Wednesday, November 26, 2008

College Student's Suicide Blamed on Dawkins

A young college student has committed suicide. His father blames Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion for causing the young man to lose faith in God and in a fit of hopelessness, kill himself.

Keith Kilgore told WND he feels, by allowing his son to move into the atmosphere of a secular school, like "I put a toddler in the front of my car."

Exactly so. By teaching his child that there is nothing but but hopelessness and nihilism without a god, and that intelligent design is a viable alternative to the theory of evolution and then sending him out into the real world, to a real college, with a real biology class, he DID put his child in the front of a car. I have found nothing in The God Delusion that says life is meaningless and hopeless without a god; on the contrary, Dawkins is consistent in that he loves to write about how fascinating and beautiful life in the real world is and he encourages readers to seek that fascination in their own lives.

Any good biology class will challenge fundamentalist beliefs. This poor young man was taught from childhood all the terrible arguments anti-science religious people parrot long after they have been refuted. It would have been difficult for any child growing up knowing only the " then why are there still monkeys" and "where are the transitional forms" types of argument to stay faithful in the face of actual scientific knowledge that would contradict what he has been taught all his life. How difficult and depressing it must have been for this obviously intelligent young man to finally understand that his family and friends and community had been lying to him his entire life.

"I'm all for academic freedom," Keith Kilgore said. "What I do have a problem with is if there's going to be academic freedom, there has to be academic balance. They were undermining every moral and spiritual value for my [son]," he said. "They ought to be held accountable."

Because, obviously, and as many others have written, colleges and universities should be teaching future MD's how to balance the four humours through bleeding and purging in addition to actual science-based medicine, such as germ theory. And astronomy students should be learning astrology and geocentrism as well. And chemists should learn alchemy. And geologists should learn flat-earth theory. For academic BALANCE, you know.

Damn those scientists and their big brains! Don't they know it is their job to make sure their students' moral and spiritual needs are being met in their classrooms? If I choose to raise my child to believe things that directly contradict reality, and to take pride in his ability to debate his false beliefs against the blasphemers using stale and long-discredited arguments, they should respect that and cater to his ignorance by teaching the falsehoods WITH the reality! That's what I'm paying them for! They ought to be held accountable!!!

IMO, Mr. Kilgore, his family, his church, and his community should be held accountable for lying to this young man and encouraging his false beliefs and hopes, directly resulting in his loss of faith and suicide. Apparently and very sadly, based on the young Kilgore's lack of communication with his father and other family members in regard to his loss of faith, the poor young man felt unable to even discuss his despair with his family, and instead, only communicated his feelings to a few friends who apparently didn't feel it would be appropriate to inform anyone who might be able to help him. While that is not quite as morally reprehensible as watching a young man commit suicide on the internet and doing nothing other than express shock or laugh and encourage him to do it, I still have to wonder how these "friends" will handle the guilt of knowing how depressed and hopeless Kilgore felt while doing nothing to help.

I say that it was this young man's parents, his friends, and his church that betrayed his trust and set him up for this tragedy. Dawkins's books are chock full of hope. Religion is chock full of false hope.