It would seem that Richard Dawkins has resigned his position at Oxford, the Simonyi professorship for the public understanding of science, to write a children’s book warning of the dangers of “non-scientific” fairy tales. The “non-scientific” label is, of course, to distinguish these from the “scientific” fairy stories, but that’s another issue. Taking Dawkins’ place at Oxford is mathemetician Marcus du Sautoy, who sounds a bit more lucid than his predecessor.
The Telegraph quotes Dawkins as saying
“I think looking back to my own childhood, 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.”
And, with regard to raising children in a religion,”It’s a form of child abuse, even worse than physical child abuse.” I wonder, exactly what did Mr. & Mrs. Dawkins read to Richard when he was a boy? He obviously has some very deep-seated emotional reactions to the teaching of religion and anything non-scientific to children.
While I really don’t expect anything profound from Dawkins on the issue, I would be interested in his thoughts on George MacDonald, CS Lewis, Tolkien, and even Lewis Carroll and more interested in people’s response to whatever book he ends up writing. For his research, perhaps he could start here. I imagine that Dawkins will still make a fair bit of noise from time to time, but for the most part, I think his time has come and gone; people seem bored with him. Even the news bits on his leaving Oxford seem to be written with a stifled yawn.
But, I could be wrong.
Thanks to John H for blogging on this.