Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Encore


Though people of my regional (New England) and ethnic (Irish/Italian) background are usually inclined towards Papism, I have, but for a brief moment, never been a 'believer.' Nor do I come from a family of pious, church-going Irish Catholics. And while greatly enjoying Christopher Hitchens' philippic God is Not Great, I've found most of the recent crop of hectoring anti-deist (and anti-fideist!) books to be either boring or needlessly sanctimonious. So after disproving the existence of god, and selling a trillion books in the process, what does one do for an encore? Richard Dawkins, author of the best-selling The God Delusion, tells the Daily Mail that it is time to investigate the potentially pernicious effects of wizardry:

The 67-year-old, who recently resigned from his position at Oxford University, says he intends to look at the effects of "bringing children up to believe in spells and wizards".

'I think it is anti-scientific - whether that has a pernicious effect, I don't know,' he told More4 News.

'Looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious affect on rationality, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's something for research.'

However, the outspoken atheist said he hadn't even read Harry Potter and admitted he "didn't know what to think about magic and fairytales".

(via Peter Suderman)