November 06, 2007

Richard Dawkins May Write Book For Children

Professor Richard Dawkins, In response to a question at AAI 07, Said that he is contemplating the idea of writing a book for children.

Richard Dawkins was at AAI 07 this year and after his very interesting talk he gave some time to answering some questions from the audience.

During the question and answer session someone from the audience asked; ".. For your next books are you going to go back to science and evolution or are you going to stay with the topic of religion and god?"

Richard Dawkins answered; "I have just finished editing a book of good science writing for oxford university press, I didn't write that i edited it, So that is a partial answer to your question. I was thinking i could try my hand at a children's book, I don't know whether that would work, I haven't started it yet, But i thought i might try to do a children's book about how to think for yourself and how to ask questions about interesting topics and how you might go about answering them, Which might be subversive to religion but i don't think would be explicit about that".

This would be a great step by Richard and something I'm sure he would do very well. He has always impressed me with his ability to explain fairly complicated things in a way that is easy to understand.

It's also good that it won't be a book denouncing religion and god, Because like Richard said at AAI, Teaching a child to be Atheist is as bad as teaching them to be religions. But teaching them to be inquisitive, logical and encouraging them to ask questions is something that even the most fundamental christian would have a hard time arguing against, Though no doubt they would try.

30 comments:

  1. That is good news indeed. Kids need to know that they can think for themselves.

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  2. I agree Tina. The only sad thing is that the kids who need this book the most are unlikely to have parents willing to buy it for them. The book will in essence be "preaching to the choir".

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  3. No duh religious people are going to not have their kids read it. Are you going to have your kids read the Bible or the Koran or something like that? You may, but you probably won't like it. You sure as hell won't go out to the bookstore and buy it for them. Face it, no matter what you believe in, you force it upon your children. If your children don't have the willpower to believe what they want, then that is their problem.

    Also, matt my friend, you have yet to reply to my comment on the questions to Richard Dawkins post. In case you forgot, here it is

    "The multi-verse theory gives us an infinite number of universes with an infinite number of variations in the laws of physics. We just happen to be in one that can support life."

    I like how despite the fact that you say there is no physical proof of God, you believe something else that has no physical proof. Also, if you believe the infinite universe theory, you could also that that infinite universes give a God-like being and infinite number of chances to exist. So there must 'happen' to be one where some form of all-powerful God exists.
    QED

    I have been waiting eagerly to hear what you have say to this. As this is directed at matt, I would appreciate it if he answers it first. After he answers, anyone else can have a shot at it.

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  4. That's a spectacular idea--introduce kids to the basics of the scientific method of inquiry and let them absorb it a a young age. It might be successful in public schools, especially if Dawkins stays away from openly criticizing religion. I'd buy it for my nieces!

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  5. Excellent - because teaching critical thinking will naturally lead children away from swallowing unsupported religious nonsense like "gods".

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  6. This is great! They do need to know they can think for themselves. great post!

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  7. My problem with Dawkins is that he is very, very insulting and disrespectful...almost to a childish point. He basically results to little more than belittling people who question is conclusions.

    I have no love for religion and am not a spiritual person, but I can be intellectually honest about it....Dawkins, I'm afraid, like many people who share my views...can't...

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  8. Den of Iniquity7 November 2007 02:12

    I wouldn't buy it, Richard Dawkins is not a scientist he is a materialist who uses science to back up his materialistic view of the world. His philosophy, in my opinion is very autistic, What he sees as proof is only if you look at the world as a materialist. Even within science there are many different ideas about the nature of reality to Dawkins's. I would not like my child reading it as much as I would not like them reading any one sided view of the world. Dawkins would teach them to think for themselves as long as it followed the materialist way which is fine if you are a materialist. Anyone who has kids know, children can already think for themselves its just we tell them what to think and knock it out of them. Dawkins is just another zealot telling people what and how to think.

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  9. I take it this "materialistic view" is what everybody else calls testable evidence.

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  10. As an academic, I'm a little concerned about this -- Dawkins is pretty unscientific and unrigorous in his popular books attacking religion (esp The God Delusion), which given that he trades on his reputation as a scientist means he is already giving the public a poor impression of what a career in science is like. Secondly, the key battle in the UK is actually that teenagers are turned off science because they think scientists are boorish and unpleasant, and they quite rationally don't want to spend 40 years working in that kind of environment. Dawkins rarely does anything to dispel this opinion, and a book by him aimed at kids could really leave us short of science undergrads in 10 years time!

