A very funny comment piece in today's Telegraph by Michael Deacon who is rationally sceptic about the Professor Richard Dawkins-supported launch of Camp Quest UK:
Here is a taste:
“At Camp Quest UK, children aged eight to 17 will be given lessons in evolution and rational scepticism.
“Now, I have no quarrel with Camp Quest's objectives. I am an atheist. And of course children should be taught to think scientifically. No, my worry is simply that the camp's teachings will be too effective. For if there's one thing to make my blood freeze, it's the thought of my child mutating into some kind of pedantic, humourless, eight-year-old mini-Dawkins.
"Imagine trying to celebrate the little beast's birthday: ‘Many happy returns, Darling. Now blow out the candles and make a wish.’
‘Certainly not, Father. This is a futile custom. There is no evidence to support the notion that blowing out the candles on a Marks & Spencer Victoria sponge increases the likelihood of one's desires becoming reality.’
‘Right. I see. Sorry. Well, luckily, we've bought some nice gifts for you.’
‘On the contrary, Father, luck did not influence your purchases. Indeed, there is no such thing. To believe otherwise is flabby thinking.’
‘Please don't say that, Father. You know perfectly well that the deity whose name you invoke does not exist.’
‘That Camp Quest thing really had an effect on you, hasn't it. I suppose you'll be wanting to go on the course they're organising for Easter…’
‘Most assuredly not. Easter is a spurious festival based on the fallacy that a man came back from the dead, which double-blind experiments have proved impossible. In consequence, I refuse to recognise Easter and shall spend the holiday period at school, whether or not my teachers are in attendance.’"
And here is the whole article: http://tinyurl.com/l2ontj
I have just checked out the Camp Quest UK website and watched a You Tube piece to camera by Religion and Contemporary Society Kings College Masters student and Camp Quest UK Director, Samantha Stein.
One of the highlights for the camp-goers is the “invisible unicorns challenge” which, Samantha says, is “a staple at any Camp Quest across the world”. The kids get introduced to the two invisible unicorns that they can’t see or smell or touch and they have to prove to the camp counselors that they don’t exist. “To be honest, I am not sure how they will manage that because we have faith that these exist, but err, there we go,” says Samantha (in the most see-through bluff ever).
If I was a kid and Samantha delivered the rules of the game to me in the same way she does in the You Tube clip, I wouldn’t want to play – the camp counselors are going to have to put a little bit more heart and soul into it then that. But - get this - the prize is (Samantha says, fluttering her eyelashes), “a £10 Darwin note signed by Richard Dawkins himself, so I am sure that will give the kids some incentive to participate in this activity.” What?! Not the activity itself?! I think the prize should be a unicorn – two of them. Those poor kids.
Seriously, watch the clip yourself: http://tinyurl.com/l2akfa
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