Richard Dawkins's science book for kids, illustrated by Dave McKean

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74 Responses to “Richard Dawkins's science book for kids, illustrated by Dave McKean”

  1. Ugly Canuck says:

    Here’s some good reading from a devout man who had entire paragraphs taken verbatim from his writings and incorporated into text of the Constitution of The United States of America by her founding fathers.

    It concerns tolerance for others who do not share your religion….

    http://www.constitution.org/jl/tolerati.htm

    …and I try to remember its wisdom, but the intellectual dishonesty which I sense in some religious types does not always make that easy for me to do.

    From the text linked to:

    “The care of souls is not committed to the civil magistrate, any more than to other men. It is not committed unto him, I say, by God; because it appears not that God has ever given any such authority to one man over another as to compel anyone to his religion.”

    And the “war on drugs” is really about “caring for souls”, is it not? A war of religion, in other words.

    • Hools Verne says:

      And the “war on drugs” is really about “caring for souls”, is it not? A war of religion, in other words.

      The War on Drugs is about keeping Jim Crow alive. Everything else is just rationalizing.

  2. pidg says:

    WHY does ‘Earthquake’ have a capital letter in that table of contents??

  3. Ipo says:

    Even Stacadia was born an atheist and only succumbed to indoctrination.

    • starcadia says:

      I’m unaffiliated with any belief system, religious or atheist. Which is probably what allows me to recognize this sort of propaganda when I see it.

      And I also recognize in the posting of most of the author’s defenders here the exact same dogma they’re protesting. As is always the case, only the Others are short-sighted.

  4. Hools Verne says:

    [quote]In terms of verifying truth and understanding our world, including our own nature, science IS the de facto agent. I shall add that by SCIENCE, I (as well as Dawkins) mean the proper scientific method, NOT what any and all self-proclaimed scientist may have said or done. Yes, there have been and will be unsavoury, unworthy scientists. That is precisely why a questioning, skeptical, rational mind is an empowering tool, especially for the masses and/or the downtrodden. That’s why people should expect proper, unbiased evidence from ANY authority, including scientists.[/quote]

    The first part of this paragraph is a cop-out. Unsavory as many Nazi, Soviet, and U.S. experiments on unwilling subjects were, they were very much good science and followed the scientific method and we owe a lot of our current technology and knowledge to them. The second part is classist and participating in cultural hegemony: “if only those primitive savages would think like me then then all their problems would be solved”.

    • Sekino says:

      My ‘cop out’ is the courtesy of avoiding an irrelevant tennis match between Torquemada and Mengele. I have already mentioned it plainly: I am not discussing ethics or morality here (they can be present OR absent in both secular and religious people and I was rather glad we seemed to be conceding on that; I guess a ‘materialist’ of my ilk never gets any credit from you).

      I was debating on whether evidence is necessary in separating fact from falsity.

      Also, nice little straw ‘noble savage’ you just tossed in there: I really don’t want to get into why you believe that the white man has a patent on reason (or myself, for that matter). Nah, honestly, I don’t suspect you actually believe that, I really just take that statement as a bit of an insult…

      There are reasonable people capable of plain observation and clear thinking in all cultures. They are equally victimized by dishonest, hypocritical, exploitative leaders and con-men. You think that albinos in Tanzania really need a white person to inform them that getting hacked to bits for esoteric rituals is WRONG? You think homosexuals pretty much anywhere need the white man to know that they are healthy, normal human beings and don’t deserve being degraded and slaughtered? I’m not even going to touch the issues of women: half of humanity has suffered countless, ongoing insults and atrocities as a DIRECT result of fabrication and superstition… But wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah: The need for evidence. You once again succeeded at diverting attention from that point. You’re skilled at that.

      I would guess that he would not call my sanity into question over this because while most neuroscientists subscribe to monism they also admit that its still an inconclusive matter where something like consciousness is involved, we still don’t have any kind of nuerological model for consciousness…

      See, I don’t get why you’re so impatient and angry with my position when I have been agreeing with this all along. I have never questioned your sanity. I never said that there was ANY certainty on the issue of souls or consciousness, only that there are more possibilities to be considered than a necessity for a soul or divine agent. For the last time, only evidence will settle this issue, when it becomes available.

