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Dawkins funds atheist summer camp
2009-07-05 0:00

By Rachel Helyer Donaldson | TheFirstPost.co.uk

Arch-atheist Richard Dawkins has helped launch a summer camp aimed at changing the way children think

Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, has helped launch an atheist summer camp for children. Alongside the more traditional activities of tug-of-war, swimming and canoeing, children at the five-day camp in Somerset will learn about rational scepticism, moral philosophy, ethics and evolution.

Camp atheist: Children will debunk crop circles and sing John Lennon

Camp-goers aged eight to 17 will also be taught how to disprove phenomena such as crop circles and telepathy. In the Invisible Unicorn Challenge, any child who can prove that unicorns do not exist will win a £10 note - which features an image of Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory - signed by Dawkins, Britain's most prominent atheist.

Dawkins is not personally involved in Camp Quest, which originated in the United States, but helped subsidise the cost of the camp through his Richard Dawkins Foundation. The former Oxford professor said Camp Quest provided children with a summer camp that was "free of religious dogma", unlike many adventure breaks which are run by the Scouts and faith-based groups. All 24 places at the camp, which runs from July 27 to 31, have already been filled and more camps are planned for next year, including Easter.

Camp Quest was founded in America in 1996 by Edwin Kagin, an atheist lawyer from Kentucky and the son of a church minister. The woman bringing the concept to Britain is a 23-year-old postgraduate psychology student from London, Samantha Stein, who was inspired to work at an atheist summer camp in America after reading The God Delusion.

Stein said the atheist adventure breaks were "not about changing what they think, but the way that they think. There is very little that attacks religion; we are not a rival to religious camps."

Article from: TheFirstPost.co.uk

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