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Now we have proof that abolishing parental rights and encouraging single-parent families was disastrous: the disaster has happened

What was done by design can be undone the same way. But will there be enough political determination to do it?

By on Monday, 15 August 2011

A 12-year-old boy leaves Manchester magistrates court last week (PA wire)

A 12-year-old boy leaves Manchester magistrates court last week (PA wire)

Last Thursday, in an article snappily entitled “Why didn’t the looters’ parents know where they were? Why didn’t they teach them about right and wrong? Answer: society has undermined the family”, I quoted Fr Finigan saying that “For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents… Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave”, and Melanie Phillips pointing to “family breakdown and mass fatherlessness” as one of the principal underlying causes of the riots and looting of last week. I concluded (and I don’t apologise for returning to this theme now: a lot more needs to be said about it, and now is the time to say it) that of all the things the government now needs to do, “it’s the married family which is the institution that needs rebuilding most urgently”.

I am as certain of that as anything I have ever written, and I’ve been saying it for over 20 years: I was saying it, for instance, when I was attacking (in the Mail and also the Telegraph) as it went through the Commons the parliamentary bill which became that disastrous piece of (Tory) legislation called the Children Act 1989, which abolished parental rights (substituting for them the much weaker “parental responsibility”), which encouraged parents not to spend too much time with their children, which even preposterously gave children the right to take legal action against their parents for attempting to discipline them, which made it “unlawful for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’;” and which specified that “Whether a ‘smack’ amounts to reasonable punishment will depend on the circumstances of each case taking into consideration factors like the age of the child and the nature of the smack.” If the child didn’t think it “reasonable” he could go to the police. It was an Act which, in short, deliberately weakened the authority of parents over their children and made the state a kind of co-parent.

There are, of course, many other causes for the undermining of the married family (which David Cameron says he now wants to rebuild). Divorce, from the 1960s on, became progressively easier and easier to obtain. Another cause has been the insidious notion (greatly encouraged by successive governments but particularly under New Labour – Old Labour tended to be much more traditional in its views on the family) that the family has many forms, that marriage is just one option, and that lone parenting is just as “valid” (dread word) a form as any other. If you thought that voluntary lone parenting should be discouraged, rather than (as it was) positively encouraged by the taxation and benefits system, you were practically written off as a fascist.

Well, all this relativist rubbish has now been comprehensively shown by its consequences to have been dangerous drivel all along; and I am discovering that to be able to say “I told you so” is under the circumstances not at all as enjoyable as I had thought it might be: any satisfaction is of a very grim kind.

But it is now beyond any doubt, and we need to say so now, to nail the lies that have been spouted for the last 40 years once and for all. The conclusive proof of the existence and the effects of the widespread breakdown of parental responsibility (even where there are two parents) and also of the catastrophic consequences of the encouragement of lone parenting was to be found on the front page of the Times on Saturday, in an article to which I can’t give a link since you can’t get it online. I will have to summarise and quote extensively.

The headline was “Judge asks: where are the parents of rioters?” and it opens as follows:

Parents who refuse to take responsibility for children accused of criminal offences were condemned by a judge yesterday who demanded to know why the mother of a 14-year-old girl in the dock over the looting of three shops was not in court.

District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe was incredulous when told that the girl’s parents were too busy to see their daughter appear before City of Westminster magistrates after she was accused of offences during the violent disorder in London this week. She said that many parents “don’t seem to care” that their children were in court facing potentially lengthy custodial sentences.

Her comments echoed those a day earlier by District Judge Jonathan Feinstein when he highlighted the absence of parents at hearings in Manchester. “The parents have to take responsiblity for this child – apart from one case I have not seen any father or mother in court,” he said.

The Times had been conducting an investigation into the cause of the riots, and interviews with young people and community workers on estates across London revealed “deep concerns about the lack of parental authority”. Youth workers said that mothers (presumably in such cases there are no fathers) are “too terrified of their own children to confront them and often turn a blind eye to cash or stolen goods brought home”. Lone parenthood, it emerges, is in fact a primary cause of the August riots (as they are beginning to be called):

An analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that, among other factors linking the 18 areas worst hit by public disorder, is a high rate of single-parent families and broken homes.