      I’d ask again for an explaination on why relying on evidence seems so goddamn obnoxious in your eyes, but I’m just done. Just keep on believin’…

      • Hools Verne says:

        Sekino, my issue isn’t with you really. It’s mainly with Dawkins. We both agree with evidence being a necessity for establishing fact. There is evidence that matter exists and its functions by predictable rules from a relative vantage point. The evidence that this can explain every phenomenon is, at this point, for me and others, inconclusive. It’s a model that is constantly being refined and revised and it has a great deal of utility (and certainly it is a lot more accurate than Genesis) but it’s still a model. Dawkins tends to conflate both axioms with scientific fact and he diverts away any criticism that might come from more reasonable spiritualists by focusing on fanatics.

        I think that call to rationality ignores that the discourse of what is considered rational is controlled by social norms and establishments. That was what I was getting at with the comment about abolitionists and physiognomists is that in the day the idea of racial and social Darwinism was perfectly rational. Today it bothers me when Andrea James posts critiques of who controls the discourse in mental health and gets called a “science denier” by a lot of Boingers.

        I think that Dawkins tries to lay claim to reason and rationality as the sole domain of his philosophy in much the same way that ideologues on the Religious Right try to claim morality. I think it’s reasonable to look at what we know about the universe and believe that materialism is sufficient to explain everything, and going further that materialism is true. I also think it’s reasonable to look at what we know about the universe and believe that the endless complexity of it all implies something more. I don’t think it’s reasonable to be a King James Literalist, and I think we’d all do well to remember that all of these are states of belief and reality is a lot bigger than any of us often give it credit for.

        We agree that ethics and morality do not belong to either RELIGION or SCIENCE. I think we could add reason to that as well (I think you’d agree that there are reasonable religious figures and unreasonable scientists). So my argument is that we should focus on these things: reason and ethics. Rather than debating whether there is a God out there somewhere and whether believing one way or the other makes you a lesser person. I am sorry to offend you, we’re really very much in agreement here and its a testament to how effective these wedge issues are that I became so confrontational to somebody that I would rather consider a friend.

  5. trevcaru says:

    How can reality be held within the confines of knowledge? Knowledge is limited, its the minds collections of thought organized into patterns which can be ‘perceived’ through awareness. Reality is something truly different. Reality is alive. Thought can only come from the impressions left by reality on the brain and the mixing and matching of those impressions.

    This subtitle is obscure, its like saying ‘The Magic of noise: How we eat what we really hear.”

  6. Hools Verne says:

    I’m all for marveling at the wonder of the universe in itself, but “how we know what’s really true”? Fuck your arrogant bullshit Dawkins.

    • triskele says:

      As opposed to the arrogance of believing in some stuff written down by a bunch of patriarchs two to three thousand years ago (an era when we knew bugger all about the world) and then copied by hand many times and translated through many languages?

      For the hard of thinking, science is all about “how we know what’s really true” as proven by modern technology every time you use your mobile phone or the computer you posted your trollish comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Except that when you used over-loaded terms like “truth” and “what we really know” things can get fuzzy. My concern with this book is that it will be a platform for creating atheist fundies like himself (if you don’t think he is a fundie, you should listen to him speak or read some of the articles of his posted here, he is full of fundie tactics when arguing). If this book stuck to the science without attacking religious beliefs then great, but I don’t think Dawkins is capable of such a task.

        The nature of science is that more of the truth will come out eventually, it doesn’t need foam-at-the mouth fundamentalism.

        • tim says:

          If this book stuck to the science without attacking religious beliefs then great, but I don’t think Dawkins is capable of such a task.

          The very existence of science is an attack on the entire basis of religious belief.

          if you find a god lying around in the desert you just know that something must have created it, right?

          awesome! thanks for the chuckle.

          You’re welcome. I consider it my epoch-making synthesis of Pratchett (Small gods) and Paley. Look out for my forthcoming books – one claiming to use it to prove the existence of god(s) and the other under a different name that will use exactly the opposite. I hope to be able to parlay it into TV punditry riches on both Fox and reality based tv channels.

        • Anonymous says:

          My concern with this book is that it will be a platform for creating atheist fundies like himself (if you don’t think he is a fundie, you should listen to him speak or read some of the articles of his posted here, he is full of fundie tactics when arguing).

          I don’t really care so long as he isn’t causing real harm. Comparing him to fundamentalists is turning a blind eye on what they actually do, which goes much further simply writing annoying children’s books.

          I wonder how many of the people who say “fuck you, Dawkins” for trying to establish his viewpoint among children do the same to authors of books of bible stories for them. If you do both fairly, please carry on.

