Sunday, June 28, 2009

Atheist Camp

I'm not convinced by the argument that atheism is "so intellectually unappealing that only very clever people can believe in it " ( not that the veracity of atheism is affected in any way by who believes in it), but nonetheless professional atheists* appear to agree with that proposition and so are going to make it more appealing to 'tards:

GIVE Richard Dawkins a child for a week’s summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life.

The author of The God Delusion is helping to launch Britain’s first summer retreat for non-believers, where children will have lessons in evolution and sing along to John Lennon’s Imagine.

As a militant agnostic I have no dog in this fight, but isn't one of the key complaints by Dawkins and other evangelical atheists against organised religion the indoctrination of children before they are old enough to make up their own minds?

* Among the recent wave of atheist authors- Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Grayling & Dennett -Daniel Dennett is by far the most thoughtful and the only one who takes a balanced view of the subject.


JuliaM said...

"As a militant agnostic I have no dog in this fight, but isn't one of the key complaints by Dawkins and other evangelical atheists against organised religion the indoctrination of children before they are old enough to make up their own minds?"

Yes, but it's different for them. Don't ask how, it just is!

Macheath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Macheath said...

Decided I'd phrased the previous one a bit strongly; as it is, I'll probably have to crawl to Liverpool on my knees or something, but here goes...

I agree with your point about indoctrination, whether religious or atheist, but for me the use of 'Imagine' implies endorsement of the worst kind of mawkishly sentimental touchy-feely emoting.

It's completely at odds with rational atheism and I'm surprised at Dawkins associating himself with it - or perhaps he only read the first line.

James Higham said...

What a total dick Dawkins is.

Anonymous said...

Methinks Dawkins doth protest too much......

John M Ward said...

The idea of teaching children is to inform them, in all manner of subject areas.

The idea of atheism is to have no reason for existing, either oneself or the entire universe.

There is no purpose and no explanation for it — it's the coward's way to avoid facing up to the reality of what is right in front of our noses, using any convenient excuse to avoid facing that reality.

Mark Wadsworth said...

As a rabid atheist/agnostic, I certainly wouldn't subject my kids to "Imagine" by John Lennon. What is that all about?

Surely kids want to play 5-a-side football, or ride ponies or go for swimming lessons or do orienteering or watch telly or play computer games in their holidays?

Matthew said...

"the indoctrination of children"

The article says its not going to do that, but instead let them make up their own minds. Which seems fair enough - if they come up with any of the 'great' religions on an activity holiday then I think it's good grounds to stick with it.

North Northwester said...

where children will have lessons in evolution and sing along to John Lennon’s Imagine.

Ah, 'Imagine': the stupidest song in history.

And yes, indoctrinating children into your belief system is pretty evil. My parents even refused to to tell what, if anything they worshipped, and also what, if anything, they voted.

Very handy that.

Ross said...

"the use of 'Imagine' implies endorsement of the worst kind of mawkishly sentimental touchy-feely emoting.".

That the bit that got me, although in fairness there aren't that many atheist songs.

North Northwester said...

Ross: "in fairness there aren't that many atheist songs."

' No-on wants me - this I know, 'cos the Human Genome Project tell me so.''No-one wants me for a sunbeam.'

'Swing low, sweet carcinoma, coming for to carry me home.'

And of course those all-time humanitarian secular classics the red Flag and the Horst Wessel Song.

Umbongo said...

I'm not sure how much I'd put on this but could someone point me in the direction of a bookie who'll take my bet that Dawkins will undergo a deathbed conversion to Catholicism (or some other organised religion).

asquith said...

Those who are making vague generalisations about Richard Dawkins (of whom I am a great fan) & this project should look at the following:

Don't want to be rude but some commentors are just reacting to their own conceptions rather than anything that's actually happening or owt.

Helen said...

Speaking as a musician, I think if they are having an aetheist camp then they should pay some poor hard-working composer to write some atheist songs for them rather than ripping off the Beatles. As the guys said, "the devil has all the best tunes"! ;)

Ross said...

Asquith, if the reports in the newspapers don't reflect the reality of the camp then obviously none of the criticisms I've made will stand.

As for Richard Dawkins, I do like a lot of his stuff- The Selfish Gene, Unweaving the Rainbow & The Blind Watchmaker- are all excellent books.

However he's a bit like Paul Krugman in that he has a wonderful talent for explaining the intricacies of his specialism, but when he tries to transfer the prestige he has justly earned from that into other subjects I find him incredibly irritating.

asquith said...

Yes, I'm a fan of The Ancestor's Tale myself.

I do think The Times are talking absolute nonsense, so I obviously disagree with your post. If they were really brainwashing children, I'd be completely against it (I should hope this was obvious).

Anyway, looks like it's actually reasonably popular among parents! I don't think I'd be likely to bother though.

If I had kids I'd introduce them to nature & play as the most important thing, leave books lying around & encourage whatever interest they developed of their own accord. I wouldn't allow TV or video games though, & I'd restrict internet access.

My view is that there is far too much hothousing of youngsters. Rather than obsessing over how to get into the best schools & what to enrol them in, a kid who has a good upbringing & lots of encouragement at home will "naturally" do well in an average school that isn't totally shit.

asquith said...

My school was fairly grim (It is one of those schools the government are talking about that get below 30%). But for me that just meant I got As & the occasional B instead of A* as I probably would at grammar school. I think if my parents had been better educated I would have excelled properly.

Anonymous said...

Plus, don't micromanage every minute of your child's day. They need to be bored for extended periods otherwise they'll never grow up.

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