“Santa survey” shows children stop believing in Father Christmas at age eight

#11
Quote:By allowing our children to participate in the Santa myth and find their own way out of it through skeptical inquiry, we give them a priceless opportunity to see a mass cultural illusion first from the inside, then from the outside. A very casual line of post-Santa questioning can lead kids to recognize how completely we all can snow ourselves if the enticements are attractive enough. Such a lesson, viewed from the top of the hill after exiting a belief system under their own power, can gird kids against the best efforts of the evangelists — and far better than secondhand knowledge could ever hope to do.—Dale McGowan from “Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion”

It’s a good first step. This Christmas is going to be really awkward.

When you realize that your parents are human...  Undecided


Two years after my father passed away, a woman contacted me and said that she was my sister. Her mother was one of my father’s ex-girlfriends. So, for the last twenty years, we’ve thought that we were related. She called me about month ago. She did a DNA test and found her real biological father. She’s not my sister.

I was combing through the Black Friday ads and noticed that the kits were on sale for half the price. I ordered two of them. I was joking with my mother. I told her that I ordered them and asked if she had anything she wanted to tell me. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Ha-ha…not! She did. She said that her and my father weren’t married when she got pregnant with me. She was married to a man that drank a lot. They split up and he moved to Oklahoma. She started sleeping with my so-called my father, but her first husband came back to town for a visit, and they had sex around the same time. WTF?

My brother is a year younger than me. I asked about him. She said that her and my father were just dating, and one night at a party, my father went off with one of her friends. She was pissed and so she slept with another guy. Small farming community. Video games weren't invented yet. Not much to do, I suppose. Dodgy

I was blown away. I have a cousin on my father’s side that looks like my twin. We’re really close. I called her and when she answered she said, "Hey, Cuz!" I started crying when she said that and then told her the whole story. Her parents recently passed away but she said that all of them have taken the tests. She sent off her parents DNA a month before her mother died. So, I should be able to find out if he is my father. 

My brother has really high standards. When it comes to morals, he’s like Syne on steroids. My mother asked me not to tell him. I didn’t make any promises. I called him and told him about what she said about me. He gave me this big lecture about how it’s always better to deal with the truth. "The truth will set you free," he said. I asked, if it was him, would he want to know? "Absolutely," he said. So, I told him. He freaked out. His tune completely changed when he found out that he was in the same boat. He was pissed, really pissed. He doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t even want to talk about it.

I did some research and the other guy is dead. He’s buried in a little town called Bunch, Oklahoma. I should be getting the results any day now. My father never knew that she slept with anyone else. He was my rock. My mother, not so much. She said that the only reason that he married her was because he loved me, and because of that, she’s always resented me. Yeah, this Christmas is going to be really awkward.

Quote:Dear Editor—I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in the sun, it is so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as love, generosity, and devotion, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus? It would as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith, no poetry, and no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

I hope he is. I hope that he’s my biological father. He was a great dad.
To be continued after the holidays…

Merry Fucking Christmas!
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#12
(Dec 20, 2018 02:55 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
Quote:By allowing our children to participate in the Santa myth and find their own way out of it through skeptical inquiry, we give them a priceless opportunity to see a mass cultural illusion first from the inside, then from the outside. A very casual line of post-Santa questioning can lead kids to recognize how completely we all can snow ourselves if the enticements are attractive enough. Such a lesson, viewed from the top of the hill after exiting a belief system under their own power, can gird kids against the best efforts of the evangelists — and far better than secondhand knowledge could ever hope to do.—Dale McGowan from “Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion”

It’s a good first step.

Yes, it is.

"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Plato


Much better to have beliefs you have challenged, whether you keep them or not.
Santa is acknowledged fake by all adults, making it expressly perpetuated as a "cultural illusion". Children don't typically get disillusioned with Santa "under their own power". They are usually told at some point, with the ready transference that those duties to the parents.

