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Richard Dawkins’ Summer Camp for Kids

30 June, 2009

Now here’s an interesting news item.  Dr Richard Dawkins, formerly of Oxford University, is to subsidise summer camp experiences for kids.  The Daily Mail reports that Dawkins intends to support the efforts of those who wish to provide for children and young people an opportunity to experience a new way of thinking.  The aim is to encourage campers to think “sceptically and rationally”.

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The Times also reports the story (see article6591231.ece). As one father expresses things, “I’m very keen on not indoctrinating them with religion or creeds,” he said this weekend. “I would rather equip them with the tools to learn how to think, not what to think.”

Reportedly these camps have been going on in the States for the past 13 years and folk here in this country (UK) want to give British kids a similar experience.  As one person puts it, “I think this is superb and will encourage young people to think for themselves. To say that the world was created by a god disallows people to think beyond. There is no ‘God’ the world has evolved and will continue to do so.”

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Hopefully (so the argument goes) these camps will rival not only Scout summer camps but Christian summer camps (which here in the UK has played a wonderfully significant role).

It’s not so much that one resents competition or rival summer camp experiences.  Rather it is the continued assumption by Dawkins et al of a totally neutral starting position.

Dr Richard Dawkins

Dr Richard Dawkins

In one sense, I agree: I don’t want kids to be ‘brainwashed’ or discouraged  to think critically and carefully.  But this is precisely my beef with Dawkins’ statements.  He and others actually ‘stack the deck’ just as much as those whom he and they despise.  It is assumed, from the get go, that the wise and rational assumption is “there is no god or supreme being”. Well, ergo, one starts to see all sorts of ‘logical’ conclusions from this.  But isn’t this simply yet another faith assumption — and one untested, unvarifiable and, well, ‘a leap’?

See the story at Richard-Dawkins-launches-childrens-summer-camp-atheists.html

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