In Scandinavia, anything entailing physical violence against a minor is considered a criminal offense (not misdemeanor). Spanking a child carries the same jailtime as beating an adult half to death.
I was quite shocked to hear that spanking is not uncommon in the US, in fact it is closer to the norm (correct me if I am wildly misinformed).
Do you think spanking or any physical punishment of a child is ever acceptable?
We will have to agree to disagree on 1.
As for the slippery slope, the underlying cause for using physical punishment is because of the assumption that rational explanation will not have effect. If I believe I cannot ration with children, I can therefore resort to violence. If I believe I cannot ration with women/politicians/animals/whatever, I can therefore use the same justification.
It is not a false dictonomy to say that one has two broad options - the use of violence or not. Defending violence by stating there are different levels of violence does not expand the discussion, it only confuses the point. If there is even one functional alternative to violence, and we can presumably agree that violence is a not a preferred means of solution, then why is violence acceptable?
Furthermore, I presume you allow for spanking as a result of disobeyance, then what sort and level of disobeyance would be acceptable to spank for? Should Christian parents be allowed to spank their child if it does not sit still in Church or refuse to read the Bible? Should Atheist parents be allowed to spank their child for not doing their homework?
If I just strawmanned you, please give an example of a situation where you would defend spanking as a means of solution.
"This is speculative."
It isn't. There is plenty of evidence. Do you believe all the below studies are inaccurate?
Spanking by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior of children.
Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers.
Toward a developmental-contextual model of the effects of parental spanking on children's aggression.
Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a general population sample.
Spanking and the making of a violent society.
It's not that I believe the studies are inaccurate; it's that the studies deal with varying levels of frequency spanking; your question does not hold the same limitation. Your question makes no specifications. It does not exclude isolated incidences and/ or rare frequency. The rare frequency group represents a considerable number of people who were spanked as children.
If you want to modify the question to specify frequency, then my answer changes.
Frequency is a moot point. If it is justifiable once, then it can be logically extended to be justifiable other times. What would be, according to your view, a frequent or infrequent amount of spanking?
We can agree on once during the whole upbringing being infrequent. But that does not lead to any conclusion as we then can move on to saying twice is also infrequent, as is three times. But what about once a year, once a month, once a week, daily? Where's the line? Without having a clear specification of what determines what is concidered infrequent or frequent your argument does not hold water.
"Frequency is a moot point."
It's not a moot point; it's a relevant factor to the studies you introduced. This is expressly true of Slapping and spanking in childhood and its association with lifetim...
"If it is justifiable once, then it can be logically extended to be justifiable other times."
Irrelevant. In practice, where an individual has been spanked during childhood, it will occur a finite number of times. It could be as little as one time. It could be well over a thousand times, but the number will be finite. The relevance is that being spanked with a very low frequency does not necessarily have the same impact as being spanked with high frequency. If we use the correlation shown in the study I mentioned above, it shows exactly that.
"Without having a clear specification of what determines what is concidered infrequent or frequent your argument does not hold water."
It's not strictly my argument. Once more, it is an integral part of the study I've mentioned above. The article states:
The majority of respondents indicated that they had been slapped or spanked, or both, by an adult during childhood "sometimes" (33.4%) or "rarely" (40.9%); 5.5% reported that this occurred "often." The remainder (20.2%) reported "never" experiencing these behaviours.
This is based off of self-reporting in response to a questionnaire. Most, if not all studies have to rely on self-reporting. Most also list self-reporting as a weakness to the studies because it presents various accuracy issues. This is the question used:
The stem question read "When you were growing up, how often did any adult do any of the things on this list to you: often, sometimes, rarely, or never?" The item was phrased "slapped or spanked you."
If we look at the data for the correlations, we see that the vast majority of those spanked do not exhibit the disorders covered in the study. While the study does show correlation, it doesn't speak volumes to causation for spanking in and of itself.
Frequency IS a moot point when the discussion is whether or not its acceptable at all in any circumstance. The only clearly defined frequency is 0 or not 0, and it is also the easiest to prove or disprove.
