They may cry, they may clutch their favorite storybook to their chest, but you must pry those misleading, occultic volumes from their hands. Why? Because an authority on the matter says that they’ll be damaged if they open themselves to the power of myth… unless those myths hold up to scientific analysis.
No, I don’t mean Movieguide’s Ted Baehr (although he’s condemned Harry Potter on countless occasions). No, this time it’s the atheist-activist and scientist Richard Dawkins who is worried about the effect of Harry Potter on children.
Yes… having fallen out of the headlines for a while, Dawkins must have brainstormed some new way to get back into the media spotlight. What better way than to threaten the stories beloved by children around the world?
How interesting, that both of Dawkins and Baehr — the athiest and the right-wing Christian alarmist — want to warn us about reading stories about magic and wizards. And yet, both of them make exceptions if the stories blatantly demonstrate their own particular worldviews. (Baehr likes Narnia, Dawkins “loves” Phillip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass.) But Dawkins wants scientific children’s stories that don’t incline them toward believing in anything supernatural.
I wonder if he’s ever read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. L’Engle loved science. It enhanced her faith in God.
According to Dawkins, the power of myth may be very dangerous, and he intends to use his scientific instruments to come up with some evidence. He says that it’s destructive, and he’s going to write a book telling your kids that they shouldn’t bother with “unscientific fairy tales.”
Perhaps he has some kind of instrument like those horrific “cutting” devices, like the machines in Pullman’s The Golden Compass that can sever a child’s capacity for make-believe…
Professor Richard Dawkins plans to find out if stories like Harry Potter have a “pernicious” effect on children.
The prominent atheist is stepping down from his post at Oxford University to write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in “anti-scientific” fairytales.
Prof Hawkins said: “The 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.”
Prof Dawkins said he wanted to look at the effects of “bringing children up to believe in spells and wizards”.
“I think it is anti-scientific ‚Äì whether that has a pernicious effect, I don’t know,” he told More4 News.
“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.”
But Prof Dawkins, the bestselling author of The God Delusion who this week agreed to fund a series of atheist adverts on London buses, added that his new book will also set out to demolish the “Judeo-Christian myth”.
He went on: “I plan to look at mythical accounts of various things and also the scientific account of the same thing. And the mythical account that I look at will be several different myths, of which the Judeo-Christian one will just be one of many.
“And the scientific one will be substantiated, but appeal to children to think for themselves; to look at the evidence. Always look at the evidence.”
Discussion has begun over at Arts and Faith.
QUICK! Before you discover that it’s bad for you… come join me in celebrating this destructive habit of fantasy! Let’s enjoy the finer points of Beauty and the Beast!
On Friday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. I’ll be reading from Cyndere’s Midnight and Auralia’s Colors at Cafe Babel in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
The SPU Bookstore will offer copies of these soon-to-be-banned books.
Cafe Babel is located right along the canal in Fremont, at 126 NW Canal St, Seattle, WA, 98107. (See cafebabelseattle.com for a map.)
Then, on Thursday, November 20, at 7:00 P.M., I’ll be at Village Books, that amazing independent bookstore in Bellingham, Washington. Join us at Village Books, do some Christmas shopping, listen to some storytelling, and let’s celebrate the joys of fairy tales and fantasy.
And here are a few books you should buy for your kids before anybody proves that they’re unhealthy.