In 2013, Lawrence Krauss was interviewed. He was asked about his claim that teaching creationism is child abuse. In a video, which has since been taken down from richarddawkins.net, Lawrence Krauss said, “If you think about that, somehow saying that, well, anything goes, we shouldn’t offend religious beliefs by requiring kids to know – to understand reality; that’s child abuse. And if you think about it, teaching kids – or allowing the notion that the earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet. That’s how big an error it is.” 1
If you look at Krauss’s words, it is clear that he thinks that teaching Creationism is child abuse because it’s false. Well, if that’s the case, isn’t teaching the dynamo theory for magnetic fields child abuse? After all, a creationist, Russell Humphreys, devised a model of planetary magnetic fields that was based on a six-day creation and a young universe. It predicted the strength of magnetic fields for Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune whereas the dynamo model got almost every magnetic field wrong 2 (It is worth noting that Humphreys got the magnetic field for Jupiter incorrect because he underestimated the effect that the size of Jupiter would have on the magnetic field). Since Creationists have a model that works better, isn’t withholding this successful model from children a form of “mild” child abuse?
Furthermore, if Krauss’s assertion is based on teaching a claim that is false, it follows that scientists and teachers have been abusing children for years. This is because science is in a state of constant change. For instance, we have gone from Newtonian Physics, to General Relativity, to Quantum Mechanics. Sure, parts of all of these theories are accepted by scientists, but there were central tenants of Newtonian Physics and General Relativity that were done away with. If teaching falsehoods to children is child abuse, teaching ANY falsehood is child abuse.
One thing you can count on about science is that it will change. All conclusions reached in science are tentative; this means that we don’t really know if the conclusions that we reach on the basis of the scientific method are true. Because of this, there is no way to discern the state of affairs of “reality” because we cannot discern a true proposition from a false one in the scientific method.
In essence, Krauss can’t support his claim, and by his logic, he and other scientists have been “mildly” abusing children for years. Krauss can either admit that his claim cannot be supported and doesn’t make any sense, or he can admit to “mildly” abusing children and remove the log from his eye before pointing out the splinter of someone else’s eye.
1. Bennett-Smith, M. (2013, February 14). Lawrence Krauss, Physicist, Claims Teaching Creationism Is Child Abuse And ‘Like The Taliban’ (VIDEO). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/lawrence-krauss-physicist-creationism-taliban-child-abuse_n_2687808.html
2. Beyond Neptune: Voyager II Supports Creation. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from http://www.icr.org/article/beyond-neptune-voyager-ii-supports-creation/%20and%C2%A0https%3A//creation.com/mercurys-magnetic-field-is-young