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  11. Den of Iniquity7 November 2007 04:00

    It has nothing to do with testable evidence. This is what gets me about the disciples of Dawkins they have their world view and if anyone dares to question it they are immediately seen as anti-science or religious or some other nutter. As a Scientist one could ask where is the testable evidence the material universe exists I mean if one is to believe the quantum physicists then the evidence is a little shaky. where is the testable evidence that fairies don't exist I do believe there is none. just because no reliable source has ever seen one doesn't mean they don't exist I mean I have never seen dark matter and there is no evidence it exists but it is a valid scientific theory because it seems around 90% of our universe is missing. The difference between it and the fairy theory is Dark matter is acceptable to materialism whereas fairies are not (just to iterate I am not suggesting fairies exist). Now if 90% of our universe is unnaccounted for, (90% may be incorrect, for all you pedants) this to me indicates we do not know the whole truth yet so I will reserve my judgement on the nature of reality until we do and happily let every crackpot religious and scientific zealot have their views on nature.

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  12. In contrast to what "d" wrote above: I'm a Christian and a creationist, and I would certainly have my children read a book like this if Dawkins publishes it. In my opinion, truly open-minded thinking does more damage to atheism than it does to Christian faith.

    I fear nothing from questions, or even from others' opposing ideas. Neither do my children.

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  13. Den nobody is claiming to have evidence that fairies, or god, don't exist. if you aren't careful someone is going to set fire to your strawman.

    But you are getting off topic. the post is about Professor Dawkins writing a book that encourages children to be inquisitive, logical and to ask questions. What is wrong with that? Are they not things you would like to see in your child? Would you not want them to be logical, inquisitive and to ask questions?

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  14. i think kids are already inquisitive. They dont need to be taught it. and anyone who thinks they could teach it is being a little arrogant...I dont think they need to read a book on how to be it. They already think for themselves and anyone who thinks they don't is prolly mentally retarded.

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  15. I think people who say "prolly" are the retarded ones.

    Kids used to be inquisitive, but these days not so much. But the book will be about teaching them to not only ask questions, but also how to go about answering them. that is always a good thing. Being inquisitive is useless if that inquisitiveness doesn't result in understanding.

    Or would it suite your agenda more if the only access kids had to answers was to ask, oh i don't know, A priest?

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  16. As a born-again Christian I would have no problem with a book that teaches kids to ask questions and be analytical.

    I want my (hypothetical) kids to question religion and faith because I want them to choose to believe and know what they believe rather than being susceptible to fear-mongering, brainwashing and crowd mentality.

    My personal feeling is that Dawkins is far too anti-religious to be able to write a balanced analytical teaching book for kids and he won't be able to resist straying towards the bias of his worldview.

    However, that would be an even greater reason for me as a Christian to buy the book for my kids because then I would be able to use it as a resource for teaching them about vested interests, hidden agendas, logical fallacy, consensus science and hypocrisy.

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  17. matt, that was such an asshole thing to say. People probably write 'prolly' because they don't want to type out probably. That was an unnecessary attack by a sad, scared little child who follows the word of Richard Dawkins as much as a religious person follows the word of God.

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  18. Why would i bother listening to someone who "don't want" to spell words correctly?

    If we are to have anything even close to a reasonable discussion people are going to have to write in a manner beyond what a 12 year old mashes on their phone key pad when writing a text.

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  19. Den of Iniquity7 November 2007 07:28

    well Matt I was just burning your straw man first. Just because I don't have the same opinion as Dawkins doesn't mean I don't believe testable evidence or I believe in the tooth fairy or that I am unscientific. I was actually responding to your materialism and 'what everybody else calls testable evidence' statement. I was trying to state that you don't have to be a materialist to have a scientific view of the world. Sorry I got off topic but I was answering your off topic statement.

    Of course I want my child to be inquisitive logical and ask questions and never believe anything unless they know it to be true. This is precisely why I would not trust Dawkins to write this book because he is so biased in favour of Materialism and Atheism which after all are opinions and not scientific facts. Therein is the problem for me -Dawkins and his devotees think what he says is the truth and not just his opinion. Dawkins confuses materialism (a philosophy) and science (a way of studying the nature of things) he does it either deliberately or ignorantly I don't know, but he cannot concieve that there is any other possible way of looking at things.
    Also I think he has a bit of a messiah complex one just needs to look at his website and see the fanaticism of his devotees and I also think his views are a bit autistic I worked with an Autistic lad once and he could understand the most complex theories but could not understand human relationships or passions he said they were illogical to him but at least he recognised they were real.
    I would rather someone with a less rigid view of the world was encouraging my children how to think for themselves. So I would not encourage my child to read a book by Dawkins in order to help them to think for themselves, as I would then have to encourage them to read Gaia as a counter balance to show there is more than one view of the world within science (I don't nescessarily subscribe to Lovelock either I used him as an opposite of Dawkins but still seen as a scientist). If my child drew the same conclusions as Dawkins that would be fine but at least they are informed not bedazzled. I think there are much better science writers in the world who can present information and leave you informed enough to draw your own conclusion without having to box you into you into Atheistic and Materialistic thinking (not I must say that there is anything wrong with either way of thinking) but they are opinions and views not facts.
    I think young people are way more inquisitive today than they were when I was young but they are not buying into rigid dogmas be they political religious or scientific.

