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genesis1's Avatar Comment 1 by genesis1

The professor's dislike of faith schools seems a little hypocritical. After all in his book Climbing Mt Improbable he mentions that he once asked his young daughter (I think she was his daughter) as to why flowers existed. She replied (quite correctly) "to make the world pretty". (Out of the mouths of babes and infants, eh). However, the good Doctor felt the need to inform her that this belief of hers was false. If Richard has the right to mislead his daughter into rejecting what is so obviously true why shouln't muslims have a similar right to mislead their offspring. And why shouldn't Xns have the right to have their children educated in a school that teaches the truth: Christianity?

Edited by moderator to remove off topic/spam

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:07:03 UTC | #500518

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 2 by -TheCodeCrack-

Edited by moderator to remove comments in breach of Terms of Use (personal abuse).

I look forward to Richard's 'Faith School Menace?". Something like this film is long overdue.

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:10:31 UTC | #500520

epeeist's Avatar Comment 3 by epeeist

Comment 1 by genesis1 :

Another one of the highly intelligent and qualified scientists around the world who reject Darwinism

Off topic, advertising a creationist web site and almost an exact duplicate of another post. Marked as troll.

Oh, and he seems to be an engineer, so the Salem Hypothesis would seem to be apposite.

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 09:29:17 UTC | #500522

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 4 by Adrian Bartholomew

Comment 2 by -TheCodeCrack- :

The above post is an example of why I've been constantly asking for this website to set a minimum IQ level, in which people must pass in order to be able to post on here.

Bad test. Smart people can have dumb beliefs and stupid people can hold rational beliefs. In my opinion the best way to get a smart person to have dumb beliefs is to get them early in life and send them to a faith school...

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 09:31:37 UTC | #500524

Kagami's Avatar Comment 5 by Kagami

I wholehartedly agree with Dr. Dawkins.

We MUST stop this memetical virus, before all of our loved ones, our little sons and daughters succumb to this evil threat.

It makes fools of respectable parents, it plants its evil seeds into our fragile and defenseless children's unspoiled minds.

And I'm honestly puzzled by the clever arguments Dr. Dawkins is proposing.

a quote from the article: "urges society to respect a child's right to freedom of belief."

EXACTLY!

One day I was carrying my baby in a baby buggy on the street. One distant relative of mine has met me. He is a busy person, he doesn't have time, so it was understandable that he asked whether my child was a boy or a girl.

And I replied:

"I don't know. When he or she will turn 16, he or she will decide it for himself/herself."

I could see the disgust and incomprehension on his face.

I consider myself to be happy and lucky, to live a life like this.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 09:38:04 UTC | #500526

besleybean's Avatar Comment 6 by besleybean

Thank you team for posting this and apologies for my previous moaning at the lack of it's promotion! Marked on the calendar, can't wait.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:05:19 UTC | #500530

FractalShift's Avatar Comment 7 by FractalShift

One day I was carrying my baby in a baby buggy on the street. One distant relative of mine has met me. He is a busy person, he doesn't have time, so it was understandable that he asked whether my child was a boy or a girl. And I replied: "I don't know. When he or she will turn 16, he or she will decide it for himself/herself." I could see the disgust and incomprehension on his face. I consider myself to be happy and lucky, to live a life like this.

And perhaps when he/she turns 18, he/she will have the occasion to decide whether he/she is a human,or a shrub, or a television set. We mustn't indoctrinate, after all...

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:08:30 UTC | #500531

Reginald's Avatar Comment 8 by Reginald

"She replied (quite correctly) "to make the world pretty". (Out of the mouths of babes and infants, eh?"

Don't be ridiculous. This statement is typical of the ignorance-based arrogance of many Christian Evolution-deniers; the idea that we humans are so special that flowers, Nature generally, indeed the whole Universe has been created just to entertain us. Perhaps you are just winding us up?

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:06:14 UTC | #500532

Reginald's Avatar Comment 9 by Reginald

"And perhaps when he/she turns 18, he/she will have the occasion to decide whether he/she is a human,or a shrub, or a television set. We mustn't indoctrinate, after all..."

Straw-man argument, and category error. There is a difference between what the child is physically, whether he is even a human child at all or a flower-pot,- and what ideas have been implanted in his brain.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:14:50 UTC | #500535

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 10 by Dhamma

TheCodeCrack,

Most Swedes are atheists, they just don't know the word for it. I would not really claim they are more intelligent than other people, it's just that we are not indoctrinated with religion as much as others. I'm not particularly intelligent myself either, I just happen to find this topic extremely interesting and being drawn to skepticism it's easy to see why superstitions are wrong. It doesn't necessarily take intelligence to see that, it just needs you to not have been indoctrinated with lies, but with science.