And in an interview with the Times today, Shaun Bailey, a youth worker recently appointed as the Government’s “Big Society” czar, argues that childraising has been “nationalised”.

Of the defendants who appeared before magistrates in Westminster yesterday accused of riot crimes across London, half were aged under 18, but few parents attended the hearings, even though their children had been in police custody for up to two days.

One member of the court’s staff said: “I can’t recall seeing any of the parents down here”… A boy of 15 was accused of looting a JD Sports shop in Barking, East London. A 17-year-old student from East London was also accused of receiving £10,000 of mobile phones, cigarettes and clothing looted from Tesco. The items and small quantity of cannabis were discovered in his bedroom at the family home… community workers admitted that broken families often led to children taking to crime.

One youth worker, who has helped children in Lambeth, south London, for 20 years, told the Times that single mothers were often scared of their sons. “They would not challenge them if they came home with stolen goods,” the worker, who did not wish to be named, said.

“In some cases these young men steal more than their mother earns or gets in benefit. They become the father figure, the main earner.” Young men echo the lack of authority. “My mum can’t tell me what to do,” said Lee, 18, from Copley Court, an estate in West Ealing. “It’s the same with young kids. Most of their dads left early on and they don’t listen to anyone.”

There isn’t much more to be said: all one can do is repeat oneself. We now know what rubbish it is to deny that lone parenthood should be avoided wherever possible. As for marriage, study after study has shown that from the point of view of the child it is the best and most stable basis for the family. In the 50s, everyone, including governments of all colours, knew that marriage was the foundation of social stability: and a man whose wife stayed at home to look after the children didn’t pay any tax at all until he was earning the average national wage.

That whole dispensation was blown apart by the accursed supposed “liberation” of the 60s, and by political ideologies of various kinds, not least by radical feminism. There was nothing inevitable about it: it was done by deliberate political design. And what political design can do, political design can undo. It’s more difficult – much more difficult – of course and it can’t be done overnight. David Cameron, to be fair, does seem to see some of this (IDS sees even more).

But does he have the political determination actually to do it? We shall see. I am hopeful; I always am at first. But I greatly fear that as month succeeds month, even my own tendency towards sunny optimism will begin first to flag and then to die. And this time, I don’t want to be able to say “I told you so”.

  • Porphyry

    Nothing can dislodge the British elite’s delusional commitments to cultural marxism and egalitarianism. No matter what social disaster takes place, no matter what dysfunction occurs, they will always cling to the theory that economic deprivation and social exclusion are the sole explanations. Fiddle with the taxes here, dole out a little more welfare there, institute a few more public policy initiatives and hire some more social workers. That’s always the solution, and when the problem gets worse, its always because of ever more insidious forms of “racism” or “social exclusion” or “inequality”. The secular egalitarian liberals got their hands on the levers of power and now they have destroyed the culture- they have eviscerated the tacit norms and standards that Christian society had developed over centuries and which made civilized life possible. Now look at England: a crass, secularist hellhole dominated by a violent, vulgar trash culture that looks as if it were lifted right out of an Anthony Burgess novel. It took centuries for the barbarians to bring down Rome; the egalitarian liberals destroyed British society, one of the pinnacles of western civilization, in under 50 years, a breathtaking achievement.

  • Oliver P

    What an evil, un-Christian rant this is, to stigmatize whole classes of people, many of whom struggle valiantly in difficult circumstances to bring up their children, most of whom weren’t out looting. Yes, we know that good, stable, loving families are… good, stable, loving. Meanwhile, here’s a reality check on some aspects of this flabby, garbled nonsense: http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2011/08/are-missing-dads-to-blame.html

  • Kgpf

    So Oliver P, were corporeal works of mercy to instruct the ignorant and admonish the sinner ever legislated?

  • Oliver P

    LOL Okay, let’s see where you’re going with this. So: yes…

  • Anonymous

    sorry why on earth would an elite be interested in Marxism? Are you crazy

  • Anonymous

    sorry why on earth would an elite be interested in Marxism? Are you crazy

  • Anonymous

    Scientists don’t even claim that gravity has been proven. It is still a theory.

    Therefore the assertion that you have proved that the single changes in society you have pinpointed are responsible for the riots, is at the very least incredibly arrogant.

    I am hoping you change the wording of you post to something more credible.