      • Hools Verne says:

        False Dichotomy. I also don’t believe in a “magical sky man”. I just don’t buy into the idea that materialism has a monopoly on reality and I don’t have patience for “rational skeptics” who never turn that spotlight of skepticism onto their own axioms and authorities. Dawkins and Hitchens are both cultural imperialists who only get away with their own aggressive pedagogy because the main opposition they have chosen to embrace are even bigger jingoistic assholes; but between them and the religious right the discourse of the role of science and spirituality in society has become a divisive pissing match of lazy arguments against straw mans.

      • Mister44 says:

        Perhaps he meant it that many times, even today, our scientific knowledge is turned on its ear with new discoveries. Thus our ‘truth’ is constantly changing and being refined.

        I do hope nothing in the book directly mentions the bible or anything like that. None of my science text books ever did – nor should they. Getting people interested in science should come from the love of discovery.

        • redesigned says:

          Perhaps he meant it that many times, even today, our scientific knowledge is turned on its ear with new discoveries. Thus our ‘truth’ is constantly changing and being refined.

          We are constantly refining our theories, very seldom are the “turned on their ear” or negated. that is a huge difference. I refer you to Asimov’s essay “The Relativity of Wrong” to explain the fallacy of your assumption:
          http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

          if you find a god lying around in the desert you just know that something must have created it, right?

          awesome! thanks for the chuckle.

    • simonbarsinister says:

      And yet I’d bet you have a pretty solid trust in the theory of gravity when you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

      • Hools Verne says:

        I trust that gravity exists and is mathematically predictable. I don’t claim to know the underpinnings of gravitational force and I don’t claim that because gravity has a predictable effect on matter that matter is all there is in the entirety of reality.

    • Anonymous says:

      How arrogant of Dawkins to write a book based on empirical knowledge instead of faith based claims and theological conjecture.

      I mean can you believe the nerve? He actually wants to help kids understand the world in terms of things we can test instead of relying on mystical unfalsifiable deities. Not to mention give them the tools to counter those that believe in pseudoscience.

      Just typical arrogant angry-at-god atheists.

  7. YosemiteSteve says:

    Jeez, for a science book you’d think they’d get the rainbow right. For the primary rainbow, red is the top color, not violet.

  8. redesigned says:

    All this story mentions Dawkins doing is what normal, sensible Christians do all the time
    Wait. What? Normal sensible christians?
    I wish they would chime in once in a while.

  9. Lupelu says:

    Please tell me that’s not the actual, final cover. That thing’s horrendous.

  10. Hools Verne says:

    That said, from the table of contents this does look like a good explanatory primer for kids and the thought of Dave McKean illustrating it fills me with warm fuzzies (though he’s no P. Craig Russel :p).

  11. Ugly Canuck says:

    It’s so nice I linked it twice!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The anon up top is totally right; we need to teach philosophy of science before we ever get to science. Then again, maybe we wouldn’t ever get anything done if we did it that way…

  13. Hools Verne says:

    Everything that matters is ultimately matter of some sort

    Justice, universal human dignity and kinship, dreams… these things don’t matter?

    I’m also curious to know how you can prove, scientifically, that there are no black swans.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish to denigrate the physical world. I personally see the divine in the material world, not in an arcane theosophical way, but simply in itself. I don’t have a problem with atheism or materialism as a personal philosophy. I do have a problem with the way Dawkins conflates materialsm with science as if they were the self same thing and I have a problem with the rhetorical devices he uses like calling his opponents mentally ill. I have a problem with the way he frames religion as the sole opressor of the world and science as the only path to enlightenment. He would do well to remember that the Quakers were fighting the good fight for abolitionism while the scientists of the day were still proving that “the negro” was sub-human, never mind the Tuskegee Experiments or any number of ethically atrocious (but certainly rational) experiments that propelled science through the twentieth century. That’s not to say that religion (or science) is the source of all good or all evil in the world. It is to say that setting up the argument in such a matter regardless of where you fall on the spectrum is ill advised. This blog post kind of gets at what I’m trying to say and does so with much more grace than I am capable of.

    • Sekino says:

      Justice, universal human dignity and kinship, dreams… these things don’t matter?

