Monday, November 10, 2008

Dawkins' Delusions On "Anti-Scientific" Fairytales

Richard Dawkins is at it again, but this time he is criticizing "anti-scientific fairytales," as noted in a GetReligion article, "Do they believe in magic?" that in turn cites a Daily Mail article on the subject.

Known for his popular critique of Christianity in his book The God Delusion, Dawkins is planning to write a book regarding the potentially dangerous side effects of certain fairytales on children.

"Looking back to my own childhood," said Dawkins, "the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious affect on rationality, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's something for research."

The Daily Mail article continues, "[Dawkins] said the book will be 'science thinking contrasted with mythical thinking' and will talk about the 'Judeo-Christian myth'."

What kind of children will we end up with if they are not exposed to imagination? Eustace Clarence Scrubb in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one possible result of stifled imagination:

"Eustace Clarence liked animals, especially beetles, if they were dead and pinned on a card. He liked books if they were books of information and had pictures of grain elevators or of fat foreign children doing exercises in model schools ... he had managed to hear them all talking of Narnia and he loved teasing them about it. He thought of course that they were making it all up; and as he was far too stupid to make anything up himself, he did not approve of that." (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, chapter 1)

There is a distinction between fantasy and reality that most children recognize. See, for instance, An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis, who himself was criticized for writing imaginative stories with witches, magic, battles, dragons, etc.

Does Dawkins know anything at all about child development? Does he know anything at all about the relationship between reason and imagination? I hereby award Richard Dawkins the first ever Unreasonable Imagination Award®.

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