Saturday, 7 June 2014

Dawkins vs. Fairy Tales

Once again Richard Dawkins is causing controversy, this time on the subject of fairy tales. He recently called them 'pernicious' and speculated at the damage they cause to children's minds. After the (completely unsurprising) backlash, he retracted his statement and instead said that on balance they were probably OK because they could help with critical thinking skills. There's an article in The Telegraph about it here.

Critical thinking, and then some. At the heart of it, both science and fairy tales can help us to find answers about ourselves, in their own way. Both have the ability to fill us with a sense of wonder and awe. If a scientist had never been able to exercise her creativity and imagination, would she still be curious about the mysteries of the universe, and want to find answers?

If we had never imagined, wondered, been struck dumb by awe - if we had never dreamed and dared to ask why and how, there is no way we would have evolved to this point, to know so much. If we lived a life of facts and nothing else, how would we know to look beyond them?

The Mermaid, Howard Pyle, 1910. From ArtMagick.


  1. Sometimes I think Richard Dawkins says what he does to get noticed and rile people up. :P