Andrea Yates and The History of Infanticide

27 Jul

Andrea Yates

It’s interesting how in the case of Andrea Yates, society is shocked that a mother will methodically kill her own children.

In history, infanticide was very common in most of the advanced, cultured ancient societies, like those of ancient Rome, Greek, China, India, and Japan.

There is an interesting letter from a Roman citizen to his spouse, dated from around 1 BC that gives a glimpse as to how casually infanticide was viewed:

“Know that I am still in Alexandria. […] I ask and beg you to take good care of our
baby son, and as soon as I received payment I shall send it up to you. If you are
delivered [before I come home], if it is a boy, keep it, if a girl, discard it.”
– Naphtali Lewis, Life in Egypt Under Roman Rule.

Plato and Socrates both were heavy endorsers of infanticide. The logic is simple, if one has a child that one can not care for, discard it.

This is the ultimate example to me, that morality is 100% a creation of man. As Mark Twain said,

“Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity- these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them.”
-Mark Twain

The idea that infanticide is a immoral thing to do probably began when Rome adopted Christianity around 3 AD. Rome banned infanticide shortly before the 4th Century. Christianity is a religion that branched off from Judaism, and Judaism had traditionally viewed Infanticide as morally repugnant.

It’s also worth of note that Andrea Yates’ fundamentalist Christian church instructed / indoctrinated her to ignore her psychiatrist’s orders. Coming from a Fundie background myself, I can attest to the fact that most high control religions tend to distrust psychiatrists and psychologists. An extreme example is found in Scientology, which believes that ancient psychiatrists and psychologists conspired with an evil alien God to destroy humanity.

The reason behind this is due to the ability of mental health professional to quickly and accurately inform a patient that their high control religion is brainwashing the patient and that the environment is extremely unhealthy.

Another interesting note is her ‘logic’ behind why she killed her children is not as insane as people believe. I wrote about this previously, about the dangers of afterlife beliefs because they can make murder of the innocent a logical choice.

Here is how Yates reasoned the infanticides, in her own words:

“It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I
was evil. The way I was raising them they could never be saved. They were doomed to
perish in the fires of hell.”
– Andrea Yates

So it is logical for her to kill them now, before they had done any wrong, and therefore save them from Hell. Sure, she’d go to Hell herself for the murders, but she figured she was already on her way so she might as well do something ‘good’, that is, kill her children while they are still innocent, therefore sending them to Heaven. It makes a lot of sense if you believe in hellfire and heaven that is. In a way, she was being a good mother and ensuring the future of her children. She was making sure they would be happy.

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9 Responses to “Andrea Yates and The History of Infanticide”

  1. son_of_ottie July 27, 2006 at 3:27 pm #

    Yes she WAS saving them, wasn’t she? Of course, the Catholics invented purgatory to try to discourage the practice of infanticide. Who would send their child to an eternal version of th deep freeze?
    In the end it’s all just so much bullshit. Organized religions MUST, by their very existence as a creation of MAN, be corrupt.
    If God had wanted man to worship Him, He woulda built churches. But He didn’t.

  2. _oddity July 27, 2006 at 3:39 pm #

    that shit is fucked up.

  3. bishmanrock July 27, 2006 at 6:42 pm #

    I like the way you managed to fit Scientology in there.

  4. lordalfredhenry July 27, 2006 at 7:03 pm #

    All the people who were rescuing me out of my conservative LDS background and talking me out of a prolife stance, (which I eventually gave up by degrees), assured me there was nothing to do with infanticide or its glorification and asked me to prove where I saw it.
    Justifying the killing of children is sick and not “logical” and romanticized or classical or elegant because of these cultural kludges. Yes, the perspective may be different. Survival rate probably meant there was not much different either way in infant mortality. However, this is selective history with agenda (Stalinist negative population) written all over it. Many idealists in Greece condemned these practices. Many idolators where burning children alive on brazen statues of Molech lying to the parents that the face of the child was a blissful one as the skin taughtened around its face making the impression of a smile. Beating drums to cover the screams of scorched children. Why not just take this to it’s logical end and blow up the planet? Existence of this so called beautiful planet sucks right? Where is the line drawn, teens?
    I’m scratching my chin now wondering about the choices I’ve made over the past years. I wonder if repentance is possible not a totally inappropriate phrase despite the fact I’m rather agnostic. I’m not harping you personally but this kind of crap I thought I heard in college once and I’m vehemently against it. I feel used and lied to.

