This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Lumifish's Profile

Lumifish's Avatar Joined over 5 years ago
Gender: Male

Latest Discussions Started by Lumifish

More Discussions by Lumifish

Latest Comments by Lumifish

Go to: Children need to be sprinkled with fairy dust

Lumifish's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Lumifish

Comment #272098 by Jesse.

Yeah-- you'd need a fairly large sample size to overcome the many complicating variables, and controlling/observing that many families to an acceptable level of accuracy would be a real logistical pain..

I suddenly have a whole lot more respect for experimental psychology.

Mon, 27 Oct 2008 02:02:00 UTC | #258469

Go to: Children need to be sprinkled with fairy dust

Lumifish's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Lumifish

it is possible that reading fantasy and fairy tales inoculates one against future religious indoctrination.

A 'fantasy as immunization' analogy to go with the 'religion as virus' one? I like that =)

This is an answerable question, and my feelings and your feelings should be superseded by research on real children.

Dawkins is right, as usual. I am curious as to how such research would be done, though; given how pervasive fiction of all kinds is in our society, wouldn't it be kind of difficult to put up adequate controls to test any hypothesis about the effects of fantasy, harmful or otherwise? 'Correlation != causation' would seem likely to apply to many of the results, too.

Mon, 27 Oct 2008 01:45:00 UTC | #258460

Go to: Children need to be sprinkled with fairy dust

Lumifish's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Lumifish

I'm generally inclined to agree with this. Science fiction was always my first love, but I used to be quite fond of high fantasy, and even as a small child it never occurred to me that it was representative of the real world. Later on I would often have a great deal of fun trying to invent scientific models to explain the unusual physical behaviours of these alternate universes. Good fantasy settings generally do not disagree with the scientific method, just the particular environment in which that method is applied.

That said, there does exist a number of children that actually believe in the existence of certain fantasy universes. But in my opinion that is no more reflective of the genre itself than 'quantum healing' is of quantum mechanics. Children should be taught general skepticism, but that does not preclude interactions with far-fetched fiction (indeed, it is often useful to have a standard by which to judge the patently false!).

Mon, 27 Oct 2008 00:40:00 UTC | #258433

Go to: Dare we stand up for Muslim women?

Lumifish's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Lumifish

It is just one tactic in a global war to keep Muslim women at heel.

I wish people would stop using language like this. It makes it sound like there is some overarching governmental conspiracy responsible for these continual violations of human rights, but it really is common, everyday individuals that are to blame for the perpetuation. I'm not convinced that provisions in the Iraqi constitution would have changed anything; the culture of religious bigotry is rooted in far deeper places than administrative law.

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 06:01:00 UTC | #255987

Go to: Mysterious Snippets Of DNA Withstand Eons Of Evolution

Lumifish's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Lumifish

It's not that these regions are somehow protected against change: they are mutated in about one in 200 healthy humans. Rather, these changes seem to be swept away over time by the tides of evolution in a process called "purifying selection."


For those suggesting self-conservation, read the article a little more carefully =)

I'd tend to agree with the first comment-- most likely explanation is a subtle phenotypic change that doesn't show up in laboratory settings. The environmental interactions of a wild organism can be fantastically complex, and they are difficult to replicate artificially.

Wed, 22 Oct 2008 05:28:00 UTC | #255093

More Comments by Lumifish