  • Anonymous

    Scientists don’t even claim that gravity has been proven. It is still a theory.

    Therefore the assertion that you have proved that the single changes in society you have pinpointed are responsible for the riots, is at the very least incredibly arrogant.

    I am hoping you change the wording of you post to something more credible.

  • Anonymous

    > We now know what rubbish it is to deny that lone parenthood should be avoided wherever possible. As for marriage, study after study has shown that from the point of view of the child it is the best and most stable basis for the family.

    Agreed. But – especially for the sake of the children – there must still be compassion and support for those who live in unconventional households, sometimes through no fault of their own (and, in the case of the children, always through no fault of their own). On the whole, we may have had our priorities better arranged in the 1950s; but they could be cruel times for those who made mistakes.

  • Anonymous

    Whoheartly agree. Jesus was all for giving children a good smack if they did done something wrong – if you could just remind me of the verse, please?

  • Anonymous

    Melanie Phillips, a reliable and above all moral source of information – right, Mr. Oddie?
    She:

    argues that evolution is ‘merely a theory’

    Does NOT support the NHS - “It has been clear for years that socialized medicine can kill you”

    Supports war against Iran

    Calls Palestinians a ‘terrorist population’  (because obviously terrorists are born terrorists, right?)

    Claims that ‘gayness is mandatory in schools’

    Barack Obama is a ‘Marxist’

    And has repeatedly questioned the safety of the MMR vaccine, and still does, despite the firm scientific evidence to the contrary. 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, people confuse support for people who have found themselves in a hard place, as supporting single parent families as the ideal kind of family, that we all should aim for!

    No, it is giving children the best start they can have in an awkward situation, that was entirely out of their control. You cannot help who you are born to.

  • Richard A

     No, they’re crazy. As you suggest, a cultural elite would have to be crazy to be interested in Marxism? And yet, after all their ongoing failures, they still are.

  • Richard A

    Pr. 13:24; Heb 12:7, 9

  • Richard A

    Pr. 13:24; Heb 12:7, 9

  • Oliver P

    Hear hear! And while we’re at it, let’s not forget bringing back the cane, because it’s good to hit children, and scrapping all that pesky child abuse legislation, because so called criminal neglect can promote self-reliance. Mind you, we could really do with looking back into the 19th century and repealing at long last those loony left Factory Acts, like there was something wrong with forcing kiddywinks to work good long hours? As for that utterly pernicious age of consent law, designed to stop parents selling their children into sexual slavery, don’t get me started. 

  • Anonymous

    Paulsays

    I suggest you check what the definition of a theory is in science. It is something much stronger than the general use of the word in common parlance which suggests something open to debate.

  • Anonymous

    Paulsays

    I suggest you check what the definition of a theory is in science. It is something much stronger than the general use of the word in common parlance which suggests something open to debate.

  • Anonymous

    You chastise Melanie Phillips here for saying that evolution is merely a theory, but cite gravity as just being a theory when seeking to persuade Dr Oddie to use less certain language in stating his conclusions. My theory is that you need to be more consistent in your own mind about what you think theory means.

  • Anonymous

    You chastise Melanie Phillips here for saying that evolution is merely a theory, but cite gravity as just being a theory when seeking to persuade Dr Oddie to use less certain language in stating his conclusions. My theory is that you need to be more consistent in your own mind about what you think theory means.

  • Anonymous

    You chastise Melanie Phillips here for saying that evolution is merely a theory, but cite gravity as just being a theory when seeking to persuade Dr Oddie to use less certain language in stating his conclusions. My theory is that you need to be more consistent in your own mind about what you think theory means.

  • Anonymous

    discipline, not hitting.

  • Anonymous

    discipline, not hitting.

  • Anonymous

    discipline, not hitting.

  • Anonymous

    I suggest everyone reads ” Lord of the Flies”.
     As for one parent( usually the mum) families. The figures are stark. The children from such families are twice as likely to get into trouble. That, surely must teach the “paulsays” of this world something.?

  • Anonymous

    I suggest everyone reads ” Lord of the Flies”.
     As for one parent( usually the mum) families. The figures are stark. The children from such families are twice as likely to get into trouble. That, surely must teach the “paulsays” of this world something.?

