Sunday, October 26, 2008

Richard Dawkins going off beam

Yes, I can see my conservative friends smiling.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Richard Dawkins, author of the compelling book "The God Delusion" has declared that he is to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in "anti-scientific" fairytales."

Oh dear oh dear. His concern is that fairy tales might have an insidious effect on rationality! This being because there is no scientific evidence to back them up.

"Prof Dawkins said he wanted to look at the effects of "bringing children up to believe in spells and wizards". "I think it is anti-scientific – whether that has a pernicious effect, I don't know".

Professor Dawkins, I am an atheist. I enjoyed fairy tales and other such stories from a very young age, with talk of magic and the like. I always knew they were stories and made up. It is called fun. Do your research of course, but do you not see parallels between your own desire to combat all that is fiction and magical with that of evangelicals who think Harry Potter is satanic?

That's the irony. I will happily take up serious reasoned arguments against organisations and individuals who wish to use their supernatural beliefs as a basis for government or to initiate force or fraud agaist others.

Go on Professor Dawkins, write your children's book on how to think about the world, even have a go at children's fiction. You are an intelligent thoughtful man with much to add to secular society, and to increase the understanding of science. Waging war against fairy tales will alienate many with a sense of life and fun, and they are hardly the enemy when the world remains infected with the likes of this and this. Teaching children martyrdom is a little more disconcerting than magic.


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Patrick Ross said...

I think it's kind of ironic that Dawkins, who considers teaching children about religion to be child abuse, now wants an outlet to teach his religion (atheism) to children.

Hypocrite, much?

It's all a little much like The Seduction of the Innocent. But to top it all off, which children, precisely, does Dawkins believe are going to read his book? Those kids would have to be the most boring bloody kids in the world.

Madeleine said...

The God Delusion was a piece of poorly reasoned popularism that made those in academia cringe in both camps, I shudder to think what tripe he would write for children.

Patrick - so true!

Anonymous said...

Fantasy stories are the best for kids, they inspire the imagination. However there is a move among many of the PC crowd, not just Dawkins, to write books that deal with "issues" children may actually experience in their lives rather than writing great stories - hence the rubbish that wins the book awards here and gets fed to kids in school.

You still can't beat CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein for kids & teenagers.