Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ideas have consequences

By John Helmberger

Two stories in the span of one week regarding the tragedy of teen suicide beg for a response. On November 27th, the Mpls Star Tribune reported on Beltrami County’s number 1 ranking in Minnesota for suicides among youth and young adults (Suicides Haunt Beltrami).

Then on December 4th, the Pioneer press ran a story on the plague of teen suicides afflicting Jamestown, ND (Tackling taboos in a town beset by suicide).

Both stories underscored uncertainty about the causes of this anguishing problem. "There is no black box to search for with suicides," said a researcher with the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. "We are still learning, still looking. The problem is that many times, unlike a disaster, we are unable to pinpoint exactly where to look because these stories themselves are so individualized."

The Star Tribune reported that suspected causes include poverty, isolation, chemical abuse and family fragmentation, all of which should be investigated.

But here’s a suggestion for the government and health officials who are trying to get to the bottom of the problem: look in the schools. Try examining the link between what we teach kids in Science about where they came from, and the value they place on their own lives.

With our schools and the media relentlessly indoctrinating kids with the idea that they are no more than an evolutionary accident of nature, should we be surprised when they conclude that their lives have no real meaning and aren’t worth living? Should it come as a shock that kids value themselves and their lives so little that they decide to end it all at alarming rates, sometimes over seemingly trivial problems? Maybe they’re just doing what grows logically out of what we’ve taught them to think.

Ideas have consequences.

It’s time for Darwinian naturalism to start taking responsibility for the hopelessness it feeds in young people.

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