Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic

On Friday the Dallas News published a Q&A with Mason Crumpacker. You’ll remember Mason from an earlier post as the girl who, at the Texas Freethought meetings, asked Christopher Hitchens to recommend some books; Hitch took the time to answer her in detail.

Anyway, the piece is behind a paywall, and that ticked me off a bit, so I’ll put the whole thing up here.

You’ll want to read this, for the child is amazing.  It’s hard to believe, from her answers, that she’s only nine. Whatever her parents are doing, they’re doing right (and of course her genes play a role. . . .).

* * * * *

Point Person: Our Q&A with 9-year-old Mason Crumpacker

When atheists and “freethinkers” gathered in Houston this month to hear noted atheist and author Christopher Hitchens speak, Mason Crumpacker of McKinney, who just turned 9, drew international attention by asking Hitchens a question about what books she should read. Points recently caught up with Mason and her parents to ask some questions of our own. Note: This is a longer version of the Q&A in the Oct. 30, 2011, Points section of The Dallas Morning News.

What is the difference between a freethinker, an agnostic and an atheist?

An agnostic is someone who says that they can never be sure [about God’s existence], that it’s something unprovable. And they’re right. An atheist is someone who says the same thing, but they’re probably going to go with “no.” A freethinker is somebody who thinks outside of the church.

Does a freethinker not believe in God, or just not believe in religion?

It means you don’t believe in religion. … It doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t believe in God. I don’t really believe in religion. It treats kids very badly.

How so?

When we were at the atheist convention, a man … talked about a 15-year-old who had a brain tumor, and her mom didn’t believe in modern science. So she [the child] never really got [the tumor] out. So she died. She [the mother] only believed that God would make it better.

Why did you decide to go to an atheist convention?

I thought it would be interesting to meet different freethinkers and see what they thought about the world. I just wanted to boost my intellectual curiosity.

If someone invited you to a Christian convention, or a Buddhist convention or Hari Krishna convention, would you go?

Probably. I’d like to experiment with different religions. I just like to see what they believe and see if they make sense or not.

What do you think is the role of religion in people’s understanding of right versus wrong?

Religion is a way to get their children to behave. The world is kind of scary without religion, for them because they don’t know what is going to happen.

How does a religion have to “make sense”?

If someone questions [a religious belief] and just says, how do you know this is right? The priest says: Well, it’s in the Bible, isn’t it? Everything revolves around the Bible. Some people believe that if the Bible says it, it’s true, completely true. If I do decide to believe in something, they should have further proof.

Without religion, how would children distinguish between right and wrong?

I personally think they would have their parents to guide them along the way. And if their parents were raised right, they could have an open mind, have fun and be safe.

When people went on the blogs to write about what happened between you and Christopher Hitchens, did it frighten you, considering that you live in the very religion-oriented state of Texas?

I think it’s kind of scary. Because some people can get hurt very badly over religion. That’s what happened to a lot of atheists in the United States. That’s all. Verbally and physically.

Why did you decide it was important to ask a question of Hitchens?

Because I had just found out that he was dying, and he’s a brilliant man. And I felt that his knowledge of the world shouldn’t be wasted, and that someone should continue what he started.

Where will he go when he dies?

Nowhere.

Did he answer you the way you expected to be answered?

Yes. He was very honest to me and very, very nice. I think all adults should be honest to kids with their answers and take them seriously. They’re living people, too. I especially hate when adults dumb it down for me.

Should you be treated like an adult?

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I like being taken seriously, but I’m just not ready to be an adult. I don’t want to pay taxes. I never want to do that.

So which are you, an atheist, an agnostic or a freethinker?

I wouldn’t say I’ve decided my religion yet. I’m going to kind of experiment around and see if there’s any religion I like in particular. But if I do decide to be a freethinker, the chances are very high. … I just want it all to make sense.

Is there anything that Hitchens has said or written that you don’t agree with?

I haven’t read Christopher Hitchens. I’m 9.

You used to go to a Christian school. What did you think about their lessons?

It was a Christian Montessori school. Actually, all they did was build block towers, shine mirrors and eat Chex mix. … We used to sing songs about God and Jesus and rainbows and pretty bunnies. The bunnies didn’t bother me so much.

You said you want religion to make sense. Have you ever tried looking at the teachings of the Bible and applying your own criterion: Does it make sense?

I think it’s very good to question things, for adults, children of all ages to question their beliefs and work them all out. … I personally think the story of Adam and Eve doesn’t really make sense. What proof is there of a Garden of Eden? What proof is there of God creating man and woman and giving them a tree of knowledge [whose fruit] they were not supposed to eat? It’s like saying this to a kid: OK, don’t eat the cookie on the countertop. You know what they’re going to do. They’re going to eat the cookie!

If people read this interview and tell you that you’re wrong, how would you answer them?

That people are entitled to their own beliefs. Beliefs like the Buddhists are inclined to believe that there’s a Buddha. Christians are inclined to believe that there is a Christ. And Pastafarians are allowed to believe that there is a flying spaghetti monster. I’m a pastafarianist.

Why do you think we’re here? How did we get here?

By evolution. We evolved from tiny little microscopic cells, which formatted into bigger cells, which created the first fish, who slowly evolved into lizards, who became the dinosaurs. And then [they] kind of started over again but took a different path to becoming the first mammal, which became the chimp-like creature we call Australopithecus afarensis, who slowly evolved into Homo habilis, who evolved into Homo erectus, to Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon people who slowly gave way to who we are. [She turns to her parents.] Did I do good with that? … [She then translates each into French.]

