Apparently, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins thinks books like Harry Potter might have a negative effect on the emotional development of kids, said Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times. “Having sufficiently inflamed the passions of his adult readers with The God Delusion—his treatise on rationalism and atheism”—Dawkins has now decided to write a book that will “explore children’s relationships with fairy tales and encourage them to think about the world scientifically rather than mythologically.”
“This isn’t about Harry Potter at all,” said Harrison Scott Key in WorldMag.com. Dawkins has a beef with “Christianity and theism in general.” He believes that teaching kids about hell, for instance, is a form of child abuse. Will it make “Junior feel so much better to know the chasm of unfeeling blackness will envelope him upon death” instead?
Look, it “depends a great deal on context” and the “way in which the stories are presented,” said Derek James in Thinking as a Profession. And even if studies showed that fantasy books do have a negative effect on kids, “I’m pretty sure Dawkins” is more interested in “informing parents so they can make choices about what and how to present material to children” than he is in condemning books like Harry Potter.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2014
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
Subscribe to the Week