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Guardian Review: Faith Schools Menace?

When Richard Dawkins's daughter was 10, he tells us in Faith Schools Menace? (More4), he wrote her a letter asking her to think for herself about how we know the things we do. "How do we know," he wrote, "that the stars that look like tiny pinpricks in the sky are really huge balls of fire, like the sun, and are very far away?" He wanted her to believe that something was true only if there was evidence for it, not because someone was telling her to believe it, and he signed off "your loving Daddy". Quite sweet: you don't really think of Dawkins as a loving daddy.

His daughter wrote back. "Hey Dad. Thanks for your interesting letter. You could always talk to me you know. I'm the one sitting at the other side of the table in the morning. Anyway, I've taken on board your stuff. I know you're well into evolution, but I'm not going to believe it just because you say it's true. Or because Darwin invented it a million years ago; old doesn't necessarily mean true either. I thought I'd make my own mind up, like you said. So I'm looking at the evidence; me on the one hand, and a chimpanzee on the other (big hairy) hand. And I'm thinking: cousins? Are you having a laugh? No way. And then I read this book, called the Qur'an, and that seemed to make a lot more sense. So I've decided to become a Muslim, ha ha ha. I'm the one in a hijab at the other side of the table. God is great. Lots of love."

Actually, guess what – no she didn't. But it would have been amusing if she had. Interesting that he communicates with his daughter by letter, though.

Read on



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