These are the kinds of questions that occupy a lot of adult thought. People might want to know: Why aren’t you busy thinking 9-year-old thoughts? Why aren’t you just enjoying your childhood?

I am enjoying my childhood. I’m kind of shocked about that. I think questioning beliefs is good for a 9-year-old, since most 9-year-olds are halfway out of the house. It’s a good time to start questioning things and questioning their beliefs and making them become good people who know a lot about the world.

When you’re not questioning your beliefs, what do you do for fun?

I like to sing, I take dancing lessons, and I also like reading. I love swimming and roller skating.

What do you like to read? Your question to Mr. Hitchens was about books.

I said I was on the seventh book of Harry Potter, and I also like The Golden Compass books by Phillip Pullman, which are kind of in response to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

You like that book?

Yes, despite all of the religious metaphors, it’s a really good story. … And when [Aslan] sacrifices himself on the stone table, that’s sort of like Jesus on the cross. I like the [Greek] Myths by Robert Graves. I also like Ali Finkel’s Rules for Girls , by Meg Cabot . She likes rules. It’s a book about a 9-year-old named Ali Finkle, where she has to go through a move, and her best friend is all against that and tries to prevent the move. … She makes up some rules. And the book is partly about … surviving.

Does man need to have rules?

Yes.

Some would argue that religion is really just a set of rules.

It sounds like worshiping to me.

It is, but it’s also a set of rules. Like the Jews, who believe you can’t eat crustaceans or cloven-hoofed animals. For Muslims, you have to pray five times a day. For Christians, some rules apply, and some don’t. Which is why I asked if religion helps people know the difference between right and wrong.

I just don’t believe that religion qualifies as a set of rules. I know that people believe in religion and trust it.

What’s the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is to learn, have fun and experience different things, about the miracle of life. Or maybe not the ‘miracle’ of life. …

Is it OK for the word “miracle” to just express the wonderment of life without it necessarily having a religious connotation?

Yes, I think so. Yes.

You found out a few years ago about Santa Claus. What did that do to your whole belief system?

I found out when I was 6 that he wasn’t real. I was crushed because if the image of Santa Claus isn’t there, then who is the person who gives you the presents? But then you eventually figure out that it’s your mom and dad who are [playing] Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, I eventually found out about those, too.

Did that make you ask questions about God?

No. I really didn’t think about it that much when I found out about Santa Claus.

This Q&A was conducted, edited and condensed by editorial writer Tod Robberson. His email address is trobberson@dallasnews.com. Mason Crumpacker can be reached via mama@socraticmama.com.

122 Comments

  1. Steve Smith
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    He was very honest to me and very, very nice. I think all adults should be honest to kids with their answers and take them seriously. They’re living people, too. I especially hate when adults dumb it down for me.

    This. Some of the remarkable things I’ve observed as a parent is that:

    (1) It’s a real challenge to b.s. a kid by skating around the truth because they’re like little trial attorneys, questioning everything over and over, matching it up against what else they’ve been told. They will spiritedly correct the smallest inconsistency or deviation.

    (2) Kids respond with equanimity to difficult truths told with care and seriousnress to them by parents or other care-givers.

    I’d add as a consequence of answering kids seriously is that they must be told that oftentimes parents don’t know or make mistakes with their answers and it’s the kid’s job to figure out when that happens and point it out respectfully.

  2. Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    I’m feeling better about our future after reading that!

    • Jack van Beverningk
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      You do realize that the reason that this is ‘news’ is its rarity, right?
      But I agree, that this comes out of Texas -of all States- is encouraging.

      • Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        True! That’s why I’m feeling “better”, but not complacent about the future.

        A few governors before Perry, Texas elected Ann Richards. It is also the home of Jim Hightower and the late Molly Ivins, so there’s hope even here!

        • phaenarete0042
          Posted October 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Let’s not forget Barbara Jordan!

  3. Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Out of the mouths of Babes….
    Well done Mason x

  4. Peter White
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I hereby nominate Mason Crumpacker: Woman of the Year!

    • Gordon
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      She is impressive!

    • Jake
      Posted November 4, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Crumpacker 2012

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    … The bunnies didn’t bother me so much.

    All super replies, but that was my favorite line. Her inbox is probably on fire now. It would be interesting to know what proportion support her.

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      I haven’t read Christopher Hitchens. I’m 9.

      That was my fav. ROFL funny!

  6. Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Ha!

    Mason, if you got a kick out of the silliness of Genesis, you’d really enjoy G. John. Start with the story of Lazarus, where Jesus reanimates a stinking corpse over the protestations of the dearly departed’s family. When you get to the story of Doubting Thomas, ask yourself not only how much sense it makes that Jesus would be walking around with gaping holes in his hands, feet, and chest, but what it says about him as a person that he would want to have somebody fondle his intestines through that gaping chest wound.

    How would you react in such a situation? And what would you think if sombebody insisted that you must eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus else you’ll face eternal torture?

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      You do understand there is nothing about fondling intestines through a gaping whole, right? He just said to touch the wound to see that it was real. You might want to try to keep it real yourself.

      • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        As real as the stuff about dinosaurs on the site you link to HERE ?

        Anyway that’s just Ben’s humorous style regarding all the Bible stories about child sacrifice, murder, genocide, rape, incest etc.

        You know what I mean ~ all the scary lies you’ve fed children for over 2,000 years

      • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

        Dude, I can’t make this shit up.