If high intelligence was of need to become an atheist, what chances do we have in converting people (if that is ones will, of course)?

I have come to believe the best way is to teach skepticism. Most people will agree that it's sensible, and then they might apply it to their own faith.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 10:43:10 UTC | #500538

pollracker's Avatar Comment 11 by pollracker

I disagree with small children going to church schools and all that, but i don't think they are all horrible for one specific reason; It is because of church schools that I am an atheist. I also have a few atheist friends who received the conversion in the same manner.

The reason it converted me was upon attending the faith based school they taught me "science" which I realized made little sense. They also taught me what the bible actually says, after that it didn't take long to realize it sounded very much like a fairy tale.

So whereas I don't think Children should be indoctrinated, It might be a blessing to all of us in the Atheist community if there was some sort of some philosophical after school program for teens that taught many different belief systems. This would included of course the main religions, and may be some ancient non believed ones, and than also lack of religion and the beliefs on it. Most of us can remember a phrase from our youth "knowledge is power"

P.s. An odd fact Disney also helped make me an atheist. I never really started thinking about the idea of other gods/ religions till I got older and watched the movie Hercules as a young teen. Is it odd I can attribute my atheist conversion to a church school and Disney.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 11:01:22 UTC | #500543

Adrian Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 12 by Adrian Bartholomew

Comment 11 by pollracker :

I disagree with small children going to church schools and all that, but i don't think they are all horrible for one specific reason; It is because of church schools that I am an atheist. I also have a few atheist friends who received the conversion in the same manner.

And I bet you've met a few people that got more religious as a result of going to church schools. Frankly I think it is a slightly unwise to use personal experience like this and ascribe too much value to it. After all if faith schools made atheists more than religious people then religion would have gone away a long time ago.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 11:22:37 UTC | #500545

-TheCodeCrack-'s Avatar Comment 13 by -TheCodeCrack-

Who has the rights here?

Do parents have the supreme right to funnel their children into any crack-pottery neo-nazi, Catholic, or scientological school?

Or do children have the supreme right to obtain a proper education?

If the latter, abolish schools that have a slant towards a group of loosely-linked unsubstantiated superstitions.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 12:02:06 UTC | #500551

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 14 by JumpinJackFlash

I hope this one gets a good reception and isn't just written off by the right-wing Christian "Help us we're being persecuted!" crowd and the Guardian's "Oh these atheists are a bit silly to think all religious people are fundamentalists and criticising Islam makes you a fascist" crowd.

I once read on his Wikipedia article that Marcus Brigstocke mentioned in his live show that Dawkins' confrontational approach had made him 'realise' that atheism was just as bad and had become an agnostic. This part of the article has since disappeared. Anyone know if there was truth in it? Or maybe just some religious or agnostic griefer thinking they can use wikiality to discredit the rationalist camp.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 12:04:37 UTC | #500553

Kagami's Avatar Comment 15 by Kagami

Comment 11 by pollracker :

I disagree with small children going to church schools and all that, but i don't think they are all horrible for one specific reason; It is because of church schools that I am an atheist. I also have a few atheist friends who received the conversion in the same manner.

The reason it converted me was upon attending the faith based school they taught me "science" which I realized made little sense. They also taught me what the bible actually says, after that it didn't take long to realize it sounded very much like a fairy tale.

So whereas I don't think Children should be indoctrinated, It might be a blessing to all of us in the Atheist community if there was some sort of some philosophical after school program for teens that taught many different belief systems. This would included of course the main religions, and may be some ancient non believed ones, and than also lack of religion and the beliefs on it. Most of us can remember a phrase from our youth "knowledge is power"

I think you don't understand. Religion (especially christianity)is a dangerous meme, a mental virus, which seeks to disempower and weaken the person, whom it attaches to. By indoctrinating the victim with these ideas like "compassion", "caring", "love", "eternal life" and other stuff like that, the result is, that stronger, healthier individuals (without the virus)will take advantage of the person.

So, we must teach the masses in our schools, that we are all evolutionary beings, animals, whose sole purpose is to get ourselves what we want. Period.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 12:16:02 UTC | #500557

Chupacabra's Avatar Comment 16 by Chupacabra

Comment 11 by pollracker :

I disagree with small children going to church schools and all that, but i don't think they are all horrible for one specific reason; It is because of church schools that I am an atheist. I also have a few atheist friends who received the conversion in the same manner.

The reason it converted me was upon attending the faith based school they taught me "science" which I realized made little sense. They also taught me what the bible actually says, after that it didn't take long to realize it sounded very much like a fairy tale.

So whereas I don't think Children should be indoctrinated, It might be a blessing to all of us in the Atheist community if there was some sort of some philosophical after school program for teens that taught many different belief systems. This would included of course the main religions, and may be some ancient non believed ones, and than also lack of religion and the beliefs on it. Most of us can remember a phrase from our youth "knowledge is power"

P.s.