      There is no human dignity, justice or dream possible without human bodies. They are born of physical realities, just like everything else, as we have so far learned. Damage a few neurones here and there and see the most vibrant love, morality or inspiration vanish into thin air. We don’t dream and think because of ghosts or souls, we think because of our bodies.

      On such matters, I tend to trust the word of people who handle, dissect and observe real brains/minds day in and day out (Vilayanur Ramachandran, for instance) over abstract philosophizing alone. Don’t get me wrong: Theory and philosophy are valuable, but if truth-seeking is your goal, you have to be willing to demonstrate something, at some point.

      I completely agree with you that the debate between spirituality and science should NOT be about evil v.s. good. This creates endless arguments consisting of “religious person X did good, therefore religion is good” and “scientist Y did evil so science is bad” ad infinitum. It’s sysiphean and wastes time.

      However, I do think that it is critical to determine what ought to be considered fact and truth as opposed to fabrication.

      In terms of verifying truth and understanding our world, including our own nature, science IS the de facto agent. I shall add that by SCIENCE, I (as well as Dawkins) mean the proper scientific method, NOT what any and all self-proclaimed scientist may have said or done. Yes, there have been and will be unsavoury, unworthy scientists. That is precisely why a questioning, skeptical, rational mind is an empowering tool, especially for the masses and/or the downtrodden. That’s why people should expect proper, unbiased evidence from ANY authority, including scientists.

      Belief without evidence, whether secular OR religious, is potentially dangerous at best and harmful at worse. Most ‘rational skeptics’ wouldn’t have such a big a problem with ‘spiritualism’ or religion IF their only purpose/message was to keep an open mind towards the unknowable and provide some comfort or be a tool for personal introspection. Unfortunately, agents of dogma and irrational beliefs actively seek to influence all spheres of human life (health, science, law, politics, society…), negatively affecting millions of real lives.

      The Pascal’s wager that we ought to keep an open mind towards the supernatural and divine is all fun and games as long as one happens to be on the privileged side of a given belief, not the sinful, impure, diseased, unworthy, unnatural, untouchable scapegoat du jour.

      As Dawkins state on the book’s cover, there ARE ways to know what’s really true. Scientists, despite accusations of being a lot of arrogant, self-inflated douchebags, are for the most part trained to constantly revisit, correct and discard their own theories and observations in search of fact. Theories are being advanced and utterly shot down all the time, but we don’t hear about that. We only hear about the few bombmastic con-men. A scientist’s very job is to have his/her ideas questioned and shot down. Most do not campaign for a blind faith in science. Au contraire, most are absolutely willing to explore ANY new theory or challenge with a single condition: There needs to be reasonable evidence.

      I fail to see how this is in any way arrogant or unfair.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        “There is no human dignity, justice or dream possible without human bodies. ”

        Hold on, bodies may be necessary for all those things to exist, but they are not sufficient for all those things to exist.

        “There is no human dignity, justice or dream possible without the human spirit.”

        Hmmmmm – for some obscure reason I have modified your already accurate sentence.

        And what about music?

        Well, hears an obscure song about a scientist who writes a letter:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUT98E968yQ

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUT98E968yQ

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        There is a difference between a corpse and a living person, and it is not a question of a difference in measurable mass, for there isn’t one.

        And it is a real difference, not simply a descriptive difference, a difference merely in the words used.

        And there accompanies that difference an ethical difference: you would not pass a stitch through a living man’s nose, before ya throw him overboard.

        All one needs to do is be observant to spot the difference between me and my corpse: and the difference is not a physical one.

        Where indeed does time arise, if the world be merely physical? How does matter behold time, without a living spirit to leap beyond, to ascend above, the boundaries and walls of the present moment?

        Mere matter cannot do it.
        Mere matter dies, trapped in the moment. Life is spiritual.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ok, besides matter you need specific arrangements of matter. A wiped disk and one filled with programs have the same mass, too.

  14. chubs says:

    Hey kids, here’s a little something you can do when you disagree with a lot of people. Invent some kind of mental condition and claim that everyone who thinks differently than you do suffers from it. Make sure you insist that this mental condition is “scientific” (don’t worry if your idea is testable or observable or anything — most people have no idea what “scientific” means). Then you’ll never really have to take other people seriously or respect their opinions. It’s my most cleverest trick ever, and you can do it too!

    Love,
    Uncle Dickie

  15. Hools Verne says:

    And again, from looking at the table of contents I think this looks like it will probably be a very good and informative book for kids to learn about some basic science. My sole issue here is with the subtitle “how we know what’s really true”.

