Richard Dawkins launches children's summer camp for atheists

The author of controversial book The God Delusion is helping to launch Britain’s first summer retreat for non-believers.

Richard Dawkins is subsidising the camp which will offer children aged eight to 17 the chance to sing along to John Lennon’s Imagine and have lessons in evolution.

The five-day camp, based in Somerset, promises to be ‘beyond belief’ - the event’s motto - and will rival traditional faith-based breaks run by the Scouts and church groups.

As well as traditional camp pursuits such as trekking and tug-of-war attendees will be given lessons in moral philosophy and evolutionary biology as well as debating otherworldly activities such as crop circles and telepathy.

There will even be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn.


Well why should Christians have all the fun with their VBS. Even Jews have their imitation with Jewish summer camp. Once the Hindus reach critical mass, I’m sure there will be a Hindu variant.

I think it’s very sad and low handed for Dawkins to target children with his beliefs (or lack thereof).
One problem though; perhaps this camp is being billed as for atheists, but Dawkins himself is an agnostic.

That is very unfortunate. He’s bringing children down with him now. :mad:

I think the Daily Mail chose the “summer camp for atheists” title. In the body of the article that lemonbeam quoted, it sounds like it basically an agnostic camp that teaches about evolution and philosophy-based morality.

I wouldn’t send my kids to it, but as long as they honestly are not being anti-religious (I wonder if that’s accurate), then I have no problem with it. There are plenty of non-religious summer camps out there. :shrug:

Wow… quite sad, that. My initial thoughts reading through the article:

Richard Dawkins is subsidizing the camp which will offer children aged eight to 17 the chance to sing along to John Lennon’s Imagine and have lessons in evolution.

…oh good, let’s glorify the imagination! :bounce: Forget rational investigation, let’s just close our eyes and imagine how awesome it would be if we were in charge of determining reality!

As well as traditional camp pursuits such as trekking and tug-of-war** attendees will be given lessons in moral philosophy **and evolutionary biology as well as debating otherworldly activities such as crop circles and telepathy.

:eek: …lessons in moral philosophy? Coming from those with the mindset of Richard Dawkins? Epic FAIL

There will even be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn.

Isn’t that… uh… impossible to disprove?
What kind of argument can they possibly be looking for? :ehh:

Dawkins said the camp was designed to ‘encourage children to think for themselves sceptically and rationally.’

:rolleyes: …why not just rationally? Or maybe logically and rationally?
What good does adding skepticism into the mix produce, exactly?

‘It is not about changing what they think, but the way that they think.’

In theory, good goal. Unfortunately, it’s also very possible (and very easy) to teach people the wrong way to think. And again, it’s perfectly possible to think rationally and argue with insightful clarity without being a formal skeptic. Like, maybe try to actually hold and defend reasons for or against a certain position…

**The event has been held in America for 13 years **and was set up in the UK by Samantha Stein, a postgraduate psychology student from London.

…interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised, exactly, except that I’ve never heard of such a thing before now.

There will also be philosophical and scientific discussion for children **who will be taught **about evolution and that ethical behavior is not dependent on religious belief and doctrines.

…also an interesting point, since we actually might argue that morality is natural, and thus not something conventional or something caused to be true by the teachings of any particular religious group. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the position that the people at this summer camp would be teaching… :rolleyes:

I think that something about millstones comes to mind and suffering little children to come unto Him.Mr.Dawkins is in for a very large and VERY unpleasant surprise.

Um, yes :shrug: It’s generally held that it’s impossible to prove a universal negative. That’s Philosophy 101 stuff, but these champions of logic and enlightenment seem unaware of it :rolleyes: In my observation, atheists as a group show the greatest disparity between talking about being logical and demonstrating it. I’m guessing there won’t be much mention in their “lessons” on philosophy and critical thinking that logical positivism is embraced only by atheists and only when the subject is God. Despite the rhetoric, I suspect t it will be a full-court press of indoctrination. I’m not too worried though; the kids who get sent there will be from atheist homes to begin with and trends suggest that at least some of them will outgrow their atheism.

And regarding Dawkins, I think the author of The God Delusion is past agnosticism; he feels very certain in his denials that there’s a God. In fact I’d say he’s living proof that you don’t have to be religious to be a fundamentalist. And from what I’ve seen of his writings, there’s no deceit I’d put past him.

They are looking for a 10 year old to give them a better arguement to use against the existance of God. They’ll just X out the word unicorn and replace it with the word God.

I wonder what color their kool-aid is? :smiley: Will they add anti-depressants seeing atheism is without hope?

OUCH! :smiley:

Reminds me of something Groucho Marx once said: “A small child could understand this. Someone go fetch a small child.”

Psst, we ARE in charge of determining our own reality :wink: invent something? cure a disease? build a bridge? paint your house? cook dinner for the family? remember to buy toilet paper? Whether you want to look at it through the perspective that god made a flawed world for us to be full of purpose in fixing or the world just is and has problems which are rewarding to fix, it shouldnt detract from your ability to fix them.

So, you’re skeptical of skepticism? Take a look at the housing crisis, we as a society believed that housing prices always go up (even though it only looks that way because of inflation) and we as a society got fleeced. WMD’s in iraq? a connection between alqaeda and iraq? we could have used ALOT more skepticism there. or maybe Im wrong to conflate faith and gullibility?

hey, whatever you need to tell yourself champ :thumbsup: just keep in mind, drinking poisoned cool aid is something theists have a reputation for.

This is the first I’ve heard of it.

What on earth is this referring to?:confused:


But it’s not “sand and low handed” for religious groups to target children with their beliefs?:shrug:

Well it’s certainly not “sand.” :wink:

To me, the idea of “targeting children” by offering a religious or non-religious camp is kind of silly. Do the kids sign up on their own? Of course not. Religious families send their kids to religious camps. Non-religious families send their kids to non-religious camps. If there is a need/demand for Dawkins’ camp, then it will be successful. If there isn’t, it will fail. :shrug:

SHUSH YOU! We do not point out double standards.

That would be anti-Catholic.

Jonestown was a cult.

Dawkins’ position is so pathetic and so transparent. If he really believed that atheism is patently obvious, he wouldn’t need a ‘summer camp’ for kids. He would – following his logic – be able simply to wait patiently until, certainly by age 8 or 9, children no longer believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, and thus in the natural process of things they would be permanently unconvinced about God. (Because in Dawson’s shallow undertanding of God, religion is a mere childish fable & fairy tale.)

 What can one expect from a man who admitted to Ben Stein that he believes that earth may have been seeded by SPACE ALIENS? You know,the only reason that Dawkins could come up with such an absurdity is b/c he KNOWS that evolutionary theory is illogical. Maybe he has childhood issues, and wishes to inflict his personal anger on people of faith. :confused: Oh, and weren't we just discussing whether naturalists hold religious people in contempt? Game, set and match!  Rob
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