Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by MichaelNugent » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:19 pm

Atheist Ireland has launched a new website at http://teachdontpreach.ie as part of our campaign for a secular Irish education system based on human rights law.

http://teachdontpreach.ie includes information, resources and a discussion forum about secular education, and sample letters to help you to opt your child out of religious education classes in your current school. We would welcome any feedback on how it could be improved.

http://teachdontpreach.ie also contains a draft document in which our Education Officer Jane Donnelly argues that secular education is a human right, and that the Irish Government denies that right to its citizens. It covers the following issues:

1. Secular Education is a Human Right
2. Structure and Patronage
3. Access to a School of One’s Choice
4. Information and Knowledge Conveyed
5. Second Level Schools
6. Teacher Training
7. New VEC Community Schools
8. Child Sexual Abuse
9. Conclusion
10. Appendices

We will be sending the final version of this document later this month to the Irish Human Rights Commission, which is preparing recommendations for the Irish Government on the place of religion in education from a human rights perspective. The Commission has asked for the opinions of citizens and groups before 31 January 2011.

This is a lengthy document, but it is very important part of our campaign for a secular education system based on human rights law. Please let us know how you think it could be improved, and please also send a separate submission yourself to the Irish Human Rights Commission.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by lostexpectation » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:28 pm

sometimes I think people go to far in an attempt to appear reasonable, where are these atheistic schools with signs that say there is no god?
secular schools take no position on the question of the truth or falsity of religious supernatural claims
really that may be difficult in science class.

that its atheist lobbying for _secular_ education, something we would view as neutral, is the important message, but to directly equate atheistic teaching with religious teaching is really unfair on atheism, look in schools you don't want to be too aggressive but at least lets base it on reality.

the rest of part one is very strong especially in regard to saying its financially and logistically impossible to do it any other way and calling for "state education system to be run on a secular basis"


links for all these documents and forms letters would help.
test
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by MichaelNugent » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:02 pm

I agree with the underlying point you are making - that rejecting the truth of supernatural claims is a more reasonable position than asserting the truth of supernatural claims - and we can try to find a way to incorporate that point without undermining the main lobbying point we are making.

In lobbying terms, it is very important to posit a hypothetical atheistic school, because the pro religious education lobbyists frame the argument as if secular and atheistic education mean the same thing. This was very evident at the IHRC session in Trinity, when they repeatedly framed the argument as being between two options (religious vs secular/atheistic) each of which was pushing its own view on religion.

Reframing the relationship between religious education and secular education, at the start of the debate, is essential to making real progress in discussing the substance of the issues.
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by MichaelNugent » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:13 pm

The first article on the website should be easier to read now. We've added internal anchor tags to make it easier to jump from the contents list to the specific questions.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by lostexpectation » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:14 pm

MichaelNugent wrote:I agree with the underlying point you are making - that rejecting the truth of supernatural claims is a more reasonable position than asserting the truth of supernatural claims - and we can try to find a way to incorporate that point without undermining the main lobbying point we are making.

In lobbying terms, it is very important to posit a hypothetical atheistic school, because the pro religious education lobbyists frame the argument as if secular and atheistic education mean the same thing. This was very evident at the IHRC session in Trinity, when they repeatedly framed the argument as being between two options (religious vs secular/atheistic) each of which was pushing its own view on religion.

Reframing the relationship between religious education and secular education, at the start of the debate, is essential to making real progress in discussing the substance of the issues.

I can't agree with the underlying point your making, I don't think you make the point about secular schools with a clumsy ceding of ground about atheism for the sake of lobbying, I don't think it will calms the fears of the people who deliberately set out to misrepresent the position of secularism, you and I know the people you were arguing with know better, they know a secular system is above and beyond religion and atheism.

prefacing it as a "symbolic illustration" doesn't take away from this cringe worthy mental image.

"an atheistic school might have a sign saying there is no god on the classroom wall"

I think you'll feed other peoples fantasies about atheists schools to talk of them as if they could exist in Ireland.

you can't cede ground to try and get you want in this argument, ceding ground on atheism won't help you get secularism, it'll just get you more of the worst possible solutions the church and government manage to come up with eg viewtopic.php?f=41&t=4387

as I said before Secularism is the Atheists working compromise.

its was the legal links and references of the letters no doubt written by Marks and others that I was interested in.
test
MichaelNugent
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:50 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by MichaelNugent » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:15 pm

lostexpectation wrote: I think you'll feed other peoples fantasies about atheists schools to talk of them as if they could exist in Ireland.
That's a fair point. We should make clear that we are not seeking atheist schools in Ireland, but illustrating that schools that were actively promoting atheism (which we are not seeking) would be the actual opposite to schools that do actively promote religion. And we can preface the crucifix example by referring to the court case that prompted its use, where the European Court of Human Rights told Italy that state schools have to remove crucifixes to be secular.
lostexpectation wrote: as I said before Secularism is the Atheists working compromise.
I'm not sure compromise is the right word, but let's go with it. In order to have something seen as a compromise, you have to have opposing positions at either side of the compromise. In this case, they are (real) religious schools and (hypothetical) atheist schools. Without that, the secular education option ceases to be seen as a compromise and becomes one end of the scale with religious education at the other end of the scale.
Sid
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by Sid » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:05 am

I'm inclined to come down on the side of lostexpectation in relation to the juxtaposing of atheistic education with religious education as a lobbying tool to position secular education as reasonable and not synonymous with atheism.