Whereas religion is not willfully false, and while people may be told it is false, it typically does take a personal choice to become disabused.
Quote:When you realize that your parents are human...   Undecided
Yes, learning your parents are really Santa, and can't actually watch everything you do, could be a precursor to learning your parents are human.
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#13
(Dec 20, 2018 06:32 PM)Syne Wrote: Much better to have beliefs you have challenged, whether you keep them or not.
Santa is acknowledged fake by all adults, making it expressly perpetuated as a "cultural illusion". Children don't typically get disillusioned with Santa "under their own power". They are usually told at some point, with the ready transference that those duties to the parents.

I found out on my own. I was too curious. Stayed awake. Caught them in the act.

Syne Wrote:Whereas religion is not willfully false, and while people may be told it is false, it typically does take a personal choice to become disabused.

Yeah, I know.

"Psychological critic Norman Holland points to a neuroscientific explanation. When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act, and with them go our systems for assessing reality. We have, in Coleridge's second, more accurate phrase, "poetic faith". That's why humans have such trouble recognizing lies: they first believe, then have to make a conscious effort to disbelieve." Source

It’s sad, huh?  Sad

Were you a Christian at one time, Syne?

I’ll confess, though. I’ve tested the system, so to speak, from time to time. I’ve experienced a few significant coincidences. Most of them have involved that guy that I was telling you about. The weird one, remember? He’s not crazy. His thinking is methodical. Maybe I’ll finish my story after the holidays but I’ll have to keep it behind closed doors. It’s pretty interesting. Lots of science. I think you’d like it.

Happy Holidays!
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#14
When I was young my father used to sing a song "Never trust a woman, you'll be sorry if you do.". I'm fairly sure he only sang it when I was around. With hindsight I'm not sure if was intended as a cautionary tale for his offspring or something entirely different. Do I want to find out - over half a century later? Nah - not even interested.
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#15
(Dec 20, 2018 10:05 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Dec 20, 2018 06:32 PM)Syne Wrote: Much better to have beliefs you have challenged, whether you keep them or not.
Santa is acknowledged fake by all adults, making it expressly perpetuated as a "cultural illusion". Children don't typically get disillusioned with Santa "under their own power". They are usually told at some point, with the ready transference that those duties to the parents.

I found out on my own. I was too curious. Stayed awake. Caught them in the act.
Depending on your age, they still could have played the "we're just helping Santa" bit.
Quote:
Syne Wrote:Whereas religion is not willfully false, and while people may be told it is false, it typically does take a personal choice to become disabused.

Yeah, I know.

"Psychological critic Norman Holland points to a neuroscientific explanation. When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act, and with them go our systems for assessing reality. We have, in Coleridge's second, more accurate phrase, "poetic faith". That's why humans have such trouble recognizing lies: they first believe, then have to make a conscious effort to disbelieve." Source

It’s sad, huh?  Sad

Norman N. Holland (September 19, 1927, New York City - September 28, 2017) was an American literary critic and Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Emeritus at the University of Florida.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_N._Holland

Rolleyes
That only makes a vague arm waving at some possible "neuroscientific explanation"; it's doesn't actual explain any science or a mechanism to support what he's claiming.

The term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_disbelief

The part about it being willful would belie this literary critic's claim as well.
Quote:Were you a Christian at one time, Syne?

I’ll confess, though. I’ve tested the system, so to speak, from time to time. I’ve experienced a few significant coincidences. Most of them have involved that guy that I was telling you about. The weird one, remember? He’s not crazy. His thinking is methodical. Maybe I’ll finish my story after the holidays but I’ll have to keep it behind closed doors. It’s pretty interesting. Lots of science. I think you’d like it.

Yes, and what do "significant coincidences" have to do with, what, testing religion? Aside from a general modicum of good fortune based on my outlook and attitude, I don't know that I've ever experienced any spiritually significant coincidences. And unless it's the guy who couldn't support his claims on this forum, I have no idea who you're talking about (and I had to peruse my inbox to even come up with that much).
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#16
(Dec 21, 2018 01:47 AM)Syne Wrote: Yes, and what do "significant coincidences" have to do with, what, testing religion?

No, not religion. Reality.