        Cheers,

        b&

  7. Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Some would argue that religion is really just a set of rules.

    It sounds like worshiping to me.”

    Amazing.

  8. NewEnglandBob
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    She is only 9? We have to wait until she is 35 to nominate her for the presidency, minimum 35. She is truly amazing.

    Stupid question of the day:

    These are the kinds of questions that occupy a lot of adult thought. People might want to know: Why aren’t you busy thinking 9-year-old thoughts? Why aren’t you just enjoying your childhood?

    Which, of course, she answered very well.

  9. Mettyx
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    She sounded very wishy-washy, I think she is going to be an accommodationist when she grows up.

    • zyxek
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      I hope you’re joking.

    • Alex
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, unfortunately. I also spot some Neo-Keynesian tendencies with a subtle bias against critical rationalism.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      It sounded more like she was just being honest to me. If she was trying to be an accommodationist, she probably would have said things you liked better.

      • Kharamatha
        Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:02 am | Permalink

        Since when do accomodationists say anything we like?

        But I don’t think she sounded particularly wishy-washy. Dood, 9 years.
        If she sounds unsure about some part, she probably hasn’t gotten to it yet.

  10. Tim
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Mason’s a smart and wonderfully clear-thinking child. I am, however, hoping this is the last we’ll hear from her for a long while. Elevating children to celebrity status creeps me out – even great kids like her.

    • Microraptor
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Very much so. Kids who grow up in the lime light have a disturbing tendency to make maladjusted adults, too.

    • Marta
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

    • raven
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Ask Kirk Cameron about that.

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s gone too far, yet. Local newspapers frequently print stories about kids who make news. I suspect that by the next week, most will have forgotten. I agree there is some cause to worry about increasing exploitation; but perhaps the same combination of bright kid + nurturing parents that has brought her this far will be able to handle the danger appropriately.

  11. PCS
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t skeptic sound a little bit negative?

    • Jack van Beverningk
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Not to skeptics (like myself).

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Usage of “skeptic” has changed over time. Early Greek academic skepticism and pyrrhonian skepticism held that nothing could be known for certain. That was in the days before the scientific method was well-developed. Modern scientific skepticism holds that belief should be apportioned according to evidence.

      • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Really? Which came first, the belief that man evolved from an ape-like ancestor, or the fossil of the ape-like ancestor that the belief was based upon? Oh yeah, I guess that’s why they are called “missing links.” Aren’t you glad we have all those thousands of clearly defined fossils in transtion from one kind of life form to another, and have all those life forms walking around today that we can observe that are in transition. I agree though, belief should be apportioned according to evidence. Too bad it isn’t.

        • GaryU
          Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          I take it you haven’t bothered to read the book that this website takes its name from? Ya might wanna run off and do that now. We’ll wait.

        • Kharamatha
          Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:03 am | Permalink

          *slow-clap*

    • DV
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      I doubt it.

      • Diane G.
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        :)

  12. Jean Kazez
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Mason, I love the part where you said “I haven’t read Christopher Hitchens. I’m 9.” Also the part about leaving the cookie on the counter. That’s brilliant. You handled his questions wonderfully. Congratulations on a job very well done!

  13. zyxek
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Small correction. Though the website is called DallasNews.com, the newspaper is the Dallas Morning-News.

  14. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe…You like that book?
    Yes, despite all of the religious metaphors, it’s a really good story. … And when [Aslan] sacrifices himself on the stone table, that’s sort of like Jesus on the cross.

    The distinction is that one of those stories is acknowledged fiction.

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! But those kids are mixing everything nowadays, sf, historical documents, opinion or events.
      That’s why there are more skeptic, there is no line between facts and ideas.

      Doesn’t matter beliefs, matters honesty in looking for the true.

  15. ManOutOfTime
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    “I haven’t read Hitchens. I’m 9.” Mega LULZ!

    • Egbert
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      You know when adults have lost the plot when they turn to children for wisdom.

  16. Posted October 30, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The Dallas Morning News is indeed behind a paywall, but reader comments are not. You can view those HERE

    I am surprised & relieved that besides Anne Crumpacker’s own comment, there are only five other comments/replies ~ all of them favourable. It’s 11:40am there maybe ther’ll be more when the flock leaves the good shepherd & returns to their homes.

  17. Aratina Cage
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Did that make you ask questions about God?

    No. I really didn’t think about it that much when I found out about Santa Claus.

    :) So true. Most kids don’t really care at all about whether or not Jesus or other gods are actually real at that age.

  18. HaggisForBrainsDS7
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Wow! Just – wow! There’s hope for Texas and USA yet.

    • Brain Logic
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Haggis, haven’t I seen you somewhere before? Perhaps on the irreverent, hilarious Jesus and Mo’ comic strip webpage?

      Yes, the young lady comported herself with calm, dignity, and a bright smile when she spoke with Mr. Hitchens. She is quite something.

      Kids are like this, when adults around them don’t (unconsciously, perhaps) manipulate them into retaining the babyhood they should so quickly exceed. Even when they are being overly babied, an adult addressing them with proper dignity and full honesty can bring out the maturity, at times. I’ve done so, with those as young as 2 years old, in the ER with a broken arm. The parents calm, when the kids do, and the kids calm when they feel properly attended to rather than thrown around like the proverbial sack of potatoes.

  19. Troy
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I had to lol when I read that Mason never wants to pay taxes.

    Perhaps she should become a hedge fund manager then. Or a church.