An odd fact Disney also helped make me an atheist. I never really started thinking about the idea of other gods/ religions till I got older and watched the movie Hercules as a young teen. Is it odd I can attribute my atheist conversion to a church school and Disney.

I don't think the issue is about whether children can work out for themselves whether to be religious or not. I don't think RD's intention is that people become atheists through schooling. It's more about the fact that faith schools often teach science (esp. evolution) incorrectly and inaccurately. This leaves us with large numbers of the population who are ignorant of what's really known and how science works.

For some people, once you've left education, going back and un/re/learning things you should have learned first time round, isn't an easy/affordable option, so generation after generation we have people who don't understand or mistrust science & are open to all sorts of quakery.

The other negative point is that if youngsters are segregated based on their parents religion, we end up with a divided population, all ignorant of each other's perspectives.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 12:34:43 UTC | #500562

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 17 by quarecuss

@ Comment 11 by pollracker

Can't agree with this at all. My faith schools did not make me an atheist. It was in spite of my faith schools that I became an atheist. I knew something was wrong with my primary and secondary faith-based education but it took 40 years of further education, both formal and informal (The Ancestor's Tale at the moment), to free my brainwashed mind from the rot of faith indoctrination. I love the background to the Prof. Dawkins publicity shot. Irish Republican mural, the violent artistic expression of my faith based education, par excellence ... but the broken chains around his head tell another story. Mind forged manacles ...

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:28:52 UTC | #500567

JackR's Avatar Comment 18 by JackR

Comment 1 by genesis1 :

The professor's dislike of faith schools seems a little hypocritical. After all in his book Climbing Mt Improbable he mentions that he once asked his young daughter (I think she was his daughter) as to why flowers existed. She replied (quite correctly) "to make the world pretty".

What? Are you serious? The question was why do flowers exist, not "What's a purely subjective side-effect of the existence of flowers?"

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:44:22 UTC | #500572

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by God fearing Atheist

it also features insights from child psychologists

I am glad Prof. Dawkins is wheeling the big guns of science into this political debate. The more science is used to inform policy the better.

Comment 11 by pollracker :

So whereas I don't think Children should be indoctrinated, It might be a blessing to all of us in the Atheist community if there was some sort of some philosophical after school program for teens that taught many different belief systems. This would included of course the main religions, and may be some ancient non believed ones, and than also lack of religion and the beliefs on it.

There is a distinction between "religious indoctrination" and "religious education". The former is telling a child one religion is the truth. The latter is educating a child about what people of different religions believe. It it could be regarded as a sub-discipline of history or sociology, or even geography. Richard Dawkins has himself argued that the bible should be taught in schools as part of English literature because bible references permeate the culture of the West. We cannot understand our (Western) culture and history without knowing about classical and christian legends.

Comment 15 by Kagami :

I think you don't understand. Religion (especially christianity)is a dangerous meme, a mental virus, which seeks to disempower and weaken the person, whom it attaches to. By indoctrinating the victim with these ideas like "compassion", "caring", "love", "eternal life" and other stuff like that, the result is, that stronger, healthier individuals (without the virus)will take advantage of the person.

Oh look, a "concern troll".

25 million years of human evolution in cooperating groups have produced "compassion", "caring", "love". Educators only need to hone it in children, and control the 1% of psychopaths. "eternal life" is a lie used by the 1% of psychopaths to con suckers out of money in exchange for rewards that can never be delivered.

(EDIT: The Moral Life of Babies gives a good discussion about the inate morality of humans.)

So, we must teach the masses in our schools, that we are all evolutionary beings, animals, whose sole purpose is to get ourselves what we want.

A naive interpretation of Darwinism. It is only applicable to solitary species, and even then they need to co-operate with a partner when they match up to mate. It does not apply to species which live in groups, such as humans.

Maynard Smith, John. Evolution and the Theory of Games. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, might be of help here.

So who taught you "compassion", "caring", "love" and "honesty" Kagami? Was it a Christian? Are you lying for Jebus?

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:52:16 UTC | #500573

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 20 by Paula Kirby

Kagami, you are either a creationist who has swallowed the religious propaganda about morality, decency, a sense of purpose, compassion etc being incompatible with evolution and is just trolling here; or your understanding of evolution is seriously lacking. Either way, there are plenty of books which will explain why and how in fact humans have NOT evolved into the monsters you describe. If you are genuinely interested in the subject, why not try reading some of them?

Comment 15 by Kagami :

I think you don't understand. Religion (especially christianity)is a dangerous meme, a mental virus, which seeks to disempower and weaken the person, whom it attaches to. By indoctrinating the victim with these ideas like "compassion", "caring", "love", "eternal life" and other stuff like that, the result is, that stronger, healthier individuals (without the virus)will take advantage of the person.

