fairly uniform before Coca Cola and that most cultural icons nowadays are more related to advertisements than Christianity.

My point: he was saying his parents didn't care about whether he believed in Santa or not at the age of 6 because they weren't Christian. I was trying to say that's irrelevant, unless by that he meant they don't celebrate Christmas at all.

[ Parent ]

Hehe, same. (none / 2) (#290)
by OzJuggler on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:11:50 PM EST

Me: "There's no such thing as Santa, it's just your parents!"
Teacher: "Quiet!"
(Takes me aside for a good talking-to)
Teacher: "Now I don't know what your mother or father have told you, but these other children may not know that and I don't want you talking about that ever again!"
Me: "Okayyyy."

I must have been about seven. I don't know how much I sussed out prior, but I do recall the moment at which the truth was revealed to me by my parents, probably less than a month before the classroom incident. I think I asked THE QUESTION in a very doubtful way and they were somewhat embarrased but told me anyway.

Also, I'm amused by your strange need to excuse your trolling behaviour by attempting to find examples of it in your childhood, even when the notion of trolling would have been unknown to you at the time of this classroom exposé. I shouldn't be so surprised since self-declared trolls regularly scrape the bottom of the barrell in an attempt justify their trolling. The bottom of the barrell is no stranger to trolls, who are one of the lowest scum-sucking forms of life.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#337)
by desiderandus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:58:01 PM EST

Just because I mention trolling, I'm a troll now? You're a pretty piss-poor "serious-minded" kuron to make such an assumption :). I have been called the term a few times, but only by people I would term anal-retentive.

I just mentioned trolling because to some uptight people, telling the truth of Santa Claus to kids *is* trolling. That amuses me. Parents can lie to their kids, but it's just a little stupid to blame other people when the kids finds out, whatever their age. The lie was the parents' fault in the first place, anyways.
_________
Our sins catch up to us in the worst possible way; they become part of our essential identities.
[ Parent ]

Just to clarify. (none / 0) (#369)
by OzJuggler on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 10:32:09 PM EST

Just because I mention trolling, I'm a troll now?
No, you're a troll by your own admission. What other interpretations are there when you have admitted initiating an act of trolling at an early age?
And it is misleading to quote 'serious-minded' as though I had used those words myself.

But I think we can agree that the parents are completely culpable for the consequences of the stories they tell their children.
Enjoy your stay under the bridge.
"And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.
[ Parent ]

Much Ado About Nothing (2.42 / 14) (#8)
by nkyad on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:00:23 PM EST

Who, besides you, cares? Why is it so important to you to take a 3 year old apart from whatever social context he is immersed in and give him a cold reality shower? He is in an age when the world, for all practical purposes, is still completely operated by "magic". He does not have the faintest idea of how a car or an oven works, depending on the level of protection his enviroment provides he may not know fire burns or electricity shocks, TV can well have little people inside. Santa is really very far from being the most malign myth parents try to teach their children...

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


Objectivity (2.14 / 7) (#11)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:04:05 PM EST

The undesirability of the "social context" makes it very important to me as a parent. I want my children to have the best chance of living a healty, rational life. Starting off immersed in the mythology of the cave is not really fair to them.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
you have to start from where you are (none / 3) (#28)
by speek on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:14:38 PM EST

They are immersed in the social context whether you like it or not. You can try to rip it away from them, or you can let them grow into a better and better understanding of their world, and think through their own conclusions. Your anxiety about this seems misplaced - kids are a whole lot more resilient than you're giving them credit for.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

We're on the same page... (2.80 / 5) (#57)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:47:57 PM EST

think through their own conclusions

This is exactly what I am attempting to do. By exposing the obvious falsehoods in our society like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Compassionate Conservatives for the fantasy creatures they are I am helping my children to have a chance of forming their own opinions and reaching their own conclusions. Hopefully they will be prepared for the big lies of adulthood, like WMD in Iraq, Saddam was personally responsible for 9/11 and GWB is a distinguished military veteran. Looking at the track record of most of our society on these issues, I don't think I can start too soon.

You can try to rip it away from them

Luckily, we started when they were infants, so we don't have to "rip it away" at all. They see the whole glittering facade for what it is and so far have chosen to stay out of the ugliness underneath.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
stories are not "obvious falsehoods" (none / 2) (#76)
by speek on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:37:17 PM EST

These are our communal myths. They communicate ideas and help a bunch of humans form a group. You are handing them your conclusions and bypassed a chance for them to exercise, for themselves, their ability to distinguish truth from story from lie.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

OK, time to branch out... (none / 2) (#113)
by Ogygus on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:41:08 AM EST

These are our communal myths.

Let's look at this whole communal myth idea. Arguably, the biggest communal myth in the world is religion of any stripe. By making Santa Claus, Toys 'R Us and Nordstrom's our new idols, how are we helping our children to face reality? What values are we communicating to them? Consumption is good? You deserve gifts for no reason other than corporate profit?

You are handing them your conclusions

This is what my parents did for me, this is what I will do for my children. If I don't, where will they get their values and morals from?

bypassed a chance for them to exercise, for themselves, their ability to distinguish truth from story from lie.

Let's assume it takes 6 years for them to figure out that "Santa Claus" is a lie. From the time they are 3 years old until the time they are 9, they operate under the false assumption that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Great Pumpkin are all real. Where is the benefit? What are the benefits? Belief in these creatures benefits no one except Hallmark, the importers of gifts, the makers of chocolate and the guys who make that brightly colored shredded plastic for the easter baskets. My kids, 9 and 11, have no problem making these distinctions. Both avid readers, both computer literate they know how to research on the internet, they question everything. My wife and I do our best not to feed them pat answers, we make them look it up. Honesty in all things has become an important value in our family. I refuse to compromise that.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
WTF is the great pumpkin? (none / 0) (#211)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:19:17 AM EST


If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Infidel! -nt- (none / 0) (#221)
by Bad Harmony on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:21:17 AM EST


54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Bullshit. (none / 1) (#243)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:57:38 AM EST

Representing what you know to be untrue as the truth is not a "communal myth". A communal myth would be the 10th century world believing the world was flat. Knowing it is spherical and telling their children it's flat is a lie.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Flat earth (none / 0) (#276)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 05:22:13 PM EST

A communal myth is that people in the 10th Century believed the world was flat. In fact, those who care to investigate the matter have a very good estimate of the diameter dating back at least to the high Greek period. There is a portrait of one of the people who told Columbus his trip was impossible. It was painted before the trip. There is a globe in the background. The guy said the trip was impossible because the planet is too large

The rest, well, today there are people who think a guy on TV is having converstations with their dead relatives.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Ancient Greeks knew it was round (none / 0) (#364)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 08:02:28 PM EST

...at least, some of them. Like a thousand years ago (500 years before Columbus), some people knew the world wasn't flat, but most people then would laugh at you as if you were an idiot if you tried to assert that the obviously glat ground was round.

It's turtles, all the way down.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Healthy and rational does != happy (necessarily) (2.66 / 6) (#32)
by fn0rd on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:41:20 PM EST

While I sympathize with your viewpoint, I think it's important to consider the mythologies we expose our children to as valuable tools to help form their ethics and morals, particularly when you raise them outside of a religious tradition. A young child doesn't have the conceptual framework upon which to develop a rationalist theory of "how to behave", and certain mythologies provide the child with points of reference for ethical and moral behavior. While the value of Santa in this regard is debatable, I think one could make the argument that he teaches a certain genrosity of spirit and that good behavior will be eventually rewarded.

I'll be facing the same problem next year, as my 2 year old is just discovering the concept of Xmas this year. The particulars seem to be beneath her radar for now, as the trees, lights, and bearded fatties all get slapped with the generic "christmas" label by her. I think my wife and I will just let her come to her own conclusions about Santa, and if she asks, we'll give her the same answer you did to your son. If she gets other ideas later, though we won't argue about it.

As for a secular winter holiday, celebrate the Solstice. We do. It helps make the winters (we're in the Adirondacks, winter is long) more pleasant and bearable somehow.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Healthy? (none / 3) (#257)
by enthalpyX on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:46:33 PM EST

My parents, as devout Christians, shunned Halloween as a pagan holiday. As a child, they instilled in me that it was NOT to be celebrated, as it had no basis in a Christian reality. While I had a nice little speech about why Halloween shouldn't be celebrated, it fell on deaf ears for similarly unenlightened children. I grew to dread Halloween each year, as it created a "me" vs. "them" scenario.

What my parents did to fend off the 'secular world,' and what you're doing to fend off the 'religious/irrational world' are similar in spirit. Your kid will be ostracized for her rejection of a somewhat prominent societal myth. While you're striving to teach a rational lesson, the response of society is going to be irrational. Which will make for a very confused kid.

I know I sure as hell was.



[ Parent ]
Confusion (none / 0) (#259)
by Ogygus on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 01:06:52 PM EST

As "devout Christians", what was their position on Christmas? Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny?

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
They taught that (none / 1) (#274)
by enthalpyX on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 05:00:11 PM EST

the reason for Christmas is the birth of Christ. End of story. That if that event hadn't happened, Christmas would not exist.

Yet, I remember going to the mall to visit Santa. And having presents "from" Santa. My uncle dressing up in a big red suit. When I recognized that Santa was really a relative, I stopped believing in the reality of it... And I was pretty angry the next year, to see presents "from" Santa. As if it was an affront to my maturity-- or something. But I don't resent my parents for not dispelling the whole Santa myth outright. Moreover, when I think Santa, I think happy childhood memories.

Why they didn't emphasize the unreality of Santa is a mystery. Perhaps because it was related to an event they believed had a foundation in truth? I'm not entirely sure. But if I had run around spouting "Santa is a FRAUD$#@!" or something similar, replay previously mentioned ostracization scenario.



[ Parent ]
Belief (none / 0) (#302)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:19:48 AM EST

the reason for Christmas is the birth of Christ. End of story. That if that event hadn't happened, Christmas would not exist

This belief is about as widespread as the Santa Claus myth and upon investigation has about as much relevance to the Christmas Festival as the Easter Bunny has to Easter. The fact is that the early Christians did not celebrate Christ's birth, they memorialized his resurrection. The political leaders of the day found it expedient to create a new Christian festival by using parts of existing Celtic and Roman festivals. This gave official sanction to all three, a compromise designed to keep everyone happy.

replay previously mentioned ostracization scenario.

But this is exactly what Christ did in his day. He ran around telling everyone who would listen that the religious leaders of his day were frauds and hypocrites. Was he ostracized? Yes, he paid the ultimate price for his honesty. In summary, this festival purports to be Christian, on examination, it clearly is not. Santa is supposed to be a harmless myth, but it teaches deception and rampant consumerism to children. Harmless? Maybe to some, but definitely not to me.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Note that (none / 0) (#318)
by enthalpyX on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 02:37:39 PM EST

I said this is what they taught. I'm fully aware of the origins of winter solstice* holidays. But this isn't the issue. Their reality is not yours.

I don't think ostracization was my parents' intention at all-- even if it is Christ-like. If that's your intention.... well, go for it. My claim is that the practical results of the act outweigh the ideological purity. Emotional health is important in social contexts outside the family.



[ Parent ]
Not my intention (none / 0) (#321)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 02:52:57 PM EST

I agree that emotional health is important in social contexts outside the family. Within our family, we have made the honesty/dishonesty issue significantly more black and white than society has. This causes problems outside the family. We teach our children to be sensitive to others (don't call them on their bullshit) and to evaluate issues for themselves. They get along all right. When they're feeling picked on by their peers, we're there to support them. All kids feel picked on, all kids feel ostracized. It's how they handle it that counts.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
"mythology of the cave" (none / 1) (#261)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 01:17:35 PM EST

Interesting phrase.

For some, it is a reference to "cave people", who never really existed to any serious degree. A few people in a few places used caves, mostly as temporary shelter. The really nifty caves were used as ritual holy places. There was not a time when enough people lived in caves to define an era.

The cave is (besides being anthropologicaly false) a modern origin myth, explaining where we came from and who we are without serious linkage to evidence.

But I'd like to know where you get the idea that it is an advantage to start out life without what is at least a standard psycholgical tool in every other culture. I have a guess: the part of the cave myth where our ancestors are dim-witted hunchbacks cowering around a fire in the dark, terrified by imagined evil spirits, awaiting the light of Science.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Science? (none / 0) (#305)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:34:07 AM EST

terrified by imagined evil spirits, awaiting the light of Science

Good guess. I would substitute rationality for science though. Someday we, as a species, may actually get there. There are bright spots worldwide, but even today most people can't handle reality without the crutch that is religion. If children grow up in a rational society (or family as we've yet to see such a thing), once they reach maturity and if they feel something missing in their life, then they can go and examine religions and choose one. By raising them to believe what you believe, you are restricting their choice and to me, that is totally unfair. I have been attacked for this position, but usually by those who are disappointed that I haven't supplied two ready made drones for their particular faith.

that it is an advantage to start out life without what is at least a standard psychological tool in every other culture

Every other culture has huge problems. Why emulate them.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Tool, crutch, (none / 0) (#327)
by error 404 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 05:00:23 PM EST

I guess I just don't see any good reason not to use the mythic mode. I could probably handle reality without religion (probably easier than without antidepressants) if I really tried. But nobody has shown me a practical reason to make the effort other than the fact that there is such a thing as bad religion. I'm not emulating other cultures, I'm just not making an effort to break away from my own in that way. Sure, every other culture has huge problems. Ours does too. I don't see that the mythic mode (other than the fact that everybody knows they are better than anybody else) per se causes the problems. A strict diet of Twinkies(tm) will kill you. That doesn't mean food is a bad thing.

I think some of the hostility you get is a result of some extremely bad child developement science in the first half of the 20th Century. It was considered, for example, harmfull to hug a child. As a result, children raised by parents who followed the scientific advice tended to be cold, mean, and sickly. Actually, the science may not have been all that bad, it may have simply been a matter of picking a default hypothesis that is good for study but bad for practice - nobody had proved that hugs were good for children.

Meanwhile, be aware of your own myths - the idea that we, as a species, are getting somewhere is mythic. It defines and gives hope, but is not derived from science. Science indicates that we are probably moving as a species, but not in any particular direction. The fittest is not neccessarily what we would consider the best.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Tool. (none / 0) (#329)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 05:51:07 PM EST

I guess I just don't see any good reason not to use the mythic mode.

And I don't really see a good reason to use it.

But nobody has shown me a practical reason to make the effort other than the fact that there is such a thing as bad religion.

We have the same reasoning. No one has shown me that there is such a thing as a good religion. There are religions that teach things that are beneficial to society (obey authority, obey your parents, don't kill people), religions that teach things that are bebeficial to people (bury your dead, wash your hands, don't be vain or proud) but I have yet to find one that could be said to be good through and through. All rely on their version of the supernatural while decrying every other religions version. Religion is a matter of personal choice.

the idea that we, as a species, are getting somewhere is mythic.

I'd agree with that. But because the situation is bleak, things do not look good and events beyond our control and understanding keep happening is no reason to keep running to the fantasy cupboard for another dose of mythological valium. Being spiritual and being religious are two different things. The difference is you can be a spiritual person and live a good life without being a member of a religion. When I share this view with religious people all I get are the never ending arguments about how their religion is the only true one and everyone elses religion is wrong. Whatever happened to tolerance? Love for neighbor?

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
You remind me of Richard Dawkins (2.30 / 20) (#10)
by Kiss the Blade on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:03:48 PM EST

..Blabbering on about this issue and how he was "straight with his daughter" and wouldn't lie to her and so on and so on.

It really leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, to think of parents like this who are so messiannic and up their own arses about silly little things like this, and won't allow their children to have imagination or a childhood. I wouldn't like to be brought up by you, or Dawkins, or anyone of that ilk, I'd end up a psychologically harmed robot bereft of imagination or innocence or humour.

KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.
There is no contradiction.

Honesty (2.30 / 10) (#12)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:07:20 PM EST

I would rather be remembered by my children for my honesty than for my hypocrisy. Most celebrants of the Christmas festival purport to be celebrating the birth of Christ. Most celebrants have no clue as to the pagan origins of Christmas. Most celebrants beleive the things they see on Fox TV news. Why would I want to be a part of that?

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Look (1.14 / 7) (#14)
by Kiss the Blade on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:09:54 PM EST

If you are honest aobut every little impossible detail regardless of its importance or effects, your children are going to swiftly regard you as a horrid, humourless prig, and be glad of the day they can get the hell away from you and start fucking relaxing.

KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.
There is no contradiction.
[ Parent ]

Why bother... (2.50 / 6) (#20)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:40:00 PM EST

With trying to instill any morals or values then. Perhaps I should do what my neighbors do with their children. Park them in front of the T.V. 10 hours a day and they can learn morality from Melrose Place and Jerry Springer and values from Sponge Bob.

Sorry, I care about my children, too much to let them be totally molded by the wonderful society we live in.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
but (none / 2) (#27)
by speek on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:11:35 PM EST

You demonstrate a very black/white style of thinking. If it's ok to lie about Santa, it's ok to lie, period, seems to be your reasoning. But kids and people are usually more flexible and nuanced than that. It is generally unbalanced people who have a hard time with shades of gray and with exceptions to rules, and you do seem of the unbalanced sort, judging from what you've written. I think your child will not thank you for your rigid honesty.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Has it truly come to this? (2.60 / 5) (#35)
by DLWormwood on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:46:59 PM EST

I think your child will not thank you for your rigid honesty.

Ugh. To think parents in general (including mine) try to instill some concepts as virtue like honesty and sincerity, but then they botch it all up just for sake of being nice or to let the kid better "fit in" with others.

Moderation, itself, needs to be applied in moderation. Some ideals are worth striving for. Why be a parent if you are not allowed to instill some values in your offspring?
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

The Slippery Slope... (2.60 / 5) (#36)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:48:56 PM EST

And the road to hell and all that. All I'm trying to do with my children is show them that a lot of things in the world make no sense. I agree with you that kids are resilient, but they are also impressionable. I'm trying to teach my children to think, not just blindly follow the dictates of what is "fashionable". Fashion includes fads, clothing styles, music, movies and ways of thinking about the world. By opening them up to the fact that things are not always what they seem, I'm trying to better equip them to exist in a world where so much of what passes for "news" and "media" is fabricated.

If it's ok to lie about Santa, it's ok to lie, period, seems to be your reasoning.

In terms of honesty/falsehood, where would you draw the line? In terms of your values (which differ from mine, not better or worse, just different), when is a lie not a lie and when do your children not deserve the truth. Some things are actually black and white. Most things are gray.

It is generally unbalanced people who have a hard time with shades of gray and with exceptions to rules

Ah, but that assumes that I see everything in black and white and I assure you that I don't. I can also change my mind if the argument is persuasive. I would argue that the imbalanced mind sees everything in shades of gray and is incapable of making a black/white value judgement.

I think your child will not thank you for your rigid honesty.

We gave this a lot of thought. Honest/dishonest is one of those value judgements that we think is actually black and white. But this is a value that I share with my wife that after consideration we have chosen to instill in our children. We drew a line within the context of our family that says that honesty is important. If the rest of society chooses otherwise (and I would argue that they have), that is fine with us. At least we are aware of this difference and have chosen to do what we can for our children. Christmas is a smokescreen, a symptom if you will. The underlying issue is honesty.

Who teaches their children about what Christmas actually is and where the jolly fat man in the red suit actually came from? No one. If we did, it would suck all the joy and fun right out of Christmas, wouldn't it? It's a fantasy and to treat it as anything else (which most of western society at least pretends to do) is hypocrisy, something I will never teach my children is permissable.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 2) (#72)
by tzanger on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 10:50:15 PM EST

Who teaches their children about what Christmas actually is and where the jolly fat man in the red suit actually came from? No one. If we did, it would suck all the joy and fun right out of Christmas, wouldn't it? It's a fantasy and to treat it as anything else (which most of western society at least pretends to do) is hypocrisy, something I will never teach my children is permissable.

Am I also to assume, then, that you correct your child when he pretends to be invisible, or an animal?  After all it would seem that you would also consider pretending he really were a super hero hipocritical since he obviously is not...  What about if he wishes he were one of the characters from one of his favourite bedtime stories?  What about when he draws his 'e's backward -- will you correct him instead of praising him, since his 'e' is obviously wrong and it would be hipocritical to praise him on a job well done?

I don't believe that you think these examples are hipocritical or wrong in any way, I really don't....  I am just trying to fit together your obvious intelligence and the air of "I'm gonna be a perfect parent" -- You seem smart enough to know that it's not possible, yet your article and subsequent replies to posts seems to indicate otherwise.  Perhaps I'm playing a bit too much of the devil's advocate here, but you really do seem to come across as a pretentious perfectionist...  I really do hope that it's just the medium we're communicating in that is causing this, because it would seem that growing up in the kind of environment you're describing would be all scholarly and no art or fancy.


[ Parent ]

The Difference Is... (2.66 / 6) (#73)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:00:05 PM EST

Am I also to assume, then, that you correct your child when he pretends to be invisible, or an animal?

The difference is that a healthy imagination is exactly that, healthy. When a fantasy is extrapolated to encompass entire societies and economic systems? It becomes pathological.

you really do seem to come across as a pretentious perfectionist

Who doesn't strive for perfection? I'm sorry if I come across as pretentious. I realize that I'm not a perfect parent and could never be one. At the same time, I refuse to give up and let teachers, rock stars and T.V. personalities do my job.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
The difference? (none / 1) (#75)
by astatine on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:13:15 PM EST

The difference is that a healthy imagination is exactly that, healthy. When a fantasy is extrapolated to encompass entire societies and economic systems? It becomes pathological.
Au contraire, I would say it becomes an RPG, or a good book.

Society, they say, exists to safeguard the rights of the individual. If this is so, the primary right of a human being is evidently to live unrealistically.Celia Green
[ Parent ]
Conspiracy (none / 2) (#124)
by Ogygus on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:25:42 PM EST

A book or an RPG does not entail a society-wide conspiracy. This is what makes it so... nasty. Kids learn that their entire society has no problem in lying to them. What incentive do they then have to not lie back?

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
fantasy and societal pathology (none / 2) (#107)
by tzanger on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:45:11 AM EST

The difference is that a healthy imagination is exactly that, healthy. When a fantasy is extrapolated to encompass entire societies and economic systems? It becomes pathological.


That's society...  common beliefs and operating procedures.

At the same time, I refuse to give up and let teachers, rock stars and T.V. personalities do my job.


IMO, letting your little one believe in Santa and be able to share take part in that whole experience with other children in his age group is beneficial, not detrimental.  I agree with and applaud your desire to be very active in your child's development but I'm not sure I understand how blowing away his belief in common societal fantasy helps him in any way, shape, or form.

Believing in Santa at age 6 isn't a problem.  At age 16... sure it is.  Somewhere between, children learn that Santa's not real and that mom and dad and friends and family to the buying of the presents...  Christmas loses some magic but it's part of growing up, and (to me) teaches children not to believe everything they see.  It also teaches them that Christmas is expensive and often a large pain in the ass if you buy into the hype of the media.  My kids believe in Santa, but they aren't slaves to the media machine.  It's actually quite a nice balance, IMO.

[ Parent ]

Well, try this... (none / 3) (#114)
by Ogygus on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:54:25 AM EST

I'm not sure I understand how blowing away his belief in common societal fantasy helps him in any way, shape, or form.