  20. Jim
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    What a great perspective this young lady has. Too bad we aren’t living in the Middle East so I could take her as one of my wives. ;)

  21. dieter
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The faitheists and accommodationists are correct after all. Fundamentalists of the religious kind but also communists, femminists, conservatives and other ideological groups love to parade child their prodigies around.

    These kids usually just repeat what they have been told, or what the have overheard, in order to impress adults. Such kids are certainly ahead of their age in terms of their verbal skills.

    But there is no indication that this girl’s beliefs are based on her own genuine insights.

    At her age I personally had already rejected, what I now know to be, Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs. I rejected the notion that God was necessary or important in creating the universe or species. I rejected the notion that catholic doctrine represents God’s manual for how to live life on the grounds that other religions exists and God doesn’t bother to set the record straight.

    But I would have put all of this in children’s terms. I didn’t know about the words “atheism”, “freethought” or “skepticism” until long after I had rejected the existence of God entirely.

    I furthermore wouldn’t have related my insights in terms of general theory but rather in relation to specific claims made in songs, religious instruction or sermons.

    I didn’t confide my skepticism to adults, including my non-religous parents, who took me only to church whenever we visited our rural relatives or on christmas. I discussed my skepticism exclusively with like-minded kids who too suspected that there was something fishy about this catholicism business. But we understood that this was a taboo subject and that religious practice was what people were supposed to do in order to prove their respectability in society.

    A certain share of kids are and have always been skeptics, but they wouldn’t express themselves in terms of contemporary, new atheist jargon.

    Anyway, the Christians are going to have a field day with her, if she converts to Christianity in a couple of years because she falls in love with a boy from a Christian youth group or something.

    It is sad to see, but as Atheism gets to be increasingly mainstream, we are going to to see more of such pathetic displays of self-affirmation that were hitherto exclusively practiced in the religious camp.

    • gillt
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t know about the words “atheism”, “freethought” or “skepticism” until long after I had rejected the existence of God entirely.

      but they wouldn’t express themselves in terms of contemporary, new atheist jargon.

      Did I miss something? Since when is “atheism” “contemporary, new atheist jargon”?

      The more likely explanation is that she’s just more well read than you were at her age. That and her parents aren’t thought-policing her as yours may well have been.

      • dieter
        Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        My parents didn’t thought police me. Where did you get that impression from?

        I used to read about Ships, Tanks, Dinosaurs and Commodore C64 programming manuals and Asterix at the time.

        “atheism” is not new atheist jargon. I should have probably said “new atheist themes” in addition to “jargon”.

        Let’s engage in some literary criticism:

        “What proof is there of God creating man and woman and giving them a tree of knowledge [whose fruit] they were not supposed to eat? It’s like saying this to a kid: OK, don’t eat the cookie on the countertop. You know what they’re going to do. They’re going to eat the cookie!”

        The cookie on the countertop analogy is classically new atheist. I’ve heard it on the Infidelguy’s show years ago.

        “And Pastafarians are allowed to believe that there is a flying spaghetti monster. I’m a pastafarianist.”

        Only few people outside of the new atheists have ever heard about pastafarianism, let alone use it to convey a point, or think it’s convincing or clever.

        “I wouldn’t say I’ve decided my religion yet. I’m going to kind of experiment around and see if there’s any religion I like in particular. But if I do decide to be a freethinker, the chances are very high. … I just want it all to make sense.”

        The notion that children should engage in a deliberate and self-concious project to rationally choose between religions and, hopefully, choose the path or identity of “freethought”, is an ideal of new atheist parenting.

        At her age, I was more like Sam Harris. I simply rejected specific religious claims, as they crossed my path, but didn’t form an identity in relation to religion.

        Do they even teach biblical literalism and original sin at Christian Montessori schools? I would be surprised if this was the case.

        The bulk of New Atheist argumentation is made in opposition to biblically literalist fundamentalist evangelicalism. It appears that her assumptions about Christian beliefs come indirectly from New Atheist sources.

        • Microraptor
          Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Dude, did it ever occur to you that maybe she’s just smarter than you were at that age?

          And Pastafarianism is not something that few people who aren’t New Atheists have heard of, it’s been around for about a decade and it’s managed to get itself around quite a bit since then. Quite frankly, that statement is like claiming that Dungeons & Dragons is something only nerds who still live in their parents’ basements know about- a stereotype that isn’t remotely based off reality.

        • Egbert
          Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          There needs to be a new term for ‘sceptics’ who are neither accommodationist nor gnu, but see problems in both. Maybe just ‘sceptic’ is good enough.

          • dieter
            Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            Let’s start a new breakaway sect. But only if I get to be the pope. ;-)

            Here is an example of a kid that conservatives claim is a genius:

            • Egbert
              Posted October 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

              Proof enough that politics poisons everything.

          • Jim Jones
            Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            How about “Evidence deficient”? Describes me!

            Romans, Corinthians (I & II) and Philomen — that’s all you’ve got apart from the TF? That’s a little light as evidence for a resuscitated god man worshiped by millions. Glycon is starting to look better.

        • Se Habla Espol
          Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

          The notion that children should engage in a deliberate and self-concious project to rationally choose between religions and, hopefully, choose the path or identity of “freethought”, is an ideal of new atheist parenting.

          So, how far ahead of my time were my parents and I when I did just that in the 1940’s?

          • dieter
            Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

            I’m am not ruling out prior art. That’s besides the point.

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:05 am | Permalink

          The notion that children should engage in a deliberate and self-concious project to rationally choose between religions and, hopefully, choose the path or identity of “freethought”, is an ideal of new atheist parenting.