  • Richard A

     Naturally, bring back the cane. Because of course, corporal punishment is the same as abuse isn’t it?

    Odd, though, that even the law at least conceptually allows for the possibility that the “smack” could be “reasonable punishment.” Which you, Oliver P, seem unwilling to allow for.

  • Richard A

     If by “theory”, she (or you) mean “hypothesis”, she is right. It may be a reasonable hypothesis, but it has not yet been tested and verified experimentally. Or has someone adjusted the boundaries of the “scientific method” since my college days?

    Socialized medicine must be the greatest thing since sliced bread, then, isn’t it? We sure wouldn’t try it here in the US if weren’t utterly wonderful over there, would we?

    Iran – debatable, but hardly irrational.

    Palestinians – are you serious? Do you ever actually read anything about Hamas’ (the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian “people”) activities in the Middle East?

    I would understand ‘gayness is mandatory’ to be a (slightly) hyperbolic reference to a requirement that ‘sodomy is beautiful’ be taught in schools. Or don’t you do that yet over there?

    Barack Obama is a ‘Marxist’. Obviously. I’m glad for you that you don’t read American newspapers, but that appears to have hindered your ability to understand the witless narcissist that’s running our country.

    MMR vaccines – well I guess we all have our pet wacko theories. After all, the air vibrations that induce the sounds of the English word ‘spanking’ can strike your eardrums, but all you ever hear is “child abuse”.

  • Oliver P

    Well, a part of my intention was to offer a corrective to the view that empowerment of parents – as if they were not already – is good per se. Of course, legislation is never going to get it right for everyone in every circumstance. That is why we have judicial interpretation – and indeed interpretation on the part of the police before issues would ever be referred to the judiciary. But yes, it is wrong to hit people. And to say that, say, a six foot tall adult needs to use physical violence (as distinct from firm and authoritative physical presence, not excluding touch) to chastise a, say, three foot short child is simply absurd. (Should they do so, they had better watch out, because that three foot child will grow and grow into a physically tooled-up teen, and there might turn out to be quite a bit of un-reconciled baggage by that time.)

    (I am assuming you are not meaning to suggest that a parent is going to attempt to ‘smack’ a child of equal stature, and that the thinking behind the claim to the validity of smacking is that good discipline must be inculcated at an early age – in which, by the way, I doubt too many children are aware of the minutiae of their legal rights and are not also heavily reliant upon parents for basic sustenance, never mind treats.)On a different note, and this is anecdotal, I am reminded of a boy once to whom I gave a detention. He was upset, not because his father would hit him, but because he would beat his mother up also. Some father figures have a lot to answer for, and I wonder how many ‘unbroken’ homes are held together by fear and violence.One might also wonder as to the extent to which correlations between single parenthood and forms of delinquency are caused by factors related to such as this. A correlation between X and Y does not imply a direct causal connection between the two. Z could be to blame. (i.e. the direct causal links would lie between Z and X and Z and Y.) I wonder how often violent and abusive fathers are that Z.

    There is much to reflect on here – I mean, in relation to the riots, the looting and the discussions occurring in the wake of these. Cheap ideological swipes – and garbled rants such as this most pernicious blog entry – and more a part of the problem than they are in any way contributing to solutions.

  • Oliver P

    PS – With apologies for the collapsing of three paragraphs into one there. It was the system what done it. Not my fault innit.

  • W Oddie

    I didn’t stigmatize anyone! This is the kind of moral blackmail that just won’t work any more. I simply said that single parenthood is best avoided. We now have the truth hat that is true.

  • Oliver P

    Well, in some cases it might suggest that the absent fathers be put into prison, or places else wise out of harm’s way, and the mothers and children be given a lot more support to establish a good course of life.

    On a more general note, seemingly relevant to this debate given the tosh that’s being spouted at a variety of levels, can we all possibly grasp the point that a correlation never answers a question; though it might certainly ask questions? Correlation and causality are distinct. (I am wary of using the word ‘never’ there – given all the ‘this proves conclusively’ and ‘we’re always hearing’ etc etc twaddle – but it might just here be justified.)

    One more time – altogether now – say it with me: correlation and causality are distinct.

    I know, I’ll never make the Daily Mail with that one.