My great grandfather on my Dad's side came from Ireland. My great grandmother was a Cree indian from Alberta. My great grandparents on my mother's side were from the Ukraine. If no one along the way had ever corrected their respective societal fantasies along the way, I'd have grown up believing in leprechauns, the great spirit and Ukranian Orthodox church doctrine. Go back far enough and I'm sure we could throw in some druidic beliefs, some Assyrian gods and maybe even some Egyptian dieties into the pantheon of my belief system. Where do you draw the line? Is it because society says so that it becomes acceptable? Is it because your parents did it to you that it becomes acceptable? Is it because you've never really thought about it that it becomes acceptable?

Christmas loses some magic but it's part of growing up, and (to me) teaches children not to believe everything they see

To me, this is exactly what I am doing.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
That would have been glorious (none / 1) (#250)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:49:44 AM EST

To have combined those world-views into one would have been a challenge, but consider the perspective, the insights, that one who managed to do so would have.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Insight (none / 1) (#258)
by Ogygus on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 01:01:13 PM EST

Actually, my heritage has given me insight into a lot of things. I grew up questioning everything. Took nothing at face value, investigated and formed my own opinions. I disagree on a large number of things with my parents, but that's OK. My kids will disagree with me and that's OK too. Without this perspective, I would simply be another narrow-minded, polarized shill for other peoples positions on issues. I'm not.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Excellent (nt) (none / 1) (#262)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 01:19:39 PM EST

.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Pretense <> belief (none / 2) (#240)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:49:07 AM EST

Patrick Stewart pretends to be Jean Luke Picard for a living. That is imagination. If he were to really believe that he was the captain of a spaceship, he'd be in a padded cell.

Some people here are too fucking stupid to understand the difference between a lie and a fiction, a lie and a joke.

No wonder GW gets away with it.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Lie/Fiction/Joke/GW (none / 0) (#306)
by Ogygus on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:40:19 AM EST

Great analogy. The reason he gets away with it is that he is in the position of the parents. He is telling us (his little children) all about madman Saddam, his WMD and how Saddam personally orchestrated 9/11. When we finally grow up and call GW on his lies, he tells us that they were just harmless fictions, a joke if you will. Unfortunately, people die when he tells stories.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Dude (1.75 / 4) (#40)
by theR on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:21:04 PM EST

SpongeBob SquarePants has excellent morals.



[ Parent ]
Yeah, but.... (2.25 / 4) (#41)
by Ogygus on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:22:41 PM EST

His values man, I mean, he's a bottom feeder.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
So then (none / 1) (#130)
by pyro9 on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 02:40:17 PM EST

How would you feel about parents telling their kids to expect Father Christmas to place presants under the Yule tree to commemorate the battle between the Oak king and the Holly king? Would that change if they taught their kids that Fox news is a big lie?


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Reality (none / 2) (#131)
by Ogygus on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 02:43:41 PM EST

It's about telling your kids the truth. If you as a parent choose to tell them about Santa Claus, just make sure that they know that he is simply a made up character and is not real. It's one thing to pretend and know you're pretending, it's another to be deceived intentionally for no good reason.

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
Reality (none / 1) (#146)
by pyro9 on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 06:27:19 PM EST

By the time children are old enough to actually distinguish fiction from reality in any real sense, they figure out Santa. At that time, it is important to help them see the truths that lay behind the fiction. Before that time, there's little point. With or without Santa, they are likely to want to grow up to be Cinderella or Goku or whatnot.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Having a childhood (2.66 / 12) (#19)
by catseye on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:39:27 PM EST

Having a childhood or an imagination has absolutely nothing to do with being lied to by one's parents.

Overall, I'd say my son's a happy child with a very active imagination. He pretends to be animals, monsters, characters from TV or movies, or things he's made up. He creates elaborate scenarios that he rolesplays out with his toys.

Except for the whole Santa thing, he's got a very good understanding of the difference between reality and make-believe, which means, typically, that he's less fearful than other children his age, and I don't see anything wrong with that.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

You have very little faith in your child (2.00 / 6) (#53)
by Kiss the Blade on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:10:26 PM EST

Children of today - not unlike we were as children - deal well with fantasy. In fact, between books, movies, television and video games, the world of pretend is alive in the minds of our kids. What is wrong in engaging in pretend with them now? Because the lines are more blurred with Father Christmas - they really believe in him? Has believing in Father Christmas ever harmed a child in any substantial way, or has it given most people cherished memories and a deeper understanding of truth and falsehood that lies outside this two dimensional, simplistic worldview you seem to have? I tend to think that most people "lie" to their children about it because they have very happy memories of believing in Santa themselves and they think it did them a power of good while growing up, and teached them a bunch of valuable lessons too.

But, if you're so black&white that you think telling children about Santa is unequivocally bad, then perhaps this tendency has been genetically transmitted to your children, in which case they may indeed find the santa myth upsetting, if they are of a suitably robotic disposition.

KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.
There is no contradiction.
[ Parent ]

Wow. (2.50 / 12) (#54)
by tzanger on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:17:44 PM EST

I can't believe the sheer volume of readers on this site who have such an issue with Santa or otherwise not telling their kids the cold hard truth.  Practically every post that is against the author's train of thought is rated down.  I don't get it.

It isn't hipocrisy.  It's not deceptive.  It's harmless balderdash that inspires imagination, brings smiles and makes childhood magical, which is precisely what it should be.  People are only children once.  You've only got that first six to ten years or so before they're ready for you to really start teaching them how to shape their cognition and make serious decisions using their own logic and reasoning.

It's been psychologically proven that children (and even many adults, in my opinion) simply do not have the mental capacity not only understand but also comprehend every aspect of reality.  I would go on to say that it's even damaging to brutalize them with the cold hard truth at all times.  (Obviously not Santa, but the point is similar.)  Telling them about Santa or the truth fairy or even heaven and hell if your particular bent denies them as well does not damage them nor cause undue stress and anguish.  What about the Cat in the Hat, or any fiction?  Stories at bedtime?  Come on, where's the line?

It is a little ironic, but I really feel that the author of this article and those downrating all these posts need to literally grow up and realize that the world isn't this black and white existence where everything that isn't good for you is bad for you, and that white lies and mythology are evil, and that children are just "little adults" and should be treated as such.  There is a real maturity that needs to be attained to be able to both understand this concept and to apply it appropriately.

[ Parent ]

The line: Cat in the Hat (none / 2) (#78)
by speek on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:48:52 PM EST

Not only is the movie horrible, the original Suess book was horrible. What was he thinking??? That's an evil book to give to a kid. Thanks for bringing it up, it's like being traumatized all over again :-(

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

I'll never let my kids read Hop on Pop -nt- (none / 1) (#172)
by shigelojoe on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 05:06:01 AM EST



[ Parent ]
That was my kids' favorite (none / 1) (#239)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:42:16 AM EST

my back still hurts...

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Hi there, I'm pompous and naive! (2.72 / 11) (#95)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:17:57 AM EST

Hypocrisy is very subjective so I won't comment on that, but telling children about Santa Clause in the manner our society does seems to be incontrovertibly deceptive.  Many children do really believe in Santa Clause as a result of false statements made to them by adults and he isn't real so they've clearly been deceived.  The issue here is whether that deceit is moral, immoral or amoral.

It's also perilous to claim that these deceptions are harmless in the absence of controlled experiments which would not be performed even if they could (what's your control group going to be?)  You say that childhood should be magical and that you're only a child once.  Perhaps these lies we feed children when they are young inculcate them with false expectations that remain even after they inevitably learn the truth of the matter and robs them of the chance to find magic in their everyday lives that would noticeable with realistic expectations and conditionings.  Maybe we're perpetuating a vicious cycle that gets children addicted to a false conception of life only to replace it as they grow up with a true reality that can only seem pale in comparison no matter how resplendent it may actually be.  Maybe I'm just talking out of my ass.  Neither of us can prove any of these positions either way.

Nobody said anything about brutalizing children with the cold hard truth at all times.  As you are wont to point out this is not a black and white issue and there is a pointed difference between never lying and always speaking the truth.  If you child asks you why Adolph Hitler is considered evil you don't have to give them gruesome and clinical descriptions of Nazi death camps you can simply say he was a mean man who hurt a lot of people, you can't honestly say it's because Lucifer put brain control slugs in his donuts so that's why you should always eat your oatmeal.

As for where to draw the line; it's simple for me, don't lie.  The Cat in the Hat, Santa Claus, Alf and a million others are fine as long as you let your children know that it's pretend.  I have no problem with explicitly honest fantasy.  I do have a problem with people who do their best to care about me telling me white lies because each one I figure out hurts more than any epithet a stranger could ever yell at me.  Lies are disrespectful, condescending, and selfish and I shall not abide them.  I may be pompous and naive, but you'll have a hard time convincing me it's better to be a liar.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#370)
by CodeWright on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 11:39:10 AM EST

I haven't seen a KTB post in forevAR!

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
when you post stories like this (2.43 / 23) (#13)
by karb on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:07:26 PM EST

the grinch has already won.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
Santa is God for Kids (2.47 / 19) (#15)
by AzTex on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:19:13 PM EST

  • The Torah/Bible/Koran are a bunch of unlikly stories involving miracles that can neither be proven nor disproven but are readily belived by the gullible;
  • The Santa mythos are a bunch of unlikly stories involving miracles that can neither be proven nor disproven but are readily belived by the gullible;
  • God is supposed to be omniscient;
  • Santa is supposed to be omniscient (he sees you when you are sleeping);
  • God deals out reward and punishment based on previous behaviour;
  • Santa deals out reward and punishment based on previous behaviour (he knows when you've been bad or good, if you are bad you get a lump of coal or a bundle of switches);
  • The smart kids figure out that Santa is a lie on their own while the dumb kids refuse to belive the smart kids;
  • The smart adults ....


solipsism: I'm always here. But you sometimes go away.
** AzTex **

Re: Santa is God for Kids (2.25 / 4) (#25)
by elemental on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:57:51 PM EST

Ironic then, that Santa is an anagram for Satan.

I got an xmas card to that effect once, I wish I could remember exactly what it said. Something about their names and the fact that they both wear red suits.

OT: why the hell doesn't scoop just use "Re: $subject" if you don't feel like changing the existing subject line?

--
I love my country but I fear my government.
--> Contact info on my web site --


[ Parent ]
#&$%???? That's a feature (none / 2) (#45)
by jongleur on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:50:14 PM EST

Surely you've seen the miles of
Re: Blah
  Re: Blah
    ....

most other places, slashdot, usenet?

At K5 you get some idea of where to jump in.

Plus it forces you to think a little.  May you
acquire the habit and help it spread.

--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

Whoah dude. (1.50 / 8) (#34)
by tkatchev on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:46:31 PM EST

You're kewl.

Can I join your gang?


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

No (none / 1) (#157)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:42:49 PM EST

nt

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Personal experience - Santa is harmless (2.68 / 16) (#16)
by jdtux on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:25:43 PM EST

First of all.. I'm only 17. I probably figured out the whole santa thing between the ages of 7 and 10, I think.. not sure of the exact date.

Anyway, my parents were the "lemmings", they told us that Santa gives us presents and all that jazz. We believed them, of course. I distinctly remember being petrified of a Santa though.. but that's another story. My doubts began when I found our parent's stash of Christmas presents. At first, I figured ok, so mom and dad give us some of the presents, and santa gives us some too, right? Eventually, I grew up and became jaded enough to figure it out.

I really don't think it's a big deal. I'm not scarred for life, I still trust my parents, I didn't feel betrayed when I did figure out that Santa wasn't real. I think part of it may be that my parents never went to the extreme length of having dad dressed up as Santa and come visit us on Christmas Eve.

I really believe that the "Santa Myth" is harmless, and NOT telling kids about it may actually hurt their imagination, give them some time before they get to junior high and high school where they get stuck with cold hard logic all day. I remember thinking that Santa could never land on our roof because we live in an old house and he would fall through with the sleigh and all the reindeer, so obviously the sleigh just floated there while he got off and did his business.

hmm (2.73 / 15) (#33)
by reklaw on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:41:57 PM EST

As another 17 year old, I'll offer the other view.

My parents were completely straight with me about Santa Claus, to the point where I don't remember ever believing in it. From an early age I was allowed to help with wrapping presents for them and for my sister, and the whole idea of going "Christmas shopping" along with a decent grounding in reality made the whole Santa Claus myth seem quite ridiculous to me. I have no memory of being told that Santa doesn't exist; as far as I am aware I've always known the truth of the matter.

Now, that makes me happy. I find this is just another example of my parents' general tendency to be supportive and to let me grow up as quickly or slowly as I want. I don't think my imagination has suffered as a result, and I'm not aware of being deprived of any "magic" of Christmas -- I would add that it's probably better to never give your children such "magic" than to let them have it for a few years when it will inevitably be snatched away, leaving them bitter and untrusting of you.

Last thing: my earliest Santa memory is of being perhaps 5 to 6 years old, arguing with my best friend who was trying to argue that Santa existed because it said "From Santa" on the gift tag. Bad logic, and even at that age I was able to explain why his position made no sense. However, when I told my mother what I'd done, she told me that I shouldn't do that again, because it'd upset the other children. I should leave it between them and their parents. From them on, I didn't mention Santa, preferring to look down upon the other students with an air of smug "I know something you don't know" superiority.

I've forgotten what my point was. I think it was that the Santa myth is useless and silly.
-
[ Parent ]

Come on now (2.64 / 17) (#18)
by jayhawk88 on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:39:08 PM EST

I can appreciate your desire to "be straight" with your kids, but this is a little silly I think. It's Santa Claus. You're not lying to your children, you're giving them a gift of wonderment (I guess that's a word).

What the hell does a three year old know about myths and legends and the spirit of giving anyway? Jack, that's what. It's like the old Far Side cartoon, "What We Say/What Dogs Hear". Blah Blah Blah presents Blah Blah Blah cookies and milk Blah Blah Blah toys for me. Why did the child slip so easily back into believing in Santa Claus? Because children want to believe in this sort of thing. Like you said, it's fun to daydream of reindeer and toys and fat men coming down chimneys. It's part of being a kid.

Let your kid believe in Santa for a few years, and when he finally comes to you asking if he's real, sit down and have that same talk you had with him when he was 3. It'll mean a lot more to him at that time, when he's ready to hear the truth and can understand it. Perhaps your parents handled it badly when you went to them with those questions, but it doesn't mean that your kid will hate you for life or anything.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
Wonderment is yes word. (1.50 / 6) (#43)
by STFUYHBT on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:37:38 PM EST

Congratulation!

-
"Of all the myriad forms of life here, the 'troll-diagnostic' is surely the lowest, yes?" -medham
[ Parent ]
Well, sort of (2.33 / 6) (#55)
by kaemaril on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:26:30 PM EST

You're not lying to your children, you're giving them a gift of wonderment (I guess that's a word).

Actually, you're doing both. And that's OK, I've got no problem with that. Just don't ever tell your kid that it's always wrong to lie, or that honesty is always the best policy. That little fallacy can get you into a whole world of hurt :)


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
My story (2.33 / 6) (#21)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:43:22 PM EST

Like most parents, my mom played along with the whole Santa stuff, but not really seriously. I don't remember whether I ever believed it. My early memories were of asking Mom how Santa got in houses without fireplaces. Our chimney went straight to the furnice and Santa would've gotten a major hotfoot going down it, so I commented that Santa must pick the locks like a burglar.
Information wants to be beer.
Obviously... (none / 0) (#204)
by mold on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 09:32:10 PM EST

He wears red to hide the blood of those who see him. That's why you have to stay asleep while he's there.

Oh, and he may leave presents around, but he's only do it to make you ignore the missing things he takes later in life. LIKE YOUR SOUL.

Just kidding. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or something.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]

soon to be in the same boat (2.40 / 15) (#24)
by sambuca on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 03:57:10 PM EST

I have a six month old at home. I sure will let her believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and even the Tooth Fairy. Why? Well, children love to live in a world of imagination. They will have to face reality soon enough, why not give them a break for now?

I am not sure what kind of family you are from but if everything went downhill from the time you learned that you were lied to about Santa Claus I am taking the guess that there were much deeper issues at play.

Of course, once your children figure out what's real and what not, you have to be careful and decide for yourself how far you take this "lie".

I can't wait to see my little one's face light up when it comes to Christmas. She's definitely too young for it this year but next year should be fun.

/s

Wow (2.20 / 5) (#84)
by desiderandus on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:39:12 AM EST

You yourself show *lots* of imagination, in giving your kids one of the most trite and conventional of fictions.

Personally, my parents didn't condone the myth. But that doesn't mean they didn't encourage me to dream - they gave me lots of books, which they read with me, and they also showed me the value in asking (original) questions.

But why is Santa Claus worse than these other methods. Well, the whole rabid consumeristic side of gift-giving makes it rather questionable whether Santa Claus is a good thing.
_________
Our sins catch up to us in the worst possible way; they become part of our essential identities.
[ Parent ]

Kids don't need fake magic (none / 3) (#237)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:36:00 AM EST

To a young child, the entire world is magic. New things abound every day.

And what's the point of "giving" them imagination (as if humans aren't born with imaginations) when the public school system is going to systematically beat any semblance of imagination (not to mention rational thought) out of them?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

same reason (2.08 / 12) (#26)
by Dirty Sardine on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:03:28 PM EST

parents feel it's right to force religion on their snotmuchers.

--
hot gay sex now
Santa Claus is... (2.36 / 11) (#30)
by Hector Plasmic on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:31:19 PM EST

...atheism training for kids.

'tis unfortunate, indeed (2.20 / 5) (#37)
by fae on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:56:29 PM EST

This just encourages kids to enter a phase of distrust and even rebellion. The kids stop thinking and instead try to believe the opposite of their parents. No Santa, no capitalism, no God.

Sure we'll always be handing our biases to our children, but we should also give them critical thinking skills and not teach them obvious lies (santa, easter bunny). That way, when the time comes they don't throw out the good with the bad.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity

this comes up every christmas (2.20 / 15) (#38)
by Work on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:12:10 PM EST

and every christmas i vote it down.

I was about 6 or 7 when I stopped believing in Santa Claus and his ilk, and kept pestering my mother until she finally admitted that they were make-believe. Then I asked her what else she was lying to me about. Oddly enough, our relationship went downhill from there.

And I have to agree with others that if asking about Santa Claus of all things sparked the downhill of your relationship with your mother of all people, there are much deeper issues at work.

Or are you blaming santa for your poor relationship with your mother and this is why you want to kill the magic?

/freud

Television told me n/t (1.00 / 5) (#42)
by sanjiseigen on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:26:45 PM EST



What? (1.75 / 4) (#44)
by Gedvondur on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:42:19 PM EST

People talk about God and religion like that was fact too, when the only evidence they have is stories and tradition.  Oh, and the "we can't explain something so it MUST me magic God" theory.

What surprises you that this is done with Santa?

Let you kids have a little fun with it.  There is no real harm in Santa Claus and if nothing else they learn to not believe everything they are told.

I find your attitude of "all truth all the time" to be both unrealistic and in poor judgement.

Besides, how would you like to be the only kid in your class to not of had the fun that Santa was while it lasted?   Worse yet, how would you like to be the kid that becomes the social leper because he is the one that broke the bad news to everyone else?

Don't make your child suffer for YOUR disappointments and supposed moral superiority.

Gedvondur

"Er. You loony bastard, what do you make of this?"--Lance-Constable Detritus

another possibility (2.71 / 7) (#51)
by TheBeardedScorpion on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 06:58:57 PM EST

if nothing else they learn to not believe everything they are told.

Or they learn that their parents are liars, and not to be trusted.



[ Parent ]
a valuable lesson (2.87 / 8) (#56)
by treat on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:46:24 PM EST

Or they learn that their parents are liars, and not to be trusted.

But their parents ARE liars and not to be trusted. So they learn a valuable lesson at an early age. Sounds good to me.

[ Parent ]

Let's go back a bit.. (2.33 / 6) (#46)
by borys on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 06:01:58 PM EST

Santa was a shaman!

No, seriously!

I have this book out from the library right now, and it explores Europe's pagan past as the sources of customs surrounding Christmas (read: winter solstice). Ever ask yourself wtf a tree with lights and a reindeer-herding, present-bearing jolly elf have to do with the birth of Christ?

But, the author completely misses the most interesting connection: the fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria). Consider the peoples of Siberia (and other places near the "North Pole"):

  • Red & white presents pop-up under the evergreen tree overnight
  • Reindeer love to eat them (and lick up the yellow snow left by the mushroom-eating shaman)
  • Shaman picks them and puts them in his sack to bring to the people
  • Shaman eats them and with the help of his helper spirits^Welves serves his people
  • Shaman eats them and flies

Now, that's just a start.. Santa was a shaman!
Perhaps a bit more "respectable" (notice the christmas cards!)



As a counter to all of you (2.64 / 17) (#48)
by curien on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 06:31:00 PM EST

who are suggesting that it's ok to lie because taking away "imagination" or whatever is worse, here's what I have to say.

I'm 22 years old. I've been struggling all my life with lying. I lied to teachers, I lied to my friends, I lied to my parents probably more often than I told the truth. I've done the best I could to leave that as a childhood vice, but I've lied a few times in adult relationships as well. It's a constant struggle with myself just to tell people the truth. It almost happened just this morning, in fact: my boss asked me a question (it was trivial, though I would have prefered to give the false answer), and I had to sit there dumbly for five seconds just to keep myself from lying. And I know why.

It's because my parents lied to me, they lied to each other, and they encouraged me to lie to other people (especially the other parent). The reasons have little to do with Christmas (more to do with a particularly nasty divorce), but it's all lying. There aren't "good lies" and "bad lies". There are just lies and damned lies, and they're both bad.

I have a brother who's 13 years younger than I am. When he was four, my step-mom (his mom) made "reindeer prints" out of powdered sugar. This brazen display of intentional deception turned my stomach, and I vowed that day never to propogate pop-culture myths as fact.

Enjoy them as myths, if you like. But leave them as that and nothing more.

--
Screw teh tiger woods! I am teh Lunix Tarballs!

Suggestion (1.30 / 10) (#49)
by My Other Account Is A Hulver on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 06:52:26 PM EST

Instead of advertising Coke's shill for them, if you want to create some magic for your sprogs this year, create some magic.  Make up your own fucked up shit, you lazy mindless bozos.

I believe drduck is a genuine account, and I don't delete him because I'm a hypocrite. - rusty
Coca-cola didn't invent Santa (none / 3) (#69)
by UserGoogol on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 09:57:01 PM EST

According to Snopes, Santa in his current form was pretty well set before Coca-cola started using him in their ads.

[ Parent ]
Haven't we learned anything? (none / 2) (#96)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:33:33 AM EST

Don't be so black and white!  There's no real harm in him believing in the magic of society wide corporate mind control and eventually he'll grow up on his own and learn the truth of the matter and to not believe everything he's told.  But in the meantime you shouldn't go ruining baby troll's fun or all the other baby trolls are going to get mad at you and you'll become a maladjusted pariah.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
A Bit Selfish There, Aren't We? (2.44 / 9) (#50)
by Eater on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 06:52:35 PM EST

As a parent, your job is to teach your kid how to survive in the world, not to be honest with him. It's best he learn the lesson early - that people can lie, and that things are not as they seem - because you can bet that not everyone will be as honest with him in the future as you are trying to be today. It's important to understand that simply because an idea is appealing, it may not be true. It's a lesson that many people miss, but it's important to at least try, and the very idea is so obscure to the youthful mind, that only such a harsh lesson can teach it; an older mind is already so set in its ways that even abstract comprehention of the concept won't allow for an easy transition to healthy scepticism.
So, if you want your son to grow up to be a sceptical drone, lacking imagination but able to shoot down the most well-established myths (a little like you perhaps), tell him Santa exists, and let him learn the harsh truth on his own.