"It's not strictly my argument."
It is. Your argument is that it is acceptable sometimes. Clarify your definition of sometimes. Mine would be at most a couple of times per year.
"Most also list self-reporting as a weakness to the studies because it presents various accuracy issues."
This is dealt with in the final paragraph of the methodology section and taken account for when estimating statistical significance. In addition:
"The World Health Organization had carried out field trials of the CIDI and demonstrated good test-retest reliability, interrater reliability and validity of most psychiatric diagnoses except psychoses."
"the vast majority of those spanked do not exhibit the disorders covered in the study."
This is an argumentum ad populum fallacy. Just because not everyone is damaged by spanking is not a justification for it just as not every smoker dying from smokins is not a good argument for smoking.
The conclusion clearly supports that between the choices of spanking and not spanking, not spanking is clearly preferred. Even if I extend the agreement to include the frequency you request, between never, sometimes and often, never is still clearly preferred. If option A is always superior and options B and C are always inferior, why defend B and C? I do not see, under any circumstance, how such a defense can be made in the light of knowledge without major cognitive dissonance.
"The lifetime prevalence estimates for the 4 categories were highest among respondents who reported being slapped or spanked "often" or "sometimes" and lowest among those who reported "never" experiencing this behaviour. The linear trend analyses showed statistically significant associations between increasing frequency of reported slapping or spanking and increasing rates of lifetime psychiatric disorder."
There is no debate in the scientific community about wheter or not spanking is bad - it clearly is and it has been conqlusively proven in a large amount of studies.
I'll leave you with the Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which only Somalia and the US has not ratified:
Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them. In terms of discipline, the Convention does not specify what forms of punishment parents should use. However any form of discipline involving violence is unacceptable. There are ways to discipline children that are effective in helping children learn about family and social expectations for their behaviour – ones that are non-violent, are appropriate to the child's level of development and take the best interests of the child into consideration. In most countries, laws already define what sorts of punishments are considered excessive or abusive. It is up to each government to review these laws in light of the Convention."
"Frequency IS a moot point when the discussion is whether or not its acceptable at all in any circumstance. The only clearly defined frequency is 0 or not 0, and it is also the easiest to prove or disprove."
A moot point is a point that has no resolution and thus can be argued indefinitely. The second part of your statement is pointless. Again, my statements were in reference to the article which deals with frequency.
"It is. Your argument is that it is acceptable sometimes. Clarify your definition of sometimes. Mine would be at most a couple of times per year."
The terms 'strictly' means that frequency is not solely related to my argument, and it isn't. My argument is that spanking can range wildly in severity and impact, and that the extremes should not be given identical treatment. I would consider the mildest extreme to be infrequent spanking with minimal force. I would roughly consider 'infrequent' to be a range from a single instance to ten instances throughout an entire childhood with no more than three instances within any given year. I would consider minimal force to be a spanking that induces minor pain or discomfort with no injury persisting beyond ten to twenty minutes. Again, that's rough.
This is dealt with in the final paragraph of the methodology section and taken account for when estimating statistical significance.
If you had continued reading, you'd have also encountered the following:
Limitations of design and measurement in this study require caution in interpreting the findings. For example, available research suggests that corporal punishment peaks at ages 3-4 years4 and that the ability to recall events that happened before age 5 is limited.25 Therefore, respondents may not have recalled episodes of being slapped or spanked that occurred during the preschool years, the time of greatest risk for experiencing this behaviour. For this reason, the OHSUP findings may underestimate the prevalence of slapping and spanking.
"This is an argumentum ad populum fallacy."
It actually isn't. Argumentum ad populum is committed when the validity of an argument is contingent on the number of people that support the argument. the analogy to smoking is also weak. The principle differences are that we can demonstrate the carcinogenic agents in cigarette smoke, and that we have stronger and more comprehensive data surrounding smoking and its correlations to cancers such as lung cancer.
