That kind of explains everything, doesn't it?

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I ran across an article from last year in the New York Times in which Richard Dawkins derides children's stories that include elements of fantasy or myth:

Richard Dawkins has said that he is now writing a book for children. In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, Dr. Dawkins said he was working on a book that would explore children’s relationships with fairy tales, and encourage them to think about the world scientifically rather than mythologically. “I would like to know whether there’s any evidence that bringing children up to believe in spells and wizards and magic wands and things turning into other things — it is unscientific, I think it’s anti-scientific."
I guess if you don't see the value of myth for adults, then it is not surprising that you wouldn't see the value of myth for children either.

6 comments:

Andrew said...

I don't know much about Dawkins... but he sounds like a frustrated ol' fart in this quote. :)

Bad Alice said...

I've actually met him, because I used to work for his agent. He is just as unpleasant as he sounds.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I like some of what I've read from Dawkins, but his knee jerk reactions are just as bad as those of fundamentalist Christians who say Harry Potter leads children to witchcraft.

If we threw out religion because there are some bad apples, then we would have to throw out everything. There are, bad teachers, bad police, bad atheists, bad scientists, etc.

PrickliestPear said...

Once again, Dawkins reveals both his arrogance and his ignorance by talking confidently about something he clearly knows nothing about.

If Dawkins understood anything about child psychology, he would know that there are very good scientific reasons why children respond to myths and fairy tales, and there is compelling evidence that such stories play an important and positive role in children's development (see Bettelheim's classic work on the subject, The Uses of Enchantment).

I wonder if Dawkins's parents read to him as a child. It would explain a lot if turned out that they didn't.

Cynthia said...

Has this guy got any kind of imagination whatsoever? He sounds like a fundamentalist scientist, if there is such a thing.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

The world of Richard Dawkins would be quite bland -- stark -- even Stalinesque. Yes, I think Stalin's Soviet Union might be a good picture of a world organized by Richard Dawkins.

I'll keep Harry Potter and Narnia and the Leprechaun (oh and religion too).