Eater.

You insensitive clod, I AM Santa Claus! (1.37 / 8) (#52)
by voxol on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:00:12 PM EST

(Yawn!)

Someone has to do it...

-1 Lazy (none / 2) (#97)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:37:46 AM EST

You at least could have gone to the effort of registering a new account for this...

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
Re: -1 Lazy (none / 3) (#106)
by voxol on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:18:51 AM EST

I thought half-assed lieing was the whole point of this story.

[ Parent ]
Well then.... (none / 0) (#118)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:55:12 AM EST

Could you at least put on a red hat and say "Hohoho" in a jolly tone a couple times at least?  It's for the children you know...

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
Whoa Whoa Whoa (1.80 / 21) (#58)
by Talez on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 07:47:58 PM EST

What the fuck?

If I was your kid I'd hate you because you fucked me up and didn't let me have a normal childhood like every other person who's parents gave them that little piece of fantasy for a few years of their life.

While I don't know your kid, I'll go out on a limb and say your kid probably doesn't want your meta-wank "Christmas is commercial and Santa Claus is a lie" self-righteous selfish bullshit. It probably just wants to have fun believing in this wondrous being called Santa Claus until the rest of the childhood society collectively decide the jig is up.

Sadly, this trend of self-righteousness seems to be rife among the more intellectual userbase that is K5.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

No No No (none / 3) (#61)
by Koutetsu on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 08:19:07 PM EST

Is there something seriously normal about believing a timeless myth to be true?  Can you, with a straight face, call the story of Santa Claus anything but a myth?

And I'll go out on a limb and say that this kid probably doesn't know what the fuck a 'meta-wank' is.

. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you are." - rmg
[ Parent ]

Yeah, so? (none / 2) (#68)
by Pseudonym on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 09:55:45 PM EST

Is there something seriously normal about believing a timeless myth to be true? Can you, with a straight face, call the story of Santa Claus anything but a myth?

You say that as if it's a bad thing.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
So. (none / 1) (#122)
by Koutetsu on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:23:09 PM EST

It's not a bad thing, but it's not an absolute right.  The original poster was implying that the myth of Santa Claus is so sacred as to be 'normal'.

. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you
[ Parent ]
aohW aohW aohW (2.50 / 4) (#98)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:40:09 AM EST

The child in question probably just wants to eat ice cream for breakfast every day too.  Did you have a point?

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
Big deal (1.68 / 19) (#59)
by Fredrick Doulton on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 08:11:49 PM EST

Atheists lie to their children and say there is no god. So we're even.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

Christians do it too. (none / 2) (#183)
by Shajenko on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 01:08:14 PM EST

Yeah, but Christians tell people that a false god exists. They do not worship Odin, and glorify him by conquering foreign lands. He shall strike them down, and they shall never see the glorious Valhalla. But it's ok; come Ragnarok, everyone will be destroyed anyway.

[ Parent ]
I commend people that tell their kids the truth (2.50 / 8) (#60)
by xutopia on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 08:13:23 PM EST

I can totally understand why people lie to their children but I am not going to lie to mine about this or anything else.

What's the biggest lie of all? (2.75 / 4) (#163)
by rusty on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:46:30 PM EST

"I will never, ever lie to you."

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
hello (1.00 / 9) (#201)
by Night In White Satin8 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 07:43:59 PM EST

Hi Rusty

Could you please tell me why you took away my diary/story writing privileges for absolutely no reason? Thanks in advance.
Why did rusty take away my story writing/diary writing privilege for no legitimate reason?
[ Parent ]

even if (2.28 / 7) (#62)
by relief on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 08:47:41 PM EST

Even if you tell your children that there is no santa claus, the kids will try to believe in one. My parents taught me early about myths and christmas spirit, but i nevertheless tried to stay awake to see who filled my stockings.

Kids are naive but that doens't mean they'll bindly believe whatever you say. You don't get many 5 year olds preaching about the existence of god or santa because they can't be sure. Its mostly internal speculation, more like "my mom told me there is santa" "my mom told me the opp-oh-sit". In the case of the kid in the article, most likely he's having fun with the concept of santa, and is disappointed that his parents don't play along. Precisely because even the kid knows that you can't disprove the existence of santa.

The only way to make people blindly believe about santa is to preach about santa for an extended period of time. Nobody does this, because santa is a christmas thing. However i can prove this hypothesis based on christian faith and weekly sermons. Christians believe in a santa called god, and this santa is on duty 24/7.

----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.

what a crock of shit. (2.00 / 7) (#70)
by Work on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 10:14:13 PM EST

However i can prove this hypothesis based on christian faith and weekly sermons. Christians believe in a santa called god, and this santa is on duty 24/7.

Honestly. I'm not a religious man myself, but this is biggest load of bullshit I've ever read. First off, there are alot more religions out there that believe in god or gods than christianity, and a whole assload of them don't have weekly sermons. Further, among christians, a whole load of them believe in god without attending church of any kind.

Comparing religion to santa claus is one of the most disingenuous analogies only the most ignorant of people would put forward and shows what little concept you have of humanity beyond your own ass.

[ Parent ]

ur the crock. (2.66 / 6) (#71)
by relief on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 10:46:59 PM EST

first off, i'm not talking about other distant religions. i specifically mentioned christianity.

secondly, comparing [christian god] to santa claus is not a "disingenuous" analogy. Both are anonymous, superhuman givers. To a toy crazed 5 year old, santa IS god, christmas carols their bible.

The reason why these kids grow up not to believe in santa is because 1) there are bigger things than toys once a year 2) it becomes obvious that the santa culture is aimed for young children and 3) parents.

my final fine point is a restatement of my previous post. the same mental processes or lack thereof of a child that lead to belief in santa, cause belief in god. The only difference between santa culture and god culture, is that god's power is much more general, and one is exposed more to god culture through sermons and the likes. Additionally, the reason why some people believe in god and other don't, is the same reason why some children believe in santa and others dont. Children exposed to santa culture are more prone to believing in santa, as the article clearler shows.

----------------------------
If you're afraid of eating chicken wings with my dick cheese as a condiment, you're a wuss.
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 1) (#140)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:07:56 PM EST

secondly, comparing [christian god] to santa claus is not a "disingenuous" analogy. Both are anonymous, superhuman givers.

Yuo ar a genios!

The only difference between santa culture and god culture, is that god's power is much more general, and one is exposed more to god culture through sermons and the likes.

I know that's what St Irenaeus argued, but I think that St Gregory of Nyssa saw it differently.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Yeah, I'm with you (2.42 / 19) (#67)
by Pseudonym on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 09:54:00 PM EST

My high school physics teacher told me all this stuff about Newtonian mechanics. Imagine my shock when I went to university and found out that it wasn't true! Turns out it was all a big lie exposed by someone called Albert something.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
Re: Physics (3.00 / 7) (#91)
by CompUComp on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:12:07 AM EST

Thats funny because my high school physics teacher told us that the Newtonian mechanics were a model to explain our observations under certain conditions (refrence fram under negligible acceleration, velocity insignificant compared to speed of light, etc.) but once those assumptions can no longer be assumed adjusted models must be used. That said we learned Newtonian mechanics but weren't lied to.

---
Howard Dean 2004
[ Parent ]

Err (none / 2) (#103)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 05:14:34 AM EST

Just because you had a shitty teacher is no reason to be a shitty parent.

(Not I do not think that letting your child believe in Santa Claus makes you a shitty parent, I think the poster above had a shitty teacher and made a shitty non sequiter of an arguement)

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 1) (#198)
by Pseudonym on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 06:44:28 PM EST

I think the poster above had a shitty teacher and made a shitty non sequiter of an arguement

I can't claim credit. My high school physics teacher was pretty good.

I claim inspiration from the excellent book The Science of Discworld, which goes into much more depth about the concept of "lying to children" or, as you know it better, "education". We teach kids at a level that they can comprehend, and that usually involves white lies.

An example from the book is the description of natural selection as "survival of the fittest", which is a phrase coined by a journalist some time in the mid-to-late 19th century. This is technically a lie, but it's a pretty good one as lies go.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
This is interesting. (2.66 / 15) (#74)
by AnimalChin on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:04:24 PM EST

I noticed that many of the posts bashing your stance on this seem to think you are screwing your kid over somehow. How odd is it that so many people would equate being lied to with the ability to imagine things? Maybe we're lamenting the loss of our own imagination and sense of wonderment? I certainly had those things long after I stopped believing in Santa.

And yes, at the time, I wasn't so much angry with my own parents, but I was outraged that parents in general would perpetuate this kind of thing, apparently for their own kicks.

Have you seen him?

No kids yet, so I dunno. (2.69 / 13) (#80)
by Kasreyn on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:53:53 PM EST

And I was only mildly pissed, IIRC, at my parents when I found out the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus were fakes. (I had been devout believers in them (and others, like Jesus and god)). If I have kids, I'll probably tell them nothing and debunk all myths as soon as they bring them home, simply because I hate lying.

IMO the fun is being had by *parents*, not by kids. Adults find it amusing to trick and deceive children, who have just as much native intelligence but haven't yet learned critical thinking or skepticism. Maybe adults feel threatened by their children's intelligence and trick them to feel better about themselves, and their dried-up dreams and hopes.

But then, maybe being lied to about something as unimportant as Santa Claus actually *helps* kids learn skepticism, without doing them an inordinate amount of harm in the process? After all, if you grew up without ever having been lied to, how would you apply critical thinking to such issues as getting a job or voting?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Lying to teach? (none / 2) (#148)
by niom on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:00:48 PM EST

But then, maybe being lied to about something as unimportant as Santa Claus actually *helps* kids learn skepticism, without doing them an inordinate amount of harm in the process? After all, if you grew up without ever having been lied to, how would you apply critical thinking to such issues as getting a job or voting?

Some people are making this point, but I don't buy it for a moment, for several reasons:

  • It's not like if children would "grow up without ever having been lied to", if not for the Santa Claus lie. Children would still be lied to by other children (or by advertising) and there'd still be plenty of chances for parents to teach them about lies.
  • Children are wired to believe in their hearts (whatever their heads tell them) that anything their parents do is right. I suppose it's nature's way of making education more effective. Parents doing bad things just teach children those bad things are actually right.
  • Some parents claim that hitting, shouting and frightening their children makes them tougher. What's the difference to lying to children to teach them about lies?


[ Parent ]
persecution complex maybe? (none / 3) (#149)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:05:12 PM EST

Maybe adults feel threatened by their children's intelligence and trick them to feel better about themselves, and their dried-up dreams and hopes.

hahaha, wow. +1 delusional

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]
Let your kid live his own life (2.20 / 5) (#81)
by gokul on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:56:19 PM EST

By trying to force your own ideas on to him, you are basically trying to guided his life along your lines. Just try to be a bit lighter on him, and let him form his own opinions. For good or bad, at least he won't be an exact replica of you (unless you want that of course).

I let my son make up his own mind (1.87 / 8) (#82)
by randyk on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:59:19 PM EST

but I told him once he tells me he doesn't believe in Santa anymore, it's all socks and underwear under the tree from that point forward.



Hi, I'm an idea! (none / 1) (#99)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:51:37 AM EST

Why don't you just use him as a thinly veiled excuse to buy stuff you want.  This year he can get that 52 inch plasma screen TV you've always wanted, next year it's that John Deere riding mower you've had your eyes on.  I'm sure everyone will appreciate the sacrifices you make to buy him such big ticket gifts!

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
Bad Idea (none / 0) (#112)
by randyk on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:38:55 AM EST

I live in the desert. I have no need for a riding mower.



[ Parent ]
Errr (none / 0) (#119)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:56:29 AM EST

What do you do when your cacti grow too tall then?

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
12 gauge shotgun! (none / 0) (#165)
by randyk on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:14:14 PM EST

This is Arizona, after all. It's still the wild west here.



[ Parent ]
You DO NOT WANT TO BE THERE (none / 1) (#247)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:26:10 AM EST

when the cactus mowing is going on. Getting hit by grass clippings is one thing, but...
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Not harmless (2.47 / 19) (#83)
by syadasti on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:02:54 AM EST

A few comments...

Some parents (ie, mine) use/d "Santa" as a carrot to influence behavior. I feel it's a sham to tell a kid "Now, behave, or Santa will leave a lump of coal in your stocking." The real meaning here is, "Shut up, or I won't buy you a bunch of junk you've been conditioned to enjoy, and then be able to blame it on Santa's naughty/nice list."

I was dismayed, at a very young age (5 or 6?) to learn Santa wasn't real, after being sold a bill of goods by my parents (and their cronies in schools, shopping malls, TV, etc.). I felt, at that age, that my parents had lied to me. It hurt. It was never explained satisfactorily why they did it. None of the patronizing comments about "imagination", "fitting in with other kids", and so forth in this thread would have made a shred of difference. My parents, who I had previously trusted, had intentionally and knowingly deceived me.

In my mind, there is no justification, ever, for lying to your own child. Your child will be lied to all his or her life, by friends, co-workers, lovers, teachers, governments, religions, advertising, and so on.

Children at the onset Santa-believing age are extraordinarily impressionable, and will mostly take anything their parents tell them as fact. I believe that many problems between parents and children are caused by the future dissonance that is being set up when the parents, however well-intentioned, begin feeding 2- and 3-year-olds a diet of Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Great Pumpkin nonsense. You may as well tell them that pi is equal to three and then set them on the task of squaring the circle.

The Santa myth is bozotic and contrafactual anyway (reindeer can't fly, the millions of deliveries by sleigh ride on Xmas night would require faster-than-light travel, elves don't exist, etc). Skepticism is a great thing, and I'm all for teaching children to learn it as early as possible, but this isn't the right way to go about it.

I would rather my child "ruin Christmas" for everyone around her than be another mindless sheep brainwashed by the popular mythology. If I had daily access to my daugther (going on 4, mom has custody 2000 miles from here), she'd be receiving the truth, and damn the "fitting in" consequences.

Great topic. Can we have one next on why teaching children The One True Religion (true only by accident of birth) is harmful and wrong as well?

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams

5 (2.75 / 4) (#93)
by voltron on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:48:26 AM EST

i gave you a 5 for using the word bozotic. nice.

--anthony

[ Parent ]

encourage? (none / 1) (#94)
by voltron on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:49:26 AM EST

eh, same thing.

[ Parent ]
Looks like a 3 to me :-) [nt] (none / 0) (#197)
by damiam on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 04:46:49 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Great point (none / 2) (#100)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:56:17 AM EST

Making Santa Claus and somewhat important part of a childs moral code only to have it be "April Fools you Dufus!" a couple years later isn't exactly the pinnacle of well thought out thinking.  

(Yes I know those last four words don't really appear to mean anything, just consider it my way of encouraging your imagination!)

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]

Victim mentality alert! [nt] (2.00 / 4) (#105)
by Stick on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 05:56:25 AM EST




---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Was that the first lie you caught? (none / 1) (#248)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:28:07 AM EST

Damn, your parents must have been slick.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Truth is not always harmless (none / 2) (#263)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 02:01:28 PM EST

You are going to be hit by a truck tomorrow and die a slow agonizing death. There, do you feel better for knowing the truth?

If it was me, I'd much rather spend my last few hours going about my normal life and believing the "lie" that I would live to a ripe old age and die peacefully in my sleep. It would be more beneficial to me to do so.

Santa Claus is a nice myth that brings joy to many children. I don't see how bringing joy to children can possibly be bad. It doesn't have to be "harmfull" to children to find out Santa was not real. I certainly wasn't tramatized when I found out my mom hadn't been telling the truth about Santa.

Children aren't mature enough to handle the full reality of the world as it really exists.... in truth I suspect most adults aren't either. It's part of a parents job to emtionaly shield children from the more traumatic aspects of reality and create myths for them which bolster thier sense of comfort, well being and joy. Even at a fairly young age most children realize that there are things there parents aren't telling them for thier own good. If the child is well adjusted and the parent has done a good basic job of parenting, the child will place thier trust in the parent to do this for them. This should present no trauma. As the child matures they begin to unmask some of these myths for themselves. This is part of the rite of passage into adulthood, and again if the parent has done a good basic job of parenting there should be no "trauma" involved. It is only where a parent has failed in a more basic aspect of caring for thier childs well being where a child would experience any significant trauma from learning that thier parents had been decieving them about Santa Claus.

As a parent, I fully intend to play the Santa myth for my young son. When he is old enough to have unmasked it for himself, I will gently explain that Santa Clause is a fable....and like many fables it is not literaly true but that it attempts to relate through fiction a Deeper Truth... that giving of oneself and bringing joy to others is an important part of the human soul and indeed brings great joy to the giver as well.
I will explain to him that I knew he would enjoy the Santa game and that I didn't want to ruin it for him by telling him the literal truth until he was old enough.

I will also explain to him (which I believe myself) that in a way Santa does really exist. Not as a jolly old man in a red suit, but as part of the spirit of selflessness that exists in the human soul and which seems to manifest itself so particularly at chritmass time.

[ Parent ]

Before going to bed every night (2.43 / 23) (#85)
by Stick on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 01:16:57 AM EST

I tell my kids that there's a good chance that they'll die. I even show them statistics to back it up. I figure the truth is the best thing in the end.


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
and when they draw pictures... (1.71 / 7) (#86)
by Work on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 01:27:03 AM EST

I tell them what horrible shit their pathetic crayon on notebook paper is.

[ Parent ]
Been there (none / 1) (#160)
by TubeShoot on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:28:36 PM EST

seen that.

Thanks for playing though.


"Quote thyself..........I do."--TubeShoot '03
[ Parent ]

So close, but so far (2.00 / 6) (#101)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 05:03:45 AM EST

Nobody here that I've seen is advocating saying things merely because they're true, or saying true things in a cruel manner.  In fact there are too many true statements in the universe to go around saying them all.  We pick and choose what to say every moment of every day.  It does NOT logically follow that denying the choice of false statements leads to the inability to choose not to say certain true statements, or choose to say them in a polite or civil manner.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
your kids will grow up to be Bug-Eyed Earl (1.75 / 4) (#129)
by Dirty Sardine on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 02:03:51 PM EST

http://www.redmeat.com/redmeat/1997-01-13/index.html

--
hot gay sex now
[ Parent ]
Before going to bed every night (2.00 / 3) (#156)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:33:32 PM EST

I tell my children that a skinny Irishman is going to molest them.  I explain that I'm going to take pictures and that he will become a millionare putting the pictures up on the internet.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Perpetrating a myth (2.82 / 17) (#87)
by atreides on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 01:48:48 AM EST

Here's a litle thought for you...

In Roman times, there were household gods called lares (spirits of deceased ancestors) and penates (small gods and natural spirits). Before the evening meal, the father would lead the rest of the family in a ceremony to offer food to the lares and penates and every morning the food would be gone. It was further proof that the gods and the ancestors were looking out for them. When the oldest son was of age, the father would teach him the family secrets of the ritual and performing it correctly. Usually, the secret was that the father came down every night and ate the extra food which gave him more health and strength to work to support the family.

I'll grant you that that is lying to the family on a grand scale. On the other hand, the lie helped to bond the family closer to one another and to their history while also making it easier for the father to keep the family fed and sheltered and all that good stuff.

As much as you might not like being dishonest, a lie isn't always bad. In fact, sometimes a lie can be a good thing. The Santa Claus myth is as much about bonding people together (both as a culture and beyond it) as it is about motivating children to be good. Not only that, it's part of our literary history just like the Easter Bunny, Greek gods and any religious text you can imagine. What can possibly be wrong with a shared, white lie that enriches a people and makes them want to be good or do something more than just hoard and sleep and feed?

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary does

A lie is a lie (2.44 / 9) (#147)
by niom on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 06:36:36 PM EST

What can possibly be wrong with a shared, white lie that enriches a people and makes them want to be good or do something more than just hoard and sleep and feed?

You want people to behave in a certain way and you abuse the trust they've placed in you to further your ends. Any way you put it, that is awfully immoral. Especially if those people you deceive are your own children, who trust you because they love you and because they don't know any better.

And what are you teaching them? That manipulating people through lies is right? That reality is optional, and can be ignored in favour of feel-good delusions? That traditions matter more than truth? I can't see any good in this.

And no, this is not like children's fantasies and imaginary games. When they're playing, children know perfectly that their fantasies aren't real (even if they occasionally forget it in the heat of the moment). That's why they can stop in the middle of a game and decide they want to change what they're imagining in some way. If Santa Claus was like this, it wouldn't mind if children knew the truth, neither to parents nor children. But parents strive to prevent their children from learning the truth, because they know it isn't mere fantasy, it's deception.

As a side note, what kind of circular reasoning is the common "the Santa Claus lie isn't bad because it's a white lie"? Isn't that another way of saying you've just decided that you want to go on with this lie, so you'll just tack on the good-sounding word "white" and that will make it OK?

[ Parent ]

Reality *is* optional (2.16 / 6) (#161)
by rusty on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:33:48 PM EST

And what are you teaching them? ... That reality is optional

Reality is, literally, optional. You're creating reality all the time by the options you choose. I wish more people would teach their kids this.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Please expand (none / 2) (#174)
by niom on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 06:18:59 AM EST

I'm not sure if you mean that reality is affected by your actions (which is obvious), or that reality is merely a personal or social construction and does not exist objectively (with which I strongly disagree). In case it wasn't clear enough from the context, I was criticizing the latter idea, not the former.

[ Parent ]
Objective vs. subjective (none / 1) (#176)
by pyro9 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 10:43:06 AM EST

Reality is a slippery thing to some degree.

To take a trite example, objective reality: The glass has a capacity of 1000ml, it contains 500ml of water. Subjective: The glass is half empty or the glass is half full. Both of the latter are equally correct, but will provoke different (and potentially opposite) responses in a person.

There may well be an objective 'truth', but we don't react to that, we each react to our own subjective interpretation of that truth. In some rare cases, subjective and objective may exactly match, usually, they don't.

Much of eastern philosophy focuses on the inseperability of the observer and the observed. Objective reality is a mirror that reflects the observer.

A 'lie' is a subjective observation of 'not True'. It evokes subjective responses well beyond the simple lack of True in a statement or action.

Seperating subjective and objective reality is a quest that can take longer than a lifetime to accomplish. Since most never embark upon that journey at all, for practical purposes, reality is subjective (that is, a matter of opinion).


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Come on (none / 3) (#187)
by niom on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:02:39 PM EST

Nobody denies that people's reactions depend, to some degree, on their subjective interpretation of reality, but that's completely different from refusing to accept the existence of an objective reality at all. Anybody who doubts the existence of reality can jump out from a window of my flat and see if subjectivity has any bearing on what happens then. Some things are a matter of subjectivity, but the existence of Santa Claus isn't, and I don't think anyone can honestly claim otherwise.

[ Parent ]
So, does Santa exist (none / 3) (#194)
by pyro9 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 03:24:12 PM EST

The subject seems to be the real question. The answer is more subjective than I suspect you are ready to deal with.

Do I believe that if I go to the north pole I will find a workshop and a jolly old elf? No, of course not.

Do I believe that on Christmas morning many children will be happy because Santa visited and left them toys? Yes, I do!

Do I fully expect that any number of children will have heard the reindeer on the roof and the sleighbells? Yes, I do!

In other words, for the children, Santa is as real as real gets. For the rest of us, Santa is a very real Cultural Icon which stands for very real but intangible things.

Consider Santa to be a Greater Mystery for children. There is information there, and it can be understood, but the only way to convey that information is to enact the play and let the mystery unfold.

