Friday, July 03, 2009

Summer Camp!

Here we have free-thinker Richard Dawkins, who is so supportive of free-thought that he wants to indoctrinate children to think exactly as he does. Of course, he also argues that teaching children religion amounts to child abuse. Atheism is, of course, just fine and dandy, and it's the sort of indoctrination which is, I presume according to him, not child abuse. There is nothing hypocritical here folks, not at all. Move along.

Of course, Dawkins jumped the shark years ago with his horribly researched book* The God Delusion, which was summarily destroyed by Alister E. McGrath.

*Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. - Terry Eagleton


Rationalist said...

Teaching religion IS child abuse, which as catholic is something you should know a lot about.

Tom said...

Care to explain your comment Rationalist?

Or is this a drive-by-trolling?

Rationalist. said...

Look at all the actual physical abuse your priests carry out,(epecially in Ireland as well as USA), as well as the mental abuse Dawkins is refering to.

The sooner we grow out of religion the better we'll be.

Luckily I don't live in the rligion infested US of A.

Tom said...

Let me start this off by saying that I don't condone the sexual abuse that occurred in the Catholic Church. Neither do I condone how it was handled. I think those priests should rot in jail for the rest of their lives, and I think the Bishops and Archbishops who botched it should resign, at the very least.

With that said, research has shown that Catholic priests are no more likely to abuse children than any other occupation. That of course includes teachers. Do you think we should ban teachers?

Also, I think Dawkins is a bag of hot air, and he has hardly proven his claims of "mental abuse". Dawkins appeal to emotion should hardly be satisfying for anyone who really does consider themselves a rationalist.

You reader, are no rationalist.

microbiologist xx said...

I didn't really take the article to mean he was indoctrinating children into atheism. It appears more that the camp is geared at learning to use rational thought, which is actually pretty different from least in my opinion. Frankly, I don't see how anyone wouldn't benefit from such exposure, even religious people, especially now, when people are exposed to more and more BS such as "complementary" medicine and the like. It is sad that everyone isn't equipped with the ability to see the red flags in some of these expensive and dangerous pseudoscientific procedures.
Of course, I'll go ahead and admit that I am atheist so you can factor in the potential for bias if you like. If I did have children, I wouldn't mind sending them to such a place if they expressed interest. However, if there was religious bashing as part of the agenda, then I probably wouldn't let them go. While I don't believe in any religion, I don't think bashing others beliefs is right as I think tolerance, like learning to use rational thought, is also a very important lesson.

Rationalist said...

Catholic priests are far more likely to abuse , probably due to their celibacy, and I am honoured to be thought of as irrational by a theist, as theists are by definition irrational.

Tom said...


Do you have any data to support your assertion? If you do, I'd be interested in seeing it because everything I've seen says they are not.

microbiologist xx said...

Is there any evidence that celibacy leads to and pedophilia?

Tom said...


To be honest, I was being tongue-in-cheek for the most part with this entry. However, I won't kid myself one bit, I feel that this camp is geared against religion. All their protests aside, no one puts together an "Invisible Pink Unicorn" argument just to get kids to think rationally, and despite their claims to the contrary, the IPU has been used as Camp Quest explicitly as a metaphor for God.

Just like if you went to a Fundie Christian camp you'd be prone to get bashing of other beliefs (especially Catholicism), I would be shocked SHOCKED if there wasn't religion bashing at this camp.

Teaching kids to think for themselves is always a good idea, and I think it's definitely to be encouraged. But, I think this camp was designed to REINFORCE in the children of atheist parents that atheism is the correct way to go. YMMV of course.

microbiologist xx said...

Sorry I missed the tongue-in-cheek aspect. That's what happens before I've had enough coffee. :)

I've been to plenty of christian camps, none fundamentalist, but all different denominations of christianity and found all of them to be equally appalling in their own special way. There was quite a bit of "our brand of christianity is better than their brand." Not a lot of brimstone and fire talk though. :)

As an aside, I am not a member of any atheist groups precisely because I fear the only topic for discussion is going to be bashing others religious beliefs which really uninteresting.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I somehow got persuaded to sign up for a freethinkers newsgroup through Facebook, and the dicussions are just boring. Worthy, but boring. A group of people defined by what they don't believe in is just not for me. As someone has said before about groups for atheists, it's like a club for people who don't collect stamps.

This camp sounds similar - I would have probably found it boring as a kid (and I was an extremely geeky child). I guess it all depends on how it's done - I agree with MXX that it would be a valuable immunisation against woo, but you'd have to work so hard to make it fun.

(I found my short spell at Sunday School exceptionally boring too, FWIW).