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Have we had a thread about the Richard Dawkins atheist summer camps for kids yet?

(289 Posts)
policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:14:22

here

Though #1: Dawkins is a loon.

Thought #2 (following very closely on the heels of Thought #1): DS1 (6) - who is alone (in his class of 30) in having been taught about the Big Bang rather than the creation story - might well get a lot out of something like this. At the moment, he's beginning to suspect that his father and I are cult leaders.

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:17:33

This sort of thing might be of value in a culture where organised leisure activities for children were dominated by those provided by religious organisations. But otherwise, it is rather erring on the side of wankery.

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 14:18:12

Is Dawkins himself going to sit round the campfire singing?

Imagine is a bit of a rubbish song. The non-Devil doesn't have the best tunes...

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:19:20

I'm very surprised about your ds being alone in that policywonk. Big Bang is standard discourse among littlies isn't it? I mean, even if the nuances are lost, it is a cultural touchpoint.

Cammelia Sun 28-Jun-09 14:19:38

It reminds me of the Moonies

Anyone remember them?

Or indeed any other cult

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 28-Jun-09 14:19:41

Message withdrawn

Cammelia Sun 28-Jun-09 14:20:43

Its evidently about making £££ out of people

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:22:13

As parents we can teach scepticism and rationality much better than a bunch of chippy atheism-evangelists round a campfire.

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 14:23:21

Am quite taken with Alan's comment from the Times:

"If science has proved God doesn't exist why are they looking for the 'god' particle in CERN with with LHC?"

Well, indeed, Alan. They've established that God is in fact a particle. And are attempting to recreate him in a collision. Who knew?

policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:26:13

Yeah, I hate 'Imagine'. I'm sure there are better anti-organised-religion songs... <thinks>

guvk - I was surprised too, but it's true. Our primary, despite being a community non-faith school, is dominated by the local church. About 75 per cent of parents actively attend church, I'd guess, and most of the teachers are believers (I didn't know any of this when I applied). So DS1 has been made to feel like a bit of a freak on several occasions, unfortunately.

So for him - and for children like him (I'm thinking of another MNer's son who attends a community primary in which most of his classmates are obervant Muslims) - this could be a valuable exercise in validation.

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 14:27:12

According to one poster it's not a Dawkins thing, but an American thing called Camp Quest. These camps always sound pretty wanky, whoever sets them up, tbh.

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 14:28:07

Blee for your DS, though, pw. That's a bit crap.

policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:28:12

LOL at Alan. I wa watching an old West Wing episode last night in which a physics professor is trying to persuade the administration to come on board with the US supercollider. Score one to the Europeans!

(How are you, Habb?)

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 28-Jun-09 14:30:21

Message withdrawn

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 14:30:35

Am well, thanks. All is happy in the House of Habb.

The comments are ace:

Evolution is EVOL + ution.

Evol spelt backwards is LOVE.

It is LOVE that all are seeking, whether they believe in God or not.

God was a Patriarchal creation to keep the uneducated under control.

How about workshops in creating a world of living in harmony with Universal Love.

Anagramtastic. I may start a new cult on this basis, and start winning the Times crossword too.

<worries about being conscripted into the New Bletchley Park>

<resolves not to do crosswords on trains>

policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 14:36:12

Wow... they're really on to something there, with the anagrams and all.

I kind of agree with SGM, in that I don't think Dawkins is a very good figurehead for the secularist movement (which he seems to have become, by default) (that's a crappy sentence isn't it?). He's so bad-tempered and humourless and intolerant.

And I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction against the idea of 'camps' per se.

But I do wish there was somewhere DS1 could go and be among particle-minded folk.

Habbibu Sun 28-Jun-09 15:08:18

You want a hardcore science version of the woodcraft folk. So do I, actually. What should we call it - particle folk; friends of physics?

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 15:08:20

V surprised by your 75% pol. That is surprising. I can see the point about validation. I don't think the Dawkin camp wd be a good place for it though -- because of general wankery and becasue the Dawkins version of secularism is a bit facile -- and, in its hostility to religion, actually rather in tension with the validatory ideal of confidence in one's own viewpoint, etc.

Ironically, the example that always comes to mind when I try to teach my sons the value of proper confidence in their own take on life, even when in a minority of one, is from one of the Narnia stories.

Lucy thinks she sees Aslan, and that Aslan is guiding her a certain way. The others disbelieve her, she lacks confidence in her perception and they all go the wrong way.

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 15:32:34

DS2 and I did see Aslan once, when out for a walk, but on closer examination it turned out to be a pleasantly golden bullock, with the sun behind it.

(Or was it??)

Jux Sun 28-Jun-09 15:45:02

Your little one certainly isn't alone; dd is as aware of big bang as she is of creation myths, and quite a few other things too. As "all 24 places" have been taken then there are at least that many more!

However, I won't rush to send dd even though it's not far from us. Not sure how much 'fun' is to be had by a child's mind in rational discourse and scepticism. Not a week's worth, anyway.

Cammelia Sun 28-Jun-09 15:47:44

Does non belief in something require validation

That's the kind of thinking that allows money to be made out of gullible parents

policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 16:04:18

grin Habb - I was thinking of the Woodcraft Folk actually, but it all seems so unbearably twee. DS1 wants to talk about planets crashing together and magnetism and suchlike. There really should be more science-based fun stuff for kids. None of the clubs at his school address this stuff. (I'd run one myself, but I know NOTHING about science.) Particle Folk would be a good name though.

guvk (do I know you and SHOULD YOU BE WORKING), it is surprising. We live in a rather odd place I think. The whole faux-village is dominated by the church. (I'm not whining about this, particularly - lots of lovely people here. My best friend, locally, is the parish secretary.)

You're right about having confidence in your own viewpoint (and about Dawkins rather failing to demonstrate the positive characteristics of this quality). I fear that DS1 is not (yet) that sort of child, though. He's rather upset when he discovers that someone else holds a different viewpoint, esp. on things that he regards as factual. (I know how he feels, actually. He probably gets it from me.)

policywonk Sun 28-Jun-09 16:07:35

Jux - I know lots of kids hold non-religious beliefs/are well informed about science - I was saying that DS1 seems to be alone within his own class in holding these viewpoints.

Validation is a fair enough thing for people to seek out, isn't it? It's not wrong in itself. It's great if you have the confidence to not need it, but plenty of people feel better for a bit of validation, even when they're a lot older than 6. (Look at us all on here, desperately seeking validation for feeding/clothing/schooling/housing choices.)

guvk Sun 28-Jun-09 16:18:11

<Damn my give-away dedication to the proper length of en-rulegrin>

SolidGoldBrass Sun 28-Jun-09 16:18:44

Why on earth should anyone get in a tizzy about this? it's not compulsory. These camps will probably be no more and no less fun than all the other camps and activities for kids - but for those who think their kids would prefer no crap-peddling, it might be a more appealing option.

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