As for objective reality, it may well exist, but none of us will ever know much about it. Science has taught us that the more firmly we stand on our convictions of objective reality, the more likely we are to remain ignorant of it. We once thought it was an infallible clockwork, but we now 'know' that it is mostly statistical order from chaos. There exists a small but existant possability that someone stepping out of your window will float softly to the ground (NOTE: The chance exists, but I'm not going to bet on it). Go back and tell that to Newton and he'll tell you that you need to give up that magical hogwash and face reality.

Consider this very odd example of subjective/objective reality. In head-on collisions with drunk drivers, the drunk who is convinced that there's no real danger (or more likely is just oblivious) is often mostly unharmed while the sober driver, well aware of the impending danger, is severely injured. It would seem that their conflicting realities are both right. Turns out when you're physically relaxed (such as being drunk), the same impact will do a lot less damage. The subjective brings about it's own reality.

Anyone who has studied the martial arts can come up with many more examples of this. Will you break your hand if you hit a board with your fist? Turns out that depends, in part, on what you believe will happen.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
You don't understand science or objectivity (none / 3) (#208)
by niom on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:48:35 AM EST

I don't mean the subject as an argument for the present discussion or as an attack on you, but as mere information. I suggest you read some book on the philosophy of science that is written by scientists, as opposed to philosophers. HTH.

[ Parent ]
Actually, I do (none / 2) (#233)
by pyro9 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:11:37 AM EST

Actually, I do understand the philosophy of science.

Were the subject in the realm of science, I would apply the scientific method and philosophy. However, Santa is certainly NOT a scientific topic. I am simply applying the right tool to the right job.

There are a great many questions about which science has nothing to say. That is not an indictment of science, simply a recognition there there exist things that are not suceptable to experiment or objective observation. They are by definition not within the realm of science. It is praise of science as a school of thought for recognizing it's own applicability and not straying outside of that applicability.

Ask a philosophical question, get a philosophical answer.

Since you have indicated that you want a scientific answer, i'll provide one: We just don't know! You're asking science to render an opinion on 'spirits' (not necessarily in the sense of mediums and all that stuff, more like the spirit of giving). We have no way to even objectively document the existance of spirits, and we certainly cannot prove a negative (lack of evidence does NOT prove lack of a phenomenon, it proves that it is not within the realm of science). As I said, science has nothing to say about the subject since it is not within the realm of science.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
"Outside the scientific realm" (none / 0) (#312)
by niom on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 12:50:28 PM EST

Were the subject in the realm of science, I would apply the scientific method and philosophy. However, Santa is certainly NOT a scientific topic.

I disagree. Santa's existence *is* a scientific topic.

Since you have indicated that you want a scientific answer, i'll provide one: We just don't know! You're asking science to render an opinion on 'spirits' (not necessarily in the sense of mediums and all that stuff, more like the spirit of giving). We have no way to even objectively document the existance of spirits, and we certainly cannot prove a negative (lack of evidence does NOT prove lack of a phenomenon, it proves that it is not within the realm of science).

Fundamentally wrong. It's true a negative can't be proven, but only mathematics requires proofs in the sense you imply. Math-style proofs depend on not being involved with reality at all, which is the reason why experimental sciences don't deal with that kind of proofs and rely on probabilities instead.

If "spirits" exist, they must have an observable effect (for any reasonable definition of existence). An objective, rigorous observation of those effects is all it's needed to have a scientific study of the existence of spirits. The most satisfactory explanation (note: not necessarily the *only* one) for those observations according to our current knowledge is what constitutes the scientific answer to the question: Do spirits exist?

Science just means applying that innate logic that is the most fundamental link between the human mind and the Universe to any given question. The affirmation that something "falls outside the realm of science" is exactly equivalent to the affirmation that the human mind can't perceive that something to have any effect. But then there can't possibly be any reason to claim that that something actually exists.

I don't know if my explanation was as clear as I wanted, but surely you can find without much difficulty a lot of material on this subject by professional scientific writers. Please do, if you're interested at all in epistemology.

[ Parent ]

observable effect (none / 0) (#379)
by pyro9 on Sun Dec 14, 2003 at 10:39:11 AM EST

The ability to observe doesn't confer existance, it brings the subject within the realm of science.

Atome existed from shortly after the big bang. In our caveman days, they were unobservable to us, so not within the relm of science, but nevertheless existed.

Later, we developed a sufficient body of knowledge to make indirect, then more direct observation. The hypothesis that matter was made up of invisibly tiny particles became testable and observable, thus within the realm of science. Nevertheless, even in our cave days, atoms existed.

I note that MANY scientists are not atheists. They simply believe that God is not within the realm of science. So, they observe their religeon as any other would, and refrain from invoking God in their scientific writing. Why? Because God, however firmly they convinced of his/her/its existance, is not within the realm of science.

This is true of any thing whose observable effects are restricted to the subjective.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
The point stands (none / 1) (#292)
by HalfFlat on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:02:12 AM EST

Seriously, science is fantastic for building models of our experience with the world that are typically verifiable, repeatable and have explicative power. Unsurprisingly then, the fruits of science find great application in technology.

But most of our experiences are much more subjective than this. At best, scientific methods can then only describe the objective components.

Why do we claim the existence of an objective reality? Typically out of habit or convenience, but there is a utility argument as well. The notion of a single objective reality is a very powerful simplifying assumption, that also does not interfere with the model-building of science. In day to day life, it's a really useful assumption to make.

But at the end of the day it can't be proved, and there are situations where insisting upon it just gets you in to trouble. Such as when discussing religion.

For example, I can't claim there is no such thing as God, except to the extent that I can claim there is no need (or possibly, no room) for God in scientific models of the world. Clearly there is a God in a less objective sense, because God shapes the lives of thousands of millions of people, directly and indirectly.

Existence is not a universal, binary thing. It's much more slippery. Do photons exist? Well, they're certainly a very useful way to describe an observed aspect of the world. In that sense, they definitely do exist. But by similar reasoning, the ether existed one hundred years ago, but doesn't today. You can look at this as being a matter of right and wrong models, but it's probably more useful to think of them in terms of more applicable/better models.

To Santa: given that this sort of fuzzy notion of existence, the disctinctions between objective and subjective knowledge and models, and all that, seems to be unacknowledged by most adults, it seems hard to expect a three year old to grasp it. So for me, if the choice were between telling the truth, or persisting with a myth that has been overwhelmingly co-opted by the merchanidising machine, I'd go for the truth. In less market-driven times, I might have gone for the myth.


[ Parent ]

Existence (none / 0) (#313)
by niom on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:04:18 PM EST

I think I answered most of your points in my reply to pyro9, but I wanted to comment on this:

Existence is not a universal, binary thing. It's much more slippery.

The problem with the word "existence" is not that it represents a slippery concept, it's that it's used with lots of different meanings in different contexts. Frequently people using that word, particularly in philosophy, don't make clear enough what they mean by it, and so it can appear there's some kind of intractable problem with the concepts behind "existence" that is just not there.

However, when talking about Santa's existence, especially to children, there's little doubt that what is meant is physical existence as in everyday life. With that meaning, the question about Santa's existence can be readily answered with a NO. And that's the way children would interpret the facts, which is why they aren't given the chance.

[ Parent ]

Why do adults do this to children? (2.33 / 6) (#89)
by causticmtl on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 02:55:18 AM EST

It's as if they can't understand the fact that they are children. They are not wise, they are three years old!!

Why do adults find it so repulsive that a three-year-old does not have the same capacity for critical thought that they do? In fact, when that child grows to be fifteen, they will probably sound (and act) more illogically than when they were three.

It is a child. The child is developing.

It's hilarious to hear parents expecting such a young human being to understand the subtleties of lies/truth/Santa when the kid is just trying learn about decent table manners and to not piss/shit themselves at the same time.

Err (none / 3) (#104)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 05:22:48 AM EST

It's not a subtlety.  It is a lie, Santa Claus does not exist.  I'm not around toddlers a whole lot, but when I have it's been my experience that by the time they are able to truly appreciate Santa Claus they appear also to be able to tell the difference between real and "make believe".  We're not talking about overloading their brains with Keynesian economic theory or something.

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
[ Parent ]
At three years, you may as well be. (none / 2) (#108)
by causticmtl on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 09:23:29 AM EST

Their language skills are hardly developed and an adult explaining to a three-year-old what a lie is may as well be reciting Keynesian economic theory ... or something

[ Parent ]
My kids (none / 1) (#234)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:19:14 AM EST

Knew TV wasn't real at age 3, because I told them so. Made it a point to.

Of course, I wasn't one of these 21st century parents with a three year old still wearing diapers and drinking from a baby bottle. The youngest was speaking in clear, full sentances at three.

Mozart was writing music at three.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Bizarrely I'm with mcgrew here (none / 1) (#238)
by datamodel on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:36:59 AM EST

Despite his strange way of telling non christians not to celebrate the most mixed up holiday of the year (part pagan/mithraic/christian/roman/etc/etc).

But I've got a three year old, her language skills are well developed, she knows not only the difference between truth and lies, but also between lying and winding people up for fun.

As for economic theory - her aunt just bought her her first purse (at her request), and although she can't add up how much money she's got (she counts 1 per coin), she knows where money comes from (people do work and get paid money for it), and where it goes (we use it to pay for things, including paying back the money we borrowed to buy the house).

Several of her friends are just the same, some more advanced, some less. If you don't treat them like little retards, kids turn out to be pretty clever - just with mental flexibility that's hard for adults to follow.

One possible downside of the Santa myth - telling kids that this is an omniscient authority figure that judges their behaviour and rewards them might make them somewhat more susceptible to xmas advertising than if they they think the guy trying to tell them they must have *foo* is just some fat bloke with a stuck-on beard on a red romper suit (who's being paid to tell them that).

Maybe adding that the real Santa gives presents, and doesn't sell them, and doesn't hang out at malls or TV stations would help?

[ Parent ]

Last late one (none / 0) (#386)
by datamodel on Wed Feb 18, 2004 at 06:32:06 AM EST

OK, It's February now, but...

She followed up a couple of days ago by turning it around. She told us she could see Father Christmas, and that he was just sitting around watching TV. The implication being that if he can watch her to make sure she's behaving, she can see him and make sure he's behaving.

Presumably if he's naughty he gets no mince pie and wine....

The moral I guess is not to understand your three year olds!

M.

[ Parent ]

And for a 3 year old, who doesn't even have (none / 2) (#110)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:29:50 AM EST

a concept of reality yet, there is zero point in trying to explain "real" versus "unreal".

Seriously, I appreciate you concern about the morality, but there's no point. Kids are happier in a world full of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. When they are old enough to figure out that Santa is really Dad, they actually feel like they've accomplished something (like their in on an adult secret).

My 11 year old figured it out several years ago; but he's been very careful not to spill the beans around our 6 year old, even though we think she's catching on.

--
"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

YHBT. YHL. HAND. (none / 3) (#127)
by streetcornerhorse on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 01:01:38 PM EST

[EN TEA]
YHBT. YHL. HAND.
[ Parent ]
Hey McGrew, datamodel (none / 0) (#349)
by causticmtl on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 02:36:19 AM EST

Your kids are not brighter than anyone else's. Really they aren't.

[ Parent ]
Morality and capitalism (2.38 / 13) (#102)
by kerinsky on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 05:10:18 AM EST

What I think I hate most about the lies of Chistmas is that children are told that being good will be rewarded and being bad punished.  Then come the first day of school after christmas they all run back to class, compare what they got and see that the rich kids got a bunch of stuff that they wanted, the poor kids didn't and nobody got coal.  We're implicitly teaching kids that all people are good, but that rich people are more good than others.

It stinks.

And all this is coming from and upper middle class white boy who pretty much always got at least one of the top three things he wanted every christmas until past the sixth grade...

-=-
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.

Imagination, lack of (2.80 / 15) (#109)
by pyro9 on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:02:49 AM EST

As a child, I believed in Santa as most kids do. Somewhere around 6 or 7 I figured out that it wasn't literally true, but went along with it because my grandmother seemed to really enjoy the story (I had also figured out that she didn't believe it was literally true either). I did not feel lied to, I felt like it was a great story and fun to participate in.

As I grew older, I learned that such a story was called a myth. I learned about a number of other myths as well. Of course, there was that time between 10 and 12 or so where I held such myths in complete disdain as many of my peers did, but I grew out of that as some (but not all) of my peers did.

I now understand that myths are how our real culture is carried from generation to generation. They hold much of our cultural wisdom between the lines. They are necessary. Books convey knowledge, but myths convey wisdom.

To summarize all of that as a 'lie' is to completely miss the point. I would much sooner have a child believe in the easter bunny, the tooth fairy, Santa, and Apollo carrying the sun across the sky than ANYTHING at all the 6 o'clock news has to say.

As an allegory for the spirit of giving and joy in the world for children under 6, Santa does a pretty good job. An allegory is NOT a lie, it is a way to convey a wisdom that is otherwise difficult to put into plain words and have it understood. A Myth is a cultural allegory passed through the generations.

The crime is not in telling children stories about Santa, it's in not guiding them to the wisdom behind the myth as they grow older. The crime is perpetrated by those who try to hijack the myth for commercial gain. If you want to attack the harmful aspect of the Santa myth, attack the myth that parents should go deep into debt because only bad parents would teach that the spirit of Christmas doesn't come from the mall.

As far as the naughty/nice part with coal and switches, is it not true that those of us who lie, cheat, and steal generally manage to reap the reward of simple utility and the means of our own punishment even when we manage to conceal our 'naughtiness' from those around us, while those who try to be 'nice' often enjoy a richer reward? If not, do we not consider that to be the way things are supposed to work?


The future isn't what it used to be
First... (2.50 / 12) (#111)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:38:00 AM EST

I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I believed in God for a little while after that, but eventually he, too, would follow. There just wasn't any basis for such belief. When you gain a willingness to question all your assumptions, a great deal of stuff comes tumbling down. I no longer believe in free will, as I cannot fathom any possible explanation for its existence, and despite asking myriad people for their reasoning behind such a thing, I remain utterly unconvinced. That basically leaves me with physics, and every so often we have a revolution in that field that turns everything on its head.

Once you start peeling away the layers of fiction in this world, it can prove very difficult to stop.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
What is Free Will? (none / 3) (#132)
by Alfie on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:30:07 PM EST

I could never decide whether free will exists because I can't figure out what the heck it is. What exactly does it mean to have free will? What would a testable difference be between a universe with free will and one without?



[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 0) (#135)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:50:22 PM EST

I'm glad you realize that free will is not falsifiable. I hate those people who prattle on about trying to disprove it. Of course, determinism isn't falsifiable, either, and one must always keep that in mind.

[ Parent ]
yes but (none / 0) (#139)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:02:58 PM EST

Each one has implications, which is the yardstick by which we measure the value of an axiom. I made my choice with a clear conscience.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
exactly (none / 0) (#141)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:11:18 PM EST

Perhaps I should've justified why one must remember that determinism isn't falsifiable. My comments seem to have large gaps in them today, perhaps I should stop writing, as I don't think I'll like anything I'm writing come tomorrow. I know I don't like anything I wrote last week...

[ Parent ]
You just think you made the choice. (none / 0) (#246)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:22:42 AM EST

Programmed that way. Also programmed not to accept the fact.

Well, except for theological free will, which is the doctrine that human beings are the only defective parts in the fine machinery of Creation.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Your mention of Creation (none / 0) (#273)
by skotolux on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:51:47 PM EST

I wonder, is your faith in determinism based on your distaste of religion?

[ Parent ]
Well, no on both (none / 0) (#300)
by error 404 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 10:59:35 AM EST

Determinism is an interesting idea, but Pragmatism is my preferred way of knowing, and Determinism is pragmaticaly meaningless.

Pragmatism, as I use the term (and I'm pretty sure my usage is very close to William James') is the idea that truth (to the extent that it is knowable) is more like a recipe that works than a picture that is accurate (you can't see the thing the picture depicts, so the truth or falsity of the picture is unknowable) and the proof is, as they say, in the pudding. To know if an idea is true, act on it (at least in a thought experiment) and observe the results. I can't act on Determinism, so I can't observe its truth or falsehood, and when it comes to things that are unknowable, I rely on faith.

But if truth is a picture, Determinism is a valid possibility and there is no way to prove it isn't accurate.

I do not have a general distaste for religion. I am a devout heretical Catholic. I have a distaste for some religious ideas - one of those being binary (as opposed to wide ranging) free will, another being the idea that this life is only a preparation or test for the next.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

layers of fiction (none / 1) (#145)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:50:25 PM EST

Basing your belief system in physics must be challenging, since nobody seems to know how that works either. And doubly challenging since nobody has yet proved that scientific knowledge gives us an accurate view of reality (whatever that may be). It's all approximation of our perception that has a tendency to improve with time.

Once you begin to question the assumption that you are infallible and all-knowing, or even that you can attain such knowledge, you might start to see the world in a different way.

You must admit, your .sig is quite ironic given the content of your comment.


Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

Interestiing (none / 1) (#155)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:26:40 PM EST

what is reality what is truth?

I see truth in pragmatic terms.  I essentially see truth as that which stands up to scientific evidence.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

the breadth and depth of science (none / 1) (#200)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 07:03:28 PM EST

I essentially see truth as that which stands up to scientific evidence.

I too am pragmatic and I believe in scientific evidence. It is the best way we have to understand the world around us. However, I don't care to place my faith in physics and the observable material world, thereby writing off possible truths such as the existence of free will just because our current scientific knowledge doesn't explicitly allow for them. Furthermore, I reject the assumption that because we have made scientific discoveries that allow us to better understand the universe that, by following this path, at some point we will know everything there is to know about the universe.

Maybe future scientific evidence will be able to explain things like the human conscious experience, but maybe it never will. Right now, and until there is some ground-breaking change I think it does come down to faith, as we have no conclusive scientific evidence one way or the other.

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

About most things... (none / 1) (#205)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 09:53:54 PM EST

I choose to be agnostic. If we're going to be honest with ourselves, you can't ever know anything. There is only probabilistic knowledge. However, I personally cannot fathom any way for free will, as most people conceive of it, to exist, regardless of any scientific discovery. As best I can tell, there is no way in which one can coherently argue for free will without falling into infinite regress. When you follow any argument for free will down to the bottom, the conclusions seem rather contradictory.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
an honest question (none / 0) (#278)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 07:18:01 PM EST

In religion, you may be agnostic about the existence of a god, but you must make life decisions based on this... do you go to church, do you sacrifice a goat every solstice, do you pray or talk to god? I think the typical agnostic (at least those that I know) would answer these questions in a way similar to an atheist. So I am curious. Since you are agnostic about free will, what is your thought process on a daily basis when confronted with a choice?

The reason why I ask is because you started your post with "I choose" so I am curious if you accept the illusion of free will (consciously or unconsciously) on a daily basis when confronted with decisions, or if you live totally rejecting the apparent illusion. And if you do reject free will, how do you justify trying to make a decision at all. How do you avoid resigning everything to 'fate', if at all? (not that I think it is inevitable, I am just curious about your perspective on the matter)

And as for these contradictory conclusions, I am intrigued. Do you have more information?


Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

Honest answers... (none / 1) (#287)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:56:25 PM EST

I think the typical agnostic (at least those that I know) would answer these questions in a way similar to an atheist.

The action may be the same, but the reason for it is not. While the atheist has come to hold a belief, which is inherently baseless, the agnostic is scientifically reserving judgment as the result of a lack of information one way or the other. The difference is crucial philosophically, but irrelevant practically.

Since you are agnostic about free will, what is your thought process on a daily basis when confronted with a choice?

I engage in utility calculations. My objective is to optimize the utility of the outcomes of all events over the course of my lifetime and beyond. What is "me" is the collection of genes and memes that make me up. Utility, if we want to be really low level, is fundamentally measured in the improved odds that my genes and memes will spread. I believe that all actions can at some level be derived from this imperative.

And as for these contradictory conclusions, I am intrigued. Do you have more information?

What I am saying is that it seems patently absurd to me that anything could act without causality. There could be no unit of the universe that acts free of causality. Everything is built up of smaller units, and no assemblage of units changes their fundamental properties.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
good answers (none / 0) (#342)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 12:46:00 AM EST

You have an interesting approach, thanks for taking the time to respond.

What I am saying is that it seems patently absurd to me that anything could act without causality.

The fact that we don't have a complete understanding of what happens in the brain or at the quantum level combined with the fact that humans seem to have some ability for choice that goes beyond anything else we know of, is enough for me to at least question that it may exist, regardless of how unlikely it seems.

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

but what would that give us? (none / 1) (#343)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:09:02 AM EST

Randomness, if such a thing could exist by virtue of quantum mechanics, does not give us free will, just randomness. My biggest complaint is that the concept of free will doesn't even make sense to me. What would it even mean to have free will? Nobody, in all my life, has yet been able to give me a satisfactory answer. It seems that randomness and determinism are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Either something is random, or it is causal. I see no room for a third possibility.

Furthermore, I don't even see any room for randomness. The possibility that something could act in a truly non-deterministic way just torques my brain. As far as I am concerned, randomness is only a perceived lack of causality as a result of a sufficiently narrow point of view. If you could expand the scope of your vision then you would see the causal agents that are determining the processes that you are perceiving as stochastic.

There are very few things in this universe that science will concede are random, but even then I am dubious. Is particle decay really random? I have a deep seated suspicion that it is not. It may in fact be that it is "random" from the perspective of our "universe", in that it is unpredictable from the viewable components of our universe. There may, however, be agents acting outside of our our viewable universe that deterministically govern such things as particle decay. The decay of particles appearing as random to us may not be all that different from the way an ssh key generator views our banging on the keyboard of moving of the mouse as random events. As a program trapped in the RAM of your computer, it knows not of the goings-on of humans who are bashing a keyboard, but from our perspective we know very well what we're doing. Our brain is acting as a Turing machine that is deterministically pressing keys and pushing a mouse.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
While you're at it (2.33 / 12) (#116)
by Michael Moore on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:45:12 AM EST

You'd better drill it into your kid's head that it's not okay to read fiction, since that stuff is filled with lies.

Oh, and no poetry either. After all, isn't metaphor fundamentally a lie?

--
"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael

Obligatory Zim quote (2.20 / 5) (#121)
by bugmaster on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:20:35 PM EST

"Of course, filthies. Santa loves all the little Earthling boys and girls... UNLESS THEIR HEADS ARE FILTHY WITH LIES !!! To the jingle-jail with him !"
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Fiction <> lie (none / 2) (#232)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:10:27 AM EST

Fiction is only a lie when you present it as nonfiction.

Are all lies bad? No, just harmful ones. "Yes, Granny, I like your new hat" is a good (white) lie. "I didn't do it, Susie must have" when you did, in fact, do it is a malicious lie.

A lie that makes you suspicious of the people you should trust (such as "Santa's coming" or "We have proof that Sadaam has weapons of mass destruction").

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Also (2.18 / 16) (#120)
by Michael Moore on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:02:16 PM EST

I can't believe you retarded fucks who were "hurt and confused" or whatever when you discovered the "lie" of Santa Claus. That says a lot more about your unstable psyche than it does about your parents or society as a whole.

Anyway, you may think it's somehow ideal to live in a society without mythos, since this is the robotic and efficient geeky way to see things, but I'll be damned if I want a world that's been raped of its culture by freaks like you. Wouldn't it be grand if all the worlds religions and cultures ceased to exist, their followers replaced with soulless pragmatic moral drones, because they are based on things that aren't "true"? The really scary part is that many of you probably think this.