I'm actually going to have to stop here though. I tried typing out further explanation, but what's the point? Causation was not established in that article, nor any of the others. That's not speculation; it's fact. Without a mechanism for causation, it's difficult to interpret or make practical use of the correlation.
I find it incredibly hard to believe you actually read the article in its entirety anyway, at least not before I addressed it directly. It really looks like you just grabbed the first few headlines that popped up in a search and cited them as evidence for a weakly defended position. I do not assert that my position is superior, but I find it difficult to believe you have any interest in understanding my position to begin with. mean come on; you won't even read your own evidence.
You go on to make claims that the scientific community sees the issue as no debate when more than one of the articles you provide state that it is still a matter of contention. The other articles make no statement one way or the other here. I can only access the abstracts anyway, so there's a limit to how much use I can get out of those references to begin with. It isn't clear where you are getting this information. I just don't find this exchange rewarding enough to continue so I am bowing out at this point.
Moot Point: "An issue regarded as potentially debatable, but no longer practically applicable. Although the idea may still be worth debating and exploring academically, and such discussion may be useful for addressing similar issues in the future, the idea has been rendered irrelevant for the present issue."
The study concludes that between no spanking and any frequency of spanking there is a linear relationship. Including frequency is therefore not practically applicable to the pertained question, thus the point is moot.
Thank you for the clarification. Though the study did not include severity, any increase in frequency cause an identical increase in psychological disorders. Therefore frequency cannot be used as a justification since anything that increases the probability of an unwanted result is considered undesirable.
You cannot use the weaknesses considered in a study as evidence of the conclusion being weak. Researchers detail the weaknesses as not to be attacked for not considering them. You will either have to provide evidence of weaknesses the study did not incorporate or evidence that the detailed weaknesses are understated in their effect. Studies are based on an assumption that even despite the presented weaknesses, the conclusion holds.
And your argument is an argumentum ad populum fallacy, as it relies on an argumentum ad numerum. Your argument was: Millions of kids have been spanked and the vast majority have not taken any ill effect. Therefore spanking is not bad. Your claim is the same as saying that because most shaken babies do not get SBS, shaking babies is acceptable.
"You go on to make claims that the scientific community sees the issue as no debate when more than one of the articles you provide state that it is still a matter of contention."
Would this meta-study, the strongest type of study in the social sciences, suffice as evidence for researchers agreeing that corporal punishment has negative side effects? The conclusion is, despite and taken into consideration a large number of caveats:
"The primary conclusion from the meta-analyses of these 88
studies conducted over the last 62 years is that parental corporal
punishment is associated significantly with a range of child behaviors and experiences, including both short- and long-term,
individual- and relationship-level, and direct (physical abuse) and
indirect (e.g., delinquency and antisocial behavior) constructs.
Although it is related with immediate compliance, corporal punishment is associated with 10 undesirable constructs. The effect sizes tended to be medium in size (per J. Cohen, 1988) and were
remarkably consistent—94% of the individual effect sizes represented undesirable behaviors or experiences."
Your argument was: Millions of kids have been spanked and the vast majority have not taken any ill effect. Therefore spanking is not bad.
No, I have never made such an argument. It's not really consistent with anything I've written in this thread. This that confirms my suspicion that there is not benefit to continuing dialogue with you.
Spanking is definitely a form of physical punishment which is child abuse. The punishment shouldn't be the same for much worse acts of violence; but it definitely is child abuse.
Spanking does NOTHING to teach the child what the root cause of the problem. The child learns that hitting can solve problems and will most likely resort to hitting and some sorts of violence when older. Studies show that spanking does not improve the psychological well being of a child. If raising a kid right, you should be able to have a mutual relationship with them in which you can create psychological components to teach the kid what he or she may have done wrong. When people justify spanking, it is because they either spank their children themselves or were spanked themselves and feel that they "ended up fine". This is not logical or rational and the bottom line is, as atheists we should look at the empirical data rather than basing it on our subjective beliefs and experiences.