          Yeah? So how do you explain those of us who were parenting this way long before the concept of ‘new atheism’ arose?

          • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            Not to mention those of us who were parenting that way despite being (liberal) Christians at the time.

        • Krista
          Posted November 5, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          I went through this myself around age 10 (maybe something in the dallas water) and thought and spoke at the same level. I think that she’s got her mind in the right direction: open to new possible things.

    • stacy
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      In response to Dieter: I don’t how long it has been since you were 9, and I don’t know if you have raised children yourself, but some points you state sound overly skeptical of Mason’s understanding of her world and the extent of parental involvement with her choice of words.
      What this interview showed me was the potential advantage for providing children younger than Mason a quality education.
      I raised two boys myself, one deciding to become a Christian at the age of 18, and the other continually exploring scientifically based reasoning of the universe. After a few years, my Christian son moved away from Biblical dogma on his own.

      Nobody learns in a vacuum, so of course Mason’s parents and other influential people in her life are helping her to build her own concepts and philosophies of the universe, as it should be.

      The remarkable thing about this interview is that Mason demonstrates an ability that I believe many children her age possess, but of which is rarely publicized; the ability to understand concepts such as evolution, mythology and religious dogma, and the confidence to ask questions. This type of unbridled curiosity may have genetics at the start, but her environment (and her people) deserve credit as well.

    • Alex
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 4:39 am | Permalink

      dieter,
      I share some of your concerns. The extent to which the new atheist interwebz are all over her every utterance is out of proportion. The things she says are certainly some of her own thoughts mixed with stuff she simply picked up. Some of it may change, some of it may stay. She’s pretty smart for her age.

      The fact that she so comfortably uses the vocabulary and phrases required to discuss religion and atheism, while not heaving read advanced atheist “grownup” literature at all, means that she must have explicitly discussed those topics in those exact terms with her parents, and some of her ideas are certainly heavily influenced or simply mirror some of the things her parents have said or lead her towards. N

      ot that I have a problem with that, I find it wonderful if she has that kind of intellectual stimulation, but us gasping with excitement every time she drops a smart line, that leaves a bad taste. She is not a messianic figure for all those who need reassurance that atheism is good, nor is she the monkey that has been taught to hold a cane and wear a top hat. Maybe it’s a difference of cultures, USians have more of a tendency to put kids in the spotlight and glorify them than EUians, and that might be the origin of my doubts.

      • dieter
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        We are on the same page.

        The conservative kid, I linked to above, is also smart. He is able to understand and apply the ideology he has been taught.

        Anybody who perceives Mason Crumpacker as brilliant, but shruggs the conservative kid off as merely brainwashed, suffers from confirmation bias.

        The US vs. EU thing is an interesting observation.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      It might be beneficial to find out what the difference is between being a skeptic, and being an honest searcher of truth. They clearly are not the same.

      • Alex
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Why do you say that?

        • Microraptor
          Posted October 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Because being an “honest searcher of truth” means starting out with preconceptions of how the world works based on what you learned in Sunday school and ignoring anything that doesn’t match that, apparently.

    • Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Well said, the term, we are our parents keepers is a fact of life. We grow up to understand life as we are given it. The fact that she is 9 shows that this is what she is given to learn at that age.
      As for religion, as she gets older, of course, she will make her mind up in what to believe. For now, she has a headstart to see what many others her age may never see…a world of many different cultures in life.

  22. Posted October 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    WOW!Mason, you are on the right track. Your parents must be wonderful people. You are lucky to have them.

  23. gillt
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Where will he go when he dies?

    Nowhere.

    The reporter’s an ass for engaging in question-begging with a 9 year old.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Her response here was clearly not based upon knowledge. This is something you are either taught to believe, or you choose to believe. It’s too bad people can’t stick to what they actually know, and keep an open mind.

      • Tim
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Right, and if I say the Ghost of Christmas Past doesn’t live in my attic, that’s just something I choose to believe. If I were really keeping an open mind and sticking to things I know, I wouldn’t say that. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

      • Jim Jones
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        If people stuck to what they actually know, religion would die out in a decade.

      • Kharamatha
        Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        “Her response here was clearly not based upon knowledge.”

        “It’s too bad people can’t stick to what they actually know, and keep an open mind.”

        (I like when my replies write themselves.)

  24. Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    This was a bit dogmatic:
    Where will he go when he dies?

    Nowhere.

    I’d have preferred, “I don’t know, but who says he’s going anywhere?” or the like, but heck, she’s 9.

    So I loved this:
    Is there anything that Hitchens has said or written that you don’t agree with?

    I haven’t read Christopher Hitchens. I’m 9.

    • tall blue ape
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      i say ‘nowhere’ without missing a beat, it’s a simple fact to me… i loved her answer, seems she feels the same way.

      i love this kid, i wanna adopt the hell out of her!

      • Posted November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        There isn’t any hell in her, didn’t you hear her?

  25. Saikat Biswas
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    What a terrific kid! What clear, precise thoughts! We all look forward to hearing and reading more from you Mason.

  26. Neil Pattison
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Though I have no faith in religion, this is a step in the right direction for building on my faith in humanity. What an inspiring, articulate and incredibly wise child.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Forget about religion. Does a Supreme Being exist, and can we have a personal relationship with that Supreme Being? To just state that He or She doesn’t exist is a choice not based upon knowledge.

      • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Okay, I give.

        What’s a Supreme Being?

        b&

      • Kharamatha
        Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

        “Does a Supreme Being exist, and can we have a personal relationship with that Supreme Being?”