--
"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael

they also assume.. (none / 2) (#123)
by Work on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:23:37 PM EST

that 'truth' is always right, no matter the situation.

I wonder what myth they got that bit of 'morality' from.

[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#138)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:01:46 PM EST

In Aubrey & Maturin, you'll frequently see someone called a 'pragmatical' with a contemptuous sneer.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Be scared (2.00 / 6) (#150)
by niom on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:27:22 PM EST

Wouldn't it be grand if all the worlds religions and cultures ceased to exist, their followers replaced with soulless pragmatic moral drones, because they are based on things that aren't "true"? The really scary part is that many of you probably think this.

I think this.

By the way, who's the freak? I vote for the nutcase who's so inadapted to reality that feels more comfortable pretending that "myths" are real. I have some information for you: normal, psychologically healthy people can enjoy fiction without having to be deceived into believing it's real.

[ Parent ]

Inadapted to reality? (2.50 / 3) (#151)
by Michael Moore on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:50:21 PM EST

If anything, it's you who is so afraid of reality that you refuse to allow anything which can't be proven by "science" into your head. I'm guessing you've never travelled, experienced the different cultures of the world. Because if you had, you'd know just how terrible your beliefs are by their willingness to destroy that.

--
"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael
[ Parent ]
Come on, you aren't even trying to make sense (nt) (none / 1) (#152)
by niom on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 07:55:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Don't blame me for your short-sighted ignorance. (1.75 / 3) (#153)
by Michael Moore on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:13:31 PM EST

nt.

--
"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael
[ Parent ]
You give a bad name to trolls (nt) (none / 1) (#154)
by niom on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 08:19:09 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Troll? (none / 3) (#167)
by Michael Moore on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 12:05:59 AM EST

How convenient, you just sit there and accuse anyone who has a different opinion of being a "troll". Grow up man, and if you can't deal with my arguments then at least have the respect to shut up and stop calling me names.

--
"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael
[ Parent ]
For future reference: you deny being a troll? (none / 1) (#173)
by niom on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 06:12:29 AM EST

How convenient, you just sit there and accuse anyone who has a different opinion of being a "troll".

Not anyone, just those who start a thread with the magic words "I can't believe you retarded fucks..."

Grow up man, and if you can't deal with my arguments...

Your what?

[ Parent ]

Not to mention... (none / 0) (#230)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:05:39 AM EST

Bowling for Columbine. Best troll ever! I liove the way he trolled Charleton Heston, showing his NRA card and then... LOL!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Oh, com on now (none / 0) (#229)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:03:53 AM EST

It was poorly worded and reaklly wasn't easy to parse. You're a pro, we expect better of you

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I was scared (at age 10) by the NORAD bulletin (none / 0) (#311)
by ab762 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 12:42:06 PM EST

At age ten, I moved from the United Kingdom to Canada (in 1969). At that age, I was a confirmed reader of SF. When the annual phony NORAD bulletin about tracking an incoming object over the North Pole came in, I was scared that WW III was breaking out. It's probably a bad idea to mix reality and fiction ... although I guess the NORAD guys like the warm fuzzy image it creates.

Ducking and covering... a child of the late 50's
Henry Troup
--
Some dumb Canadian
[ Parent ]

From Pratchett's "The Hogfather"... (2.85 / 14) (#126)
by TheophileEscargot on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 12:58:41 PM EST

Susan: "You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."
Death: REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASIES TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
Susan: "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little--"
Death: YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
Susan: "So we can believe the big ones?"
Death: YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

From here
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

Damnit... (none / 2) (#168)
by rodoke3 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 12:53:08 AM EST

Because of your comment, I spent half the day reading that.  Thanks!

I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


[ Parent ]
You could have just read the book [nt] (none / 3) (#196)
by damiam on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 04:42:24 PM EST

It, along with the entire Discworld series, is excellent.

[ Parent ]
Actually, (none / 0) (#340)
by rodoke3 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 10:24:40 PM EST

I had never heard of Terry Pratchett (I don't read much sci-fi) before I started reading those quotes. I plan to go find more of his work; it is intéressant to say the least.

I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


[ Parent ]
To catseye: (none / 0) (#317)
by hummassa on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 02:30:05 PM EST

The parent post is right on. I have a 4yo boy. I don't mind the whole truth/myth distinction. There is no truth, so it's not possible to exist any lie.
Now, less philosophically: I like to fantasize with him. We play we are riding in rockets; we wrote Santa's letter together.
I tell him about the Man With The Bag that gets boys who are wandering alone in the street or in the mall, so he does not want to escape in a crowded mall and I don't have to worry about real kidnappers and pedophiles. No, I will not tell him there are pedophiles, but I say to him that everything that is inside his pants other people are forbidden to touch, and if they do, he must talk to me immediately. It's how the world works, and a little fantasy activates his immagination.
The raw truth, if something like that exists, would just give him an ulcer.
It has worked for me, to the present date.
Hope I have helped.

[ Parent ]
I think you are missing how your kids will think (2.80 / 5) (#128)
by TunkeyMicket on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 01:12:25 PM EST

As I remember, I believed pretty hardcore about Santa till I was like 8, then I just started getting too old for the myth. By 10 it made sense that Santa did NOT exist, far too many contradictions.

Was I hurt? Am I emotionally or mentally scared? No. I just grew up.

What I did take away from it is that Christmas is a lot of fun for the parents. Leaving little notes, trees, etc. Atleast my mom loves Christmas because then she gets to play Martha Stewart for a month. Dad loves it, cause thats when the bonus checks roll in. Its also a lot of fun for the kids. What kid doesn't like presents?

If telling your kid Santa Clause exists would emotionally scar them or in some way mess with their mind, well I think your entire family needs to go into therapy. The environment around your kid is obviously so abrasive that they feel the need to latch onto these fairy tales as an escape from what is wrong and bad.

I also noticed that some people (in the comments) think Santa is some sort of 'gateway' myth to get people to believe in God. Yes, and marijuana is a 'gateway' drug to get people to use heroin and cocaine.

--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford

I'm bored... (none / 3) (#133)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 03:40:30 PM EST

...so I'll write my own little Santa spiel.

My own parents didn't teach me [or my brother] that Santa brought presents or that Santa existed for a variety of reasons, including the ones you gave. However, they did teach of the myth of Santa, read the stories, etc. They didn't want to produce culturally ignorant children. I, of course, was a young troll, but I won't get into that.

I approve of such a course of action: actively lying to your children is never a good idea, but this should not prevent one from showing one's children the contemporary American Christmas tradition.

sir (none / 1) (#136)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:00:08 PM EST

Whatever happened to -1, Article? Your biggest fan,
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I "-1 Articled" this (none / 1) (#137)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:00:56 PM EST

Didn't you see? I'm at the top of the list.

[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 1) (#142)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:19:59 PM EST

It's w/r/t the one that you didn't.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
My mouse wheel... (1.75 / 3) (#143)
by gzt on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:27:19 PM EST

...was broken.

[ Parent ]
and now? /nt (none / 1) (#144)
by Battle Troll on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 04:48:05 PM EST

/nt
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
This submission reminds me of an old joke... (2.40 / 5) (#159)
by Steve Ballmer on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 09:52:35 PM EST

Q. How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A. There's nothing funny about feminism.



One! And that's not funny! (none / 1) (#182)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 01:05:45 PM EST

You need the right tone of voice to tell it.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Your kids, you teach them (2.50 / 12) (#162)
by rusty on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:44:44 PM EST

You are pretty much allowed to tell your kids any myths you want (and not tell them those you don't want). So you should do what you think is right.

That said, I think I have yet to hear any justification for not telling them the Santa myth that doesn't make the parent sound creepily damaged and poorly socialized. Just making a big deal of it at all generally raises the "self-absorbed parent" flag for me.

____
Not the real rusty

hello (1.00 / 8) (#202)
by Night In White Satin8 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 07:44:12 PM EST

Hi Rusty

Could you please tell me why you took away my diary/story writing privileges for absolutely no reason? Thanks in advance.
Why did rusty take away my story writing/diary writing privilege for no legitimate reason?
[ Parent ]

I believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn. [nt] (none / 3) (#164)
by Stavr0 on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 10:47:09 PM EST


- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant
Huh? (2.75 / 4) (#228)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:58:37 AM EST

How can something be both invisible and pink?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

It's a doofus' athiest joke. (none / 1) (#358)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 06:12:56 PM EST

It's a joke many athiests like to tell. Something about how believing in God is like believing in an invisible pink unicorn.

They seem to think it proves something.

--
"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

My Santa story (3.00 / 8) (#166)
by JahToasted on Sat Dec 06, 2003 at 11:20:53 PM EST

Me and my brothers figured out santa wasn't real, but never admitted it to our parents. We figured if they found out that we knew, we'd stop getting presents from "santa". So we just went along with it. Eventually my mother started wondering ho gullible we must've been since we were over 10 years old and still asking santa for presents.

Yeah mum, I finished writing my letter to santa, could you check it over in case I, you know, made a spelling mistake or something?
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison

I teach my daughter false English. (2.66 / 9) (#170)
by snowlion on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:23:32 AM EST

Whenever I mean to say, "Carrot," I stop and say, "Pencil."

And when I mean to say, "Pencil," I stop and say, "Carrot."

But I don't think I'm going to get very far, because  Kitty refuses to join in the fun, my habits don't help me, and my girl is pretty clever.

--
Map Your Thoughts

Have a little fun while you can (none / 1) (#171)
by speedfreak2K2 on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 04:01:55 AM EST

What you do is you have a friend who could pass for Santa dress up as one, give him a key to the backdoor (make sure it's greased up so it doesn't squeak on entry), and have him do the santa thing. He could take it as far as talking to the kids ("oh, I was just on my way out...") or something like that. Either that or the kid, upon seeing "santa" will very promptly return to bed (I never said they would sleep) in anticipation of the next morning in an "oh shit!" state of mind.
You! Take that crown off your head, I'm kicking your ass!
'Mommy, do you love me?" (2.50 / 10) (#177)
by Adam Rightmann on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 11:01:12 AM EST

"No son, love is an illusion, a biochemical reaction that has evolved to help me ensure my genes will spread onto future generations."

"Mommy, will you die like grandpa died?"

"Yes son, I will die, probably not for another fifty years, but I could die tonight."

"Mommy, will I see you in Heaven?"

"No son, Heaven is a silly lie, only believed by the non-rationals. I'm a bright, and I can tell you we're just biochemical reactions with the illusion of self-awareness. There really is nothing more to yourself than a genetic desire to procreate."

Yes, I know you don't say this to a three year old (2.20 / 5) (#192)
by Hizonner on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 03:09:34 PM EST

Yes, Son, I love you.

I love you, and I know why.

I love you, and I know how.

I love you, and I know love is real.

I love you, and I know the source of love, in equation and in accident and in ancient, endlessly emerging exploration.

I love you, and I know the machinery of love, in my brain and in yours and in all of ours, merely, astoundingly, wonderfully, awestrikingly chemical, complete and needing nothing more.

I love you, and I know the worth of love, which is mine to see, yours to see, all of ours to see, and by our seeing it to make it real.

I love you, and I wonder that love has come to you, come to me, come to all of us, unasked, unplanned, all out of accident, all out of equation, that we may claim its beauty, and, knowing it fully, make of it what we will.

I love you, and I wonder at you, mind sprung from the mindless, who can love, and, knowing all the truth of love, love the more.

I need no lies, no myths, no gods, no illusions, to know I love you.



[ Parent ]
correction (2.40 / 5) (#214)
by Viliam Bur on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:45:29 AM EST

Given the question "Mommy, do you love me?", and the opinion that love is a biochemical reaction... well, if the reaction is present in Mommy, the correct answer is: "Yes, I love you".

Also, what does the "illusion of self-awareness" mean? Who is supposed to be an audience to this illusion? We are self-aware. It just does not make us supernatural or whatever.

And there is something more than a genetic desire to procreate. Desire is only a goal. You also need strategies and tools to reach that goal.

Seems like you are attacking a straw man.

[ Parent ]

Please show me love in the laboratory (none / 1) (#217)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:18:31 AM EST

I think love is one of those things that are nice, but totally lacking in rational foundation. Please give me a link to a love-measuring unit, so I may ensure that I am giving equal lovions to my children.

[ Parent ]
Not as far off and mad...... (none / 2) (#218)
by Nursie on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:31:50 AM EST

as it sounds, from a purely technical viewpoint.
There are areas of the brain activated by certain emotions.

Thus we could measure your response in the 'love' areas of the brain using MRI/CAT whatever when you see one child, then the other. If one response was stronger then it would probably show greater love for that child......

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Could you stimulate those areas with an electrode (none / 1) (#220)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:05:20 AM EST

and make someone love a person they find intolerable?

[ Parent ]
Yes we can, (none / 0) (#351)
by Viliam Bur on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 05:01:20 AM EST

but our PR department can do the same thing less expensively by focusing on more people in one time.

[ Parent ]
Sure, but first- (none / 1) (#227)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:55:59 AM EST

Show me a black hole in the labratory, or a quantum string. And prove to my satisfaction that they are, in fact, quantum strings and black holes.

I know what love is. I have experienced it. There is no way that I can be convinced that it does not exist.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

A five year old can say the same about Santa (none / 1) (#242)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:55:40 AM EST

He knows what Santa is, and has experienced it.

The math on black holes and quantum strings work out, and with a sufficiently large laboratory, you could probably make either one.

Is there any math on such intangibles like love?

[ Parent ]

No, he hasn't EXPERIENCED it (none / 0) (#363)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 07:57:55 PM EST

He experienced a fraud.

You seem to worship math. Better than worshiping money I guess, if you must worship a tool.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

"Love" is as real as "pain" (2.50 / 4) (#224)
by rujith on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:44:00 AM EST

"Does it hurt when I pinch you?" "No, that's just a biochemical reaction alerting the higher cerebral functions of the possibility of bodily damage."

- Rujith.

[ Parent ]

replace santa (1.20 / 5) (#178)
by crazycanuck on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 11:02:17 AM EST

with god and you'll know how I feel...

I feel very sorry for you... (2.75 / 12) (#179)
by JohnnyCannuk on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 11:52:53 AM EST

..and the many other posters who agree with this sentiment.

The world is not just a bunch of facts and figures, it is full of fuzzy subtlety and grey areas. Like wonder, joy and morality.

I believe Santa is real. Not an actual person. I haven't beleived that since I was about 7. But real as a concept, as a personification of giving. The Santa myth is a quaint way of telling kids, and people in general, that there is true wonder and joy in giving. As part of growing up, we graduate from the givee to the giver and we learn that the act of giving is more enjoyable than simply recieving. Santa is the personification of that act and that joy. As children grow up and become more sophisticated they make this transition. In essence, we become Santa ourselves. That is why the myth has lasted so long...not because kids beleieve it, but because parents enjoy and need it more than the kids do (it is unfortunate that some people need to hide behind a Santa figure to be generous, rather than just be them selves).

My Santa story:

When I was 7, my parents were divorced, my mom was on welfare with 3 kids and no support from her absentee spouse. She had just gotten a new job and , being the new girl, had to work Christmas Eve. That didn't matter too much as we kids were already told not to expect much. Most of her co-workers knew this too. When she left after her shilft was over at midnight (technically it was now Christmas day), she found a giant box of toys in the back of her old 74 Duster for us. We got presents that year after all.

That's who Santa is. Santa is anyone who selflessly gives to those who need it. I don't even know what I got that year, but I remember that Christmas like it was yesterday. Santa is a wonderful role model for kids, and that giving generous spirit makes great adults.

Needles to say, I most certainly encourage the Santa myth and Christmas in general (I'm not a Christian). And I don't hate my parents for "lying" to me about Santa, I thank them and love them even more for sharing this wonderful character with me and helping me grow up to be a good person.

I guess it is all in how you look at it. I can still do all of the above while avoiding the nasty comercialism that Christmas has become.

...or I could be come cynical and jaded and steal a wonderful role model and story from my kids, ensuring they grow up without a sense of wonder...
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift

If you are not a Christian (1.00 / 9) (#226)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:51:33 AM EST

please refrain from celebrating Christmas. It's OUR holiday. We are celebrating the birth or OUR savior. If you think He was a myth, then please refrain from fucking up MY holiday, asshat. Go celebrate kwanzaa or something. Asshat.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Chistmas is NOT a christian holiday (2.50 / 4) (#249)
by enigma0x00 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:32:30 AM EST

The winter solstice was celebrated by pagans and other religions long before there was a christ or christian religion. The chistian religion co-opted the celebration of the winter solstice in christmas because there was already so many people celebrating and taking holiday at that time. The christmas tree and many other christmas symbols are hold overs from those celebrations which preceded christ.

You could more justifiably be told to find a different holiday to celebrate.

[ Parent ]
It's the summer solstice for those down here... (none / 0) (#319)
by hummassa on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 02:43:56 PM EST

in the Southern Hemisphere... :-)

[ Parent ]
Yes it was. (none / 0) (#362)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 07:54:05 PM EST

But regardless what was celebrated in December before Christ was born (or 500 years later), Christians celebrate Christ's birth on the arbitrarily chosen Dec 25.

People didn't celebrate birthdays back then, oddly

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Jesus was born in September (none / 0) (#325)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 04:43:27 PM EST

...asshat.

So, then, who is celebrating whose holiday incorrectly?

Hmmmm?

Merry Christmas to you. Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men (sic). Or should I say a Joyous Saturnalia to you...

:-)


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

2 points: (none / 0) (#361)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 07:51:32 PM EST

1. Please cite a reference, as everything I have read says they don't even know what year He was born, let along what month.

2. If you are celebrating Saturnalia, well that's different. I don't think any of Saturn's worshipers are around to complain.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I guess you just proved my point (none / 0) (#366)
by JohnnyCannuk on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 01:16:24 PM EST

I heard the September guess on a Discovery Channel documentary a few years back, so I don't have a specific reference. But that point is moot since you admit that you don't know when Jesus was born so you don't know if your are in fact celebrating the day of his birth.

On the other hand, the Winter Solstice, which happens right around December 25 each year, has been celebrated around the world for a lot longer than 2000ish years. That was the point of my Saturnalia quip. There are still lots of pagan and non-Christian cultures and religions that celebrate a festival at this time of year.

So, before you scold me and call me an "asshat" for celebrating your precious holiday, you should realize that it is YOU who is celebrating somebody elses holiday...
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Shepherds, flocks, night (none / 0) (#371)
by error 404 on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 12:49:55 PM EST

December is pretty cold in that part of the world. The watching of flocks by night is mostly done in warmer parts of the year.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Critical Thinking (2.60 / 5) (#180)
by gehrehmee on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 12:27:25 PM EST

IANAP (IANA-Parent)

Clearly there's something to this. We've gone through so many years of these bald-faced lies that children themselves dismiss usually before their 12th birthday. Why?

I can only come up with one idea. Having a story told by an authority figure dismissed so early is probably one of the first betrayals children deal with in their lives. It's a relatively harmless one, but I do believe that this sort of thing probabbly encourages real critical thinking, especially in terms of "authoritative" information.

My uninformed-advice: Don't tell your children that these things are shams. When they come to you, questioning it, and genuinely doubting fairy tales they've heard in the past, celebrate. It's a big step for a child, and rewarding that with a priveldge they've been "too young for" previously will reinforce its value and importance.

Rite of passage (none / 3) (#244)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:01:37 AM EST

I Am a Parent. And a grandparent.

The transition from being on the receiving end to being in on the game is is a delight. It was for me, and it has been for my children.

There is also a serious lesson to my children:

I have been manipulating your reality to provide room for you to grow. The world is harsher than what you have seen so far. But I improved a piece of it for you and for myself, and so can you.
I hope they understand, decades from now, that the world is harder and more complicated than it used to be because they are the adults now, not because it is going to hell. It wasn't really simple and safe back in the good old days, your parents kept you safe and made things simple for you.

There is a deeper lie in trying to be completely honest with your kids as though they were adults. They are not adults. They are not full partners regardless of how much you respect and empower them. They don't really understand, no matter how many facts they are presented with. You are manipulating their reality - that's why they are healthier and happier than homeless orphans - and to pretend you aren't is dishonest.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Odd lesson (3.00 / 4) (#264)
by David Chappell on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 02:07:18 PM EST

So you would teach a child critical thinking skills by lying to him? I think the only lesson this will teach is that you are not a reliable source of information. How will that serve him in later years when he wants information and advice about choosing friends, sex, or alcohol?

A better critical thinking lesson would be to discuss the beliefs about Santa Claus that other children have and why these are illogical. Remember, the process of teaching involves the passing on of hard-won knownledge and experience. Feeding a child false information is much more likely to confuse his thinking then sharpen it.



[ Parent ]
Seriously (2.33 / 6) (#181)
by melia on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 12:51:18 PM EST

I'm sorry, anybody who resents their parents for "lying" to them about Santa is in some sort of denial about the real cause of the way they feel.

Pretending a fat old man in a red suit brings presents down the chimney every christmas eve - this does not mess children up.

Since the idea that Santa is an immortal, magical man who has flying reindeer and gives toys to millions of children all over the world is a LOT more fun than the reality of the situation, guess what our dear child preferred to believe?

And dude, that's why your child will be dull, dull, dull. It sounds like you're trying to completely repress their creativity and imagination. Stunt their growth by wrapping them up with reality. I guess they're not allowed Disney either eh, only the TV news.

No doubt your child will have some sort of obsessive compulsive howard hughes hand washing disorder as well, because we don't want him catching any germs.

Now, I wouldn't normally cruelly criticise someone's parenting skills, but hey, you asked for it. Let your kid have a childhood.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong

Puzzling... (2.50 / 4) (#190)
by catseye on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:17:46 PM EST

I really don't understand why you and a few other asshats are assuming that because I don't like lying to my kid about Santa Claus, that I'm a horrible parent and my child is going to be dull and uncreative.

If I were telling that he should believe in Buggerdyboo, the magic giraffe that steals left socks out of the dryer to build his fabulous sock palace at the bottom of the ocean, the same people would probably say I was a horrible parent for telling my child such an obvious, stupid lie and making him look like an idiot when he retold the story.

I guess it's just a matter of difference between lying that's culturally sanctioned and lying that's not.

And the Disney stories, or any other stories for that matter, are completely different then specifically, systematically lying about Santa or the Tooth Fairy. My kid really enjoys Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. When he asked me if there were really aliens like that my answer was "I don't know... I've never seen any, but there might be." That's the same answer I give when he asks about magic and Harry Potter or whether or not there are angels. The possibility does exist... unlike the modern Santa Claus.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

No neeeeed! (2.60 / 5) (#191)
by melia on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:44:27 PM EST

If I were telling that he should believe in Buggerdyboo, ... the same people would probably say I was a horrible parent for telling my child such an obvious, stupid lie and making him look like an idiot when he retold the story.

Hah! Both myself and possibly many other people would say you were a wonderful parent, and no doubt your kid would love you for telling such good stories. My, you could even write children's books. I'd love to be the sort of dad who could make up bedtime stories on the spot. I can't even remember nursery rhymes. (Although, no doubt they're banned in your house along with the keeping of pet worms)

These are not malicious lies. It's ridiculous to suggest this. Have you never heard of a white lie? Do you seriously think Roald Dahl is an evil-doer because he made up lies about peaches? I expect your spouse or partner cannot expect any surprise gifts since to lie about having bought a present would be morally reprehensible to you.

"I don't know... I've never seen any, but there might be."