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  20. The conceit of the idea that only non believers think! This will help. God will get more followers.

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  21. Matt, you do not capitalize your I's, you obviously don't feel like using correct grammar. Should I stop listening to you?

    You are just nit-picking because you cannot come up with a good logical response to certain things, like my question I posted here, which was a repeat of something I posted on the 'questions by richarddawkins.net' post.

    Face it, you can't handle a good argument without slinging mud at people. You are a sad excuse for a debater.

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  22. No doubt Christian fundamentalists would dismiss the book as evil atheist propaganda, or something ridiculous like that. I can recall a preacher during my childhood... "Books plant seeds of evil in your mind and they grow". Sickening.

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  23. I own a t-shirt that says "THINK - it's not illegal yet".

    For many people in positions of authority--religious, law, or otherwise--the idea of an inquisitive, free-thinking citizenry is the most terrifying concept they can conceive. Anyone who can question authority is potentially a dissident, and a threat to a power position if (and only if) that position is being abused.

    Following logical deduction, it bears saying that anyone who is threatened by an intelligent, inquisitive person is probably doing something they shouldn't, whether consciously or unconsciously.

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  24. Don't forget that the book is also important for children who are brought up in an atheist or partly atheist family!
    Of course Christian fundamentalists wouldn't embrace the book (and those who say they would probably don't fear it, because they know they're just going to ignore the questions of the child and preach "the word"), but it's not just children of religious people who are likely to believe anything without questioning it. They're just fed a lot more religious factoids than children of atheist/naturalist parents. Children still, by default, take their parents' words for granted.

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  25. maybe when dawkins gets a personality to go along with his blasphemy, perhaps i'll respect his opinion and read his book.

    i'll never quite understand why people spend their entire life trying to prove what does NOT exist. it's like, me walking around all day long telling everyone on my street what i did NOT eat for breakfast. it's absurd, devoid, and wasteful.
    either way, nobody cares.
    and, God believes in atheists regardless.

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  26. You don't think promoting critical thinking, Common sense and logic is a good thing? Explains a lot.

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  27. As a "fundamentalist Christian" I would have no problem with my children reading anything Dr. Dawkins might produce for two reasons. One is that I believe that the Bible holds up well under scrutiny. If it didn't I wouldn't have come to believe it through my own journey from atheism. Second, if my children are going to have faith I want it to be their own faith and not just an attempt to please their parents.

    We all have faith in something. I hope that it's based in reason.

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  28. "unsupported religious nonsense like 'gods'"-generations of humans have been worshipping "gods." The Native American cultures base their existence on the sun and moon, and stars. Are you telling me that their beliefs are unfounded and they have no credibility? Most of these comments degrade religions and cultures that are more than 1,000 years old. That's important since humans don't live past 80 of them. We want our children to think for themselves, but they are browbeaten into it by such language I find here.

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  29. I assure you that the idea of asking questions, questioning will be the greatest thing Dawkins could do. Bravo Mr. Dawkins. I am excited to see that sooner or later truth will indeed be found and then perhaps even the atheist. Like myself who was formerly an adoment god hater had found that my search for truth brought me to realize that God does indeed exist. I respect Mr. Dawson and hope that though Mr. Dawsom who has made a God of himself will also find that his book may actually bring more people to Christ than a Christian book might! BRAVO Mr. Dawkins...Bravo! It was through my searching and my intellect to find answers not excuses or biases that were rooted deep inside I soon found the truth that so many scientist cannot explain.

    http://www.livingforjesus.blogspot.com

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  30. What the fuck are all these believers (non-thinkers) doing here anyway? shoo flies! Go spread your brain-washing words somewhere else. Thinking is good, and children need that. And we definitely need this book, because even if children are already inquisitive, this nature is tempered by the stupid teachings of religion. When obedience and fear in an imaginary "god" is taught, all critical thinking is gone.

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