Sunday, May 25, 2008

John Humphrys - Steve Jones definition of evil is crazy

In a Guardian article (May 2007) Steve Jones was in a discussion with Martin Rees and Richard Dawkins. Prof Jones discussed the problems he comes across when teaching students with Islamic backgrounds.

"To a man and to a woman, there are parts of science they will not accept.

"That means that, in their early lives, they have been told deliberate lies by people who, I'm sure, know they are deliberate lies. I don't care how charming they are, I don't care how pleasant they are, these people are evil.

"What's true for imams is, more or less, true for bishops."
Letters, May 30
Prof Steve Jones describes imams and bishops as "evil". Could he give us the scientific definition of evil?
Lizzi Collinge

Steve Jones (Letters, May 31)
Lizzi Collinge (Letters, May 30) asks for my definition of "evil". How about "telling lies to children"; the universal habit of all religions through the ages?
Steve Jones

June 2, 2007 Letters
Lying to children is evil, says Steve Jones (Letters, May 31). So no more "you'll get well soon, darling", or "you'll love your spinach" or "once upon a time there was a little girl called Little Red Riding Hood". What a cold, dull, flat and colourless world of the imagination poor Steve and his buddies must inhabit. Give me the gods, the spirits, the myths and Father Christmas any time. They make science so much more interesting and valuable.
Ian Flintoff

Ian Flintoff misrepresents Steve Jones who was talking about the lies that relgions tell to children.
John Humphrys in this book "In God We Doubt" takes issue with Steve Jones (chapter 20) who says "evil by definition is teaching children things you know to be wrong" But Steve Jones (see May 31 Letters) actually said my definition of "evil". How about "telling lies to children"; the universal habit of all religions through the ages? Steve Jones was not talking about 'Little Red Riding' or other fairy tales; he was talking about the lies that religions teach children. Steve Jones was agreeing with Richard Dawkins that children should be taught ideas based on evidence not ideas based on faith.

John Humphrys asks is it really, honestly evil to teach children that "there was a good man called Jesus who was killed by some bad men but came alive again and then went to heaven because he was really the son of God and loved us all.

Is it really crazy to think that it might be evil to say to children that "Jesus went to heaven because he was the son of God". That is a matter of faith and not based on any credible evidence. If you know that something as fundamental as this is (in all likelyhood) wrong then you should not be teaching it to children. Instead we should be teaching children ideas that are based on evidence.

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