You know, I bet your kid really respects you for this strong stance on truthfulness. Fortunately, your child will never have to learn how to differentiate between truth, deceit, fun, myth reality and fairytales because you'll always be there to let them know. "Son, there are no limitations to your imagination! But don't bother trying, because it's all a vicious lie."

systematically lying about Santa or the Tooth Fairy.

You're amazing! I wish you had the guts to tell your child a nice story about giraffes once in a while.

PS: No need to call me an asshat, you posted this story on a public forum and asked for feedback. If you don't want to know that some people might think you're horribly (horribly) wrong, why did you bother?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]

Asshat! (none / 1) (#219)
by Nursie on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:35:19 AM EST

Dude! There is quite a difference between telling a story about giraffes, and telling the same story and asserting that it is the truth.
Especially if those assertions are repeated over many years until some arbitrary point when the lie is revealed.
That's the point catseye is making.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Thank you... (none / 0) (#231)
by catseye on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:07:52 AM EST

I was starting to wonder if my point was getting across to anyone at all.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
'asserting it's the truth' (none / 0) (#354)
by Battle Troll on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:45:27 PM EST

Most parents don't drag out a well-thumbed copy of 59 Arguments Demonstrating the Existence of Santa Claus when they tell their kids about the Man in Red. And a small child really cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Everyone understands catseye's 'point' (none / 0) (#291)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 12:40:43 AM EST

It's the kind of argument a child would make. "Lying is wrong, no matter what."

If you tell a child a story about a giraffe that steals socks, the child might believe it. Cute. They have fun believing your silly story and you have fun telling it to them and answering their questions about the giraffe. Believing in the giraffe doesn't hurt the child. If the child tells someone about their giraffe story, it's no big deal. Kids think all sorts of silly things (they would anyway because they don't have a well developed sense of reality), and everyone knows it. (Of course, we might imagine one of the idiots from this site calling child stupid for believing their dad's giraffe story, but that's not the child's fault.)

If you told a child that rat poison is tasty or that they should dry off their hamster in the microwave, that would be different. That is something that they could act on and incur serious physical or emotional damage. A giraffe story is not like that at all. It's an innocent fantasy that they will undoubtedly grow out of and probably grow out of, unless they are a neurotic like some of the posters here are.

As a side note, I'd like to point out that you idiots who got upset with your parents for "lying" to you about Santa are the same bunch of unstable lamers trolls prey on fifteen years later. Food for thought.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

I see. (1.60 / 5) (#203)
by rmg on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 09:10:55 PM EST

So you believe that telling your child a silly story about a giraffe that steals socks would frowned upon by society?

It will probably surprise you to hear that many, if not most, parents tell their children such harmless stories and that, by and large, children enjoy them. It takes a neurotic to believe that telling children silly stories is immoral. That is what is so troubling about the discussion here.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Comments like these (none / 1) (#225)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:45:38 AM EST

explain why the world is so full of liars. Your kid should learn the difference between what's real and what's pretend. Lying to a child doesn't foster "creativity", it creates a liar.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

It's called "child developement" (none / 1) (#236)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:33:42 AM EST

They develope the ability to perceive the difference between reality and fantasy at a certain point. It's a developemental stage, not a fact to be taught. There is no way - Santa or not - that they will develope the ability before it is their time to do so, any more than you can teach a 2 month old to walk. And the time in question is very close to when they figure out Santa.

Either way, your kid will learn the difference between what's real and what's pretend.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Wrong. (none / 2) (#241)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:50:00 AM EST

Mythology is at the heart of the human experience. It is now and it always has been. That is why literature is and remains important. To believe these things are just lies is neurotic -- it is the sign of someone hyper-sensitized to their tristed idea of "betrayal."

Life is about dreams. When one is very young, one has the opportunity to live those dreams in a way that few are ever able to experience again. Those who understand Santa Claus get a glimpse at what life can be. Those who do not or cannot are doomed to mediocrity. The moment you call Santa Claus a lie is the moment you give up what you could be and become a moralistic robot like the most of the posters here.

Parents who rob their children of their opportunity to be naive and believe damage those children in a way that can never be repaired.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

hogwash (none / 0) (#272)
by syadasti on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:48:31 PM EST

What does mythology have to do with literature? Okay, you could say that mythology is literature, but there are vast tracts of literature that are not mythology. Mythology is distinguished by the fact that someone, somewhere, or at some time in the past, believes or believed that it describes the real universe.

I read a great deal of mythology as a young child (8-12), and enjoyed it and learned from it. I also read and continue to read a great deal of literature. But I knew even then that somebody, at some time, believed that Zeus was a real God. I submit that -nobody- believes that two important (American) literary figures, Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman, are real people.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

In what sense... (none / 0) (#275)
by gzt on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 05:15:40 PM EST

...are these myths really believed, though? Hard question to answer, really, and please don't read modern rationalist intentions into other cultures. And for your other question, mythology has everything to do with literature, even if most contemporary literature is not mythology.

[ Parent ]
I couldn't disagree more. (none / 0) (#277)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 05:33:09 PM EST

Both Willy Loman and Jay Gatz are very real to me. The question of whether they physically existed is irrelevant.

Mythology gives people a power over reality that modern people do not understand for the most part. In the times of the ancients, Zeus, Apollo, and Dionysus were real gods. They could be today just as easily.

In any case, I don't think you have a very good grasp of what mythology is. In particular, I don't think there is any requirement that it was ever believed in the sense that you mean "believe." Indeed, there was (maybe still is) some debate as to whether the Greeks actually believed in their gods in the sense you mean.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Liberals vs. Conservatives (2.40 / 5) (#184)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 01:17:26 PM EST

If you think about it this really gets to the heart of the difference between liberals and conservatives.  (Real conservatives.  Dubya and his ilk stand for nothing but lining their pockets.)

People argue that you should tell the Santa story because it is traditional and it teaches values.  This reminds me of the political philosopher Edmund Burke whom conservatives love.  He was against taking rationalism and skeptism to far.  He believed we are better of following the wisdom of the ages.  So pass on this Santa story because it contains cultural values and we don't question its retelling.

Some people argue that we shouldn't teach the Santa story because it's just not true.  This is closer to the sentiments of Bertrand Russell or John Dewey whom the liberals love.  We need a skepitical evaluation of reality so that we can use them to make proper judgements.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

on Burke (none / 1) (#280)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 07:45:21 PM EST

you're oversimplifying his case greatly. He was against large sweeping changes and preferred gradual conservative change. He thought society was like a castle that is in need of repair; we can tear it out by its foundation, but then we're vulnerable during the deconstruction. It's better, then, to rebuild the castle on its existing foundation.

As a result, he didn't support things such as the French Revolution because they were attempting to change too much: not only were they changing political and social structure, but they were attempting to change language, measurements (this is when the metric system really came in to vogue), wardrobe, customs, etc. In short, everything old was to be thrown away. He did support the American Revolution. Looking at the track record for the two nations, the American Revolution appears to have created a more stable environment, while France struggled through numerous republics and emperors.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#332)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:03:57 PM EST

Now that I think about it I was kind of talking out of my ass.  Nevertheless, I think conservatives don't want to get rid of a dumb tradition and liberals want to no matter how much it alienates them from society.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
You don't want to lie to your kids? (2.94 / 17) (#185)
by Shajenko on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 01:27:35 PM EST

I have a simple solution. Tell them the truth. St. Nicolas was a man in the third century, who was born rich and used his inheritance to help the poor and needy. Today, we celebrate him and many other historical people on December 25 (and a few months before it) by representing them with the symbol of Santa Claus, a fat man in a red suit who we pretend gives gifts to all the children of the world.

You can tell the truth in an upbeat way :)



Yep, spot on [nt] (none / 1) (#213)
by esrever on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:42:51 AM EST



Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
A Visit from St. Nicholas (none / 1) (#309)
by dbowden on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:45:07 AM EST

If you're into the truth, don't forget to mention that the modern appearance of Santa Claus is largely (perhaps entirely) due to the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" more commonly known as "'Twas the Night before Christmas", first published in _The_Sentinal_, a New York newspaper, Dec. 23rd, 1823, and usually attributed to Clement Clarke Moore (though some claim it was actually the work of Henry Livingston)

Before that, he had a variety of appearances.

[ Parent ]

not quite.. (none / 0) (#365)
by juju2112 on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 04:01:02 AM EST

That's not quite the truth about Christmas. It is technically the truth, but by telling kids that, you're not really dealing with the issue at all.

"Santa Claus is based on a man from the third century" is just an interesting anecdote regarding the history of the current myth. Saying that does not prepare the child for Christmas at all.

Even though one myth grew into the other, the two myths are so different now as to be two completely different myths.

[ Parent ]

My personal story (2.62 / 8) (#186)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 01:29:32 PM EST

When I was four I kept pestering my Mom about how Santa Claus makes all the deliveries in one night.  So she told me the truth:  Santa has the ability to freeze time.

Anyway, when I was about eight I still believed in Santa and my mom told me the truth.  She told me Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were all fake.  I was outraged at her and asked, "How could you lie to me like that!?"  I trusted my mom and probably would have believed for quite some time if she didn't tell me otherwise.  When I think about it, I don't think my mom ever lied to me about anything else.

Anyway, I got over it.  When I was twelve I figured out the fourth one for myself:  that there is no god either.  My mom suspects my lack of faith and is disappointed even though I don't think she believes either.

If I have children I think I'll tell them about Santa but present it as just a fun story from the beginning.  Split the difference, I guess.  I was able to enjoy Bugs Bunny even though I never believed he was real.  Why is Santa different?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

absolute truth at age 12? (none / 0) (#285)
by efinkelnburg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:50:41 PM EST

I love how so many preteens and teenagers today are able to discern the 'absolute truth' that there is no God. After all, I'm sure at that age you've had not only all of the theological studies that a senior Church official has, but also all of the yet-unknown quantum physics studies so that you can explain exactly how, when, where, and why the universe was created like it was (and prove that God didn't have a hand in it at the same time). Science has yet to disprove the theory of God, and I don't think it will ever be able to. Until it does, however, it's wholly idiotic to proclaim that God does not exist.
-- erik finkelnburg
[ Parent ]
In fact (none / 2) (#297)
by synik on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 07:47:21 AM EST

it's almost as idiotic as proclaiming that god does exist.

---
The human race has suffered for centuries and is still suffering from the mental disorder known as religion, and atheism is the only physician that will be able to effect a permanent cure. -- Joseph Lewis
[ Parent ]
Yes, I was a pretty sharp kid (none / 0) (#334)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:11:05 PM EST

if I don't mind saying so myself.

Anyway, I was very religous when I was little.  I figured out that God doesn't exist when I was twelve.  I changed my mind a few times since, but I've been clean for at least four years now.

There are psychological and historical reasons why people believe in God.  They don't believe in God because it is a really compelling theory.  If I had never heard of the idea of God from others I wouldn't believe it, so why should I absorb other people's psychological garbage?

Science has yet to disprove the theory of God, and I don't think it will ever be able to.

Science has yet to disprove the theory of werewolves, and I don't think it will ever be able to.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

Whoa, slow down there genius (none / 0) (#341)
by guardianhyuga on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 10:56:20 PM EST

I hate to troll, but I made a K5 account just to reply to this comment. Actually, I had been meaning to make one for years now and was always just too lazy, so I thank you for being so prosaic. Anyways, a major topic in the philosophy of science is just what "absolute truth" is, and whether or not it can ever be obtained. The philosophy of religion, and just theology in general, overlap with it on that topic. The general consensus, at least of the philosophy of science side is that no, it cannot. To claim that science can every truely answer all the questions about life, the universe and everything is just as inane as thinking religion can. Any rational person realizing this, knows that belief or disbelief in "God" has nothing to do with proof or disproof. But getting back to the parent comment, of course at the age of 12 he didn't know anything about theology or about quantum physics. He didn't have to, as he wasn't concerned with proving or disproving the "absolute truth". What he did realize is something that shouldn't be hard to figure out at that age. It's something that almost as easy to figure out as the Santa Claus thing, and I say "almost" because most people aren't so jaded about Santa Claus that they'll tell their kids the truth about Santa once they reach a certain age. Think about it, and maybe you'll realize what he realized too. Surely someone as clever as you can think down a few minutes to the level of imagination of a 12 year old and come up with some very sophisticated conclusions.
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Einstein
[ Parent ]
Honesty Considered Harmful (2.28 / 7) (#188)
by Bill Melater on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:08:59 PM EST

How is the Santa thing any different from my VP of Marketing telling the customer that the product will be ready within a month? Good Lord, if he told the truth we'd all be out on the street.

My little boy is 6. We talk up the Santa thing. He knows the truth, but plays along with us. It's a game, really. He doesn't resent that we're not totally explicit about everything. He knows we shield him from some things. We haven't told him lots of things yet ... we haven't told him what the crack dealers and hookers are doing on the downtown streets ... we haven't told him how they make hot dogs ... we haven't told him that there are places in this world where they clamp jumper cables to your balls for believing in the wrong things ... that there are places in this world where rich people get away with murder while poor people get thrown in prison for petty theft ...

Life is full of lies. Little lies, big lies, lies, lies, lies. Your kid damn well better be able to 1) discern when he's being lied to, at least some of the time, and b) tell his own lies every so often. Seriously. He ain't getting laid if he can't lie.

So I don't disabuse him of the Santa notion. If he asks me, which he might after this Christmas, I'll tell him. In any case, I'll let him go on believing for as long as he wants to. Childhood only happens once. In return, when we both get older he'll lie to me and tell me that I'm not an old fart with a pot belly whose Hair-in-a-can is not fooling anyone.

The biggest trouble with liars (2.60 / 5) (#223)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:35:38 AM EST

Is that they think lying is normal, that everybody does it, that there's nothing wrong with it.

When your VP of marketing says a month, and it takes three, he won't be your customer for long. If you treat all of your sustomers like that, you will ALL be in the uynemployment line, because all but the stupidest of your customers will go to your competetion.

Your kid is going to get lied to enough by his teachers, principals, and friends to find out that people lie. Liars are stupid; lies almost always come back to dio much more damage than the truth would have.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

So why in the fuck is a deceitful athiest like you celebrating a religious holiday, anyway?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Thou shalt not bear false witness against... (none / 0) (#235)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:22:29 AM EST

Ummm, is my neighbor being falsely accused of being Santa?

I think it is interesting that the commandments contain no prohibition against lies in general, only against perjury on the behalf of the prosecution in a case involving an individual to whom you are affiliated.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#360)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 07:43:07 PM EST

Hurtful lies are the sin.

The bible also says that there must be at least two eyewitnesses before a government can put a man to death.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You've never been laid, have you? :) (none / 1) (#279)
by Bill Melater on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 07:21:21 PM EST

You should meet my mother-in-law. She always tells the truth. If your shirt is ugly, she'll tell you. If your teeth are crooked, she'll give you her honest opinion. She's a fucking pain in the ass.

Point being, sometimes honesty is a bit too much. I'm not advocating a lifestyle of pathological lying. I'm saying that society in large part floats on a raft of polite fictions.

If you have kids, sooner or later you'll have to tell them that they shouldn't stand in the supermarket checkout line and loudly say "Daddy, the lady behind us is really fat! Why is she so fat?". It's God's own truth; the lady will be a fucking whale, a sobering testament to the cornucopia that is the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet, but you'll tell your kid not to say it out loud because it might hurt her fat fucking feelings.

What do you say when your wife/girlfriend asks if she looks fat? "No dear, that dress doesn't make you look fat. It's your fat ass that makes you look fat."

As for my VP of marketing, I know that all my competitors are lying their asses off. If he actually told the truth he wouldn't be doing his job. So maybe we shouldn't call it lying, perhaps they're "promulgating a positive image" or some such shit.

And an MFC and a HFNY to you all!

[ Parent ]

I tell the truth (none / 0) (#298)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 09:59:59 AM EST

What do you say when your wife/girlfriend asks if she looks fat? "No dear, that dress doesn't make you look fat. It's your fat ass that makes you look fat."
I just omit part of it.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I have 2 kids (none / 0) (#359)
by mcgrew on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 07:41:01 PM EST

and my 2nd divorce hearing is monday.

Look, if Grandma's new dress doesn't really suit you but she asks, telling herit looks good is a white lie. No good could come from the truth in this case. Better yet would be to dodge the question.

On the other hand, if her slip is hanging oput past the skirt, TELL HER!

There is no good to be had by lying to your kids about Santa. The magic is in Christmas itself, and in the heart of the child. Letting the kid know that YOU are Santa brings the kid closerto you.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Fair enough (none / 1) (#368)
by Bill Melater on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 06:27:54 PM EST

if Grandma's new dress doesn't really suit you

Actually, I look pretty damn good in Grandma's dresses :)

I think the whole Santa decision is a parental discretion sort of thing. There's no way I can have any sort of meaningful opinion on what you tell your kids, and vice-versa. You know them best. As for my kid, if I wasn't pretty sure he already knows the truth, I might be inclined to tell him. As it is, he already knows that Santa's elves shop at Toys-R-Us and Target, and I know from experience that if he really wants the truth, he'll just come right out and ask. I'm very certain that he is not going to be emotionally scarred by it or distrustful of me, and I don't think that it affects our relationship one way or the other.

Condolences or congratulations, as appropriate, on your pending divorce. Mine was a bitch, so to speak.

[ Parent ]

Okay. Quick clarification here. (none / 0) (#357)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 06:09:13 PM EST

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" was a prohibition against spreading malicious tales. It has nothing to say about, for example, those little social lies we use to make people feel better about themselves.

--
"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

Orcs are a myth too... (2.30 / 10) (#189)
by trimethyl on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 02:12:35 PM EST

But people still stood in line to see the Lord of the Rings. Sometimes it's healthy to take part in fantasy, because it allows us to explore the intellectual and emotional aspects we might not otherwise experience. It also helps us to understand the world from a broader perspective.

The story of Santa is based on a real person who lived in the middle ages. My children will be told the truth about Santa - that he was a man who would leave presents for the children of his village. And I will let them believe in Santa.

From a child's perspective, learning that Santa isn't "real" comes about the same time that they stop playing with toy soldiers and dolls. Children do live in a fantasy world most of the time. I don't recall being angry with my parents when I learned that the "real" Santa had died several hundred years ago. In fact, I think I was more shocked when I learned that cartoons weren't real people. I'm surprised the poster didn't mention Looney Tunes as well. But in either case, there wasn't any deception or lying; Santa Claus was just a game that the whole family played around Christmas. By the time I was old enough to ponder the question, it no longer mattered.

The Santa Claus story teaches children about the spiritual concepts of good and evil; it teaches them that their actions have consequences; it reinforces the virtue of selfless service. It also paves the way for introducing children to a spiritual understanding of the universe.

Meta Comment: (for the U.S.)

I know that due to the social engineering of public schools, the Church is no longer seen as an authority. Instead, we've been conditioned to think of logic and science as the disciplines which will solve every problem we may encounter. The problem is that man does not lead a merely physical existence. There are spiritual and emotional truths that are common to all people. It is in understanding these truths that answers are found to mankind's difficult questions: "Who am I, How should I live, etc.." And for a question such as catseye's, it would seem that anyone old enough to bear children should be able to figure out the right answer.

But I understand the post. It is a question typical of someone who has only the most rudimentary spiritual education. Logic and science have no faculties for answering this kind of question. And I fear for the responses - I expect a lot of opinion, but no real answers.

Like I said, in the public realm, the Church has very little authority left. So this question is not surprising. But I think we as a nation would be better off if our education included studying the emotional and spiritual realities of our existence. We can put 100 million transistors on a chip, but can't keep our marriages together. We can understand differential equations, but don't know how to raise our children. How pathetic is that?



Adults like toy soldiers too! (none / 1) (#207)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 03:52:25 AM EST

I recently was at Toys-R-Us getting myself some of the bigass Real Ultimate Soldier helicopters. They're awesome. I don't wanna grow up......
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Can a child enjoy a myth she knows is not... (3.00 / 8) (#193)
by splitpeasoup on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 03:14:44 PM EST

...literally true?

I believe the answer is yes. Starting from the age of 6 or so I used to read a lot of comic books. In India during that time there were these very cool comics based on Hindu mythology called Amar Chitra Katha, which were very popular.

At a pretty early age I figured out these stories were not literally true, even if some might have had a historical basis. That didn't keep me from enjoying them for many years.

So it is a fact that children of 6 or over can understand the concept of fiction and still enjoy it. The 2 questions that arise are: (a) does this apply to kids of 3 and 4, and (b) does this apply as well to the Santa myth as it does to stories from Hindu mythology?

I cannot really answer the first question conclusively. I think the division between fiction and non-fiction is a little hard to establish at that age. On the one hand, I recall crying over sad endings to stories that I knew weren't true. On the other hand, a lot of adults at the opera do so as well. The other factor is that adults, for whatever reason, deliberately encourage the blurring of fact and non-fact. It's a little hard to say whether kids do well with that or not, having no real control group.

The second question is also hard to answer. On the one hand the Santa myth only has much meaning if it is believed to be fact. That is where it departs from pagan myths or stories of the life of Jesus, which are interesting even without assuming truth or divinity. Once kids don't believe in Santa any more, they lose most interest in the story. On the other hand, we still use and enjoy symbols from the Santa myth, like reindeer, tree ornaments, and the colors he's associated with.

However just because a child may not enjoy the myth if she learns it's not true, is not a reason to propagate the myth. It might be an indication the myth doesn't have much to offer in the first place. It would be a good idea to introduce your child to really interesting stories, like fairy tales, fables, and mythology - things that retain interest without having to be considered literally true.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

But do you as a parent act like they were true? (none / 0) (#323)
by xutopia on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 04:14:51 PM EST

Consider what would happen if your parent had told you that the hero of Amar Chitra Katha whatever his name was really existed? What then?

[ Parent ]
Parents/Non-parents (2.83 / 6) (#195)
by mikey g on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 03:24:40 PM EST

It's interesting that most non-parents don't intend to discuss Santa Claus, but that the actual parents are mixed.

I'm Jewish; I was the kid who told other kids Santa didn't exist.  (I wasn't mean about it, I just thought they should know.)  I can see how there's affection in the story; I can understand that a parent might like to see the joy and wonder in their child's eye at the idea of Santa Claus.  People who remember being upset with spite about his nonexistence are probably unstable.  When you were a little kid, you were upset you couldn't get a pony.  Disappointment about Santa Claus isn't the kind of disappointment that scars somebody.

My experience (none / 2) (#215)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:56:16 AM EST

My experience, both for myself and watching my son, was that figuring out the "truth" about Santa didn't ruin anything - it made you cool, one of the Big Kids.

