Friday, December 23, 2005

Tis the Season to Learn Better   posted by michael vassar @ 12/23/2005 10:14:00 AM

With Christmas here, I have to wonder, how many kids recognize the parallels between Jesus and Santa and discard the former with the latter. I honestly don't know. It seems like it should be a lot, but doesn't seem to be that common. I was raised reform Jewish, so it took me a long time to figure out about Santa, but by that I mean it took me a long time (until I was 11 or so) to figure out that some children *did* believe in Santa. It took me much longer to figure out that actually the overwhelming majority of adults believed something even more silly, and still longer (until late in college) to figure out that no, they don't, at least if their beliefs are judged by their actions.

As I think about this, I realize that young kids really do believe in Santa however, and I wonder whether this is a function of neotony. Might it be the case that more neotanous people are worse at double-think, and thus that the cost of religion is much greater for them than for their less neotanous companions? Might this also make them less capable in politics and certain other sorts of leadership? Any ideas on any of this?