Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Ygern » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:29 pm

Ok, I'm a bit clearer on your point of view now. But I still think its overly critical to see this as a fundamental flaw that undermines his argument. It wasn't a six hour documentary called The Trouble with Northern Ireland. It was a 48 minute program on the benefits or harm caused by faith schools in their communities. Of the several hours of footage shot in Northern Ireland, only a few edited minutes made it onto screen, those minutes selected by Channel 4 editors, not by Richard Dawkins. They weren't trying to get to the bottom of root causes of conflict.

The question being addressed was: Are faith schools having a positive, neutral or negative effect on their communities?

The answers ranged from mostly harmless to fairly harmful. The fairly harmful category contained a variety of examples: damaged science education was one; divisive and isolationist communities was another. This second problem was not seen as exclusive to NI; it was discussed several times in the context of the England too.

The question being asked was a simple one: Are faith schools helping this community? The answer in pretty much all cases was no.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Gar » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:06 pm

I for one was very disappointed by the programme.


Dawkins didn't even try to eat any of those delicious children !
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Beebub » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:08 pm

Ygern wrote:The fairly harmful category contained a variety of examples: damaged science education was one; divisive and isolationist communities was another. This second problem was not seen as exclusive to NI; it was discussed several times in the context of the England too.
Bit that's exactly where the problem lies. The context of the whole programme was that if religion was removed from the schools in question, the problems would be resolved. The muslim kids would have been more analytical and questionning of thier faith if they'd be given a proper non-religious influenced science class. Without a doubt, children in English faith based schools would get on better in society if there was no religion in the school. Firstly it would have the same effect on them as the muslim kids above, secondly they'd get a more rounded education if they went to school with children from a myriad of differnet backgrounds rather than all protestant/ catholic/ jew etc.

However, the same cannot be said for Northern Ireland and he knows this and I agree with Bik in that he's being lazy. Nationalist and unionist kids are not going to suddenly go to integrated schools if religious control is removed. I concede it can't but have a positive influence, however small, but dakins was putting Northern Irish segregated schools on a level playing field with segragated faith schools in the UK and they're clearly not. That's where his misrepresentation lay.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by aZerogodist » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:01 pm

Beebub wrote:the same cannot be said for Northern Ireland and he knows this and I agree with Bik in that he's being lazy. Nationalist and unionist kids are not going to suddenly go to integrated schools if religious control is removed. I concede it can't but have a positive influence, however small, but dawkins was putting Northern Irish segregated schools on a level playing field with segragated faith schools in the UK and they're clearly not. That's where his misrepresentation lay.
So it's like 2 problems (NI) vs 1 (England) so removing the religious problem will still leave 1 problem. I still think his point is that the continued taught religious difference is of no benefit.
...I suppose, there must be Nationalist Atheists and Unionist Atheists.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Ygern » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:06 pm

Beebub wrote: dakins was putting Northern Irish segregated schools on a level playing field with segragated faith schools in the UK and they're clearly not. That's where his misrepresentation lay.
I don't think he was representing them as the same - not even close. The only "sameness" was that in both communities faith-based schools undermined social cohesion and promoted fractured in-group out-group divisions.
Nationalist and unionist kids are not going to suddenly go to integrated schools if religious control is removed
That doesn't make any sense. Of course they would.
If there were no more Catholic or Protestant schools they would have to go to Integrated schools. It would not be a magic wand instant conversion to the Land of Sunshine and Tolerance; but no-one was claiming that it would be.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Bik » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:16 pm

Ygern wrote:
Nationalist and unionist kids are not going to suddenly go to integrated schools if religious control is removed
That doesn't make any sense. Of course they would.
If there were no more Catholic or Protestant schools they would have to go to Integrated schools. It would not be a magic wand instant conversion to the Land of Sunshine and Tolerance; but no-one was claiming that it would be.
How would that occur Ygern? Would kids from the Falls go to schools on the Shankill and vice versa?
The children would still go to the same schools in the same areas and be taught by the same teachers. The only difference is that religious indoctrination would not be on the curriculum.

There are probably some schools in interlocking areas where it'd geographically make sense for the kids from both communities to attend but that'd be the exception.

Even within the schools at present I'm pretty certain that in RE class they are not being taught to hate their neighbours because the other sides version of woo is slightly different.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Ygern » Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:59 pm

Yes, but the same could be said about the Muslim school in London.

Taking religion out of that school would not result in a truck-load of scientifically literate Muslim girls by Christmas time. These girls would still be subject to family and community convention. They would still be exposed to religious lessons and no doubt would still be instructed that if they want to be seen as good, modest girls they have to dress like 11th century peasants.

But removing explicit religious indoctrination at school would be a start. It would give them a chance of learning science without the constant head-on collision of superstition impacting on their learning experience. It would also expose them to daily interaction with non Muslims.

It's slow and it's messy. But its a badly needed change.
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Re: Richard Dawkins FAITH SCHOOLS MENACE? More4 Wed18 21:00

Post by Feardorcha » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:21 pm

.. removing explicit religious indoctrination at school would be a start.
A start? Towards what? A United Ireland or a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
And that's where the problem lies - not in religion.
Similarly, Hindu/Buddist schools in Sri Lanka, Muslim/Hindu schools in Kashmir, Christian/Muslim schools in Cyprus and... em, where else have they used religion to divide and conquer...Sunni/Shiite schools in Iraq cannot be compared to a London suburb where both religions accept the legitimacy of the state.
This element of the argument against faith schools only holds good in a unified society or at least one where both religious groups support or at least accept the status quo.
Dawkins's mistake was to extend his argument outside Britain to a society which is divided by the legacy of colonialism, and not just religion. This was a pity. He's still a great man and his basic argument against faith schools still holds true but he was wrong to pretend that Belfast is the same as Bradford.
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