"The primary business of any brain is to move its organism in the real world so as to ensure that organism’s survival and reproduction. From the neurological point of view, we begin to test reality when we act or plan to act in response to a stimulus. Rodolfo Llinas, writes, "What I must stress…is that the brain’s understanding of anything, whether factual or abstract, arises from our manipulations of the external world, by our moving within the world and thus from our sensory-derived experience of it."

Spider-Man? Sure! The neuroscience of suspending disbelief
NORMAN N. HOLLAND
Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida

Rodolfo is one of my favorites. I’ve quoted him before. I loved it when he said, "We need to understand what we are, not what we wish to be.  We need to understand how precious and incredible matter is, and how precious we are.  It is not demeaning, but instead, it says that we are one with everything else.  What more could you possibly ask for?"

(Dec 20, 2018 06:32 PM)Syne Wrote:

"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Plato


Much better to have beliefs you have challenged, whether you keep them or not.

That’s not an easy thing to do, though, is it?  Undecided

Not taking ideas personally is made easier by the meta-belief that holding certain beliefs does not make you a better person.—Peter Boghossian

^Here be dragons.

Syne Wrote:And unless it's the guy who couldn't support his claims on this forum, I have no idea who you're talking about (and I had to peruse my inbox to even come up with that much).

Okay, never mind then. He's never been here before. I've been thinking about inviting him but he's even meaner than you. He's the adhominem king of kings.



(Dec 20, 2018 10:39 PM)confused2 Wrote: When I was young my father used to sing a song "Never trust a woman, you'll be sorry if you do.".

It takes two, does it not? Dodgy

Stealthing? Who'd have thunk it?

Landmark Case of Condom 'Stealthing'


confused2 Wrote:I'm fairly sure he only sang it when I was around. With hindsight I'm not sure if was intended as a cautionary tale for his offspring or something entirely different.

My mother was worried that my brother would think she was a slut. I told him that it sounds like our father slept around, as well. I told my mother that she had the right to sleep with whomever she wanted but she should have told us the truth. She may have been living a lie but I was the lie.  Sad

confused2 Wrote:Do I want to find out - over half a century later?  Nah - not even interested.

That's how my brother feels but I want to know the truth.
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#17
(Dec 21, 2018 04:08 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Dec 21, 2018 01:47 AM)Syne Wrote: Yes, and what do "significant coincidences" have to do with, what, testing religion?

No, not religion. Reality.

"The primary business of any brain is to move its organism in the real world so as to ensure that organism’s survival and reproduction. From the neurological point of view, we begin to test reality when we act or plan to act in response to a stimulus. Rodolfo Llinas, writes, "What I must stress…is that the brain’s understanding of anything, whether factual or abstract, arises from our manipulations of the external world, by our moving within the world and thus from our sensory-derived experience of it."

Spider-Man? Sure! The neuroscience of suspending disbelief
NORMAN N. HOLLAND
Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida
And? How does that support his claim that "When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act"?

Neuroscience actually states that mirror neurons react equally to wholly perceiving or acting. This is a primary method of learning about reality.

What any of that has to do with Santa is beyond me.

Quote:
(Dec 20, 2018 06:32 PM)Syne Wrote:

"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Plato


Much better to have beliefs you have challenged, whether you keep them or not.

That’s not an easy thing to do, though, is it?  Undecided

Not taking ideas personally is made easier by the meta-belief that holding certain beliefs does not make you a better person.—Peter Boghossian

^Here be dragons.

Just takes a little practice...at being completely objective, e.g. not taking ideas personally.

What parts of religion/theism I accept are only a result of having first rejected them. That's why I don't feel bound to any dogmatic interpretations. I have tested what I accept to my own satisfaction. And I know full well that it's not compelling to others because I can be objective and take their rejecting perspective. As such, objectivity is also a safeguard against dissonance.
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#18
Syne Wrote:What any of that has to do with Santa is beyond me.

Because you’re right. All adults acknowledge that Santa is fake but god? Oh, hell no. Big difference, wouldn’t you say?

Syne Wrote:And? How does that support his claim that "When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act"?