--
"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

what an unspannable chasm! (2.00 / 5) (#199)
by Polverone on Sun Dec 07, 2003 at 06:56:13 PM EST

The responses to this story have convinced me that there are some people that I will never be able to understand even if I live to 120. I guess this is why killing is such a popular method of conflict resolution. You could wait decades for your opponents to stop speaking Martianese and start making sense (or for a similar transformation in yourself), or you could kill them off and be done with it. I hope it doesn't come to that over Santa Claus.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
It's a part of the learning process (2.25 / 4) (#209)
by pakje on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:57:05 AM EST

I think this santa issue is a good lesson on the way to adulthood. In the world, there are are some things you have to find out yourself, things you believed in for years may be a lie, may be a wrong thing to believe / to do. While almost everybody in your surroundings is playing along with it. You will get a lot more decieved in your life. And let this be a good lesson.

no santa (3.00 / 4) (#212)
by esrever on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 06:39:14 AM EST

We tell our daughter that yes, some people like to tell their children about Santa as a nice story put smiles on their faces for Christmas.  We let her know that we love her without needing some sort of uber-super-magic-gift man to give her gifts, and that presents she gets are from us, because we love her.  We emphasise to her that some parents like to tell their children about Santa because they think it's a nice story, and that it wouldn't be very nice of her to tell these children that Santa didn't really exist (i.e., you keep out of other people's business).  And that's that - she refers to him when she see's him in the media as 'the Santa man' ;-)

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
The loss of christmas (3.00 / 5) (#216)
by scart on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 07:05:27 AM EST

Back when I was growing up in South Africa, Santa Clause was virtually unknown to children. On christmas day, the whole family would get together, and 25 or 30 people would all exchange small gifts, and spend the day in celebration. The kids didn't think they got gifts just because some fat old guy had decided that they deserved to be rewarded for good behaviour, but we all knew that we recieved the gifts because we were loved.

In the last couple of decades however, the way we celebrate cristmas has changed drastically. For the month before christmas you can't go into a store or switch on the television without being bombarded by endless images of a guy in a red suit espousing the virtues of the newest toys, clothes, electronics or kitchen sink. Christmas has been commercialized to such an extend that nowadays it has no real value anymore. I can't help feel that we lost one of the most valuable ways of keeping the familial ties strong.

I told my kids the truth (3.00 / 6) (#222)
by mcgrew on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 09:26:53 AM EST

"Yes, there IS a Santa Clause. I'm Santa Clause." Then I would tell the story of Nicholas throwing bags of gold through paupers' windows.

I don't see how a Christian (and who else would celebrate the birth of Christ) can perpetrate the Santa myth. When the kid finds out that Santa is fake, he's going to wonder if Jesus is fake too.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Similarly, (2.50 / 4) (#245)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 11:15:52 AM EST

I don't know how scientists can teach their children the Santa Claus myth. When the young ones learn that Santa was just a big fucking lie, they might start to wonder if evolution and the rock strata are too. I know that when I learned that Santa isn't real, my entire sense of reality was shattered. That night, I had to rederive the formulas I had learned to explain quantum tunneling to make sure THAT wasn't a lie too!

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

hmm... (none / 1) (#253)
by Danse on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:25:39 PM EST

Maybe I misunderstood that, but are you comparing the beliefs of christianity to the laws of physics?




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
For the purposes of non-specialists, (none / 2) (#256)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:40:04 PM EST

The sense of reality for each is comaparable. Moreover, to Christians, the two are not fundamentally different. Perhaps that will aid your understanding.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

ahh.. (none / 2) (#265)
by Danse on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 02:17:43 PM EST

Moreover, to Christians, the two are not fundamentally different. Perhaps that will aid your understanding.

I'm not sure that I believe that all, or even a majority of Christians believe that the two are the same. If they do, then it's because they can't seem to grasp the difference between knowledge and faith. We may not understand gravity fully, but we can demonstrate its existence, and continue to test it to learn more about it. Belief in a god is something that is based on faith, which, by definition, requires no evidence whatsoever.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
How about this: (none / 0) (#270)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:30:52 PM EST

"A Christian life is a good life." I think you would find most Christians believe this is demonstrated everyday. Your Christians may be different from mine, but this is one thing I'm sure they have in common.

Really, you and your colleagues need to develop a more nuanced understanding of the world.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

your point? (none / 0) (#281)
by Danse on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:08:30 PM EST

Depends on what you believe a "christian life" to be. Christians have done many horrible things throughout history, many of them believing they were living a "christian life". Then there are those who put on a show of living a "christian life", while they do not actually even make the attempt to uphold the values that most Christians profess to hold sacred. Additionally, even if you can define a "christian life", and even if you can convince me that it is a good way of living in general, that doesn't mean that other ways of life are not equally good, or even better.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Maybe I should cut this short. (none / 1) (#283)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:36:59 PM EST

You don't seem to be getting it, so I'll try to use short words and simple, declarative sentences.

Christians believe a Christian life is a good life. For Christians, this is a demonstrable fact, just like gravity is to you. There are other facts like this one that come together to form a belief system. To Christians, this belief system is no less true than your physics.

To bring all of this together, when one understands that Christianity is not so different from any other belief system (like science), one starts to wonder about the cogency of mcgrew's belief that children will not believe in Christ when they find out the sacred truth about Santa Claus. In particular, one thinks that children will undoubtedly question many other things that are somehow magical or mysterious to them if he is correct. We then begin to appreciate the absurdity of his position. If we don't question aspects of science we don't really understand ourselves (After all, it is entirely possible that the physicists are lying to us just like our parents did!) because of Santa Claus, why would we question any other belief we hold because of it?

Do you see now?

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

yep... this ain't working... (none / 1) (#286)
by Danse on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:57:29 PM EST

For Christians, this is a demonstrable fact, just like gravity is to you.

And since this is not, in fact, demonstrable, we are right back where we started, with Christians not understanding the difference between knowledge and faith. I can give dozens of counter-examples where someone living what they believed to be a "christian life" (since, according to you, it is the belief that matters) has not lived a "good life" (and I'll even let you define "good life"). Can you give counter-examples that defy the currently known laws of physics? The difference between science and religion is that science accepts that it can be wrong and will adjust accordingly. Religion generally demands that anything that contradicts it be ignored or destroyed.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
My patience wears thin. I'll try once more. (none / 2) (#288)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:00:29 PM EST

Look, we're not talking about God here, genius. There is far more to Christianity than simply God, as the so-called atheists all around you demonstrate. This whole notion of the sanctity of truth is fundamentally Christian. Science just managed to co-opt it. Before Christianity you had Classical cultures and tribes, which, by and large, had a very fuzzy sense of what is real and what is myth. But I shouldn't get too far afield or I'll just confuse you more.

The situation is this: Those on the inside of a belief system cannot see their way out of it. You can't trace the wonderful scientific facts you hold dear back to their origins. How do you know the Earth revolves around the Sun? Have you ever checked up on it? Would you even know how? How about quantum mechanics? I know you couldn't verify that one. Evolution? Electromagnetism? Relativity? The amazing facts of Chemistry? DNA? No. No, you are in too deep. You can't see the edge of the pool. You've accepted it all. How demonstable is it, really? Only as demonstable as you believe it is. Let's be honest: Even if it turned out that, say, Evolution or better Newton's Laws are completely and utterly wrong, you would still have everything else. You're not so scrupulous.

It is the same for Christians. Even if you take away their God, there's still truth, mercy, morality. All these things are still there. And they believe they can demonstrate their value just the way you think you can demonstrate your laws of gravity. They see the look in a homeless man's eyes when a sister at the local convent takes him in off the street. They see the suffering in the world (yes, that's part of Christian belief too). They see the virtue of their pastor (even if you don't) and they call that proof.

Arrogance is one thing. You think you're right and they're wrong. After all, science is rational. What you're putting forth is simple dim-wittedness, though. You can't understand something as simple as Christianity. Not even the small sliver I have tried to show you. It does not matter whether it is true or whether it is moral in your silly humanist scheme of ethics. It is what it is.

As for your high-handed remarks about science, I will remind you that science destroys as well. It destroys traditions and quaint beliefs, religions, cultures, all in the name of the great Light of Truth. Dispelling ignorance it says. Forcing people to "face reality," reality as it defines it. Even now we see the "scientists" tearing down Santa Claus as though he were some great evil from our brutal past, a pied-piper and corruptor of our children. They have forgotten so quickly the simple joy the idea of reindeer on their rooftops and cookies and milk and letters to the North Pole gave them. All in the name of Truth. We must have no minstrels nor storytellers amongst our number! They are nothing but liars! They will corrupt our children!

To think! Those damned Christians fought tooth and nail against the wonderful message of Science Galileo brought us! The dastards! Truth. Science. Nothing else matters, right?

I hope after all this, I won't see another response like your last one.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 1) (#294)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:30:57 AM EST

Get off your own high horse. You sound like an idiot. It isn't scientists tearing down Santa Claus. It's just some people with certain beliefs, Christians among them, that don't think it's a good idea to lie to their children. After all, lying is wrong isn't it? Hell, there are plenty of Christians that believe that celebrating Christmas goes against the teachings of the Bible. Does that make them un-Christian? It's all open to interpretation and it only means whatever you want it to mean. That's why there are so many different sects and denominations. It can't be compared to science. I'm going to quit responding to your trolling now, as I probably should have 2 posts ago.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
You can't talk sense to some people. (none / 0) (#295)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:38:12 AM EST

Lying isn't wrong and everyone in the world other than the idiots on this site seem to know it. But if you prefer ignorance, I can't help you.

And as for your science apologetics, it absolutely is the scientists who are screaming loudest against it. If you like, you might call them rationalists or some other damn thing. There's a common thread though: "Lying is wrong no matter what" -- an obsessive conflation of truth and morality.

Finally, you pull out the old troll trope. When things aren't looking good, when someone says things you don't want to hear and can't bear to contemplate, just call it trolling. Works every time.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

But I can - that's the difference (none / 3) (#303)
by dbowden on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:21:01 AM EST

The situation is this: Those on the inside of a belief system cannot see their way out of it. You can't trace the wonderful scientific facts you hold dear back to their origins. How do you know the Earth revolves around the Sun? Have you ever checked up on it? Would you even know how? How about quantum mechanics? I know you couldn't verify that one. Evolution? Electromagnetism? Relativity? The amazing facts of Chemistry? DNA? No. No, you are in too deep. You can't see the edge of the pool. You've accepted it all. How demonstable is it, really? Only as demonstable as you believe it is. Let's be honest: Even if it turned out that, say, Evolution or better Newton's Laws are completely and utterly wrong, you would still have everything else. You're not so scrupulous.
Ah... But you just argued yourself right out of your point.

The very difference between science and religion is that science is testable.

How do you know that the Earth revolves around the Sun? There are many proofs - the changing of the seasons, the position of the stars, the movement of the planets, pictures from spaceships that have left the Earth. Newton's equations. Einstein's improvements of Newton's equations (which do apply to the precession of Mercury's orbit).

Have you ever checked up on it? Of course. How else would I learn about it?

Would you know how? Well, there's no better way to find out how than to do it, is there?

How about Quantum Mechanics? Yes - I took classes on it in school. The equations are extraordinary, but not mystical. It's not Qaballa or some other black art. It's merely a description of how some part of the world works. While it is counter-intuitive at first, it's been proven in many ways.

Why would you think Quantum Mechanics is unverifiable? Do the nuclear power plants in your area not work? Do your local hospitals refuse to administer radiation treatments to patients with cancer? Do those patients not get temporarily sicker, and lose their hair?

Evolution -- see the talk.origins website for far more information than I could include in this reply.

Electromagnetism -- can you see this post? It was brought to you by the miracle of electromagnetism. The monitor you're reading it on (unless it's an LCD), the transmission lines it crossed to get to you, the hard drives it's now stored on, all use the "magic" of electromagnetism.

Relativity? Ask the people who had family or friends in Hiroshima or Nagasaki whether mass can be converted into energy. It's harder to go the other direction, but it's also been done.

There are many hundreds of simple proofs that surround us every day, if you only know where to look.

How demonstrable is it really? Very. All you need to do is start asking questions. You've got the fist step already. Just take the next one. I'll help you -- start by asking "How can I find out?".

[ Parent ]

you have totally missed his point. (none / 2) (#307)
by Battle Troll on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:43:02 AM EST

You must slay at cocktail parties, though. I bet you're an absolute devil with the ladies.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Battle Troll -- (none / 1) (#333)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:07:30 PM EST

I appreciate your participation in this thread, but in the future I ask that you be more confrontational. This goes for gzt as well. If I am to beat some sense into these nerds, I will need a proper posse.

Thanking you in advance,

rmg

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

I'd be honored... (none / 1) (#345)
by gzt on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:29:31 AM EST

...to be in your posse. 3 letters till justice!

[ Parent ]
Yes, there will be much more justice around here. (none / 0) (#347)
by rmg on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:46:18 AM EST

I can feel it.


_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Devils Advocate (none / 1) (#315)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:21:15 PM EST

If I can play devils advocate for a second, science just like religion, at it's core, relies on faith. The leap of faith that science makes is alot easier to swallow for most people then religion but it is no less a leap of faith.

Science relies on 2 basic articles of faith (call them assumptions if you prefer) to validate all of scientific method. I'll grant that these particular assumptions are fairly important if a human being wants to live a sane and productive life, but they ARE assumptions none the less.

The first assumption is that the universe operates on a consistant set of laws. That is if you perform experiment X 999,999 times and get a particular result, the next time that you perform the exact same experiment under the exact same conditions you can expect the exact same results.
If this isn't true, and the universe does not operate consistantly then scientific method starts to loose it's value.

The second assumption is that these laws are testable and that which we can test is actualy responsible for that which we observe. For instance, when we strike a match, science assumes that friction and the chemical reaction of the substance on the match head are responsible for that flame that results. It assumes this because it can test for both friction and the chemical reaction and these forces show effects that are consistant with the match lighting... it can also test for thier absence and again thier absence seems to be consistant with the match not lighting. However, what it can't test for is whether invisable, omnipotent, magical, "match fairies" actualy create the flame as a matter of whim... and that friction and the chemical reaction are merely inconsequential happenstance to the match lighting. Now, it's true that science as a method is very open to revising it's assumptions when it's method of testing improves (even if science as an INSTITUTION often isn't).
However, it makes an assumption that eventualy it will be possible to test for the "real" causes of a condition. If science can't test for something.. scientific method simply can't address it.

These are important assumptions.... and while all this may sound a little absurd.... I hope that it demonstrates that on it's most basic level... science does rely on articles of faith (just like religion).

[ Parent ]

sigh... (none / 0) (#324)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 04:41:17 PM EST

You, like rmg, seem to be leaning towards the "how do we know that any of this that we see/hear/feel is real at all?" school of thought. My answer is simply, what difference does it make? Science doesn't really make the assumptions that you're talking about (i.e. non-existence of match fairies). It simply accepts that if there is some undetectable magical force that causes the match to light, that force is 100% predictable, and therefore doesn't need to be detected or considered. If, for some reason, this force would simply cause the match to not light when it otherwise should, then science would have to figure out how that force works, or simply accept that their method of making a match light is unreliable and look for a better method.

That is if you perform experiment X 999,999 times and get a particular result, the next time that you perform the exact same experiment under the exact same conditions you can expect the exact same results. If this isn't true, and the universe does not operate consistantly then scientific method starts to loose it's value.

That assumption is basically inherent because there is no way to test something an infinite number of times. It doesn't make a difference though, because as long as things work every time we try them, we accept the law or theory that we're testing. If, at some point, the results change, then we know that our law or theory is incorrect and must be changed as well. So while you can consider it to be an assumption, it's just as subject to change as anything else.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
That's not it at all. (none / 0) (#330)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 05:55:12 PM EST

My question is whether believing in those assumptions and in the authority of those who tell you these scientific results you cannot or will not verify yourself (Evolution, quantum mechanics, etc.) is substantially different from believing a simple Christian belief like my example: "A Christian life is a good life."

This has nothing to do with objective reality. It's only a matter of belief -- what goes on in your mind. That's what this is about. Santa Claus, Christianity, and Science.


_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

and (none / 0) (#335)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:32:08 PM EST

Like I said, I don't have to verify it all myself. If they were wrong, the computer I'm using right now would never have been created.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Ridiculous. (2.00 / 2) (#338)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 09:07:35 PM EST

You're obviously not equipped for this argument.

Pure idiocy. A device can be made to work even if its creator used thoroughly wrong information to do it. More than that, it might work for reasons entirely different from the ones you've been told or for whatever reason believe.

Your computer is circumstantial evidence at best, and since you don't really know how it works, it's hardly any evidence at all. You are only appealing more deeply to your scientific beliefs in order to evade the argument.

Why is this so hard for you to admit?

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Riddle me this: (none / 0) (#322)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 03:04:43 PM EST

A Christian sees a nun take in a homeless man or help sick children in Subsaharan Africa. The Christian sees this as a demonstration of the virtue of Christianity. How is he wrong? -- You cannot use the assumptions of science in your argument. Only the assumptions of Christianity. And no utilitarian bullshit about the history of the Catholic Church. We are not in grade school.

You have totally missed the point of the post, as Battle Troll points out. I am not asking if anyone has told you they are demonstrable. I am asking if you have verified them yourself through experiment. I am not interested in circumstantial evidence either. I want direct demonstration. Nuclear power plants cold conceivably work in all sorts of ways that the public at large is not privy to. And make no mistake: My knowledge of physics and science is probably far beyond yours. I know the arguments myself. I know how nuclear power is supposed to work. That is not the question.

The question is whether you have seen the demonstration for yourself. If you have not, you are taking someone's word in good faith. I have never claimed quantum mechanics is unverifiable, only that a very few have ever directly witnessed any phenomena that would confirm it. The rest take it on faith. Faith in peer review, faith in their professors. It may seem silly to you, but for a Christian, demonstrations of the vitue of Christianity like Mother Theresa are far more tangible and real than your claims about simple harmonic oscillators and the Bose-Einstein distribution.

You're stuck in the middle of a large swimming pool. You've been its warm waters so long you have forgotten it's there and all but forgotten how to swim. You can't see the edge and you certainly can't seem to paddle your way there.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

one last try... (none / 1) (#326)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 04:45:22 PM EST

I still have the nasty dirty feeling that I'm being trolled, but since I haven't found anything else interesting to post about, I'll try this again.

A Christian sees a nun take in a homeless man or help sick children in Subsaharan Africa. The Christian sees this as a demonstration of the virtue of Christianity. How is he wrong?

He's wrong because he's attributing kindness to Christianity, rather than simply observing that a particular person is kind. Such a claim would certainly not hold up in the scientific community. To prove that it was a virtue of Christianity, he would have to show that all Christians are kind people. To do that, he would have to figure out who is a Christian and who isn't. To do that, he'd have to define Christianity, which would likely result in a very broad definition. Next, he would have to determine a way to test for kindness, so that he would be able to classify someone as either kind or not kind. Then he would have to perform the experiement on a good sampling of Christians and have others perform the same experiment to test his own conclusion. If, in every case, Christians are determined to be kind, then he could claim that kindness is a virtue of Christianity. He still wouldn't have proven any of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, such as the existence of God, or that Christians receive everlasting life, or that Jesus is/was the son of God. He would only have shown that people who have decided to follow that religion are kind people. Of course that still doesn't mean a lot, since you can certainly find plenty of kind people that aren't Christians too.

only that a very few have ever directly witnessed any phenomena that would confirm it. The rest take it on faith. Faith in peer review, faith in their professors.

Not just faith in those things, but by our own observation of the results of their ability to figure these things out. Results such as the computer I'm currently using to type this message. Like I said, seeing a Christian do good deeds doesn't prove anything about Christianity. That Christians believe it does simply shows that they have frighteningly low standards of evidence.

You're stuck in the middle of a large swimming pool. You've been its warm waters so long you have forgotten it's there and all but forgotten how to swim. You can't see the edge and you certainly can't seem to paddle your way there.

You seem to be trying to turn this into a "how do we know that anything around us is real and not just a dream" kind of argument. Such arguments are pointless since there is no way to ever verify them one way or the other. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter as long as our laws hold up and allow us to do useful things, such as creating this computer that I'm now using. That's all the evidence that is really needed. I can sense that if you've read up to this point, you're probably ready to pounce right about now and claim that I just validated your point and that as long as Christianity produces certain results, that's all that matters. You're still wrong though. While science devises theories that are currently unverifiable to explain things, the Big Bang being a prime example, it does not claim that these are The Truth(TM). It simply claims that it's a theory based upon current knowledge of how the universe works. A law is just a generalization that has been tested six ways from Sunday and found to be consistent in every test. While some feel that the Big Bang is as good an explanation as any to explain how the universe originated, nobody is claiming that it's a fact.

What's the difference between science and religion then? Science only makes claims about things it can test, and then the claim must be tested multiple times by different people and still achieve the same results before it will be accepted. Any conclusions based on those results are subject to change with the addition of new information. Now, how does religion work? Religion just makes claims and expects them to be accepted. Period.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
You're not very good at this. (none / 1) (#328)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 05:39:45 PM EST

We are not talking about science versus religion but rather belief in science versus belief in religion. This whole debate is about belief in Santa Claus, remember. While most of what say about science is essentially correct, but naive, it does not help you out of your predicament. The pool analogy has nothing to do with objective reality but rather your position in the midst of a huge belief system that you cannot see the end of.

Now let's talk about your requirements for our Christian. You think he must clearly delineate the situation, design tests, and execute them with merciless precision -- in short, he must do science. But our Christian is not a scientist. He is a Christian. He has a Christian idea of truth, not a scientific one -- at least insofar as he is Christian. Your standards of evidence mean nothing to him the same way his standards are "frighteningly low" to you.

Our Christian would certainly agree with you that Mother Theresa was kind, but he would say further that she was doing the work of God, bringing Christ's teachings into practice. For a Christian, there is something much more to Mother Theresa and they feel it. They observe it on some psychological level that you would deny. Moreover, their beliefs, their simple assumptions (like your assumption that things happen the same way in two identical experiments) confirm it. This is where you need to work from, not your claims that science is supreme.

Your talk about your computer shows how much you misunderstand this argument. Why couldn't your computer simply be a magical device, perhaps crafted by God or aliens or some wizard? Because that is not the logical conclusion. As far as you know, God, aliens, and wizards are not real. Moreover, there is tell of quantum mechanics, semiconductors, electromagnetism and a host of other things you probably do not understand yourself and which you certainly haven't seen vigorously verified and which others (most of them equally unqualified) tell you are the reasons. You accept the existence of your computer as verification of all these things, when it is really only circumstantial evidence.

This is similar to what the Christian does, only in his belief, that is not so damnable as it is in yours. For whatever reason, you are willing to overlook your own folly, though. Occam's Razor, perhaps, but that doesn't get you out either. It just gets you further in.

Look, I can argue this with you for weeks and you probably won't get it. Just try this. Assume I am right about Santa Claus vs Christ and Santa Claus vs science being basically comparable conflicts. Assume that the things I've said here are basically correct. Then think about what all of that means. See where it takes you. I gaurantee you won't be worse for it. I've been where you are. It's not a good place to be. When you've seen what I'm talking about, you'll be able to chastise the rest of the nerds around here the way I do. Maybe you'll also stop using that stupid trademark sign too.

"Rational thinkers" tend to think their fellows are very intelligent, but certain others think of them as dolts and with good reason.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Jesus... (none / 1) (#336)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 08:41:46 PM EST

So now you're basically comparing scientists to God. They create things that I use even though I don't have a full understanding of how they work. So are these scientists and engineers Gods that magically create these things? Should I start worshipping Intel? No. They are merely humans who understand some of the fundamental laws of physics and have built upon the knowledge of those that came before them to create these devices that give us the ability to have long drawn-out conversations here on K5. I'm not attributing these creations to a mythical being. I'm attributing them to the people who actually know how they work. How do I know they know? Because they are able to teach others, which is how people become engineers and scientists to begin with. We're simply operating on two different levels of evidence here, so like I also said earlier, Christians just need a whole lot less evidence in order to believe something. Well, that's not exactly true either. They need a whole lot less evidence for belief in their religion. For belief in just about anything else, they would usually require about the same amount of evidence as I do. I'm not sure why they have this double standard, but it's there.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
You spent the first half of your post (2.00 / 2) (#339)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 09:22:51 PM EST

Talking to yourself. Do I compare scientists to God? No. I ask you why your computer is not magic and show that you will have to appeal further to your belief rather than what you can observe for yourself. You don't seem to appreciate how important the word "belief" is to this argument.