  16. Sekino says:

    Hold on, bodies may be necessary for all those things to exist, but they are not sufficient for all those things to exist.

    How so exactly? If anyone can demonstrate an iota of evidence towards a transcendent ‘soul’, I’ll be in the lineup to give them a big pat on the back, trust me. How about finding out the actual truth instead of splitting hairs?

    If souls exist, we will find evidence for them. But so far, everything we are discovering about bodies, minds and conciousness point towards something different. Why is this such a big freaking deal? We didn’t turn to ashes because the Earth wasn’t flat or the center of the universe…

  17. Hools Verne says:

    Funny you would bring up Ramachandran because, though he is clearly a monist he is also a proponent of qualia which is one of those sticking points in the “hard problem” of consciousness and the explanatory gap. He believes there may be a neurological and empirically testable neural network for qualia, I’m not convinced one way or the other. I don’t know Ramachandran personally, but having known a decent amount of cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists I would guess that he would not call my sanity into question over this because while most neuroscientists subscribe to monism they also admit that its still an inconclusive matter where something like consciousness is involved, we still don’t have any kind of nuerological model for consciousness, and what models we do have still invoke some form of homunculus.

  18. starcadia says:

    I’ll say it again, because it was for some reason censored the first time by a Dawkins fan:

    Christ, what an asshole.

    Anyone who does not worship Dawkins’ small-brained hyper-materialistic dogma will understand the levels.

    He’s going after your kids now.

  19. Tristan Eldtritch says:

    I’d prefer to think that science is all about “how we know what we think is really true is usually ass-backward.”

  20. Fef says:

    What about tides? Huh? Huh? Yeah, I thought so — You can’t explain tides, not to my satisfaction, can you? Can you?

  21. Crashproof says:

    I dislike the “really true” claim as well. It sounds… dogmatic.

    One of the basic useful things about science is that it doesn’t peddle “truth” and all theories are replaceable by better theories.

    Does “really true” describe Newtonian physics? The Copenhagen Interpretation? Luminiferous aether? Dark matter/dark energy? Superstrings?

  22. Sekino says:

    Mere matter cannot do it.
    Mere matter dies, trapped in the moment. Life is spiritual.

    Pretty.

    So do mushrooms have souls? How about bacteria? Do souls end at viruses?

    Since you’re ready to settle on the matter (no pun intended) without actual evidence on the table, and since I won’t take poetry or personal opinion alone as truth, there is no hope for this conversation to go anywhere. Agreeing to fundamentally disagree.

  23. Tetsubo says:

    I think that Dawkins is one of the greatest living minds on the topic of evolutionary theory. I love his work. I spread his wisdom as often as I can. But the man is an atheist zealot. I dislike zealots of any stripe, atheist or theist alike. I was once an atheist as well. Until I realized that there is no dichotomy between faith & reason. That reality is more than just science. That the spiritual is just as much a part of reality. I’m just not a prat about it.

  24. Jeremiah Cornelius says:

    Materialism.

    Too bad.

  25. tim says:

    Well, damn those awful strident atheists and their mean spirited shrieking against the nice warm fuzzy gods. I mean, if you find a god lying around in the desert you just know that something must have created it, right?

  26. Anonymous says:

    What a fantastically epistemically modest tagline. Maybe we should also teach philosophy of science in schools.

  27. Anonymous says:

    yeah, but does it explain how those fucking magnets work?

  28. Kimmo says:

    It should be sold alongside They Might Be Giants’ latest album.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Coo-well. I wondered what Richard Dawkins had been up to since he stopped hosting “Family Feud.” Now I know. Hey, is there anything in the book about the Hogan’s Heroes movie?

  30. starcadia says:

    Exactly.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Rather than debating whether there is a God out there somewhere and whether believing one way or the other makes you a lesser person.

    But if atheists don’t debate it, who answers the religious who say not believing makes you a lesser person? This is not something specific to the bizarre radicals; the pope himself, who represents a very mainstream group, has blamed atheism for all sorts of ills. Is the only approach to let it all slide and hope people don’t listen to them?

  32. Sekino says:

    Nice! I knew he wanted to make a children’s book for a long time, so it’s great to see it finished!

    I would love to see him make a kid’s book about evolution as well. SO many people misunderstand the whole concept (even people who have nothing against the theory of evolution). It would be important to raise a new generation of ‘biology-literate’ people. Dawkins is very skilled at putting complex scientific concepts elegantly and simply.