        Yeah, I’m here. Want something?

  27. Le Fang
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t read Christopher Hitchens. I’m 9.

    I don’t think Sheldon Cooper woulda said that^

    • Brain Logic
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Too funny!

    • Bacopa
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Sheldon Cooper attempted to build a nuclear reactor at age ten. He also grew up with a fundie mother and an abusive alcoholic father.

      I have seen Jim Parsons live in person many years ago at Stages Rep in Houston. He went on to become a regular at the Alley Theatre.

      Stage actors seldom do well on television, but sometimes they are perfect in TV comedy. The broad gestures and exaggerated expressions that work on the stage seldom work in television, but for Parsons playing Sheldon, they work.

      Same thing with Katherine Helmond, who is a BOI (Born On The Island, a hardcore Texas credential). She had been doing Broadway for twenty years before she got the role of Jessica Tate in Soap.

  28. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to experiment with different religions. I just like to see what they believe and see if they make sense or not.

    I would encourage investigation, but I’m not sure that I would go so far as to advocate experimentation. Some cults are too dangerous to mess around with. Scientology, for example. They have been quite vicious in going after former Scientologists. It is possible to find out enough about Scientology from a distance to know that it does not have an inside track on the truth.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Good response.

    • Jim Jones
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      For Scientology, search for torrents and download the books to read. Also, see http://www.xenu.net/ and http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/bfm/bfmconte.htm

      And this is really no crazier than any of the Middle Eastern death cults as the Taliban and Al Qaeda prove.

      • Microraptor
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Nothing in Scientology is really any nuttier than the stuff in mainstream Christianity (except the degree of aggression exhibited against people they don’t like), but people* are used to Christianity and not Scientology, so they thing Scientology’s the weird one.

        *By people I mean those of us who’ve grown up in a country with Christianity as the predominant religion, like the US.

  29. phaenarete0042
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    From Mason’s mother:
    What you are witnessing is the messy act of parenting. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong. If you ask Mason the same set of questions next month she may give you different answers and that is the point. She is exploring her own thoughts. We have been called simultaneously “wishy-washy accommodationists” and “militant atheists” Goes to prove you can make some of the people happy some of the time. The religious right certainly seem to have the upper hand where we live in Texas, but Mason’s simple “I don’t see it” attitude has sparked a local debate. The story of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” has been on my mind a lot during the last few weeks.

    We’ve gotten many emails today from both sides, but I thought I’d through the WIET crew this latest one for a bit of fun. Bon appetit!

    *************************
    Gentlemen,
    I would like to make some observations for Miss Crumpacker to consider in her search for meaning and truth.

    First, how can Miss Crumpacker know with certainty that Mr Hitchens will go nowhere when he dies? There are many documented stories of people who died and went somewhere.

    Secondly, on the issue of determining right or wrong actions with no moral absolutes, Miss Crumpacker states that that would be governed by ones parents being raised right. But what is ‘right’ with no moral absolutes? Suppose the parents were raised to believe in incest and rape of their children? Would that be ‘right’? If not, why not, if that’s what the parents truly believed. You can’t steal morals from Christianity and leave out God -that makes no logical sense. If morals are relative, then the logical extension of that, short of a military dictatorship, is moral chaos and the collapse of any culture, as everyone will do what they think best for themselves. You can’t logically have it both ways-no God, but use of God’s morality.

    Thirdly, Miss Crumpacker’s explanation of how we got here is very incomplete. Even Charles Darwin said he didn’t have a clue about how life started. Miss Crumpacker’s explanation presupposes life already, so that doesn’t answer Mr Robberson’s real question which was “How did we get here?”. No matter how far we take this question back, we are faced with the ultimate question of where did the universe come from along with all the matter and energy, and the intricately interconnected laws of physics, biology, mathematics, chemistry, incredible order and balance in the universe, etc? How did the DNA obtain the information that is packed within it? In fact how did information evolve at all? Miss Crumpacker did not address those questions.

    Fourthly, she should ask herself how many hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, elder care facilities, red cross groups, etc do atheists operate? On the other hand how much carnage has been wreaked on mankind by atheists in just the last century? Estimates indicate over 100,000,000 people have died at the hands of atheists, and that number does not include the maimed, family misery, and property destruction that has come with these wanton murders.

    Finally, an open challenge to Miss Crumpacker and all atheists out there-prove beyond a shadow of doubt that there is no God.

    The truth is, God loves Miss Crumpacker, and no amount of her unbelief will make Him, or His love for her disappear……
    ************************
    This email was signed, but I have removed the identifiers.

    • Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Mason’s mother:

      “What you are witnessing is the messy act of parenting. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong. If you ask Mason the same set of questions next month she may give you different answers and that is the point. She is exploring her own thoughts”

      Love this

    • Brain Logic
      Posted October 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      If I may, I’d like to address answers to the emailer’s questions, just in case Mason finds them helpful (and you find them worthy of sharing with her).

      “First” [sic], Mr. Hitchens, himself, has answered the question of where he will go when he dies. He is reknowned for his knowledge, education, sharp mind and critical reasoning skills, all so far beyond most of us, particularly adults, that believing his assessment of his future is like believing Einstein’s story of E=mc2. We can’t all know everything, so we must judge whose expertise is above our own and should be trusted (until and unless proven otherwise).