    • bboyneko July 27, 2006 at 7:54 pm #

      Justifying the killing of children is sick and not “logical”.
      It is logical if you believe in the afterlife, specifically heaven and hell. For example, parents have been known to give their children away so they can have a better life somwehre else, like adoption.
      If you really and truly believe n Heaven, killing your child so they can go there is not any different than
      giving them for adoption.
      Survival rate probably meant there was not much different either way in infant mortality.
      Infant mortality had nothing to do with the Infanticide. It was done when the parents did not wish to keep
      the child or could not afford it. If anything, it was done foe the OPPOSITE reason. Because the child lives, and you wish it not to live.
      However, this is selective history with agenda…. Many idealists in Greece condemned these practices.Many idolators where burning children alive on brazen statues of Molech
      Cite your sources that influential Greeks condemned Infanticide. It was practised and encouraged for hundreds of years in Greek society especially. That is well-documented. As I mentioned Plato and Socrates both were endorces of the practise. It is mentioned quite a few times in ‘The Republic’.
      As for child sacrifice, THAT was univeraslly condemned, wheras infanticide was not. As for Molech, his/it’s existence is in doubt as a real, worshiped god or religion. It seems you get your history from the Bible (especially your usage of the word ‘idolator’) and not from archeologists and secular history.
      Beating drums to cover the screams of scorched children.
      Again, you get your knowledge of history from the bible and not from fact. The entire child sacrifice of Molech etc is very much in doubt and was likely a fabricated or grossly exagrated tale spread as folklore amongst the ancient Israelites.
      Why not just take this to it’s logical end and blow up the planet? Existence of this so called beautiful planet sucks right?
      Yes exactly, if Heaven is so much better than earth, Why not blow it up?

      • lordalfredhenry July 28, 2006 at 3:02 am #

        If one believes in heaven and hell, Parent + Child going to heaven is better than Child – Parent going to heaven and parent going to hell. Logically, you can construct it but in terms of ethics, it is not logical equivalent to the alternative ie: no killing and as such is illogical. No reason to.
        I understand what the parents meant. I introduce mortality rate. Parents did often kill the *weak* child. That means an autistic like yourself would likely be placed on a mound.
        There are several instances of Greek women trying to save their children both in myth and culture. Not only that, some men saved their children from the more barbarous wives. This often had to do with believing in who fathered the child and what the child might become. Oedipus story shows some pro and con. Not just pro. I suppose that’s right there in the bible.
        The material I got was not from the bible. The bible doesn’t mention the smiling children but only mentions it as “passing through the fire”. I’m familiar with a lot of sources. I use words as I recall them. Not by some book.
        You think the bible can’t be factual when you don’t know this. You can’t prove it. Parts of it are more factual or equal in factuality to any other archaeology. That can be argued up and down but it doesn’t refute it. Those are opinions on the validity of facts. Look up definition for fact. Molech and Chemosh are confifrmed by the existence of stove like statues and many drawings. They were not exaggerations. Otherwise, where would this detail all come from?
        Heaven and earth might be the same. I figure you have this philosophy. Why not take a barbituate and die painlessly? I don’t suggest you do but it would be consistent. What is your reason for staying here on earth then if that’s what you believe? I don’t think it’s to promote a bunch of ideas that I think are based in pure annhilistic philosophy and to most people are Satanic. This disrespects the sentiments of most individuals.