  33. benher says:

    I don’t care if Dawkins takes the gloves off… one of us should have a long time ago before the wedgers got as far as they have.

    Religion doesn’t pull any punches and they’re not wasting any time waiting around before they indoctrinate innocent children. It’s time we stopped worrying about offending theists and get around to the business of teaching healthy skepticism.

    • Kimmo says:

      Religion doesn’t pull any punches and they’re not wasting any time waiting around before they indoctrinate innocent children. It’s time we stopped worrying about offending theists and get around to the business of teaching healthy skepticism.

      Word.

    • starcadia says:

      So what you’re saying is that by doing exactly what the people he abhors are doing, he, unlike the others, is right, is that it? Very high-minded reason indeed. I’m sure the Christians will also find that logic makes perfect sense and will purge themselves of all of the strong beliefs they’ve held and developed for thousands of years, and the world will be a better place.

      Thank jeebus for enlightened ideas. I’m really looking forward to that world of yours and Dawkins’ where materialism has finally vanquished the evils of philosophy.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Who said anything about being “high-minded”?

        You fight fire with fire: religious types don’t burn us sinners to death anymore ONLY because they no longer have the power to do so.

        People kill and torture and torment and afflict other people “for religion”. And they have always done so – for many centuries – wherever and whenever the religions of intolerance have ruled.

        We fought long bloody wars to get it off our backs…To hell with religion already.

        Give me a secular state. Religion is a sophisticated fraud.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        And another thing – I’m no “materialist” (whatever you may mean by that term) – more of an Humean idealist with an strong empirical bent, when it comes to scientific matters.

        And I think religious people, of any denomination, ought not to be trusted to write the Laws unless they do so under the strict and rigourous supervision of atheists.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what you’re saying is that by doing exactly what the people he abhors are doing, he, unlike the others, is right, is that it?

        Is it exactly the same? It seems to me there is a serious double standard in how atheism and religious are discussed.

        Religious people killing those who don’t accept their values: fundamentalism and intolerance.
        Religious people claiming atheism promotes immorality: hardly worth mentioning – the pope himself gave a speech to that effect, and he isn’t usually considered a radical.
        Atheist people claiming religion promotes immorality: “fundamentalism and intolerance”.

        Religious people teaching children at special camps: fundamentalism and indoctrination.
        Writing religious books for children: hardly worth mentioning – children’s stories about the bible, Jesus, and the importance of faith are everywhere.
        Writing atheist books for children: “fundamentalism and indoctrination”.

        All this story mentions Dawkins doing is what normal, sensible Christians do all the time, promoting their beliefs in a way accessible to young people. That it is immediately compared to the extreme groups is telling.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Teach your children well:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtZJC_4YmE

        Mankind in Europe had 1500 years of inquisitorial religious tyranny of the most violent and thoroughgoing sort, and it took lengthy and bloody great “wars of religion” to shake off the yoke which the priests put on the necks of all people, rich and poor, children and adults alike.

        Have people forgotten?

        We ain’t goin’ back into that cage.

        No matter how fervently some people pray for that to happen.

        • Hools Verne says:

          We still live in a world of genocide and oppression and it’s not just religion that is to blame for that.

          • Sekino says:

            Irrationality is largely to blame for that.

            I don’t know what made you so angry at ‘materialism’. I hadn’t realized that’s how some people would label me before this bizarre thread, but I guess I fit the bill: I have NO idea what ‘spiritual’ is supposed to mean in the real world, aside from a supernatural notion.

            I am generally ethical, altruistic, loyal and caring, I have a sense of belonging and purpose in the universe, I am contemplative and introspective, I appreciate beauty, music and nature, I don’t live in abject fear of death but I cherish my finite life and my loved ones’… So where does being ‘spiritual’ comes into it? What exactly am I missing?

            Everything that matters is ultimately matter of some sort. It doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful or unworthy of respect. If anything, it’s the ‘spiritualist’s’ constant disdain of the physical world that is incredibly diminishing and contemptuous, as if some intangible, transcendental grass is always greener…

            Like Anon#36 said, don’t be so angry with Dawkins for pointing out facts. He’s not inventing them. You say you have “no patience” for people who insist on backing up arguments with evidence and facts. They are the ones who are actually doing some leg work and putting their money where their mouth is. They are the ones who actually respect other people’s time and intelligence. It takes zero effort to blather about some concept without any empirical knowledge, research or evidence. I personally have no patience for people who blow sunshine up my skirt and expect me to topple over in awe. To each his own I guess.