  • Richard A

     Do you ever wonder if any parent is capable of loving his children, providing well for their physical and spiritual upbringing, and also of administering a measured, appropriate spanking for a breach of a well-known and reasonable parental direction?

    I am quite well aware that some parents abuse their children. I am quite well aware that some men will get outrageously angry and beat up the child and the mom for minor indiscretions. I guess I don’t “wonder” about those fellows very much, except as a motivation not to be like that. The parents I know are reasonable and loving in their discipline, including spanking, and do not abuse their children. I include my parents in that group, and my children would include me in that group, even the son who now has 5 inches and 50 pounds on me.

    Most six-year-olds know the difference between a spanking they deserve and a beating they don’t deserve. The six-year-olds I’ve had occasion to spank have, anyway. But, I’ve never had occasion to spank a child psychologist or a professional social worker. I don’t doubt that eight years of modern higher education is able to render opaque what is clear to a first-grader.

  • Oliver P

    That is highly disingenuous. To say that your blog post stigmatizes ‘whole classes’ is not moral blackmail. Try correcting the bias and considering that there are circumstances, and many of them, in which single parenthood, within those circumstances, is liable to be less harmful to the life prospects of both the mother and the children than would be the retention of the father. There are evils underlying such circumstances, and they are many and manifold. Let us by all means dig into such evils and seek better ways of living, and ways of helping everybody to live in better ways. In an ideal world, we would indeed have good, strong, healthy family units, but often we don’t. Meantime, to consider ‘single parents’ as a homogeneous entity, which the drift of your blog post implies, and which implication you do close to nothing to correct and clarify, is both pernicious and, where the aim is to arrive at possible solutions, counter-productive. You are setting up a scapegoat and by doing so you are both denigrating many worthy individuals and also obscuring possible lines of enquiry which could be pursued when seeking to help people to do better.

  • Oliver P

    I accept what you’re saying – depending upon what you mean by ‘spanking’ here. Where does spanking stop and beating begin? Where does a light tap on the bottom on the crown of the head become assault? Etc. You mention the law, and my comments were directed against the suggestion of our Dr Blog Writer that the law has stripped parents of rights. The law in England seems to me to strike a good balance; it allows for reasonable discipline and leaves it up to the courts to decide where such has been exceeded. That seems pretty good to me. It’s probably also worth saying that, within such limits, different rules (and rituals and gradations) apply within different families: some things that are internally consistent look odd from the outside.

    Just in terms of physical contact, though, you might find it interesting to consider this view, that what is allowed to happen within families is, by and by, in accordance with majority consensus; however this may be something of a distraction from another issue, namely what happens in schools.

    I am not talking about teachers beating children here – some of course would and do. But there is a problem when teachers are actually forbidden (de facto) to touch children. This is not only touch in the form of a reprimand; this is any and all touch. Now what kind of a society is it in which teachers, with whom children spend so much of their formative time, are forbidden to employ one of the most direct and meaningful forms of contact which a child will understand, whether in terms of reward or reprimand? Put that the other way, what kind of society is it in which we forbid children the right to contact with key formative adults in ways which they will most readily understand? (I realise many teachers do not act in accordance with this professional advice, largely for the better and because of their overriding good nature, one thinks.)

    If we are looking for points of disconnect between adults and children, or between generations, this might be a handy place to start asking questions.

