Richard Dawkins’ New Children’s Book


Written by Raven Clabough/ New American  

Atheist Richard Dawkins has written a children’s book, entitled The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, which encourages the notions of atheism and evolution and describes Judeo-Christian beliefs as a myth. According to Dawkins, the work is intended for families to read together and “enjoy [his] take on the universe’s truths.”

Dawkins explains something of what motivated him to write the book:

I’ve had perfectly wonderful conversations with Anglican bishops, and I rather suspect if you asked in a candid moment, they’d say they don’t believe in the virgin birth. But for every one of them, four others would tell a child she’ll rot in hell for doubting.

NewScientist’s Andy Coghlan has this to say about the new book:

Dawkins has repackaged his passion for atheism — and for the capacity of science to deliver demonstrable truths about nature — in a book designed to appeal to teenagers.

The writing is also masterly, if a little waffly in places. From the strident polemics of The God Delusion, Dawkins has shifted into “wise grandad” mode. His strategy is laid bare in the list of chapters, a clear “scientific” rewrite of the contents of Genesis. The formula is simple: each chapter addresses a basic question: “Who was the first person?“ or ”When and how did everything begin?” Dawkins then supplies imaginative answers provided by ancient myths from around the world — among them prominent tales from the Bible. Finally, he demolishes these myths by supplying the “real” answers provided by science.

Dawkins worked with comic book artist Dave McKean to create a “graphic detective story” which asks and answers questions pondered by nearly everyone during the course of their lives. He believes his book will raise basic questions among children, helping them better understand the world around them by encouraging what he considers science instead of religious doctrine.

Still, Dawkins contends his book cannot be considered indoctrination. “I am almost pathologically afraid of indoctrinating children,” he claims. “It would be a ‘Think for Yourself Academy.’ ”

However, The Magic of Reality seems to reveal at least some attempts at indoctrination. According to Dawkins, children will have an easier time accepting evolution as a scientific truth because they are not “weighed down by misleading familiarity.” He adds:

When children ask “where did I come from” they are quite capable of understanding — and being taught evolution. Evolution could be taught in such a way as to make it easier to understand than a myth. That is because myths leave the child’s questions unanswered, or they raise more questions than they appear to answer. Evolution is a truly satisfying and complete explanation of existence, and I suspect that this thing is something a child can appreciate from an early age.

Regardless of how satisfying evolution may be for some, evangelist and geneticist Francis Collins asserts that the question of “What happened before that?” continues to plague scientific theories. The only way to answer those questions, asserts Collins, is through the recognition of a First Cause — a Creator: “A creator who is not limited by time, doesn’t need to have such a beginning,” notes Collins. “[Dawkins'] question doesn’t make any sense if you have a creator outside of time.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Pyramidion’s editorial policy.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins’ New Children’s Book

  1. This is what the world needs. I look forward to the musical. Contemporary thought needs to be challenged. A study of evolution has proved that flight is impossible: it is a scientific fact that despite the widespread availability of extension ladders, no part of the fossil record has been found in the air.

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  2. I have a lot of respect for Dawkins. He’s very passionate about his belief in atheism, and that is what it is: belief. I’m attracted to people who are passionate about what they believe, whether or not I agree with them. In the end, after all, our beliefs are all any of us have to enable us to make sense of the world we live in. My difficulty with Dawkins, and with all atheists (My father was an atheist.), is that “reality,” as science teaches us to conceive it, is rather sterile and uninteresting, at least to me. The atheist and scientific materialist view of the Universe is that it is, well, dead; nothing but inert matter and energy chaotically whizzing through emptiness. Somehow, I can’t quite “buy” that view of the Universe.

    Certainly, if we confine ourselves to what our five senses are able to tell us about “reality,” atheism and strict materialism fit very well. But what if human beings are capable of a vastly wider range of perception and “knowing?” There is much new evidence that suggests this to be the case. If this is true, why do humans have such powers? Is it only so that we can deceive ourselves about realms beyond what the ordinary senses perceive, and which do not in fact exist, or is it so that we can perceive what is actually “out there” and “within” ourselves, and perhaps change it? The ancient Egyptians and many other ancient cultures believed that humans have not only enormous powers of perception, but also enormous powers to affect and change the physical world around us, using only our minds and spirits. The Egyptians apparently believed that humans have not five senses, but three hundred sixty senses! They believed that these powers could and should be cultivated and developed. Why? Were they simply deluding themselves? I don’t think so.

    All this suggests to me that the five-sense world science and “rationalism” have taught us to confine ourselves to is not all there is. I believe the ancients knew that very well, while we have forgotten it. But we are rediscovering it, little by little, it seems. Though I believe that the religions we have now are largely false, and that they are basically a means to control humanity and prevent us from developing and using our higher powers, I do believe that there is a higher power in the Universe, and that it is steadily leading humanity toward itself, and toward a full realization of who we are. The time in which we’re living might be, in fact, the time in human history when that finally happens. I hope so. If that is true, then this period of history, though fraught with darkness, chaos and death, may only be the darkness before the dawn; the dawn of true light and freedom for all of us.

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