  34. Sekino says:

    *Explanation*… See? Your classicist jab pissed me off so bad I can’t type… ;)

  35. thatbob says:

    No chapter on motherfucking magnets, probably because he doesn’t know how they work.

  36. proginoskes says:

    Can I give this to my niece without offending her Catholic parents? In other words, does he talk about what we know without speculating on “what we don’t know we don’t know”? :^) If so, I’d definitely buy a copy. Let her understand how the world works but become an atheist in her own time without propaganda.

  37. Anonymous says:

    ..and in related news, the galaxy’s second biggest douche “Kirk Cameron” declares Hawking is wrong about the non-existence of heaven; and makes the classic “there’s no proof that it doesn’t exist” fallacy http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b242570_heavens_no_kirk_cameron_attacks_stephen.html

    this is what comes of charter schools -sigh-

  38. redesigned says:

    @starcadia – I didn’t make any claims about dawkins. the only claim i made is that you are overreacting.

    again, it is just one book. it isn’t like he has summer camps, thousands of books, movies, and cds, and weekly sunday schools in most towns across the world setup specifically to target and indoctrinate children.

    there are people on the religious side that are doing exactly that and actively trying to indoctrinate children on a massive scale.

    if you are going to be outraged, make sure you pick the right thing to be outraged about and that your outrage fits the scale of what is being discussed. don’t focus on the single .22 of atheism pointed at kids from the one side and miss the arsenal of religious nukes aimed at our kids on the other. the splinter and the log so to speak. you can’t be for the latter and feign offense at the first, that is just plain ridiculous.

  39. redesigned says:

    “He’s going after your kids now.”

    That may be a bit of an overreaction. He wrote one children’s book. It isn’t like he has sunday schools weekly in almost every town in north america, or summer camps, or thousands of books, movies, cds, etc. directly targeting your kids. There is a big difference between him and the people actually trying to indoctrinate your children. Apples and Oranges. Not saying you have to like him or buy his book for your kid, but it is just one book for christ’s sake…

    • starcadia says:

      @redesigned: If you don’t think it has been Dawkins’ primary agenda to indoctrinate people to his atheistic orthodoxy, you haven’t been paying attention. And if you can’t see his agenda even in his TOC, then you’re not paying attention.

      Do I think it’s bad to teach children science? Of course not, just as long as the views are not biased or subversive. If we want to teach our kids science then teach them science, but for the sake of our children, keep it stripped of the violence inherent in orthodoxy.

  40. Tristan Eldtritch says:

    I love the chapter that explains how if Santa Clause was real, his girth would have caused him to get stuck in a chimney, where he would have died of suffocation or frostbite…..AND NOT GONE TO HEAVEN!

  41. redesigned says:

    So do mushrooms have souls? How about bacteria? Do souls end at viruses?

    mushrooms have souls…humans? not so much. ;-)

    so far, everything we are discovering about bodies, minds and consciousness point towards something different. Why is this such a big freaking deal? We didn’t turn to ashes because the Earth wasn’t flat or the center of the universe…

    I agree with this 100%.

    believing in a soul is a complete misunderstanding of how biological life evolved and works.

    it is pretty myopic to think we are somehow different then any other life form that has evolved on this planet, we are just bacteria on a mote of dust in a vast mostly empty universe, and that is a beautiful thing.

  42. oneoflokis says:

    (No chapter on magnets? Shame: bcos for kids I’d have thought they were among the most fascinating things! But there’s a rainbow on the cover so it must contain a chapter on rainbows? Only not in any Noah’s ark or Bifrost context, am I right?! :))

    Seriously, it’s about time he got this out, he’s been promising it for abt three years! Only he must have changed his original concept a lot (or the publishers did); bcos in those old interviews he was threatening to write a book explaining that “Harry Potter, magic and wizards” aren’t true. (No! I’m sure all the kids hoped to meet Harry at school!) Or to do a rather dull table, with I suppose various phenomena (rainbow?) & on the one hand how a religion or magic explained it – &on the righteous side explain how science said it REALLY was. Hope the editors managed to talk him out of that one! Dullsville or what?! However, if he hasn’t been too patronising or preachy, this could be a decent book.

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