  • Pete

    Re Marxism in the west… For the uninitiated allow me to suggest some further reading to enlighten those that are not aware perhaps what’s been going on. If you ask someone old enough to suggest who won the cold war they will invariably state it was the west after the financial collapse of the former soviet union in the late 80′s / early 90′s. Marxist therefore secured to the free market economies of the west, right? Nope. It didn’t. Whilst we fought on an economic front the soviets weren’t exactly being sitting around playing by our rules. In full knowledge that they could not compete against a west headed up by the industrial might and financial power of the USA post WWII, they took a different approach. Thru directly attacked the strengths of the west, particularly the US by initiating and slowly pulling apart the threads that held US together. Our strength including moral fortitude, religion, education etc… I’d advise looking up a book published in a by gone period, 1958, that nicely lists off exactly how they approached this objective. You’ll find that list on Wikipedia. It includes specific targets such as media, education, social services etc… that were to be infiltrated by our own people who in turn were to be radicallised with Marxist ideology whilst still in higher education. The point is their intention was to brainwashing the susceptible in our own society with ideology that they would then enact as those who were radicallised got themselves into positions of power. When the Berlin wall fell in the early 90′s, these western lunatics did not disappear – they continued and still continue to pursue their patently ridiculous dogma. Objectives included pulling apart the family through easy divorce, pushing away of fathers and promotion of sexual perversions as the norm. As one famous feminist Erin Pizzey recently stated on radio, do not make the mistake to believe those same lunatics advocating that men are no longer necessary are not still in positions of great power within the likes of the media, social services and the civil service continuing to chip away in the genuine belief they are right. Recognise that the rot is very deeply set in and it will be an enormous task to dislodge these lunatics particularly given the public believe them to be acting in our best interest. The public have no idea and are I’m afraid too scared to confront the awful truth. That generations of children were intentionally used in a Marxist plot to overthrow the west – at the sake time we in the west were trying to overthrow them by financial means. It remains to be seen who has the last laugh. I have a feeling it is a 50/50 chance either way. Two points; by pitting men against women (the majority footing voters) they very cleverly have us ‘infighting’ over issues that will always float in our democracy towards the rights of women and away from men. Secondly, as the bible states; the smartest thing the devil did was to make you think he doesn’t exist. Recognise what is going on, why, how it came about and why our society is slowly being pulled apart. And if you have any remaining doubts (fear based perhaps?) Think why it is onoy the former enemies of the soviet union that are suffering this collapse today. It took some prodding to get it going and its no coincidence that in other parts of the world without that soviet ‘input’ there has been no similar collapse.

  • Oliver P

    And just briefly, to quote you: “I guess I don’t “wonder” about those fellows very much, except as a motivation not to be like that. The parents I know are reasonable and loving in their discipline…” 

    And one more time, shorter this time: “I guess I don’t “wonder” about those fellows very much…”

    And lastly, to paraphrase: “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t parent the way I and my acquaintance do, therefore when forming my views these so called problems in society simply don’t exist.”

    Welcome to Melanie Phillips land. 

    ‘fellows’ LOL

    MGFY

  • Pete

    Firstly, having now migrated away from a touch screen mobile phone with fiendish predictive text, may I apologise for the appalling spellings within my earlier post. Hopefully I’ve not caused you too many pitfalls as you seek to traverse it’s meanderings and you got the general points I was making. The book 1958 book that I referred to but neglected to name is the ‘Naked Communist’. It contains a long list of objectives pursued by the Soviet Union to bring down the west, not least pitting father against mother, inflitration of public bodies, media and education. Those who were kicked off down that route from amongst our own in the 1960′s and 1970′s continue in their positions of power today. Do not be surprised that we have pulled ourselves apart from the inside, it was always intended to be that way. The question is; can we recognise it and reverse it? I have my fears that it might be too hard. We have a political system and feckless politicians that chase votes. Having made the issue gender based we are now at the mercy of the fact that more women than men vote, and that men vote on ‘big politics’ (finance, war, business etc..) and women tend to vote on issues that affect them personally (their rights, acess to freedoms, child care, easy divorce, ridding yourself of first hubby when new hubby wonders along etc…). Put simply, we are screwed and that was alway the plan. Western capitalism is based on greed and it’s been used very efectively against us, the status quo will not change until we have a new breed of politicians that are willing to put the needs of the many against their need to get voted in and to retain power. What do you think will likely happen? Witness the fact that we all know that family breakup at least partly contributed to the riots we’ve seen yet even at this time Cameron underlines each ‘strong statement’ in support of family values with some praise of the single mother. Why does he feel the need to do so unless what I’m suggesting is true? He’s terrified of losing the largest floating population – single mothers, and I fear we will all pay the price for it.

  • Anonymous

    Evolution has been more tested and verified than we can say of phenomenons such as gravity and light. Evolution was accepted on the basis of fossil records originally, but know we have DNA evidence it is near indisputable.

    The scientific method finds it impossible to ‘prove’ much anything. Descartes said that the only thing he could prove was his own existence.

    Human beings such as me, you and Mrs. Phillips on the other hand talk about things as true when we believe then due to overwhelming evidence. I believe in gravity because I am not floating away from my chair.

