Babies: Born to Be Good?--CBC Nature of Things Science Program 10/25

Babies: Born to be Good?

**Thursday October 25, 2012 AT 8:00 PM on CBC-TV **

BABIES: BORN TO BE GOOD? is a lively look at the moral trajectory of children from the first months of life onward. Blending scientific research and scenes of children playing in their own environments, the documentary reveals that children seem to have a moral sense from the very the get-go . . .

We look at the influence of culture on lying and truthfulness,-- (and what is an acceptable white lie) – as children try to navigate the fine line between the two, learning how to solve one of the big moral questions that adults face everyday . . .

Morality is absolutely fundamental to our life, it covers just about every span of human endeavour, every aspect of day to day interaction. And if we want to see where our moral instinct comes from **studying babies gives us insight into human nature before it gets tainted & corrupted by culture **. . .

I’m not sure if it lasts because I remember being quite the little savage in early elementary school. :o

But I would say there is no such thing as a bad baby.

‘The Nature of Things’ Science Show Host:

David Suzuki:

Suzuki received his BA in Biology from Amherst College of Massachusetts in 1958, and his Ph.D in Zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961 . . .

He was a professor in the genetics department (stated in his book Genethics: The Ethics of Engineering Life, 1988) at the University of British Columbia for almost forty years (from 1963 until his retirement in 2001), and has since been professor emeritus at a university research institute.

David Suzuki is sort of like the Canadian Carl Sagan.

studying babies gives us insight into human nature before it gets tainted & corrupted by culture .


Unfortunately, this is a common and very prevalent heresy in our culture, today. Society doesn’t corrupt us, we are born with original sin and it’s associated concupiscence.

True enough. Original Sin is a doctrine that has been forgotten - to our detriment - in today’s world. But Original Sin is not the same as Luther and Calvin’s monstrous heresies, which is what the modern heresies are reacting to.

Tell people that they’re sinful, but have a choice (as the Church has been doing), and they will respond. Tell people that they’re utterly useless and that their fates are entirely predestined by God, regardless of what they do, and they will start rebelling and saying “No way! We’re all good!” The errors of Protestantism have brought modern culture to this sad standstill, by eliciting the reactions of Voltaire, Rousseau, and their successors.

Also, the perversity of culture can play an important role in the expression of particular sinful behaviours; in the “actualization” of original sin, so as to speak. For example, modern culture tells us that viewing pornography is “all right”; a child who grows up hearing that message will be more likely to act in accordance with it.

So while we’re not “born to be good”, the right culture (and by this I mean an authentic Catholic culture) can certainly help us in washing away the stain of Original Sin (through the Sacrament of Baptism), as well as in being less likely to actualize our sinful nature (through the other Sacraments and the teaching of the Church) and in providing an avenue for repentance (the Sacrament of Reconciliation). Whether we learn this in time is the big question of our age.

Yes, I was going to say much the same. That final phrase in the article is unfortunate, and I hope it doesn’t reflect the substance of the program.

The earlier paragraphs of the article suggest that the program doesn’t jump to such explanations, but explore the development of moral sense before they are influenced by experiences outside the home.

I did a survey once of young children who had never heard of the concept of abortion. There were various questions asking when it would be OK to kill a baby. I could not get even one child under any dire circumstances I proposed to say that it was OK for a mom to kill her baby. They did however share with me a lot of good advice on how the mom could get help. I found it quite interesting.

That does sound interesting; could you post the results?

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