tales and religious myths not good for children?
Oct 25 (IANS) It is a form of child abuse to teach religious
myths to young children who are also likely to suffer negatively
by reading tales of witchcraft and wizardry like Harry Potter,
argues Britain's leading atheist and popular science writer,
is planning to conduct research on both the themes as he believes
that while fairy tales may impact on children's rationality,
they should be cautioned against "unscientific"
is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding
of Science at Oxford University. A well-known biologist who
has contributed to the research on evolution, Dawkins is equally
known for his atheistic and rationalist views on religion
plans to bring out a book for children next year on the impact
of fairy tales on them.
book I write next year will be a children's book on how to
think about the world, science thinking contrasted with mythical
thinking. I haven't read Harry Potter, I have read Pullman
who is the other leading children's author that one might
mention and I love his books. I don't know what to think about
magic and fairy tales."
fairy tales are "anti-scientific" he is sure of
but wants to know if their effects on children are "pernicious".
Telegraph has quoted him 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."
book also proposes to demystify Judeo-Christian beliefs and
teachings. He argues that teaching children religion and labelling
them according to their faiths is a form of "abuse".
articulated his thoughts on the issue at a recent conference
of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, a group of Britons
who have renounced their religion: "It is evil to describe
a child as a Muslim child or a Christian child. I think labelling
children is child abuse and I think there is a very heavy
issue, for example, about teaching about hell and torturing
their minds with hell."
to his book, Dawkins says he will look into the mythical content
of religious teachings, including Judeo-Christian, and how
much of it can be scientifically substantiated. He wants to
"appeal" to children to "think for themselves
and look for evidence" while reading on religion.