So, we must teach the masses in our schools, that we are all evolutionary beings, animals, whose sole purpose is to get ourselves what we want.

Period.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:51:55 UTC | #500576

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 21 by JumpinJackFlash

Boot genesis off, and for Thor's sake, DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:06:41 UTC | #500581

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 22 by the great teapot

Epeeist.

Why do you feel the need to insult Engineers. There are plenty of fellow scientists who are religious. I am assuming you are a scientist rather than someone who happened to have passed an exam in physics when he was 15.

Perhaps Engineers should dream up a smart arse name for scientists who believe and call that up. I wouldn't do it my self because I am above that sort of thing but may be there are a few out there who could on our behalf.

Edited by moderator to remove comment that breached our Terms of Use - personal abuse.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:09:55 UTC | #500585

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 23 by the great teapot

Epeeist

Why do you feel the need to insult Engineers as a group.

Prejudice is not welcome in an oasis of clear thinking.

Apologies if they have finally published my previous 2 less polite posts.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:29:46 UTC | #500597

JJFinch's Avatar Comment 24 by JJFinch

Comment 1 by genesis1 :

After all in his book Climbing Mt Improbable he mentions that he once asked his young daughter (I think she was his daughter) as to why flowers existed. She replied (quite correctly) "to make the world pretty". (Out of the mouths of babes and infants, eh). However, the good Doctor felt the need to inform her that this belief of hers was false. If Richard has the right to mislead his daughter into rejecting what is so obviously true ...

(emphasis mine)

Incorrectly. Flowers don't exist to make the world look pretty, they are an adaptation whose function is ultimately the reproduction of the plant in question. That they are pretty is a happy consequence of this, but not their purpose.

I am in agreement with Professor Dawkins on this issue, and have nothing further to add.

EDIT: apologies for the troll-feeding, I didn't notice the warning signs...

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:33:35 UTC | #500598

epeeist's Avatar Comment 25 by epeeist

Comment 23 by the great teapot :

Why do you feel the need to insult Engineers.

The Salem Hypothesis does not insult all engineers. It simply points out that a small subset of engineers who are creationists tend to practice deception about their qualifications in order to appear more authoritative.

You might find another example in those who have signed the Dissent from Darwin list, for example Charles Detwiler, a Ph.D. geneticist who puts down Cornell as his affiliation, neglecting to mention he works at Liberty University.

EDIT: Apologies if it wasn't clear. I think I snipped too much of the troll's post.

Updated: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:42:35 UTC | #500600

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 26 by the great teapot

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:39:24 UTC | #500602

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 27 by the great teapot

fair enough epeeist. Apology/ explanation accepted, I hope you accept mine.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:47:21 UTC | #500609

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 28 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Will I be able to view it online in America?

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:59:52 UTC | #500616

chalkers's Avatar Comment 29 by chalkers

Comment 30 by InYourFaceNewYorker :

Will I be able to view it online in America?

Probably not on 4od. I don't know if this site is available in America but it steams live telly.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 15:04:34 UTC | #500619

alphcat's Avatar Comment 30 by alphcat

I think a lot of people here are assuming that faith schools are only chosen by people of faith to indoctrinate their young. Not quite the case in reality. The popular and oversubscribed ones are popular for exactly the same reason that other good schools are oversubscribed, because of their position in the league tables and their exam results. I've known vehement ex catholic athiests send their kids to catholic school and others with no real faith suddenly convert when the school league tables are published.

As for teaching science incorrectly as stated by Chupacabra-the teaching of creationism is thankfully forbidden by the national curriculum which all state schools (faith or otherwise) have to adhere to. Creationism is not generally accepted by either the RC or CofE churches who tend to run most of the faith schools. In additon when creationist teachers have been found spreading garbage in English schools it's quite often been in secular ones such as the Bluecoat school in Liverpool.

My local secular school has gcse A* to C pass rate of 23% and is in special measures (i.e. just above a fail from ofsted). It offers a science 'gcse equivalent' to push it's pass rate up. I don't know if this even touches on evolution but when we've interviewed children who've taken it to assess whether they'd cope with A level we've found it sadly lacking in scientific content and understanding. In my nearest RC school the pass rate is 80% and it's rated outstanding. It has an excellent science department and seems to teach all of the recommended PSHE syllabus, including the bits that the Pope wouldn't like.

Faith schools, like all other schools, are as good as the people running them. Religious fanatics putting faith above standards tend not to be running popular schools. In principle I'm against them but principles are a luxury most of us can't afford. The issue is a very complex one I'm afraid.

Sun, 15 Aug 2010 15:23:11 UTC | #500631