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Nomad and Relativism

Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a good book. However this statement in her Letter to My Unborn Daughter is silly:
I will bring you up to have faith in yourself, in science and your own reason and the force of life. And I will never seek to impose my own beliefs or unbelief on you.
The things in the first sentence are Ayaan's beliefs. She says both that she will cause her daughter to have them, and that she won't.

Ayaan fully intends to design her parenting so that her daughter does grow up to have certain beliefs rather than others. She's not going to be passive about it. Somehow she's trying to limit what "beliefs" encompass even though she's well aware that some cultures have wildly different beliefs about science, faith, life and reason (explaining that is a theme of her books).

A theme of Nomad is that modern Western culture is objectively better then primitive, tribal cultures, and that relativism is a mistake. Ayaan is wise to choose to promote her belief in science to her daughter. Her statement "I will never seek to impose my own beliefs" is a thoughtless platitude of just the type her book rightly opposes.

Elliot Temple on June 15, 2010

Messages (1)

It seems to me that by educating one's children to be able to reason for themselves the goal of having "faith in oneself.. " obtains and thus there is no coersive imposition of beliefs.

Anonymous at 10:03 PM on June 17, 2010 | #2060 | reply | quote

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