Thursday, August 19, 2010

Richard Dawkins: Faith School Menace?

Play all videos (4) - Viewers in the UK can watch it here
Aired August 18, 2010 on Channel 4
The number of faith schools in Britain is rising. Around 7,000 publicly funded schools - one in three - now has a religious affiliation.

As the coalition government paves the way for more faith-based education by promoting 'free schools', the renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins says enough is enough.

In this passionately argued film, Dawkins calls on us to reconsider the consequences of faith education, which, he argues, bamboozles parents and indoctrinates and divides children.

The film features robust exchanges with former Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, Head of the Church of England Education Service Reverend Janina Ainsworth, and the Chair of the Association of Muslim Schools, Dr Mohammed Mukadam.
(Videos are blocked in the United Kingdom - Available on 4oD and YT)


  1. i want an FSM faith school too! :)

  2. Recently read an article about how the potential headscarf ban in public schools across europe is actually a step backward. As a result of the ban, all those little girls will be sent to muslim faith schools funded by uneducated, oil-rich saudis, increasing the ignorance and separation. At least if they went to public school they would be exposed to the culture, and at the age of 18 have the option to tell their parents to fuck off and go their own way.

  3. <span>(Videos are blocked in the United Kingdom...)</span>

    This is scary.

  4. How is that scary? You get to see it on tv :P

  5. Muie la iehovisti, mormoni si atei!

  6. Richard knows that to nip all this delusion in the bud, you must prevent the children from being indoctrinated.

    Thank the FSM for Richard and all those will will speak against religion and the harm that it causes, to speak up for reason, evidence and science in the public arena.

    There are simply not enough voices of reason speaking up in America. You can see how difficult for the majority of Americans to change their bronze age thinking.

  7. That Richard had to make this program, and that it was also relegated to a low-viewer channel, put this on a proper channel that isn't afraid of airing controversial views (or is that become impossible).

    That we have been specially created is the height of absurdity, and that this is taught as a fact is a disgrace to the UK.

    That we can aspire to the moon and travel to space and still have large parts of the population unable to distinguish fact from fairy tales is annoying in the extreme.

    I nearly blew a gasket at the shameful ignorance displayed by the religites

  8. Fortunately there will always be a non-trivial portion of the population that is inherently curious and skeptical, so regardless of any youthful indoctrination, they will break free of the religious mindset.  I agree that faith based schools are a farce and it is slowing down the rate of enlightenment of our species, but it is not an impassable obstacle.  There is hope for the future.   8-)

  9. "And was it you that wanted to be a doctor...?"

  10. Dawkins lost me when he implied that the state rather than parents should dictate the education of children.

  11. Thanks for linking to this video.

  12. I was really surprised that Dawkins didn't challenge the former education secretary's assertion that religious schools would close if they denied state funds.  In America, NO religious schools are state funded and yet they still exist through private tuition.  Why could such an arangement not work in the UK?

    I was also amused by the fact that the muslim teachers insisted that all their students were allowed to make up their own minds based on the facts about evolution and yet ALL the students had somehow decided that evolution was false, basically demonstrating that their teachers' claims were utterly false.

  13. One of several massive blunders committed by Blair. He didn't just get it wrong, he got it bass-ackwards. Instead of moving in the direction of separation of church and state, for fear of upsetting C of E over their existing schools, he opened the gates for all possible faith schools. Blair did a pretty good job of keeping his insane faith in faith more-or-less under wraps while in office.

    I always thought that the muslim schools were going to cause the first problems, because the communities from which they draw their children are already highly ghettoized. Ironically it was a very old jewish school that caused a national scandal, in a case that was one of the first to be argued in front of the new supreme court in 2009. The school lost, in a verdict that to my mind demonstrates the ridiculous nature of allowing public schools to explicitly discriminate on the basis of religious faith.  

  14. Yes, because everything the state does is BAAAAAAD, right Clunn?

    Don't forget to stock up on shotgun shells and canned food (regulated by government so as to not include E-coli).

  15. Well her ein the US we don't have parental choice over schooling and everyone is mixed regardless of faith, and as a result religious wackos on school boards are trying to push creationism not only on their kids, but on everyone else's kids as well.  I see letting idiot parents indoctrinate their kids as an unfortunate side effect of allowing me to protect my kids from their brainwashing.  But also:" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="170" height="140

  16. its still on channel4 On Demand if you live in the UK.

  17. i thoroughly enjoyed this documentary

  18. I loved this doc, it had a proper conversation about the issues I've always thought about. I think that his intial opinion that that out government went in the wrong direction was totally correct. They should have abolished Faith schools entirely. That way if privatly funded schools wanted to pop up they could but the government should have no been supporting it. Also I think as long as ofsted was allowed to inspect the privatly funded schools that would be enough.  I went to a totally mixed school however many of my closet friends went to a variety of single faith schools, across all faiths.  When having conversations about the issue there are some truly appealing positive reasons for sending a child to a faith school and the benefits that it may bring to the well being to the child.  However whenever a logical conversation about religion or science mattes arise I think the conversation is limited and seldom critcal.

  19. Seeing Richard Dawkins conversing with children and answering their innocent questions is thrilling....brought tears to my eyes.  How I WISH parents knew enough to simply rear their children to allow for THE CHILD'S fullest potential.  Getting out of my children's way was the most brilliant lesson I ever learned as a mother.

  20. Lucky for  your kids too. The less exposure they had to an idiot like you, the better.

  21. Richard Dawkins is my God!

  22. I was given a bible as a present when I was a teenager. I read it on and off, until I eventually got to the end, then I put it away. When I was in my twenties, I decided to read it again, so I dusted it off and started again - from genesis onwards. After a few months, I slammed it shut - and suddenly saw the light,I realised what a load of crap it all was, a manual put together to control people. As a close friend said to me one day - the first 'priests' 'witch doctors' etc, were in a way the first Psychologist, as they realised that if you can control peoples minds - you've got them for life. So put the 'fear of god' into them, and they'll do as they're told - or else.

  23. fact is here in the states the "state" already dictates the education of children in our public schools, yet no oversight for the "faith based" ones... if we keep allowing our tax dollars to go to faith based schools via  school vouchers we will see massive tax increases as well as the decline of our public schools even further into the black hole their in now. we will also see our kids do worse in this global world we now have... no other nation is teaching their future scientists that T rex and mankind walked the planet at the same time or that it was noah's flood that killed the dinosaurs. some parents actually seek out this kind of education for their kids, if given a choice over this type of parent or the level headed state .. i'll take the state.

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