How is this any different that atheist books targeted at children?
There are no atheist books targeted at children. Please give me one example of what you claim is an atheist book. Note that a book written by an atheist is not an atheist book. Books by Darkins, Coyne, Pinker are not.
I haven’t read Coyne’s piece but what exactly is the problem he raises? Proselytizing children? Or is he objecting to proselytizing that’s done under the guise of science?
So both the Faraday and Templeton are in the business of lying to children about God.This book project is a new Templeton grant, separate from the “Schools Project” and from the “Test of Faith” homeschool project. Have a look at the Faraday Kids website to see the insidious proselytizing of kids, trying to convince them, before they can think for themselves, that religion is great, and fully compatible with science.
Seems like he thinks belief in God is wrong, and the compatibility of science and religion is wrong. So, it is wrong to spread beliefs that he thinks are wrong to kids.
(Edited “to kids” after @sfmatheson’s suggestion.)
I don’t understand why he says the Faraday Institute is “lying about God” though. As far as I know, most of the folks there sincerely believe that God exists and that science and religion are compatible. They could be mistaken, but they’re not lying.
The paragraph you quote says something different. He’s objecting to the spreading of beliefs to kids, “before they can think for themselves.” As I suspected, that’s the core of his objection, and you have misrepresented it. I’m sure that wasn’t your intent.
Personally I am undecided about this kind of objection to religious practice. On the one hand, I think it is obvious that kids can be influenced to “believe” in ways that are incompatible with intellectual autonomy. But on the other hand, this is true of basically anything we would want to teach kids. Before they can think for themselves, we want to teach them about kindness and fairness, and even about how science works. If religion is any different, we need to carefully explain why and how. I think that could be done, and I admit to being uncomfortable with proselytizing of kids, but it needs to be done carefully.
I think he’s misusing the word ‘lie.’ Biblical writers did that a lot too.
To even contemplate that this book is about “atheism” is bonkers. I’m disappointed that you posted this, because it looks like you don’t understand what proselytizing is and why people would be uncomfortable with it. And worse, it gives exactly the impression that we have been discussing elsewhere: that believers who should know better are regularly willing to equate science with religion. Please.
Sorry, I have clarified my original comment to include “to kids”.
I agree with most of what you said here. I think it’s natural to be uncomfortable for kids to be taught beliefs and worldviews that differ very starkly from your own. But that’s just part of living in a pluralistic society.
Looking at some of the chapters in the Amazon preview, Dawkins does present a kid-friendly version of some of his famous arguments against the existence of God. For example, on page 164, after speaking about some creation myths in various cultures, he says:
“None of the myths give any explanation for how the creator of the universe himself (and it usually is a he) came into existence.”
This is obviously alluding to Dawkins’ “Who designed the Creator” argument, which many religious people would disagree with. Of course, the book as a whole is not just about atheism (for example, the section right after has a pretty good explanation of some findings in cosmology), but it contains some atheistic hints like this that may make religious parents think of it as unsuitable for their children.
For me, it’s more complicated than that. Once I calibrate for my preferences, I’m left with some basic values and principles, which I strongly suspect you would share with me. Discomfort with proselytizing of kids is, at its foundation for me, about discomfort with manipulation and direction of a person’s mind, before they are equipped to resist. A book that describes atheism or Christianity or Islam or the Morrígan to kids is not proselytizing unless/until it attempts to move the child to believe, beyond teaching a child to understand. I have never seen a book that “proselytizes” atheism but I would object to it if I did.
Calling that a book that proselytizes for “atheism” is bonkers. Come on guys, your religion is infamous for proselytizing on planetary scales. You don’t have moral credibility on this thing, and comments like that one don’t help at all.
You can have the last word.
I have no qualms saying that Christians proselytize. We’re commanded to. I’m not making a judgment on atheists who proselytize, by the way. I think it’s natural for them to do it, too. For me, proselytizing is a neutral term. It just means to promote or advocate for your ideas in the hopes that other people will adopt it too.
Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality is a wonderful SCIENCE book for children. Remember Science is neutral on theism or atheism.
AiG has plenty of material directed at children, which have dinosaurs on the ark and promote the whole “true science” vs science schlock. It looks like the Faraday books present mainstream science within a theistic worldview. Coyne seems pretty triggered by these books, but if they encourage curiosity about the natural world in a non-threatening way, I do not see the harm.
One wonders why they have to be named “God made X” then, if they’re merely intended to promote curiosity about science?
That would allow for the idea of God creating by natural principle and process, as opposed to “poofing”. But of course these are not The Magic School Bus - the message is that science and faith need not threaten each other.
Fair enough. I acknowledge up front that I have not read this book, and presented it as a candidate. Perhaps it is a candidate that needs to be ruled out.