      “Secondly”, morals are merely standards of behavior balancing survival of the species and survival of the individual. As for God’s morals, one example is a pregnant woman who must have an abortion or die. There are believers in God and His morals who say, “No” to abortion, leaving the situation “in God’s hands”, when experts know for certain that death will result. I chose the experts, with knowledge based on reality, evidence, and understandings of health that are deliberately, constantly questioned in order to improve them. God’s morals, on the other hand, are twisted by God, Himself: “Do not sacrifice a human! Abraham, do not, after all, sacrifice your son! But, later, I’ll go against all of that in ways that make no legitimate sense at all.”

      “Thirdly”, you aparently believe in an explanation of origins that is also incomplete: God. Who created God? Where did God come from? If, as you insist, everything came from something, then God came from something, too.

      “Fourthly”, when has an atheist ever murdered millions in the name of atheism? Catholics had the Inquisition. Protestants and Catholics had the Holocaust (with Nazi belt buckles engraved, “Gott mit uns”, meaning, “God with us.”) Charitable organizations tend to be in the hands of the largest groups, so as religions threatened and cajoled others, the way you, dear sir, are trying to manipulate Miss Crumpacker, there were few if any others to organize into large, strong charities. If anything, the Jews, working for racial freedom in the 1950s, workers’ rights at the dawn of American unions, and even hospitals where they could practice because Christians, not so long ago, locked them out of Christian hospitals. (See Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, for example). Christian charities, in particular, are referred to as “ministries” for a reason. “Starving? Sure, we’ll open a food bank and feed you, but you have to accept our beliefs and behaviors, if you don’t want to starve.”

      The truth is, those who believe in God, or any god or gods at all, cannot agree, so if there is one God, why are there so many adamant versions?

      And as for God’s love, Mason is doing just fine with the love of her family and her own apparent love of truth.

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      There are many documented stories of people who died and went somewhere.

      Oh, yeah.

      • tall blue ape
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        ejemplo: my grandma died in florida last november. this summer, we took her ashes to canada and placed them next to grampa’s remains, in Nova Scotia.

        take that, you heathens! Baby Jesus 1, Atheists 0! ;)

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 1, 2011 at 1:03 am | Permalink

          I stand corrected.
          :D

  30. Stefan
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    She is just amazing. I cannot believe that she is only nine. Many people do not reach this level of thinking in their whole life.

  31. GalaDali
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Amazing! I am speechless! My daughter has been confused about religion, but she only knows what she has been exposed to which has been minimal, because I do not want to confuse her. Her parents are very wise and educated. Fear is the worst part us and will make us hide behind entities to act upon. The reality is that people make decisions. If you think you can judge what this little girl and what she has expressed beautifully and can psycho-analize with “God loves her” I’d say which one?! and shame on you for picking on a smart little girl but you have to run and hide because it was wrong to do! (your choice)

  32. Diane G.
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    How refreshing!

  33. Posted October 31, 2011 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Mason? I read in a Steven Pinker book that Madison was the most common girl’s name. These are last names, and even contain “son”. What’s up with this trend? (Of course, in a country where the Secretary of State has a name based on a mis-spelling, and poor Rena Coleman had to tell her teachers every year at the roll call at the beginning of the year “it’s ReNAY”, I suppose anything is possible.)

    • Anne Crumpacker
      Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Hey, Phillip(s),

      It isn’t easy coming up with something to go with “Crumpacker.” LOL
      Mason is a family name.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        It isn’t easy coming up with something to go with “Crumpacker.” LOL

        Some suggestions:

        Rye
        Phineas
        Toasted

        • Anne Crumpacker
          Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          You’ve got the idea! ROTFL Just doing the best with what we’ve been given….

  34. Posted October 31, 2011 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I am so impressed

  35. Posted October 31, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Wow she’s is certainly a very intellegent 9-year-old girl!

    I like her answer to the ‘meaning of life’ question :) Most adults would stumble at that question.

    Well done to her. Her parents have done a good job, she’s a credit to them.

    I agree that all children should be told the truth when they ask a question. Of course you should choose your words carefully when there is a delicate matter involved, but the truth is the truth and it’s important.
    Like adults, children also get upset to learn that they’ve been lied to.

    Never even heard of this child before, I’m going to seek this meeting where she asks him a question.

  36. Paul Marcowitz
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    @dieter et al

    Better to be a 9-year-old skeptic then a depressive cynic (Slap).

  37. Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I say that I am Gnostic because knowledge about myself, how my mind works perceiving reality, and how I express my thoughts in words, is the most important aspect of moving through the maze of the world, and knowing how the world works is important for me to know how to do things that are constructive rather than destructive. Knowledge of the world and myself is the essence of what the whole enterprise of religious groups should be about, elevating the level of my personal consciousness.

    • Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Elevating the level of your personal consciousness?

      And you also claim this:

      “I grew up a Seventh-day Adventist, and was called to be a prophet when I was 16. So I grew beyond all thought processes, and now my world view encompasses all religions and philosophies of the world”

      Nice ~ a woo smörgåsbord no less !

      • Kharamatha
        Posted November 1, 2011 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        Ahh, finally somebody who can answer the age old question: “Asura vs Deva – Who Would Win?”

        • Microraptor
          Posted November 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          Well, an Astral Deva has about twice the HP, plus it can cast healing and buff spells on itself, and its mace is magical and can stun the Asura.

          The Asura only has some rather weak fire based attacks. I doubt the Asura’s going to carry the day unless the Astral Deva has seriously terrible dice rolls.

          • Kharamatha
            Posted November 2, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            Well played.