It’s very similar to the backfire effect. Let’s say for example, god heals all, or so we’re told. A child is sick. Prayers go unanswered. The child dies. Instead of realizing that there is no god, we’re told it was god’s will. It’s easy to exploit the backfire effect when god has carte blanche. Creationist are great at it.  

Syne Wrote:Just takes a little practice...at being completely objective, e.g. not taking ideas personally.

Nice try but that is you. That's why I posted that quote. I think that's exactly why you hold on to it. You think that holding onto certain beliefs does make you a better person.

Syne Wrote:I have tested what I accept to my own satisfaction.

Yep, that’s something that you’ve been pretty tight lipped about. Care to elaborate?
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#19
(Dec 21, 2018 07:55 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
Syne Wrote:What any of that has to do with Santa is beyond me.

Because you’re right. All adults acknowledge that Santa is fake but god? Oh, hell no. Big difference, wouldn’t you say?
Yeah, I said that was a difference. But you just said you weren't testing religion, and the reality of Santa isn't in question.
Quote:
Syne Wrote:And? How does that support his claim that "When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act"?

It’s very similar to the backfire effect. Let’s say for example, god heals all, or so we’re told. A child is sick. Prayers go unanswered. The child dies. Instead of realizing that there is no god, we’re told it was god’s will. It’s easy to exploit the backfire effect when god has carte blanche. Creationist are great at it.  
What does that have to do with perceiving instead of acting? That example would seem to be the opposite of "the enticements are[being] attractive enough".

However, subsequent research has since failed to replicate findings supporting the backfire effect. One study conducted out of the Ohio State University and George Washington University studied 10,100 participants with 52 different issues expected to trigger a backfire effect. While the findings did conclude that individuals are reluctant to embrace facts that contradict their already held ideology, no cases of backfire were detected. The backfire effect has since been noted to be a rare phenomenon rather than a common occurrence (compare the boomerang effect).
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmati...of_opinion


More likely just motivated reasoning, which justifies belief to quell cognitive dissonance, rather than, itself, strengthening belief.

This is "a form of implicit emotion regulation in which the brain converges on judgments that minimize negative and maximize positive affect states associated with threat to or attainment of motives". - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_...e_strategy


Now that sounds like an effort to make things seem more attractive rather than "the enticements are[already being] attractive". IOW, as with the suspension of disbelief, willfulness is necessary.

Everyone is great at justifying their own beliefs. Cherry-picking extreme examples as if they speak to a specific ideology doesn't appear to be justified.
Quote:
Syne Wrote:Just takes a little practice...at being completely objective, e.g. not taking ideas personally.

Nice try but that is you. That's why I posted that quote. I think that's exactly why you hold on to it. You think that holding onto certain beliefs does make you a better person.
And that's a belief you're trying to justify to yourself.

You can have the best of all possible beliefs and not be a better person for it. Especially if you just believe out of emotion, social pressure, or just habit.
Again:

"An unexamined life is not worth living" - Plato

If there's any "better", it is a value that adds "worth".
Quote:
Syne Wrote:I have tested what I accept to my own satisfaction.

Yep, that’s something that you’ve been pretty tight lipped about. Care to elaborate?
Elaborate on something I've developed over thousands of small steps throughout my life? Maybe, if I ever write my autobiography.
Until then, I can only answer specific questions. Have any?
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#20
(Dec 21, 2018 09:14 PM)Syne Wrote:
Syne Wrote:I have tested what I accept to my own satisfaction.

Yep, that’s something that you’ve been pretty tight lipped about. Care to elaborate?
Syne Wrote:Elaborate on something I've developed over thousands of small steps throughout my life? Maybe, if I ever write my autobiography.
Until then, I can only answer specific questions. Have any?

I guess my biggest question is why? Knowing what you know, why do you still feel the need to go beyond naturalism with a transcendent, individualized reality (a god of some sort)? Why hold on to a metaphysical claim? How can you even test something like that? Why do you feel the need to have an idealistic view of things as they actually exist? Isn’t this enough for you? Like Rodolfo R. Llinás asked, "What more could you possibly ask for?"
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