I'm not sure your reading skills are good enough to continue this. Are you a native speaker of English? You have either not read or thoroughly misread the parent.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

rmg's point is valid (1.50 / 2) (#374)
by mcgrew on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:49:42 PM EST

Your answer demonstrates that point. You cannot comprehend that there is any possibility that you are wrong. You are stuck inside your belief system.

One of us is going to be really, really surprised when we die.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

A working example (none / 0) (#373)
by mcgrew on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:43:56 PM EST

The "war on drugs". The government tells children how horrible marijuana is, and when they find out that they've been lied to and it isn't nearly as bad as all that, they figure the government was lying about crack, too. Pretty soon they're giving five dollar blow jobs.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Please prove the Big Bang (none / 0) (#271)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:38:59 PM EST

and what came before it. No faith, please.

[ Parent ]
I can't... (none / 1) (#282)
by Danse on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:08:43 PM EST

But just because I can't prove that the Big Bang occurred, I don't ascribe all creation to some mythical being that I am equally unable to prove the existence of.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Rather, (none / 1) (#289)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:11:10 PM EST

You would ascribe it to some other myth going on nothing more than the authority of people you don't even know.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#293)
by Danse on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:25:45 AM EST

I simply accept it as being unknown. What's so damn tough to understand about that?




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
There's nothing hard to understand about it. (none / 1) (#296)
by rmg on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:47:02 AM EST

Don't make the mistake of thinking I don't understand you.

Here's the question: How do you differentiate between your belief in science and other's belief in Christianity? Before you answer, remember not to stack the deck by trying to smuggle in loaded terminology (e.g, your knowledge versus faith crap) or ignore my arguments about the demonstability of certain Christian tenets.

When you have seen why your argument will fail, you will be ready to understand my original post.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#308)
by Battle Troll on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:44:53 AM EST

You realize there's a lot more to Christianity than propositional belief in God, right? The reasons for God's existence are existential, not propositional.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Read Genesis (none / 0) (#372)
by mcgrew on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 07:37:29 PM EST

Its first page pretty much has it down.

Science asks how, religion asks why.

I ask "is it time to go home yet?"

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

And who says he's *not* fake? (3.00 / 4) (#252)
by smithmc on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:19:14 PM EST

I don't see how a Christian (and who else would celebrate the birth of Christ) can perpetrate the Santa myth. When the kid finds out that Santa is fake, he's going to wonder if Jesus is fake too.

That's right, 'cause Santa Claus is obviously a myth, but Jesus was obviously real, right? Am I the only one who sees the irony of a Christian parent wanting to make sure his kid doesn't believe in Santa Claus?

And what if the kid did discover one day that Santa was a myth? Yeah, it would simply be the end of the world if one more person actually thought about the basis of his faith, rather than just blindly accepting his brainwashing like a good little sheeple. God forbid (no pun intended) he should make his own decision about whether Christ was the son of God etc.

[ Parent ]

You're a damned idiot. (none / 3) (#284)
by rmg on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 08:43:38 PM EST

Comments like yours commit the same error as mcgrew's but do so much more horribly. You could learn something from the Sophists: "Man is the measure of all things."

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

haha (none / 0) (#381)
by Dogun on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 05:17:16 AM EST

And your measure comes up short! (Score one for me!)

[ Parent ]
Christians and Christmas (2.85 / 7) (#254)
by JonesBoy on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:34:02 PM EST

I always find this argument funny.   Heres why.

Christmas is usually celebrated by christians.   For christians, the number one rule as dictated by the 10 commandments, and reiterated throughout the bible is "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me."   Idolatry is considered to be the greatest of mortal sins.   Yet every year, christians celebrate the birth of their savior by teaching their children to worship an idol, sending their souls straight to hell.   You can't argue that santa claus is a parallel for St. Nicholas.   St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, was a rich man who used his wealth to anonymously save three girls from being sold off.   He was never a big fat merry man with magical elves, reindeer, and villa on the north pole.   Saint nick helped needy children.   Santa claus is a glutton with endless spending habits and good credit; santa claus is the god of capitalism.

Yet every year, parents maintain the false idolatry of santa claus while their churches failingly attempt to downplay it, and remind them that this was at one time a holy day.   "Santa didn't die for your sins!" they cry onto the annual hordes of empty ears.   But 20 century old books just don't compete with loot from Toys R Us.   Not even when eternal danmnation is on the line.

Thank God I'm an Athiest!

:)
Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.

Heh. The worst part is... (none / 1) (#356)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 06:04:15 PM EST

Santa is really an improvement over what came before. In America, at least, Christmas was "Mischief Night" and Halloween. Roving bands of drunks demanding booze and food or else.

You can hear traces of that in traditional songs like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas":

"Now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it out now!"

--
"Leftists believe they are the creators of a new world. They see themselves as godlike. That's why they are so rude and so dangerous" - D
[ Parent ]

Lies (2.83 / 6) (#255)
by Golden Hawk on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 12:38:40 PM EST

I decided long ago that if I was ever to have a child as my own, I wouldn't lie to them.  I don't know why, I just feel that lies are something I don't want to be complacent in passing into the next generation.  So I'm not going to pretend that I believe in santa claus or easter bunny or tooth fairy or any sort of magic powers for the benifit of my children.  Because I don't (yet?).

I believe this would be my right as a parent.  Equivalently, I believe it is the right of other parents to pass on the teachings they deem worthy to the next generation.  If they believe deception is a valuable thing for their children to be exposed to at a young age, so be it.

This is why I'm disgusted by the author of this article's parents.  They attempted to pass on the art of lying to this author and failed.  They do NOT get a second bite at the apple.
-- Daniel Benoy

In the grand scheme of things... (none / 2) (#260)
by mstefan on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 01:10:39 PM EST

I don't think it's truly detrimental to children to perpetuate a fantasy about a fat guy in a red suit who loves children and runs around and gives them presents. They'll get a clue, all on their own (or by discussing it with their friends). The same goes for the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and so on. Looking back on my life, having my parents "lie" to me about Santa Claus, and the subsequent realization that it was just a story made up for kids, hasn't left me emotionally scarred. I think it's a normal part of the transition out of childhood.

In fact, I would define the very transition from childhood to adulthood as the subversion of fantasy by reality. When we're very young, we believe in magical beings and monsters under our bed. We grow out of that, yet still cling to the idea that our parents are somehow omnicient and superhuman, capable of protecting us from all harm and loving us unconditionally. Ultimately it gives way to the stark reality that we're all flawed people, each with our own internal demons (some under better control than others). We realize that that existance is little more than a brief attempt at establishing order out of the chaos, and then we're gone. In the grand scheme of things everything we do, we think, we believe, we build ... everything we are, will become dust and then nothingness.

So why spoil their fun while they can still believe in magic elves? Leave them be and let them be children a while longer.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps I didn't articulate sufficiently (none / 0) (#380)
by Golden Hawk on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 01:33:34 AM EST

I realize that children aren't going to grow up psychopathic or destructive because of being told a few lies.  In fact, Santa will be among the smallest lies told to children for whatever reason.  This isn't the issue with me.

The issue is wether or not I want to continue in the cycle of each generation telling the next that lies are an acceptable and integral part of our culture.  I choose not to, but I don't judge poorly any parent or authority figure who would.  It's a judgement call.

So your this post didn't refute my position.
-- Daniel Benoy
[ Parent ]

Hate to break the news to you... (none / 1) (#382)
by mstefan on Tue Dec 16, 2003 at 02:25:05 PM EST

The issue is wether or not I want to continue in the cycle of each generation telling the next that lies are an acceptable and integral part of our culture.

But lies are an integral and acceptable part of our culture. In fact, it's so integral it affects our ability to reproduce and make a living. Try telling a woman if you really think she looks fat in that dress. Or your boss what you really think of his golf game. Or the myriad of other things that we casually lie about in order to "go along to get along" in society.

If you don't think that lying is integral to our culture, then you're living in a fantasy world.



[ Parent ]
Yet another post that doesn't refute my position (none / 0) (#383)
by Golden Hawk on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:05:22 AM EST

<I>But lies are an integral and acceptable part of our culture. In fact, it's so integral it affects our ability to reproduce and make a living.</I><P>

That's nice.  I'm still not going to lie to children.
-- Daniel Benoy
[ Parent ]

Why not? (none / 1) (#384)
by mstefan on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:10:07 AM EST

I'm not trying to "refute" your position. I'm simply saying that it's silly. But hey, as silly goes it could be a lot worse, so more power to ya.



[ Parent ]
Wow. (none / 2) (#267)
by Verbophobe on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:03:26 PM EST

So you're attributing your bad relationship with your mother to the fact that she "lied" to you about Santa?  I think it goes a little deeper than that.

Also, what the fuck?  What do you have against lying and lies in general?  They're a very healthy practice.  It keeps the system rolling.  Plus, a kid is allowed to dream, isn't he?  What if every time your kid tried to believe in anything that's not real/probable/possible you went on and explained to him that it was so?  Wouldn't that fuck him up much more than betraying him with the Santa Claus idiom?

Whatever.  You're a nutcase.  Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Santa Claus!

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration

Tell me about your mother.... (none / 0) (#268)
by catseye on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:13:37 PM EST

Should I be lying on a couch for this?

Ok.. no, for you and the others that keep asking, I'm not attributing the bad relationship with my mother to lying about Santa. She lied about a lot of things, that was just one of many. The relationship went downhill after that because while I knew she lied, I never accused her of it before and she didn't take that well.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

WTF is wrong with you? (1.90 / 10) (#269)
by Spoonman on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 04:17:21 PM EST

I am so tired of hearing this kind of bullshit from people like you. You're not lying to your child by telling them about Santa Claus, you're allowing their childhood wonder to have purpose. You're allowing your child to have the opportunity to be a child before you cast them out into a cold, dark world full of whiners like you who will attempt to rip any shred of happiness from them every day for the rest of their lives. What did your parents do to you? I personally think they owe you a serious apology for so seriously fucking you up. And, no, being told there is, then isn't, a Santa wasn't it. Your kid is going to grow up hating you for trying to steal what little piece of childhood happiness every child has a right to. They're going to remember how you tried to destroy christmas for them. Don't be surprised when your kids grow up closer to your parents than you. It's you they know they can't trust, because you don't want them to be happy, only right. Arthur Dent had it perfectly, "I'd rather be happy than right most days anyway".
---
Answering the age-old question: Which is more painful, going to work or gouging your eye out with a spoon?
www.workorspoon.com
definition of word lie (none / 3) (#348)
by triddle on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 02:11:41 AM EST

function: verb
Inflected Forms: lied; lying
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression

So when you give your child the false or misleading impression that some sort of mythical man with a team of flying reinder gives them presents once a year you are not conveying unto them an untrue statement with the intent to deceive? Surely you can tell someone that it is ok to lie to their children with out having to live under the false concept that teling them about Santa is indeed not lying to them?

[ Parent ]

Who does Santa really exist for? Parent or child? (3.00 / 5) (#299)
by pornking on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 10:08:07 AM EST

Some would say that true charity (or possibly a true gift) is anonymous.

In that vein, it could be argued that Santa exists as a vehicle for the parents and others to demonstrate their holiday spirit by giving without any expectation of a reward.

The fact that young children are cruelly deceived is merely a side benefit.


pornking

Hypocrisy, values, eventuality (none / 3) (#301)
by intransigent on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 10:59:57 AM EST

What have you told your children about death? That we all die and maybe soon? What have you told them about their future? That they will be poor unless they suck up to the "man" and run the corporate line. That being poor is OK as long as your happy. Maybe you have prepared them to work for the rest of their lives. Perhaps they are lucky and you have enough money not to give a damn how the rest of the world works. What have you told them about realationships with other people? That it is better to espouse counter-culture views than follow others?

You obviously take the eradication of hypocrisy as your religion. I call it a religion because just like the belief in some sort of end judgement, you shouldn't believe in eradicating hypocrisy because it is never happening.

Christmas is something that embodies "consumerism" and Christianity in one package and thus makes it an obvious target of a psuedo-atheist. A real atheist should know that Santa is just a harmeless fantasy to get kids to behave and then to reward their behavior. Consumerism should also be an atheist ideal since it drives our current economy and thus potentially keeps people employed and financed.

You can have Santa with or without Christ and give your children some fun, maybe you will be a hypocrit. You can even enjoy life, knowing that you could possibly die before the next breath, maybe you are a hypocrit. You can be friendly to someone even though they embody all that you despise in this world, does that make you a hypocrit? So what if it does, is life about values or living with one another?

Maybe you should make the pursuit of happiness your religion instead.



Can a Christian teach Christ and Santa? (none / 0) (#310)
by ab762 on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 12:29:59 PM EST

without the child seeing them both as the same sort of entity?

IMO, which is almost worthless on this because I have no children, children are pretty ready to understand "game" or "pretend" versus reality. I think the OPer was right on in his approach, and the grandparents actually violated a prime rule of non-parent child care: don't contradict the parental message (without truly massive need.)


Henry Troup
--
Some dumb Canadian
[ Parent ]
Short time to believe in magic (none / 1) (#314)
by gethane on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:15:38 PM EST

There's only a short time in your life when you can "really" believe in magic (Santa, ToothFairy, etc) and I see no harm in allowing children this time. Part of the wonder being a child is the ability to believe in things that adults no longer can, whether they are realistic or not. There is PLENTY of time for them to become jaded and sarcastic once they become teenagers.

And I have 4 children, ages 12, 11, 9 and 3 weeks.

Nah, there's a whole lifetime to believe in magic. (none / 0) (#346)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:34:14 AM EST

Religion is magic for grown ups. The trolls among us who try to tell the believers that they are wrong are not really any different than the kindergarteners who tell their classmates that there is no Santa.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
My personal view (none / 2) (#316)
by J T MacLeod on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 01:23:27 PM EST

Cross-posted from another site where this recently came up:  

People react terribly when I explain that I won't raise my children to believe in Santa Claus.

I felt horribly betrayed when I was told the truth about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I grew up believing that my parents would teach me what was right and good, to the best of their ability. I could find evidence for and understand the other things they told me. My mother respected her children enough to not feed them myths about the origin of children. Why would they spend so much effort giving us doctrine if it wasn't true?

I didn't harbor any bitterness or anger, because I knew my parents had done it with good intentions, but that didn't change the fact that my parents had willfully deceived me for a matter of relative unimportance.

Children are full of wonder and excitement. I can understand the desire to create the myths. I believe, though, that the world has a tremendous amount of magic WITHOUT lying to children, and it can be better appreciated when we aren't raised to be distracted by fictions taught as facts.

At the very least, even if most other kids have no problems with it, if my children turn out like me in the least, risking them feeling betrayed like that is not an option.

Yes Virginia (none / 2) (#320)
by enry on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 02:50:06 PM EST

There is a Santa Claus.

http://www.barricksinsurance.com/virginia.html

Missing poll option: I don't intend to procreate (none / 1) (#331)
by Merc on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 06:58:03 PM EST

But if I were giving advice to my sister who certainly intends to procreate, I'd tell her to tell them about Santa.

All the other kids will believe, and it is always nice to fit in. Sure, there are times to not conform, but I don't think this is one of them. What's the harm? It's fun to believe in magic!

Besides, if kids know it is their parents who give the presents, they'll just try to manipulate the parents (and most kids are really good at this). If they think it is some semi-omniscient guy who lives at the north pole, they'll try to "be good" to get the presents they want, and heck, maybe even develop their writing and persuading skills trying to convince Santa to get them what they want.



and now for a parody... (none / 0) (#344)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:13:29 AM EST

But if I were giving advice to my sister who certainly intends to procreate, I'd tell her to tell them about Jesus.

All the other kids will believe, and it is always nice to fit in. Sure, there are times to not conform, but I don't think this is one of them. What's the harm? It's fun to believe in magic!

I don't think that this requires any explanation.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
The difference being... (none / 0) (#355)
by Merc on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:57:32 PM EST

I've never heard of anybody killing anybody else over a disagreement about Santa.



[ Parent ]
Myths fool adults too (2.50 / 4) (#350)
by TuxNugget on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 04:57:57 AM EST

I am beginning to agree with the posters who believe that the Santa myth, being a harmless lie, perhaps should be taught so that children can recognize the more harmful lies later on:

Thinking of myths and lies that people still fall for, I came up with a short list...

10. 20% of $30 million is waiting for you in a trunk box labeled "household goods" stored at a security company in Africa.
9. Buy real estate for no money down....
8. Make money daytrading the stock market... let me show you how.
7. Why diet and exercise rationally when you can take some pills, buy the ~THIGH-MASTER~, and watch Susanne exercise on videotape...
6. You won't be cool unless you come to the keg party...
5. Can't get pregnant the first time...
4. Paying your taxes is voluntary. The paperwork is against the 5th Amendment...
3. You need to look like/be with a supermodel to have fun in bed...
2. Everything you see on TV or read in the newspaper is true...
1. Reading K5 can substitute for not having a life.

Feel free to add on your own list or ridicule mine.

Daytrading isn't really a myth (none / 0) (#385)
by scheme on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 01:22:31 PM EST

Make money daytrading the stock market... let me show you how.

Actually, quite a few people make money day trading on the stocks and other financial instruments. I have a few friends who make decent or good money trading stocks, options, or futures on various markets (NASDAQ, NYSE, CBOE, EUREX, CBOT, etc). However, you have to be willing to spend time learning the market and have a large amount money to weather bad times. For example, a friend of mine had a bad week and ended up losing 60K that week. He still made money over the year but the person looking to get rich quick daytrading probably couldn't handle that sort of loss.

Most market traders are usually trading using someone else's money so they have enough money to weather bad weeks. Trading with your own money is another thing entirely unless you have enough money set aside for your living expenses as well as about 40-50K just for trading. Which is why a lot of traders are working for an indepdent trader or a proprietary trading firm.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Something to keep things in perspective... (none / 2) (#353)
by causticmtl on Wed Dec 10, 2003 at 01:29:18 PM EST

http://www.mousebreaker.com/game49.shtml

Shiny Objects, Wonder, and Gratitude (2.33 / 3) (#367)
by karlandtanya on Thu Dec 11, 2003 at 06:21:59 PM EST

Children have a sense of wonder. Actually we all do, but for children, most of what they see, they are seeing for the first time.

Up to a point, they'll believe pretty much anything you tell them.

So, why tell them lies?

Well, the obvious reason is because it's the cultural norm. And while "everybody's doing it" is not necessarily a good reason to do something, there is a certain price to pay for breaking with cultural norms. Ridicule, ostracism, judgement, harrassment. You know the old story about dyeing a chick (that's a baby chicken, people) blue and putting it back with the others? They'll peck it until it dies. People aren't much different.

Maybe we've forgotten our own sense of wonder? "If I tell this child a fantastic lie, and they believe it, then it's real to the child." There's more than one regretful parent in the world trying to live through his children instead of recognizing the wonder around himself.

And, there's more than one freshman philosophy student in the world who's just entirely too hip to play that hokey old Santa Claus game. More than one young person who is so angry at the trust an adult betrayed that he SWEARS he will "NEVER EVER LIE TO A CHILD NO MATTER WHAT."

Yeah. My 2-year old sister didn't understand "sharp". But she understood "hot". You can bet your ass I told her that knives were "hot". And if I have a child, I'll probably do the same thing again. It's good to keep the fingers ON the hands.

Why would I subject my child to that ostracism? To preserve my own ideology? To prove that the adults who lied to me--"damn them I said--I'll never be like that"--were WRONG! To perform a little "social experiment" on the hapless human being who had the bad fortune to be delivered into my loving care?

I doubt it.

I have the high-minded ideals of a married man who has yet to be a father. But I'm not stupid enough to say "I will never..." until I've had some experience.

I know what I'd like to do. What's actually feasible is a different story.

I'd like to teach my children what a sense of wonder really is. I'd like to teach my children that they can watch Star Trek (or whatever they watch these days) and think "wouldn't it be cool if we could...". But it wouldn't be cool.

If you were the person who could appreciate the transporters, phasers, and mindmelds you dream about, you'd already be amazed. By what you have today.

We live in the "Star Trek" universe of our grandparents. We put a fucking man on the moon thirty-four years ago. Did it sevaral times again over the next several years. Nobody seems too impressed with that today. Well, most aren't.

I can go outside and breathe all the air, soak up all the sunlight, and swim in all the water I want to.

If our hypothetical "I want a transporter before I'll be impressed." friend DID actually live on a starship, he'd just walk around feeling sorry for himself and wishing he had a lake. Or a mountain. Or a forest. 'Cause the holodeck is fuckin' lame and his ration on it is only an hour a month.

I think these things--these everyday things--are entirely too awesome for words.

I think the ability to appreciate the wonder in our everyday lives is precious. It is part of what defines who I am, and makes my life great.

Wonder and gratitude are closely related.

I see people seeking wonders in religion. I see people seeking wonders in new age magick, Jon Edward et. al., tech toys, dope, sex, you name it.

Shiny objects. No substance.

I hope to teach my children to recognize and preserve their sense of wonder.

I hope to teach my children gratitude and joy.

Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, are "shiny objects". They bring you stuff, and when the new wears off, the toys are forgotten, the money is spent or dusty in the can, and the chocolate is eaten. And the excitement is gone.

For children, the excitement is profound. It's fun. Like dropping acid--it's a trip. But it's not real; it's not true enlightenment, and it doesn't last.

So, I think I'll let my children believe in Santa Claus if they want to.

But I'll show them something much more wonderful. And much more durable. And much more real.

I will teach them not to be distracted by shiny objects.

I wonder what it will be like? I wonder what these people I've never met will say to me when I tell them these things?

Guess the k5 folks need the /. sig.

Thought you were smarter than that.

Oh, well.

If all you can complain about is the spelling, everyone assumes you support the content.

catseys's christmas (none / 1) (#375)
by lukestuts on Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 06:41:55 AM EST

I can exclusively reveal to all on K5 that Santa is real and does indeed deliver presents to the children of the world, even those who have no arms so they have to unwrap them with their teeth. Santa, or Mr Claus as he is better known, is indeed immortal and is renowned for his ability to stop time. His flying reindeer have been the subject of many a doctoral thesis at MIT. However, Mr Claus is not the jolly man one might think and harbours grudges against certain individuals. These are exacerbated by his confinement in the South Pole for most of the year (the North Pole is, of course a decoy). One of these grudges is the long-standing denial of service to catseye and his family which dates back to the mid-17th century. catseye's great-great-granddaughter stood for election against Mr Claus in 2113, which will be known as the "winter of the present". This election was forced by a dangerous democracy-crazed cult that emerged in 21st Century Iran. Despite Mr Claus winning by a 70-30 majority, he took vengence on those that stood against him because the spirit of christmas does not allow for equal time. Using his mastery of time and space, Mr Claus travelled back to the mid-17th century (because he liked the food) and blighted catseye's family tree. Micheal deBurgh was cursed to never believe in Mr Claus and to perpetrate this lie to his children. Together with Mr Claus' centuries of neglecting to visit them, this damned catseye and his ancestors and his descendents to not believe in Mr Claus. Spare a thought for them, standing in the shadow of christmas, never able to participate in the joy of the season. Their merriness has been forever curtailed by the actions of the future and the vengence of the past. A truly terrible price to pay for imposing democracy on the South pole.

Tis the Season to be Dishonest | 386 comments (378 topical, 8 editorial, 6 hidden)
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