      • bboyneko July 28, 2006 at 3:19 am #

        If one believes in heaven and hell, Parent + Child going to heaven is better than Child – Parent going to heaven and parent going to hell. Logically, you can construct it but in terms of ethics, it is not logical equivalent to the alternative ie: no killing and as such is illogical. No reason to.
        yes but by killing the children, you 100% ensure them a place in Heaven. If you let them live what if they grow up to be Hitler? By slaughtering them before they have a chance to sin, they go to Heaven since they have committed no sin and died from no fault of their own.
        The material I got was not from the bible. The bible doesn’t mention the smiling children but only mentions it as “passing through the fire”.
        You cited child sacrifices to Molech as if it were fact. A casual secular study of ‘Molech’ shows he was very likely not a real God and child acrifices to him are fictional, not factual.
        The only sources we have of ‘Molech’ (a mis-translation of the Hebrew word for King) is the Old Testament, not secular history.
        So again I repeat, you get your history from the bible, not from respected archeological sources.
        Yes Greek legends / Plays mention saving children..these were children the parents obviously wanted. Infanticide was encouraged for children that were NOT wanted.
        The bible can’t be factual because it talks of Earth being only 6,000 years old, (modern geology has disproven this) that the entire earth was deluged by water (modern geology has disproved this) that donkeys talked, that a supernatural entity wiped out an entire egyptian army. (Incidently, there is no proof that the Israelites were ever in Egyptian captivity)
        The bible is about as factual as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

      • lordalfredhenry July 28, 2006 at 3:36 am #

        How does killing a child ensure them a 100% place in heaven, they haven’t had to prove themselves. A child that *would* grow up may possibly be judged in a variety of ways. We might be judged based on what we are given as a challenge more than likely. They may still be in a limbo of some kind having to start over again perhaps even with the curse and the cursed genes of their parents. who knows. It seems ridiculous to assume.
        Citing Molech as fact doesn’t necessarily imply in any way it comes from the bible at all. Non sequiteur. Repeating a non sequiteur doesn’t make it valid. FYI, I got it from a book and whether that book gets it from the bible is anyone’s guess but there are pictures of sources through out the ages and how they were able to constrcut the image out of thin air or the concept is hard to imagine given their limited experitise. It can only be explained by other sources existing then that do not exist now. During the dark ages, few documents survived. Many might have been used in fire etc etc. Few people could read in some periods. The Greek legneds mention saving children but even those that weren’t theirs. Therefore it is a stretch to assume by the contrary automatically (argument from ignorance fallacy) that it was ubiquitously encouraged. That’s also generalization. It was encouraged in few cultures like Sparta for weak children as per text books who derive from who knows what kind of accuracy in source. People will believe the evil they want to believe when writing a book and not question it. EVen so, these people had slaves, is it therefore ok to have slaves? It’s been going on for so long you know and very reputable cultures.
        You say the bible as a whole has a few facts that aren’t factual. You can’t generalize the whole thing based on one fact. It has facts and facts that are not actually biblical. It doesn’t say that God’s creation is any particular period. It doesn’t guarantee that. All that comes from speculation in analysis. Many Hebrew sources dispute the 6000 theory. The truth is the bible doesn’t have any detail to suppor t the “biblical fact” (which doesn’t exist) you use to refute it. It mentions a Being being able to create a planet. We’re not far from doing that ourselves by sending those weapons which could blow up our planet to subterraneous mars and seeding volcanic activity and also using a fusion generated magentosphere or core polarizer, using the volcanic activity to feed into the right speed for magnetism albeit it would be weaker.
        So if killing children is no big deal. Sentencing Andrea to a life time of ECS therapy would not be a big deal to shock some sense. Maybe capital punishment is your preference though.

      • lordalfredhenry July 28, 2006 at 3:45 am #

        BTW, I get it. Atheists thing belief in resurrections and afterlife beliefss cause murder therefore best not to. No correlation evidence. Someone who believes in no afterlife may see no punishment for murder and sends them to a “heaven” of peaceful oblivion. Not much diffreence.

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