    Therefore when Mrs. Phillips calls evolution a ‘theory’ she is not referring to the protocol of the scientific method, clearly she is instead expressing human doubt – in something which we have close to indisputable evidence for.

  • Anonymous

    Praise for the single mother:  They do their best and are wonderful therefore single parenting is to be encouraged.

    Praise for those who have lost a leg: They are wonderful in the way they cope, going in for sport and generally making the best of it.  Ergo: all citizens should have a leg cut off.

  • Anonymous

    Your comments on evolution are incorrect – See Answersingenesis.com for an expanded explanation.

    Plus, if you spiritualise Genesis then you have lost the entire reason for the rest of the bible.

  • Anonymous

    This is a protestant site your realize. The Pope himself has expressed on numerous occasions that evolution did occur, and that the world is as old as recognized by scientists.
    If you call me wrong, I am as only as incorrect as the Pope is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Pope_Benedict_XVI_and_today

  • Anonymous

    you need to get a life.

  • Anonymous

    Not in context Mrs. Phillips is using it. She is not using in its scientific context.

  • Anonymous

    You are being incredibly arrogant to say that you have found ‘the truth’ about single parent-hood and its obvious direct connection to the riots! You could say you were ‘sure’, or that I can ‘see evidence of’, but to say that it is simply true is absurd. Do you even read your own sentences back to yourself??

    Using your ‘I told you so’ logic – if I had been railing against the immorality of training-shoes for the last 20 years, then I could have blamed them for the riots.

    Because people have been wearing training-shoes more and more in the last 20 years, and many of the rioters were wearing training shoes it must be the shoes that have caused Britain’s ‘moral decline’.

    Mr. Oddie, find some other issues that you take issue with, continually complain about them, and then when the next crisis happens somewhere you will be ready to tell us why you were right all along!

  • Anonymous

    It is the physiological impact of spanking that is dangerous, not the momentary hurt.

  • Anonymous

    Paulsays:

    In response to your previous comment (now removed I note) which told me that I needed to get a life. I give you a delightful quote from Chesterton for your enjoyment:

    If a critic tells a particular lie, that particular lie can be pointed out.  If he misses a specific point, that point can be explained.  If he is really wrong in this or that, it will be on this or that that the insulted person will eagerly pounce.  But “malice and spite” are vague words which will never be used except when there is really nothing to pounce on.  If a man says that I am a dwarf, I can invite him to measure me.  If he says I am a cannibal, I can invite him to dinner.  If he says I am a coward, I can hit him.  If he says I am a miser, I can give him half-a-sovereign.  But if he says I am fat and lazy (which is true), the best I can answer is that he speaks out of malice and spite.  Whenever we see that phrase, we may be almost certain that somebody has told the truth about somebody else.

  • Anonymous

    Descartes did not use the empirical scientific method which we are most familiar with. He was a rationalist.

  • Richard A

     You mean “psychological”, not “physiological”, right? If there’s physiological damage, then I agree we’re into the realm of child abuse. Actually, I would agree with regard to psychological damage.

    Spanking – and other forms of discipline – properly applied teach children that this family, like nature, has rules, and that the rules are obeyed to advantage and disobeyed at cost. Parents, though, are able to be less arbitrary and less harsh than nature, ultimately. It isn’t that might makes right, but we all know that rules that aren’t enforced are no rules at all. The trick is to form in children the habit of obeying reasonable rules (and developing a moral sense able to evaluate properly what is ‘reasonable’). To return to the original article, Dr. Oddie is pointing out that this is a habit that was obviously not formed in the rioters when they were young. If an impression is to be made on them now sufficient to form the habit, the authorities in Britain will have to be more harsh than an upbringing that would have included the occasional spanking.

    Right, some of these kids are maybe reacting to an unduly harsh upbringing. Not most of them, though, which is where the damage to society is coming from.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly I would say that if you are an American, there are plenty of extremist Catholic sites that might suit you better.

    If you are a British Catholic then I would suggest you educate you self on what Marxism actually constitutes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism

    Please tell me of a British politician that had referred to ‘taking over the means of production’ in the last 10 years, and then come back to me.

    Marxism does not equal being left wing, in the same way that being right-wing does not make you a fascist.