Sunday, December 31, 2006

Richard Dawkins and child abuse

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Categories : Religion, Richard Dawkins

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published: dimanche 31 décembre 2006 16:28:38

Since Richard Dawkins withdrew his support for a petition to make religious upbringing illegal, many are now trying to make it look as if the petition was so out of tune with the rest of Dawkins' writings that only those with an irrational hatred of him could believe that he had truly endorsed it.

PZ Myers, for example, quotes from Dawkins' The God Delusion, where Dawkins voices his support for comparative religion, where children can learn about the "many mutually incompatible belief-systems." But that doesn't say anything about the right of parents to raise their children in a particular religion. And as I previously noted, in Dawkins' so-called retraction, he really only regrets signing the petition because it would have also made comparative religion classes illegal. He nowhere affirmed his support for the legal right of parents to give their children a religious upbringing.

In fact, anyone who has followed Dawkins' public statements on religion would have plenty of reasons to think that he would want religious upbringing made illegal. After all, this is a man that has referred to a Catholic upbringing as causing more harm than sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, and who thinks that merely talking about a "Catholic child" or a "Protestant child" is "a kind of child abuse". And in his newest book, The God Delusion, he repeats psychologist Nicholas Humphrey's demand that we should not "allow parents to teach their children to believe … in the literal truth of the Bible":

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