oh for crying out loud

November 2nd, 2008

Somebody needs to grow up. Really, (assuming the article is actually an accurate representation of Dawkins’ views) this is pathetic. Now, I kinda almost agree with his characterisation of certain aspects of “religious” education, upbringing and labelling as ‘abuse’, but, having grown up in the church myself, and knowing many people from several countries with similar backgrounds, I feel quite safe in stating that one has to have been raised in a very extremely fundamentalist church (used in a pan-religious sense: insert mosque, synagogue, temple, other religious term as appropriate) before such an upbringing can be reasonably called abuse. Plenty of people have seen through the church and gone on to lead perfectly healthy, well-adjusted lives. Plenty of others still believe, attend church, and lead perfectly healthy, well-adjusted lives.

But what pisses me off most about this is that if we were to take Professor Dawkins’ comments as reported to their logical extreme, we would be raising kids stripped of imagination and entirely incapable of seeing anything more than what is immediately in front of their faces. Really. Prof. Dawkins should step back, take a good, hard look at the development of human societies, and ask himself why all cultures have developed a system of myths and legends and a set of folk- and fairy-tales. These things really are about the education of the children, the teaching of all the necessary skills and abiltiies- emotional, intellectual and, ummm, imaginational- necessary for adult life. Imagination is necessary- how the hell else would we have science? And all these fantastical stories engage and develop that imagination.

Books simply encouraging children to deal purely with rational, scientific facts are simply inappropriate, because without that background of imagination and its attendant curiosity, the kids will not have the intellectual skills to move beyond what can be immediately perceived, and that is no basis on which to continue the development of human society.

And if Prof. Dawkins were to carry his sentiments, as reported, to the logical extreme, we would soon be banning toy cars and dolls, because it is simply unscientific to see a Matchbox car or Barbie doll as being in any way comparable to their real world equivalents. Trouble is, toys are essential to a young child’s education, because in engaging the child’s imagination one develops the intellectual, imaginational, and emotional skills necessary to proceed in society.

In other words, I hope the reporter did a piss-poor job of reporting Prof. Dawkins’ views and has taken a few comments way, way out of context, because articles like this leave me thinking there is no real difference between militant atheists and the Pat Robertsons or Osama bin Ladens of this world.

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