  38. JBlilie
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    You go, girl!

  39. dunstar
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    lol. She should be writing at the Guardian instead of Andrew Brown.

  40. Freethinking Jew
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Hey! I created a Mason Crumpacker Fan Club page on Facebook!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-Crumpacker-Fan-Club/168402006587071

    (I got her mom’s approval.) If we make Mason into a star, it’ll encourage more kids and parents to be like Mason and her mom!

    • phaenarete0042
      Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Just got this email. This is the first “power christian” to respond.

      I am happy to stand up against this.
      Mr. Skell writes- The Bible clearly states that “the fool says in their heart there is no God,”

      I would rather quote, “The fool and his money are soon parted.”

      ********************

      To: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
      Subject: Sunday viewpoints “Posing the big questions”

      I read with great sadness the interview with young Mason Crumpacker. She is obviously
      a bright and thoughtful girl, who is beng led down the wrong path at such an impressionable
      age. The miracle of God’s creation, how precise and beautiful it is, did not just happen.
      Every one of us has a void in our life that can only be filled with a personal relationship
      with Almighty God through His son Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly states that “the fool
      says in their heart there is no God,” no matter what their age.
      Anton Skell
      (I have removed his address and phone number)
      **********************
      Quick name search leads to “Roaring Lamb’s Ministry.” Mr. Skell is a board member.

      ********************
      From “Roaring Lamb’s Ministry”
      Amplify Your Faith
      What does it mean to AMPLIFY YOUR FAITH?

      It means putting on the whole armor of God according to Ephesians Chapter 6, listening to the Holy Spirit for direction, and engaging the enemy on the battlefield! It means making a difference for Christ right where you are!

      IT’S TIME TO ROAR!

      Amplify Your Faith Without Ever Leaving Home!

      You never have to leave home to be a Roaring Lamb. Now, you can reach people in every nation by becoming an online missionary.

      Every day, more than 2 Million people around the world are searching for God and answers to life’s deepest questions on the internet. By just setting aside a few minutes each day, you can reach them with the Gospel at home in front of your computer.

      Join thousands of other Roaring Lambs through this Global Media Outreach, and click here to learn more and apply.Once your application is processed and approved, you will be placed in a training community and given all the tools to succeed. Even if you have never felt comfortable sharing your faith face to face, you will learn so much and grow in your faith by sharing and discipling people through being an online missionary. Join us today!

      Make a donation
      Amount: $100 (suggested)

      *******************

      • phaenarete0042
        Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        I meant to file this as a separate post. Not as a reply to 40. I’m sorry.

      • Microraptor
        Posted November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Heh, every time some bible thumper starts pulling the “the fool says in his heart” line, I always shoot back that I’m alright, then, because I don’t say things with my heart, I say them with my mouth. My heart’s reserved for powering my circulatory system.

        • phaenarete0042
          Posted November 3, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Thanks! I needed that. It’s like thinking with your mind and not your gut. I miss Sagan.

    • phaenarete0042
      Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Let’s NOT make Mason into a star.

      I really appreciate your support, but I’m not looking to “Colton Burpo” the kid!

      However, if readers would like to leave a kind message to Mason or use the Facebook page to find other like minded parents I am very happy to support it.

  41. Helgi Briem
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    What a wonderfully clear thinking and erudite young woman she is. My faith is restored ;-)

  42. Hugh Beaumont
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    She is correct when she says that one cannot merely believe something because the Bible says so. St. Augustine said 1600 years ago: “I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.”

  43. LotusEater
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Why is it considered astounding that a 9 year old asks questions about the world around her and the beliefs that drive some people in that world? For me that is absolutely normal for a 4 year old, let alone a 9 year old with some level of education, access to media and ability to see and listen to what is happening around her.

    Has American education lost its way so thoroughly that this is not possible anymore? That students are required to accept unquestioningly what they are told? Shades of the Chinese education system!!


12 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] this link: Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic Tags: bible, children, christian, church, house, houston, jesus, knowledge, texas « [...]

  2. [...] better half just pointed me towards this interview with a nine-year-old girl named Mason Crumpacker. This young lady made news in the blogosphere when [...]

  3. [...] You may have seen her subsequent interview in the Dallas Morning News. [...]

  4. [...] Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic | Why Evolution Is True. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  5. [...] http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/interview-with-a-9-year-old-skeptic/ Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed How to [...]

  6. [...] very hard as a team to grow a successful medical practice and we were afraid that Mason’s candid interview might cause our patients to blot. My husband specializes in the treatment of Alzheimer’s [...]

  7. [...] of responses to Mason’s interview in the Dallas Morning News have been positive.  It is the remaining 1.432769% that bugs me. I should just shoo off theses [...]

  8. [...] Mason Crumpacker:  Because I had just found out that he was dying, and he’s a brilliant man. And I felt that his knowledge of the world shouldn’t be wasted, and that someone should continue what he started. (Dallas Morning News) [...]

  9. [...] and tales chosen to nurture imagination and logic for both children and their grown ups.…Why did you decide it was important to ask a question of Hitchens?Because I had just found out that he was dying, and [...]

  10. [...] I found out about Zach’s petition to the Dallas Morning News when Mason was featured in the editorial section. Here’s the problem. The Texas Faith Blog is an online opinion blog covering religion. The [...]

  11. [...] when Mason was interviewed by the local paper she said, “I wouldn’t say I’ve decided my religion yet. I’m going to [...]

  12. [...] Threats of violence: My best example comes from the Dallas Morning News’ interview of my nine year-old daughter [...]

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