IMHO, the opposite ends of the scale that Michael refers to is not atheistic education and religious education but instead one set of devoutly held magical beliefs verses some differing set of equally devoutly held magical beliefs i.e. Religious education verses religious education. Secular education is what is required for the these religious groups to play nice with one another in the public sphere. This point gets skewed in Ireland because 95% of schools are of the one faith and they see every change as an attack on their religion and, dare I say it, culture, where faith formation has been weaved into education since the foundation of the state. For me faith formation is the crux of it and needs emphasis. Secular education offers an education that is faith-formation free so no one faith is pushed at the cost of another, it is not anti-religious. But secular education cannot be un-offending to all religious beliefs, as lostexpectation hints at there will be conflicts in the science class..

Rather than make a thing about hypothetical atheistic education being the opposite of religious education (which is the only paragraph that does have the uncomfortable cringe elements mentioned) maybe we could push the fact that secular education still allows for full, but independent, faith formation. In fact (a sad fact), from some cases I know certain parents prefer educate together schools because the faith formation offered by denominational schools isn't virulent enough!

Must also say that I was very impressed with the document as a whole. The obviously high level of work and professionalism shines through strongly.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by lostexpectation » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:04 am

MichaelNugent wrote:
lostexpectation wrote: I think you'll feed other peoples fantasies about atheists schools to talk of them as if they could exist in Ireland.
That's a fair point. We should make clear that we are not seeking atheist schools in Ireland, but illustrating that schools that were actively promoting atheism (which we are not seeking) would be the actual opposite to schools that do actively promote religion. And we can preface the crucifix example by referring to the court case that prompted its use, where the European Court of Human Rights told Italy that state schools have to remove crucifixes to be secular.
but Atheist Ireland from day one has been clear in demand for secular education, how could there be any confusion on your part, beginning not to like the name teachdontpreach, its seems like your trying to take a neutral position on atheism for the sake advancing secularism, but you/AI are not neutral, lobby for secularism from the position of atheism., strongly. Your shifting the ground on yourself by playing their game.

Would even hypothetical atheists schools have permanently a sign on the wall saying there is no god?, no, why would they, it just not they way atheists approach things, it would be misleading to give impression they would, the worse thing you could say is that atheist would have nothing on the wall (apart from drawings done by the kids). You and I both think the secular schools are eminently fair and reasonable in fact we actually think the infusing the whole curriculum with religion degrades the quality of education, that secular system wouldn't impose anything on children that would harm their upbringing, how about we talk about the situation as it is, with religious monopoly in schools where pluralism means catholic domination, and the desire for a efficient cohesive secular education system, rather this third fevered scenario that doesn't and never will.
lostexpectation wrote: as I said before Secularism is the Atheists working compromise.
MichaelNugent wrote: I'm not sure compromise is the right word, but let's go with it. In order to have something seen as a compromise, you have to have opposing positions at either side of the compromise. In this case, they are (real) religious schools and (hypothetical) atheist schools. Without that, the secular education option ceases to be seen as a compromise and becomes one end of the scale with religious education at the other end of the scale.
yeah I was thinking that as I wrote that, compromise would mean that our desire would be have atheist schools and that secularism is a compromise, that may well be a correct description of an atheists/my position, I could only propose that this would come from a place of reason and learning, I'm not suggesting that atheist are incorruptible and never cross ethical boundaries in teaching kids but I don't see the point in denigrating ourselves, equally our assertion that we need to remove religion from the whole curriculum comes from a point of reason and learning too and that the compromise is between the inefficient system we have of religious schools and the struggle to form other private schools, to a system where no faith view would dominate the curriculum but children parents and teachers and management would still be able to influence each other.
test
Marks
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 362
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by Marks » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:01 pm

The education policy of AI is “secular education based on human rights law.”

It is not “an atheist education based on human rights law” for a reason. That reason is as follow:-

The European Court of Human Rights and the UN put Religious schools and Atheist schools in the same category as they both have a particular purpose. Neither of these types of schools would deliver the curriculum in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.

Under Human Rights law it does not constitute respect for the religious convictions of parents if the State teaches their children that it is a fact that their God does not exist. Equally it does not constitute respect if the State teaches the children of non-religious parents that a God does exist.

Because of the above we must be careful how we use language in any submission, we must be clear. I believe it is true to say that in Ireland a significant amount of people equate secular education with atheist education so it is important to separate the two. Secular education delivers the curriculum in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner and the purpose of this is to ensure pluralism.
lostexpectation
Posts: 1993
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Teach Don't Preach Website Launched

Post by lostexpectation » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:11 am

Marks wrote:The education policy of AI is “secular education based on human rights law.”

It is not “an atheist education based on human rights law” for a reason. That reason is as follow:-

The European Court of Human Rights and the UN put Religious schools and Atheist schools in the same category as they both have a particular purpose. Neither of these types of schools would deliver the curriculum in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.

Under Human Rights law it does not constitute respect for the religious convictions of parents if the State teaches their children that it is a fact that their God does not exist. Equally it does not constitute respect if the State teaches the children of non-religious parents that a God does exist.
i wasn't suggesting AI put forward even a restrained version of atheist education but why bad mouth it while your lobbying for secular education.
/
what marks has said is slightly better expressed then the 'no god sign', still seems like your indulging in the idea that atheists going around preaching rather then stating facts with your teachdontpreach site,its Atheist Ireland site, so again in your submission strongly put forward the best of atheism, not what you think other religious lobbyists will concoct to attack you. please.
test
Post Reply