You Don’t Say?

The link to the actual report is broken, but this summary is hilarious – particularly in the conclusions he draws.

The study apparently studies the transmission link of certain ideologies between father and son (yet finds no such link between fathers and daughters).  The person summarizing the report dutifully notes that the results of the study should clearly cause people who hold these certain ideologies to question their reliability, since the reliability of their parents is hardly certain.

He conveniently ignores the reality that the same rates of transmission are likely there for people of opposite ideological positions.  He also ignores the fact that the reliability of a particular parent is not indicative of the relative helpfulness or propriety of a certain ideology.  You can have a parent who is terrible at math who still manages to convey a sound mathematical principle.

The author then helpfully extrapolates further to apply the study’s rationale to religious beliefs.  Again, if your religious beliefs are influenced strongly by your parents, you can’t trust those beliefs and certainly can’t argue for their validity against a belief system promulgated by someone else’s parents.  Once again, the reliability of the parents does not in and of itself invalidate the truthfulness of their religious beliefs.  One evaluates religious beliefs not on the caliber of the parent who instructed us in them, but in the actual content of the belief.  How does it match reality?  Do I have any means of validating the truth-claims set forth by that belief system?

Furthermore, the logic of the author of the summary could be extended further to teachers, professors, and other influential persons in a child’s life.  How is it that what is transmitted through these sources is necessarily more reliable or accurate than what is learned from parents?  Some interesting presumed bias!  The assumption seems to be that there would be alternate, better sources of influence on children besides the parents, sources that would not be prone to bias of any sort.

 

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